Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lithuania - Day 2

Our day officially began in the hotel dining room with a huge breakfast buffet which was included with our room. After breakfast everyone met for instructions, a challenge, and prayer before beginning tract distribution. I took Caleb and Sarah back to the room for some play time since they were the only young children there. While they played I enjoyed some time to read my Bible and tidy up our little room. Around 9:30 everyone met up with their team, loaded in the vans and headed to designated areas.

Our family chose to stand out on the streets handing out the John/Romans and invitations. The rest of our team was going to all the apartments they could get in and putting the invitations in mail boxes. We were standing in a courtyard area with some offices and a bus stop close by. People would come in spurts it seemed. It was a joy to work together as a family and pass out HUNDREDS of booklets and invitations.

Even Caleb walked up to some people and handed them the literature. Now, how could anyone refuse something offered by an adorable 3 year old? Well, oddly enough, some people did! His feelings were not hurt, he just went to someone else. Most of the time though, Caleb enjoyed playing on this big rock statue.

Shortly after noon we ate some lunch and refreshed ourselves. Since Caleb was tired and usually takes a nap after lunch, I took him in a store with me to look around. It was almost like a Walmart with a little bit of everything - food, clothes, gardening, toys, etc. We have the same stores here, but on a much smaller level. It was lots of fun to look around and Caleb was able to rest a little too.

Everyone arrived back at the hotel around 5 or 5:30 to freshen up and then meet for dinner. We had a delicious Lithuanian meal - chicken with pineapple and sauce, rice, and salad - topped off with apple pie and ice cream for dessert. The restaurant was in a HUGE mall. We explored it a little after dinner (had to walk off all the food we had just eaten...what better place to do it than a mall). The picture is some of the other restaurants that were in the mall. It was very grand.

By the end of the day we were all tired and ready for another good night of rest.

You can read more about our trip to Lithuania here (ministry blog - To The Regions Beyond).

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Long Day

Wednesday, June 23, was a holiday here so people could celebrate the longest day of the year. Since we were blessed with beautiful weather, we decided to BBQ. Marita was planning to come over to eat with us. Marita drives in each Sunday with us to Tallinn and is also one of Ron's English students. Later in the day we made contact with some friends of ours that are missionaries in Narva (the border city of Russia and Estonia). The Sampsons speak Russian and work with the Russians living in Narva - which is almost the entire population. Anyway, we invited them and they were able to join us for dinner. Marita called again and asked if she could bring her friend, Olga. Olga is another of Ron's English students. She also came to our service on Resurrection Sunday. Of course, we were happy for her to join us as well. Once everyone arrived the men went outside to start the coals, the ladies worked in the kitchen, and all the kids played outside (taking advantage of the good weather). Dinner was DELICIOUS!!! We introduced Marita and Olga to an old fashioned American hamburger. Then we also had hot dogs since they sort of go with hamburgers. Marita also prepared some salmon that Ron put on the grill. With all the trimmings, we had quite a feast and lots of good fellowship. After dinner everyone headed out for a walk - well, the kids were riding bikes and King Caleb was being pushed in his chariot - opps, I mean stroller :). Off we all went to walk through Oru/Toila Park which seperates our apartment from the Gulf of Finland. (I'm very disappointed I didn't grab my camera - which is why there are no pictures with this post) The stroll through the park was very relaxing and enjoyable (except for the mosquitoes that were out it full force). There was a crowd gathered down at the water for the bonfire. We hoped they wouldn't wait until dark to start the fire. Even though it was after 9:00, it was not going to be dark any time soon. To our delight the fire was started a short time later. We hung around for a little while so the kids could play - they were throwing rocks in the water and stick in the fire. It wasn't too hard to get everyone to head back home since we had ice cream and strawberries waiting for us. Ron took the ladies home around 11:30. They had such a great time. Olga thanked us over and over for the wonderful evening. Please pray for her - we feel this was another step in building our friendship with her to one day reach her with the gospel. The Sampsons left for home around midnight. Our kids were thrilled to get to stay up so late. Before I went to bed (about 1:30) I looked out the window and noticed the sky still had a glow of light in it. We had 21 hours and 41 minutes of daylight on our longest day of the year.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lithuania - Day 1

Monday morning, June 14, we got in the van and started our 600 kilometer (about 400 miles) trip. We borrowed a GPS and bought an Atlas to help us on our way. Leaving Toila, Estonia, we drove several hours before reaching the Latvia border (sorry the pictures are out of order). About 3 hours later we had reached the Lithuania border. It was just like driving from state to state in the U.S. We did not need to show any documents or even stop the car - we just drove on into the next country.

I had stocked up on plenty of snacks and water for in the car. The kids brought books to read, games to play, and the good ole trusty portable dvd player we used while traveling in the states.
All the kids did very well on the trip. Caleb was very anxious to be out of the van before the trip was done, but he made it...just had to pull a few more tricks out of my hat to keep him entertained.
We arrived at our destination of Kaunas, Lithuania, with just enough time to check into our hotel room before dinner. The hotel rooms are VERY small - a bed, bathroom, and enough room to walk around the bed. We reserved a room with a kids' room attached. Notice two beds and four kids. The people at the front desk wanted to know if we wanted ANOTHER room, to which we replied NO. We requested a couple more blankets and everyone had a comfortable place to sleep.
After getting our things to our room, we headed back down to the lobby to meet up with everyone for dinner. A group with Couriers for Christ were in Lithuania for a evangelism outreach. We also had the privilege of meeting a couple missionary families that serve in Lithuania. What a joy to see the Bro. and Mrs. Stertz after SO many years.

Waiting for dinner to be served...

The restaurant where we ate the first evening.

How exciting....a park right next to the restaurant. The kids were able to play and get some energy out after a long day in the van.

We had a great day!

Monday, June 14, 2010


In less than two hours our family will be getting in the van and heading for Lithuania. We have the opportunity to be involved with an evangelistic campaign there. Today will mostly be spent in the car, we have 600 kilometers to travel. We will drive through Estonia, Latvia, and into Lithuania. We are all excited! Please be in prayer for us as we travel, pass out tracts, and enjoy some family time. I look forward to sharing details about our trip when we return.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Helping Hands

There are so many things for kids to learn about life. Not all of them are learned in the classroom. "Hands on" is a great way for our children to learn some valuable lessons in life. A friend of ours, Marita, had a yard that she was preparing for her summer garden. Ron had been over several times to help. The boys wanted to help too, so we let them out of school one day and dropped them off for a little while. They worked hard! Marita was pleased and we were proud. Knowing how to work is important to learn while one is young. The Bible says in II Thess. 3:10 "...that if any would not work, neither should he eat." Another valuable lesson is to serve others. The mentality of the world is to "look out for number one". That is so selfish. Jesus is the King of kings, yet he served others. To truely be Christ-like, we need to serve others (even if you get nothing in return). Isn't that the way to spell JOY? - Jesus Others You! The boys worked for a couple of hours and went home tired, but happy. I want to be a better example to my kids of serving others with a joyful heart.

Daniel chopping wood.

Andrew moving dirt.

Andrew taking a break.

When we went back to pick up the boys, we brought everyone an ice cream (that is better than money to kids). Caleb was torn between eating the ice cream or playing in the dirt....the dirt won! He threw out the last little bit of ice cream and headed for the big pile of dirt (SO attractive to a 3 year old little boy).

Jesus and Others and You
What a wonderful way to spell JOY
Jesus and Others and You
In the life of each girl and each boy ♪
J is for Jesus for he has first place
O is for Others we meet face to face ♪
Y is for You in whatever you do
Put yourself third and spell JOY

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Family Fun Fridays

First off, I'd like to warn you that there are lots of pictures on this post. So, sit down with a cup of something cool to drink (or coffee for those of you who live on that stuff) and enjoy your visit to our FAMILY FUN FRIDAYS....
Several weeks ago we had an evening of playing games, pizza, and brownies. Before the kids went to bed they each had their own mystery they had to solve. They were each given a clue which would lead them to the next clue, and so on. Princess Sarah's job was to search the castle for the Queen. She did a royal job!

trying to figure out the clue

Cowboy Andrew needed to track some horse thieves. He rounded them varmits up right quick too. YEEHAW!!!

what does this clue mean???

Daniel's mission was to recover a stolen piece of army equipment. He should have been awarded a medal for doing an outstanding job and completing his mission.

see the clue (white piece of paper) taped to the side of the box?

three brains are better than one...where is that last clue?

What a fun night we had!!!

With the weather turning nicer we are enjoying some evening outside. Before we know it the weather will be cold again. So, a couple of weeks ago we spent our family night OUTSIDE! The kids had a great time riding bikes, rollerblading, climbing trees, playing frisbee, blowing bubbles, and soaking in some sunshine. The barbeque was delicious too! Enjoy the pictures...

preparing for a race

go, Caleb!

look at Daniel go

taking Caleb to see a cat they found

Caleb is looking at the bubble that is on top of the bottle.

Another favorite FAMILY FUN FRIDAY was when we went down to the water (about a five minute drive from our apartment). The weather was beautiful and so the water was calling the kids' names. After awhile we said they could walk in the water - before we knew it, they were soaked from head to toe. I do not know what the temperature of the water was, but it had to have been cold. The kids didn't mind though. They had lots of fun.
King of the rock!

After they got out of the water they were very cold. Since we were not planning on them getting all wet, I did not have any towels with us. So, they sat on the warm rocks and then put more rocks on top of them. Even through their chattering teeth they said "it was worth it".

While the kids were drying off some people walked by that were dressed in typical "beach attire". We told the kids not to look and this is what they did :)

It's great to spend time as a family - enjoying one another. I love my family!!!


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