Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fun with cousins!

Tonight my cousins Eli and Abe got to come over while Grandpa and Grandma, and Uncle Todd and Aunt Brandi went to a wedding. Eli and I had lots of fun playing with trucks, swinging on "blue" (my swing), blowing bubbles and splashing eachother in the tub. I love baby Abe, but sometimes we had to say "shhhh" because he was sleeping. I was jealous because he had a cool pipe with a bee on it, and I'm not allowed to have mine, except for at bedtime... I tried to steal Abe's a few times when I thought mommy wasn't looking. :) Thanks for coming Eli and Abe, come back again soon!!

"Eli, are you gonna swing so high you touch the clouds?"

"No, cause when my mom and dad get home they'll say 'Where's Eli?' And you'll say 'Eli got stuck in the sky' They'd be mad."

3 year olds say the funniest things!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day at the Zoo

Chris and I took Jonah to John Ball Zoo on Saturday, and we had a great day! The weather was perfect, not 110 like Chris swears it always is at zoos :) Jonah liked seeing the animals, especially brushing the baby goats. He pointed out the "wa-wa" to us in each of the animals cages and LOVED going under the waterfall with daddy!

pumping water for the goats

brushing the baby goats

under the waterfall with daddy

looking at the fishies

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

a few more pictures from TJ...

Estrella, Jordan, Lindsey & Luis
Me and one of the precious little girls
Tiling Crew! Chris, Danny, Melissa, Heidi, Deb & Jenna
View from Cristo Arca de Salvacion where we stayed
On Saturday we dressed up as clowns and went into the neighborhood inviting kids to VBS. The clowns certainly got alot of attention!
Dios Viviente church before we started painting
VBS/painting crew. No one fell off the scaffolding!! YEAH GOD!!!
Worship at sunset at the beach in Tijuana
Hanging out on the roof

A story from TJ...

Right after we crossed the border into Mexico the group went to a market to buy blankets, jewelry, giant sombreros, etc. Since it is not the safest area, Scott and Marcia stayed back to keep an eye on our vans while everyone else went shopping. As they were waiting for us they met a little boy, Jesse, who was selling gum. They learned that he lived in the same neighborhood where we would be doing VBS the next week, so they invited him to come. I should add that this neighborhood was over half an hour away, so it was pretty amazing that they connected! Monday came along, and Jesse showed up with his 4 younger siblings. Many of us grew attached to him right away, partly because he was an awesome kid (with some killer dance moves!) but also because he spoke English! (His siblings, however, did not.) After VBS on Monday all of the kids went home, and our group took a break for lunch before starting to paint the church. Then back came Jesse and his siblings, wanting to help! The same thing went on for the rest of the week, they were always ready and willing to help us however they could. As the week went on we learned that they used to live in the US, near Los Angeles, but didn't get much more detail. We saw that their shoes were very worn, held together with nails, and they didn't have socks.
Some of the girls decided to take a collection from our group to try and get the kids new shoes. Within a half an hour we raised exactly $350. We got a pair of school shoes and tennis shoes for each of those 5 children, a shirt for an older sister (who we hadn't met), socks for each child, school supplies, and a new soccer ball, with money left for their mom to use as they needed.
On the last day their mother came to VBS, and a few in our group had an opportunity to talk with her and get a little more of their story... The children were all born in the US, so they were all US citizens. 2-3 years ago her mother-in-law died, so she got on a bus with all six children to go to the funeral. She had a child in each arm, and a bag over her shoulder with all of their money and identification. Her bag was stolen, along with their money and proof of citizenship. So they have been stuck in Mexico ever since, trying to get the money to get their paperwork together so they can go back to the US.
We told the mother that we had a suprise for them, and she invited us to their house after we were done with VBS. When we got to their house, they welcomed us inside. There was a small "yard" (dirt) and then a house built out of old garage doors and a plywood roof. The house had two small rooms with dirt floors, the first one was basically empty, the second had two very worn queen sized mattresses on the floor (to sleep 7-8 people- I don't know if the dad is in the picture), a small table with a little pile of clothes, a tv, and a crock pot.
When we gave the family their gifts their mother did not have the words to express her gratitude, she just cried, and gave us HUGE hugs. We all stood in a circle and held hands and prayed together, with Jesse translating for us.
So often we take what we have for granted, and are always wanting more. It was so humbling to see time after time in Tijuana people who literally had basically nothing, yet were still full of joy. We were so blessed to have met Jesse and his family, and I hope that we have changed their lives at least a fraction of how much they have changed ours! Jesse, Soledad, Gregoria, Isabel, Gilberto, Mom, and Marisela

Praying with the family


Chris and I spent last week in Tijuana, Mexico with 43 AMAZING students and leaders from Haven. We stayed at the Cristo Arca de Salvacion church, where they had several classrooms we could sleep in, although many chose to sleep out on the roof!!
We spent the week working with Scott and Marcia Geurink and their family, who are missionaries in Tijuana. About half of the group worked at Dios Viviente, where we did a VBS in the morning and painted the church in the afternoons. By the end of the week we had about 130 children who attended VBS, and we all fell in love with them! The other half of the group worked at a new church, Agua Viva (Living Water), doing various projects such as drywalling and painting the sanctuary, mixing and laying cement, tiling the parsonage, and putting up a fence.

We could really feel God with us in Tijuana this week in many different ways: the smiles on the faces of the children, and the pure joy that they have; keeping us all safe and healthy throughout the week; the men at the rehab center singing their hearts out to God; the lessons we can learn from the people there who have literally nothing, but are still willing to give, and do it joyfully.

Thats a very brief overview of the week... I'll also post a few stories from the week and some pictures!

May the Lord make your love increase & overflow for eachother and for everyone else.

1 Thesselonians 3:12

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Jonah's week with grammie

While Chris and I went to Tijuana with youth group last week, Jonah spent the week with grammie in Cadillac. Pictures and stories of our week to come... after some SLEEP!!!! But first here's what Jonah's been up to all week...

Day 1
Since Mommie and Daddy are going to Tijuana for a whole week without me, I get to spend the week up in Cadillac with Grammie. So far off to a good start. We left for Cadillac late Thursday afternoon; I think it was harder on Mommy and Daddy then me. As usual in the car, I sang to myself until I fell asleep. I slept most of the ride up till we got to Reed City, then Grammie decided it was time for me to wake up so I'd get back to sleep at night. We stopped at Burger King for supper, a favorite stop because they have cool toys and also those yummy apple fries. It's still ok to dip them in ketchup, right?We got up to Cadillac and I still had a couple hours to play with my toys and check out the place again since I hadn't been here in a week. Everything seems like new again. I was SO excited to see my favorite "toy", my toothbrush! I couldn't WAIT to show Grammie!Then it was time for bed; I went to sleep perfectly, just like always, but decided I should wake up at 3:30 cuz that's when Mommie and Daddy were leaving for the airplane. But Grammie wouldn't let me call to say good-bye again, so I just went back to sleep till almost 8 o'clock. Grammie hopes it gets a little later each day, cuz she really needs her beauty sleep. She's way behind.This morning, after my walk with Bumpa to see the duckies, we went to the Cadillac sidewalk sales and found some good deals. Of course I charmed everybody as we walked around. This afternoon after my nap we got to play on the beach and in the water. We had lots of fun. Tonight we went to the campfire and I had a YUMMY s'more. Most of it got in my tummy, but I did leave a little on my face. :) Now I'm off to bed so I'll be good and rested for another day at the beach tomorrow.
Day 2
Today was another good day. I slept all night long, till almost 8 a.m. Me and Grammie got to spend some time alone outside while Bumpa had a breakfast meeting. Then I made new friends with Bumpa's friend Mike and his wife Steph. We went for a boat ride, and then I held their hands and they counted with me, 2 - 2 - 2 wheeeeee!!! It was sooo much fun! After they left I had fun playing on the beach with Keelie. We filled the sand pails together and shared really nice. I think I forgot to tell you yesterday we gave each other big hugs. It was really cute till we started knocking each other over. :)After my nap this afternoon we went for groceries and I got to ride the horsie. Then I danced for everybody in the store. After supper I got to have another s'more at the campfire -- they are so yummy! I think we're gonna have to do this every day! Now it's off to bed with my doggie - night night!!
Day 3
Today was a pretty laid-back day. No visitors today. I was really hoping Auntie and Unkie Jonny were going to come for the day, but they were too busy. But tomorrow should be fun, Aunt Pat and Taylor are coming! Today we just stuck around and relaxed all day, played in the sand, counted lots of duckies, and I went up and down all 3 flights of stairs 3 times with Bumpa! Now I'm sleepy, time for ni-night!
Day 4
What a fun day I had today! I met a new friend, Griffin from Texas. He's 5 and gonna start kindergarten in the fall. First I watched him and his sister and his daddy fish for a while. They were catching lots and lots of fishies. Mostly perch. Every time Griffin would catch one, while his daddy was taking him off the line his sister would catch another one. Kept daddy busy just taking fish off the line, one after another. The fishies were fighting over the worms! After that me and Griffin went and played in the sand and went swimming in the lake. It was lots of fun till I went in for lunch and my nappie. And surprise! when I woke up from my nap, Taylor was there!! We had so much fun together, swimming in the pool, playing on the beach, swinging in the swing, climbing the stairs ... we kept really busy all day. Then for supper we got Taylor's favorite, BC Pizza. I really liked it too - I had 2 whole pieces!!
Day 5
Today was another fun day! We went swimming in the pool after breakfast, then we went to Peebles and Meijers because Taylor wanted a new school outfit. I wasn't real crazy about shopping, since I had the beach and the pool waiting for me; but when we got to Meijers Taylor took me on the horsie, so that made everything all better. When we got back, Jaiden and Brady and Yasoo were there!! We had fun swimming in the lake and playing on the beach till it was time for nappie. Then after our naps we had fun playing - Taylor was so much fun to have here to play with us, we really hoped she could stay longer. But TJ wanted her to come home, so we'll just have to have fun without her. Tomorrow should be a fun day again with Brady and Jaiden! I'm being SUCH a good boy for grammie, we're having lots of fun. But when I see pictures of Mommie and Daddy it makes me just a little sad because I miss them and can't wait for their hugs and kisses. But it won't be long before I get them again!Day 6We had a really busy day today. We went swimming in the pool for over an hour in the morning; it's so fun to jump off the side of the pool to grammie. Jaiden and Brady had lots of fun jumping too! Then we went back and had lunch and guess what Jaiden saw hop, hop, hopping behind the couch?!? You guessed it, another one of those little froggies (aka toads). Grammie caught it in a container; then after lunch grammie found another one outside by the cooler, so she added it to the container too. It was a really big one!! We put grass in it and some holes in the top so they could breathe but not hop out. After our naps, we went to the pool AGAIN for another hour! More jumping in; I found some favorite new steps - the ones by the deep end of the pool. It was so fun to climb them, jump in to grammie, then climb them again. Steps are just the coolest thing ever. (Well next to lights of course.) After we went swimming we got cleaned up and then went out for supper - McDonalds!! I got a cool new toy, Ronald McDonald that does hula hoops. And I had my chicken nuggets, dipped in caramel sauce, and apple fries dipped in ketchup. Just doesn't get much better than this! Then we went to the park and played on all the fun toys there. After we got back we were really tired, so we went to bed. But guess who decided to come back while I was sleeping? BUMPA!! That was a nice surprise to wake up to in the morning. :)
Day 6
Since Bumpa came back last night, he decided to take us all for a boat ride this morning. That was lots of fun! He even let me and Brady and Jaiden drive the boat! :) (After it was back in the lift, of course.) But it was a lot of fun. Then Brady and Jaiden had to go home, so things got pretty quiet around here. But it was still a fun day. Grammie and Bumpa took me swimming in the pool after my nap. After supper we just played on the beach. I also got to see all the thishies that another bumpa caught -- a WHOLE BUNCH!! It was a lot of fun, but I think I can tell it's almost time for Mommie and Daddy to come home. I'm starting to miss them more and more. I can't wait to see them soon - only 2 more sleeps!!
Day 7
Today was our last day in Cadillac. This morning Bumpa took me out for our morning walk and we saw a squirrel and thishies and a mink, but no guckies this morning. Then just before lunch we left for Grammies house back in Zeeland. I slept most of the way home. When we got home I got to see Rocky, Unkie Jonny, and finally AUNTIE!!! It had been a long time since I saw her! We went to Target, then afterwards we went to have supper with Great Bumpa and Great Gramma DeKock. Great Bumpa had surgery on his head this afternoon, he looked pretty funny, like a mummy! (Not like my mommie tho!!) We had pizza and an ice cream cone, yummy!! I was really tired before we went there because my nap was shorter than usual. But once we got home to Grammies, no way did I want to go to bed! Grammie says I got a second wind. I'm staying up pretty late tonight, but guess what??? When I wake up, Mommy and Daddy will be home!! I just can't wait to see them!! I miss them SOOO much! It's been a really fun week with Grammie and Bumpa and everybody else, but nothing is better than being home with Mommy and Daddy!!