Friday, August 29, 2008

How Do They Do It?

Jenny called the other day to tell me her schedule for the Fall semester. Wow, I hope she has time to breathe!! She is taking 18 credit hours. Part of this includes playing piano for the college choir and ensemble, and also piano lessons, which means at least six hours of piano practice a week. On Saturdays and Sundays she will be involved in evangelism outreach, and working on a bus route. She will also be traveling some Wednesdays and weekends with the college ensemble. Hannah has a similar schedule, and plays in the college orchestra.

One thing they hopefully will learn at Fairhaven is time management. The day begins at 6:30 am for room check (I am sure many girls get up earlier than this for devotions and to make sure they get their morning shower). Breakfast is at 7, and on some days choir practice is at 7:30--I don't know about you, but I can hardly talk at that time in the morning, let alone sing! Classes start at 8 and usually go anywhere from 12-2 depending on their schedule. They don't have classes on Wednesday, but that time slot is quickly filled with all the other demands and assignments they have. They also have cleaning assignments, daily devotions, and prayer time in the dorm, and most students work part time jobs to help pay for their expenses. Lights go out at 11 pm.

I remember about 12 years ago when Doug decided to complete his Bachelor's degree. He was working a full time job, had a ministry in a youth detention center a few days a week, and was carrying a full load of classes--not to mention being the father of 4 (this was pre-Rebekah and Leanna days). It seemed like an impossible task, but somehow he made it. As a result, he was able to become a Spanish teacher for the Christian school my kids attended, and I am sure it has helped in the ministry we are in as he majored in Spanish.

My life is not nearly as busy as it was back then, and I marvel how we ever made it through, but somehow we did. I look at Jenny and Hannah and hope they don't get overwhelmed, and at times they do...but they are young and energetic. Certainly they will have their work cut out for them. They will need God's strength and encouragement along the way.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Roots and Wings

Hannah and Jenny are headed back to the states, and haven't even crossed the Atlantic Ocean yet, but Rebekah has already taken over their former bedroom. At 9 am, she was hard at work, putting her books in the nightstand where Jenny had hers, hanging her clothes in the closet, and filling a plastic bin with the remnants of what they left behind. Rebekah didn't even give me a chance to visit the room as it was, and reflect on the great summer we had together, in what may very well be the last one for a few years.

As I sifted through the photo albums, journals, and notebooks they couldn't fit in their suitcases, I thought of a sermon I had listened to several years ago. It was one of the best messages I ever listened to on parenting and was entitled "Roots and Wings."

As Christian parents, we spend most of our adult life endeavoring to teach our children good character, moral values, and to love the Lord with their whole heart, mind, and strength. These are the roots that will take them through life, and prepare them for the challenges they are sure to face once they leave your home. Our greatest joy is seeing our children grow and develop a close, personal walk with the Lord of their own.

Giving them wings, on the other hand, is when you let them go, pursuing some interests, goals or desires they may have, or just giving them some space to think and make decisions on their own to see how "deep" their Christian faith really is.

None of us want our children to fail--but sometimes parents make the mistake of making every decision for them, and then a child never learns to have confidence in his/her own ability to think for himself. They will need these survival skills when they are faced with the trials and temptations that are going to come their way. The ability to make wise decisions comes from a parent teaching their children when they are young, and showing them by example, how the Word of God, the leading of the Holy Spirit , and seeking godly counsel, is our guide through life. They must be able to discern good and evil for themselves and stand strong when they face opposition and temptation.

As missionaries we had to make some difficult decisions about what our two oldest daughters would be doing in the next few years before the Lord would see fit to perhaps allow them to have a family of their own. Staying on the mission field or going to the states for Bible college were two options. The Lord allowed for them to be with us on the mission field when we first came to Tenerife, and also again this summer. We sought the Lord, and He led us to send them to Fairhaven Baptist College during the school year. We know they are in God's will and He has a plan for them.

There is no "one size fits all" plan for what God has for your children once they graduate from high school. Parents, along with their son/daughter need to prayerfully seek God's direction. Everyone's needs and situation is different. Many may not understand how we can send our young daughters across the ocean and allow them to live apart from us. First of all, we know Fairhaven is a good Christian school and church with like-minded values, and the girls are in a protected environment. But even with all that, it isn't always easy, but we know they are in God's hands, and that He is able to keep them under the shelter of His wings.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to School, Already?

I read where school has already begun in some places in the U.S., and next week my own daughters will be heading back to college as well. Like most of us, I am asking, where did the summer go?

My internal calendar is linked to the seasons. Going back to school meant one last backyard barbeque on Labor Day weekend, and getting all your back to school supplies and clothes. I remember my mom taking all of us to JC Penney to buy shoes. We each got one pair of school shoes, and a pair of gym shoes. Usually they were black and white saddle oxfords, and they matched everything, and the gym shoes were simple white canvas Converse or Keds. I remember my parents paying somewhere around $200-$300 just for shoes for the six of us kids--which back then was a lot of money! Business was a little slower in August in the flower shop--my mom attributed it to the fact that parents were spending all their money on back to school necessities. There weren't any Walmart's back then either!

Ever since we came to the Canary Islands, my internal calendar is out of sync because here in Tenerife, we experience what they call "eternal spring." Average year-round daily temperatures are in the 70's. Sounds pretty appealing, doesn't it? I have to admit, the climate is very pleasant, and I don't miss winter too much--I could handle one month of it as long as there was some pretty snow to look at.
I actually have to stop and think what month it is sometimes. I miss the colors of fall, decorating with pumpkins, Indian corn, and gourds, and celebrating Thanksgiving with family. And there is something comforting and nostalgic about sitting in front of a fireplace on a cold winter day, drinking a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, longing for spring. I even miss rainy days sometimes! What about the Fourth of July? Just another day in summer here--no fireworks.

I am not complaining though. When I get homesick for a fall day, I put a golden autumn landscape on my computer's screen saver and reminisce of my homeland--and sometime in December I change it to a snowy landscape. Funny though, when we lived in Rochester, New York, during the long, dreary winter months I had a picture of a tropical island on my screen saver! We always seem to long for what we don't have, don't we?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Romans 8: 28

Thursday we were all set to have our last nursing home service before our oldest daughters return to the states. With Jenny playing the piano and Hannah the violin, it adds a much needed boost to our music repertoire.

We loaded the van, which includes taking our digital piano apart, and putting all the necessary equipment in the van (something we also have to do every Sunday for our church services as we rent a building). There is barely room for the girls in the back but fortunately Rebekah and Leanna are able to squeeze into small spaces.

Upon arrival at the nursing home, Doug was told the electricity was out, and we would be unable to have a normal "service." One of the nurses suggested that we go from room to room and play a few songs for each of the residents. So Doug took his guitar, and plan "B" was put into operation. It actually turned out quite well, as some residents are bedridden and have never been able to attend our services. Doug had been wanting to visit the residents in this way for some time, but hadn't been able to do so. What seemed to be an inconvenience for us, turned out to be a blessing--in addition, it gave us the liberty to speak with the residents on a more personal basis, and hopefully they enjoyed the visits. Just one small example of how the Lord directs our steps, and we need to be flexible and make the most of every opportunity He gives us.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wishing I Could Be There

There are times when living in a foreign country as a missionary, I want to jump on an airplane and be in the states. Today is one of those days. I want to be in Dayton, Ohio--celebrating my dad's 75th birthday with him and my family. I miss the days of backyard picnics, and long to be there--or to have another breakfast or lunch at Bob Evans with my dad.

Or take my mother shopping at Walmart, and go through the drive through at Wendy's--sometimes we would laugh so hard until we cried. Just the simple things we used to do together. Those are the memories I will always cherish.

The past few days have been difficult for me. Hannah and Jenny are getting ready to fly back to Indiana, and I am already dreading the day we go to the airport, and I have to say goodbye, again. I am trying to prepare myself spiritually and emotionally. Life is full of separations, and you think I would be used to it by now. It doesn't get any easier. My heart is torn. I know that we are doing the Lord's work, and for the sake of the gospel we are here, but in my heart I want to be with the ones I love the most.

The Lord spoke to my heart when I read the other day, "But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored the more abundantly to see your face with great desire." I Thessalonians 2: 17

We may be separated physically, but never in our hearts.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Get Paid to Have a Baby in Spain


Spain has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. Abortion rates for the country are one more indication of the plunge into anti-family, anti-life policies the Catholic nation has adopted over the past five years.

The socialist government of Spain has surprised everyone by adopting a pro-natal policy.
Each newborn will receive a check for Euro 2,500 (about 3,938 dollars). If the newborn is born into a family with three or more children, the amount is increased to Euro 3,500.

In announcing the policy, President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said to the Parliament that "In order to continue progressing Spain needs more families with more children. And families need more aid to have more babies and more resources for their upbringing." Working women with children under three years of age also get a monthly payment of about 100 Euros per month.

Along with Italy and Greece, Spain has one of the lowest fertility rates in the EU. Spain's population is aging rapidly, and is on the cusp of absolute population decline. Current birthrate is somewhere around 1.36 for each woman of childbearing age.

It has been my observation that many couples in Spain choose to live together and forgo the traditional family altogether, and if they do have children they postpone it into their 30's, and many just have one child if any. Abortion has contributed to the problem as well. Just another reminder of how far Spain has gone from traditional family values, and from the natural desire of women to bear children in marriage.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Leanna's Salvation Testimony

Our "baby" of the family, Leanna, is 5 1/2 years old, and did something very special today that filled our hearts with joy. Thought you would appreciate hearing about her testimony.

Leanna came to my bedside this morning, waking me up, and with an unusually cheerful voice said "Mom, I got saved!" She said it like she really meant it and was extremely happy--there was a different tone in her voice, one of real sincerity. Earlier in the morning she approached Doug while he was in the kitchen and said something to the extent "I am wrong/I don't feel right" and he asked her what was the matter, and she said "I want to get saved."

Doug said "do you want me to pray first?" and she said no--she just got down on her knees and started praying, saying Lord, please forgive me for my sins, and I want to be saved, please come in my heart, etc.

Yesterday she watched the Bob Jones movie Sheffey and I think it had a real effect on her. Later I asked her about how she got saved, and she said she did something wrong, and felt like she needed to pray, and she said she "repented." It was so cute. Keep praying for her, she is a a child who loves life, and has a lot of spunk, (translated--strong-willed) but hopefully will turn her energies in the right direction and keep a tender heart for the Lord. She is really going to have a difficult time saying goodbye to her older sisters when they go back to college--she adores them. Last year when they left she took it very hard.

Friday, August 1, 2008

August 2008 Prayer Letter

Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are happy to report that since we have started renting the community building for church services, God has saved two souls, Josue and Eva, both around twenty- two years of age. Both came from the refuge shelter for the homeless, (which conveniently is across the street from the church) and attended the services. Eva, was saved, not in the service, but later on while talking to her about the Lord. She wasted no time to be baptized, and the only place I knew of to be baptized was in the ocean. Here, most of the beaches or shore lines are just rocks, and rather big ones at that. Even after you step in the ocean you are struggling to keep your balance because the ocean floor is covered with rocks as well. Then we had to deal with the waves that were coming in hitting us while trying to keep our footing at the same time. We had a real time of it, but at last we were able to baptize her.

On arriving back to shore as we were rejoicing in the Lord, Eduardo, who has been attending church said he wanted to get baptized. I was thinking “this is great, but we almost drowned the first time and now we’re going to have to do it again!” Well, we did, and it was a great day in the Lord. Eva decided to return to her parents house, which is good, but they live in the mainland, so she will not be with us; however we contacted a pastor in Spain, and she has started attending there. Josue had his life threatened evidently and we have not seen him since, but please pray for him.

I met a young man named Juan one day while witnessing, and he has rededicated his life to the Lord, and started coming to church. He had committed a crime about five years ago, and had to pay a large fine, but was delinquent of around $1000.00, for which cause the police had a warrant out for his arrest and immediate prison time. After counseling, he decided to quit running, and turned himself in, and has just accomplished his 45 day term. I was not able to pick him up the day he was released, but we expect him in church Sunday. He has a fire for the Lord, and was witnessing to many of the inmates in prison and giving them scriptures that we had provided for that purpose. Please pray for him, as I see much potential in him for the Lord.

We have had a good time with our two oldest daughters being home for the summer, as we have had some real good times witnessing together. It will be very difficult to say goodbye to them at the end of the month when they return to Bible college--we will miss them dearly and they have been a great asset to the ministry as well. They invited a Cuban young lady named Yanet to church, and she has been coming ever since, only missing twice. She is a very talented instrumentalist, and has been playing flute in the church services, accompanying the piano and violin (Hannah and Jenny). Pray for her husband to come to church, and also for a Muslim man named Abrim to be saved. He has come for many services, and God is working in his heart.

We decided to move closer to Santa Cruz where the church is, and surprisingly it went fairly smooth, as I had help from men at the church. It was a lot of work however. The weather on the southeast side of the island is dryer and hotter, and we hope that it well help Carolee’s allergies.
God Bless all of you, The Schwaderer family