Posted by Craig on June 4, 2011
Sorry it took so long to post this newsletter. I finished it in early May, but decided I’d wait until we had (real) high-speed internet to send it. I forgot about posting the newsletter – until now.
You can click on the link below to access our March – April newsletter:
March - April 2011 PNG Newsletter (2541)
Posted by Jeri on May 29, 2010
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34
These are words that I’ve had memorized for years and years. But recently, I re-memorized them, and I have been working on hiding them in my heart. It’s like I know them in my mind, but when it comes to practicing them, it’s so much harder.
Unfortunately, sometimes I still worry.
Before Craig left for his trip, I worried and worried. I thought of all the things that could go wrong while he was away. I thought how hard it would be without him, and I worried. His departure was inevitable, yet I still worried. There was nothing I could do about what might happen, but it was so hard for me not to worry.
A few days before Craig left for North America, I began praying for strength, patience, and peace. I did my best to give my worries to God. I’m sure I kept a few, but I know that God has been with me and he has helped me jump this hurdle. It may seem like such a small thing to you, but being here alone really worried me.
When we dropped Craig off at the airport, the kids wanted to stay and watch him get on the plane. So we did. Hannah immediately started crying right when he boarded the plane. She continued crying all the way home from the airport. I had my doubts about how it was going to go. What a way to start, I thought.
Now, 10 days after Craig left, I am feeling blessed. Not blessed because he left, but blessed by God for teaching me so many things over the past couple of weeks.
Here are lessons (great and small) that I learned, and some of the blessings I recognized while Craig was away.
1. The internet is an amazing thing. Funny as it may seem, I think I would prefer for Craig to travel to the other side of the world than to be away in a village here in PNG. Having contact with him makes a world of difference. Just a year ago, we didn’t even have internet access at our house. I have been SO thankful that I have been able to talk to Craig while he is away.
2. When you have to do something, you just do it – even when you thought you couldn’t. I am a very dependent person. I like working alongside Craig. I don’t like to be alone to make decisions or to handle everything. But, I’m doing it. All of us have been sick most of the week with colds. Normally, I would think this is just terrible, but I know that I have to deal with it – and I’ve been able to.
3. I need to take the kids out more often. In the past, I’ve avoided taking all 3 of them places by myself as much as possible because it is so hard here. Now I’ve had practice, and it’s actually been fun. We’ve been swimming, out to eat, to the shops, to the park, and on many walks together.
4. Doubling a few recipes and freezing the extra food made meal times much easier. And there were less dishes to wash, too. I also learned that cooking simple meals for supper (like scrambled eggs and toast) is okay too.
5. It’s alright if the house isn’t spotless. I generally like to keep a pretty tidy house, but I’ve allowed myself some breathing room (phew!), and it has been easier. Also, I’m thankful for our house helper, Susan. who helps me twice a week with cleaning and watching the kids while I grocery shop.
6. Involving the kids in the planning is important. When Craig left, the kids helped me draw pictures on a calendar of one special thing we’d do every day (swimming, painting, packing, etc). It was a good thing to have because I couldn’t be lazy and say, “I just don’t feel like doing that” because the kids were watching our calendar daily and knew what we were supposed to do. We’ve also been counting down until we see Craig again. (I’m amazed at how fast the time has gone!)
7. Recognizing the blessings each day helps alleviate the worries of the task. I’ve just tried to notice, smile and laugh at the little things in our lives that give us joy – like when Caleb says, “fruit woops” (fruit loops) and when Elizabeth gives Hannah big slobbery kisses.
8. I don’t have to put everything on the table to serve a meal. At first, I was getting everything set up on the table (like we do when Craig is here). I quickly learned that it’s much easier to leave all the food on the counter, serve the food, and put the filled plates on the table. (duh!) Then I don’t have to move it all back again. This may sound like a simple task, but it’s amazing how long it can take to get a meal prepared, served, and fed to 3 children ages 4 and under. Oh, and I’m supposed to eat sometime too!
9. It is rainy season here, and we had our fair share of rain a couple of weeks ago. But, I kid you not, we have not had a single rainy day since Craig left. (I think it might’ve rained in the night once.) I thought we’d have to just play in the rain every day, but God has given us beautiful weather to do lots of things. It has made it so much easier going places with the kids. I haven’t even had to open an umbrella once. (Well, I did when I was walking outside with Elizabeth in the sun.) If you’ve been here during rainy season, you know that’s a miracle. What an incredible blessing.
10. Every day I have been reminded of God’s perfect plan for a family to be together. Though I’ve managed to do it alone, having a loving and helpful husband around makes it so much easier. I don’t know how single mothers do this day in and day out for years. I’m thankful that God has given me a wonderful husband, and fun-loving kids. We are blessed with a happy home.
After composing this list, I just wonder to myself… why did I ever worry?
Consider the lilies of the field …
I missed Craig terribly, so I am really looking forward to our reunion in Sydney, Australia in a couple of days!! We’re really excited about our family vacation together.
Posted by Craig on May 9, 2010
I’ve heard people talk about the ‘sacrifices’ we’ve made to move to PNG, but I think more is required from those who are left behind.
I hope you don’t really feel left behind though a vast ocean separates us. When God made me he gave me a part of you. I carry that with me – regardless of distance.
But, I often feel sorry. Sorry I can’t help you more often. Sorry you can’t see your grandkids as much as you wish. Sorry I can’t be more supportive.
Perhaps that’s why its harder to be left behind. You didn’t get a choice in our moving plan. You simply were asked to support us through a very big transition.
But, that’s what you do best. You support – even when it’s not in your best interest. You love when loving is hard. And you care. Always.
At least for today, I hope the distance is shortened. I hope in these words you are reminded that no one is left behind.
I love you, mum, and thanks for everything you’ve done to care for me and my family.
Posted by Jeri on March 11, 2010
I feel like I haven’t written a post for a while. I was thinking that there’s really nothing exciting to write about. Then I decided I could at least write about every-day-kinds-of-things that are happening. And there’s always room for pictures, right?
First off, let me mention that I often neglect to tell people about the interesting, beautiful, and fascinating creatures we get to see sometimes living here in PNG. My children are fascinated by all the praying mantises, huge moths and spiders, beautiful butterflies and birds, and so on… Our most recent excitement (besides the 10 pups our dog delivered) was this tree frog that was on the banister of our steps. It looked almost fake to me. It slept there and then escaped during the night, I guess. But I just had to take its picture. We see all kinds of toads, but this was my first time to see one of these!
Most of my days are spent playing with the kids at home. It’s a good thing we like each other so much!
Brother and Sister Kisses
Sister and Sister Kisses
Who really has the upper hand here??
Hannah and Caleb are such great playmates. Here they are playing in their shared bedroom.
I try to keep my children entertained by playing outside, painting, swinging, reading, telling stories, and letting them ‘help’ me clean and cook.
Hannah and Caleb recently helped me make some cookies. This is a recipe for Aggression Cookies. They’re great for toddlers and preschoolers! (Hannah wasn’t so sure about getting her hands all dirty.)
I’m always amazed and thankful for how well my children play together. Many times when I’m cooking supper or am busy with something else, they occupy themselves just fine. Tonight it was really quiet while I was doing supper dishes, so I thought I better check and see what was going on. But this is what I saw when I went and checked on them.
My Little Readers – Even Elizabeth has a book!!
I know I say it all the time, but I just can’t thank God enough for my family. Having these three children teaches me so much. I feel so blessed to have them.
My Three Little Blessings
Elizabeth will be nine months old in about a week. Unbelievable! Seems like she was just born. She has a crazy amount of hair. I actually have to comb it every day and put it in a ponytail. Otherwise, it gets in her eyes. We officially have two more teeth in this house. She cut her two middle bottom teeth last week. She’s not at all interested in crawling still. Why crawl when everyone comes to you?
Elizabeth likes to play with the comb after I do her hair.
Just when I thought she couldn’t get any cuter …. Look at all that hair!
I am also incredibly blessed to have Craig as my husband and best friend. We get to spend time together most evenings after the kids go to bed. We often take walks around our yard at night, talking and talking – something we’ve done for as long as we’ve known each other.
He amazes me with all of the things he does. He’s recently started up a computer class for 4 young ladies so they can learn basic computer skills, which is something that most don’t have the opportunity to learn here. He’s also been doing leadership training for the men of the church once a month. It seems to be really beneficial for them.
In addition to full-time ministry, he continues to write for his blog, Money Help for Christians. (http://moneyhelpforchristians.com)
Craig and I are pleased to finally be finished with an eBook called Short Term Missions Handbook that we co-authored. If you’re taking a Short Term Mission trip this summer or know someone who is, check it out! It ended up being a much bigger project than we expected, but it was a great experience for us.
Recently, I coordinated a Ladies’ Day for church. We had 18 women there. It was a refreshing day, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Esther taught a lesson on prayer by telling stories from her life. We played games, ate lots of food, sang, and had so much fun together.
Can you find me?
So that’s what’s been going on in the Ford Family lately. Anything exciting happening in your family that you’d like to share??
Posted by Craig on January 3, 2010
All in all, it has been a magnificent year. Thankfully, I can say that about many years of my life. Reflecting on days, months, and years allows us to see God’s work and the many blessings we have.
Here are some of our favorite memories from 2009:
-January: We attended (Craig officiated) the Ponifasio and Kirarata weddings – the first two Christian couples we’ve witnessed getting married since we moved here in 2006.
- February: Building a bunk bed was a great way for Craig and I to spend time together, and the kids love it!
- March: We found out that we were going to get internet at our house in a few months. This was incredible news, considering we didn’t even have electricity or running water when we first moved into our new house in May of 2007. (We have both now, of course!)
- April: We had our annual church Easter Camp, and then departed for furlough earlier than expected because of possible pregnancy complications.
- May: We had a wonderful time in Canada with Craig’s family – a holiday in Collingwood, trip to the Toronto Zoo, and spent LOTS of time at Art and Ruby’s house just waiting and waiting for baby #3 to arrive. Our family also took a vacation together to Quebec. Caleb learned to say, “Bonjour”, Hannah and Caleb had their first sleepover together, and even got to touch real snow.
- June: Thankfully, there were never pregnancy complications as suspected, and we were given another little blessing – Elizabeth Ruby – on June 18th. She stole our hearts from the beginning and is a beautiful addition to our family. My mother and youngest sister got to come to Canada at her birth. Craig also started his Christian personal finance blog (www.moneyhelpforchristians.com).
- July: We traveled to the Wyoming/Colorado area to visit my family. The weekend away to Denver with my family was a highlight – eating at Casa Bonita and going to the Denver Zoo. We celebrated Hannah and Caleb’s birthday with family. I got to meet one of my nieces, Lindsey, for the first time.
- August: We spent the month in Houston, TX with our overseeing congregation, the Church of Christ in Champions. We were welcomed, encouraged, and fed and fed and fed some more. We love the church family there and are grateful for their support.
- September: We spent a week in Wollongong, Australia with Jason and Nicole Whaley on our way back to PNG. They endured our jetlagged bodies and were gracious hosts. After being gone for a third of the year, we arrived back home. There’s no place like home. Craig’s Dad visited us for a few days this month. Elizabeth giggled her first real giggle!
- October: We just continued to get resettled and adjusted to a new schedule. Hannah started preschool once a week with her friend, Rochelle.
- November: A campaign group from Texas came. We enjoyed having them here for 10 days. Caleb successfully potty trained!
- December: Our weekend getaway was a highlight. Christmas was also a special time for our family. Hannah and Caleb were excited to sleep in their annual Christmas fort on Christmas Eve.
We look forward to another wonderful year ahead.
Happy New Year to you!
What are some of your favorite memories from 2009?
Posted by Craig on July 2, 2009
Some of our dear friends are missionaries in Cochabamba, Bolivia. We recently received word that there was a tragic accident where a bus transporting youth from the church rolled off the road and down an embankment. In addition to several serious injuries, three youth died.
Details can be found on Josh and Julie Marcum’s blog.
In addition, the team has set up a blog to collect funds from those wishing to donate. Information can be found here.
Like so many, our hearts are burdened by this tragedy. We pray that God will comfort those families who have been impacted. We pray that the peace of God might come into the midst of all those involved.
Posted by Craig on
I know we have a lot of other missionaries who follow this blog so this post is specifically for them. Several weeks ago I had a guest post over at Free Money Finance. The article was titled Best Ways to Access Your Cash Out of the Country. A useful resource for all missionaries.
Posted by Craig on June 17, 2009
Photo by ChrisL_AK
Jeri is heading to the hospital for a second try at the induction.
Posted by Jeri on
Photo by: tomsaint11
55% of you were right. The baby is definitely coming late. I was supposed to be induced this morning at 8:00. We called to be sure they would accept me today, and they said, “come on in!” But after monitoring me for an hour at the hospital they sent me home because they were too busy to put someone else into labor. So I get another night of no-good sleep being excited/nervous about the big day. Unless I go into labor on my own, I will be induced tomorrow (Thursday) morning – that is if there is enough room in the Inn…
You can still cast your vote – boy or girl??
Posted by Craig on June 11, 2009
I thought that those of you who follow the Ford Family Blog might be interested in my post today at Money Help For Christians. Money Help For Christians is a blog I am doing about financial management from a Biblical perspective. Using PNG as my frame of reference I addressed the question is money the solution to poverty? Check it out.