Our Kids’ Turn

Ever since furlough began we have been busy traveling and reporting on our life and ministry in Mozambique.  Suddenly 3 of our children are having an opportunity of their own to speak.

Karunia has been asked to speak at her FCA meeting tomorrow morning (Thursday, November 21st) about life in Mozambique.  She’s prepared her talk and a group of pictures to speak through as well.

Asher’s teacher asked him to assemble some pictures of Mozambique and his life there to show to his classmates.

Josiah, while not speaking on Mozambique per se, has been asked to share a devotional thought with his FCA type group next week.

We’re very excited for each of our kids and the opportunities the Lord has laid before them.  We pray they will honor Christ through these opportunities, being salt and light to those with whom they interact and share.

Divided Kids

Well we’ve now hit that point in our furlough where the kids are divided.

Karunia expressed several weeks ago that she was now ready “to go home.”  She’s enjoyed her experiences here in the States – 2 camps (horseback camp and a 3rd Culture Kid camp) this past summer along with a week trip to Florida with the Owensboro youth group for Student Life.  She’s getting along well in school and likes her teachers.  She’s happy to spend time with grandparents, but she’s now yearning for the more familiar.  The missing of her Mozambican friends has grown with the longer stretch of time and she’s ready to go back.

Esperansa, on the other hand, doesn’t want to head back.  In a way this is surprising.  This was our child who last March was in tears over leaving Mozambique – both with the news that we’d eventually be transitioning to Portugal but also with the thought of coming to America for furlough.  Sure, she was excited at the prospect of seeing her grandparents, but she didn’t want to leave her friends or school which she loved.  I’m very happy that she has adjusted so well to being here.  Just as in Mozambique she has made several friends and she loves school.  She has now, twice, been in tears at the prospect that it’s almost time for us to leave America.  She’s commented that she doesn’t want to leave her friends and her school.  We’ve talked a lot about it and I’ve tried to affirm what a great thing it is to have made friends.  We’ve talked about things we can do so perhaps she can keep up with those friends inspite of the distance.  I’ve reminded her she had similar feelings about leaving Mozambique just a bit ago.  I know she will be fine as we head back but for her she only can think of the present and she wants to stay.

Jeremiah has commented a time or two that he’s ready to go back to Mozambique.  If you ask him why however his response is simply, “because it’s not cold there and I won’t have to wear a coat!”

Josiah is thoroughly enjoying school and church youth group and has made the most of his time here, running cross country and now wrestling with the school, going deer hunting, youth trips, summer camp, etc.  He has asked a time or two if we can’t at least finish the school year here.  He’s not opposed to going back but isn’t eager to leave.

I’ll confess I didn’t know how Asher felt about it, at least not until this morning.  He hasn’t asked to go back nor has commented on wanting to stay.  We had to actually ask him his thoughts on the matter and he commented he’ll be glad to see his friends. 

So the kids are divided with some wanting to stay and others wanting to go.  

“Comings and Goings” are such a part of our life I pray I can be sensitive to their feelings and needs as they juggle “home’s” location, particularly since whether/when we go or stay doesn’t depend on how they feel.  


Praying for Peace

You may not keep up much with the news of Mozambique, but there has been quite a bit of unrest over the last several weeks.  I’ll add news links below so you can catch up in more detail if you’d like, but the abbreviated gist is that the main minority party (which fought in the civil war against the current majority party) is unhappy about several things and small groups of their former guerrilla soldiers have attacked traffic on the main north-south highway as well as a few other places.  The military then reacted to that by storming the leader’s/party’s headquarters.  The minority party has now denounced, at least on their side, the peace accords signed in 1992.

Since that time there have been more skirmishes here and there (mostly in the central part of the country) and attacks on a military convoy which is helping cars and trucks safely navigate a 100km stretch of the national high which connects the south of the country to the north.

From what we can gather, daily life for most people is continuing as normal, however tensions are high.  No one wants to return to war, and while at this point it doesn’t seem like things will fall apart to that degree it has crossed peoples minds that this could be the beginning of the slide back to civil war.

Municipal elections are on Friday this week (the 22nd).  The before mentioned minority political party is boycotting those elections.  Please pray.

Pray for political peace.  That leaders would actually dialogue so discussion can replace violence and resolution can be achieved.

Pray for calm elections.

Pray also for true peace! Peace based on knowing Christ and having a relationship with Him.  The peace which surpasses understanding and can remain in or despite a lack of peace around us.

Here are a few links if you’d like to read more (listed newest to oldest).

Radio Interview

About a year and a half ago, slightly after the Lord laid on my, Robin’s,  heart the idea of earning my group fitness instructor certificate, I contacted Theresa Rowe to seek her council.  Theresa is a wonderful Christian lady, with an amazing testimony, who not only teaches fitness classes at my home church in Owensboro but has developed her own ministry, Shaped By Faith, to encourage the shaping of both hearts and bodies for God’s purpose.  I knew she’d be able to give me advice on what kind of certification I would need, from where to get it, and how to get started.

Since we’ve been somewhat settled in Owensboro for the school year I’ve been able to attend several of Theresa’s classes each week and talk with her a bit more about fitness and how I desire to use that with ministry.

One extension of Theresa’s Shaped By Faith ministry is that she has a weekly radio show.  Several weeks ago she asked if she could interview us for her show – to ask about us and our ministry.  We were excited for the opportunity to share about our ministry, both what God has done and the vision He has given us for the future.

We missed hearing it on the radio since we were out of town on both it’s air dates, however we’ve since been able to listen to the podcast of it.  We thought perhaps some of you might like the opportunity as well.

I will say, on the podcast link page you’ll see three blue arrows.  Those are individual segments of the show so click on the first one to begin.  When that section is over you’ll need to click the middle arrow and finally the last.

Promises – Bribery – Weighing the Cost – A Lesson Learned

I will say first off, this post has nothing to do with our ministry but is a reflection of life lessons and the training we are doing with our children (and even mirrors part of a Biblical tale).   I will also say that because I’m trying to prevent unnecessary embarrassment on the part of my children I’ve removed their names so it is a touch more complicated to read.

Tuesday evening I found one of my children (child A we’ll say) in tears.  After they’d calmed down enough to talk I discovered they’d been promised a treasure, of their choosing, by one of their siblings (child B) in exchange for having shared something the weekend before.  I told Child A to go discuss it directly with Child B and I would help out later if still necessary.

The next morning the issue was still there so we sat down to discuss the issue and hear the full story.

The fuller scenario was that Child B had asked Child A to share part of a pop-tart.  In exchange Child A would be able to choose a treasured item.  When the time of choosing came however, Child B didn’t allow Child A to choose but just gave them an item without regard for the particulars and therein lay the problem.  Child A was upset they didn’t get the choice.

Point 1:  If you made a promise then you must honor that promise, as it was given.  Only in this way can you build trust with your sibling.  Just as if I tell you I’ll do something, you expect me to do that.  If I fail to keep my promise it  breaks your trust in me.   It was at this point Child B then announced (with great annoyance), “fine you can choose from these 4 but not these 2.”  That led to clarification of whether any stipulations had been in the initial promise (there hadn’t been).  We then had to talk about how it would have been within their right to place limitations on the choice, “you may choose of any, minus my favorite, etc” but since there weren’t limitations placed initially, for fairness and trust sake, they shouldn’t be put in now.  Frustration, but thankfully no tears, now ensued on Child B’s part as Child A took one of the items Child B did not want to part with.

Point 2:  I hate bribery.  I know there are times in society, in life, where exchanges occur naturally and it isn’t necessarily a bribe.  For example, if you help me unload the dishwasher then I’ll read you a book or if you get all your homework finished then you’ll be able to play a computer game.  My children seem to put a spin on this however so that they are often bribing their siblings.  To me that was much of this scenario.  Child B wanted something Child A had and didn’t want to share just to be kind (we need to work on this as well) so Child B offered something Child A would want so enough so they would feel compelled to share.  I realize Child A technically had a choice and could have said no but . . . . there’s simply no kindness or love in bribery.

Point 3:  Did you catch what the item shared was?  Part of a pop-tart.  Not a whole pop-tart out of a package of 2 but part of a pop-tart.  I guess I should also say we try not to eat much sugar in our house (or wheat) so pop-tarts and candy/cakes are limited and therefore very special, but still, part of a pop-tart?  Food, which is temporary and gone in a matter of minutes (or in this specific case probably 4 bites) in exchange for a tangible item that will last quite a bit longer.  I asked Child B if this reminded them of a Biblical story at all.  They did recall Jacob and Esau and the buying of birthright in exchange for a bowl of stew.  . . . .   I tried, gently, to point out the cost value of the traded item versus part of a pop-tart and to talk about weighing the cost of our decisions.

Our discussion ended.  Child A was elated for getting to choose with no stipulations.  Child B was a bit somber at having her favorite item taken and over the discussion but I think lessons were learned.  Now on another day I need to re-sit with Child A and discuss kindness (again) and how sometimes we should extend grace and not take the known treasured item, even if it’s in our right to do so, and how perhaps they should share the treasured item with Child B on occasion.