Our furlough through pictures – Dan & Robin’s turn

We had a many great experiences this furlough and we stayed busy, but I’ve discovered (yet again) the camera shutter didn’t click often enough.

Some of our highlight events can’t really be captured in photos. It’s understandable that the seminars and insight gained at the Exponential Church Planting Conference last April aren’t photographed.  We can’t have pictures of every moment of every VBS, and of course one doesn’t generally take pictures while sitting to report with the mission committee at a church.

Why, however, do we not have pictures with the friend and former mentor of Dan whom we unexpectedly ran into at Exponential?  Why don’t we have pictures of the visit with one of Robin’s friends from college and her family?  Why do we not have pictures of each friend who opened their home for us to stay in while we visited their church, or of the luncheons with various prayer partners and former mentors or those of new friends made.   We’re missing pictures of our anniversary weekend, pictures with parents and siblings and pictures with several other good friends whom we even managed to see with a bit of regularity.   Sigh . .

But we have a few pictures to share and hope you enjoying seeing them.

And for all the pictures we’re missing . . those moments . . . .at least the ones with people, are photographed in our minds and on our hearts.

Our kids’ furlough through pictures – pt 5

Don’t ask how we managed to go an entire furlough and not have a solid picture of Karunia with any of her grandparents but somehow that happened.  Still a solid part of her furlough was time spent with them; whether playing games or eating out or going to the Nutcracker or a cupcakery or getting a manicure she enjoyed their company and conversation.

Another highlight of this furlough for Karunia was the expanded social circle.  She carried a phone, babysat for non-family members, not only went to church camp, but also headed to FL with the Owensboro high school group and flew to Oklahoma (with Josiah) for a Third Culture Kid camp.   She attended youth group weekly, sat with the adults on several occasions (though not all) and started her first year of high school.

We realize, if we keep the same furlough schedule, then by the time we take our next furlough she may or may not be with us (depending on whether she chooses to do university in the States or in Portugal).   It’s a sobering thought.  But let’s not fast forward time and instead enjoy the pictures of the present.

Our kids’ furlough through pictures – pt 4

As I type through this series of posts, “Our kids’ furlough through pictures” I realize we don’t take enough pictures.  While I’ve managed to pull enough of each of the kids so far, it was really difficult to find the highlight pictures of Asher’s furlough.  I’ve missed all pictures of his two weeks at church camp in which he was a camper.  I’ve missed pictures of his week of soccer camp, his swim lessons, his participation in flag football for school, his Sunday “God Spot” class at Owensboro Christian, and acknowledgment that he was Student of the Month at school (I can’t remember if that was October or November).

He had a good furlough.  School started a touch rough for him but he had great teachers and things turned around after a bit.  In all honesty the turning point was the school’s fall fundraiser.  Asher came home so excited to sell trash bags and boy did he sell!

He enjoyed playing with several friends in my parents’ neighborhood and overall  made some good memories!

Enjoy the pictures of Asher.  And if you missed the other posts in this series feel free to check them out:   pt 1pt 2pt 3.


Our kids’ furlough through pictures – pt 3

I’ll be honest, if any of our children were going to struggle with their time in the States it’d have been Esperansa.  She’s our one shy child and also our most sensitive.  She cried several times before we headed to the States because although she did want to see grandparents she didn’t want to leave her friends here.

I’m pleased to say she had a great furlough.  The summer was lots of fun with many wonderful experiences (getting to know her cousins, camp and VBS, her own overnight camp, soccer camp and just good family fun).  Then school started and things only got better.  She loved school and quickly made several friends.  She participated in the Runner’s Club, learned a ton, and enjoyed the extras like library and music.  She also appreciated Sunday school class and making friends at the churches in Wood River, Owensboro and Jasper, all of whom we saw fairly regularly.

The end of furlough was rather traumatic for Esperansa.  Just as there were tears over going to the States, there were tears over leaving the States to return to Mozambique.  Enjoy the pictures and perhaps also say a prayer for her.  She’s really enjoying the reconnection with a few friends here but she’s still missing her friends there and the tears still come fairly easily.

our kids’ furlough through pictures – pt 2

So here is Jeremiah’s year.  Known missing events include pictures from a week at soccer camp, all the weeks of camp and VBS, his own personal day camp adventure at Camp Illiana, pictures from school (which he loved), swim lessons and playing in the snow.

Our kids’ furlough through pictures – pt 1

I haven’t been the best about posting pictures through this blog.  Now that our furlough is over I thought perhaps pictures would be a good way to highlight some of the events of the past 8 months.  Not everything is pictured of course, including fun in the snow which was a major event for each of the kids but none the less perhaps these pictures will let you see a bit of the fun and opportunities the kids had during their time in the States.

I’m out of birth-order but here is Josiah’s year through pictures.

Stresses and Provisions – God’s leading

We recently returned to Mozambique from an 8 month furlough.  During our travels back I was amazed at how many stresses popped up (some anticipated and others not).  But I was also amazed (and grateful) at God’s provision in those stresses.  I’ve been reflecting on those in the past few days and thought I’d share those with you.

  • airport check-in in Louisville:  on the way to the airport Shannon (our missions contact at SECC)  asked if I felt better at this stage.  My reply was that I would after we’d gotten checked-in.  You see, we had our bags carefully weighed and were within our allowance on British Air (the Chicago to South Africa flight)  but didn’t have a solid guarantee that American Airlines (the Louisville to Chicago flight) would honor that same allowance.  This was an anticipated stress which in hindsight didn’t need to be.  It was the smoothest check-in we’ve ever experienced and all our bags were accepted without any fees.
  • A delayed departure in Louisville meant potentially missing our Chicago flight.  The provision was that our flight out of Chicago was also delayed (though not by as much).  Still, that delay combined with a run through O’Hare meant we made our connection!
  • 10.5 hr layover in London was relieved by a children’s playground, some dominos which were a Christmas present, and the kids’ playing or reading on their Kindles.
  • Not a single piece of  luggage arrived with us in South Africa.   The provision however was it meant we all could simply hop in a taxi and head to the guest house rather than Dan going in a taxi with a couple pieces of luggage and the kids and I waiting at the airport for an hr or so for him to come back with our truck and trailer to load the rest.
  • A few restaurants were open in Johannesburg despite it being Christmas Day.  We’d been told absolutely everything would be closed so we’d packed food in our luggage – which didn’t arrive.  With the restaurants being open we were able to eat lunch and dinner.
  • Some of our bags were delivered to the guest house the next day, including the 2 bags we’d packed for immediate use in SA and for the drive home.  This meant we had our necessary summer clothes, shoes and toiletries.
  • Dan was able to get in to see a doctor on the 27th before we left Johannesburg when a skin infection suddenly reappeared.
  • Our remaining luggage, since it didn’t arrive before we left Johannesburg, was sent straight up to Nampula where friends were able to retrieve it for us.  That created extra space in our trailer for some purchases in South Africa which we otherwise wouldn’t have had room for.
  • For fun we’d gone to a water park.  When we were ready to leave I returned to where Dan was stationed to discover Asher wasn’t with him as I’d thought.  For a good 20 minutes we couldn’t find him (major stress) but a frantic search finally allowed us to find him!
  • December 29th – we were leaving the guesthouse to head to Nelspruit, South Africa for a couple days.  However when we hooked the trailer back up to the car the lights suddenly weren’t working which meant we couldn’t leave.  God’s provision here was huge.  The guest house had a gentleman who was extremely knowledgable with car electronics.   He spent his entire day off (10am – 5pm) working on our car/trailer and got it to a place where it was functioning enough to head on.  The other blessings here were that no one was set to be in the cabin where we’d stayed so the establishment allowed us to remain in the room (out of the rain) so the kids could watch TV and play games in comfort.  Also since our luggage for use in SA had arrived I had those food items we’d packed for Christmas day and was able to make lunch for us (since the guest house restaurant wasn’t open for lunch).
  • Our credit card was blocked by the company for potential fraud (which was not fraud but us).  Thankfully I was online that morning and saw the notice before we headed to the store so I was able to clear the alert before we found ourselves in a store trying to make a purchase.
  • The 3 day drive of final travel home to Nampula was the smoothest we’ve ever had!  A simple, fast crossing at the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe with no hassle and fees being waived.  A simple and quick crossing at the border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique with no hassle from customs or immigration over our stuff!

There were other issues, though at the moment I can’t think of them.  What does stand out, is God’s provision.  And not just his provision but the quickness of that provision in many of those instances.  Never were multiple stresses sitting in front of us, but rather each issue was resolved before another presented itself.  Life isn’t always like that, I know.  Sometimes we have to deal with multiple issues at the same time, but in this case it was a great reminder that God was walking each step with us.

Step by step He leads.  Step by step He provides.  Step by step we must follow.