Saturday, September 30, 2017

Grandma Joyce

My Grandma Joyce (Alisa's Dad's Mom) got diagnosed with cancer last year in October. She had radiation and then started chemotherapy, but could not take it, so stopped treatments. Ever since she stopped, I had in the back of my mind that I wanted to go visit her before she was gone. I was thinking I would go at the beginning of October when Stephen was in Germany, but had not bought tickets yet.
My Grandma is the littlest girl in this photo. 
On August 7th, I received the news that my Grandma Verona (Alisa's Mom's Mom) had two weeks to live. Upon hearing this news, we realised we needed to move fast. I bought tickets for six days after she had gotten the news. We arrived on the 15th and stayed until the 30th. It was a nice time as I was able to visit with both grandmothers. I was very thankful to God for being able to see them.

I had never before seen my Grandmother with long hair like this!
On the 24th of September, we got the news that my Grandma Joyce had passed away. It was very shocking as no one expected her to go that fast. Once my Dad found out when the funeral would be, he told us and so we bought tickets on Monday night at 7pm and by 4am the next day we were on our way to Dublin to catch our plane. It was crazy.

Grandma holding Elisha.
Four generations
My Grandma loved watching sports on TV.

The last time I was able to visit Grandma. So glad I got this picture. 

The funeral was on Thursday. I was very grateful to be there. I was able to not only be at my grandmothers funeral, but was able to see many relatives and family friends I had not seen in years. It was nice to visit with everyone.

I'll definitely miss my grandmother. She was a wonderful person, generous and accepting (even to a fault).

I welcome you to pray for my family, especially my Dad and his brothers and sisters. Thank you.

Kids Community

A new ministry has started this autumn at the church. Its an after-school program on Thursdays for 5-10 yr olds.

It has been pretty slow in starting. Most schools said they would hand out our flyers, but we had one school that would not put them out at all. Even in spite of this, we have had a few children come so far.

At the club, we start with a snack and helping the kids with homework. Then we do a craft, a Bible lesson, and memorise a verse by singing a song that goes along with the verse. We end with playing games.

Some of the kids we have say the funniest things. One child, as we were explaining the creation story said "When God created the earth, he took all of his rubbish and threw it down here." We all were laughing at this viewpoint and used it as an opportunity to explain that God called it "good".

For the most part Luke and Tiffanie have organised most of it as Stephen and I have only been there a few times with us constantly on the move. We are really grateful for them as they have really had to get things organised on their own.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Our 10th Anniversary and Holiday in Italy

The boys loved pizz

On September 1st was Stephen's and my 10th Anniversary. We are very thankful that God gave us these years together. For part of our celebrations we had booked a holiday (vacation) to Rome, Italy last December. We were going to go over our anniversary, but you could save more cash if you waited a week later, so that's when we booked it! Since the camper we were staying in housed 5 people, we also decided to invite Stephen's sister Michelle to come with us. We were thrilled when she agreed!

The boys at the kid's pool.
Our home away from home.  
We stayed at a campground outside of Rome. It was really nice as it had two pools (a shallow one for kids, one deeper one), a restaurant, pizzeria, gelateria, and grocery store. It was really nice. Getting into Rome was not difficult as there was a shuttle from the campground going to the train station but getting back to the camp was more difficult as you had to use the bus system, which was very hard to navigate. Once we knew this, it got easier as time went on.

Two days of our week were taken up with traveling, just getting to the campground or getting back to the airport. We relied on public transportation there (which was wonderful as we did not have to bring carseats) and booked a shuttle back to the airport on the way home. We were glad we did as if we would have missed one train (which could have been very possible), we would have missed our flight.

The first day we hung out at the campground. It was nice and relaxing.
All of us at the Colosseum. 
At the Trevi Fountain

The Forum

The next two days we went into Rome to sightsee. The first day we saw the Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill, Trevi Fountain, and Circus Maximus. The second day was my favourite as we rented bikes and cycled on the Appia Antica (the original Roman Road that still has some of the original cobblestones. The same stones that Paul and Peter traveled on to get to Rome!). It was so much fun. The little boys had fun riding on the back of Stephen and my bikes as well. After our bike ride, we had the best pasta lunch we had during our stay in Rome and then visited the Catacombs of St Callisto. I was not sure how interesting it would be, but it was close to being my favourite. I was so glad Michelle had suggested we go there. What was even better was that our tour guide shared the gospel with everyone in the tour! It was very refreshing and inspiring with not only us cheering this man on, but other Christians who had gone on before him, cheering him on as he witnessed where they were buried. Wow!
The original cobblestones

Starting out our bike journey on the Appia Antica

The next day, we were getting ready to get to church when WHOOSH! An EXTREME downpour of rain hit the camp. It lasted for hours and actually ruined the pool at the campground. We weren't able to go anywhere. We were tired from all of our travels and sightseeing, so it was nice to rest, but we were really looking forward to getting out again. The rain forced us to stop. The next day it was supposed to rain too, so we figured out the bus system to get to a nearby mall. We walked around the mall most of the day. Not what we originally planned for our trip, so that was disappointing, but we were glad to get out of the camper.

The last day Michelle wanted to see a few more things in the city. We just wanted to relax and soak up the sun by the pool (fortunately the campground had another pool we could use even though both of theirs had gotten ruined). Michelle came back right before dinnertime so we were all able to go to dinner together and play a complementary game of mini golf. It was nice.
Silas with his fearless jump into the pool 

Mini golf. Silas had his first hole in one. 

All too soon the holiday was over. We were so glad we had this time to relax, even though it was scheduled at a time we were not really wanting to travel again, I think we needed it.
The last sunset we saw in Rome. 

Michael & Kayla Badger

On the 26th of September, Michael and Kayla Badger flew back to the USA after a seven month internship with us. We were so thankful that they came. We all got along with them so well, and we felt they connected well with the people in Moycullen. They came to serve and they were great at it. We will definitely miss them as they became people you could rely on. Also, they were both so fun. We look forward to seeing them in Germany for the Kontaktmission conference this spring and are hoping that God will lead them back to Ireland soon.

Picture taken by Ben McGue

At their going away party at church. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

John & Robin

On the 19th of July John and Robin arrived for a visit with us! The next day we celebrated Elisha's birthday by going to an indoor playground and getting pizza.

On the first Saturday they were here, we went for a hike and John and the boys tried fishing in the lake.

On Sunday Robin helped lead the music. It was nice to hear her play. This was the first time we had a full band play at our church. We also had lunch at the church. 

We had wonderful weather on Monday and decided to go to the beach in the morning. The water was nice and clear, it was shallow for the boys, and we were able to see so many sea creatures! Starfish, crabs, shrimp, jellyfish, cuttlefish, and tons of hermit crabs. It was so nice. That evening, John and Robin watched the boys so Stephen and I could go on a date. It was a super-nice day.

On Tuesday we got our pictures taken by our intern Ben McGue. They turned out fantastic. 

Wednesday Stephen and his Dad went to a sermon meeting at the church because John was going to preach on Sunday. 

Thursday John and Robin took us to the Atlantaquarium for the first time. We all enjoyed it. It was so interesting to learn more about sea creatures and more specifically about the bay we live nearby. In the evening Stephen lead Bible study and John and Robin were able to go along as well. 

On Friday we traveled down to Limerick. We ran an errand for the church and afterwards went to  King John's castle in Limerick. We all really enjoyed it. Afterwards we ate out at a barbecue place. 

Saturday we flew a kite and stacked rocks in Spiddal.

On Sunday John preached while Stephen and I lead the music together. 

We are very thankful for our family and glad John and Robin came all this way to visit us. So glad we were able to make the most of their time here.