Tuesday, May 17, 2011

First Year of Seminary Completed!

For some reason this didn't post last week Wednesday, so here it is almost a week late:

Russ officially finished his first year of seminary today.  He had final exams last week and all his course work was due at midnight last Friday, but he still had two practice preaching sessions to attend.  These were ones that had been postponed due to Dr. Murray being ill.   Hebrew III course/translation work will all be done this summer and he also is signed up to take two one credit classes on his own.  We have still not heard about the internship although Russ has been in contact with Pastor Dale regarding this.  We are waiting to hear back from him to find out what the session decided.   Another student at the seminary has some construction work here in GR for Russ to do, as well.  Russ could probably be busy all summer just on our yard!  Currently he is working on our landscaping out front, our retaining wall along the driveway, getting a garden plot ready, and opening up the ceiling in our garage for the plumbing and heating guys. 

Earlier this spring we did have someone else come out to give us a quote on AC for the house (Sears came out last fall).  He found that the furnace in the garage for the addition not only violated codes several ways it also had a cracked heat exchanger.  The entire furnace would need to be replaced (or fixed if able).  After more measuring and looking around and doing a few load/unit calculations (or whatever they do) he told us that the furnace for the main area of the house (only a few years old) could heat the entire house and if we wanted we could just connect the ductwork and get rid of the additional furnace.  The same was true for AC--he could install a unit that would work for the entire house.  So, they installed the AC without connecting the ductwork as they wanted the city inspector to look at it first.  The inspector came out this morning and found everything up to "code" (we didn't show him the garage).  So now Russ is opening up the ductwork area in the garage so the AC guys can come tomorrow to connect the ducts.  The other problem is that there are exposed pipes in the garage that will need to be insulated, etc.  Dave Bleeker's brother-in-law does insulating work so hopefully he will be able to come out and help Russ with that.   The good news is that all of this work (AC installation, connecting ductwork, bringing the house "up to code") is going to cost less than what Sears wanted to install just air conditioning. 

The kids have been busy with their schoolwork too.  We are trying to finish up this week so that we can be done before we leave for Iowa on the 18th.   So far we have really enjoyed My Father's World curriculum.  Hope it goes as well next year!

We have also been busy meeting/getting to know people.  I am not very outgoing and most of the time would rather just stay at home with my chickies where it is safe, but have found blessings by stepping outside my comfort zone.  I met Sue Ng at a BSF seminar a few weeks ago.   Her husband is a pastor in Hong Kong and they are in GR for a time of sabbatical.   Her husband returned to Hong Kong in January, and she will follow later this summer.  She stayed so their two girls (10 and 8) can finish the school year.  Last Friday afternoon we enjoyed spending time at their apartment hearing about life in Hong Kong and the challenges with legalizing a new church.  We also discussed the difficulties of living on a limited budget and plugging the kids into various programs because the sheer number of options is overwhelming.  It was fun to swap ideas, websites, etc.    On Monday I took Biliana and Martha, two ladies from Malawi, to the bookstore at the Homeschool Building.  I had them over for coffee several weeks ago and they showed quite a bit of interest in my homeschool curriculum, especially the areas of English/grammer, phonics, and writing.   Their husbands both just graduated this year and they will return to Malawi early in June.  To thank me for my hospitality, they invited me to visit them in Malawi.  I would love to take them up on that offer some day.  Tomorrow night we are visiting the home of Antoine and Nicoline Theron.  Antoine is a seminary student from South Africa.  They have three little girls.  Russ knows Antoine from classes, and I know Nicoline from the seminary wives meetings, but we have never gotten together to visit more personally.  Nicoline is also a physcial therapist so I imagine we will have some other common ground to talk about!  On Sunday we have been invited to dinner by a family at the Free Reformed Church, and Monday we are going to have Ian McLeod for a meal.  Ian has agreed to housesit for us while we are in Iowa as he isn't returning to Scotland until mid-June.    Besides all that we have the challenges of "hosting" unchurched neighborkids almost every day.  We have had to deal with issues of lying and unfortunately even stealing.  We pray for much wisdom to deal with these situations with loving firmness, so they understand it is the behavior, not them that we are rejecting.   It has been a learning experience for us all.  Here is a humerous exchange where I put my foot in my mouth:

                   Russ and I are out on the driveway spray painting pretty pastel colored easter eggs a
                   dark brown color for our Russian egg decorating.  Aniah (5 year old neighbor girl with a 
                   black father and white mother) asks for a drink so I go in the house with her.  On our way 
                   back outside, she asks "Why are you spraying those eggs?" I, thinking she is asking     
                   because we are taking pretty pastel eggs and painting them brown say, "We are painting
                   them ugly brown because we are going to decorate them later."  Aniah responds, "Brown
                   isn't ugly, my dad is really brown."  Russ heard the entire exchange and found it quite
                   amusing.  I tried to save face by agreeing that brown indeed is beautiful...

We are finally enjoying consistent spring weather.  I am looking forward to planting flowers and a garden once we have the ground ready for planting.   The only problem with spring is my allergies.  They are worse here than they ever were in Iowa which I contribute to the sheer number of trees in Michigan.  We also have two pear trees and an apple tree in full blossom which may also be a factor.

Since it has been so damp and rainy this spring, Nicolas has been able to find some new friends--toads (we still have the slugs).  The kids have befriended a couple, but we hear several of them especially at night.  It really sounds like the swamp/softball area at Big Sand.  In fact, if I have my window open at night I can almost hear the boats of the night fisherman coming back in...

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