Recent Ministry and Family Updates

Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving?! Our time here in Turks and Caicos has flown by so far!

Good News Club

We are helping to teach a Good News Club with Jericho Baptist Church at Ianthe Pratt Primary School. We’ve gone through one entire series and are now going through the series about Joseph as we head into the Christmas season. The club has been going very well! We had about 15-20 kids on average until we sent out a new batch of registration forms… now we are having an average of 25, with 31 on Monday!

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We Got Our Materials!

We were finally able to clear our shipment from the port! We feel so much better having our curriculum, training materials and promotional items! There was NO WAY everything was going to fit in our house so we had to rent a small storage unit until we can get an office. But at least we have it all here now!

shipment

World Day of Prayer

Last week CEF had the “World Day of Prayer” and we participated down here in Turks and Caicos! Though our numbers were small (four people came during their lunch hour) it was very special, everyone spent the entire time in prayer. Sean said it was one of the best prayer times he has ever had!

world day of prayer

Ministry Happenings

We believe we are on the way to having all of the primary schools adopted by the end of the school year in May. Sean has been busy meeting with pastors and principles. There is an eagerness with the school and church leaders to get ministry started soon. We will be teaching a few church trainings and have some Good News Club team trainings in the works…we are excited to see what the rest of the school year holds!

Family Happenings

Personally, we are doing well. This is always a tough season for us with the holidays coming. We miss our family and friends, we miss the cooler weather (but not the freezing cold!) and the general holiday atmosphere. Living on an island has it’s perks of course, but it doesn’t change how much we miss home, especially during this time of year. But we are going to make the best of it. We are planning to have Thanksgiving (maybe with another family here) and we will be putting up our tree and Christmas decorations afterwards!

Maddy loves being on her soccer team… although she told us “They call it FOOTBALL here!!” like it was the funniest most confusing thing ever! Riley-Grace is still just as cute too! She is beginning to sit up, using her pincher fingers and is working on saying “Mama!” Sean has a few more weeks of classes before his semester is over (and he will graduate in the Spring!) and I am happy to be getting more rest now that Riley-Grace is sleeping through the night regularly.

We would definitely appreciate your prayers for the potential ministry during the rest of this school year and for us as we enter the holiday season!

Go… Wait… Go.

That is what the last few weeks have been like for us here in TCI. We start something only to see it be put on hold, start again, stop again, and so on.

We have patiently been waiting for a huge shipment from CEF headquarters full of curriculum, promotional items, CD’s, tracks, songs, devotional books… pretty much everything we would need to start a new chapter. We personally do not have much in supplies because we left it all with the St. Kitt’s chapter. But we didn’t anticipate it taking this long to get our shipment in. Fortunately that shipment arrived two weeks ago. Unfortunately we have yet to clear it from customs. Fortunately we were able to get a letter that waives the majority of duty we would owe. Unfortunately we need to have the pastor who got the letter come with us to get the shipment and he is a busy man. Fortunately he and Sean were able to go up to the customs office last week to get our stuff. Unfortunately there was a mix up with the billing from the shipping company and they will have to wait until this week… hopefully.

We scheduled a Good News Club training with a church for last Tuesday. This is the club we are currently helping with and we needed more volunteers from the church. We were hoping to have our teaching materials in but they were stuck at customs of course. Regardless, we were excited to have our first training take place but Sean received a call that afternoon saying the training was cancelled. We will be trying again in the next few weeks.

Three weeks ago Sean ordered an idling sensor and a visitor to another church/school kindly brought it down from the States with him. When the mechanics replaced it, the problem became worse and our vehicle would randomly die several times while driving it. After a few days the mechanics said even though the part SAYS it fits our car… it does not and we needed a different type. Of course, nobody on the island had the part we needed and the companies back home didn’t have it in stock either. So Auto Zone had to order it and then Sean’s mother sent it to us. As of last Friday our vehicle is working great. A three week long problem here would’ve been fixed within a few days back home. Life on an island!

Other things have happened though! Sean taught a memory verse and Bible lesson in the main service at our church here, Harvest Bible Chapel. It was great to show everyone what we do! I wanted to take a picture of him, but it was kind of hard to do while holding a baby!

Maddy officially started homeschool kindergarten the first week of October. She is doing great! And last week she started soccer! They have a 5 – 7 year old group of girls that practice Monday afternoons and play a game on Saturday mornings. She is having so much fun!

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Riley-Grace has hit a few milestones too. She was really into watching us eat and would move her tongue around like she had food in her mouth so we tried some rice cereal with her. She loved it! But after a week we discovered she wanted more! We gave her a teeny taste of guacamole and she went crazy wanting more… this was after nursing and cereal! So we fed her a slice of banana mushed up… you would have thought we had been starving her! So even though it’s a month early (she will be 5 months old next week) she is now eating table foods and thoroughly enjoying them. She also outgrew her infant carseat and has moved up to the bigger convertible carseat. She has so much more room now and doesn’t cry as much when we go places… who knew?! And last week she started rolling over from her tummy to her back… which means no more swaddling, at least not her arms. It was a rough few days but the last couple of nights she has slept through and it seems like she is getting used to having her arms free.

DSC_0009Watching big sis play soccer… so serious!

DSC_0009First rice cereal

And last week I turned 31… how did that happen? Sean made me delicious food and sent me off for a facial. Maddy spent some of her own money buying me pink roses. I got to take a nap, amen! And I finished the night hanging out with Sean watching Duck Dynasty. It was a wonderful birthday.

Hopefully we will be able to clear the shipment this week and get the ball rolling on some training!

 

Our Turks and Caicos House

We thought it would be fun to show you our house! We get so many questions about what our house looks like we wanted to do kind of a “home tour” for everyone. We so wish we could give you a tour in person but a slightly goofy video is the next best thing right? We also included pictures for those of you who can’t (or don’t want to) watch a video. Of course, the video shows a lot more than what the pictures can.

Some things to know, we started the video in the car because we wanted you to see what our neighborhood kind of looks like… and it’s hot so you can definitely hear the AC blowing full blast!

Also, we are a little cramped but when we get an office and move all of our CEF stuff into it, we will have more room for storage.

The house is not super clean and it’s not quite where we want it yet. We still have some organization and decoration to do!

And, I think I sound silly but oh well!

Enjoy the cameos from Maddy and Riley-Grace!

 


Here are the pictures…

DSC_0445Our Living Room – and the TV came with the house 😉

DSC_0447The kitchen and dining area

DSC_0449Kitchen

DSC_0450Our bathroom with double sinks!!

DSC_0451Our bedroom with mismatched pillows and Riley-Grace’s changing mat on our bed!

DSC_0452Another view of our room

DSC_0454Maddy’s room… she made her bed by herself. Can you tell? 🙂

DSC_0455Another view of her room. Eventually the girls will share it.

DSC_0457The girls’ bathroom

That’s it!

 I hope you enjoyed our home tour!

 

First Week (And A Half) In Turks And Caicos!

If anything could be said about this past week and a half, it is that God is gracious.

I (Sean) arrived in Providenciales (Provo), Turks & Caicos Thursday, August 28th. On the approach I was reminded again how simply beautiful the water in the Caribbean is. We will surely miss the lush volcanic mountains of St. Kitts & Nevis in the Eastern Caribbean, but the turquoise clear water is truly special to see from the plane.

View from the Plane!

Thankfully, all of the government paperwork had been completed, so there was no issues with my arrival into the country. I was picked up by a good friend who we are renting our TCI home through, and Pastor Tim Rezac who pastors Harvest Bible Chapel -TCI. HBC-TCI is the local church we will be personally plugging into. He also serves on the very new CEF national board. After ultimately securing a SIM card for my cell phone and a quick trip to the grocery store, I was taken to our house!

Over the next couple days, I made preparations for the vehicle purchase, clearing our personal effects, secured internet to be put in at the house and stayed as busy as I could with catching up on some CEF tasks. Those few days without a vehicle, our belongings and largely without internet were a reminder of how much I missed my family. It is always hard to leave your family, must less when your daughter is only three months old.

Maddy and RG

Monday, our vehicle purchase was complete! There was quite a bit of paperwork that had to be done all around, but everything was thankfully completed same day. We give God praise for providing the funds through so many of you that donated and CYIAers who helped raised money for the vehicle. We spent months of due diligence to discover the TCI vehicle market, and from our experience in St. Kitts, we had strict criteria of what we were looking for. We wanted an American-made vehicle in good condition (so we can easily get parts), preferably one that can handle the often off-road conditions of island travel and one that can seat many people when we have visitors/short-term ministry teams. Additionally, we haul around quite a bit of CEF curriculum from the post office to churches and training events, so we were looking for something that had space for that as well.

God provided a very low mileage 2004 Ford Expedition for a fantastic price!

Our vehicle

Tuesday-Thursday were spent registering for various TCI work permit required insurance agencies and getting in touch with local CEF contacts.

Friday was a huge day of God sovereignly arranging many things for His glory. We were discouraged on Tuesday by an email from our shipping agency that said that 10 of our boxes were received “crushed” and “loss of contents unknown”. We were praying earnestly that our stuff, especially important things like the crib for Riley-Grace, was ok! Thankfully when I got there the items had merely shifted off the largely disintegrated pallet, and so far everything is still ok as I have been unpacking. God would still be good, faithful and working His Sovereign plan even if our boxes had been truly crushed. Them being fine causes us to be all the more thankful for His grace. Everything was cleared, delivered to the house and now the fun has been mine unpacking in preparation of Mandi and the girls coming!

damaged pallet

The pallet in question….shrink wrap held everything together!

delivery to house

Unpacking

Lastly, a truly exciting part of this first week and a half climaxed on Saturday. That morning I had the privilege of attending the second ever official meeting of the CEF of Turks & Caicos national board. If you remember, CEF of South Carolina originally sent a short-term ministry trip team into TCI a few years ago. They have “adopted” Turks & Caicos to help get the chapter established. Through this trip and other chapter development trips that were made both by CEF of SC, the CEF Region, and our trip in January 2014, there were enough contacts in place for an initial national board training in April. We give God praise for raising up a starting group of six men and women, with the intention of soon having 11-13 board members (to be fully complemented).

National Board

It was a blessing to join with them in discussion of the future of the CEF national chapter, the big-picture vision and long-term goals of the ministry. Ultimately, CEF exists to reach out to children, train & equip local churches for dynamically effective ministry, and through that families, communities and even nations are changed for eternity. To see God moving in Turks & Caicos already to develop the ministry points directly to what HE is doing. We can in no way explain some of the events of this past week except for the directly intervening Sovereign grace of God.

May every island, church and home be filled with the true Gospel so that children and adults are changed for eternity.

Be in prayer for Mandi, our two daughters and my mom as they travel to Provo Wednesday the 10th. Pray for safety in travel, for everything to go ok as they come into the country and that their luggage and car seats arrive safely. Pray especially for Riley-Grace as this is her first time flying on a plane!

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

Goodbye America, Hello Turks & Caicos!

Just a quick update…

We are leaving for Turks and Caicos! Last Friday all of our belongings (except what we will be packing in suitcases) was brought to the Conway shipping yard and is currently on it’s way to Miami, where it will be put on a boat for TCI.

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Sean and his parents getting our things on pallets to send off

Sean will be flying out of Pensacola bright and early Thursday morning and will be in TCI by mid-afternoon.

We have a house, a 2bed / 2bath.

And we “might” have a vehicle but we are working out some logistical things with payment at the moment.

When Sean gets there he will begin setting everything up for our family… utility deposits, getting the vehicle (buying it, registering it and insuring it), internet, cell phones, basic groceries and moving all of our things in once they arrive from the boat.

On September 10th the girls and I will fly to TCI with the help of Sean’s mother. I couldn’t imagine getting through Miami airport with a 5 year old and a baby by myself! Then we will all be back together and settling into our new home, in a new country with our new baby.

It’s crazy to think the time is now here. The last 9 months have been a whirlwind to say the least! We were sad to leave St. Kitts in January… it was so hard to say goodbye to our home for the previous two years. But in April we settled into Montgomery, our home for five years, and it was wonderful. We moved there after getting married, had Maddy there and loved our friends and family dearly. When we came back for just 3 1/2 months this year, it was home again. We went back to our church, had Riley-Grace (with the same doctor even) and life was “normal” again.

Leaving a few weeks ago (we have been in Spanish Fort now for three weeks) was rough on all of us… but especially on me. When we left for St. Kitts everything was so new and exciting. I didn’t fully realize how hard it is to be away from loved ones… to miss births, marriages, graduations and deaths… and how hard it is to simply live in another country (even if that country has running water, electricity, restaurants and beaches).

But now we know.

We are excited to be moving to TCI but are going with our “eyes wide open” so to speak. We are eager to get ministry developed there and to see God work, but we realize no matter how beautiful the country may be, it is part of the “call” to miss so much back home.

So we would very much appreciate your prayers, not only for safe travels and for Sean as he gets everything set up over the next two weeks, but also for our family as we adjust to a new “normal” in TCI.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers, emails, letters and support! The next blog post will be written from Turks and Caicos!