23 June 2012

What a fast week!

We've had a week full of "Fs" here in Texas -- Fun! Fellowship! Fast! Full! (and certainly some non "F" related things... learning / playing / worshipping / planning / listening / sharing).  It's hard to believe that it's Friday night...

Nick's and my week was full of class - we've been in class each day from 8-12 and again from 1-5(ish) (with 2 lovely snack breaks each day - one in the morning around 10, the other in the afternoon around 2:30).  We were mainly listening to and participating in conversations around the topics of Kingdom Principles, The Nature & Character of God and Communicating with God.  I can honestly say that there is NO OTHER topic I would rather be in class all week for than God and things that pertain to God!   

The kids had a fun week with the wonderful and kind Mary Smith.  She's been here at the IOC serving our family as the kids' nanny.  They've played on the playground, gone swimming, gone to the gym, taken a field trip to wal-mart, gone on walks, hunted for wish flowers, done burpies (?!), played games, made paper airplanes and read - among other things.  Thanks to Mary, our kids have had a peaceful, fun, non-traumatic 2 weeks!!!  We're sad that she's heading back home...but so grateful for her willingness to be here the past 2 weeks!

Emma Roo dancing...or something...

More of Emma's moves

Eli wearing his new shirt that our friend Beth made him!
My 2 favorite fellas
Caroline learning about the Voice Recorder from Ms. Joanne. They are going to send a recording to the Africa Mercy! 

We have the privilege of having a Silent Retreat tomorrow (I am extremely excited...it's like 4 hours of Crave!!!).  The next 2 weeks we'll continue on with our Gateway classes...the week after that (our final week here) will be full of specialized training for Nick and some sort of something for me (I have a schedule...just not up for getting my notebook out right now!).

Other fun facts:
  • Aunt Amy is flying in tomorrow evening! She'll be our "nanny" this coming week.
  • The Africa Mercy is having a very peaceful and calm trip to the Canary Islands - the ship should be docking sometime on Monday (a day ahead of schedule!).
  • The washing machine & dryer here require a rectangular shaped token.
  • I learned two Dutch phrases this week (I can barely say them...so I won't attempt to type them)
  • Nick and some guys have been playing "walleyball" (wally-ball? wall-e-ball?  it rhymes with volleyball) - it's sort of like volleyball but played in the racquet ball court...
Please keep praying for us...that all 5 of us will soak in all that God has for us here in Texas....pray for us and the rest of our class as we prepare for our Field Service in Ghana and for our time onboard the Africa Mercy in Guinea. 

Surely there will be more to come! 


14 June 2012

Fire! Safety!

It's pretty incredible to get to do something that you've never even thought about doing...like dressing up in a complete fireman's outfit and fighting fire (or moving to africa to live on a ship).   There are lots of lessons to be learned in exercises like this...practical ones like how to situate your pants around your boots for easy "on-ness"...and far more intangible ones like depending on your partner and following instructions (not to mention all the lessons about being in situations that are completely out of your comfort zone)(sidenote: i LOVE that our God is trustworthy.  He's leading us - all of us!- into places that are for our GOOD - not for our harm!). 

This week Nick and I have been in a "Basic Safety Training" course here at Mercy Ship's IOC (international operating center).  Our vocabulary has increased tremendously - we know what SCBA stands for (self-contained breathing apparatus) and all about flashpoints and the different types of fire extinguishers & which type of fire can be put out with each one (A = things that turn to ash; B = liquids, gases, grease; C = electrical; D = metal). We've also been learning basic first aid, CPR, how to do fun stuff with bandages, how to do rescue carrying, etc (the camera hasn't been present for all that learning...it's not nearly as thrilling as the fire stuff!)

Our amazing class!!!! 

Getting ready to go into the smoke filled container to rescue "Buck"

Going into the container.  We found buck fairly quickly....but had a hard time moving him.  Oh well. At least he's not real.

the 2 of us putting out an electrical fire
putting out a gas fire (or some kind of fire that had a valve that had to be turned off!).  We all rototed through being the nozzleman, the valve man and just "on the hose" men (women!)

All done!  Very grateful to be all done! 

One of the best parts of the day: the scones that were brought to the fire field for our breakfast.  AMAZING!!  So good!  And the gatorade...that was wonderful as well. 

We really do have a newfound respect and admiration for firefighters.  And a deep hope in our hearts (or at least in mine!!!) that we'll never have to put on those masks/helmets/outfits again (though if we're ever in a situation where we need them we'll certainly be thankful for them, that's for sure!!). 

There are more pictures of all this rig-a-ma-roll on facebook.  Enjoy!  :)

Keep praying for us and our kids! Nick and I will finish this safety course on Friday (we've got survival skills and water safety the next 2 days).  Saturday morning we have a "Crowd Management" course...Sunday we shall rest & enjoy our sabbath!!  Monday we'll begin our 3 weeks of Gateway classes/field service preparation.  May God have His way in us and through us and all around us.

Surely there will be more to come (though i can't promise that the pictures will be nearly as exciting or entertaining).

13 June 2012

Home Sweet Home...for the next 4 1/2 weeks or so

Wanted to share some pictures of our home with you! 

This is the view from our front (and only) door.  Kid's room straight ahead, our bed is to the right, picture below is to the left.

From left to right: a fabulous 7 drawer thingy, a lovely desk (complete with basket o' snacks and goodies), our closet - which houses caroline's museum (she hung a bag with some toys in it and calls it her museum), our dirty clothes, dresser with clean clothes, pool bag, diapers, etc.

one set of shelves...it houses our bathroom basket, serves as our medicine cabinet (tupperware with purple/yellow top) and has the ever important bag o' candy and gummy vitamins

One of the shelves in the kids' room.

Other set of shelves in the front room.   Home to my journals & such.  2nd shelf - our "kitchen" of sorts.  3rd shelf - dedicated to dental hygiene, q-tips & baby powder (fun fact:  emma calls the toothbrush covers "little trashcans")

View of "the girls' side" from the top of the table...

eli's side

Our Pantry!  cabinet o' snacks.

The girls coloring at their desk.

Fun facts:  our kitchen and bathrooms (we have 2 - one for guys and one for girls) are down the hall.  It takes less than 3 minutes to vacuum our entire home!  We really like living in community! 

Surely there will be more to come (like pictures from Basic Safety Training/the fire field!)

09 June 2012

We're Here!

We had a delightful trip to Texas!!  We're so thankful for all of you who were praying for us and our trip today - God certainly heard your prayers...the kids were incredible and the ride was peaceful!!!  The last good-bye this morning was quite difficult -- and as the super smart Dr. Amy Kay pointed out, why is it "good" bye?  shouldn't it be "bad bye" or "sad bye" or "hard bye."

We really had a good time in the car...among other things, we decorated "dime boxes" (my discipline/reward method of choice for this trip!)....we played pass the pigs (thanks, grandaddy) and uno (thanks, molly).  Eli had a really good time with his bingo card (caroline, not so much).  We read lots...and sang and danced...and did a car version of the hokey pokey along with finger excercises (though only the left hand got a workout - the fun had worn off by the time it was the right hand's turn).  We had candy and played a game with m&ms...we colored on journals and clothespins (for our time in Ghana).  We looked for purple trucks (and saw quite a few)....i didn't even have to pull out all the weapons in the arsenal).  We really had a good time in the car!  I'm beyond thankful to be able to say that!!!

The kids got a "halfway to Texas" present (that's when I thought "use the camera!"):

Nick during the halfway part...and all day.
 He's using his spitoon for his sunflower seeds.
Emma sort of awake...after this picture she put the
blanket over her head and slept a few more minutes...

 Eli's turn with the camera:

Caroline's turn with the camera:

And now we are here at the IOC (international operating center) of Mercy Ships and settled in for the night...amazed by the goodness and faithfulness of God in so many wonderful and tangible ways today...just a few examples:
  • delicious breakfast with the collins in birmingham (complete with cherry coke and the BEST french toast i've ever tasted)
  • no wrecks, only slight delays/traffic, no major melt downs (by me OR the kids!)
  • a meaningful verse picked out for us/our door
  • welcome basket o' goodies - always a lovely touch
  • bunkbeds! (just what we're used to!  and caroline gets to sleep on a top bunk!)
  • shelves and drawers (we don't have to live out of our luggage!)
  •  this feels so right.  it is so right.
All 3 kids are asleep in our new little home. It's 2 rooms...4 closets...6 drawers...2 desks (one perfect for adults, one perfect for kids!), 4 chairs (2 at their little desk, one at ours, one random one)...the bathroom, kitchen area and "living room" are down the hall.  We have clothes put away and pictures are up on the wall...kind of feels like home.  Thank you, God. 

surely there will be more to come.