Photos courtesy of Ryan Prouty

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tag, now I'm it!

O.k., so I've been "tagged" by Deb and this is my first time, so I guess I just fill in these answers and then tag others, right? Very fun!!! Who needs a nap...I'll do this instead. :)

*I am - a mommy. My favorite job! There is no higher calling. Also a part time nurse practitioner
* I want - to be a light shining for Jesus, to my family, especially my kids. I want them to see God as a loving, forgiving, gracious God.

* I have - been blessed by God. He's given me a wonderful husband and four fun kids and has walked beside me so closely these past few months that we joke around that with Him on our side, its just not fair to others!

*I wish - that I could take all my friends to Florida with me!
* I hate - goodbyes. My eyes well up at the thought of what lies ahead...

* I miss - my grandpa. He died in 2003. He was my only grandparent my whole life. He loved and sacrificed for my mom, my sister and me. He had the greatest sayings (Shoot Luke or give up the gun (he didn't like to be kept waiting), CONFOUND! (his way of cursing!), That's the truth!)

* I fear - not always being close to my kids like we are now. I hear about people who don't speak to their kids or parents and my heart just breaks for them.

* I feel - sort of emotional today, reflecting on the friendships God has blessed me with here in Iowa that I am leaving, feeling God's presence at church today as the sermon spoke directly to my heart and life and a situation that just came up yesterday. He is so faithful to speak peace and refreshment to my heart through our pastor.

* I hear - the NASCAR race no one is really paying attention to, my kids making noise as they have a snack.

* I smell -like my favorite lotion: White ginger and amber from bath and body
* I crave - fun and excitement...see post below about Planet X...only whet my appetite!
* I search - for bargains for furniture to replace the things we are selling here, for all the beads off of Alayna's craft (from Sunday school) that are scattering all over the floor right now as I type

* I wonder - what my life will be like in a few months, where will I live, who will be my friend?
* I regret - not sharing my faith with my friends sooner, not being a light in their lives, going with the crowd instead of standing up for what is right.

* I love - God, my husband, and my kids. I even try to keep it in that order!!
* I ache - in my heart after I lose my patience with my kids.
* I care - about my church and the various ministries I'm involved in. About my patients with heart problems and financial problems (they seem to go together!).
* I always - pray with my kids before bed, say "Praise the Lord for hot lunch!" on the days the kids don't have to have a cold lunch made for school. They act like they hate it when I say it, but I know deep down they would be disappointed if I didn't!
* I believe - in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and choose to serve Him with my life.
* I dance - terribly. I've got rhythm, but not the moves. ditto Deb!!!
* I sing - at the top of my lungs with the radio up so loud that I can't even hear myself!

* I cry - about everything lately, I keep seeing all that I am leaving behind. I know I have to trust God to bring me all I need or to BE all I need in Florida.
* I don't always - react how I should or think before I speak. I usually know how I should have acted or reacted, but it is often too late by the time I realize it. I don't always choose to overlook an offense, or be slow to anger.
* I fight - for what is right (as defined in the Bible). For those who can't fight for themselves.
* I write - posts on my blog! I am finding it addictive and a great way to document our lives without having to scrapbook!

* I never - buy something that is not on clearance.
* I listen - to Christian music preferably. Favorites include Skillet, Casting Crowns, Plumb, Stellar Kart, Phillips, Craig and Dean, Mercy Me.
* I need - more time in the day for packing, volunteering, working, raising support, investing in my kids, MOPS, Perspectives (great class I am taking at church), and showing my appreciation to my friends for their support and inexplicable love and acceptance of me!
* I am happy - to have friends who care enough about me to read all this!

So, I tag all the people who I know that have blogs (not very many): Lisa, Rikki, JoDee, and Laura. I know this takes a while, but hopefully they'll all's worth it!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Birthday Fun

There were lots of slides and tunnels for Alayna to play in.
Getting strapped into the bumper cars. JoDee made me wear the obnoxious pink "Birthday Girl" ribbon!!
Riley gets serious about ramming into someone!
Holden looking a little wicked with his red eye! He proved to be a wicked crasher!
No, this picture did not need to be turned!! Gabriel is on a "Space Bike" that went 360 degrees in laps racing Aunt JoJo to see who could complete the most laps in 1 minute.

Aunt JoJo on the space bike, proof that she was winning the race at that point!!

If you have to grow older, you might as well have some fun at it!! This was my theory approaching my birthday this year! We packed up the family with my sister and mom and went to play for an hour at Planet X. We bashed on each other in the bumper cars, rode laps on the space bikes, jumped on the trampolines, climbed the rock wall (the boys were very impressed that I could make it all the way to the top!), and finished it all up with a game of laser tag. The grown ups took on the kids and we annihilated them!! Then we played some arcade games and then let the kids choose prizes with their tickets (like at Chucky Cheese's), then went home for some Thai food. We rented a Wii for the weekend, so after a late lunch we played some video games. Then, a friend threw a party for several women with April birthdays where we played games and ate too much great food! It was a great day!! If I had to get a year older, at least I had some fun with it! It has been so fun to share my birthday with my sister again. Obviously we have always shared a birthday, but after moving to Iowa 15 years ago, we have spent them apart mostly. Since she moved to the area over 4 years ago, we have gotten to share birthday parties again. What a special treat!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Wow, the power of prayer!! It is unbelievable, but we have accepted an offer on our home!! We have agreed to a June 15th posession. The unbelievable part is seeing how God worked on our hearts through this. We are so happy with the end results, but if you would have told us we would have accepted this offer and been happy about it a few hours or days ago, we wouldn't have believed you!! God has allowed us to sweat it out and really see the worth of our home and not be deceived or greedy when it came to placing a price on a home we have labored over personally for many hours. All the praise and glory goes to HIM!!

Lots of you have asked us where we will go when we have to move out, and the answer is, we don't know!! Please pray for clear direction from God in raising our support and faith in Him to provide us with a place to stay if our support is not raised by the June 15th deadline. This is considerably earlier than our previous goal of August 1st, so as you can see, God has His work cut out for Him!! What is new???

Monday, April 7, 2008

The latest

I wanted to add some pictures of our trip to Florida over Spring Break so you can see where we are going. This is the first time the kids saw or felt the ocean. It was quite cold, but the weather warm enough to get used to it quickly!
Our first day in Florida, we arrived just before sunset at the beach. The clouds didn't cooperate, but the kids got acquainted with the Gulf of Mexico anyway. From here forward we refer to it as the ocean even though we know it isn't technically! The sand there is really nice (not something I would usually say about sand), it is larger grains and when it dries it is heavy enough to just fall off your legs and feet (or anywhere else you have manged to confiscate it!). There were also lots of shells and pieces of shells everywhere.

Riley found some shell he thought was photo worthy.

The ocean for the first time.

The water was cold and the locals I am sure thought we were crazy. We needed a big "I'm from Iowa" sign and they would have understood perfectly!!
Last week was crazy as we began sitting down with friends and family to talk about our adventure and recruit team members. What a precious time of fellowship and encouragement. We have been so blessed with relationships and are now coming to recognize the breadth of the blessing as we are lifted up in prayer and see God so clearly using us and you. The joy of being in His perfect will for our lives is immeasurable and we are so glad you are willing to take this ride with us.
Prayer requests and updates:
We continue to ask for prayer for the sale of our home and properties in the Dominican Republic. We do have a family interested in our home, we are waiting to see if an offer will come out of it. We also strive to have obedient hearts and listening ears to hear God's prompting. Pray for the missionaries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic working in spiritual darkness, for spiritual refreshment and perseverance. We also pray for the hearts of those we will be speaking with to join our team, that they will have clear direction from God and know His will for thier lives.
We can't thank you enough for holding us up in prayer during this time and for your encouraging words and deeds.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

More Details

Okay, I didn't really expect so many of you would check this out minutes after I sent it!! I thought I would have a few days to figure it out and then tell our story. I will just get to it and figure out this blog thing later. It does get easier as I go.
Most of you likely got a Christmas letter detailing Paul's upcoming career change and our "peek" into what we thought God was bringing us here in Iowa. If not, you have heard about it from one of us! We thought this was where we were headed and Paul had months off for his surgery to correct his bunions. This afforded him a lot of quiet time with God to pray and meditate on His word in spite of being a full time grad student. He couldn't deny the prompting to check into missions opportunities and posted his resume on InterChristo (website for Christian job opportunities), that was all he felt led to do at that point. Charlie Gardner contacted Paul almost immediately filling Paul in on who he was and what his organization was about. He is the CEO of Agape Flights based in Venice, Florida. The mission organization provides logistical support to missionaries based in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Now, you may remember that 1 year ago we visited Haiti on a short term mission trip and that 2 years ago we visited the Dominican Republic for a brief vacation, falling in love with the place and ultimately purchasing property there. Isn't God funny??? Anyway, Agape Flights flies weekly to both countries to deliver supplies, mission teams, mail and packages to the missionaries. They needed somone to help as the Missionary Director with the logistical support (making sure everyone got what they needed when they needed it) and more in Venice. If you would like more information about the organization, go to their website: After agonizing about the decision between the two jobs, we decided we were not fit to make such a choice and left it up to God. We determined we would not go on the mission field and end up putting our children in public school as our kids have flourished in the Christian school for the past 2 years and we were certain that was where God wanted them no matter the sacrifices we had to make to put them there. BUT, the Christian School in Venice didn't have room for our oldest boys. Their classes were capped when we were hashing out this decision. We earnestly prayed for God to move out the families that would make room for our boys if Venice was really where He wanted us. Paul went to visit and was told he would find out if the space becomes available or not within a week. That day came and we found out there was room for Gabriel, but so far, they needed to hear from one more family and they didn' t think there would be room for Riley. Riley very sweetly offered to go to a different school, but we explained that if God wanted us there, there would be a place for him in the school we wanted him in. One more very long week later (March 10th)we received the call that a place had opened for Riley, the decision was made to accept the position in Florida. 5 days later we were loading up the van for a 22 1/2 hour drive to check out our future home. We spent Spring Break house hunting, becoming familiar with the city, experiencing the ocean (actually the Gulf of Mexico) for the first time for all the kids, visiting the local MOPS group, and rejoicing in God's plan! My sister JoDee went with us, helping us immensely with taking care of the kids while we looked at houses, and also doing a bit of job searching herself. Venice is a beautiful area, every neighborhood is 15 minutes or less from the beach. We were able to find a house, but are still not sure if we will rent for a while or purchase right away. We continue to trust God to sell our home which has been for sale well over a year. Looking back, I can see His plan and the reason why we haven't been able to sell, saving us from being in the middle of a construction project, or a new house to sell (again!!). I have no doubt that he will sell this house at the perfect time.
So, all this being said, we would love to have you praying for us as we start this new adventure!! Here is how you can be lifting us up at this point: 1) Sale of our home and property in the Dominican Republic. 2) Patience with the computer as we try to figure out how to make labels print (learning how to import and export is SO frustrating!), how to set up a blog, and how to explain to everyone what we are doing and that we really haven't lost our minds!! 3) Perseverence in the race He has marked out before us (Hebrews 12:1-3). That we would be able to raise our prayer and financial support in time for the kids to start school in August. 4) Emotional well-being as we adjust to leaving everyone we know, dear friends, grandparents, aunties and school friends. Pray that we will see so clearly that God is enough, His grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I hope this blog is the beginning of an open dialogue with all who read it. I hope you will share your plans, hopes, dreams and prayer requests with us here as well. We would love to be in prayer for you as we go on life's journey together!


We have had lots of questions and the same ones seem to keep coming up in spite of my efforts to be complete. Here are some of them and some we anticipate as well.

Q: Who and what is Agape Flights?

A: After hearing from missionaries in Haiti in 1980 about the need for dependable mail and delivery service, a group of friends in Bradenton, Florida gathered in Keith and Clara Starkey's living room to pray about a way to help. The result was Agape Flights. On November 15, 1980, Agape’s inaugural flight left the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport, bound for Cap Haitien. The small Cessna 411 was loaded with donated emergency supplies and mail for about 25 families. Today, for about 350 missionary families in Haiti and Dominican Republic, Agape Flights is a lifeline to family, friends, supporters and supplies. Agape Flights serves Christ by serving His missionaries on some of the most challenging mission fields in the world. Agape serves over 350 missionary families in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Agape’s regular weekly flight leaves Florida just before daylight each Wednesday morning, delivers missionary mail, packages, supplies and volunteers in four cities and returns to the U.S. on Thursday afternoon.
Round trip flying time for each weekly flight in Agape’s Cessna Grand Caravan is 13 hours.
Volunteers are the backbone of Agape. Every year, over 150 local volunteers donate over 7,000 hours to Agape. Missionary families donate 5,000 hours per year as they meet the plane, process supplies and people through customs and immigration, deal with airport, customs and other government officials and paperwork and organize and staff the distribution centers in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. During the last fiscal year, Agape received and distributed to missionaries and local organizations donated goods worth $740,000. The economic impact of Agape’s ministry in the local community exceeds half a million dollars each year.
60% of Agape’s financial support comes from individuals in all 50 states and several foreign countries. 33% comes from churches and religious organizations and the balance from businesses and other organizations. Agape hosts volunteer mission teams from around the U.S. each year who spend their time working at the hangar and in other local ministries. Agape arranges short-term mission trips for individuals and groups to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and other Caribbean countries. The plane lands in Cap Haitien, Les Cayes, Port au Prince, Santiago, Santo Domingo and Eleuthera.

Q: Where will you be living, working, and attending school?

A: We will be located in Venice, Florida. Agape is located at the Venice, Florida municipal airport. The offices are at the hanger, and all administrative and logistical activities occur there. I will work at the hanger. The children will attend Venice Christian School. Housing, school and work will all be within ten minutes travel time of one another.

Q: What will your work be at Agape?

A: I (Paul) will be the Missionary Director, responsible for maintaining relationships with the 350+ missionary families. I will also be serving in many other administrative capacities for Agape Flights. This will be a full time learning and working experience. I want to meet each missionary family over the next few years.Travis will be staying at home full time and assisting me with ministry needs when applicable. She will have time with the children to catch up on some lost professional mom time.

Q: How long will you stay with Agape Flights?

A: This is a full time, permanent position. We do not envision an end to this service, and potential moves to other countries in cooperation with Agape Flights are possibilities.

Q: When do you plan on moving?

A: We have a target date of August 1, 2008. If we are able to build our support team in a more timely fashion, we will move after the end of the current school year and before August 1.

Q: What do you need from a supporter?

A: First and foremost we need your prayer. Please pray for guidance, and ears that will hear God when he speaks. We need your participation in the form of encouraging phone calls, emails, notes and the like. Visits and service trips are encouraged for all supporters. Our home is open to you. Finally, we need financial support from team members willing to partner with us on a monthly basis. We need to raise every dollar that we cost Agape Flights. I will go over our detailed budget with you if you desire.

Q: How do we give?

A: Electronically from your bank account, credit card or on line at Pledge cards will soon be arriving with details for EBT’s (electronic balance transfers). Checks can be made out to Agape Flights (Prachar family in the memo) mailed to:Agape Flights 100 Airport AvenueVenice, Florida 34285

Contact us at (319-360-6692) or through Agape Flights at (941-488-0990). Further information can be obtained at