August Summary

August has been a really beautiful month. The pavilion is done except for the bathrooms. A giant anniversary celebration was held there last Saturday so Brian worked hard last week completing the electricity. The suite finally has a porch and its own parking spot. It is completely handicap accessible – a huge plus. Everyone is back from their summer deputation trips so we have a FULL house (and I do mean FULL!). However, one family of six pulled out today and gets on a plane at 2am for Asia. We will miss them!

This was our birthday month. Brian and I finally had a date night – our first without James. We almost didn’t know what to do with ourselves! Almost. :) The duplex is free, so when my cousin and her family stopped by from Wisconsin, we had a place to house them overnight. We’ve also been doing all the shopping and planning for sending E to Kindergarten tomorrow. We started out August not sure about finances and not sure about her wardrobe (she has a dress code to follow). We ended being confident that we can pay for her schooling (thanks to major help from the school!) and more than enough school clothes thanks to friends and friends of friends who were SO generous.

Fall programs at church are beginning in September. I’ve been trying to plan and have a few meetings. I’ll just be glad when we’re up and rolling again! Pretty much everything has fallen into place and I think the fall is going to go well.

Tomorrow we drop E off at Kindergarten. Joe misses his sister terribly when she’s gone for any length of time so I anticipate the rest of this week being very interesting! Pray for her (and us!) as we make this transition into having a kid in school!

I’ll be sure to put up pics next time!

A Breath…

After the craziness of getting the pavilion up and shingled, Brian finally had a quieter week. While no “normal” vacation is in our plans, we are able to do what most people can’t – take random days or evenings or Saturdays and spend time as a family doing activities here and there. Thursday was one of those days. We have been wanting to take our kids to a zoo all year and the opportunity finally presented itself! A zoo not far from here is geared towards children so we headed down there. What an awesome day! My parents joined us. We were able to hit the entire zoo before 2pm. The kids got to do “extras” like feeding birds and goats and painting “toad abodes” for the backyard. We had a blast. It was a nice breather before we jump back into life this week. Here’s a few pictures:

She's been talking about penguins for awhile now, so to find the first exhibit filled with the feathered creatures made her day right off the bat.

She’s been talking about penguins for awhile now, so to find the first exhibit filled with the feathered creatures made her day right off the bat.

He had to sit on the crocodile. He was disappointed they only had baby ones.

He had to sit on the crocodile. He was disappointed they only had baby ones.

Petting goats with Grandpa and Mom

Petting goats with Grandpa and Mom

Face painted like a unicorn.

Face painted like a unicorn.

She INSISTED she was tall enough and refused to be held. Most of the time.

She INSISTED she was tall enough and refused to be held. Most of the time.

And baby James was there, too. Yes, that is a pacifier attached to his hat. Yes, Daddy was in charge at that point. :) He loved being there, but hated being in his stroller!

And baby James was there, too. Yes, that is a pacifier attached to his hat. Yes, Daddy was in charge at that point. :) He loved being there, but hated being in his stroller!

Brian spent most of his time last week doing repairs in neighbor’s houses and general catch-up work that he hadn’t done while working on the pavilion. Electricity has started going in the bathrooms, so he helped with that one morning as well. A little bit of siding on the back of the pavilion needs to be done and then the ceiling goes in this week thanks to a generous, spontaneous donation! It will be nice to have it closed off so birds and wasps don’t think they can live inside the pavilion (or at least, not as easily!).

We said goodbye to one family this past week and on the 25th, another family pulls out. Our neighbors have been gone this past month and return in a week – much to Elena’s great joy. I know she misses her friend when she pulls out one of my old cells and pretends to have full conversations with her!

September 18 is our first annual MRF Banquet. If you are interested in coming, let us know! We’d love to have you join us for a silent auction, gospel music, and good food down in Olyphant at the Regal Room.

Exciting Week

A number of great things happened this week:

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That is the {mostly} finished pavilion! Where the basketball hoop is is where the former 30 year old pavilion stood. The new one dwarfed the old one!

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Brian and three other men worked on shingling this week. Of course they picked the one week that was up over 90! They worked early in the mornings until it simply got too hot, then went back at night. Since there were four men, they were able to divide the work and finished in only two days. Thursday afternoon, the bulldozer arrived and the old pavilion was taken down.

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The last thing left to do is the bathrooms, pictured above (middle room will be storage). It will be quite nice having outdoor restrooms available! I’m sure the CEF Day Camp will agree as they usually bring in a port-a-potty!

Wednesday evening while Brian was busy shingling, I had a very interesting conversation with Elena. The dad of a friend of mine passed away this week and I was explaining to her how I needed to attend the funeral, but that it was okay because he’s in heaven now. Before bed that night, she came to me asking questions about heaven and who will see there. I asked her how you get to heaven and she responded with, “By asking Jesus into your heart.” When I asked her if she’d done that herself, she replied with, “No.” Long story short, she ended up praying to receive Jesus as her Savior that night! She understands that she is a sinner and that Jesus died to take her place and forgive her from her sin. She believes that Jesus rose from the dead and she asked Him to come into her heart. It was the sweetest, most sincere prayer. It is just absolutely amazing being able to be there with your own child as they receive Christ as Savior! So, today in church, my dad – the pastor of our church – lit a candle in celebration of Elena getting saved. She didn’t quite make it up front in time to help light it, but she did give her Grandpa a big hug.

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Also this morning there was a baby dedication at church. So, we went ahead and had James dedicated. It’s so special that my dad has been able to dedicate all three of our children.

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I’m not sure what all Brian has planned for this week. I do know that we’re finally taking the kids to a zoo. Shhh… it’s a surprise for them. :) The last time Elena was at a zoo, she looked like this:

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Needless to say, she doesn’t remember.

Watch your inboxes for a newsletter this week! Thanks for tracking with us and praying for our kids!

The Pavilion

This week, Brian shifted his focus from the duplex to the pavilion! If you remember, they began the new pavilion in the fall:

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but once cold weather hit, they put it on hold. Funds came in during the spring and now that the duplex is at a good pausing point, they decided to work on the pavilion and try to get it done before winter hits. The pavilion is always heavily booked and this year was no exception. I believe the old pavilion and/or Compton Hall have been booked every weekend the entire summer. It’s the site of anything from church picnics to wedding receptions! As you recall, our wedding reception was held in the old pavilion…10 years ago! :)

Starting Wednesday, Brian and some other men began getting the roof ready. The weather was just about as perfect as they could get. Monday and Tuesday, it was super hot and humid, but then the weather broke Tuesday evening and so Wednesday-Friday, it was warm, but not humid, making it perfect weather for being up high doing heavy work.

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The trusses were completed in two days and then the plywood began going up. They have one side completely finished with the plywood, but I didn’t get a picture of that. So now, they need to finish the plywood and shingles and then complete the restrooms and VOILA – new pavilion!

It’s been a super long week for Brian. He’s the youngest and therefore the most agile, so he spent the entire time on the roof doing the climbing and hard physical stuff. Thankfully, it’s work he enjoys, but still, he’s pretty tired and they’re not done yet. I’ll just put a shout-out out there for anyone who’s done shingles before and has time on their hands… give Brian a call this week and see if they could use some help! I know it would be greatly appreciated!

One of the joys that we have ministering at MRF as a family is just that… we’re here as a FAMILY. So while Brian has been super busy working all day on the roof, we go up and visit! At least twice a day, we make the trek up the hill to see how it’s coming and play on the basketball court. The kids love watching daddy work. We are discovering that Elena is amazing at baseball and Joseph loves basketball.

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On the homefront, Elena had her Kindergarten testing:

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Not even her first day and I had to get a picture! :) She got a 91. I’m so proud. Now it’s time to shop for school supplies and I’m just nerdy enough that the idea of shopping for pencils and backpacks gets me giddy.

James is all smiles now, attempting to roll over as I type. He has successfully rolled over, front to back, a couple of times now and he’s almost made it back to front… and he turns 3 months this coming Friday!

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This coming month, we look forward to:

  • Finishing the pavilion
  • Finishing the duplex (or coming close at least)
  • James’ baby dedication on Aug. 2
  • Elena beginning Kindergarten on Aug. 26
  • Completion of fall program plans for church
  • Writing for and getting ready to publish another edition of BCM World

(among other things)

Come out and visit us at MRF! We’d love to show you around.

Has it really been a month??

I opened up our blog this afternoon and the first thing I read was, “It’s been 30 days since your last post…” Woops. That month FLEW by!

For me, I spent the majority of the past month finishing up getting ready for Vacation Bible School at our church. This is a big endeavor and honestly I felt very out of the loop this year with having the baby so soon before the event. I had a great team that pulled together and did a phenomenal job. Without them, the week would not have been possible. We averaged close to 50 kids again. That was a disappointing number for me since we had planned and prayed for 80, but God brings who He wants to be there so I can’t argue with that. The program went very well – very smoothly! I don’t know of any children receiving Christ as Savior, but I know of 4 that committed their lives to missions, so that’s just as awesome. We focused on Thailand and the kids brought in an offering for our church’s missionaries to Thailand. They brought in $342.88 – in CHANGE! The boys brought in over $200. Awesome! My internet is not allowing us to upload anything this week, so pictures (if you’re not on Facebook) will just have to wait I guess.

While I’ve been coordinating that, Brian has been here working on both the pavilion and Side B of the duplex. He’s getting a lot of work on the duplex done in preparation for teams of contractors (some of the same ones who helped with Side A) to come in and do more of the heavy lifting, difficult work. Side B needs the entire kitchen since Side A had the existing kitchen. Over the winter, walls were torn down and a downstairs bathroom removed in order for the kitchen to go in. Brian has begun fixing walls, adding a window, and putting up sheetrock in the kitchen. He also built a laundry room and the door for that room.

The pavilion is coming along well and should be done by August, I believe. Brian and a few other men have been working on getting it ready for the roof. Next week the trusses arrive. It’s looking really great!

Elena is experiencing the hardships of our ministry as her next door neighbor playmate is gone on a month-long candidating trip with her family. I’m so glad she has the opportunity to make friends who are also MK’s, but the reality that her neighbor friends are going to constantly change is a difficult one for her to grasp. I found her on the see-saw this morning, sitting with her head down, tears pooling in her eyes. She climbed up onto my lap and expressed how much she misses her friend. Thankfully, they aren’t gone permanently yet! That day will be a very hard one, I’m sure. She also doesn’t quite realize that other friends here on the property are also leaving in August.. for Asia. That will be another difficult goodbye, especially since they leave for the field the day she starts Kindergarten. Talk about an emotional upheaval for our 4 year old! Pray for her if you think of it! If you know her, you know that she has always struggled saying “goodbye” – literally, for the first three years of her life, she simply would not say “goodbye” to anyone. She’s just recently begun saying “goodbye” to people – I hope these permanent goodbyes don’t reverse that.

Joseph and James are doing great. James is growing like a weed. Apparently so is Joe as we keep putting outfits on him that fit in May that are now too small!

That’s it from NEPA for now. Enjoy your summer!

It’s D.O.N.E.!

The first half of the duplex is compete AND occupied! Months of work and prep have finally come to completion. For the moment. The second half will get completed over the next few months, especially as more funds become available. We are fully booked at MRF right now (the suite is even booked sometimes twice a week and the old pavilion is being used every weekend all summer long). Pray that funds come in and that Brian and the guys have the time to finish the second half soon so we can accommodate more people as we are still turning applications away almost weekly. Okay – onward to the pictures!

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The exterior of the house that’s being remodeled. The porch is part of the suite and will eventually be the back entrance. The duplexes are to the right.

The entrances to the duplexes. The one that is complete is the sliding door closest.

The entrances to the duplexes. The one that is complete is the sliding door closest.

The downstairs view from the front door

The downstairs view from the front door

Another view of the downstairs, from the stairs.

Another view of the downstairs, from the stairs.

Panorama of the downstairs

Panorama of the downstairs

Nice, spacious kitchen (this was pre-existing). The door handle in the very left of the picture opens to reveal the stacked washer/dryer.

Nice, spacious kitchen (this was pre-existing). The door handle in the very left of the picture opens to reveal the stacked washer/dryer.

Finished bathroom, upstairs.

Finished bathroom, upstairs.

1st bedroom

1st bedroom

Bedroom #2 (bunk beds come apart if a family prefers them that way)

Bedroom #2 (bunk beds come apart if a family prefers them that way)

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

We could not have gotten this house done without loads of help, not just from the teams of contractors that came through during the winter, but also to some residents here! Families here helped do laundry, clean, wash dishes, organize linens, and watch our kids so we could finish the work. We are so grateful for them! The house looks amazing, very homey and inviting. We hope and pray that all who stay here are refreshed and enjoy their time at MRF.

School, Magazine, Duplex, and More…

Since moving back to the States, we have been praying and thinking about an upcoming big decision: School for Elena. Though I taught school in Peru and thoroughly enjoyed it, I just have never been at peace about homeschooling our own children. Not having time is  just one of the many factors. We really wanted her in Christian school, but just did not  know if we could swing it financially. But, we went ahead and applied to a local Christian school out of sheer faith, knowing even under the best of circumstances, we simply cannot afford it. A meeting with the principal the week before James arrived, though, was confirmation that she should go there. Thanks to scholarships and grants available, some specifically for missionary families, our little girl will be a Kindergartner at Canaan Christian Academy this fall! What’s even better is that her Kindergarten teacher is not just a member of our church and a personal friend, but she and her husband attend our Life Group at our house, so E knows her! We are thrilled that she gets to attend her and are excited for her about this fall. If you think of it, though, be praying with us as we help her transition into this new stage over the summer.

Here at MRF, we are officially a full house! I rarely get to welcome new families since I’m at home with the kids, but yesterday I was out getting a home ready and was there when the new family arrived. It’s so much fun greeting a new family who’s never been here before and is obviously needing a home. There are now 19 children on the property! MRF stays booked through the entire summer and already most of the fall.

This week, we are finishing up Side A of the duplex! Furniture is in and arranged. Brian is finishing up some painting and putting the toilet in. We need to deep-clean, wash all the linens, make beds, wash dishes, and arrange the kitchen before the 19th…when the first residents arrive who happen to also be with BCM! We so love it when our ministries coincide.

The new edition of BCM World has been out for a week now. Brian’s layout is, as always, just beautiful. I know Nepal has been on everyone’s hearts and minds a lot lately. I encourage you to read the feature article by clicking here. The other article I think you should read is about my favorite thing, In Step with the Master Teacher, in Africa. Click here to view the full magazine.

Some of the family got hit with a stomach bug Sunday night. We’re praying no one else gets it, but are bracing ourselves for round 2 just in case. James is growing like a weed and definitely currently in a growth spurt, which means he’s eating almost constantly and outgrowing his cute newborn clothes. The other kids are loathing summer rain storms since it keeps them inside (most of the time), but are loving the fact that “summer” means “ice cream.”

Watch for pictures of the duplex! Can’t wait to show you the finished product.