June 29, 2008

Sunday update from Africa

Update from Africa, click here! They have had a very good weekend. After a day off tomorrow, they are heading back home Tuesday!!! I have an exceeding need to jump up and down clapping my hands every time I think about it.

June 28, 2008

Updates at home and in Africa

My teenagers are home from their kids' camp weeks. They dragged in about midnight last night.  They hugged me, dumped their bags in the living room and disappeared deep into their own rooms. Emma went to bed and Beth went to check all of her internet haunts. Soon all lights were out and all was silent until 8:30am this morning when I put in a Gilmore Girls dvd (I borrowed the first few seasons from my niece to get me through the evening hours for the next week). It's like sprinkling sugar beside an ant hill. It's like setting out honey beside a bear's den. It's like putting on Gilmore Girls 6 feet from my girls' bedrooms and turning up the volume. (heehee) Now Emma (Rory to us) is snuggled beside me in my bed and  we have tears in our eyes because Max just broke up with Loralai.  *sigh*

Let the laundry begin.

I talked to Hannah yesterday. She had a hard day at work  with a very difficult person. She was hankering around about coming down to Phoenix but she is tired, so she may stay home. BUT I did play the Gilmore Girls card and so, y'know, she may just show up too.  It's hard to say. (and no pressure Han....totally up to you)

Okay, now the homefront update is done, time for the.....


The electricity wiring is worked out and we've been able to get emails and calls from the men.

The team is preaching at two different churches this weekend and having a baptismal celebration at the river. It should be a busy weekend for them, so they will appreciate your prayers for the openness of the people and effectiveness of the teaching. Charles has several updates on his blog, Veritas. Monday will be a day off for them. It will be fun to hear what they do. On their last day off they got to go hunting in Africa. Then Tuesday afternoon they will board a small plane and fly out of Mozambique, beginning their 3 day journey back home. Keep praying. This is almost wrapped up, although continued prayer for these pastors in Mozambique who were at the conferences, the permanent missionaries, our friends, the Dinas work there, and the people whose lives were touched will still be greatly needed.

Thank you!

June 25, 2008

A little trouble on the field

I have been getting short emails from Charles each day and his notes about the trip are on his blog. These are excerpts from emails Jackie gets from Kris. He gives more details about things behind the scenes.

A message from the Africa team this morning: (from Kris K)

Just to let you know last night some thieves in the neighborhood stole all of the Dina's neighbors electric wire running to their homes. this has caused electrical problems at the dina house I am most likely not going to be able to edit any video while I here. The conference has been going great the local people have been asking us to stay here and continue to teach them. They are like sponges, they cant seen to get enough. John is thrilled at all of the seeds that are being sown here, and has been wanting this to happen here for a long time.

I am afraid this may mean no more emails, although this one from Kris got through.

This is also from Kris a few days ago, on a more encouraging note:

I really wish I would could have learned the language but John said that it would not of helped he had to relearn it when he got here because the dialect is so different then what he learned, it is funny every time one of us speaks it get translated twice in two different languages. Well today is a prep day for the four day conference. My three jobs are to fix the shower head that we have been using, work with Mark and Ken repairing the Jesus film equipment ( if we can get to work we will show it this week) John said it works great helping the local people understand Christ, then If I have time I will prep everything for making the videos that I will be leaving here with John.

On a different note there are two local pastors that we have been working here with a lot they are both very energetic, dynamic people. They work extremely well together yet do not speak a word of English. Their names are Dino he is the funny one and Orlando he would make a great youth pastor in the states. I have been working on teaching Dino a little English I figured that would be easier than me learning the local language. He is a very quick learner and can already say good morning, how are you?, I am fine, My name is Dino. I have some video of him wearing my cowboy hat I'll show you when I get home.

June 23, 2008

The husbands and the wives

I got home from the mountains Friday after visiting my sister and brother in law there, and it has kind of hit me that my husband is out of the country for 2 more weeks. *twiddles thumbs*

I really....REALLY miss him. The longest we've been separated before was for 10 days when he went to Ukraine last year. The wives of the mission team guys were invited to eat lunch and visit together yesterday after church. We went to Brenda's house and had a great time visiting and praying for each other. It seems two of the wives have received phone calls, so the other three of us were feeling a little bit gipped and to be honest, jealous. ;)

This morning I got a call from Charles. lol I think word got around. I know they care and are missing us, but we women folk wanted a little tangible evidence! However it came about, it was great to just be able to talk to him and feel connected for a few minutes.

They are all holding up very well. No one is sick or having any physical ailments except for Kris, who is having some sinus, maybe allergies. The men went hunting Sunday night.

Adventures The missionary family there, the Dinas, always hunt for their meat. The only other meat available there is fish and on special occasions, chicken, which they raise themselves. The people there also raise their own rice, which is their staple meal, along with some vegetables. So the mission team went with John Dina to hunt. Charles used to hunt with his dad, but had never shot much of anything bigger than a squirrel, until we lived in northern Arizona. He got an elk tag one year and shot a young elk cow. But on Sunday night he shot a local antelope-type animal there called a Duiker and a rabbit. The men ate part of the duiker and then gave the rest to some townspeople, who were glad to have it.

Charles told me that he is not sure they are getting through to the people, and he thinks God is working on the team in more ways than they are probably influencing the people there. But it may just be a cultural misinterpretation. John Dina's mother was at our lunch yesterday and told us when she went there to visit, the people just stare at you, as a white person, they give no feedback like Americans do. They listen, staring blankly at you and take you in. So it can be hard to know what their impressions are.

The team is doing a retreat for pastors at a conference center about an hour from the Dina's home. They will have a full schedule for several days with teaching and traveling. Today they had a day of rest, which they really needed and appreciated.

Prayer needs:
~Strength, endurance and energy for the men
~Cross cultural understanding and deep learning
~Real spiritual growth as well as practical learning for these pastors who have little access to Bible teaching for themselves and are basically new Christians themselves.

Thanks so much!

June 20, 2008

Back now...

I'm home now. You just can't believe how content I am to be home.

My trip to the mountains was good and relaxing and I visited with my 2 sisters, my mom and my little nephew who is 2. But it was SO HOT. We were basically in a camping situation and it was in the high 90's every day with little flying beetles who landed on you because they are klutzy and just fly into things, then stay, walking slowly up and down your arm, or in your hair or on your shirt...ugh. I was so thankful my sister's trailer had a/c. We'd go in there every afternoon and watch movies. LOL And we really didn't help much on the cabin because of the heat. I honestly did think we would help and we did try one evening by shoveling up granite gravel into the wheelbarrow to transfer it, but we didn't get it done. The nights were very cool though and the mornings until noon. AND it made me so grateful that their new cabin being built will have air conditioning for such weeks as this.

Maisy is so glad to be home too. I had to keep her on the leash all week except when we were in the cabin or trailer! She's very curious and wants to investigate things and since there were rattlesnakes and lots of weird bugs around....leash. She chewed through the first leash and then almost through the second. She and little Gabriel were fast friends and played together constantly. He is only two, but was always gentle and sweet to the little dog.

News from Charles, who is on a mission trip in Mozambique Africa is on his blog. Check it often for updates: Veritas

My 2 teens are home....well one of them is on her way still (she had to stay and help clean the camp). So I'm getting off here to go visit with them.

June 15, 2008

Father's Day 2008

This is my second Father's Day without my own Dad here to celebrate with us. He left to be with Jesus almost two years ago. So this year, I honored my dear husband of course, but my mind was also strongly connecting with a Heavenly Father and honoring Him for being that role in my life.

1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us,
that we should be called children of God;
~~and so we are.~~

The reason why the world does not know us
is that it did not know him.

2 Beloved, we are God’s children now,
and what we will be has not yet appeared;

but we know that when he appears
~~we shall be like him,~~
because we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:1-2 (ESV)

June 14, 2008

To Africa

Charles is off tomorrow on a world adventure.

He and four other men are flying out in the late afternoon, first to London for a layover (which happens to be Charles' birthday). They are going to try to do a few hours of sightseeing while they wait on the six hour layover. Then they head around the earth, into the Southern Hemisphere, to Africa. Mozambique to be exact. They will meet up with our friend John, who is a full time missionary there, and help him run a pastor's conference. All the pastors attending are native to Mozambique. The 'problem' for missionaries in some African countries these days is that there are so many new Christians that they have to hurry and train pastors for all the villages and towns. So they have these conferences to train these pastors better.

The men will be gone for almost 3 weeks. I think the conference is first and then they will travel to different villages to meet with other pastors and see the churches there. One of the men in the group is going just to film it all and make some videos for the missionary, for promotion of missions and for our church of course. I hope to be able to get him to upload some videos to Youtube so I can share them here too!

Please pray for them as they are going.

1. For God's will to be done in the men who are going and also in the conference and travels. Pray for the right words to train and minister to these young pastors.

2. Their health and safety.

3. For the men to really bless the missionary family there.

4. For the families these men leave behind here in Arizona....safety, to feel secure, and to trust God with their menfolk.

Summer....a time to gather and a time to scatter

Well, I think we are all ready to take off for various destinations tomorrow. And it's a great time to get away (from Phoenix). It's supposed to be 110ยบ tomorrow. ~~~~~ <----those are heat waves.

Maggie is going to Kids' Camp, as are the two teens (as counselors). They got home around noon today from their mission trip to New Mexico. They build and repaired roofs and did other home repairs in Gallup, NM and up on the Navajo Reservation too. They are sore though! They each showed me a collection of bruises, but other teens had worse. One teen from Kansas got a lacerated liver from a fall, and a youth leader fell through a roof and cracked a rib. I'm glad they are home and safe. And I am enjoying their little snippets of stories from the trip. I hope they are writing in their journals to remember all they've experienced this summer!

Charles is taking a trip too, but that is for the next post. We gathered tonight to celebrate Father's Day and his birthday. He'll be on his trip during it. Hannah was forced (by us) to stay home though. She is worn out from work this week.

While they are all gone, I am taking the opportunity to go to my sister's cabin in the mountains for a visit. I intend to learn how to better operate our new camera and share some pictures when I'm back.

Birthdays and blogs

I saw Brenda today at a birthday party for my good friend Cheryl. You know, Brenda who forced me into taking her nice flowerdy, beautiful dish. Ah yes, now you remember! She was so excited about being on my blog. I told her I did it to punish her about the dish, but really she loved it. She thinks she is famous now, but I will break it to her now....you are only famous to about 20 people, dear. teehee

And happiest of birthdays Cheryl! No numbers will appear on this blog, but you are the essence of grace and youth. I pray it is a wonderful year for you. And we really enjoyed the birthday party. Your daughters should go into catering! They did a fabulous job!!

June 11, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Stringy feets

"WHAT?! I'm jus' sittin here, Mama."

"Oh dat? I don't know how dat stwing got awound my feets."

"nyum nyum nyum" *tangle tangle tangle*

***To see more entries or to join in and do your own, go to Wordless Wednesday or 5 Minutes for Mom.***

June 9, 2008

Compliments of the hostess

It happened again. For the second time within two weeks, I complimented on a pretty dish that a friend brought to my home. And now I've decided not to hand out compliments so enthusiastically.....ever again! It's making me feel so guilty!

On Memorial Day, our friends who are moving soon came over for barbeque and visiting. She brought a GREAT potato salad, but she put it in two cute, cute, cute heart shaped pottery dishes. They were navy blue with stars or stripes on them (for Memorial Day....she is so theme ready!) and I just raved about how cute the pottery was, honestly just admiring them. A few days later Laurie and I had lunch together in downtown Glendale. When she got into my car, she had a gift bag in her hand and there it was, the cute, cute, cute heart shaped dish with stars! I really loved it, but I felt so guilty that I had raved about it so much that she felt compelled to give it to me! But I didn't argue, I accepted it and used it last night to put out some cantaloupe chunks. People admired it, but I did not feel compelled in any way to give it away. (being brutally honest here)

Last night we had a group of men over from our church who are going to Africa nest Sunday. They will be gone for almost three weeks, including my husband. So I"m sure you will hear much more about this very soon. We made brisket and the wives brought things to go with it.....lots of great salads! Brenda brought two salads and also a big beautiful bowl of veggies for dipping. I mean, it was a beautiful bowl. I looked at it on my dining table and admired it aloud as we women folk stood around the kitchen talking. I teased Brenda on how it really matched my table, lamp and kitchen SO well! We all laughed. And she told us how it was her mother's. She said whenever she came home from school, there would be this bowl on the table filled with fresh fruit from their farm. Charming! I could just picture it and loved the story. When it was time to leave, she started taking the leftover veggies out of the bowl and putting them into a baggie. Then she informed me that the bowl was for me and she was leaving it here.

My eyes flew open and I argued with her for a good 5-10 minutes. I kept saying no way was I taking her bowl full of memories and she kept trying to convince me that it was just a dollar store type of bowl and the story was mostly made up. (Insert very puzzled look from me trying to IMAGINE my friend Brenda making such an elaborate deception!) We went back and forth, up and down, round after round and I lost. She is stubborn!!!!

This morning I looked at that bowl sitting on my counter and laughed. Then I filled it with fruit, set it on my table and took pictures of it. I will probably shake my head every time I see it for a while....maybe forever. Truth is, she is one of the most generous people I've ever known. She and her husband get great joy out of blessing others. They have blessed us in so many ways these past two years we've been at this church, both in physical as well as spiritual encouragement, love and friendship.

She overheard me telling someone at church that one of my favorite singers had passed away. The next Sunday, she put a gift bag into my hands and it was a Best of Dan Fogelberg CD! So I will accept the gift, but I'm also going to find out the truth somehow, Brenda! She's gonna crack up that I wrote about her on here. teehee

June 7, 2008

Growing up

Yes, it's these two again. I need to take a new picture of them, but this one is so cute! We drove over to the east side of Phoenix yesterday (actually Mesa, AZ) to fetch them from their first week on the East Valley/Rim's summer mission team. They were assigned to a church to help with their Vacation Bible School. The VBS director met us when we walked in and told us this story:

When the teen missionaries arrived, they found out that the man who was supposed to teach the third and fourth grade class had an emergency and had to leave town. This left them with no teacher for that class. Bethany, 18 (on the right), was teaching the fifth and sixth grade class and their other team partner was teaching the first and second graders. Emma,16 (on the left), is a newbie to actually teaching in VBS. Her assignment last week was to be a helper in the Kindergarten class, not the main teacher. Last summer she helped in the fifth and sixth grades, but only taught the lesson two days and the lead teacher prepared everything.

So she volunteered to lead the third/fourth grades for this church. The director said the teacher had probably prepared each day's lesson, so she just had to teach. But when they got the materials, there was NOthing prepared. (and to lead a class of 9-10 year olds for 4 hours each day for a week, you have to have things prepared!) So in one day, she who had never done this before, had to prepare the materials, decorate her room (Hawaiian theme) and get her nerve up to teach the class. Her sister told me it was extremely stressful on Emma to get all of that done, but she did it and she ended up having the largest class with 12-15 kids each day. She is a real trooper! And it turned out that she just loved the week. She loved teaching and loved the kids!

It is amazing to see your kids grow up right in front of your eyes and to do things you really wondered if they were up to doing! Bethany has taken leadership roles in past Bible Schools for years, we knew she was a great leader, but this was Emma's first time to actually lead. Bethany told us the whole story over again when we saw her. She was bragging on her sister. Her job this summer (I told her before they left) was to watch out for Emma. Now we know she is up to doing whatever the tasks are this summer. We are so proud of them both, but really Emma shined last week stepping up into leadership!

So we picked them up yesterday afternoon. Then this morning they had to be at the church by 9am to leave for their mission trip! They are going with a group of about 12 from our church to meet up with World Changer's organization in Gallup, NM to help do home repairs and other hard work for people on the Navajo reservation there and also around Gallup.

Please pray for them this week as they so this hard physical labor and also that they will shine as witnesses for the love of Christ. This is a very hard culture to break into and be an influence in, but God is a great barrier breaker!

June 3, 2008

New camera

We got a new camera! I'm so intimidated that I am not really enjoying it yet. I'm wading in slowly and practicing. It can do all manual or all automatic and it feels like my old SLR camera in my hands!

Here is a little slide show of my practice shots from yesterday.

Saturday in Flagstaff

I just got done uploading the rest of our overnight trip pictures at my Flikr page. We had a great time on Saturday. We lazed around in the morning, then went for a walk. We met up with Hannah at noon for lunch at a cute little bistro there called Josephine's in a very old rock house. She went with us on our ski lift ride and we spent several fun hours together before saying goodbyes and heading home to Phoenix.

Surprise dinners

I am lamenting the closing of our local Trader Joe's. It was so close, convenient, and a fun place to shop. Now the closest one is half an hour away and I don't think I will be making the trip in the Phoenix heat and with gas prices high. Next best thing....or maybe better because it's cheaper, is our farmer's market, Sprouts. They have cheaper produce and bakery items, but more expensive frozen foods. I usually bought 2 bags of frozen TJ's Orange Chicken whenever I went to TJ's. I got 2 today at Sprouts, a brand name called Ling's and they were $3 more per bag. (eek) Still that is a cheap and quick dinner for us. I also got some great looking naan, a flat bread that is long and oval. I think I'll make rustica pizzas on it later in the week.

I am starting to pull leftovers out of the freezer to eat for dinners to empty out the freezer and condense it into just my side by side freezer for the summer. Our huge upright freezer in the garage runs harder in the summer with the heat and runs up our bill.

So last night I pulled out a good amount of something red with chunks in it. It was either beef/veg soup, chili, chimichanga filling, spaghetti sauce or jambalaya. *note to self* LABEL THE LEFTOVERS!

It's kind of adventurous but a little adventure goes a long way with me. It turned out to be chili and was very good. The trouble is, I also pulled out some white chili for tonight at the same time....a little monotonous (as is that word to type) so I'm thinking save that for Wednesday and eat orange chicken tonight. =)

Such is my summer life......I hope there is more to write about than dinner and shopping as time goes on. I am loving the break from working at the school (much needed in fact), but I've got to get into a groove that includes more than sleeping late and watching morning news shows. bleh