Year’s End

Our fall was busy, and I don’t use that word lightly.  In fact, I hate the word “busy” and I try to avoid using it whenever possible.  I prefer to say I have a full life, but even that is starting to get a dark tone to it.  Constantly being busy shrivels my soul like no other, so I usually work hard to make time for pausing, reflecting, and being quiet.  It feels like swimming upstream sometimes, but I think I’m learning to feed my soul and spirit more than drive-thru fast food.  I discovered, though, that I am better at short bursts of very busy with white space in between than I am at constantly being sort of busy.  That’s kind of unrealistic, isn’t it?

God did set up creation to rotate through days and nights, seasons of harvest and seasons of rest.  I think that is the thing I am trying to learn, to find the rhythms that bring fruitfulness and peace.

This fall we had about 100 students join the already 150 full-time staff here, and that’s not counting all the kids.  We are at max capacity in this building.  God has been speaking to our leaders the past few years about building systems and roots that can hold more people, so it is a blessing to see the fulfillment of that word.  Hj and I led the business track of our DTS this quarter.  We had 5 students, who are in the lecture phase of their discipleship school.  Most of the time they were with the other 50 students in DTS, but we had several hours a week with them.  They got introduced to what business as mission (BAM) is, we took them on a number of field trips to local businesses, and they were instrumental in launching a fair trade store here on our campus.  They left this week for several months abroad, putting into practice all that they have learned the past three months here in Colorado.

Hj is helping several businesses in the 10/40 window establish an online presence through website and social media.  It’s a challenging job without ever having visited these businesses, but he is planning a trip next year to several countries where he can meet the business owners, as well as create and gather the content he needs.  Hj has committed to another year at the coffeehouse.  It has been a year of explosive growth at Kairos and with it, of course, growing pains and challenges.  We are sending 3 employees to do a discipleship training school with YWAM this year.  If I didn’t believe it before, this year has confirmed my belief that one of the most effective ways to invite people into the family of God is to hire them.  Especially here, our employees rub shoulders every day with young people who are passionate about following Jesus and they can’t help but be drawn into the story of what God is doing.

For almost a year, my friend and I have been going to the places in our city where prostitutes work because of a dream she had in which God told her to go every week and to take me along.  During the summer, we had 4 interns who went with us every week, but this fall it was just the two of us.  For security reasons there are a lot of things I can’t say on this platform, but God has led us one step at a time into a deep love and commitment to these women and introducing them to Jesus.  In January, we will officially launch this new ministry in YWAM and I will spend a few months doing nothing but research and prayer on many different fronts so that we can wage a strategic war on prostitution in our city.  We will seek to find out the biggest needs of the women we love, and working with law enforcement, politicians and spiritual leaders to understand what are the spiritual and legal strongholds we can work with or against.

During this time, Hj will be working in a three-month counseling course that is specifically focused on helping refugees.  He will be staffing the course, which means he will sit in on the classes, run the finances and mentor several of the students personally.  There has been great interest in this course, and they have accepted about 20 students so far.  We are excited, because they are coming from all parts of the world to learn how they can make a lasting impact in the global refugee crisis.

As you might know (or maybe you forgot), we live on the generous donations of our friends and family in order to be able to do missions.  We cannot be paid for any work we do with YWAM, but we are blessed with extremely generous families and friends who support us monthly and a church family who loves us and prays for us so faithfully.

There are so many wonderful places to invest your money this holiday season, but if God lays on your heart to give toward our mission, here is the link to give, for a tax-deductible receipt.

https://www.ywamcos.org/support?code=618

My Children

Disclaimer: these thoughts are several months old.

Last evening I met a girl at Natural Grocers.  She was a student here for a semester, but her ethnicity was Indian.  She was pretty and vegan and we talked about how we feel after we eat junk food.  Then she asked how old my kids are.  When I told her, she said, “Wow.  What do you do with them?  Like, can you talk to toddlers?”

I thought that was such an interesting question.  What do you do with toddlers?

She asked to see pictures of them on my phone, which made me happy.  I showed her these two from the day before.  Adam fell asleep on the way to our garden, so we put him on a blanket in the grass.  Ellie couldn’t stop kissing him and snuggling him.  She often tells me, “Mom, he is so adorable.”

What DO you do with toddlers?  I feel like I clean up after them a lot, and I take them places and train them.  I read to them many books a day, most days.  I tell them stories every night and I comfort them when they’ve pinched a tiny finger.

I’ve been saying it a lot lately: “I wish I could freeze time.”  My babies are 4 and 2 years old and I have always had such an affinity for toddlers that I just wish we could stay here forever.  I’m not so familiar with 6-year-olds and 10-year-olds so it feels a little more scary out there, but right now I really think it couldn’t get better.  About once a day I think how nice it will be when Adam doesn’t launch into such startling, unreasonable fits of frustration, but I don’t take those too seriously.

 

 

 

There are two questions I hear a lot.  “Are you planning to have more kids?” and “Do you think you will homeschool?”  I didn’t know I was expected to have answers to either of those questions at this stage, but hearing them often enough has pushed us to develop some reasonable-sounding + humorous answers.

This week Ellie had dance camp, so every morning we were out the door by 8:30.  I like it like that.  We usually go somewhere fairly early in the day, come home for lunch and then they sleep all afternoon.  Around 4:00 I start the laborious task of waking Ellie, who sleeps very, very deeply.  I feel like I need some creative strategies for waking her, because it is really one of my most challenging chores.  Yelling into her ear barely makes her flinch.

Miss Wendy was here for dinner a few nights ago, and we were sitting on the couch chatting when I noticed Ellie was missing.  Hj found her in the bathroom with a scissors and a bunch of hair in the trashcan.  She said she wanted to be like Miss Heather, my friend who has short hair.  She spent a long time in front of the mirror after that, brushing her hair and coming to grips with what she had done.

The next day Adam took all his clothes off, went to the corner of our building right by the road and relieved himself and then stepped in it.  Ironically, at the moment Adam was outside doing his business, I was on the phone with a friend telling her how frustrated I am that I can’t strike the balance between being a wife/mom and being a friend.  I feel like I’m either neglecting my friends or neglecting my family, but I can’t seem to find the spot in the middle.  I was on the phone catching up with a friend, but ignoring Adam for a full 50 seconds.  The irony, huh?

 

 

 

 

The other day at staff meeting here on the campus, we were to sit in circles and take turns talking about what we personally are doing to reach the unreached, since our campus is called to stay focused on reaching people in the 10/40 window.  I had to say my first mission is the unreached people in my home.  Maybe not technically unreached anymore, but my kids came to us completely ignorant of the Gospel.

It’s a topic for another day, but I have a lot of thoughts and questions about teaching our children about God.  I’ve always read Proverbs to them, but just recently introduced Bible stories like Joseph and Noah and Jonah.  Their reactions are priceless.  It has stirred in me such awe and wonder again for these incredible stories, and the Word of God in its mystery and depth.

This week Ellie’s dance camp has been very Christ-centered, and Ellie has loved it more than her birthday, I think.  She told me on the way home one day, “Mommy, when I was dancing so beautifully something happened which I thought was going to happen.  God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit came and danced with me.”  And I thought, I know that feeling.  I’m fumbling through this beautiful dance of motherhood, but I can say with humble confidence, “I know what’s going to happen– God in fullness will come!”

I have been reading the story of Jacob wrestling with God over and over lately.  In Sally Clarkson’s book “Different” there is a passage that talks about wrestling being a full contact sport; in other words, wrestling with God means being close to Him and engaging with Him.  I found so much comfort in those words because I am always wrestling with big questions and beliefs, and usually I feel silly for getting hung up on things that most Christians seem to accept easily, or I feel like a traitor for my doubts.  God has taken me back to Genesis 32 so many mornings in a row now, I’ve lost count.  There are tears on those pages because I cry every time I get to the part where Jacob names his place of wrestling “The Face of God.”  Even if I walk with a limp the rest of my life, I know that my wrestling and even my doubts have always led me back to the Way, the Truth, the Life.  I know I have met God in the long, dark nights and I have never been the same.

I hope and pray that I will be able to let the people I love wrestle through hard things and deep questions too.  I pray that I will sleep in peace, and when I wake up in the morning and see the limp of one who has wrestled with God in the night, I can say with joy, “Something happened which I thought was going to happen.”

Updating

Isn’t amazing? You blink your eyes and 3 months have gone by.
Since joining YWAM we very much live in quarters. This fall quarter has been the busiest yet. We had about 100 people join our base to attend or staff schools. It feels like a small village of young people joined our “club.” The DTS alone has 51 students. Because the DTS is so big they divide them up in interests or as we call them “focuses”. We have a mission, sports, worship, identity and calling, and business focus. Joy is heading up the business focus. We have 5 students that come every Friday to learn how you can use business in missions. It has been fun and challenging at the same time.
Joy flew out to Washington DC to join many people on the mall to pray for our nation with “Awaken the Dawn”. The vision she has to go back to the Supreme Court steps every year just keeps coming back. Join us in prayer as we pray about going back on Mother’s Day.

I still run Kairos and we just keep growing and growing! We recently got nominated for fastest growing business in the Springs; we are rejoicing in the success that God gives us.  I have committed to Kairos for another year and hope to make some changes in the areas of our environmental and social bottom line.

Personally I have taken on a intern and a one-on-one for this quarter. I teach the intern how to cook and run the food at Kairos and the one-on-one is one of our business students. I love to invest in relationships one on one and doing this is giving me so much life! Along that note, I have decided that I will staff the FCM part time (counseling school). The school starts in January and has a focus on refugees. I will still be involved at Kairos part time and after the school is over go back full time.

God has also given me some great opportunities to chase my dreams!
I recently started to manage the social media for a couple of social businesses in the 10/40 window. I have discovered that you can reach so many people through Facebook or Instagram that normally would never hear the stories behind these amazing businesses.
I use my new camera to take good photos and I love doing that.
Last weekend I helped film my first wedding and it was so much fun! I felt this was a good step in the right direction. Hopefully I will post a short video of the wedding soon.

With all the time going by so fast my kids won’t stop growing! Adam is totally potty trained and such a wild little gentleman. Ellie goes to dance class every Saturday and goes to pre-school three days in the week. She loves going to school and play with her friends. This stage in life is so much fun and we enjoy every second of it! So when Adam asks to go to the zoo we go, when Ellie wants to go swim we dive right in! Life is too short to stay dry.

Do More

So when I started driving for Uber, I saved that money and me and Joy went to the Bahamas. Then 2017 started and I did not want my Uber money to disappear before my very own eyes. I looked up a plan on the internet to save $5.000 in one year. Every week I go out, I have to make a certain amount of money. I then put that money in a savings account.

One day I was watching some videos on Youtube and I found some really good Dutch Youtube channels. Vloggers and You-tubers alike have risen in the Netherlands and having your own Youtube channel is what you need to be cool. Then I discovered Casey Neistat and I was sold.

I have always loved making videos; I just never had the equipment. I started dreaming: I could do this. If only I had some money to buy a new computer and a camera. Then I remembered I had money. All my Uber money sitting in that dusty bank account. I was hesitant. We recently started budgeting and it has helped us a lot more to steward the money we got. I asked some people if they could lend me their opinion if it was wise to spend that money on myself.

My question was: I have $—- in a savings account here in the states. I was gonna invest it, but now I would like to buy a new computer and a nice camera so I can make videos, which I love doing. What would you advise? 

The common answer was something like: Do the things you love now so you won’t regret that you didn’t later. 

I loved hearing other peoples’ opinions and it helped me a great bunch. One friend asked me some good questions about my life and the future. Because of his questions I now have life insurance and a Costco membership.

After lots of research I decided which computer and camera I wanted. First I bought the camera, secondhand. Then I bought the computer, brand new.
Here comes the crazy part. The day the computer arrived in the mail we got a donation for almost the exact amount I had just spent on the camera and computer.
I honestly didn’t know what to think or what that even meant. What is God trying to say?

Still I am not totally sure. I had to think back to the last week of my DTS lecture phase. Our teacher created this image of a little kid in a ice cream shop and God tells the little kid to get what ever flavor he wants. Pick what you like. I love to see myself in that ice cream shop and I picked “media” as the flavor I like and because God loves to see me happy with the things He created for me, He blesses it. I am sure it sounds like some kind of easy prosperity gospel. But it is quite the opposite, to follow your passion, you often have to take many steps in faith. Go out on a limb take lots of risk, be fearless. I have been cooking all my life and it has been good.  I thank God that he took me that direction. I just know that that is not my calling. Cooking is something I keep doing because I know how.
If I keep cooking, the people around me will never know what I could have been. If I always stay in my comfort zone and never take any risks I will not grow, I will not enjoy my daily life and I will not live in God’s full potential for my life. Lord, help me to do more!

Again, I am still asking God many questions about this and maybe one day I can be confident. For now, I am taking one step at the time.

I am super happy with my camera and I recently played around with it a little bit, click here to watch it.

Thanks for re(w)a(t)d(ch)ing.

 

 

Movie Review

I haven’t written a blog in some time and I had this one in the drafts for awhile so, tasked-oriented as I am, I had to finish it before I could start an other one.  Sorry it’s a little silly.

I took my family and a (38 your old female) friend to the $ theatre.
The movie we saw is based on a book. We had the book at home and especially the children seemed impressed with the book so we decided to pay $1.75 to see it in the theatre.

The movie starts.
Now, comparing the beginning of the movie to the beginning of the book is a quick job. There are very little comparisons. Tim, the main character is not in the book. Not mentioned once. In the movie? Seen in every scene!
The movie doesn’t stop at the beginning; it kinda just keeps on going. All of the sudden we deal with a toddler gang, puppies taking over the world and an angry baby that grew up and wished he didn’t. The funniest part of the movie was when my 38-year-old female friend (I hope she doesn’t read this, and if she does I hope she subscribes to our blog) laughed out loud when nobody else did.

I thought the plot of the movie was effortless, cheesy and full of holes.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy watching the movie, as a matter of fact it was the best movie I watched all day. The concept of a baby in a suit demanding meetings all day long and several at night is quite clever. That proves the director of the movie at least read the book or looked at the cover.
The song “Blackbird” by the Beatles helped the movie to knit some loose ends together and end it in a sweet moment where baby and brother discover they like being siblings and the Boss Baby decided to be a real baby. (spoiler alert)

Although the movie was great the book is better. It’s shorter.

 

SOBE

I’ve just been through a 6-week business intensive that we call the SOBE, School of Business and Entrepreneurship.  Technically I was staffing the course, but the truth is that I was there to learn.  We had 13 students from around the world, who each gave a 10-minute presentation of their business plan to a “shark tank” as their final exam.

We had phenomenal speakers every week; a collection of local businessmen who are embracing missions alongside us, as well as speakers from around the world who are very connected to the missional aspect of their businesses.  They were all brilliant, and gave generously of their time and expertise.

I heard so many things I don’t ever want to forget.  Here are a few of them.

As Christians, we usually divide our work and activities into sacred or secular.  We think a missionary or a pastor does sacred work, while a lawyer or business owner does secular work.  What if we are all called, as believers, to full-time ministry in our field?  It might be farming land, trading stocks or representing clients in a courtroom.  When God made Adam in the Garden of Eden, He “took the man and put him into the garden to cultivate it and to keep it.”  Genesis 2:15  We were created to work; what if this is our daily worship?  It reminded me of a quote I read a long time ago, when I was first introduced to the idea that God did not set up a secular/sacred divide in our work.  If money and trade and business were His idea, why would He not be right in the middle of it?

Peeling potatoes was more essential for Brother Lawrence’s spiritual growth than attending the evening prayer service because Brother Lawrence recognized that God was there in the kitchen as much as he was in the chapel.  -Andrew Spencer

I was especially delighted with the thought that when God made mankind on earth and gave us the mandate to cultivate it, He had hidden in the earth all the raw materials we need to create boats and cars and computers and fidget spinners.  Not only that, He hid in humans the intelligence to figure out how to make this stuff, trade it, ship it, and then how to manage it.  The business of creating products and services was all God’s brilliant idea to help us thrive on the earth.

I learned about what BAM (Business as Mission) is, and what it is not.  It is not business for missions, nor is it business to cover up the mission, as in restricted-access countries.  BAM refers to for-profit, sustainable businesses reflecting the kingdom of God in their mission and values, including these four bottom lines:

  1. Economic Profitability
  2. Social Impact
  3. Environmental Impact
  4. Spiritual Transformation

I believe Jesus is the answer to our soul’s greatest needs, but suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you tells him, “Go in peace; stay warm and well fed,” but does not provide for his physical needs, what good is that?  James 2

Lots of kind-hearted people have been touched by the plight of the poor in developing countries, and were moved to give from their abundance.  When I lived abroad, I was on the receiving end of containers from the USA, filled with clothes, shoes, food, all manner of donated items to help the poor.  It didn’t take me long to figure out that this creates a cycle of dependency that hurts the local economy, besides the psychological and spiritual difficulties this dependence creates in a society.

I now see that BAM brings beautiful answers to the problems of the poverty cycle.  One of our teachers in the SOBE has started a business in a country where desperate poverty has caused many women and children to be sold into the sex industry.  His business supplies a living wage for men and women to provide for their families with dignity, in an environment that champions them as valuable children of God.

In the past, Hj and I worked with several ministries that were fighting sex trafficking and prostitution.  The biggest struggle these ministries faced was trying to find viable jobs for women who sincerely wanted to leave, but felt that prostitution was the only means by which they could afford a house and food for their families.  BAM addresses these needs, through spiritual discipleship as well as restoring hope and dignity through jobs.

This isn’t just for developing nations.  As a school, we took a field trip to Denver to visit several businesses practicing BAM.  We saw a coffee roasting company that employs homeless young people, as well as a connected coffee shop that does the same.  We visited a discount building supply store and cabinet shop that employs men and women transitioning out of homelessness or prison.  In traditional business, I’m sure these are the people you don’t employ, but that’s the beauty and irony of the upside-down kingdom Jesus taught.  I asked the owner how hard it is to employ people that the rest of the world tends to marginalize, and his answer really surprised me.  “It’s really not hard at all.  They’re motivated to work!”  We joined them in a lunchtime Bible study the day we were there. I found it so inspiring to see firsthand the way God is transforming individual lives and society through these businesses.

 

So, that’s [some of] what I learned in the SOBE.

“There is no understanding of any domain or dominion without understanding its design and purpose before sin and the fall. We were not made for sin. Sin happened, so God must and we must deal with it. But we do not have governance, science, education, family, business, beauty and the arts, communication because we are fallen from God’s ideal. We do not have nations and cultures because, after sin, there was no other way we could be ruled. We have all of these arenas of life because we are created in the image of God and they are all part of revealing Him. They are all ways in which we know, see and worship God. Our work, creating communities that reflect who God is, is our worship now and forever.”  Landa L. Cope

 

 

 

 

Podcasts

Alternate title: One Way to Keep your Brain from Shrinking as a SAHM

Last time I was here, I was talking about talking.  I just listened to This American Life, the podcast version of the radio show.  Last weekend’s episode is called “Say Anything.”  It’s all about talking, believe it or not.  I have been listening to This American Life for as long as I can remember and I probably will for a long time into the future, so if you’ve been wanting to judge me as a crazy left-wing liberal, now’s a good time.

In this episode of the podcast, I learned about a man and woman who go on the streets of New York City with a little sign that says, “talk to me.”  At first, people are skeptical because they think they’re being sold Avon or Plexus or something.  But there really is no agenda besides inviting people to talk about whatever is on their minds.  Do you ever feel like maybe you’re wearing this sign on your forehead?  I do.

I listened to a podcast awhile back about a woman who was obese most of her life, but she came to a point as an adult where she told her friends and family that she was fat. She called it, “coming out” as a fat person. She grew up hoping that if she didn’t mention it, maybe no one would notice that she was overweight.  It seems foolish to admit it, but that’s how I feel about leaving the Mennonites. Maybe if I don’t mention it, nobody will notice.

I’ve gotten used to being interesting to most people and I wonder how my children will handle boring small talk without being able to casually bring up the fact that they were raised Mennonite. That always unleashes a myriad of questions and observations. “So maybe you can explain to me the difference between Amish and Mennonites?”  That’s one I could answer in my sleep.  I learned some of what I know from a podcast episode called “Who Are The Amish?” from Stuff You Should Know. They’re the ones who taught me that Mennonites came first, then Amish.  From them, I also learned the three reasons the Amish split from the Mennonites.

When I’m cooking dinner, I let my kids watch Peppa Pig and I stick my earbuds into my ears and listen to podcasts while I’m busy in the kitchen.  (If you have been wanting to judge me as a lackadaisical mom, this is the perfect time.)  Lately I feel like I don’t have much time to sit down and read, so podcasts keep my brain on its proverbial toes.  I’d feel better about myself if I were listening to audiobooks but I can’t ever find good ones for free.

Sometimes I branch out and try new podcasts, but I always go back to the same handful that I’ve listened to for years.  However, this year I added a new one to my rotation as soon as it came out.  It’s called How I Built This, “a show about innovators, idealists and entrepreneurs and the stories behind the movements.”  I found the interview with the TOMs shoes guy especially interesting.  In the business school I’ve been staffing, we watched a documentary called Poverty Inc. (find it on Netflix!) that shows why a business model like TOMs is disruptive to markets in developing countries.  I was so happy to hear the TOMs guy say that he agreed with this criticism and they now manufacture over 40% of the shoes in the countries where they give them away.  I thought that was pretty humble of him to admit that they really needed to work on this aspect of their company.

The episode about Whole Foods didn’t have that same humble vibe, to be honest.

One podcast I tried recently is a lady who asks people personal questions, on topics we normally consider taboo (politics and money and such).  I forget what it’s called.  I found the concept intriguing but I was disappointed by the interview.  It just sounded like a normal American conversation to me, nothing too deep or uncomfortable.

I have never thought of myself as a creature of habit, but maybe I am; I do stick to my favorites.  It’s not a podcast, but I’ve listened to this so many hundreds of times over the years that I almost have it memorized.  So, if you would send me your favorite episode of your favorite podcast, I would love to listen to the things you are finding fascinating these days.

Talking

Maybe the reason I find social media awkward is because I picture everything.  When you send me an emoji, I picture you making that face.  😯 When I post something on Instagram, I actually picture myself standing on a platform behind a pulpit, saying the caption aloud to 150 people/followers.  (This includes an overhead projection of my photo.)  When I write a blog post and nobody comments, I feel like a whole bunch of people are silently sitting in a circle, staring at me after I just shared my heart with them.

I guess I should just keep talking.

Whenever I’m around people who are married, I always have this burning question on my mind: “How is your marriage going, for real?”  In 6 years of marriage, I might have been asked that question once.  It seems like your marriage relationship is a pretty big part of your life if you’re married, but I guess people want to honor and respect their partners by never talking about them.  I just love talking about marriage, but how do you casually ease into the subject?

I wonder if I should just keep talking.

A lot of people left our church recently.  We’ve been there for a year and a half so we feel pretty at home.  It’s an odd conversation to have when your friend says, “I wanted to tell you we started going to another church.”  What is the appropriate thing to say?  Do you offer sympathy?  Do you hide your surprise or display it?  Do you ask more questions or was that the end of the conversation?  I think I said something smooth and cool like, “Oh!  Ok.”

I bet I shouldn’t just keep talking.

The thing about old people is, they love to talk.  They have so many interesting stories to tell, including all the details and dates and people you don’t know.  I was trying to think of a new type of event we could do at our coffee shop, and I thought of “Olde-Tyme Story Thyme,” where we invite old people to talk for 2 hours straight about whatever they want.  I imagine the audience knitting, painting, and checking Facebook on their phones, all while listening to an elderly person talk about.  Maybe if the old people get all the stories out that are stuck in their head, they won’t hold me up in the check out line.

I should really stop talking.

I’ve had a blog post in my drafts for months.  It’s called, “De-plaining” and it’s all about how I used to be plain but I’m not anymore.  You would probably find it very interesting but I’m not sure how interesting I’m up for being at the moment.  Basically, I wrestle with the question of whether it’s possible to leave the Mennonites or not, which is another one of those questions burning on my mind, but I feel isn’t welcome in polite society.

I stopped talking, for now.

Updated update

VISITORS!
Hj’s sister came for a few weeks to visit us, all the way from Holland.  She brought her little daughter Feline along, as well as her friend named Rosalie.  They arrived on koningsdag, the day when the king’s birthday is celebrated in Holland, so we got to start their visit off with festivities!

They went on lots of adventures and the kids got to play together to their hearts’ content and maybe even beyond.  🙂  There are plenty of things to do around the Springs, and they even spent a weekend with our friend in Estes Park and explored Rocky Mountain National Park.

         

Feline’s birthday was a few days after they left, so we threw an early birthday party for her and Ellie, who will turn 4 next month.  It was so interesting to hear them communicate, in English and Dutch, sometimes figuring it out and sometimes getting frustrated when they were trying to pretend a story.

More recently, we had some of my family come visit!  It’s very hard for me to fathom, but those beautiful women flanking me are my nieces.  Last week we were having tea parties and swimming in the Pomeroon River and this week they are old enough to cut their own pancakes!  The rest of their family was here too; I just failed to get pictures.

This is the other day Andrew’s were visiting– we  took the train up Pike’s Peak and stopped halfway up where there was still enough snow to make a snowman.  Adam found that amusing, it seems.

SOBE!
While Martine was here, the SOBE (School of Business and Entrepreneurship) started.  I am staffing that school, which means I am in class every day with the students, sitting in on the lectures.  We have 13 students from around the world and it has been a delight to get to know them and their visions!

Most days, this is my view from the back of the classroom.  I’m learning so much from each of our knowledgable speakers, as well as from the students.  Meanwhile Hj is at home with the kids, being humble and loving and sacrificial and cheering for me every day!

ART!
I have organized a series of summer art classes for our campus.  It has proved to be a really profound experience and we have encountered Jesus in every lesson!  Yesterday after the art class, I found one of the older students in a corner weeping at what God was revealing to her through the process of creating.

WASHINGTON DC!
I spent Mother’s Day weekend in Washington DC with a number of friends and family.  These 3 beautiful women came with me all the way from Colorado Springs.

We were there to pray for God to move in the Supreme Court, that we would see an end to abortion in our country very soon.  It was a really powerful, beautiful time.  It is such an honor to stand as humans and pray for LIFE.

This year we circled the Supreme Court seven times, praying for seven different areas that relate to the abortion industry and fatherlessness.  My faith was renewed and the flickering flame of hope was fanned in my heart.

We spent an extra day sightseeing in DC, as the ladies traveling with me had never been there before.  I had seen the city plenty of times during the day, but seeing it at night was a whole new experience which I loved!  It felt even more grand and majestic than normal.

FAMILY!
At the end of every day, I am so grateful for the little family I get to call mine.  Before bedtime, we like to sit in a circle, hold hands and talk about the best parts of our day, as well as the sad parts.  Adam’s favorite part of the day is usually, “when Papa came back.”

Ellie  Adam  (typed by Ellie!)

I asked Ellie to write the captions for these photos.  She says, “These two pictures are for God and Jesus, one funny and one happy.  Did you know the devil hates pictures?”  Those are little undies on her head, which she discovered work great as a head covering.

          

Ellie spent the last 2 months in our preschool here on base, two mornings a week.  She loved it and will be going again in the fall.  Adam misses her a lot on those days, and sometimes I think how ironic that having two kids at home is so much easier than having one.

I’ve been reminded lately that 2-year-olds are about the most charming little creatures in the universe.  I feel like I have my own little show to watch every day as he discovers the world and language and his own opinions.

          

 

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Yesterday May 18th it snowed.

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The Fousert’s