Friday, October 18, 2013

Only Hope...

I, Kristine, am a major Switchfoot fan. I just find that God speaks to me through music sometimes more than any other medium. One of my favorite songs that sums up where we're at right now is called, "Only Hope". I'll share with you the lyrics and a link to the video:

There's a song that's inside of my soul
It's the one that I've tried to write over and over again
I'm awake in the infinite cold
But You sing to me over and over again

So I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands
and pray to be only Yours
I pray to be only Yours
I know now you're my only hope

Sing to me the song of the stars
Of Your galaxy dancing and laughing
and laughing again
When it feels like my dreams are so far
Sing to me of the plans that You have for me over again

And I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours
I pray to be only yours
I know now you're my only hope

I'm giving You all of me
I want Your symphony
Singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs I'm giving it back

And I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray to be only Yours
I pray to be only Yours, I pray to be only Yours
I know now You're my only hope

Music inspires me, it is where I feel closest to God is when I am singing my heart out or listening to a song that's lyrics seem to speak directly to me. Lately Eric and I have been thinking a lot about Mission Aviation Fellowship again. It's been about a year and a half since we took a break from ministry partnership to work on a few things. I have written about it before, but God has blessed Eric with a job and us with a home that we've purchased up here. We finally have found a church to call our home church and have started to get involved in it. It's been a little difficult with a newborn lady in the house and a fiesty three year old, but we're pushing ourselves to be outgoing and to meet people because we know it will bless us and that's how we grow as mostly introverted people. :) 

To all outsiders, we have "the" life. But to us, we yearn for more. Every time we think, hey maybe this is what God wanted for us, God puts MAF into our heads through an image, or a person, or a song lyric, or a verse. We can't shake the feeling that we were meant for more than this. (Yes...another Switchfoot song is popping into my head.) Lately we've really felt that God still wants us to pursue MAF, but that the original timing was completely off. Technically we were ready, but emotionally and spiritually we weren't. The last two are the most important parts of preparation for ministry, especially the spiritual side. It's likely the reason God closed support raising doors so quickly on us. For that, we are actually thankful. 

I have written about different things that have transpired since we took a break, so I won't repeat them, but in the last blog post I mentioned that we started to look into learning technologies more as a result of this break. Lately we've been taking about it and it seems this area is a real interest to Eric. Especially if he can pair his flying ability with it. So we've decided to change direction a bit and pursue a pilot/LT path (if possible) instead of a pilot/informational technologies path. Yes, even if Eric did LT officially, there would still be other IT work for him to do on the field. There's no way he could ignore someone with a computer problem he could troubleshoot if he was the one there with the skills to do it. 

So our goal right now is to continue to investigate the Learning Technologies path with MAF and see if that is where God wanted us all along. Soon we'll contact that department in MAF and see what we can do to get our foot in the door and build skills. In the meantime we also hope to beef up our marriage communication skills early next year via counseling, continue to strengthen our personal bible study skills and hopefully serve more in the church where we are at. Our initial goal is to be more prepared and ready to re-apply to Mission Aviation Fellowship by January of 2016. 

We would greatly appreciate your prayers as we go through this process once more. Just for wisdom, strength, perseverance and an open heart to where God would lead us during this time. We have two little ladies at home, so it might get hard to update frequently, but we will try to update as often as we can. In the meantime, here are a few videos of the things MAF is accomplishing through Learning Technologies:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

It's been a while...

It's been quite a while since I've updated this blog, my apologies! We've had some significant extended family medical stuff going on as well as trying to raise a toddler and it's made us neglect this page. I want to strive to update it as much as I can.

So what's happening lately? I am almost 38 weeks pregnant with our daughter Lily. On August 1st I am due to have a c-section if she doesn't decide to come sooner. (I hope she does!) Lately my life has been centered around doing fun things with Jenna, furiously preparing our house for Lily and trying to navigate extended family stuff. I've been energetic some days and flat out exhausted others. Most nights I have the typical hip pain and have to wake up a million times to use the bathroom. You know...the usual. It's crazy to think in two weeks that we are going to have a new little life in this house. Two kiddos. But we're excited about it.

Eric's continuing to work at his job and he enjoys it. He might get some stuff set up to work at home if he has to continue projects, but we'll see. Currently his side project is replacing the panel in his hiperbipe (enclose biplane). This project has taken a little longer with the extended family medical stuff, his eye issues and preparing for the baby, but he's puttering away at it. An update on his eye: He's able to see almost normal in it. He is looking into different treatments and surgeries to fix it so that he can have 20/20 vision again. If he cannot regain 20/20 corrected vision in it, then our goals of serving God in a flying capacity might not happen.

In the meantime we're working on getting more involved in our church up here in Washington and joining a small group to get connected once they start those up. We figure we are here right now for a reason and we plan on doing our best to continue to seek God and to prepare for whatever role He wants us to serve in.

I've been trying my best to get involved in mom's groups and to make friendships up here to continue to help the moving process get more grounded. I've met some great moms in the area with all different beliefs and it excites me. I love getting to know people of all different backgrounds. I've also met quite a few Indian women up here too! I am hoping to glean some delicious recipes off of them once I get to know them better. I've met some fun moms who like to garden and we have that in common. I have kind of a black thumb when it comes to gardening, but I am hoping to learn some tricks to help me be more successful.

Because of the recent developments with Eric's eye, it's got us looking at other avenues of serving with MAF potentially in the future including in Learning Technologies and Information Technologies. Eric was already looking at pairing his pilot training with information technologies, but there's a chance he could just do the information technologies part in the future as well. There's less of a cap on age with that which means we could go back a little later in life and be a part of it.

Learning technologies (LT) has always fascinated me because it's multifaceted and essentially marries technology with education. It draws on strengths both Eric and I have which means we could be working together in the future. Some examples of projects they work on including developing software to store libraries of information so people don't have to leave their countries to get an education. Many times when people leave the country for education, they don't go back to help enrich their community. This is a way of helping them stay, learn, grow and empower others in their community to do the same. Another area that I am fascinated with in LT is in regards to orality. Basically teaching in story form versus written word. Many cultures are not literate and pass down information via stories. With LT, teams go out into different countries and train up leaders within those countries using this method of teaching and they in turn go out into different communities, villages and tribes and teach their own using this method. It's fascinating and definitely works.

So we'll see! It definitely is an area we hadn't explored much while we were at MAF, but as circumstances have changed we're seeking where God would have us. For right now it's Washington, but we hope in the future it might mean we're elsewhere reaching out to the rest of the world. We have a few things we need to work on before returning to MAF as well, which will take a couple of years potentially. So as always it's living in the moment and preparing for the future. :)

We will try to update this page as things change and especially when Lily is born! We love you all and appreciate the understanding and support you have given us over the years.

Kristine (Eric and Jenna) Reed

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gestational WHAT?

Okay so I kinda knew this day was going to come, but was kinda in denial. I got my test results back from the gestational diabetes test yesterday and turns out, I do have it. Bummer. So tomorrow I call to make an appointment to get educated on what I need to do to help myself (and Lily) through this period. If I play my cards right, it'll only last about a month after Lily is born and then it'll go away. I think of it as an opportunity to continue to eat healthier low sugar, low carb foods. It's just a way to kick start that right?

I also learned that I am anemic again. This I knew a few months ago, but no one would believe me. So I get to take iron pills for that.

It'll be interesting going on this journey of gestational diabetes, I am not sure how it'll affect my plans for Lily's birth, I still have more researching to do and praying to do to think about what's best for the both of us.


Eric's eye

I was having doubts as to the knowledge the walk-in doc had and how he was treating Eric's eye issue, especially since I read the literature and his diagnosis made no sense. So we asked around and got an appointment for a second opinion. Boy are we glad we did. 

Turns out Eric has a different type of eye that heals up differently and is shaped differently from the normal eye. Which completely explains his inability to wear contacts comfortably. But that's another topic... Basically Jenna made a LARGE tear in his cornea. He does NOT have a corneal ulcer. With his type of eye the flap of skin bunched up. If we had continued in the line of care the walk-in doc suggested, Eric's eye would not have healed well and it could have seriously scarred. Which means he could have had really bad eye issues. This doc straightened out the flap of skin and put a protective contact over it. He also prescribed a couple different types of drops for Eric to use. The idea is that on Monday, when Eric has his follow up appointment, he'll get the contact off and continue in the healing process, but hopefully most of his vision will be restored. Right now he can see out of the eye, but it's extremely blurry. The doctor also immediately recognized that Eric's eye has a condition that explains why it's been irritated off and on for years and there's an actual treatment for it. If this eye mishap hadn't happened, we would have never known. 

So we thank everyone who prayed and continue to ask you to join with us in prayer in the healing process. We thank everyone who quickly gave a suggestion on where to go as well, it really helped us out. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The first part of the day

So I just posted on what happened the last part of the day, I'd like to post about the first part. Last night was kinda brutal with Jenna waking often screaming/crying for some random reason. (We think she might be sick, but aren't sure.) She ended up sleeping with us which meant that we got hardly any sleep.

This morning I woke up at 5:20 or so to get ready for the day. Driving to Kirkland from our house can be a traffic nightmare so I wanted to make sure that I got out early. I got to the hospital for my glucose screening in plenty of time, actually too much time because I was waiting outside the lab for a good 10 minutes before they opened.

I got in right away and the nurse gave me a choice of three drinks: orange, lemon-lime or fruit punch, all of which were nasty she says. I of course already knew this because of the first pregnancy. I chose orange because I thought that was the one I could stomach the best. It's a good thing I chose it because towards the end of the 10 ounces I was fighting being sick. I sat down in the "Quiet Room" in a recliner and pulled out my electronics to have the two hours begin.

Across from me was the room where the rest of the pregnant women would come in, make their choices and then leave to find their seats. There was one lady who chose to sit in the same room I was in. She pulled out her literature and began to read. I won't go into detail about what she did because I wasn't really staring at her the whole time. :)

Eventually we began to chat and I learned she was a first time mom. It was nice because for the first time, I was the one who had weathered the storm of the first born child and had advice and experience to share. I told her not to believe the tv and movies version of labor, it's totally bogus and meant to frighten you. I encouraged her to continue to read up on things to help her feel in control and calm. She reminded me of how I was with my pregnancy with Jenna. Reading up on anything she could find and doing anything she could to prepare.

One thing I told her that I wasn't told, is how important it is after the baby is born to seek out other mom groups for support. Once the hubs goes back to work, it can easily feel like you are alone. Finding a good mom's group not only gives your kiddo friends, but you as well. I learned she was a believer and encouraged her to see what her church offered to meet moms within her own church too.

Talking with this mom made the time go by super quick. It was wonderful. Such a blessing. I feel it was much more worth while than playing Candy Crush (Yes... I fell prey to that!) and attempting to read when I am exhausted. It was fun to talk with the nurse too when I was getting blood drawn because she had various experiences too. I just love getting to know new people and hearing their stories. :)

What a day (Kristine)

   Crazy Crazy day. Got my glucose test done, got groceries and came home right after my daughter had accidentally poked my husband hard in the eye. (I think she fell into him or something.) So immediately I had to go into action finding some place to take him to get it looked at while comforting a crying toddler. Got all the gear packed for the toddler, got the eye looked at by a doc, picked up pain meds, got the hubs and daughter to rest/nap.

      He's got what the doc calls a corneal ulcer, which is basically a large tear in the front of his eye. (Forgot to cut those little fingernails) The doc said for him to take the pain meds, wear the eye patch all day today and take it off tomorrow morning. Then we'll see whether his vision has improved by 80%. If so, then we see on Friday if it's completely healed. If not, then it's back to the doc to see what else needs to be done to repair his vision.

    It was funny, earlier as we were picking up his pain meds I told him, "See, I think I can handle two kids now" and his reply was something like, "Actually you are getting a third kid." LOL I guess I am, I guess I am. It's just amazing to me that in a crisis my brain takes over and gets the job done even though I might be exhausted or ready to nap.

   Meanwhile I am looking outside at this beautiful weather and dreaming about going on a road trip. Kinda bad timing for the hubs to get an eye injury. I was hoping he might be able to take a little time off work to spend with me (and Jenna), but this isn't how I pictured us spending time together. Guess I better find some sun glasses for him if I have hopes of going anywhere this weekend! It might be time to invest in a water table for outside and some play gear for Jenna to utilize on nice days. :)


Monday, April 22, 2013

Not Yet....(Kristine)

Lately I'm not gonna lie, I've been down about where we've been at in life. To all appearances we have it all together. Eric's got a great job, we just got a good house, we have great neighbors....we're living the suburban good life. But is this how we were meant to live? Is this what God's plan was for us?

I love Switchfoot and always have. I feel like right now so many of their songs speak to where I am at right now. One that comes to mind is,"Meant to Live". I picked an acoustic version to share with you because I love how raw songs are in the acoustic form stripped from the glitz and glamour. Take a Listen:

In this suburban life, I feel lost. I feel like it's not how I was "meant to live" and it's been troubling me. So much so that I've felt like taking a drive and continuing to go. The other day I had to get out of the house because pregnancy hormones and life was getting me emotional and I needed to just drive. To get out of my suburban surroundings, get into the country, sing some songs, say some prayers and listen to what God would have me do next.

As I was crying, singing and driving (maybe not the best combo) I came across a sign for a church I had on my radar for a while. Now I wasn't anywhere near this church's campus so I didn't know this sign was going to appear. It turns out they started a church plant closer to my house. I've been looking at and thinking about this church ever since we were with MAF and thinking about churches to speak at. Then when we moved up here I was thinking about checking out the church yet never did. I followed the sign prayed for some clarity on whether I was to go to this church on Sunday with Eric, I felt very strongly that this was where we were supposed to be on Sunday.

So we went to the main campus and sat in the rows and I prayed and prayed that God would speak to us and show us what we're to do. I've felt lost and wandering in my own wilderness ever since we moved up here. I've felt without direction, without a plan and feeling quite off with this lifestyle. You know how some people can picture themselves growing up, growing a family and living in a house and doing ministry in some place for a while? I haven't got that long vision here yet. So as I sat down with Eric I prayed and tried to hold back the wishful tears and to let God speak to us. Any boy did He. :)

I didn't know what the pastor was going to talk about on Sunday. I really had no clue other than I felt we needed to be there on Sunday. We sang some songs and sat down to listen to the pastor talk. He talked about being stuck, about wandering around aimless in the wilderness without a final goal. He said what is the point of taking the journey if you have no destination? I began to think about our journey with MAF and what a journey it's been thus far. All the hard work we've poured into classes and training and then to have it cut short because we hadn't done enough preparation. I thought about how that was our goal ever since we met and though we hadn't really given up on it, we had settled for this lifestyle and trying to find a new goal. The pastor talked about how the enemy wants to tear us apart and do everything to keep us from doing what God has called us to do.

It took quite the strength to not cry at that moment. I just felt like God was speaking to us through the pastor, or at least speaking to me about not giving up on our goal of serving overseas. God placed this desire on our hearts for a reason. God didn't just accidentally tell us that we were supposed to be involved in overseas missions somehow. He gave us a goal, it was our job to not settle or give in, but to press on towards that goal.

After church service I talked with Eric. I wasn't sure how he felt about the church or what the pastor had said. I didn't want to lead him to think about anything, so I didn't give him my opinion first. I asked his opinion first on the church, then on what the pastor had said. I was excited to hear that God did speak to Eric too at this church and reminded him to keep on working towards that goal of serving overseas with missions.

We do believe that everything has happened for a reason. We feel that right now, this is where we're supposed to be and this is the house we are supposed to be in. We know that this job is the one Eric is supposed to be working at and this area is where God wants us right now. So we are content in that. We can see how God has worked in us and given us opportunities here to reconnect with family and make new friends. This is a stop along the path in our journey to missions, a small hill to climb if you will.

There will be many small hills to climb along the way as we continue to prepare ourselves and our hearts for missions overseas. But we won't give up on that dream, that calling. We may end up serving in the same way we had planned, or in a different way. It may be three years from now, five years from now or more. That's all up to God. It's up to us to do our part to prepare for the battle God has called us to do.

We ask that you continue to pray for our family and pray for God to continue to give us clarity on the next steps in our life and journey. We will try our best to keep you updated as we go.

In keeping with my Switchfoot theme, I wanted to share with you another song that has been a theme in my life, "Dare you to Move". Again, I share this in the acoustic version because I feel it's powerful without the gimmicks. I want to encourage you to think about where you are in life as well, and "Dare you to move" and not be stagnant or settle for anything less than God's best for your life.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A little update...

I realized we haven't posted on this blog in a little while. I (Kristine) have been updating my baby blog (This Little Life in Mine) more regularly because there's more going on over there. This week we're hoping to sign on a house in Washington, the first house Eric and I are owning and picked out together. It's quite a huge step and sometimes can be a scary one. We don't know what the future holds, but we know for now, it involves purchasing this house.

God has led us on one crazy journey so far in our married life, and it's sure not over yet. With this house we hope to utilize our next few years hosting events, baby showers, kiddo parties, maybe even bible studies... you name it. God's blessed us with a house that has a large downstairs so we hope to utilize it to the fullest. First thing's first, moving in there. If all goes well, we hope to sign this week, get the keys and move in this weekend. We know that things happen and it might not happen exactly according to what we think, but we're thankful that we have family in the area and that the house isn't too far from where we are currently renting. This move should go a lot smoother than our 4.5 hour one way move. :)

What's next after this? Well we hope to get involved in our church more and join a bible study group. Then continue to grow individually in our walks and together in our faith. We plan on strengthening up some weaknesses we had during the ministry partnership phase with MAF through counseling around here and continue to be the best parents we can be for Jenna. When people hear of counseling they automatically think the marriage is in trouble. I clarified this before, but just in case some of you are just tuning in, we're doing fine and our marriage is fine, we just would like some extra communication tools to use when we are working with each other and raising a family 24/7. The best way to do that is to get an outside perspective on things, which is through counseling/coaching. We're quite excited about it, now to figure out a sitter so we can do it and Jenna can have fun while we're out.

Things are still up in the air as to when we'll rejoin MAF. We have a timeline in mind that we both are thinking of, but we're waiting and seeing what the Lord wants from us in these next couple of years. He could turn us in a very different direction, although we both feel a strong pull towards overseas missions so we aren't sure what direction he would be changing. :)  In the mean time, we're focusing on the here and now and accomplishing what we need to accomplish to be the best people we can be. :)

My daughter is pulling at my arm to come and play, so I'd better go. Update with more later!

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Year in Retrospect -written by Kristine

Let me preface this to say that I wrote a long blog post yesterday, then the computer froze and deleted everything, so I am going to try my best to capture what I was attempting to capture last night. :)
Yesterday I (Kristine) was reflecting back upon the last year and it occurred to me that just over a year ago, our life was turned completely upside down. We had just had a conversation with MAF HQ in which we agreed to take a break from ministry partnership to work on a few things before returning to MAF. What a scary and blind leap that was. We had been working towards serving overseas together as a couple our whole married life and individually before that as well. We got accepted, got a country assignment and seemingly were on our way, but life happens and sometimes God puts roadblocks in our journey. At the time we knew it was the right thing to do, but had no clue why. I must confess we are still learning. What I've realized over the past year is that God does have a perfect plan that is NOT our own and He knows what's going to happen in life, we just need to trust Him and have that blind faith to take a leap when it looks like we're heading towards a cliff. 

I know that sounds daunting, it is. But had we not taken that leap we would never have been so blessed by God's grace. God provided a job for Eric at a company he's always wanted to work at and a place for him to temporarily stay until we moved up there. God provided Eric with not only a job, but good bosses and coworkers to help encourage him. God provided us with a rental house so we would not need to live in an apartment and gave us good neighbors so we needn't fear living in our home. God provided mom groups for me to be a part of and wonderful opportunities to branch out and feel welcome in our new city. Recently God helped our home in Salem, Oregon to sell and provided a new house for us to hopefully live in. We are still in the process of buying it, but it was one of those things that God directed us to it at the right time. A day later and it would have not been there for us. We recently found a church near this home that is what we both always wanted in a church, every detail so far. There are many other things I can mention, but the important thing to remember is that God provided and provides for our basic needs if we put our trust in Him. 

There are things we could not have forseen that have happened in the past year. A few months after we moved to Washington my father was very ill and hospitalized. By us being up in Washington, I was able to be there for him and to support my family. If we were on our way to Indonesia, I would not have been able to be there to support them and be strong for them. My brothers both are dating very wonderful ladies. If we were going to Indonesia right now, I would have not been able to get to know them both better. We have never been able to visit with Eric's sister much because she lived in Washington. Now we live about 30 minutes away from her and even though we haven't had the opportunity to visit as much as we'd like, I look forward to changing that this year. Right now I am pregnant and due in August. If we were in Indonesia right now, I would be worried about my level of prenatal care as well as who would do my operation as I would be required to have a c-section there. Instead, I have a wonderful doctor here, have access to the best medicine and have many options for how I want to have my baby delivered. I also have a wonderful support system to take care of my daughter when I do go into labor. If I was in Indonesia right now, I would be very fearful and worried at all the unknowns. 

God knows all the unknowns and plans accordingly. Sometimes it's not what we'd hoped but most times it's better. Lately we've been contemplating some of those unknowns with regards to missions. We still feel in our hearts that we are to go overseas as missionaries, the timing of that is one of the biggest unknowns. This past year we have been questioning each other and God about the details and haven't been given many answers. But every now and then.... God gives us a little direction.

Lately we've been attending a couple of Christian Missionary Alliance churches. It's been refreshing to be among church family that supports local and overseas missions and has a strong strong focus on that in the church. What has amazed me, is the number of missionaries we've met over this past year, not all CMA missionaries too, that know about Mission Aviation Fellowship and tell us about how vital they are to help these missionaries continue the work that they do. We've met people from all over the world and the stories are varied but definitely the same. MAF helps them get to the remote locations they serve, helps resources to get out there and also helps them with the technology they need to keep the mission going. All our time at MAF we had heard this and spoke about this with people, but hearing it from the missionaries themselves was wonderful. It was something we would not have been able to hear had we kept going and were in Indonesia right now. It helped renew our sense of how important MAF is and the work that they do for the Lord overseas. It also helped renew in us a sense of purpose, as we felt before. 

We've been looking at different organizations but none fit us better than MAF. My husband as a pilot/software engineer fits perfectly into MAF as does my skills as a teacher. More and more we believe that we are meant to go overseas still with MAF, it is just that our timing was off. We wanted to sprint into the marathon, and it didn't work. God helped us to pull back, realize what we needed to work on and perfect before we get back into the race. We hope to update you all on a timeline for that very soon. We just recently both realized a timeline that would be perfect, we just need to run it by MAF HQ first to see what they think. We are open to where God will send us, whether that be Indonesia or elsewhere. Wherever the need is, we'll keep an open heart. 

It would be wonderful if you all continued to keep in touch. We know some people have left our Facebook group, "Taking off with the Reeds" because they thought we were out of the game. If that was you, we'd love for you to join back with us. We put our most frequent updates on that page. If you aren't already following our blog, here, we invite you to join us as well. On the right side there should be a few ways to join us whether it be through Google Friend Connect, subscribe via e-mail ...etc. We hope to start keeping people updated in our life as a family and our journey back to missions with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Thanks for your support and prayers, we definitely appreciate them.

The Reeds