Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fun in the Sun


Today was our annual carnival at school.  Many fun times to be had.  I always look forward to my opportunity to dangle above the water and make fun of my students as they miss the mark.  Of course, I also enjoy getting drenched by them!

Here I am taunting them by solving the rubik’s cube while I wait to be dunked:

IMG_0901                               IMG_0900 

And here I am being dunked!

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IMG_0911Of course Aaron enjoyed watching me get dunked and even took a throw himself

(he missed, but my “assistant” hit the bar for him).



IMG_0903He also loved the balloons to see and bouncy castles to bounce in!IMG_0931 







On another note, Aaron started Awana last month and has been enjoying his time with the kids and especially his special Cubbies vest!  It is fun seeing him get this great foundation in God’s Word.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

For His Glory

Last week was Spiritual Life Week at ICS.  God used the week to work in the lives of many students and staff.

What is Spiritual Life Week?  In this case it was a chance to focus the whole week on God.  The students attended chapel twice each day.  These chapels were lead by a group from the NICS school in Korea, five students and two teachers.  The students lead the times of worship while the teachers (John and Ben) did the actual speaking.

The theme for the week was "For His Glory".  Each day John helped us to see a better picture of God's story in the world around us.  Ben made things more practical as he shared his story and the way God has been working in his life.

It is so easy for us to get caught up in how every little thing affects our life.  We lose sight of the big picture.  Sometimes our whole life experience rotates on a single decision or action.  God is orchestrating something great in each of our lives!

As humans we tend to look at people and ourselves and center our value upon what it is that we do.  But God is not interested in what we do, He simply loves us for who we are.

We make terrible messes sometimes; often we look at our life and think that there is no way that God can use our situation, whether because of sin or because something HORRIBLE is happening.  But God is using even those messes and difficult times to create something great. 
Ben shared with us how five years ago, the week before they were to follow God's call to serve Him in Korea, they found out the child growing in his wife's womb was not going to survive.  The doctors said she just needed to get an abortion.  They refused.  Over the last four months of the pregnancy they prayed and prepared, but the child, little Benjamin, lived for only 47 minutes after birth.

The next day Ben told us how God used that mess to orchestrate something amazing.  Instead of collecting flowers at the funeral they asked people to donate funds to a mission in Russia.  Over the course of the next few months, $10,000 was raised.  That was enough to buy a home for a Russian family working to adopt orphans and train them up to know God and serve him.
God's story is SOOOO much bigger than we can imagine; He is doing amazing things!

Our life must be lived to bring glory to Him, but the only way that can happen is by letting Christ live in us and through us.
On Thursday and Friday students were given a chance to share what God had been communicating to them.  It was awesome to hear many students share, some of which were making major changes in their lives.

  • Please pray that the commitments made over this great week will be kept.  Also that students will not just return to the same old lifestyle, but that they will take away something from this week.
  • Pray the same for me and the rest of the teachers as well!
  • Praise God for the part we each get to play in God's story!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Summer Fun in the USA


Here are a few pictures from our adventures in the US.  In June, we had lots of fun with the Whittaker clan.  Aaron is one of six cousins, all under 4.  It was great seeing him interact with his cousins.


Our first week was spent at the ocean, all 18 of us!  Such excitement.  Here are all the cousins with their grandma and grandpa, from left to right:

Beniah – 8 months
Donny – 2 yearsimg_7812
Everlyn – 2 months
Katie – 1 1/2 years
Jack - 3 1/2 years
Aaron - 3 1/2 years





This was Aaron’s first time in the COLD Oregon ocean.  He had fun.


Here is the whole clan.






IMG_3208For the 4th of July he had his first Smore.  He wasn’t so sure about the mess, but boy does it taste good!


He also had fun playing with Danny’s old toys (so did Danny and Grandpa!)




In July we made the trip to Eastern Washington to spend time with Betsy’s family. 









He LOVED the farm and all of the machinery:


























He had a few more firsts:

Swimming in the middle of a lake (first for Danny too)









Horseback ride

First Parade









First Steam Train Ride


All in all, it was a great summer!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to School

Hey everybody!

Welcome back from the summer.  The past three months have been wonderfully busy and crazy.

It started with the long flight across the Pacific on June 15th, and three weeks with Danny's family in Portland and Vancouver.  It was a lot of fun letting Aaron interact with his five cousins aged from 2 months to 3.5 years.  Most of these we had never actually met.

After our time in Vancouver we made the drive to Othello to spend time with Betsy's parents.  This was another wonderful time as Aaron got a chance to ride on all sorts of machinery (tractors, trucks, motorbikes, and a dune buggy).  Our trip ended with a couple weeks at Deer Lake, swimming and boating and otherwise relaxing.

It was a refreshing time and was wonderful seeing so many people that we haven't seen in a long time.

We returned to Singapore on August 3rd.  It was nice to not have to live out of a suitcase anymore.  The last three weeks have been spent trying to get back into a normal routine at home, while at the same time getting a new school year started.

The school year is going well.  At the end of last year enrollment was down by about 15% (from 400 to about 340), causing the board and adminstration to need to make some cuts and plans.  They set a budget based on 360 students and told us to pray that God would bring them in.  It was close, but on the Friday before school started our enrollment hit 361!  Praise God!

Please continue pray for the school, we are in the midst of some negotiations with the government regarding coverings for our outdoor basketball courts.  We have been waiting for final approval since last June and continue to wait.  Please pray that something will happen quickly so these coverings can be put up quickly to allow more places to play and have PE during rainy days!

Thanks for praying!  Sorry there aren't any pictures today.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day 2

ICS students prepared lessons for the university students to help them engage in fun activities and practice speaking English.  Our 19 students split into four groups, IMG_6468and for one day they taught lessons in the morning and the afternoon. 

IMG_6402It took some time for the Chinese students to feel comfortable playing volleyball.  They got a chance to practice various hits and defences, then we split them into groups and started a tournament.  In the end, everyone had a great time.


IMG_6505Next is Ultimate Frisbee.  This game took some time to explain.  I think the Chinese were less familiar with it.  But, once the teams were selected and everyone faced off, there was no stopping it!  Ultimate was a huge hit!  The ICSIMG_6662 students were panting by the end due to the high altitude.  We just weren’t used to 3,000 feet above sea level.

IMG_6608The Music group had a challenge.  They needed to define a series of very specific types of music as well as instruments.  They were fortunate to have someone to translate everything for them.  They also used PowerPoint slides incorporated IMG_6612with instrumental sounds.  Yes, even hand motions sufficed to demonstrate the woodwinds. They topped off the class with a generous round of musical chairs.


IMG_6619Finally, the Card Playing group.  They also faced an audience with little understanding of English terms like “spades” or “queen”.  This team did not have the benefit of a translator, but they did have Mr. Whittaker.  Since Danny taught IMG_6615this class last year, he stepped up and taught it again.  You will notice that everyone is scattered around the floor.  Apparently there was a miscommunication and the class was held in a computer lab with no movable tables.  Ah, that wonderful creativity called improvising.


And what was Aaron doing during all this?  Why making friends of course.  He had a great time running around and playing with the menagerie.  The menagerie, in turn, had a great time trying to get him to sit still for a picture.  “So lovely!”

                    IMG_6599      IMG_6651

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rural Life

On our first full day in China, we got a taste of something that can never be found in Singapore:  A Farm!  A Singaporean family started an olive farm in rural China to educate the local people in farming techniques and to bring hope.  They wait for the first harvest of olives which will occur in October.  As they anticipate the bounty, they have branched out to other crops as well.  ICS students roamed the arid hills with a mixture of awe and disbelief.  A special treat awaited the end of the tour, fresh strawberries right off the vines.  We joined in the excitement as one after another, students stepped from the green house munching strawberries and licking sticky fingers.

IMG_6215     IMG_6222

After a home-grown, home-cooked meal, our group migrated to a nearby village to teach English with crafts, songs, and games.  Primary (Elementary) children practiced saying the names of animals as they drew pictures, sang “If I Were a Butterfly” and played an animal version of tag.  The tigers got to tag everybody.  The mice and pigs had to run the whole time.  Dogs and cats could tag those who were not tigers.

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IMG_6331Time melted away as the children began to come out of their shells and make some friends.  Even Aaron found some common ground with those he didn’t share a language with.




The school gathered everyone up to say “Thank You” and “Goodbye”.  What an excellent time for a picture.  Tired ICS students piled back on the bus, happy to have been a part of the school for a day.IMG_6366

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Home again

Just a quick post to let you know that we made it home.  We are still trying to get rested though.  Betsy and Aaron are both a bit sick.  Enjoy some pics until we can talk about it more later!

IMG_6266IMG_6166 IMG_6185 IMG_6195 IMG_6238  IMG_6269 IMG_6273 IMG_6332 IMG_6361 IMG_6366 IMG_6400 IMG_6528 IMG_6545 IMG_6555 IMG_6599 IMG_6612 IMG_6615 IMG_6635  IMG_6652 IMG_6662 IMG_6676 IMG_6681  IMG_6721 IMG_6775 IMG_6788  IMG_6820 IMG_6827 IMG_6865 IMG_6874 IMG_6932 IMG_6944 IMG_7060 IMG_7121