Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Flying Girls



The girls were all able to do the Flying Squirrel this evening. (Thank you Sal, Keith, and Katie!) Annalise was joined for a second ride by her friend Karis. All of them enjoyed it very much. The ride isn't as intense as the other elements, but it is a lot of fun. I didn't go this time because Sal was doing it as a favor for my girls - besides we didn't have enough available horsepower to lift me. So now Annalise has gone solo on all of the ropes course rides at age 4! It was fun. Regardless of where God leads us in the future, this summer has been a very memorable one for our family.

Grace,
Tom

Monday, July 30, 2007

Ropes Course 07-28-07

Saturday the entire CDTS gang, including kids, spent the day on the ropes course here on the campus. It was a blast! Most of us had really been looking forward to it. Some, not so much. The weather was great for it.


We started the day with some team building games on the ground. You'll note the pvc and rubber chicken. Our group adopted the name Cool Green Butterflies. We had an accompanying cheer as well.

After getting our harnesses on we were off to the Pamper Pole and the Zip Line. The Pamper Pole is so named because you may need to change your pampers upon returning to the ground. You climb a ~30' telephone pole, stand with both feet on the top, then jump off to hit a big orange ball. The hardest part is lifting the last foot onto the top of the pole. An incredible mental challenge! The Zip Line is an 800' ride across the campus starting about 40' above ground - it is a blast! Everyone loves the Zip Line.

Everyone in the family was able to do the Zip Line. I carried Annalise up the tree, but she was insistent that she wanted to fly alone. She was upset that she couldn't do the Pamper Pole, but the pegs were too far apart for her to climb and it isn't something that can be done by two at a time. Everybody else did the Pamper Pole, however. I'll tell you, it is tough!

After lunch, the entire group got back together to overcome the challenges of the low ropes circuit. The challenges can be tough, but it is only a foot or two above the ground. Most of the elements require some form of teamwork. Our groups worked so well together. The teamwork was spectacular!

Later the Cool Green Butterflies went to the infamous Giant Swing. It begins from a platform some 30' in the air. You step off of the platform and swing down the hill getting about 80' or so above ground at the other end before you lose your momentum and swing back up the hill. Yet another mental challenge as you step off of a perfectly good platform and freefall about 15' before you begin to swing. Annalise loved this ride! She went on it twice and wanted to keep going. (As I understand it, Annalise is the youngest to have flown solo on the Zip Line and the Giant Swing.) Alayna and Alexie went twice as well on the Giant Swing.

You may remember Lisa's fear of heights. Well, no challenge has been put before her that she hasn't overcome. I am really proud of her.

Of course, that is the purpose of all of these games and elements. They are designed to help you overcome inner obstacles and develop teamwork. Both of these will be quite important to our team as we leave our culture to serve in the Philippines. This was a great opportunity to form a strong unity within our group.

The video below shows the Maxwells doing the Zip Line, Pamper Pole, and Giant Swing. I apologize for the quality, I was trying to make it something that wouldn't take forever to download.



Grace,
Tom

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Outreach

Yesterday the kids did another outreach to the community. Some went to the retirement home to encourage the residents. Others went to the park to hand-out Capri-Sun drinks. I am really pleased with the directors of the Children of Destiny (COD). They really have worked hard to make a great program for the kids. This is definitely NOT babysitting.

Fred and Carol went through the CDTS program here in Salem last year. They then signed on to work at the Salem base and have been spectacular with the kids. Our whole family has been blessed by their ministry. We are excited that they will be joining us when we go to the Philippines.

Today our whole class, including the families, spent all day on the ropes course. It was great. Pictures and video should be on tomorrow's entry. But tonight during Annalise's prayer, I suggested that she thank God for her favorite things on the ropes course. She replied, "I don't need to tell Him, Him watched us."

May He watch over you as well,
Tom

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Radical Disciple?

Today we finished the topic of Radical Discipleship with Fred Allen. Here are my thoughts....

All of us who call Jesus Lord and Savior would probably like to be identified as a disciple of Jesus. But what does this really mean? Remember the game "Follow the Leader"? There you go- that's what it means to be a disciple. Just follow the ultimate leader, Jesus. Not just for the afternoon. No taking turns being the leader. Just do everything Jesus did. In order to do this you have to really know what He did. Dust off your Bible. Don't just look at the words. Read and study it. Good, but not enough. Just like Nike says "Just Do It!" No ifs, ands, and definitely no buts. If there is no devotion, there is no discipleship. It is not my place to say what this means for you, but for me it means my life needs to be different. The way I live this life will not look like everyone else's in this world. Of course, He never intended it to. He also never intended for me to do it on my own either.

Lisa

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thanks Cornerstone

Our adventure to the Philippines is drawing near. We look forward to what this trip will mean to our family as we experience a new culture...on its terms...for longer than we can hold our breath. (Somebody made the comment that with week long trips, you can hold your breath that long if you don't like it.)

At this point, it seems that our travels will be on the large island of Luzon. Did you know that over 7000 islands make up the Philippines? It has a total size approximately equal to Arizona. Our travels will be primarily in the areas of Manila, Baguio, and Bontoc.

Yesterday we were blessed by to receive a variety of letters from the children at Cornerstone (our home fellowship). The kids loved reading these. Mail from friends is always exciting. It was also exciting to see that in the short time we have been away, already new families are becoming a part of the fellowship there.

While we appreciate the Vineyard fellowship we have been attending in Salem, it isn't what Cornerstone has been for us. Of course, Cornerstone has 15 years of memories and relationships attached to it.

Thank you Cornerstone kids for your notes of encouragement. Thanks again, also to those who have sent care packages, letters, and emails. It really is appreciated.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement,
Tom

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Marionberries


Alexie and her friend Ben had a great time this evening gleaning marionberries. After looking at the pictures, I am sure you will be surprised to find that they ate some also. A group from the campus went to a local farmer's fields and gleaned for all they were worth - if the stained faces, hands, and clothes are any indication.

The kids have been making the berries into a smoothie which is quite tasty.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

From Adriana - Ropes Course

Today we (COD 6+) did some of the ropes course. I did the Flying Squirrel. It was lots of fun. I tried to go upside down but I couldn’t. I want to do it again!:) Alexie and I did the Giant Swing together. It was so scary! The air hit us really hard (because we were going so fast) and Alexie was holding me really tight.

Adriana




(Note from Dad) While the big kids learned about teamwork and overcoming fears, Annalise's group spent the afternoon at a park and eventually went to "Donald's House" (McDonald's) for an ice cream cone.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the CDTS adults started the morning with intercession for the Philippines. We continued our discussion with Fred Allen through the morning. After lunch we had small group time.

Tonight The Rising service was pretty intense. Several ladies are part of a ministry to stop human trafficking. Although a subset of the Slavic Ministries here at the base, this issue is not limited to far away places. One of the ladies will be attending a U.N. conference on the issue. It was pretty intense for a father of 4 wonderful daughters. I cannot imagine the heartbreak involved for the people torn apart by this evil.

Grace,
Tom

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Radical Discipleship

While I was considering what to blog about today, it seemed appropriate to give an insight into what we are learning in class. I will give a brief overview. The following was only a little bit of a whole day's discussion.

Today we began a discussion entitled, Radical Discipleship. Fred Allen, our instructor for the week, is a bit unorthodox in his approach. But he is very engaging and enjoyable. Today we began by breaking the terms down so there was clarity in what we were actually discussing.
Radical: to go to the root or the original template
Discipleship: the process of being a follower and student

With that terminology in mind we began to look at Acts 2:42,
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Most of our discussion today centered on the meaning of devotion. One interesting idea Mr. Allen put forth was that Jesus can't be your first priority. If He is your first priority, there is the implication that there is a line behind Him of other priorities. He has to be THE priority.

After that discussion, we began talking about that to which we are devoted. First, the Apostles' teaching; conveniently captured in a best selling book we call the Bible. An interesting idea brought forth during this discussion was that obedience precedes understanding. (John 7:17, 31-32)

More objects of devotion to follow during the course of the week.

One other quote I found interesting was,
"Our redemption drew near when the Book became the Boy."

Grace,
Tom

p.s. It was interesting that at church yesterday, Annalise excitedly introduced us to a man who had been her teacher once during COD, Fred Allen. How ironic that we have been going to the same church with our instructor.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tiring Day

I try hard to not complain about things here. I really want this blog to be encouraging to those who read it. Not that I am hiding stuff and giving a false impression. You already know that life happens even in good situations. Why bother whining about it?

But today was tiring. We are working to not need formal schooling for the two months in the Philippines. Of course that means the girls are having some schooling now. Today was the deadline for an assignment the girls have had all week. The assignment is not difficult but it needed to be done. It was a real challenge for all of us today. Then of course there were other things, like disobedience and dishonesty.

Whining time over...

I had a fun time this afternoon when I got to go play soccer. There is a group that meets at Willamette University every Sunday, although this was my first. If I had any skill or speed, I would have been a force to reckon with. As it is, not so much. But I did have fun. This too, fits under the title of tiring day. I am waaaayyy out of shape.

Since I don't have any pictures, here's a video from a few days ago.



Grace,
Tom

p.s. I don't have kitchen duty on the weekend, so that was nice, too.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Art Fair

Today we went to the Salem Art Fair at a downtown park. First we ran a couple of errands. Then had a picnic at the park before actually heading over to where the fair was being held. There were all sorts of crafters and artists there. Many many cool things to look at. It was even interesting enough that all four girls were enjoying it for a couple of hours. (No bribes, threats, or pleadings required.)

It helped that they were able to go surfing while we were there. We didn't bring our camera, so you'll just have to enjoy the video someone else captured for us.



Grace,
Tom

Saturday, July 21, 2007

More Good Words

Yesterday (and today) we had a very good time in class. The same speaker who had a good word for Alexie has been our teacher all week. There is much that can be said, but the very short summary of his discussion is that we need to recognize all we are in Christ and how that will impact who we are in this world.

He also had a word of encouragement for Lisa and me today. He feels that there is a special annointing on our family. He said several other things as well, but for now I will hold those close to my heart.

After lunch we had small group time. The men were treated to some team building on the ropes course. First we had an exercise to build a "throne" for our team leader. Both groups accomplished the task. Fortunately it only had to support him for 10 seconds. (As you may have guessed, the rules had a few interesting quirks.) Next we did the high ropes circuit. One part of it was very challenging for me. (It's one thing to coach and encourage people from the ground, another to be working our way across a challenge 30' in the air.) One member of our team ran into some very real physical challenges while up there. While disheartening for him at that time, I think the event really added to what we learned through the experience.

Adriana was sick beginning early Thursday morning and lasting through last night. She seemed to be doing much better today. But she found how much she really does like to be around people as she was alone most of the day on Thursday and did not find it pleasant. Maybe in the end this will have been a good experience for her. Regardless of the long-term implications, we are glad that she is well today.

Of course it was fortunate for her that she is doing better. Today, COD went to an indoor water park. The kids all had a great time. It sounds like quite a place.

(Sorry, I don't have pictures of the kids at the water park yet - only pictures of a bunch of old men. I can say that because they are all older than me and I am not in the pictures ;0)

Grace,
Tom

Friday, July 20, 2007

Good Word

At Tuesday night's Rising service, our school's speaker for the week, Peter Helms, gave a dramatic presentation of the gospel set to music. But before he began he asked Alexie to stand. He asked her name as he had not met her before. He continued to tell her,"I saw you at lunch today looking at a baby. I could only see your face, I saw light all around you, it was Jesus and His angels ministering to this little one through you. This is what He will do continually. You will lift up the downtrodden. You will look into their faces and see the Lord Jesus and as you see the Lord on them, the people will see the Lord. You will minister life, hope and faith to them.

The gift of creativity is big on you. Areas of dance and music are part of God's expression in your life. Flow with that because people around you will meet Jesus and His healing through your expression. The Spirit of the Lord is upon you. I see a great joy and light of God upon you."

To this, we say, "So be it!"
This is Alexie with Drew. One of the many babies on campus that she can been seen caring for.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Outreach Plans

We had a meeting to discuss outreach today. We smiled for our visa photos and filled out the applications. It was a delight to see Harry and Dee's photos of the Philippines. One photo was particularly interesting as I recognized it from what God had shown me in two different times of prayer...a dirt road with weathered wooden buildings. We are so excited about what God has planned for our time there. Our plane tickets have been reserved. We will leave from Portland, Oregon, September 4 and arrive in the Philippines on September 6. We will share the love of Jesus in many places and in a variety of ways. I am especially looking forward to loving the children of the orphanage. I may just bring some peanut butter in my luggage for them. The peanut butter they have there is not like ours and is so expensive few can afford it, so a PB&J would really be a special treat! We will also be working on a church building that Harry and Dee planted two years ago. I am looking forward to worshipping with the people, they love music; the louder the better. Everyone is welcome to join in. We saw photos of a dog and chicken joining the congregation. Many are so poor yet they give what they have. The offering might include a bag of rice or sweet potatoes. Those who are familiar with outreaches know how important flexibility is, so for right now I will not share a more detailed itinerary except to say we leave to return to the States on November 1.
Lisa

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

You've Got Mail!

These are words that everyone likes to hear, especially people who have been far from home like us. We are so blessed by those of you who have sent us mail, packages, and emails. Everyone here on the base appreciated us sharing our cookies with them...the Oreos quickly disappeared! The Koreans are very generous to share their care packages as well. We have had myul chi and maleun o jing eo. (Anchovies and dried squid for those unfamiliar with Korean.) We also learned today that it is traditional for the Koreans to be served seaweed soup for breakfast on their birthday. I think I'm safe in speaking for my August birthday girls, Annalise and Alayna, that they would prefer the tradition of their homeland. Bring on the cake and ice cream!

We are happy to share this journey with all of you. But take a minute and reveal yourself. Leave us a comment or drop us an email GardenofGrace@gmail.com so we know who is looking in the window of our lives. We would love to hear from you!

Blessings and love to all...
Lisa

Monday, July 16, 2007

Beach Combing

I can officially say yesterday to the events of this blog. It just turned 12:01a.m. The internet is not playing well in our building right now so there is a delay between when I am composing this and when it will get posted. By the way, I have added a poll question to the blog. A simple one to test it out.

We spent the day at the beach. We drove to Lincoln City’s Road End Beach and a couple spots around Depoe Bay. It was nice. Annalise was initially disappointed that we were not donning our swimsuits, but after a little wading, I think she even realized it was too cold for swimming.

Just south of Depoe Bay we found a neat place to climb around on the rocks. It was neat to explore this new part of God’s creation. I love His creativity. Enjoy the video and the pictures.

video




For meals, we had a picnic in Lincoln City at the beach. On our way from there to Depoe Bay, we stopped at Dairy Queen and were able to cash in gift certificates from some of our soccer players for a treat. (Thanks, Lauren and Danielle!) To wrap it all up, we had dinner at Mo’s restaurant. Adriana has decided that she enjoys clam chowder and Annalise has discovered scallops.

Friday, the girls’ COD class was part of an outreach to the local community. Some of them went a nursing home and visited with the residents there. The others went to a park downtown and handed out free lemonade. Later they will repeat it so that everyone can participate in both types of ministry.

Grace,
Tom

p.s. As I logged on this morning to post the blog, I got a great report from the Cornerstone Team! Check out the comment from the previous post. Well done, team!!!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Healing

This week was an incredible week of team building. Many shared struggles they have had in life and we prayed together. How wonderful to remove the masks and be real and genuine. Words can not begin to express how special this time was. You really needed to be among us to fully understand!

Friday, July 13, 2007

So Long, So Short

Star Wars opens with the scrolling words, "Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." That's what looking at this photo feels like. Yet it was only taken in February of this year at our home. The cold, snow, and home seem so long ago. We have been here just over 1 month. Yet, it seems as if we have been here for so long.

As I have thought about what that will mean for our outreach to the Philippines, I grow even more excited. All of our past outreaches have been for just 1 week. In 1 week you are just learning your way around: language, culture, directions, names, everything. We will have 2 months to really learn about the people in the Philippines.
In our training prior to coming to YWAM, the way I was taught to enter a new culture was first as a learner, then a servant, and at some point a story-teller. The emphasis was on getting to know the people and the culture. One week never really gave me the time to develop the relationships - I guess you could say I am a slow learner.
I am enjoying the lifestyle and friendships we are developing here. It has been a breath of fresh air in so many ways. (Except when the septic line sprung a leak yesterday.) I am eager to see what God has in store during the next month and a half in Salem. But even more so what He will do on the Philippine island of Luzon. Did you know that the Philippines is the 12th most populated country in the world?
By the way, our friend Cynthia who was hospitalized over the weekend, has made it back to class. She is still not at 100% and is receiving ongoing medical care, but she is back with us. She came back Monday night.
I am still waiting for a really good email from the Cornerstone Mission Team. But if you take a look at the comments for the past few entries, you will see that their sense of humor remains intact, even if it is at the expense of their former leader.
Grace,
Tom

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Catchin' Up

Yesterday morning I woke up early so that I could go to the chapel to pray. It was a nice time. While I was praying, I got the impression the Lord wanted me to take the girls to McDonald’s for breakfast. (No sarcasm or hidden agenda here, I really did feel He was leading me to do so.) So when I came back and woke everybody up I took the girls to McDonald’s. Lisa was able to have breakfast and quiet time (a misnomer lately) while we were gone. The girls and I enjoyed talking on the drive and while we ate. It was definitely a divine appointment at the golden arches.
Then we all went to class. Lisa and I are going through a class entitled the divine plumb line. It has been a good discussion. It is probably premature to discuss right now since we are in the middle of it: perhaps this weekend.

For our small groups, our leaders took us out: guys to Dairy Queen, ladies to Starbucks. What a fast-food day for me. But I must say, the Blizzard was a most excellent treat.

This morning I took Alexie up to the chapel to pray. It was nice to have some time with just Alexie. On our way back down, Alexie commented that she enjoys how quiet and peaceful it is in the chapel. Lisa and I have decided to rotate taking the girls up there for some one-on-one discipleship and prayer. Tomorrow morning Lisa will take Alayna.

After class today, we went to the library to read up on the Philippines. The Salem library has a very neat children’s section. (Rhonda, you would be jealous.) The girls are hoping to visit again when they can “just have fun”. Such is the way with homeschooling, we are going to the Philippines, so we looked into books about the Philippines. Of course, we would have done some of the “fun” stuff, but we had to get Adriana to the orthodontist. That was another blessing. Because Adriana is in the middle of some orthodontic work, our orthodontist at home gave instructions for things he wanted done while we are here. At church here, we asked someone if they knew of a good orthodontist in town. She made a recommendation of a Christian who she thought offered his services at a discount to missionaries. When we got there, he stated that he would provide his services to us free of charge. God is good!

Grace,
Tom

Monday, July 9, 2007

Yesterday was pretty quiet. After church Alexie and In-Suk cut my hair. Later the girls enjoyed playing in the creek.

Please continue to pray for Cornerstone's team in Reynosa, Mexico and our friend Cynthia is still in the hospital awaiting results from testing.







Sunday, July 8, 2007

Silver Falls


Today our CDTS class and families went to Silver Falls State Park. It is an absolutely beautiful place. We only made it to one waterfall. Not everybody was wanting to spend the day hiking when there is water that can be played in right in front of you. (I am proud of myself that I didn't push for the hike but was satisfied to just stop and play.)


Wading in the shallow water wasn't too cold. But of course that wasn't enough for us manly men. Four of us worked our way around behind the water fall, came through it, and swam across the pond at the bottom. It was incredibly cold and much more difficult than I had expected. Several people asked me if I had fun. I am glad I did it, but I wouldn't use the word fun.The girls had a great time splashing and trying to skip stones. They also had fun playing with the adults who are part of the team. Lisa and I look forward to the opportunity to come again on a date and hike to all the falls.


Our mission team from Cornerstone should have gotten off to Reynosa, Mexico this morning. (Joe, Brenda, and team, you are in our prayers.) We are excited to hear a good report.
We were able to talk with our class leaders about the Philippines a little bit today. It was especially interesting to hear the kids (not ours, but others) ask questions. I am really looking forward to serving alongside the kids who are part of our team.
Tonight I am getting the blog done before 10 p.m. (wooohooo!) I might even get to bed early today. That would be nice since the swim really took a lot out of me.
Grace to you all,
Tom

Saturday, July 7, 2007

End of Week 4

Well we've made it through one third of the lecture phase of our Crossroads Discipleship Training School! I'll be honest and say I'm glad this week is over. There were a few valuable nuggets but mostly it seemed a lesson of patience gained from enduring about 16 hours of lecture! I really learn best when I am able to have some interaction in class and this was not the instructor's style. I guess after pastoring for 39 years he thinks it's always his turn to talk, talk, talk and talk some more. Next week, we have different speakers but a challenging topic. It's the week most talked about among YWAMers. We'll fill you in when we have the facts.

The girls went on an outing with their class today. They enjoyed a picnic at a park and the afternoon at a large children's museum. Maybe we will post some pics later. Not sure what was captured since Adriana was the only one taking pictures. I do know if there were any flowers or animals in the area she probably got them on film, but people seem to be elusive to her.

Annalise and her friends, Anna and Abby, enjoyed walking in the cool creek this warm afternoon. Not sure how they all got so wet in water about four inches deep!

We are so excited about what God is going to do in and through our Cornerstone Mission Team. We ask you to join us in praying for them. They leave early tomorrow morning for a week of ministry in Reynosa, Mexico.

Another prayer concern is for a classmate of ours. After waiting for 6 hours in E.R.,Cynthia was admitted. Please pray for her healing and for provision. She does not have any insurance coverage and has already had several tests. The doctors still have not determined the cause of her pain.

Lisa

Friday, July 6, 2007

4th of July

Okay, here is the update from the 4th of July.

In the morning we had class as usual. The girls went to COD and we attended our class.
For lunch we had a sack lunch picnic on a hill in the shade The weather was beautiful. After lunch the COD kids had a car wash and lemonade sale to raise money to buy air time to send a message of God's love into North Korea. They worked hard and have been able to raise enough for 5 minutes of time. Their goal was 1 minute. Praise the Lord for answered prayer.

Lisa and I enjoyed some time to walk around hand in hand. Annalise joined us as went sat near in the shade near the creek. It was beautiful to listen to the creek and the wind blowing through the leaves of the trees. Not to get too spiritual, but it was great listening to nature praise God - a topic that has come up in class a few times.

Later I helped grill hamburgers and hot dogs for a real American cook-out. The food was almost as good as the company.

Later there was volleyball and general goofing off. Alayna was able to sweet-talk her way into a ride on the flying squirrel. She loved it! She even tried to get upside down, but wasn't quite able to do it.

Of course what is a cook-out without roasting some marshmallows?

As it got dark, some people lit off a few fireworks. We had decided not to go into town for the big display because of how late it would be when we got back. Since we had school today, we couldn't get away with staying out too late last night. We still kept the kids out later than we should have, but it was earlier than if we had gone out.

Here is a slideshow of our day...



Today we had our intercessory prayer time. The kids facilitated the prayer and led a time of worship. Alexie sang back-up. She even played the piano for one song. Each group creatively presented a passage about prayer. They did a fantastic job. While there were other nations that we prayed for, I stayed near the Myanmar display and prayed for the people and missionaries there.

After lunch we had small group time. Once again, the men went to the widow who lives near the campus and chopped wood, cut down a dead tree, did some general cleanup, etc. I enjoy helping her. She is a lot of fun. When she greeted us at the door, she said, "Here are my angels!"

Grace,

Tom

p.s. Happy Birthday to the newest member of the Geezer Club!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Preliminary July 4 Post

Just a really quick note since I didn't end up posting last night. When 11:40 came around, I decided to go to bed instead of walking around the campus looking for a good internet connection.

Everybody had a good Independence Day yesterday. More info and pictures to follow.

The kids have raised enough for 5 minutes of radio air time to North Korea.

The weather is beautiful.

I need to hurry in order to make it to our intercessory prayer time. I think the COD kids are hosting it in some way.

Grace,
Tom

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

No Complaints

Today Alexie has been excited. She is preparing to be part of the COD worship team. So they had their first practice this afternoon.

The girls have also been excited about an outreach project they are working toward. They are saving up enough money to buy radio air time so they can send a message of God's love into North Korea. They have a lemonade stand set-up. Tomorrow is a car wash if anybody wants to make the trip over, you can get your car washed, but you had better leave soon.

I enjoyed playing on the trampoline with Annalise before dinner. Of course, if I bounce with her, she can't stand up at all, but we had a good time. It is hard to play with just one of my girls anytime, but here playing with just one of them and not two of their friends as well can be very difficult. It was nice to have some one-on-one time.

Every Tuesday, we have an evening service. Lisa told me that tonight's message about not complaining was very good. I missed it because I was still doing dishes when the service started. Man, there are sooo many dishes and they are so dirty. Then there are the floors. I can't believe how dirty the floors can get. Did I ever tell you how nasty the dishwater can be after washing all of those disgusting dishes? Community life can be such a bother sometimes. You don't get much time alone. Personal space is almost non-existent. I suppose I wouldn't have enjoyed the sermon much anyway - you know how preachy preachers can be.

Well, God is really blessing us in our time here. It isn't all roses, but it is a nice garden. Thanks for all of your prayers and support.

Grace,
Tom

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

WBF Video & Photos

Today we had worship in the morning. It was a great experience. The worship leader is Korean and she had the words for the songs projected in both English and Korean (along with Korean pronunciation wording). It was fantastic to both sing and to hear the songs in both languages.

After class, while the girls worked on some of their homeschooling assignments, I worked on the following video and pictures from the World Beat Festival.



Thankfully, my computer is playing nice again thanks to God coordinating things to have a tech
support guy (like you talk to on the phone when having computer problems) here from Brazil. He is using his vacation to serve with the wilderness trips and ropes course here at the base. What a blessing. (Thanks again, Jason!)

Alayna and Annalise enjoyed some more no-snow sledding tonight after dinner. When you get hit at the bottom of the hill during the winter, it's painful. But, as Alayna can testify, having a sled hit your shin when you are wearing shorts is definitely no fun. I felt really bad for her. Later I found it must not have been as painful as I suspected because when I returned from putting her bike away for her, she was heading down the hill again. The girls are definitely enjoying how much time they get to spend outside. I just hope their knees get a chance to heal.

Well, it is really late and I should have been in bed quite a while ago. The internet connection has been frustrating the past week, so tonight's entry took much longer than it should have. But I am very glad to have it. We really do enjoy posting the day's events and getting comments and emails from y'all.

Grace,
Tom

Monday, July 2, 2007

Technical Difficulties

For those of you who check our blog daily, sorry about not having an entry last night. We are experiencing technical difficulties. I had been looking forward to what I would be able to add to our blog last night. However technical difficulties interrrupted my plans. We went to the World Beat Festival in downtown Salem. I went to take some pictures and our camera died. You know that sound a camera makes when you are loading the film and the film isn't catching? Digital cameras shouldn't make that sound. Okay, I thought, there are others with cameras, including Adriana. So late last night, when we made it home, I began loading her pictures onto the computer so I could view them. This turned out to be a big problem. Something is wrong with the data and now I can't open any pictures on my computer. I can't even delete the folder with her pictures in it and make the problem go away. Somebody else has pictures I can use, but I don't want to load them until my computer is feeling better again.

I hope to be able to put some fun video and pictures from the World Beat Festival on soon. We had a fun time at the festival. Our family and Nat and Shirley (you may remember Nat from the video) volunteered to help. So we all helped in the childrens craft areas in the Asian, European, and American regions of the festival. I had a lot of fun with one of the games in the Asian area where I was assigned, Tinkle Sticks. It is a rythmic dancing game, similar to double-dutch. Instead of a jump rope you use bamboo poles. It was fun when I could convince the kids to play, but even more so when adults would join in. When adults played, large groups of people would gather to watch and cheer. Interestingly enough, the Asian area's children's booth shared space with an informational table for Korea.

I know we will get the technical stuff all worked out, but I like to put pictures and video in the blog. I know I would get really bored of reading what I post, but the pictures and videos of the kids are just so unbelieveable cute.

Grace,
Tom