Thursday, April 17, 2008

Allison just finished college!

Dear friends,
It is Thursday night and it was nice and sunny today. I spent the day working on Dalit curriculum for a ministry in Denver the focuses on them. I have talked about this before, and now the rubber is meeting the road and ideas are actually getting down on paper. A friend is coming over tomorrow morning to help me for a few hours on this. I got fabric tonight on which to make a map of India for them with directions so any individual or church could make their own. The question is how much information to include on the map. Do we put words or keep it marked only with country shapes, to give the idea of where India is in relation to other countries? If there are no words, it can be used to teach geography and I can make up some activities to help that happen. Please be praying about this. I want to get it done soon, and the Dalit Freedom Network would like it done to give to churches who are focused on the Dalits or outcasts of India.

I have encouraging medical news. My neck still hurts, but I am going to a chiropractor who is really helping me. He has my neck moving much better. He also feels certain about what is causing the pain in my right rib area. He checked the muscles where the pain is, and said they are full of nodules from the muscles being stressed. When he realized that I have such extensive scar tissue on the left corresponding side from radiation, he linked the two immediately. He said the scar tissue is tightening the muscles on the left more and more, and as it does, the muscles going from there to the right side are then pulling the muscles on the right. That is what has been causing the increasing pain on my right side. It made sense that we do tests to rule out bone cancer in my right ribs, because this kind of pain is typical of that. But now we know what is going on, and Dr. Williams is working on fixing it. He is doing deep tissue massage on the scar tissue and on those right side muscles. It REALLY hurts, but it is helping and he said they are slowly getting smaller. I have been to him 3 times, and he works on me for about 30-45 minutes. He is very good and has given me hope. He told me that my fatigue makes perfect sense with all that is going on in my neck, ribs, etc. He also is working on the right side of my jaw that has been hurting for a long time- almost 2 years. He is doing deep tissue massage there too, and although it hurts at the time, my face has less pain.

A very nice thing happened to me today. I got word through Greg that someone was asking at Partners if there were any women who would like to use leftover tickets to the Women of Faith conference in Spokane this weekend. I heard about this conference last fall and dismissed it as out of my price range. We had the situation with our renters being very behind on their rent, and although I wanted to go, I just couldn't. So I called to inquire this afternoon and the tickets were still available. And they aren't just tickets, they are seats in a "suite" at the convention center. We have private parking and fantastic seats. I called one of the other VP's wives at Partners who just moved here in January. She is coming with me and also wanted to go, but with their move just couldn't afford it. So tomorrow night and Saturday, Blythe and I plan to be there to listen the what the Lord wants to teach us and to network with the ladies in our "suite."

I mentioned in my last entry that I was going to meet with the children's ministry team (some staff and some volunteers) to talk about integrating missions. The skit last Sunday morning was very funny and well received. I found 2 actors who really hammed it up, and the kids got the message. I have already done 2 lessons on the Uzbeks of Central Asia with the Wed. Night Kids' Club at church and have 4 more lessons to go: 2 on the Riffi Berbers of Morocco, one on the Turks of Turkey, and one about the Olympics and how to pray for them. We will also have our own mini Olympics. The Uzbeks, Turks and Riffi's are all curriculum I helped develop at Caleb Project as part of the Kids Around the World series. They are still available online I think if you looked up Caleb Project you would find the web site. Anyway, I have been going gangbusters and and going to slow down after this run. This group doesn't meet in the summer since so many are gone at their lake houses on the weekends.

Allison called me yesterday to tell me that she had just come from her"pinning ceremony." I think that is the equivilent of getting "hooded" for advanced degrees. So she is officially done with college and walks on the 26th. Tomorrow she goes to say good-bye to her 1st grade class and thinks she will probably cry. We plan to go next Friday and come back the next Tuesday morning. Our girl finished college! Yahoo! She has a phone interview with AT&T on Monday morning regarding doing the same kind of job Laura has. Her thinking is to try starting with them in Sept. and work to pay off her loans ASAP so she can afford to do what the Lord gives her as a job- teaching? working overseas with children? She just isn't sure yet. She and Jenni did find an apartment to house sit this summer for someone who will be gone for June and July rent free. They will take care of a dog while the owner is in India.

Allison is still looking for a car. Hers is getting worse and a college friend's family has offered to let her borrow one while the hunt for a replacement continues. Please pray with us that this would all work out. These same friends might have a few connections that could find something and they are keeping their eye out for us.

Jesse is officially planning to graduate early- End of Jan of '09. Then he plans to head overseas until June or so. We are pursuing leads for him to be able to do a serious "job shadow" with a friend doing relief/community development work. Please pray with us about the details of his plans. I think that could be a very defining time in his life if he ends up in the right place. He has a friend who wants to do it with him who is graduating this year. I guess our kids are growing up!

I think I have made this long enough, so I will end here. Feel free to email me at or call me at 509-990-8465- especially if I haven't talked to you for a while.
God bless you! Nancy

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fool's Day Update

Dear friends,

I hope you had a great Easter. The weather here was rainy, but the day was still a wonderful celebration. We enjoyed a nice time at church and then had a lamb dinner with friends from Partners. Our 3 teenage kids did an indoor egg hunt and the camo eggs took them over 1/2 hour to find! It was very fun.

I have had a few people ask me to answer some questions here, so I will do that now. First of all, an update on our kids. LAURA is about to turn 23 (April 10th) and told me to tell you she is now in her late early 20's. She is still working with AT&T Mobility and is doing corporate sales in the Baltimore/DC area. She has a sweet roommate and lives near some Grove City grads and is involved in a weekly Bible study. She has picked a church to attend. She enjoys entertaining and often has people over for dinner. Jenni spent her spring break with Laura a few weeks ago.

ALLISON is finishing her student teaching of 1st graders in Lakeland, FL. Her graduation is on April 26th from Southeastern University. Her 22nd birthday is May 2nd. She is planning to work in Denver this June ande July, where she will be nannying for a family with 2 girls she has worked for for several years. JENNI plans to spend those 2 months in Denver with her. They are looking for a place to live during that time. Jenni is looking for a job for those 2 months in Denver. Allison is job hunting for after July, and Jenni plans to spend August with us before heading back to Grove City for her sophomore year.

JENNI is enjoying her freshman year of Mechanical Engineering at Grove City College. She is in the school choir and leads worship for a fellowship group every two weeks. She is planning to go to a dance this Saturday night. She really feels like Grove City is a great fit for her. She turns 19 on April 29th.

JESSE turned 17 on March 8th. He is still job-hunting here in Spokane. He is avoiding applying to fast food places, and his dream job would be Starbucks. He probably has applied 20 places so far, and is somewhat discouraged. He is preparing for a mission trip to Mexico with his youth group this summer. Last Wednesday night he played guitar and sang in the school talent show. He did a good job and is putting together some songs with a friend to play at coffee houses, and an upcoming benefit concert that has been postponed. They sound really good together. He is on spring break right now and is helping Greg dig garden space in the backyard for berry bushes that are coming in the next week or two. Jesse helps lead the music team for youth group, plays the baritone in the school band and enjoys the school choir too.

I am scheduled to meet with the children's ministry team at our church tomorrow night to talk about curriculum. In a few weeks I am coordinating a missions skit during children's church. Greg and I are planning to go to Allison's graduation with free tickets we got in January when we volunteered to get bumped off a flight. Her car is limping to its death right now and we have to find a replacement for her. This is a challenge from 1000's of miles away- but we are trusting that the Lord will help us find her something.

My ears- This is an update for those who remember that I had the flu which settled in my ears in February. I could hardly hear for 2 weeks, and gradually my hearing came back. My ears are still popping with occasional pain. We recently took a walk in the evening and I think the cold air got to them. Anyway, I am just waiting for them to get better. They don't hurt very often.

The Partners International meetings. The most powerful message I heard was from one of our Asian partner leaders. He talked about poverty and a better way to understand it, and also some effective ways to deal with it. The surprising thing he said was that a lot of projects are counter productive when done for the impoverished, and don't solve the problem. He also described one model of community developement where people dwelling on a dump, actually have totally transformed their lives. They are in homes with jobs and a lovely neighborhood. Initially the team working with them debated whether they could make any difference since the situation was so terrible. Now people are trying to buy property in that area to live there as it is so desirable. This process takes maybe 7 years to fully happen and ends with a church planted as well.

Jesse ended up coming with me to hear this, and we were blessed to have this man stay over night and spend the next day with us. Jesse asked him how he could get trained to do this kind of work. So we are praying with Jesse about what steps he can take to prepare himself for what the Lord has for him to do. Jesse hopes to graduate from high school a semester early, and may use that time to travel and get some of this training. We would love for you to pray for God's leading in his future.

Greg took me with him to a leaders meeting here in Spokane last Thursday and Friday to represent Partners. We got to network with both local ministry leaders and several who came in from out of town. It was a really neat time and relationships were established that will bless Partners and that will allow us to be a blessing to others as well.

Well, I will let you get back to your life! Thanks for being interested and for praying for us. I am regularly very achy and tired, but no cancer that we know of. That makes dealing with the rest of this much easier.

God bless you!