Saturday, February 28, 2009

For those who don't know where Narva is, it is on the Eastern border with Russia (look on the upper right of the map).

Friday, February 27, 2009


For our 10th wedding anniversary, we took a trip to London, England.

For our 15th wedding anniversary, we moved to Tartu, Estonia.

For our 20th wedding anniversary, we are moving to Narva, Estonia!


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mama & Dick at Christi & Raymond's wedding

Saturday, February 21, 2009

going to see snow sculptures today!

the opening of snow town ...

Simplicity Initiative
At Houghton College in western New York state, Gabe Jacobsen, a resident director, is heading the Simplicity Initiative, a similar movement aimed at challenging students to consider how technology is shaping their lives. In the second week in January, residence staff began encouraging students to abstain from certain technologies in four week-long installments. The technology included iPods, cell phones, Internet usage not related to their studies, television, movies and video games.
Mr. Jacobsen said the goal of the Initiative isn't to make students give up on media and technology entirely, but examine how it affects their lives.
"They're noticing that they're allowing themselves to interact with more people," he said. "They're noticing how much time has been sucked away by media and technology usage."
Laura Day, a 20-year-old resident assistant, said that the Simplicity Initiative forced her to go door-to-door to talk to girls in her hall instead of e-mailing them. She also pulled out her earplugs while walking to class.
"If I don't have my iPod, and I'm not chatting on my phone, it's a more pleasant experience because I'm chatting with people," she said.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sõbrapäev (Valentine's Day)

On Valentine's Day (Sõbrapäev, or Friends' Day in Estonian), Peter's preschool had a concert. This is Peter with his classmates and teachers before the concert.

Peter singing and clapping with some of his friends.

The stage was beautifully decorated for the concert.
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Some of the children were quite dramatic in their singing!

Although we had been away in January while the class learned the songs, Peter did his best to sing along.

The pianist is Peter's music teacher at school.

At the end of the concert, all of the children serenaded us!
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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Our Daily Bread

We know that God is working all the time, but sometimes He chooses to reveal Himself in amazing ways.

For more than a year, a local restaurant has donated their extra bread to us three days a week. This is an unusual thing here, and we were so grateful for it. We would use the bread for our social work, pensioners' club and other corps programs, and it really saved us a lot of expense. Andrus, our integrated mission coordinator/social worker, had developed a friendship with the manager of the restaurant, who felt like he was facing many overwhelming troubles in his life. Andrus was able over time to help the manager see new hope, and to be open to the things of God in ways he never had been before. God has really blessed this connection that seemed so mundane at the beginning!

But yesterday the manager called us. He said that the owners had decided to cut back on their bread order and that we would no longer be receiving bread from them. The manager felt terrible about it but there was nothing he could do.

Evelyn, Andrus and I talked about it and decided that we should start thinking of other places that could donate bread (taking things into our own hands!). But only an hour after receiving the first phone call, we received a phone call from the Fazer Bakery, one of the bigger bread bakers in Estonia. The woman said that years ago they used to donate their extra bread to the corps but then had stopped. She was wondering if we were interested in receiving bread from them again!!

When Anneli, our secretary, told us about the call, Evelyn and I just sat there with our mouths open. We were amazed that God had responded so quickly, and with no effort on our part (a good reminder that He is sovereign, even in the little things).

Like the rest of the world, Estonia is feeling the effects of the bad economy. People are losing jobs; salaries are being cut; city services to the needy are being stretched. And so we have seen an increase in the number of people coming to us for food assistance. But with tight finances, I had to budget the same amount for social help as last year. God knows, and he has made a way for us to provide for others.

Sometimes, when we pray, "Give us this day our daily bread," we are really asking for a miracle.

Friday, February 13, 2009

plane crashes, abortion, heart attacks, the Holocaust

Why is it easier to feel sympathy, pain, concern, worry, grief for victims of plane crashes, heart attacks, and even the Holocaust -- than it is for the millions who die as the result of abortion?

One reason may be that we could all be the ones sitting in that airplane seat, or feeling those chest pains, or even become the persecuted people group -- but we know that none of us need ever personally fear being aborted. We've already been born, and we are "safe".

"In Germany, they came first for the Communists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . .
And by that time there was no one left to speak up."
Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

JN 3:4 "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" -- or to be aborted.