Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Glimpse of Heaven

Occasionally the Lord gives us moments where we taste what heaven will be like. We had one of those tonight.

The Gord Jackson family, who were with us in JV for ten years, living "next door" in Poland, came to Malenovice for a visit tonight. It's been four years since they've been back
as a family from Canada, where they now live. Ellenwood's, Ken and Nicholas Pitcher (Andrea and their other kids were gone), our family, and the Jackson's met for dinner at the hotel to catch up on our lives.

As if that wasn't good enough, Corrie and Hudson Jones (who were in JV with their family, living in Slovakia for 13 years, but who now live in Arkansas) are visiting for a few weeks so they were here too for dinner.

And then the cherry on the top...another one of our JV kids, Brad Nickerson, who lived in Poland with his family for many years, (but now lives in Wheaton where his dad works in our JV office), "happened"to be at the hotel for US team training with his church who is here to do an English camp! We didn't even know he would be here on this night!

The young people in the photo belonged to a group of JV Kids called "Journey" when all the kids were living here. For one night...for just a few hours...they were reunited! A few other Jour
ney kids were missing (all of them back in the States now), but it was really special to see these kids together again after so many years apart.

Don't you imagine that's what heaven will be like?!! We'll meet up with people from all different times and walks of our lives, and it will be wonderfully special to be together again!

Thank you Jackson's for coming over from Poland/Canada to see us tonight!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Happy 18th!

Hard to believe...but we've got an 18 year old in the house!

Today was Tyler's birthday... so happy to celebrate HIM! He's an awesome young man...though maybe I'd better just say "man" since now he can vote AND drive (you can't drive here in Czech until 18!)!!

We are proud of Tyler...happy to be his parents...and thankful to the Lord for entrusting us with such a blessing of a son!

Love you Tyler!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Back Home!

I'm right there with Dorothy... there's no place like home!

Dave, Claire and I arrived last Friday after our five weeks in the States. As I've already blogged, they were wonderful weeks of seeing/meeting dear people and I wouldn't trade those weeks for anything.

And at the same's just good to be home. Except for the ten days I had between trips (in which I was jet lagged most of the, I've been gone three months...that is too long!! Everything feels...tastes...looks...sounds wonderful here!

Many have asked about an update on Caleb. Our time in the States was not easy for him, and being back home has been difficult too...he's still in pain. The good news (though I don't know if he would call it that) is the pain is of a different essence now. The intestines have quieted down and are no longer hyperactive like they were for so many months. For that, we're thankful.

In place of that is a rawness in his stomach which still produces a daily "7" in terms of pain (on a 1-10 scale). He says it's like a wire brush has scrubbed inside him day after day, hour afte
r hour, leaving it purely raw. In fact, this is just what the treatment is doing, and what the doctor said would happen at this point along the way as it cleans out old bacteria and's just no fun for Caleb.

If the doctor is correct in his estimate, we should see a turning point in the pain level within a week or two as that rawness begins to heal and the stomach is restored to health. But it will be longer than that before his energy, stamina and immune system are back in full working order.

So continue to pray for him - of course for healing, but also for strength to endure these long days of continual pain.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

People We Love

God is so good to have made us people who thrive on relationships!

Being here in the States has again reminded me of how good it will be in heaven someday when we'll have all the time we want and need to spend with those we love...because time here on earth is just too short!!

I wish I'd had my camera out even more often than I did (and for those of you who really know me, you know how often I DO carry a camera!) to capture each and every person we've been with. But the pictures below are some of the dear friends that we've seen and made along the way during our weeks here in the States.

New friends we made at Gull Lake who are from Peoria, IL!

Jerry Twombly is one of my greatest e-mail and blog friends, from Indianapolis, IN! Claire and I loved sampling his delicious coconut and "Chunky Monkey" homemade ice cream, while being hosted by he and his dear wife, Sue!

Jen Cupery and her kids, Zach and Abigail - former beloved teammates in JV. Her husband Dave was gone on a trip to Eastern Europe for the Bible League, his new employer, the day we visited - they now live in Indiana

Jim, Lina, Nathan, Emily and Jared Miller - long-time friends who live in Illinois. When Dave and I got married in Germany, I kicked Jim out of the apartment he shared with Dave so I could be Dave's new roommate! Jim and Lina served with us in JV back in the early years, as well as in Germany even more years ago!

Claire and Carol Klobuchur in Wheaton - we were out to lunch with her, and then went on to her favorite yarn and knitting store in Glen Ellyn! She and Claire share a love and joy for knitting! I'm learning...LOL!

Friend and teammate in JV, Gretchen Hall, with her new baby, Evangeline. She and her husband, Justin, serve in Albania.

Dearly beloved friends, Bob and Manette Kuhlman in Batavia, IL - what a wonderful evening of laughter and fun at their house!

Had to add this picture, though it's of family and I said I was only doing friends in this section! It's just such a great picture of mom, dad and Dave in the alley by their house on Lipan street!

The Chase Family in Ft. Collins -more long-time friends! When are you going to come out and see us Chase's?!!!

The JV board usually meets in Wheaton at our offices there, but this June they met in Denver! We sure love and appreciate these men!

Bob and Charlene Underhill are our adopted grandparents in Ft. Collins, CO! They host us when we come into town and our kids love to be at their house. Maybe it has something to do with the ATV's they let them ride!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

It's a Feast!

The best part of being in the States? Of course it's seeing people we love!

We have literally had a "feast" in terms of seeing loved and friends alike, as well new friends we've made along the way.

You, my faithful readers, may or may not know any of these people...but just know that if we'd been with you, and I'd remembered my camera, you'd be on here too! But for those who do, you'll enjoy seeing faces of people you love too!

Since I've already posted about family vacation, I won't add any of those pictures...just friends we've seen along the way.

While I'll post the pictures separately, and probably shouldn't writ
e extensively about every one of the pictures, (there is probably some unwritten rule in the blogging world about doing so!) I do have to write about a few of them!

The picture above is Jerri Kayll...a friend of 24 years and my maid of honor 21 years ago! We met the first summer I spent in Germany with Malachi and have been dear friends ever since!

She recently moved back to Denver so we, along with my sister-in-law, Joyce, had numerous times to meet while we were there...delightful and refreshing!

Good-Bye...for a while

Tyler, Caleb and I had to leave a day early from Gull Lake - believe me, none of us wanted to!

But in order for the boys to be back in time for English camp with our church's youth group, they had to fly from Chicago on Thursday.

So we left at midnight Wednesday night, after the evening talent show (where Tyler and Caleb performed a new song Tyler wrote..and got a standing!) and drove back for a short night's sleep before heading for the airport on Thursday.

It was a strange feeling to let the boys check in on their own and stand on the other side of security while they made their way through and on to the gate. Shades of things to come, I am afraid...sniff.

They made it safely home, though Caleb was (and still is) in quite a bit of pain. Traveling is hard on him...he does better with a settled, consistent, restful environment.

But, such is not ours, or his, life these days! God knows that!

He and Tyler slept at home on Friday night, and then headed for camp Saturday morning with 70 Czech students, as well as the team joining them. We've gotten a few text messages from them while we're still here in the States and it sounds like the camp is going great! The first couple days Caleb still wasn't feeling well, but Tyler wrote last night (his incoming message woke me at 3 AM!) and he says Caleb is doing better.

So...this is life! Dave, Claire and I still here in the States (in Indiana today) and the boys on the other side of the ocean giving their hearts and using their gifts to serve the Lord!

Gull Lake Ministries

There are times in life when you have extraordinary moments...and sometimes you even get extraordinary hours or days.

But God, in his goodness, blessed us with an extraordinary WEEK at Gull Lake Ministries, located in Michigan!

We went there "sight unseen" as Dave had been invited there over a year ago to speak for their first week of family conference. We all felt a little nervous and anxious about heading into a new American family camp (a first for our family!). All I can say is we adapted very quickly and LOVED IT!!

Dave spoke eight times, going through the book of Ephesians with the adults. Tyler, Caleb and Claire were in "High Tide" the program for junior high and high school students, led by an awesome team of college counselors. Truly, there was something for everyone during our week there.

By the end we felt like we were with family...both among the people attending, as well as with the director, his family and his staff.

They have graciously invited Dave back to speak (and thankfully our family gets to come too!) for first session of family camp in June 2010. Believe me, we won't miss it!!!