Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Beyond FIAR Co-op: Skylark #2

I seem to live "behind" life in terms of what I post here.  Somethings are posted currently and then life happens and I don't seem to find time to blog.  I don't think thats all bad though.  After all, it is more important to be engaged in life and with the people in front of me, right?  I do like to record things though - and also to share some of what is going on here.  I'm going to work on posting some of our final weeks of school in April and May and hopefully be caught up.  We'll see.  ;-)  

For those that have been praying for our family, please keep praying.  We are thankful for the ways that we have seen God's hand at work - both in our lives and in the lives of friends who have reached out to encourage and bless us.  We are thankful and truly blessed.  We strive to remember Who is in charge and know that He loves us completely.

One of the areas I've fallen behind in sharing is our Beyond FIAR co-op.  This is our second meeting discussing Skylark.  We started out focusing on lessons on interview questions and the group split into two groups - yes, along gender lines.  LOL  After discussing, they chose someone to make a presentation for their groups.  Both did a great job!  They also had some learning time on how to describe activities and processes so as to make the most sense for the reader.  

The second part of our lesson was on fire safety.  We learned about various dangers in and around our home.  (We looked at pictures and they pointed out the dangers in each scene.)  They learned about the 3 types of fires and which type of extinguishers would be used in each scenario.  I would read a type of material and they would move to a spot in the room marked A, B or C to indicate which type of extinguisher should be used.  This is loud, but fun way to learn.  I really enjoy learning to be hands on and active!
Next, we moved outside to put our learning to action.  We brought some old extinguishers and learned the parts of an extinguisher and how to tell if it was still functioning.  Next, it was time to try it out.
Everyone was able to try it a couple of times.
Not surprisingly, all really enjoyed doing this.  Who can blame them?  I did too!
They all did a great job with it and hopefully will be confident should they ever need to use one.

After learning about fires and the dangers of them, of course, it was time to explore the benefits of fire too.  Contained and well managed, fire can be a very useful thing.
The students did all of the fire making by themselves.
We had hot dogs and s'mores for our snack.

And celebrated one beautiful young lady's birthday!
And after the lesson, they worked on experimenting some more to see what they could do to make the fire bigger and increase the smoke.  LOL  It was a fun morning and a great way to learn!
Thankful for this hands-on time of learning with our friends!


Sunday, May 20, 2012


Yesterday I was reflecting on what God is teaching me and showing me lately.  The word that came to mind first was ... rest.  I am finding that during this storm, I need to find my rest in Him.  While circumstances around me change and swirl, one thing remains constant - God.

Sometimes when I look to the future, all that I can see is the darkness of uncertainty.  The waves can appear to be overwhelming.

I remind myself that He promises that His mercies are new every morning.

"Why be afraid of anything - when our God is using everything?"  - Ann Voskamp

I spent some time at the beach this week with 5 of my children (Roger and Isaiah were on a different trip).  It was a good time to rest.  To be reminded.  To relax and enjoy my children.  I love the beach as life just seems slower, gentler, kinder there.

Time for playing games.

Seeing God's handiwork in so many different ways.

Watching my children laugh and have fun with each other.  This always delights my mama heart.

Sometimes I just need this perspective.  God is so much bigger than anything going on in my life.  He is with me and loves me and is close.  I am so thankful for this!

God calls me to rest in Him.  To look for Him.  To draw close to Him.

Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you;
He will never let the righteous be shaken.  Psalm 55:22

It doesn't mean that things won't be hard.  They will.  It doesn't mean that the burdens of this world won't feel crushing at times.  They will.  God has not promised a life that is easy or free from trials.  Quite the opposite.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;  And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.
Isaiah 43:2

What He does promise is that *when* we do go through trials that He will be with us.

"The greatest Christians in history seem to say that their sufferings ended up bringing them closest to God - so this is the best thing that could happen, not the worst."  Peter Kreeft

I know that this has been true in my life.  I've always wanted a deeper faith - but not the trials that produced it.  In fact, for much of my life things really seemed easy.  My trials were not deep or ones that left scars.  I often wondered why others seemed to have so much to deal with and some seemed to walk through life unscathed.

Over the last 5 years or so, I have found myself in valleys like none I've known before.  And through it all, I've found Him faithful.

He stands with me.  Never leaving.  Always close.

He works with me, helping me to take the next step and to do what He has called me to do.

Its not always easy and I often find myself wrestling with God.  Especially when He calls me to something that just was not part of my plan.  To walk a path I did not want to be on.  To be obedient, even when it isn't what I want to do.

"The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."  Exodus 14:14

That isn't always easy especially in a culture that rewards us when we are busy and active and self-reliant.  I guess that is the point though.  I need to let down my guard and trust God.  Rest in Him.

It isn't that its all hard work either.  When I rest, it is there that I can experience His joy.  His peace.  His rest.  These are all amazing blessings and things that I want in my life.  I want to know Him more.

I'm thankful for this sweet time at the beach.  Time to rest and enjoy my children.  To delight in their laughter.  To make sweet memories even in the midst of challenges.  

I am so very thankful that in this life that is sometimes filled with trials that there are also great joys!  I have been blessed exceedingly with my family and friends.  So many people to love and so many that have loved me at times when I needed it most.

And as another example of how God is in the details, our sermon this morning at church was on resting in God.  I'm listening.  
Thank you to the many of you that have prayed for our family, written notes, shared verses and given hugs.  I'm thankful that God has placed me on this journey with so many wonderful people in my life.  He is so good!

We have seen some answers to prayers already, but there is still quite a journey ahead of us.  We appreciate your continued prayers as God brings us to mind.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21

For any of you that may be interested in reading more about Christopher's summer and praying for him as he heads off on a missions trip, you can keep up with him at his blog here.


In His Love

Friday, May 18, 2012

Missions Trip ... Dominican Republic

Hi everyone! This is Rebecca. Mom's letting do a guest blog post. Last month I had the amazing opportunity to go on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with some girls from my church. 
We left Easter morning.  Really really early Easter morning. We had a flight to Atlanta and from Atlanta to Dominican Republic. 

This was our view flying to the DR. The picture doesn't even do it justice though. SO beautiful. (I'd post a picture of our view to Atlanta but I think most of you have seen an airplane engine.)
We got to the hotel in the afternoon. It was right next to the beach.

Our first night there we had the opportunity to visit the church that was founded by the people we were working with. They had translators for us to listen to the sermon. (It was great once we got off the spanish music station we keep getting stuck on.) One thing that was really cool was that while we were singing, we recognized one of the songs as being one we sing at lot at the Summit (our church)!
The next morning we went to visit Las Palmas school. This school was founded by the daughter and her husband, of the people who helped start the church. We took a tour of the school and some of the school's property that hasn't been built on yet. They've owned the land for about six years but don't have the deeds yet so can't build on it. They were trying to get it pushed through the week after we left though so please pray that it will be worked out.
After the tour we went to a market to exchange our money and then headed back to the school where we got to hang out and play with the kids there. They were so cute and they spoke some English.(Which was good because my spanish was awful.) This little girl below sat with me and tried to teach me some spanish. (I have horrible pronunciation.)
After lunch (we ate lunch and dinner at the school each day) we split into two groups. Half of the group went to do a scavenger hunt around the city. This was to help us get to knew the country and people better. The rest of our group helped with some cleaning up around the school. By tearing down banana trees....with our bare hands!! It was very impressive 
The tree's that were left up we cut the dead leafs off of. You can see below what they looked like before.
And after

There were a lot of tree's and it was very tiring which is why I look so happy in picture below. (Kudos to Heather though for still looking cheerful. That must be why she's a leader.)
Oh in case you're wondering about the lovely accecceries my knee is sporting, that was the result of me racing a little boy earlier that day and tripping and wiping out. 
We headed back to the hotel after dinner. We didn't have anything planned during the evening so we'd do Bible studies and Skype with our families.

The next morning we headed back to the school and played with the kids some more.

*Quick side note: Are these kids not adorable? Yes!!!
After the recess we worked with the children in their reading classes. This was what we did most days while at the school.  I also had an interesting lesson in Spanish while working with the kids. We all had two or three kids to read with and I introduced myself as Rebecca to my group. I can see that they're having some trouble saying it so I, thinking I'll help them out say that they can call me Becca if that's easier. Well the boy in my group starts laughing and I'm was like "Is my name funny?" He nods and tells me, "Thats what we call a cow!" Needless to say the rest of the week I stuck to Rebecca.

That afternoon we went out to a sugar-cane village. Our group had been planning a Bible study for the kids there and we got to go with the sixth-grade class from the school.

Being in the sugar-cane village was really hard. We had another group there with us and while we had half the kids in a house doing the Bible club they would play games with the other half. While we were doing the club the kids were just crazy. They were pushing and swearing at us in Spanish. We were only able to have a certain amount of kids in the room and two of us had to stand at the door and physically hold a table there to keep kids out. (We wanted to have all of the children participate but any more in the house and we wouldn't have been able to control it at all) Once we went outside there were kids flipping us off, talking about sex, asking us girls out on dates, saying they loved us and they were all younger than me! It was really sad.  They were so poor there too. It really made me appreciate what we have here and so much that I take for granted would be a luxury to these kids. What was really cool was how the sixth grade class really stepped up and wanted to come out here and help. They were some awesome kids.

We went to a market the next morning. I don't have any pictures from that unfortaintly but it was very cool. Although the vendors were a little annoying. If you so much as glanced at an item you'd practically signed a contract to buy it. After the market we got to take a tour of the city. Mrs Paula was one of the people who helped start the church here and was big part of our trip there and she took us around the city and pointed out a lot of really neat things. The picture below is of a church.

Representing Bull City! If you couldn't tell the statue behind us is a bull.

On our way back to the school we stopped on this outlook and took some picture of the water. So pretty down there!!!

Once we got back to the school the group that had't gone on Monday went on the scavenger hunt. We had to walk around the city holding these eggs and without dropping or breaking the eggs, get pictures with different things. On the way back Mrs. Paula took us to meet an older lady who'd been one of the first people at the new church. She told us about how she'd always prayed for her family and especially her grandson. Well one day her grandson was walking on the street and suddenly turned around and walked back to the church, saying I need to find out more about Jesus. He started going and bringing his friends and now thats where most of the younger generation at church comes from!
The next morning we went to the safe house. This is a place where some of the women they help come and they make jewelry, flip flops and such. They are starting a salon and we painted the room for it.

Then we went back to the school and helped with the classes again. After we finished with the classes we said goodbye to the teachers and kids . This had to be one of the hardest parts of going on a mission trip.

After we left the school we went and had dinner with Mrs. Paula and got to hear the story of how she came here. She's is super awesome by the way!

The next morning we went out to the beach before we left for the airport.
You probably can't tell but the beach had rocks all along the edge that looks like this.
So we're all walking along the edge and I have the bright idea to go closer to the edge. Then a huge wave comes......and thats how the picture below came about.
Yes those are my flip-flops......taken off my feet ......one at a time!

I learned so much on this trip.

God taught me that I needed to trust Him more. About all of the wealth we have here and how grateful we should be. There were so many things on the trip that we were blessed with too and it was really an awesome experience. Thank you to everyone who helped me be able to go and was praying for me while on the trip. I appreciated it so much!!

Now I will leave you with some more pictures that didn't really fit anywhere but I wanted to put in.

We weren't allowed to drink the water from the tap in the hotel and had to pump water from the jug any time we wanted to ingest it. In the picture below the water had stopped working all together while Alyssa was washing her face. But we made do.

                                           Proving that Mcdonald's are just about everywhere.

The hotel the last night we were there left this.

And this last picture is for all of my FIAR aunties! I thought of y'all as soon as I saw it!

There we go! I hope everyone enjoyed reading about my trip, I'm glad I got a chance to share about it. Now back to your regular programing!