Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pre-Field Orientation & Missions Training

Okay, now that I have had a chance to get back into some semblance of order in my life again, I am ready to share about our trip to Missouri.

Scott & I
What a wonderful time of training as Scott & I went to classes each day Monday-Friday learning the ropes, so to speak. We had sessions from 9-12 each morning, lunch and then sessions from 1:30-5pm each afternoon, supper and sometimes a session from 6:30 to 8 in the evening, but only occasionally.

For three days, we had Regional Applications, where we heard from all the Area Directors, CINCEL Language School Directors, and Regional Directors over LAC (Latin America-Caribbean). We were blown away by their love and acceptance of us and how warmly they welcomed us into the LAC family!
New MAs and Appointed Missionaries to LAC!
They shared with us information pertinent to the culture in which we will soon be living. Attitudes and behaviors that may seem very strange to us here in the US are a part of life in that area of the world. We gleaned so much from those three days. We could have spent the entire two weeks there.

From the sometimes tedious sessions like Insurance and Reports and Visa/Travel to the deep spiritual studies like Missiology Theology & Maintaining Your Spiritual Walk, we were fully immersed in learning and developing into spiritually solid, paperwork completing, and culturally prepared missionaries.

Our last evening, we celebrated with the Missionary Associate (MA) Commissioning Service. As we worshipped with not only other new MAs, but Appointed and Veteran Missionaries from around the world, I couldn't help but stand there and let the tears fall. These people are fulfilling the Great Commission to "Go into all the World, and Preach the Gospel, Making Disciples of every Nation" and Scott and I and our children get to be a part of that! How Great is our God to allow us the opportunity to be a small part of that commission.

After worship, John Bueno, executive director over AGWM (Assemblies of God World Missions) shared with us tremendous words of encouragement and stories from his experiences on the field. Words are hard to come by when describing this wonderful servant and his wife, who in obedience to God's call, went in their early 20s to the country of El Salvador. They saw the need for educating children there and the fruit of their labor almost 50 years later: 37 LACC (Latin American Child Care) schools, one millions students educated, and a country transformed by the power of Jesus name.
John Bueno w/picture of all new MAs on the screen!
We were then called by name and country to the front to stand around our Regional Directors, Dick & Cynthia Nicholson and Brother Bueno read our charge and commissioned us as Missionary Associates of the Assemblies of God to go into all the world!
New LAC MAs w/Dick & Cynthia Nicholson!
Nicholsons, Talleys, Nelsons, Smiths & Tech!
Definitely a life-changing moment!!
Newly Appointed Missionary Associates, June 2011!!

Our Children
The kids each had their own classes where they learned about and prayed for their new country of Venezuela and the countries where all their fellow MKs (Missionary Kids) would be living and serving.

All 5 had "Eating Ministry" where they had to try different and unusual foods from all around the world. They all passed with flying colors! YAY! They may not have liked everything, but they at least tried it and that was the most important thing. Matthew ate a crawdad, shell and all! When we asked him if he liked it, he said, "It's meat! What's not to like about meat?!" :D
Matthew & Aiden trying new foods!
Merci with her plate of strange foods!
Matthew & Merci enjoyed field trips and fun adventures besides their class time during their two weeks.

Malachi, Moriah & Micah had more in-depth training. They went through "Boot Camp" and had quite an interesting time. They went caving and got all muddy, except the only mud in those caves was bat guano! Yikes! One day they went canoeing down the James River.

As the first week ended, the oldest three prepared for "MuKappa." Preparation included "customs," "checkpoints," "interrogation," "passport compliance," team-work as if they were a family, and sometimes, "jail." Once everything was in order they packed for MuKappa.

MuKappa is a 5 day camping trip out in the "boonies" with no soap, shampoo, deodorant, showers, toilets, cabins, beds, etc. They slept in hammocks under the trees with a single tarp over each kid. They washed in their bathing suits in the creek with camp "suds" and dug a latrine for their potty needs. In other words, they were roughing it! When they arrived, everything was dumped and put into big black trash bags that hung from tree limbs, while all contra-band was confiscated (things that weren't on the packing list).

As parents, we were allowed one visit and our kids had convinced us that we needed to bring in contraband! So we packed sodas, candy, gum, and deodorant in places that might not be searched ;D and headed out. We were stopped before we could get on the bus by security who wanted to see photo id. Since most of us did not have that on us, we had to bribe our way onto the bus in one way or another, from singing songs to giving up our water bottles.

Once we arrived at MuKappa, we had to march in single file lines, men on the left, women on the right, with our hands clasped together behind our heads! We marched through the creek, which was shin-high, (some of us having to stand in it while ATVs drove by soaking us through) over to the other side to our security check-point.

I made it through security will all my hidden stash. Scott, well, let's just say, he only had a couple of items left when he got through! They even tried to make him eat bananas (which he has a reaction to) as an "immunization" to enter "Mukappa land." He offered to eat grass instead. :D They took one of his Dr. Peppers and made everyone get down on the ground as they "disarmed" it, exploding it with a machete!

After customs, we had the great opportunity to visit with our children and see how they were growing in the Lord out in the middle of the wilderness! The time together was all too short and soon we were on our way back to campus.
Malachi and his hammock! 
Moriah with her hammock!
Micah & Dad beside his tarp & hammock!
Our children made life-long friendships. Their MK family is part of them no matter the time or space of separation. God has knit them together as a family forever. Our kids shed many a tear before we left, as we were leaving, and many times since. But that only makes the bond stronger and the times they have together more special.

Boot Camp and Mukappa were great teaching tools for all the children, but especially those going to sensitive countries or those going to countries where corruption is a part of life. They were made to see how real and sometimes scary it can be to go outside of our comfort zone here in America. They had to learn that your family is very important and you are a team together. They learned that they are missionaries too!

MKs are not Missionary's kids, they are Missionary Kids!

But most importantly, they learned that God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are always with them, wherever they go in this world. Their scripture for the two weeks will be with them forever!

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
Your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast!
Psalm 139:9-10

Moriah even chose it for her life verse. As I read it, tears come to my eyes, because this verse is not just for my kids, it is for me and Scott and all of you too!

No matter where we go on planet Earth, God has placed us there and where God has placed you, He has called you!

His hand will guide you and me! His right hand will hold us fast!

What a great verse to put to memory and keep close to our heart at all times!

Monday, July 4, 2011


We are home again! After almost a month in Springfield, Missouri and then a final weekend at the Outer Banks of NC, we can take a breath and regroup! Not necessarily a deep breath, as we will be back in travel mode soon.

July will be just as busy as June, but in different ways, with some of us going in different directions. Along with several meetings and church services, we will each be heading somewhere with missions on our mind!

Malachi will be on his way first, going with Pastor Randy Thompson and the Kidzablaze team to minister to kids in Cherokee, NC and then back to Camp Dixie for two weeks!

Then Scott heads for Pavia, Venezuela on the NC District trip for 10 days at the end of July, ministering to the people there and doing some manual labor to work on the facilities.

Moriah, Micah and Matthew (along with Isaiah & Ian Nelson) head to Kids Camp at Camp Dixie the last week of July!

I get to be Camp Nurse at Camp Dixie for the final week of Camp, along with my good friend and co-worker in Christ, Angela Nelson. This will allow Merci (and Imanuel) some fun camp time as well!

Lastly, our family has the privilege of being Camp Missionaries for Camp Dixie this year! So the last two Thursdays & Fridays of July, the kids and I will be sharing about Venezuela with these wonderful kids from all over NC!

I would love to share more about our time in Springfield as time permits, but for right now, please keep our family in your prayers as we are scattered here and there during July!