The ONLY first day of school

Can I get an amen!? No, I’m not being over dramatic (please refer to “Bye, Felicia” & “My 3rd first day of school” blog posts from last year). Seriously, read them to appreciate my happiness and deep relief!

It’s going to be a long one. Grab whatever it is you need to settle in.

Months and months ago at the Bible Study we have in town for missionary women we were all talking about the kids, school, how we were all stressed out about HOW we were going to do it all….my sweet friend, Rachael, decided we should get a missionary kids teacher. WHAT A GREAT (crazy, never going to happen) IDEA!

Fast forward a few months, one long, meeting where everyone was talking all at once, reference letters, requests for finger prints, 1 million side conversations and a very shell shocked, dear woman whose family was about to pack up and move to Mexico, later and BAM! We have a missionary teacher!!

She. Is. Amazing. She has homeschooled her three kids (two grown and a 16 year old) from the get go. Experience. Check. I’ve met two of the three kids and love, love, love them. Functional adult children. Check. Now, (the second week into school) I’ve seen this woman wrangle 8 kids from 4 years old to a Junior in high school, at one time, across multiple subjects and (at times) the same subjects like a pro. She is calm, patient, quiet…someone the very opposite of me. Check. It all equals perfection, really.

My kids love her and her family. They come home and WANT to do the homework she assigns them. What is this witchcraft?? They love her. I love her. Every missionary parent in this group loves her!

You guys, prayer works! The start of this school year has been so drastically BETTER than last that I’m counting it as a win! (Even with the looming days that promise bad attitudes and all the other normal stuff!) And every mom said, “Amen.”

Thank you so much for praying for us and for the boys!


It’s been a year…

June 10th, 2016 was our 16th wedding anniversary. It was also the day the packed up what we hadn’t gotten rid of, our two youngest children and headed to the mission field.

We left a lot behind. The only home we had lived in as a married couple, the one all of our kids were raised and being raised in, our parents, our three oldest kids, our two small granddaughters, almost every friend we had…the list of loss is long. We didn’t really feel it at the time.

In the moment it was pure adrenaline. The excitement of our dreams coming true combined with having friends and family with us, helping us move was fun! Two days after settling into our apartment, our family and friends left and then the mission teams came and we were so busy there wasn’t time to think about anything other than what was happening on a given day and who was in charge of making sure our kids were fed, alive and still on the property. Busy was an understatement.

We all survived summer, mostly. Little did we know God was about to shake us up to the very core. Shortly after summer the hard reality of leaving it all behind, living in a place that’s not our home, having new jobs and roles and a slew of other things (including the kids melting down because reality was hitting them too) and it was ugly. It came out in different ways for all of us. Crying, silence, withdrawal, rebellion, anger…almost in every way you can imagine it came pouring out of at least one of us – usually all of us in different ways all at the same time.

I’m sure our friends here, the ones I wasn’t crying to for hours a day (you know who you are!) saw it too. The struggle was clear: our family was breaking down from the inside out. Our marriage was a wreck, we were struggling in our new roles, the kids just wanted to go home and it was a mess.

But. But God. But God has a way. A way of working after all you guards are down, all your dreams are in a pile of tears and you feel lost. He just knows exactly what’s needed and it always seems that we take the hardest route to get to it. He stepped in when we sat down in defeat and saved. Saved our dreams, saved our marriage, saved our family.

A year later we have finally hit our stride. I am doing what I love, what I’m good at, being stretched to do the things that God wants me to do & loving Him more than I ever have. I can’t speak for the rest of my family but what I see is good. Jeremy is leading & loving us like never before, Jace is growing into his new life with new ideas and dreams and Ryan is stepping into the leadership qualities God has given him. It is good.

God is good. Life is good. Mexico is good. We have all made friendships that are growing stronger every day. We are closer as a family than we have ever been and most importantly, loving and learning more about God than we ever have! If you have prayed for us, thank you. If you haven’t, please start! There are still lots of things pending: I’m teaching a Women’s Bible Study at our church, we aren’t sure what the boys will do for school in the fall, Jeremy is feeling a tug in ministry and our general health & safety is always on our prayer list!

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God pressed the >> button…

God is awesome. And funny. So, so funny!! We have been sitting on this #weremoving Mexico dream for almost 10 years. Yes, really. And the last 5/6 years have been spent knowing we would be heading to Open Arms in Baja.

So all this time we have have talked, planned, dreamed and looked forward to #summer2016. And since Spring break this year we have gotten real serious about this move and what it will look like. But now, per His usual, “You are just along for the ride” theme, we are being fast tracked!

Rewind to mid May when we went to La Mision for our 15th wedding anniversary. We were chatting with Heidi (Director of OA) about the future & all of our big dreams. Open Arms’ big dreams included. You see, they themselves are in the brink of big change too: they have started building a campus in Camalu (about three hours south of their original campus in La Mision.)

Part of the deal with the new campus is that Heidi & Daniel will be spending a lot of time in Camalu and need a leadership team in La Mision. The staff  and volunteers requested that Jeremy and I be part of that leadership. WOW.

We were so surprised! It’s one thing to think you have spent all these years building trust, investing in people and truly loving, but when it’s confirmed by those very people, the feeling is amazing! It’s like validation for all the long trips home from Mexico at all hours with two toddlers in the back seat! All the tax returns that went for mission trips mattered. All the time spent to be present for even the most “normal” days mattered. Every prayer, moms class, youth group, church service and kids church service taught by us mattered. It all made an impression on those who we sought to serve. It was humbling and our enthusiastic YES resounded just like that, all caps and no doubt.

So, the goal is for Open Arms to open their campus in Camaluin January of 2016 and Heidi & Daniel will need to be there for long stretches of time but that’s not #weremoving #summer2016. Sooooo, how’s that going to work? Well, the conversation was kind of like this: “Hey you remember when you guys came down for a week every month for two years? Ya, we need you to start that again in January.” Again our YES resounded just like that. In caps and no doubt!

So, starting in January we will begin to spend a week every month in La Mision. We will start to settle into our new position, adjust to the schedule, let our boys become acclimated again & have a chance to be hands in before #summer2016. We are really excited that we have this opportunity! It allows us to ease into our position – hopefully building even more trust with the staff at OA, learning the daily ropes and easing into the big move. It will also help the transitions with the kids, moms and volunteers  at NPI. This feels like the opportunity of a lifetime, like this big dream is really coming true! It’s exciting and scary…but mostly amazing!!!

We have a few prayer requests: pray for safe travels (this will be a lot of time en route both ways!), for wisdom as we begin to step into this new position, for our boys to adjust (again) to the schedule at OA and for NPI – we need a team of dedicated people to lead when we are gone!!