Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Another Missionary Goodbye


 As has started to feel the norm around here, we are saying good-bye to yet another family who we have come to count as some of our dearest friends.

 Owen and Kaine trying to find "jungle people"

We first got to know the Muellers when they moved to our area to work at Gateway Woods.  Their Kaine was just a few months old and I was weeks away from having Owen.


 Madeline and Layla
Within the next two years we also started working at Gateway and enjoyed having the Muellers as our neighbors on campus.

Halle and Hannah

They left Gateway in 2011 to pursue training with New Tribes Missions.  And now, after 4+ years of training, they are headed to Papua New Guinea.

It had become our custom to make sure we had a get together each time they were in the area during their training breaks.  A little over a week ago we got together for our last one....for awhile. 

 One final picture! (with the addition of Meron, far right)
Each time we say goodbye to our missionary friends we are reminded of eternity


That we aren't promised tomorrow, whether in the jungles of Papua New Guinea or the suburbs of America.

But we have been given Hope. 



Hope of a future where we will never have to say good-bye.

And the get-togethers never end.

So, through the tears of parting and good-byes, I hold on that.


 Dodgeball - kids versus dads
 They get along SO well! Daisy, Madeline, and Layla







Monday, December 28, 2015

When you think the celebration is over....

It's Monday.

More specifically, it's the Monday after Christmas.

The day, and all it's celebration, is now in the rear view mirror, and I can't help but feel a bit deflated.



There is all this build up and then it's gone.

The anticipation of family time and coziness and delicious food and then it's over.

I guess all good things must come to an end.

Or do they?

If we think about the real reason we celebrate - the birth of our King - what was it like 3 days after for Mary?

For the shepherds?


I can imagine them, back out in the field, talking over the experience with awe as they continued their watch over the sheep.

And Mary, no doubt in the middle of a late night feeding, in quiet contemplation, a smile on her lips as she reminisced the past few days.

For them, the celebration was not over.

It was just beginning.

May we not see this as the end of a season, but truly the beginning.  
 
Be not content this Babe to know

Nor stay at Bethlehem.

But go with Christ to Calvary's brow

Beyond Jerusalem

Tis there men learn to know the Christ

For there He bore man's sin.

So open wide the door of heart

And let the Savior in.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Suvar Christmas Letter 2015

 For the last 4 years we have taken the money that we would have paid for Christmas cards, pictures, and postage and put that money towards a charity.  For the last three years that money has gone to World Vision to buy a goat and few chickens for a family in poverty.

This year our money went to Zambia.  Our friends Erik and Carrie live and work there.  They were looking to raise funds to help put tin roofs on the houses of families in the local village close to where they live.  Most houses have cardboard and piecemeal tin for roofs, which of course does not hold back the 3 feet of rain they get over their rainy season.

If you would like to help them out as well, go to this link:

https://www.lifesongfororphans.org/give/donate/special-projects-donation-page/?project_choice=13


So instead of a picture in the mail with a happy holiday greeting, you get this update. And a picture quickly taken this past summer when I said “everyone get over here, I want a picture of all of us together!”

Owen is 9 and is in 3rd grade.  He is reading books at a high school level and building fantastic creations with his Legos.  He’s recently discovered Minecraft which is a whole ‘nother thing that I don’t understand and patiently listen as he explains it all to me.  Hannah is 7 1Ž2 and is in 2nd grade this year.  Hannah is our in-house artist and singer.  Daily she is making things with random recyclables and markers and glue.  She needs her own studio with the amount of "art" she is pumping out.  All of her requests, questions, and stories are made to us through song and melody.  Sometimes it takes 3 minutes to tell us something that really only takes 30 seconds, but at least there is entertainment through it all.  Madeline is nearly 6, in Kindergarten, and has quite the personality.  She is the most independent and headstrong of the three.  She loves to color and draw and cuddle on the couch and makes us laugh daily with the little things she says and does.

In June, Paul finished up his first year of teaching with much singing and rejoicing from me.  Having put in more hours in 8 months than a full time job does in 12, I was so very thankful to have him around for the summer.  There was still lesson planning to do, but we enjoyed some respite through the summer months. I continue to work for Gateway Woods as the Secretary in the Foster Care Department. I love being the support behind the department as we license foster parents and support them as they take care of hurting children.


We thank you for your prayers and want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.  We are so thankful that so many years ago Jesus was willing to come to earth and live a human life, devoid of sin, and die on the cross for each of our sins.  We don’t deserve His sacrifice on our behalf, but we are SO very thankful for it!

A very Merry Christmas and a joyful, Happy New Year!

Love,

The Suvars

Paul, Nichole, Owen, Hannah, and Madeline

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tin for Tikes - an update!

You may remember a few posts back where I mentioned my friends Erik and Carrie, who live in Zambia, and were looking to raise funds to roof houses for local women and their children.

 Before


They were hoping to get enough money to be able to buy tin to cover 8 houses.

Well, they got that.  And more.

They currently have enough funds for over 50 homes!

 After

50 Zambian families who will have a decent roof, one that is not made out of cardboard that falls apart in the 3+ inches of rain.

Check out their blog for more details.

And thank you to all who answered the call and gave!

Monday, December 7, 2015

How silently...

Noise.


We are surrounded by it.

Distraction.

So easily at our fingertips.

We say we want to be less busy, less hectic.

But then what would we do with that time? 


It's that time of year where schedules seem even fuller and every conversation is smattered with talk of who is doing what, and when, and what still has to be done.

We now live in a world where you can find out in seconds what the latest news is.  In our town and around the world.

Lest we forget, the greatest News didn't come by newscast.  Wasn't printed in the morning paper, or posted on popular blogs.

The greatest News came quietly.  No fanfare, minus the choir concert for a few lonely shepherds.


No doubt Bethlehem was abustle with people (no room in the Inn!) and many were talking about where they had to be (Census!) and what still had to be done (prepare for Sabbath!).  They missed the great News that night, too.  Consumed in their own worlds, unaware that the God that created the universe was right there in that city with them.


Where are you in this?  Did you know that the Great News is right here and now?  You won't find it in the headlines or your newsfeed.  But it's out there.

Living in the hearts of those who were willing to seek, and find it.

How silently, how silently!
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His Heaven
No ear may hear His coming, 
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will
Receive Him still
The dear Christ enters in.
"O Little Town of Bethlehem"

There's still time. Don't miss it.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Budding artists...?

 Bunt You Right Now!  By: Hannah


As I was browsing through my folders of family pictures I have save on our computer, I came across some, uh, artwork.  I think what really makes it are the unique titles that go along with them.

Looks like we have a few budding artists...anyone want one for their living room wall?


 Cars driving for Mom By: Hannah
 
 Jellyfish By: Hannah


 Rainbows of Colors by: Madeline

 Smiley face by: Hannah

 Something is wrong here By: Owen

The fox By: Hannah

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

November Lookback

 November.

A month marked by Thanksgiving.

A lead up into the month long holiday of December.

Sometimes I think you are overlooked.  A month to be endured until Turkey Day on the last Thursday of your month.

But I love you for that.

A month of thanks-giving.

Because no matter what this world looks like, and where your situation currently is, there is still hope in Jesus.

And unfortunately that can sometimes get lost in what we make the big picture of life.

Make thankfulness your offering to God 
and keep the vows you made to the Most High
Then call on the Lord when you are in trouble and He will rescue you and you will give Him glory.  Psalm 50:14-15

And now we are rolling into December, where we celebrate a month of that Hope that is Promised.

But first, a pause of thanks.

 
Took our kids to experience a concert for the first time.  Chris Tomlin and Rend Collective.  It was an awesome night of worship.  Owen made it all the way through, the girls fell asleep for the last 20 minutes.
I am so thankful for this man.  Thankful for his commitment to me and most importantly to Jesus.


The beginning of the month gave us a few mild evenings where the kids could practice some soccer skills with Paul before the sun went down.

 The joy of just playing in piles of leaves

 And then it turned frigid and we tried out the woodstove.  This room will most certainly be the gathering place for the winter.

Due to jaw issues and teeth being pushed out of the gums in fear of falling out, a new adventure: Braces.

 Madeline's leaf crown project for school

 Having friends over for cabbage, bacon, noodles. 

 Several inches of snow fell mid month. This creation was made completely by them.  

 Thanksgiving with the Suvar's.  Brothers playing basketball, fried turkey, and homemade noodles.

 And to finish up the month...putting up the Christmas tree, of course!



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

On this Veteran's Day



I don't know too many people personally that have gone to war for me.

Although I do have some family members who have served in the armed forces.

Cousins.

Uncles.

Grandpa.



My dad.

I think that is that one that strikes me the most.  Even though my dad didn't know me yet as he signed up to go fight a war.

To leave family and security behind.

To trade it for nightmarish reminders and medical affliction that still plague him today.

I don't know all the reasons behind why he signed up.  But I believe he was wanting to see freedom for others who did not have it.  Freedom that he enjoyed here in America.

He went, along with many, many others to fight a controversial war.

I don't know many details.  As one could guess, my dad doesn't share too many of the stories of his time oversees in uniform.  But that's OK.  I've seen him suffer physically over the last 30+ years to know that all things were not pleasant.

My dad was exposed to disease and toxic gases while serving this country.  Things that followed him home.

I know there are countless other veterans who have and are suffering like my dad.  Their sacrifice for this country did not end when their feet once again touched this American soil.  Their sacrifice continues, follows them around daily.  Physically, mentally.

I don't say all this evoke pity.  I don't think my dad, or other veterans necessarily want that.

But I want to stir appreciation.

I know there are some who do not always agree with all that Armed Forces are doing or have done.  But regardless, these people sacrificed their lives, then and now, for each of our freedom.

The least we can do is say "Thank you."

*a repost from November 2012

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tin for Tikes: helping out Zambians in need


 Our good friends in Zambia, Erik and Carrie, work closely with single mothers on their strawberry farm that they run.  Yesterday, they put out a plea for help.  To help these women have decent roofs over their heads and their childrens'.

 
Below is portions on their request:

"Boss, can I have this piece of plastic?"  "Sir, are you going to use that cardboard box?"

I can tell rainy season is right around the corner.  Every year, the ladies on the farm start patching up their roofs for rainy season.  And every year, I give them what the farm can spare so they can stay dry.  In the 4-5 months of rainy season, our area of Zambia will get OVER 3 FEET of rain.  We need it to get through the other months of hot, dry weather.  But, it presents some pretty big challenges for our workers.

In addition to the natural  increase in malaria in rainy season, they deal with wet houses.  Their roofs are a collection of tin sheets, asbestos tiles, cardboard, plastic, feed bags, or whatever might shed water.  Often, the kids go to bed wet and cold.

This year, God has put it on our hearts to start building proper roofs on their houses before rainy season really gets going.  We were talking about how they come every year trying to patch roofs that can't be patched any more.  Carrie and I want to provide a more permanent solution.

I have a Chinese friend who provides roofing sheets and has agreed to help me by providing them at a discount.  A few weeks ago, this young man came to church for the first time in his life and has since come back to hear more.  I am excited about the partnership with him and the opportunity it provides to share the Gospel with him.

I measured the house of one of our farm ladies and I estimated that we could completely replace her roof with new tin sheets for about $500.  Since most of the houses are roughly the same size, I think we can do them all for this amount.

Would you be willing to pray about helping to fund a roof for a widow and her family?  Our goal is to start with 8 houses and see if we can do more if possible.

An interesting note:  My Chinese friend, Ali. only has green roof sheets.  How interesting it will be in the future to get on Google Earth and see all the green roofs dotting the compound.  It should be an easy way to see where our workers live.

 
**************************************

There is a way you can help!  Click on the link below, give any amount small or large, and it all goes to roofs for these impoverished families.
  https://www.lifesongfororphans.org/give/donate/special-projects-donation-page/?project_choice=13


From the Wiegands and the Zambians: Thank you!