Thursday, April 26, 2012

Encouraging Words

When I picked up Joshua today, a therapist that I'm less familiar with walked him out.  I've only spoken with her a couple times before and I'm not even sure what her name is.  Actually, I only know two of their names, so I guess that's not big news.  I feel bad asking because some of them have been there from the beginning and I should probably know them by now.  But I digress.

As I started strapping him into his car seat she told me about his day, that he did well with keeping his shoes on, and only chewed on his shirt once.  He did all of his programs, he babbled a lot more than she's ever heard him, and she even heard a few new sounds out of him, like he might have been attempting actual words.  I looked at Joshua and said, "You want to say something so bad, don't you, bud?"  Then she paused (or was it hesitated?) and said, "I really believe he is going to say something one day."

Suddenly, I realized that was the first time I had ever been told that.  I mean, of course, all of our family and close friends believe that, but I'd never heard it from a professional.  Usually, the most common thing parents hear on diagnosis day for a child on the spectrum is a list of all the things they will most likely never do.  Talking being number one.  God has shown me extra grace in that I've never had to listen to that lecture.  Oddly enough, I haven't encountered a single discouraging person on this journey and I know how big of a blessing it is.  Maybe there were thoughts, or conversations after I was gone, but nothing in front of me and I am so grateful for it.

But, as I noticed when this woman said these words to me, I'd also never heard a definitive, direct statement of faith in what Joshua WILL be able to do some day.  Most ABA therapy is centered around provoking speech.  Even still, I always make sure to check and see if they are still keeping his speech a main priority of his program.  In all of these conversations I still can't think of another time one of these women have looked me in the eye and said they believe it's going to happen too.

I honestly had no idea how bad I needed to hear those words today.  It hadn't even occurred to me that I was missing them, but when she spoke, something stirred up inside of me.  It happened so quickly, I immediately just replied with, "Well that's what we're waiting for."  But as I drove off I wished I had thanked her.  She might not have thought too much about it, but there was something in her voice, like maybe she saw something in him for the first time and wanted to make sure I knew that she did.  

Whatever her motives, it made my day and I find myself sitting here now with a renewed resolve.  This is amazing grace...that extra push for the final stretch right when we think we're about to hit the wall.

"And blessed (happy, to be envied) is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of the things that were spoken to her from the Lord."  Luke 1:45 AMP

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Perspective

Bobby is a lot of things.  Most things are reasons I love him so much.  Some things I love him in spite of.  And still others are somewhere in the middle.  This post is the result of one of the "in the middle" things.  


Bobby has become my blog motivator.  Not in the way you might think, where he would subtly encourage me to write something new...more in the way a coach might provoke a player to try harder by letting him know how bad he is.  Let me clarify...He LOVES my writing.  He does NOT love how long it takes me to write a new post.  So whenever he has gotten annoyed with checking the site only to find there still isn't anything new, he let's me know about it.  Tonight he said, "Man, you really suck at blogging.  You write something like once a month."


He's really insightful like that.  Of course, I'm just picking on him for picking on me, but he's right.  I haven't put enough energy into keeping this thing going lately.  I'll think about it and put it off in my head, but when Bobby says something about it, I suddenly have a clock ticking in my brain.  So even though he's a goober about it, I appreciate the push.


So here we are.


My big news for today is that Joshua is now officially a kisser.  He has started puckering his lips and leaning in for kisses within the past week.  He also has done it consistently and not just one time, which is big because sometimes our victories feel short-lived.  But this victory I have been celebrating since last Friday.  Now, I love both boys the same and Caleb's kisses are just as precious and seriously melt this Momma's heart to mush, but we have been waiting so long to enjoy this sign of affection with Joshua that it's hard not to treat it as a huge accomplishment.  Things are starting to spark inside of him and it leaves me eagerly awaiting the next thing we will get to celebrate.


Caleb has started saying so much in the last couple weeks, it feels like he's aged six months.  He is repeating almost everything we prompt him to, except (STILL), 'Momma' and 'Daddy'.  We both feel like we have waited too long to hear those names called and I am not at all dreading the day that I hear it 100 times in an hour.  


It's all about perspective.


I have had to work extra hard the past few months to remind myself of this truth.  Our perspective on our marriage, our kids, our daily routine, and life in general, controls how bumpy or how smooth the journey is.  How burdensome or how light.  How exhausting or how peaceful.  


And it's not just what perspective, but Whose...


Our feeble minds just don't see things the way God does, or the way He intends for us to.  We are so inclined to view things in the context of our circumstances at the present time, instead of the context of life's bigger picture.  And usually, HORRIBLY, we base our perceptions on emotions.  Emotions that come and go as quickly as a celebrity romance.  I'm no stranger to this and I'm trying really hard to change it.  


I'm reminding myself that the things that sway me and stress me out and make me angry are so trivial compared to the problems many, many people in this world are facing.  I am blessed beyond comprehension.


I'm reminding myself that even when life seems to be pulling Bobby and I in opposite directions, I know that man's heart and it is as pure and big and soft as I could ever hope for my own to be.  


I'm reminding myself that regardless of what happens on a day to day basis, I know that the end of the story works out for my good.  


Ultimately, I'm reminding myself that usually the way we view things...so limited and incomplete and boxed in, is completely opposite of the raw truth.  






"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord." Isaiah 55:8 AMP


"Many plans are in a man's mind, but it is the Lord's purpose for him that will stand."
Proverbs 19:21 AMP

Friday, April 13, 2012

Blogging is Hard

I suck at blogging.

Eventually I will post something on a regular basis again.

But probably not soon.

The End.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

March Newsletter from the Salyers in Mozambique



Salyers in mozambique
March 30, 2012

Not What I Expected
I was hoping to get to Sapamoto before 6:00am because the church meets early and goes quickly to their farmlands because the Vervet and Samango monkeys and the Baboons wreak havoc on their crops. It had rained all night and I knew that the trail would be tough but it exceeded my expectations. Even though I left the house at 4:45am, I did not get to Sapamoto until about 8:00am. As I attempted to cross the river before Monapo, I could tell that I was going to fall so I jumped off the motorcycle and tried to catch it. My feet slipped on the rocks and the motorcycle fell on me. The water was only about mid-thigh deep but the Yamaha 450WRF is very heavy and getting out from under it was a mission! When I finally arrived, (and boy was I a wet, muddy, disgusting mess) everyone had already left, except for Assimo-Tepa who is the church leader. He cannot speak Portuguese, and I cannot speak Makua-Meetto. I wanted to find out how the meeting went so I set out to try to find someone left in the village who could speak Portuguese. As I passed one large bamboo fence I could hear voices so I stuck my head in and found a group of women grinding corn. I asked if they could speak Portuguese and they pointed to a group of men in the corner under a grass covering. So I walked over and asked if any of them could speak Portuguese and they all pointed to one guy who reluctantly admitted that he could. After the normal greetings I asked what the meeting was about. They said they were the men from the mosque and were having breakfast. So I immediately went into “save a Muslim” mode. After one and half hours of teaching, the Shehe (pronounced “shayhay”) who is the teacher/leader in the mosque, asked if I would return to teach them some more. We agreed that I would come back on Friday and teach in the mosque.

Preaching in the Mosque
Before Friday came, the Heaton family from Pemba came for a visit to our house for a few days and I invited Tim to go with me to the mosque on Friday. Tim works with the Mwani who are Muslims in the Pemba area and I knew he would love an opportunity to go the mosque. And I figured if the Muslims rioted and killed me then Tim could tell what happened. We rode to the mosque on motorcycles and Tim who had only ridden a dirt bike once before in England, only fell twice. Once was when I stopped abruptly in front of him because I needed to pee. And the other time was when a little girl ran out in front of him. But to his credit, in the course of two days of ministry, he managed eight river crossings without falling. When we got to the mosque, we found it to be in bad condition. The rains had caused one outside wall to fall. If you will remember, the mosque had closed back in September or so because we had made so many converts in Sapamoto. But when our leader Exébio went on a drunken binge, many of the church members fled back into the mosque. So when I went into the mosque I saw some familiar faces. Tim knew some mosque etiquette such as take your shoes off before entering and step in with your right foot first. We came in and sat on a grass mat and had to endure about forty minutes of normal Muslim ritual. Boring! I am soooooo glad to have REAL life in Christ instead of dead religion. After their stuff was finished the Shehe said I could share. In the front of the mosque is a small room in the front middle where the Shehe stands to read the Koran. It is a kind of Holy Place for them. But since it was the only place where I could sit and every one see, I asked if I could sit there and I sat before an answer came. The Shehe seemed uncomfortable with that so he stood behind me. I was using the Look, Listen, and Live material. It is a large book of pictures with an MP3 player that narrates the stories in Makua-Meetto. There are eight books. Book one begins with Creation and includes the Tower of Babel and the flood, Job and Abraham and then ends with the birth and ministry of Jesus and his sacrificial death. I could tell it was eating the Shehe up that he could not see the pictures so he eventually went and sat down. At the end of the presentation, I asked the Shehe if they would like to see the other seven books and he said they would. So we scheduled for me to return to the mosque the next Friday to show book two.

Second Visit to the Mosque
Wouldn't you know it, rain was falling when I left for the mosque and the elephant grass was wet and laying over into the trail. The visor on my motorcycle helmet was fogged up so I had to ride with it pulled up so I could see. With the wet grass, (six to nine feet tall) laying into the trail it was like being slapped in the face with a thousand wet squirrels for the three hour ride! Well, I arrived thoroughly wet and slapped silly and then had to endure forty minutes of DEAD religion before getting the opportunity to share the glorious, immutable, eternal, powerful, inscrutable, word of the living LORD. 'Nuff said? Before I shared, the Shehe wanted to say something to his men that he wanted me to understand. He appointed this young guy to interpret. Poor fellow could not speak Portuguese very well. Out of the five minute talk all I could understand was “this man has some very important words that are for all men and you must listen carefully.” On this day there were two women at the mosque. They are not permitted in the mosque but must watch through holes in the wall from a small room in the back. That should get the women's libbers hopping mad. Anyway, before I started, the Shehe called the women into the mosque and had them sit with the men to watch to gospel presentation. At the end, I gave the Shehe a copy of the four books of the Makua-Meetto bible (Genesis, Mark, Jonah, James) that are finished and a Portuguese New Testament since he could read both. Afterwards, three guys followed me to Assimo-Tepa's house and asked for a New Testament also. When each one demonstrated that they could read, they got one. The Shehe invited me back to show book three of the series so I would appreciate your continued prayers. A missionary friend of ours wrote to tell me about a missionary colleague of theirs in Yemen that was killed by Al-Qaida for evangelizing Muslims. They then asked if I had life insurance. The answer was no, because no company will insure a person living in the poorest nation on earth, Mozambique. But I have better insurance than that, it is your prayers. So keep praying and I'll keep preaching.

Life In The Bush....by jen
Well, if you have been reading our newsletters and following my Facebook information, you know that we've dealt with quite a bit of illness in our family since the beginning of the year. In January it was malaria and giardia. Then last month as soon as we went back to Balama from our grocery trip to Nampula, we unfortunately carried back with us a sickness that many of the other missionary children in Nampula had – a fever & bad cough. Well at that time, it started with one boy and then filtered out through everybody else except Kanon, I think. Even Brad & I had it in our turns & it was a bad one! I guess it was some kind of flu because it lasted about 10 days. I was completely exhausted from 3 days of holding a very sick 9 month old Warrior when I got the fever that lasted about 4 days and I couldn't do anything except lie around. Boy it was bad! So then we finally got better after about 2 weeks of sickness in the family just in time for a visit from some British missionaries who work with the Coastal Muslim people group called Mwani. They had come out for a bit of R&R as well as Tim wanted to go with Brad into the villages. It's funny to think that staying with a family full of 6 little boys with only 1 bathroom could be considered by some people as R&R, but, well, I think for them it must be like living at the circus for a vacation. Our bunch is definitely more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Anyway, the day they left, 2 little boys came down with fever. By the next day, all the boys had fevers. Miraculously, neither Brad nor I got sick that time, but the boys had fevers for 5 days. Now, just for grins and giggles, I'd like you to imagine how much Tylenol or Panado, Ibuprofen, and other fever meds 6 little boys take in 5 days. And what's more, neither of us is naturally a good secretary, which means that keeping track of how much of what we gave whom and when was just a nightmare! Our only prayer that week was that we could all be well before the Nampula trip that was coming up at the end of this week. We couldn't cancel it at all because we had an appointment with the Consular from the American Embassy to renew 3 passports. If we missed it, we'd have to fly our entire family down to Maputo to take care of it at no small price. Well, our departure date was Thursday. On Monday there were only 2 boys with lingering coughs. Then that evening, Colt the 3 year old had a fever about 103 F. Brad said, “No! No! No! We CAN'T DO THIS AGAIN!!!!” We all jumped on him, anointed him with oil, prayed over him and as a family took communion for about the 4th time in 10 days. (We believe there is a healing component to communion) Tuesday arrived and not only was there no fever, but Colt was his normal exuberant self. On Tuesday and Wednesday night all boys slept without coughing or fevers. So by Thursday, we were completely well and ready for our Friday appointment. Thanks to ALL the people who've been praying for us so fervently. It has been very difficult having so much sickness.
When Brad finally resorted to going to the local health clinic to see if we could by any liquid pain meds, he couldn't even get to the pharmacy part of the clinic because there were over 200 local ladies there, each with a child in arms who was screaming with fever and coughing all over the place. Usually, one of the first lies the enemy of our souls uses on us when trials or temptation comes is, “You're all alone!” But, of course, Jesus told us He would never leave us or forsake us. And sometimes, he lets us see that we're only 1 family out of an entire African village full of sick children. And that has some comforting value.

And, oh, by the way, a missionary friend of ours told us that if we ran out of liquid pain meds we could just crush up a paracetamol (acetaminophen) tablet and put it in some jam and our children, “knowing that we only had their best interests at heart & were motivated out of our love for them, would gladly swallow it”. Bless the Lord she must have had very docile children. But I can tell you that the person wielding the spoon with the contaminated jam will be viewed by my boys as being in league with the Devil.

On a different note, my father posted on Facebook that we need to update our website. My response was, of course, that I'm really long on wanting to do that, but short on time. So for all you who have looked at our website, I really am going to get to that. The main issue we face with that is we just don't have good internet service. The Mcel phone company has oversold their SIM cards and can't handle the amount of people trying to use their service. So if we try to get on internet at all from home, Mcel cuts us off almost immediately. So until we're in the US in July, the fancy newsletters and website are going to have to wait. Then I will visit all my friends and family who have great WI-FI connections and work on the multitude of internet work I have on my plate. Otherwise, you'll see me at Chik-Fil-A or McDonald's using their WI-FI access, but I'd have to munch fries while working and that's really more fries than anyone can righteously account for.
Just to give you some idea of how the internet service works for us, something happened to our main email account to where I couldn't access it by my phone (which I was previously doing). So finally I had an afternoon to spend trying to work it out online. I finally got the gmail website up. Then I got to the change password page and was able to input a new password. Up to this point, it had taken me 1 ½ hours. People, that's 90 minutes – just to get to the change password page!!!! So I clicked submit. I was greeted with the “Page not found – the server was reset – blah blah blah blah” page. So I did the wise thing and shut down the computer, saying, “When we get to Nampula, the first thing I'll do is try to fix that.” I must say that I was pleased that I was able to avoid getting overly frustrated while this was going on because after I clicked something, I just walked out of the room and only came to check it 10 minutes later. Therefore, the time went more quickly than usual! I have, by the way, managed to get our email address working again with a new password.

On a final note, if you haven't heard yet (I can't remember if we've “officially” announced it or not), we will (LORD willing) be coming for a visit to the US in July, August and September. We're really looking forward to it. The boys are busy trying to come up with odd jobs they can do to earn some money for their personal Lego funds. My favorite is the foot rub for 10 minutes. I'll gladly pay for that one!!! So, we've got our plane tickets. But we don't yet have a place to stay. Won't you please pray right now for God to reveal to us His place for our stay? Brad loves to roll in to a town and just figure out where we're going to stay. I'm pretty flexible and not insistent on making reservations at places and such, but for a stay of 2 ½ months, I'd sure like to know in advance where we're going to settle! I think it's just 'cuz I'm the mommy. I don't particularly relish the thought of continual suitcase living indefinitely with 6 boys. But I'm certain God's timing is perfect, as is the place He has for us. If you know of any place for us to stay, please let us know. Preferably at least a 2 bedroom, 1 bath place with a kitchen and living room. All of our boys share a bedroom normally, so that's not a big issue with us. But smaller than that would be a squeeze for sure. Brad doesn't mind so much a smaller place, but he's only living with 6 boys, but I am living with 7 boys and prefer a little more space!
Thanks so very much for your continued prayers for us. We really feel them! Prayer has been sustaining us along with God's promises to us in His Word. We hope you have enjoyed our stories and feel free to write to us and pray for us as well.
Brad, Jen & the precious mix of miniature Salyers - the Artillery:
Kanon, Gunnar, Magnum, Remington, Colt & Warrior

If you would like to participate in our ministry financially, please make checks payable to:
bradnjenministries
and mail them to:

Brad Salyer
P.O. Box 5009
Beaumont, TX 77726-5009


If you want to give money from South Africa, please contact us through email and we will tell you how to do that. Thanks so much!