It’s September 3, and we’ve been in Eleuthera a little over a month.
We were so blessed to be able to make the move into the mission field during two weeks of FBC Frisco mission trips. Physically and emotionally, familiar faces made our transition so much easier than what could have been. Just imagine unloading a fully packed shipping container measuring twenty feet long by eight feet high by eight feet wide . . . with only two people!
Without the help we received, we would surely have been overwhelmed. In fact, we’d probably still be unloading.
In the middle of construction at Windermere High School and VBS at the different settlements around the island, these loving people took the time to lug heavy boxes out of a boiling hot shipping container into our new home (which was only slightly cooler than the container). For that, and so much more, we are so thankful.
Our First Sunday
Instead of attending our “new” home church in the settlement of Palmetto Point, we spent our first Sunday in Eleuthera driving around the southern part of the island with the mission teams.
Our purpose was to announce to all of the churches that we were having Vacation Bible School that week. Along with all of the mission team members, we broke up into small groups of twos, threes, and fours to visit as many churches as possible.
The announcements went very well, and we had such a tremendous turnout for VBS that week. But what Melissa and I remember most about that Sunday is the Lindig family.
Melissa, Isaac and I went to a church about a mile down the road from where the Lindig’s were dropped off. When our service was over, we walked down visit with Michael, Ann Marie, Aaron, and Nathan Lindig while we were waiting to be picked up.
They’re such an amazing family, but what we remember most is how Nathan Lindig helped keep Isaac company while we waited in the hot Sunday afternoon with the little bit of shade we had slowly creeping away from us.
On one of the smallest front porches you’ve ever seen, Nathan (an amazing artist) decided to indulge Isaac’s imagination and began to draw pictures for Isaac. Isaac is always asking me and Melissa to draw things for him; animals, boats, airplanes, etc. But we’re not any good at drawing. I think our artistic development topped out in the third grade.
Whatever popped into Isaac’s head, Nathan drew it for him . . . and did an amazing job. Nathan kept drawing for about twenty-five minutes straight! It was one of those moments in life that you hold so special as you look back and remember.
Construction at Windermere High School
Like so many mission trips before, our first two weeks on the island with the teams involved plenty of construction. Roofing the shed, painting the shed, painting classroom roofs to keep mildew away, painting storm shudders, hanging storm shudders, fixing gutters, mixing concrete with shovels, pouring concrete, and cleanup.
What I wasn’t ready for was all of the construction after the teams left, when the workforce went from twenty to two. I guess I never really thought about it. But what I soon realized is that things around campus still need to be fixed and repaired, even when mission teams aren’t around.
Construction at Windermere continued for about three more weeks after the teams went home. Shudders and rolling garage doors were hung on the shed, the computer lab was completed, the new shed was filled with all of the tools from the storage bus, and beds were disassembled and reassembled in the boy’s dorm.
But that’s what life is like behind the scenes, so to speak (thing’s I hadn’t seen while serving on week-long mission trips). Work continues when the teams leave. And there will always be something to do.
As a family, we’re adjusting very well. We’ve unpacked just about every box. We’re in our own beds, with our own pillows, Isaac has his toys, and our pictures are hanging on the walls.
And we’ve even gone swimming in the ocean (where Melissa was scared out of the water by a HUGE Manta Ray (or Sting Ray, but I just told her it was the Ray that can’t hurt you, lol).
Isaac just finished his first week at his new preschool, and he had a blast! He made new friends and loves his new teacher. We were so worried for him, but looking back now, there was no reason to fret. Isaac has always done well in new surroundings, and he always seems to exceed our expectations. He’s amazing!
As I mentioned, I’m writing this on Monday, September 3. If I was still living back home, I’d be out dove hunting with a buddy. But in our new lives, we’re preparing for the first day of school.
Classes at Windermere start Tuesday, September 4. I’m teaching General Science for seventh, eighth, and ninth grade, Health Science for seventh and eighth grade, Computer for fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade, and Office Procedures for eleventh and twelfth grade. I’m also the tenth grade class advisor and chapel leader.
Melissa is teaching English for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade, Literature for eighth grade, Math for sixth grade, Art for fifth and sixth grade, Christian Living for seventh grade. She’s also the class advisor for eighth grade as well as helping two special needs students.
Needless to say, we’re going to need your prayers this year!
Well that’s about it for now. We look forward to hearing from you. If we’re slow to respond to you, it’s because we’re waiting to get internet in our home. It’s taken almost two months and about 5 missed appointments, but we hope to get connected within the year . . . sigh.
Prayer Letter Sign-Up
Prayer Requests & Praises*Pray that God will provide what we need, either a customs exemption or enough money, to clear the materials and supplies for this summer's mission work with the teams. Right now it's stuck at the airport customs office.*Pray that Young Life will continue to be interesting and engaging to the students, and that we will be able to challenge them to truly grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus. *Praise - Isaac and Melissa had a great time visiting the Haitian community in northern Eleuthera. Isaac made some fast friends. And the mission team during spring break has been a wonderful time and tremendous success!*Praise/Prayer - The school year is almost over. Praise that the year has been so great, but pray for the final two months to finish strong, us and the students.*Continue to pray that we're able to handle the summer mission teams. Summer is right around the corner, and there are about 10-12 (or possibly more) teams coming to us at Windermere. That's a lot of help, but there's a lot of prep to be done as well.