Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Need to ASK

I've been thinking a LOT about community lately.

Actually, as I write this, a neighbor is giving my daughter a lesson in crocheting. I heard that she knew how to crochet and asked her if she'd be able to come once a week to help Ella progress in her crocheting skills. Just last night, I asked a friend if my kids could come have dinner with their family so Jeff and I could go on a date (yes, we still date!) sometime in the near future.  OH, and yesterday, I asked a neighbor to pass me a few pieces of Dove Chocolate over the wall because I knew she had some and I knew that I needed (yes, NEEDED) some!

Do you see a theme emerging?  ASK. We can live in a community and never be IN the life of the community. I think that it requires some humility (and in the case of chocolate: desperation) and faith to BE a part of a community. ASKING can open doors to trust, relationship, camaraderie, fellowship. ASKING indicates that we can't 'do it alone'....we are made for relationship!  Of course, first and foremost we are created for relationship with God...and then each other!

It seems that, as we make progress technologically (TVs, devices, computers, etc), we can be led out of true community. Sure, Ella could watch a YouTube video about crocheting...but then she'd miss the opportunity to learn from and interact with a real, live human being who happens to be a lovely lady who loves the Lord.

I could probably ramble on for a while about this. But, I won't.

We have the unique privilege of living in a neighborhood with many like-hearted people, of whom the majority are foreigners, which creates an instant common ground for most of us! However, it still requires EFFORT to ASK.  It is likely that most of you reading this blog don't live as foreigners in a tight-knit community of ex-pats like we do. However, I'd guess many of you live in a neighborhood. I don't know...crazy thought here...maybe next time you need an egg or a cup of sugar that you thought you had to finish the cookies you are baking...ASK a neighbor. Or, instead of buying that new yard tool, ASK a neighbor if you can borrow his/hers.  I know, CRAZINESS! But, you might be pleasantly surprised AND end up with a great friend!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Re-Entry: Monday's Word of the Day

Re-Entry.  This word is used in space travel.  Let me use it in a sentence: “The astronauts re-entered the burning hot atmosphere of Earth.”

We use this word in the “missionary” world for both the entry back to our passport culture, as well as, entry back into our host culture after a time away.  

We just re-entered Nicaragua. Not unlike re-entry into the burning hot atmosphere of Earth, it is rough, hot, bumpy and disorienting.  The touch-down onto the Managua runway is a bumpy one and the plane needs to stop in what feels like a distance of 10 yards. The first place you visit is the immigration/customs desk where lots of document checking has to happen (not to mention pulling Spanish from the sleepy recesses of your brain to speak with the customs agent). After that, you go to find your bags. In our case, 4 of our checked bags didn’t make it. After gathering what bags did make it, you lumber through the baggage x-ray process praying that nothing looks ‘taxable’ or ‘take-able’. Then you pass through the double glass doors into swarms of people waiting for their travelers. Everyone is in their own world and so a lot of pushing through hugging groups happens while trying to drag your luggage and kids through the masses. THEN, you enter the burning hot environment of a tropical climate and you promptly start sweating from places that were previously dry during your time in the land of air conditioning. After getting everyone and everything into the car, the harrowing drive home starts. On our drive home, several cars felt the need to share our lane, a pedestrian felt the need to test physics by nearly running into our car (an object stays in motion until enacted upon by an outside force), and we were reminded of the importance of a working car horn. 

Finally arriving ‘home’ was familiar yet foreign. I awoke several times throughout the night completely unaware of where I was. Falling asleep in the time zone I left and awaking in the time zone I now found myself meant only a few hours of sleep. 

Rejoining life here in Nicaragua post the stress of re-entry feels like you are a wind-up toy that has been carried in the hand of a toddler and has been fully wound and then set down on a very flat surface in which it promptly takes off! 


So there you have it: RE-ENTRY. Now, go use it in a sentence.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

And The Award Goes To....

We just arrived back into Nicaragua a few days ago from our "In Search of Green Meadows" Adventure.  I will share more about that later. For now, I want to give a shout out of GRATITUDE to all who journeyed with us this summer....think Grammy Award Winner Speech!  I am going to try to mention EVERYONE; however, if I miss someone -- it is not intentional (feel free to let me know if I missed you and I'll gladly add you to the list).


We'd like to THANK....
(*being the type-A person that I am this list will likely be in chronological order*)


  • Our Colonia Becklin Family for helping us get ready pre-trip
  • Laura Edgar for the packing bins
  • Sarah Ternes and Josiah for feeding our pets 
  • Teresa Amador for cleaning our home and feeding our pets
  • Matt and Lauren Root and their little boy Pierson for house-sitting and pet-sitting
  • Chase Russell for driving us to the airport at 5am
  • Sam Kopp for the fantastic tour of SpaceX in Los Angeles
  • Walter Kopp for the huge gift of the van and car to use while in California
  • Chon and Becky Torres (and Haylee, Kierstin & Ricky) for hosting us and creating a soft landing place for us...COUSIN TIME was AWESOME!
  • Andrew and Dixie Mitchell for meeting us for lunch and showing us behind the scenes at Huntington Gardens
  • The Mossholders for treating us to Panera for lunch on our way up the Pacific Coast
  • Walter Kopp and Ana Aranguren for hosting us and introducing us to a great pizza place in San Anselmo, CA, giving us a tour of San Francisco, and lovin' on our family
  • Tim and Julie Elliott (and Lily & Ryan) for hosting us and sharing the Mendicino Cabin with us...what a sweet, sweet time!
  • Marc Mitchell and Rochelle Cornelius (and Sydney and Sarah) for picking us up at the ferry, sharing your home on Puget Sound with us, introducing us to stand-up paddle boarding, and lots of great food!
  • Deana Enebo for meeting us where we were figuratively and literally!
  • The Frye Family for SO MUCH...picking us up at the ferry, feeding us, caring for us....
  • Hosanna Frye for hanging with our kids so we could go on a date...or two (thanks for coming last minute!)
  • CVM for being a fabulous agency and caring for our family
  • Malia for meeting up with us for a walk around the lake
  • Carol Guttzeit for the use of your snazzy car (and leaving it at the airport so we could 'be ourselves' in the privacy of our own vehicle after a day of travel!)
  • THRIVE Ministry for hosting an AMAZING retreat for cross-cultural women
  • Nancy and Debbie for being humble and loving small group leaders
  • Mick J. who owns and rents the condo Jeff and the kids stayed at while I was at the retreat
  • Tim and Lynn Westberg of Shelter Pines for your needed and amazing ministry of providing a safe and beautiful place of rest to cross-cultural workers and their families
  • Mission Training International staff for serving in the field you do!
  • Dave and Trish Holabeck for being EXACTLY who we needed at DAR--God is good.
  • Carol Guttzeit (again) and Will Hauser for all the food, fun and fellowship in Denver!
  • 'Grandop' and 'Grandmom' for lovin' on us in NJ...for all the spoiling of grandchildren and shopping adventures
  • Alex and Mike Boczar for getting married which provided an opportunity for all the 'cousins' to  get together!!
  • Terry and Libby Foester for allowing us to house sit while you were on vacation...what a blessing it was to stay in your home!
  • OBC for the warm welcome!
  • Jennie Houser for the BIG HUG!
  • Bruce and Debbi Hoogestraat for the delicious icecream sundae bar and great conversation at your home our first night in Delaware
  • Nicole Goodsell for coming down for dinner (and the entrance into the zoo later in the summer!!!!) Oh, and my kids thank you for introducing them to Kid Snippets!!
  • Diana Noonan and baby Beau for the lovely and fun morning together and the pizza lunch! We've missed you Diana! 
  • The Hill Family for a delicious lunch and lots of talk time! Sweet time! (Thanks Curtis for giving Jeff a ride earlier the week before!)
  • Colleen Campbell for the 3 hour lunch at Panera--soul connecting conversation-what a blessing!
  • Larry and Marion Larraga for a great dinner and conversation AND for the use of your car (with A/C) for our time in Delaware!
  • The Mestern Family for the picnic in the park! 
  • The Gaultneys for a great visit and dinner from the garden!
  • The Foester Family (again) for sharing your home and space and food and love! 
  • 'Pop-pop' and 'Nana' for lovin' on us, especially grandkids...for the thoughtful meals and gifts under pillows :) !
  • Brenda Riley for the girls night away...special time.
  • The Copple Family for SO MUCH!!!!! How can we sum it up...you love in an authentic, godly, selfless way! Michelle--you are my sister-friend!
  • Amy and Andy Haynes (and Micah, Mia & M'Kayla) and the Hoogestraats for letting us join the fun on Friday night! So glad we got the opportunity to meet up!
  • The Roff Family for a great afternoon at the Copples! Amazing to look back at how God made our paths cross!
  • The Toms Family for hosting Jeff...and for being our 'mailbox'! :)
  • The pastoral staff at OBC for meeting with us over lunch!
  • The Raineys and the Minkers for a great cookout and time to talk...and Kaci for those over-the-top-delicious chocolate chip cookies
  • Heather Hermansen and boys for driving down to UD to meet us for campus time and lunch at Grottos! Good times!!! (by the way Heather...i did go shopping.)
  • Ella for having a birthday and requesting CHINESE TAKEOUT and RITA's!
  • James E. for meeting up with Jeff and delivering a care package to Joe and Elizabeth
  • The Freemans for the DELICIOUS dinner and dessert! Thanks for being authentic friends.
  • Ellen Bitler for the brownie and great conversation
  • Katie Kinch and kiddos for the talk til the sunsets night at the park!
  • Trevor T. for meeting up with Jeff and sharing life!
  • Wal-Mart and Target for accepting returns! WOW!
  • Amy Chang for the sand pudding dessert and a great night of fellowship and crazy conversation!
  • OBC again for allowing us to share our hearts! Thanks for the prayers and hugs.
  • The Fieger Family and Kaczowka family for the Capriotti subs and great conversation by the pool!
  • Holly and Jamie for roadtripping to Baltimore with us!
  • Nikki Forry and Jonathan for making the trip to see us....SO SWEET Nikki to meet your little miracle!
  • Tim and Debi Dishong for also making the trip to see us! We loved hearing your hearts!
  • Bruce Edgar for picking us up from the Managua Airport in the rain
  • Sarah Ternes for making sure we had food in the fridge and a warm welcome
  • Laurie Moudy and kiddos for the welcome banner
  • Laura Edgar for coming to give me a hug on our first night back
  • For the warm welcome back from our community
Even if you just skipped down this list and are now reading...PLEASE take note that God created us and enables us for life TOGETHER! We would not have had the amazing adventure we have had this summer if not for ALL of YOU!  We are SO thankful for the abundance of love in spirit and in practice that was poured out on us this summer! To God be the GLORY!