14 October, 2014

Wonderful hosts

Thank you for the support and prayers for our family after yesterday's post. We scaled back our expectations on "tourism" today and mostly had a day at home, aside from a foray to a local shopping centre looking for shorts for our eldest, who's grown out of the shorts he wore the last time we had a full summer (August last year). The job wasn't easy. He's very tactile and specific about the length and feel and even the weight of shorts. 

Our host took us on a walk on Saturday after
our long flight. Our boys had a great time
interacting with our hosts's children. Our big
strong wrestler is a favourite with little children
and he's fair game for shoulder rides, piggy
backs, and "tackling" (see below).
We eventually found three pairs that were close to "perfect" and within our budget, so it was a successful trip. Making it a bit of a special treat for the others too, by stopping for some choose-your-own frozen yoghurt.

The rest of the day has been "at home" and lazy. Though we did get the younger boys to do some "homework" that had been given to them by the school because they're missing five days of school. Our eldest didn't get anything, not sure why. Possibly because he wasn't proactive in talking to the teachers about this planned absence?

Now, at 4.30pm, we're ramping things up as we prepare to go out for the evening. A meal at the home of a couple who pray for us and then a small group. I'm excited about the opportunity. Small groups are often more rewarding than large church meetings. Just a little more relaxed and generally full of meaningful interactions. The boys are, predictably, less keen, but not as hostile as on Sunday. 

As I carefully explained to the boys what was happening tonight (as far as we knew) the comments were, "Why are we always 'running things'?" and other less savoury things.

I have to note here the wonderful help of our hosts. We're staying with a family who visited us last year on their holidays in Japan. They're a part of a church here that's supported us since we first left for Japan in 2000. And they've created a wonderful peaceful place for us to stay. Like most missionaries we experienced a variety of situations when staying with others. Some wonderful, others okay and some best described as "not to be repeated if at all possible".

The best situation is when there are kids about the ages of ours and when the hosts are willing to allow us to have privacy and rest (not talking all the time). When hosts have children around the ages of ours, they also have toys and books that our boys enjoy, so it can be a much better experience than a sterile motel room with nothing to do. 

Our hosts this time have been keen to cook food that our boys like, to entertain when appropriate, or let us rest when we need to. They have respected our boundaries and allowed us free access to their kitchen. On Thursday night we have two different meetings at two places about two hours apart. They've volunteered to pick up our kids mid-transit (between a morning and evening meeting) and look after them all evening. Wow! Such a gift.

My devotions this morning included the last three verses of 2 Corinthians 4:
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen,since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (NIV)
Wonderful reminders about what's important and what's permanent and what's momentary (parenting troubles as momentary). And a reminder about where I should keep my eyes focused.

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