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Sunday, October 22, 2017

November – December Ford Family Newsletter

Posted by Craig on January 3, 2011

You can download your November – December Newsletter:

November - December Ford Family Newsletter (1337)

Our Future Plans: Moving 2012

Posted by Craig on

The following is a section out of our July/August Newsletter.  Since not everyone is aware of the news I decided to include it on our blog.

Sunday, August 8, 2010, we told the congregation here in Alotau that we intend to move back to North America within the next two years. Even though we had already been contemplating a move, the timing of our departure is based primarily on my status as a US Permanent Resident. On October 31st, 2012, my permanent residency in the US is set to expire. In order for it to be renewed, I need to be living in the States. Our long term plan involves getting my US citizenship, so I plan to keep my residency valid.
With the approval and support of our overseeing congregation (Church of Christ in Champions), our plan is to move from PNG sometime in the summer of 2012. This will allow us to be settled in time for Caleb and Hannah to attend school in the States that fall.
Sometime around June, July, and August 2011, we will be taking a furlough and hope to visit with as many of you as possible.
When we relocate, I plan to take some time to focus on a blogging and writing career. As many of you know, I’ve been doing some writing projects, and I would like to let that dream take me as far as it will go. We will likely relocate to Cheyenne, Wyoming while completing my citizenship requirements. Beyond that, we have done little future planning.
We know our work here is dependent on your support. We are thankful for your involvement, and we look forward to our partnership over the next couple of years. Once we set an exact departure date, we will contact you with information regarding our needs and schedule.
There are many factors to consider. As a result, our plans have changed frequently, so nothing is set in stone. But we want to communicate openly with you, our supporters. We will keep you updated on our plans. Thank you for being one of our partners in ministry.

Sept – Oct Ford Family Newsletter

Posted by Craig on November 16, 2010

You can now download our Sept – October Newsletter.

Sept - Oct Ford Family Newsletter (1314)

Why My Husband Deserves a Blog Post Dedicated Just to Him

Posted by Jeri on November 11, 2010

I actually wrote this blog post last night.  Then today we learned that a high school/college friend of Craig’s died. He left a wife, 2 very young children, and a baby on the way.  After hearing of this, I felt even more compelled to get this posted.

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In retrospect, I write a lot about my cute kids.  It’s hard not to because they are such a huge part of my life.  But my husband has been part of my life for longer, and I appreciate him so much.

I am so incredibly thankful for the man that God gave me to marry.   I often don’t feel deserving because he’s such a wonderful man. 

10 Reasons Why I Am So Blessed to Have Married Craig Ford

1,  He is humble.  He doesn’t really know just how amazing he is – or at least he sure doesn’t act like it.  (I asked his permission to post this and was able to persuade him.)

2.  He is a critical thinker.  He doesn’t ever assume what everyone else is thinking or saying is right.  He reads and studies, then wrestles with his own Biblical conclusion.

3.  He eats what I cook for him (without complaining), even if it is a new recipe that shouldn’t ever, EVER be repeated again.

4.  He is a good time manager.  It’s amazing how much he can get done in a single day – and still act Christlike at the end of it.  Somehow he sleeps, writes, eats breakfast with his family, ministers to others, eats lunch with his family, helps more people, prepares lessons, researches and reads all kinds of things, plays with his kids, takes family walks, eats supper with his family, helps wash dishes, helps bathe his kids, and spends time with his wife.  To me, that’s amazing.  And I’m grateful.

5.  He is funny.  It’s nice to have someone close to me who can make me laugh every day. 

6.  He is an amazing teacher.  I learn all kinds of things from him. I eavesdrop as much as possible when he’s doing Bible studies at our house so I can hear the lessons, too!

7.  He likes to travel and so do I.  It’s just fun to have a travel companion.

8.  He takes walks with me.  We’ve always loved to walk and talk together.  We can prove it: there is a footpath worn in our yard where we walk around in circles together at night after the kids are in bed.  No joke!  We just noticed it a couple of days ago.

9.  He is an incredible Daddy.  I hope our little ones realize just how special of a person he is to them.  He trains them, plays with them, and teaches them.  He brings them so much joy.

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10.  He loves me for who I am and is my best friend.  Though he’s not perfect, I feel like Craig tries to love me like Christ loved the church.  If I had to be stranded on a deserted island with one person, I would definitely pick Craig Ford.

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July – August 2010 Newsletter

Posted by Craig on August 31, 2010

Our July – August 2010 newsletter is now available.

Just click here to download the newsletter: July - August 2010 Newsletter (1059)

August Visitors

Posted by Craig on August 26, 2010

It was a special month since my family (Dad, Mom, sister, and aunt) came to visit for 2 weeks.  It’s not every day we get to have visitors from afar. 

Hannah and Caleb graciously gave up their bunk beds for my sister, Jen, and my Aunt Yvonne.  Elizabeth let them sleep in her room with her.  They got much more sleep than I expected they would, so that was a blessing.  Craig moved out of his office for 2 weeks so my parents could stay there.  I’m thankful to have a flexible family!

Most days, we just kind of hung out and did our every-day-kind-of-stuff.  We did try to go to a beach one day.  Unfortunately, our plans changed when we arrived at a road by the bridge that had been washed away from the rain.  We did have a lovely, bumpy, and very wet drive though, and it was so fun riding in the back of our truck with my Mom and Dad.  They’re probably still recovering from the abuse the potholes did on their bodies.  Mom took this picture of Dad and I when we stopped at the washed out road and had to turn around.  On our way back, we stopped and picnicked at another beach.  PNG: Land of the Unexpected… 

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We also enjoyed a weekend away at a beautiful guesthouse called Treetops.  We’ve gone there a few times before, but we wanted to show the place to my family.  It was a great time of swimming, snorkeling, relaxing, and visiting. 

Elizabeth is really doing her best to walk.  She was covered in sand from head to toe, but she kept walking and playing for a couple of hours.  Every time I tried to make her sit down, she just stood up and wanted me to hold her hands and walk with her some more.

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We always go and play in the rivers near the guesthouse and the kids love that.  See the beautiful waterfall in the back?

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We enjoyed eating out at the International Hotel when we came back to town.  I love this picture of Caleb with the carving.

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My sister, Jen, is always so great with the kiddos.  She spent so much time with Hannah and Caleb – and did it patiently.  They loved all the extra attention, and they really love her!  Thanks for coming, Jen!

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I was quite impressed with my Great Aunt Yvonne (age 75!) who traveled all the way here and was such a trooper.  She was so much fun to have around.  It was really special to spend time with her.   Aunt Yvonne is my (late) Grandma’s sister.  I loved hearing stories about  my Grandma and my Great Grandparents from Yvonne.  It is a blessing to be in a family where our faith has been handed down for generations.

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One of my favorite parts of having these special guests was watching my kids with their Grandparents.  Elizabeth took a few days to warm up to them, but it didn’t take long for Hannah and Caleb to remember my parents and enjoy some snuggles!

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100_0462-1 My Mom has always been so good with children and babies.  She is just one of those naturals, you know?   Thanks for coming to see us, Mom and Dad.

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Here’s what our family is looking like these days.  Yes, we are a happy family.  We’re thankful to have each other and live in a beautiful place.  And we’re always happy to have visitors, too! 

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Hannah Turns Five!

Posted by Jeri on July 22, 2010

Hannah shares her birthday with Canada.  (And it makes her Daddy proud, especially since she wasn’t born in Canada like Caleb and Elizabeth.)  She turned five years old on July 1. 

Thanks to Uncle James, Aunt January and Cousins Eowyn & Kiera for the shirt!  She’s worn that shirt a lot.  I’d like to think she’d wear it just as much if it said “I Love the USA”.  :)

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Hannah is really an amazing five-year-old.

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Five words that describe our Hannah are: creative, helpful, intuitive, thoughtful, and independent.  We are so thankful to have her in our family. 

To celebrate her five wonderful years, we had a party with some friends.

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We had a lot of fun, and it didn’t even rain on her party!  The sunshine certainly made it a lot easier for our birthday fun.

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We made animal balloons….

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And blew LOTS of bubbles …

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Had good ol’ wheelbarrow races, running races, played pin the nose on the clown, and bowled with a coconut …

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Ate chocolate cake and ice cream, and had a funny face contest.

Thank you, God, for our Hannah Girl.

Stay tuned for more birthday information.  Caleb’s celebration is next!

May – June 2010 Newsletter

Posted by Craig on July 19, 2010

Our May – June 2010 newsletter is now available:

May - June 2010 Newsletter (1061)

My Mother

Posted by Jeri on May 9, 2010

I can honestly say that I’ve always appreciated my mother.  As a child, I remember wanting to spend as much time with her as possible.  Even if she was just driving to town to run some errands, I went with her.

I wanted to go along – just to be with her. 

Even as I got older, I wanted to be with her.  I wasn’t one of those teens who got embarrassed when their parents unexpectedly showed up at school.  I wanted her to help out at the school and chaperone my band or choir trips. 

I wanted her to go along – just so I could be with her.

Now I am grown up and haven’t lived close to her for years.  But I still want to spend time with her.  I get butterflies in my stomach when we go back to visit and start driving up the dirt road to their house.  My heart is flooded with pleasant memories from home with my mother.

Now I want to email her and call her on Skype – just so I can be with her.

My mother is an incredible woman.  Anyone who knows her knows that.  But, to be her child gave me an inside and intimate look at her life as a mother.

I got to catch her awake at early hours of the morning reading her Bible, or staying up late just to finish the dress she was sewing just for me.  I got to sing with her and play duets on the piano with her.  I got her hugs and kisses when I was struggling, and received her incredible support in my academics and other activities.  She taught me about the importance of having a relationship with God.  She still does.

My mother’s the best teacher and encourager.

The even more incredible thing about my mother is that she has been mother to countless numbers of children.  She bore 3 of us, but raised dozens.  She has shown love to many unlovable children, and gotten paid very little.  It’s like her heart has room to love and love and doesn’t know any different. 

My mother is so gentle, patient, and kind.

My appreciation for my mother has grown more and more as I now have my own children.  I am understanding more about the sacrifices she has always made for her children and continues to make. 

I’ve been grateful to have her witness the birth of my 3 children.  If anyone deserves to see my mother’s legacy live on, it is her. 

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! 

With Love, Jeri Kae

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Mom loves taking pictures of our kids.  Here she is showing Caleb a shot she just took.  Summer ‘09

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Mom is so good at playing with kids.  She was helping Hannah on the jungle gym last summer.

100_0633 Here is Mom as a proud Grandma right after Elizabeth was born.       June 18, 2009

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My Number One Struggle on the Mission Field

Posted by Jeri on May 5, 2010

Besides being stared at and sticking out like a sore thumb, I’ve decided that cooking and grocery shopping are my biggest challenges on the mission field. 

When I first moved to Alotau, PNG, it’s like I suddenly forgot how to cook.  I had no idea even where to begin.  When I went to the shops here, everything was packaged completely different and it was hard for me to identify something as simple as sugar. 

Thankfully, I have wonderful teammates.  Diane Reese took me shopping and showed me the basic things I could buy at each store.  She was so sweet and went as far as writing out a few recipes that I could find all the ingredients for here.  That made things much easier. 

But, even after 4 years here, I still get frustrated with the entire process.  Each week, I make a menu.  Now, when I make my menu, I know good and well that I won’t find some of the things I’ve planned in my menu when I go shopping.  With that knowledge, it is so hard to start my shopping adventure with a good attitude.  But I’m working on it.

It’s amazing what you CAN’T get sometimes – like the time I couldn’t find baking soda for a couple of months or when the shops wouldn’t have chicken until the next week.  

Sometimes I decide that I need to spice things up a bit and add a few new  things to our meal repertoire.  So I get out my cookbooks and start reading.  It’s so fun until I realize that nearly every recipe calls for a box of this or a can of that.  We can get a box of this or a can of that sometimes, but I’m not usually willing to pay the price.  After my cookbook experience, I’m generally back to square one again.  Yes, it’s very frustrating to me.

I recognize in myself that sometimes I think the grass is greener on the other side, but I’m pretty sure that I’m right about this one.  It is much easier to cook in North America. 

That said, I won’t ever be able to replace the amazing fruits we get at the fresh market here – papaya, pineapple, mango, pomelo, bananas galore, and much more.  If you’re really into organic produce, you should consider moving here.  Our greens even have holes from insects.  Our produce definitely doesn’t look fake like it does in North America. 

11 Lessons I’ve Learned:

1.  Impulse shop.  Yes, that’s what I said.  Impulse and Jeri don’t even belong in the same sentence, but that’s what I’ve learned to do here.  If I don’t buy it when I see it, it just may not be there the next time.  And, that’s a recipe for heartbreak when I go back to the store to get that yummy ice cream I saw and it’s not there the next time.

2.  Improvise.  There are very few times I can find things like lettuce in the shops.  So, if I’m planning tacos, I know that I have to be prepared to improvise.  That might mean tacos with just meat and cheese or tacos with potatoes.  It’s also difficult to find many spices here.  But I’ve learned that even poppy seed chicken tastes just fine without the poppy seeds.

3.  Bake your own bread.  There are two bakeries in town.  I have issues with both of them.  One has terrible bread.  It’s so thin that it tears when you try putting soft butter on it. The other isn’t much better and never even has bread at the bakery when I go to buy it.  (I think I’ve written about that before!)  Anyway, I’ve learned to make some delicious dinner rolls.  And I’ve been able to memorize lots of Bible verses during the kneading process! 

4.  Serve it over rice.  When all else fails, mix something up and put it over rice.

5.  Eat out once in a while.  I hate spending money on food, but when I’m feeling especially frustrated about cooking, I have learned to take up Craig’s offer of eating out periodically.

6.  Fish is good.  I grew up fishing and eating trout.  I liked to catch it, but I hated eating it.  Living on the bay here has afforded us lots of opportunity to eat fish.  Mackerel has become our family favorite.  The kids love it.  They always say, “More chicken, please.”

7.  There’s more to breakfast than cereal.  We don’t buy cereal here, mostly because of its cost.  I sometimes make my own granola (thanks to Craig’s mom for helping me develop a recipe that actually works here!).  The first time I served granola, Hannah said (with a disgusting look on her face), “Why are you putting milk on that?!?”  I guess it’s all what you’re used to!  So, we generally have something like pancakes, toast, eggs, muffins, fruit, or French toast.

8.  Limit the use of dishes when cooking.  When you know you have to wash all the dishes by hand, using as few dishes as possible is to your benefit.  I’m a pro at serving meals right from the pan, so don’t expect anything fancy if you happen to drop by for a meal!

9.  You can make pizza anywhere.  For the past (almost) 10 years, we’ve been making homemade pizza once a week.  In the States, we always put pepperoni and cheese on our pizza.  Here, we found some pepperoni salami, but I have never liked the taste.  Instead, we often put ground beef or pork seasoned with Italian seasoning.  And, fresh pineapple is always delicious, too.  Basically, whatever we can get is what gets put on our pizza.

10.  If it’s discounted, it’s expired, but it might still be okay.  The only time they discount stuff in the grocery stores here is when it’s about to expire.  I’ve learned to NEVER buy expired frozen vegetables – YUCK!  However, things like cheese or juice are generally okay.  In fact, that’s the only time we have juice is when it’s discounted.

11. We won’t starve.  Even though I don’t always enjoy planning meals, I usually enjoy cooking them.  And, we always have plenty to eat. 

I thank God for his bountiful blessings, no matter where in the world we live.