Maturity in Christ
Making a Home
Mentoring Others
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  • Maturity in Christ
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  • Making a Home
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Road Schooling...on the road of life
  • The Christmas Critter
    A fun, Christ-centered alternative to the popular Elf on the Shelf concept. A Gospel focused, fruitful approach to the countdown to Christmas.
  • The Christmas Critter: Clyde
    Join Clyde as he has adventures and mishaps in his search for the true meaning of Christmas!
  • The Christmas Critter - Pack 2
    Create your own character with a unique name in this pack, and follow his journey of building godly character as his excitement for Christmas grows.
  • The Christmas Critter - Super Hero Pack
    Your Christmas Critter wants to be a superhero for Christmas, but he just isn't sure which super power he wants. Some super powers are just too much for him to handle!
  • Scripture References
    All Scripture references are taken from the King James version of the Bible.

Adventure chases us around like a dog chasing its tail. The happenings of this morning would seem strange to most people, but to us... another story to tell.

I got up early this morning for a special call. Long time, faithful family friend and former missionary to Belize, June Griffin, volunteered to give me online lessons on cake decorating. This lady with a love for missionaries is gifted in crafts and things of that nature. When I told her that the people of our country love cakes (and that I had zero cake decorating skills) she didn't hesitate to offer to teach me. So, I got up at 5:15 AM to make icing and get ready for our first session.

I went down to the kitchen and closed the doors so that I would not disturb the children who were still sleeping. As I was getting the kitchen and my computer ready for our session, I heard noises in the cabinet. I opened the cabinet to find a gigantic rat in our rat cage. He was about the size of my shoe... and I have pretty big feet! It's not even monsoon and already the Hulk-like creatures are invading. I don't take kindly to rats. I definitely don't take kindly to big rats. And the worst kind of rat is a big rat in my kitchen running loose. Thankfully, this massive bundle of disgustingness was caged. Unfortunately, that only lasted for four seconds longer.

The cages here are not very sturdy, and these furry villains are iron-pumping, protein-shake drinking, gym-going muscle heads. He flexed his biceps and opened the cage like opening a bag of popcorn.

The scene quickly changed. Both doors of the kitchen were closed, and I was trapped inside with a killer. The noises in the room sounded like a horror film. My neighbors surely thought a murder was taking place. The rat chose to run under the fridge. Then he darted to under the stove. Then he literally tried using his head as a battering ram on the door! Thud!!!

Not even dazed by the skull-jolting maneuver, he ran back under the fridge and stayed. My heart was pounding out of my chest, but this gave me time to think. DOGS! Time to bring the dogs in and tag team this hideous creature! So I ran to the side door and let our two Marvel Avengers wannabes in the kitchen. They were a little confused of why I was letting them come in the house, but Captain Ameri-Dog and his sidekick, Natasha Barkinoff, quickly moved into action when Hydra Red Rat Skull showed his ugly head. I would shake an appliance, the villain would dart to the other appliance with the heroes in pursuit. Back and forth. Back and forth. Things were banging and clanging.

Then Rat Skull made a fatal move. He darted toward the door to make another battering ram attempt. To his great dismay, and my delight, Natasha Barkinoff was ready. She grabbed Rat Skull in her mouth, shook, and then slung. Then Captain Ameri-Dog followed the attack. He shook and slung Rat Skull. The appliances were rocking. Cabinets were banging. My knees were still knocking. This battle-ready duo was a thing to behold. Then Natasha Barkinoff went in for one final assault. She grabbed Rat Skull around the ribs and began shaking... and shaking... and shaking until the lifeless body hung limp in her mouth. She dropped the wicked victim on the floor and looked up at me for instructions. Captain Ameri-Dog, however, knew what course of action to take. He scooped up the body and waited by the door so that he could dispose of the evidence.

With thunderous praise, I congratulated this heroic team as I let them outside. They trotted off with a look of satisfaction that they had, once again, saved the world from imminent destruction.

Living overseas, there is no lack for adventure. Some adventures are memorable. Some adventures you just pray to forget.


Well, on the day I met Bruno, I thought it was an adventure to forget.  But now I look back on Bruno with a fond, humorous affection. He truly was unforgettable. 


It was a day like any other. I scurried to and fro getting my motherly and wifely duties accomplished.

Dishes... check.

Bedroom... check.

Breakfast... check.

See? Boring, normal day, right? I should have known my life was about to change, because never ever do we have a normal day on the field.

Anyway, it was time to check on the situation with the laundry. Now let me set up the scene. Our laundry room is actually a tiny bathroom. It is about a 4'x5' tiled room that includes a small sink, an Asian squatty potty toilet, and a shower corner (no stall... just a corner and a drain.) We set the washing machine over the squatty potty and use it for the water to drain out. This tiny room is prone to rats (not mice) coming up through the potty drain. Because of that, we keep a rat cage set and ready near the base of the potty for any unexpected hairy visitors. Traditional rat snap traps are very rare to find because the people of our country worship rats... therefore, the cage is the preferred method by the country... not by me. Either way, I am quite thankful to have some form of containment for the pesky critters.

Now, I know your next question. "When you actually catch a rat, what do you do with it?" I am glad you asked. We kindly take these caged critters outside to be released back into freedom. We have conveniently placed two canines outside to help them with this transition back into freedom. The canines have been specially trained to play fun games with any form of rodent.

Ok, back to my "normal" day...

I went into the laundry room to discover the rat cage was occupied. Inside this metal fortress was the largest rat I had ever seen. He wore sunglasses and a spiked collar. A cigarette dangled rebelliously out of his mouth. On his bulging, muscular arm was a tattoo of a heart that read "I love Mom." His abs were like rocks.

I grinned. This creature was rendered harmless by his jail cell, and in my mind I gloated about his transition back into freedom mere minutes from that moment. Immediately he was given the name Bruno. Tough, large, vicious Bruno. But he was in the cage and I was out. Peace, joy, contentment. I envisioned his upcoming "release into freedom," and I smiled. Until...

Suddenly, Bruno flexed his muscles. I kid you not, he grabbed the door of the cage like the Incredible Hulk and twisted the door out of his way. A look of horror avalanched down my face. I was alone in this tiny room with an escaping Bruno. I turned to run out the door, but before I could flee, Bruno (who also had the same idea of escaping his prison through that same door) ran through my feet. In the tangle of panic, I kicked Bruno into the air like a soccer ball. It felt like I had kicked a full grown cat. Bruno flew gracefully through air. I screamed. My son came running to see the commotion and began laughing hysterically. Bruno landed with a massive thud and trotted away.

I will never forget the day I met Bruno. It was my brush with death.

I will also never forget the next morning as our loving canines, with joy and smiles, let me know that they had also met Bruno and played games with him.



To help my children process the traumatic event of living through a major earthquake, this week we are doing an earthquake unit study. Part of that study is for them to tell their story, thus giving them an opportunity to voice their fears and vocalize their experience.




            On April 25th, Saturday 11:55, my mom, brother, a few new kids that came, and I were doing class at our church.  Mom was teaching about Moses and the burning bush.  Suddenly the ground started to shake and I said,” Mom!” She stopped and looked at me questioningly.  Then we all felt it.  Now we had nothing to hide under so Mom told us to get out to the next room.


            When we came out the whole church was twisting and turning.  I ran for cover under a plastic table, the best I had at the time, and held on to two young girls close to me.  Their  I was a little scared during the earthquake. I guess I didn’t have time to think about it.  I simply said,” Keep us safe God.  Keep us safe.” 


             When the ground stopped shaking for a minute, we ran out of the church; I didn’t have time to grab my shoes.  I ran down the stairs and out the door.  All I could see was a big cloud of dust.  By the time the dust settled, the ground started shaking again.  We headed to a safe spot, away from buildings and power lines.


             I looked down and saw I still had my Bible in hand.  I knew I would make good use of it.  People were out in the fields crying and moaning.  My heart throbbed to go and talk to them and comfort them in any way I could comfort a non-Christian.  Dad saw people searching for something and went to help them; but when he found out that it was a cow, we went in search for people in real need.


            As we went down the street, Mom asked me if I needed to use her shoes because my feet might get cut on glass in the road but I said no.  I’ve always gone barefoot outside.  We reached a house and started helping, well, they did.  Dad said for Gabriel and I to sit down near a tree.  It was then I deemed it time to read His Word.  I remembered a memory verse we had memorized, Nahum 1:7,” The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble…”

(Picture from a village beside ours.)


               They continued helping until found some people under the rocks.  Mom brought us to a place where we could not see those who died.  After, we returned to the church and Dad went to help more people who needed to go to the hospital.  We sat and waited for him to return.  Ben and Isahaak went into the church quickly to get our stuff from inside the church.  Some of the people I saw sometimes from the window in our church came and I spoke to them to pass the time.  Ben and Baktha went and got some Raman noodles for lunch.  When Dad returned we got in the car and left.  All around there was destroyed homes and buildings.  When we got home, we saw our house seemed normal and all the houses nearby.  Our dogs, Chief and Momo, were very excited to see that we were ok.  The earthquake alarm, which we had installed a week before, was going crazy.  I was very thankful when Dad said that we were going to sleep outside; I was very scared by the thought that we might be sleeping inside.  That night Dad slept on his recliner which he brought outside and Mom on the patio swing.  We kids slept in the car.  I got around five hours of sleep, while everyone else got some 30 minutes.  Give me a pillow and blanket and I CAN sleep!!  It was ONLY by God’s everlasting and wonderful grace that my family and I are still living today.  It was ONLY God’s grace that our church is still standing today, and our home is able to help those in need.


(Footnote... just so you don't think I am a terrible mommy, I did end up forcing her to take my shoes, I took the shoes Gabriel had on, and Ben carried Gabe. :-) )


This week we are doing an earthquake unit study to help my children process the traumatic event of living through a major earthquake. Part of that study is for them to share their earthquake experience to help them vocalize what they went through. Here is Gabe's story:


/Day 1\        

One day we were doing church service . Me, my mom, and Michaela were doing childrens class.  We were learning on Moses and the burning bush that never burned up.

Then I felt a up down rumble and Michaela called my mom. IIt was a 7.8 earthquake. Then we ran to the fellowship hall at a wall and hid for safety . When the first earthquake finished we got shoes and ran out. It was so dusty you could not see 20 feet in front of you .

(House destroyed in our church village)

                 We ran to check the damage and went to find people to take them to the hospital. While we were at the church I was scared because of the after shocks. Many minutes later we were brave enough to get some stuff. Then Ben bought some waiwai noodles and water to drink. Then my Dad arrived to pick us up to go home. When we arrived we were tired . We eat cheese, carrots, smashed rice, and sloppy Joes meat with a special sauce my mom made called mama sauce.  Then we watched a movie in the car on the computer. Then we went to bed. I had a terrible sleep that night. That night we slept in the car .

/Day 2\

The next day a 6.7 earthquake stuck in the evening. We were competing making the most earthquake proof houses out of Legos. It was a little game we made. That night I got some sleep.

/Day 3\

The next day I played with moon sand and that’s the night I got enough sleep. Before I got to full sleep my sister wanted me to scoot over so she could sleep too. But I  did not do it. I said, “Why are you annoying me? Wake up the car.” Then I said, “O Nepal I hate it.” Then she knew that I was not awake BECAUSE I DO NOT REALLY HATE NEPAL!!!!!!



I must admit. I love sharing our crazy adventures. I love telling you of the insane happenings that seem to be attracted to us like ants to a picnic. We have had rat stories, cow poop stories, indoor waterfall stories, third world country meat shop stories, and more.

I don't think this story will be disappointing to your adventure-loving nature. Put on your gloves. And maybe a mosquito net. Actually, a blow torch might be a good idea, too.

Let the adventure begin...