Monday, March 30, 2009


Well, we are now down to our last two weeks in the Portland area. I have gotten a lot done in this last week as we have moved out of our house and into Jim's mom's house. The pile of stuff that was pictured in the previous post is gone and I have made one trip to Good Will with more in the car ready to go again.

This weekend we were prayed over in all three services at our church and they officially sent us out. It was awesome to talk to people as they came to the table we had set up in the foyer. We actually met quite a few adults who grew up as missionary kids and it was just what we needed to hear. Most of them said it was the best experience even though they felt very reluctant before they moved with their families.

This week we will continue to sort through things and finish deciding which things need to come with us and which things we need to leave behind. I need to have everything in Jim's mom's house cleaned up before Sunday when she is holding a farewell open house for us. If you live in the area and would like to come, let me know and I'll get you the details.

I think that is all for now. Keep checking in for new updates.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Moving Out

How many of you like to move? I guess it can be exciting but the process is less than pleasurable. I personally do not like the process, especially when you are trying to make decisions as to what you are trying to take that will fit in the back of your van. On Monday we began to move out of our house and into my mother-in-law's house. Most of our things went into storage but there were a lot of things that I hadn't quite decided what to do with. So, we ended up moving all of that into my mother-in-law's house to sort through during the week to come. The picture below shows only a portion of what we dumped, or should I say stacked, into her living room.

Kristen and Taylor moved into our house on Wednesday. Fortunately, they are using a large amount of our bigger furniture so we didn't have a lot of big items to move. Yea! It still boggles my mind how much we still had in the house after getting rid of so much stuff over the last couple of years.

I would like to give a big kudos to my mother-in-law who has been so good through all of this. She is great and I really appreciate her so much. I don't tell her often enough but since I know she will read this at some point I will say thank you again. Thanks Mother!

This weekend, our church (East Hill) is praying over us and officially sending us off. If you live in the area, please join us at one the the three services over the weekend. There are three services to choose from: Saturday night at 6:00 PM, Sunday morning at 9:15 and 11:15 AM.

We are down to the the last couple of weeks. Thank you to those who are faithfully praying for us. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we finished sorting through things and making decisions to store, bring or give away what is left. Please pray for the kids as they are beginning to feel the changes coming up. Also, please continue to pray for our funding as we are not yet fully funding.

More updates to come soon...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Our Testimony

Jim and I were able to share our testimony in church last night. It was an awesome experience and I thought I would post what we said here since some of our friends were not able to be there. It is amazing to think about the process that God has been leading us through and that after five years of preparation, we are down to just three and a half weeks until our departure. We will continue to keep you posted as we get closer. God bless!

It has been five years since Jack Hayford came to East Hill and the words he spoke forever changed my life. It was that night the Lord renewed a long dormant call to serve Him full time. I always wondered when God would renew that call as I always knew someday He would and He did just that in a way I never expected.
That night God made His call so clear to me, that in fact it was a little bit scary. Not only did He call us to serve full time but He gave a clarity that was amazing. It was a call to serve Him in Mexico. As a native Oregonian I am rather fond of the rain and detest the heat, yet here God was calling me to serve Him in Mexico, a place where I had only been once in my life. It was also a call to work with children, children who have no place of their own to call home.
This provided a bit of a difficulty for me since I did not know of any such place. I prayed that God would show me where we were to serve and that He would make it clear to me when I found it.
I began my search by looking at missions that I had heard of, there were some in Honduras and other places and I even found one in Mexico that were all worthy of support but the Holy Spirit said to keep looking. I began to search the Internet and one night I spotted a link to a web site that I had not noticed before. It was to a place called Esperanza Viva which means Living Hope. When I clicked on the link and as the page started to open, it was the closest thing to an audible voice that I have ever heard God speak to me. I heard the Spirit clearly telling me, “This is the place”. I have to admit that took me aback, at that time I was not used to hearing God so clearly.
I literally did not know anything about this place or even where it was. Yet, there so clearly in my heart was the Holy Spirit reminding me that I had asked for it to be made clear when I found the place he had set aside for us to serve. I had to admit that was exactly what I had prayed for; I just did not expect it to be answered so clearly. I found myself saying aloud “All right Lord, this is the place and I will serve you here”, still knowing nothing about it other than this was where God was calling us to go.
In August of 2004 we took our family to Esperanza Viva to witness with our own eyes what was happening. We found orphaned and abandoned children given a safe home, an opportunity to find hope in this world and more so, Jesus. Everything was just as God had said it would be. The people were absolutely amazing and the staff is as dedicated as I have ever seen anywhere. As an added blessing to me, It turns out that Puebla has a temperate climate which seldom reaches over 85 and has an annual rainfall close to Portland’s.
I knew we had much to do before we could ever relocate our family to Mexico. One key thing was that I had made a promise to my employer and good friend to never quit. I shared with him our vision and calling. While he is a believer, he said he did not think he could ever agree to us going. I told him I would not pressure him and I left it to the Lord to figure out.
After returning home we decided our next step was to be involved with East Hill’s Missions Department. Brad Ketch met with us and while we were envisioning things like writing to missionaries, helping to pass out flyers, prayer meetings and other such churchy things, we were to find out that was not what Brad had in mind at all.
Brad brightened when we shared our vision; he is very big on regular people being used by God. He said God had sent us at just the right time for a certain project, and that was the Christmas tree lot. Though that was not even close to what we had in mind, we have now done it for the past five Christmas’s and through that we were able to get to know more people and obtain more exposure for Esperanza Viva than we ever could have hoped for.
While we were waiting, God was directing us to help raise funds to purchase land for the orphanage. All of the current facilities are rented and are not capable of housing all the children and the other ministries.
Finally with God increasing the harvest, the funds to purchase the land were raised. We gave, we approached others, they gave and they approached others and so it went. In the end it was a domino effect of Godly proportions where from just this area we ended up raising a significant amount of the funds needed.
With this project done I often talked to Gail that it seemed strange that we had still not been released to go. I said it just feels like there is one more thing we had to do before we could go. I just had no idea what it was
Now that the funds had been raised, it was time to buy land. One lot was selected that we believed God wanted the home to be built on. Once the negotiations were completed the money was transferred from the United States to a currency change house in Puebla, which Esperanza Viva had been using for almost fourteen years. Then disaster struck, the Mexican government froze all the funds because the change house was suspected of criminal activity. This included all the funds Esperanza Viva had transferred. We were devastated, so many had donated so much to support these children
Efforts to regain the funds included requests for help from US politicians. One day I asked Ray Young if he happened to know Gordon Smith, it turned out he had just had lunch with him the week before. Ray said during the time Senator Smith mentioned that if we ever had any trouble with foreign governments and our missionaries, he would do what he could to help. I was amazed at how God had done this. If we had already left to go to Mexico we would not have been in the right place to ask this simple question. Afterwards I turned to Gail and said, “I wonder if this was the “one last thing” God wanted us to do before we left.
We did not have to wait long to receive the answer. That weekend I went out to dinner with my employer and he said he was giving us his blessing to go to Mexico, this was in March of 2008, fours years after first being called but within four days of “that one last thing”.
Through the efforts of Senator Smith and others, in August of 2008 the Mexican government released the funds. Moreover between the time the money had been released and when the land was purchased the value of the peso against the dollar flipped. With the same amount of money we now had more pesos so we could build a dormitory as well!
Through the encourager's group God has given us verses and words of promise from Joshua.
To Jonathan and Erin they gave Joshua 1:5 "No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you." Their words were: I believe you are not going to Mexico just because your parents are going, but because God has called you to let your light shine to this younger generation. When the excitement and newness of the trip wears off and the times of loneliness come, remember your calling and that your God will bring new friends, new experiences, and new faith and trust in Him because He will never leave you or forsake you.
The verse to me is Joshua 1:3 "I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses." The words He gave are: God sees you as courageous! As you are leading your family into a new adventure, God says He will provide everything you need along the way. Jim, His promises to you will be fulfilled! The things that have happened in your life have prepared you for this time. You are coming into the fulfillment of your destiny!
The verse The Lord gave to me is Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." The words were: Gail, God is so pleased with you. You listened with an open heart, heard his voice, and responded. This is just the beginning of the ways the Lord is going to use you to touch many. Through this process, God has brought this verse to mind many times when fear would start to arise and it has given me the strength and courage to continue following His call.
We will be leaving April 13th and more than ever we need to rely upon the Lord and His provision. From a worldly perspective, staying would be best. Jonathan age 13 has Asperger’s syndrome, a high functioning form of autism, which makes it difficult to socialize, he has more friends than he has ever had in his life. Erin who is turning 11 is active in Kids Church and gymnastics and won four medals in only her second competition and could have a real chance at college scholarships. In this recession my job of 29 years would be quite secure. We have a beautiful home and a decent savings, and we have four grandchildren who live close by.
Yet God is calling us to leave all this, put all of it the line to go where He is calling us to go, to an area we do not know, we are strangers entering a foreign land. He is calling us to "risk it all".

More Pictures from My Parent's Visit

Kristen has asked me when I was going to put more pictures on my blog. Life has been crazy. I don't know where the time is going but it is going fast! Before more time passes, I will update with some more pictures. The next few days are going to be even crazier so I may not post more pictures for a few days. We move out of our house and into my mother-in-law's house on Tuesday. That is just five days away, oh my!

Kristen and Taylor
Dylan, Victory, Preston and Brooklyn

It wasn't easy getting a picture with everyone even remotely looking the same direction. Dylan was fascinated with Great-grandpa Nervik's skin.
It was great to see James. We haven't seen him a lot lately and it was so good to see him.
Great-grandma Nervik with Brooklyn.
All four kids in one place, wow! Kristen, Erin, Jonathan and James
My mom and Dad, what a lovely couple.
All the girls - my mom, Brooklyn, Kristen, Me and Erin. That's four generations.
Taylor and Kristen
My dad, James, and my mom.
Dad, Me and Mom
While my parents were here, we took a trip up to Puyallup, WA to see our friends, the Beane's. Here is Vanessa and Caleb with parents Beki and Ron. Here is Ron and Nancy with Dad and Mom.
Just a cute picture of Preston.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Great Grandpa is Loved by His Great Grandchildren

Here are just a couple of pictures from the first day that Mom and Dad met their great grand children for the first time. We were all rather surprised that they went so willingly and without any problems to Great Grandpa. This made my dad's day.

This is just a picture of Preston being silly.

Cowgirl Brooklyn

We are having a great time with my parents. I am so glad they were able to come out and see us before we leave for Mexico. I will post more pictures after today. Kristen, Taylor and the kids are coming over again today and James is coming at some point also.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Five More Weeks!

Time seems to be flying by faster and faster. We are now just five weeks out from our departure date and we have been working a little every day to get closer to being ready. We have been extremely busy, not just with getting things ready but in setting aside time for friends and family. Last week we made time to go over to our dear friends the Davenport's house. Here are a few pictures from our evening.

Jerri & David
Emma, Becki, Erin and Meghan
Lizzy, Becki, Emma, Hollie and Erin
Adam, Joe and Jonathan
We have been also been keeping up with the saddened events of some friends of ours. John and Pam Vredevelt, former pastors at our church lost their 16 year old son, Nathan, this past week to an accident. His story is told on their caring bridge site. Our hearts go out to them and we pray that God would hold them and their family up during this difficult time.

There has also been time spent with our grandchildren. Hopefully you don't get tired of viewing pictures of my grandchildren. It won't be too long before I will no longer be able to take pictures of them. :o(

Grandpapa and Brooklyn

Kristen and Preston
This next week is going to fly by so quickly. My mom and dad are coming from New Hampshire for a week to visit before we take off to Mexico. I am so excited because I haven't seen them since the summer of 2007. Jonathan and Erin haven't seen them since 2006 so they have grown a lot since the last time! Kristen and James have not seen them since 2004.

One week after they leave we will be moving out of our house and into Jim's mom's house with her for the last three weeks here. At that point we will be living with what we are bringing with us to Mexico. So the last three weeks will be spent visiting people and spending time with our children and grandchildren. Jermaine will be back in town for a couple of days at the end of the month so we will be able to see him one last time before he and Ashley move to Washington D.C. where he is now stationed.

Please keep us in our prayers as we are finishing everything in these final weeks. The kids are getting in as much time as they can with their friends. Please keep them in your prayers as we make this major transition. As always we also need prayer in understanding as the kids and I study the language. We keep making progress but it is slow. I will keep you posted as we get closer.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Four Medals! So Cool!

Erin had her second meet this past Saturday. She received four medals! She receive third place in bars, beam and vault, and second place in all around for her age group which was 10+ years.

On bars, Erin received an 8.9. Here are some pictures of her.

On beam she received a 9.2.

I didn't really get good pictures of floor and vault but she received an 8.85 on floor and a 9.5 on vault. Her all around score which is the sum of all four events was 36.45.

Her coach was very pleased. Erin's teammate, Janina, received three medals. Both girls did awesome! What a way to end her last meet.