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!

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