|Joel and Laura's New Picture|
Our first task was to get a new picture taken that can be used on our newsletters an prayer cards. Here we go! Those who know us will note that we are a little?? grayer and my hair is longer than usual. I'm experimenting to see if I like it and what waves appear. Answer is that I'm not sure and I'm fighting waves I didn't know I had.
The second was to get our first newsletter written and out, our prayer cards finished, and this blog done. Joel designed and wrote the newsletter . The content is here on our first blog page. Together, we made a list of everyone we could think of and Joel is diligently working on getting the newsletters out to each individual and family If you don't get one, let us know! I'm working on the technical, computer-based work such as this blog and the prayer cards. The prayer cards are coming soon.
We both are continuing to work full time at our regular employment as we prepare to go. I am teaching full time at the University of Florida College of Nursing with clinical supervision of beginning to graduating nursing students two to three days a week . I'm loving it and like being at Shands at the University of Florida Hospital more than being in the classroom. Joel is at the elementary school where he enjoys his "second" career as an aide teaching exceptional students and helping with other students in the classroom. Most of the students have autism spectrum disorder. Of course, he often offers to help out with fixing broken desks, shelves, and whatever needs done and the school. In his spare time, he still does tree work and even managed to be in the emergency room with a deep cut of his wrist with a chain saw in early February. It reminded me of old times in Wheeling!
Outside of work, Joel is very active in teaching a small group of international students at International Friendship. I help out when my job and other responsibilities don't interfere. The organization teaches internationals to read and speak English by using the Bible, the most widely read English book. There are visiting scholars, graduate students, and spouses from all over the world. This year, Joel's small group has participants from Brazil, Nepal, and China. It's a wonderful ministry and a way to reach out beyond the community. We've enjoyed people in our home from Iran, North Vietnam, China, Brazil, Nepal, and Mexico. He also is co-leading a 15 person team from church that is going to Baraderes, Haiti the first week in March. They will be working with RMI, the mission organization with whom we will be working in Haiti. The team will be doing medical care, witnessing, working with children at the school, and worshiping with the church there. I wish I could go, but work calls at home.
We had a great trip, by car, to the northeast at Christmas to see children, grandchildren, parents, and other family. We were reminded what it is like to drive in the snow and have zero visibility when the windshield wipers don't work in a snowstorm! But, it was great to spend time with family and to celebrate my sister and husband's 40th wedding anniversary. We had formal family pictures taken so I'll post some when we get them back.
We continue to ask for your prayers and support as we prepare to go to Haiti early next year. We are busy reading about missions, learning about Haiti and learning some of it's language. This summer, we hope to attend a month long missionary training in culture and language. It's in Colorado Springs, Colorado so it's quite a big undertaking. We are also trying to decide what to take with us to Haiti, what to sell, and what to store. Everyone asks us about our home in Gainesville. That decision will come later on, but we pray that God will make it clear what we are to do.
God bless you all and we'd love to hear from you!
Laura and Joel