Thursday, July 30, 2009


We arrived in Palmer Lake, CO (just north of Colorado Springs) two weeks ago to begin our last formal training time before we leave in December. The first two weeks of the program are focused on language learning. American English uses 44 of the 1,000s of sounds that our mouths are capable of making. Along with giving us some great material and guidelines for language learning, this program is also designed to loosen your tongue to be able to make some of the 966+ sounds we don't use in English in order to give you a more pleasing accent in the language you are going to learn to speak. The training has been so beneficial and we have the added bonus of spending our days with some amazing people in a beautiful state! Here's a snapshot...

Last Sunday we drove up Pike's Peak with our friends Jonathan and Lauren who are headed to Sudan this fall. To say they're the 'outdoorsy' type would be an understatement. Thanks to the Vissani's for sharing this friendship with us!

An evening hike to the reservoir armed with canned soup and corn on the cob. As you can see, it rained. But it was one of those nights that you will always remember.

The wildflowers in CO are gorgeous; when you go hiking you run into sprawling fields of them that make me smile every time. Our friends decided that we needed a picture in the middle of them. They were right.

An impromptu s'mores night with some of our fellow trainees. For those who know Courtney, this might end up being the highlight of our time here.

Here are some videos for you to enjoy. Just imagine a room full of 45 people doing this in unison all day long. The drills can be tiring, but it's amazing how much of an improvement we can see in just two weeks! Enjoy :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


"I don't know what happened. We did everything you're supposed to do. We taught them right from wrong, we got them involved in church, we prayed over every meal, we stayed married, we were affectionate, we always told them we loved them..... and yet they deny God."

This has been a hidden fear for me ever since the day it hit me that Neil and I were going to raise kids someday. You hear it from so many parents; whose to say that the same 'take your breath away' heart-breaking rebellion of a child wouldn't leave me perplexed and questioning God one day. What is the secret to success as a parent? Is there such a guarantee? The last two weeks have brought me comfort and peace in my pre-mature fear...

The Israelites were constantly in rebellion. God would do something great, they would praise him, then they would forget, rebel, cry out to God, and he would save them again. Then He would tell them to remember what He had done and to tell their children so that the cycle of suffering and rebellion could finally be ended. But they didn't. They taught their children the importance of the temple and they probably ate meals together, but they didn't tell their children of the great things God had done for them. They forgot how He had crushed their oppressors; their children didn't know to fear God. They forgot that He had allowed them back even though they had abandoned Him; their children didn't know He was Grace (maybe this is why they didn't recognize Christ?). They forgot how He was vexed over them; their children didn't know His punishment was Love. "Remember" is the central theme of Psalm 78 and I would argue God's point most of the time He addresses Israel as a nation.

"This do in remembrance of me." He was gracious enough to attach an action to the remembering.

I won't be a perfect parent. I will make sure that I tell my children not only of the great stories of what God has done in Scripture, but also the great stories of what He has done in my life and for the generations that came before me. That's all I can ask of myself as a parent. To remember. To remind.

And to learn to say "I'm sorry" a lot.

*and while I'm talking about parenting, thanks for 'reminding' me so much, mom and dad.