Thursday, July 7, 2016

Grenada Wrap-up

Memories of Grenada
(video credits: Kaylah/editing: Katrina


                                              A pistol being brought to life through blackcats

                    Bible quizzing was held the beginning of July. LaBorie and Limes Mennonite
                      Schools compete together for this event. This year they memorized John 4.

                                         Bible Quizzing was held at the Limes Church

                                                   Eagerly waiting for that first cue word

                                                      And then it was the teacher's turn

                                                           Kaylah and her friend Celina

                 Kaylah and Nicki...Kaylah helped her almost every day take hot lunch into school

                              Collin and some of his school buddies on his last day there

                          Gleeful giddy faces over a farewell gift from Arlen & Sharon...
               tea time cookies and Glup, (Grenadian "Kool-Aid)...they know our children well:)

          The night before we left Grenada was the school's Award Night and closing program.

                                          Carter receives a reward/recognition from Mr. Ryan

    Nicki, the lady Kaylah helped with hot lunch, wrote a poem for Kaylah and gave her a gift basket

                                     And an appreciation gift for Mr. Mapson for his many
                                       years of dedicated service as school administrator

.....and after the school's program, complete with so many good-byes that I didn't think I could handle another one, plus a few final moments with dear friends, we headed home. It was a strange feeling going to bed for the "last" time in Grenada. Kinda like reading the last chapter in a book and knowing after this, there will be a different book....and wondering what for adventures that book will hold:)

    Good-bye many times I wondered and pondered what this moment would feel like.        Leaving life as we knew it for the last 2 1/2 years and stepping into an unfamiliar familiar.
Sometimes this day seemed light years away and the next time it seemed to be coming so fast I could almost panic. The last few weeks seemed to go very fast as we were kept busy wrapping things up and handing the torch on to the next people. All of a sudden "this day" was upon us. I can only think of one word to explain how I felt...surreal. Well, and sad...the reality hit as we took off. So many dear friends made on this island. Well, and see friends and family back home:)

       Arlen, Collin wanted to make sure you see this picture:) He felt very proud to be sitting up there
        and the pilots were so nice and explained all kinds of stuff about the control panel to him.

                                                           Good-bye, beautiful Grenada

      And just like that, Grenada disappears from view and a new chapter of our lives begins....

So how is the adjusting going? I never quite know how to answer this question. For the most part it is going well. However, it is a process and I don't feel we're quite "there" yet. We are back in our same house which we had rented out while we were gone. I think that helps with things seeming more normal than if we had to adjust to a new home and area.
  On the downside, right before we left Grenada alot of people around us were getting Zika and we were quite happy we managed to make our escape before it hit our household. Or so we thought. We weren't home long before we realized we brought home more than our luggage. Everyone ended up getting it except for Carter & I. There were also some challenging days for Chris as he worked out the glitches in his "new" (old) truck while his body had some zika-related "glitches." Seems to be going better now, PTL!
 It's been really good to reconnect with friends and family again. Makes me appreciate and treasure them like I never did before:) God is good! All the time!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Goodbye Grenada

If all goes as planned, this will be my last blog post from Grenada. Seems kinda unreal and brings so many mixed emotions....
 Excitement, to see friends and family back home again!! (We've missed them. Alot!)
 Sadness, to think of the looming goodbyes:( (Dear friends here that I don't even wanna think about saying good-bye to)
Apprehension....the adjustment that awaits us. (Will it be a seamless transition or the feeling of  an oddball, where do I belong, status?)
 As I flip through the pages in my mind of our time down here and reflect on this chapter of our lives, I recall times of joy and happiness. Times of pain and tears. Times of teaching, but more times of being taught. Times of being stretched in ways we never would have imagined or wanted.
 Was it worth it?
 Yes! a hundred times, yes! The lessons learned. The friends made. The invaluable experience of learning another culture.
 However, as we close this chapter of our lives, it is with peace and a sense of knowing it's time to begin the next chapter of our lives. We don't know where all He will lead but we trust He will show us the way, one step at a time.

                                          Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
                                          To guide the future, as He has the past.
                                          Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
                                          All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
                                          Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
                                          His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

                     I'll start with a few pictures from last month that I found on my phone.
                                                   Sorry about the poor quality photos...
                       Carter felt as proud as a peacock sitting betwixt these two "big" senior guys:)

 Miss Lillian shares a heartfelt prayer for a few of the Terre Hill Mennonite School senior girls

There was alot of exciting things happening this month, but this was by far was the most exciting! Collin made the most important decision in his life to ask Jesus into his heart. What made it even
more exciting was that his friend Kade became a Christian the same day! They shared the good news with the church Sunday morning and "Uncle" Derek shared some meaningful words of encouragement with them and their teacher/hero Ryan Horst prayed for them. "There is no greater joy..."

                                              Hanging out on a hot summer's eve....

     Captivated critter....I hate crunching these big ugly things, so I felt pretty clever to not even have    to get out of bed to take care of this one, thanks to the hair clip that was laying on the nightstand.

                            "Dear Mom, I never want you to die. You are the best mom I'd have...."
                                                        (Thanks, Christi, I love you too!!:))

                                   Carter and Josiah sharing a laugh over a game of connect 4

                                                            Some of Carter's school friends

                                                 Carter folding wash....or supposed to be....

              They don't often lay around reading encyclopedias, but when they do, I document it:)

                  The packing process has begun...we are moving to a temporary house so Josh and
                  Barb can move into our house. The children were quite excited about this adventure!

                              It doesn't seem like much to move....until it's all in one room.....

                                          The hill to our house. It makes some sore leg muscles,
                                          but it affords a beautiful view when you're at the top!

                                      The house only has 2 bedrooms, so Chris rigged up a
                                         "blanket bedroom" for the boys in the living room

                    Can't complain about this view while I'm hanging out wash on the veranda!

              One thing we're getting used to is having quite a few very close neighbors. The one house
              sits alittle above ours and it affords our neighbors a very easy view into our home. Add to
             that, open doors and windows and they got the soundtrack to go right along with the show....

                           Welcome Josh and Barb! It was a good feeling to hand over our
                   home/responsibilities to these capable folks. I think they will do a great job!

                              Josh & Barb High, Logan, Camdyn, Prestyn, Annah & Amalia

                                   Jr. & Denise Risser traveled down to help Josh's get settled in.

                                                              Feeding the monkeys

                         We don't even want to think of saying good-bye to our 5th child, Frisky....

                                                         Sunday afternoon snoozes....

                The children found this flea-infested, bloated worm-belly mutt in a ditch on the way
                home from school. They were so sure they saved it's life that they named it "Lifesaver".

I wasn't home right away when they got home from school and till I got home they had the mutt bathed and a job list for the puppy drawn up....and then their mean mother told them they have to take it back:(

                Something our children rarely have the opportunity to baseball

                                          Christi gets some baseball advice from Arlen...her weak,
                                       belated swings remind me so much of me when I was her age:)

                 Home Ec class with the 6th grade girls. They enjoyed making and decorating cupcakes

                                   The one week we made bags out of T-shirts for Home Ec

                   We had a week of crusades in Limes this month with Philip Knepp as the speaker.
                    His wife Mary Ellen and son Gabriel also came along from their home in Mississippi.

                               Dervin Seibel having children's meeting at Sunday morning crusades

                                   Late to bed every evening makes for some tired children!

             Christi couldn't get enough of holding Shivoni's little sister, Miracle. She's a doll!

 Shivoni invited us for supper one evening as a farewell for us and also to celebrate some birthdays

                    She worked hard and made us an amazing meal of oil down and pilou

            There's usually no girls Kaylah's age, so she entertains herself with a book many times:)

                        You can't see him but Ryan is in the mango tree shaking out mangos

                                                              Mangos for one and all!

                                      Field trip time! They have a field trip each trimester

                                 This time it took them to the St. Georges' fire department

              The children were spellbound as the fire chief explained each tool and it's purpose

                            "What do you say to the fireman who took the time to explain things to us?"
                                                       "THANK YOU! MR. FIREMAN!!"

                                              Carter even got to slide down the fire pole!

                                                           LaBorie Mennonite School

                                          After the fire station, we headed to a local bakery.
                                      Was quite interesting...felt like I stepped back in time.

                                             After the bakery, we toured the post office. The mail
                                                all gets sorted by hand, a tedious job, I'm sure!

                     And the farewell parties have begun...we went out for supper with the
                     staff one evening. Still seems kinda unreal that it's us leaving this time.

                              Thaddeus & Rose Richards...These folks already left the island to
                           spend 3 months in the States. We sure hope to meet up with them there!

  We had supper and our weekly Bible study on the beach for something special before Rose leaves

                                                              Beautiful Grenada scenery

                This picture doesn't even begin to capture the brilliant beauty of this sunset!

My dear friends....sometimes I wonder who you all are?:) It's a little ummmm, disconcerting to have people reading my rambles and I don't know who it is! My blog shows the numbers but unfortunately not  the names....sigh. I'd love to meet you all in real life and I wonder for those I've never met what pre-conceived opinions you have of me:) Or maybe it's better if I don't know. lol Sometimes, very occasionally, I'll reread my old blog posts and shudder at some of the ignorant things I posted. Really, that's why I rarely go back on my blog because I usually feel that way! Anyway, will I continue my blog back home? Maybe. We'll see if life gives me something to write about.:) I imagine I'll at least do a follow up post of our last few weeks down here.
 I want to sincerely thank you so much for praying for us. You standing behind us as a prayer warrior was no less important than the work down here. Continue to pray for the people in Grenada. Not that I feel they are worse off than anyone else, but because we've seen the tremendous amount of courage it takes to stand up for God, often without the support of family and friends.
 If you think about it, you can say a prayer that our adjustment back home will go well. We leave July 8 to travel back to our home in Newmanstown PA. Chris is planning to go back to trucking again and he will have to get used to early morning hours again and the million laws and by-laws of the trucking industry.
The children will all be starting a new school in the fall. It will be an adjustment, but they do have friends that go there, so that will help.
 I want to thank God for all the ways He showed that He cared about us while serving here the past 2 1/2 years. So many details that He worked out for us, the safety He's given us and many ways He has proven Himself thankful!!!