Maryland and Tennessee

The purpose of our November/December trip was fourfold: to give an update to our ministry partner church in Maryland, be at our grandparents’ in Tennessee for Thanksgiving, record testimonies for the Storyteller and sing in North Carolina, and minister in the Florida prison system with an organization called Gospel Express.

So…Maryland. This is where Dad grew up and our whole family enjoys it when we can go there. There is so much history in this state…both American and Fraser! We always love driving around and hearing Daddy tell stories of growing up. “That’s the hill our soccer coach made us run up for drills.” (One time when we were there we all got out and tried it.)

by the Magothy River where Dad has childhood memories

While we were in Maryland we enjoyed fellowship with many friends who pray for and partner with us. In all of our travels one thing that blesses us time and time again is the family of God that we find wherever we go. We also got to enjoy something unique while we were there—that Sunday night, three or four local churches converged for a Thanksgiving worship service, praising God and sharing His Word together. It was a beautiful thing.

We went out for dinner with some dear friends of ours one night, where a couple of us helped ourselves to some East Coast fare (among other things)…

Since we had plenty time in Maryland, we decided to go to Fort McHenry. It was a first for all but Mom and Dad, and it was really amazing to be where the battle happened which inspired our National Anthem.

Mom holding a replica of one stripe, to scale, of the star-spangled banner

It was truly a treat to go to Fort McHenry. We are reminded of the sacrifices of so many, that others could be free.

and this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”

During our time in Maryland we stayed with a dear friends of Dad’s family while he was growing up.  Nana2 (as she is known to us) was such a wonderful hostess, encouraging us in the Lord and making us laugh at her stories. Her son – who was a friend of Dad –  is a state senator, so one night after a Lebanese dinner, he took us to the Capitol building in Annapolis. He’s taken us there before but that was a long time ago so it was fun to go back. Nobody was there except for us and the security guard who turned on some lights and opened up some rooms for us out of the goodness of his heart.

eating Lebanese

in the Annapolis Capitol

with a Senator!

*laughter*

And here’s a few more pictures from our time there…

the Magothy River

helping with a project – many hands make light work… and with Nana2 – lots of laughter

lots of ping-pong and round robin

so beautiful

After Maryland we were off to Tennessee for Thanksgiving at our grandparents’/aunt and uncle’s. Most of Dad’s siblings were there, and we found ourselves playing many games over the weekend, such as…

run down…

dutch blitz…

headbands…

signs (and it was Grandpa’s b-day, hence the hat)…

…as well as football and spoons (which may or may not have had a very dramatic episode in which someone dove for a spoon and, having unknowingly knocked over their chair, in an attempt to quickly sit back down, had an abrupt meeting with the floor).

There were twenty-one people and six dogs. Nana, Grandpa, Uncle Joe, Aunt Kim and the cousins were so gracious to all of us. And as you can imagine, there was a lot of food for the Thanksgiving feast.

preparing for dinner

mucho food

all the seats were filled for the meal (this was taken near the end)

Hope, the Alaskan malamute,  found her way to Dad’s plate. Thankfully he was about done anyway.

and now she’s his friend

And this is only the first half of the trip. Pictures and details of the rest coming soon!

It is good to give thanks to the LORD.

Psalm 92:1

 

God opens a door

I’m excited to share about our October trip with you all.  Our friends in Spirit Lake, ND, invited to sing and share on the reservation again this Fall… and God opened an amazing door for us there this time.

On our way to Spirit Lake we stopped in Fargo for Mom to attend an education seminar, and the rest of us headed for the historic museum town of Bonanzaville. We figured it had been fifteen or sixteen years since we had been there, so this was the boys’ first time.

Bible and hymnal in Native languages

Bible and hymnal in Native languages

exploring old houses

exploring old houses

Jonathan

Jonathan

in the fire station

in the fire station

One of our memories from last time is the telephone room full of all sorts of old phones that are activated to call around the room. It was a highlight this time as well!img_2094_1img_2097_1

"Hi Abby!"

“Hi Abby! Can you hear me?”

"Huh?"

“Huh?”

wouldn't he make a good telephone operator?

wouldn’t he make a nice telephone operator?

Then it was off to Spirit Lake! Last year when we came Mom had to stay home, so we were very grateful that she could be here this year.

On Sunday, our first morning there, some of us sat in on the children’s Sunday school at Dakota Baptist Church. It was great to see so many kids there! There were probably at least twenty. Some of them we knew already, and of course, it didn’t take long to make more little friends. We played lots of tag. Dad gave the message that morning, and in the evening we did a concert. It is such a blessing to be able to be in ministry as a family!img_2241_1-2

The next evening we had a concert scheduled at the community college, where we were able to tell the story and show pictures of the airplane crash. We have found that this experience that God has given us, as scary as it was, has an eternal purpose.  God has enabled us to use it to encourage His people in their faith and to point to Him those who need a Savior… by saying, “Look at this. God is real. Jesus is real. You can call on Him.”

setting up in the auditorium

setting up in the auditorium

The next day we had an opportunity we will never forget. When our friends at Dakota Baptist had been planning and arranging our schedule, someone had the idea that maybe we could share in the public school there.  Well, God opened the door for us.  The music teacher, who is a brother in the Lord, arranged for our family to be the inspirational speakers that day.  This was our first time doing something like this in a public or tribal school.  It’s hard to describe all that was going on in our hearts.  We sang, talked about the airplane story, and shared the Good News. We did this for two assemblies, the first being K-4th grade, and the second was 5th-12th…so virtually the whole school heard Jesus’ words in John 3:16.  What He has done for us has been life-changing.  We were glad for the opportunity to sing and share about Him here.img_20161004_155048678-2

Mr. Gary, the music teacher

Mr. Gary, the music teacher

oh what fun

oh what fun

We had such a fun time! The little kids clapped along, or a least tried to, and the older kids tried to clap not along and get us off our rhythm. It was fun to interact with them before, during and after we sang.  About mid-way through the concert, we told the airplane story and showed pictures of the crash.  The response was interesting – especially with the older kids. There was a lot of talking going on while we were singing, kind of this hum of laughing and chit-chat, but when we got to the story and pictures they were so quiet. They listened as we told them Jesus is real and they can cry out to Him, that He cares about them.

Sara shares about the crash, with pictures on the screen

Sara shares about the crash, with pictures on the screen

We know that God was the one who made this possible. And we know that we may never have an opportunity like this again.  It was amazing.

such an opportunity

An amazing opportunity

It’s likely that many there had never heard the gospel before. So now the seeds have been planted.  Pray for God to give the increase.

Our time in Spirit Lake was encouraging.  We love the people there.  We are so grateful for everyone who pulled together to help make this trip happen, including the Young family, who provided helping hands, many meals and much fellowship!

Daniel and Jonathan and the Young kids

Daniel, Jonathan and the Young kids working on a puzzle

On our way home, just before we left the reservation, we stopped at a wild game preserve, where we saw an elk and a buffalo, and climbed to the scenic lookout.

the buffalo

the buffalo

at the scenic lookout

at the scenic lookout

Thank you for all your prayers. Stay tuned for our exciting November/December trip!

So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.

1 Corinthians 3:7

First Flight

This has been a very different year for us. Sometimes it seems like it’s been defined by the plane crash. And in a way it has been. But maybe it’s more accurate to say that this year is defined by God working through the plane crash. We’ve been able to share the story with so many people and speak of our powerful God. Of course, it’s not an experience we would have chosen to go through beforehand…but on the other side of it we are so grateful for the testimony we have to share. A friend recently challenged us that this a gift God has given us, a ministry tool to use for the rest of our lives. And not only that, but for us personally it is a faith-builder! Having lived through that experience, it reminds us that God is in control and we are immortal till He is finished with us.

A question that people ask us frequently is, “Have you flown since?” or they wonder about the fear factor.

The answer to the first question has been, “We haven’t had to,” and the answer to the second has been, “It will be hard, I’m sure, but God will give us the grace if He wants us to fly again.”

Now the answers have changed. Now it’s, “Yes, we have flown again. It was hard, but God helped us.”img_1731

The ministry that owned the first plane bought another one. It is very similar, with six seats and the same set-up. A few weeks ago, the pilot Dan and his family flew out here in the new plane with the idea of our family going up in it. Dan is a good pilot and we trust him.

walking out to meet the new plane

walking out to meet the new plane

exploring

exploring

img_1741The first flight after the crash is a hurdle all of us siblings would have to get over sooner or later, so our whole family decided to go. Before we climbed in Dan huddled us up and prayed.

And then we went flying. Mom and the girls went on the first flight, and Dad and the boys went on the second. Each of us experienced our own levels of difficulty, but God gave us each the grace and strength to do it.

off we go

off we go

img_6527-edited

our house (center)

img_6538-edited

Dan

img_6534-edited

Jonathan

img_1749

on the ground again

We are so grateful for our God and for each other, and for His grace and help in our first flight after the crash.

img_6545-4And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9