Sunday, December 17, 2006

Bucket Brigade

I guess it's time I filled you in on what's been going on around here. These past two weeks there's been a lot of focus on the new ministry centre that we are building.

Last week when our students were here, part of the practical service component of their course involved helping with the construction of the new building. In fact, everyone on our team was scheduled to help out at least once in the course of last week and again this week. Part of missionary life is being ready to help out at any number of types of things. Last week it was the bucket brigade.
You see, they were pouring the concrete floor of the third floor of the mission centre. We have no elevator. So how to get the buckets of cement up the stairs? Bucket brigade, of coure! So while our esteemed field leader, Matthew, helped to fill the buckets with the cement, the rest of the team passed the buckets up the two flights of stairs. The work became easier in the afternoon when it was 'only' sand that was being passed up. But what a great thing it was to watch the young people working so hard and so willingly together, seeing this as part of their service for the Lord. (My job was taking pictures, by the way.)
The group of students from our missions course consists mostly of Moldovans but our new foreign recruits were also participating. In this photo you can see the guy from Denmark passing the bucket to the girl from the USA, who passes it to the guy from Germany. And Stephanie, the American girl, kept the people near her entertained by reciting stories such as Dr. Seuss' 'Green Eggs and Ham'.
Of course one of the important duties is for someone to come over with tea for the break time. As well as taking pictures and being a gopher, my job was to drive the people with the tea and treats over to the construction site from the OM base. In this photo you can see the ministry centre in the background, through the fog that surrounded us last week....

I am excited to know that before too long I will be able to occupy my new office (pictured here as it is now), and we will be able to conduct our training courses in a larger space with more suitable and adequate accomodation space for the students. At the end of the week (Friday night) enough had been done that we were able to hold the farewell party for Rafael in the new building. This is the room where we had the party, and as soon as I have a picture of the room as it looked last night, I will post that too.
You may be interested also to see the picture of the hole that was dug (much of it by manual labour) for the septic tank. We go deep here in Moldova!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

On the Home Front

I know that a lot of my readers pray for me and also for my family. So I thought I’d share a few pics to give you a bit of an update. And thank you so much for your prayers.
First of all I should mention that my mother, at 87, is still going strong although her health has been more fragile this fall. She has had several hospital stays and eventually we all, including Mom, concluded that the time has come for her to move to a retirement home. Without having to wait very long at all, Mom was offered a room in a place where all her meals will be provided, nursing care is available, and the possibility exists that her husband Bob (who has Alzheimers and is in another care home) may eventually be able to stay in the same facility so she can visit him more easily. We are very thankful. So last week my sister Beverly and brother Brian drove to Hamilton from Fredericton to help Mom with her move. While she got settled into her new digs Bev and Brian got her house all sorted, emptied and cleaned with the help of other family members as well – no small task. Once that was all done, before Mom even had a week to get used to her new place, she went with them back to Fredericton for the Christmas season.
Here's Mom last Christmas in Fredericton with Bev and Brian and Brian's wife Debbie on the left.

I can hardly believe it is already December. But the pictures Marah sent me from Vancouver helped to convince me of the truth of the matter. Snow is unusual for Vancouver – but they have it! Here’s Marah and her husband Daniel and my little snowbunny Alejandro in their backyard.

My oldest son also lives in Vancouver. As you can see, he loves his new role as Uncle Josh. When he’s not busy being an uncle, he works as a behaviour interventionist with autistic children. Always did love kids, that one!

Ben continues to pursue his musical career in Toronto and although he hasn’t hit the top 10 charts yet, he had a ‘gig’ recently that he was excited about. Ben writes and sings his own songs, and I have been impressed by the ones he has shared with me. For employment, Ben works as a support worker at a homeless shelter, which is giving him a new perspective on the world.

I will have to say that one of the hardest things about being a missionary is missing out on the highs and lows of your own family life. I have been blessed to be able to go home not once but twice this year but consequently there won’t be any visits again until next fall when I have furlough. Marah is being faithful about sending photos of Ali but it’s not the same as holding him, or seeing his first smile, or watching him learn to crawl (well, no, not yet - but it won't be long!). Every time I see a small child here first I smile and then I wipe away a tear. So if you are a grandparent with your grandbabies nearby, know how blessed you are with every hug and every kiss. Give them lots!