Wednesday, January 30, 2008

pray for Tajikistan!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

College Bound!

Seven months from today, new students arrive at Houghton College. Chris will actually arrive there about a week earlier for MK (missionary kid) orientation, and in America about a week before that to get over jet lag and all that.
It's hard for him to think about living in another country (we'll still be here in Estonia!), and especially to be away from little brother Peter.
We do ask for your prayers for him, and for all of us, during this time of preparation (and working on Financial Aid!).

Friday, January 25, 2008

listening to NPR online

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Sashenka!

Here are some pictures from Sashenka's visit to us in Tallinn to mark his first birthday.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Uncle Billy

Click on "Natural Church Development" to see and hear Uncle Billy! :-)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Chris's 18th Birthday!

We had a big party at our house to celebrate Chris's 18th birthday. Appropriately, there were 18 people at the party. The celebration began in the kitchen with snacks.

It was tight fitting everyone in there, but everybody ended up with a snack!

Then it was in to the living room, where they played the "foot game." You stand in a circle holding hands and touch the foot of the person next to you, who then has to move their foot to the person next to them. The idea is to make it so difficult for your neighbor to move that they fall down and are out of the game.

The competition was tough!
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The competition got harder the fewer the people who remained. The called it a draw when it was down to Chris, Anneli, Keit and Priit.

After that, it was back to the kitchen for some New York pizza.

Chris made sure to have his fill!

Then it was time for cake, and everyone sang "Palu õnne sulle!" and "Happy Birthday to You."
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He blew out all of the candles!

Then it was time to open gifts. This is a computer program to help him learn Estonian language. Anneli is trying to look interested while Keit doesn't even bother.

Chris took joy in all of his gifts.

He thought the "Puuha Pete" (Bob the Builder in Finnish) slipper socks that Elizabeth gave him were a riot.
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Peter enjoyed his share of the cake.

After the gifts, everyone settled down to play some games.

Some of the group stayed in the living room to play Phase 10 in pairs (Tim and Vesse were a killer team!).

Kristi and Michael did their best but, you know, not everyone can win.
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In Chris's bedroom, he, Keit, Anneli, Elizabeth and Eero decided to play Samuari Swords.

But it took a long time to set up and play a round ...

So they finally reverted to a less demanding form of gaming.

Chris and Anton, who surprised us by coming to the party all the way from Rakvere.
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Chris with Erika, who went back to England for university the next day.

Chris with Nadja. We intended to get pictures of Chris with all the other guests before they left but, well, it didn't work out. But the party was great, and Chris is now on his way to manhood.
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Wednesday, January 09, 2008


18 people were here for Chris's 18th birthday party:

Monday, January 07, 2008

Time to Fly

Time to Fly
by Sara H., Hungary
Women of the Harvest magazine
I do have a graduating senior for the first time, though definitely not the last. I truly thought I would not be one of those whining moms, their reason for existence gone when their firstborn leaves....
I feel ready, but I still get shivers at odd times: when my eldest asks where we keep the butter, leaves without a coat in the winter.... I wonder how we could be so naive as to think we have adequately prepared him. The ▒thud▓ comes at various times, usually when I am trying to sleep, and I gasp, "His youthful immaturity and (of course) ultimate failure is all MY fault-how could I have been so blind!" Unfortunately, bird nests do not come equipped with bungee cords so we can rope our chicks back in and finish our undone parenting job. It is time for them to fly. I know.
I guess it all boils down to this: I love him, I will miss him, and it will never be the same again. He will not be here to put his arm around me while we walk through Budapest; he won't come up behind me and give me a back rub with his strong man hands; he will not be here to ask me to lie on his bed and talk and pray, or to sing trios with his dad and me. He will not be here to make fun of me, to compliment me, to ask my opinion.... His bigger-than-life exuberance, his catchy enthusiasm, his love of life will not be in our house in quite the same way....
How will our family gracefully weather the huge emptiness of ‘one of us’ leaving? We laugh now; we take every moment to enjoy each other, say the words, or not say the words; we reach out, apologize, touch; we look and really see; we wait; we hush up; we help; we are there. With all we have, we wish him every good thing. We stop and give Ben up to God yet again. He is in the palm of God's hand. He has a future and a hope. It is a new beginning, a reason to celebrate. We love him dearly, but he is not ours-he never was. He belongs to Jesus and always will. It is time to fly, big guy.


Kingdom Perspetive: Separation
by Joan R., Guam
Women of the Harvest magazine
My heart is breaking. Even as I write these words, our son is 10,000 miles away, and has just
said his goodbyes to his dad, who is there to take him to college.... It will be his first night in a dorm, in a strange room, with two other young men who will seem even stranger.
As I sob, I'm glad I am alone, because I wonder if I am being too emotional about our capable,
intelligent and loveable son. But my mother's heart cannot help it. I can hardly sit still because
of the urge to want to rescue him from whatever my mind has imagined could threaten him....
Why does it hurt so much, I ask myself. Perhaps there is the threat of inadequacy. Have we
done a sufficient job in preparing him for this moment? Will he stay true to following Christ ...? Will he face the challenges of school and life with maturity and courage? Will he seek God for strength and peace and wisdom? Will he crave to know God, as we have prayed for him? Will he keep his ways pure as Psalm 119 directs? As I read that Psalm this morning I adapted it in prayer for him "Lord, I know how our son, David, can keep his way pure, by living according to your word. Let him seek you with all his heart. Don't let him stray from your commands. Let him hide your word in his heart so that he won't not sin against you. Praise you, Lord. Teach him your ways." (Psalm ll9:912)....
I know it is time for him to find his own way. I know it! I know it in my head, but it will take longer for my heart to accept it.
And so I find this to be one of the hardest lots in life as a missionary: to bear what is for us a literal ocean of separation from the children God has given us to love and care for, to stay here in his ... location until He directs us differently. Our children have played such a vital role in our ability to make relationships with these ... people. They have been partners with us in God's work here. To release them feels initially like we are cutting off part of ourselves.
But it isn't until we let them go that we can really see who they will become. And we will never stop praying for them and loving them, and looking forward to the next time we will see them!
God, help us to be faithful and obedient through the change of seasons in life. And thank you, thank you that you love us and promise never to leave us or our children who know you, no matter where we all are.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Homecoming