Travel


Thank you all for praying! We ARE home here in the States. After a LONG and eventful three days of travel, we arrived home, about a week ago now, and have been going non-stop ever since! I apologize for not writing more sooner, but with doctor appointments, family visits, Thanksgiving preparations, and out-of-town family staying with us, the past week has truly been a whirlwind!

Once things settle down just a bit I will update you all more thoroughly. Thank you all so much for praying for us! Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we transition back into Stateside living!

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Thank you to all of you who sent birthday greetings yesterday on my birthday! Everyone here set out to make the day extra special for me, and I felt so blessed.

The day started with skype calls from family back in the States and ended with a very unique surprise party! I say unique because half of the family planning to attend were quarantined by the doctors just an hour or so before the party! My extremely thoughtful sister-in-law, Jenny (Ryan’s wife), planned way ahead and had sent cake mix and ready whip and party supplies down with Josh’s parents in August…and an extra-special treat as a present — Peanut M & Ms! Keila made a pie, too, and I just felt so blessed by everyone’s thoughtfulness.

On top of all of that, once we returned home from the party, some of our Indian friends came over with a cake they had baked to help us celebrate! We had a fun time drinking coffee, eating cake, and playing games! What a blessing!

Behind all of the planning of the parties was my wonderful husband, who also brought me flowers and surprised me with a great present for when we return to the States!

 

Birthday Flowers

These are the flowers Josh picked for me for my birthday!

 

 

Unfortunately, the influenza Josh’s dad mentioned in the last post has hit our village. The doctors are claiming it’s swine flu and quarantined part of the family because of exposure. Do be praying for protection over the village and quick recoveries of those who have become ill. From what I’ve heard about the swine flu back in the States, this seems to be hitting people a bit harder. Please also pray that this will not affect our ability to travel in a couple of weeks when we’re scheduled to return home.

As always, we so appreciate your prayers!

ps…Josh’s birthday is one week from today (November 5)! If you think about it, I hope you’ll send him a note and let him know you’re thinking about him!

Our Return Date: As I had shared in a post almost a month ago (Oct. 6), Josh and I have prayerfully been considering returning home a little early because of some medical work I need done with the pregnancy. Thank you so much for praying for discernment in this area! We have decided that we will return home early to have the medical work done in the States. Though our tickets have not yet been changed, we are planning to leave here  toward the middle to end of November, in time to have the medical work completed. Please do pray with us as we wrap up our time here in the village. It is hard to believe that our time and current ministry here are nearly complete! Over the next few weeks, please pray for:

  • Our Ministry — Please pray that the ministry we have with the people here will be effective and fruitful. We so cherish the relationships we have built, and we pray that God will continue to work in their hearts and lives that they might take up the torch in ministering to their people.
  • Transition — Please pray also for our transition back home. Weighing heavy on our minds is the need for work! Please pray that Josh will be able to find a job quickly. At this point, we are not picky, and we are keeping our options open. We are hoping that Josh might even be able to find someone hiring for the holidays while he looks for something more long-term. If you know of anything or have any suggestions, please send them our way! (joshanderika@me.com)
  • Medical Insurance — We also covet your prayers as it relates to medical insurance. We still have not heard word on whether or not we will receive COBRA, though even if we do, we are very concerned about the cost of it. We would be thrilled if Josh could find a job that offers good medical insurance, but if that opportunity doesn’t present itself, please pray that we will figure something out. During pregnancy, the medical costs certainly add up quickly, and we have already experienced with Isabella the astronomical prices of labor and delivery…and that was with insurance!
  • Expenses from the field — We still have some remaining expenses from our time serving here. Please pray that we will be able to pay those expenses off quickly. We would love to be able to return home without the weight of that debt.

As always, we know that God is our Great Provider. We trust that He already has the details figured out, and we rest in that. Thank you so much for partnering with us in prayer and financial support. We know that we wouldn’t be able to minister here without your partnership, and we are incredibly grateful for you!!

E-mails: I have heard from a few of you that in the past month or so you sent us an e-mail but never heard anything back from us. Now, I admit that communication isn’t my strongest asset, as some of you know, 🙂 but I have really been trying! To some of you, I did respond, but it seems you never received the response, and to others, I never received your initial e-mail! The internet isn’t quite as reliable here, and we have had some trouble with our e-mail program. I apologize if it seems we’ve neglected you! If you did write but didn’t hear anything in response, please send your e-mail again! We so want to keep in touch with you all! Just bear with us–things are a little different here than in the States! 🙂

Temperatures: Some of you have asked about the temperature here. In all honesty, I don’t know what the temperature outside in the sun is. All I know is that it is HOT! 🙂 We do have a little thermometer on our porch here, which as I’ve shared before is part of our house. The top part of the porch is all screened, though, so it lets in a breeze (when there is one). Here on our porch, the temperature ranges between 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. When it’s 80, it feels cool! Imagine that! Right now as I’m typing, it is four o’clock in the afternoon, things are starting to cool down, and the thermometer says 95.  It’s hard to imagine returning to Chicago temperatures of 20-30 degrees in just a few weeks!

Getting Sick is Just NO Fun: Thanks to those of you who prayed for me while I was sick. I didn’t have a chance to write much about it because I was sick in bed! The other night I was up all night with terrible pains in my stomach which left me running to the bathroom all night. The following day, I couldn’t keep anything down, and was just plain miserable! At one point we were very concerned because the pains in my stomach were so incredibly intense, part of me wondered if contractions were starting! Praise the Lord that I am feeling much better and the baby seems to be just fine–kicking away! I think that any type of stomach bug is just intensified when you’re pregnant because there’s a little baby in there pushing all of our organs in the wrong directions! 🙂 I’m still feeling a little weak just because I haven’t been able to eat much yet, but I am definitely getting better. Josh was a wonderful husband and took care of me in such a tender and loving way. I am so thankful for my husband!

I suppose I should wrap things up for now. We have some more pictures to add, so I will try to do that soon! We are so honored to share this journey with you!

It has nearly been a week since the Internet connection was re-established, and we are still trying to get everything in order from the past month and a half! We have been in contact with Christian Light Foundation and know that some of you have given toward our financial support. However, we won’t know who you are until a report is given to us at the end of October. Please forgive us for not being able to thank you personally until then. We are incredibly grateful for your generous gifts. We wouldn’t be able to be serving here without your support. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Please do pray with us that the support check will be sent from CLF quickly. We have many bills that need to be paid from the last month, including our travel tickets, etc., not to mention the October ones that are due!

Though we have not made any decisions on future plans, we have decided that we will return home to have the baby. Our original ticket dates were for December 15, as that is the latest I am allowed to travel during the pregnancy. However, we are prayerfully considering returning home early. Because of my blood type, there is some blood work and shots that I need to have completed by my 28th week. The doctors have stressed how important this medical attention is, and we were really hoping that we could have this done in Esmerelda.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a possibility, which leaves us with two options: getting this work done in PA or in the States. If we were to go to PA for this, we would need to spend about 3 weeks there. This would result in the cost of travel to and from PA AND a return trip to PA when we leave a few weeks later (which is very costly) and accommodations while we’re there. On the other hand, if we have this work done in the States, we would leave the country a few weeks prior to our planned departure date. Either way, our ministry would be cut short by about 3-4 weeks. Right now it seems to us that it would be more cost effective and easier with travel to head home early and have the medical work done in the States. Do pray that we will make the right decisions and that all of the details will be worked out.

On a similar note, we did find out that in the past month that we’ve been without communication, our insurance was dropped. We are, of course, very concerned about this, especially with a baby due in February. We are looking into COBRA, but with all of this happening while we were without communication, we don’t have a lot of time to figure this out….not to mention the difficulty of trying to do all of this from a remote village in the Amazon rainforest! We know that the Lord is in control, and He is the One who provides for us. I must admit, though, that there is that human side of me that worries and struggles with how we’ll make it when we return home! Please pray that we will trust the Lord and know His peace in the process, and please pray with us that He will provide! Like He has done so many times in the past, it is our prayer that He will once again show Himself faithful, that it might be a testimony to others that He is in control and He takes care of His children!

On a separate note, but still medically related, please pray for Isabella. She came down with a fever this afternoon. I’m sure it’s just something common going around, but this isn’t the most fun place to be while you’re sick! Please pray that her fever will come down and that God will heal her little body quickly.

Thank you for praying for us so faithfully. It is a joy to share this journey with you!

I tell you, I sure wish I had my camera with me yesterday! The things I saw…phew, I could go on and on about it, but my words just can’t do the sights (and smells!) justice. Suffice it to say, yesterday was an experience! Josh thinks I’m exaggerating, and maybe I am, but only a little! Being in another country sure makes me thankful for my own, even for those little things that can be quite a nuisance.

I am thankful for the road construction I always complain about because at least they’re fixing the roads.

I’m thankful for the traffic laws, the people who enforce those laws, and yes, even those “red-light” cameras because it really does make our roads a bit safer to drive on.

I’m thankful that littering is against the law, and there are those servants who clean up our roads when some people break that law.

I’m thankful for food sanitation laws and the FDA, even though I often complain that the FDA doesn’t do its job the way I think they should.

I’m thankful for car seats and seat belts, private healthcare, pets that are cared for and rarely allowed to run rampant in the streets. I’m thankful for banks that have money and can cash a check, gas stations that allow me to buy as much fuel as I’d like … and don’t have lines all the way down the block, and I’m thankful to live in a neighborhood that doesn’t gate up each home (and door and window).

I loved going out and experiencing the town of Puerto Ayacucho yesterday, but I sure am grateful for home.

Pray for us this morning as we fly to Esmerelda and then take a boat into Cosh. We’re excited to finally arrive!

Here is a picture of Esmerelda, where we land, and where we are headed by boat (Mision Padamo).

We will land in Esmerelda and take a boat up to Cosh (Mision Padamo).

We will land in Esmerelda and take a boat up to Cosh (Mision Padamo).

Well Josh’s dad and grandparents are on their way into Esmerelda.  They took some of the luggage with them. Praise the Lord that another flight will fly in this afternoon to take almost all of the luggage and groceries. Between Mike and Keila, Josh’s grandparents, us, AND some fresh food, we have a LOT of stuff! We thought that the “luggage” flight wouldn’t fly in until Monday (after we had already left), so we are very thankful that it will fly in ahead of us!

Keila, Mia, Josh, Isabella, and I will fly into Esmerelda in the morning where someone will pick us up by boat and we’ll head into Cosh. We are so excited to finally reach our destination…but to be totally honest, I am a little disappointed that I’ll be giving up the air conditioner when we leave here! 🙂

Isabella is doing well. The adjustment to the heat is definitely something for her, especially after the cold summer we were having in Illinois. She always has sweat beads on her little nose, and her hair is like a mop. I keep calling her my little sweat bucket! 🙂 At least here in PA we have AC in our room…a little relief for her. I just keep trying to make sure she has enough water and juice to drink to keep her hydrated.

We are so blessed to have such a good baby! She has done so well with all of the traveling…especially without any toys and just a few books. Yesterday she turned a wooden table over in our little room and made it into a toy….climbing back and forth over it and making it into a “horse.” Her other favorite “toy” is opening and closing our carry-on suitcase and climbing in and out of it! 🙂

Do pray for us as we travel in the morning. I will update the blog whenever the internet gets up and running again.

Until then,

Chao!

Flooded street after a rainstorm in PA

Flooded street after a rainstorm in PA

Our hotel room in PA

Our hotel room in PA

Isabella turned this table into a horsey!

Isabella turned this table into a horsey!

Just a note to let you all know that we arrived in PA safely. We are staying in this cute little hotel. It’s under construction right now, but we have A/C in our room…yahoo! I’m getting more and more nervous about how Isabella and I will handle the heat in the jungle, with no respite of AC provided. Oh how spoiled we are in the USA!

We had a good flight from Caracas to PA. I’ll post pictures of the airports and flight and the place we’re staying as soon as I’m able. We’re hoping to be able to visit the clinics here in PA tomorrow to check them out and see if either is an option for when we have the baby in February. Josh’s dad is flying into Esmerelda tomorrow with a lot of the luggage, and we will fly in either Saturday or Monday. Please do pray for traveling mercies…and again, that all will go well with the internet there in the village. That is our only form of communication to the outside world, and I so want to be able to keep up the blog and stay in contact with family. It already gets a little lonely…especially at mealtimes when everyone is lost in conversation, and I don’t understand a lick of what is being said! I praise the Lord for your faithful prayers. Your support means the world to us!

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