Thursday, December 24, 2009

Update and Priorities

Dear Friends,

It is Christmas Eve day and it is momentarily quiet here. Laura is hanging out at Starbucks where Jesse is working, Jenni is doing errands with Greg, Allison is working at the mall, and Adjua is in her room hanging out. I am typing on a new computer my guys managed to get me on black Friday. That is a whole story in itself. They worked very hard with Jesse beginning at Best buy at 4:00 a.m. and by the time I got up at 9:30 they were home with a computer for me and one for Laura. Anyhow, this is where the "prioritizing part of the title of this entry comes in...

In setting up my new computer not all, but most, of the files transferred through he external hard drive. The "all" that didn't transfer were my address lists. So that has literally and functionally caused headaches. I tried, but have not succeeded in getting all of my Christmas cards sent. Some of you will get them late. So when do you switch gears and admit that you can't get that part done? I find it hard to admit defeat, but today I began by saying, "UNCLE!" So the stress level has decreased and you probably won't realize our card is late until you receive it late. Sorry. I think I should start next year's in the summer! And I am pretty sure you won't disown us or take us off your list of friends. We did send it out electronically, so let us know by emailing Greg if you would like to receive the Yahoo version.

All the kids are home. Allison is home from Korea and we have totally enjoyed having the last 3 months with her. She wants to go back to school for a nursing degree, but after consulting with her financial advisor (Laura), she has decided to work for a year and make some money first, rather than adding to her college debt. She is looking for a well-paying nanny job. She is thinking other places than here. She may move to do that at the end of January, but has to figure out a car first. Her old Toyota bit the dust and is gone. We are down to Jesse, Allison, Adjua, and me sharing the van. Starbucks and college for Jesse, a different university for Adjua, Allison working at the mall, and me doing all the rest of my stuff and driving everyone everywhere. Boy is that time consuming! That is another reason why it is time to give in and prioritize what must be done, rather than what I really want to get done.

Laura is going to URBANA on Sunday morning - a missions conference in St. Louis hosted by Inter-Varsity. She will have a very busy time there attending sessions and meeting with mission agency personnel. Her church from Maryland will have a group there also.

Jenni got home on Tuesday morning from France. She loved her semester there with Grove City. She got to travel to many European destinations on weekends and breaks. She heads back to school in mid-January. It is so wonderful to have her singing around the house and playing the piano. Our family just enjoys being together and laughing. Settlers of Catan is a favorite game these days. The other night we had Adjua tell us stories about Christmas in Ghana and it was very entertaining. We will have one Ghanaian guest (Joyce) for our Christmas turkey dinner, and a bunch of others coming over after that for games and fun.

So, are you picking up on what I need to prioritize? My mind just goes in way too many directions! The sun just came out! We have seen way too little of that lately. Jenni calls it "The Grey Darkness."

I have enjoyed many weeks of no knee pain since my cortisone shot and I have decided it was totally worth it! I think it is beginning to war off, but I am praying and hoping it lasts as long as possible. I have a few tests at the end of the month to make sure scar tissue is scar tissue and not something else. The rule of thumb is to assume that it isn't because it usually isn't. Plus, I know the Lord of the universe personally, and know that He really loves me no matter what. He is good and put aside all of the privileges of heavenly royalty to live a humble life among us humans, just to provide access to Himself through the sacrifice of His own life. There is only one way to God-through a personal relationship with Christ -- submitting to His lordship. Tough but fair. He provided the opportunity for that. Amazing!

I am so grateful for an amazing husband, family, great friends, God's provision and so many other things. I had another call from northern Ghana last week, and Jacob said that because God has provided a motorcycle for him. he is able to plant churches in several more villages. One is starting tomorrow -- on Christmas with a big meeting/celebration. As Adjua would say - WOW! I love the way she does that!

I wish you a wonderful holiday and heartfelt blessings from me and us here in sunny (right now) Spokane, WA! God bless, Nancy Yahoo

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To give or not to give- to missionaries

Hi friends,

I am checking my shopping list and cupboard to see what we still need for tomorrow. I still don't know if we will have any guests, but I am sure that will work out. I am turning 52 tomorrow and am happy for the almost 11 years out from my first beast cancer. So much to be grateful for- a wonderful family, an incredible ministry, a nice home and food on the table, etc. But I am feeling sad.

I feel like my sharing what it going through my heart right now, so that it may help any of you who are making decisions about missionary support at your church or personally. So that you can consider the implications of that simple line through a budget line item to real people. I have just had to do this with the missions commission at our church here in Spokane, because the church budgets, like everyone else's, are taking a hit. And unfortunately sometimes that hit goes extra hard to the missions budget.

Missionsries are people you don't see everyday, or week, or month. They, by definition, are busy people who have several "worlds" to care for: Their own immediate family, their focus of ministry, their extended family back home, their sending agency, and of course their support base- their prayer and financial life-line to enable them to do their ministry. They usually burn the candle at 3 ends to keep up with all of this. If they weren't committeed and called to this hard work, do you think they would be sacrificing a 'normal' life to do it? But if the financial part dips, it can all come to a halt, as they scramble to find a way to stay in ministry while finding replacement money somewhere else. Imagine doing this from the Middle East or Asia.

Greg and I have always highly valued our support team. These folks bless us and the nations through us, but they also get the reward of participating in exciting global Kingdom of God things through our ministry. It blesses the nations and it blesses them to be playing a vital role in what God is doing on the front lines. Symbiotic- mutually beneficial. We love these friends and churches and thank God for them regularly. (We hope we communicate that adequately to any of you reading this.)

On Monday we learned that one of our main supporting churches decided to discontinue our support at the beginning of this last year. We should have picked up on this sooner, but didn't due to staff shortages and less than optimum dilegence on my part. I have to go looking for information currently- it isn't just given to me. Greg leaves this part to me and I enjoy doing it. Anyway, a string of zeros across the page recently caught my attention. We investigated and discovered this decision.

This has implications in several ways. Since we didn't know, we didn't get to be part of the discussion. It seems like after almost 2 decades of a close connection, including us in the process would have been obvious. There are 100's and 100's of relationships between us and that church. They cared for us in the most excellent ways when I went through my cancer. We cried together and prayed together. They brought us meals and some went with me to chemo. I was active in a breast cancer support group there for 7 years. I helped start the children's missions program there. I wrote several years of month-long missions curriculum for the Sunday School. I did a monthly missions club for for kids for several years. I took a large role in helping to plan mission conferences. I taught children's leaders how to teach missions. We lead support groups, took leadership roles in the missions committee, Greg on the exec. team, and lead a short term mission trip to Central America with 28 people.

When our ministry with Caleb Project came to a close, this church also cared for us most excellently. So many ways caring was expressed as we grieved and made decisions for what to do next. So practical and so loving and caring and generous.

So now...this discovery of a severed connection. A line through a name- our name- on a list when it was time to make the tightening budget work. When you have to make these decisions, can I beg you to not only think about your personal connection to that missionary, but to the connection they have to the church? The relationships. Their history. Their involvement. Their commitment to you as a church. Their dependence and value of you being on their team. The deeper these are, the more necessary it is to communicate with them about these decisions. Please let them be part of the process.

Did you commission them and send them out from your body? By severing ties, isn't this the equalivilant of walking out of a covenant relationship without warning? Like 'dumping' someone when you are a teenager?

We never got to say a proper thank you. That is really sad. For a church to have blessed missionaries like we were blessed and cared for by this church, we would like the opportunity to properly thank them for all they have meant to us. Instead I am left feeling sad that I didn't get to express gratitude. To be fair I was told that "in every way but financially you are still considered missionaries of the church." We are still being prayed for by the leadership team. I think we have been adopted by a large Sunday School class and I am supposed to do a presentation there in Feb. Do we still invest effort and time in visiting and fullfilling our part of the missionary role with that church? How can we afford to? We now also have to figure out how to replace the gap in funds. I could have been working on this all year if I had been more careful and obvservant.

Any funds that don't come into our account to pay Greg's salary come out of the minstry's general budget and are literally not able to go to our partners overseas for their amazing and strategic ministries. We have an agreement with Partners to cover at least 2/3's of Greg's salary. We are around $10,000 short. I feel like it is my fault for not paying closer attention. Greg is telling me that God will provide, and my Bible is doing the same, and I know that is true. But I have to tell you that my connections to my newly found brothers and sisters in our partner ministries in the 10/40 Window is making this very gut-wrenching for me. I believe in what they are doing with my whole heart. I feel like I am letting them down.

The physical therapy to disabled children being lead by Ubaldo in Morrocco, the children being rescued out of human trafficing by Anita in India, the outreach and over 140 new Achenese believers in Indonesia through my sister there, food for the women in the witches' camp in northern Ghana who have just come to Christ- who I personally got to hug this summer... I could go on and on and on. There is so much to help them do. Well, I need to dry up my tears and get ready for Thanksgiving. There is much that is happening through our partners that I can be thankful for. Sorry for dumping. Just give when you can to the things on your heart everyone else had decreased giving to, and don't forget those you don't see every day.

Learning trust and understaning in all of this- Nancy Fritz

P.S. If you want to give to Partners International you can at our website, but I am NOT intending to guilt anyone. I mean that.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The east coast, carpal tunnel and snow

Dear friends,
My Trip to the East Coast
I am back from my trip. I had a wonderful time on the east coast. I had a wonderful time sharing about the ministry of Partners International. I was able to share about many of our partners working throughout the 10/40 Window. A few times meetings lasted for over 3 hours! I shared in 3 churches, visited with 4 and got to visit friends and family, including many on our support team. It was wonderful to catch up with many friends. There is nothing that takes the place of personally connecting. Thanks to all of you who took the time for a visit with me!
Together with Greg's parents, I got to see a family of 5 bob cats right outside the back of their house. Two adults and 3 kits. Wow. I think that is pretty rare. This isn't the clearest picture, but I think you can tell that it is a bobcat.
I will say that the use of Partners' Garmin made the trip so much easier for me as I drove alone. That GPS is a true feat of engineering! It guided me through Baltimore, around central and eastern PA, upstate NY, northern NJ and then across NJ back to Baltimore. And God provided a significant discount toward my car rental fee through a brother in Christ. That was a direct answer to prayer. Thank you, friend!
Carpal Tunnel
It has been a week since I had my carpal tunnel release surgery. I am doing well. I thought you might like to hear how it went. I was preped like other surgeries, but obviously not with as much detail. My nurse is my now friend, Shirley. She has just finished her breast cancer treatment. We connected quickly as we shared stories. Our hearts connected deeply on issues we both understood about adjusting from being a patient to being a survivor. She also knew how to start an IV on my right hand without giving me lymphodema problems.
My friend Sue came back for a few minutes and then went to the waiting room. I met with the surgeon who explained what he was going to do in more detail and assured me it would take less than 10 minutes. He was going to make a small incision near the bottom of my palm, where the nerves to the hand pass through the carpal tunnel. My tunnel had become inflamed and was pinching the nerve. Eventually, this kind of nerve constriction would kill the nerve to the hand. He would insert a tool into that incision that would tunnel down a ways toward my wrist and "release" (cut apart) the tendon or ligament that crosses over the top of the tunnel. This makes the passageway for the nerve to the hand 40% bigger and releases the pressure. There are no adverse affects to doing this, and it solves a very big problem.
The anesthesiologist met with me also and explained that he was going to give me Versed while the nerve block was being put into my right wrist, then they would turn off the Versed and by the time I woke up, they would be done.
So, before I knew it, it was all done. I was able to leave in an hour. I was very awake and comfortable. My hand was wrapped and was numb until late afternoon. My hand was very sore that night and the next morning, but by evening the second day, it felt much better. The next day I took off the wrapping and took a shower and put a band aid on my little incision.
I have been doing gentle exercises of opening and closing my hand all week and get my stitches out on Monday. Even as soon as Saturday, I could tell that the carpal tunnel symptoms were gone. No tingling, numbness or that kind of pain up my arm or in my hand. I was able to knit some by Monday. If I had a desk job, I would have been able to resume work in a few days.
I know a lot of friends who have problems with carpal tunnel and who try and avoid the things that cause the problem to flair. This procedure was pretty simple to solve the problem without having all the discomfort and pain. They used to do this in a much more complicated way, but now it is fairly simple. So there you have my experience. I did make my hand hurt on Tuesday when putting a sheet on the bed, but it is doing well again. The procedure was called "Carpal Tunnel Release."
Yesterday we got a very small amount of snow. Adjua, our international student from Ghana, who is living with us while she attends Whitworth, is marveling at the phenomenon. It took her weeks to get used to wearing sweaters and light jackets. The idea of wearing a bulky jacket does not compute, and so far, even at 38 degrees she won't wear one. She feels like it makes her look too fat. I never thought before how different it is to be somewhere cold when you have grown up at the equator. She has the coats, hats, scarves, boots and gloves to wear, but we will have to see how long it takes her to get used to the idea of wearing them.
Greg is back from the mountains without anything to fill the freezer, but so glad for his time by himself with the Lord. He cherishes these times every year. Partners is again this month seeing low numbers as he expressed in our recent Yahoo update. (If you want to be on that list, email him at Please pray for God's wisdom for him and the other leaders.
Laura was just offered a severance package by AT&T, and feels that since she was praying to get laid off, that she should go ahead and do it. Although college is paid off, she was hoping for some more time to build up her savings so she would be able to investigate other possibilities for ministry. That luxury is now not possible. She would love to go to URBANA, but can't because of the cost. It would cost close to $700 for her to go, and she just doesn't have the money.
Allison is with us at least until Christmas. After much prayer, she has settled on the decision to go back to school for a 15-16 month nursing degree. She gave teaching a fair chance and feels like her gifting would be better used in nursing. She might end up teaching nursing someday since she already has an education degree. She would also see her training in Elementary Ed. being very helpful in pediatric nursing. She is sending an application to John's Hopkins today and will also be applying other places. Currently she has a part time job at the mall to pay for college loans.
Jenni is still studying in France and is enjoying her experience very much. She has been able to do a lot of traveling on the weekends to places all over Europe. She comes home Dec. 21st.
Jesse is in community college currently, and this weekend is serving with his national guard unit doing training- in the snow. His old, old car has totally kicked the bucket. Allison was given that car by a ministry in Denver called God's Cars in '05, and it had over 200,000 miles then! It served her for student teaching in college and since, until it has become the vehicle he and Allison are using to get to work and school. You might realize that this means that the car I use, has become the Fritz family shuttle. We would love for you to join us in praying for God's provision for a vehicle for Allison. Whichever way she goes, she will have to have a car. God has been faithful in the past, and He is Jehova Jira. Jesse won't need a car after March 1st, since that is when he goes to bootcamp.
I (Nancy) am doing some projects for church for Angel Tree, driving our kids all over the city, including Adjua to college as well, I taught two college classes for Greg while he was gone. I taught on "Ministering to Children Cross-Culturally." I am meeting with those planning our regional missions conference that is scheduled for next fall. I will be helping to lead the children's track and miscellaneous other tasks. I am leading a group of women at church for a Beth Moore Bible study, and will be helping with a church kids Christmas program. I am serving on the missions commission at our church, and on Wednesday this week I honestly woke up at 5:04 p.m., and then slept all that night as well. So, in between my various projects, resting happens. I am doing felting of wool items and knitting as my hobby of choice in my spare time currently.
So, thank you for your interest and for any prayers you offer up for Partners and our family
Blessings, Nancy Fritz 509-990-8465

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Going east in a few hours!

Dear friends-
I leave at 8:20 a.m. for the office and then the airport. I actually just got home from the airport a few hours ago and have a total of 10 of them at home! I just came from Partners International's President's Forum in Laguna Beach and the meetings were fantastic. The people I met were also amazing.

I am going to Baltimore, Lascaster, Harrisburg, Benton, PA, Bath, NY, Ridgewood, NJ and back to Baltimore with some visits on the way to these various places. I would appreciate your prayers for good health and safety on the road. I fly home on Nov. 2nd and teach Greg's class the next day.

Thank you and blessings-

Monday, October 05, 2009

Travels, Daughters, Wrists and Berries

Hello all!

It is officially fall now. Cooler and windy today. We are still picking raspberries from Greg's garden and I picked 6 quarts of blackberries on Friday afternoon up on Green Bluff. There were millions I didn't have time to pick, but the ones I did pick, I made into freezer jam, blackberry syrup and I froze the rest whole. Some were actually over 1" long- sooo good!
(Me, Greg, Jennifer and Jesse at Whitworth orientation.)

Someone gave us apples which I have been cutting up for pies. Greg invited his college class students over for dinner this Friday night and promised them apple pie. He has asked Jesse, Allison and Adjua to share about cross cultural communication with them while they are here.


Jennifer (Adjua) our exchange daughter from near the equator in Ghana, told us tonight when we invited her to go walking with us, that if she went, her blood would freeze and she would become static! You have to love that! And it is only in the 50's! She keeps asking if it is going to keep getting colder. Snow will be new for her. It sleeted on Friday and she was excited about that.

Tonight she and Greg and I talked for quite a while about adjusting to a different culture. She has trouble getting people to understand her because of her accent, so she holds back in communicating sometimes. Things like asking a question in class or trying to buy food at the cafeteria at school make her nervous. Greg is going to have her share her experience with his class in cross-cultural ministry on Thursday.

She spent most of the weekend teaching herself how to do graphs on excell for her lab write-ups for school. A high learning curve, but will pay off later. Ironically, most of the American students made their graphs by hand last week after she had spent hours!

I had the test done by the neurologist on Wednesday and my right wrist has carpal tunnel. When he did two of the electric zaps toward my thumb, I yelped. That is where there is a swollen place on the right side of my wrist. The other zaps were just sensations that were not painful. The left one only has a little carpal tunnel. The hand orthopedic doctor should be calling this week to let me know the next step in solving the problem. I know that most things are making it hurt or numb these days- driving, cooking, sewing, typing, sweeping, sleeping...

I have a check up with my oncologist on the 14th- right before I leave town for a few weeks. This is routine. As usual, I have new aches and pains we will talk about. Scar tissue is a big factor for me these days. I will let you know what they think after my visit. I will also see my gyno in Nov. as I think there are problems with my cystocele repair from last year. Things are feeling sore and out of sorts with that part of my body. I am still walking with Greg most evenings.


I have two friends going through cancer right now. One I met through our realtor. Leslie lives on the South Hill and her son goes to Grove City as is a sophomore. We got together before school started this fall so Jenni could meet Joel and a girl going to Grove City as a freshman.

Well, Leslie and I also have the recurring breast cancer thing in common. She is on her 2nd time and tomorrow is scheduled for a double mastectomy. We got together last week and I loaned her my scarves and hats for her time in the hospital and recovery. I shared my experience with her so she would know more of what to expect. She won't be having reconstruction for a while, but plans to have a TRAM flap like I did. Her hair is beginning to grow back.

We went together with her mother to the store where they sell items for ladies with our special cancer needs. While we were there a woman came in who had just found out she had cancer and needed to buy a wig. She was crying and we just felt for her. Leslie got the coolest cotton camisole with pockets for light weight breast forms and a place to put drains, etc. That is new since '99 when Deb and I were inventing "Beanie Boobies!" And it is covered by her insurance. It just keeps getting better and better for those experiencing breast cancer! We agreed that if you have to have cancer, to have it there is a blessing. It is on the outside and can be removed- unlike pancreatic or liver, etc.

Leslie brought up the idea of maybe it being time to start a Christian breast cancer support group in our city. To our knowledge there isn't one, and I really miss my Friends For Life support group in Denver. We might just start the Spokane branch! I have quite a network of contacts now. I think I need to find someone who still has an intact memory to help with the leading. My memory has been affected by 'chemo brain' and remembering names is difficult for me. Anyway, Leslie and I have a desire to do this and we would appreciate your prayer that we can work out the details in the next several months. I think it will be after the holidays at least.

My other friend with cancer is Mary. She is working remotely for Partners, coming from Seattle to our office every few weeks or so to work on accounting. She got horrible vertigo about two months ago and then began having weakness all over her body. One of her doctors researched for a whole weekend and had her scanned for a malignancy on the next Monday. It was one of the possible causes for her symptoms he came across in his research. It ended up being caused by ovarian cancer. She had surgery and is very slooooowly getting back the ability to speak and hopefully the rest of her abilities through physical therapy. It is going to take time but we are all so very thankful that the cause was discovered early. They don't believe it spread outside her ovary. The neurological symptoms allerted them to this often deadly cancer in its early stages. She has very strong faith is her loving Heavenly Father and is counting her blessings.


I have my plane ticket and am putting together my schedule for a trip east. I plan to visit my mother, visit 2 or 3 supporting churches and many supporters. I plan to rent a car in Baltimore where Laura lives and drive to New Jersey and Pennsylvania to visit supporters and churches and also go to see my mom in Bath, NY. I fly out of here on Oct. 20th and fly back on Nov. 2nd. If anyone has an idea about an inexpensive rental, let me know. Currently my options are coming out at about $400 for the 2 weeks. Ouch!

Allison gets home on Tuesday night from South Korea, via Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Florida. We haven't seen her since Christmas. (We haven't seen Laura since then either, but since it was so far it seems longer and I get to see Laura on the 20th.) Adjua is looking forward to meeting Allison. I think the two of them will be peas in a pod.

On the 14th of October, Greg and I will be in Laguna Beach for a Partners International event for 5 days. That will be an exciting time of sharing the ministry with people coming from around the US. Since I have seen the ministry up close overseas and have had partners stay in our home, I feel like I have stories to tell. I just want to be available and a help. The day after we get home I leave for the east coast, so basically, I will be gone for 2 1/2 weeks. While I am east, Greg will be doing some hunting in between working and teaching.

Well, my knees are throbbing, so I think I will hit the sack. Drop me and email if you get the chance at or call: 509-990-8465.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fall is here and Jesse is a soldier!

Dear friends,

The leaves are turning colors, and the air is gradually getting colder. I don't think I miss the snow Denver is experiencing. It is supposed to be in the 70's tomorrow here in Spokane, Washington. Genifer- our Ghanaian Whitworth student- actually wore closed toed shoes yesterday. She isn't looking forward to the colder weather!

I am beginning a study on the book of Esther by Beth Moore with our church's women's group. I ended up becoming a small group leader for that group. So far it is very good. I am looking forward to the discipline of doing a study with others. Discipline isn't my strong suit!

I saw the doctor yesterday about pain in my wrist and arm. He thinks that it is carpal tunnel rather than a cyst. The lump appears to be swelling from the constriction. He took x-rays and did some tests and is sending me for a neurological evaluation next Wed. to figure it out for sure. Then he'll call me to let me know. I have been experiencing so much pain and numbness, that I would like to figure out what is going on and find a solution. My research last night about carpal tunnel listed all my symptoms, so we'll see. My deductible is paid for my health insurance for '09, so at least I don't have to pay extra to get this checked. Any input from any of you about what worked for you in fixing this problem would be appreciated. (

I continue to have lots of problems with scar tissue from the radiation treatments I had at the end of '06. The dose that went to the nodes on the left side at the base of my neck, really is causing problems. The scar tissue pushes on the muscles in my neck causing my neck to get messed up pretty easily. I go to the chiropractor about once a week and he works on the scar tissue there and in my abdomen and the side of my chest wall. My knee is hurting as much as ever from whatever is wrong there. So I am sore and achy, but able to function OK. A few of my meds can cause muscle and joint aches, so that could explain how I feel.

I am planning a trip to the east coast for the second half of October. There are lots of details connected to that, and I am helping to lead chapel at Partners International this morning about Kidzana. I also need to prepare to teach 2 of Greg's Whitworth classes at the beginning of Nov. The class is Cross Cultural Ministry, and I will be talking about ministering to children cross-culturally. That should be fun.

So I am off to chapel... Have a wonderful day and God bless you! Nancy Fritz
Jenni is in France for her fall semester with Grove City College, Laura is days away from paying off her student loans as she continues to work for AT&T. Allison gets home in 2 weeks from her year in South Korea teaching English. And our international student, Genifer, or Adjua, is adjusting well to America. We took her to the fair and she wasn't sure about the rodeo and wondered why Americans enjoy bull riding and mutton bustin!'

And Jesse...He has enlisted in the National Guard. He is in community college this fall, going for one weekend a month and taking an ROTC class. He goes to boot camp March 1st for 9 or 10 weeks. Then he goes to Arizona for interrogation training, and then he goes to Monterrey, CA for a year of Arabic school. That could be worth two years of college. All together it takes 90 weeks. He gets to come home for Christmas next year.

After he's done he will probably be deployed for a tour. Then back for college and then more training and another deployment. Then he will be on the one weekend a month schedule. At that point he should be able to get a very good job. His National Guard counter intelligence job would not be front line, but questioning back from the front lines or interpreting tapes or documents. He got a bonus and a 'kicker,' will be paid while he does all this, school will be paid for and he should end up with money in the bank. I think the whole thing should take 8 years including the 2 years of college. So we are parents of a soldier!

I am helping to lead chapel today at Partners International about Kidzana, so I need to get moving! Have a wonderful day! Blessings- Nancy

Friday, September 04, 2009

Two girls came, one is gone & soldier's mother?

I can hardly believe that I haven't written for 2 1/2 weeks! So much has happened!

Jenni came home and we went camping in the Blue Mountains. They were beautiful in a different way than any we have seen anywhere else. We found a place for Greg and Jesse to hunt- lots of animals and places to set up camp.

We camped under tall pine trees on top of a mountain and all around us were smaller pine trees and multitudes of huckleberry bushes fully loaded! There was also warm fresh evidence of bears near the berries, but we didn't see any. I picked by myself for 6 hours and got 1 gallon. Right at the end of our time (and my sore back from bending over), I found another whole area where the berries were waist high and large and there were so many! I just couldn't pick anymore. And there were a lot of mosquitoes in there.

When we got home, I made huckleberry freezer jam and got 10 8 oz. jars. Counting the time, mosquito bites and scratches, those jars are worth a fortune to me! I am so very thankful for the jar a friend gave me last year!


Here is another thing that defies reality...Jenn has only been here for 13 days! She arrived at midnight two weeks ago tomorrow. She is a total delight. She loves to laugh and she thinks I am funny. (Imagine that!) She had fun with Jenni and Jesse and instead of Jenni teaching her how to keep Jesse in line, they both taught her how to tease me! Actually, she laughs when I get teased and doesn't tease me herself. She is 5'8" and is beautiful. We got her some warm clothes to prepare her for the fall. When it is 85 degrees or higher, she tells me that the weather is very nice. I don't think there are too many very nice days left until next summer!

In Ghana, everyone has a "day" name based on the day of the week they were born. Jenn's day name is Adjua, so that is what we usually call her. It solved the two Jenni problem. That is what her parents call her, so it makes her feel at home. We got her the fixings for Jolof rice last night so she can do some cooking. She discovered the ice cream in the freezer tonight and told me if she had known it was there, it would be empty already! She is having international student orientation today and tomorrow and freshman orientation on Sat- Tuesday. School starts for her and Greg on Wednesday. He is teaching a class this fall at Whitworth on Tues. and Thursday mornings.

Our son is planning to enlist tomorrow for Army ROTC National Guard with the counter intelligence unit specializing in Arabic. He registered for the fall at Spokane Falls Community College today, and would go to basic training/boot camp in Jan. After 9 weeks of that he would go to Southern CA for Arabic school for a total of 90-ish weeks. Then he would come back here for 1 1/2 years more of CC, and then 2 years at a state school- basically paid for and he would also have a nice amount in the bank. He could be deployed 1 time during his stint in CC, and after finishing college would serve for 4 years. We figure it will probably add up to 11 years. With the Arabic counter intelligence training, he wouldn't be on the front line but would have other jobs- he tells me. He would come out with training that would prepare him for employment afterwards and have no debt and be paid while he does it. All of these things are attractive to him.

If the contract doesn't include what we are expecting, he won't sign. Please pray for us to be sharp on details to make sure they are putting in writing what he expects them to. He goes at 5:45 a.m. and will call us when they are ready for our part. I am supposed to bring the camera and I just might also need tissues! Pray that if for any reason he shouldn't be doing this, the Lord will close the door. We don't have any huge red flags and he seems to have thought this through carefully. There are signing bonuses that he would get by doing this now rather than waiting and would go in with an E3 since he did 2 years of Jr. ROTC in high school and a few other factors. So anyway, please pray. We have heard more stories than we can count about people enlisting and ending up in situations very different than what they were expecting. I don't want that to happen to my boy who is really God's boy!

Jesse's African father and mother, Rene and Faustine Mbongo were here on Monday for lunch and Jesse talked to them in French a mile a minute. I guess he really did learn it while he was there! We are so grateful for the impact they had on his life!

I saw the doctor about me left knee last Thursday. It has been very sore and a little swollen. The Baker's cyst hasn't gotten any smaller since it showed up last October. My surgeon who tried to fix it in the spring, is disappointed that it isn't doing any better. He said it is possible to take out the cyst, but since I had a blood clot in that leg last summer, and because there are so many nerves going through there, he doesn't think it is a good idea.

I got a brace for it that is black and very snug yesterday. Last night my knee didn't hurt at all during the night for the first time in weeks. I wore it today and it gave good support and I think it pushes on the Baker's cyst and that feels good too.

The joint in my left pinkie is swollen and very sore. He looked at that and another cyst thing on my right wrist that is sending pain through my right hand. He said that these things might all be related to RA and asked me to go to my internist to see. I have an appointment on Tuesday. My low back is sore too and my chiropractor thinks it is connected to scar tissue in my abdomen. So ice on my back and knee when I can. I am feeling OLD these days, but am still grateful to be alive and able to get around. I have a kids' curriculum on Ghana started and have lots of ideas of how to finish it now that I have been there.

I got a call from Jacob, by new friend and the missionary to the village we spent the most time in while we were in Ghana. He said that many of the accused witches have become Christians and that the church has grown to 100 people! Before we were there, it had 20. Aslan is on the move in Nabuli, Northern Ghana!

Nancy Fritz

Monday, August 17, 2009

Jenni is coming home and Jenn is coming too!

Dear friends,

What a crazy few weeks. I got back from Ghana and Greg and I have been grabbing the weekends to experience some of the beautiful northwest. We went to a bluegrass festival, camped in the national forest, camped with our church and worked on cleaning our townhouses. I have been cooking for my "boys" and getting ready for my girls!

Jenni gets home in a few hours. She spent the summer working at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab and lived with Laura near Baltimore. She spent several days in Denver visiting friends, and flies here today. We get her for a few weeks until she leaves for France for the fall semester with Grove City. They will study French and do engineering with their profs in PA online. She knows some French and Jesse is excited to get to use his African French with her.

So, since I knew Jesse would be lonely when she leaves, I got him another sister named Jennifer in Ghana who is going to come live with us while she goes to Whitworth. I met her while I was there. We are agreeing to pay for her food and housing. I have a bedroom ready for her and we are emailing so she will know what to bring. Since I was there, I know the cold will be a challenge for her. But we have girls so we will know how to take care of her. We will can her Jenn and she asked if she could start calling me Mum. I figure I am her Ameri-Mum. She will be studying pre-med. She arrives late on Friday night.

Now for my boy...Jesse has been thinking about his next steps since he got home from Africa. Lately he has been meeting with military recruiters and considering that route. He was thing very hard about signing a congract next Monday. He has decided to go to community college this fall and revisit this idea in January. I am happy for this decision because I felt like he was pursuing this because of boredom and restlessness. Africa was very exciting, and here life is just ordinary. By January he will be able to be more objective. He challenged my patriotism, but I really didn't have peace that he was deciding for the right reasons. If he decides to do this after thinking and praying longer, I will salute and cry and be very proud. So keep him in your prayers about his life plans if you would.

Jenni, Jesse, Greg and I are going to go camping in the SE part of the state to look for a new hunting spot. No elk have been seen during hunting season where they have been hunting the last two years, so it is time for a change. We hear the Blue Mountains are beautiful. Fun time together will be great.

My left knee is very sore. I bent it too far a few weeks ago and it is swollen a little. I have a check back with the knee surgeon on Thursday, so we will see what he thinks. I did well with my self-regulated therapy until Ghana, but haven't been very faithful since I got home. I am done with PT for the year, so that isn't an option. We'll see. Greg and I walk together almost every night, so I am at least doing that. Otherwise my health is OK. Sore and achy but just normal stuff. I don't see the oncologist until Oct.

Our Moody townhouses are filling up. We still need two more girls to be full. We have 34 out of 36. I think 9 have arrived. We would appreciate prayer that the last 2 spots get filled. The income is much needed to make this all work.

Well, I am off to the chiropractor and then to the airport! God bless you! Nancy Fritz 509-990-8465

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Witches' Camp, Northern Ghana

Dear friends,

I am home from Africa and have stories to tell. Here is my first installment. I will tell you about the Witches' Camp we visited at Nabuli Village in Northern Ghana. It was the highlight of our time in Ghana.

The first photo is of some of the accused witches with a poster saying they were going to remember us and pray for us. We told them we would remember them always. The second photo is of me with some of the Nabuli children. They love, love, love to have their picture taken! They try not to smile in pictures, but laugh and get excited when they see themselves on the digital camera screen afterwards. A girl from the village took this picture. In the 3rd picture is COF missionary Elisha on the left, and Jacob on the right. The third picture is of my teammate Robert, Elisha the missionary next to him in the white shirt, the guy in the hat is the fettish priest (witch doctor), the man in green is the chief's interpreter (linguist), the man in print fabric and hat is the immam of the village (leader of the mosque), the man in white pants and man to the right are assistants to the chief, and the last man on the right is the village chief. Last are our pesticide treated mosquito nets purchased from a nearby hospital for $2 each. The picture below is of some of the accused witches we met and hugged. This is a long story, but I had to tell it all.

4th of July Eve
On Friday evening, the 3rd of July, we had gotten settled into a small cement house owned my World Vision. It had a small fridge and sink in a kitchen, but otherwise that room was empty. The house had a bathing room, cement with a door, little drain on the floor, and not the cleanest place to think about getting clean in. That room had a bucket and dipper for bucket baths. The next little stall with a door was the toilet room. Their were a lot of bugs in there when we arrived, but our hosts got rid of them for us. There was a drying rack and 2 bedrooms with 2 beds each that had mattresses on them, and a sort of sheet (where the 4 of our team women slept). There was also a generic room on the front of the house with slatted windows all around and a torn screen door, and a solid door. We had ceiling fans and electricity.

We had our dinner of spaghetti noodles and tuna and sardines, mangos and a sauce to put over the noodles if we wanted. It tasted great. It was prepared by “fully pregnant” Ernestina, the wife of one of the two Ghanaian missionaries we spent those days with. She is due in a month and it was so hot! She worked very hard to cook for us with 2 village girls. She rode up on a motor bike, which was quite a sight!

As we talked about the next day at the village with Elisha, Ernestina’s husband and one of the missionaries, we flexed on our plans and prepared to act out the Good Samaritan as he suggested.

After dinner we saw clouds roll in. The wind blew so hard, the curtains in our living room were flying horizontally across the room. It reminded us of the tornado taking Dorothy’s house in the Wizard of Oz. Our electricity went off and we thought of the mud huts with thatch roofs in the village and wondered how they could hold up to this weather, and if the countless village children we had seen were scared.

Then the lightening and thunder began and intensified. We had been singing patriotic songs earlier to celebrate 4th of July Eve, and next came the fireworks! The sky lit up with beautiful, God-created lightening patterns that went from one end of the horizon to the other. I don’t think any of us will forget that night. We stopped a few times and prayed for safety and wondered about what was coming the next day as we visited the “witches’ camp” in a nearby village. We climbed into our mosquito netted beds, which for the guys were dirty mattresses on the living room floor.

Nabuli Village on the 4th of July
The next morning we had breakfast, including Ernestina's delicious rolls from her bakery. Elisha came with us in the van and we stopped 40 minutes and 4000 pot holes later to pick up Jacob, the missionary to Nabuli. We traveled another half hour or so and came to the village. Several people were standing around and we mingled with them and talked to them through interpreters. We learned some words and greetings. We realized later that we were chatting with the Muslim leader, the fettish priest (witch doctor), the teacher, and the chief -among others.

We walked a ways over to a large tree next to the school building where lots of people were gathered. I looked around an older sibling on the way to see the little brother or sister she was carrying on her back. The one year old screamed when seeing my white face, undoubtedly because I was the first white person he or she had ever seen! I scurried away fast!

After exchanging greetings with the entire village population with Elisha and Jacob translating, and singing and dancing some, we performed our Good Samaritan skit. Jacob translated the story for them afterwards, and then they talked about what they thought about the parable from the Bible. This village is mostly animistic and Muslim, with a few Christians. One Muslim man said that he had heard the story before, but seeing it acted out made it come alive for him. Someone else said a while later that it reminded them of how the accused witches in their village were treated- ignored and passed by, and that it was wrong. And with that began a discussion of this extensive problem which is prevalant at least in the rural parts of Ghana. It was known by the villagers that we were coming all the way from America to help them deal with this issue. We were surprised that they brought it up so quickly and openly.

Many took turns describing the problem for us…When something goes wrong, a sickness, or death, or accident, someONE must be blamed. They always attach what happened to a person. In their culture, a man only needs to say that he saw a certain woman in a dream, and she is then accused of being a witch and causing the incident. She is usually around 50, but not always- sometimes she is younger. The men admitted that some reasons for her accusation might be one man getting revenge on another who had previously accused his wife of the same thing. Or a husband might be a polygamist and wants one less wife to feed. He gets a friend to accuse his wife and he can go get a younger one who isn’t as wrinkled. That's what he said! We asked how many of the women gathered there were afraid that they might be accused of being a witch at some point in their lives. Every single woman raised her hand! Young and old.

We told them we would be back the next day to deal with the issue some more and drove the hour and a quarter or so, and dodged 6000 more pot holes, returning to our World Vision temporary home. Our host was Emmanual Dabson, the Director of Christian Outreach Fellowship (COF). COF is our Partners International connection in Ghana. When you give to Partners, this is one of the ministries that we we partner with. He is Elisha and Jacob’s mission director and has a special burden of his own about the witches’ camps because his mother was sent to one based on an accusation by her own brother. She later died at that camp.

We debriefed with these men who were very pleased at how the day had gone. We talked about the next day when we would be going back there, and then enjoyed our specially prepared 4th of July feast of goat soup with ‘meat balls’ in it. The problem was that the meat balls were things like bound and tied entrails, the goat’s tongue, a hoof with some hair on it…You get the idea. For them it is a delicacy and is very special, and a lot of work to prepare. We gave the 'meat balls' to our driver, Kwame, who really enjoyed them. Our hard working cooks figured out that Americans only like to eat the muscle part of the meat. Who knew?! The next time someone is fixing me goat soup, I will be sure to mention that!

Nabuli Village on Sunday July 5th
We drove again to Nabuli the next day, picked up Jacob again on the way, dodged and went into potholes again. We got to the village and met with everyone packed inside a room in the school since it began raining just as we pulled up. We split up into groups with the children, the women and the men separately. Our 16 year old team mate, Rob, took 150 kids in another room and kept them busy for almost an hour.

It stopped raining and the men went outside to meet. Wendi, Mardi and I were with the women, with Megan in the back videoing our discussion. We asked the 45 accused witches to describe their accusations and being “tested” to see if they were indeed witches by the fettish priests. Many told stories of being beaten until they confessed to being a witch. The alternative was to be beaten to death. One woman told us she was beaten by something, but Jacob didn’t know how to translate it. Soon they brought a bicycle to the door and pointed to the chain. She had obvious scarring and the bitterness and unforgiveness was evident on her face. Could you blame her?

Others described a ceremony they went through with the fettish priest of having to throw a dead chicken. Its throat was slit while the accused woman held it and then she had to throw it. If it landed stomach side down, she wasn’t a witch, and if it landed on its back with its feet in the air, she was a witch. From what we could figure out, 19 out of 20 times the chicken landed with its feet up. Some women were sent to the city to be cleansed of witch craft for several months by a fettish priest- sometimes sexually abused. Once found to be a witch, they were sent away from their village to a witches’ camp near another village several hours from their own village. There they were treated like outcasts, or like leapers, not to be touched by anyone, and expected to fend for themselves to provide for their own needs. If one became sick, she was sent back to her home village where she was stuck somewhere and ignored until she died. I have written this in the past tense, but what I am describing is still going on today.
They said that one of their greatest sadnesses is being taken away from their children and grandchildren right when they are finally at the age of enjoying them. They have worked HARD their whole lives, and just when they should be able to be taken care of and enjoy their family, they are accused of witchcraft and taken away. They also expressed thanks to the leaders of this particular village, because they built them huts when they came and let them do some farming to earn money. It wasn't much but they were grateful for it.

One of these women said that she felt the only solution to the problem was to become a Christian. And they wanted to know how to become Christians. Wendi and Mardi and I talked about forgiveness, bitterness and God’s unconditional love and that there was no guarantee that this practice would stop. But God would be with them in the midst of their circumstances and He promises forgiveness and eternal life if they confess their sins (which we ALL have no matter how big or small) and ask Him to be the Lord of their lives. We explained that it isn’t a magic process. I got the idea from the Holy Spirit to share the footprints in the sand story. I changed it to fit their setting. I told them that Christ came alongside a woman to walk on a journey. Then they came to a hard part and had to walk through a very difficult valley. When she got to the other side and looked back she only saw one set of footprints. She asked Jesus why He left her during that difficult part. Jesus told her that there was only one set of footprints because He had carried her. It seemed to hit home for some of them. I just knew I had to tell that story.
Then as we stood there, I asked Jacob if they would like to take some time to confess their sins and then we could lead them in a prayer of salvation. He said, “Oh no. We need to pray together right now. Out loud.” Mardi and Wendi told me to go ahead, so I prayed in English, he translated into their language, they repeated the prayer, and I said the next part of the prayer and so on. Again, it was a powerful time. The Lord was there. They all prayed. We told them Jacob was there to answer any of their questions after we were gone. Jacob told me later that he thinks some of them actually meant what they were praying, but regardless, he could follow up and build on what we talked about later. The three of us Obruni’s (white people) sang Amazing Grace for them in harmony before we left. It was a powerful time. The Holy Spirit was there. This was about 2-3 p.m. on the 4th of July there, 7 hours earlier Spokane time (8-9 a.m.).

When we went outside and I went up to one of the accused witches and hugged her good old American-style. She pulled back and told me she wouldn’t hurt me. I got Jacob who translated what she was saying and I told her that the thought she would hurt me had not even entered my thinking. She was amazed by that and I hugged her and some of the others. You could tell they weren’t used to being touched, but that it was very appreciated. I told them God had created each of them, He loved them and that they are beautiful in His sight. Mardi and Wendi talked to others. There were children everywhere as well.

The whole group gathered when the men were done, and the chief said that he thinks the only solution to this problem is that the whole village become Christians. He wanted to get the surrounding tribal chiefs together to talk about stopping this practice of accusing witches. Emmanuel, Jacob and Elisha were very excited to follow up on this in the near future and felt our visit had made a huge impact. Our team agreed to keep posted on how things are going and to pray for them. We also will try to see what we can do to help from our side of the ocean.

We waited for the accused witches to walk back to their witches’ camp while the men on our team went over to the chief’s compound to give him gifts and receive a guinea foul from him as a gift to our team. (We later gave it to Ernestina.) Several men (maybe a dozen?) had come to the village that day who were related to the accused witches in that camp. The word had gone out that we were coming and wanted to talk to them. They had talked to the men while we talked to the women. They also went over to the witches’ camp. Emmanuel spoke powerfully to them about how evil this practice is and how it must stop. He asked them to take their women back to their families and let them back into their lives. One man in particular agreed over and over. Emmanuel spoke with power.

Our team presented the witches’ camp with 2 large sacks of maze (corn meal). We learned that it could feed the 45 of them for about 2 weeks. As we left, Robert took pictures of each accused witch with her family member if one was there. I also started hugging them again. I got to hug 5 or so and they seemed to be lining up to do that. I will never forget feeling them in my arms, so skinny and pulling back humbly since they weren’t used to touch, but also wanting to be hugged. We thought we would have more time with them and really wanted to wash their feet, but we had to go. Maybe next time…
Well, that was the first intallment. There will be more coming in the days ahead. Blessings and thank you for all your prayers! Nancy Fritz 509-990-8465

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ghana in 3 hours for 2 weeks!

Dear friends,
Here is the itinerary for our trip. We would love for you to join us in prayer. This could change, but it is our best idea of what we will be doing. Pray that we will be flexible and have servant hearts.
6/28-29 USA, Accra Air travel
6/30 Accra Visit Compassion International project area(?); stay Accra
7/1 Accra to Wenchi Visit COF projects en route; stay Wenchi
7/2 Wenchi to Tamale Visit COF projects en route; stay Tamale
7/3 Gusheigu Ministry with Elisha and Ernestina
7/4-5 Gusheigu witch camp Ministry with Elisha and Ernestina
7/6 Next village community We are prepared to do a VBS type of activity with
the 2-300 children in the villages.
7/7-8 Tamale Kidzana training I will be overseeing this
training. Please pray that we will be a blessing to these
dear Ghanaian workers.
7/9 Next village community Visit school started by COF worker(?) Possibly
another children's program.
7/10 Tamale to Atebubu Ministry
7/11 Atebubu to Accra Stay Accra; shop
7/12,13 Accra, USA Church services; air travel We may be speaking.

We plan to visit a village of outcastes who are women who are accused of being witches. Please pray that we will be good listeners and that we could bless them.

I will write again when I get back. If you want to get email updates from us, please email Greg at and he can tell you how to sign up for it. We don't know if we will be able to give updates during our trip as internet connections are hard to come by.
Thank you so much! God bless- Nancy Fritz

At some point we will be visiting a village of women who are outcasts and accused of being witches. Ask the Lord to bless that time in a special way and help us to be good listeners.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dear friends,

A Moose Loose?
Did I tell you we had a moose loose in our neighborhood two weeks ago Saturday? It was in the principal's back yard when I spotted it during dinner. This picture was taken from out back door. Greg couldn't figure out for a minute what I was screaming about! He wondered if it was something he said! I got a few pictures and a video of it during the 1 1/2 hour show. At one point, we watched it from our front porch! It was a bull with little antlers beginning to grow. It was very tall and very skinny. It covered a lot of neighborhood streets. The fish and wildlife guys were trying to steer it away from the freeway and back into the woods. That was a once in a lifetime experience. I can die happy now!

Ghana or Bust!
Well, it is 6 days and counting until I go to Ghana. At last count, 75% of my funds have come in, and the team is almost fully funded. We fly on Sunday morning at about 8:30 to Seattle and from there at 12:30 to Amsterdam and then to Accra, Ghana. Then we will travel to the north. I am mostly done packing and have many small details to finish up before I go. First of all, I have to tell you that...


Jesse got home on Friday morning after almost 5 months in West Africa. I can already see changes in him. He is sharing about the things he learned and telling amazing stories. He wants to get them all rewritten since they were in his journal which was stolen. He is helping around the house without me even asking, and if I ask, he helps immediately. It looks a lot like him, and sounds like him, so rather than thinking, "Who are you and where did you put my son?," I am thinking that he has come home with a much larger degree of maturity and appreciation for his family and home, and the way God has blessed his life.

After they were robbed (see last entry), they received emergency passports in ONE DAY! That was an answer to prayer. They didn't get more money to replace the stolen $1200 for another week or two, and lived on $1.25 a day each for 3 weeks. They had one bar of soap for the month, and no shampoo, so to get clean, they went and swam in the ocean to rince off. That was a five minute walk from where they were staying. That taste of poverty made an impression. He isn't complaining about it, and didn't tell us this was happening. It was just part of what God was doing in their lives. They had seem so many, sacrifice so much, that it didn't seem like a big deal.
They ended up with exactly enough money to finish their trip with none left over.

I did go to graduation after all, since I figured someone from our family should! Jesse's name was in the program, and I made note of when he would have walked across the stage. He and I visited his principal (who lives behind us) a few days ago. We invited him to Jesse's welcome home and graduation party this Friday night, and asked him to formally present Jesse with his diploma. He is going to do that at the beginning of the party. I will borrow a cap and gown and will get the forth in the series of, "Fritz kids graduating from high school" pictures for my collection. Jesse went to school today to get his diploma, so it is all official. He got his job back at Starbucks with a raise and almost full time hours. He plans to take at least a French class this fall, and save up for college next year. He has some ideas of business and cultural studies. It is so good to hug him and see him! He has been asked to speak at Partners International chapel, and in two or three venues at church as well.

My New Oncologist

I met my new doctor last week. She is great and I think we are a good match. She cleared me for the next 4 months, so until then I will only go if I notice something I want her to check. Getting a pain or cough for 2 weeks that doesn't get better, but worse, means I should get in there to see her. I am grateful for life and the opportunity to be involved with the people and ministry I get to do. A dear friend from my breast cancer support group in CO just learned that her cancer has spread.

My knee is still pretty sore, but I am walking and/or exercizing at the gym almost every day. Exercizing makes it hurt less. I still have some muscle to rebuild since my surgery at the end of Feb. I have an isle seat on the plane so I can get up and walk to avoid getting clots in my legs again, and will wear my compression stockings. Please pray for me to have clear thinking this week as I complete my preparation for the trip. When I get tired I slow down and don't think clearly. And I need to think clearly to get it all done. That makes this week a bit of a challenge because of the exciting fact that...

Greg's Mom and Sister Are Visiting!
Today Greg's mom and sister arrived for a 10 day visit. We had a nice dinner, a hearty walk in the neighborhood admiring all the gardens, and then got to have Jesse tell us about his trip to Africa, via the things he brought home with him. How interesting to hear the stories of where he got things and what they are used for, etc. He obviously enjoyed doing that for us. He told us stories of miracles and people and experiences he had. Anyway, my goal has been to be done packing so I can spend time with Greg's mom and Shelby until I leave. I am almost there! I am excited to have them visit us for the first time! Tomorrow morning is Manito- botanical gardens, a picnic lunch and then a tour of Spokane. Greg will take some time off to do stuff with us the rest of the week too.

Allison is living in South Korea in Ulson until the end of August. Please pray that she would be safe as far as relations between North and South Korea go. Her city is near an American AF base in Bouson. Greg talked to her for a little while on Sunday via facebook, but we haven't skyped with her for a long time. Thanks for praying.

I need to go get some receipts gathered for reimbursement so I will sign off. I will write before I go to give you details of our trip before I go.
God bless you! Nancy Fritz 509-990-8465

Friday, June 05, 2009

Jesse's THEFT experience and 'is' vs. 'was'

Dear friends,

Here is an email we got on Wed. from Jesse in Senegal. Considering this is his first major problem, we are grateful it wasn't worse. I am sure the Lord will take care of them and pray with us that their passports are replaced in time for them to come home on time on June 18th. Here is his story...

From Jesse
Hello! I am writing to tell you that someone has stolen a lot of Taylor's and my stuff. We were working at the bookshop and we had just recieved the money transfer- it was in my bag, which was at Taylor's feet behind the employee counter. I went to make tea in the back and Taylor was at the front, reading a book. When Taylor lowered my book a little he noticed a man was in the store in front of the desk. He was startled, he never heard the man come in, and in Africa, you always say hello to everyone when you walk into a room. He went over to the CD/tape section and asked me if we had any Van Dam. Taylor walked over and told him we didn't have any movies, the CD/tape section was strictly CD/tapes. Then he asked Taylor to check for him (They were both standing in front of the case, he could see just as well as Taylor could) because 'he was the store person, he knew the things.' Then he left, and was really awkward about leaving.

Taylor sat back down, then later he went to the back where I was making tea. He got a cup of tea and asked me who Van Dam was, then went back to the front, where there was no bag! Taylor and I told the guard and split up and went down the street in search. No luck.
We filed a police report. The contents of the bag are as follows; ipod (which i decided to bring to charge THAT DAY ONLY!), computer, our passports which we had used to register at the Embassy recently, and $1200. I know...that stinks...

Thankfully we had registered at the Embassy. We don't even know why we registered there in the first place. It just so happened that we were walking by the embassy one day and decided to go in the next day to see what it was like- no other reason. This was good, because now they know we are American citizens and we don't have to jump through another hoop to get new passports. However, it takes around 2 weeks to get new passports and it is exactly two weeks one day untill we we might not come home on time...

This just happened within the last 5 hours, so we haven't figured out everything yet. But I will keep you posted about what's going on as we figure it out. We filed a police report and Pastor Matt and Rene are helping us out a lot. So we are in good hands.

Other than that, everything is going really well. It is very lovely weather and we are enjoyng our time.-- Jesse Fritz

"IS" vs. "WAS"
There are two reasons this is on my mind. One is that I just finished reading The Last Lecture book by Randy Pausch. I heard the lecture, but the book expanded on it and I thought it was excellent. I recommend it for anyone. It deals with a 47 year old husband and father of young children who was dying of pancreatic cancer. He was a professor by profession and very much a goal setter and thinker. Read it if you get a chance. I think there are lots of things in there for those facing life threatening diseases, as well as for anyone who wants to live well. And who doesn't want to do that?

The other reason "IS" and "WAS" are on my mind is because earlier this week I went on the internet to check on my physical therapist's wife. She has been battling cancer, and Marc, my PT, was telling me about their processing of her life and how they were dealing with issues related to their 1, 2 1/2 and 4 year olds, her sadness at leaving Marc to raise the children without a mother, dealing with her pain and loss of vision due to brain tumors, etc. Also about their perspective on God's loving hand in all of this.

In a flash, a jolt came to my heart when I read on their Caring Bridge website (which I had been meaning to check for weeks) that she had died last Tuesday and I had missed her funeral on Saturday!, Just like that, "Katie is," became "Katie was." Those are small words, but they are so powerful. What a shift in paradyms. To go from, "She is fighting cancer," to "She faught cancer and is now with the Lord." Wow. Now she is with the Lord and is no longer in pain. Now he is a widower with 3 small children. Now these sweet kids don't have a mom. I am grateful that I am doing fine right now and that I got to mother my children all the way to adulthood. God knows why one gets to go to heaven sooner, and another is given more days here in this world.

Yesterday I saw the counselor at the Cancer Care Northwest office. I wondered how Tess would be able to help me, but yesterday I came away with a major revelation about myself. She asked me what goals I have. I told her among other things that I have a goal to clean up my paper clutter boxes before I die. We talked about that and she helped me realize that I am never going to be an organized person with paper. I am not now and will never be. I am creative. When I need to relax, I crochet or sew, or write curriculum or brouse at the thrift shop looking for deals or for kids missions supplies. I don't deal with paper work!

I see the creative side of me as a positive thing, but I have always judged myself about not being successful in getting my storage room clean and miscellaneous paper junk boxes dealt with. Tess said to not expect that of myself, and that that is OK. I am still a great person and not a failure. When I came home and talked about this with Greg, I started crying. These are things he has tried to tell me for 26 years. He loves me, doesn't judge me, and is wise enough to have figured this out a long time ago. For some reason, the way Tess said it, it sunk in- finally. Whew!

So there is less pressure for me to measure up to my own image of the perfect Nancy. I think the idol I was trying to measure up to- a creative AND totally organized version of me- just became clear to me for the first time. I think the evil one loved to keep that idolic image in front of me. It kept me sad deep down inside that I could never get there. I knew parts of it, but it all connected for me yesterday. So, knowing that I don't have to become someone before I die who God didn't design me to be, takes a lot of pressure off me. I will still continue to deal with my paper issues, but Tess said to stop thinking of that as a weakness. It is just part of me. It isn't good or bad, it is just me. Greg is happy with me for this breakthrough. Dealing with paper seems less daunting now too. Since I am not striving for non-existant perfection, I can work on it without failing.

So who Nancy IS today, and what I do with each day the Lord gives me in my life, will hopefully be less stressed than before. Maybe by the time I eventually become a WAS, I will have learned the secret of loving myself as God does. Have I totally confused you?

Graduation without a graduate?
When Jesse went to Africa I wasn't thinking about today very much. I knew missing the last half of his senior year would be kind of sad for the mother of the graduate, and now as the senior events roll by, I am missing the opportunity to get some closure on Jesse's childhood. Tonight is graduation and I might go. I will take a picture of him wearing a borrowed cap and gown when he gets back. The principal happens to live behind us and I am sure he would be willing to help! Any of you parents in our situation with early graduates have probably been through this. I know it is worth it for all he is learning in Africa. I will have to use my creativity and make my own closure! God bless you! Nancy 509-990-8465

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ghana Here I Come!

Dear friends,

A No Cancer Update
I will start by saying that I had a great check up with my surgeon and they see no cancer. So I am good to go. I am very grateful for this news! I may switch oncologists to one more like the one I had in Denver. I am a question asker and appreciate a doctor who is comfortable with that.

I also talked with a person in her office about the concern I have that I sometimes feel like a hypochondriac. I don't want to be one, but most medical issues can lead me to be wondering if I have cancer again. She assured me that it is normal to feel this way and she calls it, "normal appropriate hypochondria." She explained that having had cancer is like knowing that there is a murderer living in your backyard. You choose what to do with that knowledge. Vigilance is appropriate and will continue to be something I have to deal with. The oncologists don't think of me as a hypochondriac. I feel that as a Christian who has an intimate relationship with Christ, I have the ability to relax and know that the Lord is lovingly over this situation. Cancer can't do anything to me that God doesn't allow, and what better place to be? Still it is a bit like walking a tight rope to deal with medical issues knowing that it could be that each time. This all may sound silly to you, but I thought I would share it in case any of you have been through the same feelings, or know a cancer survivor who might have also experienced this.

I was given a prescription by the surgeon for my first fitted undergarment since my mastectomies 10 years ago. Everything in the intervening years has had too short straps or didn't fit my new shape, or hurt, or didn't look right under my clothes, or made me look uneven. I am excited for something comfortable and well fitting that is covered by insurance. That is the Lord's provision and I am feeling like a new woman!

Restless Leg Syndrome
This has been an issue for 10 years- ever since my first chemo treatments. I have been unable to sleep at night without prescribed medication all these years. If I stopped taking it, I would be up most of the night thrashing around the bed, tightening the muscles in my leg over and over, getting up and walking around...even if I was exhausted.

This happened every time I stopped taking the medicine. I thought I was having symptoms of withdrawal. My doctor assured me that I was on so low of a dose, that there would be no withdrawal symptoms. Two weeks ago we talked about this when I had had 4 sleepless nights after stopping one of my meds, and was feeling desperate for some help to know what to do. He asked questions and figured out that the other medicine was actually treating restless leg syndrome, and when I stopped taking it, I experienced the symptoms of RLS.

I went to my integrated medicine doctor who does lots of alternative treatments the next day. It turns out that I already take all the supplements that could help RLS, so he prescribed a medicine that is designed for Parkinson's patients, but which at a lower dose, controls RLS. I am currently titrating up to the level that will work best for me. I am actually sleeping through the night! After years and years, it is such a relief! He thinks chemo probably started the problem. It has to do with nerve synopses in a certain spot in the brain. It is very likely that this all started in 1999 when I went through pretty tough chemotherapy. So the mystery is solved. I have since met others with RLS who are also on this Parkinson's medicine, and it works well for them.

At the end of June I am scheduled to leave for Ghana with 5 other adults and one youth from my church. One large component of our trip is to train national missionaries in children's ministry skills. I am leading up this part of our time there. 2o missionaries from 20 areas in northern Ghana will come to Tamale to learn how to do excellent children's ministry and discipleship with the resources they already have. We will be going to Partners International missionaries, so this is connected to our ministry at PI as well as to our church which has adopted this area in northern Ghana.

While in Seattle for a consultation on global children's ministry in April, a friend helped me with the curriculum for our two days of training in Ghana. Thank you Karen! Three of our team members have been trained in Kidzana (, so we will be working together. This is my first time doing this training overseas, so it will be exciting. Many of our Partners International leaders around the world in the 10/40 Window are watching how this training goes in Ghana so they can have us come and train their people if it is effective. That is just a LITTLE pressure, don't you think? I am confident that in our weakness, His power will be revealed as perfect.

I need to raise about $2200 for the trip. If you would like to get one of my letters with details of how to be part of my finance and/or prayer team, email me at and I will send you one.

The Fritz Kids
Jenni has been home for 1 1/2 weeks between college and going to Baltimore to work at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab this summer doing an internship. She will live with Laura and has a college friend who will be working at the same place. Jenni goes to France this fall semester with Grove City. This week she switched her license to Washington, went to the dentist, got a haircut, got some work clothes, caught up on her sleep and went for walks with Mumzy and Pops.
Allison is still in Korea. She is finishing the school year soon and then will be involved in some English camps. She gets done at the end of August. She may do some traveling on her way home and plans to be with us for a month as she decides what to do. Washington just laid off 800 teachers, so that won't be an option around here. She would eventually love to be involved with African children at risk somehow.
Laura is working hard for AT&T. She almost has her school debt paid off and is happy about that. And of course she is excited to have her sister there for the summer.
Jesse just got to the Gambia. He describes this location as the nicest one so far. He is supposed to be there for a month and then comes home on June 18th. They were teaching computer classes and fixing computers during their last stay in Thais, Senegal. We are waiting to hear more details of their ministry in Gambia. He has internet there after all, but didn't think he would. You can read his blog at There are some pictures and good stories there.

Seattle for the Weekend
Tomorrow Greg and Jenni and I are going to Seattle for 2 nights. One of our Partners staff is getting married on Saturday night. She works under Greg's leadership and is a sweetheart. And then Sunday morning we are dropping Jenni off at the airport before heading back to Spokane. We will try to find something fun to do in Seattle on Friday night and Saturday with Jenni.

I hope that catches you up on what is happening here with us. Partners is still facing financial hardships, but the board meeting went well last weekend. We had a meeting with the president yesterday which was a very good update.

Dr. Winter
We got word that Dr. Ralph Winter died during the night. I worked for him when I was on staff at the USCWM from 1980-83. I enjoyed closed friendships with his daughters and family and was often in their home. Dr. Winter's contribution to the world of missions can't be measured. He was a brilliant man. He followed hard after God. Our prayers are with his family and the USCWM community.

God bless you- Nancy Fritz 509-990-8465

Thursday, April 30, 2009

An overall update...

Dear friends,
It is almost the end of April! Time is moving faster and faster it seems. I remember watching the clock in 4th grade and it taking FOREVER for the hand to move five minutes to the 12 and the bell for recess. Now the hours of the days fly by much too fast.

Since Easter I got done coordinating an outreach day for our church. We had 15 teams fan out all over the city of Spokane to spend Sat. morning painting, gardening, clearing trails at a camp, mending fences, washing windows, organizing ministries all over the city. It was a fun day. And now I can move on to my next project. Probably sending out a letter.

I had my last insurance paid Physical Therapy session yesterday for my knee. It still has a way to go, so I am trying to get it back to par. Marc, my PT, told me I only have a few month window to regain movement and strength in my knee, so I have been working hard on my exercises. My surgeon and PT said my quad isn't strong enough yet, so they suggested biking at a gym. I researched and found the least expensive one. Tomorrow I will meet with a trainer and learn the machines my PT wants me to use. I go almost every day to at least bike and I think it is helping.

My recent medical discovery was that my PT thinks scar tissue is pulling on the right side of my diaphragm and that is what causes the pain I get on my right side by my ribs. So the bad news is that scar tissue is causing that intermittent pain, and the good news is that cancer isn't causing it! That is always a plus for me. This scar tissue could be from my tram flap breast reconstruction. I see my breast cancer surgeon tomorrow for a check up and will ask her about it. She will be checking my ever growing scar tissue to make sure she thinks I am still clear of cancer. She is a very wonderful doctor. I have a scan on Friday for her too.

I am on a very strict diet to kill an overgrowth of candida in my intestines. I am also not eating gluten for a few months. There has to be a lot of creativity to figure out what I can eat. Greg is doing this with me since it is just the 2 of us.

I got my shots for Africa and am still alive. I went to Seattle for a Kidzana sponsored consultation with 18 others regarding the job of reaching all of the world's children with the Gospel. These consultations will be held internationally as well to get input from the 2/3's world. It was amazing to be there with this key set of leaders.

Jenni turned 20 on the 29th. Allison turns 23 on May 2nd. I am feeling very old and achy these days. They said on the news tonight, that they think someone in town has the swine flu. I hope all of you will be careful, and I will try to be also.

I will let you know how my visit with Dr. Moline goes tomorrow. Blessings- Nancy Fritz

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter and India!

Dear friends,

It is Easter and I wondered how the weather was in Denver where our church traditionally has an outdoor Easter service.

Thursday night's service included communion and foot washing, and on Friday night Greg and I watched The Passion of the Christ together here at home. Remembering the price He paid for us to have the ability to be in relationship with Him for eternity, is a healthy thing.

It was cloudy here today and rained in the afternoon, so no croquet this Easter. Fellowship at church this morning was excellent. The music, the message, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ... what a privilege to worship freely in this country! We had a wonderful dinner with our small group (16 of us) and watched the little ones hunt for eggs.

I left my phone at their house which I discovered after getting home. I went back to get it just in time to receive a call from the president of Partners International's wife, Anita. She wanted to know if I could come over (they live close by) and explain Kidzana to two Indian leaders who are staying with them. One is someone I have wanted to meet for a long time, Moses Swamidas, and with him is Rev. Promoth. Moses has connections to our church in Denver, and is also one of PI's partner ministries. He is a leader in the Dalit Freedom Network based in Denver who I have worked with on curriculum as well. Rev. Promoth was married a year ago and they are expecting their 1st child in 5 months. He also told us that he hosted 4000 people at his wedding! That is a serious wedding!

Anita also took the Kidzana training like I did, and she and I are praying for an opportunities to help provide this training to our partner ministries in the 10/40 Window. These men are working primarily with the Dalits of India and shared about the 200 churches planted and the 3000 children in their Sunday Schools and Christian Bible Clubs. They have a desire to do an excellent job discipling these children while they are young so they will grow up with Christ and have a firm foundation in His love and the truth of the Gospel before fatalistic Hindu thinking has taken hold in their hearts.

Well, by the time our discussion was done, we were trying to figure out the best time for Anita and me to go there to train about 200 of their children's leaders. We have been formally invited. We would plan to teach those who would in turn teach other leaders of children. And then they would train others and the training would spread among the 200 churches and other church plants Lord willing, keep spreading and more and more children would get excellent Christian education and discipleship. So maybe in January Anita and I will go. Feel free to pray with us!

I am currently working on my preparation for Ghana this summer. I need to raise some of the money to cover my 2 week trip. The plan is for us to go to a city in northern Ghana and do a Kidzana training of leaders from all over the north. They will come in for the training for 2 days. After that we will go to 3 different villages and spend 2 days in each, do a children's program Kidzana-style so the workers there can use what they have learned with our assistance. We will also focus on women and men's ministry looking for long-term connections for our church. We are adopting this region and hope to find practical things we can do to help them with their ministry.

So, again, my heart is on the other side of the world dreaming of millions of children who will get to learn about Christ's love and be discipled and established in a solid walk with Christ. It would be a privilege to be involved with this. Let's see what God does! I have made some interesting medical discoveries this week that make a lot of sense in light of the medical issues I have been facing. I will tell you about that next time.

I hope you had an excellent Easter with those you love, and got to reconnect with the One who loves you most! Blessings- Nancy Fritz 509-990-8465