Friday, April 14, 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHILOH!


As our departure draws near, we have reached our last birthday celebration in the States.  
We celebrated Shiloh's 15th birthday in Kansas.


What fun to be able to include my nephew in our celebration as we went out to eat at Zaxby's (love their chicken wings), went bowling, and then stopped for ice cream at Dairy Queen.  


We are very blessed to have Shiloh as a part of our family, and we are grateful that God has granted us wisdom in taking care of his diabetes.  When he was diagnosed in Uganda, the doctor looked us in the eye and said, "People who get diabetes in Uganda die."


We love you, Shiloh, and pray that you will always seek the Lord's direction for your life.



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

MARCH GLADNESS


What brings March Gladness?  Each month brings us closer to our departure when we get to go home.  At the writing of this...16 more meetings and just 85 more days.

We all agree . . . Keith is the best preacher!
We are privileged to spend time with other special missionaries.
Keith and I were interviewed on a Christian radio station.
We have been in several mission conferences this month which are opportunities to spend more time with the church members enjoying fun activities with them.

Our children hiked to the highest point in Alabama.
The boys went fishing, and Shiloh caught an eel!
They did catch some fish, too.
Each furlough someone invites the kids to ride horses, which they love.
We enjoyed eating some Louisianna crawfish.
The boys had opportunity to get some gun practice in.
We have made some family stops, too.  It has taken a while, but we have finally made our rounds in getting all of my family visited.  They are really spread out!

Our children with their Grandpa Ward.
Keith and I with my dad.
This is a mixture of cousins, spouses, and second cousins.
We were able to visit Keith's grandmother, too.
As always, we make time for educational field trips with the kids.  While they might not fully appreciate the value of seeing history up close, one day they will be able to look back and say, "I was there."

History field trip to Ft. Smith.
One of the difficult aspects of the ministry is when we see people saved, attend our Bible college, and then move away.  A part of our hearts goes with them.  However, sometimes God decides it is time for them to move on up to heaven.  Many, many years ago, Keith led John Jones Kalanzi to the Lord and later wed him and his wife.  J. J. (as we all called him) attended our Bible college and assisted another missionary in starting an orphanage and school at our church.  When the orphanage was moved to the village, Brother J. J. went with it and became pastor of the church that was started there.

Leighton, J. J. and Harriet in 2007
Last week while driving home at night, Pastor J. J. died in an auto accident.  Not only does he leave behind his wife Harriet and their five children, but also 80 orphans and 100 street children who looked up to him as father.  Please pray for his family and the ministry in Mbira as they face difficult days ahead.


Thank you for praying for us, the furlough trail, and for the many people whose lives God has enabled us to touch.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

FEBRUARY FUN


February has been such a fun month.  We were blessed to be able to attend the marriage retreat at our home church - something we look forward to each furlough.  We were at a beautiful resort that was very relaxing!

My best friend for 24 years.

This curious guy wanted my sunglasses.
Being in Texas for a couple of weeks has given us opportunity to enjoy the swimming pools again - something our children really enjoy.

It was such a beautiful sunny day.
This indoor pool was so beautiful with the murals and the fountain.
We have been in some very special churches.  Just this month we were in three with missions closets, and one church gave us an offering just for ice cream!

Patiently waiting for their ice creams.
Another church invited us to stay an extra day to attend their Spring Banquet, which included the teens.  I don't think I have been to a formal banquet since college!  What fun this was for all of us as this was Shae-Lynn and Shiloh's very first banquet.

My Amazing Sweetheart
Our middle two children all dressed up.
We have 23 more churches to visit, and then we will be busy with packing.  We appreciate your prayers for us.  We are enjoying all of the activities and visits, but we are ready to be home again.

He's a senior already!
Please pray for our boys in college.  Shane will be graduating in May, and Stanley is now living with his grandparents in California and attending West Coast Baptist College.  We praise the Lord that this week he finally got a job.

He's a freshman!

Our children are such a blessing to us, and we praise God for each of them.  

Thursday, February 9, 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHAE-LYNN

Traveling on your birthday may not be the most exciting thing to do on your birthday, but at least that means no school, right?

Chocolate covered strawberry "cake"
Shae-Lynn's birthday came on a 9-hour trip back to Austin.  But with the assistance of a very special lady at our home church, I was able to surprise the birthday girl with some special things.

Birthday balloon, bouquet, and bowl of ice cream!
We all loved her "cake" a lot!
Then another lady we were recently with gave us a gift card for The Olive Garden, so we were able to treat the whole family there for lunch.

Italian meal with the family.
We praise the Lord for the very special lady our daughter has become.  We pray the Lord blesses her with many more years as she gives her life in service to Him.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

JANUARY 2017

After the New Year, I think we all had the feeling of, "Now let's go home."  Although we are glad to see everyone, now that we have hit the halfway point of furlough, we are ready to be in our own beds and not see a suitcase for a while.  This week I got a letter from "my girls" on my soul winning team that had the following in it:


"Right now, we are at the countdown of your return and I can tell you that every one of us has put up a calendar in our sitting rooms just counting the months remaining for your return."

However, we are still enjoying some beautiful sights.  We entered New York City during a snowstorm.  But Keith is such an awesome driver, that we made it to our destination with no trouble at all.


Snowstorm entering New York City
During our last furlough, the 9/11 Memorial was not yet completed, so we were glad to be able to visit it this time.  We rode the subway and the bus, and took in the sights of the 9/11 Memorial, Times Square, M&M World, Lego Store, Fox News, and Trump Tower.  It was SO cold, and we walked a whole lot.  


Savannah and I on the subway
At the 9/11 Memorial
Oh - so good 
Outside of Fox News
Trump Tower - our last stop of the day
January was the month that our family spread out all over.  Stanley was the first by transferring to West Coast Baptist College.  He is living with his Grandparents and really enjoying Grandma's cooking.  Please pray specifically that he can find a job soon.


He is very happy with his grandparents
Shane left the very next day on a missions trip to Ecuador.  He can now say that he has crossed the equator in two different countries.


Shane in the North and the South
Then Keith just returned from preaching a missions conference in Trinidad.  He really had a great time seeing another culture, and his brother Andrew was able to go with him, too.


Keith and Andrew
Please pray for us as we are now making purchases, seeing doctors, and finishing our meetings. Pray for our college sons and feel free to encourage them with a note, text, or care package.