Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Anniversary Beneath the Stars

Last night was a fitting celebration of our 13th wedding anniversary.  We attended the kids' Christmas performance at school, a short musical "Beneath the Shining Star."  It was fun to see them on stage singing with all their friends and classmates and reminding us of the reason for all our celebrations - anniversaries and Christmas' alike!  "Jesus is right here in our world, in our lives, in our houses.  He shines brighter than any star ever will."

Abigail as an inn keeper
Matthew as a wise man
Elizabeth as a shepherd

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Surprised by Cuteness

Can I keep them little forever?  I love turning a corner and catching them at something so cute that my heart melts!  Like Matthew helping Elizabeth with her "math homework".  Like dressing up in Mommy's winter clothes.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Princess, Cowgirl, and Darth Vadar

What do the Middle Ages, Wild West and Outer Space have in common?  The answer would be Halloween at the de Vuysts.  The kids enjoyed trick or treating around the neighborhood and getting baskets of candy.  It was too cold to stay outside for long so we quickly walked down the street and then got in the car and went to a local church that was offering a pumpkin carnival with games and, of course, more candy!  The kids really enjoyed this Halloween, often commenting that it had been 3 years since their last Halloween and wishing they could do this every year.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Different Church Every Sunday

For nine of the past eleven Sundays we have been in a different church.  Typically George has preached and we have led an hour Sunday school presentation.  The kids have enjoyed attending different Sunday Schools but yesterday I heard, "Do I have to hear this sermon AGAIN?"

 It has been great being together with so many people who have supported us and the ministry in Ukraine.  We enjoy sharing pictures and video to show how God has changed lives!  (This video is online; the others we will post after our home service is finished.)  It is encouraging to hear how many people have been praying and then be able to tell them how God has answered those prayers. 

Our display table

George gives a children's sermon

Matthew has the answer!

Whenever we can, we have participated in the evening worship at Kelloggsville CRC.  It is good for us and the kids to have some consistency and this is one of the few churches that has an evening program (Sunday School) for children.  George and I enjoy the round-table discussions and we all appreciate the fellowship over a meal.

We now take a break from visiting churches while George concentrates on his continuing education.  It will be a very busy time for him but he is excited about the program and enjoyed his first week last week.

Here are a couple pictures taken yesterday.

And here's one you won't see in person!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall Colors

We have especially enjoyed being in Michigan for fall this year.  For some reason the colors of the trees aren't nearly so vibrant in Ukraine.  Everywhere we go we are in awe of the beauty!  My pitiful pictures don't nearly do it justice.  I wish our friends in Ukraine could see this!

Life is into a routine.  Interspersed are fun times like these...
Elizabeth paining fall colors

Abigail has a friend from school over on a rainy Saturday afternoon

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Message from Ukraine

Before we left Ukraine we set up a video camera as an "open mic" for anyone who wanted to send a message to those in the States who had supported and prayed for the ministry in Mukachevo.  It's a great testimony to how God uses each of us to bring His Kingdom around the world. 


Monday, September 10, 2012

Turning Five

Displaying five
Elizabeth is turning five tomorrow.  We celebrated her birthday on Saturday since George is in Nicaragua this week.  We invited our missionary neighbors.

We had something like 11 adults and 17 children for the barbeque lunch, a Dora the Explorer challenge for the younger children, and a scavenger hunt for the older children (thanks, Lois!).
The birthday girl

Making "Backpack" for the Dora challenge

Talking politics, missions, and neighborhood wildlife

Teaming up

First challenge

Time for cake
It was a great time of fun and a special way to celebrate a certain five year old!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hospital Day

Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. (photo courtesy of
Today marked our third visit this month to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

Abigail had a...let me copy it down because I certainly don't remember the full name... esophagogastroduodenoscopy.  Got it?  Well, spell check doesn't recognize it either! :)

In other words, she "swallowed" a scope to look into her esophagus, duodenum and stomach.  I have pictures from the scope but won't post them here.  Instead, I'll show you pictures of Abigail waiting for the procedure.

Watching a movie and playing on an iPad

This is just the IV room.  We didn't take pictures in the endoscopy room.
This hospital is amazing!  George and I couldn't help comparing it to the hospital's we've visited in Ukraine. (See my post on Ukrainian hospitals for comparison.)  At Helen DeVos there are great waiting rooms and we were promptly seen by a doctor, even AHEAD of our appointment time.  The nurses were fantastic, helping Abigail to calm her fears and giving her a warm blanket to wrap up in.  They explained absolutely everything they were doing and allowed her to ask questions.  On a previous visit, Abigail had made friends with a woman in the family resource center.  Abigail stopped in to say hello today and this woman called down to a friend (whose job it is to make kids more comfortable) in sedation who brought Abigail an iPad to play with.  Abigail was distracted from the IV insertion by the hair parlor app!  Thank you, our nameless benefactor (although I'm sure she said her name since everyone there introduces themselves)!

Abigail was sedated with this great drug that makes her fall asleep for about a half an hour but leaves no side-effects.  Within an hour of the procedure she was awake, drinking Sprite, eating a rice crispy treat, and being wheeled back to the car in a wheelchair (she was still a bit unstable on her feet). 

Now the background.  Abigail had this endoscopy because since birth she has had problems with her stomach and we've been treating her for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) without ever having it examined by a doctor.  Now came the time to do that.  Thus the three visits to the hospital (evaluation with doctor, upper-GI exam, and today's endoscopy).  So far everything looks fine - meaning there's no anatomical problem and nothing abnormal in the scope's pictures.  Biopsy results come back in a week.

We are so thankful for excellent medical care, great insurance coverage, and caring nurses and doctors who do their jobs well and love children at the same time!  What a blessing!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One Month

We have been in the States exactly one month.  And what a busy month it has been!

5,064 miles (8,149 km) driven
397 pictures taken
44 different state license plates spotted
23 immediate relatives seen
 8 states visited
 8 nights as the longest stretch in one place
 7 different places where we slept
 7 doctor's appointments
 2 birthdays celebrated
 1 day of school 

Waiting for the school bus

First school bus ride

Friday, August 10, 2012

School Through New Glasses

Thursday was open house at the kids' school.  They got to visit their classroom and meet their teachers.  They chose their seats and played on the playground.  Abigail said she is really looking forward to school.  They start on Monday!  The bus picks them up at 7:55am and drops them off at 4:04pm.

Matthew chooses to sit beside our neighbor
Matthew adds his birthday to the birthday calendar

Abigail at her desk in her classroom

Half of Elizabeth's classroom

The playroom attached to Elizabeth's classroom

Elizabeth in the play area of her classroom

The kids all like their new school.  Their teachers are very friendly and welcoming!  Everything looked great - especially through the lenses of their new glasses.  :)
Matthew and Abigail in glasses

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Country

Our vacation is winding down.  We are in Minnesota on our way back to Michigan.  We have spent the last 12 days in South and North Dakota.  Traveling over 3,000 miles (4,800 km), we have seen part of the country never experienced before.
Drive from South Dakota to North Dakota

Mt. Rushmore

North Dakota badlands

It was wonderful to spend such quality time with my sister, Lori, her husband, Rolly, and their six beautiful children, Briana, Meghan, Zachary, Rebekah, Courtney and Isabella.
Our two families

Medora Musical

Mt. Rushmore

Petting a baby alligator

Counting nine

We saw herds of wild buffalo (bison) in the National Park

Wild horses

Wild black stallion
My 90 year old grandmother flew in from Oregon to see all of us.  My aunt, uncle, mom, and her boyfriend also joined us.  It was a mini family reunion.
Our family with my grandma, mom, aunt and uncle

Celebrating my sister's and my birthday (try to figure out the reasoning behind the candles!)
George joined Rolly out in their fields to combine barley.