November 28, 2014


It’s the day after Thanksgiving. 


It seems like it was just mid-summer and I was going out of my mind and wondering what it would be like in Tennessee and wondering what were we going to do with Lucy, our dog in Guyana, and wondering if our family would ever fee settled again. 

And now, a few, quick months later, November is nearly over. Tennessee is better than we every hoped, Lucy (hopefully) has a new home, and we are very much settled - but not too settled. 

Having time to sit down and think and read and write again is soothing to my soul. I’m able to cook good meals for our family. In fact, we haven’t eaten out once since we’ve been in Tennessee. We haven’t taken any trips. We stay at home a lot. We play. We build blanket forts. We started kindergarten homeschool. We are still busy with work, Todd with the plane and me with our December video update, the Mission Pilot newsmag, and whatever else I’m helping with. The kids are thriving with the stability of not traveling. Millie is reading (GAH!), doing art everyday, and is learning how to sew on my machine. Sam is so pleasant and can get lost for hours in trains and boats and planes and cars and trucks and tractors. 

So that’s us. Being the Thanksgiving season and all, we’re feeling pretty thankful and blessed. I started doing a daily “what we’re thankful for” post on our Facebook page, but so much was lost in translation that I kinda gave up. That and the kids said the same thing every day and Inspector wasn’t very interested. But this month has been extra full of blessings, I’m pretty sure. Maybe I just notice them more now that we’re settled and my hormone problems have resolved. I feel so blessed to be able to see all the blessings around me. 

Of all the things I’m most thankful for throughout this last year, here is a very small sampling:
+ Resolving my hormone problem (since that was making everything in my life worse)
+ The Godly women God has placed in my life, especially my older, wiser cousins
+ The lovely, cozy home we are currently blessed with
+ Our friends in Guyana who make life there better
+ Our reading curriculum “Express Readers” that we are so very fond of
There is really so much this list is silly. Most of what I’m most thankful for can’t even be described so easily. Most of all, I’m thankful for being so very blessed with a wonderful husband and Papa to my kids. I’m thankful for my kids and all the many lessons they teach me. I’m thankful for the love and grace and mercy and forgiveness of Jesus. 
I’m so thankful. 

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November 25, 2014

Tennessee and healing

Well. We’ve called Tennessee (temporary) home for a month and I half now. Life has actually resumed a sort of normalcy, and we are doing well here.

Tennessee is beautiful. The fall colors here have been absolutely lovely. Our small home that is a huge blessing is lovely. Everything is lovely. Well, except for the plane... That’s not actually lovely.

Here’s the most recent photo of the plane:
As you can see, we’re all working very hard* on the 180.

(*disclaimer: this photo was staged and no unauthorized personnel have actually mechaniced** on the plane)

Actually, for the past 6 months Inspector has not actually done any mechanicing** either. It’s been a whole lot of inspecting, organizing, part researching, and more paperwork than I ever thought one man can handle. By the end of this week Inspector should be able to answer the 4-million dollar question: Will THIS be OUR plane? Will it make financial sense? Will it be timely? Will it be possible? Get ready for the drumroll.

(**disclaimer: I made these words up)

Meanwhile, back in the trenches, the kids and I - who am I kidding. No trenches. We’re living it up here. For reals: dishwasher. Washer AND dryer. Piano. Internet. Electricity. Clean water. Do I really need to go on? The house we’re staying in comes at no financial expense to us (read: free house). Our blessed donors are still faithfully supporting our still stipend and we’re able to have food every day. Good, wholesome, healthy food. Every day. We really, truly feel blessed beyond measure here.

AND we have a Christmas tree!

I had been trying to think of some clever idea for an “alternative” Christmas tree Sunday morning, when, on our way to see Cousin Lisa, there beside the road is none other than a FREE little fake Christmas tree for the taking. What a blessing! It’s a silly little thing, but fills my heart with love all the same.

Another blessing we’ve experienced here is a huge one that will impact the rest of my life. Here in Tennessee, I found my health. And my sanity (well... kinda).

Most people don’t know that for the past two years I’ve been experiencing some pretty extreme hormonal problems. I won’t go into the gritty details, but let me tell you: it was a rough two years. It was bad enough that I’ve been on medication for it for the last year. I had really been praying that I could get off the meds but every time I tried it was... well, it wasn’t pretty. About three months ago now I started getting pretty bad stomach aches almost every night. I prayed and prayed about the stomach aches and the thought kept coming to me: it’s the soy. I was quick to dismiss the idea because well, it seemed silly.

It’s the soy. That thought just kept coming to me, so finally I decided to see why I kept having that thought. Almost immediately after no soy for 2 days the stomach aches went away. For good measure, I ate some soy just to see what would happen (a stomach ache, if you were wondering). I stayed on the no-soy diet for 2 weeks and then one day, I realized that I was passed the time when my hormones should be going haywire and should be making me insane. I was unmedicated and felt better than I had in years.

Healing had come.

Now it’s been about a full month since I’ve given up soy. Almost everyday I feel almost ridiculous with giddiness for life. I haven’t felt this good since before my hormones got weird (read: pregnancy and children). I am filled with gratitude and joy and a zest for life. I feel healed and whole and blessed.

So very, very blessed.

This week is Thanksgiving week. I have a lot to be thankful for. More than I can count. More than I have words for. I hope that you’re feeling blessed this week too.

I also wanted to share this link with you. I get a lot of questions about to to support our ministry in Guyana. It was a little wonky online, but it’s been fixed. Tax-deductible donations are now actually easy to do online. If you’re interested, here is the link. If you’re not, well that’s OK too.

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November 2, 2014

little update

Hello, world.

Furlough is over. Todd preached 12 sermons, we went to 2 camp meetings, and Todd spent a week in Michigan attending our organization’s pilot meetings. It was a very busy summer!

Visiting Nana in Colorado

At Fort Vasquez in Colorado 

 Learning about the Pony Express in Nebraska

Millie and Sam are currently outside with Papa helping him rake leaves. It’s a precious sight.

We are in a cozy little house nestled in the gentle hills of southern Tennessee. Fall is all around us and I’ve never experienced a more beautiful season change. I hope the children remember these moments, outside squealing in the leaves.

In case you missed that last bit, we’re in Tennessee. No, there’s not a village called Tennessee in Guyana. We’re back in the US for a bit longer. We came out here to work on a plane that Todd was planning to fly to Guyana when it was rebuilt. He is working on the plane, but we’re still praying about whether or not this is the right plane for us to take to Guyana. A door might be opening for us to purchase the aircraft we wanted (a Cessna 182-P, this plane is a Cessna 180).
 The torn apart Cessna 180

Todd has to inspect every inch of the plane before he can start assembling it 

 But at least he has good help

Captain Anderson and the 180

Meanwhile, we’re in Tennessee.

When we moved to Guyana I gave away all my winter clothes to a mom in the area (Southern Oregon) who’s house had burned down. After all, why would I need a coat in Guyana? The kids outgrew their winter clothes and have been replaced with shorts and t-shirts. Here we are almost 2 years later, buying winter coats again. I’m becoming acquainted with all the thrift stores in the area.

Tennessee is a lovely, beautiful place. I’m happy to be able to experience Fall here. I’m blessed to have a nice, warm home here. I’m even blessed to be able to meet extended family here!

Our dining room/school room 

The kitchen 

The front room

We ask for your continued prayers, that the airplane business would sort itself out quickly and that our time here in Tennessee would be well spent. That is our prayer.

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August 13, 2014

furlough 2014 update

Every once in a while, I look up at the little button on my browser that takes me right to my blog. I look at it. And I ignore it, very purposely. Every time.

Being a missionary is not an easy job. We get all settled in one life, happily plucking away, and then we’re uprooted back to the States for a furlough. In theory it should be fun. A nice break. A vacation.

But it’s not always.

Collecting eggs from a farm in central Oregon with friends

It’s traveling every week to a different church. Sleeping on floors, air mattresses, or guest beds at different homes. The kids start to have trouble sleeping in these different places. They struggle with eating food they aren’t fond of. Different rules. Always coming and going. Not enough stability.

Touring “Grandpa’s” factory in Salem, OR

Lest you think I’m complaining, I’m just saying this is why I haven’t written all summer. I struggle to think of interesting things to tell you. But we’ve had some real gem-moments this summer.

All the Anderson grandchildren in one precious photo

Todd is due back in Oregon (where our ‘home-base’ is) today after being away 2 1/2 weeks in Michigan. Our organization had planning/organizing meetings for all of the aviation projects that he had to go to. The kids and I were very, very blessed to stay at the Oregon Coast for most of the time Todd was away. We played in the sand, got kites and flew them, ate salt water taffy, went whale watching, climbed on rocks, explored tide pools, took long, slow walks on the beach, and visited with friends and family. It was a wonderful break from the craziness of this furlough.
Friends at the beach is the best!

Waiting for the tide to come in

Mama and kiddies playing in the sand

Roasting marshmallows with friends. This became a nightly tradition.

Exploring Depot Bay with Grandpa Bob

Their first trip to the ocean that they’ll remember

We have been so blessed in so many ways. So many small - and large - acts of kindness and generosity that have meant to much to us. We are so very thankful for each person we’ve met this summer who had taken the time to house us, feed us, encourage us, pray for us, and laugh with us. For all of the stress and instability, it really has been a blessing to our family to be in the US.
Whale watching in Depot Bay with Auntie Sissy

At the Science Center learning about tides

Getting “hugged” by an urchin with Auntie Sissy

And now for the $4,000,000 question that we’re asked everyday... “So when are you going back?”

The answer to this question is, we don’t know yet. Hopefully soon.
Riding bikes to the park

Our last church speaking appointment is September 20th. After that, our furlough is officially over. That means one of 2 things will happen - we will return to Guyana, or, we will be traveling to Tennessee to work on an airplane that our project is hoping to fly down to Guyana later this year. We’re still working on details about the plane, and trying to determine if it’s really the right plane for us. We really covet your prayers on this matter.

Either way, we ARE returning to Guyana. We don’t know when, but we are excited about the direction things are going and about the prospect of another plane coming down.

Please keep us in your prayers as we continue on this summer. Other than getting a plane, our biggest hope is that we are funded enough to stay in Guyana for a few more years. Thanks for joining us on this journey.
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May 15, 2014

the boy next door

The funeral workers were just about to pull the casket from the van when Mommy fainted. Only moments prior the funeral procession had arrived. As all the vehicles parked, the van carrying the casket, with Mommy in the front seat, sat just outside our house. Mommy’s anguish carried throughout the neighborhood with every sob, every wail. 

The black funeral van parked outside the neighbor’s house and the crowd who came to mourn with the family.

Our first experience with a Guyanese death began 10 days ago. Our house (minus my two children who I’m convinced can sleep through anything) was woken up to the sounds of wailing. Red and white lights flashed through the window from the ambulance. We sat on our second-story porch watching and wondering what happened. The ambulance left and was shortly replaced by a funeral home van. They took the body and left only the cries of the family. 

“My buddy’s dead… my buddy’s dead…” 

Mommy wailed for a long time until her sobs died into moans. 

We found out the next day that the boy who died was only 26. He died of cancer. 

Since the death, we’ve learned a Guyanese tradition called Nine Nights. For eight days they play very loud music and play dominos while holding small wakes in the evenings and into the night. The ninth night is the big wake. The loudest music, the largest gathering. It’s kind of like a send-off party for the deceased. Only it’s a sad party. 

I wish here is where I told you that I had been visiting the sick man and ministering to this family. I help by taking them meals and praying with them and spending time sharing with them about the comforting promises in the Bible. 

Instead, I’ve been over here worrying about finances, housekeeping, and what to make for supper. I didn’t even know the boy was sick. This isn’t about me - but a small part of me thinks, “what does this say about me as a missionary?” What am I doing here? What am I so caught up in that I didn’t take the time to get to know the family living 10 feet away - completely oblivious to the suffering going on there. 

Today, ten days after the boy died, they brought the body back to the house. We knew it was going to happen today, but still it caught me off guard. Mommy’s grief was overwhelming. I saw her faint twice, and from the sounds of things, she fainted again after that. 

Millie, Sam, and I watched from our deck. She wanted to know why Mommy fell down. “What does it mean that she fainted?” She wanted to know what was in the big box. “What is a casket?” She asked me why we can’t go over there. She was so curious. Today is a day of conversations that I know she won’t fully understand, but that she really wants to. “What are they going to do with that big box?”

Friends, our world is sick. It’s going to die. I needed this reminder not to get so caught up with supper preparations that I become totally oblivious to the people around me. This next week I’m going to visit Mommy again. I’m going to find out her name. I’m going to take her some of my homemade bread. I’m going to be stepping way out of my comfort zone and talking to her about some promises I’ve read in my Bible. 

It’s the people in this world that matter. Not what’s going on in my kitchen. Not what’s on my to-do list of chores. If it will be rubble in the end, it shouldn’t consume me now. 

This is what I learned from the boy next door. 
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May 12, 2014

consider the cost

“Mama, why do we have to give all this stuff away?”

My dear four-year old picks up the stickers I had been sorting through and looked up at me. As far as she was concerned, these were her treasures. I could see her scanning my piles and I could see the turmoil going on in her mind. 

“We don’t HAVE to, but Jesus wants us to.”


I smile, “Because we are very blessed.”

Millie thinks about that a minute. “What does it mean that we are blessed?”

“It means we have more than we need. We have extra to give away.”

My dear Millie watched me rummage through her art supplies, stickers, all kinds of things. She helped me choose what to keep and what to give. We’ve been through this before. Show this girl a child without a toy, and bless her heart, she’ll be packing up toys to give away faster than me. I hope that she never loses this sweet, giving spirit. 

Giving away my children’s toys and art supplies is a little hard. I have to decide what we can do without and what we still need, weighing in what they like and what they might be more interested in later on. It takes careful consideration and calculation (lest we run out of glitter before we can replenish our supply). It’s a good lesson for my kids and for me. 

I was nearly done packing up when I went to check the list of what this particular village was asking for. Then I saw it. Sewing supplies. They are trying to teach a sewing class as an outreach to the village. 

But I don’t have my sewing cabinet here. I don’t have my fabric stash. I sat down on the sofa with my beloved sewing box. Millie sits down next to me and delicately touches the box. 

“What are you going to do with that?” My sewing box is like a treasure chest to her. 

“I’m looking for things I can send to the village,” I tell her. 

I open it up and look around. There’s nothing in there I can part with. She begins to examine my button foot and my zipper foot. Nope, nothing. 

I think of what they would need to teach a sewing class. I begin to sort through things a little more carefully now. Hand needles… I don’t hand sew very often, and I rarely use more than one needle…  I pull out 3 needles, place them in a small compartment, and set the package aside. 

I find a few spare spools of black and white thread. That will do it, right? 

Friends, it’s easy to sacrifice my kids’ stuff for the sake of Jesus. But ask me to sacrifice my sewing treasures? Ouch. 

Giving is easy to me. I’m a naturally generous and giving person. It’s one of my top love languages. Very few things make me feel as happy as giving things away. I have been known to give away everything from the coat off my back (literally) to kitchen stuff, to furniture. I hate owning things that someone else needs. 

But my sewing stuff? 

I’m not sure why this was so hard for me. I have sewn a total of 3 times in the past 8 months. It’s not like I’m a die-hard sewing addict. 

Whatever the reason, it wasn’t easy. At first. 

“Mama, do you want to give them this?” She holds up a package of safety pins. I nod. 

“How about this?” As Millie pokes through my sewing box picking out things, I suddenly had more than I needed. That 4th pair of scissors, extra measuring tape, and second seam ripper went in the pile. 

She holds up 2 small clear boxes, each containing my favorite pearl-tipped pins. I sigh. Into the pile they go. 

When we are done, my sewing box closes a lot easier than it had before we started. I small stash of fabric that was lovingly donated and sent down to me is also smaller. 

Friends, if sacrifice feels easy, it’s not really sacrifice. Real, true sacrifice costs you something that you have to give up, not just give away. The giving away is easy. The giving up is hard. 

Sometimes Jesus asks me to do things that feel so hard. The cost is time with my family or feeling uncomfortable or vulnerable. But we are told to consider the cost of NOT doing what is asked of us. What blessings are we missing out on by avoiding sacrifice? 

I invite you to get uncomfortable and vulnerable. Pay the price and give the sacrifice. Experience the gift of the blessing of sacrifice. 
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April 30, 2014

the desires of my heart... moving

When I was a teenager, the desire of my heart was to get the most with the least amount of effort.

I wanted to make the most amount of money, but I didn’t want to work for it. I wanted to have the most amazing relationships, but I didn’t want to put in the effort. I wanted the most beautiful house, car, wardrobe, you get the idea. I wanted it all - without all the work. 

15 years later, I have so much less than I wanted as a teenager- but I’ve found that I have more than I ever dreamed possible. 

Our current home in Georgetown that we’re moving out of soon

I don’t own a home. In fact, our lease is up in a month on our cute little house in town. Our new home has a rotting porches, the back door rotted right off the hinges and is on the back porch rotting away. There is no toilet, shower, kitchen sink, no plumbing at all. No electrical wiring, no lights, and a lot more nothing. You get the idea, right? This is a “fixer-upper” to be sure. 

Our “fixer-upper"

There is no fancy kitchen. No fancy ceiling, no fancy anything. It’s not fancy in any sense. 

But there’s something magical about it. Every time I walk in it and look around at the simplicity and bareness of it, I feel a peace in my heart. I feel so at home I’m almost giddy. I feel like I’m where I belong - where God wants me. And I couldn’t ask for anything more than that. 

The little house and hangar are at the grass airstrip
It’s funny how, as we draw out hearts and minds to Jesus, the desires of our heart change. Instead of wanting more, I want less of what this world has to offer. Instead of want to work as little as possible, I want to be a solider for Jesus and work to gather as many of the flock as are willing to come to Jesus. I’m not afraid of too much work anymore. 

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April 29, 2014

what I asked to see

As our time in the Paruima jungle was quickly coming to an end, I began praying more and more to see a sloth. Something was drawing me to them, something was pressing me to seek them. 

I had never been overly interested in sloths before moving to the jungle. Yes, they were kind of neat to see in books, a little weird, but I never had a burning desire to see one, much less come in close contact with one. 

But as we counted down the days until we would say goodbye to our jungle home, my desire grew. I couldn’t explain it, I started to feel almost desperate to see one. 

Finally one day, we spotted one way up in the canopy. The highest part of the jungle. It might as well have been a mile away. My first reaction was to grumble. All this praying and all I get is a far away look at it. Quickly though, the Spirit reminded me to thank Jesus. As I thanked Him, and prayed that I would be content with my sloth sighting, my heart let go of my displeasure and truly was thankful. Even if it was far away, I got to see a sloth in the wild! What an experience!

I stopped praying that Jesus would show me a sloth, because He had, as I had asked. I let my heart be content and cheerful, and gave thanks to God.

But God wasn’t quite finished. In fact, God had something much more amazing in store for me, He was just waiting for my heart to be ready for it. 

And ready for it I was. I was on the second-story deck hanging up the laundry I had just washed. I was thinking of nothing other than whatever tune was in my head and keeping one eye on Sam. Something in the yard caught my eye, and in an instant, I knew what it was. 

I screamed for my friend Christine to come fast, told Sam to put his boots on, and grabbed my camera as I went flying out the door. 

I landed on my knees about 3 feet from him. He was just moseying across the yard, and apparently I was in his way. But instead of going around, he decided to just keep going up and over. 

I asked Jesus if I could see a sloth. He put one literally right in my lap. 

I was shaking as I reached out an stroked his back. Then his arm, then his head. He didn’t seem to mind. We took photos and I filmed him walking a bit. In an instant I had a new friend and a new favorite animal. Not because he was cute (he was!) or because he was so awesome to hold and watch (he was!), but because Jesus has used this elusive little animal to teach me to be content and thankful. My heart still surges with delight every time I think of that little guy in my lap. 

A year later, I am again in the interior. Bethany Village this time. 

After a fun day at the lake with the Bethany Medical Missionary College students and staff, we were in the boat heading back to the school. I was scanning the exposed banks (low tide) for a kaman (small crocodile). I said to Todd, “What I’d really like to see is something awesome like a sloth swimming in the river.” 

A sloth swimming in the water would have been awesome, but once again God had something way better in mind. 

My eyes lazily watched the bank as the boat puttered down the river. Then I saw her. I yelled for the boat driver, Brother Calvin, to stop the boat. He maneuvered the boat right over to where the sloth was climbing out of the water on some vines. He got me right up to the sloth when up from her belly peeked the tiny baby she was carrying. 

I again found myself trying to stop shaking with excitement so I could take photos. 

Oh, God is so good! 

I was able to take some beautiful photos and video of this very rare sighting and was reminded once again that God cares so much about my heart! I can’t stop thanking Him! 

Here’s the thing. As silly as it might seem that God might use a sloth to draw me closer to Him, it’s true! God knows us all so well and He knows the desires of our hearts. Does that mean we’ll always get what we want? Of course not. But that means that when we open our hearts to Him, He will know the best way to reach us. And oh! What a wonderful experience it is when our hearts are open to Him! 

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April 13, 2014

the book

I feel a little bit inspired to start writing again. 

Oh my stars. 

If you’re thinking, “This chick writes all the time. Hello, you blog. Duh.” Then let me clarify. 

I wrote a book a while back. 

It is the humorous yet inspiring story of a family from Oregon moving to South America as missionaries. Or something like that. 

I spent every waking second writing for about 3 months straight to make it bookish after spending five months writing, journaling, and recording our journey. Then, I finished the rough draft, declared my desire to vomit, and refused to even talk about it for seven months. 

Friend: “Hey, how is your book coming along?”
Me: “Yeah! Hey, I think I should cut my hair!”
Friend: “Um… ok. Are you still working on it?”
Me: “My hair?”
Friend: “No, your book?”
Me (whispering): “I need ice cream.”
Every conversation where anyone brought up “the book” basically ended like that.

I made a special file in my documents on my computer where I could hide it and not even have to look at it. I haven’t opened it in seven months. 

I have nothing to say, really. It’s horrible. No one will even want to read it. I sent it to about five well-meaning friends who wanted to read it and give me some feedback. Not one of them (to my knowledge) ever actually read it. If they did, it was so awful it gave them nightmares and couldn’t talk about it. At least to me. (Ok, pity party over. Whatever. I know people are busy and I am too sensitive). 

Today the weirdest thing happened: I thought about my book. And instead of feeling nauseous, I kinda feel excited about it again. I seriously didn’t even think that was possible. But, a little spark in my heart has been flamed and I actually want to work on it again. Maybe. I’m still too afraid to actually commit to working on it, but I’m thinking about it. That’s got to be a step in some direction. 

Whatever. I need someone to keep me accountable for not going crazy.
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April 8, 2014

seeds on a path

Admere looked at me and smiled. It was a forced smile. She was fighting her emotions, and the smile was a cover. Her eyes focused on the ceiling. The window. Anything but me. After a moment of silently gathering her courage, she looked at me. I smiled encouragement and offered up silent prayers of courage. That’s when she broke. As she tried telling me her story, she could no longer keep back the flood of emotion from the war in her heart. She sobbed. She held her face in her hands and wept. She wept for herself. She wept for her family. She wept for Jesus. 

I arrived in Paramakatoi (PK) Friday afternoon. A remote village hidden deep within the jungles of Guyana, PK is made up of people and families trying just to survive. It’s a hard life and a hard place to live. Dependent on family farms for survival, the residents of PK live without every modern luxury we have learned to take for granted. I hauled our drinking and bathing water along with the girls I stayed with. They thought it was hilarious that my full bucket became increasingly less full with every step. They joked that I was having my bath on the trail and gently chided me for wasting the drinking water. How they navigated those trails with heavy, full buckets without spilling a drop, I’ll never know. 
The last look of the airplane as I’m left in Paramakatoi

The experiencing of living with them for four short days was eye opening. Carrying our water was just part of it. The outhouse door didn’t quite close all the way (and don’t even get me started on the spiders that lived there). There was no running water, let alone indoor plumbing. The only power was a generator from the public secondary school that was on for four hours each evening. Even the generator was a luxury most homes in PK went without. Being on the school campus we were blessed with it. They ate two meals a day. For the simple reason that there wasn’t enough food to eat any more often than twice a day. 

As hard as life seemed in PK, my hosts, Mr and Mrs Gudge, told me about the surrounding villages that many of the secondary students on campus come from. Villages even poorer than PK. Villages without any shops (PK has four small shops that sell staple items for a premium). If a family needs rice, flour, or oil in these villages, they must go a whole days walk, sometimes two days walk, to PK or two other villages in the region that have shops. I asked more than once how the people there live, how they are able to buy anything. Mrs Gudge shrugged her shoulders and couldn’t answer that. She told me that most people go without and rely on what they can grow on their farms. 
Paramakatoi SDA church, left, and some of the village

Admere comes from a village similar to PK. Another poor village a days walk from PK called Kurukabaru. A village more isolated than PK and rooted deep in tradition. Kurukabaru village is known as being home to the only priest in this mostly Catholic region. Admere, along with six other girls from Kuruabaru, attended the region’s public school in PK. 

Although being at a government-run public school, the Gudges (he is the boys warden/dean and she is the girl’s matron/dean) are missionaries at heart. Soon after they accepted this position over six years ago a family in the village began joining them for the small family church they held on the floor of their small apartment each week. Then some students asked to join. Soon they outgrew their small apartment and asked permission to use a classroom. More students joined them, and the Gudges saw the students were hungry for God. They were granted permission to hold weekly Bible lessons, and then daily worships with the students. Two years after this began the pastor that visits the village once a year baptized 15 new members. Two families and a gentleman from the village and several students. The following year 27 students were baptized. And then 34. 
Backed against the wall, there are so many students at Friday night worship I can’t fit them all in one photo!
The Gudges and the students are awaiting the visit from the pastor this year and are anticipating many baptisms. One of the students considering baptism is Admere. She has accepted Jesus into her dear heart, but fears the ramifications of choosing baptism. She has seen many of her classmates struggle with the same choice: choose to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit into baptism, or choose to listen to their families. Almost all of the students at one point were warned by their fathers and mothers that should they choose to be baptized the family would cut off support and the student would be on their own. The family would abandon and essentially disown the baptized student. For these 14, 15, and 16-year olds, it’s not an easy decision. 

Admere cried out through her sobs that she wants to follow Jesus but her father has warned her that if she gets baptized her family will no longer support her. How would she support herself as she finishes school? She would have no way of buying school uniforms, books, or school supplies. 

Admere is only one of the many students who are accepting Christ into their hearts. The Gudges have spent six years sowing seeds among the fields, and as these seeds begin to grow into new creations, the birds, rocks, and thorns threaten to steal and choke the budding new growth. I beg for my friends and family to pray for the Gudge family as they continue to share the everlasting Gospel in PK. I covet prayers for these students, both those who are facing very hard decisions and those who have made the difficult decision to follow Jesus. Pray for the students who are asking for work in PK so they can stay near the Gudges and grow in their faith more before returning home to families and villages who will not accept them back with open arms. Pray for the students who have returned home to hard situations but who, despite all odds, are working to now plant their own seeds in the hearts of those who opposed them. Pray for a world that you will never meet on this earth, but that you might meet in Heaven someday. Pray, my friends, please pray. 
One of the many students who will be returning to her village soon to spread the gospel.
Matthew 13: That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
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April 3, 2014

this strange place

I’ve been MIA on the blog for a while. We’ve been busy. You know, the same old excuse.

Today I’d like to share more about this unique place we call home.

The Guyanese people are an interesting mix. The three dominate people groups are descendants of African slaves and East-Indian slaves, and the Amerindians. Then you also have people here from many other countries. And a mix of everything in between. I’ve heard the Guyanese call Guyana more than once an international country.

With such a large mixture of people there is a large mixture of religion and beliefs. The largest religious groups are Christians, Hindu, and Muslims. I think I’ve seen almost every known religion represented here.

Georgetown is a very diverse place.

I talk to a lot of people. Taxi drivers, shop keepers, church members, and people I meet in the market. We’ve gotten to know people at the airport, the hospital, the conference office, and our neighbors. We are a part of a weekly outreach in Sophia Village (a part of Georgetown) and sometimes help with Sabbath School.

Almost everywhere I go, people are curious about the “white girl” as I’m often referred to. People want to know what I’m doing here. And once they learn we live here, their next question is always, “How do you find Guyana?”

“I love it here.”

I really have come to love this strange place.

Just like everywhere else in the world, there are kind people and rude people. There are trustworthy people and untrustworthy people. There are rich and there are poor. There are people who want to harm and people who want to help.

This is a harsh place. It’s rare to see a costlander (the term for those living in Georgetown, who are very different from the Amerindians of the interior) crying or vulnerable. People here learn to be tough early in life. They have to be strong to survive here. People have learned that they need to take care of themselves because no one else is looking out for them. They can’t rely on their own government for income during the hard seasons of life. This is a poor country. Stealing isn’t the worst thing a person can do - survival is everyone’s mission. Everyone is trying to get ahead and catch a break.

On the other hand, it seems someone will always stop to let a waiting car go ahead. If someone in the back of the line only has an item or two, they will be ushered to the front of the line. More than once I’ve seen vendors give people extra potatoes, bananas, or bora.

Often times the coastlanders’ tempers are as hot as the noonday sun (thanks to clouds it’s only 82ยบ at the moment). The Guyanese can be loud. Really loud. They’re often aggressive in their pursuit for their own justice, and they don’t hide it.

On the other hand, I’ve seen more grace here in the last year than I can count. I tell you these people have real, living grace. And true humility. In the midst of this crazy rat-race of Georgetown, there are these gems living amongst us that quietly remind us that love always wins. Love is louder than any protest. Love is living and abundant.

Guyana is just like anywhere else, really. You’ll always find exactly what you’re looking for.

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March 13, 2014

a young mother

She was laid back in the recliner with her eyes closed, thinking about how to answer my question. A troubled look crossed her face and her eyes opened. 

"I don't really know how to answer that," was her simple reply.

When I left early that morning, I counted on the one thing we had in common - motherhood - to keep the conversation going. But when I asked her describe her seven-year old son to me, Shareefa struggled to remember him. 

My heart broke for her as she tried to recall what her son enjoyed doing. Finally, a smile broke through her troubled expression, "Spelling. He likes spelling. He's a good reader." 

As I asked her more questions about the children, she came alive speaking of them. " He's really shy at first," she said of her oldest son, the 7-year old, "But when he knows you, he's really free." 

Her five-year old daughter is turning six in one week. She is smart and shy, "She likes to be busy, she's really helpful. And she really talks a lot." 

Shareefa smiled when she got to the baby of the family. Her four-year old daughter is "always happy. She likes church and likes to sing. She's quiet."

It's been nearly a year since this 23-year old mother of three left her children in their village home, Esquibo, to come to Georgetown. Shareefa had been having headaches for over a year, slowly becoming more and more severe, as well as dizzy spells. 

Test after test came back normal until Lupus showed up in a test. Further tests revealed that the Lupus had caused her kidneys to stop functioning. She was told she would need dialysis. Fearful of the procedure and the costs involved, Shareefa's husband took her home, where she would surely not live long. 

Praise the Lord, Shareefa was encouraged to return to town once more and applied for a government subsidy. The Ministry of Heath granted her a certain number of treatments, roughly three months worth. After that she would have to reapply every three months, collect letters from her health care providers, and wait for approval again. 

While Shareefa stays in town with her husband caring for her, her three children remain in Esquibo. The pain in her heart showed on her face, they don't have enough money to buy food for themselves right now, there's simply no way they can afford to bring the children to town and buy all new school uniforms and books.

I spent the morning at the Dialysis Center with Shareefa where she laid in the recliner for 4 hours receiving treatment. I was also able to speak with the head nurse about Shareefa's condition. It was a grim conversation, most of which was about finding her a donor before it's too late. 

Shareefa and her husband were working as Bible workers when she got sick. Laying in her reclining chair she looked tired and worn out. But as she spoke about sharing Jesus with others, her face lit up. "At home, you have everything. As a missionary, there's nothing. You have to pray and let God provide." 

She spoke of the peace and joy in her family during their time as missionaries. Her desire to get well, apart from her family, is fueled by her desire to do God's work as a missionary. She wants to get well and continue to spread the love of God all over Guyana. 

Friends, I will have information up by next week on how you can help Shareefa with a donation. I pray you will check back and prayerfully decide to help this lovely young mother.

UPDATE: You can donate to help Shareefa here using PAYPAL. Please type in "Guyana- Shereefa Medical Fund"in the memo area to designate your donation to help get Shareefa the care she needs. If you are in the US you will receive a tax-deductable receipt.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for prayerfully considering this cause!!! I'll be making Shareefa her own blog this coming week that we will be updating with her progress. Thank you!!!!

Thank you. 
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