Friday, March 30, 2007

Transition, revelation or sleep deprivation

Where did this week go? The following I wrote in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, but didn’t get around to posting until now, sorry…

It’s 4:40 am and I am trying to decide what God is teaching me tonight. I went to bed at 10:45pm and my neighbours where just starting into one of their late night LOUD talks. This one turned into a concert at 3am, not the “loud resounding base that you feel as much as you hear” kind of concert, but the acapella singing of “You are my Sunshine” at the top of your voice (or possibly from the bottom of your bottle?) kind of concert. I say all that not to complain about my neighbours, although I felt like doing a lot more than complaining an hour or so ago, but because I haven’t been sleeping (and besides it will explain the big bags under my eyes as the day progresses, or maybe its just my excuse for this not making much sense).

I think I had a revelation the other day (with sleep deprivation one can never be sure) and it has to do with the picture of the watch that my mom gave me, notice how the one face is set for Niger time and the other Canada. This has been a very different year for me. Being home and knowing that we were returning to Niger for four years this time has kind of left me in a state of flux. You see, I am one of those people who plan ahead. My cupboard is usually full of canned goods from the sales of the last few weeks; I tend to buy my kids clothes at the end of the season clearance for the next year, etc. Instead of being able to do that this year (although I confess that I have done that on a smaller scale—hopefully I won’t be leaving behind another box of food when we leave for Niger this time!), I have had to constantly evaluate my stuff and asking myself “Is this worth going in my suitcase?”, “Am I going to be upset if I have to leave it behind in Niger?”, “Is this worth it if it is going to go in storage for the next four years?”…You get the idea. All of this has given me a slightly different perspective on life and maybe even eternity. You see I have always known that “home” really isn’t located in the dimensions of this world, but I have always lived like I was going to live forever, or at least planned to be around for a very long time. It isn’t that I don’t think planning is important, because it is (and maybe I’ve been doing more planning in trying to figure out just how much you can fit into a 50lb suitcase). But, I have had to opportunity to rethink “my stuff” and in turn think about what is meaningful. I don’t know if it is directly related or not, but I have found myself much more free to share what God has been doing in my life. In fact it is kind of funny, on the flight to Florida I got to talking to the gentleman sitting next to me and ended up sharing my testimony with the mayor of a nearby American city (not that I knew who he was when the conversation started). I think that being in a state of transition has made me realize that the time I have is fleeting and valuable and being in Niger I learned the importance of taking time for people (so if my house is in a state of disaster the next time you visit that might be why, or at least my excuse!). I guess when it comes right down to it we are all in a state of transition, waiting for the next stage of our life or the life here after and we can’t be sure of anything, so the big question is what are you going to do with the time that you do have or how are you going to make to most of today?

{Oh and by the way the real estate agent comes on Monday to list our house for rent!--Pray that we can find a good rentor}

Please pray for Dave he has two exams in the next two days and then is preaching (not giving a missions presentation on Sunday). We praise God for the great time that we could have with the FM church in London. Thanks for such a warm welcome and for the opportunity to visit after the service. I've added a picture or two from there and a picture of Cole's casts. Thanks to all of you who have been praying for him, he has been doing really well with them so far and hopefully they will be able to prevent him from having to have surgery in the future. You can keep praying for that though the stretch gets bigger every week (for approx. 6 weeks) and so the last couple he might find really uncomfortable. We are looking forward to being part of a Good Friday Service in Dunnville with Caistor Centre and St.Catharines and participating in the Easter Sunday service at Caistor Centre. Maybe we'll see you there!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dave's Turn...

It’s done. We’re both done. Well only sort of… As Jenn mentioned last week was the week of the paper—we both had our work cut out for us. I managed to put out almost thirty pages between Thursday and Monday morning but at last it’s over and all of the books are back to the library (and friends from whom I’d borrowed them.) Jenn has hopefully figured out the unique marking scheme of her TA sufficiently to sleep well now that her paper is done also.

The boys seemed to have a good March Break despite mom and dad’s crazy work load. They enjoyed swimming and participating in a morning program at the Y with their cousins and on their last night they decided to “camp out” in the basement. I’ve included pictures of this and Ben’s sense of style for last Sunday. Cole had his first pair of casts put on Tuesday, after the three of us (Dad, Cole and Ben) had our ears cleaned out at the specialist’s office. (We all develop excessive amounts of ear wax—inherited it from my Dad, but my wife thinks it’s just an excuse. “What did you say dear?”) Cole seems to be doing fine with his new casts so far, or at least he isn’t complaining about them. Today was a big day at school when everyone in the class gets to show off their science project. Cole had fun making his magnet game over the March Break but wasn’t too excited about writing down all the rules. Hopefully today is a good day for him since he sometimes struggles to fit in at school.

Ben, who is king of the earwax, (and, ‘What did you say mom?’) is starting to enjoy our spring like weather. He even wanted to walk to school instead of driving today! I’m afraid if it gets too much warmer he’ll want to stay in Canada, instead of returning to Niger.

Pray for us as we finish out the terms with classes and exams. We are still waiting to hear from the Nigerien Embassy and for the final portion of our support to be pledged. We’ll be in London this Sunday.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Long Days. Papers and Prayer Requests

Hi all!
I'm so tired as I write this and I'm not sure how much is actually a physical tired. Dave and I are in the thick of writing papers for school and I just got one back that I really didn't do well on--hopefully the TA will be able to shed some light on the comments that she made so that I can at least learn from my mistakes. But it really makes you want to give up...
Did I mention that the boys are off for the March Break? I hope that they are having some fun being off school, I'm not sure that Dave and I are the best company right now, but we are trying to make time for them and still get some school work done. Luckily they have been going to the YMCA March Break Fun program for 2 hours in the mornings with their cousins, but that still means we are putting in late nights on school work in order to give them some of our day time.
Please pray that we get through the school work this week and that the boys have some fun. You can also pray for Cole--he doesn't know this yet but next week he will be getting casts put on both feet to help with the toe walking and to stretch out the tendons and muscles in his calfs (it is to try and prevent him needing surgery in the future). The casting goes on for 6 weeks if all goes well.
Sorry I don't have any funky new pictures to add this week--I've been too busy researching "cultural identity", but you can find me in the picture gallery at the FMC website under the Intro to Bible course pictures.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Vacations and Temperature

Thanks to everyone who was praying that we would have a good vacation. We really appreciate your prayers and want to let you know that they were answered. We also want to thank the folks in Cloyne who took care of Dave on the weekend while we were gone. I am really sorry to have missed meeting with you and hope that I will have an opportunity to at another time. Our last minute trip to Florida to visit Grandma and Grandpa was a great surprise for the boys and they really enjoyed themselves. We tried to balance out fun things to do and the shopping for supplies that we need to take back to Niger (it is easier to find summer clothing in a warmer climate). The best part was that all the clothes I bought for Dave actually fit, God is good!

The boys told us this week that they are ready to go back to Niger. They said that they never complained about the heat while we were there and amazingly enough I think that was pretty true. I hope that they are still looking forward to going back to Niger when the weather warms up in Canada.

I want to also thank those of you that remembered to pray for me while I was participating in the Ministerial Candidate interview. I think that that went pretty well and that they are going to let me go back to Niger. We look forward to going to our home church in Caistor Centre this week to worship.