Monday, January 2, 2017

Best Coffee Ever

I wish so very much that I had learned this at the beginning of deputation!  My awesome brother and sister-in-law gave me an Aero Press coffee maker for Christmas.  It’s been on my Amazon wish list since I read about it on Money Saving Mom.  I kinda forgot it was there.  But it makes the I have ever had! 


Photo: Amazon

I can’t tell you how many bad coffees I have had while travelling.  Hotels aren’t exactly known for their great coffee, and many times it came out of a machine and tasted more like dirty dishwater.  The other problem I encountered was dirty filthy coffee makers.  You know those little ones they put in the hotel room?  Or even the ones in the infrequently used prophet’s chamber?  So many times I opened the water container to fill it, only to find dirty water sitting there, or layers of gunk.  Needless to say…I passed on coffee on those mornings!

BUT… if I had owned the Aeropress, I could have made coffee on the go by just heating water in the microwave!  And it would have been delicious, and cheaper than stopping at Starbucks, and it’s easy to clean (as in, I just rinse it off!)

You can use espresso to make a latte, which is a big plus if you’re used to spending $5 for it at Starbucks!  I’m hooked on just making a fresh cup of coffee when I want one.  It tastes better than my drip coffee brewer, any Keurig, and even better than pour over in my opinion.

So if you’re on deputation, or you travel a lot, grab an Aeropress and save a stop at the coffee house.  Your wallet AND your taste buds will thank you!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ben’s Ordination

Something that we have been working toward for a while is Ben’s Ordination.  We knew that it would need to happen before we could start the church in the Bronx.  But how do you study for ordination while you’re traveling full time through 44 states over three years with five kids? Where do you find quiet when everyone is living in one hotel room space? 

The Lord provided for that need when our family separated for the month of July this year.  The kids and I stayed with my parents in Colorado and Ben took some meetings in California on his own.  He spent a couple of weeks living in the library on university campuses.  I remember calling him one day during that time.  He said, “Except for the librarian, you’re the only person who has talked to me all day.  And the silence is  wonderful.”  {I was a little jealous!}

Ben had to write a paper on the major doctrines of our faith, backing each statement up with Scripture.  He proofed them.  Pastor Bickel proofed them.  Mom Hamilton edited them.  In the end, a 56 page document was down to 26 pages for easy distribution.  Then the real study began – how to respond to current day issues that he will face as a pastor.  Ben found an app for his phone that allowed him to make digital flashcards.  He studied, and Elaine and I quizzed him. 

December 10th finally came, and the ordination council assembled.  They questioned Ben for over three hours on his written statement and other things he will face as a pastor.  I was nervous for him!  I’m so thankful for my friend Jeni, and Mrs. Bickel who helped to watch my kids so I could sit in on the council session!

Ben's Ordination Council

Back row: Ming Tang (BBF Deacon), Hunter Konkle (BBF), Pastor Dan Hyden (Russian BBF), Pastor Stephen Christopher (Park Slope, Brooklyn), Pastor Thomas Overmiller, (Corona, Queens), David Barker (BBF Deacon)
Front Row: Pastor Matthew Recker (New York, NY), Pastor Daniel Klaus (Park Slope, Brooklyn), Dr. David Canedy (BWM Deputation Director), Pastor Tim Richmond (Forest Hills, Queens), Pastor Bickel, Ben, Pastor Doug Neiner (Pittsfield, MA), Dad Hamilton, Pastor Steve Snavely (Highland Falls, NY), Dr. Craig Hartman (Shalom Ministries), Pastor Stephen Racite and Wilmer (Cornwall Baptist Church)


Ben's Ordination Council  Ben's Ordination Council
Ben & Dad ||  Pastor Bickel, Ben, Craig Hartman

Ben's Ordination Council
The ordination council and audience

Ben's Ordination Council

Ben's Ordination Council

On Sunday Dr. Canedy from our mission board preached the AM service.  It was a very encouraging message from Psalm 84.  I felt the tears ready to spill over, and we hadn’t even arrived at the ordination service!  In our church’s afternoon service we had a special ordination/commission service.  Dr. Hartman gave a charge to the church as our sending & ordaining church.  Pastor Bickel gave a charge to the candidate.  There were also several testimonies.

Ben's ordination Service
Dr. Canedy shared some of the testimonies of the ordination council regarding Ben.

Ben's ordination Service
David Barker gave the recommendation of the council that Ben be ordained.

Ben's ordination Service
Pastor Neiner (Ben’s pastor from childhood) gave a testimony

Ben's ordination Service  Ben's ordination Service
Pastor Bickel || Symphony and Lacey Hyden provided special music.

Ben's ordination Service
I was asked to share a testimony expressing that I am “on board” with this.  I also got to answer the last question during the ordination council, when Pastor Christopher asked me if I was “on board” with all this.  Yes!  I am!

Ben's ordination Service
Dr. Hartman charging the church.

Ben's ordination Service
Laying hands on Ben to ordain him to Gospel ministry.

Ben's ordination Service

Ben's ordination Service
Pastor Dan Hyden presented Ben a certificate of ordination

Ben's ordination Service
Chris Jackey presented Ben a very nice Bible as a gift from the church.  They also took an offering towards Ben’s pastoral library (or software).  We were so overwhelmed and blessed!

It’s hard to get a picture of glass without yourself being reflected in it.  But this is Ben’s very nice ordination certificate, and we did hang it on the wall, even though we are in temporary housing!

Ben’s Doctrinal Statement can be viewed here, for those who are interested.
Full  ||  Concise
The video of the Ordination Service can be viewed here.

Friday, December 16, 2016

We Finished the Course

November 28th, 2016.  I don’t think I will ever forget that day.  Just two days shy of 35 months on the road, and we pulled into the driveway.  For the last time.  Deputation was done.  It was a long haul.  Not as long as many missionaries spend on deputation, but it taxed me to the limit.

We started when the twins were but six months old, headed to Alabama to be appointed with Baptist World Mission.  Then I was pregnant with Henry while on the road, and we took only a six week break for his birth.  I have homeschool Elaine in Kindergarten, First Grade, and part of Second Grade.  I started Nolan in Kindergarten. Did not anticipate doing that. I potty trained Liberty at rest areas and in other people’s homes.  I tried to potty train Nehemiah, but we are still walking that road.  Most of deputation has had us with three in diapers, and me nursing at least one baby.

We learned a lot of lessons.  We made cherished friendships.  We experienced our country.  We ate more cheeseburgers that we care to count.  I don’t know if I’m at the point where I would say, “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”  Many other missionaries tell me the time will come when I look back at deputation as the good days.  I’m not there quite yet, but I can say I am glad God took us on this path.  But I’m even more glad that we have reached the end of the road.

  • We traveled for 2 years and 9 months
  • We passed through or had meetings in 44 states and Canada
  • We drove 100,000+ miles
  • We had meetings in 140 states
  • We are so close to 100%!

Being back has meant new routines.  Getting up at the same time everyday.  Drinking coffee out of my favorite mug.  Exercising as a habit.  Eating homemade food.  And the kids are re-learning their boundaries.  It is wonderful, even though the place we are living is not to my preference and I am dying to be in our own home.

Here are some highlights from our life on the road, especially on the last trip – from Portland, OR to Mountainville, NY.

Trip to BWM Huntsville AL
New missionary appointees!  (Wow – we looked young)

Packing for the first deputation trip
Packing for the first trip.  I have learned so much about packing!

Kids at the Display Table
At the end of the first full-time (3 month long) trip.  I think this was in Detroit.

Helping dry the bibs  Hotel School  IMG_6963
Washing and drying things in a hotel | Hotel School | Life in a van makes you crazy!

Over 100,000 miles!!!
Over 100,000 miles on our new van!

Nine in a Bed
Nine in a bed.  And sometimes it’s two on the floor, depending on what kind of room a church rents for us.

Looked up to help grumpy Henry…and saw a Caterpillar instead!  (Best gift I think our kids have been given.  It’s Liberty’s, and its taller than her).

LAST Deputation Sunday
Last Deputation Sunday – added a new kid since the last picture in front of the display!

Last Deputation Trip
Leaving Grandma’s House, three days away from home.  Not sure exactly when we will be back, and not too thrilled to be up so early!

Last Deputation Trip
Destination: Home

Last Deputation Trip
Coffee.  My friend and enemy on the road.  Keeps me awake, but makes for lost of rest stops.

Last Hotel Room!
Last hotel room!

The beginning of the end
Last hotel parking lot!

Finished Deputation!
On to “da Bronx”

Friday, December 9, 2016

DIY “Okay to Wake” Signal

I came across the “Okay to Wake” clocks through a review and Amazon.  I didn’t purchase at the time because we were on deputation.  We have been through the gamut with time zone changes and different sleeping arrangements, and I knew that I wanted to establish new routines once we got home.  The first thing was a regular wake up time.

I was all set to purchase two of these clocks, one for each of the kids rooms.  But I read several negative reviews, including complaints that the clock glowed all night before it turned green in the morning.  I didn’t want a bright light in the room, so this didn’t sit well with me. There is another brand of wake up signal that seemed to be made very cheaply and lots of people said it broke easily.  As I continued to read the reviews on Amazon, I came across one with a brilliant idea.  And I copied it.

The idea with this product is that you set the alarm, but instead of a noise to wake the kids up, the light glows green.  So if the child wakes before the designated time, he has to stay in bed.  But if the green light is on, he is okay to wake up.  I wanted the kids to stop coming out of their rooms at 6 am and then waking everyone else who might have slept a little later. 

These are the items you need to make a DIY “Okay to Wake” signal for your kids’ room:

  • Christmas solitaire window candle (not battery operated, and not on a timer).  I found mine at Home Depot for around $4.
  • Green night light bulbs (I thought the Christmas bulbs would be great, but they were too big). I found LED nightlight bulbs in a two pack for $5 at Home Depot
  • Electrical timer.  I saw these on the Home Depot/Lowes website, but I actually picked them up at Aldi in the Christmas aisle for $2.99 each!

File Dec 09, 8 30 04 PM

First, put the green bulb in your candle.  Mine has a dial switch to turn on and off, so I set it to “on” and tested that it worked.  Then, set the timer following the instructions.  Mine has tabs for every half hour in each 24 hour day.  Push down the tabs for the hours when you want the device to come on.  I had to set the current time too, as a reference point.  Set the timer to “timer” instead of “override”.  Plug the candle into the timer, and the timer into the wall.  We set our candles to come on from 7am to 9am, so that if the kids wake anytime in between 7 and 9 they know they can get up.

Ours work like a charm, and for two weeks I have been able to get up, shower, have coffee, and read my Bible in quiet and aloneness nearly every day – before my kiddos descend upon the day.  I spent less than $20 to make two of these.