One Year and Counting

 

png-mapAs we wait for the return of Jesus and the arrival of our new baby; Craig and I have been thinking about our last phase of preparations to leave for Papua New Guinea in January 2017. We call it Partnership Development.

Over the next months we will share the vision of the ministry and opportunities to be involved with our close friends and acquaintances. This will be done in small groups and with individuals, inviting them to be a part of the team that reaches a group of people who have no access to the Gospel!

What we’re doing now:

We feel like life is on hold while we wait for baby #3 to arrive but really we are still quite busy with Ashea and Solomon and getting things lined up to begin partnership development in earnest.

Craig is reading, organizing, going over budgets, writing emails and more to determine just what we need to do this year to be ready to move to PNG. He has also gone on some easy snowy mountain hikes with Ashea and some more challenging ones with other men. These hikes offer a great setting for openness, encouragement and discipleship. (Click HERE to see a video from the last hike)

 

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I have been mostly preparing for new baby, watching the kids and getting settled in at my parent’s house. Craig has been wonderful allowing me to get the extra rest I need during the end of this pregnancy. Thankfully a bad cough and a hurt rib have finally gotten better! I look forward to coordinating and planning to host the small group meetings and aid in one-on-one meetings (after adjusting to the newborn :) ). Hopefully the “zombie” stage newborns gift their parents with will be shortened with all the wonderful help for my parents and siblings nearby. All the aunties are so excited to help out with the kids once the newborn arrives.

Ashea is learning and growing so much. Craig takes her on Daddy Daughter dates in town. She gets all bundled up and they walk down main street, he takes her out to lunch or they stop to visit people they know who work in town. She even appeared on the WCAX evening news with her daddy on their most recent visit to the local library! (Click HERE to see the story)

Solomon is officially WALKING!!!! Hooray!!! He is a bundle of joy to watch as he toddles to and from the piano bench to the couch across the living room.

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He had his first experience playing out in the snow with his daddy, sister and Grandpa Scott. At first he just sat in the snow eating fistfuls of it. So precious! He eventually sat and intently watched Grandpa and Ashea play in the snow!

We all enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with BOTH sides of the family! Craig’s family came up to Vermont for Christmas and celebrated the life of our dear friend, Lynn Gordon, who saw Jesus for the first time on November 6th. Praise Jesus she is free from her long battle with Lupus!

Please pray for a safe delivery; Sara’s due date was the 11th.

(Click HERE to go to photo gallery if reading in email)

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

A Change for the Good in the Departure Date

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Merry Christmas! We wanted to update you on an adjustment in the timeline for our departure to PNG (Papua New Guinea). Instead of leaving for PNG this July 2016 we are planning to leave Jan 2017, a year from now. We have made this change for several reasons.

  • After finishing all the training and getting on the road we realized how short of a time 7 months was to actually raise all our support, have a third kid, travel to churches and people in the midwest and Vermont and spend a month in North Carolina for medical training and saying goodbye to my family. At the bottom of our written plan is this statement, “As the Lord leads, if any of these plans are too aggressive for the good of the family they would be slowed down.” And we feel July would be too aggressive.
  • If we go in Jan 2017 we would be going the same time as our teammates the Swensons. We feel that going through the national language program with them will be more beneficial to our team than getting there ahead of them and preparing some things for their arrival.
  • The full year before we go will give us time to do a good job raising our support and making logistical plans for moving to PNG. We feel this will pay dividends in the long-term.

One clarifying note, the national language program only does intake 2 times a year, July and January, so we have to pick one of them.

In light of all these changes we plan to spend about the first 6 months in Vermont and the last 6 months in the mid west.

Prayer Points

  • The Swensons and us would be able to raise most of our support in New England. This will allow us to spend more time in Vermont with our home church and families when we come back on furloughs
  • Our baby, whom we expect to come any day, would be delivered safely. It will probably come quick and while I’m ready to deliver that baby myself that’s not what we’re hoping for!
  • That we would thrive with 3 kids under the age of three!

Let us know if you have any thoughts or questions, thanks and God bless!

Craig, Sara, Ashea, Solomon and Baby #3

Click HERE to go to photo gallery if reading in email

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

Let’s Catch You Up

Our Cherokee Language HelpersThe last time you heard from us we were halfway through our time in the Cherokee Nation practicing figuring out a language as if it had never been written or learned by an outsider. Since then, we’ve finished up the Cherokee language project and with the 160 pages of papers I turned in I have completed 11 years of part-time and full-time education since high school, praise the Lord!

After finishing the final project we began packing up our little apartment we’ve been living in the last 2 years and prepared for a whole new kind of housing adventure; RV living!

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A good friend of mine was had the chance to buy the RV from a doctor who wanted to help him on his support raising journey. The doctor said he’d sell it for whatever my friend offered. So at literally 1/15th of what the doctor paid 3 years before, my friend bought a house to travel the country in and raise support with his family. After he bought it, he called me offered me the same deal when he was done with it! Having some mechanical experience and a CDL sure has been handy :)

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Since leaving Missouri in the RV we traveled up to Indiana where we have begun visiting churches and saying goodbye to friends and family.

As a change of plans we will be going up to Vermont to enjoy Christmas with Sara’s family and mine who will be up there for a close family friend’s memorial service. While we are there we figured we might as well stay and have the baby in Vermont.

Speaking of baby, things are going great with the new one. Sara is due in mid January and the baby is very active! Ashea was 1 week early and Solomon was 3 weeks early, so we wouldn’t be surprised if we have a December baby.

p.s. If you want to see one cute baby chowing down on his first birthday cake, click HERE!

 

Praise the Lord with us!

  1. After many years, we are finished with our training and we are enroute to Papua New Guinea!
  2. Ashea loves living in the RV!
  3. The new baby seems to be doing well!

IMG_6660Pray with us

  1. The Swenson’s would finish well in the training in Canada this December and would be ready to start support raising
  2. Our family to walk with God and love each other well in the middle of constant transitions
  3. The Swenson’s and us would be able to raise 100% of the recommended support.
  4. God would raise up a 3rd unit (single or family) to work with us.

 

 

Click HERE to go to photo gallery if reading in email

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

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.

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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.

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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.

 

 
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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?

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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)