Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thanks Walnut Park

Coming to Walnut Park in Muscatine is sort of like coming home. Pastor Hakes was our pastor during part of our college years and Mrs. Hakes took me under her wing and mentored me when I was just a "baby." :) I told her that I look back now and am amazed that she gave me the privilege to teach her ladies Sunday School class. Sunday, as I sat in her class, I was so challenged and encouraged by the lesson on the goodness of God.

Hannah was adopted by a bunch of other girls and spent the day laughing and playing with her new friends.

We spent the weekend in the home of the Henthorns and LOVED staying in the 1850's home!!!!! They were such gracious hosts and Sunday evening they invited another family over to join us for a cook-out.
We finished the night at the park. The guys threw the Frisbee while the ladies chatted and the kids ran around playing. Once again I am thankful for the family of God. No matter where we live or how long we have known each other we are bound in Him.

Thanks to everyone at Walnut Park for making us feel so at home. We are so blessed to be a part of your family!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Family FUN Iowa Style

We had the chance to go the Iowa State Fair this past week with James' parents.
It was a rainy morning but we braved the weather and headed on over.
The first thing we did was take the kids through a pretend farm. They put on their hats and aprons and went out and did their "chores." They collected veggies, fruit, and eggs. They milked the cows, gathered the wool and more.

They drove the tractor and worked in the field and finally they took all their goods to market. After they sold all the stuff they got their "money" and went to the store and bought a treat. It was so fun for them to see how life on a farm works. Even though it was cool and rainy, Hannah bought a Popsicle, Jer bought a bottle of juice and Daniel bought an ear of corn :)
(His current favorite food is corn on the cob.)

We had to stop in and see the Iowa Butter Cow.
I even tried fried butter on a stick, in honor of the cow of course!!
I know it sounds horrid but really it was like coffee cake on a stick with melted butter inside.

We saw lots of cute cuddly animals. Jeremiah loved watching the chicks hatching. Hannah loved the little lambs who sucked on her finger and chewed on our clothes.

While we were watching some cows, we found a baby bird.
Hannah grabbed it and we found a home for it in a nearby tree.

We watched some fun shows like an alligator wrestler.

Saw lots of fun venders and got lots of kids tattoos.

We ended the day with one ride. Bumper cars won out. Hannah & Grandpa went with Daniel and then James & Jer. They had a blast ramming into each other and chasing each other around. It was the perfect end to a wonderful day!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Enjoying Iowa

We were thrilled to celebrate Grandma Evie's 89th birthday with her last Sunday. We started the party on Friday night and were blessed to spend most of the weekend together.

We all traveled to Charles City, IA for our meeting. Grandma Evie and Grandpa Bud actually started this church during one of their furloughs. It was wonderful to be back with all our dear friends there at Temple. It was also really neat to see how Daniel has bonded with Vovò (Great Grandma) He spent lots of time with the older ladies on Sunday:)

James and Pastor Fessel did a wonderful job during Sunday School discussing the practical applications of the Gospel in I Corinthians. It was great as they discussed how to witness and helped equip each of us to more effectively share the Gospel.

Wednesday we traveled to Webster City where I spoke at a ladies missionary luncheon. They welcomed us by giving each of our kids a back pack with some school supplies. It was neat to see how each pack was perfect for our kids. (Jeremiah was thrilled with his Cars back pack!)

James and Pastor Terry when out to lunch at "Whoop-te-do's" while the kids and ladies enjoyed the luncheon. A couple of teenage girls served by taking care of the kids during the devotional. We were so warmly welcomed and just overwhelmed with the love and concern the ladies showered upon us.

It was wonderful to catch up with the "Davenport girls" over iced caramel lattes! It is so special the bond that we share as sisters in Christ.

Hannah & the boys made some great friends as is becoming their practice.

Thank you all those at Temple Baptist in Charles City and Calvary Baptist in Webster City! We are so blessed to know you and be partners together with you in ministry.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Visiting Our Churches

Well, we have officially hit the Furlough Road. Last Sunday we visited the first of our supporting churches (outside of our home church) and began our stretch of 18 churches in 18 weeks!

We started off in Wilson, Kansas at First Baptist. It has been wonderful to go back to the churches that have supported us in prayer and giving over the past 4+ years and share all that God has done through them.
In Wilson, we enjoyed meeting Pastor Dunham and his family and were so encouraged by their shepherding hearts. It was wonderful to join part of the church family and youth at Pastor Denham's for Ice Cream after the evening service.

We were so encouraged to talk to Zack who will be rooming with a Brazilian student this fall at college. James was able to give him a tract in Portuguese and answer cultural questions that might help him as he plans on sharing Christ with his roommate.

Please pray for Zach that he would be a faithful witness for Christ this fall.

Yesterday we were in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa at Calvary Baptist. We were excited to stay with some friends we met on deputation. The Vance family opened their home and hearts to us and we are so thankful for their Christian love.

Daniel and David are the same age and were busy all weekend doing things together.

Alisa and Amber, although much older were so sweet with Hannah, painting her fingernails and sharing their old toys with her.

Even the oldest boys, Josh & Caleb, were always quick to help grab something or take Daniel & David fishing. Thanks you guys for your servants hearts!

At church we enjoyed putting names with faces. Many families from Calvary have kept in contact with via mail and email during our first term in Brazil. Catching up with dear friends was also a wonderful blessing. We never seem to have enough time to really talk as much as we would like. We were thankful for a short but good time of fellowship with the Vanhoosers who have become a sort of mentors to us. Mentors from a distance but always so full of God's wisdom and grace.

I am so thankful for God's grace to us during this time of constant transition. Saturday Daniel was wishing he were back in Brazil where life is "normal." He was not looking forward to all the unknowns that each weekend trip brings. I am so thankful for God's grace in bring people into our lives that are a blessing to our kids. As you see these next pictures, I hope you will catch a glimpse of the blessings God gave our kids this weekend through the Vances love.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Family Vacation

The last week of July, my family was able to be together for the first time in four years. It was a wonderful time of simply being together in the midst of God's great masterpiece.

One of our days in Arkansas, we rented a pontoon boat as had some water fun.
Andrew was a great captain:)

Hannah & Rachel had a great time tubing together

Lots of fun with Grandma!

My Mom & Jer had a blast on the tube too!

Mexican train was a great way to laugh together one evening

We celebrated Mark's birthday during the week.
The kids REALLY enjoyed the cupcakes!!

We had a great time touring an historic bath house in downtown Hot Springs.

One day we all took a creek walk, deep into the woods. It was AMAZING! It is so neat to be so far from all the distractions that this world is always throwing at us. (So far from the distractions that none of us had cell phone or internet the whole week :)

We filled countless jugs of water at the free spring water fountain in town.

Special memories with Great Grandpa

All the cousins together!!

Forging the way through the woods with Uncle Albert

I had to post this shot of Mark.
Not really sure what he's doing but it sure looks cool:)

We praise the Lord for our family.
Our prayer is that each of us, from the youngest to the oldest
would grown in our love for the Lord,
Loving Him with all of our hearts and souls and minds.