Sunday, March 29, 2009

Grand Canyon and Carlsbad Caverns

I promised a post about when we went to these places, so here it is! Even though I'm really tired and will probably forget a lot of things. On Monday we went to the Grand Canyon and had a lot of fun! We didn't realize it would be so cold, since where we were staying it had been in the 70's all weekend. The kids all had coats, but Caleb and I didn't have anything. We had to resort to paying for overpriced Grand Canyon hoodies and wind breakers. Actually, my hoodie was the only thing overpriced, Caleb got a good deal on his wind breaker.

Noah has been wanting to go to the Grand Canyon for a LONG time. He's been talking about it for months and for the last two weeks has been asking everyday when we were going. I wish I could've gotten a picture of his face when we went to the first lookout, you could tell it was a lot more than he was expecting! He just stood there at the fence looking out, amazed. I asked him if it was better than he expected and he just nodded his head and said "Oh yeah!" which, if you know Noah, is a lot for him to say!

We went to most of the lookouts, walked as much as we could even though it was so cold, and took lots of pictures. Noah, Kayla and Caleb became Jr. Rangers (Caleb really wanted that badge!) and they took a nature hike to complete their assignment. I stayed in the van with Lela, who had fallen asleep. We were going to eat sandwiches at a picnic table overlooking the Canyon but it started snowing once we got all the food out so we decided to eat in the van!

On Tuesday we drove to Carlsbad, NM where we found an open Missions Apartment at Bro. McKinley's church. We were grateful to find it since we had a cancelation in Colorado and had nowhere to go for five days! We thought it would be a 10 hour drive but it ended up being a 14 hours drive! We made it to Carlsbad at 1:30am. Amazingly, I was able to stay awake the entire time and keep Caleb awake for the last four hours of the trip.

On Wednesday we relaxed and on Thursday we went to Carlsbad Caverns. We didn't tell the kids a lot about it, except that we were going into some caves and there might be bats but no bears and no mountain lions! When we got there we sat in on a lecture about bats (gross!) and then got in the elevator to go 750 feet down into the Caverns! The kids were stunned as we rode down, the elevator guide explained how long it took to dig the shaft and you could see the rock passing by as we went down. They didn't say a word the entire 10 seconds it took!

They were warned to use their quiet voices once we got in the cave, but I'm pretty sure they would have been quiet without the warning. Once you get off the elevator it's like you're in a different world. It's dark, quiet, damp and cold. We started walking around and the kids couldn't stop looking around, pointing, and just gaping in awe! It is truly amazing to see the different formations in the rocks. We didn't see any bats since they don't migrate back until late April, but the kids were okay with that! We walked the entire Big Room, which was a mile and a half hike! I was tired and sore halfway through, but I kept going. What else could I do? It was worth it, but my back was sore the rest of the day.

Noah and Kayla also got their Jr. Ranger badges at the Caverns and it was fun to help them fill out their books. Noah had to ask a Ranger questions and he did it bravely! I am so glad we were able to go to the Grand Canyon and Carlsbad Caverns. It was a wonderful oppurtunity to relate what we were seeing with our eyes with stories from the Bible. We talked about how after the waters receeded from the flood, it formed the Grand Canyon and then the Caverns as it continued to go down into the earth. I'm sure that's not the most scientific explanation, but it was neat to see the kids be able to connect what they were seeing with what they knew from the Bible. It's also amazing how other people can be so ignorant of how the Canyon was created. Their own scientific "studies" tells them that every year the water leaves "this much" of a mark on the Canyon wall, yet they insist that it was formed over millions of years. When all they would have to do is count the "this much" marks on the walls and it couldn't be much more than a few thousand years! But they always have their explanations to explain away God! The Caverns wasn't as bad, except explaining how long bats had lived there by studying guano droppings.

This week we will be in Rio Rancho, NM in a Missions Conference and then Sunday Night we will be in Liberal, KS. Then we are going HOME! And will be there most of the time until after I have the baby. We have a few meetings, but we won't be gone for more than a week at a time. Thanks for reading and thanks for praying for us!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Colorado, Arizona

We had a really good time with Nate and Tresa Scholz in Florissant, CO. I was really dizzy and a little sick the whole time, probably because of the altitude. It was great to catch up and see old friends!

After we left there we went to Garden of the Gods on our way to Pueblo, CO. Noah and Kayla had a blast climbing on everything while Lela and I watched! Lela isn't much of a climber so she was content to stay with mommy. Caleb took Noah and Kayla on lots of trails and hikes and they had a good time!

We stayed in Pueblo, CO for a few days in a Missions Apartment NTCP, USA had helped build, so that was neat. After that we left for an 11 hour drive to Page, Arizona. This is where it gets interesting! On the way there we found out the church was giving us an "authentic" Navajo meal, including Mutton. The church is on a reservation and the Pastor wants to turn it over to a Navajo Pastor in a few years. They came early on Saturday, slaughtered the sheep, cut it all up and then grilled it! I was doing school with Noah so unfortunately I couldn't watch! But Caleb had a good time taking pictures. The kids got to see them take the wool off and then Noah watched them cut the meat up, they thought it was pretty neat. The made a dish called "konan" with the intestines, onions and peppers. I braved it and ate it and it was delicious! Although I don't know if I would try it again. The grilled meat, or mutton, was tough since it was an old sheep, but it was still fun to try it and it was nice of the people to do that for us. The church was so nice the whole time we were there and such a blessing!

Page, Arizona is at the top of the Grand Canyon so we went to Glen Canyon and the dam. It was fun and the kids had a good time climbing and seeing it. It made us really want to see the Grand Canyon! I wish I could post more pictures but they'd take up too much room and I haven't messed with this blog enough to figure out how to get a picture display thing on it. Maybe someone can help me? I have a Facebook where I post most of our pics. I haven't uploaded photos from the Grand Canyon yet and we went to Carlsbad Caverns today so I'll write a post about those places when I get the pics up.

I wanted to do an update about my pregnancy. I could complain about the baby being low, my hips and pelvis constantly throbbing, but in all honesty, I am having a great pregnancy now that I'm over being sick! I have a friend who had a uterine tear and has been on bed rest her whole pregnancy; another friend who is having twins and is miserable; another one who is still sick constantly even though she's 7 months along; and two other friends who have gestational diabetes. I have been so blessed with this pregnancy, I can't complain about anything! I'm not sick anymore, I don't sleep well because of different beds and hip pain but that's not bad, I can eat whatever I want, I haven't gained very much weight, and I can climb canyons and explore caves! I'm doing pretty well. We don't know what the baby is yet. I will probably have an ultrasound in April but then the baby might be too big and squished to see what it is, we'll see. I've learned to let it go and trust God. He knows what it is, He knows that we need clothes, a car seat, burp clothes, blankets, pacis, diapers, wipes and pretty much everything you would need for a baby, and He knows when I'm going to have this baby. So I'm just enjoying being pregnant and doing fun things with my family, and He'll provide what we need! Thanks to everyone who has asked how I've been. If you want to pray that I'll get some relief from this back pain, I'd appreciate it. But God's good! All the time!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Arizona, Colorado

After the GIBF meeting we were in a Missions Conference in Phoenix, Arizona with Bro. Bessinas. We stayed in their Missions Apartment for two weeks and we had such a great time! They have foster kids and adopted kids all around our kids' ages so they played mightily the two weeks! The church there is so sweet and loving. On Saturday Caleb went to the swap meet with the church where they set up a tent and hand out gospel tracts. It's mostly a spanish community and people were very receptive! The kids and I met him later and I was amazed at how friendly the people were and how much they wanted to take the tracts. Of course we found a lot on the ground and there were people that refused them, but all in all alot took them. The Missions Conference went well even though I was TERRIBLY hot!! It was in the 80's which to them is cool (they wore jackets and sweaters) but to this pregnant lady I felt like I was going to die. To make matters worse they didn't turn on the a/c in the church, they just opened windows, and there was little to no breeze. We also got allergy colds so we were all sniffing and sneezing the whole time.

When we left there we headed to Farmington, NM to be with Burson Corley in his Missions Conference/Preachers Meeting. We stayed with the Waldrip family who live on the bumpiest road I have EVER been on! It was awful, we couldn't go more than 5 mph and we were shaken around like rag dolls. We had a good time at that church also, and Caleb was able to sing some specials and I played some offetories and Caleb was able to present our ministry. Sunday morning (March 1st) we were with Bro. Harjo in Shiprock, NM. They have mostly an Indian congregation and it was good to be with them. It really is sad how pitiful life is on indian reservations. It's almost like a third world country, like Bro. Harjo pointed out. Whole families living in tin shacks, beggars everywhere (Caleb wouldn't even let me take the kids to the bathroom at a gas station by myself), and just poverty and sadness everywhere. I'm sure not all reservations are like this, but it really opened my eyes to the need the indian people have of hearing the gospel!

On Tuesday afternoon we left Farmington to go to Englewood, Colorado. We were planning on leaving at noon but didn't leave until after 3pm so we didn't make it to the first night of the Home Missions Conference. We drove straight to Silver State Baptist Youth Camp where we were staying for the week. It was excited to drive through the mountains at 10 at night, let me tell you! We went around the back of the mountain because of the direction we were coming from and I was for sure we'd go around the corner and there would be a bear.

But we made it safely and we were able to get unloaded and in bed before midnight! The next morning we woke up and drove to the church in Englewood for the meetings. Let me tell you, we've been in a few "big" Home Missions Conferences and we have NEVER been in one like this one. I don't want this to sound bad, but we usually feel like we have to make ourselves known or nobody will talk to us, we just end up sitting by ourselves hoping someone will look our way. But at this one, everyone was so friendly and there weren't "ranks" in the preachers of who you could and couldn't talk to on a social scale. Everyone was open and nobody was made to feel less than worthy of a conversation! That doesn't always happen when you get a lot of preachers together, sad to say. The people of the church were incredibly friendly and I can't even count how many asked me about the baby and if we knew what it was! I felt like taping a sign to my shirt "6 months along, we don't know what is it" because I answered those questions so often!

The best part of the entire week, we got to see Lauren Murray. We knew each other in High School from going to camp together but for some reason never liked each other. Then we went to Heartland together and we were inseperable! She was my Maid of Honor and I love her so much. I forgot how much I love her, actually. On the last night of the Conference we were sitting in the service and Caleb was on my left and Lauren was on my right. I felt so deeply satisfied I honestly could not think of anything else I needed. I am so thankful that the Lord brings friends into your life that you know will be there forever. Even though we don't talk often, maybe 2 or 3 times a year, whenever we do talk it's like we've never been apart. I am so unworthy of a friend like her!

This week we're in Albuquerque, NM. Sunday morning we were with Bro. Carr at Mesa Baptist Church and we might be able to be in their Missons Conference the beginning of April, if we can work it out! Sunday night we were with Rio Grande Baptist Church which is where we're staying in a Missions Apartment. We were supposed to get here Saturday night but the Pastor forgot we were coming and put another Missionary in the apartment! But he was very kind and put us in a hotel room for two nights. We are now in the apartment and will be here until Saturday.

After this we will be going to Florissant, CO to be with Nate and Tresa Scholtz; Page, AZ with a Navajo Pastor; and then Hobbs, NM which is at the bottom of the state. We're hoping to go to the Grand Canyon when we're in Arizona and Carlsbad Caverns when we're in Hobbs. Noah really wants to go! Thanks for reading.