Thursday December 20, 2018

Exodus 4:11 Then the Lord said to him, “who has made man’s mouth? What makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?

After yesterday’s festivities everyone on the mission was a bit tired, though there is no rest for the weary. For the past week Uncle Rick and Uncle John have been diligently working on one of the faulty water pumps that supplies the well water to the mission. They have been fixing the problem only have it break again within 12-24 hours. It has been very frustrating for them and for us, that means either no water at all or very little water pressure at times. Today they were up early in the morning and they got the water up and running again. I think our time in Thailand was a wonderful preparation for this because during our time in there we never knew when there would be no water (they were doing work on the water main in front of our host’s house). Though it never was for more than 12 hours at a time, you just always had to be prepared for no water! And while this is a unique situation here on the mission, it is one now and you just have to roll with it; there is plenty to drink and to accommodate the necessities (teeth and face washing), but doesn’t account for full showers and you need to conserve all that you can.

Todays focus was on decorating the dining hall with the paper snowflakes that have been made over the last few days, putting up the Christmas tree, having the silhouette nativities painted, and many other decorations. The dining hall looked absolutely amazing and I was astonished how quickly things got put together to bring Christmas into the room.

We also mixed in the homeschooling for our kids and Anjali found a nice spot on the playground to do her work. The approach we are taking with the kids is so much more relaxing for everyone and to my surprise they are still getting the work done.

My kids all have a different approach to learning and we just have to figure it out in order to make this homeschooling work for all of us. We are all excited because tomorrow will be the last day of school and the first day Christmas break for our kids and the mission kids. I think we are all ready for a break from school work and that routine!

As usual, the kids ate dinner at 6 pm with the mission kids, we washed them and put them to bed before Jeff and I headed off to dinner in Uncle Rick’s room. We had a really fun night of laughing and stories, even a few bits of food flying through the room (Clifton and Lachlan were throwing orange peels at each other and I somehow got mixed up with their shenanigans and ended up with an orange peel to the forehead!) It was a really fun evening of laughing and goofing around with friends that I met only 1 month ago. Again, I am surprised at how quickly friendships can grow. The Lord’s amazing powers to make things from nothing is just mind-blowing and I am thankful every day to see His awesome works.

Tuesday December 18, 2018

Amos 8:1-2 This is what the Lord God showed me—a basket of summer fruit. He said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me, “The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass them by.

It took me a while to figure out this passage and why this might be important to me at this moment. I had to read the previous scripture passages and got a little help from Jeff and David (my 10 year old son). I came to understand that this scripture is a warning from God. We never know when He is coming again so we need to be prepared and live the life He meant for us. Amos was shown a basket of summer fruit and as I now see it, that was God’s way of showing him that He will harvest those that were “ripe”. David pointed out that maybe that was God’s way to telling us to make sure that we were the “ripe” fruit when He comes again. I am sitting up on our balcony overlooking the mission here in India and I realized that this mission is helping to ripen us into what God wants from us and it is our responsibility to take an active role in making sure that happens.

Today I was again taught a lesson in appreciation. Since being here on the mission I have been hand washing our clothes in buckets in our shower. We do have access to the industrial washer, but we have to time our wash in between the cycles and the mounds of kids clothing. Also, I have a hard time having the girls here do our laundry when they have enough to do. I had to learn how to do this because I have never done laundry this way before, but I am getting the hang of it. I do 2 washes and 2-3 rinses before wringing the clothes out and hanging them on the line to dry. A Facebook friend said it best after I posted this…”washing machines are an under-appreciated appliance” and I could not agree more. I have never been without one and I never fully appreciated the one that I had, but I am looking forward to having one again soon (okay, in 8 months).

As for Christmas preparations, I was able to get more wrapping done, as well as draw some decorations on plywood; the first is a silhouette manger scene and the second are the letters “L O V E” to be painted and added to the already hanging Hope, Joy, and Peace. The wrapping seems to take up most of the day, but my girls have helped out a bit, which was really fun to spend time with them.

My silhouette manger drawing
Uncle John’s drawing (just a bit more detailed than mine)!

One of the other things that I have really enjoyed here are the breaks for tea and a chance to catch up with everyone. It really is a time to catch up on the happenings around the mission and areas that we can help. After tea today, I did some more wrapping (it is almost done) and then spent some time in the dining hall helping with decorations for Christmas.

Today was a very nice day and a great opportunity to open myself up so God can use me in ways He needed.

Monday December 17, 2018

Matthew 5:42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

Homeschooling was much more peaceful for Jeff and I, but the kids got very little work done. I am counting this as a great teaching moment; they were left to make their own choices today about school, we gave them their assignments and kept them on track with the time, but they were responsible to do the work and ask for help when they needed it. Today, they chose to relax and just sit around doing not much of anything. Later in the afternoon, Jeff and I had a talk with them and shared that if they didn’t want to do school, we would spend the day tomorrow helping to clean up the mission (now that Clifton was back he was able to share with us what he wanted us to do). This wasn’t a threat, but rather another option for them. They can’t just sit around and do nothing, so they have to make a choice: go to school and learn or get some work done around the mission.

I think this was a productive conversation and they seemed to actually internalize some of it. We are going to try school again tomorrow, but instead of study time at 4:30 we are going to work as a family on cleaning up the part of the mission Clifton requested. This will be a project that we will work on over the next week or so and I am so excited to get the kids doing some actual work here. We believe that their work here is mostly to play and engage with the kids, which they have all done beautifully! I think for a while I might have lost sight of that.

Jeff has been working with Lachlan at the school helping with choir rehearsal for the concert on Saturday while I have been busy with decorations in the dining hall and wrapping gifts. I have been bouncing back and forth between helping on the mission and teaching the kids. Jeff and I seem to have a nice system worked out by switching the teaching role throughout the day–it keeps the kids guessing and it gives them a new person teaching them.

Choir Rehearsal

Uncle John captivating the kids with a story of some kind!

Monday December 10, 2018

Ruth 1:16-17 But Ruth said, “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die—there will I be buried. May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!”

Christmas preparations were underway again today with wrapping the rest of the boys’ gifts and after most of the day I finished all that I could. It brings me so much joy to think of all the smiling faces on Christmas morning. I can’t wait to celebrate with these children and this large family. Here are some pictures of the gifts wrapped thus far!

Jeff has been so wonderful to hold down the fort as far as teaching our children, while I wrap. Unfortunately the room where I have been wrapping is on the girls side of the mission and he is not allowed without a female staff member, so it is just not conducive to have him back there with me (plus I don’t think 3 people will fit in this small storage room).

I forgot to mention yesterday that Clifton and Pricilla got a new dog yesterday, the same day Clifton left for a work trip, which meant that there was a need to have the dog walked a couple times a day in order to burn off some of his energy. He is a very sweet dog and Jeff happily took on the task of walking him. Although while walking him this morning he realized that a new chain and harness would be very helpful, so we stopped at the pet store in town this afternoon. Jeff is planning on walking him at least twice a day. He is very rambunctious, jumping and barking at everything, but the fact that he was living on top of a hospital explains it. Going from the solitude which he had there to life on the mission, with kids running around screaming and playing, it is no wonder he doesn’t know what to do!

Reflecting on today’s scripture is a reminder of my commitment to Jeff. Sharing this journey of life with him is such a blessing and there is no one else on earth I would rather walk beside through it all. We have had ups and downs, but even through them our commitment to each other has never swayed. He will always be the one who makes my life better by just walking next to me and I thank God everyday for bringing us together.