Sunday, May 30, 2010

Just Sayin'

Sometimes when I am struggling with something, I tell Jeff that "I am not looking for you to solve my problem, I don't necessarily want advice...I just need to talk." That is what this is...a very candid look into what I am feeling.

I miss my house. I want to go home. But I have no house. I miss my cat. This apartment is not mine. It isn't how I would decorate it. Living in community is taxing...but good...but constant. The future looks daunting. Seriously, I have move to a culture and language that I dont' know?! I miss my normal. I miss friends. I don't want to have to walk outside to to laundry, let alone share the washer and dryer with others. Growing is hard. I want to coast through my day without having to learn.

What I don't miss is the opportunity I have here to learn what reliance on Christ looks like....starting to grasp what Paul meant when he said that in his weakness there was strength. I don't miss the opportunity that I have here to learn that the point at which I feel like 'I don't have the strength to do this' THAT point is exactly where I need to be, where God wants me to be...because it is then that God shines and is glorified through my reliance on Him and Him alone.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Noah's a good sport

Papa: "Hey Noah, we are a little low on space for our trip to Nicaragua. Would you be willing to travel in a Rubber Maid container?"

Noah: "You mean in here?"

Noah: "This makes me a little nervous.

PaPa: "It will be OK, trust me."
Noah: "OK, I will trust you."

7 hours later...Noah: "Wow, that was a long trip."

Noah: "Hey, wait a minute, I am not in Nicaragua. You were just joking with me."

Please note, no children were harmed, or knowingly deceived, in the making of this post.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"It's not wrong, it's just different"

Our family is learning this new catch phrase: "it's not wrong, it's just different." Of course, this cannot be applied to all situations...but for the most part this phrase will be helpful as we submerge ourselves into a new culture in Nicaragua.

We are experiencing a bit of a "cultural change" in our present location as well. For example, there is NO dishwasher here in our apartment at Mission Training Camp...yes, you read that right! As my mom would say, "I am the dishwasher". Ella walked up to me today while I was standing at the sink hand washing the breakfast dishes and said, "oh, so that is how you wash dishes." That's right, it's not wrong, it's just different.

Down here, it is not uncommon to see a sofa on the porch. It's not wrong, it's just different. Phrases like: 'y'all' or 'fixin' are common here where we are. It's not wrong, it's just different. BBQ down here in NC is pulled pork, NOT hamburgers and hotdogs. Say it with me, "it's not wrong, it's just different."

Who knows? Maybe this phrase will come in handy in your life too.

Monday, May 24, 2010

P.S. Please Write

If you would like to send us a nice note of encouragement while we are here at Mission Camp OR want to send the kids something (yes, grandparents...we are talking to you) can use this address:
Jeff and Bethany Bracht
c/o CIT
P.O. Box 250
Union Mills, NC 28167

We look forward to hearing from you!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Home in NC

We are finally in North Carolina at the Center for Intercultural Training (CIT)! Our journey started with a broken transmission in our car, just 2 days prior to leaving. It will take more than a week to fix. As a close friend would say: "That was disappointing", but not a surprise to God. We are happy that it happened then, and not on our way to N.C. God provided a great vehicle with multiple discounts when Hertz heard the "where" and "why" of our need for renting. If you can handle the consequence of lying (see commandment #9) I (Jeff...if you know bethany, she would never consider breaking a rule) recommend that you tell everyone in the service industry that you are headed to the mission get great discounts and upgrades. It is better than saying that you are on your honeymoon. Try it at McDonald's sometime, you just might get upgraded to the large value meal for free :)

So here are some pictures from our day...

Wrestling on the beds in a hotel...the only place you can do that without your parents grumping at you.

Unpacking "our" Chevy Tahoe

Our new home:

Playing with some gifts from friends. Thanks Ralph, Jen, Mark, and Michelle

Kitchen and Jeff and Bethany's room beyond.

Spin 180 degrees to see living room, dining room, bathroom, and kids room.

Taking a break to play with Mommy.

Unpacking groceries. We will not have a car while we are here, so we tried to buy enough groceries for a family of 5 for 6 weeks. I have never bought so much food...2 carts worth. I cringed to see the amount at the register ($325)...I made Bethany swipe the card.

The boys love the bunk beds.

Beunas noches from the Bracht family. Thank you so much for your prayers and support! We are doing much better than we expected amidst all these changes.
-Jeff, Bethany, Andrew, Ella, and Noah

To our Ogletown family: We sorely missed you this morning, and hope that you had a great time of fellowship in the combined service. We wish that we could have been there.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

On our way

This is a late night and tired post. Bethany will be better about details later.

We are in Virginia for the night and are planning on being at CIT in North Carolina tomorrow. God has been so good to us today! We had an amazing breakfast prepared by Michelle this morning. We then said goodbye to our generous hosts in Middletown, packed up our rental car (Bethany will explain later) and made a pit stop to say goodbye to our beloved neighbors, Diana and Rich (thanks for the cupcakes!). We had a smooth ride down to VA, and only had to answer "when will we get there?" 12 times, but who's counting?

As I was driving today, I found myself appreciating how God has provided for us by means of your friendship, partnership, and prayer. This is a team effort! We can not do it without you.

Everyone is asleep now, and I should head there as well.

Thankful to God for you,

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mixed Feelings

It is Thursday morning as I (Jeff) write this. I would normally be in the operating room on a Thursday morning, doing one of my favorite (the way to heal is with cold steel). Yesterday was my last day of "work", so instead I am getting our affairs in order as we get ready to move to North Carolina for missions training.

I have mixed feelings. I enjoyed practicing medicine and surgery, and working with my friends at the Kirkwood Animal Hospital, but I am also very excited for this next stage of my life. I feel like this past stage of my life was necessary preparation for what comes next, and I feel like I am closer to doing what God has created me to do...what he has prepared for me to do. I am very excited for what comes next, even as I grieve the minor loss of my past enjoyment. Hence the mixed feelings.

Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (NIV)

p.s. Thank you to my friends at the Kirkwood Animal Hospital. You made my time there enjoyable. Thank you for being a friend to me, and for loving on my family.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Basement Dwellers

We want to give 'props' to God for the awesome friends whom He has given us on this journey. (By the way...i looked up props in Urban pastor uses it, so i am guessing it is authentic enough. LOL!)

We are living in the basement of some AWESOME friends. They are incredible examples of generousity. In fact, Ella even commented to Noah about how he should "share" just like how our friends are sharing their house with us. Never underestimate the example you are to small children!

In a few days, we will depart for "mission training camp" and become "apartment dwellers." It has been a long time since we have lived in an apartment...and it will be the first time we will have lived in an apartment with 3 kids! Let the good times roll!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Homeless in Delaware

Well...what took us 7 years to make a home at 2 Orchid Court...took us 15 minutes to sell this morning. It is official. Our house is SOLD. Signed the copious amount of documents, handed over the garage door opener, the keys and there we have it.

Relief. Sadness. Excitement. (Can you hear the audible "sigh"?)

Stay tuned only gets more exciting from here!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cheap Water

So, I called the water company to set up the cancellation of our service since we officially sell our house next week. Being the frugal (okay, stingy) person that I am, I wanted to be sure that we would only be billed for the water that we use. In other words, don't bill me for water the new people use on the "day of sale". The customer service lady actually laughed at me as she explained that a day's normal usage of water would amount to about 30 cents. Maybe it's just me, but I was actually very surprised. However, what amazes me, in light of our future move to Nica, is that 30 cents for a days worth of drinkable water is an incredibly good deal! We will have to carefully filter ALL of our water OR buy bottled water to drink, rinse our toothbrushes, soak our vegies and fruit, etc.

Yeah, it is all fun and games until someone gets super serious and sobering!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Some VERY Random Thoughts for Today

My super-selfish thought of the day:
"That air mattress doesn't look near as comfortable as my seventeen inch memory foam mattress...i don't want to sleep on that!" (think two year old tantrum)

A convicting thought of the day (taken from Duane Elmer's Cross-Cultural Connections):
"Often people listen only as a courtesy until they can speak."

Today's reality:
My house is a mess, even with considerably less than half of what we used to own, because we have NO dressers left.

The Bottom-Line:
God is Sovereign. We are LOVED by Him.