Monday, December 23, 2013

Finding time

We're in Canton now.  Being in Waynesfield was good to have a lot of down time to chill and relax a bit.  We saw some family, but it wasn't overwhelming.  Now that we're in Canton, we're seeing a lot of Bart's family.  The kids are loving having a lot of other kids to play with and are still enjoying being able to take baths.  They were in the bath the other day for well over an hour.  This is now a special treat since baths don't exist in Venezuela.

It's getting colder here in Ohio, but surprisingly we're doing pretty well with the cold.  We were anticipating us all freezing while we're here.  But Leah's not even wearing long sleeves.  She's a trooper.  Their transition overall has been a huge blessing.  We are so thankful for how well the kids are doing right now.  They are still talking about going back to Venezuela, so that's probably good for their (and our) hearts.

At this point, it's hard to know how to spend our time.  We want to be around people, but we also know that we still need time to process and think through what has happened and what the future will look like.  We're still hopeful that we will return in January, but we're also a little anxious about how the team (and maybe even ourselves) will transition back to Venezuela.

Will you pray for us and for our team?  Would you pray that we would all use this time well and be wise with our time here in the States?  Would you pray that we process through all of the things going on and prepare our hearts for the coming weeks of re-entry in Venezuela?  We are grateful for your prayers.

Friday, December 20, 2013


So here we are.  In Ohio in December.  This was totally unplanned and unfortunate, but we're here.  We're embracing the chaos of our lives right now.  In fact, it has almost been refreshing for our family to be here, with no plans, with no schedule, with nothing really.  We bought some Christmas presents for the kids at the dollar store last night.  We've borrowed clothes.  We're borrowing a car.  We're eating good food.

But we're still a little bit sad that this all has happened.  Our hearts, our minds, our bodies just weren't prepared for this.  The kids are handling it well.  Being at Grandma and Grandpa's is really enjoyable for the kids.  For Noah, he remembers everything and is loving it.  For Leah, it seems new but she still loves having lots of space and lots of toys to play with.

Tonight we were able to go out to dinner just the two of us and process through a bit of what has happened.  It has all been really surreal and honestly incredibly crazy.  The last week has just been ridiculous so trying to process through it has been nearly impossible.  At this point, we're really grateful to be together and that everyone came out of this ok and with no major issues.

That's all for now.  We'll try to update as we know more.  The hope is that we would return to Venezuela in early January but that hasn't been confirmed yet.  We're hopeful that by mid-January we will be back and settled in VZ.  If not, we'll just go with it.  Flexibility is key when it comes to Venezuela!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Off we go

Tonight at 8:00 our team catches a bus to go to the bus station.  To catch another bus.  An overnight bus to Maracaibo.  This bus ride will be anywhere from 9-12+ hours.  And freezing.  They crank up the a/c.  So we're wearing warm clothes and have a blanket.  Please pray for us.  It might be terrible in general, let alone with 2 kids!

We'll arrive in Maracaibo, another city in Venezuela, in the morning and then will have to grab taxis to the places we're staying.  Staff conference starts at lunchtime tomorrow.  And will go until Monday after dinner.  We have a lot of meetings and interactions with staff from all over the country.

Then on Tuesday morning we will leave for our visa trip to Aruba.  It will be the first time out of the country for all of the team together.  We're going with the Stint team from Maracaibo so there will be 18 of us counting the kids.  We were able to find a house with a guest house that we can all stay in together.  Since we'll have 3 cars between all of us, and no phones, that will make things much easier to coordinate.   The house has a pool and it's right across from the beach, so in theory, we don't need the cars much.  Fingers crossed.

We're really hoping Aruba will be really relaxing.  After all of the sickness (I've developed something wonderful and new with stomach stuff), it will be nice to have some down time to just get to rest.  I'm hoping for lots of great sleep, even though we'll be sharing a bed with Leah!  Would you pray that the travel over the 11 days goes smoothly?  We will fly back to Maracaibo from Aruba where we'll then jump on a bus hopefully that same night to come right back to Valencia.  All of that travel feels a little stressful for me (maybe because it might be a rough bus ride after my new sickness development today).  But we're hopeful.

Oh the joys of living overseas and having to take visa trips and having little ones (and sickness)!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Thanksgiving, sickness and an engagement

Well, our team celebrated Thanksgiving on Friday.  It was chaos, but isn't that the norm for the holidays?  We had breakfast at the girls' place and various people were making food throughout the day.  Some people were playing games, others watching movies.  Then sometime around 3:30 we had "lunch."  Then there was a lot of joking and commiserating about how terrible people felt for eating so much.  So of course we decided to bust into the desserts.  Why not?

On Friday I started to not feel very well.  Since Noah had been sick and Bart seems to pretty much live in a permanent state of sickness, I knew Leah and I were in for it.  That night I had a ridiculous fever and slept with 3 blankets.  Yeah, you read that right.  Joy.  Saturday was spent mostly just hanging out and when I got the energy I would clean up some of the Thanksgiving mess.  In shifts.  I'm feeling better.  After gargling with salt water and utilizing the netty pot, I feel a lot better.  Plus not having a fever helps a lot too!
The gals from left front: Kristin, Vanessa, Zuri
In the back: Lilly, Melissa, Megan, Ali, Sarah, Julieta
Tradition says there needs to be a silly picture also
On Friday night on of the guys from last year's team, Brian got engaged.  Bart was able to Skype with him in the morning and they chatted a bit before the big event.  It was fun for us to know beforehand since he's almost like an adopted son since we've known him since his freshmen year of college.  We knew him before Noah was born!  So last night (Sunday) a few of us we able to Skype in for their engagement party.  It was pixely and hard to hear, but we enjoyed it nonetheless!
Noah telling Ali that her hair looks like Snot Rod (an
orange car from the Cars movie).  She wasn't sure how
to take that.  But he also told her that her pumpkin cookies
were really good, so maybe that made up for it?
Tonight, Kate arrives for the encouragement trip.  Aaron will hopefully arrive tomorrow after being delayed due to some passport issues.  So this week w
And watching Elf after a long day of cooking and eating
(yay for the ministry projector!)