Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Peter Post

Things I have learned since becoming a parent:

No one warns you about how hard it is to cut tiny little finger nails and toe nails.   Even if they would have told me it is not like there is a parenting class to prepare for it.  It is kind of like threading a needle in a hurricane during an earthquake.  Also no one told me how dirty their fingernails could get…you’d think the kid was digging in dirt 24/7. 

The first time you hurt your child and they bleed and cry it will break your heart and you’ll never want to do it again.  But those pesky fingernails just keep growing…

The looks of awe how cute your infant is, quickly turned to dread when you board an airplane with your (used to be) adorable infant.  Or people just avoid eye contact all together.

Our little man may not know how to talk, walk, or do much of anything else on his own yet but he sure know how to capture our hearts and the attention and love of most everyone around him. 

I never thought I would celebrate burps and poops as much as I have in the past 5 months.  I think I may need to remember that I once celebrated those monuments when he is a teenager and burping the alphabet at the dinner table. 

I think that somehow the weight of my child triples when I am trying to carry him in the car seat. 

Your child will wake up as soon as you sit down to a hot meal and he will need to be changed, feed, and/or soothed until that hot meal is cold but you won’t even care because when he smiles at you, suddenly all is right with the world.

We never knew what a blessing sleeping through the night was until we couldn’t do it anymore.  Thankfully for the most part that blessing has returned to our lives. 

Our little guy may be the best evangelistic tool we have.  We have been able to have more conversations and meet more people because of him.  His blond reddish hair and blue eyes are a big hit here. 

Since starting to teeth I think Peter has become a fountain of drool.  We are having a drought here is South Africa. I wish there was a way to bottle up all his drool and do something useful with it. 

It hard to believe that in less than half a year our little guy could change our world as much has he has, but we would not have it any other way.  We are so blessed to be his parents and we will try to always remember what a blessing he is and teach him to be a blessing to others. 

Joe and I have done a lot of stuff together but Peter is the best thing we have been a part of. 

Until next time: Your child learning to blow raspberries is super cute until they do it when they are eating.  Well it is still cute then…but it is just a bit messier. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Catch the wave `

I tried surfing once and I sort of caught one wave.  Needless to say by that sentence I am better at surfing the internet than actual surfing.  I am more of a boogie boarder or body surfer when I get a chance to be at the ocean (which is not enough.)

Since arriving in South Africa, Joe and I have been able to catch a different kind of wave.  This wave is the movement of God across South Africa, the Africa South Field and the Region of Africa.  People all over this country, field and region are responding to God’s leading to step outside their comfort zone and be a part of the Great Commission.  It is awesome to be a part of this wave.

This past Saturday we were at a team meeting for the Gauteng W&W trip and this Sunday the team will be at our house for a Braai (cookout).   This team is lead by a South African and made up of South Africans (except for the three of us.)  The money raised for the trip has come from the pockets, wallets and bank accounts of Nazarene South African Churches and people.   The team will be going about 4 hours away to a nearby District to work on their District Center.  We will be painting the inside of the center, as well as building a play area outside for the children of the community.  We will also be doing outreach for the children, youth and adults of the community.  This trip happens from December 12th-20th. 

The week before that December 5th-12th we will be with a team from a Nazarene church in Durban.  There is a group of about 30 young people and a few adults who want to be a part of what God is doing in Swaziland South.  The team has been working hard to raise funds for the trip.  The team will be helping with a camp that is happening for Pastor’s kids on the District.  The team will also be delivering food hampers filled with food they have been collecting for people of the communities in Swaziland South District. 

On this coming Saturday Joe and I will be leading a training on missions at a church here in Johannesburg.  We will be talking about how people can catch the wave of God that is moving. 

What wave are you riding?  God is moving and working all around us everywhere we turn, in all corners of the globe.  The question is, are prepared to catch it.  You don’t have to have an expensive surfboard or be a surfing expert you just have to be willing and available. 

Until next time:  Long hair and babies who are learning they can grab things are a very painful mix.  Below is a picture of our little hair grabber… it's a good thing he is cute to make up for his mom’s baldness/hair always in a ponytail. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Our home away from home.

We bought a house…

Well a house on wheels of sorts.  We bought a 1999 Gypsey Royale Caravan. 

Much of our missionary assignment involves travel.  We are on the road at least a couple of days every week or so.  Sometimes we are on the road for a week or two at a time.  When it was just the two of us traveling was easy.  (Well let’s be honest we got pregnant several months after we got here so travelling then meant stopping at every possible bathroom opportunity to empty my pregnancy sized bladder.) We packed light and that made moving hotel rooms or hosts homes easier.  But now we are a family of three. 

Joe and I felt called into missions, Peter well he didn’t have much choice in the matter.  So Joe and I are trying to balance between involving Peter in our call and giving Peter room to find his own call.  I know, I know he is only 4 months old but we realize that patterns start early and habits are easier to form than to break.  So we are trying to be intentional now about being the parents and missionaries and family we want to be even now when Peter is a non-verbal and non-opinionated member of the family.  We are also trying to balance between doing what is best for our ministry and doing what is best for our family.  Many times they are the same thing.  But there are and will be times when what is best for our ministry is not what is best for our family and visa versa.  So again we have to be intentional about making sure that it is not always tipping in one direction (whether it be family or ministry.)  We felt it was important to give Peter a sense of routine or a place of his own even when we are traveling to assemblies, or site visits or with a team.  We wanted to make sure he had a place to unwind after the 5 hour dedication service or the 8 hour district assembly.  We wanted to start family traditions that make him thankful for where and how he lives not resentful of it.  But at the same time we  don’t want to raise him to think that that the world is all about him and does revolves around him.  All of these things and more were the things we talked about when we were discussing our family and our ministry and the possibility of a caravan. 

On one of our journeys Joe said jokingly we could just get a caravan/camper.  He was kidding but it started a conversation that carried on for several months.  We joked about and then we started talking seriously about it.  We talked to our friends, our mentors, our co-workers, other missionaries, our boss and asked is this a good idea, how will it be viewed by those we will be working with, is it worth the investment, what are the pros and cons we are not thinking of and are we crazy for considering this.  We looked at a few caravans and we talked about it and prayed about it some more.   We tabled the discussion several times and then we would pick it up again.  Until a couple of weeks ago when we found a caravan that was in our budget and fit our need/want list.  And after looking at it several times and talking and praying over it some more, we bought a caravan.  On a Thursday we signed the papers and had the official handover.  Then the next day we hooked it up to the field truck and drove it off the lot and went on our first trip with it.  Two countries, 6 district assemblies, 1 field rally, around 2500 kilometers (about 1500 miles), 4 different caravan sites, and 8 tanks of petrol (gas) and a whole lot of memories later.  We made the right decision and we are thankful for and blessed by the experiences that we have had and that we are going to have as we see the countries of our field and set up our home wherever the road leads us.  This next week we will be taking it back out for another assembly weekend. 

Until next time: Ostrich’s look much smaller and cuter from a safari vehicle than when you meet up with an ostrich family while on a walk in a nature reserve. Then you realize how big they are and how small you are.  Thankfully Joe masterfully protected our family and no animals or humans were harmed in said walk.  Shortly after we picked up a walking stick and we turned around when we came upon a herd of Kudu. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Busy and Blessed

Busy and blessed.

Life here has settled into a somewhat predictable rhythm.   Each week is a little different depending on what is on the schedule.  Most weeks involve a trip to the airport or a couple of days traveling.  Occasionally we have a week where we are home the whole week.  

Sometimes we are with teams for a week or two at a time.  In mid September we were with a team from Upstate New York.  The team was a Jesus Film Team, so the focus was on showing the Jesus Film and on training the leaders on the District on how to use the Jesus Film Equipment.  We had a wonderful time with the team and getting to know the pastor and church members and surrounding community better.  Peter was a big hit wherever we went and he made a lot of friends. 
Peter is doing great and is now 5.5 kilos/over 12 pounds.  He is only waking up once during the night now.  He is cooing and “talking” with us now.  He hasn’t yet figured out that he can control his arms and legs but he is definitely moving them more and more.  We are very blessed that he is a good traveler and handles our ever-changing schedule with ease.  We pray that continues as he gets older but we will adjust if it doesn’t. 

This week we are home most of the week and were able to spend some time in the office getting things prepared for the upcoming District Assemblies.  On Friday we will travel to a District about 4 hours away to attend their adult camp and encourage people to join up with the Work and Witness team we will be bringing to their district in December.   On Sunday we will join a family from our church for lunch and fellowship.  Then we will have one of the couples who are volunteers in Swaziland in our home for a few days.  We will be in the office again for a few days and then on October 16th we head out for a little over a week for 6 different assemblies throughout our field.  Four of the assemblies are in Swaziland, so Peter will get to decorate his passport. 

We feel very blessed to be a part of what God is doing here.  We are feeling more and more connected with the leaders on our field.  And count the various District Superintendents we work with as friends.  We have a wonderful missionary community around us.  We have a loving church family that is happy to see us whenever we are not traveling.  We have family and friends around the world who love, support and pray for us.  We are blessed and try to be a blessing to others around us. 

Pray with us for the upcoming assemblies and rallies that will be help throughout our field. 
Pray for the upcoming Work and Witness Teams.  Two of the teams are from South Africa and one is from Brazil. 
Pray for our family as we travel, minister and live life together. 

How can we pray for you?  What is going on in your life?  Drop us an email and let us know.   We love hearing from you. 

Until next time: Remember, the keys to the office don’t help you get into the office if you leave them at home.    Just in case you were wondering (but most likely figured out) that was Beth who did that.  On a day that Joe was staying home with Peter.  Thankfully the Africa Regional Office is in the same building as our Field office so I just borrowed a desk space from them. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Godson's Story

One of the reason I love being a Nazarene is that the Church of the Nazarene is a global church.  There are people all over the world that claim the tribe Nazarene.  

This week I had the opportunity to see our tribe being the church.   This week I had the privilege to meet via email Godson Mulisho Bahabwa who is a native of the Eastern Part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

I asked Godson if he was willing to share a little of his journey.   Godson and his family have not had an easy journey.  War started in South Kivu in 1996.  Even now almost 20 years later according to Godson there is not peace.  In 2003 Godson’s family was attacked by rebels, and his father, mother, and elder brother were killed.   With no other option Godson fled from his home country and ended up in Namibia.  He was then taken to the Osire Refugee Camp where he lived for 12 years.  Life there was not easy.  According to Godson, he lost almost everything including his hope for living.   There were some bright spots in the 12 years.  He got married in the refuge camp to Elinda Felisberto from Angola in 2011.  They had their daughter Sofia Rejoice and son John.  Also during his time in the Refugee Camp he met Rev. Domingo who was pastoring a Nazarene Church and who received him as his own brother.   Godson started helping out in several different Nazarene Churches in various roles including worship leader and youth leader. 

Then the UN Refugee Agency offered Godson and his family asylum in Greensboro North Carolina.  Which is where we got to be a very small part of this amazing story.  On Friday evening I received an email from Rev. Domingo who is now the DS of the Namibia District.  He was asking for help in connecting Godson and his family with the Church of the Nazarene in Greensboro, North Carolina.  I sent an email to the pastors of the Nazarene Churches in the Greensboro area explaining Godson’s situation and asking if one of them could connect and support Godson and his family.   

Pastor Will Fields who pastors the Southeast Church of the Nazarene in Greensboro responded.  The Southeast congregation is now helping Godson and his family get adjusted to the new place they find themselves in.  They have stepped up and helped them buy food and donated needed kitchen and household items.  There may even be the possibility that Godson may be offered a job at one of the congregants businesses.  Godson and his family have been welcomed into the Southeast Church of the Nazarene family.

Godson and his family have a long journey ahead of them.  He asks for continued prayers for them as they adjust to life in the states and as they seek to find ways to provide for their needs.  But in Godson’s words “God has been with us and His mercy is upon them.” 

This week I am proud to be a part of the tribe called the Church of the Nazarene., whose members welcomed a stranger from DR Congo and helped them to feel at home first in Namibia and now in Greensboro.