Saturday, August 22, 2009

Family Pics

This one (in color) is going on our new prayer card. If anyone would like a printable copy just leave a comment and we'll work on getting one to you.
There's a secret to this one.
All the handsome guys...
and all the beautiful girls. (Speaking of my girls)
A "for fun" picture. I love how Simeon's arm rests on Scott's shoulder.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ministering in Music

Dr. Monty Budahl teaching song leading.
Brian Trainer headed up the mission team and preached on Wednesday night.
Flute trio.
Clarinet quartet both this and the flute arrangements were very bright and cheerful.
We didn't a picture of us singing with the MBBC group during the service but this is during the practice.

Swine flu outbreaks both in Argentina and here in Uruguay threatened to end the plans for the missions trip of Maranatha Baptist Bible College. Thankfully, the Lord made it clear that He wanted the trip to go on and we welcomed 6 members of that team into our home, and lives, this past Monday. The other 23 members came over from Argentina on Wednesday afternoon.

Last years group was a blessing and this years group was no exception. The group was really comfortable singing in Spanish and reaching out to the Uruguayans. The Lord brought people from Montevideo, Paysandu, Salto and many from the church here to Colonia for the conference. It was thrilling to have everyone excited about taking home what they learned to use in the music ministries of their respective churches.

The conference sessions, taught by Dr. Monty Budahl, covered basic and choir song leading, voice, Music in the Ministry, Singing Unto God, and Service Variety and Vitality. After lunch and before the afternoon sessions the team spent time giving instrument lessons on the piano, flute (recorder), guitar, and clarinet.

The Wednesday night service was phenomenal. There were flute and clarinet, ensembles, a quartet and the choir specials. I hope the recordings come out as nice as the group sounded as they ministered to us in music.

We praise the Lord for all the help that we had in making the conference a success. David planned out the schedule and the sessions. Sebastian arranged for all of the housing and helped with meals. Many families in the church opened up their homes and ministered to the team through hospitality. Pablo and Pastor Gabriel drove the bus and were the asadores for the lunch on Wednesday. Pastor Gabriel also helped serve lunch in our home.

Pastor Daniel and Amparo had the team in for the evening meals on Wednesday and Thursday. Alejandra and Alicia served the meriendas (snacks). Elizabeth, Paola, Belen, and Camila cared for the little ones in the nursery. Missionary Paul Harmon recorded all the sessions and services. His wife, JoAnna, translated some sessions. They both worked on the flier for the conference and worked hard at encouraging people from Montevideo to attend. David also helped me with the decorations of the church.

After taking the group to pass out close to 1000 tracts and church brochures we took the group to Los Tre Botones a tourism farm for lunch. They were able to ride horses and a zip line. The owners asked for them to sing and the group graciously sang twice. Then we spent a couple hours with them in the old city helping them shop and showing them the sites.

We enjoyed the fellowship with these young people! Scott and I answered a lot of questions about missions in Uruguay. It is our prayer that we represented the Lord well and have been an encouragement to the team. A couple spoke with me about the possibility of coming back to Uruguay to work with us as short term missionaries.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Happy Birthday Brandon!!!!

Each year we shake our head in wonder that another year has passed in the life of our eldest child. I, personally, am no less amazed this year than last. The feeling of amazement that my firstborn could be 1, 2, 3...13, or 17, always takes me by surprise. Does that feeling ever leave a parent? Will I be doing the same thing when he is 40?

Oh, boy, can't even go there because that would mean I'll be...never mind. Let's get this subject going in a different direction, shall we?!

Brandon's 16th year has gone much faster than I expected it would. And today he turns 17. A year from now he will be considered, by law, to be an adult. He will be on the count down to college. He will be eligible to vote. He will have a non-provisional drivers license.


I think I'll just keep living in the here and now. I hope that I will remember to appreciate each passing day with him. That I will remember that many of the events that happen with him in this next year could likely be the last time we enjoy that thing with him. After all we live on a different continent.

Uh, oh, I better stop before I change my mind about Brandon beginning his adult life.

I am thankful for the son the Lord gave us! I've been encouraged by the spiritual growth we have seen in him this past year. And for the increase in maturity.

Seeing the opportunity to begin college on time, with his peers, he sat down and set some high, but achievable, goals for himself in school. And he has knuckled down to make his dreams a reality.

He began learning to drive this year and he is doing great! It's not easy to drive in a foreign country. Nor is it easy to drive our manual, diesel van.

He has sacrificed a lot of "normal" to be our child. The life of a missionary kid never really has its normal. Just when the new becomes familiar you're being moved on to another new. Life revolves around cycles of 3-4 years. New languages. New cultures. New friends. New cities. New churches. New believers. New, new, new.

Sometimes, as will be the case for Brandon, an MK has the opportunity to return to the original, or the old. His original language. His original culture. His old friends. His hometown. Our old church. Our old college. The landmarks in his life have not been removed, praise God! But he will see them through different eyes, those of an adult young man commencing a new chapter in his life.

Wow, there I go again. Can you imagine what my blog post will be like when he heads of to college next year? I already feel sorry for you folks. :-)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Another First...Furlough

I keep feeling like I'm neglecting the blog, I guess because I am. Does it help if I've been busy with other things? Well, I'll not offer a bunch of excuses but I will update you on what's happening.

Right now I am working on our presentation for furlough! That's right, furlough! Can you believe it? I can't! Granted, that's because our first furlough is 10 mos earlier than originally planned. It was a necessity. As we began praying and planning furlough with the original dates, we realized that several of our cedulas (residency cards) would need renewal while we were gone! We were told by a lady in immigration that if we were not here to renew the cards we very likely would lose our residency status.

So we began looking at dates and our choices were to stay here until we could renew our cards before leaving, or go, and return, before we needed to renew our cards. Several things were considered in making our final decision.

First, Brandon will be starting college in the fall of 2010. We would really like to be in the States with him when he starts school at Ambassador.

Second, we would like to start a new church plant sooner rather than later. We could start one once the Perez family returns from their furlough but then that would mean we would have to leave it shortly after it was planted. Not a good idea.

Finally, our residency, which has already been mentioned.

One of the drawbacks to going home on furlough sooner was that we were lacking in funds for passage back to the States. Though we have been putting money into our passage account since arriving on the field, our first furlough was originally thought to be after 4 years on the field, thus the amount we had budgeted came up short because we were short a year.

We took all of this before our home-church pastor and his advice was to take an early furlough and make our supporting churches aware of the additional need for passage funds. Thankfully, our travel agent was able to find round trip tickets that were good for a year. This actually cut the cost of our tickets nearly in half. Within a few days the Lord has met the additional need for funds and we should be able to buy the tickets Monday.

Once Scott knew that he could purchase the tickets, which was this week, he began making phone calls to our supporting churches to book meetings. It has really been a blessing to him to make these phone calls. He has told me that the secretaries and pastors he has spoken with have been a tremendous encouragement. They have told him they were expecting his phone call. And many have asked about my health.

I know our missionary friends will probably disagree with us, because I'm sure they feel the same way, but we have the BEST supporting churches! Each one has involved themselves in our lives in so many different ways. Visits, packages, cards, notes, letters and phone calls are all among the ways that God has blessed us through our supporters. We are REALLY looking forward to being back with all of them and sharing what God has done in our lives during our first term. And sharing the future we believe God has planned for us here in Uruguay.

I know this has been a lengthy post, but I would like to close with some prayer requests:
~That God would use us to burden hearts for missions and that we could have supporting church visit us here in Uruguay with missions teams.
~We need someone to stay in our house while we are gone.
~Brandon is finishing up high school.
~For us to be in every supporting church.
~To have new churches to present our ministry in.
~For the planning of furlough meetings.
~Brandon and Kaitlin will be applying for the CIT training at the Wilds for next summer.
~For our trip to California to be with family for Christmas, our first Christmas with family in 4 years.