Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer News #2

It's official. We will be here through at least mid-August now. So many of you have asked "So...when are y'all leaving?" and we have answered over and over "When our house sells!" I have to admit that it is a frustrating thing to know you are going, but to not know WHEN you are going!  Our house has been on the market now for two months and 3 weeks and not a single offer has come in as of yet. We know that God is in control and that His timing is perfect, as Lowell mentioned in our last update. I've known that there is obviously some good reason why God has not allowed it to sell just yet, although it has been a test of our faith waiting and wondering. Most of you know that summer is a time of fun in the sun, relaxing, swimming, bbq's, hanging out with friends, and most of all - CHURCH CAMP!! Several months ago, when the news of summer church camp was announced at church, we had to sadly tell the boys that they would not be able to go this year, assuming that we would be gone or at least very close to leaving for Bolivia. However, realizing that we would indeed be here for Jr. High camp made us re-think allowing our oldest, Aidan, to go.
This presented another issue, though. If Aidan was going to be allowed to go to camp, then we had to make the decision to stay long enough to allow Liam and Jude to go to Kids' Camp in August. Did we really want to do that? Well, the more we thought about it and talked it over, we came to realize that this may be one of the very good reasons God wants us to stick the summer out here at home. It is truly worth waiting and delaying our departure by a month or so for our boys to have one last opportunity to have the church camp experience with all of their friends.
On another positive note, I (Shay) will now be able to attend my 20 year (gasp!) high school reunion in July! And the last positive thing about being here through the summer, is that Jude and Olivia will be able to celebrate their birthdays with family and friends.
In spite of our decision to stay until August, WE STILL NEED OUR HOUSE TO SELL ASAP!!!!! We know our God is a big God and that He is faithful to meet all of our needs. Lowell was blessed to receive a "severance" pay when his time with CCCC ended (*sigh*), but that is swiftly running out since it has been nearly 3 months (Wow!). Our obvious hope would be that we would not have to start digging into the funds that we have raised to do ministry/missions in Bolivia. If our home sold by the end of June, this would put us in a good financial position - not having to pay another mortgage payment, for example, or bills related to our home. Please continue to pray that God will bring a buyer or someone to lease the house by the end of June. Pray for temporary "housing" for the weeks before departure if the house indeed does sell soon. Pray that we would have the "summer of our lives" so to speak, one that would hold fast in the memories of the kids and that they will be able to deepen their friendships with the lifelong friends they've had here in LC. Pray for their lives to be transformed at camp and that God would even use that time to prepare them for the journey ahead, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. We will also be taking one last little trip to San Antonio at the end of June to be part of a Bolivia Peace Corps Reunion that Lowell's Dad planned for his group he served with there in the 60's. It will be neat to hear the stories of their time together in Bolivia.
We are so very thankful for you - our family and friends who love and support us! We could not do this without  all of your prayers, financial gifts and encouragement!
With much anticipation, The Ballews

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Birthdays, Travels, & Water Days

Our eldest son Aidan just turned 12 on May 10th and managed to have 3 birthday cakes and celebrations. May has been a time for us to take a few trips to see family and friends as we near the end of our time here in the states for the next 2 years. As we wait on our home to sell we are spending time enjoying family visits and time with good friends.

We went to see Lowell's sister in New Orleans in early May which was a lot of fun for our kids since it was their first time to see the Crescent City/NAWLINS/The Big Easy/NOLA... so many ways to refer to this unique and beautiful city. We enjoyed time eating some good food, seeing many sights, including a ride on the Creole Queen Riverboat to see an old plantation.

After New Orleans we spent a couple of nights in some friends' beach house in Galveston. The water was slightly cold but we got plenty of sun and got to have an unexpected dinner with some long-time missionary friends of ours who had just returned from a trip to Africa who have a beautiful new home in Galveston.

Last week we did an 11 day trip that started in Shay's hometown of Brenham where we attended Maifest - German festival. This was a time to see all of Shay's siblings and their kids and enjoy a parade and an evening at the midway carnival. We celebrated Aidan's birthday the first time (a day early) here and celebrated Mother's Day as well.

Then on to Lowell's hometown of Frost where we saw his parents and 2 nieces - we spent 3 nights there. We celebrated Aidan's birthday for the 2nd time here (this is where the top pic was taken). The kids had fun going to the city park and playing and Lowell got to witness his mom being sworn in as the towns first female mayor.

We drove from Frost to Denton to stay with Shay's sister Traci and family. Denton is where Shay and Lowell met and went to college. We met some old dear friends at a park and shared a meal together and did some catching up.

Big D is just a half hour drive from Little D. Here we met some old friends for some good Texas Barbecue and did some much needed catching up. We got to share more in depth with these friends about our calling to go serve in Bolivia. This evening ended with some good frozen yogurt next to the famous Inwood Theater. We also got to take our boys and a friend to a concert music festival in Richardson to see their favorite band MUTEMATH one more time before we leave. This was a fun time together with me, Shay, and the boys!

We ended our trip seeing more friends in Mansfield. First, we stayed at our friends', Jeff & Kristy's, home with with their 3 lovely daughters. We got some great laughs and good food time with these longtime friends! We also got to enjoy a great home cooked TexMex meal with our longtime friend Melody and finally met her husband Steve and baby Jude.

This was a great time to see so many friends we have been very close to for many years and to share more 1 on 1 with them about our mission journey as well as just enjoy good company and fellowship together.

Last week we spent 4 days in the water at various events such as home school water day in Galveston, Pee Wee School water day, Aidan's birthday at the beach. Lowell is excited to get more opportunities to get rid of his "farmer's tan" lines and get more sun.

As we mentioned earlier we are in a season of waiting in faith for our home to sell which will then allow us to move to Bolivia to live. We appreciate all of you so much and are very grateful to call you friends. We appreciate your continued support and prayers for us as we follow where the Lord leads us.

The Ballews
(Lowell, Shay, Aidan, Liam, Jude, Olivia)