Saturday, September 27, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

My Mother's Day gift came Sept 27th ...The Akron Marathon began at 7am. And I finished 4 hours 13 minutes later.  Malin and Derek gave us the gift of registration and promised to make sure Amy and I had adequate time together to prepare. Unlike Malin, who will run a marathon without training, we ran, a lot. Because of the heat our runs usually began around 6 am. The peace and solitude of the early morning inspired us many miles. But during the marathon it was the cheers, crowds, and other runners that kept us going. The marathon didn't end quite like I had envisioned. Amy felt ill most of the marathon so we decided to separate about 15 miles in. After Amy finished she went to the medic tent and then onto the ER. Thankfully some IV fluid and sodium made her better. 

My sister Ana is training for her marathon on Oct 18th. We're going to be going to visit her in Denver Oct 22nd. There's one 10k run we can do together during our visit. The only catch is you have to wear a gorilla suit the entire way! 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Generosity in the Darnest of Places

I remember after Wheaton changed it's mascot from the Crusaders to the Thunder the Chicago Tribune entitled an article about the change "Sensitivity in the Darnest of Places." The article's title implied that it was shocking that a  Christian university would think about being cultural sensitivity. We're experiencing some of that same shock with the generosity of secular corporations that have provided thousands of dollars worth of medical and dental supplies. I assumed that the minute we asked for donations for a Christian hospital we would be turned down. I could not have been more wrong. From an ultrasound, fetal dopplers, microscope, surgical instruments, dental hand pieces, toothbrushes, disposable gloves, our UPS man has been busy delivering. The picture is our latest arrival. If you read the package closely you'll see our delivery man is probable a little confused as to why I would need 300 of these delivered to our home! We're also taking bets on how quickly I will use all of these in Cameroon.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Our commissioning service took place Sunday, September 21st.  Pastor Derek said, "Sometimes I think you're crazy". Sometimes we think we're crazy too.... what are we doing trying to pack up 2 kids and move to Cameroon? What are we thinking trying to sell our house in this market and not have steady careers mapped out? How can we possible pull this off in the next two months? But in the end, we agree we'd be crazier to ignore the over 300 verses in the Bible about caring for the poor and crazier still if we didn't go. God has prepared our hearts in ways no words can articulate.  We've been using this quote a lot from Philip Yancey, "I used to believe that Christianity solved problems and made life easier. Increasingly I believe my faith complicates my life in ways it should be complicated. As a Christian I cannot NOT care about the environment, about poverty and homelessness, about racism and religious persecution, about injustice and violence. God does not give me that option." How this plays out in each person's life and walk of faith looks different. For some people it's church commitments, others public service,  or volunteering, or giving generously... for us it's working and living the next two years in Cameroon.
 Amelia sang after the service at the missions festival. Here's a short clip of the choir singing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


We've been taking care of at least 1 frog each day this summer (not all the frogs have made it). Amelia caught one particularly gorgeous, fist-sized bullfrog that she kept for several weeks. Amelia and Meredith spent hours arranging it's home and finding  bugs to feed the frog. I tried numerous tactics to get the frog free. Afterall, it was such a magnificent creature I couldn't let it starve to death. Finally I asked Amelia how God would want her to take care of His creation. And she immediately said, "I need to put the frog in Renee's (our neighbor) pond." We had a frog releasing ceremony. And wouldn't you know 30 minutes later we were the proud caretakers of another gigantic frog; this time a tree frog.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Selling and Faith

Our home has been listed for two months, and we've had no offers. Our agent says its not the price or the condition or the presentation it's just the market. I imagine many people are hearing the same thing. It's hard not to try to bargain with God i.e. if you sell our house will use some of the money towards helping people in Cameroon. It's hard not to make our faith contingent upon the sale of our house i.e. God we'll know you really want us to go to Cameroon if You sell our house. It's hard not to make all my prayer requests lately about our house and our family, but as I read the Lord's prayer a (the prayer Christ taught us was ENOUGH) and studied it at our church,  I read:
OUR Father, 
Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give US this day OUR daily bread. Forgive OUR debts as WE forgive OUR  debtors. Lead US not into temptation and deliver US from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen

Did you see it? There are no individual requests in this prayer and no bargining with God, instead the prayer is for all people and that today we all are given enough. Does this mean I'm going to stop praying for the sale of our house? No. God needs to know in prayer what is important to each of us. But perhaps I could stop worrying about when God will answer my prayer requests and instead trust that for today God will always provide enough. 

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Visit to Great-grandparents

Thankfully Amelia, Meredith and myself completed 800 miles of travel this past week without any problems. Our trip started Sunday with a drive to Saginaw and a visit to Grandma Cichowski and Uncle Luke. After a good bowl of soup and lots of stories, Meredith, Amelia and I slept in one large bed. I think they both got more sleep than I did! Monday we took Grandma on some errands and then went to a park. The engineer/conductor was working on the old child's train in the park and offered to take us on a ride. Then after lunch we left for Fremont, Michigan. 

We arrived in Fremont safely and immediately Amelia and Meredith found some old dolls. These dolls really needed a bath so the girls and the dolls climbed into the tub for some scrubbing. Grandpa took Amelia fishing the next day and we also did some shopping. Wednesday we went to the John Ball Park zoo. Thursday I left again after Grandma and I took the kids to the local park. We stopped in Dundee for the night. The hotel came with a water park which we had to ourselves. Meredith watched Amelia and copied here every move. I'm slowly getting used to Meredith's lack of fear. 

Meredith also had a notable Thursday as she went 3 times on the potty. I'm trying to get her trained so I don't have to use cloth diapers in Cameroon. 

Pictures of Banso Baptist Hospital

We have received many 
thoughtful e-mails from people at Banso Hospital. One of the physicians there, Karabeth, even took the time to send a CD of pictures, Pidgeon English dictionary, and hospital policies. The building picture is Banso hospital. The dental picture was taken in the dental clinic. The bed with the TV in the picture is from the family planning clinic and the last picture is the delivery room in Labor and Delivery (no doubt I will be spending my time in these two places!). 

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Some reading

For those of you interested to the right is a link to the National Geographic website about Cameroon. We will be living in Kumbo at Banso Baptist Hospital. Our plane tickets were purchased this week and we arrive Nov 19th in Doula, Cameroon. It is an 8 1/2 hour drive to Kumbo from there. 

Before leaving we have lots of traveling to do (and still a house to sell--please keep praying this sells!). I'm going to Michigan this weekend with Amelia & Meredith to visit their great-grandparents. Then we travel early October to Asheville and Boone, NC for orientation and a missions conference. Next we leave Akron Oct 22nd for Denver then onto Bend, Portland, Seattle, and Oak Harbor. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

We survived

Many of you may think this title relates to our camping trip over Labor Day weekend, but actually it's for completing our first week of homeschooling. As there are no international schools near our hospital in Cameroon, Amelia started Kindergarten at home. So far, she's been an enthusiastic student. Although hand writing lessons have been tough as no one wants either Malin or mine handwriting! We're reading through the Bible with her, the Boxcar children, and many other stories. She's got daily math assignments and science projects (which are by far her favorite subjects). Last, we are learning a Bible verse for every letter of the alphabet.  She will attend preschool for one month prior to leaving Akron just for the social interaction. There is also a primary school close to our home in Cameroon which we may enroll her in to supplement our teaching as well.