Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior... Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.... “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”
Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

Monday, June 23, 2008


Seeing as we just bought a new camera, we don't have a lot of pictures to post. Most of these we bummed off of grandparents - but we hope you enjoy!

Nyanya and the girls

Eliana playing the piano - I think she's going to be talented - Look at that posture!

Jana's first time to meet Nana and Papa

Michaela and Uncle James - Have I mentioned how much Michaela loves playing with James?

How sweet is this picture?

The fam

The fam x2

Papa and Michaela

Daddy and his little girl

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Furlough Reflections

1. Everything is so neat and clean!
2. Driving is actually enjoyable: roads are repaired, drivers follow the rules and respect each other. I just have to say, the US has the most amazing infrastructure for transportation from interstate highways to railways. Although I do miss cheap public transportation that is readily accessible (i.e. taxis and buses). Bolivia has those in abundance.
3. Everything is kid-friendly (well, minus the infamous self-flushing potties): restaurants always have crayons and boosters and bathrooms always have changing tables. And there are so many clean, safe playgrounds.
4. You never realize as a parent how many things there are to tell your children they should (or in this case should not) do. We were having lunch at Josh’s alma mater, Harding grad., and just as Josh got up to explain about our work in Bolivia, Michaela pulled the fire alarm! An attractive red switch at her level… it was just asking to be pulled. And who would have thought to tell her about fire alarms and that they are off limits? Of course, the fire trucks are obligated to come. I have never been so embarrassed. The dean of the school had to go explain to the fire chief that a little 3 year old from Bolivia who didn’t know any better had done the deed.
5. You know you are a parent of a missionary kid when their new favorite toy is a water fountain.
6. Never go out to eat in a restaurant after a long day on the road – you’re just setting yourself up for a melt-down in the restaurant (this one comes from experience.) Better order pizza to the hotel room.
7. DVD players in cars are one of the greatest inventions ever made!
8. I love shopping at Walmart and dollar stores.
9. Bookstores and libraries have to be one of my favorite places to go.
10. Friends, family and supporters go out of the way to make you feel at home.
11. 4 part harmony singing is a beautiful part of our church heritage.
12. It is great to reconnect with people after 2 and a half years.
13. It sure gets hot.
14. Medical care in this country is expensive.
15. Furlough is a terrible time to have your camera give up the ghost. Pictures are pending as soon as we buy a new one.

More reflections to come. Inspired in part by Brett Emerson’s blog.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Automatic potties? - no, thank you!

Our first day here, we had a traumatic experience in the bathroom. We made a runto Target to buy some things. At one point during that overwhelming experience, Michaela had to go potty. We found the bathroom and got her on the potty only to have it flush loudly as she was sitting down. Poor thing was scared to death - must have thought she was going to get sucked down - it took me two minutes to calm her down and after that, there was no going potty there.

The only problem was that night on the plane, somehow the potty flushed on her again (the flight attendant assured me they are not automatic, so one of us must have bumped the flush button). I spent 5 minutes trying to coerce her to sit down to no avail. When we finally surfaced from the bathroom, the last 2 rows on the plane looked at me like I had been trying to murder my child in the bathroom (I guess she had been screaming fairy loudly!)... Oh, well.

Anyway, now I have to physically demonstate to Michaela that a potty is not self-flushing.

I have just one question for you - what was the silly person thinking who designed that potty?? I hope he or she gets flushed down!!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

We're here - finally!

Well, we finally made it to my parents house on Wed. night about midnight. It has been an adventure already! For those who haven't yet heard the story....

We ended up leaving Cochabamba about 9:45 on Sunday night, even though we were on the 8:00 flight. Aerosur canceled our flight and bumped us to the 9:15 flight which didn't actually leave on time (we were kicking ourselves for not getting on the 8am flight, but found out later they canceled that one too - so we would have been in the same boat anyway!). We knew we were pushing it (our American flight left Santa Cruz at 11:30) but we still thought we might have enough time to make it. We landed in Santa Cruz and Josh went to pick up the bags while the girls and I raced to the American counter (where I was first in line by the way!) where we waited... and waited...

Apparantly the American employees had already checked everyone else through and were all upstairs (being shortstaffed) where they were handling the gate check-in. So we waited for about an hour and a half until the plane had left until someone came to attend to us. At which point they told us that there was no space on the next day's flight, and they would put us on standby. We had to be back at the airport at 6:00 the next morning.

At this point, the kids were loosing it. We made it to a hotel about midnight, (on the way in the taxi, Michaela said "I want to go home." And I thought, "It's going to be a long 2 months."), where we crashed. As Michaela got into bed, the sweet thing said, "Thank you, Lord." Our children sure help put things in perspective.

After a restless night of sleeping with a 3 year old (Josh slept with Eliana, and I don't think he slept much better), we all got up at 5:30 to make it to the airport at 6:00 - only to find a horrendous line! Apparantly everyone else (not having little children) showed up at 5:00. We stood in line for an hour and a half, navigated airport taxes, security and customs only to arrive at the gate to be turned away. The flight was too full. We had to come back the next day and do it all again!!

This time we headed to La Quinta (our favorite place to stay because it has apartment style rooms with a kitchen, and I was desperate to wash and sterilize bottles. I have never mourned the ease of nursing so much as on this trip!) We spent a nice day (as nice as it can be with 3 grumpy kids who are running off of 5 hours of sleep), although Michaela and Jana started coming down with a really bad cough.

The next morning we hauled ourselves to the airport again. The line was much shorter, but when we arrived, they informed us the flight was full - again! - and if we wanted to ensure our seats on the flight, it would be $800 per ticket! I looked at them like they were crazy - did we look like millionaires?? At this point all 3 kids started crying at once, the attendent went to talk to his manager - and wonder of wonders, they waived the fee and got us on the flight (although we were sitting in 3 different seats!) I don't know if it was out of pity or the fact they were plain fed up with 3 fussy children!

The flight actually went pretty well - we got our seats switched around and ended up sitting all together. The kids did well and we arrived in Miami at around 4:30... I have never been so tired or so glad to get somewhere!

We enjoyed a day in Miami (it was supposed to be 2 days) with the Holways (our coworkers from Memphis) and then boarded another flight to Detroit, where we arrived about 11pm on Wed. It was so good to be at my parents finally! We touched down to the announcement that the Red Wings had won the finals - aahh, Detroit!

The next day we took the girls to the doctor because Jana's cough had become much worse and she was showing signs of a urinary tract infection - I sure missed my Dr. Monroy (and his prices) - but the doc was real nice and we got an antibiotic for her and thankfully she's doing much better.

Other than that, we've just been getting ready for our big road trip and enjoying a few events with the Livonia church - one of the churches that provides half our salary. And of course time with the grandparents and Uncle Matt. Nyanya and Babu watched the girls one afternoon so we could go on a date for our anniversary. We saw the new Indiana Jones movie - complete with Dr. Pepper! - did some shopping and went out to eat. Might I say that as much as my parents enjoy the kids, we are wearing them out - although "we" wear me out too!

We leave tomorrow for Memphis - keep us in your prayers and hopefully I'll have some pictures to post soon.