Wednesday, September 26, 2012

it pays

A mouse ran into her family's hole, frightened for her life.
'There's a cat outside!' she said to her father.
Her father said, 'Don't worry about that.' 

As they listened to the cat breathing just inches away,
 the father mouse positioned himself by the side of the hole and yelled: 
'Woof, Woof, Woof!' 
The cat took off, and the father mouse said, 
'See, I told you it pays to learn a second language.' 

–adapted from a story by Kenneth Pike, 
American linguist and anthropologist

Friday, September 21, 2012

what are we doing?

Back in February, we shared here some of what our home assignment would entail. 
It's not a vacation time for us, 
so why would we up and leave our work in S.E. Asia
to spend these months back in the U.S.?

The following are some of the things we are working to accomplish during our time here: 

*Helping our children to reconnect with their home culture.  Our children are getting to spend time with American peers, eat American food, go to an American youth group, buy some American clothes, and use American libraries.  They have been able to learn practical information about cars and housing and banking and colleges, and they've been able to re-learn basic skills like mowing the lawn, and using a vacuum cleaner and a dishwasher.  

Elise, Amy and Michael get some automotive introduction from Mark
We're loving peaches and boxed cereal, milk, deli meats and cheese!
Michael learns from Dad as Mark repairs a weed eater
Amy takes a turn mowing...
*Time for spiritual encouragement, reconnecting with family and friends, and service in our home country. We spent lots of time with our family the first month or so, and now have been reconnecting with so many dear friends here in the South.  It's been incredibly refreshing to sit under the sound of the Word - all in our own language!  And Mark has had opportunities to use his skills to help people here. 
*A time of training and preparation for our work in the future.  Mark is taking two courses, and I'm working on a study also that will help us to more effectively do the work God has given to us overseas.  I'm also homeschooling our children, who are into their 7th week of school now!

Mark spends a morning in study

Amy and Elise use Bananagrams to practice Tagalog vocabulary
Michael writes a history paper
Amy works through a Pre-Calc equation
*Continued long-distance service.  Both of us continue to do work related to S.E. Asia via email while we are here in the U.S.
*An opportunity to share about God's work in S.E. Asia.  We've shared with many families, individuals, Sunday School classes, our church leadership, and tomorrow at a Women's Brunch ♥  It's a privilege to tell you about the work that you've prayed for and encouraged for so long.
*A time to rest.  Yes, we are finding opportunities to enjoy time together, time to create, and time to enjoy the beauties around us.

Mark and Michael work a Dollar Tree puzzle!
Elise relaxes with a good library book
Amy has been writing and painting prolifically
Mark and Barbara celebrated their 19th anniversary with a bike trip on the beach...
it was absolutely fabulous!!
*A season in which we continue to live by faith in God's provision for us.  We don't have a paying job during our home assignment, since it's just another element of our regular work.  But we are experiencing God's continued faithfulness to provide for us through His people.  Thank you for partnering with us!

Monday, September 17, 2012

blessed, broken, and distributed

                                      "You are the Body of Christ...

 ...In you and through you the work 
of the incarnation must go forward.

 You are to be taken.

 You are to be blessed, broken and distributed,

 that you may be the means of grace...

...and vehicles of eternal love."
-Augustine of Hippo

It's in the community of believers 
that the full expression of the Body of Christ is found.

We give thanks for each one of you - for how you've been means of grace,
and vehicles of God's love toward us, and toward others!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Are you hungry?  I mean so hungry that you would sniff glue or smoke a banana leaf just to alleviate some of the hunger?  Having no idea where your next meal will come from? 

“I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger.”  
John 6:35  

Then this proclamation of Jesus
may be of critical importance to your life.

Are you thirsty?  In a place that is so hot that you battle dehydration on a daily basis?  Perhaps in a place where the water is not potable, and must be filtered or boiled before you drink it?

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 
John 4:13-14

Then the life-giving water offered by Jesus might be exactly what you have most longed for.

Are you living in darkness?  With inconsistent power supply, routine electrical outages, or no electrical power at all in your home?  

"I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life."
John 8:12

In your darkness you may be more keenly aware of your need for the light of His presence.

Are you living in pain?  With absolutely no resources to seek out medical help?  Are you watching your child suffer in silence, with no money to consult a doctor?

 So His fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought Him all the sick, 
those afflicted with various diseases and pains, 
those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and He healed them.
Matthew 4:24

In your pain and need, His power to heal may be the best news you've ever heard.

Do you live in a city with blind beggars at the street corners, arms outstretched, beseeching mercy?

When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.
Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”
Luke 18: 40-42

Then this man who has the power to restore sight to the blind might offer unheard-of hope to your heart.

How meaningful and applicable is the good news of Christ to our world today!  Here in the U.S. we've insulated ourselves from much of our need, but as a result, we may have lost something of the significance of His provision, and the depth of gratitude that we truly owe.

'The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; 
it has feet, it runs after me; 
it has hands, it lays hold of me.'
 – Martin Luther

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

rest and be thankful

It's been such a blessing to be back here in Savannah...
a city originally planned in the early 1700's 
by General James Oglethorpe.

Walking through lovely City Market where horses and carriages are found for hire
Amy, Elise and a friend enjoy a stroll through downtown
 Oglethorpe laid the city out with streets surrounding a series of public squares.  
Twenty-two of the original twenty-four squares are still in use today.

We love walking through the shady streets and squares
beneath the sprawling live oak trees.
What a city full of beauty!

The Savannah River is another favorite spot we love to visit.
Mark and I splurged on ice cream cones down on River Street for our date night
as we watched the tug boats and ocean liners sail past.

Lady & Sons, I think?
Amy pauses near City Market by a gorgeous piece of iron work

We have fun memories of the historic Lucas Theater.
My most unique memory is that the theater bought our
upright piano before we moved to Davao in 2009!
(Hope you're enjoying it as much as we did!)

And then there are the local beaches. 
Ahh!  We spent a day back on our
favorite big, beautiful, sandy beach!

Amy, Molly Elizabeth and Elise do an impromptu photo shoot in our neighborhood
We've been enjoying our lovely neighborhood, too.

This golf cart is even 'stored' at the house we are staying in (!),
and Michael absolutely loves getting to drive it around!
(Okay, it's not just Michael who loves it! 
I never knew how much fun a golf cart could be!)

We can't express how refreshing all of this is.
Being with dear friends
in our familiar, beloved city.
We are so very thankful.
Rest and be thankful.  
-William Wordsworth