Living in the Cherokee Nation

Little man is growing up!

Little man is growing up!

We are almost to the halfway point of our time here in Oklahoma!

Craig has worked along with his teammate Jeb and his Language helper Junior. They collect different sounds and meanings from the Cherokee Language. Craig gets up early to work from 6-8am then he and Jeb go to Junior’s House for 2 hours every Monday –Friday from 9am-11am. From 11-noon they organize the data they’ve collected. Lunch is from 12-1 then language analysis from 1-5pm. Often he’ll work in the evenings once the kids have gone to bed. Unlike a class room setting almost all the work is self motivated, we set and keep our own schedules.


Typical day of processing phonetics and figuring out what each part of a word means.

I (Sara) has helped with lots of cooking, cleaning, and hanging with the kids. Twice a week I get to help watch our coworkers kids for 2 hours while they go to their language helper sessions.

Ashea is learning how to interact with so many friends so often!  Solomon is CRAWLING and is such a daddy’s boy. Every time Craig heads out to go work Solomon attempts to follow or cries pathetically. Click HERE to see a video of the very first time Solomon finally crawled! Guys will do almost anything for a girl :)

All 9 units (a unit is a family or single person) use the one washing machine that lives in our room. Thankfully our room had tons of bunk-beds and mattresses to make a little hallway from the emergency exit door straight down the wall to the little laundry closet.

Our humble abode. We are staying at a Christian camp. Pretty nice place!

Our humble abode. We are staying at a Christian camp. Pretty nice place!

We’ve been getting good practice hanging our clothes out to dry on the line (Hi Mama! I think of you every time I hang it!) since the 2 driers here on campus are both broken.

All 9 units eat most Lunches and Dinners all together Monday through Friday.

It’s been a hot humid stay in OK so far with all sorts of fun new things to play with!

Please Pray

  1. We would keep learning about linguistics AND having a Godly home in a busy transient lifestyle.
  2. The Swenson’s would finish their last semester of training having learned and grown a lot!
  3. Baby #3 would continue to grow and be healthy
  4. The up coming transition back to Missouri in mid Oct then to Ohio in November would be smooth.

(click HERE to go to a gallery of the pictures below)

(click HERE to see a summary of who we are and what we are doing)

1 year and 1 big blessing! Curious? You should be!

IMG_5752How long is 1 year? Silly question right? But think about it, when we were kids a year seemed like forever, but these days the years go so fast we can’t keep the dates straight writing checks.

We are 1 year from moving to the country of PNG (Papua New Guinea) and I guarantee, it’s going to go quick! I (Craig) have a 10 weeks of linguistics training left to do in the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. We will put everything we have learned in the linguistics program into practice as we create an alphabet and describing the grammar of the Cherokee language working with real live native Cherokee speakers.


From this point on we have 2 big jobs to move to PNG. Logistics and Support raising. It takes a lot of planning to move your family to the other end of the earth! The other part is support raising. We’ll talk more about the details of this soon, but we ask that you pray and think about joining our team to raise the money that we need to do this work.



Have you guessed the big blessing yet? We are expecting #3! We hoped to have 3 kiddos before going to PNG and the Lord has blessed us :) And don’t worry, it’s very normal for missionaries to go to the field with young children.

Please pray:

-A healthy development of baby #3

-Our teammates the Swensons would finish their last semester or training well and all their support would come in.

-That our support would come in and that our walk with the Lord throughout this last year in America would be strong.

-That Solomon would travel well the rest of the summer (August 14th is last travel day). He’s a screamer in the car!

(click HERE to go to a gallery of the pictures below)

(click HERE to see a summary of who we are and what we are doing)

A Glimpse of Our Not So Distant Future

Check out this video to get a glimpse of what we will be doing in the not so distant future! We will be in the same country and maybe even fairly close to where this work is.

Did you see some things you didn’t expect? Did it raise any questions in your mind? Comment or ask away at the bottom of this post and lets talk about it! Or message me if you prefer.

Craig and Sara


A Country Has Been Chosen!

June 20th, 2003, at a Christian camp in North Carolina: that was the day I (Craig) made a choice that has shaped every other major decision in my life. I made a commitment to follow God’s leading and go to the mission field. Fast forward almost 12 years Sara and I are sitting in our little 12’x12’ bedroom in Missouri on a Skype call with men in Arizona, Canada, and 3 locations in Vermont A we make another choice, this time as a family. We are moving to Papua New Guinea to serve as tribal church planters!

Papua New Guinea

What that means is, Lord willing, we will be raising funds and moving to Papua New Guinea (also known as PNG) in a 1 – 1 1½ years. Once there, we will begin the process of learning an unwritten language to bring the Gospel where it has never been!

Hewa kids

PNG has over 860 different languages, hundreds of them still without the Gospel or the Bible! I spent 2 months in PNG in 2009 and saw first hand the need for God’s children to bring the Gospel to people who have never heard it. In fact, dozens of tribes in PNG are asking, right now, for missionaries to come to them, but there just aren’t enough missionaries to go. Will you pray about going?

cut off fingers

In some tribes in PNG, woman will cut their own fingers off to show the “spirits” how grieved they are at someone’s death lest those spirit get angry and hurt them. “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.” Galatians 4:8


Answers to Prayer!

– In spite of being born a little premature and struggling his first month with us he is a happy, healthy 6 month old! He is gaining weight and doing all the things babies should be doing :)

– We’ve decided on a country! Thanks for praying!

– The linguistics training I (Craig) have been in is going great!  I have learned a lot about languages and identity in Christ!


Please Pray!

– We have a lot to get done in this last month of school. Pray for us to finish well.

– Ashea has lived almost her entire life here in Missouri (what a blessing! ) but starting this summer we will begin a lifestyle of moving several times a year for at least the next 3 years. Pray for stability as a family in a lifestyle with very little stability. We want to see both her and Solomon thrive, not just survive.

– For the Lord to begin increasing the monthly donations we are receiving. The Lord has used you to provide what we’ve needed during our time of training (thanks and praise the Lord!) but the support goal for PNG will be higher.

Love, Craig & Sara

The answer to the “linguistics problem” in the last  post! (don’t look if you want to figure it out!)

The Answer: You add the numbers together to get the last 2 numbers. Then you subtract the first number from the second to get the first digits in the answer!

The Answer: You add the numbers together to get the last 2 numbers in the solution. Then, you subtract the first number from the second to get the first digits in the solution!

(click HERE to go to a gallery of the pictures below)

(click HERE to see a summary of who we are and what we are doing)

The world of the 2 year old

Mini cover photo11 mice are running around our front lawn popping bubbles, eating cake and having a great time! Last weekend we celebrated Ashea’s 2nd birthday with a Minnie Mouse party. It has happened countless times; we’ve been at Wal-Mart or out walking and Ashea stops, points and says, “MINNIE!!!!” Even if it’s just a little Minnie Mouse sticker I can barely distinguish. She is in love with that mouse! Our little girl is growing up! We praise the Lord for a healthy, lovable, (mostly) obedient daughter.

I entered this semester of specialize linguistics expecting to sit in class 5 hours a day, do 4-5 hours of homework each night then come to class the next day having royally failed the homework and not understanding how to do it right even after the teacher tried to explain it to me. Thankfully, that has only happened a couple of times! Honestly I’m very pleased with how the semester is going. The work is challenging but generally not overwhelming.  God is also teaching me a lot about finding my value in being His son. Few things are as humbling as having one of those previously mentioned days when it’s my turn to explain my homework to the class on Powerpoint!


Ready for your linguistic style homework? Your job is to figure out what the relationship is between the two numbers being added and the number to their right. Then describe it to someone else in a way that they understand. The kind of thinking you need to use to carry out this task is similar to the kind of thinking we are doing in the linguistics class, except on a bigger scale!

ling work

The lines, colors, circles and combinations thereof are showing relationships between the bits of information.


Please pray for us as we meet with our future teammates and our church elders this Monday evening via Skype and, Lord willing, make a final decision on which country we are going to plan to work in!

(click HERE to go to a gallery of the pictures below)

(click HERE to see a summary of who we are and what we are doing)


The Best Days of Our Lives

IMG_8617I’m standing at the counter cutting open a grapefruit while Sara is sitting on the couch giving Ashea what’s left of her apple. This made me chuckle as I remembered when we used to give Ashea our apple cores while driving around the country speaking at churches. She would suck those things bone dry!


In that moment, in the span of less than a second, my mind flashed ahead 20 years. We are sitting around a living room with Ashea and some of her friends visiting from college. We are telling them embarrassing stories about Ashea from when she was little, like eating our old apple cores! Her friends aren’t listening so much because of the stories themselves, but because it’s embarrassing Ashea and they just think that’s great. Sara and I aren’t so old yet that we don’t realize this why they are listening, but we keep on telling the stories, happy to share our dearest and sweetest memories with anyone who will listen. Ashea kinda rolls her eyes, looks and says, “Sheesh dad, do you have to tell all of them?” I look right in her eyes and say, “Ashea, you and everything about you are the most precious and dearest things we have on earth.” I say this with all the emotion of 49 years of life behind it. I hold on to those memories so strongly because they are all I have left of those days.

This split second thought passes as Sara stands up from the couch and walks back to the kitchen to keep cleaning. And there is Ashea, 2 years old, sucking on an apple core with the utmost focus. Then it occurs to me. We are living the best days of our lives right now. Thank you God for this precious gift, help me not wish it away in search of lesser things.


Thank you for your prayers, friendship and support. I am well into the specialized linguistics training and am currently analyzing the national language of Ethiopia, my biggest assignment to date! Sara is enjoying being a stay at home mom this semester and both the kids are healthy and growing, praise the Lord!

Please pray for the Swensons and us as we plan to decide on a country to work in by April 1st, either Indonesia or Papua New Guinea (the countries are right next to each other). Please also pray for my (Craig) parents who experienced a house fire recently. They are safe but a lot of work to do now. (If you are reading this in email, click HERE to see the photo gallery full size)

(click HERE to see a summary of who we are and what we are doing)

A Deep Breath


The map we navigated in our map & compass class.

Having just walked through the doorway of 2015 we are almost finished with our break between semesters.  This break has been a much-needed preparation time for our most challenging phase of training yet.

On Dec 19th our class officially graduated from the Missionary Training Center but a handful of us will be staying for an extra semester of specialized linguistics (More posts about this in the future).

During this break we enjoyed the opportunity to see both sets of parents, and they even came to us!

Since we stayed here in Missouri over the break we got to spend our first Christmas together as a family. It was a such a good time of starting our own family traditions and getting some rest.

Carl & Wendy

Craig’s parents came for graduation

This break has also been our opportunity to put away the various household volcano piles, reorganize our routines and preparing for the intense linguistics semester ahead of us. I (Sara) have been working on a daily routine for Ashea and Solomon while Craig gets paperwork, projects and his final paper for his M.Div degree and examination for ordination wrapped up. I am working on meal planning and maintaining the house while training the kiddos.

Potty training is a new thing, along with teaching Ashea to obey limitations without physical boundaries (we call it blanket time, it’s wonderful, feel free to ask us about it!) Praise the Lord, Solomon is sleeping through the night, so grateful for the Babywise book! Craig and I figuring out how to do some kind of once a once-a-week date night. The up-coming Semester will be tough on Craig’s “outdoorsmanship” since the linguistics program will require 8-10 hours of study and analyzing behind a desk per day. Craig has worked on running more during this break and plans to make time for it throughout this semester to keep himself from going crazy in class.

Thank you all for the love and support over these past months! The care package from the Gibsonburg “Gopher Buddies” and one from a family in our home church was the jumpstart to a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas Season! All the gifts that have been sent our way for Baby Solomon have been just what we have needed! Your love is felt and warmly accepted! Your Sacrifices have not gone unnoticed. Thank You!!


Your prayers for us have been heard! Solomon is healthy and gaining weight steadily (He struggled during his first month).  He is about 9lbs 16oz and growing! He is also sleeping through the night.

We’ve had a productive and relaxing break.

Our parent’s safe arrival here and back at home.

Prayer Requests:

Craig to be ready for the linguistics course.

Sara leading Ashea and Solomon in the new routines, including potty training, while Daddy is in class and doing homework.

A dear friend in our home church, Lynette Cutting, passed away Sunday. Please pray for her family and the church. She is known by everyone for her great smile and encouraging attitude.

By April 1st the Swensons, our home church and us are going to decide between working in Indonesia or Papua New Guinea. Wisdom! This is big!

Since it’s been a while, here’s a bunch of pics :) (Click HERE in the e-mail to see the full photo gallery or on any picture if in the browser).

(click HERE to see a summary of who we are and what we are doing)