Last week was a whirlwind. You know the beginning of the movie Wizard of Oz where Dorothy is hiding in her house as the tornado hits? Then she blacks out and wakes up in a new world unable to recall how she got there? Well, thats what last week was like… except instead of starting in Kansas and winding up in Oz, we started in Michigan and landed in Oregon!
For starters, let me point out for those without multiple kids that having a newborn in the mix with a two year old makes things more difficult than normal. Beth has been up at various times throughout the night many times with Iris since she has been born. This last week in particular was a challenging week in this regard. While Beth has been tending to Iris, I have been in charge of Jude. Everyone has been… out of sync, so to say, which just adds to the craziness of last week.
Last week began with our presentation at our home church’s Adult Bible Fellowship. We love sharing about our ministry, but it does take some work to prepare a presentation. We had about an hour to share, while showing pictures and answering questions along the way. We were very grateful for the opportunity since nearly thirty people showed up, some of whom were supporters we had not had the opportunity to connect with yet and there were even a few people who we had never met, as they were new to our church. Overall, we were encouraged by the questions we received and the feedback we got from interested individuals. We always wonder if people care to hear what we share, and what they are interested to hear, so it was good to get such great feedback.
Monday I had a tooth pulled. Nothing amazing about that, except that the healing process is a painful inconvenience on life. That evening I missed a friend’s mission presentation because of a gauze packed mouth, and the next day for lunch I met with our pastor and needed to eat my sandwich with a fork and knife. It could be worse…
During the rest of the week friends and family from all over started showing up for Beth’s sister Abby’s wedding to her fiancé Nathan. As the house became more and more crowded, tensions grew higher and higher. This stress of course had an effect on our two year old Jude, which made things even more complicated. It was good to see some of Beth’s relatives, though, and to spend time with them. I met a cousin of her’s I had never met before, and we saw Beth’s aunt who is a Bible translator.
It was good to spend more time with Abby’s then-fiancé Nathan, as well as his family. The more we have got to know Nathan & his family, the more thrilled we were for their marriage.
On top of normal wedding preparation craziness- and believe me there was a lot of it, since it would be an outdoor wedding with most everything done within the family- since Beth is a licensed (and exceptionally talented) florist, she did the flowers for the wedding. As for me, I got the privilege of officiating the wedding, so any spare moment the week prior I would spend figuring out what in the world I would say. 🙂 Specifically on Friday, Beth focused on preparing the flowers while I watched Jude & made final preparations for the wedding ceremony. At one point, I needed to run to our church to drop off our presentation for Sunday, since we would be doing the main service, sharing an update about our time in Papua New Guinea.
Finally Saturday came, and the wedding went off without a hitch. Even the extreme heat didn’t take away form the specialness of seeing Beth’s sister married to a wonderful man. The ceremony went well, and the reception was a lot of fun with croquet, a “Guest Book Tree” that you signed with your thumbprint as a leaf, and a fun photo booth with funny hats and fake mustaches… and of course there was food & cake.
After the wedding, most of the family stayed back to help tear down while Beth & I along with the kids returned home to prepare for doing the service at our church the next morning. We had not yet practiced, but thankfully we had presented at our two other supporting churches, so we knew what we would do, we just needed to run through it a couple of times. We went through the presentation once that night for an overview, but we were both too exhausted to do a full run through. That would have to wait until the next morning.
The next morning, Sunday morning, we awoke, got the kids dressed and loaded into the car and we were off. After setting up our display table it was ready to head into the service. After a few songs and some announcements we were up.
We felt like the service went very well. We felt very privileged to be given an entire church service, something that is unheard of in a lot of churches when it comes to missionaries sharing. We try to incorporate humor, lots of pictures, stories and the challenges we face, all the while proclaiming the goodness of God in both His provision and His protection.
After the service we received a ton of encouragement by friends, new & old as they shared how they were impacted by what we shared. A lot of people asked for information on how to partner, while some chose the “green handshake” method. 🙂 Most importantly though, we wanted people to know that we are not amazing people, we are just ordinary people that serve an amazing God worthy of our trust.
The rest of that Sunday we tried to spend focusing on visiting family: two of Beth’s aunts, an uncle, and her cousin. Also, her sister Chrissy and husband Don were with us, too. It was good to have a small break before we packed for Oregon & PNG.
Monday was crazy packing day. Not only were we packing for Oregon, but since we are leaving form Papua New Guinea form Oregon, we had to pack everything away. From morning until evening, we basically packed the entire day… with two exceptions. Some of our supporters invited us over to their house because they wanted to GIVE us their Kindle! This Kindle had been purchased for their daughter as she served overseas for a while, and they wanted it to remain a “missionary Kindle” by giving it to us! Afterwards, a couple from our church who run a shoe store invited us to come out that evening and pick up some brand new shoes for free! What a huge blessing these thoughtful & practical provisions are!
Finally at midnight I went to sleep, while Beth stayed up to finish some last minute things. I’m not sure if she got any sleep that night. At 3am on Tuesday morning, we woke up, headed to the airport and began our journey to the Pacific Northwest. (Side note: Our friend Blair, who had been the MC at the wedding, was on our flight from Detroit to Denver!)
Next thing we knew, we were in Oregon. Thankfully, there were no wicked witches to contend with.