November Blessings

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November Blessings

November was questionably the busiest month of the year. We traveled every weekend! Since I didn’t take the time to write down what I was thankful for as the month was going by, I’ll publish my list now…and I’ll include the praises and prayer requests as I go.

1 – I am thankful for my salvation and the faithfulness of God!

2 – I am thankful for my friends, both near and far!

3 – I am thankful that God is the Great Provider! He supplies over and above what we need! Praise His name!!

4 – I am thankful that I can drive to my parents’ and my in-laws’ homes in a day! It’s so nice to see family on a regular basis!!

5 – Aaron and I drove to Lousiville, Kentucky for the Global Missions Health Conference. It was a busy but blessed time of reconnecting with fellow missionaries and meeting prospective missionaries. Please pray that God would call medical professionals to fill the many openings around the world and that those who are called would go!

6 – I’m thankful for all that is going well in the world. There were so many organizations represented at the conference, and they were all serving God. I’m also thankful that I got to meet Jamie Saint!

Nate Saint's grandson!

Nate Saint’s grandson!

7 – I’m thankful for lunch meat. I had the best ham and cheese on rye sandwich while at GMHC. I wish I had a picture!

8 – I’m thankful for Tenwek Hospital. Please pray for the hospital staff, administration, patients, and all involved in the ministry there.

9 – I am thankful for Aaron and the boys. While it’s nice to get away without kids, it’s always nice to be under one roof again!

10 – Levi had his wellness visit and failed both his vision and hearing screenings. We have followed up on his eyes…Praise God that he doesn’t need glasses! Please pray that his hearing is fine too.

11 – I’m thankful for freedom and all the men and women who paid for it. Veterans are awesome!

12 – Aaron and I traveled to Asheville, NC for a time of debriefing at the Cove. It was another fun time of meeting new people and reconnecting with friends.

13 – The Summit team took us to a ropes course. It was fun to work together as a team and then eat a yummy meal as a large group.

14 – I’m thankful for naps and date nights!

15 – I’m thankful for the way God has kept us safe during all our travels!

16 – I am very thankful for new life! We are expecting Baby #6 on June 10, 2016!!

taken at 10 weeks

taken at 10 weeks

17 – Jacob and Noah had their wellness checks, and they both passed with flying colors! Praise God for healthy boys!!

18 – I had an eye appointment. When I first went to the eye doctor, he discovered an infection on my left eye. At this follow-up appointment, the infection had cleared but it uncovered a ‘cornea infiltration’ in both eyes. I’m not sure what they means, but I do know that it requires me to where my glasses for another 3 months! Please pray that my eyes would heal completely.

19 – We studied Norway for 2 1/2 weeks this month, and we celebrated with open-faced fancy sandwiches and potato soup. It’s a blessing to homeschool! (Sometimes I must remind myself of this, but it IS true.)

Noah's sandwich creation was simple and unique.

Noah’s sandwich creation was simple and unique.

20 – I’m thankful for my sister! (I’m thankful for my brother too, but November 20 is my sister’s birthday.)

21 – I’m thankful for Salem Bible Church!! It is the best sending church a missionary could ask for! It was a pleasure to see so many Salem ladies on this day!

22 – We spoke at Upper Path Valley Presbyterian Church! We pray blessings upon this congregation as they seek God’s will and obey.

Aaron sharing God's plan for our next term.

Aaron sharing God’s plan for our next term.

23 – I’m thankful for family time. I love seeing my boys play with their cousins!

Pappy trying to build a Lincoln Log house with 3 little people!

Pappy trying to build a Lincoln Log house with 3 little people!

24 – I’m thankful for this time of rest! While Aaron had to work, the boys and I stayed in PA to have more family time, which meant I could rest!

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25 – I’m thankful for Noah’s creativity. Here is his Lego creation of our family.

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26 – I’m thankful for seeing so many of my extended family members today! What a great day of food and fellowship!!

27 – I am thankful for the warm weather. The boys have enjoyed lots of time outside.

28 – I am very thankful that the rest of the year slows down a bit. We should spend the majority of nights in our own beds in December!

29 – I’m thankful for a live Christmas tree! I missed that smell!

30 – I’m thankful for the Advent season. May Christ be at its center!

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever. Psalm 107:1

October Blessings

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October Blessings

October was another whirlwind of activity. So much happened that I’m doing bullet points for everything except the biggest blessing: Joshua’s 1st Birthday.

October 25: Joshua turned 1 year old! What an exciting day!

We went to a friend’s church for the morning service followed by lunch and a trunk-or-treat festival. The boys carved pumpkins, jumped in bouncy houses, and loaded up on candy. Noah was a snake charmer. Jacob, in typical Jacob fashion, refused to wear a costume. Levi was a fire chief.

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After we recovered from all that fun by taking long naps, it was time to celebrate Joshua. The boys each presented Joshua with gifts. Noah gave him an octopus tub toy that sprinkles water, spins, and lights up. He loves it! Jacob chose to give him a sippy cup and three little boats for the tub. Levi bought him a toy camera. With all these toys and all the other things he received earlier in the day, Joshua was entertained. In fact, all the boys enjoyed having new toys in the house!

Quickly, though, dinnertime came, so the entertainment was put away. It was time to eat! Joshua devoured his special birthday dinner of ham, green beans, and potatoes. Next, we sang to him in both English and Swahili. He was quite embarrassed and started to cry at all the attention.

Reminds me of Hannah

Reminds me of Hannah

He didn’t know what to do with the cupcake. When he first touched the icing, he made an awful face of disgust. With a little coaxing, he tasted the cake and then dove right in! Needless to say, a bath quickly followed the cake smash.

Joshua’s birthday was certainly the highlight of the month. Here are some other joys:

Jacob loses his first tooth!

We all go to the dentist, and nobody has cavities. Praise the Lord!

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We (finally) meet a friend face-to-face after a 2-years e-mail relationship.

We discover a pumpkin patch together!

We get our container packed and shipped to Kenya.

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While Aaron attends a conference in Florida, his mom stays with me and the boys. This gives me three free afternoons for much needed mommy-son dates! (I am one blessed momma, and I have the most handsome dates!)

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The weather is nice enough for an afternoon plane ride.

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Joshua discovers that he can open the kitchen cabinets, climb in, and ‘cook’ with me.

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We host four more medical school students for a meal. It’s a blessing to meet so many young men and women who have hearts to serve God wherever He leads.

While it has taken us longer than expected to adjust to American life, finding joy in the day-to-day life here is becoming easier. Friendships are forming. Places are becoming more familiar. Culture shock has worn off. More importantly, I am learning who my new American self is. I’m not the girl I was, and I’m not the girl I thought I’d be. However, I am learning my new limits, expectations, and capacities. Through it all, I’m trying to give myself grace and to lean on God more and more. He is faithful. He is good.

Praises and Prayer Requests:

  1. Praise God for ministry opportunities here in the states. We’re starting to feel connected and settled. Pray that we will be open to whatever God has for us in Lynchburg.
  2. Praise God for healthy boys! As we make our rounds to various doctor/dentist appointments, I am amazed at the level of healthcare in this country. It is a huge blessing! It is something I no longer take for granted or see as a right. I am so thankful that we can catch up on the last 2 1/2 years of no appointments!
  3. Praise God that our container was packed and shipped! Please pray that it will make it across the ocean (by boat) and arrive safely to Nairobi.
  4. Praise God that my dad is cancer free! The spot on his lung was no cancer. He is undergoing additional tests, because his new doctors think he might have been wrongly diagnosed. Please pray for my parents in this long period of testing and waiting. It’s stressful. Please pray that a correct diagnosis will be found so that treatment can be effective.
  5. Please continue to pray for us as we travel and tell our story. Pray that God would raise up people to support our ministry at Tenwek.

September Blessings

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Whoa! Where did September go? It was mighty busy. We traveled many of the weekends. On the days in between, we were often consumed with homeschooling, clubs, errands, and chores. I knew our time in the States would go quickly, but I didn’t know it would be quite the whirlwind that has been.

But God knew. When 2015 was just beginning, God convicted me to dedicate posts about the ways He is blessing us. He challenged me to look for His glory and goodness. Some months, the blessings overflowed, and these posts were so easy to write. However, I’m not going to lie, other months haven’t been so smooth.

I’ve had a hard time transitioning back into American life. Before leaving Tenwek, I tried to anticipate some of the struggles and prepare myself. I’m afraid to admit it, but I failed miserably. I’ve been so overwhelmed by life, by my circumstances, and I haven’t been as joyful as I should be.

But God knew. He knew that it would be hard. He knew that these months were ahead of me when I quickly published the January Blessings post. While choosing joy these past months has been harder than I thought it would be, I’m making choosing joy a discipline. These posts help me see how very blessed I am in the midst of the lonely, overwhelming, and mundane days. They show me that God is indeed in control even when my head races with a thousand questions. So here is my list of September blessings. To GOD be the glory!

One of the biggest joys of the month happened September 13 in Mifflintown, PA. We visited the church where Aaron’s dad preached for many, many years. It’s a beautiful Presbyterian church in the center of our little hometown. Aaron delivered an informative and powerful message to the congregation, and then we enjoyed lunch together. The boys loved seeing the places where Aaron grew up and committed all kinds of mischief. They even found a dead bat!

The boys helping to entertain Joshua before the service starts.

The boys helping to entertain Joshua before the service starts.

Another big, big joy was having some medical students over for supper. It has been our prayer that God would use Aaron to encourage students at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) to consider missions. That is already happening! In fact, some students entered medical school with the intentions of serving overseas at a mission hospital. It’s exciting to see what God is doing here in Virginia to impact the world! On September 24, we hosted 4 students in our home for a fiesta.

The boys made paper flowers and a piñata!

I hope the students who will be our guests in the future don’t expect such a party. We had been studying Mexico in school, so we just had to end the unit with a fiesta. We spent the week preparing. We made a piñata for our entertainment, paper flowers for our decor, and lots of food. We even found Mexican soda at the grocery store. The boys were so excited that they waited outside for hours. To pass some of the time, they decorated the sidewalk with chalk.

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While homeschooling can be an all-consuming, exhausting endeavor, there are times when it is over-the-top fun. This was definitely one of those fun times!!

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An unexpected blessing happened this month as well. I joined a book/knitting club! For those of you who know me well, you know that I do love to knit, but that I don’t typically read for pleasure. I can’t think of five novels that I’ve read since becoming a mother. I read. A lot. But not fiction. When a friend invited me to join her at KnitWits, I agreed but I was secretly thinking that I wouldn’t like it. I didn’t even open the book before attending! To my surprise, it was a lot of fun! I’m actually reading the book for the next meeting! Then, I might be able to add to the conversation while I knit away at my little blanket.

Levi enjoys his first circus peanut.

Levi enjoys his first circus peanut.

Lastly, there have been some ongoing blessings this month. The first one is Awana. The boys are enjoying their Wednesday evenings, and I’m praying that they’ll each find a good friend. Levi is often found studying the badges he can earn for his vest, but he can’t quite figure out why Jacob’s book has more options than his.

Levi in his prized Awana vest!

Levi sporting his prized Awana vest!

Another one is family time. One of the greatest joys of mine since being back in the States is watching how the boys have become such good friends. They fight, of course, but they do play well together most days. I also love watching them reunite with their cousins. We were able to visit Aaron’s sister’s family in North Carolina, and the boys tried to convince us to move in with them! They had such a great time! We’ve also seen grandparents and other family from Pennsylvania earlier in the month. It’s so neat to see them love each other as if they see each other every day.

Then, there’s Joshua. He still has his screeching days, but his behavior has improved overall. He has conquered the stairs, and he is ever exploring something (usually something that he shouldn’t have). Perhaps the best development is his increasing ability to communicate. It’s always amazing to watch a child discover ways to communicate!

Superman is a climber!

Superman is a climber!

Lastly, I want to praise God for our routine! Yes, we have fallen into a good routine. It’s flexible and sometimes it just doesn’t work, but most days flow nicely. As long as Joshua naps in the morning AND the other three focus, we are able to finish school by lunchtime (1:00 p.m. for us). This gives me time to tend to Joshua’s needs, and it allows us to work together to keep the house relatively neat and tidy. I’m also thankful for the boys’ growing independence. They’re able to make themselves breakfast and lunch, and they can get themselves snacks. Of course, this requires that I make frequent trips to the grocery store to keep the house stocked with the “right’ foods. As time goes on, I hope their culinary skills improve and expand, but for now I’m just happy that I can delegate these tasks.

Maybe I shouldn't let Levi be on Joshua duty...

Maybe I shouldn’t let Levi be on Joshua duty…

Well, there it is. My list of blessings for September surprised me. By doing this simple act of thinking back over the past month and then writing down the ways I am blessed, I can acknowledge that God truly loves me, cares for me, and blesses me beyond measure. Thanks for sharing my journey. I hope you take the time to thank God for the ways He blesses you.

Praises and Prayer Requests:

  1. Praise God for being our Abba Father, who takes such good care of us.
  2. Please pray for my parents and the boys this weekend. Aaron and I will be away from Thursday through Sunday.
  3. Pray for us next week. It’s going to be a crazy one! Our container is scheduled to be packed on Friday! We have a lot of work to do before then.
  4. Praise God for good dental appointments! No cavities for the 3 boys!

 

 

 

 

August Blessings

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“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” Psalm 103:1

August came and went. It was a great month filled with many blessings. I decided to do something a little different this month and list my top 10 blessings. Enjoy!

#10 – Joshua turned 10 months old! He is crawling and climbing and exploring non-stop. He sure keeps us on our toes. I’m blessed by his energy and by his helpful brothers. They rarely complain about being on “Joshua duty.”

Not sure who was on Joshua Duty...That puzzle of Africa is NOT for babies!

Not sure who was on Joshua Duty…That puzzle of Africa is NOT for babies!

#9 – We found Amazement Square! I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal. It’s just a children’s museum in downtown Lynchburg, but it’s an answer to prayer. One of my goals for homeschooling this year was to get Noah some art classes. He is talented and interested in art, but I am not. My heart’s desire for him is to learn from a real artist. However, I have been so overwhelmed by all the adjusting that I didn’t make it a priority to seek an opportunity for him. God didn’t forget my momma’s heart. He provided the answer in an unsuccessful visit to Amazement Square. Long story short, we purchased a membership and plan to attend Friday afternoon art lessons twice a month!

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#8 – We also found the library! Yes, I’m so very thankful for the local library! It provides so many good books for our homeschool family. Better yet is the inter-library loaning program. I can put books on hold from my home computer from all the community libraries in the area. Then, I pick them up at the one closest to me! It’s like magic! It has saved me countless hours, money, and stress!

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One of my favorites. (This is how Joshua behaves at the library too.)

#7 – Our family photo shoot happened for our prayer cards. Aaron’s sister did a great job at capturing the personality of each of us. Here is a favorite family shot.

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#6 – Exploration! Since we were able to stay close to home this month, we have discovered a lot of things. Some I’ve already mentioned; others aren’t quite as exciting but are equally important. For example, I found a hair salon. Now, I can get regular hair cuts! Since we discovered some second-hand stores, we are able to get Noah a nice bike for a fraction of the cost of a new one. Now, everybody has a bike to ride! We also navigated our way to the mall, to a friends’ community pool, and to Aaron’s office. GPS is wonderful technology!

#5 – The school year began! We already have 3 weeks under our belts. Although the boys have misbehaved and complained every day, I am loving it. We are doing My Father’s World Exploring Countries and Cultures, which encompasses science, art, Bible, history, geography, music, and a lot more. To meet their individual needs in language arts, I’m doing MFW kindergarten with Levi, Bob Jones with Jacob, and Learning Language Arts Through Literature with Noah. Both Noah and Jacob are doing Singapore math and All About Spelling, and they each have a handwriting workbook. Of course, they’re reading, and I’m reading to them. And we can’t forget Swahili! That has been fun!

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We have settled into a routine that seems to be working well for us. On most days, we finish before our 1pm lunch. If we don’t, it’s just a few fun things to do in the afternoon. Joshua has been much better this past week. As his communication and exploration skills improve, he becomes a happier little man.

#4 – Jacob turned 7!! It was a great day on August 6. From the time the boys woke up until they went to bed, we celebrated Super Tub-tub. The Kelley Boys needed to solve the case of the missing presents by following clues. I think I had more fun coming up with the days’ events than they did sleuthing! Jacob has been a wonderful blessing to our family. We are so thankful for him!

The birthday boy with Fred, his first fish.

The birthday boy with Fred, his first fish.

#3 – My mom came to visit for a weekend. Just my mom, Joshua, and I went shopping at yard sales while Aaron took Noah, Jacob, and Levi to Lowes for a building project. We spent the rest of the weekend just having fun!

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#2 – My dad feels so much better! Praise God! After just 1 or 2 dialysis treatments, my dad feels much healthier. He will undergo surgery for a spot on his lung that could be cancerous. (The first tests were inconclusive, so they’re treating it like cancer even though they’re not sure.) It’s a blessing to hear and see him act like himself. Please continue to pray for him.

#1 – Home. Sweet. Home. We were able to breath, to rest, and to be a family. We settled into our new home and slept in our beds almost every night of August. What a blessing that has been!

cutest little bat baby

cutest little bat baby

K, 2nd, 4th, and a Baby!

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The 2015-2016 school year has begun in the Kelley house!

Yep, that’s right. We started school on Monday, August 17.  Despite not having all the supplies, despite not being perfectly organized, despite being exhausted from a whirlwind trip to PA the weekend before, we did it. We jumped right into the school year!

Here we are eager and ready for the first lesson of the school year: Bible!

Here we are eager and ready for the first lesson of the school year: Bible!

Overall, things went really well. We’re easing into it. Instead of teaching new math concepts each day, I had the boys review some things from last year. We’ll phase math into the school day this week. And then, the following week, I hope to add in Swahili lessons. (That should be interesting!)

Noah organized and re-organized his work space so many times! He's so cute.

Noah organized and re-organized his work space so many times! He’s so cute.

We’re still trying to figure out how to schedule the day. From 7am until 8am, the boys are responsible for getting themselves ready for the day, making their beds, and eating breakfast. Then, we all meet in the schoolroom for devotions and Bible lessons. After that, Noah and Jacob do independent work (handwriting, math drill, and reading) while I teach Levi. And that’s all the routine we’ve gotten worked out so far! Spelling, English, history, etc. have been accomplished but not in a very orderly fashion. Each day was a success but each day was different. I guess we’ll fall into a routine eventually.

Jacob is such a good student.

Jacob is such a good student.

We’re waiting for a few items, like Noah’s language arts workbook! So far, he’s been reading and answering comprehension questions, which he’s enjoying.  I re-ordered the book, so I hope to have it by the end of the week. Then, there’s all those art supplies. I feel like I’ve bought or borrowed so much but then I find something else that I don’t have. Oh well, at least we’re learning to be resourceful!

Levi LOVES working at his desk.

Levi LOVES working at his desk.

Some of the highlights of the week include an exploration of our backyard habitat, our special lunch on the first day of school, and Joshua finding a red marker in the school room.

They're ready to explore our backyard habitat!

They’re ready to explore our backyard habitat, equipped with magnifying glasses and tweezers.

Noah found a spider. No surprise there! He’s captured at least 4 different kinds of spiders since moving here. We’ve seen far more spiders here in Virginia than we ever did in Kenya!

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The biggest spider Noah has found since moving here. Yuck!

The biggest spider Noah found so far. Yuck!

As a student at Juniata High School, I rarely bought a lunch. However, there were a few that were too good to pass up. One of my favorites was beef vegetable soup, Lebanon Bologna sandwiches, sticky buns, and chocolate milk. I decided to treat the boys to a similar lunch for the first day of school. Fudge Rounds had to substitute the sticky buns since the cook is also the teacher in this school!

One of my favorite school lunches.

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I think they liked it!

And then there’s Joshua…my most difficult student. He’s the loudest, for he never stops screaming. There were times when I was yelling at the boys so that they could hear me over Joshua’s screeches. He’s the worst behaved, especially since he’s crawling everywhere. Someone left a red marker on the floor after school, and Joshua found it, took the cap off, and wrote all over his legs.

Look closely and see red marker on those cute little legs.

Look closely and see red marker on those cute little legs.

Homeschooling with a baby is a challenge, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Praises and Prayer Requests:

  1. Praise God for a successful week of school. Please pray for us as we continue this week.
  2. Praise God for the freedom and privilege to homeschool! Pray that I would have the patience and energy it takes to teach my children.
  3. Pray that we would be healthy this week. Joshua and I have shared a head cold this past week. Please pray that the other boys and Aaron wouldn’t get it. We’re trying to get out and make friends, but it’s hard to do when we’re not feeling well.
  4. Pray that we would find friends. Levi and Jacob have been best buds lately, which is awesome, but that leaves Noah left out. Noah is a great help with Joshua, but he really needs some boys his age to hang out with. All 3 of the older boys have expressed sadness over not having friends.
  5. Pray for my dad. He started dialysis on Friday and will continue 3 times a week indefinitely. We’re also awaiting biopsy results on a spot on his lung.
  6. Please continue to pray for our house situation in Allentown, our container packing, and our adjustment to life back in the U.S.

July Blessings

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Oh, July has been a busy month! It’s hard to believe how much traveling and craziness we were able to fit into our second month in America, so here is a brief overview of how we saw God moving in, through, and around us.

July 5-10: Debriefing and Renewal (DAR) in Colorado Springs, CO

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We scheduled this time in Colorado Springs at least 6 months ago. It’s a good thing we already paid for it, because when July 5 rolled around it felt like an unnecessary interruption to all the work we were in the middle of doing. We got up before dawn on July 5 to fly to Chicago and then to Colorado Springs in order to get to the Hideaway, a bed and breakfast in the Black Forest. As soon as all the traveling was over and we were able to settle into the room for the night, we took a sigh of relief and were glad for the getaway. The week proved to be very refreshing and fruitful. God, in HIs ultimate wisdom, showed up just when we needed it most. We left the Hideaway remembering that God is bigger than all our problems, struggles, and apprehensions.

July 10-12: Candidate Review at World Gospel Mission (WGM) Headquarters

We left DAR a few hours early in order to get to WGM before Friday’s end. Although we missed the Friday evening session and dinner, we jumped right into the ‘work’ of the weekend on Saturday morning. Really, it was a great time of meeting some people who we’ve been e-mailing for months and reuniting with some other people who have already become friends. We left Marion, Indiana with a peace that God was with us and that He would direct our paths as missionaries. Sure enough, God is taking us back to Tenwek. We got the official acceptance as career missionaries with WGM just a few days after our interview. We are super excited!

July 13-15: Packing Frenzy at our Allentown house. Every little thing left in our townhouse had to be analyzed and then packed either for Virginia or for Kenya. All the while, I had to feed my 5 hungry men and keep them safe! God was gracious though. Noah, Jacob, and Levi have been playing really well together. They had a blast with their old stash of Thomas trains and tracks!

July 16: Hershey Park! We took a little break from the sorting and packing to spend a day with a friend at Hershey Park. The first ride: the Super Duper Looper! Yes, Levi, Jacob, and Noah all rode the roller coaster! Although they insisted that they loved it, none of them wanted to ride another roller coaster the remainder of the day. 🙂

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We ended the fun-filled day with dinner with a precious family who remains in our prayers. Thank you, Brackbill family, for such a special day!!

July 18: Church work team! A group of men from Salem Bible Church came to the rescue on Saturday. Another great friend spent Thursday and Friday building crates for our shipment to Kenya. Then, on Saturday, we packed them up and loaded a moving van. Starting with all the stuff for Kenya and ending with all the stuff for Virginia, we filled up a Ryder truck! We also got the gardens trimmed and cleaned up. What a blessing to have such great support from our home church!!

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July 20: The Big Move! The caravan set out Monday morning and arrived in Goode, VA by late afternoon. My dad drove the moving truck, while Aaron and I each drove our cars. The boys were split up, so no one went too crazy. God was good in all the logistics of getting us here and providing many hands to unload the van. Our new church, despite the fact they had never met us, rallied around us to get all the Virginia stuff in our house and then all the Kenya stuff into a storage unit. Others watched the boys, stocked our pantry, and provided dinner. Again, we were blessed by the body of Christ!

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July 21-23: Unpacking, organizing, etc. We quickly distributed boxes into the right areas of the house and then went to work unpacking and organizing the house. In the midst of all that mess, we had to make our move official with driving license transfers. The trip to the DMV went well, and we now have Virginia license plates and driving licenses! And because it doesn’t feel like home without knowing where  to shop, we located the closest Target and Lowes. Unfortunately, the Lowes is much closer…

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July 24: Levi’s 5th Birthday!! I still can’t believe this boy is 5! When did my baby grow up and get ready for kindergarten?? He was surprised with a small gift in his room and then more gifts at the breakfast table. All day was about him, and he loved every minute as the birthday boy!

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July 25: Aaron’s Birthday!! The next day was Aaron’s birthday, so we headed to Buffalo Wild Wings for some of his favorite food. Although he didn’t request that I call him “birthday boy” all day like his third born, he did request that we NOT sing to him at the restaurant. He’s always been a little party pooper. After filling up on wings, we stopped at Cold Stone Creamery for his traditional ice cream birthday cake.

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July 26-28: Trip to Boone, NC. After our first appearance at our new church, we loaded the van and headed to Boone for two nights. We ate dinner with the new class of Post-Residents headed to the mission field with World Medical Mission. Then, the next day, Aaron and I shared our experiences with them. Meanwhile, the boys got tours of Operation Christmas Child and the WMM warehouse. We all had a great time, but we were glad to be back home.

As eluded to in my previous post, my dad was sick this month. In fact, he went to the emergency room on Levi’s birthday and then was admitted into the hospital over the weekend. My mom was supposed to stay with the boys while Aaron and I went to Boone, but she stayed with my dad instead. Fortunately, he was discharged after only a few nights in the hospital. However, he is still experiencing kidney issues. God was with all of us during the time of uncertainty, and He remains with us as the doctors continue to treat my dad. I know this doesn’t sound like a blessing, but I want glorify God anyway.

When we become Christians, God doesn’t promise an easy road. He doesn’t sweep into our lives and make everything rosy and beautiful and picturesque. No, it’s often quite the opposite. It’s in these hard and uncertain moments that it’s most important to praise God. I’m not sure what blessing is hidden in my dad’s illness, but I know there will be good. We just have to keep looking for it.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Praises and Prayer Requests:

  1. Please keep my dad in your prayers.
  2. Pray for the boys and I as we start school, try to make friends, and keep the house relatively clean and orderly.
  3. Pray for Aaron as he navigates his many responsibilities at work, home, and as a missionary.
  4. Praise God for a family-focused, Bible-believing and preaching church that is right next door! We can still walk to church, just like we did in Kenya!
  5. Praise God for birthdays! We celebrated Jacob’s 7th birthday today! IMG_0306
  6. Pray for our boys, that they would grow and mature into godly young men. Pray for wisdom for Aaron and I as we try to raise them to be god-honoring men of the Word.

Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

It’s All Goode!

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No, that’s not a typo. Rather, it’s a lame say on words.

Last Monday, we finally moved into the little house that God provided for our first furlough. It’s a missionary house in Goode (pronounced gude, like rhyming with rude, and said best with an Appalachian accent), and it’s quickly becoming our home.

The boys’ picked out new sheets at Target, and I chose matching comforters. They love their new bedroom. They actually have floor space to play!

Sorry that it's a mess...they have a blast playing in their room!

Sorry it’s a mess…Noah did make his bed in the morning, but all the playing messes it up!

Since their room is actually the master bedroom, they even have their own bathroom. Let’s see how clean they keep it…Those lessons will start this week. Even better than their bedroom is the backyard. It’s wide open and great for afternoon sprinkler play.

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My favorite room in the room is the schoolroom. It makes me anxious to start the school year, but I should probably have all my curriculum first! Levi is using Aaron’s old desk, and Jacob is using my childhood desk that my dad built for me. Noah gets the table in the corner, not because he’s bad. He’s too tall for the desks, so he and I will use this little kitchen table and chairs. I love that there’s a lot of floor space too.

This will be Noah's work space.

This will be Noah’s work space.

Jacob's little desk.

Jacob’s little desk.

Levi's kindergarten desk

Levi’s kindergarten desk

Adjacent to the schoolroom is the living room. It’s a hodgepodge of furniture, but it does have a TV for our Friday pizza and movie nights. Aaron and I made our bedroom in the basement with the living room and schoolroom. Joshua’s room is off the kitchen. (Yes, it’s a weird set up.) My favorite part of the kitchen is the dishwasher, and the dining room turned out quite nicely.

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So, there you have a little virtual tour of our cute little missionary house in Goode. God is so good, such a great Provider. We are blessed beyond measure and once again humbled by God’s hand in all the details of life.

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1. Praise God for our house! We are so thankful for all the people who made this happen. I should write a post just about all those details! It’s amazing to see how God works. Pray that we’ll (including the boys) be good stewards of all that God has given us.

2. Praise God for beautiful weather! The boys have been outside every day since moving, and they’re loving it. Please pray that we’ll make good friends as we get settled into our new neighborhood.

3. Please pray for my dad. He was hospitalized on Friday for kidney issues. The doctors aren’t sure what is causing the issues.

4. Pray for Aaron as he begins his new job.

5. Pray for Tenwek. Too few missionaries are left to carry the workload of the hospital. Please pray for them, that God would sustain them. Pray for the Kenyan staff, that they would work diligently to help bridge the gap. Pray for the community, that they would rise up and help wherever they can. Pray for unity among the entire Tenwek community, that everyone would hear and obey the voice of the Lord.

Romans 12:4-6  For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly…