Xay’s Almost Missions Trip

Xavier went to Kenya with a group of teens and adults in 2011. This was an 11 day trip that positively impacted his life. Besides leading testimony ceremonies, and getting to know joyful, faithful believers, the group saw a lot of the Kenyan countryside and went on safari. He got close to the other teens in his group; they are among his closest friends to this day. The next summer, he had a short missions trip to Kansas City Missouri to help their large Eastern European refuge community. He drew more close friends from this opportunity.

He planned to travel to Thailand this January for his first long-term mission. He would be there for six months. He was preparing to go when we found out that he would be alone for long stretches of time every day. This is quite a contrast from his previous missions experiences. The young man he would relieve is experienced in long-term missions. But the ministry had some challenges finding enough people to serve. It got complicated for awhile, and we all tried to find an option that would work, but it didn’t work out. He ended up having to cancel the trip entirely.


All through December it was dry and warmish, for us northerners, at least. Though some were panting for snow, I would’ve been content with a temperate winter and an early spring.

Then January hit. I can’t really blame the whole month, though. It really started around the 21st. All of a sudden, we were covered in snow, and the temperature was a single digit. Basketball games and practices were canceled. Last week, school was closed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Wednesday was a freezing rain day. Then it snowed again, starting late Thursday. This week it’s only Tuesday, and schools were closed in advance until Thursday. Tomorrow threatens to be the coldest day yet. We anticipate car parts arriving for Curtis and Xavier to finish his car, just typical of how things have been going.

There’s nothing like mopey, snow bound children, let me tell you. But we have a full cookie jar today, so there’s that.

Ministry of Motherhood

I haven’t talked about my illness. I’d rather not get into it, but I will mention that I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a blood cancer, in 2017. At the time of my diagnosis, the disease was so far gone that I went into kidney failure. The myeloma also weakened my bones and we found broken ribs and a broken vertebrae on the x-ray. I had cement put in my backbone while at the hospital, and was in a wheelchair, then walker, and finally a cane for months. Now I am walking fine, thank the Lord, and my disease is in remission. My biggest health issue is dialysis. My kidneys never recovered, and I’m still praying for healing.

In the meantime, I go to dialysis three days a week, for 3 1/2 hours at a time. I have gotten some good Bible study, worked on my drawing, did lots of coloring, and am learning Latin during dialysis. I am also going through some good devotional books.

I finished The Mission of Motherhood in December. This book, by Sally Clarkson, encourages mothers to embrace their role.

Now I’m reading The Ministry of Motherhood. I have homework in this book. Even though I have all that time at dialysis, it is still thoughtful work that will take time to finish. I am writing a letter to each of my children telling them what gifts I think God has given them, and how He can use them in the kingdom. It’s weighty stuff. Would you like to join me on this mission? This ministry? Let me know. What are you reading?

What About Homeschooling?

We started homeschooling in the fall of 2000. Imani was four months old, and Xavier was a kindergartner. You know those rugged people who carved a living out of the American wilderness? We were not them, but the movement was still pretty small. Homeschooling is pretty well established now. The pioneer homeschool students are now parents. Those that went before us had to answer questions like, “How do you homeschool through high school?” Leigh Bortins, the founder of Classical Conversations (CC), answered this question with her program. Before we starting doing CC, we found other ways to homeschool through high school. We used community college and a homeschool co-op for high school for Yanni, as well as an internship with Curtis. Xavier had homeschool co-op, and an internship with Curtis, where he learned programming and worked for the company.

Imani had CC for high school. We joined this group when Imani was in 9th grade, Joy was in 7th grade, Esteban was in 5th grade, and Chanya was in 1st grade. Classical Conversations started as a high school program, using the classical method of repetition, memorization, and recitation. It is a rigorous program that includes Latin, literature, science, logic, debate, and math. Leigh Bortins taught her own children through graduation, and then asked them what would have made their schooling easier or better. They said it would have helped if they had memorized important facts in the elementary years that they could build on as they got older. So the elementary program was reverse engineered to give the children useful facts they could build on later. The younger children memorize hundreds of facts every year.

When we joined CC, Esteban memorized all theThese are the facts Chanya is memorizing this year.
memory work that year, becoming a “Memory
Master.” It was hundreds of facts,
including all the geography of the US. He did it again the next year, when we studied the ancient world. Chanya is now the age Esteban was when he first became Memory Master. She is studying for it. We will let you know how it turns out.

“Worship Arts is like a Christian Camp Rock,” Imani


Worship Arts trains young people to lead worship in their church. Imani joined worship arts last spring, singing and playing guitar, and loved it so much that she invited all of her friends and siblings to join as well. In the fall, Imani sang on the travel team, and Esteban joined as a bass player. He also had a great time, and also signed up for this semester, even though he’s also playing basketball. Joy joined this semester as well, and she’s playing drums in Esteban’s band. Imani is returning to the travel team for her last semester (you can’t do that band after turning 19), and all three kids joined the new gospel choir at Worship Arts, called Voices. I went to the first Voices practice, and this is a promising young group. The children look forward to practice every week, but the weather has interfered with practices so far. We’ll update you on this activity in the upcoming months.