Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Life is bitter sweet

A lot has happened since the last entry on our blog, so thought I should do another update. A lot has happened in the last few weeks. We had four Brazilian friends in for a typical Brazilian meal of beans & rice, roasted ribs, a green salad and a milk custard pudding for dessert. Our guests were Lucas Lara, right here from Salmon Arm, Solonge Detmering, also from Salmon Arm. She came to Canada 28 years ago to work for my sister Edith. Then there was Rotary exchange student by the name of Gabriel Di Bello from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and last but not least, Neusa da Silva, from Fairview Ab. that came to Canada 22 years ago to work as a nanny for my nephew and his wife. We just had a ball jabbering away in both languages. It was a fun evening and I vowed I would cook beans more often. I’ve forgotten how good they can be if one puts some imagination to work. Solonge or Sula, as we call her has to be the world’s best bean cook.

Gabriel, Neuza, Luke & Sula

Then we had some very sad news … First, that Eric’s brother Guy and a friend of his were instantly killed in a tragic automobile accident on their way from Saskatoon to Ft. McMurray where they both work. Eric is now bereft of both of his parents and one brother. It was such a shock to all of us. Ruthie and Luke flew to Saskatoon to be with him through this most difficult time. We hardly recovered from that when we got word that a very dear friend of ours that has been involved with the mission in Brazil drowned while on a fishing trip. He was a good swimmer so no one really knows just what happened. He leaves behind his grieving wife and three young daughters. He worked for the mission for many years as did his wife and her family. Recently he started his own business and was doing so well. It is still hard to believe we won’t see Miro in this life again … however, we have an eternal hope, and can look forward to seeing him in heaven. In the mean time we can weep with them and offer them what comfort we can, even if it seems insignificant to us.

Miro and his wife Joce

Our granddaughter Ruth and her husband Royden are in Salmon Arm right now. Royden’s father Ed Lepp was sick with cancer and has since passed away. He was only 64 and had so much to offer this world. Ed was a pilot and his plane crashed many years ago in northern Ontario. His passenger was killed but he survived against all odds, but did retain many scars to show for it. He lost one hand, and the fingers on his other hand. He limped badly as a result of his crushed ankles. He used a metal hook and was very dextrous with it, we were always amazed at the things he managed to do with it. The ‘Lepps’ are a large, closely knit, loving family, and when one suffers, we all suffer. Please remember them in your prayers.

Royden & Ed

Our friends Bob & Sharon Guzak from Edmonton come to spend time at their Mara Lake cottage, every winter and Bob loves to snowmobile. His other friends couldn’t join him last week so he took Earl out with him. That was a first for Earl and quite an experience by the way he tells it. He had no idea it involved so much special equipment and special clothing. I think he had stiff byceps for a few days … but would probably do it again if the opportunity arises again.

Earl & I and our friends Sharon & Bob

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A New Year to All

We’ve made it through another year and not the worse for the wear. All in all I would class ours as pretty good. No serious illnesses, no fatal crashes, no money invested and none lost. God has been good to us and He always is, and we give Him our praise and honour. We spent a wonderful Christmas in Lander this year with Earl’s brother Elmer and his wife Marlene, just doing whatever we felt like doing. Besides the big family dinner on Christmas Day, we went for long walks, set two 1000 piece puzzles, and watched movies we’ve been meaning to see for a long time. We appreciated their invitation so much, I think it was the first time we haven’t been home cooking a turkey for the family close enough to enjoy it with us in as many years as I can remember.

Christmas at Earl's brother's house, in Ladner.

We drove to Seattle to spend New Year Day with Ruth & Royden (our grand daughter and her husband. Pat joined us on that part of the holiday. We did the Outlet Malls and managed to pick up gift for our Brazilian children and grandchildren whom we keep in touch with on regular bases. We raised a family of five, plus two other boys that live close enough we get to see them every time we go to Brazil. They are all married and have children, then there’s our director & his family, Luke’s mother etc. This means finding a suitable gift for 35 people. It’s something like running a marathon, but we enjoy blessing them.

Does it look like we like coffee or what?

A walk through the park in Seattle.

If you can't beat them, join them! :)

For the last few years Sam Ministries has put out a Unique Christmas Gift brochure and we are always so pleased to see how many people are waiting for an opportunity to share some of their Christmas money to help a poor person or family in Brazil or Mozambique. We are so thankful for these special gifts and we are so glad to pass them on. God’s people surely are the most generous in the world.

Now that we’re into the New Year Earl is busy getting tickets lined up for his trip to Brazil in March. We are hoping for enough air miles so we don’t have to use any mission funds. I likely won’t be accompanying him again this year, it’s become too costly for both of us to go. Plus, I don’t do as well with international travel anymore, so that’s my excuse, even though I miss seeing all our friends so much.

The family is all well, Pat is still recuperating from back surgery and feels so much better, she’s even talking about going back to work someday, though I’m not sure it will happen. Lynn & Dwight are busy doing all the things they always do in Mozambique, while their children are in Edmonton. Russ is waiting to hear from the navy, to see if he’s been accepted, and Amanda is back in university working on her teaching degree. She wants to teach high school math and science.

This promises to be a usual winter for us with lots of snow, which is nice because it covers up lots of ugly stuff, but makes walking and driving more difficult.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Our 2010 Journey … We’re back home again after seven weeks and four days of travel. The trip went well, but not without a few clinches. The temperatures dropped sooner than we expected and we woke up one morning to find the water pipes in the R.V. froze so we had to make some adjustments.

Since my last blog we visited more churches in the Edmonton area. Thanksgiving Sunday we drove to Camrose and had dinner with my sister Dorothy, her granddaughter Laura Joy, and great grandson Sevrin. We did our best to polish off the whole turkey, but didn’t quite make it, which was just fine with us because we got to take home enough leftovers for several meals along the way. We managed to work in a visit with the four girls (all sisters) that Bob & Sharon Guzak adopted from out orphanage in Brazil. What a treat it was to spend an evening with them.

Richard & Neide, Marize, Adriane and Val - The Guzak girls

From there we left for Spiritwood Sk. and spoke at the Belbute Church that was built and pastored by my late uncle Adolf. We enjoyed the warm welcome of Floyd and Dora Berg that took over from my uncle. My cousin Sal Orange hosted us and we were so happy to be in a house trailer, rather than in a holiday trailer when the cold weather hit. We expected it to be colder in Saskatchewan, but weren’t prepared for the snow storm we encountered on our way to Weldon. It was snowing and blowing when we awoke so we thought we’d better head for Regina as quickly as possible. The road was treacherous; we crept our way along on glare ice. There were a number of abandoned cars and trucks in the ditches, but thankfully we made it there safely and were warmly welcome by our relatives.

Our last stop was in Calgary where we enjoyed getting reacquainted with Ralph Sasse, that is pastor of the Calgary Community Church. We first met Ralph’s parents in Barrhead, AB. and later visited them in Novo Hamburg, Brazil where they did missionary work for many years. It was such fun to speak Portuguese with him and his wife Brazilian Claudia.

Allan Lagore, from Freedom Outreach, was one of the featured speakers and two of the men who have been through their recuperation program gave very encouraging and heart warming testimonies.

Our journey ended with a trip to Ft. McMurray for their annual mission’s conference. We were hosted by our good friends Dawson & Winona Winsor and were pampered and completely spoiled. We enjoy our time there so much and re-connect with so many longtime friends. There are 40 nations represented in the McMurray Gospel Assembly congregation and we got to meet many of them, got to speak Portuguese again and tried our hand at communicating with the Spanish speaking Columbians that were there. We were reminded that we are one big wonderful family in Christ.

We also enjoyed a couple of nice evenings with our grandchildren Amanda & Russell, and Earl met a cousin for the first time. He happened to be working in Edmonton and we met him at his hotel, so now we have personally met another of Earl's relatives, James Trekofski.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Our Missionary Journeys … Before our ‘fans’ think we’ve fallen off the face of the planet, I’d better update this blog. Actually I meant to do it a month ago. So much for good intentions! The last few months have been very busy for us. We took on the finishing of a basement suite in a new house, and for two seniors I think we did pretty good, in spite of our age. Mind you Earl did most of the work, I mostly did the heavy looking one and lots of phone calls :) :)

We left Salmon Arm on Sept. 17th. on a trip to visit our supporting churches. We managed to borrow an R.V. from my sister and her husband since our old one isn’t very trustworthy anymore. It gave up on us three years ago in Manning and Earl had to go back to Salmon Arm and pick up our van so we could continue on our way. This R.V. is quite elderly as well, but so far it has served us very well. Our first stop was at La Glace, AB., where we had a good service and great fellowship with pastor Dave & Linda Duinker, as well as our good friends Bert & Lorraine Liland.

From there we stopped at Tim & Deb Stones in Silver Valley for a few days, we always enjoy our time with them way out in the country. From there we went to Manning AB. where a relative of mine ‘Cory Rosenfeldt’ and his wife Jennifer pastor the church. We got to renew our friendship, get better acquainted with their two beautiful daughters aged 7 & 4 years old. What gracious hosts they are.

Our next stop was Fairview AB. where we visited my nephew Dan Litke and his wife Karen. She prepared a delicious dinner for us and we had a nice long visit. Years ago they brought in a Brazilian lady (Neusa) to Canada as a nanny for their children and she still lives there. We stayed with her and managed to get a lot of small jobs done around the house that only a man can do. It was good to speak Portuguese again. She appreciates our visits so much, and we’re always happiest when we can be useful.

We then went on to Carrot Creek AB. Right next to Niton Junction, where Pastor George and Carolyn Stone are pastoring. They prepared a lovely dinner after the service and invited another couple over as well. She is Brazilian, and her Canadian husband married her while he was a missionary in Brazil. She is a doctor and hopes to go back to university and work toward being licensed in Canada. We wish her all the success; we know that’s not an easy road. Once again we got to practice our Portuguese and it keeps us from getting too rusty.

We are now stationed in Edmonton for about three weeks and visiting churches in this vicinity. Saw a lot of wildlife on the road but fortunately didn’t kill any! The sound of the geese honking their way across the sky is always music to the ears, hope that’s not a sign of early snow!

Patti (our Office Manager for SAMM's) and our niece Erin & her two children

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Summer has arrived

We waiting a long time, through a cold rainy spring and then it happened about two days after summer officially began. We are now enjoying lovely warm weather, Salmon Arm is awash with multi coloured flowers in huge cement flower containers on every street corner, hanging plants of almost every light post downtown, and that’s not even counting the lovely gardens almost everyone resident put in. Our city really is a delightful place to live, and by the amount of traffic and number of vacationers in town, a nice place to visit. We get our fair share of visitors as well. Most come from Alberta, but a few from places further away. Since May our home has been a whirlwind of activity, gardening, entertaining guests, frantically trying to finish some unfinished projects while the weather is nice and the sun stays in the sky till almost midnight, attending grad and various other banquets, taking in family events etc. While we lived in Brazil we often wondered on what our Canadians friends spent their time because they often complained about being so busy … now we know :) At the moment we have our grandson Russell here helping his grampa finished some projects. I suppose you might say it’s about time we baby-sat one of our grandchildren. He just turned 24 so that’s a good time to have him around, he pitches in and helps get things done, and isn’t much work to have around either. :) He just graduated from engineering and has sent in his application to enlist in the Canadian Navy. He’s busy gearing up for it. Gets up at 5 A.M., cooks himself a hearty breakfast, takes some rest time, and then goes for his 40 min. run. It doesn’t matter where you run in Salmon Arm, it’s either going up or coming down, so he’s found it quite challenging. He working on his ‘chin-ups and push-ups’ getting them up to Navy requirements, and besides, that he follows a strict eating regiment that would do us good to follow, but I’m not sure we have the same determination or will power to carry through with it. News from Mount Horeb in Brazil is encouraging, the outreach ministry in Cacador is coming along slow but sure, but like every big project we undertake we can only work as fast as funds come. So far God continues to supply the needs through our generous donors. I am enclosing a few pictures for your viewing. Once again the Jireh Foundation sent grants to enable our staff to attend university and get their hard sought after degrees. They are so grateful for this once in a life-time opportunity. Our first and oldest Brazilian granddaughter Patricia is just going into university to study business administration. Needless to say … we are so proud of her. :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Commemorations & Celebrations

Sorry it’s taken so long to update my blog, my excuse is the usual one … too busy. I will try not to repeat news you have already read in Lynn’s blog, she’s much better at keeping you in touch, she’s also more knowledgeable than I am on the computer, which helps!

We went to Edmonton for Sam Ministries AGM and annual banquet. More people than usual reserved a place at the table so we had to move into the main sanctuary of the Richfield church. We owe a debt of gratitude to the church and our Sam Ministries team who worked so hard to put it all together. It was a wonderful time of getting caught up on what is happening in both in Brazil and Mozambique. We spent the next few days in strategic planning meetings with our board of directors and it was certainly time well spent. Dwight just keeps us all on our toes, and moving ahead.

We are so proud of Russell and Amanda, they both graduated with distinction from their studies at the U of A. God has surely blessed us with highly intelligent, good looking and well-adjusted grandchildren. Had we known how much fun they would be we would have had them first. Both children and grandchildren truly are a gift from God.

It’s been too rainy to do much in our yard, but we won’t complain because the rain is so welcome after the mildest, snow-less winter we’ve ever seen in Salmon Arm.

We were saddened at the loss of our niece Nichole. Nichole was my brother Gerry & Trudy’s adopted child. They had her since she was 9 days old, and they discovered she was HIV Positive when she was just over a year old. They fostered her for the first 12 years and then adopted her. She’s been a very sick girl all of her life and had taken every imaginable medication that made her life absolutely terrible. Nichole lived the longest for any HIV Positive child in British Columbia, which was remarkable even to the doctors. We celebrated her life in a memorial service yesterday in Penticton, and the church was packed. Surely, Gerry & Trudy’s reward will come from God. They loved her unconditionally through all of her moods, depressions, and painful times.

We plan to travel to some of our supporting churches this fall and look forward to seeing pastors and friends and sharing with them about the opportunities God is giving us, and the advances being made at the mission in Brazil. A young pastor and his wife (Doug & Trudy Gordon from Morinville) are paying a visit to Brazil in July and will be spending a few days at the mission. We are excited for them, and ourselves … one never knows what God is putting together, but we do know His plans are for us are for good and not for evil. Serving God is so rewarding.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sometimes Life is a Whirlwind

Earl got home safely on March 16th. after a five week visit to Brazil. I managed quite well on my own, but found it too quiet so I had the radio or T.V. on most of the time. Lynn & Dwight went through Brazil on their way to Canada and spent a week at the mission with Earl. They came back this year to celebrate their Amanda & Russell’s graduation. It’s hard to believe they have finished four & five years (respectively) of studies at the U of A. Russ got his degree in electrical engineering, and Amanda in Biochemistry. They just got the results of their final exams and passed with the flying colours. What we wouldn’t give for young bright minds again. :) :) We met Lynn & Dwight the very next week in Red Deer for the FCA International convention. It’s always so great to see our many friends in the ministry, and we always make a few new friends as well. It was a very busy and there was no sleeping in. Activities got underway at 7:30 am and didn’t wind-up till after 10 pm, but all the same, we managed to get in some family visiting with Lynn & Dwight.

We met with Doug & Trudy Gordon, a young couple from Morinville AB. that are planning to visit Mount Horeb this July. We are happy and excited for them and hope they will feel so welcome with our gang at Mount Horeb that they will be inspired to go back for long term missionary work. Presently Doug is associate pastor at the Morinville Christian Fellowship.

After convention we took Lynn & Dwight back to Edmonton where Lynn had an exam to write, she has decided to go for a degree in nursing. The next day we left for Salmon Arm and Russ and Amanda flew down a few days later to join them. We’re having some family time and enjoying it so much. Our next trip was to Ladner to visit Earl’s brother Elmer and his family. Ruth & Royden (our other grand daughter and her hubby from Seattle) met us there, so we took advantage of the occasion and had some family photos taken. It’s been a long time since we’ve all been together. We are now back to Salmon Arm and house hunting and that’s quite a daunting task, considering the price of homes in this area. We leave for Edmonton on May 19th. to participate at the Sam Ministries banquet, the AGM and some planning meetings, and of course we will be there for Russ & Amanda’s grad as well, but don’t stand a chance of actually getting to witness the ceremonies … each grad is allowed only two quests … but we’ll just go out and have our own private party and the grand parents will be welcome! Both Earl & I have cataract surgery recently and came through with somewhat better eyesight, other wise we are both reasonably well.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

One More Week...

I've been working like mad getting some projects finished that I never get around to doing when my husband is here, such as putting my hundreds of pictures into photo albums etc. I've only got one week left before Earl gets back from Brazil, and my dinning room table is still covered with piles of pictures. Maybe I am going to have to put them all back into my trunk for a while. Certainly has been quiet around here and I wrote and told Earl that I discovered he makes at least half the work and half the noise in this house, to which he replied, "yeah and you must make the other half!" I didn't go to Brazil this year, because I usually get the flu shortly after I get there. Now, 10 days before my husband comes home he tells me he came down with a bad flu! Normally we never get the flu when we are home. Earl, Luke and I all had a birthday over the last few weeks. Since Earl wasn't here, Pat & I celebrated with Luke … Luke & Pat took me out for dinner, and Pat & I took Luke for dinner too. Wow Luke turned 21. He can now consider himself old, I guess. Haha :p When Earl comes home we'll all celebrate with him then! Lynn & Dwight are coming home for a few months as well, so when they get to Salmon Arm, we'll have one big party again! We've had a really cold Spring, so I couldn't get any work done in my flower garden. In fact today, April 8th, it's snowing outside! We had the warmest Winter in Salmon Arm that I can remember, and now we've got the coldest Spring that I can ever remember! It is just quite unbelievable. On Good Friday, we had a special service at Living Waters in conjunction with Five Corners Pentecostal Church, and the house was packed! There was special music, and a really neat video … It was a very edifying service. Then, on Easter Sunday, we went to the Lepp's house and had a good ham dinner with them and their family. I really appreciate the fact that people remember me, especially when I'm home alone. Unfortunately, Ruth & Royden couldn't come, but the rest of the family was there and we enjoyed their company very much. Little Vincent is growing up and starting to talk! It was also his first birthday so we sang Happy Birthday to him and he was owed by it all. Ed is feeling good and we're just so happy for him, his last scan showed no cancer spots on his lungs or kidneys - Praise the Lord! Let's hope our weather warms up and we can actually get some flowers planted for this Summer. Ruth

Friday, January 29, 2010

The new year begins with happy times and sad times …

We survived the passing of the old and the beginning of the new without much fanfare. We seniors are like Cinderella, when the clock strikes twelve we escape to our beds J It’s been quite cold since about mid-November, but as the New Year came in, so did warmer weather. We love it, but the Olympic planners aren’t happy. Snow is gone, and slush is here, and there’s not much promise for colder weather or more snow on the horizon.

We finally had Earl’s sister Esther, her husband Glen, their son Ted and his wife Sandra over for dinner. Glen and Esther moved to Kelowna last summer and it took us that long to plan a dinner date. They have a lovely new apt. in a senior’s complex and have their main meals in the dining room every day. Gee, that must be nice JJ After that the decorations came down and things went back to normal. Earl also became a great uncle over Christmas. Dwaine Grynke and his wife Erin just had a baby girl and are elated … Leonard is finally a grandpa. We are so happy for them all.

Our daughter Pat that lives in our basement suite is going through a painfully bad time with her back. Looks like she is going to have more surgery much sooner than she expected. She has had back problems for years, but the last three years have been almost unbearable for her. These sorts of things worsen as the years pile on. She was able to get in a few hours of work a week in her cousins clothing shop, which, as she said, keeps her sane! Last night Ruth & Royden (her daughter and husband) came from Seattle to celebrate Ruth’s birthday so we all went out for a nice dinner. Pat came with her cane, which she finally relented and picked up at the Red Cross. Her remark as she walked up to the door of the restaurant was “I look dorkey”. J J We assured her she didn’t look all that bad, and besides, people will all feel sorry for her in case she felt neglected. And it may also help her get a handicapped sticker for her car, which will give her all kinds of privileges.

On Jan. 14th. my oldest brother Henry passed away. He had been in long term care for several years suffering from Alzheimer’s. The very day he passed away, five of us siblings went to see him and tried to rouse him, but got no response. Then we decided to sing for him and picked some of his favourite songs … more than anything else Henry loved to sing and he had a nice deep voice. When we sang ‘Beautiful Star of Bethlehem’ his eyes shot open wide and we knew he heard us and recognized the song. After a few minutes we said our good-byes and committed him to the Lord. He died peacefully a few hours later, with his wife Marion by his side. His family, we remaining twelve siblings will miss him, but he is a far better place.