Thursday, March 29, 2012

Walk by faith...

{disclaimer: This is a blog post for me to read when I start to forget how God has provided when it seemed impossible... I know we all have stories of how God provided when there was no way. Let this also be a small reminder for you. And to THANK GOD for his provision for his children!}

Looking back it has been a short 10 months living in Hamilton, MA. As I reflect on our time here one thing resonates: God's faithfulness and provision. God has proven to be faithful over and over and over and over again. My last post's pictures make our stay here look as if it has been all "fun and games". But to be honest, it has been one tough ride. At first the hardest part was adjusting to a new town, new accents, new people and please don't get me started on new grocery stores and then walking what seems like a block from your car up two flights of stairs and down the hall to your apartment just to turn around and go back for the second load in the car. But all of that faded. We met friends and found our "spot". We learned how to deal with missing home and familiar faces. We had to trust in God. We had to push through and trust that we made the right decision. Making this decision meant we were truly serious about missions and possibly working overseas. 
Recap: Soon after we moved I applied at Talbots in a nearby village store. I walked my happy self in and asked if they needed any help (knowing nothing of retail- I had high hopes of finding a job soon). Just a few days prior, they received notice from corporate that they were able to hire a new support associate. Little did I know "support associate" was not necessarily a sales associate but one that hopped around and helped in many areas- mostly "shipping and receiving". I came back for an interview and they hired me!
Why was I not applying for a dental hygiene position at a local dentist? Because upon moving here, I/we decided not to pursue paying boo-coos of money for me taking another state/regional board-which also means finding a patient. So, for the time being I worked at Talbots hoping to find a nanny position nearby to help supplement the difference. Nothing worked out! All the hours overlapped, the mothers wanted me to be there until 8pm, cook their child all their meals and pretty much be a stand in mom. It just didn't work out. 
One day in June, Jonathan decided I needed to pursue a Massachusetts dental hygiene license. Money became tight and it just made sense. I knew he was right but I just DIDN'T want to go through that process of finding a patient, paying over $1000 for a board, taking a board, waiting for results, and finding another job. But GOD provided! The weekend that the board was to be in MA, we were going to be in NC for Jonathan's ordination. A month later the board would be offered in NYC- hey Sarah lives in NJ, 10 mins outside of NYC! I signed up! No patient to be found, I drove all over the north side of Boston- I walked the streets going to every dental clinic I could find- drove 45 mins away in each direction. No one wanted to go with me to NYC even if I paid their way. We did a little thinking and facebook advertising; my dear sweet Uncle Charles agreed to be my victim patient :). I assured him I knew what I was doing, I've been a RDH for five years, I could do this. Long story short he passed the standards a good board patient had to meet. Now, just to get to NYC and take this board! I don't remember much about NY other than my 2 days at NYU's dental clinic (not impressive). Took the board, both Uncle Charles and I survived the stress. One week later I received my scores- I PASSED at 100%! I was flying high. Jonathan's first words were "We won't be poor anymore!" <-- yeah right! :)  I had one more written board to pass, apply with the state and we were good to go. Passed the second at 90%! License came in the mail (after a long process and another test on state laws).  
Now, out to find a job. I hand delivered over 35 resumes and e-mailed almost 20. ONE dentist called me back! ONE! There were nights we would plan out how to "make it" by looking on Craigslist for hygiene jobs in NC. I would move to NC and Jonathan would still live in MA and I would just visit him when I could. (Honestly, I had accepted this was going to be what it took to survive this year, but I didn't "want" to do it. But I was committed to do what I had to do. Thankfully, that never happened)! Every time it seemed we were going in the hole, I got a call from the dentist office asking if I could work a day or two. This happened several times before Christmas, then after Christmas I filled in for 2 months and now off and on once a week until we move! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!! 
Every month we would pull out the bills and every month we've been amazed at how God has made enough out of almost nothing. Just when the money ran out- God answered our prayers. We have lived in complete faith with our finances these 10 months. God has proved to us over and over again that we just have to trust in him. May God bless the people who have been obedient to him by sending us money, out of the blue! The prayers from family, friends, strangers... none of it has gone un-noticed. As I type this I am amazed how God loves and cares for me/us this much. I'm humbled by his love. Living on campus at Gordon-Conwell you hear so many similar stories! It echos in the halls and seeing happy children run around the playground and parking lot. You see it on the stay-at-home mom's face as she cares for 2 crying children and keeps a smile on her face as her husband studies in the library all day and at home all night. 
As we close up these last two months, my prayer is that God give Jonathan the strength to complete his school work with the same intensity and dedication he has had the pass 4 years. We can see the end (of this degree) in sight and it feels so good. 

Graham Girls. My weekly Thursday night blessing. :) I'm going to miss this bunch
L to R: Amber, Marya, me, Ramona, Jen, Robin, and Alison (baby Ivy)
Missing: Mara, Sara, Rachael, and Mandy.

The beginning of March we sent out our application to become overseas mission workers! Doors are opening and we are walking through them as we wait patiently for God to order our steps. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

It seems like our time here is flying by...
We have lived in Massachusetts for seven months tomorrow... we have five left. I'm sad to think about that.

The weather has changed dramatically since we moved. Back in May it was 70's-80's, the summer brought warmer temps not rising above 95... ha ha ha- I still am amazed. October 27th we had our first nor'easter- how do I know the date? B/c it was Jonathan's birthday. A nor'easter is like a hurricane mixed with snow... aka a wintercane :)  The weather has been fluctuating between 55 and 28 since- with a nasty, cold, bitter wind. This weekend the low is 30 during the day and 16 at night. Helloooo Jack Frost.

Enough about the weather... since moving in May, Jonathan lost 40 lbs and I've lost 33 (I still want to lose more).

July |  My wonderful little sister came to visit us for the weekend of July 4th! We had a marvelous time beginning with an impromptu drive to Maine for "lobsta".

I had the "lobstah roll" - it was delicious. 

Jonathan had a "lobstah dinnah". This is where you follow the "how to eat me" directions listed on the tray, but your tray is so messy and full that you have to read it off your neighbor's tray. 


We chose to eat outside.
 We dined between two lighthouses. This area is known as Cape Elizabeth, Maine. 

This is how I dreamed living in Maine to be. 

July 4th in Boston...

After enjoying a day in Boston, we followed the crowds of people down to The Esplanade.

Lionel Richie was supposed to be the entertainment of the night, but due to vocal cord straining
he was replaced with Martina McBride. 

We chose to sit in the lawn b/c the fireworks are not visible from "the oval".  Next time... I choose the oval.
This is two hours before the show begins... 

Sarah had to get back to NYC before the show began.
She was able to enjoy the show 2 yrs ago when she was spending the summer in Boston. 

We had a French lady on my left, and a Chinese couple on Jonathan's right - This is America!
Watching the fireworks over The Charles River.

Happy birthday, America!

July continued | Jonathan and I spent the last two weeks of July in Szigetszentmiklós (St. Nicholas Island), Hungary. Our trip was not a "missions trip" but a trip for us focus on the direction we being led to take, and to soak up as much knowledge and wisdom as we could from missionaries David and Linda Fannin. The Fannins have spend 18 years in Africa and 12 years in Hungary. The time we spent with them was absolutely priceless. From the moment we arrived to the minute we left they poured their wisdom and guidance into us. We went looking for confirmation and God gave us much more. Dave and Linda's friendship/mentorship is a blessing in our lives. 

While in Hungary we were able to take a train down to Pécs to visit our beloved friends from last year. We took a 8:00am train from Budapest to Pécs. This ride was supposed to take 2.5 hrs... it took 4. Since we only speak English and we didn't have a cell phone we ran into a few snags. 1) We did not know how to read our train tickets...therefore we sat in the wrong cart on the train. *First class* We did not pay for 1st class seats, luckily we were not sitting in someone's seat (we later heard we would have been yelled at). One could compare riding in a train in Europe to flying... you sit in the seat you paid for. But, we did not find this out until we got back on the train to Budapest, thanks for Richie. Needless to say, going back we sat in our assigned seats. This explained why our train attendant punching our tickets was so addled with us. 2) We scheduled to meet our friends at 10:30am in the middle of the city.. but due to the train sitting on the tracks for extended amounts of time we would not make this appointment. I was in tears. The attendant kept coming by and writing a new arrival time on our papers... 11:15, 12:30, 11:50. We made it! Got of the train and there was a new hurdle... 3) we needed a map. We had to get to the center of town. As we were asking for directions... Richie rides up on his bike! All was perfect- they knew the train would be late and they WAITED for us! We were overwhelmed with the hugs and kisses. It was the best day! It was sad leaving, I wanted to bring them back with me. I'm so thankful they are in our lives. 

Pictures from the train ride...

Arrived in Pecs!

Richie, Jonathan, me, Szilvi, Krisztina, and Laci :)

Budapest adventures...

Jonathan was asked to speak on Sunday morning at Szigetszentmiklós.

The church meets in the town hall ... Christians were once questioned and persecuted for their faith here.

Sunday drive...

We visited with lovely sisters. Dave and Linda lived in their attic when first moving to Hungary.
Lovely hospitality and beautiful ladies.

 We also visited Romania...

my favorite picture

 The hotel we stayed in while in Romania...

Dave :)

Sunflower fields were everywhere... so beautiful.

as we left Romania.

Jonathan was asked to speak at Lake Balaton, Hungary.

 Dave and Linda took us to a Serbian village outside of Budapest.

Jonathan and Dave

Dave and Linda 

Roman Ruins

Jonathan's drink of choice... espresso :)

 August | We flew from Hungary to NC. Spent a week in NC.  
Sunni Skies! 
Jonathan was ordained.

Returned back to Massachusetts and enjoyed Thursday evening cookouts with our Graham Hall family.

WHALE WATCHING out of Gloucester... we rode out 35 miles, saw 20 different whales!


 August continues...
We took a bus down to NYC so I could take my North East Regional Dental Hygiene boards for MA in NYC at NYU (go figure). My patient was awesome...Uncle Charles. He flew up from NC and we all met Sarah in NYC- stayed with her in Hoboken.

While Sarah worked, Uncle Charles and I took the board,  and Jonathan toured foot.
Below are pictures he took ...

September | Jonathan started school. We had a huge clam fest on campus to start things off right.  We went on our first apple picking trip with friends/families from the seminary.

 Gordon Conwell's Annual Clam Fest- Kicking off a new school year!

I'm officially in love with New England Clam Chowder. (Campbell's Soup must have never tasted the real stuff)

Apple Picking @ Russell Orchards

Behold, the best apple I've ever tasted... Honeycrisp!


Went inside and enjoyed fresh apple cider and cider donuts.

October | On the 10th a dear friend and mentor passed away, Missionary Dave Fannin. It was a total shock. He will be greatly missed. Please continue to pray for Linda and family.  

Ms. Karron came for a visit! Jonathan enjoyed a week of no class. We love reading weeks!

Jonathan and Ms. Karron on a duck boat tour of Boston (I was at work).

We celebrated Jonathan's 26th Birthday! And we had our first Nor'Easter. 

This photo was taken on Bridge Street (st behind campus)
For Halloween they go all out here. This is an example- every year this house uses haystacks and
displays a different Disney movie. This year... Alice in  Wonderland. I was impressed.

November | I received my license in the mail certifying me to practice dental hygiene in MA!... after a long grueling process. 

Reading week #2: James and Emmy came to visit. We all went to see Noel Gallagher in concert 
at Wang Theatre in Boston. 

Christmas is coming to Boston!

James and Emmy

The Old North Church.. found in Little Italy

The beautiful Wang Theatre

This was by far the BEST concert ever. 

Thanksgiving Day | We spent our first holiday away from family.  Thanksgiving morning we went out in pursuit of watching the annual Myopia Fox Hunt. We were not disappointed. For lunch/supper we went over to Andrew and Amy's home with another family. We had a lovely day full of Thanksgiving.  
The crowd gathering... there as even more on the opposite side of the field.

Release of the Hounds...

Below is a link to learn more about the art of fox hunting...

No foxes were harmed in the event... they don't hunt for foxes, rather they follow the scent of anisette.
It doesn't make a lot of sense but it's tradition. A lovely site of tradition.

The first group jumped.... this is the second group. We followed them to another field and watched them parade around before meeting up with the rest of the hunt.

 More great pictures of past hunts. and Here is an article from Wicked Local news source= great article.

December | Celebrated with a baby shower for Alison (our sweet Aussie neighbor). Jen hosted 20+ people in her apartment down on first floor. We had a blast.

Baby Girl Gerber is due Christmas Day. I can't wait to return to MA and meet her :)


Jonathan finished exams! Only one grade back so far... and it's looking good :)

Next stop.... NORTH CAROLINA!   But, first... here is a little Christmas greeting from New England...
Lobster traps and buoys :)