Tag Archives: Musings

Madison’s 12th Birthday – June 14th, 2008

Twelve years ago Maddy came into our lives.  In a foreshadowing of her serious way she entered the world as if she had a purpose.  Two and a half hours of labor was all she desired.
 
Maddy the seriousAs if to prepare us for the fact that she was not going to be the kind of person to adhere to other peoples’ norms, she walked late, potty trained late and read early.  She has always been her own person and never really been concerned what others have thought.
 
She is physical yet never gravitated towards athletics.  After five years of karate she decided to stop just six months shy of her black belt.  She was always the biggest kid on the soccer field but spent a large amount of time apologizing to opposing players for knocking them down and stealing their ball.
 
Maddy the funFollowing her own path continued in the intellectual.  Again defying all perceived norms, she excels at science yet struggles at math.  She has struggled in English yet excelled in writing and literature. Art is her passion. She became a Christian at seven and can explain why better then most adults.
 
She has always been the ideal only child; content to play by herself for hours or happy to spend time with a large group.  She often seeks out the new kid in class to make them comfortable and frequently offers her desserts at lunch to the bully before he asks. Regularly she finds herself betrayed by her sensitive nature. She doesn’t think of hurting others, so it is confusing to her when others hurt her.
 
Her flexibility and adaptability are amazing.  She has attended public school, home school and private school. In 13 months time she moved from a comfortable house with a pool in California to a 500 sq. ft. apartment in Central America.  Seldom does she complain and never has she expressed homesickness.  She is happy with expensive toys or rocks and sticks.
 
She is not perfect, but, she is amazing.  She knows she is odd, weird and different, and almost relishes it.  She laughs at her own mistakes and social missteps. There can never have been a child that is more comfortable in her own skin.
 
We love her and do our best to raise her in a God honoring way. We know we often blow it as parents, but, we know God watches over her when we mess up. Madison we love you very much. Happy birthday.

At A Crossroads – Looking Back And Looking Ahead

at a crossroadsSo, here we sit, only two weeks until we leave Costa Rica and fly to Honduras.  It is so odd.  For over three years we have been planning for the day we step foot on Honduras soil and start our ministry work.  That day is June 25th.  Everything behind us has prepared us for that moment…everything ahead of us is why we were born.

what are you crazyWe sold our house in July ’06, quit our jobs in December ’06 and moved to Costa Rica in August ’07.  From friends, family and casual acquaintances we have received responses ranging from – “Wow, you guys are incredible.” to, “What are you crazy?  Why would you do that?”  The truth sits in the middle, but, we believe going was our only option.  When God says, “Go”, it doesn’t take a smart man, a brave man or a pious man to say, “ok”.

failureWe have been asked many times, “What does failure in Honduras look like?” There is no failure.  If you seek God’s glory, hear His calling, pray for His guidance, follow His leading, and constantly work to implement His plan…how can you fail?  His plan is perfect.  Even if your experience results in your death or coming home early, but, you sought His glory in every step, you have not failed.

Team HondurasOne of the most exciting parts about what we have seen is that God has surrounded us with over 700 prayer partners and over 140 financial supporters.  These people are Team Honduras.  God has called each of us to participate in the Great Commission.  God calls us all to go (be missionaries) or send (support missionaries).  Our work simply does not take place without the sacrifice of others.  Each prayer and check writer is just as responsible for what happens in Honduras as we are.

The PettengillsWhen it is all over we do not want anyone to say that we were good people or self-sacrificing.  We are not in it for us.  We believe that we have sacrificed nothing.  Everything we had was given to us by God, so giving it up to do what He called us to do is no sacrifice.  We only do what we are all called to do – listen and obey.  It is for God’s glory that we take every step and for God’s glory we applaud.

16 Years Of Marriage From Mike’s Perspective

Our engagement picture from 1992On June 6, 1992 Mike Pettengill and Erin Brumm got married at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church.  Mike had just received his BA in Political Science and Erin was still working towards her Nursing degree. After the wedding they moved into a 900 square foot duplex with their two dogs and two cats.
 
At 23 and 24 years old we were poor, happy, in love and living in a little home. Boy how things have…uh…changed. Sixteen years later we are poor, happy, in love and living in a little home.
 
OK. Here is the real point of this blog entry. This past year we lived in NYC for a month, sold everything we owned, moved away from our friends and family, and studied Spanish in Central America.
 
In addition, this has been the first full year that we spent ALL our time together. Erin worked nights for 11 years and we didn’t see each other a lot during that time. So, in all honesty, I was very scared about this year of our marriage. We had never spent this much time together.  Plus, the stress of saying goodbye to friends, moving to a new country, going to school together, studying together, never being apart. This looked like a recipe for a disastrous marriage to me.
 
In my humble opinion, this has been the best year of our marriage. I rediscovered Erin and remembered that she is a pretty cool person. She has again become my best friend. We fight less, laugh more, and are more in love then ever. After 16 years of marriage I remember exactly why I fell in love with her.  I would not have wanted to go through all this with anyone else.
 

What does Erin think about this…I don’t know myself…go to her blog and find out.

Weakening Dollar Hurts Missionaries

The weakening U.S. dollar is having a profound effect on missionaries scattered all over the world. It makes bread, milk, and rent more expensive in the local currency thus increasing the cost of living. This is a worldwide problem for missionaries. According to the U.S. Center for World Mission, many missionaries are finding their dollars worth 8 to 12 percent less than they expected this year alone. In some Latin American countries, the dollar has lost 25 percent of its buying power since 2004.
 
While the weakening U.S. dollar means goods are more expensive for missionaries living in other countries, the slumping U.S. employment means that more U.S. citizens are unemployed. Some of those finding themselves without paychecks once supported missionaries. In addition, as gas prices, taxes, and goods increase in the U.S. many Americans are being forced to trim their personal budgets. The first thing that is usually cut is philanthropy. As U.S. citizens suffer, so does giving to churches. This results in many churches reducing or eliminating their support of missionaries.
 
Our mission sending agency, Mission To the World, has recently lowered the amount of support missionaries must raise by decreasing their administrative overhead and health costs for missionaries.  To further combat this problem, many missionaries are attempting to raise additional support while still on the field—a difficult and time consuming task.
 
Please pray for the U.S. economy, U.S. citizens and U.S. churches. In addition, please pray for those taking God’s love and God’s word around the world.

Honduras Cantaloupes

Fifty people in the U.S. have fallen sick after eating Salmonella tainted cantaloupes from Honduras.  No deaths have been reported, although 14 people have been hospitalized.
 
Both U.S. FDA and CDC authorities are still investigating the exact source of the salmonella contamination. So far, there are no scientific proof or laboratory analyses that confirm that the Salmonella originated in Honduras.
 
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration blocked imports of cantaloupes from Honduras-based Agropecuaria Montelibano after the illnesses were reported. The company has continued exporting to Europe and Central America and has received no reports of illness in countries other then the U.S. The decision led Agropecuaria Montelíbano to lay off 1,800 Honduran workers.
 
Cantaloupe represents 11 percent of all exports from Honduras. The economy in Honduras is already the 2nd worst in the western hemisphere. The average Honduran makes $1030 a year.  Honduras has a 28% unemployment rate.
 
While health is the primary concern, this could have a devastating and long-term impact on the entire Honduran economy. Please pray for the dozens of sick U.S. citizens and the families of the 1800 unemployed Hondurans.