Friday, October 24, 2008

The next chapter begins...

Like we stated in a previous post, we are so grateful to my parents for allowing us to live with them during our time of transition from one chapter of our lives to another.  David officially completed his Masters of Divinity at Southern Seminary in Louisville in August, and he resigned as pastor from New Hope Baptist Church in Springfield, KY in May. We were so thankful that he finished seminary in such a timely manner, but the time to leave New Hope came all too soon, proving to be very hard to say good-bye to our dear church family.  We love them so, and we were so grateful for how they took care of us while David was in school.  What a blessing they were and continue to be in our lives.  

So, that chapter closed, and we proceeded to move to Alabama to spend precious time with family before heading for our training with the IMB.  Our brief ~ yet memorable ~ Alabama chapter was also completed so quickly, and we have now begun our Field Personnel Orientation in Richmond, VA.   Training officially started on Wednesday, Oct. 22nd.  However, we were given permission to arrive by noon on Monday to start moving into our "quads" and getting settled.  I will post pictures in the future about our living arrangements, which have proven to be quite comfortable (I hope that this is encouragement to you, Hannah Attaway! :)  We were very thankful for being allowed to arrive early, for it gave John David some time to get comfortable with his new surroundings.  (He has been such a trooper through all of this transition, and thankfully, has been sleeping well despite many new settings.  Praise the Lord ~ this was a huge answer to prayer!)  As of Wednesday, David and I have been attending various training classes from around 8 am to 3 pm.  Because we are in classes the majority of the day, John David has had to be in day care (well, we call it "school"; it sounds a little better :)  This was what I have been most concerned about in regard to us coming to this time of training.  But, of course, God has proven to be so faithful in allowing John David (and his Mom & Dad!) to transition well to this seperation.  Everything that we do - eat, sleep, and learn - is located on the International Learning Center campus, so, thankfully, the building where John David is during the day is very near.  They also gave all the parents beepers if they ever need to reach us.  The child care workers could not be more precious or accommodating! Each day when we pick him up, we receive a "daily report" which tells us what he ate, how long he napped, etc., along with a little "teacher note" at the bottom.  His teacher is so dear and encouraging.  We are so thankful that John David is a good eater, so that has not been a problem.  Praise the Lord he has been napping so well, going to sleep easily in a new place with other children around. (Aunt Lynn, they did end up putting him in a crib instead of on a mat ~ that made the transition much easier for him.)  Anyway, more to come about specifics of our orientation as we continue to figure out the new routine for ourselves.
David and I wanted to have access to a car while training in Virginia, so we chose to drive instead of fly.  Therefore, we decided to break up the trip so that it would not be so long for our little man!  Thankfully, we have some dear friends who live in Lexington, South Carolina, which proved to be a perfect half-way point to stop for a few nights of rest and refreshment.  We truly were refreshed, as we always are when privileged to spend time with Shane and Lydia Parker, and their son, Wiley (who, although only a few months over 2, shows unbelievable athletic ability and amazing potential...I've already given Nick Saban his number...well, not yet anyway.)  They are also expecting another little Parker in mid-March.  (I may have two names to give you, Nick!)  They suggested a trip to the zoo there in Lexington.  John David LOVES animals, so we definitely wanted to be a part of this outing.  Also, we thought it best to visit the zoo prior to going to Zambia, for after that, a zoo may just look like someone's back yard to John David! Here are a few pictures from our day. 


               Thank you, Parker family, for such a fun visit!  

After we left the Parker home to complete the other half of the journey to Richmond, we stopped at Cracker Barrel for lunch.  You know your child is growing up when you can order him his own meal from the menu.  With our "not-so-little-anymore" John David, it seems that every situation is a good opportunity for a photo opp... 
This is not a good picture of me, but
I loved the arms around the shoulders.
It's so much fun being a mom! :)

My boys enjoying some good home cookin'!

Friday, October 10, 2008

More Alaska Pics

We did not see any Moose but we were ready....

We were in Gov. Palin's ole stomping grounds....we had to get some proof.

OH yeah, it was a wee chilly so some good hot chocolate and chia tea kept our bodies warm!

This is me standing in front of Mt. Mckinley....well sort of in front. It is still about 300 miles away. Its the thing that looks like clouds in the background.

Missions Mobilization

The past few weeks have been filled with Mobilization efforts on our part. In other words, we have had two wonderful opportunities to work with local church bodies in spurring each other on to a more intentional and passionate desire of fulfilling the Great Commission. 
   A few weeks ago we were blessed to take part in the first commissioning service of the Alaska Baptist Convention. Katie and I, along with 14 others, were commissioned by the baptist churches of Alaska to the various tasks that God has called us to in the various lands He is leading us to.  During the service we were able to give testimony as to how God had led us to this point.  We also heard from the president of our board and joined in corporate worship with our Alaskan brethren. It was such a humbling time as we were impressed again with the fact that we are unworthy of the Savior of whom we go to proclaim.  It was also a rich time of forming new partnerships and relationships with believers who are just as much a part of our work as our home churches are.  Indeed, the weekend was so packed that we did not get much time to "sight-see". Even if we had days to sight-see, however, none of what we saw could surpass the beauty we saw in our Alaskan brethren. We are grateful to know them and count it an honor to be sent out by these churches. 
(Above Katie and I are pictured with Pastor Tom Hoffman and his wife Linda. Tom pastors Fairview Loop Baptist Church in Wasilla, Alaska. We were privileged to worship with this church and share there Sunday)

As soon as we got back from Alaska we headed to Athens, Alabama. We are again honored to be a part of Lindsey Lane Baptist Church's Global Impact Conference. Here we gathered with missionaries from all over the country and all over the world that LLBC is seeking to partner with. It was a joy to be around so many mission minded people, both the missionaries and the Great Commission driven church that Lindsey Lane is. Here is a picture of me and one of the home missionaries that LLBC partners with, Chief Reynard of the Apache  Nation. He lives in New Mexico and represents his people while also serving with the Samaritan's Purse ministry.

Sunday, October 5, 2008 favorite

I love is definitely my favorite season. David, John David and I have been enjoying some of these cooler days (or not-SO-hot days for us Alabama folks) outdoors - in our backyard, as well as at some local parks. I thought I'd share a few pictures from these fun-filled random order.

The look of concentration...

....and other classic JD, jr. expressions

A good game of chase
How great is this?!

Happiness is...John David outside with a golf ball in his hand (preferably plastic)
Our handsome son
I love my athletic men! :)
Swinging smiles ... short-lived though - I think John David
has his mother's motion sickness - sorry babe!
John David with his favorite thing - he
even holds this blue ball in his lap while
in the car...oh the contentment when
the big blue ball is near! (Thanks Burrages!)

John David looks so grown up to me in this picture - he
really has turned into such a big baby anymore, Mom!

We have been so thankful to my parents to allow us to live in the downstairs of their home for these 5 months - my, how they've flown! We have been here ~ in Tuscaloosa, AL ~ since May 18th. What a blessing to be near family (VERY near to Big Daddy and Sweet T), and David's parents are just down the road in Brookwood. We have kept quite busy with traveling, visiting other family across Alabama and Florida. Dave's been preaching and speaking at various churches/events, along with some on-the-side grass cutting. Should I mention, a few days at Disney World - second honeymoon for Dave and I! Oh, and how John David has grown! Before we came to Alabama, he wasn't even crawling yet! He began "army crawling" when we first got here (traditional crawling came later...uh, way later!) and celebrated his first birthday May 31st. He began walking a week after his birthday and has been running ever since. His vocabulary is expanding: "mom", "dada", "ball" (of course), "bible", "duck", and more... and he is impressing us with his ever-increasing intelligence! (Maybe we are just biased :) Despite mixed emotions, we are looking forward to the next chapter in our lives, which begins October 17th, the day we leave for Richmond, VA. We will spend 2 months at the International Mission Board's International Learning Center for our Field Personnel Orientation (or as it's referred to by "insiders" ... the IMB's ILC for FPO... so many abbreviations!) Please be praying for us as we prepare for the transition. More to come as these things take place! Until then, we will be making the most of time with our family...and enjoying Fall.