Sunday, August 25, 2013

Summer Summary :-)

Wow, this summer has flown by! I spent each weekday at the school teaching the eight week summer Greek class. Every new student starts their studies at Tyndale with summer Greek in order that all of their classes in the New Testament from that point forward can build upon this foundation. All of our evenings and weekends were spent getting things in order and adjusting to our new life and home here in the Netherlands. I want to briefly mention some of our summer highlights in terms of accomplishments and answered prayers.

--We received official government approval to homeschool for the 2013-2014 academic year! We need to re-apply each year but the approval we received this year with no hassles could almost be called a miracle. Many homeschooling families require professional legal aid to get through the red-tape and it is generally expected that there will be an initial refusal. We know that many of you have specifically been praying for us in this regard; thank you!

--We received five year residency cards and BSN (citizen service) numbers within our first month! The five-year residency card was an unexpected blessing since many missionaries and expats only receive one year residency cards and need to reapply each year (for a family of 6 like us that would be a 2,000 euro reapplication fee each year). Nobody we have spoken with knows why, but for whatever unknown reason we all received 5 year residency cards!

--Many of the other missionaries here were anticipating our arrival and set apart various second-hand items over this past year so that we were able to furnish our entire house (beds, mattresses, couches, dishes, tables, chairs, desks, book shelves, etc.) with very little out-of-pocket expenses.

--We have a great group of incoming students; they are hungry to learn, passionate in prayer, and excited about serving God with their lives! We will continue to highlight students in our newsletters and here on the blog as the semester progresses.

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and support that has made all this possible. We will be starting the Fall semester in one week and look forward to see what God has in plan. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I live in Holland?

  I was in the living room alone (Legos and nap time are a beautiful thing!) when I decided to practice saying "it".  My voice echoed off our bare walls.  I think I surprised myself when I said it because it sounded strange to say such a thing, it didn't and doesn't feel real, but feelings of reality or not it is quite true!  I said it out-loud just to hear how it sounded.  "Hi, I'm Jenny and I live in Holland."

To God be the glory that we can say it!  We are praising Him for His provision in getting us here and for providing the "things" we need: beds, appliances, Legos.  We are praising Him for giving us the joy and hope in each new day with all of the new things we face.  We are praising Him as He gives us comfort in all the things, places, people (and can I just add in food!?!) that we miss.

So, I'm told a picture is worth a thousand words.  This is a random summary of our past almost 2 months of "Hi, we are the Stewarts and we live in Holland!?!"

A Welcome party on our first day hosted by fellow missionaries at Tyndale.  The boys enjoyed meeting up with some of the friends they made last year!
We stayed in the dorms at Tyndale for the first about two weeks while all the paperwork and construction work was finished on our rental home.  The boys were looking at a card Meme sent Benjamin for his birthday!

During our first week Benjamin turned SIX years old!  All the students joined us for an ice cream celebration and a sweet new friend, Katy, surprised us with fun decorations!

Ready to blow out the candle! 
Our new home pre-floor, lights, and paint!  We had so much help from the students with getting all of those things completed!  We feel so very blessed and are truly thankful for their time and hard work.  Many of them arrived when we did and were travel weary and adjusting to a new culture along with us! 
Paul helping with the flooring...
The backyard...before.

Clean up round one...we now have planted some strawberries, raspberry bushes and Alex's long awaited Kiwi vine!  Elijah has planted a pumpkin patch and Mommy put in lettuce and broccoli.

Front yard...also round one we have some flowers now!
Picnic at the house before we moved in.

One of our first nights in our new home...this is 10:30 at night and yes, that's the sun you see not a reflection of the flash on the window!  Not easy to convince little people to go to bed with the sun still up!

Road construction!
More Road construction...


Continuing the Stewart tradition of reinforcing the chairs, you will have to ask Alex and his brother Joel about those stories!  We are so thankful for all of the furniture that was donated for our home!
Thankful for the Kauffman Family!  They are here to study at Tyndale and are also homeschooling!  Our kids have really enjoyed playing together.  They have built a fort, made bows and arrows, gone on some fun field trips and discovered some really great parks together!

Independence Day Celebration with fellow Americans in Holland! 
Roasting marshmallows on the 4th of July!
Getting Mommy's bike ready to go.  Micah will ride in the front, Paul in the back and the groceries go on the rack over the front wheel!  Mommy muscle is being taken to a whole new level!

Dr. Alex in his office!  God is so good to guide us to places, people and life experiences we never expected to bring us to this time and place!  We are thankful for your love, prayers and encouragement as we follow HIS leading in being part of the ministry at Tyndale!  To God be the glory!