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Archive for January, 2009

Jan. 31st update…

Although January 30th (16th anniversary) started out rough with the news of my dad in the hospital experiencing heart failure, it ended much better.  Thanks to many praying, each of the 3 times I spoke with him on the phone, he improved a great deal.  In fact, the doctor was calling him the “miracle man”.  My dad gave God the credit for it and his spirits were greatly lifted.  Either as a patient, or with his patients (as a Physical Therapist) he takes opportunity to share about Christ’s goodness in his life.

We also know that as heart failure came on suddenly and his improvement was also sudden, that he could be in the same desperate state without warning.  Although he is not experience the extreme irregularity in heart rate causing the atrium to pump hard and not getting enough blood to the ventricles in turn not giving his body enough oxygen, his heart rate is still high.  Because of his open heart surgery last summer, he is at greater risk.  We ask that you lift him up at least one more time in prayer:  that his heart rate will stay within normal range.  That he would not even be in need of shock treatment or blood thinners.  That his health will remain stable so that he could come visit us next summer.

My dad is a real example of patience, sacrifice, grace under suffering (which he has had a lot of!), and generosity.  If he says he’s in pain or in low spirits, you know it has to be bad!  When I think of his character, I wonder if our last year particularly has been God’s use of suffering to bring some of these same changes in me.  Not fun at all, but I hope it is working.

We feel it is a good idea for me (Mary) to fly back to visit because of the aire of uncertainty.  The hardest part of moving to Spain was the long distance from my Dad.  One consideration in going would be to also use the time to get help for Timmy and his ADD issues.  We have done testing, LD training, natural health approaches….yet he needs more assistance and it is easier to do there than here.  Both the boys struggle with Dyslexia but it is the ADD with Timmy that needs more focused attention.  

We ask that you also pray for Theo who has 25% loss of hearing.  We have thought for a long time it was excessive wax but this last week an ear specialist said he has inflamation in his middle ear and some sort of impediment in his throat.  He has drops to decrease the inflammation in order to do further accessment.  On an outing, he had his eye poked with a stick but after a visit to the doctor and a patch for the night it is ok.  That was the 3rd trip to the doctor this week, which is unusual.

Jan. 29th was the 7 year anniversary of the birth/death of Joshua.  This year I experienced an affliction something like a thick fog coming over me that seems to be lifted now that the date has past (it was more intense this year which I guess could be expected.  Culture shock can also be like a “fog”).  It was a lonely time where I could relate with the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians about suffering and pressure under hardship.  When I woke in the night, I heard some kind of faint music and thought about the spiritual warfare we’re under.  We look forward to a brighter season.

Although it has seemed there are obstacles every direction we turn, we feel that perseverance is necessary.  Oh, how we appreciate your prayers!!!!  We are thankful that our kids who although they have experienced hardships here do like Spain and are improving so much with language and adaptation.  This encourages me a great deal.  We’ve been in Spain over a year now.   We feel the Lord is using us to make a difference in Spain even when the results are not seen to our eyes.

 

 

meet Andrea.  A passionate girl that is smart, sensitive, and fun with a touch of flare.

Meet Andrea. A passionate girl that is smart, sensitive, and fun with a touch of flare.

 

view overlooking Jerez del Marquesado toward the Sierra Nevadas.

View overlooking Jerez del Marquesado toward the Sierra Nevadas.

 

 

 

 

 

Nate & Mary Michelle's 16th anniversary.  We all went out to the countryside near Guadix (&Hernan Valle) for the afternoon which works like healing to our souls.

Nate & Mary Michelle's 16th anniversary (Jan. 30). We all went out to the countryside near Guadix (&Hernan Valle) for the afternoon which works like healing to our souls.

 
                    

We like to think of our outings like "Jonathan Park" adventures.

We like to think of our outings like "Jonathan Park" adventures.

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Prayer for Roger Miller

Today is our 16th wedding anniversary.  It started out as a nice morning, however after family devotions and before starting school, we found the following when we checked emails…

 

“I just want to let you know that your dad is back in the hospital.  He had not been feeling well for a few days and thought he had a touch of the flu, but it turned out to be his heart.  He went to the ER today and was admitted.  His heart rhythm is high and irregular and as a result blood is not getting into and out of his heart.  Fluid was also not passing through his body and causing his kidneys to malfunction.  Tonight he looked much better, but is emotionally down as you can imagine.  The plan is to keep him in the hospital for a few days to see if his heart rhythm can be regulated, to thin his blood and reduce his fluid levels.   I know he would love to hear from you.   As always we would both appreciate your prayers.”

Please bring Roger Miller before the great physician.  We will let you know how his condition and our plans proceed.

rog-chris

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Team in Ubeda…

On January 15th, we drove 1 1/2 hours to Ubeda to meet a team coming with CAM.  These are future missionaries checking out the work in Spain.  There were families with kids from infant to teen.  Two of the families have 4 kids like us.  We were able to share with them about our experience in Spain, especially with the challenge of children and schooling.  We felt like we were talking a mile a minute and hoped that we gave them a good picture of reality but also encouraged them to come…how we  need more workers here!

They plan to come as a team, something CAM is working towards right now (that is working more in teams so there is good support rather than spreading workers out in different locations kind of like what we’ve been experiencing).  We look forward to these changes and we pray that these really great people we met from Philadelphia will return as full-time missionaries to Spain.  We also were able to get to know Lazaro and Loida Pascual, the pastor and his wife of the Ubeda church.  Jon and Jan Lohrenz with CAM are presently working in Baeza doing church planting in cooperation with the Ubeda church.

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Please pray for these willing hearts that desire to come and serve in Spain with CAM. They were a blessing for us to meet. spainteam.blogspot.com

 

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Timmy & Theo with their Moroccan pals before the fiestas

Timmy & Theo with their Moroccan pals before the fiestas

 

Sierra & Andrea with Spanish friends during the fiestas

Sierra & Andrea with Spanish friends during the fiestas

 

 

Timmy in front of the bonfire, one of many in Guadix this night

Timmy in front of bonfire, one of many in Guadix this night

 

 

Nate chatting with the neighborhood men

Nate chatting with the neighborhood men Antonio & Pedro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiestas continue the next day...

Fiestas continue the next day...

 

Neighbors Amanda & Eley

Neighbors Amanda & Eley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nate with next-door neighbor Pedro

Nate with next-door neighbor Pedro (a doctor in Guadix)

 

Nate with neighbors Amanda and her dad from Catalan

Nate with neighbors Amanda and her dad from Catalan. Amanda speaks English and likes to practice with us.

 

 

Timmy heading out the neighbor kids jumping game

Life of the party: Timmy heading out the neighbor kids jumping game over the ash heap

…So go the annual Fiestas de San Antonio in Guadix.  This year we took part in the neighborhood festivities.  The kids enjoyed time with their neighborhood friends while we (Nate & Mary) had time to chat with our neighbors.  We were able to share about our faith in Christ with many of them (Amanda & her father, Pedro, and Antonio).  Please pray that the Lord would be working in the hearts of these people to bring them into a relationship with Him.  Some are Catholic, other Aetheist, we pray all would be set free by the love of Christ.  The kids also pray for their friends and are burdened for them.   We were glad that we had this opportunity to get to know our neighbors better.  Amanda, who is an Aetheist, says she does not have purpose in life although she has great aspirations of being a translator.  We pray this very sweet girl of 16 will find her purpose in Christ.

Prayer is what will move the hearts of these people precious to God, so please pray.

We also appreciate prayer for our family as we continue to face spiritual warfare as well as culture shock.  We persevere for the love of Christ.

 

 

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Caniles friends…

 

 

Timothy playing classical guitar

Timothy playing classical guitar

We are glad to be back enjoying fellowship  with our friends in Caniles.  The Marin family has been like family to us here in Spain.  They have 7 kids (unusual in Spain these days).  All of their children have been in the music conservatory.  Our time in Spain prior, (1998 to 2000) was invested greatly in this family.  It has been a joy to continue in friendship with them and watch their kids grow.  They have a passion for the Lord and would like to see a church start in Caniles.  Right now they travel 45 minutes to meet with believers on Sundays.    Although they have a strong testimony with friends and family in Caniles, there are only 2 other families of believers in Caniles.  This is the slowness of the work in Spain.  This past year, we have held Bible studies in Caniles and they have invited non-believers to their home.   Much prayer is needed and more people are needed to serve in the gap so that more light can be seen in the darkness of Spain.

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I was out today and ran into a friend and we got talking about school, home school etc. He found home schooling to be fascinating and understood more or less what and why we were doing it. This led to a long talk about what the Spanish gov’t is now pushing in the public schools. Cititzenship classes, basically it is their attempt at teaching tolerance and indoctrination of the worlds scariest ideas. Abortion, Euthinasia (sp?), homo sexual agenda, and on and on. He was rather disgusted with it and I found his opinion to be quite right on. He sees how Spain has rejected it’s conservative past, for some good reasons, but has really thrown the baby out with the bath water. Maybe literally. “They are running so hard after tolerance that they are stepping on everybody to do it!”  He appreciates the fact that we Americans live in a place where people can still be prosecuted for murder as he sees that criminals here have all the rights and the injured, murdered and abused are left with no sense of justice.  

It was an intriguing conversation and was encouraging to hear his opinions. It is amazing what a simple walk in town can produce. I love it when God orchestrates these encounters. Keep praying for us, we love to see the Holy Spirit lead.

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Boy, is it good to be home!

We had a great time although we had much less time with my folks than we wished for as they stayed sick and are still so as I write this but are on the mend.
We left them on January 4th early in the am (Timmy’s 9th Birthday) and headed south arriving in Paris at 9:30, it was on the way so WHY NOT, it isn’t everyday that you can take your boy to Paris for his Birthday!!!!!! 

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img_04011We went to Le Louvre, (free entry as it was the first Sunday of the month) and had a hoot elbowing past all the other art enthusiasts, should say bargain hunting art enthusiats (it was packed) but well worth it. The kids were all very impressed and even though there were not any Quads, motorcycles or BMX bikes, timmy gave it a hearty thumbs up.  

Then we hoped on the metro and had a nice time cruising over to the Tour Eiffel, also hopping with tourists but I think less than le louvre. It was dusk when we ascended that amazing structure and again received delightful remarks from all, although Theo still isn’t sure what to call it, the mappel tower, apple tower, “what was it called daddy?”  It is really tall! Then we raced back to the van in the freezing cold of true winter and headed south for a night sleep in a cheap hotel south a couple hours.   We then traveled south to Barcelona and visited some other CAMer’s at IBSTE, a Bible seminary.

"I am going for a more sophisiticated look after making the acquaintance of French Felines"  -Alegria

"I am going for a more sophisiticated look after making the acquaintance of French Felines" -Alegria

"I love French hotels, finally the treatment I deserve!" -Crockett

"I love French hotels, finally the treatment I deserve!" Crockett

 So, now it is back into the fun of school, language study and mixing with the locals. Sunday we had dinner with a family from church, very nice time, they are new believers and live in a Cave home in Benalua.  It is not cave like though (except cold as a cave).  We had a great time as our kids played with theirs and we got to know each other better. They have a bible study in their home that Antonio leads. It has been a good point of outreach and growth.

So, to sum things up, it sure feels good to be home.

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