Friday, July 29, 2011

Our Colorado Trip

July 23

Well I am writing on the airplane as Josh & I are now flying back to Michigan. What an awesome vacation together! It was a true gift from God. As I took in the majesty of the mountains all around us in Colorado I just felt loved by God. What a Creator!

Ok I have to back up a minute. Almost a year ago International Teams wrote to all their missionaries and said there was a couple who have a cabin in Colorado and would like to give it to seven missionaries for one week each. Long story short we were giving one of the weeks. We have enough miles for free flights but unfortunately those tickets were all gone by the time we looked into it. We almost canceled the whole thing but prayed about it and felt we should still go. We decided since our kids are still young and wouldn’t appreciate the mountains yet to go on a 12th anniversary honeymoon and leave the kids with grandpa and grandma (everyone was happy that way!).

We were not excited about traveling so soon after arriving in Michigan but it was the week we were given. We flew into Colorado Springs and drove to Crested Butte. It was a beautiful drive. We arrived at our cabin in the evening and were thrilled. It was so nice! What generous people to share it with so many missionaries each year. (They use it about two weeks a year then let missionaries use it the rest of the year.) The views from the cabin were amazing. I was so excited. The owners told us there was wild life out the window and up the mountain the cabin was on (actually we had to keep windows closed at night because of bears). So Josh and I drove up the mountain most mornings and every evening looking. Crazy to some but we enjoy it. Animals were rare and very timid but we did see mule deer (a couple big bucks!), elk in the distance, and a bear almost at dark.

The best part of the trip - other than being together of course - was the mountains. I could not get over them. Coming from Michigan and Uganda it is breath taking. We rode the chair lift up Mt. Crested Butte to 11,000 and some feet (and I hate heights!) then climbed to almost 12,000ft. It was the best view!!! Mountains everywhere. God is beautiful. The next day we found a mountain and decided to start climbing it. I was nervous at first but it was an easy (relatively speaking) climb and we only when to where we felt comfortable. We made it to the snow though. I absolutely loved sitting up there just my husband and I. It was peace. It was gorgeous. It was a special time with Josh. I am just so thankful.

It was a great week together. Simply not having a schedule and being alone together was a treat. Then at the end of it all we are ready to broad our last flight from Denver to Grand Rapids and the airlines over books and asks for volunteers to stay back until tomorrow night. We called home to see how the kids were doing and if Grandma could handle another night. They gave us the ok so we offered to stay. We got $400 in tickets each to use in the next year, put up in a really nice hotel, and all our meals paid for! We couldn’t believe it. We started to second guess our decision when we later talked to Grace on the phone and she was crying so hard she couldn’t talk. She was missing us. But Grandma assured us they were fine (and she was after a good nigh sleep with Grandma). So thankful for their help and love. And Josh and I had a great night together on the airlines. Funny thing is we got more money for tickets plus everything else and spent less on our tickets to CO. What an unexpected blessing.

Guess that is as best as I can put it into words. We will land at midnight, drive up to Mc Bain, so we can wake up and drive to Gaylord to speak and preach. Bad planning I know. But worth it all. I love my husband and my Heavenly Father who loves us.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Long Journey to MI

July 18, 2011

I finally have a minute to write! What a few weeks it has been. I am sure I can’t tell you all we have done or all the emotions but I want to fill you in a little bit. God has been so faithful to us. Our travels began the end of June into Kampala where we helped our new teammates buy things for their new house. The ladies also had fun getting pedicures and going to the craft market. From there our team was off to Mombasa, Kenya for International Teams East Africa conference. We had a good time flying with our team. We even flew over Mt. Kilimanjaro. It was also fun to be on the Indian Ocean for the first time. The tide was amazing! I have never seen such a dramatic change and it causes me to praise God for His mighty works. It was beautiful and so fun to be at the beach with my family and team. The conference was good too. The kids loved meeting other kids in their children’s program and Josh really enjoyed the speaker. I got to hang out with Luka most of the meeting time but that was ok too. But again we had to say goodbye to people and the Grace cried that night and Lydia told Josh, “ Dad it is hard being a missionary.“ All in all we are very blessed and thank God for the special times He gives us.

After Mombasa we began our long journey to Michigan. Four flights, almost 15 hours in airports, and
about 20 hours of flying (37 hours from driving to the first airport to landing in GR!) we made it to
Michigan. Wow. The kids did great! I was all mixed up by the time we arrived but thankful. I could not
believe all the emotions I had this time. I think I was processing everything we had just done and left and
now being back in Michigan. Our families welcomed us home at the airport, had food for us in our home,
pool party… We are so thankful for their love and support. Our kids were thrilled to be with their
grandparents and cousins again!!! Luka was a bit blown away by everything. He really only knows Uganda
and can’t remember the US like the girls can. He was pretty scared of the hand dryer in the airport
bathroom - he has never seen one before. But he warmed up quickly to everyone and hugs his grandparents
tight every time he sees them. He loves all the trucks and cars to play with and his cousin Moses. The girls
are taking everything and everyone in. They are so happy. Grace has been riding her bike none stop. I on
the other hand felt like I went through culture shock coming to Michigan this time. Usually I get here and
feel like I am home and am thrilled to be with everyone again. For the first time I felt like I didn’t belong. I
was overwhelmed. I felt out of place. I know how to function in Uganda but not here. I felt out of touch. I was seeing our culture with new eyes - a mission field all around me. So with so many emotions I ran to Jesus and gave it all to Him. I trusted this home service to Him for months and so I needed to rest in His plan. It was the first day and I needed to relax and give it time. Knowing God is in control is my security. I am thankful His plan is good for me. I know He will use us and our time in Michigan.

It is now ten days into our home service and already we have been so blessed. My emotions have changed to - it is so nice, beautiful, comfortable, easy, and fun here! There is so much I want to do and only three months to do it. So again I give it to the Lord and trust in His plan and timing. We are so thankful for our home that Georgetown CRC provides and for all the help our families have been. Others have given groceries and a vehicle. We are blessed with how God always provides through His people. We are settled in now and seems on the move a lot. We enjoyed a day in Grand Haven with our kids. The water was so cold your feet went numb but my kids from Africa were like the only ones enjoying the water. They woke up the next morning asking to go again. We also saw the African Children’s choir. I found it very funny to have our two worlds come together. I just wanted to cry for some reason. Lydia and Grace loved it and wanted to meet the kids afterwards. We have been spending a lot of time with family which we love. We met our niece for the first time. Reka is so sweet and our kids love her. We had a birthday party for all the cousins in the Beute family with summer birthdays at Chucky Cheese. The kids had so much fun. We went blueberry picking and swimming at my parents cottage. We visited the great grandparents. And I have even gotten to go garage saleing already. Great, cheap stuff! I love it and so does Lyida. With everything we have done - big and small - I am just taking it all in with great thankfulness. Everything is special to us. From lakes to swim in to stores with everything we need to a dishwasher and great summer produce. Everything is a gift from God that we do not take for grated.

Josh preached our second day in country and we spoke yesterday for the first time. We were in Mc Bain and it went really well. I love sharing all God is doing in Uganda. It is great to worship here and be encouraged by all those who pray for us. Josh and I are actually flying right now to Colorado. (Crazy I know.) We are given a cabin in the Rocky Mountains for a week so we decided to have a get away with just the two of us. Our kids are with Grandpa and Grandma Shaarda. They were so excited which made it easy for us to leave. It is quite something to be without kids on vacation. I will let you know all about our time soon…

Well thanks for all your prayers with traveling and for our home service in Michigan. I love that God is with us here and still with our team and friends in Uganda. He is a loving God! Hope to see lots of you while in MI. Enjoy the beauty of our Creator this summer everyone!

(I will try to post more pictures soon)