Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving at The Homeplace

There is no place like The Homeplace. We have special times there all throughout the year but Thanksgiving Day is always a favorite. We all know what we are to bring, and do the same thing every year. The turkey, ham, dressing (in the famous dressing pan, but that is another story), sides, deserts, cassaroles... what a smooth operation. It always works out just fine. It usually starts Thanksgiving Eve Night. This year we all played a game of Scrabble and it was a blast. TS & MBS were winning until Jordan and Mom soared ahead. I think Jeff and I would have won but he was doing something else the first half of the game. It was a good game. I don't think koy is a word, is it Kori and Reagan??? Then came 'the' puzzle. The yearly puzzle is always a highlight for my family. We LOVE to do puzzles.

Thanksgiving day is always sweet. We are surrounded by people we love. Memories are being made. I'm thankful for my Alexandria family. I will miss the 143 steps to The Home Place.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Kenny Mabrey would have been celebrating his 65 birthday today. He was a great man. He was a great husband. He was a great Dad. He was a great Papa. He had a ton of friends. I learned a lot from him, things I use everyday of my life. He is gone but will never be forgotten. I wish there were more people in the world like Kenny Mabrey.
I miss him and am looking forward to the day when we will see him again. I'm sure he's up there with TR McDonald, Crystal, Kenny Brady, and they are having a good time.
Happy Birthday Dad. I love and miss you.
Bren...(that's what he called me)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Tale Begins... Again

We find ourselves in a familiar place. We have done this before, this missionary thing. It has been said, "Once a missionary, always a missionary."

Many days that statement can be a blessing and some days it seems to be a curse. Though it is usually only a curse when one tries to avoid it. To embrace it is to be blessed.

Oh, the blessings! If life is a journey, and it is, then the way a missionary takes is marked with mountain tops of the highest kinds, preceded by valleys of the lowest.

Very few days are forgettable, leaving either landmarks or scars, but whether one or the other, they somehow seem precious when placed in the hall of memories. They are memorials all, times when victory came through blessing, or victory came through breaking.

We could speak of the wonderful people we were privileged to work with there. Or how many were filled with the Holy Ghost, that never ceased to thrill. We could talk of how easy it is to make a difference in a person's life, a time when $100 turned a pastor's life around or a pair of shoes given to a minister's wife brought tears of joy, or the coat of paint on the little concrete walled church brought on a community celebration. These and more, are some of the joys about missionary life. But they aren't what we miss the most.

The greatest benefit of living that life is the rhythm. (It may sound strange to read, it even sounds strange to write, but it is true nonetheless.) The rhythm of sacrifice and blessing. The constant contrast between what you don't have, and what God provides.

It is the soul nourishing dance that is forced upon you when faith is your walk, and feeling after God is your sight. It is the delicious savor of the harmonizing flavors of human need and divine provision.

Missionary life is the hardest and the best. It is the most disappointing, and the most thrilling. Reaching, saving some and loosing some, weeping and laughing... it is the surprising reward that comes when you give up something good and miraculously gain something so much better.

The rhythm of leaving and gaining, and doing it again tomorrow, and again the next day.
The rhythm of saying, "I can't, but He can." What an addicting intoxication!
So here we are again. Some may get weary of our going, but don't blame us.

This is simply our rhythm.
Written by Jeff

Young girl being delivered in the Philippines-Jeff took this clip

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ann Wolfe

I was saddened when I heard the news last night that Ann Wolfe passed away. She was such a sweet lady. So classy. I am praying for Jim. I am praying for her son and daughter and grandchildren. Beverly is also in my prayers. TS & MBS, we're praying for you also. I lost my dad to cancer 7 years ago, and life suddenly changed. I will never understand all the 'whys'. I do know that God will sustain them in the days to come.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

K.R. Mabrey

It has been 7 years since we put Dad to rest. Oh, how I miss him. It has not been an easy road for our family. So many things have changed. Although he is gone, I can still hear his voice in my mind. Sometimes I just sit and reminisce. I can still smell the scent of fertilizer in the ole hardware store. I can even see the uneven slats in the floor with the stuff hanging from the rafters. I can see myself riding next to him in his pick up truck. Even in my adult years I still enjoyed riding around with him in his truck. He was so cute. He loved my mother so much. He loved his 'home'. And my Mother created an incredible cozy home. He was a good man. He loved God with everything in him. He loved his family.

Jeff, Morgan, Jordan, Kori , and I all miss him. His memory lives on in our home. Things he taught me and my children will forever be etched in our hearts and minds. And someday we will see him again.

I love you Dad!

This is one of his trucks we used to ride around in.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jordan's Missionary Trip

Jordan and Jeff went to the Philippines over 3 weeks ago. Jeff preached at the Region 1 Conference in Manila. Then stayed for a crusade where awesome things happened.
Jeff came home and Jordan stayed there to do 'missionary' work. He loved it and was able to go up north to Baguio, all by himself. Pastor Banez and the church family up there were so hospitable and Jordan was so impressed with all that they have going on up there.
He played golf, basketball, and they even got him to go bowling. He sang, played the piano, and even spoke a few times. They took EXCELLENT care of him while he was there and for that I am very grateful.
Then he came back to Manila and the Rios family went above and beyond the call. They were SO thoughtful and generous and Jordan will never forget his days with them.
The Martinez family, such dear friends, took Jordan around and fed him at their son's restaurant and coffee shop. He said the coffee and food was wonderful.
Then Jordan stayed a few days at the bible school in Manila and ministered at the Pestano's church. Jordan spent a lot of time with the Pestano children when we lived in Manila back in the late 90's and he really appreciated restoring the friendship with them.
His schedule there was almost non stop. And of course he didn't get enough sleep. He called from Manila the night he left and said he was very sick. He had a fever and was week/dizzy. Well, we get a call from Guam saying they were taking him off the plane because he was too sick to fly. I asked if he could make the 7 hour flight to Honolulu, at least his Papa and Granny Mallory could be with him. They said he couldn't do it. He was taken by ambulance to the ER and spent the whole day there. There was a period of a few hours that we didn't know where he was, where he was going, or who was with him. We had a contact of a local pastor there and Jeff called and immediately he was up at the hospital with Jordan. After Jeff talk with Pastor Deguzman, he felt better. Jeff's first impression's of him were very positive. His actions and kindness that followed validated Jeff's impression's. He is a 'take charge' kinda guy. He and his wife have 4 kids around the same age as Jordan. They made sure Jordan's passport, Macbook, Ipod, and other things were secure. We called up to the hospital and talked to the Filipina nurse that was taking care of him, she told us he was 'stable", and he was hooked to an IV. They took blood and he waited while they hydrated him. Pastor Deguzman kept us very informed. I'm not sure what I would have done if we didn't have that contact. Well, I DO know what I would have done.....I would be writing this from Guam right now. The diagnosis was the flu and severe dehydration, he was realesed and checked into a hotel there. All he did was sleep and drink. The Pastor kept us informed on him. THANK GOD FOR PASTOR DEGUZMAN AND FAMILY. Pastor Deguzman's daughter works for Continental Airlines so she was able to confirm the rest of his itinerary. As I am writing this he is at the airport checked in for the 7 hour flight to Honolulu. He is there for an hour or so and then on to IAH (Houston), then home to AEX (Alexandria). I'm praying that he can make it all the way HOME!! God is faithful. Even though Tuesday was a rough day for me, I still felt a calmness and a peace. I thank God for my close friends and church family. TS & MBS----what would we do without you????

The Hospital in Guam