Pumpkin Party

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Tonight we took part in a pumpkin painting party complete with a bonfire and s’mores (although we missed using chocolate digestives to make them)!

We had great fun painting pumpkins with our seminary friends and, of course, Ryan enjoyed roasting marshmallows over the bonfire. 😉 Cora and Titus painted pumpkins to look like Peg Dolls from Doctor Who…representing Britain!

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Lights out…

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was the theme tonight since the lights went out during an active storm (lightening, thunder, and chucking it down) at 6pm! Leave it to the Midwest to be under a tornado watch this late in October as well! There are about 10,000 customers out of power right now. Our family made the most of it as we had our Bible time, ate our curry (which we had cooking before the storm) in the dusk, and then played Carcassonne (one of our favourite board games) by candlelight. Thankfully we actually had candles in our Seminary flat! 😊 I cannot remember the last time we were without power for so long.

Cora had rather a good outlook on this happening and said she was excited to see what it was like to live as people did before Thomas Edison invented the light bulb! Good on you, Cora! Unfortunately Titus was a little less fond of the dark, so Cora read to him by torch (flashlight) until he fell asleep. Oh bless! And Ryan and I took advantage of talking by candlelight after the kids went to sleep.

Kansas City Plaza

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Yesterday it was a beautifully sunny, unseasonably warm, day and we took the opportunity to show the kids the Kansas City Plaza. (I also needed to buy some Dansko walking shoes as I had worn mine out in England.😉) The Plaza has many fountains which are sister fountains to some in Spain. Therefore, we just had to take some photos!

The following photo isn’t a fountain, but people have been coming here for ages to rub this snout for luck and donations to a children’s charity. My cousin saw this boar’s twin when she recently visited Spain!

The kids did exceptionally well in home School this week, so we decided to treat them to their first pumpkin cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory…yum! Ryan didn’t even get one bite! 😉

We took the kids inside Barnes & Noble Booksellers, which has three floors of books! Ryan and the kids each bought decorative journals for tracking their US adventures. We had great fun and were blessed to enjoy this day out together!

Norma Arlene Childs

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As many of you know, Ryan’s grandmother passed away on the 5th of October. Tuesday evening a visitation was held and yesterday morning was the funeral in Wichita, Kansas.

Ryan said the following words, with a few ad libs, through his tears:

My name is Ryan Lindsey, the seventh of the grandkids. Mom has asked me to come up and share on behalf of some of the other grandkids. This task would easily take up the morning, the rest of the day, and several more days. Many of my memories come from the week each summer I would spend with Grandma and Grandad. These were weeks I could eat Spaghetti O’s each day with a grilled cheese that was toasted and then microwaved. Grandma could not understand why I would need to bring my own bottle of BBQ sauce every time I came.

Christmas was a time to be crammed together opening presents on the seam of the paper so the paper could be used again next year. And chilli is still my favourite Christmas meal! One Christmas I didn’t even tell Grandma I was bringing a student with me and the next day she had a present for him under the tree.

After a tornado came through Wichita I called to see if Grandma and Grandad needed me to come down, but Grandma responded they only had a bit of wind. It was not for a couple of weeks that I found out the 40 foot pine tree was on the garage and Grandad had climbed it with a chainsaw!

Grandma’s eyes always had a twinkle of love even when nothing was said. The love and respect between Grandma and Grandad has been on display for 75 years and it has been inspirational how they started each morning with a kiss. Grandma even told me once how much she liked the look of Grandad on a horse!

After I became a Christian at university, she was pleased and took my face into her hands. My later call to ministry and then overseas brought more praise from her. Once when talking with her about a spiritual matter she would recall Bible verses from heart and it struck me how well she knew God and the Bible. She had a list of family and friends by her chair that she would regularly pray over. Imagine the love to continuously take us before God week after week!

Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away.”

Now that I have lived in England these past five years, I must quote a famous British pastor. Charles Spurgeon said, “We have suffered bereavement after bereavement but we are going to the land of the immortals where graves do not exist.”

Grandma! Your faith in Jesus has brought you there. take rest in your restored body and mind. In Christ we will meet again.

This, in my opinion, was my husband’s most eloquent speech thus far…even between his tears! I am very proud of him and his brother, who next stood before us reading a beautiful tribute written by their sister.

What was most difficult for me was seeing Grandad gripping Grandma’s casket at the visitation as he sat beside her in his wheelchair. This made me cry just for the unimaginable loss he must feel after 75 years. Please pray for him.

After the funeral, we all went our separate ways in search of a quick bit to eat along the drive to Buffalo, Kansas (an hour and half away). It was a beautiful mild, sunny day as we waited for everyone to arrive. Ryan, his brother, and other relatives carried Grandma’s casket to her body’s place of final rest.

Together we said the 23rd Psalm and sang the first verse of Amazing Grace. Cora and Titus were amazed how different the graves look here compared to England. They also thought it interesting how her casket was placed inside a vault and then was lowered into the earth. Titus and Cora picked some white roses and Titus spread some petals over her casket as we said our final goodbyes. I love you, Grandma, and thank you for always loving me!

Ryan’s brother, our family historian, walked us by the family graves placed elsewhere in the Buffalo cemetery. At one grave, we had Cora take her photo by her namesake, Grandad’s mother.

We talked of Grandad’s brother Kahl, whom sadly does not have a grave since his body was not ever found, because Titus bears his middle name.

Although this was a sad day, we are thankful we know where Grandma now lives with Jesus and thankful for being stateside for such a time as this.

Billings, Montana

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The last two days we have attended the Montana Baptist State Convention in order that we could encourage pastors to be involved in international missions as well as talk about our ministry in Leeds, England. The state convention is where state church leaders gather to be renewed and refreshed through worship, hear sermons (such as the one that we enjoyed about Jesus’ parable of the talents), and receive encouragement from fellow ministers.

Ryan and I sat in last night’s worship, preaching, and international missions video and we were encouraged and blessed! After the video we were introduced and asked, as a family, to stand to be thanked for our service. Although I am extremely grateful, all I could think about was how my heart aches for those who are uninterested spiritually.

We were blessed to get to know other co-labourers whom also had stalls. Some even gave us lifts to and from dinner which was a few miles too far to walk. 😉 Ryan and I had excellent conversations and made personal connections with many wanting to become involved through prayer and sending mission teams! Even though the hours were a bit exhausting, we all enjoyed ourselves; Cora and Titus even got to join other children in crafts and play whilst we were visiting with church leaders.

When we were not at the convention, we enjoyed the pool and waterslides at our Red Lion Hotel! Cora and Titus even got Ryan and I to go down the slides in between our relaxing in the hot tub!

Titus tried his first corn dog at the hotel restaurant. We also ate at Cracker Barrel, which was a first for Cora and Titus; we even stayed long enough to sit in rocking chairs and play checkers!

Shell Falls

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This beautiful autumn Wyoming day, my best friend drove us to town to get some postcards and pop in and out of local shops. We stopped for a photo op at the town sign, which Titus and Cora love because it is a grey bison!

After lunch we drove the beautiful scenic drive to the spectacular Shell Falls…at least I think it would have been IF it was not under construction, and we could have made our way to the best view, then it would have been spectacular! But we were extremely blessed by the Lord’s magnificent majesty anyway! It had snowed in the higher elevation; Cora and Titus were chuffed to touch snow on the tips of the pine trees!

We stopped along the motorway for more scenic views!

We had a teaching moment at the above mountains which were in shapes of an elephant and pyramid! Now for more amazing views as we descended Shell Falls.

We walked along an old horse and cattle drive trail.

Afterwards, Julie and I were blessed to spend some time (our last day together) prayer-walking near her home!  After school the kids played in the neighbours’ fort, which was too fun!

Before dinner we watched Julie’s husband graciously make us some metal art using his PlasmaCam…Cora and Titus were chuffed to bits to have name plaques for their rooms! And I cannot wait to show our Leeds friends the wonderful coffee signs Dan made for us to display in our coffee kitchen! At dinner Titus thanked the Lord for Mr. Dan making these memorable gifts for us which help us remember our time spent here. 😊

We are very thankful to the Lord for this time which our families have together treasured making new memories!

School in America…

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is a bit different than in England. Today Cora and Titus were blessed to ride the American school bus from our friend’s’ farm to Greybull Elementary; the kids were chuffed to bits about riding the bus with their three friends! Later they said it was nice to meet and talk with students and they saw a white tail deer on the drive to school. In order to ride on the bus the kids were awake by 6:15 am, dressed, ate oatmeal, fed the sheep and chickens, and waited along the roadside adorned with jackets and backpacks by 7:00! However, the bus was a bit later than usual and they were waiting in the crisp morning air.

Once the children checked into school, Cora and Titus began a ten minute presentation to the 5th grade class. Afterwards many students asked questions of Cora and Titus concerning school in England. One students asked if we had school counselors in England. Others had many questions about the Head Teacher (Principal) and what was the cause of visiting said Head Teacher’s office. 😬 Many wanted to see the currency, which thankfully I had on hand. One teacher was extremely impressed that Titus said he could use a dictionary when the kids in his class use the computer to look up definitions. 😉 Cora told about Family Assembly and badge rewards in England, all of which was unusual and impressive to students here.

After the 5th grade Q&A, Cora and Titus repeated a similar presentation and Q&A for the friends in 4th grade and 2nd grade. It was a blessing that Julie and I were able to be there to see Cora and Titus before two of the classes. However, this was met with disappointment from the two of them since it had originally been planned that Cora and Titus could stay through lunch and into the afternoon. But this unfortunately wasn’t meant to be as we were called in to retrieve them due to health and safety…and that isn’t different from England. 😬

Titus and Cora were thanked and encouraged by the teachers. Some students wrote thank yous and drew pictures of bison (town mascot) for their friends to bring home to them! So sweet!

Thankfully Ryan took care of Cora and Titus so that Julie and I could enjoy lunch out, just us, as the Copper Corner Café. This was home cooked food by local mennonites, which equates to delicious food…even gluten-free for me and I splurged on homemade ice cream! I am SO thankful for this quality time, chatting and laughing with my bestie!

After school I felt like a real farmer when I assisted Julie in mending the dog fence! 😉 But any excuse is fine with me to walk their beautiful mountain view property!