April 2, 2003
Hello Mr. Mom. Can I go play with Suzie?
No, I don’t want any more food – I’m saving space for ice cream.
I’m a picky eater. I don’t like vegetables.
In my last few letters, I’ve requested prayer that I would learn all God has to teach me – both in, and out of class. Well, this week, in addition to my regular classes, I get to learn more about parenting. Jim and Lina Miller, one of the couples that works out of the International Teams (IT) US office is down in South America this week, and has asked me to take care of their kids Nathan, Emily & Jared (left) while they’re gone.
The way the request came about indicates how brave they are. Over the last few years, a tradition has developed between Jim Miller, and the Canadian missionaries in training. At some point during the training time, these missionaries have a habit of decorating Jim’s office in all things Canadian – maple leaves everywhere, Canadian flags, having the national anthem playing on his computer, etc. This session was no exception – someone apparently managed to out-do the missionaries of previous sessions. They have yet to conclusively pin it on anyone, but I’m one of the highest suspects. Well, back to the kids. When they heard their parents were looking for someone to take care of them, their request was “that guy that decorated Dad’s office.” And they asked me. After Jim’s suspicion about my decorating work, he’s given me free and unfettered access to his house and kids. Brave parents.
I think some of their confidence in me taking care of their kids came from hearing about how much I like kids. I recall that when I first arrived here, I was disappointed to hear that none of the missionaries in training had children. I have managed to get a surprising amount of time with kids here though. Craig and Leilani Bauman, the couple I’ll be working with in the Encounter Teams program was here recently. Over the last year or two, I’ve managed to really connect well with their children Elizabeth and Katharina (right). They’ve even been calling me “Uncle Steve”. The visit was a wonderful opportunity to connect with them again (and their parents too!). A Missionary family that’s serving in Jordan came through here recently. Wendy was surprised to see how quickly Lindsay, her 1-year old warmed up to me. In fact, I’ve received comments like that fairly often. While I’ve always enjoyed kids, it has been exciting to learn more about how God has made me, and to see Him develop my skills with, and love for k ids. It will be interesting to see what He’s preparing me for.
There have been so many great opportunities both in and out of class for me to be able to learn and grow. We’ve had classes on Islam, Eastern Orthodoxy, Cross-Cultural Communications (taught by Woody Roland, IT’s director over Latin America, left), Apologetics, Marriage and Singleness, Racial Prejudice & Reconciliation, Youth Ministries, etc. As a result of IT’s partnership with Sonlife (an organization that specializes in working with youth, and training youth workers), we had the privilege to be the first “beta test” a new training program they’re developing called “Encounter” (which is not related to the “Encounter Teams” program I’m a part of). The training we’ve received has all been quite helpful. I’ve also had the opportunity to be involved in a Spanish/English church here in Elgin. It has been a great place for me to be able to serve, and in the process, I’ve learned a bunch more too.
Thanks so much for your prayer and support. Having a team of people behind me is so crucial in making anything I’m involved in God’s success. Praise God, I’m currently at roughly 40% of my target budget, and have 45 people committed to praying for me. If you’d like to be a part of my team, I’d love to hear from you. Here are some things that you can be praying about:
- Praise God for all He’s been teaching me. Pray that I would continue to listen.
- Busyness continues to be a challenge. Pray that I would not lose focus on Christ in the midst of everything else.
- Pray that God would be preparing those He’s called to be a part of the next Encounter Teams program, and that they would have the courage to take the next step in the application process soon.
Thanks so much for continuing to pray. May God richly bless you.
Your Friend, Steve Van Bruwaene