Praise and Prayer

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*PRAISE:  We have been so encouraged and strengthened by our visits with many of you here in America!
*PRAISE:  Kids have started school and are doing well with the thought of going to school outside of the home for the year!
*PRAISE:  Kaiden continues to adjust really well to life here in a new place!  He loves traveling (thankfully!)
*PRAISE: We have been able to minister in various ways throughout these months and are finding a great joy in serving people here.
*PRAISE: Houghton is taking some courses online and has truly been loving the classes, reading, and all that he is learning and able to apply now and when we go back to Vanuatu.

*PRAY: For Jesiah, Gwen, and Addy as they continue to figure out what public school is all about.
*PRAY:  We have a full schedule of travel.  Please pray that our family would be purposeful with the time we have together and that we would not feel rushed through this year.
*PRAY:  God would lead more workers to Vanuatu to help in the great need there with translation and understanding materials that have already been translated.

*PRAISE:  Happy and healthy 1 month old!  Kaiden is SUCH a joy to our family.  We couldn't be more thrilled to have this incredible life in our household!
*PRAISE:  All necessary paperwork to return to Vanuatu!  Birth certificate and passport for baby came through quickly and relatively easily.
*PRAISE:  Blessed Christmas time with friends here in Melbourne.
*PRAISE: Continual encouragement from churches both in Australia and the US as we continue to seek God and His plan for our family.
*PRAISE: Celebrating Jesiah's 9th birthday!

*PRAY: As our family transitions back to Vanuatu with a new baby.
*PRAY:  Houghton will be setting out to Ambrym shortly after returning to Vanuatu to try and finish up the plumbing and electric (solar) on the house.
*PRAY:  For Philip and Sophia (in North Ambrym) as they continue to work on a children's story Bible in our language group.
*PRAY:  Lots are yet to be done to complete the house, but we too are wanting to get going on language a bit more, pray for a balance as we juggle a lot of tasks.  But always that we would keep relationships above all!  Both within our family, our organisation, our people group here in North Ambrym, and our teammates throughout the world.

 *PRAISE: Our time in Australia has been such a blessing.
*PRAISE:  Houghton has been able to preach in various churches and we have shared what God is doing in Vanuatu.  It is so exciting and energizing to answer questions and peek others interest in missions and also in the country of Vanuatu as a mission field.
*PRAISE:  Our family has grown together through another transition of moving and each of the kids has enjoyed a new surrounding.  We are so thankful for flexible kids!
*PRAISE:  Gretchen and baby are healthy and have been able to get fantastic prenatal care while we are waiting for his arrival sometime in the weeks to come.
*PRAISE: Our family has been able to meet up with 2 other families who are in the process of heading to Vanuatu through Wycliffe/SIL.  It has been a HUGE encouragement to meet up with them and get to know these families before they even step foot in country.  We are thankful that God is faithful to call more to the work in Vanuatu.
*PRAISE: Houghton was able to teach anthropology during a short course geared for people who have some sort of interest in Bible translation but just want to check out what it may involve.  He really enjoyed teaching a "subject" close to his heart as cultural things are so fasinating and exciting to him.

*PRAY: Continual health for Gretchen and baby.
*PRAY:  For all necessary paperwork to go through for us to stay in OZ longer (we were expecting baby by this time so we have to extend our visas) and also all paperwork needed for baby to get into Vanuatu.
*PRAY:  That our family would transition well with the upcoming growth in our family.
*PRAY:  Houghton will be attending a youth event geared to spark interest in missions.  Pray that he would have safety while he travels and also for the students that will be involved in the event.  

JUNE: 2013
 *PRAISE:  Our health and safety during the building process of the house.  There has been ample opportunity for injury (as with any work site) but we have been so fortunate and looked out after. 
*PRAISE:  We have been overly blessed by not only a huge amount of help from people in our language group but also from a team of Australians and another from other parts of Vanuatu joined with a couple from Canada.  Because of this great outpouring of help, we have been able to get up to the roof in a matter of weeks (when you combine all the weeks of time when people came out)!  Incredible.
*PRAISE:  School has been going well and Gretchen feels like she and the kids are getting the hang of it! :)
*PRAISE:  Gretchen's parents have been able to come out and visit for a couple weeks from the states.  They first came out to Ambrym and truly loved seeing the people group where we will spend a good portion of our lives.  This was able to put photos in place and stories made real as they were able to see it in person.  We are have been thrilled to share this with them during May and June.
*PRAISE: We are expecting another little one!  What an incredible joy is family and we are so fortunate to share our lives with another child!
*PRAISE: The kids continue to thrive in the village.  They are enjoying friendships and getting to know village life. 

*PRAY: Continued safety and health.  For our time with several more work teams and also as Gretchen continues to carry Baby.
*PRAY:  As we are building our house, we are continuing to build relationships with people, praise God!  Pray that these relationships would continue and deepen and that we would be able to start seeing some more interest in Bible translation.  That people would come out of the woodwork that would like to be involved in this work of turning the Bible to their language.
*PRAY:  That our family would grow spiritually as we minister here and for spiritual awakening in Jesiah, Gwen, and Addy's lives and that they would desire personal growth.

 *PRAISE:  Language Learning has been exciting and challenging all in one.  What a thrill to be learning this incredible language to put into His Word.
*PRAISE:  Initial stages of our house building is going great.  Got a fantastic group of people to give a helping hand.
*PRAISE:  Truly blessed Christmas time shared with our SIL (fellow translator) family.
*PRAISE:  Kids have been enjoying a small break off of school 
*PRAISE:  Houghton has had the opportunity to head to Australia for about 2 weeks.  He flew into Melbourne with our friend from North Ambrym (Philip) as Philip is starting a 6 week course at the SIL school we attended in 2009.
*PRAISE: Si, Gwen, and Addy all transitioned into village life amazingly!  They are out making friends, have picked up the trade language (local language is next) and overall are thriving in that setting.  This has been an incredible encouragement to us.
*PRAY: As we have much left to do on the house building, please pray that we would have patience as we wait to move into something permanent.  
*PRAY:  Continued safety and health.
*PRAY:  For Gretch as she picks up schooling again in Feb (and finishes off some now with Gwen who is behind).  
*PRAY:  We have been so blessed to join the SIL family here.  But it is a bit bitter sweet as many of the families are finishing up their work here in Vanuatu and will be heading back to their respective countries.  We have been able to see how close knit the families (and the kids) have become as the kids have literally grown up together.  I am a bit envious of this as the group is getting smaller.  Especially for our kids as they would benefit hugely from other families coming in and working here in Vanuatu.  Pray for more workers.  And to be completely transparent, more workers with kids the same age as ours!
*PRAY:  That the right people would be able to come and help with future work teams.  We know that it is a huge time and money commitment to come here and it is not easy or even possible for many.  We would greatly benefit from skilled laborers.  Pray that God would make His plans straight for any who He would have come.

JUNE: 2012
 *PRAISE:  We are about to step into the next portion of ministry here in Vanuatu as we prepare to head out on Saturday to North Ambrym. 
*PRAISE:  We have had such great health throughout the past few months!
*PRAISE:  Schooling has been a blessing as we have got into the groove of it all.  We will take a break off for the next 8 weeks as we want to focus on relationship and language.  
*PRAISE:  We are able to FLY into Craig Cove because the land block has been lifted at the air strip!  We are SO thankful that we have the option of flying for the larger portion of our trip.  
*PRAISE:  We have been able to spend some time with Philip these past few days as he was in Vila taking an exam.  It really does feel like family and we are thankful for Gods care for us in providing friendships along the way.
*PRAISE: Jesiah, Gwen and Addy are all doing really well playing with friends, plugging through schoolwork, and now looking forward to the time in Ambrym.  There is some nervousness felt by them ( and all of us really ) as we step into a lot of unknowns...which leads to the "pray"...
*PRAY: That we all would settle well into a way of life in North Ambrym for these weeks out.
*PRAY:  For friendships particularly for the kids and for Gretch.
*PRAY:  That we would have a great amount of patience with ourselves as we delve into a lot of stressful situations.  I.E. language learning, different culture, different smells and sights and lifestyle.
*PRAY:  For health throughout these weeks.
*PRAY:  For teammates!!

MARCH: 2012
 *PRAISE:  We are in the last few days of our visit to Australia.  What a great joy it has been to meet up with such dear friends and to also meet knew friends.  We are greatly blessed to have family literally all around the world.
*PRAISE: We have been able to meet with a friend who has built a few houses over in PNG and he was a great help to talk with about the possibility of him leading a work team to Ambrym to help with our house building.
*  PRAISE:  We are heading over to Vanuatu on the 8th of this month.  We are looking forward to getting our feet on the ground and reconnecting with friends there.
*PRAYER: Continual prayer is needed for our container.  It is somewhere in the Pacific. :)  For which we are grateful.  Pray that it will arrive in Port Vila without any problems and that we will be able to unload it quickly.
*PRAYER:  That some men would be available to help Houghton unload the container.  Pray that some Aussie's would feel the burden to help in this matter and maybe some from America as well!
* PRAYER:  For our family as we adjust back into the Ni-Vanuatu way of life.  The culture, the  climate, the lifestyle.
*PRAYER: For Si, Gwen and Addy to have a joy in returning to Vanuatu and that they would find their unique nitch in the work God has called the 5 of us to.

*PRAISE: Our shipping container is sent off!  Check out the pictures of that by clicking here.
*PRAISE: We have a full time scheduled while in Australia sharing at churches, small groups, and a school!  We also have some super fun hang out times planned with friends there that we really look forward to as well!
*PRAISE:  Our kids are excited for heading back over to Vanuatu.  We are SO encouraged by the prayers we have received for our kids and this matter and also for them in general.  The key to a parents heart! :)
*PRAISE:  We were able to get one last visit in with Gretchen's grandparents before we take off.  We were a bit worried as the weather wasn't looking too good for us to fit this trip in, but we had excellent weather while we saw them.
*PRAYER: We would like continued prayer as we say goodbye's 
*PRAYER:  Safety as we drive and fly our way to Australia first and then on to Vanuatu.
*PRAYER: For more people to get involved in what God is doing in Vanuatu whether that be in the form of teammates for us on the ground, through prayer, or through financial support.
*PRAYER:  I, Gretch, would appreciate prayer as I begin to wrap by brain (and schedule) around homeschooling.  I have great excitement for it so I praise God for that!  But I also have some fear and trembling as well!! :)
*PRAYER:  That we would be the parents that God intends us to be and that our kids would become children of God and disciples for His name sake despite their parents constant failures!
*PRAYER:  While we are in Australia Gretchen is anticipating that she will be taking allergy medicine around the clock.  Please be in prayer that these meds would work and that there wouldn't be any problems with her allergies.


*PRAISE:  We have been in contact with a shipping company and have scheduled a container to come in Januaury to be filled (they give us 2 hours!) and then off it goes on its way to Vanuatu.
*PRIASE:  A fantastic mission organization has graciously done all our work in gathering all things solar and electrical for our home and it is in the mail.  What a HUGE burden off Houghton's shoulders.
*PRAISE:  We are in the final stages of moving out of our rental house and will spend the next couple weeks at Grechen's parents as we await our departure.
*PRAISE:  Houghton has already been able to make 3 out of teh 4 crates that will go into the container to hold misc stuff.
*PRAISE:  Some of our fantabulous supporters have prayerfully decided to up their monthly amount given to us and the work God has our team on.
*PRAYER:  Moving and packing.  Need I say more? :)  LOTS of packing is going on.  Packing for things to stay here in America, packing for things that will go in the container, packing for things that will go with us personally to Australia and then on to Vanuatu etc.  Pray that we would be WISE as we say goodbye to belongings at this time.
*PRAYER:  That we would be working in His strength.  Working in our own gets us in trouble!
*PRAYER:  For others to join with us as we seek to work among the people in North Ambrym.  Both on the ground and back here in America and Australia.
*PRAYER:  That God would continue to guide Jesiah, Gwen, and Addy on their own journey that He has for them as they say some hard goodbye's and face another big move. 


*PRAISE:  The MMI (missionary medical intensive) course in NC was such a HUGE blessing to me (G) and Laura.  We were able to learn an enormous amount of stuff in just two weeks and best of all, we were taught how to use a fantastic book that was written with missionaries in mind.  SO when we forget all the important stuff we learned, we will be able to quickly refer back to this amazing manual and be refreshed on our crash courses.
*PRAISE:  Our tickets have been bought!  We were able to secure tickets at 1/2 the price for the 5th of February.  It is a bit earlier than we planned but the price was too hard to pass up.  So we are excited to have a date to look forward to!
*PRAISE: We met up with Casey and Val who are friends of ours who have expressed interest in Vanuatu for a number of years now. 
*PRAISE:  In the course of our travels we met up with two separate families who are both on their way to Vanuatu.  It was a joy to talk with them and encourage them as they just now start out the journey to get overseas.   Both these families live only minutes away from each other in NC.  Small world.
*PRAISE: Houghton is starting to purchase our solar equipment and his training in September helped him along in this process.
*PRAYER:  As previously mentioned, there are a total of three families who are still trying to determine whether God is leading their family to Vanuatu.  This is exciting as we see a huge need for workers in Vanuatu.  Please be praying specifically for teammates for us in North Ambrym.
*PRAYER:  We have been trying to stay healthy but have been losing the battle unfortunately.   Mostly the kiddos are the ones hit hardest with the flu bugs.  Pray that during these slower winter months that we would enjoy our final months with family here in the states in full health.
*PRAYER:  Although we have purchased our tickets and are really excited, there still is SO MUCH to get done.  LOTS of container details are still needing to get ironed out before we can purchase all we need, pack all we need, and ship all we need.  All in a matter of months (winter months in MT I might add).  Pray for wisdom in all this.
*PRAYER:  Our family is just a bit shy of full support.  Would you pray that God would raise up more partners for us before we take off for our next 4 years overseas.


*PRAISE:  We have been able to visit all of our supporting churches and most of our partnering individuals!  What an absolute JOY it has been to be face to face with many of you again and share in person what God is doing in this ministry.
* PRAISE:  Gretchen will be attending a medical course (MMI)  for 2 weeks this month so she will be able to help Houghton, our family, and the people of Ambrym in case of an emergency.  To visit more about this go to their website.
* PRAISE:  Houghton will be attending a technology workshop helping him with solar and water issues plus LOTS of other super helpful things for our bush living.
*  PRAISE:  Houghton is going to be able to teach this semester in the Lay Bible Institute at our sending church, Grace Bible Church.
* PRAISE:  Gwen has turned 5 this month.  What a blessing she is to our family!
* PRAYER:  For the salvation of our children.
* PRAYER:  For wisdom as we strive to "raise up our kids in the way they should go" (Prov 22:6)
* PRAYER:  We need much wisdom as we draw up plans for our home in Ambrym and purchase and pack items to ship over in our container.
* PRAYER:  That Ni-Vanuatu would be obedient and soft to the Holy Spirit in their life as we get ready to move in and work among them.
* PRAYER:  For our families spiritual growth.
* PRAYER:  That our time away (while Gretch is at MMI and Hought at the technology workshop) would be fruitful and that our kids would have an awesome time with grandparents!

February 2011:

PRAISE: A rental for us to settle into for the year.
PRAISE: We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after LOTS of sickies!  And we thought we were sick in Vanuatu...well we went through it all (well just different kind) over again when our feet touched the ground here in America.  BUT we are all medicated up and starting to get healthy again! :>)
PRAISE: Houghton and I (Addy will be accompanying us) have the delight to attend a missions conference at the Bible school we are alumni to.   
PRAISE: Si and Gwen are really enjoying public school.
PRAISE: What a joy it has been to be spending time with family and friends here in America.  A special time for us this year.

PRAYER: As I mentioned previously, please be in prayer for Houghton and I (and Addy) for the week of 7th - 11th as we speak and attend the missions conference in Lagrange, WY.  Houghton has some formal opportunities to speak at some sessions and then there is the obvious conversations that go on all the rest of the time we are there. :)  Who knows what God has in store for the young people (and more "mature" as there is quite an age difference at schools :) ) and for the furtherment of His Kingdom!
PRAYER: For the kids to get their full strength back as they get over strep and perma-winter-colds!
PRAYER:  For the Thulesen's and the Richards as they care for Si and Gwen while the rest of us are away.
PRAYER:  Laura will be coming back to the states on the 15th.  Pray for easy travels and for her health as she begins to adjust here.
PRAYER: We are going to be filling up our schedule for the year in the weeks to come.  Pray that we would have wisdom in our scheduling and that we would be lead by the Spirit as we seek to be where He would have us and when!


Houghton has left for a survey trip on the island of Malekula.  He will be gone until Sept 13th.
Please join us in prayer for these things:

His health - He is still recovering from his bought with malaria (?) that struck him almost 2 months ago
His saftey - as with any trip and trek, things can happen!
His work - Hought will be noticing the gap where a teammate would fill in.... Pray that he would be able to think through things and work clearly without the added bonus of another mind to throw ideas with and against

For me and the kids' health - I always worry that something major will happen while the NURSE is away. :)  Pray that we would have an uneventful time without H as far as our health goes! :)
For me and the kids' saftey - Unfortunatly Port Vila is not a safe city.  Especially where our house is located.  Pray that we would feel safe at night with out the man in the house. :)
For me and the kids' work - WOW any moms out there would know that when dad is away, the daily norm is harder.  Pray that I would keep a positive attitude with the kids and that we would enjoy our time together.
For me - I ALWAYS miss H terribly when he is away and I let my mind wander instead of casting any worry and anxiety on Him.  Pray that I would rest in the Comforter throughout the weeks he will be away.


* PRAISE: Our teammates the Kenners have made it safely back to the US and are begining to settle back in there.  They are needing to finish raising their monthly support and also begin raising their outgoing (cost for moving permanantly to Vanuatu) monies. 

* PRAISE: We, as a team, feel God is leading us to North Ambrym.  So we have a people group to specifically pray for!!!!

*PRAISE: Our outgoing monies have ALL come in!  God has brought in the projected amount we felt we needed to set up in North Ambrym.

*PRAYER: That God grant us patience and dependence on Him even more as we have a lot of preparations to make before we could move into North Ambrym.

*PRAYER:  For our three kids to continue to seek Him.

*PRAYER:  That we (Houghton, Gretchen, and Laura) would all accomplish what God would have us accomplish during these next months here in Vanuatu.


* PRAISE: Gretchen's dad and mom came to visit us in Port Vila for three weeks. It was absolutely a wonderful time to share together for our kids with their grandparents, Laura and I with our own parents and also to have an added support to our ministry for those weeks!

* PRAISE: Houghton recovered well from his sickness (malaria maybe?)

* PRAISE: A wonderfully successful trip to Ambrym - We were able to mingle with tons of families in North Ambrym and to start to picture our lives there if God continues to lead that way.

* PRAISE: A continued desire for
spiritual understanding  for Jesiah. He is at a very curious age and comes up with great questions that can help him to understand spiritual truths.

* PRAYER: That we would be able to go day by day without feeling huge amounts of stress. We have been struggling to stay healthy and we feel it is because our bodies are worn down. Please pray for our health.

* PRAYER: For our family to get into a routine again. Our lives have been totally topsy-turvy and we know that our kids are looking for some schedule.  Consistent schooling for Jesiah and consistent study times for Houghton.

* PRAYER:  For a HUGE allotment of patience for Gretchen AND Si as he does his schooling.  He enjoys it but struggles with staying focused (yes, imagine that!) and gets down on himself for not remembering things he just learned.  Also that the girls would not be jealous of this time but that they would keep themselves busy until it is their turn.

*PRAYER:  For our teammates, the Kenners, as they prepare to head back to America in August for furlough.  We will miss them terribly, but we are excited to see what God has in store for their family as they continue to raise support for their work in Vanuatu.  

*PRAISE: God continues to lead our team to the island of Ambrym. We have a contact there who has been very helpful in getting us information, guiding Houghton and Jim through their survey of North Ambrym. We are so thankful for this solid contact who has thus brought heaps more contacts our way.

*PRAISE: The Kenners were able to move in next door to us for the next couple months. Which makes us ladies (and kids :) ) feel a bit more safe while the guys are away.

*PRAISE: Houghton has had good health throughout the survey trip thus far!

*PRAISE: Schooling is going well. Jesiah is still enjoying school. Gwen also loves "doing school". I am so thankful for the random (but perfect) school books that have fit our kids perfectly.

*PRAYER: For continued safty and health while Houghton and Jim are surveying North Ambrym and off to Santo after that.

*PRAYER: That God would use pratical and obvious ways to prepare us for bush living. And that we would have more peace and joy in making the huge transition.

*PRAYER: Continued growth and understanding in the nation language, Bislama and also in the Vanuatu culture.


*PRAISE: The SIL schooling was a HUGE benefit to our team and we are anxious to see what God may have for us as a team in the future because of our experiences there!

*PRAISE: We have been so encouraged by our church body here in in Australia and they have been such a blessing to us expecially during the holidays where you all feel even farther away!

*PRAISE: All three of the kids are staying in one room together and I was a bit anxious about this. But of course I didn't need to be! They are growing closer and closer together and it has been such a joy to watch their friendship bloom.

*PRAISE: Gwen had what could have been a VERY serious accident which could have taken her eye. However, God protected her in an amazing way and she has NO problems resulting from her accident.

*PRAYER: For about a month Houghton has been suffering from severe back pain. He cannot place what could be the cause of this pain and it is starting to slow him down. Please pray that this pain would VANISH and that it wouldn't be anything serious. We haven't gone to the doctor and hope not to have to, however, if the pain persists he will have to see to it before we move to Vanuatu!

*PRAYER: That as the date for our move into Vanuatu (only a month away) approaches that we would be able to tie up any loose ends here in Australia. Also pray for our kids as we will be moving again. God has given them such tremendous spirits in reguards to this but I fear that this lifestyle may soon start to get old ( I can honestly say that it really is for me, Gretchen, as I have packed SO SO SO many times and have about 3 more times in the next couple of months too). SO all in all pray that the Lord would encourage ME during these months of unsettling here and there and that the kids too would feel a peace about it all.

Thank you all SO MUCH.


*PRAISE: First semester is finished and we have just now entered into a two week break before second semester starts. God has been so faithful to give Houghton endurance and drive as he pours himself into his studies.

*PRAISE: It has been a continued blessing to be involved at our local church here. Our relationships continue to grow and God keeps opening up opportunities to minister. Never a dull moment!!

*PRAISE: What a joy it has been to see the kids grow in so many ways. Obviously the physical is a noticeable growth but also in their understanding of the world around them and the unseen world as well. Jesiah has a great memory for stories that he has been told (we do storytelling a lot) and he randomly will make a comment about something he remembered or ask a question that pops up in his mind. This has opened up lots of opportunity to talk about Christ and heaps of other Biblical truths. Gwen is right there in the mix of it all too so I know that there are generally at least 4 ears hearing me explain various truths (for as long as their attention spans allow!). Addy's communication amazes us! Just yesterday she asked Houghton as clear as day "Where are you going?" as he walked out the door. It was hilarious to hear an 18 month old say such a phrase!

*PRAISE: We (Laura, Kenners, and us) have a desire to stay here in Australia a short time after school is out so we can just CHILL before heading to Vanuatu. We want just a bit of time to reconnect as a family, tie up relationships here, debrief all that has been learned throughout the year, strategize some about the year(s) ahead, and enjoy ministering at our local church's Christmas service etc. And we have been in prayer about a place to live as we are not able to stay here on campus once school is out. Each one of our families has secured a place to stay for a time after school is out. This a huge blessing.

*PRAYER: Continued strength for Houghton as he studies. For celerity of mind as he reads A TON of assigned readings, works on several papers etc. That God would help bring out the nuggets of gold that would help our specific ministry in Vanuatu.

*PRAYER: That our team would continue to grow in love and understanding of one another. And we would be faithful to lift eachother up in prayer. Speaking of our large team (YOU all) and our small team (Laura, Kenner, us).

*PRAYER: For growth in Si, Gwen, and Addy. Spiritually and also as they are understanding (and sometimes NOT understanding) what they can and can not do and why or why not! :)

*PRAYER: In reference to the a previous praise: What a blessing that God has opened up a place for us to stay here in Australia for a short time after school. It is a bit of a struggle because we all will be staying some miles away from each other which makes it difficult to get together frequently. But we are confident God has this in mind and will work all things out. Be in prayer that if there is a different housing option out there that God would make that evident to us.


*Praise: Dave and Lynn Thulesen came to visit for three weeks. What a great gift to see them and hang out.

*Praise: Found a church body to plug into.

*Praise: Gretch and kids have gotten into a groove of everyday life again. All sleeping well and once again enjoying the other kids here!

*Praise: We have been getting lots of rain. Hoping it will be green this spring (which is like December-ish here)

*Praise: God is continuing to provide for our every need. Physically, mentally, fincancially, spiritually, and relationally.

*Prayer: Patience day in and out with the kids for Gretchen. And creativity.

*Prayer: School is taking up a lot of time and energy (no surprise) but needing to still keep a balance in our lives!

*Prayer: Spiritual growth for us both and also salvation for the kids!

*Prayer: That we would be faithful in this season of life.

*Prayer: Continue prayer for loneliness. Hearing from friends is such a good encouragement, but also come with a grain of salt!


Praise: That Gretchen was able to finish out the summer school program.

Praise: Safety thus far from the fires that raged through our neighborhood

Praise: We are able to have a week off before starting school again

Praise: Gods provision despite all the uncertainty in the American (and global) economic status

Prayer: For our health as we are going a million miles an hour it seems. Our bodies are sometimes lagging behind.

Prayer: As school is starting a matter of days, that we could get a good schedule and the kids would settle back into a "normal" routine.

Prayer: I, Gretchen, am starting to miss friends and family more and more lately and would ask for your continued prayer in this matter.

Prayer: For the salvation of our kids!

Prayer: That Houghton and our other teammates would be able to throw their all into the courses and that we would be able to better understand what God might be calling us to do in Vanuatu.


Praise: Getting into a groove. School going great and kids enjoying childcare.

Praise: For the skills that we are learning so far and how God has orchestrated our education to glorify Him and better equip us for His ministry.

Praise: Health - Gretchen has been feeling normal again and is able to audit the classes.

Praise: That we are able to have Internet in our flat. This is such a blessing that we cannot take for granted!

Prayer: We experience the feeling of being swamped from time to time. School here can take a lot of time. Pray that we would find a good balance and that our family will grow stronger through this stretching time.

Prayer: For us as parents to glorify God with our relationships with Si, Gwen and Addy and that we would model Christ to them.

Prayer: For our health. It seems that we don't have time to be sick now. :) Pray that we could keep our health to stick to the schedule that is before us for this coming year.


Praise: Celebrated Houghton's 29th birthday this month...what an old man! ;)

Praise: Talking with a lot more ease now. Enjoying some communication! It is so nice to finally be able to hang out and just talk. Still have a SUPER long way to go though.

Prayer: That the relationships we have would grow now that we can talk a bit better and get to more heart level with many contacts.

Praise: First survey trip to an island (and many villages on that island) was an AWESOME survey trip. Couldn't have been better...well Houghton ended up with the that was a bummer. But all in all, the trip was great.

Prayer: For disernment as we seek the place God would have us live.

Praise: Gwen close to being potty trained! YEAH!!!! Kids doing well and seem to feel at home here.

Prayer: Addy is just now getting over Dengue Fever. We are thankful she is the only one that caught far...but it has been hard to see her little body go through this. Pray that she would heal and that her spirits would be lifted.

Praise: The Dengue Fever that has swept through Vila is a mild case. Only lasting about a week.

Prayer: That we would have a HUGE amount of patience for our kids and they for us. I (Gretchen) have felt very tired and sometimes overwhelmed as our whole family (and team for that matter) has been hit with sickness this whole month!

Praise: I have been able to find a friend in Arian, my housegirl, but I have now heard that she is leaving to go to New Zealand to pick apples (a very common job for the Ni-Van here). So I am thankful for her friendship and patience with me these past four months.


Praise: That we are able to have a line of communication VIA the Internet in this 3rd world country!

~ We have always wanted to keep you all updated as much as possible. So to be able to do these updates from our home is HUGE as we can do it more frequently and have more thorough content and videos.

Prayer: That we would continue to be good stewards of the money that God has allotted us through His people. To know the need between our wants and our needs.

Praise: Our health! Although we have battled some colds (who would have thought these existed in such a warm, wet climate) we have been free from serious illness.

Prayer: Continued health. Especially the kids as they are so young and also so naive to the germs that they can pick up everywhere. Also Houghton has been experiencing some pain in his abdomen that he figures is his appendix. So if you could pray that NOTHING would burst!! And that this pain would go away or at least subside until we get to Australia and can get it checked out.

Praise: Making contacts with people visiting Vila that are from other islands and willing to take us to these islands.

Prayer: To be sensitive to God's leading as we pursue different potential ministry opportunities on various islands through contacts met while in Vila.

Praise: Continued functionality in language!

Prayer: That we would not be lazy as we speak. But that we would continue to be personally challenged for perfection in Bislama. Also that we would not fall into ruts with incorrect pronunciation or phrases.


Praise: We have become functional in Bislama!

~ God has given us many many language helpers. From neighbors to strangers!

Prayer: That those that we talk to would be comfortable to correct us when we don't speak correctly! A lot of Ni-Vans know enough English that if we mess up in Bislama ( i.e. by accidentally using an English word) they get the gist of what we are saying and therefore don't correct us. Although WE WANT TO BE CORRECTED so we can communicate properly! So this is a concern to us.

Praise: Our health!

~ We have been healthy for these 6 weeks! With only a bit of uneasy tummies as we get used to the water. No problems with eating different foods, with jet lag, etc. So thankful as we really really wanted to just dive in and we were able to!

Prayer: Seems that we (Houghton, Gretchen, and Si) are coming down with something like a cold. Raspy voice, sore throat, and fatigue. Still functional but it is always nice to be at the top of our game! So we ask that you pray that we would return to full health in this regard. Also prayer in communication clearly with the chemist (pharmacy) down town to get the right medicine.

Praise: Kids are adjusting SO good to a different culture.

~ I sometimes wonder if they even notice that they are in a very different culture. Si is starting to understand and respond to Bislama. He also goes right in a group of kids and plays along side them for hours without skipping a beat. Gwen is a bit more reserved but is starting to feed off the attention that she gets. (there are not many blonde hair/blue eyes girlies running around here). Plus Ni-Vans LOVE kids so it is a blessing that the kids are adjusting so well and becoming comfortable. They also LOVE that they don't have car seats. They are SO comfortable when we take a bus into town etc. :) It is a challenge to get Gwenny to sit still though because she wants to play with the other bus passengers and stick her head as far out the windows as possible. (YIPES)

Prayer: That as the kids adjust they would still have an understanding of their other culture. They will be going back to the USA several times in their adolescence...they need to feel comfortable in both cultures. Also pray for their language learning skills.

Praise: Our housing is SO awesome. It has a fantastic location. We are literally surrounded by the local community. We also are living in a place that we are able to meet and learn from SIL/Wycliffe missionaries that have been serving in Vanuatu.

Prayer: Though we are living in the heart of a Ni-Van community, it has been said that it is NOT a safe neighborhood. We have seen this as there has been a robbery attempt last week down the hill from our house. Though there are bars on the windows (a necessity here) we have many doors and they are not completely safe. Pray for our bodily safety and also safety for our belongings.

Praise: We have been able to keep you updated via e-mail and Internet. Also been able to use Skype to keep in touch with family! Even with a web cam. What a HUGE blessing!

Prayer: That we would not rely too heavily on these technologies as they can fail us (and cause hours of trying to get them going again). But that we would use them while God allows and enjoy them while God allows.