April update

Hello from St. Kitts! :)

We last posted right before Jordan’s parents arrived. We had the most wonderful visit with them… It was so so fun to stand at the airport and wait with the kids, to watch their excitement as Grandma and Papaw walked out those doors. I couldn’t stop the tears— it was so wonderful for them to arrive!2014-04-21_0002

We really had an amazing nine days. We did an island tour, hit up several beaches, swam at the Marriott, hiked Sofa Stone, went to Kids Club, church, the Port, the market, etc… lots of normal daily living type things, with a good dose of tourist thrown in. Mostly, we just enjoyed being together. It was so wonderful for the kiddos especially to get to sit on their grandparents laps, read books, wrestle, paint nails, play, be loved on. 2014-04-21_0003 2014-04-21_0004 2014-04-21_0005 2014-04-21_0006 2014-04-21_0007 2014-04-21_0008 2014-04-21_0009 2014-04-21_0010

Also overlapping with their visit was a very dear friend of ours, Joel. Joel was my little brother JD’s best friend. (For those who don’t know, JD passed away from brain cancer in October 2009). We have had the privilege of knowing and working with many teenage boys, and there are few in the world with hearts like Joel’s. We are so proud of the man that he’s become, and so thankful for the way he has remained a part of our family. It was so fun to have him here on the island, and so sweet to watch him love on our kiddos. We love you, Joel!!

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(I got to do his senior pictures while he was here!!)

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The unfortunate part of people coming is them leaving. It is so hard to watch the kids say goodbye, to watch them hurt and ache for their families and friends and ‘home’. This transition has not been at all seamless, and these last couple of weeks have been especially hard on our hearts, just experiencing homesickness like never before. We’d love if you’d pray for our kids, especially, as people come and go… and we stay, as we truly make this home.

There were several pretty hard days, but there have been a couple of things that were super encouraging. A huge prayer request for us has been finding buddies for Corban. We don’t live near young kids, and he’s not in school, so it’s been a challenge. I’m in a ‘mommy group’ on facebook and asked if anyone knew of anything I could plug Corban into. We found out that there’s a soccer league that plays on Friday nights, and it starts back up the beginning of May! He is REALLY excited about it, as he loved being on a soccer team back home and this is a way to connect with some peers. He also got to bring a friend home from church on Sunday, which was really exciting for him. We are so excited about these two things, as the lack of friends has been a huge struggle (understandably) for Corban in adjusting to the move. We also are looking into school options for next school year for him, and would love prayer for wisdom on that matter. Homeschooling is going well, but we are seeing that Corban would do better being in a school in this season. :)

A couple of other exciting things have happened in the last couple of weeks! The schools here were on a two week Easter break, and Jordan and Brandon got to take a group of local youth on the volcano hike. These guys show up for Kids Club on Monday nights, but really are older than the intended age for the curriculum.  Not a single one of the young men had made the hike to the volcano and they were VERY excited to do so!  The hike went as planned and Brandon and Jordan got to share Jesus and really dig into their lives in a way they haven’t been able to on the normal Monday nights.  It is so powerful to see how simply hiking with the guys can really change the dynamic of a relationship.  To have shared experiences like this builds a bond and a trust that is able to hold the weight of the truth of the Gospel as it is continually shared and lived out for these young men!  Pray for them.  They are the future disciple-makers of St.Kitts!

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Another sweet opportunity that has allowed Brandon and Jordan an open door to building some neat relationships is with a brand new juvenile rehabilitation center called New Horizons.  The program just got started this December. Brandon had heard about it from an officer friend he met while working with the adult prison on the island.   On a bit of a whim, B and J drove out to try and find the place.  (They only new that it was in a certain village.)  After getting pretty lost up the jungle mountains, they eventually found their way and proceeded to have a sort of interview with the director of the center.  When they walked into the facility they had no clue what was going to come of it.  When they walked out they were the new PE teachers for the program!!  God is good!  It is actually really sweet because the center’s only other option was getting a rotating  schedule of pastors to come and share once every six weeks.  There is not near the opportunity for influence with only meeting once every 6 weeks!!  When the prospect of a PE class was brought up, they jumped on it because it will be EVERY Friday until they tell them to stop! Out of nearly all pastors on the island, they have the closest, most consistent interaction with these students!!!

Which leads to the next opportunity that they had today– The New Horizon center hosted an End of Easter ceremony where the students alone put together a ceremony of all the things they had been learning during their time at the facility.  They danced, sang, had short films, and read poems.  Jordan said that it was a bit of a sobering time as it became clear that many of the other teachers and staff (all of which very much care and love the students)  held various beliefs.  In one of the songs two boys did they sang worship to Jah (the Rasta name for God) and proclaimed Haile Selassie the King of Kings.  It was beyond a privilege for Brandon and Jordan to be there, but be praying for these dear youth.  Pray that through the weekly interaction and sports that Jesus would be high and lifted up and the students would one day worship the one and only God, JESUS, who has loved them to the death!

It is so exciting to see these relationships beginning to form and we cannot wait to watch and see what the Lord does!

Wrapping up this post, one more quick thing to highlight! We got to host a brunch for CCF (our church) this Sunday for Easter! It was so so wonderful… Those who know me well know how much I love a houseful of people. Nothing has made me feel quite as ‘at home’ as seeing little kids running all around, people filling every couch and chair and table.  It was a really perfect afternoon and I am so thankful for it! It was another glimpse of  beginning to really get a taste of this being home… sweet fellowship with new friends, lots of wonderful pitched-in food, corn hole, an easter egg hunt. Our dear neighbors even joined us! We were thrilled that they stopped by. And also, a man who has done some work on our house and is working on the house underneath ours came and played cornhole and joined us for lunch. It was a really perfect first holiday on the island. :)

2014-04-21_00152014-04-21_0018  2014-04-21_0014 I’m going to finish this out with a bunch of pictures from the last few weeks. Also, I’m working on two more posts: a house tour, and a Q&A post. Are there any questions you have for us now that we are here? Anything you want to know about island life or ministry or our family? Leave us a comment or shoot us an email!

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It is a St. Kitts tradition to fly kites on Good Friday! We joined tons of other families at a field near our house. Also, they celebrate Easter Monday here! Everything is closed and people have the day off of work. :)

 

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St. Kitts just got their first ever playground! They built several small ones around the island, and there’s a HUGE one that isn’t open yet. We are so excited!

 

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Asher is FIVE MONTHS OLD on Tuesday. He’s the sweetest, happiest, most lovable, relaxed baby! We are so in love with our baby boy!

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We can walk on the cart path of the golf course after 5 pm! A perfect place to take walks and let the kiddos ride their bikes or scooters!

2014-04-21_0022 2014-04-21_0021 2014-04-21_0020Thank you for reading, and thank you for praying! We are so grateful!!! We love you!

Comments

  1. Grace Howell says:

    Can you expand a little more on the most widely held beliefs of the Kittians? You touched a little bit in this post but I’d like to know what is meant by “Jah” and “Haile Selassie” (I know a little bit about the former, but clarification between “Jah” and Yaweh might be helpful).

    • Hi GRACE! Thanks for the comment! St. Kitts, being a former colony of Britain, has a VERY strong protestant tradition. Almost every Kitittian has been to church at some point in time in their life. The population for St. Kitts is somewhere between 35-40,000 ppl. The population of montgomery county is 38,000. So as you can probably remember, most people in cville have been to church at some point in time in their lives. All that to be said, the majority of people would identify themselves as Christians as far as a religion that is practiced and not necessarily actually following Jesus. After this majority comes the Rastas. They are the ones who believe that the former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie was Jesus returned again. They worship HS as God almighty. “‘Jah’ is a Biblical name of God, from a shortened form of Jahweh or Jehovah.” (according to WIKI)

      Let me know if that helps at all! I hope all is well with you guys!! God bless!

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