Sunday, October 31, 2010

MTI photos 2

Our home away from home.
The family with a storm trooper in downtown Monument
on Saturday. It took this man 4 months to make the
costume. Worthy of being in the movie!

6 MTI participants ran in a 5K on Saturday. Above are 2 of them. The race was run on the Santa Fe Trail which is directly behing MTI so 20 of us went to cheer them on.
Walking across a bridge in class.

MTI Photos

Bowling at Pinz Bowling Center with 25 of us.
More bowling.

A group in the training room.
The view from our room, known as elephant rock.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Taken Hostage!

5x8x5 plywood box. 2x 3 foot opening in one side. 6 air holes drilled in the top. 18 people squeezed in. You must remain quiet - you are being hunted. The air is stale and it is mostly dark.
I am separated from Eric. The kids are not involved.

Every 10-15 minutes a note is dropped through one of the air holes. A decision needs to be made. Are you willing to take in 5 more people? One of them may be a spy for the government - they could give you away.

Another note - select 5 people who are to be released. How to select? Do you believe the note?

The moms of the group are selected, after all they have children. The "bad guy" enters. He demands that 1 mom sit in a chair blocking the opening. A pillow case is put over her head. A male is selected to lay face down under the chair. The "bad guy" pulls out a gun and begins waving it around. He finally lowers it and points it ............. at me! He demands I crawl out - under the chair, over the man lying down. I am stuck -the "bad guy" is getting antsy, his volumne goes up 2 notches. The 15 remaining people in the plywood box begin pushing. I am out.



A gunshot. So much for escape. Am I dead?

2 more people lie down on the floor. Many shots ring out.

A foot in my back - "GET UP NOW!" I comply. (Apparently I'm not dead.)


A gun is pointed at my head, another at my jugular. The "bad guy" demands that the missionaries start coming out of the box. If any of them try anything - I am the recipient of a bullet.

The simulation ends - my heart rate slowly returns to normal. I realize that I was ready to meet my Lord and Saviour. No thoughts of leaving this world behind - just shoot me and get it over with. I know where I am going.

This was how I spent my morning at training today. Today's topic - "Who you really are under stress."

Where was Eric? In another box with 20 other people.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Church - or was it?

Our family along with two single people from training wanted to go to a Spanish Church in town. As far as we could tell there was one in Colorado Springs (30 minutes away) so off we went. Directions were good and we arrived on time to a very nice small church in a older neighborhood. It was all boarded up with a lock on the door. Hmmm.......

Plan "B". Everyone was a little disappointed so we drove around the neighborhood and found a Christian Church that was just about to begin. We arrived at this small ch
urch (maybe 70 people) about 5 minutes early and were directed downstairs for "before church coffee and doughnuts". Now I know you cannot judge a book by its cover, but only one person in the church greeted us. During the "meet and greet" time it went something like this, "HI, I'm Eric." Other person, "mornin". Next person, "Good morning, I'm Eric". Other person, "morning."
A little disappointing to say the least and very sad.

It was not long before the worship started and I was impressed by the little band and choice of songs. The songs were contemporary but sung with the joy of a wet dish towel. During the service, The Lord's Supper was served but all of us missed it as we were used to having a "ceremony" if you will and this was a passing around of the elements with everyone taking the wafer and juice and eating/drinking it right away. We realized we "missed it" when the man stood up to give announcements and announced the speaker. The speaker was obviously a person the church knew well (although it wasn't obvious to us until 1/2 way through the sermon). He had been an itinerant pastor at the church a few years prior. During his time as itinerant pastor he admitted that he was struggling with the sovereignty of God (PTL for honestly!). After a permanent pe
rson was found he returned to his hometown and got involved with wine, women and song. At this point we realized that this "sermon" was his confession, testimony to the church. He was very open and raw and had come to tell of his journey, Gods Grace and his struggles. He was not yet done with his struggle and had not yet fully accepted the Lord's forgiveness.

When the service ended he walked out the back. After we were released I expected many parishioners to approach this man and offer him forgiveness and grace. Not one person did. They all walked out to their cars and left (The Broncos were playing). Some of our group approached him to offer words of encouragement. He is a hurting man. We left feeling very heavy and sad.

So my question is- were we with the church
or just in a building with other people?

I know the church is made up of of messed up, sinful people and we meet 1 or 2 times a week, generally
in a building; but doesn't that meeting involve God's grace? His Love? Our acceptance of others as He accepted us - sins and all? If those are not present - is it the church?

We have been and will be this week challenged with "confronting when necessary", exiting our worlds to enter into the other persons world and seeking Gods grace and understanding in the process. The training last week was rather intense introspective work. We have had some good talks with new friends and our family while processing all of this and I can tell that more are to come.

On the lighter side, we took our mini van - yes the van up to about 10,000 feet on a small one way dirt trail over the mountain pass between Palmer Lake and Woodland Park, Colorado. It was a fantastic view but not exactly the adventure we expected. We were in for a 20 minute drive. Drive up the mountain a little way and then turn around and come down. Not so. No turn around available- so what to do but keep going up. 2 hours later we arrived back where we started from after going over the mountain and then around it to avoid going back over it again. We had a fun time. We stopped and felt our first snow of the yea
r and got some great shots of Pikes Peak. One is below.
Kids at the Olympic Training Facility in Colorado Springs. Very Interesting place to visit if you have an hour to two.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

We are leaving on a jet plane!

Leaving on a jet plane - January 2, 2011. Yes it is official, we have been given permission to attend language school in San Jose, Costa Rica beginning January 4, 2011.

Yesterday, prior to our arrival at MTI we were at HCJB Global Headquarters in Colorado Springs. Our supervisor gave us permission to turn in our paperwork for language school because the paperwork is due in 11 days. We are not 100% funded however. We still need people who are willing to come along side of us and partner with us to raise another $500.00 per month.

We are so thankful for the partners that we currently have. Financial and prayer partners. You all have been a huge blessing to us.

Currently we are at Missionary Training Institute - there are 44 of us here. 6 families with children, 6 married couples without kids and 15 single people. We are one of the "older" couples here. Average age is around 30 and they are from all areas of the country and will be going to every continent (exception Antartica!). A great group of people to spend the next 3 weeks with learning about cultural adaptation. Many of them will be continuing on in the language acquisition program with us too. We are thankful that there are plenty of boys for Kevin and Joshua to play with and even another 12 year old girl for Adrianne.

No easing into the classes today! They get right to the punch. If today is any indication it will be an intense 5 weeks here. We would welcome your prayers and mail if you so desire! Mailing address is: Missionary Training Institute
P.O. Box 1220
Palmer Lake, CO 80133

We will do our best to keep you up to date!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Perserverance through photos

Can I please have a carrot? When we tried to leave and I put up my window, this friendly burro licked it! So glad they don't drool! :)

One of three narrow one lane tunnels we traveled through today.

Crazy Horse Monument
This profile picture is for you mom! :)

Today, our second "family reconnecting" day, was spent viewing large scale works of art and God's awesome, imaginative nature. The theme for the day really was about perseverance. The carver of Mt. Rushmore worked hard and persevered through the Great Depression in order to complete his dream - or mostly complete it. He died 6 months prior to the completion of his project. His son finished it.

This made me think about the many people that we all have in contact with each day. We may be the first step in their process of getting to know Christ on a personal level. We may only meet this person one time and may not be (most likely) the one to lead them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We may never see the relationship come to completion - but we need to persevere and be one of the steps. Our children or grandchildren or even great-grandchildren may be the generation to complete the tasks and relationships that we started. If we don't start though - there will be nothing to complete!

Our second stop was Crazy Horse - now this project ( in my opinion) is crazy. The project began in 1942 - just a few years after Mt. Rushmore was completed. From the casual observer (which I am) the project has not progressed very far since I was a kid. Talk about perseverance. The project is being worked on with public funds - no government involvement here. The sculpture is only about 1/10th completed and they have been working on it for 68 years! Are we willing to persevere and pray for a family member's salvation for 68 years?

Our third and last stop was Custer State Park - what a glorious place! If you ever get a chance to visit - it is so worth the $15.00 fee to enter. We climbed rocks, hiked around the lake that National Treasure 2 was partially filmed at (VERY partially filmed). We drove around more hairpin turns (when the sign says 5MPH - you know it is a hairpin turn)than I care to count. We went up and down and up again - to the point that our new front brakes were smoking a bit. We saw pronghorns, mule deer, turkeys, buffalo and "the friendly burros." See photos for the burros - I can honestly say that I have never seen the inside of a burros mouth so closely before nor been sneezed on one before - until today. PTL the antibacterial wipes! :)

While driving around this beautiful park we went through 3 very narrow tunnels - again a sign of perseverance. These were not natural tunnels created by God - these were carved out of the mountain, by man, tunnels. One narrow lane - much like the road to heaven. Only one car at a time could enter - what a blessing that all of us have the opportunity to enter heaven - it is not for one man or even one carload. If you haven't taken that opportunity - find someone you know who has and ask them. If you have taken the opportunity then make sure you are part of giving the opportunity to others!

There are so many aspects of our day that we have not shared and so many more photos but our family time is precious so I am off to watch 3 crazy kids in the pool! Blessings.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More photos

Top- the infamous Wall Drug - the kids counted 46 billboards for Wall Drug from the MN/SD border.

Bottom- A baby rattlesnake that was sunning himself on the loop road in the Badlands. We drove within a foot of him and he was not going to move- but his rattle was going!

I had typed out a longer blog about skunks, wallets (Eric dropped his in a parking lot and we did not know it until 130 miles later!), giants, etc... but somehow it is lost in computer space so pictures will have to do!

Skunks, Giants, Wallets and Rattlesnakes

Feeding prairie dogs, kids in the badlands, the Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth, MN (5:00am and 36 degrees!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A day late and a dollar or two short

To be here or not to be here - that is the question. Initially we were scheduled to leave for our training yesterday - needless to say I am typing this from my kitchen. In order to maintain our sanity and get the large "to do" list done we chose to sleep in our own beds last night and enjoy the beautiful Michigan weather.

So today is the day. At this time we are taking it one hour at a time as far as the leave time. Kids, much to their chagrin are doing homework (mean old mom) and I am cleaning and packing. Eric is off running a long list of errands.

Many people have asked about the training. It is required by HCJB Global but HCJB Global does not host it. It is hosted by Missionary Training Institute, which is located about 10 miles north of HCJB in Palmer Lake, CO. We will be with other missionaries from all different agencies while receiving language training and cultural adaptation training.

On the drive out we hope to stop and see Mt. Rushmore/Badlands and the ever popular Wall Drug!

Our training will end a few days before Thanksgiving and then Lord willing we will return here for 5 weeks before leaving for Costa Rica.

Language school has not been confirmed yet as we are still short of our minimum monthly goal that is required. This means we need families to partner with us for another $500.00 per month before October 28 - in 15 days. The Lord has continued to provide partners for us and we know He will complete what He started. We anticipate this completion yet this fall, however if it is not His timing then we will be here through April and begin language school in May.

Many blessings to you all!
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