Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! [Welcome, 2015]

Happy 2015!

May we:
"Leave the broken irreversible past in his hands and step out into the invincible future with him."
(Oswald Chambers)

Psalm 126:3: The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

Marana tha! (Our Lord, come!)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Breaking the Silence

Hey Faithful Followers,

It’s been quiet on here lately for a reason. We wanted to let you all know that we have stepped out of the missionary training for now. We are taking the time to focus on our marriage and our family. We have recognized our deep need to allow the Lord to work on our lives in these areas, and so we ask that you will pray for us as we open our hearts to his work.

We are still passionate about tribal missions, and desire from the bottom of our hearts for every tribe and tongue to know his name. We pray that MANY will answer the call to take the gospel where it has never been taken, and for now, we support those who are doing so. We leave our hearts open to still going in the future, if God will allow it and open the doors in that direction, but we are learning to trust that he has a sovereign plan for our lives and that he will take us where we can best be used for his kingdom… even if we do not understand his ways.

Thank you so much for supporting us in prayer, in finances, in encouragement, and in following us. We have felt loved and cared for.

I may not update this blog much in the present. But hopefully in the future, I will start doing so again. If you know our family personally and just would like updates on our girls, you can check those out on my Mom Blog.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer in Pictures

We're back in Indiana for our summer break. We've been having lots of fun! I think it's easier to SHOW with pictures than to tell with lots of WORDS, so here are a bunch of pictures to let you know what fun we're having! :) 


Our beautiful view from the place we are staying- Sophie loves running and playing down here


Working (Ben's remodeling the place we're staying)

4 Wheeler Ride

Swinging (look at B's silly face!)


Stroller Rides

Roller Skating

Ice Cream


Driving Lessons

 New Friends

Old Friends

Sleepy Babies and Cuddles before a New Baby arrives!

Poor Brielle's elbow got dislocated... But she fell asleep on me for the first time since she was a newborn and it was an easy fix at the hospital :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Language Learning Lessons

Most of us has had to take a language class at some point in our lives. For us, Ben took Spanish while in high school, and I took Spanish in high school and French in college. French was certainly my hardest class during college. It was so challenging to learn a language well while only being immersed in it for several hours every week. From my time in these classes, I knew that learning a language overseas would have it's challenges for me. Thankfully I have a good short-term memory. But I'm a perfectionist and hate saying things when I can't say them perfect. I also am social and hate not being able to communicate.

Our last class at the MTC was a class that taught us about language and culture learning, and I learned a new method of language learning that was completely fascinating and encouraging to me (and Ben) called TPR (Total Physical Response). 

In this class, we would have several objects in front of us... maybe around 15. We would start by pointing to three and having the teacher say what they were. We learned Russian in our class. We would not say the words, we would just hear them and point to the right object. After we felt confident we knew the first three, we would add a few more in. We would continue this until we were able to confidently and quickly point to all 15 items. It was amazing how quickly we learned the items, and we were learning how to say them much better than a textbook could have taught us! After a couple of weeks of learning Russian, we had the opportunity to speak it, and I was amazed at how much I was able to remember and say. While I know my perfectionist tendencies will still be difficult in language learning, this way of learning language has been encouraging to me, and I feel more confident about doing so!

[Our Russian teacher explains a picture, and we point to the right one]

[Photo Credit: Jill McCormick]

[This is me responding to commands about what to do with a ball... this was after just one hour of going over these commands!]

Sidenote: Many people ask if we are language learning yet. We are not. Because all of the people in our training center are going to different countries, we will wait to learn the language until we are in the country we will minister in (which is the best way to learn language because we will be able to learn language and culture together!). While in training, we are learning many helpful tips for language and culture learning though, such as in this class.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

We Are Here, We Are Here!

In Dr. Seuss' book, Horton Hears a Who (there's also a movie), Horton carries around a flower where he hears people. All of the other animals think he is crazy because they cannot hear the people. If the flower is damaged, all of the people in the town where he hears them will cease to exist as well, so Horton works desperately to prove that he really does hear people and that they exist. At the end of the movie, the people all work together to be as loud as they can, and finally, right when the flower is about to be destroyed, the other animals hear.

As I thought about writing this blog post, I was reminded of this movie as I heard the people from the town yelling, "We are here, we are here, we are here!" Their cry resembles that of the people of Papua New Guinea. They are crying out, "WE ARE HERE" as they beg for missionaries to come live in their village. There simply aren't enough laborers to reach them all right now. 

Last week, we had Field Fair here at the Missionary Training Center. Representatives from many of the fields that NTM works in were here to speak of their needs. PNG is not the only place waiting for more missionaries. It was both encouraging and challenging to hear of the many needs. We were certainly excited, fired up, and humbled at the end of the two days.

[Photo of students considering going to PNG- Praise the Lord!]

[Photo of Jason, PNG rep, sharing about the needs of PNG- photo credit to Rachel]

We were excited to hear about all of the planned church planting works in PNG as we realized one of these groups could be the group we work among! We got a paper that had details about the facts of these tribes, and it certainly made these places become real to me!

Planned Works:

These locations are real. And people really do live and die in them everyday. It's easy for me to forget this as I live on the other side of the world, even as I train to head to one of these locations. I asked our friend Chad, who does survey work in PNG, to send us some pictures from the recent surveys he has done. I.DON'T.WANT.TO.FORGET. These people are real, and they need Christ. I beg you to take time to look at the names of these planned works (listed above) and the faces of the people (below) and pray for them. Pray how you can be involved. Pray for us. Please.

Papua New Guinea currently has letters from 50 tribes begging for missionaries- crying "WE ARE HERE!" - pray that these people would be reached SOON with the good news of Jesus Christ!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

This Ain't Yo' High School's Grammar


When you hear that word, you probably think back to high school and have one of two reactions. You are either like me, and you get excited. Or you're like Ben, and you cringe.
But your word picture is probably something like this:

In our Grammar class here at the MTC, though, we did not learn about comma splices and apostrophe use and correct spelling (we did learn a little about nouns, verbs, and prepositions though).

The purpose of this class was to help us learn how grammar works in other languages. Check out the sentences below.

-In trail I see a tiger big
-Hands smalls
-Pour your boy it into the pail yesterday for my horse
-Kill horse little dog big

No matter how much you dislike (or like) the type of Grammar you originally thought of when you read the word at the beginning of this post, you certainly know something is wrong when you read the four clauses above. 

So this is why we took this class. In other languages, the sentence structure is different from English, so learning another language will involve a lot more than just learning words. It will involve learning sentence structure and other complexities. While the sentences above seem silly and wrong to us, they are normal and correct in other languages. These were some of the actual sentences that we dissected from other languages while taking this class (of course, the words were not English- but I only included the English translation for the purpose of this post).

[One of our homework assignments]

Maybe this post will give you a little bit of insight into some of the complexities of learning a new language that we will deal with when we move overseas. This class confirmed- we will definitely need all of your prayers!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Missionary World Problems (Perspective)

There are times when becoming a missionary can seem like a daunting task. The deeper we get into classes, the more we are faced with the reality of what our future will look like, and while the modern missionary life is much more glamorous than what the early missionary life looked like, we also recognize that we are not signing up for a life of luxury. People have sympathized with us many times before about the things we will be giving up in order to move into a tribal location.

We are currently finishing up a class called Missionary Technology, and this class has given us a good overview of all of the things we need to think about in order to set up and live a life in the jungle. While some of the stuff excites us, there have also been moments of feeling overwhelmed at the task we are signing up for.

But I have realized many times in life that attitude is based on perspective. The most important perspective is an eternal one. To remember that all of this is worth it and possible because people will have the chance to hear the gospel for the first time ever!!

But another perspective to keep in mind is that of where my expectations and overwhelmed feelings come from. They come because I am used to living a life of luxury and ease and immediate gratification. But if I compare my life to that of the third world person, I remember that even though I am giving up, I still will have plenty.

So here are some things I have been thinking as I consider the “Missionary Life” in comparison with the “First World Life” (American) and the “Third World Life” (Papua New Guinea):

First World Problem: “My fridge is so full, I can’t find what I need out of it.”
Missionary World Problem: “My fridge is shaped like a freezer, so I can never find what I want out of it. And I have to be really careful not to leave the door open too long or I’ll waste a lot of our precious electricity! It doesn’t help that I have to order all the food I need for three months at one time because the plane probably won’t come back before then.”
Third World Problem: “It sure would be nice to have a fridge… and food.”

First World Problem: “I’m really thirsty, but getting a drink of water requires getting off the couch. And turning on the faucet. And I sure hope my ice maker is working correctly because I’m about ready to buy a new fridge.”
Missionary World Problem: “I’m really thirsty, but it’s such a pain to filter my water, and then I have to make sure I’m careful how often I turn on my water which means I usually have to think ahead to fill up all of the containers and buckets I will need for the day at one time.”
Third World Problem: “I wish I had clean water… or any water, for that matter.”

First World Problem: “Doing laundry is so time-consuming. I have to remember to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer, and then I have to fold all of the laundry and hang it! I need a maid!”
Missionary World Problem: “Doing laundry is so time-consuming. Because of the type of machine I can take (thankfully there is a machine option though), I can only do small loads, and then I have to rinse the soap out in a bucket on my own, and then I have to hang dry everything, and then the rain decides to come right when my clothes are almost completely dry. And of course, I still have to fold and hang everything.”
Third World Problem: “My shirt has holes all over it, and it’s the same one I wear everyday.”

First World Problem: “Choosing lights for my house is so difficult. I have 8 billion different types of lights to choose from before someone with skill and experience can install them in my house.”
Missionary World Problem: “Choosing lights for my house is so difficult. I have 13 different types of lights to choose from before I, a person with no skill or experience, have to figure out how to install them in my house.”
Third World Problem: “During the day I have the sun. At night I have fire and the moon. What are these 13 choices you talk about?”

(Picture taken by classmate Curt Sharp)

First World Problem: “I can never keep my AC just right. I’m always either too hot or too cold.”
Missionary World Problem: “I don’t have the option of AC. I only have an option of fans. And it’s 110 degrees outside with humidity.”
Third World Problem: “Sometimes a friend will sit by me and wave a paper fan. It feels great.”

First World Problem: “I hate when my electricity goes out and it takes a whole day for someone to come fix it.”
Missionary World Problem: “I hate when my electricity goes out and I have to go to the electrical boxes and figure out what the heck is going on with all of the batteries and wires and switches and buttons. And if I can’t figure it out, then I have to spend hundreds of dollars to fly someone in to do it for me. Which might take days. And then there’s always the problem of the sun not shining for a few days which means my solar panels aren’t charging which means I don’t get electricity that I need.”
Third World Problem: “When my fire goes out, which gives light and cooks my food, I have to go find the tinder, kindling, logs, and ignition to get the fire going again.”

Thank you, Jesus, that though we will be choosing to live with less that we can still know we have plenty!

(Programming the electrical box)

(Setting up the charge controller box)

(Emily and I are excited we helped to create light!)

(Sophie modeling the "First World Problems" face)

And if you’ve never seen this “First World Problems” youtube video, you should watch it: