Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Our Teams

Here are our "fearless" and precious leaders..... Rob and Melody, our Canadian missionaries:) They did soo much in planning and preparing for us and then went till all hours of the night to minister with us and to us:) Thanks guys!!!

Members of the Skateboard Church and Mel.... I LOVE meeting youth that love the Lord and are passionate about telling others about Christ. Sure, these guys LOVE to skateboard and ride their trick bikes.... but they use their gifts to share the Gospel with others.... just awesome guys!!!

And here is the group from our church with Rob and Mel.... they all were just so willing to jump into the tasks assigned with a joyful spirit. I'm just soo thankful for this group and just soo honored to be in ministry with them :)

Sweet New Friends

Anna and Joelle started bonding during the bubble play.....

And their friendship blossomed while watching airplanes
(chatting and giggling inbetween... of course)!!

A Fun Ending to our Trip

When I did the quick update this morning, our plans were up in the air. But the sun did start peeking out and so we headed to the park with a smaller group and less activities. We weren't met with a bunch of kids, which we figured would be the case after the downpours from the morning. But we did have a few that had returned looking for us and we made TWO solid contacts from people interested in the church:) So we were VERY glad we had returned....even though we had a LOT less kids:)

After the park, the our kids and Rob's family came out to play with us at the hotel...they really, really liked my mom's "bubble machine". The kids played really nicely and were very gracious in their sharing...

Eating Chinese at the Chinese mall.... reminded me of Taiwan, they even had Milk Tea with Balls.... here they call it Bubble Tea...

Finally, our families went to watch airplanes with together...

Amazing all the different possibilities we had when it started to rain....but we were gad we returned to the park and made the contacts. And I personally was soo glad to have a chance to spend time with Crystal and her sweet kids!!


All of our activities for today involved being outside and up to a few minutes ago it was an executive decision was made to scrap the plans for today..... and teammates begain making plans for their travel home (maybe even getting a couple hours head start).

But as I type this the sun is wanting to push through the clouds..... so our plans are up in the air. The kids are fussy, so I'm thinking quick lunch and head back to the park..... but we'll see????

Every mission trip has had a key word: FLEXIBILITY!!!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Scary Moment and a Splash Pad

One of the things Grandma was MOST worried about our trip was that we'd have Christopher wander off..... well it happened today but had a VERY VERY good uneventful ending.

We'd been thru 1.5 hours of Kidz Club and we'd been tag teaming the kids and I was wearing Lydia in the Ergo. Anyway, I looked around to just keep tabs on all the kids (which really had been sticking close to us). Well when I looked around, I counted 1 (on my back), 2 Anna with Brian, 3 ?????.....

I started frantically looked around and a handful of team members left their activities and went different ways to find him (around the lake, to the parking lot, down each of the four trails, etc)....I'm not sure HOW LONG he was GONE... but it was too long.....

So, everyone went looking for him and found him walking out of the wooded area behind the parachute area. He came out carrying a stick "shooting" people....and with a stinky. Needless to say I went to the car and put on his Doggie backpack so I could have his "leash" on him and keep him close!!!

Anna at the Splash Pad

Christopher and Lydia at the Splash Pad


This morning we did some preparations for Kidz Club and then headed to the park to invite people to the Club in the afternoon. I'll be honest that I was a little intimidated to initiate conversations (just part of my personality), but I got over it and had some conversations with strangers. And then I was further encouarged by my poor attempts to invite people when I saw them waiting for us at the park after lunch:)

We had kids waiting for us when we got there and many staying playing the games from 1 to 4pm!! We really had kids everywhere..... here is a busy time at the craft station.

The parachute was another HIT.... the kids had a blast!!!

Although the kids had a GREAT time at every activity!!! This was a favorite for the kids and on-lookers..... it was a relay with water balloons. The kids would be put into teams and given water balloons. Each kid would run to the cones and try to pop the water by sitting on it and then running back to their teams after it popped. Anyway, it was soo funny and the kids LOVED it!!! Plenty of kids left with SOAKED bottoms:)

After dinner, we did go to the SkatePark with the skateboarders...again, just truely amazed at their talents, courage, and perservance (trying tricks over and over).

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Rest of our Monday

From the reports I heard the Kidz Club went well this afternoon (at least 55 kids there). They held it from 1:30 to 3:30ish.... my plan was to let the kids nap (at their normal time) and then participate in the last hour or so.....but as the kids and I pulled onto the road the park was on, I saw our teammates driving by....they had ended a little early......

If you know me, my heart to serve, and my struggles with ministry vs motherhood... you know how disappointed I was. And then the guys told me I had missed an opportunity to spend time with the pastor's wife.....but I held it together and figured we have two more afternoons???......

So tomorrow I'm hoping to go straight to Kidz Club and then delay the naptime until we've spent some time at Club.... so that's the plan, let's see if they make it through lunch, or else plans will change:)

After dinner we headed off to the Skate Park.....we got there at 7pm and there were few kids out there skateboarding, biking, etc!! As it got later more and more people started pouring in.....I am totally not knowledgeable about skateboarding or the skateboarding culture.....

Here is part of the group forming....this was just ONE corner of a very busy skating ramp thingy

Here are some of the "smaller" guys....I can't believe how HIGH they can get:)

So, I got a little skateboarding culture info.....and was really amazed of the ministry opportunities involved with this sport.

Morning Work : Trash Cans:)

So, our work this morning was to paint the trash cans that the sports complex would use around the park; in order to obtain the permit to use the park at night:) Honestly, none of us knew what to expect, how many, clean or not, etc!!! But we had 8 newly panited cans to "decorate" using themes of where in the park they would be placed (if we wanted). So the skater team did a lot of skater themed graphics and symbols, we did nature and kiddie themes, as well as a basketball theme.

Because we were painting the cans for a public place we couldn't put Christian themes or wording... Brian and I were talking about how challenging it is to encorporate Christian themes without making them "too Christian". Just a reminder of how faith encompasses thought and even words:) But we did include some of the basic fruits of the Spirit which many faiths would view as "goals".... but that we understand as coming from one who has the Holy Spirit.

Here are some pictures of our team hard at work....

And here are our finished products:)

One of my prayers have been that each of us would use the gifts and talents we have during the week to do the ministries that have been laid out for us. So, I was a little worried about how painting trash cans would use our teams' different talents....

BUT some were painters, some were fillers (filled in large painting spaces), others were suppliers (getting supplies and cleaning brushes) and others were directors (encouraging others to finish the tasks, figuring out what to do on each can,etc)..... so even though some didn't paint everyone was used:) Another answer to prayer and plenty more bonding moments....including getting the orange glob of paint off my favorite flip-flops:)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Before she LOST her Paci

You'd think bringing 2 pacis would be enough for an 18-month-old.....but not for Lydia. She has lost BOTH already....tonight it disappeared at the SkatePark.....

So we had to finish the evening finding a new paci.... she has a cheapy Parent's Choice....but she took thank goodness she is content again. Grammie was an angel for keeping the screaming child (and the two content ones) in the van whiloe we did the errands.

We have a busy day tomorrow......painting garbage cans (to get a permit to use the public park), then "club" in the afternoon and then the SkatePark in the evening:) We're excited to "finally" get started in the ministry we've been praying about for almost a year now:)

No Frills

So.... we decided to do a little grocery shopping to save some money and eat our lunches in the hotel:) So we stopped by the closest grocery store..... called NO Frills.... now the Aldi's crowd could adapt in a second....but us spoiled U.S.A. Super Walmart shoppers...... had a couple of laughs..... first we couldn't get a cart b/c we didn't have any Canadian coins, then we had to use one of our credit cards with an international finance charge and then we had to carry the groceries out b/c we didn't bring our own bags........ I felt like a was stealing the groceries.....

But the prices and selections (especially produce) was pretty good.... bologna wasn' fact even at the Walmart all of the bologna I ahve found contains milk.....WHY???? Anyway, the kids are pretty bummed that they can't have bologna (at least in Canada)!!!

Our Canadian Lord's Day

This morning we visited our "Canadian church" - the church we're working with in ministry this week. Although the church was much smaller than we are used to and met in a local school, we enjoyed the service and especially meeting the church members:) And I personally can't wait to spend more time with Rob's wife....another young mom/pastor wife/SAHM, etc... just to have someone in the same stage in life and many of the same struggles....

Our "fearless" leader doing orientation.... since this afternoon was the official start to our ministry here...

The team spent most of the afternoon preparing the materials to use during the week!! The exciting part of this activity was the unity and teamwork that it built. We all immediately started working and then helping those who took on larger tasks.... it's always nice to have the team come together and start to blend:) The other church we are working with is from the same state as we are.... so we're already culturally unified... well sort of... the other group is mostly younger teen boy skateboarders...and we're a mixtiure of ages, with little to no knowledge of skateboarding:)

Ginny and Anna working together

Our team at the Skate Park

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lydia's eating

Lydia has had some fussy moments and just really wants to held and to have her paci. We're away from home, so I am more willing to give in....she's my spoiled baby and I have work to do when we return home, breaking her of some of this...

Anyway, she's not been eating very well since we left.....finally today the eating battle was broken with a chicken sandwich, oranges, oatmeal and rice....

I actually think she is teething.....and we're eating out (which we don't do this often)....and naps times, so far, have been cat naps in the car..... so I know I should be thankful that she's sleeping soo well through the night, pleasant when held and finally eating something!!!!

We met witht he other church that we're working with. And this evening we met as a whole group with the pastor of the church we're helping. Our day-to-day tasks are clearer but the details will be part of our orientation and planning sessions tomorrow after church!!!!

Happy Lord's Day!!

The Diversity of Toronto

These girls and mother were heading to an engagement party for a relative..... family came in from all over the US to attend this party. Their outfits were so beautiful.

We ate at a Chinese restaurant this evening for supper. The waitress was just geniunely sooo sweet to us and the family....

Just another example of some of the Canadian hospitality we've been shown!! What a blessing!!

Buddhist Temple across the street from our hotel

Touring Toronto by Van :)

Well after we found out that we didn't have any responsibilities today we started to make arrangements for our day. We decided to make a trip into many times are we really going to be back in this area to see Toronto again??? After hemming and hauling about what to do we decided just to blaze a trail to Toronto and then stop and see the sights.....

But it started to get cloudy and then stormy with toured Toronto in the minivan:) So ignore the blurriness and raindrops of some of the pictures.

A View of Lake Ontario (from the road)

CN Tower

See the steeple of St James Cathedral???

Random old building

The huge buildings of the Financial District

Our Canadian "home away from home"

We have a suite .....and it's pretty sweet. Because we have 6 people in one room, I couldn't imagine anything smaller!!! But this layout is pretty nice...

A separate "kitchen"
(microwave, little fridge, sink and some cabinets)

Our living room with a fold out couch (Grammie's bed)

Our Bedroom (2 Queens and a pack-n-play)

The kids have slept very well since we left. They start to stir a little early in the morning, but so far we've been able to get them back to sleep until 7 or so!!! I've been soo thankful that they've gone to sleep easy....Christopher and Anna will whisper for a little bit. They're sleeping in different beds and then Brian sleeps with Chris and I sleep with Anna. Both kids move around so much during the night....they would be waking up each other all night!!! Lydia cries for a little when we first put her in the pack-n-play...but she quiets down quickly and crashes:)

While I'm on the topic of the kids.....they also travelled pretty easily!! Christopher and Lydia were sitting next to each other....they won't be on the way home:) Between vdeos, snacks, apaer and pencils, and naps....they kids did pretty well...Lydia was the only one that got "fussy" and Christopher was a little devious when he needed to nap (but that was when we were talking to the police...too much "excitement")

Okey dokey, off to figure out our plans for the day!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Canadian Apology

Yes, well we felt your prayers and God's protective hands this afternoon on the way to our Canadian "home" this week. We were about 30 minutes from our hotel when we were totally side-swiped by a CRAZY driver.....the man hit our car and just kept driving....swerving from lane to lane.

We didn't know what to do. The car was still driving along so we just continued....a couple of minutes down the rode we saw that the police had pulled the driver over!!! Brian quickly pulled over and told the police that the man had hit US!!! BY the time we got to the police they already had the man hand-cuffed and into the cop car!!

The police officers took our information and told us they'd call us for a statement and whatever else needed to be done.

We just we SOO THANKFUL that although we were hit, the damage was very, very minor!! And that we all were safe, when we were hit on the left, we were on a bridge and we had a semi-truck in the lane immediately to our room to swerve (if we had even saw him coming). And I was thankful that Brian was driving and held the car so still, straight and remained pretty calm.

I was soo close to tears as Brian talked to the police officers.....I just felt like we had been sooo protected from a major accident. The officers had been alerted about the driver almost 30-40 miles before he hit us.... a truck driver had called the police about him!!!!! So you knew he was a pretty erratic driver and probably intoxicated, or something.

And interesting "ending" was that the truck driver who called into the police stopped to give a report and a mother-daughter team stopped to also offer a report about the driver. Both drivers came up to us and offered apologies as Canadians, assuring us that this was NOT the norm in Canada. Both of these people were just soo sweet, the lady even hugged me:) And let's just say I have even more respect for truck drivers:) Another funny thing was that Anna slept through the entire thing....the bump, the stop at the police cars and waiting for the police....zzzzzz

So we thank you for all your prayers, they were needed and felt today!! And continue to pray for the rest of our team, we've already met up with Bill & Susie at the hotel, but we have a group of 6 that have the final leg of their journey tomorrow!! Let's pray that their trip remains uneventful!!!

Coming into Canada & Our Visit to Niagara Falls

This morning we ate breakfast in the room, packed up our stuff, and got back into the car. We decided since we couldn't see BOTH sides of the falls we'd just see the Canadian side. So we crossed the Canadian border.... funny story... I was soo sure they'd have me dump all my open lunch meats and my fresh I was feeding the kids lunch at 11:15am to get it finished before the border crossing..... all in "vain"!!

After crossing the border we headed to Niagara Falls..... it was huge and amazing!! The kids enjoyed watching the water but they really liked watching the boat The Maid of the Mist. We didn't do any of the attractions, mainly beacsue the kids were exhausted after just walking the length of the falls. And I couldn't see me kids enjoying the boat ride or the hike down in the falls....noise and getting wet... not for sleepy kids!

Here are a few of our pictures......