Thursday, July 17, 2014

Which is worse?

Which is worse do you think?

1. A cockroach landing on your neck and waking you up at 5:30am
said cockroach... it met a dark fate
2. bending down to get something in a dark corner and there end up being a HUGE spider web there and it getting stuck to your face
3. a party starting in the property right behind yours starting at 10pm and well it's 7am and it's still going. With them blowing whistles ALL night long! WHISTLES ...

I digress ...

Being 'gentle' ^_^
As you can probably tell these all happened to me this week, but to be honest my week hasn't been all that bad, it's been pretty good... Well you know other than those 3 above mentioned moments. Ruth has been a hit, she has enjoyed getting to know everyone here in Congo all over again. Her memory is better than mine and just melts peoples hearts as she chats away in French, English and sometimes her own language. Pascal laughed the other day! It was a beautiful grunty lil giggle and I loved it! I think Ruth may get Nicks ability to sing and well Pascal will have my lack of any musical talent haha. 
We have been able to figure out a sort of schedule providing for the needs of both Ruth and Pascal and even some play time. Some days I am praying for the moment Nick gets home but others are still tiring but so good!
She loves her time with Papa

Nick has been the official boss at the MAF office for the last 2 weeks. It's been quite the learning curve, not because he is not capable of doing any of it but because of the amount of things that need to be done and approved by the director. I think I have talked about before that there is not much trust here in Congo which is why everything takes so long. When there is no trust, cost and time spent go up and when there is trust, cost and time spent go down. In North America we have a mid to high level of trust in people so things can be done fairly quickly... Here there is no trust, no trust from the government to the guy selling cell phone credits on the corner... So producing trust takes a LONGGGGG time. So because of that culture everything takes a long time and the only way to produce trust is to make long and lasting realtionships with mutual trust. Which is what Nick as the new director de la MAF is trying his best to do in between all of the administrative stuff he is asked to do which he could do all week and maybe still not get it done.

Auditors here from MAF-HQ working hard at the office with Garth (far left) and Nick.
Though, like I said above... It may seem unpleasant and there are probably parts of his day that are frustrating he still comes home every day and says that he is really enjoying it. The times when he is able to have really meaningful trust building Christ-filled conversations with our employees, government officials coming to ask for another 'tax' or people needing the services of MAF; it may be difficult and seemingly unpleasant but it is so worth it because in the end Christ is glorified and people are spiritually and physically transformed. That's why we are here...

Though I may be buying another bottle of raid for those cockroaches.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

2 years in the World!

Dear Ruth,

You are 2 years old!! In your last 2 years you have traveled the world and back again. You were born at a very exciting time in your parents life and also in the state of the world. We now live in the world of iStuff, video calls, Facebook and the ability to jump on a airplane and be across the world in just a couple days. 

Can you believe there was a time that if someone wanted to travel from Africa to Hawaii like we did for your Auntie Nicole's wedding it would have taken months if not YEARS, and it just took us a mere 60 hours... and we thought that was long! 
I can only imagine what the world will be like when you are my age.

But alas instead of looking to the future lets reflect on the past, you have done a lot in the last year. Just before your first birthday we traveled to Canada from Congo, just you and I, for your God parents wedding, your Papa met up with us later, but was quite sick with Malaria. I'm not going to lie it was a rough trip traveling with you by myself but we did it, even though all the crying. Then after that most of your second year of life was spent preparing for your little brother to come and for your Dad to step into his new job. So to do that we spent about 7 months of the year in Canada and the USA, where you got to hang out with some cool baby sitters, Aunties, Uncles, cousins, Grandmas, Grandpas, puppies and many others. You grew so much during that time and went from saying Mama, Papa, Baby and Uh Oh to being able to put together 3 word sentences, always telling us interesting stories! You had 6 teeth come through all at the same time and you grew 3 inches in just 2 months! You had some sore moments but you are one tough girl! 

We all wondered how you would react when we brought your little brother home, but we were all pleasantly surprised when you just knew that this baby was different from all the rest and you have loved him with hugs and kisses ever since. It is so fun for me to see you carry your baby doll around the same way that I carry Pascal around and how cute you are when you lie down beside him and say 'Cuddle Pascal'. 

I am so excited for your next year of life, we have a busy year ahead of us but I am so excited to spend it with you watching you grow and learn. Though please give your Mama a little grace this year as I try to figure out how to take care of both you and Pascal ;-).
Talking about your brother, he is 2 months old now! I think that you and him look so much alike but there are lots of differences as well. I can imagine that one day you are going to be telling him to not be so serious and he will be telling you just the opposite, but I hope that you can be best of friends. He is gaining weight much faster then you did, he's only 2 months and already 17lbs and he still has blue eyes but those could still change.

Anyways my love, Happy Birthday I love you SO MUCH and I am so very proud of you! Heres to next year, may the God continue to show you the wonder of his goodness and when the trials of life come creeping in may you remember that Jesus tells us to"...take heart, I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Back in Kinshasa!

MAF team that is here for the summer
I have to say that our trip back to Congo, and our first 2 weeks back though there were some moments that have been difficult, it has gone much better then I thought it would. We were blessed with a ride to the airport and someone lending us their van to get there. Checking in our bags was a breeze, and I do indeed love being able to go through the short 'family' line through security. Our first flight was just to Montreal then to Brussels and lastly Kinshasa, all with short layovers. Ruth slept very well on the flight from Montreal to Brussels but not very much on the Brussels to Kin but for the most part was in good spirits. The longest part of our trip was probably the drive back to our house as we got stuck in traffic for about a hour only 5 km away from our house.

Fran handing the coke bottle 'baton' to Solo
Then after only being home for 3 days our regional director who is moving into a new position and his replacement came for a visit to do the official hand off with our team here in Kin. We had the pleasure of being able to share most of their meals with them as some of the other families in our program were traveling on their vision trip (Check out their adventure here). However it was good because they had lots of good chats with Nick in preparation of him taking over the position of program manager!
Lynette, Eric, and Erika with Ruth

Then right before they left we had a family who I have gotten the pleasure to know over Facebook but never in person, arrived. The Fagerland's are a American Airforce family who will be retiring in 3 years and would like to join MAF after that! They have a 13 yr old daughter Erika and they wanted to make sure that she would be on board as well to coming not just anywhere with MAF but to Congo! So they arrived on the 21st and headed home yesterday. It was such a blessing to have them here because they were able to help me out so much with playing and taking care of Ruth as I did my best to get settled back into life here in Kinshasa. Without them here specifically at this time I think my last 2 weeks would have been quite a bit more difficult, but Lynette is such an amazing crafty mom and brought so many fun thing for Ruth to play with. I just know Ruth is going to miss them so much!

So now officially, our guests are gone, Nick took over as program manager, I am slowly working out what it means to be a mother of 2 here in Kinshasa and Ruth turned 2 today!! A post more on that later! 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Friday the 13th

It has been a fun past couple weeks here in Kitchener. We are getting down to our last day here and we are doing our best as good missionaries do to shove as much as we can in our last couple days. We have seen lots of friends, written lots of thank you cards, caught up on seeing movies, playing with our cousin and Grandparents, eating Dairy Queen ice cream cakes, pizza pops and one last fancy dinner for our Anniversary.
We were originally supposed to head back to Congo Saturday the 7th but did not have Pacals visa, so then we were going to leave tomorrow the 10th but then tickets were quite expensive... So now we are leaving this coming Friday the 13th, cause tickets are much cheaper... Probably because it's Friday the 13. Luckily that sort of stuff doesn't bother us :-).

Though I think that God had a good plan in our delay because leaving friday puts Pascal and I at 6 weeks post c-section meaning that I am again allowed to lift more weight then just Pascal. Which I think will be much better for flying with 2 kids then if I could not help. Though I will still be taking it easy to make sure to stay healed up. 

We are so excited to get back to Congo, our flights continually being put off has seen us pack and then unpack several times and thus we are currently living in a half packed state. But this the the 'Congo factor' in our return trip, you just have to expect that things will take longer then expected.

We will hit the ground running when we finally as there will be lots of things being handed over to Nick before the current Program manager leaves and also a few visitors coming to see us not long after we arrive back. Then of course I will officially take over the job of 'sole caregiver' of two children while Nick is at work which will be interesting. We thought having 2 kids would be just double the effort of 1... But have now decided it is indeed more then that. So we could use your prayers for a quick adjustment back into life in Congo and grace to accomplish all our tasks and goals. 

Thanks so much for your support, God willing the next time you hear from us it will be from Sunny Kinshasa! 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Last Stop


Well, we have officially arrived at our last stop here again in Ontario. The last 7 months have been crazy! We have gone from leaving Congo at the end of October 2013 to Hawaii to Idaho to Ontario to Alberta then Nick solo'ed to Kansas, Idaho, Alberta, Congo, Turkey, Congo then back to Alberta while Ruth and I stayed with my parents and then my sister. We then had a baby who was a week overdue and have been working on getting all of his paper work (and our own paper work renewed). We then traveled to Ontario as an official family of 4 and now are finishing everything up to be able to travel back to Kinshasa on the 10th of June.

Photo cred : Cody Pope
When back in Congo Nick will be taking on the position of Accountable Manager. This has been in the works for a while, originally this was just the position of Program Manager; however there has been lots of changes going on in Congo. The international community has been putting pressure on Congo to have better aviation safety and so adhere to ICAO standards. (The US uses FAA standards and Canada and most European countries follow ICAO). Because of this, MAF is having to make some changes including needing an 'Accountable Manager'. The Accountable Manager is the person that is responsible for all air operations in Congo, this is the position that Nick will fill. He feels like his job will require being very relational. Making and maintaining strong relationships and witness, with the many Congolese officials and clients that we are in contact with on a regular basis.

Exciting Things Ahead!
Nick will officially take this position as of July 1st. We are so excited to be stepping into this role and Nick has been very busy preparing for this, even while we have been here in Canada. Before accepting this new role, Nick and I talked for a long time about what our commitment would be. We decided that leadership is an important role and one we should take seriously and be committed to. So we decided that we for sure will be in Congo for the rest of this term (about 2 years) then another term after that (4 years). We will then revaluate and decide what we want to do from there. 6 years is a long time so we will just stick with that plan for now. 

Our last couple years with MAF have been full of change (well really since the day we met) and that is no different now. We feel like even though things look a little different then we originally thought, that we are still fulfilling the mission God set us on when we joined MAF. That mission is by his grace, mercy and power to help see people physically and spiritually transformed. We are so thankful for those who have supported our ministry with MAF with love, prayers and with financial support. We understand that 6 years is a long time but believe that consistent leadership is so important for both our Congolese friends and our MAF co-workers and we would love to continue to receive your prayers and support during this next part of our ministry with MAF.

So we will be arriving back in Congo soon and will be settling back into our life we made there and also into a new life as a family of 4 and a new job focus with MAF. We would love your prayers and encouragement during this time and remember our door is always open for anyone wanting to visit!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pascal Malachi Frey

It was 10pm on May first and we had just finished an exciting game of Yahtzee with my sister and my (step) niece Taylor. It was officially 6 days past my due date and to be honest I felt like I was going to be pregnant forever! But when we lied down to go to sleep I started to feel some stronger contractions then I had been having over the last 2 weeks. I had been having sparatic Braxton hicks contractions for quite a while at this point, but these were different. So I mentioned to Nick that we may be having a baby, and we started the preparations. 
Room all set up
Since we had such a great experience when Ruth was born we had decided we wanted to do another home birth. So we set up our room with everything we needed and by midnight my water broke and my contractions were a min long and about 3 min apart. We had been told that usually the second birth is about half as long as the first and seeing that we were only in labor for 6-7 hours with Ruth we were expecting this baby to be along any minute. 
Kathy checking Pascals heart beat
However things didn't seem to be progressing as expected, and as my midwife checked me we realized that our little baby had a face presentation which means that his nose was facing out into the world instead of the top of his head. I guess he wanted a sneak peek. 
So this, combined with the fact that there was meconium when my water broke meant that we needed to head to the hospital. 
We made it to Royal Alexandra hospital in good time and made our way up to the maternity ward where the OB confirmed our midwives suspicion about the babies face presentation. I would like to mention that our midwife Kathy is amazing,  she is so caring and encouraging.
Kathy, Pascal and Nick
She stayed with us the entire time and is just such a steadfast person. She really is such a blessing and we are so thankful that God placed her in our lives. 
So anyways at this point I was having strong urges to push but was not allowed because the baby's face was stuck and it could put the baby in distress. 
At this point we chatted in between contractions that with a face presentation it would be very very difficult to deliver this baby naturally and thus it was recommend to proceed with a c-section. We quickly agreed as there were many factors pointing to this being the best decision for us and our baby. 
So after signing some papers and trying to make my way through contractions without pushing (which I'm not going to lie is quite difficult) about 40 min later I was being rolled down to the operating room where they were all ready to perform the c-section. 
I quickly got a spinal tap which was fantastic. It almost instantly took away the pain... Or really any feeling, and I was able to relax. It felt really good just to be able to lie there and be able to think a little more clearly about what was going on than I had been able to. I really feel like God continued to pour down his peace on me during all of this and I knew that He was in control. 
Pascals first 'Selfie' :-) 
Soon after Nick was all scrubbed in, he came in and sat down beside me and we were able to talk and be together through the entire operation. The entire thing took about 40min. It turns out that little baby Pascal was quite stuck and it actually took a bit of effort to get him out. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck 3 times and had been pulling his head back which is why he had a face presentation. So no matter what, we would not have been able to deliver him naturally because he was literally stuck. But with some convincing they were able to get him out and unwrapped and Nick was even able to go over right away and take pictures of him and then they brought him over for me to see. So at 4:55am on May 2, weighing in at 8lbs 3oz and 20.5in our son Pascal Malachi Frey came into the world.  He had quite the bruse on his face from where it was pressed, I'm guessing, against my pelvic bone but babies heal so fast and it was gone within the next 24 hrs.
First moments in the world
We hung out together and I got all sewed back up and then Nick and our beautiful boy went off to the nursery as I was moved to recovery where I was monitored for about an hour and a half. I had a good amount of internal bleeding (I think because of how much effort it took to get Pascal out) but didn't need a blood transfusion just some extra looking after. 
The entire crew of Doctors and Nurses were so fantastic and took such great care of us. It was fun to realize that everyone in the operating room except the anesthesiologist were women and most likely moms them selves. Nick said that as soon as Pascal came out and everyone saw the cord wrapped around his neck so many times it was a chorus of 'oh poor guy, what a tough baby'. It was encouraging to have so many caring ladies in the room with me. 
First time holding my son
While in recovery Dr. G came in and she told me that we had made the right decision and that we had not done anything wrong nor was there anything we could had done to prevent this. 
I was then moved to a regular room where Nick and Pascal soon came to join me. I was able to hold and snuggle with him for the first time and just be able to enjoy him. Somewhere in there I was told that I would have to be in the hospital for 3 days. I think this was my only moment of shock... Lol. I'm not to sure why it was so surprising but it was. Maybe cause we technically still had a baby shower / birthday party planned for the next day and that I did want to be able to go to. But alas I had to send Nick and Ruth as my representatives. 
Ruth blowing out her
birthday candles 
The 3 days in the hospital were a bit of a blur of sleeping, eating and trying my best to walk back and forth to the bathroom. We feel so blessed for all of the help we have had mostly from my sister and my mom who did a great job of looking after Ruth and bringing things to the hospital that we needed. 
After 3 days and getting all of the different approvals and checks we needed we were officially discharged Sunday (May 4) afternoon. It felt so good to finally be home in our own space and to be able to finally see Ruth again. She was so excited to see her brother and I think she indeed knows that this baby is 'her baby' and just loves him so much. 
My mom, Aunt Lydia and
Ruth going to the Park

So I just want to thank everyone so much for your love, support and prayers for us during this process we really could not have done it without such an amazing support team. 

We are so excited to finally be a family of 4!! 

Nick, Pascal and my ID bands. Officially a family

Friday, April 25, 2014

Due date

I am officially 40weeks and 1 day pregnant as Yesterday was my due date. It went by pretty uneventful,  however I think these last couple days waiting are more nerve wracking... Or exciting whichever for our friends and family then it is for me. 
Ruth was also 4 days overdue, so I am expecting about the same this with baby boy here which will take us to the 28th of April. I am excited for this little guy to come along and my body is done being pregnant and excited to get back on its road to being about to pick up my own clothes off the floor but I also am excited and know that God has perfect timing for when that will happen. 
40 week belly... and Auntie Nicole
In the mean time we have been keeping ourselves busy with different MAF work, reading, napping, playing with Ruth and just enjoying some good family time. 

Getting ready to have a child for the second time and made me realize just how much I didn't know or didn't prepare for when we had Ruth and just the amazing bunch of people we had taking care of us. We are excited this time that we know a little bit more about how the process goes and have been able to prepare more and are excited to again bring a little person into the world.
Ruth; 1 week old, almost a year and almost 2 years old.
Ruth has been growing and learning like crazy, she has been talking so much and is learning new words everyday. She loves to play with auntie and the puppies and wants to be outside ALL day, which has been possible more and more and everything has melted here and the sun has been shining (though I hear rumours it's supposed to snow again this weekend. 

Ruth and Papa!! 
Nick is still very busy with lots emails and research for his new position of Accountable manager he will be fully stepping into starting beginning of July and for some new changes to the way that DRC is requiring MAF (and other airlines) to operate. These are tedious changes but we really believe that in the long run will bereally beneficial. 

Also for those in the Edmonton area, we are having a baby shower / birthday party (for Ruth) on May 3 at 12:30. So if your around and you want to come by and see us let me know we would love to see you! 

So in the mean time we covet your prayers for a safe and healthy delivery of our Son coming any day now and also for our return back to Congo in a few short weeks. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The end of a long silence

It had been a busy busy 2 months. Nick has been off on many adventures, which started off with taking him from Alberta to Wichita, Ks where did he one week of flight safety training for the Cessna Caravan that we have in Kinshasa. Over the past 2 years he has been checked out to fly the 206 (6seats) and the 182 (4seats) but now he is all checked out to fly the Caravan which has 9 seats. He did this in part because the Kinshasa program has fundraised for and purchased a PC-12 which has the same amount of seats as the Caravan but is pressurized so it can go farther quicker letting us cover more of the the great expanse of Congo in a shorter time (which means less overnight trips, which makes us wives very happy :-)) So he is now checked out on the Caravan which gives some of our other pilots time and ability to fly the new PC-12. 

After that he flew down to Idaho, to MAF-US headquarters where we were for leadership training and there participated in Chief Pilot, Chief of Matienence and instructor pilot seminars. Because he will be becoming the Program Manager of our program in Kinshasa he has to be know what is required in different positions that he will be in charge of... And doing some things around the house like build a chicken coop.

Game night with my cousins!
During this time Ruth and I were at my parents house, having some quality time with grandma and grandpa and I started a course, statistics to be exact. Which I soon realized that it would be quite the feat to do the course, be pregnant and take care of Ruth. However I did just finish the class last week and ended up with an 'A'which was very exciting. 

So after Nicks time in Idaho and my time in Grande Prairie, Ruth my Dad and I drove to Edmonton to my sisters house and Nick came back to Alberta for a week to spend a little bit of time with Ruth and I. Then Nick headed back to Congo. He has been quite busy there, spending time with the current program manger, talking and learning about what his role will look like. He then headed to Turkey for the annual managers conference, which was a week full of meetings, meetings and more meetings. Hopefully I will get him to be able to write about the experience to you soon. He found it all very beneficial and was able to learn a lot and meet some really cool MAF people from all over the place.

Just today he headed back to Congo where our Family conference has kicked off, so he will jump right into that being able to encourage our families there before he heads back to be with us in just 10 days!! 

I am 37 weeks today so we are hoping that this little guy will stay put until Papa gets here in just a week and a half. We are so looking forward to being reunited as a family and be able to have some good debrief time from our weeks apart. 
Ruth and I hanging out! 
Thanks so much to everyone in Canada and Africa that have loved on us and encouraged us we love and appreciate you. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What do I miss? Pt 2

Now that I am in North America, back to the land of plenty I find myself like I thought I would when I wrote my first 'What do I miss' post missing things about our lives in Congo. Again not to say that I am not enjoying our time back in North America but over the last 2 years before we left we really did make Congo 'home'.

So here they are:

I miss not living out of a suitcase.
I miss people understanding me when I talk about Fufu and the Roulage.
I miss fresh mangos, pineapples and avocados.
I miss the Rains down in Africa :-)
I miss our MAF team, they are really such a fantastic bunch of people that have a heart to see God glorified!
I miss our house.
I miss being able to go out side without putting 80 layers on.
I miss speaking French.
I miss our Congolese staff and friends that we have come to know and love. It is them who will truly change their country, they are a resilient and God fearing people. 
I miss quiet. North America is such a busy place it is easy to get caught up in just being busy and not having time just to be quiet. Kinshasa is not 'easy' but there are many times when you just get stuck... in a traffic jam, at home cause your cars broken or just that its too much effort to go out; so it forces you to take the quiet time. Where as in North America its easy to go out, run to the store, go out for dinner, drive to jasper etc; so that quiet time had to be scheduled along with everything else. 

I love the ease of driving around and just being about the 'run' to the store only takes 30 min, not 3 hrs.
I love my friends and family. This is only Nicks second time in Grande Prairie so it has been nice to introduce him to some important people I grew up with and impacted my life.
I love power and water, ALL the time. 
Ruth loves putting on all sorts of cute winter outfits.
I love nice people, where your are innocent before you are guilty instead of the other way around. (AKA if you bump into someone they say sorry like it was their fault no matter who's fault it is... well most ppl do) 
I love being able to take Ruth to indoor play places and have her interact with other kids. 
I love the snow and crisp cool air (though Nick would disagree with me :-P) 
I love having been able to spend everyday all day with my husband for a couple months... (Though now I miss him like crazy) 
I love all the time Ruth gets to spend with her Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles and many others. 

This is a life that I never expected that I would be able to live. A life without doubt full of adventure. There are many difficulties of living the Missionary Expat life; there are lots of books written about how to adjust well both into the culture you invite yourself into and then back into the culture you grew up in. They both change you and thus you are not fully integrated into either; however instead of becoming a 'third culture kid (adult)' I hope that we can become bicultural. Were we as a family can be fully comfortable in both cultures realizing that there will always be people that don't understand us and what we have experienced and also those we do not understand. We must take the initiative and rise above, ever learning, ever thinking of others; realizing that we are never better then anyone else. No matter they be Canadian, American, or Congolese. 

This is a tiny little planet with a eternity of things to learn and appreciate and I hope I love and miss them all. 


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ontario to Alberta

We have officially arrived in Alberta! We had a great rest of our time in Ontario. We visited many friends we hadn't seen in a long time, and though we tried very hard we were unable to see everyone that we wanted to. We will be back in Ontario after lil frey #2 is born and hope to see everyone again then. 

Emily Beatty Photography
We even got a chance to speak at Hawkesville Mennonite Church (Nicks home church) and met the new pastor. We are so encouraged and blessed by everyone who loves and supports us there.

We were also VERY excited to be able to be around for our Niece Emery, first birthday!! 

It is hard sometimes living in Africa because we don't get to be a part of milestone times in our loved ones lives and they don't get to be there for ours. Yes we get to Skype and see pictures but it is different then being there in person. It is a difficult thing for both us in Congo and though in North America.

Emily Beatty Photography

So we are so excited and extra thankful every time we are able to be a part of events like Emerys first birthday. Ruth also really enjoyed all of the time we got to spend with Charity and Emery. Every morning we would come down stairs for breakfast and she would yell 'EMERY!'. It was really so much fun to see them play together and get to know each other. 

We are now in Grande Prairie (Jocelyn's home town). This is only Nicks second time here and there are many people that he had never met. He got the opportunity to go to my home church CFA and met many friends of mine. 

Nick leaves in 2 weeks to continue on with his training in Kansas and Idaho. Ruth and I will continue our stay here in Grande Prairie and make our way soon to Edmonton where we will stay until the baby is born. I will be starting a class while Nick is away so I can continue plugging away at my degree.