Friday, October 12, 2012

Friends all over...

With beautiful inside-and-out teenager, Stephanie, from a supporting church

One of my favorite parts of traveling on furlough is not the good food, not the great shopping, and not the pretty hotels, homes, and missions apartments we stay in {though I love, love, love those things!}.  I mostly feel a really special joy when we visit a church and someone walks up to me, introduces themselves, and lets me know that they...

know us

pray for us

read our prayer letters and/or this blog

know what God is doing in our ministry

There is just something special about knowing you are loved by someone else.  It is humbling.  Truly, truly humbling.

We really are not anyone important.  But, we get to do a BIG work for a worthy Savior and it just blesses our hearts to know when individuals are equally excited about that work.
The Weiss family drove 2 1/2 hours to see us!

So, if I have had an opportunity to meet you since we have been traveling because you have been brave enough to come by and introduce yourself, I truly thank you. To friends we have already known and been able to see again, thank you for loving us and welcoming us "home" with loving arms.  It just really warms our hearts.  We have had friends drive several hours just to see us, and we just feel supremely blessed.

Friendship truly is a treasured gift from God.  And how blessed we are to enjoy friendships all over this big, wide world!

In the video included below you can see one of the many things we enjoy doing as we travel: singing as a family for our Savior.  We are not mega talented by any means, but we do love singing {in Russian these days} to the churches we visit.  Though he is not pictured, hubby (the one with all the talent!) is playing the piano and singing tenor. Click here to watch the video if you are reading this post in your inbox or through a reader and cannot see the video embedded below.
In my next blog post, I look forward to sharing hubby's new book with you, and we'll be having a giveaway so that some of you can have it sent to you as a gift from us!  Be sure to check back soon so that you don't miss it!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Crazy Eights

Our Nate has turned eight and now you can hear silly little chants like this wherever we are near:

Nate the great who now is eight is never late for his date.

What can I say?  After all, he's a unique kid whose name rhymes with a number.  Don't you act silly in your home too?!

Nate is a funny guy with enough personality to go around for several kids.  I'm so glad God packaged him all up and sent him to us.  He dreams of becoming a pastor one day, and if that is what God has in store for him, then I can already see how his personality would line up with such a job description... talkative, dramatic stories, love for people, charisma, and devotion to God.    

We were still in Ukraine when we celebrated Nate's birthday.  When we returned from Israel, after having taken Davey to a safari park for his 10th birthday, we decided we would do the same for Nate.  A new safari park had recently opened about 25 minutes away from our home, so we decided that the drive would be well worth it to make our little guy feel special.

We paid extra and waited in the scorching sun to get several shots like the two pictures below, but we are so glad we did. 

Just before we walked out of the cubs' cage, Brianna reached down to pet the lion cubs lying under the bench.  When she did, the tiger cub on top of the bench swiped at her head and caught his claws in her ponytail.  It scared her, but she sure did love having a big story to tell her friends later! After all, how many people can say that they have had their hair pulled by a tiger?!

After spending a couple of hours at the safari park, we went to visit Alina who was turning 20 on this day.  It is our yearly tradition to drive to her house, congratulate her with a gift and song, then get a picture of the two birthday "kids" together.
Then we went home and grilled hot dogs, Nate's requested meal.  He invited Caleb and Anna {other missionary kids who live on the other side of the city, whose parents are starting another Baptist church} over.

Here are how our hot dogs come packaged:

Even though the frosting on Nate's cake was melting down the sides due to the sweltering heat {did I mention this was late July?}, we still managed to throw some decorations on there to go with our safari birthday theme this year.  And guess whose creative mind came up with this idea?  Yes, Nate himself!
  And, a picture made just for you, Nate:
Enjoy this "crazy eight" year to the fullest, my sweet boy!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Prayer stickers for furlough

I have shared in the past how we make "prayer stickers" available at our display table when we are visiting churches.  (Be sure to click the highlighted words to see some of our past ones and read through the comments there to get ordering details for how we do this.)  

I thought I would share our updated one with you here today... I think this one is my favorite yet!  This continues to be an inexpensive, yet popular item of interest, especially for the little people who come to visit our table.  It is always nice to have something to give children who are brave enough to meet the missionaries.  Usually when we are handing them out to children, adults start asking for them too... and I love it!

This idea also works really well when we receive a "praying for you" note from a children's Sunday School class and we are writing back.  These flat stickers are so very easy to just tuck into an envelope along with our letter.  I love having something to give in return for those prayers!

So, please feel free to copy the idea, missionary friends.  A few other ideas I've seen out there, other than the traditional prayer cards are key tags such as these, only featuring the missionary's picture and contact information:

Or, how about refrigerator magnets that look like mini prayer cards?  I've seen those too, and they just have a way of not getting lost as easily as a prayer card!  Basically anything you can print on can be another way to leave a little reminder in homes of your need for prayers.

Whatever it is we do to get our prayer partners to remember us, the important thing is just that... getting our prayer partners to remember to pray for us.  Oh, how we covet those all-important, fervent prayers of God's people calling out to Heaven on our behalf!

What unique ideas have you seen as missionary prayer reminders?  I'd love to hear your feedback!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Emily Ruth

Before I get back to my regular blogging, I wanted to share some pictures of my newest little niece, Emily Ruth.  This beautiful baby girl was born August 31st to hubby's youngest sister Elizabeth.  She and her husband Ulises live in Mexico and work very, very hard in establishing churches.  God has given them many amazing successes, and we are constantly fascinated at what God is doing through them.
Emily is this dear couple's third child.  They have waited nearly 5 years for the Lord to give them another baby.  A year and a half ago, they were devastated by a miscarriage and prayed faithfully for the Lord to give them another child.  Ever heard the saying "three's a charm"?  Emily is definitely their little charm!  All three of their children are precious treasures who have been born into a very loving home.
For Christmas, our family will be heading to southern Mexico and we are looking forward to meeting our newest family member!  
Most of you know that my hubby is one of 8 children.  All of those children are {fairly} young adults who have an average of 4 children each!  Wanna know the grand totals of our family to date?

1 Mimi {Prampa is in heaven} 
8 children and their spouses
32 grandchildren
4 in Heaven who live on in our hearts and deserve mentioning
1 on the way!

It is so much fun to be married into a large family!