Photos courtesy of Ryan Prouty

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I hardly know how to start a blog like this one. My heart remains heavy with grief and I am still praying for peace and understanding for the circumstances of this past week. A very good friend of mine and the Discussion Group Leader at my MOPS, table, Jeanie Kochan, lost her 21 month old daughter in a tragic accident. Sweet Avery was swinging outside in her yard and wanted down. Her mom got her down as a car was coming up the driveway; a new meter reader. She needed to be told where the meters were. As Jeanie directed her, neither women noticed little Avery had walked in front of the car. She was struck as the car moved forward. Jeanie scooped her up and raced inside to call her husband and help. She could see Avery was badly injured and was not conscious. Before the first responders could arrive Avery stopped breathing. They worked on her, placing IVs and supporting her breathing, and when the ambulance arrived, she was taken to the University of Iowa Hospital with Jeanie riding along. After one hour of a perfectly executed code with no heartbeat being restored, Jeanie asked them to stop. Avery died at 4:45 pm Wednesday, May 21, 208. However, Jeanie felt confident in saying that she went to be with Jesus in her arms before help arrived. Jeanie spoke at the funeral yesterday with boldness and confidence about her Savior, Jesus Christ and how through her personal relationship with him, she was confident she would see her daughter again in heaven when she went there. The morning after the accident, Jeanie told me of a recent prayer of hers that she meant then and still means today even in light of the tragedy. She was feeling frustrated with her apparent lack of success in witnessing to her family and prayed for God to use her and her husband in any way necessary to draw them to Himself. Jeanie recognized that the death of her daughter may be what God uses to reach her family. I can't tell you the comfort and strength this gave her. I could see it in her eyes. Eyes that were filled with tears and a heart filled with questions like "How do we ever get back to normal??" and "What do I do without my daughter?" and "How do I get used to having only 2 kids again? I have 3!" Those eyes filled with strength and peace in that moment. That peace and strength allowed her to get up and give a short testimony at Avery's funeral as well as read a book for kids about heaven to her sons and neices and nephew near the end of the service. Peace and strength oozed from both she and her husband as they greeted and even comforted friends and family for over 2 hours after the service. While the rest of us were eating at the picnic and allowing our children to enjoy the bounce house and balloon release, Jeanie and Rob were hugged and supported and also gave back courage and strength to each person in attendance. I do not tell you of this to give praise and glory to this amazing friend and her husband. I had to tell you about this story to be sure you knew of the hope you too can have in Christ Jesus. Jeanie and Rob have given their lives to Christ to be the Lord and ruler of their lives. That means setting aside all their earthly desires and submitting them to the sovereign rule of Christ and obeying His commands. I have never seen this more tangibly lived out as I have in the past several days. Again, this is not to bring glory to Rob and Jeanie, but to the Lord who is seated on His throne, who makes the weak strong, and who makes us more than conquerers!!! His grace is sufficient and is made available to us as we need it, as promised in the Bible.
Please remember this precious family in your prayers. They have 2 sons, Tate 5 yrs and Austin 4 yrs. who are doing amazingly well. Pray that Rob and Jeanie continue to hold tight to the promise in Romans 8:18, 21: "Yet, what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. ...the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay." (NLT)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Reality is closing in FAST!

We have made the decision to go ahead and choose a moving date. We are closing in on the half way point of our support raising and have decided to trust God to bring in the rest by the closing date on our house. We agreed to up the date to the 13th of June since the previous date agreed on was on a Sunday and we would not have been able to do the official paperwork for the closing on that day. So, we are lining up the moving truck and making plans like mad to be ready to go to Florida on the 13th. Paul will be driving the moving truck with Gabe and Riley and I am going to stay behind until Sunday or Monday to clean the house and tie up any loose ends, then fly in with Alayna and Holden to Sarasota after Paul and the boys arrive. Airfare is less than the cost of driving one of our vehicles with gas prices these days. So we are trying to sell our vehicles (just a truck to go!) and have our eye on a mini-van with fewer miles down in Florida that we can pay cash for.

It has been such a blessing to see God working out our problems for us from the tiniest detail to the big detail of where we will live! Right now, the Agape people are looking for a rental house for us and we will most likely not see it until we move into it! But, we know He can provide, and He is much more capable than we are, so we have left that detail to Him. Right now, the biggest detail we are struggling with is the reality that we will only have 4 more Sundays to worship and be fed spiritually at our church. We realized this on the way to church on Mother's Day and then proceeded to bawl like babies during the singing/worship time of our service as the realization overtook our emotions. It has been pretty emotional since then. Many of you probably don't know that we searched for over 2 years to find our church and that we have attended Grace for 12 years this month. We knew at the first visit that this was the church for us and we have been nourished and grown and stretched at Grace through their ministries and people. The thought of once again searching for a church to fill the future void in our lives is overwhelming right now. We are grateful that the sermons will be available on-line for us to hear even in Florida! In spite of this apprehension, we continue to see God confirm our calling in everything we do, and we desire to be in the middle of His will rather than be where we are comfortable and surrounded by family and friends. We have seen Him confirming and cementing relationships with other families at Grace and have been tremendously blessed by those who have come alongside in prayer and support for us. This has been a sweet time of fellowship and refreshment for us.

I had an especially fun night celebrating my birthday (again) with several friends from my MOPS steering team by getting pedicures together a couple weeks ago. My pedicure was the 3rd one of my life and the first time I got jewels put on my toenails!

Can you identify those feet???

Then, we celebrated with a few families for Mother's Day by driving to Henry County to ride 4 wheelers and shoot shot guns and hunt for mushrooms and walk the trails and get really muddy...hmmm...wonder if we'll have a spa day for Father's Day...Anyway, Alayna had it out with the teter totter and came up short. She smacked her chin and ended up with a deep enough cut that we thought she would need stitches. Because it split from the impact, it was a perectly clean cut that we patched up initially with a butterfly for the trip into the hospital. It looked so good that we decided to forgo the trip to the ER on Mother's Day. I am glad to say it looks great now! We celebrated Mother's Day just she and I with my mom the next day with lunch and a movie. Cute bandaid, huh? We had our very own viewing of the movie Nim's Island. We were the only 3 people in the theater! Alayna had to use the bathroom twice during the movie and the first time we went, she was worried about Grammy saving her seat! I announced loudly that we would be right back and for no one to take her seat. She was satisfied with that!

Keep the prayers coming our way, we have certainly seen the power of the prayers of the righteous!! Here are some updated requests:

1) For our moving plans, our new place to live, humility to accept the help we will desperately need in this packing/loading/cleaning process.

2) For spiritual refreshment/peace as we are saddened about the blessings we are leaving behind in Iowa, of family and friends and a strong church and church body.

3) For us to find a church quickly to get plugged in with upon arrival.

4) For our kids as they are finishing up school and running around like crazy with us as we meet with supporters. For us not to overlook their needs in this time. For us to be a Godly example of faith and obedience to them in our everyday lives.

5) We will be traveling to Omaha for a family wedding Saturday. Many details of this need to fall into place Friday. Pray for the Lord's will in those plans.

6) For my friend Suzy whose grandma recently passed away at the age of 92 and for her grandpa still living at 95 who are left behind and missing her already. Pray for the perfect peace and comfort that only God can provide.

Thanks for joining us on this adventure. Again, we would love to hear how we could be holding you up in prayer as well.

Friday, May 2, 2008

About time for an update

Here is the latest with the Prachars. We are managing to avoid full scale panic about moving/packing/all the other demands on our lives only by the grace of God. School for the kids is winding down, Perspectives is completed (wow, did that go fast!), AWANAs is done for the year, the fundraiser for the school is over as of today, and life should be slowing just a bit from this frantic pace we have maintained over the past several weeks. I am taking a deep breath even as I type this! Packing has been simplified by the liquidation of a lot of our stuff! I am finding this Craig's list addictive!! We have sold some furniture, given away things, sold my car and the van, sold the boys go-cart, sold our big TV, and have friends and neighbors who have come through our house and made dibs on what they want when we move! I have shopped on the Florida Craig's list for things we will need when we get there and have found plenty of things to choose from as it seems everyone is moving from there and not taking anything with them! We still are not sure where we will land or if we will rent or buy, so that makes planning difficult!
We have been blessed, encouraged and refreshed by those of you we have sat down with to enlist as supporters. I know we already have a full army praying over our plans, move, and subsequent new beginning in Florida. We are progressing financially, and after some budget slimming, we are about 1/3 of the way to our goal! Several of our friends have asked specifically how they can be praying for us, so we have come up with 5 prayer requests:
1) God's clear direction for our housing situation.
2) Strength to maintain this support raising campaign.
3) Friends waiting for our kids who love Jesus and will be willing to accept the "new kids".
4) Agape Flights pilots are traveling to Atlanta, GA to check out a potential replacement for their plane that went down. Pray for clear direction from God and for Him to work in a mighty way in this business transaction and for all the glory to go to HIM!
5) Please cover our marriage with your prayers, for the upcoming marriage conference we will be putting on. We are always attacked in this area before the conference. Please also pray for each couple attending the conference, for their marriages to be renewed, repaired, and refreshed.

As always, we would love to hear from you in our comments, or emails to We would love to know how we can be lifting you and your family up in prayer.