Saturday, October 31, 2015

Washington, D.C.

We were staying just over an hour from DC, so we took a quick field trip on Thursday.  It was a beautiful fall day – sunny, 70 degrees, and a little breezy.  We found parking by the Washington Monument and walked by the WWII Memorial, down the Mall, and to the Lincoln Memorial.  Then we spent an hour at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.

Washington DC
They just loved the wall that they were allowed to walk on!

Washington DC
Next to New York at the WWII Memorial.  Nehemiah couldn’t keep his eyes off the water fountains!

IMG_8839   IMG_8841


Apparently this is Nolan’s new smile.

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Elaine’s Six Year Pictures

Elaine turns six in just eight days – she reminds us of the current countdown every morning!  We are in such a pretty part of Virginia right now that I took the chance to take some pictures of her for her sixth birthday!

Elaine's 6 year Portraits
She’s growing up so fast…

Elaine's 6 year Portraits  Elaine's 6 year Portraits
What girl doesn’t want her picture with a horse (who kept trying to eat her pigtails, by the way…)

Elaine's 6 year Portraits 

Elaine's 6 year Portraits
She kept trying to smile without showing teeth (I don’t know why!).  Caught her in a goofy smirk!

Elaine's 6 year Portraits
This is my girl – my favorite picture.  Love her smile!

Elaine's 6 year Portraits

Elaine's 6 year Portraits

Elaine's 6 year Portraits  Elaine's 6 year Portraits
She requested to wear her Cinderella dress for some pictures, with buns in her hair.  So we did.  Just for fun.  She’s our first little princess!

Elaine's 6 year Portraits
…And sometimes the princess shows her little siblings how to feed the horses!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Weekend Wrap

Henry Post-Bath
Henry gets to nap right after his bath!  I was jealous!

Kids with horse in Berryville, VA
The prophet’s chamber in Berryville, VA is right across from two horses.  The kids loved walking over to see them closer!  {Yes – Nehemiah thinks Baby Henwee is more exciting than the horse.  He loves his brother!}

Kids with horse in Berryville, VA
Feeding the horse grass and apples

Kids with horse in Berryville, VA
Liberty was pretty brave!

Twins playing outside
It was a beautiful fall day!  We took a blanket outside for school and let the other kiddos romp in the grass.  Looked up to see the twins like this – enjoying each other and being uber cute.  Later I discovered that they were spreading mint crème oreos all over their baby dolls’ heads. 

Kids Were Here

These guys sure get around at our “house”!

Kids Were Here Army Men

Kids Were Here Army Men

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Among All Nations

The last couple of weeks have been very challenging for me on deputation.  I am tired, I am behind in homeschooling, and we have changed locations quite a few times.  When the schedule is normal, it is difficult for me to find a consistent time for my Bible reading.  When the schedule is crazy, my Bible time is crazy, and off, and short, and pushed aside too.  As much as I want to do it, it just often doesn’t happen when we are packing to leave a hotel, attending morning chapel services in a missions conferences, or being out late with evening services.  Often when I do sit down, I get drowsy and struggle to study.  Though I am partially through a 30 day Bible Study for Busy Mamas, its been a while since I have been able to finish a lesson.  I’ve been sticking pretty close to the five Psalms and one Proverb a day plan.

I noticed a theme in my Psalms over the last few days.

--Ps. 86:9 All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.

--Ps. 96:3-5, 10 Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.
4 For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
10 Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.

--Ps.97:1 The LORD reigneth: let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.

--Ps. 98:2 The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.

--Ps. 100:1 A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

The Lord’s plan is for all people – all nations, islands, lands – to know Him and worship Him.  With the difficulties that come in a mobile lifestyle, its really easy to get focused on myself and my family and our needs.  I sometimes forget why we are doing this in the first place.  We are trying to get to the Bronx, a multi-cultural city within a city, so that we can share the Gospel with those who have not heard.  To give Christ to people from all nations who are coming to our land. To tell the good news of salvation to others so that they in turn can take it to their people and nation. 

It’s not easy now, to live on the road with five little people in tow.  It won’t be easy then, in the Bronx, to keep our focus on the purpose for which God has called us to the city.  I’m sure the temptation will be to fall into a “normal” routine and lifestyle.  To focus on myself, and my family, and our needs.  To get lost in homeschooling and homemaking and church activities. 

Ben preaches a message from 2 Kings 6-7 about those who have experienced the salvation of the Lord, and their responsibility to share it with those who are dying inside the city.  He preaches it often while we are traveling.  But I guess I need to be reminded of that message – repeatedly.  I need to remember my calling to share the Gospel everywhere.  To make evangelism a focus in my lifestyle.  Because its so easy to forget and neglect when we get caught up in ourselves.  Like the four lepers in 2 Kings 7, we get consumed with eating, and drinking, and hiding our treasures.  We “forget” (or ignore?) the city just over the hill that is starving to death.

I want to remember the nations of the world everyday.  Today, throughout the rest of deputation, and when we get to the Bronx.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Weekend Wrap

Some miscellaneous captures of our recent travels and activities…
:: We stayed with our college friends Stephen & Andrea in SC.  Our kids had a great time together!
Toby, Nolan, Penny, Sophie, Zoe, Elaine, Nehemiah, Liberty (& Henry)
:: We took part in a wonderful missions conference at Westside Baptist Church in Augusta, Georgia.
We got to teach the Children’s Church twice!
Nolan got a new suit at the thrift store!  Isn’t he handsome???
The twins loved the ladders to the water fountains!
Our host family is in the swimming pool business and had a lovely pool out back.  The weather was nice enough on our last day to let the kids get a little wet!  A wonderful P.E. class for homeschool!
:: School
Nolan wrote his first letters – uppercase “N” (learning his name!)
:: Our host church for the BWM Annual Meeting treated us to a trip to the Indianapolis Zoo.  Elaine wasn’t well and the twins needed a nap, so it was just me and Nolan (and Henry).  In the Ocean section, Nolan got to touch a shark!
Nolan petting shark
:: Deputation travel
Twins in the car
This is just how we roll sometimes.  They have done really great on several 12+ hour days in the car!

All Promoted!

In September the kids all got promoted to new Sunday School classes.  We were actually in town for promotion Sunday…sort of.  We had just moved the day before, and so my in-laws took the kids home for a couple of nights to give us a chance to unpack a few boxes.  What a blessing!   But…it meant the kids were all absent for their first Sunday in the new classes.  Here they are with their certificates, a little late!

Sunday School Promotions
Liberty and Nehemiah moved from the nursery to the 2’s and 3’s class
Nolan moved from 2’s & 3’s to the 4’s & 5’s class
Elaine moved into the Primary class {eek!  where did the time go?!?!}

BWM Annual Meeting

Every year our mission board holds an Annual Meeting.  If you are on deputation or furlough, you are required to attend this meeting.  Sometimes it seems like a long trip for a short interview with the deputation committee, but I have always come out encouraged and geared up for another round of deputation.  This year was the same.

We traveled to Indianapolis, IN where Crosspointe Baptist Church hosted the meeting.  Their church members did a fabulous job of hosting us, directing us to the right places, and feeding us.  We were blessed to stay with a family of seven who are former missionaries with BWM.  They also had a newborn boy!

Things didn’t go quite as planned.  Elaine had some tummy troubles and then ended up with an ear infection.  But each time we thought we would stay home with her, she perked up and made it through the activities.  She was excited to be with some of her missionary friends again.

Lord willing, this will be our last Annual Meeting for a while.  We hope to be at 100% by next spring/summer and then we won’t attend the meeting every year.  Realizing that made it a little harder for me to see my missionary friends, because I’m not sure when (or if) we will be together again in person.  I’m thankful that in the Lord we can pray for each other and bear each other’s burdens.  Modern technology lets us “keep up” easily, too – but it’s never the same as that hug face to face!

BWM Board Members and Staff
The Board Members (pastors from all over the country), and Home Office Staff of Baptist World Mission.  How blessed we are to be a part of this mission board and serve alongside these seasoned servants of God!

Elaline's BWM friends
Makaela Little (St. Lucia), Elaine (NYC), and Gabrielle McKinley (Ireland).
International friends that I hope will remain friends for a long time!

Nolan's BWM Friends
The boys – a little harder to capture!
Nehemiah (NYC), Levi Little (St. Lucia), Joel McKinley (Ireland), and Nolan (NYC).
They had fun making noise and trouble together!

Bronx Bound Yankee Fans
Ben, Andrea, Henry
Nolan, Nehemiah, Liberty, and Elaine

The annual meeting always includes a “Parade of Nations.”  Each missionary carries their country’s flag and is encouraged to dress in traditional costume of their mission field.  We all parade in to the auditorium and share where in the world we are serving and for how long.  It’s pretty neat to see!  This year we all wore New York Yankees shirts since we are going to win “da Bronx” to Christ!  {Not Yankees fans, per se.  Ben says we are going to win the lost!}  Even Henry’s shirt says “Born to be a NY Yankees fan” on it!

Liberty was so excited to wear her new shirt.  She walked up to several strangers and tugged on their skirt to say, “I have a ‘ankee shirt!”

Campout with the Barkers

One of the benefits of our new “temporary” place is its location…nestled into the beautiful forest not too far from the Palisades and West Point.  The church building over which we live sits on something like 16 acres.  There is a groomed soccer field behind the building, and a small river.  The kids have loved being able to go outside and play – without too much supervision.  There is dirt, rocks, woods, sticks, and everything a kid could want.  Except friends.

So…we invited our friends the Barkers up to visit.  The plan was for the guys to “camp” out back with the kids, because this is something that apparently all guys want to do.  The wives and newborns were sleeping inside!  (And Liberty joined us).  We enjoyed grilling a meal, and then playing in the river the next morning.

One of our blessings from living in Brooklyn is having the Barkers for friends.  We will desperately miss them when it comes time to move into the Bronx.  Thankfully, it’s still the same city so we can get together sometimes!

Tent Sleepover wtih Barker Family
Our borrowed tent came sans poles, so Ben somehow hooked it to the soccer goal posts to keep it popped up!
Ethan, Nehemiah, Adelei, Elaine, and Nolan

Tent Sleepover wtih Barker Family
Nolan, David, Ethan, Adelei, Liberty, Nehemiah, Ben, & Elaine

These pictures are from just our family enjoying some river time from the days before the Barkers came to visit us!

Playing in the River, Mountainville, NY


Playing in the River, Mountainville, NY

Playing in the River, Mountainville, NY
This one.  He’s not my water baby.  He will sometimes dip his feet into the water.  But he LOVES to throw rocks!

Playing in the River, Mountainville, NY
She discovered that it was a little cold!

Playing in the River, Mountainville, NY
The “big” kids

Playing in the River, Mountainville, NY
Buckets are always entertaining.

Henry’s First Weeks

Having Henry added to our family hasn’t seemed like too much of a change in routine or schedule.  The kids loving having a baby to dote on, especially Nehemiah!  We usually have a line for getting a turn to sit and hold him.  He is blessed to be part of a loving family!  Here are some pictures from the beginning days…

Feeding Henry a Bottle
I was happy that Liberty wanted to get involved in giving a bottle!

Feeding Henry a Bottle
Elaine…our “other” mother at home!

Henry 13 days old
Henry on my bed…in one of Grandma’s homemade butterfly blankets

Henry 13 days old

Henry in the bath 20 days old
One of his first tub baths.  I love bath time.  It’s probably one of my favorite motherhood tasks.  But Henry has been cheated.  We are always in a rush these days and he usually gets left to last, so it turns into more of a quick dip than a nice bath.  He hasn’t yet learned to like the water like Liberty did.

IMG_5720  IMG_5722
Baby boy with a grown up face

Many faces of Henry Tad!

I love his fuzzy hair after a bath!