Life at MRF

We have been serving here at MRF for a little over a year and this week, we had to say our first goodbye to a family that has lived here for almost as long as we have! They landed this morning in a semi-closed country in the Far East, so to protect their identity, I’m going to refrain from using their names, so bear with me.

Over the past year, we were able to do something we hoped we would get to do here at MRF: get to know and encourage a family on their way to the mission field for the first time. A number of families have come and gone here at MRF and a few have been heading to the field for their first term, but for some reason, we just got to know this family more than the others. Their kids played with our kids, Brian took him out to breakfast on a regular basis, and I spent time with her fairly often. They even spent time at the Center for Intercultural Training (CIT) where we prepped for Peru about six years ago. When we found out they were headed there, we were ecstatic and able to tell them some of what to expect and encourage them that it was the best thing they could do before heading overseas [and we were right :) ].

We said goodbye to them Sunday night. They got on a plane Monday evening for their 15 hour flight and were to land this morning in a new world (for the first time for their kids).

It reminded us so much of our first time going to Peru. Unless you’ve done it before, it’s hard to understand all the emotion that goes into …. leaving. So much packing, planning, organization, thinking ahead 6-12 months, weighing your bags, checking your tickets and visas and passports, preparing your children, saying goodbyes – over and over and over – not just to people, but flavors, sights, sounds, language, and lifestyle. You know your world is about to be rocked and as ready as you are, you will never be fully prepared for what’s in store. The excitement outweighs the fear, but does not eliminate it.

If we had never gone to Peru, we would never be able to relate to the other missionaries coming through MRF. We know where they’re coming from and what they’re going through. We had a taste of cross-cultural living, have had to say multiple goodbyes, and have had to pack up and move numerous times. We know what it’s like to live out of suitcases, away from family. We have an idea of what people can expect when they’re first heading out and we know how beneficial cultural training can be. We also know what it’s like to return and experience reverse cultural shock, something that’s not talked about as often. We feel this helps us relate to those who come through MRF and we are so grateful for that.

As the summer is wrapping up, we are working on rearranging pictures, replacing bedding, and doing minor repairs inside as well as major repairs outside some of the homes that are currently vacant. One home is getting new skirting (it’s an old trailer). Brian crawled underneath two trailers and leveled them. Numerous woodchucks, that were doing serious damage underneath three of the homes, have been…. exterminated (Brian got a new toy… let’s just leave it at that).

Here are some very specific things you can do for us here at MRF:

  • Pray for the families that travel through here. Some are on longer home assignments, one is still raising support for their first term, and we have had some pastors come through this year that are suffering from burn-out.
  • Pass the word to your pastors and full-time ministry workers in your church that if their family needs a time of retreat, even just for a night, to contact us. Our rates are cheaper than a hotel and our homes are fully-furnished. We have two lakes, hiking paths, and are close to local attractions and shopping, and only 2 hours from NYC.
  • Know a missionary coming back on home assignment and needing to pass this way? Have them contact us! We’d love to have them stop by.
  • Done with some artwork, bedding, curtains, children’s books, or simple indoor or outdoor toys? How about DVD’s or board games? Instead of giving them to Goodwill, could we take a look at them and see if there’s anything we could use?
  • Do you quilt, crochet, knit, sew? Would you be willing to donate your time and help us make new quilts, pretty blankets, throw pillows, and/or curtains for some of the homes?

We are so thankful we get to serve here at MRF. It’s an awesome ministry. Come visit us – we’d love to show you around!

It’s been a while…

Summer is halfway done and this blog has been embarrassingly quiet for far too long. 

Brian’s trip to Ireland has come and gone. It went very, very well. Brian and his teammate, Matt, got a lot accomplished while at Castledaly Manor. They did some pretty intense work that the board members and other missionaries simply did not have time for before camp began. To hear more about his trip, be sure you are signed up to receive our e-newsletters, which will go out the beginning of next week.

While Brian was gone, my big job was to keep the house running and the kids occupied so they wouldn’t notice Daddy wasn’t home. We visited friends, went to the library and playgrounds, and did activities at home. They were actually pretty tired by the time Brian returned.

The week after Brian returned, I directed Vacation Bible School for our church. I began the work back in February and it was amazing to see it come to fruition. It went off without a noticeable hitch. I had amazing volunteers who did SO much work. We ran 50+ kids all 5 days. I count it as a success.

Brian jumped back into work at MRF within a day of being home. Summer is our busy time, so we have lots of change-overs in short amounts of time. He has a few large projects he is trying to finish before fall as well – another topic to read about in our newsletter. 

Next week, I am “missionary of the week” at a CEF Day Camp here at MRF. I look forward to sharing with the kids about BCM around the world. 

Elena went with me to VBS and had a blast. She was so good and enjoyed the time SO much. The kids are enjoying a giant backyard and new sand pit that friends made for us. It’s been a beautiful summer and they are soaking up every minute of the sunshine. 

Again, watch for our newsletter next week. Thanks for praying for us while Brian was gone. Want to join him as he goes to Lima this fall? Contact us! We’d love to have you experience overseas missions first-hand.

Home Not-Quite-Alone

We are Day #7 out of 12 of Brian’s trip to Ireland and so far, so good. Only one call to poison control, one almost broken toe, three meltdowns, and one fever. *phew* :)

No, but in all seriousness, things are going really well here at home. I thought the kids would have more problems with Daddy being gone for such a long period of time, but things seem to be going fairly smoothly. Occasionally our little boy looks up at me with his big blue eyes and goes, “Da Da?” I tell him, “No, buddy, not here.” He shrugs his little shoulders and wanders off. Again, *phew*.

We changed our phone plan and now, we can connect to WiFi with our cell phones, so Brian is able to use the WiFi in Ireland and call me occasionally. We text a few times each day as well. I wasn’t sure how often I’d hear from him, so it’s nice getting this much communication. Things are going very well; they’re getting a lot of work done on the campground before camp begins Sunday night. They are both totally confused on what time it is, and what day it is, so they keep ending their work days at 11pm. But, they’ll be okay. They’re getting quite a bit done and are really enjoying their time.

Here at home, I’m finishing up prep for VBS. This is a HUGE undertaking for me and I’m incredibly grateful for the people who have stepped up to help out and direct different areas. However, the last minute details are going to make my hair fall out, I’m just sure of it. I’m looking forward to the week. I’m also looking forward to it being done. :) Just pray for us! Thankfully, God is a God of details and He won’t let them go untouched. It’ll be fine. It might even be great. :)

Thanks for praying for our little family during Brian’s trip. Continue to do so – it’s not over yet! Pray him safely home for me!

Ministry/Vacation Trip

P1030775We have been wanting to get up to Vermont since we returned to the States in 2012, but timing just was not coming together with beginning new ministries, moving, small baby, etc. So – finally – this past week, we made a quick trip up to visit my sister, her husband, and the church I grew up in, which is also one of our first supporting churches. We stayed a week and had an awesome time. It felt like a mini-vacation with two speaking engagements thrown in. I think we all needed it.

Wednesday evening, the church organized a fellowship time with us and then a time for us to share. Tanya (my sister) kept saying, “You may have 20 people – you may have 120 – I really don’t know!” We were incredibly excited to see about 100 people come to hear us share in the evening! What’s really ironic is that not only has UBC (click to check out their website) supported us for seven years, but they have supported MRF for… Oh, I don’t even know how long! At least as long as my parents have been there, which was since the mid ’80’s. Years ago, the church ladies sent quilts down for the beds… some of which are still floating around! But, no one has been able to go up there and give a ministry update in quite some time, so with a whole new generation of families at UBC, many didn’t even know what MRF is or what all we do here. As well, the church is very well aware of BCM, but really only in regards to the work  in Peru, so we were able to broaden it a bit and share about the work BCM does internationally. The response from the evening was VERY good. The best part for us was at the end when they spontaneously came around us and spent time in prayer for us.

Sunday morning, we shared again, focusing mainly on MRF. It was very well received again and we had a lot of feedback afterwards, which was super encouraging to us.

What struck me most this time around was the fact that this is how the church should function. I grew up there – in that school, youth group, and church body. They were really the ones who taught me and helped me grow during my formative years. To be able to stand there, with my husband, and share about our ministry and how they support us just feels like coming full-circle. A church should be raising up their young people and sending them out to do missions, then supporting them as they do so! They should be involved, not just in prayer and finances, but with contact and missions trips and practical help. UBC does all of that for us and we are very grateful to them.

The last time we were in Vermont, Elena was just a peanut, about 4 months old, and it was the dead of winter, so we didn’t do much.

Elena, last time we visited VT - Feb. of 2011!

Elena, last time we visited VT – Feb. of 2011!

This time, the kids were bigger and the weather was gorgeous, so we did a bit of sightseeing when we could. It was a blast taking them into Franconia Notch, NH, and doing some family hiking.

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My sister and I did some yard saling and Brian helped with a few projects around their house. My sister has a giant dog that the kids absolutely LOVED, Joseph especially. She also has chickens, which Elena would talk to and feed to her heart’s content.

We got home Monday evening and jumped back into ministry here. We finished our Wed. evening program for the school year a couple weeks ago. Parents were invited to join us for the evening and we had an amazing turnout!

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We gave out some prizes, played games, sang songs, and ate (way too much) ice cream. It was an awesome way to close out the year and makes us look forward with anticipation to the fall.

I have worked for almost two months on setting up the summer schedules for the children’s ministries and it still doesn’t seem to be completed! I’m also preparing a VBS for July, but that’s slow-going, too. You can be in prayer for these two areas over the next few weeks.

Here at MRF, the homes are full, but minor repairs are still constant. Pray with us and the board about the possibility of expansion; it’s so hard to hear of people needing housing and having nothing open to offer!

The next edition of BCM World is coming out, Lord-willing, next week or the week after (it’s all up to Brian now and his design expertise!). I have two articles in there – hope you enjoy them! I’ll post the link when it’s published.

Brian leaves in just a few short weeks for his 10-day trip to Ireland: June 19-30. If you would like to help finance his trip, you can send funds in, marked “Brian Biegert Ireland Trip” to BCM Int’l – that would be greatly appreciated! Pray with our family as this will be a stretch, not having daddy for 10 days is a LONG time when you’re little! Pray for me as I will have lots to accomplish while he’s gone, but being mom & dad will be first priority. Pray for Matt, the guy from our church going with him, that this trip will impact his life as well and open his eyes to missions.

Brian’s last trip of the year will in October, back down to Lima, Peru. This trip is still open, but filling up quickly – which is awesome! Contact us if you’re interested in joining him!

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In Short:

Woa. I have become quite the slacker when it comes to this blog! Here’s what’s been going on since Easter:

  • Immediately after Easter, I held my first ever “Training & Recognition Day” for my children’s ministry volunteers. I have a total of 40+ volunteers in the children’s ministry and 26 of them showed up for the day. It was not the number I was hoping for, to be honest, but I’ll still take it! We began the morning with some recognition time, specifically thanking certain individuals, and then I talked about the upcoming changes to programs. We enjoyed a catered brunch and then did three hours of training using BCM’s In Step with the Master Teacher program. I taught two hours; my director in teacher training, Stan, taught three (we taught two of those hours simultaneously). It was a successful, blessed day and I look forward to the 2nd Annual Training & Recognition Day in spring 2015!
  • Yesterday, Wednesday the 14th, was our last Pioneer Clubs for the 2014 school year. Parents were invited to come out and we had a FULL house! I was ecstatic with the number of kids with their parents who made it! We played games with the parents, passed out prizes, and enjoyed ice cream with all the toppings you could possibly imagine. And then watched the kids literally run in circles while they waited on parents. :)
  • This Sunday, we end the school year children’s church program. We’ll begin a different summer program beginning June 1.
  • Also this Sunday I have my first planning meeting for something I have participated heavily in before, but never directed: Vacation Bible School! So excited – and completely terrified! Just praying for a good turnout of volunteers!
  • We will be in Vermont next week in order to visit my sister and her husband and represent BCM and MRF at the church I grew up in – Union Baptist Church. We haven’t been there since E was 4mos old! Looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and sharing about our ministries with a church body who has faithfully supported us this entire time.
  • Brian has been doing almost constant web design work. I don’t get it, but he keeps telling me it’s “relaxing.” To each his own, I guess! :)
  • We had quick turn-overs of guests here at MRF which meant quick updates, fast cleaning, and hasty repairs before the new residents moved in. We are enjoying getting to know a couple of the families who have been here for awhile. One of the young teen girls adores our kids and babysits whenever she’s able, which is a HUGE blessing. We have a family who was here last summer who has returned for a couple of months, so we’re looking forward to reconnecting with them as soon as they’ve settled back in.
  • With spring in full-swing, that means more work outside for Brian. “Improvement” seems to be his constant motto.
  • Brian heads to Ireland June 19! Can we all just say, “Ahhhhh!!!!” with me for a moment? Ten days with no daddy in the house just sounds…. not even remotely fun right now. Pray for me.
  • We battled a flu-bug a week ago. That was not fun and laid us up for much longer than we anticipated. Thankfully, Baby J was spared.
  • The kids are loving – LOVING – the warmer weather and could literally live outside 24/7. Getting them to come inside is difficult, which is a good thing… or so I’m told.

And that’s about it! We’re kept plenty busy, but we wouldn’t want it any other way. Pray for us. The flu really knocked us out for about a week, which makes us both feel very behind in the work we absolutely must get done. Pray for safety and a good trip next week and that the kids would handle the week well.

Thanks for standing behind us. It’s through your prayers and support that we are able to do what we do every day.

Happy Easter!

Easter is such a beautiful time of year and we’re excited to be spending it with our church family this year. Last night was an incredibly awesome worship/communion service that just set the tone for the entire weekend. Tonight, our church is showing Billy Graham’s video, “The Cross”, in hopes people can invite in their friends and family to see it. And then Sunday is the sunrise service, breakfast, and worship service celebrating our risen Lord. We just love the true meaning of Easter and are having a blast sharing the truth with our children.

We wish you all a blessed, joyful Easter – Resurrection Day!

“Hear the bells ringing, they’re singing that we can be born again! Hear the bells ringing, they’re singing Christ is risen from the dead! The angel up on the tombstone said He is risen just as He said! Quickly now, go tell His disciples that Jesus Christ is no longer dead! Joy to the world! He’s risen! Hallelujah! He’s risen! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”

April Sunshine!

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Yeah!! Spring has finally sprung in NE PA!! Man, it feels good to be outside again. Granted, both kids have already face-planted in the driveways and Joe looks like he’s been in a fist-fight, but hey – builds character, right?! The kids could live outside constantly and thankfully, I have stocked up on stain remover, so the mud stains don’t matter much. They’re tired at night – that’s all I care about right now!

ImageBCM’s e-zine, BCM World, is out with another edition! I am BEYOND privileged to write for this every time it comes out AND to be edited by Jeanette Windle. Google her. It’s pretty sweet to have her be my editor. She is wonderful to work with and I’ve learned a lot about missions journalism already. Please read this e-zine! This time, there’s articles on the DR Congo, Kenya (mine), camping in Peru, work in France (actually,in  the city of Toulouse which just happens to be where my parents were missionaries years ago, though not with BCM), and profiles on the new BCM North America candidates (also mine). You can sign up to receive this directly to your inboxes when it comes out again in just another couple of months. Pass the link to friends and family and enjoy!

I have to tell you — Brian is the graphic designer. This involves so much more than just simply uploading a Word document. He’s worked almost non-stop on this for the past few weeks. It involves designing numerous pages and emails and links and then the actual layout – it’s a lot of work. For someone with no graphic design background, I think he does a phenomenal job. If you think so, drop him a note; I’m sure he’d appreciate the encouragement.