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