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.

Packing peanut

It’s about time for us to be responsible and tell you what is up.

We seem busy, and that is an easy thing to do around here. We recently realized that we have been in YWAM for more than a year and we still feel like we are the new people. We are finally getting to the place that we call this place home and it feels that way. One thing that really helped was ripping off our ugly old wallpaper. We got some guy to restructure our walls and I put a beautiful Polar Bear White on the wall. All of the sudden it made sense to put something on the wall and it looked good. Our two hotel rooms became a little less hotel and a little bit more a part of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things at Kairos are going good; we are breaking sales records like crazy. After having some problems with dying fridges and other things breaking down it is good to see that we are moving forward. Our shift manager has quit her job, so me and Ryan are doing everything. We are praying for someone else from YWAM to join our team and bring some new vision in. We are still training lots of people to run their own coffee business all over the world. We had a pastor from New Mexico come and join us for a little while to teach him how to start a cafe at his church. Right now we have Lisa with us who possibly wants to open a cafe in Nepal where she runs a hair salon. Ryan is going to visit a couple that went through training at Kairos and just opened a coffee house in Zanzibar, Tanzania. In April we will get 3 more interns through the School of Business and Entrepreneurship and train them to open their own coffee shop or cafe.

Joy will be staffing that school and I am so excited about it. It is a great opportunity for her to be more involved and help out our BAM team.

Not too long ago me and Joy went to a marriage conference in CA. We had such a good time working on our marriage and learning some valuable tools. I had been feeling a little bit down when it came to my relationship with God and was praying for breakthrough. We spent a lot of the week during the marriage conference listening to God and praying for other people. God spoke to me in some powerful ways. But the real fun came when we came back home and God kept on speaking to me. On the radio, I won 8 tickets to a worship concert and felt quite clearly who to take with. The current DTS was having giving night and I felt to give a certain amount of money to a boy, but I didn’t even know his name. The next day he came to me saying that his outreach fees increased and the money I gave was the exact amount he had to pay extra.
Those are small little things but they help me so much to know that God cares about us.

 

A visit from home

IMG_4382

We were very privileged to have a visit from the Schlabachs, our bosom friends from back in NC.

IMG_4401

Ellie and Christopher kept us so entertained, as 2-year-olds are wont to do. A moment after I snapped this photo, Ellie gave Bubbers a long, affectionate hug and I could hear his frantic, muffled voice saying, “This is not ok!”

IMG_4411

Adam and Jennika were just as amusing! A little less verbal, but their budding personalities are so much fun to discover.

IMG_4344

Ellie was excited that her and “Ome Kenny” had matching pants! A boutique treasure.

IMG_4368

We had sushi and Vietnamese take-out one night at the park, and the kids got to play nearly to their hearts’ content.

IMG_4356

Kenny and Hj took these three musketeers up to Pike’s Peak one afternoon. If you come visit us, we’ll take you too!

 

 

Go with the flow

photo

We had lots of snow

IMG_3733

part of the art display

Easter Art Gallery
Day by day we are feeling more at home and part of the community here at the YWAM base. Last week on Good Friday we organized an Easter Art Gallery. We first heard about this idea at our church in The Hague. The base here in Colorado normally does a big Easter party but it got canceled this year. We thought it would be a great idea to do an Easter Art Gallery here with all the base staff. We asked people to bring art that reflected who they are and what Jesus did for them. It was great to see so many people submitting art to be displayed and to see how diverse the body of Christ is.

Prayer on the Steps
Next week we will be spending a few days in Washington, DC and we would love to have you join us on Saturday, April 9.
Our mission is three-fold: 1. To pray about abortion at the Supreme Court; anyone is welcome to join us Saturday, (April 9) at noon.
2. The same day, we will also join United Cry DC16 for a day of praying for our nation at the Lincoln Memorial.
3. Last but not least, Saturday night we will be at David’s Tent DC to worship on the streets, taking a turn in leading a 10,000 “love song to Jesus.”
When you think about it, please pray for us as we go.

Saying Goodbye
One part of YWAM that is always bittersweet… saying goodbye.
We have waved goodbye to some of our good friends here and blessed them as they go out into the mission field. Ellie lost her friend down the hallway who is now “far away”.
We are praying for her that she will gain a friend here her age.

Thank you so much for supporting us!
The Fouserts

Colorado might not be heaven, but it must be on the way.

It already has been one week since I arrived in Colorado Springs.
Me and Mocha (not his real name) (he got that name for his love for downtown coffee shops) (actually he got it from autocorrect) drove out Friday morning and arrived Saturday evening. We unloaded our stuff in our empty new home. Monday morning I dropped off Mocha at the airport and then I went for IKEA. I always liked IKEA but this time I was lost in the Swedish maze of oddly named furniture. Most of the time I went into the wrong direction, walking in circles. I caught on to my lostness when I passed the RANARP floor reading lamp for the 6th time. Finally I spotted the BOSNÄS footstool (which was on my list) on display.  It should be easy to find the box now, I thought.  I looked around and even went back a little bit. No BOSNÄS anywhere in sight. In my best Swedish, I asked someone for help. The lady pointed at the other side of the room at least 15 miles away from where I saw the BOSNÄS on display. This scenario repeated itself and now I am fluent in Swedish.
In the middle of it all I decided I should go check out the “as is” section, the part of IKEA where they sell stuff that was damaged. It took me only 45 minutes to find it. I saw a day-bed, still in the box. It used to be $269, now $49.99. After googling an image of the product, I decided we needed a day-bed. I was aware of the money we saved up and I wanted to spent $500. While I was checking out, I texted my wife and said I was probably spending $600 at IKEA, wondering if I was crazy or not.  Starting over just costs a lot of money, I thought.  Joy texted back and said that Jack (not his real name) had just pushed $500 in her hands, because he had so much extra. God always provides for us, even for a BOSNÄS footstool. The bill at IKEA ended up being $501.46. Now I know for sure that those dollar hotdogs at IKEA are not God’s will.
Now, I started writing this blog to point out that we updated our “missions” page.
It explains how you can support us and make it tax deductible.  Whoot, Whoot!

We did need a hitch!

We did need a hitch!


All the important stuff goes.

All the important stuff goes.

The monkey on his back is the latest trend.

The monkey on his back is the latest trend.

We saw some pretty sights.

We saw some pretty sights.

Colorado at last!

Colorado at last!

Early bird gets the worm

Hello to all my family, friends and fans: (from Ellie)

I am an early bird, and I always have been.  If you want to catch me at my very best, drop by at 6am for a (tiny) spot of tea, and I will chatter your ears off!  We can talk about my birthday, or I could sing and dance for you, if you want.
The other day I got up so early, it was still dark.  That’s my favorite!  My Mimi and Doddy were getting all dressed up to go butcher some chickens.  Mimi said she wanted to have a nice gift for Uncle Andrew and she thought he would like a fat, dead chicken.  My mommy said it was time I learned where fried chicken comes from, and she sent me outside to watch.

photo 1

Mimi is holding me so I can watch Doddy “hit the chickies with a hammer.”

photo 3

Mimi cut off the feet so she could make “sopa de patas de pollo.” Just kidding.

photo 5

She showed me how soft and fat the chicken feels.

imageedit_2_5226841304

I even got to pluck some little feathers.

Here I am eating ravioli, not chicken. I was so proud because I put all my ravioli into my tea, all by myself!

Here I am eating ravioli, not chicken. I was so proud because I put my ravioli into my tea, all by myself!

I am still not quite sure where fried chicken comes from, Mom.  But I learned something else that will make you happy:  You just never know how exciting the crack of dawn can be, until you try it!

Update by Ellie + photos

Right now we are staying at Doddy and Mimi’s house and I play with my cousins every day.  It is quite fun and I really like it here, but the other day I asked my mom where my home is, because I forgot.  Mommy said we will soon go back to Colorado Springs where Emett lives.  Yay!  I love Emett.  He has a puppy swimming pool.

photo 1-1

I also love my baby brother.  I call him “Buster Boy.”  He is the sweetest baby I ever saw.  Even when he pulls my hair, I don’t mind at all because I know he is just excited about being a baby.  I taught him how to clap his hands and now I am teaching him to wave “bye-bye.”  He needs help with so many things so I am glad he has me to show him how.  I like to give him a bath and it is so fun to push him in the stroller.

photo

Today I made little cupcakes, tiny ones.  I got to do it all by myself and that is what I love best.  Some people think I still need help with stuff like getting dressed or getting a drink of water.  No way!  I just tell them, “Ellie do! Ellie do!  EL. LEE. DO!” until they understand that I can do stuff by myself.  Sometimes when people frustrate me I just have to get down on the floor and pray to Jesus for help.  Papa and Mommy taught me to take deep breaths and I do that a lot too when I get mad.

photo 3

The other evening Papa took me on a date.  I love dates with Papa because I usually get whatever I ask for, and I usually want ice cream and chocolate.  He took me to Dairy Queen and got me a huge ice cream with chocolate brownies in it and all sorts of other yummy stuff.  Sometimes we just go somewhere and eat candy for awhile.  My Papa is awesome!

photo 2-1

Right now, every day is my birthday and every day I turn “3 and 5.”  I love candles and presents and cake and I love the happy birthday song.  I sing that one all the time.  I love dressing up and pretending stuff.  I love singing with Mommy and reading books.  Oh, and I love sign language!  (So awesome.)  I love slides at the playground.  My favorite game is hide and seek, which is kind of like peek-a-boo, but cooler, cause it has counting in it.

Papa says I have to go to bed now.  Slaap lekker!

 

 

 

A good morning

Disclaimer: We weren’t actually in Asheville yesterday– I wrote this a few weeks ago.

Yesterday we were in Asheville all day and Ellie had a donut instead of a nap. She was sound asleep when Hj carried her in from the car last night, and he commented on how exhausted she was. “At least she won’t wake up at six tomorrow morning.”
He was right. At five this morning she was padding around our room whispering that she needed help to go potty. I rolled over and went back to sleep because Ellie’s papa takes care of her at night. All kinds of kudos to world’s best dad.
An hour later I heard Hj quietly tiptoeing into the room carrying a sleeping Ellie, round 2. He was just opening the closet door where she sleeps when I heard her sweet little voice demanding, “Stop, Papa.”
I’m pretty sure I heard Hj’s heart drop in the moment of silence that followed. Before she could start howling her protest, he lovingly tossed her into our bed.
I was instantly kicked in the face. And then, the little foot started exploring just how strange and wonderful mom’s face felt to the touch- the sole touch. I had toes in my mouth and up my nose and a little heel kept stroking my cheek. I would gladly have placed those little toes on the bearded parent’s face for some hairy exploration, but my hands were busy trying to protect the baby boy, who was also in our bed.
Maybe this isn’t where you were going with this, but let me tell you: if you’re in the market for a life partner (spouse), consider the one you can laugh with when the kids wake you at 5am.

Speaking of kids:

photo 1 (2)

Here we are at Hilda’s house, catching up with our homies, you could say.

photo 4

Adam and Kelli were sort of like womb-mates and now they are friends.

photo 1

Ellie Harper and Adam Fernando Courage, just chilling.

photo 3

Best buds: Bubbers and Ellie. They have so much fun together!

photo 5 (1)

Poor baby is sick, but still so sweet and happy.

photo 5

Adam loves his baby cousin Abigail. We get their names mixed up, like “Adagail and Addy.”

photo 4 (1)

Ellie is living the dream! Here Mandie is giving her an Amish buggy ride in the rain.

photo 3 (2)

Adam is very fond of Derek.  We all are, actually.

photo (10)

“If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart.”

photo 3 (1)

Also: behind the scenes.  You can imagine the racket that eventually produced those cute baby smiles.

photo 2 (1)

We close with an image of Ellie playing with a mouse. Tootles.

Halfway there

 

The jet lag got me good this time.  I fell asleep in some pretty strange places the last few days, and now it’s 4am and I feel chipper (not my usual).  Ellie got it good too.  She is eating pizza beside me in the dark.  Thank you for your prayers and words of sweet encouragement over our trip.  The evidence of God’s grace came not in a smooth trip this time, but in much laughter and peace through it all.

photo

9pm: Ellie made a friend, one who did not share her sense of humor.

What was going to be a night on the airport floor turned into a wild goose chase.  We wanted to grab some zzz’s in the airport’s transit hotel, but it was closed for renovations, “but free shuttle take you next terminal for hotel,” they promised.  We looked at our trolley towering with luggage, our two sleeping babies and the clock ticking down to our next flight, and decided it was worth it… even for just 4 hours of good sleep.

So we waited and waited on the shuttle.  Even for just 3 hours of good sleep, we told ourselves.  The shuttle driver seemed not too happy with our boat-sized stroller or anything else about us, for that matter.  He dropped us off at the promised hotel, but it was full: no vacancy at all.  However, there were other hotels, downtown!  We only needed to take one of the many eager taxis outside!  There was neither time nor space for us and all our many luggages to go downtown so we sat on the curb and waited for the shuttle again.  It finally, finally came but there was standing room only and the driver’s face, that familiar sunbeam, indicated there was no room for Fouserts on his shuttle.  So we waited some more.  By the time we made it back to our terminal it was time to check in.

patiently waiting for the shuttle

2am: patiently waiting for the shuttle

After just 2 hours of haggling, phone calls and signatures, Hj was allowed to fly on his expired green card.  It felt like a very long flight to Tokyo, with dozens of trips to the bathroom with Ellie, who was extremely restless.  She spilled more things than I can remember, but the yogurt on the ceiling does stand out.

We got in to Tokyo late, so we had about a half hour to wend our way through security and find our next plane.  One of my themes in mothering is to never be in a hurry but I couldn’t get that across to the airport officials.  There was a good bit of dashing about until we got snagged by a problem with Adam’s boarding pass.  Finally I saw my big old 31 bag being hoisted by a slim Japanese porter and he dashed away, motioning us to follow.  Hj and Ellie bounded off behind him, much to Ellie’s delight.  I was wearing Adam in the carrier, right next to my pneumonia, and together we bounced along at a smooth and graceful pace the half mile to the gate, where the plane was waiting for us.  The only excitement that happened from there to Denver was extreme turbulence and someone in front of us throwing up between 35-40 times.

All we had left when we landed in Denver was relief and gratitude.  We laughed through most of those 30 crazy hours and we still liked each other very much at the end– the miracle is not lost on us.  🙂

photo 2

4am: sweet babies sleeping on the airport floor

This week Hj graduated from the counseling school then packed our van Tetris-style with all our belongings.  And now, we are just about to cross the Mississippi River, driving east.  I spent one late night in the hospital and then rested and recovered and took another round of antibiotics.  Praise God, I am slowly but very surely getting better.  We are taking some time off to rest and regroup as a family, visit some of our loved ones, (meet some new babies!) and listen carefully if God is saying anything to us about our next step.  We appreciate your prayers and look forward to seeing some of you soon!

 

Moving is a lot like having a baby

IMG_5766

 

Today I find myself on the brink of another great big giant move across many waters.  I keep asking myself the pertinent question, “Would I rather have a baby or travel 30 hours with two kids?”  Like as if I could choose.
Honestly, I don’t think there’s that much difference.  Before a big move, I run through the same gamut of emotions that precede labor, the kind of labor that delivers a baby.  Hj finds packing straightforward and easy, which makes me wonder why he doesn’t have our babies.
Maybe the baby is me, and I need to toughen up.  I have been thinking fondly of those little Scripture cards I had handy at my births, to get me through the toughest parts.  I bet I could tape a few to the tray table or the seat back pocket, to get me through the toughest parts of being stuck in a little metal canister with 300 other people for a day.
It starts with packing though.  First, I get rid of half our stuff.  (nesting)  Then I mentally pack and re-pack for weeks, getting more and more efficient every time. (stressing)  A few days before the departure (due date) I pack everything so I am completely prepared for that impending day.  Then I have to dig through the suitcases for toothbrushes, hair brushes and shampoo for a few days before we actually leave (false labor!).
I have explained this all in great detail to my husband, so when he asks me how I am doing, he understands when I say, “in the birth canal” or “ready for the final push.”  He holds my hand, reminds me to breathe, and whispers encouragement.  It all feels so familiar!

IMG_5847

 

We’ll leave for the airport at bedtime this evening, take a short flight to Jakarta and then spend the night on the airport floor.  I’m sure it will be hard to crawl out of our cozy beds to catch our 6am flight to Japan.  We have an 8-hour and an 11-hour flight before we land in Colorado in all our “postpartum” glory.
All metaphors aside, we would greatly appreciate your prayers!  I was diagnosed with pneumonia and several other things yesterday and ordered to go to the hospital when we arrive in the States, for further testing.  The trip looks a little daunting, but we are expecting grace abundant, just as we have experienced in the past!  God has been so kind and faithful to us in all sorts of different circumstances, and we are learning how to breathe deeply in His goodness.  Thanks for your prayers.