Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Old places, New seasons

It has been quite a long time and quite a long journey since our last post. In the space between, we visited America for about 10 weeks, traveling up and down the east coast and catching up with many that we haven't seen in a long time. This was also a time of  much needed refreshment for us as a family and was great for giving us renewed vision. It also marked a season of change in our ministry. We felt very clearly led, at the beginning of this year, to move back to Dongguan -  the city we first lived in. We initially struggled a lot with this idea (1,000 miles back in the direction we just came? Seriously?), but through the leading and calming of the HS and wise counsel from a few G**ly folks we were able to look through new eyes and see that those were clearly the doors that were opening for us. Since that time we have seen why. So here's the lowdown on what the family is up to now:

Steve: The Father made it clear that Steve needed to return to work. At the same time we felt like He had spoken clearly to us about this, we received an unexpected message from our old boss asking if we would ever be interested in coming back to work for him. Why as a matter of fact, yes we would. So Steve has taken the position of guidance counselor at an international chr***ian school, with a student population of around 300 and lots of opportunities to pour into students lives. Along with the B**** study beginning in our apartment soon, he is also splitting the sunday morning teaching duties at the local international fellowship. He is excited to be hard at the plough again...

Carissa: Carissa has also returned to work. She is teaching a half day of high school science at the same international school. She is really looking forward to explaining the wonders of the Father's creation to a student body that is mostly unreached. And while she is only teaching half day, she is certainly not working only a half day - there is no such thing when you have five kids (including Steve)!.

The kids: The three girls all started school this week: Ruthee 5th grade, Vaylah 4th and Dayuma 1st. Though this first week of school has been quite an adjustment, they are taking it like champs, and so far doing great. It is incredible watching them grow up outside of their culture yet still flourishing in their walk with their Creator as they learn firsthand that there truly is no place we can go where we will be out of His presence. We are so excited to see them be witnesses in their classrooms!

Abishai is not going to school, so we hired a local person to be his ayi (literally auntie, but sort of like a nanny). She stays with him in the morning until Carissa returns at 1. We were really nervous about this, but so far so good. She really loves him, and he seems to like her as well. He has really been enjoying rocking out to hillsong lately....

  • For a wonderful time in America and all of the people that blessed us along the way
  • For many opportunities for ministry
  • That we found an apartment big enough for our family
  • A wonderful group of people to minister with
  • Provision
Pr**er requests
  • Protection over various ministries
  • Continued help with transition, especially for the kids and friends
  • Wisdom for Steve as he teaches
  • Language acquisition
  • Sal**tion of our good friend Lily! - We think she is so close!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

It's winter already?

As many of you know, in order for us to move to this house on the mountain, a number of things had to fall into place in a short amount of time. And they did!  So now we ask "ok, Father, how can we use this place for your glory?" We seem to have found at least one of the answers to this question - hosting large groups of people. At the end of october, beginning of november, china celebrated two national holidays in the space of two weeks. We used both of these occasions to have people over to celebrate. At the first party we had 20-25 come up, and at the second we had over 40 come visit. We played games inside and hiked through the woods.  It was also a great time for Steve to gather everyone together and share with them the message of eternal life. Overall we had a great time hosting and look forward the next holiday - which in this case is thanksgiving (we told everyone that every holiday, chinese or american, we would open our house to any who would come.) Please be lifting up this time in advance, that more would come out and hear the good news! In the picture below, our friends are grilling squid on our front porch. It was raining so we couldn't put the grill in the yard.  Our house smelled like squid for days!

In other ministry related news, Steve has also recently begun to teach at a new B school here in town. This semester he is teaching verse by verse through the 3rd book of the NT. He is really enjoying teaching it and getting to know the students.

Family life - The Father answered two of our requests from last month - we were able to come up with a solution (at least temporary) for the internet, and the funds were provided for us to buy a hot water heater. This 2nd one has really come in handy because - It's really cold up here! We have had more rain lately, which has made the temperature drop significantly. Just the other day it was 50 degress (that's 10 for those who may be fahrenheit challenged) in the kitchen! Right now we have consolidated the sleeping arrangements into the two smallest rooms - rooms that can heated with space heaters.   It is working so far, but it's hard to believe we just entered November! But it  has been a blessing to know that, rain or shine, we can still take a hot shower!

The weather has also done a number on our health. For the last two weeks, we have been taking turns being sick (fever, cough, runny nose, etc). Abishai seems to have gotten the worst of it, and has been sick for nearly 2 weeks straight now. We certainly appreciate your 'thoughts' towards him and the rest of us for health.

Praises - In mid-october Carissa was able to attend a weekend women's retreat just outside of our city. She was really blessed and encouraged during this time;
 We celebrated Dayuma's 6th birthday party! We can hardly believe that it was six years ago, in Ethiopia, that the Father blessed us with this precious one;
 We got internet and hot water!
Requests - The upcoming events at our house;
 Provision and safety as we have to leave then re-enter the country next month for our visas;
Be blessed in the Father today!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Life on the mountain

It has been an interesting month and a half since we moved to the village on the mountain. Lots of good things, but also lots of things that have been proving a little frustrating.

The good - The house has plenty of space - the kids each have their own bedroom, and a room for homeschool. There is also a yard for the kids to play in, as well as lots of forest and hills to explore. They are really enjoying being outside a lot.
Working with the contractor went well. It was good practice for Steve with his language, and most everything came out to our satisfaction. We also made friends with the contractor and his family in the process. We shared a meal together with them at their house, and hopefully he will be coming back to our place next weekend for a holiday party. Please this relationship up, as we would love to see this family come to know the Father.
Also, shortly after moving in, a Pstr. friend of our from Florida came with a team of 3 college students - Kelly, Abby and David. They were such a blessing helping us get our house in order, and we even we able to paint almost the entire first floor!

The bad - we still do not have internet at the house (I am writing this from a friends house) and the main company in town said that they no longer could do it in our area :/  ....we know there is a solution out there, but we just have to find it!
Also, the area itself has proved to be a little frustrating because of its distance from town. We realized this would be an issue before moving, but hopefully we be alleviated soon as the Father has provided money for us to buy a car, which we will pick up this Sunday!

The ugly - The water at our house is heated by a solar water heater. Which I'm sure the energy conscious among us are happy about. However, a week and a half straight of rain, and an altitude of about 6000 feet might quickly change your mind. Perhaps I should have titled this section 'the smelly'. Cold showers in a cold house = not fun! We have had some sun the past couple of days, though, which has helped

Family - All of the family is doing well, although someone has been coughing almost the entire 6 weeks we have been living here. We are in the 3rd week of homeschool and it is going very well. Ruthee is in the 4th grade, and her workload has seen a pretty drastic increase - but she is tackling it like a champ. Vaylah is in the 3rd grade, and has shown marked improvement in her attitude over last year. Her reasoning? 'The sooner I finish, the sooner I can have summer vacation'. My thoughts exactly.
Dayuma has started K-5 and is reading and learning the calendar, and we have begun potty training with Abishai. He stays dry for the most part, but has yet to actually use the toilet. He just waits until naptime when we put a diaper on him. But he does enjoy the skittles he gets when he sits on the potty. We think he's just using us.

Ministry - In the middle of August, we were blessed to have the first ever CC retreat in country. It was held in Dali, a beautiful little city surrounded by mountains and a big lake. CC Philly blessed us all by providing the money to rent out an entire lodge, so that we could be free to hold 'meetings' and have times of worship together. All told, including children, there were about 30 people from different cities who were able to attend. 4 of us guys taught through the book of Phillipians, and hope everyone went home a little refreshed and built up.
Next week is a big holiday here - the mid-autumn festival. We are hoping to have a large party at our house (21st), with people from my saturday 'class', perhaps some from a friend's 'class' people from my school, and hopefully many friends that are not yet in the family. Please keep this lifted up. We have asked the Father to use this house for His glory, and hope that this is the first of many opportunities to do so.

Requests: That we can find an internet company to service our area; that we can find a cheap solution to our hot water problem; and lastly, there is an ongoing issue with visas. On July 1st many new rules went into effect, which are affecting not just us, but many other foreigners, especially americans. These changes have affected not just tourist visas, but also business and student. For us, here on student visas the affect is as follows: the dependants (Carissa and the kids) can no longer stay for 1 year without leaving - they must exit the country after 180 days. So at some point in December or January we will all have to go out. Possibly we will drive down to Vietnam or Laos, or possibly fly to Thailand. We can come right back in - that is not the issue. But it is just extra inconvenience - traveling with six by for a long way is not fun, and flying with six is not cheap. And many people have gotten hit worse then us. It would be great to remember this situation in your 'thoughts', that people, especially those living farther inland, will not grow discouraged, and decide to pack it up. Sorry this is so long - but we haven't updated in so long and don't know when we will be able to next! Blessing from the Reeves!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Big Big House on Top of the Mountain

"Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days. You would not believe if you were told." Habakkuk 1:5

So here's the big story this month.  we're moving....again!  We would like to tell you the short version of how the doors for this house opened up to us.  Our friends rented this place for five years to house an orphanage project.  Since things fell through for them it has been empty for 18 months.  We first went to look at it mostly dreaming of having a small yard and a separate room for homeschool.  We loved it but said no thanks because at the time the obstacles were too great.  1. The house is a 20 minute drive up a mountain on the north side of the city.  Which presents a difficulty for a family of six.  2. It would cost us 8000 yuan to end our current lease early.  3. The house has no kitchen or shower.  Which presents another problem for a family of six. 
The week after we looked at the big big house, a family came to our house for lunch.  They said they were looking to move into our neighborhood and would love to sublet an apartment like ours!  So we called the landlord and he said ok.  The next Sunday someone offered us a car!  Over the next couple of weeks we talked to our friends who hold the lease on the big big house.  They cut us a deal on the rent so we can use the first three months to put in a kitchen and a shower!
The house is bigger than we need and we don't know for sure how HE wants to fill it up, but we invite you to lift it up with us.  It just seemed so obvious that HE set it aside for us.  We are waiting with our mouths open wide to see how HE fills it. 
Update on Abishai is that sometimes he sits on the toilet without screaming in fear....nothing ever comes out.  Mostly we just wanted to show you this cool outfit. 

Dayuma posing at the tea market. The girls are making many Chinese friends this summer.  It is difficult to play with locals during the school year because their school day is 10-12 hours.  During their short summer we are doing our best to reach out to them.  We "hope" our girls will be a blessing to this community this summer.
Carissa cleaning the toilet on the main floor in the new house.  It has been unoccupied for a long time so it is filthy!  Don't worry there are western toilets on the second floor. 

Steve was able to see a GI doctor in Thailand at the end of May.  He had a procedure done which gave the doctor some insight to the problem.  Steve is having a bad flare up of his Crohn's disease, but his blood work came back ok.  This means that there is no active infection in the rest of his body.  At the end of the week we took a break from doctors appointments and went to the night safari.  The kids loved it!

1. Steve's health.
2.  Steve would be able to get a driver's license.
3. Honest and efficient contractor to help us with work on the big house.
4.  Help and translation for the purchase of a car.
5. We are currently in the visa process again.

1. Steve has been able to get medicine that may help him.
2. A sweet visit from the Rogers (some CC friends) that greatly encouraged us.
3. A much needed retreat has been provided for cc families in August.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

We had about 25 people in our little apartment on Easter.  We all shared a big potluck meal together, followed by a time or worship and a message about the true meaning of the holiday, and the importance of the resurrection. This was to be followed by a 'dunking' in our bathtub, but we were hesitant as one of the ladies who attended with her son was a police officer. Fortunately, the group had asked before hand if we could arrange a game of "hide the egg".  This provided a good opportunity for Carissa to invite all those with children outside. We realize it is usually the adults who hide the eggs, but sometimes you do what you gotta do! So while the kids were hiding the eggs, we finished up inside. Afterward, the whole group went out, the adults hiding the eggs now, and the world of easter egg hunts was made right again. It actually seemded like the adults enjoyed the game more than the kids! Later on in the evening, as things were winding down, came the best moment of the night as a young girl named Esther became a new sister!

We were also able to celebrate Mother's day in a special way. We all went out to a restaurant where about 15 mother's, many with their children, met to celebrate. We surprised them all with flowers and chocolate (everybody loves chocolate, right?). Steve was able to share a message of hope and encouragement for these ladies. This was followed by an opportunity for anyone to share what their mother meant to them. Not to many of them did, but there were a couple who really broke down when they began to speak. It was a really special evening, and hopefully some of those who came will also come to the weekend study.

The big girls are almost finished with school for the year.  Vaylah is showing her excitement for the last day of Saxon second grade math!  Our last day of school is June 15th.  Not bad for starting October 15th!  They are most excited about taking a break from Chinese lessons this summer.  Vaylah does not enjoy writing characters at all!!!!

This guy had his second birthday! 

Dayuma is unfortunately caught in perpetual kindergarten.  Her lessons are the last thing we get to each day, so she is in the school year that will never end!  She has begun reading and writing , so we are making progress, and she is thrilled.  Recently on a relaxed night at the table, the big girls were reading silently during dinner.  I looked again and Day had her k-reader open in front of her.  She's a big girl now.   


-This Sunday, the 19th, we will be traveling to Thailand to take care of some medical issues. Steve will be seeing a GI doctor there, and likely undergoing some tests (colonoscopy, etc - good times). We will also try to take care of some routine things for the kids while we are here. Please ask the Father for Steve, that he would see the right doctor who can prescribe the right course of action. We continue to actively ask for his complete healing, but at the same time are not opposed to seeking help for the medical field.
-There is an opportunity for us to move into a house in a village about 30 minutes outside of the city. There would be pros and cons to this move. It is a large, stand-alone house with a small yard (which is rare here), adjacent to an empty field leading into a wood and up a mountain. This is exciting to think about for our family, and the house would lend itself to numerous ministry opportunities, but we are not sure of the timing. Even though it is not that far away, it would still be difficult to move again just as we are getting settled in and making friend here- especially for the kids. So please ask for wisdom for this decision, as we have to make it by the end of the month.

New Contact info:

We love to hear from everyone, but communication has been difficult lately as the computer we have been using has no web cam,  and we also lost our magic jack phone after two years.(Someone chewed on it - you'll never guess who). So now  we have a new phone number via skype.  You can call us at 215-310-5864.  Please remember there is a 12 hour time difference :)

Blessings to all and to all a good night!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

There and back again - A Reeves' tale

Early in the year 1907, at the Donhuvar compound in Southern India run by Amy Carmichael, and epidemic of dysentery swept through which claimed the lives of 10 of the 16 babies being cared for. Amy, herself away at the time recovering from illness, once again came under fire from most other 'workers'  in the area. The place was to crowded- she should borrow money to expand. She should hire workers to help. She should make use of 'nominal' believers in the work - all commom practices amongst the othes. But none of these were part of the vision that the Father had given to her. She was distraught. In correspondence back with Amy her main helper, Ponnammal, said this: "Let us work until we drop, but let us never lower our standard." This is the path Amy had traveled until this point, and it was the path she would remain on the rest of her life. Uncompromising to what she felt the Lo** had showed her.
     Are the standards that Amy Carmichael upheld universal? Not necessarily - The H.S. works in different ways with different people and in different ministries. But the question that begs answering is this: Have you lowered your standard? Because the temptation to do just that is always there. In fact, when things get tough, that is often the first thing that comes to mind - what can I do to make this easier. Often our answer to this involves lowering the standard revealed to us by the Father. But this should be resisted at all costs. Will He who called you not also be faithful to do it? What is the standard that He has given to you- for you family, your ministry, your life as a whole? Hold fast to that in the tough times and you can be sure that He will see you through.
     Our time in the States was Great! Refreshing, encouraging, fun (though not always restful), we were so glad to see everyone and for the support shown to us. Thanks so much to everyone who shared a meal, there house, their finances, pra*ers, etc. We were truly blessed. But we were also excited to get back to our home here, and get things moving again.
     The second semester has begun for the whole family.  Ruthee and Vaylah are working towards finishing 3rd and 2nd grades respectively.  They are taking Chinese lessons on Monday and Thursday afternoon.  Dayuma is learning to read!  Praise Him for wonders that never cease.  Abishai is turning two this month and can count from one to ten.  Some of the numbers are English and some are Chinese.....none are in order.  Bless his heart he doesn't know yet that he's bilingual.  He just mixes words from both languages!

     Steve has recently begun teaching through the book of Phillipians, and is really enjoying studying with the group. We are all really excited for the upcoming resurrection day celebration. Please keep this in your thoughts, as it will be an open invite to our house and there is at least one scheduled 'dunking'.
     It has been a difficult season for Steve's health. As many of you know he has had a long battle with Crohn's disease. Shortly before returning to the states he had a flare-up, which continued during our stay. The Father was gracious to us and provided several months worth of medicine (a sincere thanks to those who provided for this!) for us to come back with. He is currently doing better, but we feel as though something more permanent needs to be put into place. Our overall heart is to ask for his complete healing - would you ask the Father with us for this? While we are doing this, we are also considering another trip to Thailand next month, where the hospitals and doctors are first rate. If the complete healing is still down the road, we feel it is wise to get under regular supervision for the illness. But in all, we desire wisdom, and not to be controlled by fear of any kind.
     And I (steve) want to say thanks to my wife (she doesn't know i am writing this). She is truly the Father's gift to me. She is like superwoman, especially when I am not feeling great. I am truly blessed!
     Thanks so much and love to all! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Safe and Sound

We made it to Kunming on July 2nd.  We have slowly gotten accustomed to our new surroundings, and neighborhood.  Ruthee does have her own room with bunkbeds!  She is finally able to protect her stuff!
Vaylah's birthday was a success.  She turned 7 July 20th. She was "asking" that our family would make friends quickly so she would have friends to come to her party.  He answered with just the right number of people....7!

Abishai made one new friend at the class Steve teaches on Sunday afternoon.  Steve was happy to introduce our family to his new students.  Please lift up all of our children as we have a ways to go in this transition. 
The big story for this summer is the second break!  Dayuma originally broke her left radius on May 26th.  On June 23rd we went to the hospital expecting to have the cast taken off, but discovered the bone had slipped back out of position and surgery was necessary to correct it.  We did the surgery on Tuesday, June 26th.  We moved to our new city just a few days later.  It has been a trial finding post op care in a different city.  We have learned the hard way that the Chinese do not often transfer the care of a patient.  Also Dayuma has been traumatized by the whole experience and threw quite a fit for anyone who attempted to remove the stitches or pin.  Finally, with the help of a "sister" MD from Singapore, a Chinese bone surgeon agreed to put Day to sleep to remove the pin and stitches.  We scheduled this procedure for Tuesday July 24th.  To our great shock, on Monday July 23rd she fell from a climbing place and broke her humerus ( the same arm) just under the shoulder (note exhibit A). 
We believe the best option is to fly Dayuma to a foreign friendly hospital in Thailand to diagnose and treat this second break.  Please stand in the gap with us as Steve travels with her to Bangkok to see a doctor trained in the "west".  They are leaving tomorrow July 26th. We are surprised at the timing of these events, but are confident that nothing can separate us from His love.  We know that this battle is not of flesh and blood and this step of moving has put a target on us. 
Naturally the cost of this trip is unexpected because it fell so close to our move.  Already the new friends we made here gave us the money to fly to Thailand.  Praise Him!   We will not know the hospital expense until the diagnosis.  We are believing that He will give us exactly what we need. We covet your prys more than ever as we enter uncharted territory within uncharted territory.  Please ask for our inner strength to be increased. We desire His presence most of all.