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Sunday, December 25, 2011


It's Christmas today and the best part about Christmas is celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We celebrated this together at our home and at our church here in Québec. We also said our goodbyes to everyone because this was our last Sunday here. We have had a wonderful time here and have been pleasantly surprised by the warmth of the people and the willingness of everyone we have met to help us out with our limited French vocabulary.

I put together this short video from clips of our last 6 months here.

Québec from Rob Barber on Vimeo.

Merry Christmas everyone!
Our next post will be from Madagascar!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gingerbread Houses and Packing? Again!

This year we decided to make gingerbread house fronts! The kids really enjoyed decorating their own houses without fear of them collapsing. Although, I'm pretty sure Joyanne and Wesley each ate more candy than actually made it onto their cookie house.

We are also entering the "packing" stage once again. It will be nice to settle for awhile once we arrive in Africa. However, there's something refreshing about purging and cleaning out areas of the home. It's so easy to accumulate things that we don't use anymore. Different plans have been made and changed and made and changed about getting our family and belongings to Montreal Airport, and I think we have the plan basically down pat now. Not only must we clear our own personal effects out of our apartment, but the appliances and furniture which were provided for us must also go to new homes. We are happy to pass along some of the larger items to somebody connected with our church. But we still need to sort out where the fridge and stove will go. Then there's the question of making do without beds and major appliances and for how long? Not only that, but we cannot fit our entire family in the van with all of our bags that will accompany us to Africa. Without boring you with details, unless of course I get asked about it :), I will just say that a plan has been drawn up, and I believe we will make it to Montreal with our things in tow, and the apartment will be empty upon our departure! Even if it means eating take-out or at restaurants for a day or so before we leave.

The days are ticking by quickly! It's hard to believe we only have 2 more French sessions with our amazing tutor. I have really enjoyed getting to know her over the past few months. I have promised her an email in July demonstrating how my French has advanced. I pray it will!

A few more things to get sorted out before we go: (in list format, since we are experts at "lists" these days)

  • Administer the children's final dose of Dukoral (vaccine against Cholera)
  • Move the fridge and stove
  • Sort what we take to Africa
  • Sort what we give away
  • Sort what to throw away
  • Purchase some sticker books for the airplane (Joyanne LOVES stickers)
  • Purchase headphones for the children
  • Stay on top of Laundry
  • Pack our Carry-Ons
  • Organize Calvin's food for travel
  • Organize clothing for our overnight in Montreal
  • Organize clothing for travel the next day
  • Deposit any Canadian cash/cheques we have
  • Give back borrowed items (school books, Christmas decorations, furniture...)
  • Make a trip to the thrift shop
  • Mail our internet modem back to Bell
  • Print out airline tickets BEFORE we do something with the printer that we aren't taking
  • Charge batteries in any electronics we are taking on the airplane
I'm sure some other things will come up or come to my mind in the next few days here. Probably when I'm lying in bed trying to fall asleep. :)

Things are surprisingly relaxed around here. We are listening to a lot of Third Day Christmas, and spending much time watching the snow outside. It's really strange for us to see this much snow so close to Christmas. We learned that in Québec City, we have a 90% chance of experiencing a white Christmas. That's amazing for us BCers who spent our lives in the lower mainland/Vancouver Island area. Usually our snow doesn't arrive until mid-January or February. Christmas Day is usually gray with a bit of rainy drizzle. It has been lovely to see the bright white here! And our tutor is convinced Québec is experiencing an extremely mild November/December due to us being here. The temperatures have barely dipped below -12, which is apparently unusual. I haven't minded the mildness, let me tell you! We have managed to avoid buying boots for our entire family, and we are still surviving on light jackets with many many sweaters or shirts underneath.

Happy Christmas to all. Blessings to you during this holiday season - remembering Christ's birth and what He has done for us, and continues to do for us each day.

Merci Seigneur, pour Ton amour pour nous et ton fils qui est venu comme un bébé. Tu es Roi!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Merry Christmas - December Newsletter!

We celebrated an early Christmas this year with Karina's parents. They came out last week for a week-long visit, and we had a great time seeing Old Quebec and showing them some of our favorite spots. We also cooked a turkey dinner and opened a few Christmas gifts with the kids and then surprised the kids with a late evening drive through Old Quebec in their pj's. We are so thankful to have had this time with them, and watching them leave to return to BC this morning was difficult. However, God has continued to give us peace about this move, and we anxious to begin a new chapter!

Below is a link to our December family newsletter.

December Newsletter

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Winter in the Old City

We have been blessed with a series of visitors in the month of November and now into December. (First my sister, then my friend, and now my parents!) Taking them down to the Old City has been a real treat, even though we've had to bundle up like crazy in an attempt to stay warm!! More pictures to come....

Saturday, October 29, 2011


In about 9 short weeks we will be boarding a plane to Paris and then on to Tana, Lord willing. We are very excited to be starting this part of our missions journey. In some ways it feels like the journey hasn't begun, but the Lord has been teaching us many things in these past couple of years since following His lead to serving with MAF in Africa. We are anticipating many more lessons and changes and challenges, but also joys and memorable experiences shared together as a family.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Still Here

Photo taken from
Just a quick update. Yes, we are still in Quebec City plodding our way through French language school. We just said goodbye to Rob's mom yesterday. She was visiting us for a couple of weeks and also had the chance to see a bit of Eastern Canada with another friend. It was a great visit! The only downside was that we had to say good bye again. :(

Our October newsletter should be in the mail shortly!

We are also thinking about how differently we will celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas here. It is the first year for our family to be alone during the holidays. Usually holidays are marked with family gatherings...cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and great-grandparents. This year, it is just our little family. Yes, we realize it is something we must get used to, and will probably come to enjoy more and more as our children grow and we develop our own special ways of celebrating. We also know that in Tana, there is a small missionary community in the same situation. I would expect there is some sense of community during holiday celebrations? Anyhow, for now, perhaps it is a chance to reflect on the significance of the season without the distractions of outward celebrations.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Enchantment in the Old City

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sunday Morning at Church

Sometimes it feels as though we are already in a foreign country as we are living in Quebec City right now. If you want to talk about things relating to adjusting to a different culture, I think overcoming a language barrier is somewhere near the top of the list! Or maybe I think that now because it's all I really know about entering a new culture. On Sunday morning we busily ready ourselves for church as many of you are probably doing. We comfortably communicate with each other and gather what we will need to keep the children busy. We think about our church family back home, and are reminded once again, we won't be seeing them this morning.

Upon arrival at the small Alliance church we attend in Quebec City, we are greeted with many smiling faces and "Bonjour!" At times even a question about something... "What did they ask?" We think to ourselves. Quickly, we are reminded we don't understand hardly anything, and it will be a long morning of trying to piece together a very large puzzle. We have a few pieces, but many are still missing. Our brains are about to get a major "work-out.!" Some of the worship songs we recognize based on the tunes. And after quickly glancing around, we realize they are in mid-prayer. Shhhhh Kids! The worship service is a mixture of order and spontaneity. I'm positive I would appreciate it 100% more if I understood exactly what everyone was getting so excited or emotional over. However - I quickly remind myself, wait a minute. I serve the same God they do. Jesus, whom they are worshiping saved all of us. They are excited about that! I don't have to understand every word.

After two hours of catching perhaps 5% of the words, our minds are worn out. We drive home and ask each other about the service, if it isn't completely jumbled in our minds by this time. Again we're reminded that the only way we will be able to get through is by God's grace. Often we feel as though we will never understand what people are saying. And then there are few glimmers of hope. A few, "ah ha!" moments where a concept finally makes sense. Thank you Jesus for helping us to understand!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Reflecting On Our Journey

I find myself reflecting on our journey to where we are now. Albeit, we aren't even in our assigned country yet, I am realizing what is happening is about more than simply arriving. Not to mention, when we do arrive in Madagascar, there will be a host of other things to adjust to and realize and learn! The journey will continue even after.

As much as we can become distracted by the journey and lose sight of the destination sometimes, perhaps it is important to reflect on our path and remember to thank God for what He has already done, and what He is doing!

In 2008, shortly after the birth of our first son we sensed a change was coming. Having no idea what that change was, we began searching. When God laid it on our hearts in the beginning of 2009 to see about serving with MAF, the passion for this ministry began to blossom. Neither of us ever saw ourselves serving overseas. As well, that seemed to be the farthest thing from our minds! Why would we ever want to leave life-long friendships, a wonderful church family, and our own extended family? Not to mention the life that we had begun to build together in our first couple of years married. Sometimes God's plans are very different from our own. Now almost 3 years later, we are even more convinced that this is what God should have our family do. We have seen Him provide a huge number of team members for this ministry. We have seen Him bring together people to help us prepare to leave. He has been our faithful Father providing to us strength for each part of this journey, none too soon either--just as we need day by day. We praise Him for His provision. And we are promised in His Word to us that He is the same yesterday today and forever! As we delight to walk in His will, we are also convinced that He will teach us and mold us and use us for His glory.

Applying for service with MAF in 2009

"Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth." The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Ps 46:10-11

Friday, August 26, 2011

Nehemiah's Steadfastness

We have been listening to a new series about Nehemiah from Heritage Bible Church in Boise, ID. We visited this church when we were in Nampa in 2009, undergoing evaluations at the MAF US headquarters, and really liked the Bible teaching there. Being able to access solid Bible teaching online is a great resource for us as the church we are attending currently is all in French. So, we're not understanding a whole lot on Sunday mornings so far! :) Anyhow, we didn't realize how fitting this series would be for us at this time, but it's evidence of God working and giving us messages right when we need them. The pastor talks about how Nehemiah is steadfast and perseveres to see the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem completed. Even though several obstacles come along his journey, he continues on--knowing that he must obey God and do His will. Satan isn't going to attack us with challenges and obstacles when we aren't involved in what God wants us to be doing. Why should difficulties surprise us when we are doing His will? The apostle Paul reminds the Ephesians, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Eph. 6:12.

Wow, French is a difficult language! We have completed our first month of French school, and it has been tough. There have been challenges during this first month that we didn't really anticipate, which we won't get into too much on here, but we are certain that God is using each one to draw us to Himself. I am also convinced that even if we weren't in Quebec City away from our hometown and close friends and family learning another language, on our way to Africa, God would still desire to mold us into the children He would have us be for His use and glory. There are difficulties and challenges in every season, everywhere. If there weren't, we wouldn't need God.

We are so very thankful for each one of you praying for us. Please continue to pray that we would each have the steadfastness of Nehemiah! It means so much to us.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Steep Learning Curve

Language school has officially started last Monday, and to say that we are now completely overwhelmed might be an understatement! Questions and statements like, "How are we ever going to learn what we need to know in 6 months?" "What did we sign up for?" "This is so weird!" "This doesn't make sense," are being verbalized between us a lot lately.
Our daily schedule basically runs like this:
8:00am Karina leaves with Calvin to French Class
10:15am Karina returns and Rob leaves for French Class (Karina attempts to school Faith and occupy the others)
12:30pm Rob returns, children are eating lunch (hopefully)
1:00pm Joyanne, Wesley are napping, Faith is having Q.T., Calvin is having lunch.
2:00pm Karina and Faith continue Kindergarten
3:30pm Joyanne and Wesley usually emerge from naptime
3:30-4:30pm French homework comes out, Calvin also wants to eat
5:00pm Start making dinner
5:30/6:00pm Eat Dinner
Bathtime/TV Time
7:00pm Quiet Reading time
7:30pm Kids bedtime
8:00pm French homework comes out again
10:30/11:00pm Bedtime for us

Before we moved here, I was wondering what it felt like to be illiterate... as I don't really remember what I felt like before I knew how to read. What was that environment like? Well, I know too well now. God is taking us down a very humbling path and we are finding ourselves frustrated at times. Very frustrated. This time of learning a new language is turning into a lot more than simply learning French. Perhaps learning French is the easy part of this six months? I'm not sure.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


One of few things we have acquired since being here over the past three weeks are three little goldfish. Faith had asked about getting some before we left Mission and daddy said perhaps when we were settled in Quebec City.

Voila, poisson!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Church at Home

Daddy took the other two children to church today and mommy stayed home with Joyanne and Calvin. Calvin had immunizations on Thursday and is still pretty fussy from them. Despite staying home, we still got dressed up, listened to Hide Em In Your Heart by Steve Green and listened to a sermon online from Mission Bible Church (our hometown church).

We hope your family had a nice Sunday and spent time in God's presence in fellowship with other believers today.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Trip to the Old City

Today we ventured down to the Old City of Quebec once again. Last Saturday, we neglected to take our camera. It was nice and breezy next to the St. Lawrence. A beautiful reprieve from the heat in our apartment!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

First Week Away

Our first week in Quebec City has been an adjustment. It seems as though we had to travel across Canada to experience summer. Folks we said good-bye to in the Lower Mainland in BC are still waiting for summer to arrive. Not in Quebec City however! Since arriving, the temperatures have been 20+ with the humidity making it feel anywhere from 30 to 35 degrees. Being sticky, and feeling as though we're breathing within a sauna is becoming more normal. Trying to keep clothes on the kids is our new challenge :)

Our formal language studies don't begin until August 1st, so until then we are familiarizing ourselves with the city and taking advantage of this spare time to set up our apartment.

Thank you for all who prayed for us during our travels. We arrived safe and sound, despite our flight to Toronto being cancelled. It was a mad dash in Abbotsford, which made for a swift good-bye to Rob's mom. But the children did so well on the flight across Canada, and two parents managed 4 kids under 5 years just fine.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Finishing Up

Since returning from the island, we have been BUSY! Our crates are full, and we are counting down the short days until Wednesday when we fly to Quebec City to begin French training.

We sorted through everything we own and managed to put everything into categories. I can't believe how much stuff we got rid of. In a way, it felt good to simplify our life here. But at one point I started to panic a little! We will be starting from scratch basically, when we come home. We really didn't want to store too much furniture and things for others to be responsible for.

We found ourselves putting things into four categories

  • Thrift or give away
  • Throw Away
  • Store
  • Pack (for Quebec, or for Africa)
Our house was emptied quick! And in all of that activity, two realtors came through. No offers yet, however.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More Goodbyes

Our visit on the island is now over. It was difficult to say goodbye to my family, but we are confident of their prayer and support. Many things will be different when we visit them again. Such as, my littlest sister will likely be driving, and my mom will have graduated another son from high school.

I was excited to witness my sister's baptism during our visit, and I prayer her desire to follow the Lord with her life increases each day.

Even though many miles will separate us, I know we will stay in touch via the internet. My children are already extremely familiar with Skype and email. I have a few ideas of making their internet 'visits' special, and I'm looking forward to nurturing the unique relationship we will have across the ocean.

During our visit, we had the privilege of two open houses! And we were astounded at the numbers of people who came out to encourage us and say goodbye. God used each person to remind us of the calling He has laid on our hearts, and during a difficult farewell, we are confident that we are right in the middle of His will. Thanks to all who came out to see our family. It really meant a lot to us! :)


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Commissioning Service at Departure Bay Baptist

Today, Karina and I had the privilege of being commissioned into service and prayed for at Karina's parents church, Departure Bay Baptist. We had two wonderful people pray for us and are honored to know that this church and others are here back at home upholding us in prayer. It will be almost 3 years before we get to see these friends again and although we are excited to go and ready for this next step, we are sad to be saying goodbye to everyone we know.

I just can't say thank you enough, to everyone who is continuing to pray for us during this time. You all are a part of this ministry and without you all, we wouldn't be able to go and do what God has called us to do.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Time is Coming Close

On Saturday, we boarded the BC Ferries for our last trip to the Island before our journey abroad begins. As much as we tend to complain about the ferry ride over (the line-ups, the cost...) I don't doubt we will miss it! As Rob and I were driving toward the ferry terminal on Saturday morning, we couldn't help marvel at the snow topped mountains we saw in the distance, and then the beautiful ocean scene as we approached the bay. God's beauty will greet us in Quebec City and Madagascar, but I think we have taken for granted the landscape surrounding us all of these years in beautiful British Columbia! I am happy we get to come back to such beauty.

Yesterday, we attended my younger brother's convocation. He just graduated with a Natural Resources Protection Degree at the Island University. I am so proud of him and excited to see him already working and gaining experience in a field he loves. This is a person who also appreciates the creation around him--spending many hours climbing mountains, and trekking through forested trails. Attending this special milestone, however, reminds me how many special events we may miss while we are in Africa--weddings, baby births, etc.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Common Scene Around Here

As we get closer and closer to leaving, it seems more and more needs to be researched, or emails need to be written to have questions answered.
Here's Daddy, pouring through the MAF staff handbook, with the laptop nearby, and a child asking for something - of course :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Box Day

Fellow "Sonlighters" will be familiar with this term Box Day. It's the day the new homeschool curriculum arrives for the upcoming year! (Or in our case--years!)
We experienced Box Day this week, and it really was like Christmas morning. It was incredible to see Faith and Wesley, and even Joyanne, get excited over all of their new books. I think my mom was equally thrilled to be a part of unpacking this beginning into our homeschool venture. During my parents' visit to meet Calvin, my mom worked hard at separating the curriculum. Some to send on to Madagascar right away, and some to take to Quebec City.

As well as organizing school work for the upcoming 2.5 years, we are also mentally adding up things to get rid of, things to give away, and things we need to buy. At present, it hasn't been very physically demanding, good thing--as I've been recovering from Calvin's birth. However, it has been taking up a lot of mind space lately. One thing is certain, as we've been kind of going through things we are letting go of, and thinking of what we really need to take, to us the value of what we own has been decreasing. We actually don't need that much, and what we have here in Canada is nice and convenient, but not really necessary. I am learning some lessons on where I've been storing my treasure, and I've been sadly surprised at times, and challenged at others.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Welcome Calvin

Our family is very excited to introduce Calvin Richard! He was born on Monday, May 16th at 9:48am weighing 7 pounds 1 ounce and 20.5 inches long!

His siblings are thrilled to have him home now, and we are praising God for his safe arrival.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Sunny Day in May

On Sunday, we had the privilege of having a very warm day, and we took advantage of it by spending a few hours at a local park. Now the gray weather has returned, and we wait for another sunny day...
However, we are excited about the fact that our monthly support goal level has reached 90% ! This is amazing and only possible because God has moved many hearts to support this ministry. In the beginning of the whole process of fund-raising, the thought of reaching 100% was overwhelming to say the least. These last 8 months haven't been without challenges and struggles, but we're learning that God often uses hard things to teach us. It's the hard things that usually get our attention, cause us to think, and hopefully bring about change.

Please continue to lift our family up in prayer, as the next few weeks are going to bring hard things--however exciting! We are anticipating the birth of our 4th baby in two short weeks, as well, Rob continues to plan out what we are going to ship and how and when. Since our house has been listed for sale, we have had only one showing. Please pray that God brings a buyer.

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


This year we made Resurrection Eggs (mostly for Faith, because she was old enough to understand) and they were a big hit with all three of the kids. We took turns opening one egg each day leading up to Easter Monday. Faith says her favorite egg was the empty one, signifying the empty tomb.

Happy Easter

Monday, April 25, 2011

Legal in Madagascar

We have been notified by our future co-missionaries in Madagascar that Rob now holds a valid Madagascar aircraft maintenance license!

He also successfully completed the PT6 endorsement course in Wichita, Kansas a couple of weeks ago, and we are all excited that he has returned home safely.

So what's next for our family? In three (short) weeks we are anticipating the arrival of our fourth baby! Our house has been listed for sale, and Rob is finishing up little details here and there to hopefully make it more saleable. We are also investigating shipping options for some of our belongings.

Our accommodation in Quebec City has also been confirmed--the lease for our apartment has been signed, so that begins on July 1st; however we are not due to start language study until August 1.

Once again, thank you for your prayers and support! We are so thankful for each and every one of you.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Preparations & Changes

We had a Realtor in last week for a market assessment. Rob is frantically trying to finish up loose ends on the house, hopefully making it more sale-able. We are being blessed with many helping hands from our church family. People are making time to come over and spend a few hours doing things like, painting baseboards, general painting, tiling and grouting, and siding (outside in the pouring rain!). As well, he is preparing to leave on Sunday for a week long engine course in Wichita, Kansas.

As my tummy continues to grow, my comfort level continues to decrease, and my capacity to be somewhat emotionally stable (haha) SEVERELY decreases, we have officially entered what moms of young children call "survival mode". When we are not in the heat of a difficult situation, it is a little easier for me to step back and recognize God's hand as He prepares us for tougher circumstances. (Which I firmly believe don't just come upon missionaries!) Again, I am reminded what He wants from me. My heart; my absolute dependence, and my obedience. As our pastor said from the pulpit a couple of weeks ago (and I cannot quote), life brings suffering. It's pretty simple. Not easy; yet simple. I am just experiencing life right now.

Isaiah 50:10 Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.

Have you been experiencing life lately?

Friday, April 1, 2011

April News

Here is a digital copy of our April Newsletter! For optimum viewing quality, you may want to hit "Full Screen" at the bottom of the scroll window, or even better, download the .pdf to view on your personal computer.

Barbers - April 2011 Newsletter

Monday, March 21, 2011

"I'm Going to Miss You"

"I'm going to miss you," were the words my almost-five-year-old daughter said to a good friend who babysat her one evening over the weekend. She was being tucked into bed, they said a prayer together and then she said "I'm going to miss you." Our good friend asked her to clarify, and Faith explained, "When we move to Madagascar, I'm going to miss you."

I am very thankful we were made aware of this because it has been easy to think that our preparations and plans have gone on fairly 'unnoticed' by our young children. My, how mistaken we've been. Faith is far more perceptive and understanding then we give her credit for, and now I am stepping back and thinking about how my other two "babies" might be affected by this ongoing transition stage. I have liked to believe it is just their normal. How would they know any different? But children pick up on stresses and anxious feelings parents and adults are feeling. They know something is 'up.' And for my 5 year old, she understands in very plain language that Grandma and Grandpa and Oma and her aunties and uncles and friends from church and neighbors will not be nearby when we move. She understands that Skype is a way people who live far away from each other communicate.

Because of this, my sensitivity level toward them is increasing. As we move through this adjustment period (which will likely last a couple of years), please pray for wisdom for us as parents. To know how to help prepare them, to know how to comfort them, to know how to help them be excited to learn new things, to know new people. Please pray for grace for us toward them, as our children likely act out their own anxiety with extra disobedience and frustration. Not that we would condone bad behavior, or make excuses for it, but that we would know how to effectively train them up in the knowledge of God and the strength He promises to give us as we take on new challenges in each season of life.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lord, Why Us?

Often when we meet with individuals and share a bit of our testimony, we mention that overseas missions was never part of our original plans when we were first married. In fact, it's probably safe to say that we were hesitant to apply with MAF because even though it felt like that was what God wanted us to do, we weren't fully convinced yet that we wanted to! Oh how we hold so strongly to something for fear that God would ask us to do something we wouldn't want to do. But the truth of the matter is that when we surrender our plans and expectations, God will change the desires of our hearts so that we will want to follow His leading. So now more than ever we are truly excited about following Him to Madagascar, even though we know the journey won't be an easy one. 

This process of sharing the ministry with individuals and inviting them to join our team through MAF has been awesome training grounds for the field, I think. It has given us the opportunity to watch God's hand work out things that are really out of our control. As He continues to bring the funds in, we are stepping back and saying, "Really Lord? What did we ever do that you want us to join you in this work?" I can only go back to the very reason He sent His Son to die for us---He is a gracious God, and it really has nothing to do with us in the first place. It is all for His glory and everything He does is for Him!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Back in Canada

After two weeks away in the UK from January 29 to February 12, Rob and I have safely returned to Canadian soil.

It was very exciting to meet staff members in the UK as well as build relationships with three other MAF families heading to different bases in the African region. This was my (Karina) first trip to the UK, actually this was the farthest I've ever been away from home. I will report that I wouldn't want to travel on a plane that far any more pregnant than I was! The kids had a good time with my family on the island. They bonded well and I'm pretty sure Rob and I missed them more than they missed us! However, they were very excited to see us return home.

MAF rented time at Ashburnham Place in a small town called Battle in the southern part of the UK. Ashburnham Place is a Christian Retreat Center and much of it is run by volunteer teens from around the world.

Even though the training course was intense and we felt we were at "information overload" by the end, it was a great time of refreshing and re-grouping. As difficult as it was to leave the kids behind, it was a special time to away be together.

Thank you to all who were praying for their adjustment to having us gone, and safety and health. The Lord was gracious to answer all of our prayers!

In London: which we toured a bit on our day off.

London Tower

St. Paul's Cathedral

Inside of the Natural History Museum in London

This was a framed timeline of the Vicars that served at Ashburnham church.

Inside of the church on Ashburnham Place - date built 1667

Straight ahead is the kitchen and dining rooms, and on either side are the accommodations we stayed in.

Another picture of the church

We enjoyed a really nice walk on the one sunny day we experienced :)

The main building at Ashburnham Place


City center of Battle