Saturday, September 15, 2018

COLLEGE MKs

It's that time of year - Back to School.  Of course, my kids hear that phrase several times a day.

"Put the puppies back in their pen.  Let's get back to school."  

"Throw the dead rat over the wall, and let's get back to school."

But for many missionaries, there are some of our children who are too far away to hear those words from our lips.  They have completed their schooling at home and are now in a different country facing the "Back to School" frenzy all alone.  These are the MK (missionary kid) college students.  Some are very blessed to have their parents able to take them shopping for new clothes and school supplies before dropping them off at their dorm and catching the next flight back to the mission field. But there are so many others facing college alone.

I can vividly remember our first child leaving for college.  Of all days, it happened on Mother's Day.  After church, we hugged Shane, cried, hugged him again, and watched him walk out the door with his dad to drive three hours to the airport to fly 21 hours to the States to start a whole new life.  I cried for hours.  Then I cried through his Freshman year every time he would face a "bump" in his college road.  His first bad grade.  His first car accident.  His multiple times of being called into the Pastor's office.  Just because our children grow up with American parents doesn't ensure an easy field-to-America transition.  There are "100 Do Not's" for them to learn as well as "100 Do's." (How much easier it would if these were written down and the same for each kid!)  We as parents do our best to prepare them, but times have changed since we were in college.  Living in a foreign country, we can be as ignorant as our children in new American customs.

So what can be done?

Stanley, the oldest of the three we have in college

Pray.  Pray for the parents.  Pray for the students.  This new step in life isn't easy for either one.

Check Your Criticism.  There will be A LOT the MK doesn't know.  Do NOT criticize the child or the parents.  If you were to visit his home on the mission field, you would be able to see how competent they are in their normal setting.  MKs aren't dumb; they are just knowledgable in different things than you or your kids are.

Shae-Lynn often does her studies holding this cutey

Make Yourself a Mentor.  If you live near a college MK, make yourself available to them.  They need help getting a driving license, opening a bank account, buying a car, applying for a job, and a host of other things that mom and dad can't be there to help them with.

Share The Style.  You can be stylish without becoming worldly.  However, most third-world countries get first-world countries' clothes that have gone out of style...sometimes way out of style...so missionaries are limited by the selection there is.  Show the MK how to put together a stylish wardrobe that doesn't scream, "My wardrobe came from Grandma's attic!"  Having well-put-together outfits will go a long way to giving the MK confidence.

Stanley is a Junior at West Coast Baptist College

Tip and Treat.  You don't even have to live near a college MK for this one.  Nearly all college students consistently lack two things - money and food.  If I remember correctly, my college budget allowed $5 spending money each week.  Our dorm food could not be bragged about, and I ate just an apple for supper each day since I worked until midnight.  This is still what many college kids face, but many have parents not too far away they can turn to.  So, send a college MK a box of delicious, healthy snack foods, vitamins, and gum, and include some gift cards for restaurants, coffee shops, department stores, and gas stations.

Help the Holidays.  One of the stark revelations that hit me after our son went to college was that when his birthday rolled around, I wasn't there to make him a cake.  Birthdays.  Thanksgiving.  Christmas.  College MKs feel forgotten or left-out because no one knows it is their birthday, or they have no where to go for the holidays.  Send a birthday card with birthday money or a gift card.  Invite them to join your family for a holiday meal or an outing.

Shiloh working on his college correspondence courses

Consistently Communicate.  Make a point to regularly stay in touch with the MK.  Send a card the first of every month.  Text a "I'm praying for you today" message every Friday with a Bible verse.  Your consistency will remind that MK that they aren't alone.

Encourage and Encourage.  These college MKs need encouragement.  They will be corrected by teachers and employers.  They will be hard on themselves.  Deadlines will slam into them.  Problems will quickly find them.  They need a cheerleading team to encourage them.

In addition to correspondence,
Shiloh and Shae-Lynn also attend our church college

Maybe you will be the one that our MK looks back to one day and says, 

"Because of them . . . because they cared . . . because of their help . . .   
I stuck it out and didn't quit."

Monday, August 6, 2018

REAL LIFE

Life gets really busy.  Life can be overwhelming.

Homeschooling gets pushed back.  Catching up does not make for great school days.

Headaches develop.  Still the cleaning needs done, classes taught, and laundry washed.

Water goes off.  Internet doesn't cooperate.  Then electricity goes off.  A sink decides to leak.

This is real life.

So, when it comes time for lunch and the only green thing on our disposable plates is jalapeños -

PRAISE THE LORD!


Praise the Lord for a really understanding husband that does not complain of my overflowing desk in our bedroom.

Praise the the Lord for children's unconditional love and hugs.

Praise the Lord for one out of three loads of laundry done.

Praise the Lord the macaroni and cheese was on clearance.

PRAISE THE LORD FOR JALAPEÑOS!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

HOW MANY CAN FIT?

Can 16 people fit into an 8 passenger van?

Today I asked the deaf man who attends our church to introduce us to some of his deaf friends so that we could invite them to church.  He took us to town and said he knew that three of them were watching the World Cup on television.  We waited outside the place and soon many people started coming out of the building.  We thought, "Surely these aren't all deaf; he mentioned just three."  But these people came across the street to us, and we were soon surround by 11 deaf.

The lady to the right is a deaf teacher.

What a fun time we had learning their names, what work they do, and where they live.  They wanted to know where our church was, but they kept thinking it was very far away.  I suggested I take some of them and show them where the church was located.  I was unprepared for all of them to join the four that were with me, but all 16 of us took the trip to the church.  After showing them the buildings, they gathered around me as I shared the Gospel with all of them.

This shows 12 people; 4 more are in the front seats!

My heart's desire for years has been to reach out to the deaf, and I am blessed with nine students who faithfully attend class and who are willing to sign with their limited vocabulary.  I have so many more signs to learn.  I am not fluent, but I have asked God to bless my efforts.  Please pray that I can rapidly learn more signs and better understand the deaf and make sure that they understand the Gospel clearly.

The man to the left is the one who attends church.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

25 YEARS OF LOVE

June 12, 1993
Where does one start to describe what a blessing it is to be married to my best friend for 25 years.  
I love being married.  I love being married to Keith.
I love the fact that God has been the center of our marriage, 
and that we are able to serve Him together.

A Young Love That Has Grown So Much Stronger!
I was just 9 years old when my parents celebrated their 25th anniversary.

1982 - My Family for My Parent's 25th 
Keith's parents were in Uganda for their 25th, and Keith was 23.  
There is quite the age difference between our families with Keith being the oldest and I being the youngest.  (In fact, my sister went to college with his parents!)

1995 - Keith's Parents on Their 25th
We happen to be in Uganda, too.  Keith's parents visited last month, 
so they brought some decorations and treats over to help us celebrate.  


The kids did such a great job in making the day special for us.  We have awesome kids.



Then we were shocked when one of our church members brought us a hamper 
tonight in honor of our anniversary.  

  
 We were telling our kids that by the time any of them celebrate their 25th that we will be in our 70s! 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

BASIC SIGN LANGUAGE COMPLETED

For many years I have desired to begin a deaf ministry in our church, but not until this term has God opened the door AND provided the deaf.  For our Christmas service on December 25, 2017, we had a deaf lady attend.  She graciously survived my interpreting, which was mostly American Sign Language, and she regularly attended for the next two months.  Her cousin that would accompany her to church had to return to school, so she now only comes periodically.  However, the Lord led us to meet a deaf man who has been coming every Sunday.

Myself with Bena, our first deaf visitor
When our church members saw me signing to Bena, the deaf lady, they got excited and asked me to teach a class.  I wanted to sync with the college class schedule, so I hurriedly put together a curriculum in three weeks and began teaching.  However, with teaching, I, too, am learning.  Sign Language is NOT universal.  Every country has its own signs.  I grew up knowing American Sign Language (ASL), so having to train my mind to learn and think Ugandan Sign Language (USL) has been a challenge!  There are very few USL materials, but this week I found a contact that has some dvds and other materials I hope to be able to purchase and put to use both with my students and the deaf.

One of the favorite parts of the class was game time.
My class of ten students did great, and they all stuck with it to the end.  As I announced the last class, they were already asking for when the next course would begin.

Since the Lord also placed the children's Sunday School class in my charge for the past 6 months, I decided to teach them USL, too.  We have had so much fun.  Last Sunday members from both classes quoted and signed Psalm 1.

Quoting Psalm 1
There is a hair salon in town that employs only deaf.  I have visited the workers there, but none have yet attended church.  Please pray that our church will be a beacon of light that will draw the deaf to Christ.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

CONGRATULATIONS, GRADUATES!

I know.  You are thinking...this is only March.  Who graduates in March?

Daniel, Abigail, Shae-Lynn and Shiloh singing a special
Being missionaries, one thing you learn is adaptability.  We are good friends with another missionary family here whose kids have grown up with ours.  They are leaving for furlough next month, but wanted to have a graduation party for their graduating son before they left.  We have two graduating, also, so we combined everything into just one party.

Daniel wanted a rice crispy cake, so that was the cake on the left.
 On the right is just a regular cake.
Something that is different in Uganda is that there is no graduating ceremony for when you finish secondary school (high school to Americans).  But our church had a great time enjoying our tradition, especially enjoying the food.

A great time of fellowshipping and eating after the service
Your next question may be, "Why do you have two graduating together?"  One of the misconceptions about homeschooling is that the mom is teaching every subject times how many different grades there are.  I am no super teacher, so I have never taught 6 different subject levels to 6 kids or even 6 different classes to 4 kids.  We combine A LOT!  I just require more out of the older children than I do the younger ones.  That being said, a couple of months ago I realized that Shiloh has been doing nearly everything Shae-Lynn has done in the last 4 years.  So, after consulting with a couple of other people as to the pros and cons of letting him graduate early, we decided that it was the best decision for us.

Friends for 18 years (well, Shiloh would be 15 years)
Shae-Lynn and Shiloh will be taking college classes via correspondence until we go on our next furlough, as well as continuing to attend our Bible college here at our town church.

Great Job!
Please pray for the children of missionaries.  It is daunting knowing that after high school, you have to move to a new country to learn a new culture and begin adult life - without your parents.


Missionary kids need your support, understanding, and love.  
They need friends.  
They need your prayers.

Monday, March 5, 2018

VMAM ON FIRE

While we were on furlough, my husband presented the new ministry he started upon our return to Uganda.  If you have seen any of our prayer letters, you have read the great reports from the Village Mentorship and Assistance Ministry (VMAM).  One of the questions frequently asked was whether or not I would be going with Keith to the villages.  No, I do not travel with Keith.  He travels with two men, so sleeping accommodations would not be ideal as he stays for 3-8 days in the bush.  However, that does not mean I am totally out of this ministry.   As the Bible mentions, there are those staying at home who "tarrieth by the stuff." (1 Samuel 30:24)

Keith leaving early in the morning for a village

Besides the curtains, covers, and other things I have sewn, there is the weekly work I have for this ministry.  Yes, the biggest part is laundry.  But it needs to be done, right?  Praise the Lord for a washing machine and very long clothes lines.

Piles of blankets, towels, sheets, and clothes waiting to be washed
Upon Keith's arrival back from the villages, our entry way and living room are usually holding places for the trunks and equipment until the truck is cleaned and all the linens are washed and repacked.

Despite the stack of trunks, the coffee bar is still accessible
Keith has seen many people saved as he preaches and goes soul winning in the villages and has been able to encourage many pastors.  While we do not like the separation, what a small price to pay for seeing churches getting grounded in the Word of God and helping pastors better reach their people.

Parked in the village
But no ministry is all a bed of roses.  Yesterday as Keith was driving the VMAM truck to the church with Savannah, the back caught on fire.  I was about 5 minutes behind him in our van, so when I came upon him parked alongside the road, flames were shooting out of the tarp.  The locals were throwing dirt at the truck in their attempt to try to put out the flames.  We always have plenty of water bottles in the van, so the kids jumped out with a couple bottles each to throw at the fire.  Keith was then able to get in the back and reach a 5 gallon jug of water to pour on the remaining fire.  I then grabbed the empty jugs and drove fast and furiously to the church to get more water.

The burned tarp
The culprit was a can of bug spray that had either rolled or had been put by the batteries which are used to run lights, sound equipment, and charge electronics.  With all the bumping around, it had evidently sprayed out starting the fire.  A mattress was right above the batteries, so it caught on fire quickly.  When it was pulled out of the back to smother the flames, the locals wasted no time taking off with it.

The fire starter - a can of bug spray

Where the fire started at the batteries
The truck itself is fine, and just needs a little bit of paint on the bars.  The tarp is being patched.  New batteries, wiring, and a mattress will need to be bought.  Keith suffered a burn on his forehead, and his church pants are ruined, but his life and Savannah's are spared.

This trunk was on a shelf near the top of the bars
Keith is scheduled to be in another village on Friday, so please pray that everything gets fixed and replaced before his scheduled departure.

The last sight I have as the VMAM team leaves each time
Thank you for praying for us.  You never know when our lives are in danger.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHAE-LYNN

Our precious daughter has turned 18!  As much as I have enjoyed every step of our children's childhood, having a teenaged daughter who has such a beautiful heart is a special joy.


When the kids turn 18, they get to pick any type of cake they want.  Shae-Lynn chose the chocolate lasagna cake I had for my last birthday.  It is so good and rich!


We had a great time celebrating with two other missionary families with food, fun, and fellowship.  


A couple of months ago, Shae-Lynn had stumbled across some Short Best Friend / Tall Best Friend shirts on Amazon.  She sent the photo to her tall friend Abby, saying that it describes them so well.  Abby's family took the photo down to our local t-shirt imprinter, and he was able to replicate it exactly.  Shae-Lynn's gifts reflected her love for coffee, coconut, and photography.  


We are so thankful for each of our children and look forward to seeing how God uses them in the future in His service.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

BARBECUE JACKFRUIT

Quite possibly, we have found a company that will alleviate my frustrations with internet that has prevented me from frequently posting.  We are giving it a try, and so far so good.  With other companies, I could only upload photos at 6:00 in the morning, and even then it would take about 30 minutes.  Any other time of the day, it would take up to 2 hours or just get stuck.  Right now, in the middle of the day,  I just uploaded 2 photos, and it literally took less than 10 seconds.  I realize this still isn't as fast as most American internet, but I am so excited and hope this good service continues.  It will really help with school work, too.

My kids will admit, when it comes to meals, I am very good to them.  I am not a mother who forces Brussel sprouts or sauerkraut down their throats.  I remember once when Shane was little that I made him eat squash.  As I was cleaning up the mess of him throwing it up, I declared I was not going to be that mean mom.  Instead, I have learned that if I want my kids to like something, fix just enough for myself, eat it in front of them, and they will soon come begging to try mom's special food she is eating.  It truly works!


However, I do enjoy trying new recipes, especially when I see a savings in them.  We have an unusual fruit called jackfruit that is as big as a watermelon and grows on trees.  It is very messy to harvest the fruit, but it is very good raw or dried.  We had heard how some people, especially vegetarians, use the fruit as a substitute for beef in meals, specifically barbecue shredded beef sandwiches.  We were given some jackfruit, so I decided to try it, closely following the recipe online.
It was a failure!  
I even had a hard time swallowing it without the gag reflex kicking in.  My kids were so good in trying to eat it, but they were greatly relieved when I didn't even make them eat the usually required 1/2 amount that was on their plate.  I told them that since they didn't have any stories of their mom making them eat horrible stuff, that I had to provide at least one for them.


Don't feel too sorry for them.  The barbecue jackfruit was quickly forgotten and I was forgiven even before these cinnamon rolls appeared for breakfast the next day.