Tag Archives: Kids

Photo Friday: 18 September

This has been a full, busy, fun week!

Celebrating our one-year-in-PNG anniversary.datenightSunday we set aside some family time. David and Sophia spent time putting together one of the puzzles my mom shipped us. Sophia was a bit proud of their hard work.

IMG_1092Tuesday was Sophia’s TENTH birthday! Absolutely mind-blowing for this mom and dad. She is wild, intense, and amazing 🙂

10 years old. Be still my heart.

 

Her new favorite way to swing

IMG_1118She loved these earrings from Mimi (David’s mom).

A package!!! Boxes always make us smile. Thanks, AFA ladies!!

IMG_1122

IMG_1125 IMG_1131This school year Makaylah started choir. She has really been enjoying it, and Thursday night she had her first performance. Another one of our girls that is growing up too fast! We are thankful for the amazing community we live in that allows our kids so many options, even while living in another country.

IMG_1134It was a late night for the little siblings, but we had a great time, sleepy and in pjs!IMG_1140IMG_1146See you next week! Check out our facebook page for a video from Makaylah’s concert.

Photo Friday

Today marks ONE YEAR in Papua New Guinea! We are overjoyed and overwhelmed. Our poor blog has been a bit neglected as we’ve worked to learn a new culture and settle into a routine. We hope to remedy that over the coming months. To that end, we plan to post at least once a week with “Photo Friday.”

We hope you enjoy these glimpses into our lives!

As we've mentioned on our facebook page, Papua New Guinea is in the middle of a drought. Some Papua New Guineans believe that burning can bring rain - the smoke rises and brings clouds. Whatever the reason, many Papua New Guineans aroun us are burning the grass. This week one of the fires was close to the portion of the perimeter fence near our house.

As we’ve mentioned on our facebook page, Papua New Guinea is in the middle of a drought. Some Papua New Guineans believe that burning can bring rain – the smoke rises and brings clouds. Whatever the reason, many Papua New Guineans around us are burning the grass. This week one of the fires was close to the portion of the perimeter fence near our house. It was hard to get a good picture of the scope of the fire!

raindrops

PuddlesAfter over a month with no rain, and asking many of you to pray with us for rain, we were overjoyed to see raindrops on roses and puddles on the road! We’ve had some sprinkles since then, but please keep praying.

DonutsOur market is full of lots of healthy produce, which we enjoy often. A few local ladies also sell donuts, and occasionally David will bring some home for the kids. It’s a well received treat!

Talia and our new puppy, Isia’, both enjoy when the “big kids” get home from school!

IMG_1068Isaiah and his buddy Shay love the high tech toys…. Sticks and rocks.

truckSince we arrived in Papua New Guinea, we’ve enjoyed walking to and from anywhere we needed to go. But recently, someone has been letting us borrow a vehicle. We still use our feet often, but it has been a blessing with all the trips to and from the school we do!

2014: A Year of Changes, Challenges, and Answered Prayer!

With the new year here, we’ve been reflecting on all that has happened in our family and our Wycliffe ministry over 2014. It’s amazing seeing how the Lord has worked!

January 2014:

We got rid of most of our “stuff,” loaded the rest up to put in a storage unit, and moved out of our home of three years. Then we packed up our van and headed to JAARS in Waxhaw, NC, for our Intercultural Communications Course.

February 2014:

Our time was consumed with the Intercultural Communications Course, where we were stretched, challenged, and prepared for life in a cross-cultural environment. We also got to know many people headed to PNG too, and this has continued to be a source of blessing to us!

During this time, the Lord led me to Isaiah 55, and reassured me with these words,

“For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the LORD;
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
Isaiah 55:12-13

March 2014:

We returned to Tupelo, MS, to finish preparations for Papua New Guinea and continue building our partnership team. We were at about 60% of our Wycliffe monthly ministry budget, and we were learning (slowly) to walk by faith, not by sight as we waited for 100%. God gave us immediate opportunities to walk out some of what we learned at our Intercultural Communications Course.

April 2014:

Tupelo, MS, was hit by a tornado, and our neighborhood was one of the hardest hit. We praised the Lord for sparing our lives. home and vehicle, and grieved with our neighbors for all that they had lost. We were incredibly grateful for every person on our prayer team!

May 2014:

We celebrated Talia’s first birthday and went to the mountains with my family. We spent the month in prayer, alongside many of you. We prayed over our children, our marriage, our Wycliffe ministry, those that would eventually join our partnership team, and Papua New Guinea. The Lord brought us to 75% of our Wycliffe monthly ministry budget during this month. We also accepted the PNG branch’s invitation to come straight to Ukarumpa once we reached 100%.

June 2014:

We continued to prepare for Papua New Guinea and ask God to complete our partnership team. We continued to share with people about the work of Bible translation and the needs of Bibleless people groups.

July 2014:

God brought us to 80% of our Wycliffe monthly ministry budget! We also traveled back to Waxhaw, NC, to drop off our household goods shipment. This shipment would later be transported by sea to PNG, and then on to Ukarumpa.

August 2014:

We were so close to 100% that we started praying earnestly for the Lord to provide it by August 15th. God moved in amazing ways, and by August 12th we were at 100% of our Wycliffe monthly ministry budget! The full weight of leaving our home, friends, and family started to hit us, even as we rejoiced at the Lord’s provision. We packed up a few more boxes to send to PNG, a few boxes to store with family in the States, and got rid of everything else! We said good-bye to our church family during our official commissioning service, and shed lots of tears.

September 2014:

We spent a few days with each of our families, and then on September 9th, we boarded the first of 6 flights on our journey to PNG! We arrived in Ukarumpa on September 12th, jetlagged, worn out, but overjoyed to be here.

October 2014:

Makaylah, Sophia, and Isaiah began attending Ukarumpa International School and we all began to settle into our roles here.

November 2014:

David began Tok Pisin lessons and we celebrated our first Ukarumpa Thanksgiving!

December 2014:

We attended the Melanesian Institute mentioned in our newsletter. We had a wonderful first Christmas in Ukarumpa and enjoyed some much needed family time.

Final thoughts:

It’s really hard to put into words just how difficult 2014 was. We wrestled with our faith in God’s provision. We waited and waited. And waited some more. Reading back through my journal this week I cried. I cried remembering how hard it was, and seeing how incredibly good God is, and how He did do everything He promised.

My journal is full of verses and quotes like these –

“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.

Oh Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the LORD there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.”
Psalm 130:5-7

“I will thank You forever,
because You have done it.
I will wait for Your name, for it is good,
in the presence of the godly.”
Psalm 52:9

“I have thrown myself blindly into His almighty hands.” – George Whitfield

If you are reading this today, I hope you are encouraged to remember that even when it feels the most hopeless, we can hope in the Lord. We can throw ourselves blindly into His hands, because He is trustworthy.

As we enter 2015, we pray the Lord will continue to teach us to cling to Him and that we will remember all that He did to bring us here.

“In all the setbacks of our lives as believers, God is plotting for our joy.” – John Piper

“You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.”
Psalm 40:5

6 flights, 7 people, 50+ hours: one big opportunity to pray!

It is really happening! We have our plane tickets. Our bags are packed. And re-packed. Weighed and packed a different way. Okay, maybe we won’t be fully packed until we leave, but you get the idea! We will be getting on our first flight towards Papua New Guinea THIS Tuesday!

A sweet board a friend of ours made showing our route!

A sweet board a friend of ours made showing our route!

You have all been amazing during our journey up to now, and we are counting on you to keep holding the rope for us! Our itinerary is a little daunting, and we are desperate for your prayers over us. I’ve listed it below, with local time for where we will be listed first, followed by central standard time.

  • Depart Memphis at 1:47 PM, September 9th.
  • Arrive in Denver at 3:22 PM (4:22 PM CST).
  • Depart Denver at 6:10 PM (7:10 PM CST).
  • Arrive in LA at 7:36 PM (9:36 PM CST).
  • Depart LA at 10:30 PM (12:30 AM CST, September 10th).
  • Arrive in Auckland, NZ at 6:30 AM September 11th (1:30 PM CST September 10th).
  • Depart Auckland, NZ at 9:30AM September 11th (4:30 PM CST September 10th).
  • Arrive in Brisbane, Australia at 11:10 AM September 11th (8:10 PM CST September 10th).
  • Depart Brisbane, Australia at 7:05 PM September 11th (4:05 AM CST September 11th).
  • Arrive in Port Morseby, PNG at 10:10 PM September 11th (7:10AM CST September 11th).
  • Depart Port Morseby at 2:25 PM September 12th (11:25 PM September 11th).
  • Arrive in Ukarumpa at approximately 4:00 PM (1:00 AM September 12th)

That’s over 50 hours of travel time!

We would love to be covered in prayer during every moment possible of this trip. If you are willing to commit to pray specifically for us during one or more 15 minute windows of time, and view specific prayer requests for different stops, you can do so here. You can even set up e-mail reminders, if you want too!

Several friends of ours traveled to PNG recently. They said the trip went better than they could have imagined it going, and they also said they had people at home praying faithfully for them 🙂

We will be keeping social media up-to-date as much as possible during our trip, and we will update as soon as we can from Ukarumpa. This may take a few days, but we plan to at least call family, who will be able to spread the word that we have arrived safely. Thank you for sending us, and standing with us as we go!

May He Grant: May 29th

May 29: Pray that Makaylah will continue to grow in her relationship with Christ. Ask that she would long for the pure milk of the Word, that she may grow up into her salvation. (1 Peter 2:2).

We prayed earlier this month for the salvation of our youngest four children. We are so thankful that God has already drawn Makaylah to Himself! We appreciate your prayers for her as she continues to grow in her faith.

Makaylah, photo credit: Star Noir Studios

Makaylah, photo credit: Star Noir Studios

Lord, we thank You for saving Makaylah. We know that without Your power at work in her, she would still be lost in her sins and separated from You. We ask that she would never be content to just know about You, but would pursue You passionately and grow in You day by day. May Makaylah put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Help her to long for pure spiritual milk, like a newborn infant, that she may grow up into salvation. May she remember and know that she has tasted that the Lord is good! As she comes to Christ, a living stone rejected by men, but in Your sight chosen and precious, we know she will be built up as a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices accepted to You through Christ. Your Word declares that whoever believes in Christ, the cornerstone, will not be put to shame! (I Peter 2:1-6)

May He Grant: May 23rd

May 23: Pray for healthy transitions for Isaiah as he says goodbye to friends, family, familiar places and ways of doing things. Ask for healthy grieving, and an excitement for what is to come in PNG.

Today is Day 23 of our May He Grant prayer focus. We are incredibly grateful to each one of you praying alongside of us!

We continue to have unreliable internet access during our time in the mountains.

Isaiah loved adventure, nature, and all things “boy.” He can’t wait to get to Papua New Guinea, and already has two friends that he met during ICC that he is excited to have movie nights with in Ukarumpa. Pray that he will maintain that excitement, and that as he says good-bye to friends, family, Tupelo, and our home church, that God will be with Him and give Him peace.

Checking out a "mud lizard" at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo credit: Star Noir Studios

Checking out a “mud lizard” at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo credit: Star Noir Studios

May He Grant: May 20th

May 20: Pray for healthy transitions for Talia as she says goodbye to friends, family, familiar places and ways of doing things. Ask the Lord to give her peace and a sense of safety despite many changes.

It’s Day 20 of our May He Grant prayer focus! Thank you so much for joining with us.

We celebrated Talia Anne’s first birthday yesterday!! So incredibly blessed by this sweet girl and all the evidence of grace she is to us!

Talia’s life so far has already been one of almost constant transition, and that will continue for at least the next year. Please pray that as we go from place to place, even in her limited understanding, she will feel safety and security. Although her environment may be constantly changing, pray that she will know that she is incredibly loved and precious, and pray for wisdom as we parent our first child who will only know life as an MK (missionary kid).

Ready to travel - again!

Ready to travel – again!

May He Grant: May 17th

May 17: Ask God for protection from illness or injury at POC.

It’s Day 17 of our month of prayer focus, May He Grant. You can read more about our heart for this month, and print out a complete prayer guide for the month here.

Pacific Orientation Course, or POC, is a mandatory Wycliffe training for those serving in the Pacific. This training focuses on an understanding of culture, and includes language learning, as well as how to live in this part of the world. There will be several hikes, swims, and a 4-week village stay. We have heard from so many people that POC is an experience that they would never change, and we are excited to attend! We are also aware that injury or illness is a risk, so we appreciate your prayers beginning now for protection.

For a more detailed glimpse into POC, here’s a video:

May He Grant: May 11th

Happy Mother’s Day! We pray you have a blessed day. Our prayers are with those for whom this is a hard day that reminds them of loss.

Our May He Grant prayer focus is below. Please also pray for my mom, Cheryl, and David’s mom, Marie, as they send us (and their grandchildren!) to Papua New Guinea. Pray for peace and comfort and many sweet opportunities to spend time together in the next few months.

Mom a few years ago with our oldest four. Photo credit: Faith Riley Photography

Mom a few years ago with our oldest four. Photo credit: Faith Riley Photography

Marie with all her grandkids a few years ago.  Photo credit: Faith Riley Photography

Marie with all her grandkids a few years ago. Photo credit: Faith Riley Photography

May 11: Ask the Lord for wisdom as we pack and make decisions about what to bring and what to leave behind. May we store up for ourselves treasures in heaven, not on this earth! 

It’s Day 11 of our month of prayer focus, May He Grant. You can read more about our heart for this month, and print out a complete prayer guide for the month here.

Stuff. We all have a lot of it. Our family got rid of a huge amount of possessions before we left for ICC. Everything we own now fits in a 10×10 storage unit, with plenty of room left over. There were things we put in storage that seemed very important before ICC. Months later, we are able to look at those same things and realize that they are just things.

We will be sending a shipment of household goods to Papua New Guinea. This shipment needs to be in JAARS, NC, by early July. From JAARS, it will be shipped via freight to PNG, and arrive in Ukarumpa in a few months. Please pray for us and our children as we finalize this process. May we keep our eyes focused where they need to be.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

May He Grant: May 10th

May 10: Pray for healthy transitions for Makaylah as she says goodbye to friends, family, familiar places and ways of doing things. Ask for healthy grieving, and an excitement for what is to come in PNG.

It’s Day 10 of our month of prayer focus, May He Grant. You can read more about our heart for this month, and print out a complete prayer guide for the month here.

May 10th, Day 10, is about our 10-year-old Makaylah – and I didn’t even do that on purpose 🙂

Makaylah (far right) with sweet church friends

Makaylah (far right) with sweet church friends

We’ve been going to The Church at Trace Crossing for almost seven of Makaylah’s ten years. During that time she has made several great friends, and she struggles a lot with the thought of leaving them. She also understands more fully than our younger children do how far away PNG is, and how long four years will be.

We invite you in praying Psalm 100:1-5 over Makaylah:

Lord, help Makaylah to make a joyful noise to You, along with all the earth! May she serve You with gladness and come into your presence with singing. May she know that you, Lord, are God. It is You who made her, and she is yours. She is Your child, and one of the sheep of Your pasture. Help Makaylah to enter Your gates with thanksgiving, and enter Your courts with praise! May she give thanks to You and bless Your name. For You, Lord, are good. Your steadfast love endures forever! Your faithfulness endures to all generations. May Your presence give Makaylah peace and joy as she says goodbye to friends, family, and things familiar. May she know that Your presence is with her as she goes to Papua New Guinea, and that you will give her every good thing. We thank You in advance for the friendships and relationships You are going to provide her. Thank You that You love Makaylah even more than we do, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.