Saturday, July 7, 2007

Joy in the Journey!

Greetings again to all our “blog checkers” and welcome to those who may be checking in for the first time! We’re sorry that we missed the goal of submitting an update last month---it has been the busiest 2 months we can remember, so there is a lot to catch up on!

The second week of May, we went to Puerto Rico for another “harvest” and planning trip (thanks to Skip for watching our kids!!!). Our family yard-saled things, gave things away, took several trips to the dump and still barely fit into the moving truck (oops, still need some progress before crossing the ocean!). Believe it or not, we went to Vermont the day after we dropped boxes in the Baltimore house. Cindy’s grandmother had her 90th birthday celebration and almost all of the aunts, uncles, grandchildren and great-grandchildren came—so it was the type of event not to miss. We visited two affiliated churches in Enfield, CT and Lee, MA and rounded out the New England spree with a visit to cousins from my Dad’s side and visits to two of Julian’s cousins in CT!! Whew!!

We turned around, unpacked a couple boxes, made repairs on the house and it was time for our International Convention. Our welcome “home” to our Baltimore church was worth the work and it has seemed a sheer whirlwind of fellowship through the past month. Greater Grace World Outreach has an annual convention every June when hundreds of missionaries and international friends get together to fellowship around the Word of God. This year’s theme was “Thinking with God”. We heard over 80 messages during the week, many centered on the goal of allowing the Holy Spirit through the Word to give us His thoughts (Ps. 119:25). Having the cross in our life is when our conflict and lack meets with Christ’s Provision. We exchange our life for His, and in this we are more than conquerors—we win!! We win Christ when we can count it all joy, when we can walk through a “no-win” situation and win Christ, think according to God’s eternal perspective, and allow Him to work His life in us! Building ourselves up with God’s thoughts toward us will also lead us to “find him”. Jeremiah 29:11-14 says: “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, Thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord …..”

We had a food booth to raise funds for Puerto Rico missions. Many “San Juan Coolers”, Empanadas (spelling?), chicken and rice meals, etc. passed into the hands of Convention attendants with the help of several people who really worked during the week (Thanks to Misty, Shannon, Peggy, Nate, P. Gary, Lissette, Lissette’s mom, Millie, Olga and many others).

We are getting excited and ask for prayer to help us keep navigating through the many details of this big move. God has been so faithful in every detail! Pray we have the inspiration to attack the boxes in the basement and the peace about deciding what goes, stays, etc. Pray for our kids—they’ve been “troopers”. Pray for Pastor Gary and Lissette with whom we are teaming up. Pray for the up-and-coming homeschool year and God’s leading with books etc. Please pray for affordable, safe housing and the exact location in PR.

We are very encouraged that our friends and loved ones are checking this blog and allowing us to keep you informed. If you are viewing the blog and would like us to add you our update reminder list, please contact us at:

Also, if you would like us to mail you our new “prayer card” with a photo of the family, prayer needs, contact info and a map of Puerto Rico, please e-mail us your mailing address. This card is known to "decorate" many refrigerators!!

Much love!

The Matthews

The photos:
We were not very good photographers in PR this time, here are some highlights from the last 2 months.

After living with a creek behind the PA house for 2 years, we finally "got released" and went in with the adults and kids who came over for Memorial day (this was our first time)!! What a mess!! Getting back up the bank was a challenge!

Crayfish anyone? (We hope we didn't deplete the population)

Uugh! Many hands make light work? While some were wading in the creek, others were making a work day out of it to help us with much needed repairs etc. This is the wood-burning stove -- it weighs a TON! Thanks guys!

The difficult part about ministering and loving people is saying "goodbye" (though knowing we'll have eternity together). The family and others from Greater Grace in York have been visiting Pleasant Acres Nursing Home for more than 3 years. The lady pictured here, Phyllis, was one of the first we met. We visited many folks regularly with an encouraging thought from the Word, sometimes a song, and, of course, greetings from the kids. Thanks to the team members: Skip, Elizabeth, Cody, Sue, Pete & Liz.

Some basics on life in Puerto Rico:

1). Drive Prayerfully!! The only thing Cindy has experienced that compares is Boston, MA!! If you dare open your eyes while being driven, you may glimpse a nice sight like this.

2). Yes, there are pretty beaches in abundance. Now you know whom to come visit!! Us.

3). Beautiful architecture. There is a long standing tradition of Roman Catholicism. We sense that the "white" harvest in Puerto Rico is definitely affected by the people's God-consciousness and respect for the Bible ... many are longing to study the Bible in depth.

4). "Some stuff is really old in Puerto Rico." This is near the Fort in Old San Juan. Some parts date back to 1634.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Steelpan video -- just for fun

Just for is a taste of "down island" culture; a steelpan band practicing in St. Lucia. The picture is very dark, but you can hear their neat sound. These are made from oil drums. You could look in to learn a little history.