Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Learning to share

Thanksgiving with the Bundy's

When we married - the day Shirley graduated from Harding University - we jumped in a car laden with all our worldly goods (they all fit in that run-down Chevelle) and headed off for Abilene, Texas where Scott would finish his degree. We had already both expereinced the amazing wealth of blessing that comes from people who have learned to share.

Arriving in Abilene (gassed by our car - but that is another story), we attended the congregation at S. 11th and Willis. The elders there, the young marrieds there, eeryone was full of a servant attitude that permeated the congregation - a church that put missions above buildings and welcomed all comers with open arms and hearts tuned to Jesus Christ. We began a relationship that has lasted and blossomed in all the years our marriage has also grown.

It was these men and women who taught us to give by their example of giving. They helped us when they could and were always there. Since then we have found similar congregations and people all over. These are the amazing, faithful examples we are blessed to visit along our trips when we come back to the US. And we have again been blessed by their great generosity - for us and for Stephan and Natalie who will soon be married.

This bounty has taught us how to walk, has shown us how good it is to share God's blessings - even when we think we have nothing to share. Bounty comes from our gracious Father and we are blessed with the opportunity to be part of passing that on.
We are so thankful for so many lives through which God has blessed us.

Stop here to see our most recent pictures from the Texas leg of our home assignment.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Old memories and new

At Denver Airport
Originally uploaded by sraabs.
Things change. Kids grow up. Houses are sold. But memories remain and new memories are made. All of this is what Colorado was to us this past week.
We drove down to Colorado Springs to spend time with family there. In order to accomodate everyone we decided to meet at a restaurant - Fargo's pizza - a pizza place themed around the old west. Waiters walk around in period costume, piano's play while moose and deer heads gaze down on the pizza-eating patrons.
This place held all sorts of good memories from when we would come here for church youth activities. It's a good family place. And it was here that we got to meet our niece, Kimberly's husband, Derrick, and talk about their quickly changing life together (new baby on the way). We also had time with the other nieces and nephew, trying to get to know each other a little bit better.
While in 'the Springs' we drove around visiting old haunts. The Raab house on Illinois has been sold, but still looks the same. Elementary school, high school, where we rode the bikes down the hill, where the donkey used to be ... all sorts of memories. The streets have all changed. The city has grown tremendously. But it was fun to reminisce.
Up in Denver we met up with more family for a great evening of food and discussion. The next day we met up with old friends and church family (wonderful how that goes together!). We were also finally able to watch a play from Bret and Ron Carter! We have been wanting to hear and see one of these musicals for years and now finally had the chance.
As we headed out (meeting more friends at the airport) the view in this picture struck me. The kids playing still as time marches on and a hotel is built next to the airport. It's fun to mix old memories with new ones. We are so thankful for family and this opportunity to share this time.

Friday, November 16, 2012

On Home Assignment

Originally uploaded by sraabs.
We are traveling through the United States, visiting family and church family who support us in the work God is accomplishing in Belgium and the Netherlands. This is a time of re-establishing relationships, spending time with family, reporting on what we have been doing in Belgium and the Netherlands, and encouraging and being encouraged in the love that God brings us in Jesus Christ. We travel a lot, spend plenty of time visiting, and mix a time of relaxation with times of energizing encounter.
We started this 'Home Assignment' different than previous years in California. Usually (we return on home assignment every three years) we start in Minnesota, swing through California and end up in Texas, hitting everything else in between. Since we are finishing this time in Ohio with Stephan's wedding, we turned things around, starting in California and working our way east. As we continue our travels, we will try to keep you updated on what is going on, through this blog and through the pictures we take. The pictures from California are now online. You can also always simply click on the photos on the right, here on the blog.
This time back in the US is only possible because so many of you have made it possible. Thank you! In California we were blessed by time with loving family, a Ladies Retreat for Shirley up in the mountains, being able to take part in your family activities (like a volleyball tournament), good food, good fellowship and wonderful examples of service. We are so thankful for God's wonderful people in so many places!