Introducing “Barnabus”

We have, for a while now, been looking for ways to serve missionaries during these next few months that we plan to be in Nebraska, and for however long God keeps us here at home.  We have a few ideas, that as we pray about you’ll probably hear more of.   But this note is about one idea in particular: A few weeks ago, Chester mentioned that he liked the idea of keeping a fleet of cars to lend out to missionaries.  They’d have to be in good working condition (not like some vehicles we’ve lent out before….), but we could do the maintenance and repairs and such, and just have them available. ( If such a thing were to happen, he was saying, he’d like a garage in which to work on them…)

About that time, we found out that some family friends were selling their Suburban.  We passed their name on to another family, whom we knew were looking to replace their broken-down van.  When they decided to purchase something larger (a 15 passenger), we thought we may as well consider it ourselves – with this idea of a missionary fleet in mind.  The selling family responded to our inquiry by offering to give it to us (the price had been very reasonable before).  It seems that God has confirmed this direction!  (We nick-named the suburban “Barnabus”, because of this great encouragement).

In reality, it’s something we’ve already been informally doing.  For the past few months, Chester and I have had one car.  To be sure, we own more – but one is on loan to Chester’s sister’s family, and two others were on loan to a missionary family.  Another one is dead, in our back yard (it would have been taken to the junk yard by now if we hadn’t misplaced the title).  The one drivable car we have is a seven passenger Nissan Pathfinder, so it really hasn’t been an inconvenience – we all fit in it.  And when we’ve needed a second set of wheels, we’ve been able to borrow Micah’s Subaru Outback (purchased from the same family that was selling the Suburban).  At the beginning of December, the missionary family mentioned that they were no longer using either of the vehicles they had from us, and that since they’re preparing to return to the mission field, soon would be a good time for us to come get them.   (They were no longer driving them because both need work – some of it serious – and they have two other vehicles to use).

So two weeks ago, we set out to visit the missionaries in their Nebraska home about an hour and a half away.  And by the end of the day, we had gone from the ability to transport seven people to the ability to transport thirty-six people:  Seven in the original Davis Pathfinder, fifteen in “Jonah” – an old 1992 Dodge van that needs a good deal of work, but did manage to hobble home, five in “Kermit” – a Mitsubishi Mirage, and nine in  “Barnabus”!

We are happily driving “Kermit” all over the place again.  “Jonah” needs some work before it can be trusted.   “Barnabus” is already in service, lent to a family for a few weeks, and the other day towed a giant military vehicle that had broken down nearby.  Our insurance isn’t crazy about this idea of intending to keep loaner vehicles, so they notified us that after 22 years with them, our policy will be cancelled next March.  So we’d love it if you pray that we find an insurance company that’s a great fit for our family (and fleet), and that God would continue to direct us in  serving missionaries and ministries.

We are grateful for these opportunities to serve, and grateful to you for holding us up in prayer!

Thanksgiving Praise Update


Home again with much thanksgiving. 



Merlin and Peggy share special time at the family Thanksgiving feast. Thank you God for allowing both Mom and Dad to join after a difficult couple weeks.  

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I pray that your time has been well spent and enjoyed. 

The beautiful fall weather, the anticipation of snow and Christmas not far down the road, it is both invigorating and relaxing to me. I often find Thanksgiving less stressful than Christmas, perhaps because I am not bombarded with remixed songs and jingles non-stop 24 hours a day. Regardless, Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.

This year we have an extra thing to be thankful for. My Dad returned home to His care home in Wahoo, NE. When he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years ago, the whole family struggled with different aspects of this terrible sickness. It has been difficult for me to realize that I will not have his willing ear to listen or much of his wise council, but I think it has been most difficult for my Mom who until recently has hardly ever spent a night without his conversation, reading God’s word and prayer together. This all came much closer to our hearts about two weeks ago, when after escalating difficulties with agitation and aggressive behavior, the care center where he’s been living, in Wahoo, had to send Dad up to a hospital nearly two hours away for special evaluation and study to find the best treatment options. While Dad was out there social contact was extremely limited.  Mom visited for short periods of time – visitation was only during certain hours.  We know this was to help them develop a treatment plan, but we found the time very frustrating.  After talking with the caretakers in Wahoo, we were pretty concerned that he may not be allowed to return if a satisfactory treatment plan could not be found. This was a big concern as we are simply not sure another feasible care taking option exists anywhere close by. 

After much prayer and conversations, we finally got the good news early this week that Dad was going to be able to come back to Wahoo. The news came in frustratingly slow bits and pieces with a lot of ‘maybe’ thrown in. But after a long week of ‘maybe’ it finally happened. It was a huge blessing for Dad to be released back to Wahoo and an answer to prayer that Mom and Dad were able to join the family for a short time as we celebrated Thanksgiving together on Friday.

I told Amy that I was not going to write long but I’m not doing a great job of that. Here is what I want to share with you from the depths of my heart.

Time is short. 
We can we not count our own days nor those of our family and friends. We do not know what will happen in ours or others lives. Each day God has given is a blessing and opportunity. Your life has great value and it would be such a shame to waste that time God has given. But have you ever considered outside yourself to see that you could be the person who changes another’s life? God through the pen of James in chapter 5 writes to believers and about believers “confess your faults one to another and pray for one another that you may be healed” and later ” he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins”. Further, the author of Hebrews exhorts “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works”. You see God wants us careful thought to how we can best encourage other believers to strong faith and lives of faithfulness. Do you have a few people you can pray with and for regularly? Is there something you can do today to extend God’s love to someone, especially those you know could use encouragement? 

As I give thanks that Dad was able to come back to the Wahoo care center and also join the big family for Thanksgiving supper, I want to make every count every moment count. I’ve got much to learn and so I am thankful for a God who will never will leave me and never forsake me. Heb 13

Thank you all so much for your continued prayer with Dad’s care. Your kind words are a great encouragement to us and the family. 

Home Again

This weekend finishes up our construction season at Haven on the Rock!  

Our family returned a bit over a week ago from an intense push to get as much done as possible before winter.  We worked hard, and by God’s grace, got the concrete stub walls around the perimeter of the bath house prepped and poured – even in the snow.

This weekend, Chester and his sister’s family are driving some more building supplies out to Haven on the Rock from Omaha (where we purchased them at an auction for a much reduced cost).  

Here’s some pictures of our work.

We all got to practice using survey equipment (made by the company Amy works for!)
Snow on the day we poured cement threatened to cancel the pour, but it had to be done before winter, so we proceeded.
The girls smoothing the cement into the wall forms.
Leveling the floor above the basement.
Chester and Josiah putting a radius on the corners of the wall.

Unless God surprises us, we plan to be home for the next several months.  We’ll be helping out with smaller, more local projects as He allows, and taking a missions course – Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. 

Watch for more from us as we look back on the year (what a year it’s been!), and add more ways to communicate with you (instagram, anyone?).  

Thank you for praying for us!