Back in St. Kitts!

We truly enjoyed our time spent in America seeing most of our family and friends. And just as it started getting a little cold we traveled back to St. Kitts! Although the circumstances for our extended stay were unfortunate and we were very busy seeing everyone, we were able to rest and relax the last two weeks in the States.

On our road trip down to Miami we stopped for the night in Orlando and did Disney on the cheap! Sean got a great deal on a hotel and the next day we spent the afternoon in Downtown Disney (which is free). That evening we took Maddy to a Cinderella character dinner at 1900 Park Fare Restaurant which is outside of the Magic Kingdom. That means, we didn’t have to pay for admission into the park… just the cost of our dinner! Maddy was in awe when she met Cinderella and she was one of two girls chosen to dance with her! It was such a wonderful way to spend one of our last evenings in America.

Posing with Cinderella

Our flight to St. Kitts was uneventful but it seemed like a whirlwind once we landed!

We left Maddy’s car seat at the airport and haven’t had a chance to get it back yet.

We got home and found one of the tires on our van was flat (which we drove home from the airport without knowing).

We met with our property manager about our alarm system because the upstairs neighbors where robbed while we were in the States… and they tried to break into our house as well.

The robbers cut the power off to our house so we were welcomed by quite a stench and mess from the fridge.

We had to go out that night for groceries and were reminded about the cost of food in St. Kitts.

We checked our mail on the way home and found two large power bills.

Not two minutes afterward I felt something on my arm and found a centipede halfway on me in the van! I yelled at Sean to pull over and I jumped out while the van was still moving! Thankfully it didn’t sting me and Sean was able to get it out of the van.

After putting the groceries away we discovered several extremely large wood roaches in our cabinets. (We have since had pest control out to spray).

This was all in the first few hours of being home!

Since then we’ve had a repairman out to fix our freezer which wasn’t turning on fast enough. It was causing everything to melt, re-freeze and melt again. The problem still isn’t fixed.

Our van broke down as Sean was literally pulling into the tire shop. The alternator went out and it will likely be days before we will have it back. But at least the tires are good!

I have thrush… which is weird.

The power has already gone out.

And ministry doesn’t stop just because we didn’t have internet for a few days or because we are stuck at our house.

I think the biggest adjustment is how unpredictable each day is here. We came back with plans because that’s what we do in America… we plan each day out. There may be a few interruptions but overall most of our days go according to plan and those interruptions can be handled easier in the States.

But here?

Each day truly is unpredictable. We make plans but it’s normal for plans to go out the window every day.

All in all, we are glad to be back… for life to return to normal (whatever that is), for ministry to start back up and to enjoy the cool breezes that will be gone before we know it.

Hanging our clothes out to dry

Trying to catch up on laundry

Palm Trees in St. Kitts

(The island is so beautiful)

This year is already looking to be busy… Sean will start working with the new National Coordinator in February, we may have a possible six mission trip teams, hopefully more after school Good News Clubs, we are praying for at least three local CYIA summer missionaries to serve, I am taking over the children’s program at our church and we will simply be preparing to leave by the end of the year.

Life is crazy… being a missionary here is certainly NOT a perpetual vacation even if our surroundings are so pretty. But we are glad to be serving the Lord here and know He will be with us every step of the way.

Our First Year as Missionaries in St. Kitts and Nevis

It’s so hard to believe almost one year has flown by since we moved to St. Kitts and Nevis! To say our lives have changed would be an understatement. The difference between our family one year ago and now has become even more apparent as we spent the last few weeks in America.

2012 has been a fun, exciting, frustrating and stressful ride.

Our Top Ten Highlights from 2012

1. The National Office

In June we were able to open up the first ever CEF National Office! This was especially exciting because opening an office was one of our “benchmark goals”.

the Tschetters and Donna (a board member)

Myron and Nita Tschetter (Caribbean Regional Directors) posing with one of our board members at the opening ceremony

2. Redland Baptist Church Mission Trip

Sometimes things go wrong… but God is sovereign. Nothing bad surprises Him. The group from Redland was our first mission trip we hosted. Even though they were robbed while sleeping their first night of ministry they persevered and reached hundreds of children that week! They were such an encouragement to us and their faith to keep pressing on despite such a horrible incident was inspiring.

Redland Baptist Church Mission Trip to St. Kitts and Nevis

The Redland group with kids at Beach Allen Primary School

3. We met new friends from Seattle!

The second mission trip team we hosted was a group from Evangelical Chinese Church in Seattle. We had never met them before but they were a huge blessing to us and the ministry in St. Kitts! They taught several 5 Day Clubs and helped repair a house for a recent widow with children. They even got to experience Tropical Storm Isaac while with us! We are so grateful they came to St. Kitts this year and we are really looking forward to developing the friendships we made with them.

Seattle Team Mission Trip in St. Kitts and Nevis

The Seattle Team posing at the “Look Out Point” over the southeast peninsula

4. Tropical Storms

Speaking of tropical storms… we experienced three this year. Tropical Storms Eduardo, Isaac and Rafael hit St. Kitts with Rafael being the worst by far. In October Tropical Storm Rafael brought rain for over a week straight to our tiny island. Everything seemed to be flooded and we were without power for a few days. But we were lucky. Many others were without power for much longer and some without water!

Tropical Storm Rafael Made a Direct Hit to St. Kitts and Nevis

Tropical Storm Rafael made a direct hit in St. Kitts and Nevis

5. Monkeys!

One of our favorite things about living in St. Kitts is seeing monkeys all the time! There is a group of around 15 monkeys that visit our yard several times a week. Maddy knows exactly what they sound like so when she hears them outside she yells, “Monkeys!!! Mommy, Daddy monkeys are outside!!” They like to eat the seeds from our palm trees, wrestle with each other and watch us. Sometimes they get a little too curious though… one tried to get in our house!

Monkeys in our Yard

The Monkeys pulling off seeds from our palm tree

6. Visitors from America

In June, Sean’s family came to visit us for a month! We were so excited to show them all about our life and do fun things like hike the volcano, snorkel, go sightseeing, try new foods and experience our power outages, internet outages, bills and cost of food. It’s hard to be away from everyone we know and love… we were so thankful to spend time with them.

The Miller Family in St. Kitts

Luke, Maddy, Heather, Micah and Brenda (Sean’s Mother)

We also got to spend a month with our intern Nathan! We had never met Nathan before he came to St. Kitts but he was a tremendous help to us over the summer. Without him, we could not have possibly taught as many 5 Day Clubs as we did. He is a great guy and was one of the easiest house guests we’ve ever had!

Nathan Teaching at a 5 Day Club in St. Kitts

Nathan teaching at a 5 Day Club

7. Sean Hitchhiking in Nevis

This was one of the most interesting church visits Sean has ever had! Maddy and I were getting over the flu so we stayed behind while Sean traveled to Nevis to preach at a church. Someone was supposed to pick him up at the port in Nevis, which a man kind of did. He met Sean and walked him to the road where he started hitchhiking! There was so much more to that afternoon. You’ll have to read Sean’s take on it.

8. Head Lice

In March we got on a ferry and went to visit a Good News Club in Nevis. We are fairly certain Maddy and I got lice from one of the Rastafarian men sitting next to us. Two weeks or so later I found the lice in Maddy’s head and Sean found them in mine. Yuck! It took us two more weeks to get rid of all the eggs. Luckily, we found a home remedy that helps keep lice away and so far we haven’t had it again!

On the Ferry to Nevis

This was taken on our infamous ferry ride to Nevis

9. Meet the King Distribution

In October amidst Tropical Storm Rafael, my ingrown toenails (which I ended up coming back to America to fix) and our friends the Graysons being gone, Sean was able to visit every single primary (elementary) school in St. Kitts. He taught a Bible lesson and handed out a Meet the King booklet to all of the kids! In one month we literally reached every primary aged child in all of St. Kitts!

Kids at William Conner Primary School in St. Kitts hear the Gospel and get a Meet the King Book

Kids at William Connor Primary heard the Gospel and received a Meet the King Booklet

10. Adjusting to a New Culture

The toughest and yet most interesting part of living in St. Kitts and Nevis is getting familiar to a new culture. There are no addresses, the power goes out at least once a week, the internet goes out, the water goes out, groceries are expensive, our power bill is 3 1/2 times what it would be in the States, “island time” is real, it’s not rude to answer your phone in the middle of a conversation (or while teaching a Bible lesson in Good News Club!), pig snout was given to Sean for lunch, medical care is limited, it’s hot, most places do not have air conditioning, we are the minority, everything is imported, Value Added Tax, they speak English but it’s still difficult to interpret their dialect at times, they really love paper work, cookies are called biscuits and we need to be ready for anything all the time! Even with the adjustments and difficulties, the island is beautiful, we love to snorkel and we have made wonderful friends!

Local Produce in St. Kitts and Nevis

Local produce: Orange Coconuts, custard apple, tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, sour sop and green onions.

Maddy Getting Buried in the Sand at South Friars Beach in St. Kitts

Maddy and her friends getting buried in the sand at South Friars Beach

Maddy Riding Her Bike a Port Zante

Maddy riding her bike at Port Zante

"Pirate" Ship in St. Kitts

Beautiful St. Kitts sunset

This year was filled with so many ups and downs, changes and challenges. But we are blessed. The Lord is doing amazing things in St. Kitts. We have a national office, a wonderful national board, ministry taking place in all areas of the island and a National Director was recently approved! We’ve made friends with the people living in St. Kitts and with American Ross University students and faculty. We even get to share out time there with two other missionary families (The Graysons and Joneses) who we have grown very close to.

On January 10th we return to St. Kitts for another year of ministry. We are excited to see what the Lord will do in 2013!

Merry Christmas from the Millers!

This is the most different Christmas for our family because our home is 2000 miles away in the middle of the sea!

We are thoroughly enjoying our time in America and are excited to spend this Christmas with our family.

This year has been such a change for us… I know we will never be the same again. Sean, Maddy and I have been impacted for life. And on January 10th we will return to St. Kitts as missionaries for another year!

Here is a video we made recently… it’s basically 2012 in a nutshell.

Merry Christmas everyone! We truly appreciate your prayers, your giving and your friendship!

Missions Update Video December 2012 from Sean Miller on Vimeo.

You can donate a year end gift here.

We are In America

It’s been a few weeks since we updated this blog because so much has happened in our lives.

Two weeks after I (Mandi) returned from the States for ingrown toenail surgery, we found out my father passed away. Ours was not a typical father/daughter relationship and you can read more about that here if you are interested. Regardless of the circumstances, we really wanted to be at the service and reconnect with that side of the family. We originally planned to come home on December 17th and already had our tickets purchased. So we simply moved up our trip and left St. Kitts on November 17th. Instead of spending three weeks in America we are now spending at least six.

Maddy’s 4th Birthday Party

We flew to Houston and spent about 11 days with my family. Maddy had her heart set on having her birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. She had been asking for a party there for months so she was beyond excited to actually get it! And of course, the party was all about princesses. 🙂

Maddy's Princess Birthday at Chuck E. Cheese

Standing with Chuck E. Cheese

Maddy's Princess Party

Although Maddy’s birthday isn’t until Thursday, this was definitely her “big” celebration.

Now in Montgomery

We arrived in Montgomery Friday evening and will be here until December 22nd! We have much to do… doctor’s appointments, dentists appointments, eye appointments, stocking up on supplies, meeting with supporters, raising new support, church presentations and simply hanging out with everyone. We are so excited to see everyone and be back home!

In the meantime we are enjoying everything about America that we have missed. We have already eaten at Chick-Fil-A several times (and plan to eat there several more times). We’ve been to the mall twice and Maddy was thoroughly impressed with the Disney store. Last night we bought some snacks at Publix and marveled at how pretty the produce section is and how many choices are on the shelves.

At some point we plan on taking Maddy to the Zoo, eating at our favorite restaurants and letting Maddy play at as many parks as she wants (there aren’t any parks in St. Kitts).

Going Back to St. Kitts

We will spend Christmas with Sean’s family in Spanish Fort and plan to return to St. Kitts the first or second week of January… depending on flight availability.

We received VERY good news the week we left! We were planning to move to a cheaper one bedroom apartment in January but after the owners of our current apartment found out we we wanted to downsize, they lowered our rent by $250!

It also looks like a National Director will be in place when we return and the Board held their first banquet ever Saturday evening! We do not know the amount raised as of yet but there were around 130 people in attendance from all over the island. It seems we are well on our way to helping the St. Kitts chapter become self-sustaining!

Thank you for your prayers and help after my father passed away. We truly appreciate all of the support. We ask that you keep us in your prayers as we work in the U.S. and return to St. Kitts. We are extremely grateful for all of your support and comfort during such a difficult time for us.

Thank you.

An Eventful October!

Whew! October has been one of the craziest months so far. Between a really intense tropical storm, our Meet the King distribution, TCE class and a trip home for me… it’s been one busy month!

Margaret Smith Came to Visit

Maggie, the missionary from Guyana who opened up the work of CEF in St. Kitts last year came to visit us! She was here for a week helping Sean with the TCE class and other various projects! It was so nice to see her again! She left on Friday the 12th which was good because…

Tropical Storm Rafael

On Saturday the 13th, Tropical Storm Rafael hit St. Kitts and Nevis. It brought us 65+ mph wind gusts and a ton of rain. It started raining the Monday before the storm hit and rained off and on all week. Once the storm hit on Saturday the rain didn’t stop until the following Tuesday.

Many people were without power, including us. Our power actually held through the worst of the storm but Sunday morning it went out and stayed off until 10pm Monday evening. We were lucky. Others didn’t get power until well into the week and many were without water.

Tropical Storm Rafael in St. Kitts

Tropical Storm Rafael in St. Kitts and Nevis

Tropical Storm Rafael in St. Kitts and Nevis

Tropical Storm Rafael in St. Kitts and Nevis

It will take a while to get things all cleaned up but praise God nobody died from the storm! Although the island experiences storms often, this one dumped record amounts of rain.

Our Good News Club in Fig Tree was cancelled and Sean had to reschedule some of the assemblies for our Meet the King Distribution but other than that things are returning to normal.

A Week in America

I (Mandi) flew to the States Wednesday the 17th to get minor surgery for two ingrown toenails. After daily visits to the doctor for two weeks we all decided my only option was to go home and have the procedure done there. My doctor (my St. Kitts doctor) strongly urged us not to attempt the procedure here because they simply do not perform ingrown toenail extractions and it would not be very safe if they tried.

Sean and Maddy stayed in St. Kitts and I enjoyed a relaxing week back home with two trips to Chick-Fil-A! (Except for the part where I had minor surgery on two of my toes).  My toes seem to be recovering nicely and I should be back to normal by next week!

Our Tickets for the Holidays Are Purchased!

We will be flying back to the States (all of us this time) on December 17th! We are excited to have our tickets confirmed! We all really miss our family and friends and are looking forward to some much needed rest! We will be in America for one month and will purchase our returning tickets very soon. Thank you to everyone who gave and prayed for us to be able to come home for Christmas! We are still in need of the remaining funds and are confident the Lord will continue to provide!

 Update on ‘Meet the King’ Distribution

Just this week Sean passed out the 2000th Meet the King booklet! That’s 2000 children so far who have not only heard the Gospel but took it home with them to their families! Sean has been stopped in the grocery store twice by kids thanking him for the book! When I returned to St. Kitts and was waiting on my luggage, one of the luggage handlers and I were talking about our family being missionaries in St. Kitts… and he said, “Are you the ones passing out the Jesus booklets in all of the schools?” The best part is that we still have several more schools to attend!

Coming Up

We are almost finished with our Fall TCE (Teaching Children Effectively) class, Sean has finished up his series on the radio and preached his final sermon on Philippians at our church last Sunday. I would say things are settling down but we never know what God has for us! Just when we think we are slowing down, the Lord has us pick up the pace again!