Friday, November 27, 2015

Lessons from Tim 'The Tool Man' Taylor

I watched a lot of 'Home Improvement' when I was a kid, and though I did not learn much about how to improve my home, what Tim 'the tool man' Taylor did teach me was the importance of neighbours. 

A beautiful Birthday pie for Nick made by the Hochstetlers
The funny thing about neighbours is that you don't really get to choose your neighbours, they are just sort of put next to you and you have to deal with them. Sometimes they are people that you wouldn't look twice at walking by them, you may not do the same activities, they could be doing you down right don't like or maybe they end up being a person just like you. Whoever they are, it's amazing to realize just as Tim and Wilson realized (unlikely friends they were as well), that it is a much needed thing having someone physically close by to help us in our times of need. Whether it be a word of advice, a cup of sugar or borrowing a car; being able to quick run over knock on someone's door (or look over the fence) is a blessing indeed. 

I've had the blessing of having good neighbours most of my life and I remember them all with fondness. Neighbours when I was a child in Grande Prairie, roommates and friends down the hall in Oklahoma and Galveston, borrowing my sisters awesome neighbours as my own in Sherwood park and now here in Congo. 
Nick blowing out his candles with the kids!
They have all made an amazing impact on my life and I will always remember them. 

I am so lucky here to Congo to live right across the road from 2 families that are amazing neighbours. The thing about Congo is that at some point or another you will need each other for something big, I will need them and they will need me. So I decided a few years ago that there was really no point in keeping track, or paying back. There's no point to keeping score of who helps who more. We all need each other. 

I think that's maybe the message of the Good Samaritan as well, it is someone that became physically close to someone who needed help, and he helped him, without asking for anything back because maybe he knew that one day he would need help and hoped that someone close to him would be a good neighbour as well. The amazing thing about that story as well is that the Good Samaritan didn't seem to have any special skills, he was just a normal guy. I don't think that he was a doctor or anyone important, but he did the best he could. He bound his wounds, and he took him to a place to rest. I wonder what happened when the Samaritan came back to that inn, I wonder if they became lifelong friends after that, if a friendship was formed that would never be forgotten by either party. 
Finally completed Angel food cake! 

All of that to say that, the other day I was in a bind, it was Nicks birthday and I wanted to make him an Angel food cake. So I stated early at 6:30am cause I wanted to make it before the power went off... And I read the instructions wrong and I ruined it... my awesome neighbours told me not to go to the store to buy more eggs, cause well Kinshasa traffic on Saturday is the worst and they gave me another dozen eggs to try my hand at the cake again. It probably would have taken me about 2 hours to get to and from the store (which is only 1 km away) on a Saturday. It may seem small, and they didn't even things twice about offering it, but it is times like that when I realize just how blessed we are. 

I have so many stories about the times they and many others have helped us that I can hardly count. I just know that without good neighbours throughout my entire life, I would not be the person I am today. So thank you to all my neighbours, everyone from when I was a child and you let me come over and play with your dogs and pick your raspberries; to today for making our lives in Congo worthwhile despite its many hard days. 

So lets be good neighbours together... I promise it will be worth it.

Crazy Congo Neighbours!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pascal 18 Months

Last week Pascal passed his 18 month mark, he is turning into quite the Big guy! 
He is 'talking' lots with only a few intelligible words, but he sure seems to be telling quite the stories. Usually kids that are being raised bilingual take a little longer to start speaking so I'm not too worried. He understand and responds to most things we ask of him which is fun to see. Though I just asked him if he was hungry and he responded with a perfect 'cookie' that he has never said before lol. 
He is our little adventurer, who loves to read and to cuddle! He's very kind (other then the hitting when he is frustrated) and loves to play with his sister and is even learning to play with other kids when he gets the chance.
He loves balls and cars but his favourite are books, if I am sitting down to read he will grab and book and sit down next to me and start flipping through the pages. 

So enjoy our little photoshoot we did with him in his fancy new Congolese shirt :-)


Friday, October 16, 2015

Princesses Princesses Everywhere!

Summer around here is apparently a season of many many birthdays!  Over the last 2 months we had many parties to attend, 2 princess parties, one Doc Mcstuffins party and one superhero party!  
Here are some pictures from the princess parties we attended. Pascal came along as our handsome prince charming. 
One Birthday was for Ruth's friend Sophia and one for Abby. They were tons of fun and all the little girls (and boys) loved dressing up for the event. Even some of the big girls :-) 
Its fun to see Ruth making what I hope will be life long friendships with other kids here in Kinshasa. She is very outgoing and defiantly has her Mamas loud voice and her Papas knack for making friends.

Princess soccer game

Prince and Princesses Big and Small :-)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

So many people, so little impact?

Never have I seen so many people at one place in my life. We have completed a few flights recently that have drawn entire villages to the airstrips to see the action. Literally thousands of people encircling the runway and airplane, all trying just to get a glimpse of what and who is arriving and departing. 

This has partly been because of the VIPs on board. Sometimes top government officials or country wide church leaders or tribal chiefs. Even just to say that you saw "so and so" get off the airplane will help your status in the small village context. 

These have been very important flights and we've played an extremely vital role in the development, both physical and spiritual, of the Congolese people. 

Yet as I sat in the airplane waiting for the myriads of people to vacate the runway so that I could takeoff, I couldn't help think of how much need was here and how little I could do. What difference did this small flight make in the grand scheme of things?

Jesus said, upon looking at the crowds, that he saw them as sheep without a shepherd and as a grand harvest that needed workers. His words are so true. Recently they have become all the more real for me. 

May the workers work hard to show that ones identity is found in Christ. That he is the most important VIP and that knowing him can change your status with God and with man forever.  And may more workers join in the harvest.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tandem Lens here on a Mission!

Where the boats end up during Dry Season along the River
Photo Cred - Tandem Lens
You know, sometimes Pilots and mechanics are not the best story tellers or picture takers; sometimes they are great but sometimes they have do many other things to do it usually doesn't cross their mind. It has taken me a few years of cultivating to make a good 'cell phone photographer' out of my husband. And even though he takes some really great pictures, that doesn't mean that he is in many of them if he's taking them. 

Nick with an IMA director - Tandem Lens
Which is why I'm really excited to let you know that over the last week and a half we have had the privilege of hosting an amazing couple, Mark and Kelly Hewes. They are a MAF resource team that has been traveling the MAF world trying to capture what MAF is doing, to be able to show you!

Peeking at the Airplane in Kiri -Tandem Lens
They have been able to tag along on some great flights with Nick this week, and captured him in action! They are going to be here for a few more weeks before moving on to other MAF bases and I am so excited about the experiences they are able to have, the people they are able to chat with and the need for MAF that they will see. 

Nick with a group from MCC in Kajiji
-Tandem Lens

I just wanted to share with you a few great shots they took of Nick over the last week so that you can see for yourself my handsome pilot, the WDRC Director in his element. Maybe even one of these days they will catch him in his suit ;-). 

Not just a pretty face this guy! He works hard!
-Tandem Lens

Stay tuned in the Months to follow as MAF will be able to share the great stories of this beautiful country we call home. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Wanna come to Congo?!?

A great couple Steve and Laurie came last year
to do a VBS with the Kids
Hello Friends and supporters!!!

I have a favour to ask if you. 

Every year in our program in Kinshasa we do a family conference for our MAF families. We have time together for spiritual and physical refreshment.

During this time we also try to do the same thing for our children. This year we have 17 children in our program most of them 6 and under!! Is so awesome but it also means that we need help during our conference. We need a few people willing to do a bit of a 'mission trip' and come to Kinshasa, Congo and do a VBS with our children. 
Our MAF team at Family conference in 2014

Our conference will be held at the end of March 2016. 

So if anyone has been debating on coming to visit us, see what MAF does in Congo and love on our kids please send me and email at and I can give you more details and talk about what it would mean to come minister to our hard working MAF families.

Even if you can't this year but you think it is something that you could do next year or the year after please let me know. We do this conference every year and we would love to have you come and visit us! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

First day of school

So here I am... Sitting at home with one kid sleeping and one kid at school!...
Everything all marked and ready to go!

This is a weird feeling. We always planned on sending Ruth to school, but man it's a weird parenting moment when you actually do. 

Its strange to be with a person almost every single day all day for 3 years and then go down to only seeing them a few hours a day. I think this transition will be harder on Mama then on Ruth haha. 
School Supplies

We decided to send Ruth to school because well, there really isn't anything for kids to do in Kinshasa. There's no swimming lessons or gymnastics. No play grounds or parks. Really no much other then to get together with friends and hang out between your brothers naps. 

Meeting up with Friends

At home we were doing well, some days we would think of fun things to do and people to hang out with and other days she was just bored. She needed something else, more interaction and challenge. I have started some homeschooling but every since Nick ans I lived in Quebec we wanted our Kids to go to school in French, be it here or in Canada. And I don't think I could teach her French enough to be fluent like a native French speaker could. 

Also there are two other MAF families that we're going to put their kids in school as well. They are two little girls the same age as Ruth and a boy going into grade one. 
So with most of Ruth's friends heading to school we decided that it would be best for her to join them. So all 4 kids got signed up with the International Belgian School here in Kinshasa! It worked out great to have all 3 families going there because we get to carpool! 
One Dad will drop them off every morning and then the other moms and I will share the pick ups. 

Backpack all hung up!

I think Pascal also wanted to go to School

New Favourite spot

Play ground

For the last few weeks everyday she has asked if she could go to school and this morning it happened! We had to wake up early as school starts at 7:15 but as soon as she heard she was going to school she was excited. We headed out as a family for the first day of school to meet her teacher and see her classroom. 
Elijah going in to his Class
She is in Mme Isabel's class with one of the other MAF girls Adah; Abby is in the other Maternelle class. 
She instantly was excited about all the new toys to play with; she was a little shy about all the kids and her teacher but she seemed very excited to be there. Neither of us cried (yay me) when we said good bye and have a good day. 
I think she will do great, though the day will be long for her as she usually naps right at the time school is ending, so I think she will be right exhausted when she gets home... Though I may not let her sleep for a little while so I can hear all about her day! 

For now I think I hear that Pascal is awake and excited to have some Mama time before sister gets home! 

Happy First Day of school!