Photos courtesy of Ryan Prouty

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More about our time with our Iowa guests and the Marriage Conference

I guess I'll start by explaining that last Tuesday, Tom and Glenda Widmer arrived to help us prepare for the conference and see what our ministry is all about. Alayna helped me make homemade rolls to pass the last couple hours we awaited their arrival. It was hard to wait!! We had anticipated this visit for a while now and the kids couldn't hardly stand it that THE candy man was going to be staying in their home! The rolls turned out perfectly and were DELICIOUS (thanks to Stacy Housenga's recipe!) The time with Tom and Glenda went too quickly and before we knew it the weekend arrived and we headed off to the marriage conference. Here is Matt (our pastor) and his wife Amy at the conference:
We had close quarters compared to what we are used to (having the entire Grace sanctuary):
We had a great turn out, 15 couples.
We missed dinner in all our preparations, so after the Friday night session, we headed out to Applebees. From left: Taryl and Ann Bockelman, Rick and Carol Wyss, Paul and I, Amy and Clint Helmuth, and Ryan Prouty (he is a professional videographer and he came to shoot video of the conference for us):When we got back to the hotel, we found several couples in the lobby playing cards:All in all, the conference went very well. It was a much different experience for us than the previous conferences. The people here are very open and social and it seemed they had a fun time at the conference...a first for us, I do believe...In spite of it being such a different experience, leaving us unsure if anyone there had any problems to work out, the feedback we got was positive. Several people felt light bulbs were turned on and one couple said the conference radically changed their marriage. The results don't really matter. We have all (those of us who share our testimonies) learned that what matters is that we are obedient to God's prompting in our lives to share our stories and allow God to change the people and their circumstances.

Okay, shifting gears here. Tom Widmer spent a day at Agape with Paul. He snapped some pictures during the day. To refresh your memory, this is the hangar's mail area:

The carts are each for a different area of the island. The boxes on them have already been weighed and inventoried.
A really amazing thing happened that day. An unannounced delivery arrived from Cedar Rapids. These garbage bags are filled with new shoes to be sent to the island from Church of the Open Bible. When the truck pulled in, the driver never thought anyone at the hangar would know where Cedar Rapids was and he was shocked to find 2 men from that neck of the woods right in front of him! AND, this church is Clint Helmuth's dad's church! Clint did not know when the shoes were to arrive, and had only heard his dad mention it previously and didn't know they were coming through Agape Flights!
The Agape mail room, each missionary has a mail slot:
Agape was recently given new office equipment including desks and filing systems. Here is Paul's new set up:
Later in the week when everyone else started arriving, they visited the hangar too:
Tom is finally taller than Paul!
Amy and Tyler pose with the shoes from home:
While we were all at the marriage conference, Tom and Glenda had childcare duty. That was 7 kids 12 years old down to 1 year old! They got a QUICK parenting refresher course! Lesson #1: the binky is your friend! Lesson #2: babies need lots of cuddling.
Lesson #3: Bribery with chocolate is a very effective tool!
Lesson #4: When the chocolate is gone, bring out the popcorn balls! Here they took heart shaped popcorn balls from Grammy Sharon and Papa Marv (thanks so much!) and decorated them with icing and candy...because they didn't already have enough sugar in them!
Lesson #5: Send them outside to play. Here they are picking the last of the grapefruit. They picked over 40 from our 3 trees. The oranges are long gone from our one tree.
Lesson #6: leave the dirty work to the parents! Here is Paul keeping up with the weekly nail trimming every child gets and needs!
Lesson #7: Find fine literature to read to the children such as Walter the Farting Dog. Then teach them the diarrhea song to sing to their parents when they return.
Lesson #8 Leave before anyone is ready for you to go so they can't wait for you to come back again soon!As if watching the kids for the conference wasn't enough, the Widmers then insisted on sending us out on a date on Sunday night. They took the kids to the beach for the sunset and dolphin watching:

Taryl and Ann joined them:Paul and I were too tired for much, so we rented a couple movies and went to eat Thai food! No pictures...way too boring! We had a great time discussing my business strategy for my project and dreaming of what we would do if any profits were actually made! Then, to get some family time with the Simpsons, we joined them for a few hours at Busch Gardens. Here they are on the Montu:
Caitlyn wanted to see the Critter Castaway show and some rest was welcomed:
Here the dog and the trainer are'll have to take my word for it:
We were wiped out at the end of the day, but so glad to be with friends!
The kids didn't make a sound on the drive home since we allowed them to take the DVD player on the trip:
Life is getting back to normal here...very quiet during the day...only 6 mouths to feed...sniff, sniff! We were so blessed by the visit and so grateful for everyone's flexibility. Poor Ryan had to sleep on a mattress in the living/dining room. Glenda ended up being quite ill and spent a day in bed. Avery was sick on Thursday, and Amy on Saturday, but we didn't catch any of the Iowa germs and didn't seem to share any of our Florida ones. Thanks for everything everyone! You were the hands and feet of Jesus to us last week!


Richard and Becky said...

Sounds like lots of fun! Wish we could have been there too! Maybe for another one ;0)

Anonymous said...

What a glorious, wonderful time with connected friends in the Lord. Looks like everyone had a super few days with friends from near and far. Thank you for all of the great photos and fun stories. Thank you to Tom and Glenda for the loving care of the children. Sorry the kids got too junked up on sweets, however, the photo of the ride home is precious. Much love, hugs and kisses to everyone.
G. & P. P.

Julie Ann said...

Hi Travis! It's so wonderful to read all about your stories of life there in Florida, especially with the family and friends. I am glad to hear of the many blessings with Agape Flights as well. God be with you always!

sara said...

one question: will you make US home made bread is we come to visit??