Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wee Funnies

The other day I was trying to get out of the full sized van we are borrowing. I had climbed in the back to put Hevenlee's shoes back on her feet. When I went to step out onto the edge of the van with my left foot, the strap from the bag of toys the kids had on the floor tangled up my right foot and I lost my balance and went tumbling out the door and to the ground. Don't worry, there were no cars coming along that narrow road and I only suffered a little soreness in my muscles from the fall. It wasn't until later when I retold the story that Hevenlee said," When I grow up and am a Dad, I will catch you and pet you." It still makes me laugh to think about it.

Sonshyne came upstairs in the house and said," I need that thing, I need that small thing, that 'fire bottle'." "Fire bottle?", I say," Is Dad outside making a fire and needs the lighter?" To which she say," Is that what it's called?" We now call the lighter a 'fire bottle' for sure. What a clever girl.

Ezra is in charge of chopping up the dog bones each night with an Axe. I went out and there were brick bits all around the ground by the chopping block. I looked up the wall and low and behold there was a medium sized chunk out of one of the bricks on the corner of our house. I could see that there were 3 intentional chop marks. I asked Ezra," Did you chop the house?" To which he stands perfectly still and replies,"NO!" I say," Then how did this hole get here?" He says," I just stood up with the Axe and that happened." Wow, now that is one strong Axe. He finally confessed and lost his Axe priviledges for a while. As if there is not enough to chop on our 26 acres of forest that he has to see if he can chop the house down too.......

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Not My Day....

Have you ever had one of those days when the only thing you can get right is the vegetable soup for dinner? No one can mess up vegetable soup. I got a blister cutting up veggies with a dull knife..... Today is just not my day.
I feel so emotionally out of control. I started my day right! I got Garrett up for a wonderful prayer/ walk in the bright new morning sun. It was a gorgeous, glorious sunrise by the way. Then Garrett left for work and my work began. Everyone seemed happy as they cascaded, one by one, down the steep, steep stairs. I am constantly trying not to worry that a kid will eventually forget how to climb down carefully and plummet to the landing. Thank God there is a landing before the bottom. I feel so full of fear these last few days. Every thump leaves me waiting for the wailing that will send us to the hospital. It reminds me that it has been almost 2 full years since my bus accident here in this country and I am still jumpy when I hear loud thumps. When will that go away?
My day began a downward spiral as the girls decided to battle it out over every little thing. Who gets to pick the movie that will babysit them for a few hours. Which of course makes me feel like an even better mom. "Start your day with a little TV".
The boys got busy on their computers doing their school work. We started school a few weeks early to work out all the bugs. Only, I am finding the bugs might all be in my boys. They zoom through a lesson in minutes only to turn in failing grades. Over and over I return the same work and receive back less and less effort. I feel like I will scream. Oh wait, I have been screaming at the boys all day. It doesn't seem to be working though. I can see the confidence drain away from them. That is not what I want for my precious, darling children. I want to build them up and edify them. Yet, I can't seem to change the pattern. They do crappy work and I get all worked up. When will I leave my ugly self in the death that happend when I turned my life over to Christ?
I read today in Romans so much wonderful news! Romans 15:14 "My brothers and sisters, I am sure that you are full of goodness. I know that you have all the knowledge you need and that you are able to teach each other." That sounds so nice doesn't it. I have to confess that I do have the knowledge to teach my children but feel I fail in teaching them so many times. What I seem to be teaching them is how to sound irritated with each other and to bite back when they don't like something that was said. I know I am not a miserable failure, but today I feel like one.
We have company coming for dinner tonight. I think," How will I act when they get here?" Certainly I am not going show this ugly side when they get here. What do my kids think when they see such transformation? It is a horrible reality that I try harder to please those whom are outside of my family. Is that true with you?
There's another wonderful message from God I read today in Romans 12 ," I beg of you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect." The problem I face here is that each time I step outside the bounds of this knowledge I am deeply convicted. I feel such conviction today. It would be lovely just to surround myself with people who will say , "Hey, give yourself a break, you moved your whole family to another country." That is nice and all, but when do you stop giving yourself an excuse to behave badly and not just do what it takes to make a change. I think I have a lot more ability than I give myself credit for. It is time to make this my day. So I better sign off. I have to go let a naughty little girl out of her room. The yelling has stopped though so I am quite certain she is asleep. Which will of course make for an impossible bed time later tonight. I also need to do a few one on one's with each of the boys before company comes and apologize for the area of my failure in parenting yet again. I imagine it gets quite old having your mom screw up time and time again. It is quite humbling to have to apologize to your children for sure. Have you tried it lately? I have found it to be the hardest thing to do...... The weather is looking nice outside, maybe it is time we all went for a walk.......

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Good Morning Lord....

I went to bed late last night because I was so interested in all my emails and wanted to get something posted before you loose interest in what is going on with us:)
This morning, way too early, I just woke up. It was one of those times where you know if you try hard enough that you could just go back to sleep. I thought about it for a moment then realized that it was a good time to have some personal prayer time with just me and God. Ah, he had woken me up. I recognize this. This seems to be one way God communicates with me. It was almost as if [someone] taps me and says,"Hey, you want to go for a walk?". No one else in the house was up so it wasn't the restling around that brought my eyes open. How could I refuse. I guess we do it all the time though don't we. However, 2 years ago I adopted a saying,"Sleep is over rated." Which means to me that if God wants to commune with me in the early morning then sacrificing a little sleep is the least I can do. And I really mean least here. After all he did die for me.
I walked for a "bit" (the way they say,"awhile") outside. It was overcast and a bit chilly this morning, but nothing a hoody couldn't handle. I will have to invest in a coat soon though, it is only going to get colder......yikes. It was such a great time with God. I love to be the only one out in the morning. It seems that everyone here is always on the streets walking around until late at night, so it was refreshing to see hardly any people. People here will be outside as often as possible for the few months that it is very warm because there are so many months we will have to stay inside to keep warm. As I was walking I began the way I always begin. A.C.T.S. Praise Him, Confess to Him, Thank Him and Lay down my burdens. I have found this to be an amazing way to communicate with God. I have only been a consistent prayer for 1 and half years now so I still live by guidelines to keep me focused. I look forward to the day where fellowshipping with the Lord comes easily and boundary free! I know that this will come as I continue to walk with him in the morning and get to know him so well that fellowshipping with Him comes naturally.
Today was one of the more natural days I've experienced while talking with God. My mind was flooded with praises to our Lord. He is so good, so holy, so in charge. He is faithful, trustworthy and kind. His mercy flows over and His love is abundant. He wants me to be whole and He longs for all His children to live in peace and find their hope in Him. It is all true.
As I was working my way through confession and thanksgiving I had the chance to observe and elderly woman. She was thin with white hair, held back by a scarf. She was walking slowly and shakily across the street. I assumed she was walking home. Her every step seemed cautious and thought out, but not slow. My heart went out to her immediately and I felt the desire to escort her. Immediately I chased that though away! What if that made her mad and she rejected my attempt to help. Or what if I offend her. Is God giving me this direction or is this me just wanting to be helpful. I decided that I would rather error on the side of following God's leading, if in fact it was his leading, then to miss an opportunity to obey just because I let doubt creep in. Besides, isn't any act of kindness from the Lord. Without God's example are we not left to our own selfish lustful demise . Anything we do outside ourselves is all God.
My step quickened and I caught up to her easily. As I was approaching her from behind, I entertained the idea of chickening out and just continuing to walk straight. This is not a culture that communicates with "hello's" on the street so she would be none the wiser if I just walked right on by.......I greeted her. "Labas Ritas"/Good Morning and offered her my arm. She actually took it. She spoke a bit of Lithuanian to me and I said the other phrase I know "Nesuprante Lituvishque" (spelled horribly wrong) "I don't understand Lithuanian". She kindly continued chattering away not seeming to care that I had no comprehension as to what she was saying. Which I've noticed the older folks tend to do. She spoke quietly with kindness in her voice and showed me the small plastic bag she was carrying that looked to have food in it. We walked down the street and I wondered which building we were going to, then we stopped in front of the public trashcans and she bid me goodbye. I uncomfortably walked away realizing that she must have gotten up early to rummage through the trash before anyone else was out on the street.
I felt unsettled as I walked down the street alone leaving her behind to dig for what she might find to eat that had been discarded by others the night before. I felt a wave of sadness as God allowed me to feel his compassion for his creation and the injustices they face. No elderly person should have to live in such a way. Was there no one to right this terrible wrong? What had brought this woman to these ends? Was it the fall of communism that left her with no skills and no promised care? I wept like I had needed to weep for some time now. Only it was for the right reason. My heart broke for God's children who desperately need to know that he exists. I realized that by walking this woman just barely a block, God could show me so much about his compassion for his creation, his heart for his people and his longing for us to burn for the same things as he does. My longing to learn the language well, so that I could communicate in these situations, became a driving force within me.
God is amazing and I am always surprise, though I don't know why, when he teaches me something "hands on". He has so much more to teach us and he is so patient to wait until we are ready for the next step. Isn't it weird how we can spend so many years living in the balance of that next step?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

On the move again!

Today felt like we got something done! We moved all our luggage to our new home. Many have checked out the photos of our new home on this sight
It was funny to hear some of the responses and the surprise that this country actually has something so nice to live in. It is hard to convince anyone who has not been here already that this is not a 3rd world country. I couldn't believe it myself before we got here a year ago and took a pre trip to see what we would need since we had such young children. Even in one year there has been so much progress. Last time we were here I said goodbye to my love for refried beans. When I went to the store today, there on the shelf were REFRIED BEANS. I shouted out loud for joy, in English of course, eliciting some strange looks. This is not a culture that shouts out loud for anything. Hopefully my beans will taste delicious! Before we moved here the first time I also wondered," will they have disposable diapers?" My goodness, they have huggies and pampers sure enough.
So we move into our house tomorrow. Sonshyne will celabrate her fifth birthday tomorrow with the Pastor's son who turns 5 three days before her. It will be a Princess/Pirate Party! What fun!
We may be out of touch for a few days as they get our internet started at our new house. All the unforseen glitches and everything you know! We are super excited to get going in our own home again.
If you have seen the photos,, you know there is plenty of room for you to come visit! No more excuses now! Just go for it!

Monday, August 13, 2007

On the Mend!

Garrett was release from the Hospital late this afternoon. (I think I am posting this in the wee hours so it will look like a day later maybe) Monday, our time, Sunday your time. The kids greeted him with such enthusiasm that it nearly made me burst into tears. I wonder when the reality of all this will finally hit. I feel like I am in such denial of it all happening. Anyway, Garrett is doing GREAT. We are all really making him take it easy. He doesn't have much energy and went to lay down soon after dinner. I promise to make him lay around all day tomorrow as well, just so you know!
Thanks to all the emails and prayers this might have been a lonely unbearable situation. Thanks so much for being part of this team. It was a strong lesson in how we can and do work together. We are here, but you are such a part of what we are doing here. This will not be possible without you! Thank you , Thank you , Thank you!
Due to the volume of emails I sent out it wouldn't let me send anymore today. I guess hotmail only lets you send out a certain amount in a 24 hour period and I definitely exceeded that and I wasn't even done. I am thinking of changing email addresses. I will let you know soon!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Day After

Today has definitely been a bit more mellow. I got up this morning at 10am feeling guilty that I had gotten some sleep when I should have been at the hospital all night making sure Garrett was well taken care of. The rational part of me said I would be no good to anyone without getting some rest. So I gave my husband into God's hands and relaxed into sleep for a few hours. I didn't get to bed till 3am. Hevenlee is still sleeping restlessly so I had to get up with her once or twice around 5am. Finally from 6-10am I slept deeply. The other 3 kids seem to be on a regular sleeping schedule now and have moved into this time zone! Praise God! I still don't know what time zone I am in:)
I checked my email to see if anyone had any insights and was delighted to see so many suggestions! I know we hate how people give their opinions so liberally in the states, but here we are practically hanging on them, so keep them coming. I am now pretty much the Doctor of the family! I want as much education as I can get, so we will not be caught by surprise next time! I didn't like not knowing what to do! That was probably the most frustrating thing of all.
Before heading to the hospital this morning, I headed to the store to get bananas. It didn't dawn on me until then that I had a cell phone now and could call Garrett directly! I called and he answered! He sounded tired and groggy but so much more coherent! "He was ALIVE!" was all I could think. That helped my mind rest more at ease! This terrible thought kept trying to creep into my mind all night that I might go to the hospital in the morning and find his bed empty! Then they would have to give me the bad news that he had died in the night while I had gotten some sleep! I had to work extra hard to chase such useless thoughts away. No use worrying about things unknown right? So needless to say it was good to talk to him.
When Saul and I got to the hospital Garrett greeted us warmly. I gave him the bananas, salt and toast (thanks everyone). He ate a banana right away. The nurse was getting ready to start him on another IV. So before she could we helped him to the restroom so he could give a urine sample. The nurse said he had taken in at least 2 liters of solution (I think that is half a gallon) and had not peed yet. The pee was way too dark, so they determined to keep him there a few more days. Bad news for Garrett. He will miss our first day at church. I know he is bummed.
When we got back from the bathroom with Garrett, who was walking by himself just fine. A little slow but on his own. The nurse hooked him up to the IV again. When she was done the metal post that held the solution leaned sadly over to the right. It was in desperate need of being replaced. It is like, this hospital has all the things we would throw away in the States.
The interesting thing here is that the hospitals in Lithuania or overly cautious and will keep you several days longer than necessary. If you were to go to the hospital for a cold they would actually check you into a room for a week. When you hit your due date for pregnancy you check into the hospital and wait it out! Yikes! I get the feeling that even the Lithuanians avoid going to the hospitals even though the government pays for it.
The conditions at the hospitals are horrible! It feels very dirty. You can tell they are lacking in sterilization in a big way! One of the nurses that dealt with Garrett last night, put on rubber gloves to help him and then stuck them back into her pocket when she was done. I am sure, to reuse them later. I was trying really hard not to go germaphobic while we were there.
The halls and the rooms are old and concrete with old paint. At least it didn't smell musty. Or maybe my smeller just doesn't work so well. The place looks like something out of an old movie that you just know couldn't possibly exist anymore. And yet....
This evening Garrett asked if I would bring him a dvd player so he could watch some movies tomorrow. Now I know he is feeling better. He even called me a few hours ago to see how things were going. Thanks for all your prayers! He is doing rather well!
Okay, one funny thing: Last night I left the hospital to go get Garrett some clothes. He was talking but still a bit dazed. Saul stayed behind so he could get the blow by blow from the Doctor (no one spoke any English this whole time). While I was gone Garrett looks out the window from his bed and says to Saul ," Do you see that?" Saul says no. Garrett goes on to say,"It's Sophi, she can't get back in." Saul looks out the window and says that it was not me. It wasn't till today when we were at the hospital and retelling him that funny story that we realized that Garrett didn't know that he was on the 7th floor.....The look on his face was priceless. It was really funny. But how nice of him huh? Worrying about his wife....
Well we are anticipating that things will only get better from here. The kids are very much anticipating the return of their father. The boys are realizing just how fragile life is, that God answers our prayers and that you better watch what you say and how you act because you may not get a chance to apologize for it later. A good lesson don't you think.
I learned that Garrett and I are in a good place. With the unknown last night and thinking he could quite possibly die, I realized that I have no regrets with him and that I was proud of the relationship we have between us and that I was ready to accept whatever God had in store for me/us. I am so glad that death was not something we would have to face at this time. I pray we are as ready to accept his decision though when the time does come.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope it has something encouraging to offer you!

Garrett in the ER

Garrett had gotten the flu on the airplane. Vomiting, diareah and fever. He pushed through though and got us to our destination. He slept off and on to recover from the flu and jet lag. It happens to be rather warm this week and the apartment we are staying in had been warm during the day, but none of us has felt any motivation to venture outside much.
Today we went shopping at the IKI (supermarket). Walked in the hot sun and carried our groceries back. I noticed Garrett was stopping to take a break more than usual. He had seemed rather unsettled today as well. Sanna and I had taken off for about an hour around dinner time and when we came back we wisked everyone off to the beach. Garrett came along and later confessed that he really wasn't feeling all that well, but was trying to be a good sport. Because he was feeling crummy he opted not to get into the water. Even I got in the water so you know it was nice and warm outside. Even at 6pm the sun is still pretty high in the sky. On our way back he carried Sonshyne up the hill to keep her from getting bit by mosquitos. I carried Hevenlee and was well winded by the time we reached the top.
We got in the car to drive back and as Garrett was driving I noticed he was not all there. I asked if he was okay and he said he was seeing white spots. We switched drivers immediately. As I began driving I could tell that he did not look so good and was not paying attention to what I was saying. He said he was so thirsty and that no matter how much water he drank he could not quench his thirst. I said I could run to the store on the way home and get water if he wanted. That is when he glazed over, hunched forward a bit and his right hand made a fist and curled up to his chest. He was not responsive at all, but had his eyes open. I kept waiting for a seizure to take hold of him but it never came. We were in a line of traffic and Saul and Sanna were a several cars ahead. I pulled into the grassy area to the right of the 2 lane road and drove up to their car yelling to them that " Something's wrong with Garrett!" I must have sounded convincing because both the boys burst in the tearful sobs of, " Oh no, dear God, don't let our daddy die!" I hollered at them to start praying for their daddy! Saul took the lead in his car and I followed behind him on the grassy side area until one car could not stand that I was cutting in line and blocked my way with his car. Well I guess he was going to show me. Little did he know that he was potentially playing with the life of my husband. Saul could see what was happening and ran back to get behind the wheel of our car and let Sanna drive theirs. By the way, he did have time to give that blocking car a "what for" on his way to us. I believe he said something like," You fool, you have no idea what you are doing!"
Now the action began! Saul wiped out into on coming traffic to get to the end of the line so we could get on the main road. I have never prayed so hard in my life! Boaz and Ezra were now up front and I was standing behind Garrett holding his head and praying into his ear. The three of us poured out our souls to the Lord as Saul swerved to get around cars and get through lights. We pulled up to the Hospital only to find that it was not the one we should have gone to. They were not very nice either. They scolded Saul and told him, he should have called an ambulance! He convinced them to do it and we had to get Garrett onto the gurny. He was dead weight and had bubbly saliva dripping down his chin on the right side. They sure didn't seem to be in much hurry to help. I stayed in the car with the kids. Sonshyne had fallen to sleep, thank goodness, and Hevenlee kept asking," Where's my dad, I want to see my dad!" When I told her that he was sick and had to see the doctor, she just kept saying, " My dad is sick, My dad is sick," The boys wept and prayed and hugged me. I kept telling them that it would be okay, that our God is a big God and that he has it all under control. Sanna arrived and took the kids.
Saul and I went back into the hospital to sit with Garrett who was still not real responsive. He mumbled, but mostly moaned in pain. He said his head hurt and his stomach. The hospital staff feared it could have been an ambolism and said so. I am so glad you are not allowed to do that in the States. We waiting forever it seemed. And really it was a long time, just sitting and waiting while no one is doing a thing, not even an IV. hello! The Ambulance finally got there and when we went into the hallway to move Garrett from one bed to the other, Saul and I were put to work! There was no sheet under him so we had to really lift him. Okay, not an easy thing to do with dead weight in a bathing suit and T-shirt. They couldn't do it so well so we ended up flipping him onto his stomach. It looked very uncomfortable. They pushed him to the ambulance at the top of a hill and my mind was trying not to envision them accidentally loosing their grip and letting him go rolling down the hill. The incompatence was alarming. It would have been rather comical if it hadn't been so serious. We rushed off to get into our car and follow expecting to have to try and keep up. We nearly passed the Ambulance getting to the hospital. They did not seem to be a bit in a hurry.
We got to the other hospital which happened to be the one on call for emergencies this night! Who knew? They wheeled him in and again moved him to another gurny. Yes, we were recruited to help. This bed was fitted with what looked like a long, blue, trash bag. It was pulled out of shape here and there from obvious use by many others. When I leaned over to whisper in Garrett's ear I notice what looked like a bit of someone else's blood still on the edge. Yuck! It was too bizarre to be reality and yet.......
So here is Garrett in all this pain and not really able to speak. He was so hot that he sweat a pool of sweat and everyone thought he peed his pants. Then he was so cold that he asked for a blanket four or five times before he eventually got one.
A very young man walked through the door. He was wearing a long white jacket with open toed sandles. I kept thinking," does your daddy know you are out this late? and uh, could you go get the doctor?" Oh yes, he was an intern. And it just keeps getting better!
They wanted to rule out the brain first so a brain scan was up. Finally, they are doing something after a few hours! Now I am thinking it's probably not the heart or he'd be dead by now! Saul and I help push him down the hall and again we lift him to a new bed. My goodness!
They inform us soon after that the scan shows normal. Hurray! The blood test shows that he is twice the level of sugar in the blood and his blood pressure is extremely low. Not good.
The real doctor, probably the interns dad, comes in and asks questions. Saul is now on the 4th time telling what happened and answers all the same questions again. He does this 5 or 6 times in total. The Doctor pokes around Garrett's abdomen eliciting much reaction on the sides and right under the sternum. Garrett says his head hurts and his whole body hurts especially his stomach. He feels nausious so we get him a bowl. They decide to check him in for the night. This ought to be interesting.
The nurse comes in.....yep, you guessed it, a new bed. Just Saul and I and the nurse this time. As she is preparing Garrett finally throws up. Whew did it smell but it was brown. The color of dinner (Taco night will never be the same!) So the nurse decides that Garrett must not have the clothes on he his wearing and strips him down naked. Nothing like feeling like you might die with a side of humiliation to go with it! By now Garrett is a bit more coherant (unfortunate for him) and helps us help him into bed. But that was about it for him. He was actually talking a bit more when we asked him questions as well and not as much moaning either.
We went down a hallway to a very old "lift" elevator. We get up to the 7th floor, nurse gets out and looks like maybe she is lost, but then decides that this is in fact the right floor. I understood her disorientation when we got out ourselves. It was completely dark, like the whole floor was shut down. We pushed through the dark wing of the hospital to the light at the end where we entered what would be his room for the night. He would be sharing a room with 2 others and an empty bed. No curtain to separate them, just all out there and all very under dressed. One man made no bones about his interest in us. He openly sat up on one elbow and took in all the action. I think he even introduced himself to Saul. Now we waited some more before another Doctor Lady came in and pushed around on Garrett's stomach. I was still vying for an IV, which they finally put in when I had left to go get him some clothes and water. We had been there 4 hours and Garrett had only one very small cup of water before he threw up.
As it stands now, I am home and Garrett it in the hospital. He has his phone to call me if he needs to and we will rush in to see him in the morning.
Please keep us in your prayers. We are praying that it was just a bad case of dehydration! Pray for the boys as well. They are very concerned of course I just don't want them to worry too much. I am confident that God is in control of this one too!

Friday, August 10, 2007


Please really be praying for a car for us. We have been graciously loaned a car by one of the church members that fits all of us in it. And as nice of him as it was this car has not been able to pass the check (kind of like the smog test) and is not legal and sometimes sounds as if it will fall apart while we are driving it. We are trying to drive it as little as possible. Those of you who know me (sophi) know what a freak I am about obeying the law, so I am trying really hard not to freak out. I am so afraid each time we drive it that we will be pulled over and ticketed. Yikes. My control issues rise and I know we could go out today and buy a new car off the lot and have this little problem solved. We are waiting though to see what God will do to meet our needs once again. Pray for patience for us to not rush for a solution. If we take the house we are looking at we will need a reliable mode of transportation. We have talked about getting a new car purely because the weather gets so severe around here that buying used isn't always a good idea. They have no Lemon Laws around here so you could really wind up paying a lot more to fix a bad car in the end as we have seen with the car we purchased a few years ago.
Okay prayer warriers, please join up once again! And thanks in advance!

The Journey Begins!

I have never been on a trip where it seems everything goes right, but this one was one of those!
We got to the airport in plenty of time. We waiting in a very long line where people who found out what we were doing joyfully spread the news down the line as if we were going off to live in Uganda or something. We got pulled out of line midway because we have kids and Aer Lingus Airlines checks their kids in a different line (a shorter one). Also, we had expected to pay an extra baggage charge only to be waved on. Thanks Rita for helping me keep each bag under weight! Because none of the bags were over, they allowed us to take and extra one for free! This trip we only had 8 duffle bags, 6 carry ons, 2 car seats and 1 guitar. That feels like traveling light since that last time it was 12 oversized bags, 6 carry ons, 2 car seats, 2 guitars and a stroller and 2 small children in tow. Boy were we a sight! And how everyone stopped to stare! This time even the girls could help carry stuff and didn't have to be carried themselves.
Our wait for boarding was just enough time to eat. When we got on the plane we found that every seat had a built in TV screen. This was so much joy for me that I announced to the whole plane that I in fact felt like God's favorite child today! eliciting strange looks of course.
The kids settled in and were quite content for the 10 hour flight! We were all able to watch different movies on our moniters so we were all entertained! Midway through the flight Garrett started to look a little greenish! I said," you got it don't you?" He got the flu that had swept through the house as we stayed with the Myers our last week. (Sorry Kim and Doug). The strange thing was that he was the one the week earlier who stayed up with the kids while they barfed. I guess by the 4th kid his immune system was compromised. So he spent the rest of the flight running back and forth to the bathroom! (no "mile high club" this trip Rita!)
We had grand plans to check out Dublin, Ireland during our layover in Ireland but we opted for resting in the airport instead. It was a good choice, all 6 of us go a few hours of sleep and that was important. We are all getting so good at sleeping where ever we can.
On the next flight we got to spread out because it was not full. Garrett had his own row and sacked out for the entire trip. Hevenlee and I had a row and knocked out soon for the rest of the flight while Boaz, Ezra and Sonshyne watched movies and dosed. It was a smooth uneventful flight. Much needed.
We flew into Vilnius late (the capital city of Lithuania, sounds like vil-nas). It was wonderful to see Saul's (the pastor we will stay with) friendly face! We were all excited that we were finally here! What a journey. Now for the 3 hour drive to Klaipeda (where we will live). It was a long night and we didn't arrive to Saul and Susanna's house until 3am! Sophi had no problem talking Saul's ear off to keep him awake the whole drive. There were so many details to discuss that couldn't happen until now.
So we are here and resting up from jet lag. There are not many plans for the first few days because we are just needing to hang around and sleep when we need to!
Thanks for your prayers. We will spend the next few days deciding on housing and transportation. Saul has informed us that the car we had when we were here last time has just had the engine blow and has been a pain in the rear with repairs. We felt bad for giving it them. But needless to say that ups the date and need for us to get our own car sooner than we expected. We may live out of the city and will have to have a car. We were going to use this one until we could afford to buy our own. Now.....we pray! so if you could join us in this prayer we would appreciate it!
We can really feel your prayers! Thanks for helping us through this transition and being right with us! You are amazing.
Please Pray:
Housing decisions, we are in negotiations with one already
A Car: We have about half of what we need to get a reliable car, I know God can get us into one that will work for us. I dream of a large car to carry many people, but the reality is that our money will only afford us the minimum of our family right now. That is a sacrifice we are willing to make not to go into debt to get a car a larger car. If our timeshare would sell, we would have no problem buying the car. Human thoughts of course.
Continued Health: Garrett is feeling much better and no one looks like they are getting it!

The House Story!

So here it is........
Sunday August 5th, Garrett's Aunt has a vision of us praying in front of the house, so we go over to the house after lunch and pray over it and give it to God. Almost making us late to the commissioning service of course. Garrett's Aunt Barbara prays about someone renting our house. My (Sophi) only thought is, "Yeah right, we just took the property off the rental market, like that is going to happen, our only hope now is to sell it." Such faith I have eh?
Monday morning was all about final packing and weighing. I (Sophi) couldn't sleep anymore so I was up and on the move. I have now become a type A personality to get us out of here on time. 11:00 is what we are shooting for. It was between 9 and 10 when I looked at my phone and noticed a missed call. Reception up by the mountains was not so good for the cell phone. I listened to the message and it was an inquiry from a friend about the house we had for rent. My first inclination was to not call back. I was getting tired of the same reaction every time I told people how much our mortgage was and wasn't in the mood to get my hopes up just to have them shattered again. I decided to call back anyway. I was shocked to find that this house was exactly what she was looking for and could afford! She was even willing to pay 6 months rent in advance and would come right over to give me a check. Having known her and her family the whole time we have been at Pomona First Baptist we were very confident that this was a very good situation. Only one God could provide. She arrived 10 minutes before we left for the airport! God rented our house only minutes before we were to fly away. As I was going over all the details in my mind I realized that this was the only day that something like this could have happened. It would be the only day that we were not under any contract to any company, rental or sales and were free from any obligation. We were free agents and could rent for as much as we owed. At any other time if we would have rented the house it would have cost us several hundred dollars out of our pocket each month and more if something needed to be fixed. The idea of that really put the stress on keeping our house! With this family in our home they are willing to pay the mortgage each month and fix anything that goes wrong themselves. This is quite possibly the best missionary support we have yet!
I had told several of you that it really felt like God was just saying ,"No" to all our attempts at renting and selling and that I was having a hard time trying to figure out just what he was going to do since we could see his hand so evidently in all other areas of our lives as we prepared to move to Lithuania. We know from experience that all the details of our live are important to him, but his timing is always his own.
The 12 steps I have learned over the past few years from Celebrate Recovery were really helpful in giving over my anxiety one day at a time and sometimes every moment of the day! Satan really tried to conquer us on this issue, but we continued to trust that God was in control. Even though humanly it was difficult some days! OFTEN it was a matter of obedience and a force of the will to focus on the promises of God and not get caught up on what only our human eyes could see. We realize that if God would have worked things out in our time we would be so much worse off right now. Either we would be hurting for money each month and worrying about expenses in the states or we would have sold our home and made no money on it. God squashed our attempts at both of these because he had better plans for us. He wanted us to keep the house and not have any worries attached to it. What a better plan eh? It is so easy to look back now and see the waste of time it was to worry even for one minute and not trust completely that God can and will manage ALL the details of life and has the best plans in place if we can only wait on his timing and not rush into action on our own because satan has convinced us that God no longer cares about us. Yes, I have to admit, I was ready to bite into the apple. It is humbling to realize how human we truelly are. And how little faith we really have. God is good, all the time. I hope this is an encouragement to you in your time of waiting on the Lord to answer your prayers! My input on this would be to really wait. If we would have taken care of this situation by ourselves we would have missed out on what God was going to do and would have cheated ourselves out of seeing his hand and provision for our needs and would once again feel like we were self sufficient and didn't need God after all! This experience has prepared us for much bigger trust issues I know we will face in the coming years. I am so glad that we did not run from this time but sat in it and learned how to give it to him daily as he allowed our character to be better developed! Don't get me wrong, this was not an easy test at all and we did not pass with flying colors. We were both willing to throw in the towel at one point or another. But we were confident that God was teaching us a lesson that we both needed to learn! It is awesome to know who is in control of our lives even when we fight it!
So that is the story! Hope it was worth waiting for!

Commissioning Service

What a fantastic way to say goodbye! The commissioning service was such a wonderful experience for our family. thanks to all those who participated to make it so great! We worshiped, heard testimony and had a great message from Glenn. It was so nice for our kids to feel so officially blessed by being sent off so formally. Thank you PFBC . Also the S.A.L.T. class provided the terific food for the event! AWESOME! This will be a memory we will treasure for many years to come.
For those of you who couldn't make it. We had a few people stand and speak of how Garrett and I have impacted their lives. That was a very humbling time and many tears streamed down our cheeks as the realization of this season of life has come to a close! Israel Valdavenos led us in worship and as was the fasion in the College group, we started off with just Israel, Garrett and I and ended the time with a few extras. Garrett Hall on drums and Brian Monroe on piano. Thanks Brian for knowing us so well to just come on up and join in!! That was awesome!
The best part by far was when we all got in a big group and had a time of prayer! Nothing could have made us more ready than to be surrounded by prayer like that! Thanks to you all!
What a great day!