Sunday, June 23, 2013

Our GREAT news! (And tons of pictures)

We're home from Europe, and have a lot to tell you! We have a lot of pictures to show you also, and we'll get to that. BUT, we want first to let you know that the Lord definitely met us at CDC at Helimission in Switzerland, and we were confirmed with going into the overseas missions field. We now have a plan (!), with a place and a timeframe. It's so exciting! Of course, we plan and the Lord directs our steps, so we remain flexible and sensitive to Him. After an incredible week of worshiping the Lord and praying earnestly with the staff of Helimission for God's plan for our family, we all came away saying "Yes"! God spoke especially to Michael's heart through scripture and prayer, and he is confident in the Lord's leading of our family into the overseas missions field. the beginning of 2015, we will be headed to Papua, the western half of New Guinea, an island in Indonesia.

Click here for a map of Papua.

We are praising God for allowing us to partner with Him, to participate in His great plan of redemption for all peoples. We know there is much work to be done, and many things that must occur for this to happen, and we daily rely on Him for His strength and grace.

THANK-YOU for praying for us during this time. We know the Lord heard and answered you - He met with us, and took great care of our kids while they were in Montana with grandpa and grandma. Praise Him!

After our amazing week at CDC, we spent a couple more days with Simon Tanner, director of Helimission, and his family. We helped him with a couple of things, and they entertained us with some Swiss treats like fondue and a trip up a mountain in the Appenzell region. After that, we went on our own for a few days to the alps and onto Milan and Venice, Italy.


Lilacs in the Alps! This was where we stayed one night - unbelievably beautiful!

Out for a little walk.

Michael has his very own Coke, literally.

The beautiful night sky over Trogen.

Our new friends, and also Helimission missionaries from Washington state, Matt and Amanda.

Michael, Matt and Simon auditioning for the Appenzeller cheese marketing campaign.

Hard to believe it is real - a scene in the "Mini-Alps".

The Rhine River Valley - Germany behind us to our right, and Austria and Lichtenstein behind us to our left.

"Raclette" - a Swiss tradition of melting cheese in trays and then pouring it over potatoes. SO tasty! With the Tanner family.

The Jungfrau - one of Switzerland's most famous mountains.

The Victoria Grand Hotel in Interlaken - beautiful! (And expensive! We got to stay with new friends instead.)

Our new friends in Interlaken, Ernst and Madeleine. They are former HM missionaries to Madagascar. It was wonderful to meet them and they graciously housed us and fed us. Lovely people!

The beginning of the trip up into the Alps.

Sticking our heads out the windows on a train up into the Alps on a beautiful day was one of the best experiences of our lives. It was exhilarating!

See?! We were like dogs hanging our heads out of the car window!

Coming around the bend, we saw this. It just took our breath away.

This was the view from our hotel room. Notice all the waterfalls.


We took a series of four cable cars to get here, the top of the Schilthorn. These views are 360 degrees around. The Jungfrau is directly behind us.

An afternoon walk, with no one around. We praised God the whole way for His marvelous creation.

Michael talking to the cows.

Hay harvest.

One of the lakes around the city of Interlaken (which means "between the lakes", there is another on the other side).

The view from the first of four cable cars.

On the train into Italy from Switzerland.

We arrived in Milan on the train, took the subway to where we had a tour scheduled, and popped up from the subway right into the Piazza del Duomo. Quite a surprise!


Downtown Milan

We took a walking tour of Milan and got to see the original Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper painting (this is not it).

In the Piazza del Duomo in Milan.

We flew home from Venice (it was actually cheaper!), so we got to spend a couple of days there. It was everything we thought it would be.

On the Rialto Bridge, overlooking the Grand Canal.

On our Gondola ride.

What a treat!

Our hotel offered a complimentary boat ride to Murano, an island famous for glass blowing, where we also got a free tour of the factory. We felt so blessed!

If you've seen The Tourist, you'll recognize this scene. It's the fish market. This was across from our hotel.

Glass blowing - this process to make one plate took about 25 minutes. The same family has run this operation since the 1400s.

Murano, an island behind Venice.

The day before we came home we got to swim in the Adriatic Sea. It was amazing!

Avidazen! Arrivederci!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Switzerland (and Austria, Germany, and Lichtenstein) from the helo!

We received an AMAZING blessing today. We got to fly in a Helimission helicopter over the small mountains and valleys near the HM headquarters. Michael got to "stick the bird" (fly) and had a great time. This was a surprise for all of us candidates and it was so special.

Michael flying over Switzerland (Germany is in the distance)

Some of the "Mini-Alps" near us (about 7,800')

Switzerland and Lichtenstein

A Swiss family village

We are SO blessed!

The "dudes" of CDC 2013   

One of the ways we have been most blessed during this week is by being able to be under the teachings of and being able to just be with Ernie and Hedi Tanner, the founders of HM. They are in their late 80s and have some drop-your-jaw stories. The last two mornings, Ernie has led our devotion time and has been incredibly real and inspiring. He is truly a man after God's own heart, and we are privileged to spend this time with him.

Teaching us about the Holy Spirit

"That's my Jesus!"

We've also been so grateful to spend time with Simon Tanner, Ernie and Hedi's son, as he shares the vision of HM. We are confident in the blessings of Jesus over this organization and get so excited, along with Simon, at the ways He is leading us all forward.

Simon teaching

Michael at the controls, with Simon next to him

Simon giving a lesson on chocolate (I LOVE Switzerland - there's chocolate everywhere!)
 The first thing we said when we got on the train to Trogen from Zurich was that Switzerland looks just like Oregon! It was even a bit misty and cloudy that day. It is very beautiful, and has been sunny the last two days. Here are some scenery shots:
A nearby village

The "Mini-Alps", getting fogged in - looks a little like home!

The neighbors behind

Helimission Headquarters (read previous post)

We have also done a bit of work around the property, and some for the neighbors behind (there are several families that live down the road you see in the picture above). We worked hard, and of course, played hard. :)

Cutting and stacking firewood

Some clearing for a rainwater-path

Simon beheading Daniel, like John the Baptist maybe?

Swiss mountain man

With a smiley of dirt on his shirt

"Sznooni" - 9 o'clock break time

This one is for you Kalem and Adria! :)

Ernie and Hedi gardening
Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for praying! We feel them, and we know the Lord is with us.

We will have much more to tell you.

Michael and Fawn