Saturday, January 12, 2019

New Pains Come With The Exercise

The snow has melted, it is cold outside but inside the fire is warm. There is just a week before Christmas. The Christmas tree is full of memories from all the ornaments from over the years, some branches are bowing with the weight of them.  The Advent calendar is counting down the days until Christmas. The manger scene's are in place. Mixed nuts are on the table. Christmas movies are on hold at the Library. The kids arrived home, back from college. Going to put the Gingerbread house together tonight and I made some cookies.We remember a special birthday this time of year, the birth of a Savior.

Reflecting back to the last 8 months, they have gone quickly. This furlough has seen many changes. Growing and stretching in new ways. New pains come with the exercise.

We had a nice Thanksgiving with family. It was hard not having our two oldest kids with us, it seems strange. We had a yummy dinner with all the fixings. Mack's mom cooked the Turkey and all that goes with it. In the evening we (30+) walk across the bridge from Cincinnati into Kentucky and stop and White Castle (ick). Then we turn around and walk back. It's been a tradition well since before I came into the family. I did ask one time, why do we walk across the bridge? My mother-in-law said well it's free. Having 7 children of her own, they had to find cheap/free things to do. Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same if we didn't trek across the bridge. We had the opportunity to go to the Ark Encounter over Thanksgiving. Our last furlough, I heard they where going to build the Ark, I was so excited. I thought, well on our next furlough the Ark should be completed. We enjoyed the day with Mack's parents coming with us. I've read many times about Noah building the Ark. The dimensions of the Ark, the calling of the animals, the one door. I think about what they ate and what they feed the animals, I also think about water. How did they get water? What about light? How about the air circulation? Waste, human waste and animal waste as well. On the Ark they showed how the Ark was built with all this in mind. It was truly amazing. The Ark was ahead of it's time if you think about it. Something else caught my attention was the clay water tanks to water and feed the animals. Then I realized, necessity is the mother of invention, if you need it, you will find a way to make it or rig something up to meet the need at hand. Being in Ghana you see the need of something to hold water, whether it is a bucket or jug or to a bigger storage tank. In the States you forget about that because you always have water and we don't think of storing it. In Ghana, that is always on your mind. You hope to always have water, but you better have a reserve, a holding tank of water for those times there is no water, due to the dry season or they shut off the water pipes. If you get a chance to see the Ark, I recommend it. This time of year the Christmas lights where lit all around the Ark, it was so pretty. They also have an ice skating rink.




Nehemiah had his 12 birthday at the end of November. He had a friend and a cousin come over to spend the night.

It is now 2019!! Joseph had his 17th birthday the 3rd. Joseph had his friend Joe come over for the evening. Macks birthday is on the 18th.

As the new year begins our focus turns to Ghana. We need to start focusing on what we need to take back to Ghana. Each furlough it gets harder to go back. Not that I don't want to go back, that's not it. It just gets harder to pack and unpack. I know what faces me upon my return. Being finally settled here, now it's time to uproot once again and be unsettled for a couple more months over there, as we settle back into a routine. Not Looking forward to our piece of a vehicle that bumps along the roads. You have to laugh to keep from crying. However, I can't wait t get a hold of the little boy (Matthew) and mush his chubby cheeks. I can't wait to see the girls, Prince, Linda and Koasi. To get back to the Deaf School and the students. To see our dog and get some new puppies. I am looking forward to it, it's just a big job to go back and leave two of kids here, an ocean away.  It kind of stinks, to leave them. I feel like I'm abandoning them. It's been nice to have them here for Christmas break, although it makes it that much harder to leave. Did I say it stinks?

Monday, December 17, 2018

When the Preacher Became Great

When I first met Mack's family, all I heard was, Dr. Keen is a great Preacher. He is one of a kind. He is a godly man. Well, my expectations of Dr. Keen where very high. So I finally got to hear him preach.  Again, I was expecting hell fire and brimstone preaching. My expectations fell short. When the service was over, I was like, that's it? That was Dr. Keen? Those where my expectations.  I am ashamed at that now. I was immature and didn't know greatness when I saw it. I never really got to know Dr. Keen, after all I was just visiting. When I did get to hear him preach, he was in an out of the service before you could even greet him. Then a few years later when he was transitioning from being Pastor to becoming Pastor Emeritus and beginning a new ministry, my view of Dr. Keen changed.

We were attending First Baptist's Missions Conference. Dr. Keen was transitioning from Pastor to Pastor Emeritus. Dr. Keen and his wife Mary, sat right in front of us. That year for missions they were doing a coin offering each night. Mack and I were gathering up our change and Dr. Keen turns around and asks us for some change, so we give him all that we dug out for ourselves to give. (When Dr. Keen asks you, you do it. I think he new that.) The next night, I tapped Dr. Keen on the shoulder and asked him if he had any change? He looked at Mary and said, "They're trying to take all my money." I know that doesn't seem so great, but that's when Dr. Keen became great in my eyes. He wasn't preaching or didn't really have a part in the service, just sitting in the pew, just like the rest of us. He really was human.

Dr. Keen is a godly man. When he enters the room, you feel God's presence. I've heard testimony of his prayer closest and he CAN get a hold of God.  When you talk to Dr. Keen he never takes the glory for himself, he always gives it back to God. I still don't know him well, but I can spot a true man of God a lot easier these days. My husband is a product of his ministry and teaching. Things I see modeled in my husbands life and ministry are a result of Dr. Keen teaching him. My husband always says, "My preacher used to say...."

A great preacher is not someone who rattles off a lot of hot air, but can rightly divide the word of God. Who teaches you and counsels you from the word of God. Over the years you see it modeled in their life. They have a relationship with God.

I've gotten to know Preacher a little better over the 22 years, I've been a Siekbert.  We've had lunch a time or two, treated to ice cream and been in a few meetings with him.  It is an honor to know him and Mary. If you get a chance to rub shoulder with some of the greats don't miss the opportunity.

"It's because of yielded people being used of God. You just took the counsel and obeyed it." Dr. Keen


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Ryan's Journey

While still in Ghana, two weeks before we left for furlough, my youngest sisters son was diagnosed with Children's Leukemia. It happened so fast. One day she took him to the doctor for his leg, the next she was taking him to a blood doctor, then the diagnosis was given. Ryan is only 4 years old (although he is as tall as me). His mom and dad are both very tall. My sister has two other children a 10 year old and 3 year old. The chemo is taking its toll. His hair is starting to fall out. His immune system level is still high at this point. I am amazed at Ryan. I see him laughing, making funny faces then his is asleep and snoring in church. I would totally be wiped out at all he has to go through.  He gets exhausted faster when doing activities. It is hard to watch your 4 year old have to have so much medicine pumped into his body, and all the changes and side effects that go with it. Ryan is a trooper. My sister gains her strength from God. None of us could do what we do without God.We can question God, but we have to be willing to except His answer. He will never leave us, but is walking each step of this journey with her. God is not surprised that this has happened. He has a plan, and his plan is so God gets the glory. Along the journey we can continue to point to Christ. 

We got to attend a Rubber Ducks baseball game. It was their children's cancer night. Ryan was one of the children chosen to run the bases during one of the innings and get high fives from both teams. He was made famous when they Medina Gazette published his story. You can follow Ryan's Journey on facebook. He still has 3 years of chemo and treatments. It's going to be a long journey. Please keep their family in your prayers. 

From Jessica:  After 6 hours at the Hospital and 4 types of Chemo later I Was going to wait till tomorrow to start Ryan’s school but he didn’t want to wait! So we did a few things tonight 💙 My big boy 🤓🍎📚✏️
(The second pic he said “ok Mom now a funny one” I feel like that is exactly what it’s going to be like teaching him 
😂 he’s so goofy!) 


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Class of 2018

It's been a whirlwind of activities since we have arrived home on furlough. We have gotten settled in and trying to get into a routine. It is hard because it is summer time. We started out at our home church, they had their Missions Conference at the end of April. Our prayer cards need updated and so many details that need updated. It's coming.

We were in two of our supporting churches before we headed down to Florida for our son Matthew's graduation. He graduated from the Abeka Academy Homeschool. They had close to 500 students walk to receive their diploma. We spent a week there in Pensacola, spending time with our daughter, Naomi (who we haven't seen for a year) and Matthew before they both work on campus at PCC for the summer. We had a busy and fun week together. We got Matthew moved into the dorm before we left them both. We were in a church in TN on the way back to Ohio. This Sunday we were at another one of our supporting churches  and next week we will be in a Missions Conference. Thank You for praying for us as we got settled back into cold Ohio, and for our many travels, with many more to come. Have a great summer. Enjoy the pictures from our trip to Florida. 

Graduation Party

Grandpa & Grandma Siekbert 


Got a Frosty after church

Blue Wahoo Baseball Game

Going to see some Dolphins

Naval Aviation Museum

Pray for Naomi and Matthew

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