Saturday, October 31, 2009

Catching up

WOW - it's been awhile... SOOOO much to say, so little time...
Since Rich came home from Samoa, things have been a whirlwind.
He brought home some bug he and his team-members got in Samoa as a going-away "gift"... and was quite miserable the first week home.
LOTS of things to catch up on - on all fronts...

We celebrated Jeremie's 18th birthday this week!!! So proud of this kid who's become such a fine young man!!!

EXACTLY 5 weeks from now will be Nathalie and Lewis' wedding and the preparations are consuming every possible free moment in my days (and sometimes nights...).
It's all good though, and I am so excited that we'll have family coming for the wedding from Germany, USA, Australia and Tahiti - we'll also have other islander-friends that live in NZ at the wedding (Samoa, Fiji and Tonga)!!! How very special!!!

Leilani is SUPER busy with a very competitive volleyball-team and has barely got time to breathe in between school, practices, games, tournaments, homework, church commitments (not many these days cuz of being so busy), fundraising for volleyball-related-activities, friends and chores...

I am kind of grateful that Rich has been prevented from traveling again because of lack of finances... He was supposed to be in the South Island at the moment, but it's good to have him around (tonight he's doing a shift at St.Johns).

WONDERFUL NEWS: remember how Rich wanted to leave a gift of NZ$2,000 in Samoa?
Well, amazingly enough, through the generosity of many people (from Germany, USA, Tahiti and New Zealand), we have reached this goal almost exactly to the dollar and will be sending it off next week! IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE! (Jesus)
I feel soo blessed!

Oh yeah, MORE WONDERFUL NEWS: remember my purse that was stolen? Our contents insurance (that we need for our rental home) covered the theft!!! So, besides having my wallet replaced already with most cards, drivers licence etc, and my sunglasses, I will get a brand new cell-phone next week (better than the old one) and a brand new camera (better than the old one).

I am blown away - several people had prayed for me (myself included) that the stolen goods would be restored, and have they ever!

Something that just tickled my heart: the purse that was stolen was about 30 years old and would not have matched the dress that I'm going to be wearing at the wedding. Neither would my only other purse. Through the reimbursement of the lost purse, I was able to buy a new purse that matches perfectly - YAY!!!
All I can say is, THANK YOU, JESUS!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Watch this!

A video slideshow set to Bono's speech at the presidential prayer breakfast.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mission accomplished!

Today, we welcomed our "HERO" Rich back home after a little over 2 weeks in Samoa!

The emercency relief mission is finished and clearly, Samoa is now in the new stage of rebuilding.

We are so proud of what Rich and his team were able to accomplish - with God's help - bringing physical, emotional and spiritual healing to so many in the initial stage of the aftermath of the tsunami.

THANK YOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH if you have prayed - for Rich, for Samoa, for us at home!!!
And THANK YOU, if you have given towards Rich's travel costs - or for Samoa!

Monetary donations are still trickling in towards the goal of NZ$2,000 that Rich felt to leave in Samoa. It is pretty exciting!
We will wait until the end of this week and then send off the total of what will have come in.

So - there's still time to give, if you want to just bless the Samoans in the rebuilding of their lives - channeled through YWAM-Samoa - every dollar counts!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Let's keep praying for Samoa!

It's been raining in Samoa - no, not raining - POURING!
The poor people that still have no houses and are under primitive shelters with tarpaulins must be so miserable!
No medical teams were able to go out today because of the weather.
It's not real easy to treat people in the back of a pick-up truck in pouring rain...

Also, the roads are pure mud and remember - the people are in the hills/mountains now...
So, even with a 4-wheel-drive, Rich and the team were slipping and sliding all over the place.

No fun for the people (Rich probably DID have some fun slipping/sliding)!

Let's pray for the rain to stop and the weather to stabilize until better shelters are built!
We are racing against time, cuz the rainy season, often with cyclones, is just around the corner.

Some of our team went back to the island off the main island where Rich and the team had been last week.(I think it's Mananoa or something like that)
They found that the people had not received ANY help since last week - no clean drinking water.
Quite a few children have come down with dysentery...

And with the rain, more and more respiratory sicknesses are plaguing the people.

Lord, have mercy!

One more day for Rich.

It's been really full-on.

He's tired - and happy.

Even though he lost most of his sleep last night.

Ya gotta know that the local YWAM-base where he's staying, is built local style. There was a leak in the thatched roof and he got a free cold shower all night...

Thanks for your prayers - and - it's not too late to give - see last post!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

YOU can make a difference, too!

When Rich was on the plane to Samoa, he met a couple of guys from the Salvation Army.
They wanted to go and help - somehow -
They had some money they wanted to invest.

A couple of days after their arrival, Rich and the team met them walking on the road and picked them up.

Guess what??

The guys ended up buying the local YWAM-team a flat-bed truck (!!!) - to help with transportation of materials for the rebuilding of people's homes. What a HUGE blessing!!!

Fono, the YWAM-leader, and his team - has been out ever since from 5am, going into the newly establishing villages in the mountains, helping people clear land of coconut trees and building homes.

As mentioned, Rich would LOVE to leave a gift of NZ$2,000+ (about 1,000Euro, US$1,500) with Fono to help with buying building materials for homes.

You can give here by credit card from any nation in the world!
Even a small donation of $5 or $10 will make a difference and will bless the people of Samoa that have lost everything!

Your gift will be processed through our local Impact World Tour (YWAM) account and then go straight to Samoa. Just make sure to put SAMOA in the details section.

THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH - for your prayers, for your interest and for your gifts!

Call2All Next Generation

Call2All Next Generation EXCITES me - You've GOT TO watch this promo!!!

Filmed here in our city Tauranga.

Featuring our amazing friends and co-workers:

Josh Cole, representing the Missions Movement.(he's with YWAM)

Dalton Lifsey, representing the Prayer Movement.(with the Tauranga House of Prayer)

The promo is produced by our local church - Changepoint.

And our local church is 100% behind this project!

When you get this unity between those 3 - local church, missions and prayer movements - it's POWERFUL!
What a privilege to be part of what GOD is doing locally and in the earth in our life-time!!!

And - why don't YOU consider COMING?!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Lots of donations are coming in for the Samoa-container. What a wonderful outpouring of love from local Christians and non-Christians!!!

Rich REALLY REALLY REALLY would like to leave a gift of at least NZ$2,000 with the Samoan YWAM-leaders when he leaves this week-end to help with their on-going efforts to help rebuild the part of their island that got wiped out by the tsunami.

I don't know how to put a "Donate" button on my blog - in case any of you readers would like to participate - even with a very small amount. Will try to look into that tomorrow...

Full day today with "Messy Eating"-class for Shayden to help him eat better, a meeting, family, household and wedding preparations tonight - first baking, YAY!!!
Invitations went out today, too.

Haven't heard from Rich today, but it seems that all is going well and little by little, at least in the area of primary health care, the tsunami victims are being helped. Everything else will take a LOOOOONG time to heal... hearts especially, as people are traumatized! According to Rich, the Samoans are very courageous, though, and are picking up the challenges of clean-up and starting to rebuild! Bless their hearts!!!

Something to watch

This is a very old song - but still touching me - Lord, may our lives be a part of YOU taking YOUR healing to the nations!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lesson #1 learned today:

....NEVER EVER leave your purse out of sight for even a minute - even in a Missions Exhibit in "safe" New Zealand!

A little while ago I shared with you about this project that Rich and I have been involved with.
Well, today was the official "Send-Off" of the ship "Pacific Link" for the YWAM NZ Ship Tour to 8 port cities. Number 1 goal: raise awareness of missions needs and opportunities and challenge a new generation of young Kiwis into missions.

I committed to (wo)manning a part of the exhibit before we knew that Rich was going to Samoa.
So, off I went to set up, hang up posters, photos, lots of creative and informative stuff - and share with people walking through about the needs etc.

I left the Kylie and Shayden in the loving and capable hands of church staff (kids programs at church) in the morning and Jeremie and Leilani until they were going to join me after Shayden's nap - cuz there was also all kinds of other exciting stuff happening at the send-off, like a huge inflatable slide, sausage sizzle, live music and tours on the ship.

So far, so good - except I had only had 4 hours of sleep in the night - not to mention the whole crazy week - single mom, container, housework, guest.

My brain was obviously not at its best and I left my purse in a place that was - hmm - accessible to people walking through. I usually kept my eye on it at all times, but not THAT time.

I was off in the next "booth" talking with someone for just a minute, came back - and it was GONE!!!! I couldn't believe it!

Anyway, it's been a fascinating day - - - to say the least.
What I regret the most is the loss of our camera - a nice camera, that I had just taken a bunch of photos with - some of which I was going to share here with YOU - - - ! BUMMER!!!

In the bag was also my cell phone, my wallet with ALL KINDS OF CARDS - - - and some cash.
I hardly ever carry any cash (my kids could tell you). But just last night, some amazing co-worker came by our house and gave me NZ$100, so that I could surprise Rich next Sunday when I pick him up from the airport - and take him for an over-nighter to a hotel in Auckland instead of straight home to the "crazy" family... And that money was in my wallet today! Bummer #2!!!

I could tell you lots more, like how I miss my sunglasses and reading glasses - or how we got back into the car - with keys stolen - - - but I won't bore you with details and Ireally should go to bed now.

When I called Rich on his cell phone about the cancellation of one of our cards, he was still walking in the bush in Samoa (at 6pm) - things seem to be going well.

I won't hide that this day has not been easy - but tomorrow's another day!

Even though I know that the theft of my purse was my own negligence, this quote comforts me.
I have found that EVERY TIME our family does something significant in the kingdom, there is some kind of "cost" involved.

"A faith that costs nothing and demands nothing is worth nothing."

A thought that came to me soon after the theft: Rich is helping people that have lost everything.
I was just advocating for the orphans who also have nothing.
I could relate just this little bit better to them this afternoon - - - - - - - -
And I am grateful, because though I have lost a lot, I still have a lot left!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thank you, JESUS!

Just a quick update:


THE letter from YWAM Samoa did come through today - YAY!!!

So, all we're now waiting for is a written confirmation from Samoa that all the taxes/duty will be waved for the shipment.

It has been officiall announced that they would, but the shipping company wants it black on white.

So just one more hurdle to go.

GREAT NEWS: This morning, a local company donated 1 container full of bottled water!

I wish it could be flown to Samoa - - - but hopefully it'll still be a blessing a couple of weeks from now...

No news from Rich today - i'm off to bed now - it's been a day!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

I was gonna have an early night tonight...

... but that doesn't seem to happen these days...

I'd like to ask you for your prayers.

Some friends and I are trying to get a container with supplies ready to be shipped from Tauranga to Samoa.
The biggest problem is the paperwork that needs to be provided from Samoa for the shipping company - bureaucracy, politics, island-time - call it whatchawant... it's a challenge!

We are trying to get the container (and possibly even a second one) to the YWAM leaders in Samoa - excellent people and friends of mine for 25 years. We would love for the container to go to them, since we would be reassured of the contents REALLY going to the neediest people.
They would be working on the distribution in collaboration with the local churches.

So - it would be GREAT if you could pray for a breakthrough with the paperwork ASAP!!!

Just got a call from Rich. He and the team were on a neigbouring island today - 30 minute boat-ride from Western Samoa. -

They hadn't received any visits or help yet since the tsunami.

800 people.

They're out of water...

Within 10 minutes of arrival, 30 people show up for medical treatment.

After treating 10 people or so, a tsunami alert goes off and it is PANIC among the people (of course, Rich keeps his "cool" head, packs up some bags with medical gear so they can keep treating people and then leaves)!

Everybody rushing to higher grounds...
Old people panting and staggering...
a boy tripping and hurting his head on a rock...

Quite the adventure - and I'm so grateful that it was called off about an hour or so later!
(You DID hear about the earthquake in Vanuatu and the tsunami alert, didn't you?!)

There are so many needs in that island that they'll probably go back there for the rest of the week - along with other medical teams. They left the 25l water container full of water that they had received from the Red Cross this morning.(unfortunately weren't able to get another container with water from the Red Cross for tomorrow - seems they are really stretched...)

Seems like the Samoa Health Board really likes what our team is doing - holistic work - talking to the people, counselling (I don't know if they are aware of the prayer part) and treating wounds, helping build new homes, bringing food and water. They say nobody else does this - and they've got favour. YAY!

The Samoa Health Board sent a Samoan doctor with the team today. She normally lives in the USA, but came to help - happens to be a full-on Christian! Neat!

We have 4 more people (3 medical) from Marine Reach leaving tomorrow night to join the team.

Now let's just PRAY and hope for a breakthrough with the container tomorrow!!!

By the way, Rich said that several team members are taking photos - so hopefully we'll get to see some - when, I don't know...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Samoa Footage

If you click on this link, it will take you to a news-clip that was shown on TV last night about Samoa. The medical worker that was speaking in the beginning is one of Rich's team - a Samoan girl that lives in Australia and came with RescueNet. The footage was of Rich's team - can't see him, though...


Rich and the RescueNet team in Samoa treated people's wounds and infections all day yesterday in the mountain area and will probably continue to do so every day.

There are so many needs and sad stories...

He treated one 13-year-old, sad, boy who lost his mother in the tsunami.

Also a 70+-year-old grandmother who is very ill and should really be in hospital (but doesn't want to go). While Rich was treating her, her 2-year-old twin grand-daughters were buried next to her. She was devastated that they got swept away by the tsunami while family members rushed to help her (after she tripped).

Rich said the people they ministered to hadn't received ANY help yet - no food, nothing...

There are LOTS of children and they are starting to come down with coughs as they are sleeping without any blankets and the nights are quite cold.

Rich LOVES what he's doing (he always wanted to be a doctor), only regrets they can't do more. Unfortunately, they have to spend 4 hours/day just for travel to and from the affected sites...

My heart aches for the people - - -

Sunday, October 4, 2009

How sweet!

Kylie made a picture for Rich just before she went to bed the night that he left. On the back, she wrote this. I just had to capture it and share it with you :)In case you can't read her writing - this is what she meant to write:

I am going to miss you, Dad, when you go away.

I hope you are going to be safe.

Love from Kylie

Since Rich's left, Kylie has started sleeping UNDERNEATH Shayden's cot/crib - again - it's sooo funny! She did this on one of Rich's last trips away, too.

She camps out in Shayden's room - brings her clothes and toys (as much as I let her) and then sleeps in the squished space between the floor and the bottom of the cot/crib. It cracks me up!

She really seems to enjoy sleeping there - and the bonus is that when both of them wake up in the morning, they entertain each other for a while before they come and see me. Works quite well - especially since we're on school vacation at the moment.

You can't see Kylie on this photo - I took it in the dark while they were sleeping. She IS under there somewhere...

She ENJOYS "roughing it" (she sleeps on the floor with thin carpet - no mattress, no blanket underneath) - who knows, she may end up a missionary some day, sleeping on the floor somewhere... - and won't even mind it - hihi

Saturday, October 3, 2009

New record

We've had our share of "crazy" situations in our 2o+ years as missionaries.

Flexibility has definitely been part of most of our lives.

But yesterday saw us set a new record: preparing for a 2-week-overseas-trip in less than 24 hours!

With God's help - and quite a few praying - we made it - AMAZING!

Rich has safely arrived in Samoa where he and the team will be staying at the YWAM base.

They will even be fed there, it seems - both lodging and food being a luxury we weren't counting on (of course, everybody pays for their share)!

Rich brought dehydrated food for the 2 weeks at 1 meal a day, water purifying tablets and a little plate-set that food can be heated up in over a fire. So, who knows - he may not even need them... not sure.

So that's a good start. They will head out into the affected areas tomorrow.

If you're interested, here's how the "story" unfolded:

Wednesday morning: We find out about the earthquake and tsunami in Samoa and are very affected by it - pray - pray - pray

Wednesday evening: We hear that RescueNet is sending a team to both Samoa and Indonesia

Thursday: We both feel that Rich is meant to be part of the RescueNet team going to Samoa, but he was never able to finish the last part of his training (since they haven't held one yet) and so he thinks he's not eligible to be deployed.

Thursday night @ 9pm: We receive an email stating that Rich IS able to get deployed to Samoa after all (may I add that my man is REALLY great when it comes to emergencies and stressful situations and he's been having quite a bit of experience in the basic medical field as of late, too!)

Rich calls his leader/boss and clears with him if it's ok to go for the 2 weeks. He says yes, as long as he covers all areas of responsibilities with co-workers.

Rich and I pray about the situation, asking God to make it clear if he is meant to go.

Then (kind-of) off to sleep we go.

Friday morning:

Rich calls his co-workers and they release him with their blessing.

Then starts that mad-rush with booking a ticket, getting all kinds of paperwork done, buying all kinds of necessary gear, picking up a suitcase full of medical supplies, trying to get insurance, giving over areas of responsibility to co-workers, shopping, phone call after phone call - email after email - - - packing - - - did I mention emails and phone-calls?!

Friday night - actually Saturday morning at 1:45am:

Rich is still writing emails when he realizes he's forgotten about the time. (I had gone to sleep shortly after 1am, too exhausted to stay awake anymore)

He's just getting changed when the driver of the airport-shuttle van calls from the top of the driveway, asking Rich to come up, since he can't drive down the steep driveway with his trailer.

Big rush - almost 50kg of luggage needs to get to the top of the driveway.

Luggage in the car - drive up - unload luggage into van - drive back down - run back up...

... of course, all that takes place while all the other passengers of the shuttle are waiting...

Rich crashes as soon as he gets on that van and pretty much sleeps the whole way to Auckland airport (2 1/2hours) - except for a few bumps in the road that wake him up.

And I am surprised to find all lights, plus the heater on when I get up later - doesn't normally happen with Rich.

In the morning, I get an email that Rich wrote at the airport - probably one last email for a while - one last quick phone-call - and off he flies at 8am!

OUFF! Made it! And that's just the beginning...


Friday, October 2, 2009

Relief in Samoa for Tsunami victims

Ouff - breathe, Isabel, breathe -

It has become clear a few hours ago that Rich will join a Rescue-Net deployment for Samoa - leaving in a few hours...

Rich and I are both buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzing with super-crazy preparations.
More later - got to run...

Please be in prayer - for the Samoan people - for Rich - for us at home.