Celebrating my Mom on her 90th

IMG_0460

October 15th my Mom turned 90!  We had a party to honor her.  She enjoyed seeing family and friends that she hadn’t seen in awhile.

img_0475.jpgimg_0482.jpg

22459353_10154815001450925_1602679828308447826_o

It was fun to have all my siblings together, to see other family I hadn’t seen in awhile, plus be together with our three kids!

My older sister and I stayed with Mom living in her little cottage with her at the Bookdale senior living center in Albany, Oregon.  We did lots of puzzles together, accompanied Mom on her daily walks, got to know all of her friends better, and even got away to the beach for a couple of days.IMG_0509

22729077_10211139621467239_7976050183812174896_n

Notice I’m in short sleeves and sandals – and this is Oregon in October!!!

22853193_10211139620227208_257201321826078000_n

22729039_10211139620907225_2300387936231375949_n

The weather was spectacular while I was there and I enjoyed the beautiful colors during this time.  My Mom said it was because October is a special month.  🙂

22788721_10211139648507915_276119198088690437_nIMG_0489IMG_0494

I am so glad I was able to go for this time with my Mom.  It will always be a good memory for me.  She is doing well – healthy and strong – but her memory continues to deteriorate.  She has made good friends at Brookdale and seems to be happy there.

I also got to spend a couple days with Becca and Michelle – they spoiled me with good food and fun times.  I also got to attend Grandparent’s day at Ethan and Tyler’s school and then spend a couple days with them and Joel and Andi as we got away for some fun.

The only thing that would have made it perfect was if Bruce had been with us.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

A great reminder: we see only a small part, but we are a part of something grand!

Back in 1921, a missionary couple named David and Svea Flood went with their two-year-old son from Sweden to the heart of Africa—to what was then called the Belgian Congo. They met up with another young Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, and the four of them sought God for direction. In those days of much tenderness and devotion and sacrifice, they felt led of the Lord to go out from the main mission station and take the gospel to a remote area.

This was a huge step of faith. At the village of N’dolera they were rebuffed by the chief, who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. The two couples opted to go half a mile up the slope and build their own mud huts.

They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. The only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week. Svea Flood—a tiny woman of only four feet, eight inches tall—decided that if this was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead the boy to Jesus. And in fact, she succeeded.

But there were no other encouragements. Meanwhile, malaria continued to strike one member of the little band after another. In time the Ericksons decided they had had enough suffering and left to return to the central mission station. David and Svea Flood remained near N’dolera to go on alone.

Then, of all things, Svea found herself pregnant in the middle of the primitive wilderness. When the time came for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina.

The delivery, however, was exhausting, and Svea Flood was already weak from bouts of malaria. The birth process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She lasted only another seventeen days.

Inside David Flood, something snapped in that moment. He dug a crude grave, buried his twenty-seven-year-old wife, and then took his children back down the mountain to the mission station. Giving his newborn daughter to the Ericksons, he snarled, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, and I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life.” With that, he headed for the port, rejecting not only his calling, but God himself.

Within eight months both the Ericksons were stricken with a mysterious malady and died within days of each other. The baby was then turned over to some American missionaries, who adjusted her Swedish name to “Aggie” and eventually brought her back to the United States at age three.

This family loved the little girl and was afraid that if they tried to return to Africa, some legal obstacle might separate her from them. So they decided to stay in their home country and switch from missionary work to pastoral ministry. And that is how Aggie grew up in South Dakota. As a young woman, she attended North Central Bible college in Minneapolis. There she met and married a young man named Dewey Hurst.

Years passed. The Hursts enjoyed a fruitful ministry. Aggie gave birth first to a daughter, then a son. In time her husband became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area, and Aggie was intrigued to find so much Scandinavian heritage there.

One day a Swedish religious magazine appeared in her mailbox. She had no idea who had sent it, and of course she couldn’t read the words. But as she turned the pages, all of a sudden a photo stopped her cold. There in a primitive setting was a grave with a white cross-and on the cross were the words SVEA FLOOD.

Aggie jumped in her car and went straight to a college faculty member who, she knew, could translate the article. “What does this say?” she demanded.

The instructor summarized the story: It was about missionaries who had come to N’dolera long ago…the birth of a white baby…the death of the young mother…the one little African boy who had been led to Christ…and how, after the whites had all left, the boy had grown up and finally persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village. The article said that gradually he won all his students to Christ…the children led their parents to Christ…even the chief had become a Christian. Today there were six hundred Christian believers in that one village…

All because of the sacrifice of David and Svea Flood.

For the Hursts’ twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, the college presented them with the gift of a vacation to Sweden. There Aggie sought to find her real father. An old man now, David Flood had remarried, fathered four more children, and generally dissipated his life with alcohol. He had recently suffered a stroke. Still bitter, he had one rule in his family: “Never mention the name of God-because God took everything from me.”

After an emotional reunion with her half brothers and half sister, Aggie brought up the subject of seeing her father. The others hesitated. “You can talk to him,” they replied, “even though he’s very ill now. But you need to know that whenever he hears the name of God, he flies into a rage.”

Aggie was not to be deterred. She walked into the squalid apartment, with liquor bottles everywhere, and approached the seventy-three-year-old man lying in a rumpled bed.

“Papa?” she said tentatively.

He turned and began to cry. “Aina,” he said, “I never meant to give you away.”

“It’s all right Papa,” she replied, taking him gently in her arms. “God took care of me.”

The man instantly stiffened. The tears stopped.

“God forgot all of us. Our lives have been like this because of Him.” He turned his face back to the wall.

Aggie stroked his face and then continued, undaunted.

“Papa, I’ve got a little story to tell you, and it’s a true one. You didn’t go to Africa in vain. Mama didn’t die in vain. The little boy you won to the Lord grew up to win that whole village to Jesus Christ. The one seed you planted just kept growing and growing. Today there are six hundred African people serving the Lord because you were faithful to the call of God in your life…

“Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never hated you.”

The old man turned back to look into his daughter’s eyes. His body relaxed. He began to talk. And by the end of the afternoon, he had come back to the God he had resented for so many decades.

Over the next few days, father and daughter enjoyed warm moments together. Aggie and her husband soon had to return to America—and within a few weeks, David Flood had gone into eternity.

A few years later, the Hursts were attending a high-level evangelism conference in London, England, where a report was given from the nation of Zaire (the former Belgian Congo). The superintendent of the national church, representing some 110,000 baptized believers, spoke eloquently of the gospel’s spread in his nation. Aggie could not help going to ask him afterward if he had ever heard of David and Svea Flood.

“Yes, madam,” the man replied in French, his words then being translated into English. “It was Svea Flood who led me to Jesus Christ. I was the boy who brought food to your parents before you were born. In fact, to this day your mother’s grave and her memory are honored by all of us.”

He embraced her in a long, sobbing hug. Then he continued, “You must come to Africa to see, because your mother is the most famous person in our history.”

In time that is exactly what Aggie Hurst and her husband did. They were welcomed by cheering throngs of villagers. She even met the man who had been hired by her father many years before to carry her back down the mountain in a hammock-cradle.

The most dramatic moment, of course, was when the pastor escorted Aggie to see her mother’s white cross for herself. She knelt in the soil to pray and give thanks. Later that day, in the church, the pastor read from John 12:24: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” He then followed with Psalm 126:5: “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.”

(An excerpt from Aggie Hurst, Aggie: The Inspiring Story of A Girl Without A Country [Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1986].)

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Joys of Family

December and Christmas time have always meant special family memories and activities for me.  So, it was a little hard for me when Joel & Andi and the boys took off for Tanzania the first week of December not to arrive back until the 23rd.  There wasn’t much time to mope around though as God filled the days.

 img_6030-version-2We welcomed new family to our Crossworld team here in Senegal as Jiz Thomas arrived on the 8th.  She is living with 2 Senegalese women, learning French, and learning how to integrate into Senegalese life and culture.  Thank you for praying for us in all the details of receiving new workers, and please continue to pray for Jiz in her adaptation here.

img_6001

 

 

 

Bruce had the honor of sitting on the jury as Roger Derpilus (Haitian missionary to Senegal) defended his master’s thesis.  Roger did a superb job in his presentation and also in his defense.  We are so proud of him.  Others also recognized his good work and commented that it should be published because it would be helpful for the ministry in Senegal.  Thanks to all as you’ve prayed and supported the idea and the reality of Haitian missionaries being sent out.  God is at work.  We love having part of our Haitian family here with us in Senegal.

img_0273_50

 

Our church organized 2 Christmas box distributions in 2 different neighborhoods as an outreach to Muslim families.  Pray that some kid’s clubs might result from these endeavors.

 

 

Christmas Eve we gathered together as a church family to celebrate Christmas – JOY TO THE WORLD:  JESUS HAS COME!  We worshipped together praising God in song and dance; all the different groups presented songs, skits, and dances; we read and were encouraged by Scripture; and we feasted together with a meal at 10 p.m.

dsc_1059

dsc_1083dsc_1066-version-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Day Bruce preached at church.  Our Senegalese neighbors always share meals with us on their special holidays so we do the same.  So, after church we distributed chicken meals and sweet breads to 9 of our neighbors in celebration of the birth of Jesus.  Then we gathered together out in the village of Joel & Andi’s host family to celebrate with our Senegalese family and friends.

New Year’s Eve we all relaxed at home doing things we enjoy and then early evening we went out to a bluff outside of Thies with friends to roast hotdogs and marshmallows, play some bocci ball and set off fire works.

img_6046

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_6056

img_6037

We are grateful to God for the abundant life He has given us here in Senegal, for the opportunities to build into the lives of those around us, for His faithful presence with us in everything during 2016, and for the expectations we have for 2017 because of our hope in Him.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Ladies camp in Senegal 2015

Ladies camp always includes babies – I think almost every lady from the village came with a baby/toddler.

20150919_133724 20150920_094559IMG_5669

All the ladies with babies or expecting a baby were given a gift.

We sang and danced together.  I enjoyed hearing the village women singing praises to God in their language – Serer.  And ladies camp is never a proper camp without the ladies showing off their different dances.

20150920_093433    Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 4.51.24 PM

We laughed and cried together.  I think we laughed more when watching the video of us playing on the beach than during the actual playing.  The ladies had never done a jumping jack before and done relays so it was quite funny.  We cooled off in the ocean – a treat for all as they don’t get to the ocean often if at all.

20150919_175244  20150918_190137

We celebrated Esther’s 40th birthday by placing heart stickers all over her face and neck.  She wore them proudly the rest of the day.  She cried tears of joy as she thanked God for his many blessings in her life.

IMG_5657

We ate delicious food….I’m still loving most Senegalese dishes.  By the look of our plate at the end, it looks like everyone else thought it was delicious too.

20150919_140541 20150919_141211

20150919_143005

I was asked to do something for our craft/handiwork time.  I chose fabric flowers made from old t-shirts or scraps of material from their beautiful outfits they have made at the tailors.  They enjoyed the time sitting around working on their flowers together and then having something pretty to wear in their hair or on their dress or one lady wore it around her wrist.

20150919_125428  IMG_5648

I gave a short devotional thought at the end of our time using the flowers we’d made as a reminder of how God took us when we were useless (scraps or ripped, holey t-shirts) and his enemies, and made us new, adopted us into his family, and even planned ways for us to be useful in serving Him and bringing glory to his Name.  I was blessed to be with these ladies and challenged by their steadfastness in their faith in spite of their difficult circumstances.  Please pray with me for their continued growth in their relationship with God and for God to use them in unimagineable ways to draw the lost to Himself.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

RECENT HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR LIFE IN SENEGAL

A picture is worth a 1000 words so I think it’s the best way for me to share with you all that’s been going on with us during these past few months.

Birthdays are such joyous occasions as we celebrate life and all God’s blessings during the year just lived. We had great times making the most of these special landmarks in the lives of those we love.

Cecil and I share birthdays so we had a good time celebrating together out in their village.  I made multiple cakes because we knew that as soon as the word spread that there was cake, there would be a line-up.

Cecil and I share birthdays so we had a good time celebrating together out in their village. I made multiple cakes because we knew that as soon as the word spread that there was cake, there would be a line-up.

Our try at Andi's favorite b-day cake made Senegalese style flopped, but we still celebrated this amazing woman.

Our try at Andi’s favorite b-day cake made Senegalese style flopped, but we still celebrated this amazing woman.

We celebrated Joel's day with several couples from our church.

We celebrated Joel’s day with several couples from our church.

Tyler turned 6 in style with strawberry shortcake, a treasure hunt to find presents, and treats for his school class.

Tyler turned 6 in style with strawberry shortcake, a treasure hunt to find presents, and treats for his school class.

Fireworks on our roof in Senegal celebrating the 4th from afar.

Fireworks on our roof in Senegal celebrating the 4th from afar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was so great to be able to celebrate my Dad's 90th birthday with family and friends.

It was so great to be able to celebrate my Dad’s 90th birthday with family and friends.

English classes came to an end for this school year. We had a nice ceremony honoring the students who had completed the required number of class hours. We will be interviewing and doing placement exams in September/October for the new semester. Please pray for us teachers as we build relationships with these university students with the desire to speak truth into their lives.

here's what one of my students wrote to me after classes ended: hello my dearest nice teacher english really you a lot healp me to cheer speak english  i have not not fo you to thank that got you consecrated in paradise  peace and love you and your familly   never i dont forget you.  [I think I have more work to do with this student]

Here’s what one of my students wrote to me after classes ended: hello my dearest nice teacher english really you a lot healp me to cheer speak english i have not not fo you to thank that got you consecrated in paradise peace and love you and your familly never i dont forget you. [I think I have more work to do with this student]

Weddings are important events anywhere. I was exhausted after our 3-day involvement in one for a young couple from our church so couldn’t even imagine how the bride and groom were still managing to smile and interact with everyone after their 5+ days. Friday, Andi and I worked all afternoon and into the early evening with the church ladies cutting onions (100 lb. sacks), garlic, vegetables, and making juices. Saturday, all day, was the actual wedding. Sunday, Joel, Bruce and I went to the family’s home after church to join with 200+ others celebrating this couple and their marriage.

Each people group has their style of dance and they love to show them off.  Here the bride in blue is making things lively.

Each people group has their style of dance and they love to show them off. Here the bride in blue is making things lively.

We all wore an outfit made from this material.  It was so fun to see all the variations/styles.

It was so fun to see all the variations/styles.

Men had shirts and even babies and small children had their outfits.

We all had outfits made out of the same material. Men had shirts and even babies and small children had their outfits.

June was the month of short termers. Zachary, who also spent 2 weeks with us in Haiti, arrived in Senegal to get some exposure to life/ministry with a NTM missionary, our family here, and then as part of Becca’s team leading the kids program for a NTM conference.

IMG_5255

Every spot was filled as we housed 10 extra people for several days. It was fun to reconnect with a classmate from Multnomah Bible School days who was part of the team and to have 4 young adults come from one of our supporting churches: Evergreen Bible Church in Vancouver, WA.

Becca with a group of kids during the conference.

Becca with a group of kids during the conference.

Baptisms are always a thrill. Last Sunday 8 youth publicly proclaimed their faith in God by baptism. It was good to hear their testimonies and to join in with the church body in jubilant celebration.

Church leaders praying for these youth being baptized.

Church leaders praying for these youth being baptized.

This pretty well expresses the thrill and joy we all were feeling.

This pretty well expresses the thrill and joy we all were feeling.

Relationship building is a big part of life here. I must admit, there are still times when I don’t feel like making the effort. Please continue to pray for us as we develop relationships both with those in the church and outside the church.

Sitting for hours in the blazing heat out in a village with loud music blaring for a first communion party - not my idea of fun, but it means a lot to our friend Vero.  Or sitting, just sitting with a woman whose Dad just died - taking the time speaks volumes.

Sitting for hours in the blazing heat out in a village with loud music blaring for a first communion party – not my idea of fun, but it means a lot to our friend Vero. I also made the cake which was greatly appreciated. Or sitting, just sitting with a woman whose Dad just died – taking the time speaks volumes.

Some of the young girls that Andi and I have started discipling.  We'll do a craft, sew something simple, etc., along with discussing life issues and learning truth from God's Word.  Please pray for growth for these girls in their knowledge of God and in a deepened relationship with Him.

Some of the young girls that Andi and I have started discipling. We’ll do a craft, sew something simple, etc., along with discussing life issues and learning truth from God’s Word. Please pray for growth for these girls in their knowledge of God and in a deepened relationship with Him.

A Muslim family - 2 women and 3 kids in the middle - from our neighborhood that came to the village with our family to celebrate Easter and birthdays.

A Muslim family – 2 women and 3 kids in the middle – from our neighborhood that came to the village with our family to celebrate Easter and birthdays.

Last week we enjoyed time with Becca as she stayed on a few days after her conference responsibilities ended. It was sure fun to have her here. We had some long talks, went to the beach, and enjoyed doing things together with the family here.

IMG_5423

Goodbye was hard for all of us.

Goodbye was hard for all of us.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

At Home In Senegal

We shared in our update how hard it has been to uproot so completely from Haiti and from the ministries and people we loved and were so involved with. It has hit us in the face as we’ve arrived here in Senegal and it seems we’re back to zero.

But the most wonderful thing (besides knowing that God is in control and has a plan) is that we’re living with our kids – Joel & Andi – and our grandsons – Ethan & Tyler!! I lay in bed last night thanking God for this extra special blessing. And we’re not just doing it because we have to, but we want to and we love being together. And besides, it’s so normal for this culture, so we fit right in.

IMG_4796

How fun to have your grandson move his chair right next to you in order to work on computers together!

Image

Bruce never dreamed he’d be doing another motorcycle trip with Joel…let alone in Senegal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image

I certainly never thot I’d be exercising in Senegal with my grandsons!

Image

We sure are loving the Senegalese food!

 

Here’s a picture of our place from the outside. We’re on the upper floor – the bottom has the same floor plan but has never been finished so no one is living in it yet. The middle balcony lines up with the hall and living/dining room area. The 2 balconies on either side are off a spare room on one side and the office on the other side. Inside there are 4 bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms (2 connected to 2 of the rooms; the other by itself), and the kitchen. Up on the roof is for laundry, where Joel built a storage depo and has a water cistern, and where the boys ride their scooters and jump on the trampoline.

Image

 

 

the new furniture

God truly answered prayer and helped us find wonderful furniture in mint conditions and at a great price on Craig’s List in Florida.

reading corner

Our quiet corner in our room with a bit of Haiti decorating the walls.

Image

A new office chair and his books – he’s a happy camper.

Image

This is walking into the office. It’s still getting organized. Bruce has his cubby behind the back of the shelf with the Haitian painting on it.

 

Image

It’s been a lot of hard work, but after a week of unpacking and getting organized, I think we’ve made it. Bruce is taking a well-deserved rest on our new-to-us comfortable couch.

Praise God with us for all He has done to help us in this move.  Please pray with us as we continue to look to Him for direction in the days ahead as we adapt and integrate into life and ministry here in Senegal.

IMG_4835

Got some material and now we’re matching…..what couples do here. I’m all for it.

IMG_4822

The Senegalese say that you eat for yourself but you dress for others. They dress like this whenever they go out of their house.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Here We Go!

Picture8I don’t expect Senegal to ever replace our life in Haiti, but, because it is God’s plan for us, I do expect it to be right for us.  I realize that “being right” for us could include joys, sorrows, accomplishments, disappointments, fruitful relationships, or unresponsiveness.

I do expect God to keep his promises though – that if we seek him, we will find him; that he will never leave us; that as we leave our requests with him he will give peace; that his Holy Spirit will teach us and empower us.  The first image that came to Bruce’s mind was when Peter stepped out of the boat – took the risk – and then began to falter – Jesus’ hand was immediately there to take hold of Peter’s and to help him.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So, we’re excited to be moving to Senegal.  We don’t yet know what all we’ll be involved in.  Upon our arrival we’ll spend time getting to know the Crossworld team there; learning about their strategic ministry involvement and where we might fit; we’ll be observing a new group of people and learning a new culture; we’ll have to unearth our French and at least learn some phrases in Wolof.  We’d appreciate your prayers in all this.

Picture14

We fly from Portland to Fort Lauderdale March 26th.  We are going in on a container with 5 other families.  Since all the other families are already in Senegal, the responsibility of this container has fallen on us – that means lining up the shippers and then loading it.  We are using Missionary Flights International’s (MFI) facilities  – they are receiving all the items to be shipped and will help on the loading day.  Please pray for us in all the details of shopping, organizing and loading the container for shipment.  Pray the container will arrive safely and smoothly go thru customs in Senegal.

We fly from Miami to Dakar, Senegal April 9th arriving early morning in Senegal April 10th.

Be excited with us as we “step out of the boat” on this new venture planned and directed by God.  Please pray

that we’ll stay in constant communion with God so that we hear his voice and respond in obedience.

that we’ll be patient and take the necessary time to observe and be teachable.

that we’ll fit in with our team there.

that God would lead us to those He wants us to disciple and to those activities He wants us to be involved in.

We’re nervous, but also at peace; there are lots of unknowns, but we’re excited to experience all that God has for us; we’re older, but trusting God for energy to be and do as He has planned; we realize we have short-comings, but hope we have gained some wisdom over the years; we’re sad to leave friends and colleagues in Haiti, but look forward to developing new relationships in Senegal.

IMG_5396 - Version 2

Depending on your prayers as we go.

IMG_4113

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments