Wednesday, August 24, 2016

First Day of School 2016

This week we experienced the culmination of several weeks worth
of curriculum purchasing, 
school supply shopping,
trying on of clothes,
meal and snack planning,
parent orientation meetings,
calendar planning,
lesson planning,
and prayer!!!

We are all excited about beginning our 3rd year at a local
"Homeschool Assistance Program."
It has been such a blessing to our family and we look forward
to what God has in store for us this upcoming school year!
To read more about our family decision to add this to our homeschooling,
click here.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Vacation Bible School 2016

Several weeks ago, our family was privileged once again
 to participate in our church's 
Vacation Bible School!
What an awesome outreach ministry to those in our community!
We saw over 200 workers and children attend throughout the week
with 19 children making the decision to trust
Jesus Christ as their Savior!!

All 6 of our children love to participate, and this year
was no exception.

Our three teenagers found a leadership position to plug into:
Lexi ~ leader for the 4 year old group
Grant ~ game time assistant
Ashlyn ~ kitchen/snack time assistant

Our three elementary age kids were in their own class as students,
and Abby and Garrett helped with the puppets during opening and closing
assembly time.

 It is always a wonderful week filled with friends and fun,
and this year I was the leader of the 7-year olds.
 I had two assistants that made
this week such a breeze!!

~With my two Jackie's!!!

The little boy on the right lives in an apartment complex not far from our church
that houses refugees from all over the world.
He and his family are from the Congo and they only speak Swahili.
What a challenge and joy it was to learn how to communicate with him,
and to gain his trust.  My heart was burdened for his family
that live in near poverty with such a huge language barrier.
We found his sister in an older class and she was able to 
translate for me and help me share the Gospel of Jesus with
him and his friend in the middle of the week.

There truly is JOY! in serving Jesus!!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Junior Camp 2016~God hears our prayers

Back last fall, when we were first introduced to the idea
of a summer mission trip to New York City, I began praying about
and thinking through the details of such an undertaking.
If I were to go with my two oldest daughters, who would care
for our youngest four children?

I pulled out calendars and talked preliminarily with my husband
and mother-in-law about their schedules.
We thought about farming them out in pairs to friends.
But then, when I began looking at summer time opportunities,
I realized that our church was taking our junior kids {grades 3-6}
to summer camp the exact week my daughters and I would
be in New York City!! 

Thank you, Lord, for working out that detail for me before I knew 
I needed it to be worked out!!!!

For some reason though, this year held much more pre-camp anxiety and tears
for all 3 of my kids who were eligible to go.
They kept waffling back and forth about being happy about
this arrangement which was very unusual for my normally
"social butterfly-like" children.
It was very distressing for me to watch them shed tears every week
about being away from home or having to be around a younger sibling
or night-time fears.

We spent much time in bedtime prayers over this, and as the pictures
show, they decided to try and were very happy the entire week.

My older girls and I hopped a plane to New York City on Saturday.
My junior campers weren't leaving until Monday morning.
That meant I needed to supervise and locate enough luggage for
6 people to be away from home for a week before I left!
Just a little stressful!
Daddy was in charge for the rest of the day on Saturday, Sunday,
and getting the children to their pick-up point on Monday.
He had Monday and Tuesday off, and I had a marvelous plan!!!
In an effort to ease the transition for my anxious junior campers,
why not have Dad and the older brother ride along on the bus to camp,
spend the night, and then ride back home on Tuesday with the bus driver?
This was a win-win plan for our entire family!!

Right in the middle of the week, after my husband has gone back on shift,
I get a call from the camp nurse.
Garrett seemed to have gotten himself into some poison ivy, 
was covered in an itchy rash, and was pretty upset about this turn of events.
He hadn't told his counselor about this the day before when it started itching
and had not slept well all night because of worry and itchiness.
So I'm in Queens, my husband is right in the middle of his work week
working at minimum staffing, and Garrett is miserable.

The last time he contracted poison ivy, his face swelled up like a pumpkin in two days, 
and he ended up on steriods with a steriod cream.
I was kicking myself for not remembering to send that cream to camp
with him for the "just-in-case!!"
I called home to our pediatrician and asked if we
should just take him immediately for a steriod shot at a local clinic,
but they advised me to have the nurse keep the benadryl flowing
and to watch him for dangerous swelling.
Right about that moment, as I'm sitting on the outside stair steps in Queens,
our team leader comes out to take a phone call.
He sees me a little stressed on the phone,
and asks if everything is ok.
After telling him what was going on and the conundrum our family was in
he immediately suggested that we pray at that moment for Garrett's healing!
In a few moments the camp nurse let me know she had given Garrett
some benadryl, put a steroid cream on him that she had, and that he was finally sleeping.

Remarkably, when Garrett woke up a couple hours later, the entire rash was
completely gone!!!!
Maybe it wasn't poison ivy?
Regardless, we saw that as a miracle answer to prayer!!
We were in a bind and needed help!
Everyone around us was powerless to help us too!
We cried out to the God of Heaven to give us wisdom and 
Glory to God for answering our prayers!

Does Jesus care about the little things?
Yes, He does!!