Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ultimate Blog Party 2014!

Ultimate Blog Party 2014

Welcome to the #UBP14 party over here!

We are Eric & Kristine Reed and we love serving God, learning about other cultures and meeting new people. Currently we are working towards becoming missionaries with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Eric is a pilot & a software engineer and I have my teaching degree. We hope to be able to utilize our skills to serve God overseas with a missionary organization.

We've chosen Mission Aviation Fellowship because they incorporate both our skills perfectly. They utilize aviation and technology to reach those than can't be reached. In the countries where they serve, there are often no roads between remote village or the way is so treacherous that it takes days or weeks to get to where a 10 minute flight can reach. This saves time yes, but most of all it saves lives. Mission Aviation Fellowship transports people, food and supplies to areas most needed to support the efforts in those areas. They might fly in a doctor in one area, a bible translator in another, food in another, new translations of a bible in another, the list goes on and on. In this way by showing people love and relating to them on a personal level to help with needs, MAF shares the gospel of Christ.  We have friends in MAF that have flown vaccines in remote areas of Africa and others that do emergency medical flights that save lives. It is a much needed area of service because without it, people would die and the gospel wouldn't continue in those countries because of how remote the tribes and cities are.

Here is an example of an air strip in a remote area:

Here is a short video on MAF:

What also excites us is not only the aviation part, but the technology component. MAF has a department called Learning Technologies that works together with pastors and leaders to help them be able to grow and lead their community of believers. We've all heard about the short term missions that go into a country, help teach about Jesus, people become new believers and then the missionaries leave. What happens next? Without bibles or tools to grow in their faith, many fall back to their old ways. Some leave the area to learn and never return.  In several areas people are also illiterate and learn best by oral methods as they have for years. This is where MAF LT comes in.

MAF LT creates and develops methods to help grow those communities. For those without resources they bring the resources to them via digital books. They along with some partners created a digital library on a CD. So the pastors without resources suddenly have a full library of books at their finger tips. In areas where people learn best by stories, they have team members come to the country to teach the bible in oral form. In this way, the people learn and in turn teach others via oral stories about the bible. It's an ever growing ministry. I suggest you check out these links to see more! (Plus videos are more fun anyways right?)

Here is one about a resource sharing program called Estante:

You can read earlier posts to catch up on what a journey this has been for us. We had to take a break a couple of years ago to become stronger people in our faith and in our family life, but we hope to take our evaluation in the next year or so to see if we can indeed go overseas with Mission Aviation Fellowship still or if God is calling us to a different ministry. Regardless, we'd love to have you along in our journey! Please join us on this blog to follow our adventures and learn about our family. Speaking of family....

Two huge blessings in our life are our daughters, Jennavieve and Lillian.
Jennavieve 3 1/2 years

Lillian around 8 months

These two are the little loves of our lives. We adore them and are so blessed to have them. We plan to take them on this journey and to go as a family. We love them and want them involved in everything we do and to raise them to be girls of integrity who have open eyes about the world around them and strong hearts for the hurting. We try to teach them that every new kid is a potential friend so that they don't prejudge those they meet. (Unless they are clearly dangerous or doing something bad!) We also teach them to be cautious and get to know people too. It's our hope to raise them up to be strong believers in Jesus and to share that with others.

If you like to follow us, please join our page! Leave a comment here with a link to your #UBP14 post and we will follow you back! If you want to check out more videos of MAF, want to pray for us or learn more check the links above!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's hard being the newbie (Kristine)

Moving is hard. I've moved quite a few times in my short life. You pack up your belongings and relocate to a place where you kinda know people, but not really. This last move from Oregon was one of the hardest for me. What I've learned from moving so many times is that it's critical to get involved in things right away. Whether that be church or a program or something to get to know people. Then you spend time investing in those other people via coffee dates, movies...shared experiences. That has been my formula for moving success for years.

When we were at MAF the prospect of moving across the world wasn't a scary one. When you are in ministry, you have a built in set of friends, people who are or have been exactly where you are at and know how important it is to connect. They are your home base of friends from which you reach out and create new friendships. With MAF we fit in so well and felt at home for the first time in forever. We are still working to get back to that "home" and hope in a year or so to have everything together to do another evaluation. We've grown so much in these past few years in ways we needed to as people. Ways that definitely are preparing us for life overseas someday or to be involved in missions ministry or humanitarian efforts.

But back to this move. What's been so hard about this move is that we moved back to my home state, Washington. I knew some people but it's been years since we talked and we were out of sync. All my best friends live out of state or hours away. My family also lives a few hours away and Eric's even further. This move neither of us had family or friends to fall back on, we started new and this time with a daughter. Being a parent and moving is hard.

When you are parent and move you are at the mercy of your kids for the most part. No longer can you just go on a random hike or see a movie or be super involved in church like before, your kid comes first. This severely hampers your ability to make friends. Most people in this area have family here or deep rooted friendships. They have their home base of friends from which to branch out and create new friendships. If they don't have time, they still have their core friend and family base nearby. Making new friends is an effort, and sometimes an effort they don't see worthy of their time because they already have friends from the area or friends in ministry.

This leaves people like me (Kristine), fighting hard to create and maintain new friendships. Friendships not only for me, but for my daughters. (Now I have two) It's so hard to have an adult conversation when you have your three year old running up to you every five minutes wanting to tell you something. Finding time to have shared experiences to build friendships gets harder too because if they have kids, you have to work out schedules for the both of you. But that doesn't mean I stop fighting. It doesn't mean I give up and feel doomed to a life of loneliness outside family. It means that I realize that moving is hard.

 Making new friends is even harder. It takes time. I think many who have deep friendships with people that have been in the same area for years can't imagine how hard it is to be the newbie in the area. The one who hopes they are interesting enough for others to want to be friends with them. It's kinda like another version of high school, only replace the crazy teen hormones with sleep deprived mom brain. Sometimes I try to be the best version of myself, but take away my sleep and give my kids colds and my brain no longer functions. Things get cancelled or moved and it gets that much harder to develop friendships.

I am learning though. In the past few years since we were with MAF I have become way more outgoing. I love inviting people over when I get the chance and I love getting to know people in the neighborhood. I love getting to know people in general and to hear their stories. That part of me has grown tremendously since the move. I want to be a good example for my girls and to show them that just because you are the newbie, it doesn't meant that you are lost, it just means that you haven't come into your own yet. I teach my kids that a kid they don't know is a potential friend they just haven't met yet. That's how I feel in my adult life too. It's important to listen to people's stories and their hearts, you never know what you will learn. It's important to use common sense though. If there's a scary person who is angry and threatening, it's probably not the best time to get to know them. :)

Being the newbie this time has helped me understand newbies even more. I am so thankful that God had us take a break from MAF so we can grow and develop these interpersonal skills and be a good example for our girls. I am excited to see what is to come in the next year or so, even if being a newbie is hard, it'll be worth it.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The cost of a life....

James 1:27

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress,and to keep oneself unstained [a]by the world.

I've been thinking a lot about adoption. Our children are 3 years and 7 months and we've begun to think about perhaps adopting a child some day. Recently I read a little blog that listed things that you should never ask adoptive parents, one of which was, "How much did she cost?". That phrase in and of itself sounds pretty ridiculous. I mean children aren't items from a grocery store we buy. They aren't novelty items.

They are precious human beings. Some of which were tossed aside at birth just because they look different or were the wrong gender or have needs. Some were given up by parents who knew they couldn't sustain the young baby's life. Some mothers died in childbirth and some died afterwards leaving the child an orphan. These kids didn't ask to be cast aside or left by themselves. They simply were born and tossed into a life of loneliness and isolation.

I think about my own kids and how heart broken I would be if I had to give them up and then they spent their days wishing and hoping for affection from someone. Or if I had died and they were tossed around some foster care system helpless. Breaks my heart just thinking about it.

It brings me back to the question, "How much did she cost?" Why does cost have to be such a huge factor in adoption. If your heart is to adopt, then cost shouldn't be an issue. These are human beings being ransomed by the system. If one of our children were ransomed or in trouble, the money wouldn't matter would it? As parents we naturally want to protect our children and if they were lost or in trouble and needed help, we'd do whatever we could, nothing would stand in our way. Isn't this how we should view adoption?

These children need homes. They need love. They need someone to say, "I will move heaven and earth to rescue you out of that pit you are in. I will love you!" If your heart is to adopt, do it. Just go for it and don't look back. Read up on it and talk with people who have adopted. As with all kids, adding another one (or one in general) is quite the transition, but if your heart is in it, you can do it!

If you don't have room, but love on kids, then look into helping others adopt. There are quite a few foundations out there that provide grants to couples who want to adopt. There are also ways to help sponsor children in other countries to help their quality of life. We sponsor a child through Compassion International and love it. I highly encourage you to do the same! It's a great lesson for you and your family.

Above all else, I encourage you to pray. Pray about whether God would have you adopt, help others adopt and/or sponsor a child. You won't regret it!