Sunday, May 28, 2006

Schools out for summer!

Just wanted to let you all know that Ty and Devon are done with school! Yippee! We can laugh at all of you who still have school for another month or so, but then you can be laughing at us when we start back up the first week of August! I did cry at Dev's Kindergarten graduation on Thursday, yes I did feel silly! Happy Summer, hope to see you sometime during it! Oh, and by the way, we had to offically turn our A/C on yesterday! Our humid, summer weather has begun!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

AMAZING!!!!! God is so cool!

Monday evening we returned from an amazing trip to the Cayman Islands. This will be my recap of the family side of the trip, you can read Jon's ministry update also in the ministry section! We arrived in the Caymans Monday, May 15th after a 2 1/2 hour flight from Atlanta. The weather was in the 90's with humidity pretty high and a slight breeze. We went and checked into our hotel and then hit the beach! Our hotel was pretty much right on the beach, and we were amazed at how good the snorkeling was right there. The last time I snorkeled was in Hawaii with my family, at least 20 years ago, and I HATED it! The fish scared me and I couldn't breath through the snorkel very well. So, I really didn't think I was going to do much on this trip, but decided to give it a try. The fish still scare me a little, but it was AMAZING!! The water was really clear and calm, and the fish were plentiful and brightly colored! The boys were even enjoying it. Devon actually really took to the snorkeling, and that is all he wanted to do all week, even in the pool!

On Tuesday I walked with the boys to a butterfly farm. We got to see and learn about the butterfly cycle and see tons of different butterflies flying around. Again, Devon loved it, Ty thought it was okay. For any of you that know Devon, you will remember he loves animals and bugs more than anything. After that we hit the beach again! The kids really enjoyed playing and swimming in the surf, and I enjoyed laying in the sun with my book! This was pretty much how the next few days went. On Tuesday afternoon we were joined by the guitarist wife and her two children, who are the same age as Ty and Devon, and Bill's youngest daughter Sharayah, who is 14. All the kids really kept each other entertained, and Michelle and I got to talk and enjoy the sun. Jon would usually finish up his ministry stuff by late afternoon and join us either at the beach or pool to play with the kids. There were a few nights that he had something to do at night also, but we enjoyed the time we got to spend with him!

Tuesday night was a rough night. I got the kids to bed around 8 pm and then Jon and I went to bed around 9ish, but then around 10 Devon started to fuss. I walked over to him, just about the time he started to throw up. I grabbed him out of the bed and ran him to the bathroom and had to hold him over the toilet while he got sick. He never woke up! I cleaned him up and put him back to bed. I think he did not drink enough water during the day and then had soda for dinner, which made him sick. He still does not remember getting sick! Then I went back to bed only to be woken up again 2 hours later by Ty. He couldn't breath. He had croup, and if you don't know what that is, it is kinda like asthma, but only attacks when you have a cold. Your windpipe swells up and you cough like a seal. Unfortunately it only gets worse if you cry, and he was panicking! When he would get like this at home I would have to take him to the emergency room, and they would give him a steroid shot to open up the windpipe. I was really thinking I would have to find a hospital in the middle of the night on the island! I was sitting with him in the bathroom with the shower turned on full heat (for the steam), Jon came in to check on us just as I passed out from the heat. Finally, we got Ty calmed down and breathing, and asleep on the couch. I just sat there a prayed for I don't know how long. I really felt like we were under attack. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well the rest of the night! Everyone woke up feeling fine and ready for the day on Wednesday!

Ty, Devon, and I ended up getting a little too much sun on Wednesday, so we decided to do something different on Thursday. We took a bus to a sea turtle farm! The bus was more like an overcrowded van that you had to yell, " stop!" when you wanted to get off! There were not 3 seats together, so we all mixed in with the locals! I could hear the boys talking to different people and telling them why we were on the island..."my Dad is in a band that is here to tell people about Jesus". I love the straight forwardness of children, they haven't developed that nervousness to speak up about what they believe in (and hopefully never will!). The sea turtles were really cool. The older ones are HUGE!!!!! There was a tank for smaller ones that we could touch and hold. The kids stood at that tank for over an hour playing with the turtles! The other family also came on this outing with us, so all the kids had fun together.

Friday was another swim day (I know sacrifices have to be made in the life of a missionary!). Friday night we got to go to the church that brought the team over to attend an island wide youth rally. Basically it was a Bill Drake concert. The team did some original songs and worship songs. Bill also gave his testimony and talked about the persecuted church. The kids were really into the music, and there was a lot of dancing and clapping going on. My heart was touched when I saw Ty turn off his gameboy to listen to the songs and talking. Then I got to take a picture of him, (with tears in my eyes!) standing with his hand raised and singing, "God of Wonders" with all his might! Toward the end of the concert I walked up to the balcony of the church to take some pictures. I actually think God lead me up there so I could see what happened next. Bill first gave a call to people to rededicate their lives and to seek out what God wants them to be doing to change their island,or the world, and tons of hands were raised (including Ty's!). Next he gave an alter call for new believers and at least 25 kids accepted Christ! I was standing on the balcony watching this whole thing, and I just felt God telling me, "See Suzie, this is why I had you move away from your family and join this ministry." It is hard to explain, but I really felt God's arms around me, confirming that we are in the right place. Amazing night...God moved in many ways!

Saturday is a day I will never forget. The team had the whole day off and the pastor of the church arranged and paid for us to take a 3 hour cruise of the Caribbean. Our first stop was a sand bar called Stingray City. Not only did we see tons of stingrays, but we got to get in the water and play with them! Okay, I was a little freaked out by this at first, actually, I was holding Devon and realized I was surrounded by about 5 large stingrays and I just started to scream! I realize that is not the best way to keep my 5 year old calm in the water, but I could not help myself! It was so eerie to have them swim up to you and brush against you! After a few minutes we all got used to it, and it was quite enjoyable! Unreal. A few people, including Jon, feed them some squid (I was not brave enough!). Both Ty and Devon really enjoyed touching and looking at the stingrays. Next stop was a reef a few miles away. We had a guide who was in the water with us, and he told us that he usually sees sharks and eels at this reef. Okay, remember how I don't really like to see the fish I am swimming with? I wasn't sure if I was going to get in the water with a shark! After a minute or two I realized I would regret not trying it, so in the water I went! The boys stayed on the boat with the other kids. The first thing I saw was a moray eel...about 5 feet long and swimming after another team member! That almost sent me right back to the boat, but I said a prayer and stayed in the water. The eel had its mouth open and you could see its teeth! Yikes! That's when I saw the shark, it was a nurse shark and was pretty harmless, but in my mind it was a SHARK!!!!! Jon actually got close enough to touch it, not me! We spent some more time snorkeling and enjoying the fish, coral, and anemones. God is amazing to put all this beauty under the water where we normally don't even see it!

Sunday morning found us in church at Agape Family Worship Centre in George Town. This was the church that brought the team over. They are a very charismatic, non denominational church, who knew how to rock! The whole church was jumping, dancing, shouting, and yes even falling to the ground during the worship time. I really enjoyed the pastor who was helping lead the worship, because he would dance and jump all over the stage! It was an awesome experience! The church's worship team lead worship for the first hour and then the Bill Drake team took the second hour with more worship and preaching. The kids even went and enjoyed the Sunday School. The service ended with the team leading the Newsboys song, " He Reigns" and the church just about fell apart with excitement! It was sooooo cool!!!! After church the pastor took us all out for Chinese food, and then it was back to the pool one last time! The team also went back to the church and did the evening service.

The next morning we got up and went back to the airport to fly home! I am sure there is so much more that I didn't even mention, like they drive on the opposite side of the road, and I never could remember which way to look to cross the street! Or, that the island is only 22 miles long and 8 miles across, and they are still rebuilding after being hit hard by Hurricane Ivan last year (in 2004). The people are wonderful, kind, and gracious! We have already been invited back! It is definitely a trip I think the boys and I (and Jon), will remember forever! Thank you God for giving us this opportunity, for keeping us safe, and showing us your people in a new environment and country!