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2015 Family Update

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It’s hard to believe we’ve been on deputation for 18 months now! With over 40% of our support raised, we’re SO close to that elusive half-way point. Everyone tells us that it takes less time to raise the second half of support, so we are still tentatively aiming for a June 2016 departure date!

2014 was one of the hardest years we’ve had as a family, but also one of the most REWARDING. I wanted to share some of these challenges and blessings, because the mountaintops look so much better when you’ve been in the valley! And our Jesus is right there, all the time, teaching, growing, stretching us more and more.

Challenges and Blessings of 2014

We found out God had blessed us with our 8th child and much of January and February was spent facing morning sickness/fatigue, travel and meetings…..we were so blessed to be down South during the cold winter many were facing!

March and April were FULL of meetings as usual, but a great many of them were missions conferences! Several of these churches went above and beyond to bless our entire family. This was an exhausting time, with week after week of trying to keep church clothes—and the children that wear them!—CLEAN. Nightly services over and over again can be challenging for our little ones to sit still through, and as my tummy grew, using the Laundromat became harder, too. BUT just when I would start to grow weary and discouraged, another church would take us on, or I would have the opportunity to minister in a special way…..the Lord would remind me to keep my focus on HIM and the eternal. Always the eternal. TODAY may be difficult—but ETERNITY is what truly matters!

We faced many issues with our “home” (our travel trailer)….from the frame to a water leak, to major manufacturing problems and several things in-between. If it was not our only residence, maintenance and repairs would not be an issue, but when we have to pack for 10 people and stay in a hotel or prophet’s chamber EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. there is a problem—-ugh! It gets old fast. :) The blessing here is that, after much counsel, research, and prayer, we were able to trade the other model in for a better fit for our family—AND it came with a 2 YEAR warranty. There’s even a little more space (yes, every extra foot counts!). Living on the road in a small space has it’s challenges, BUT the blessing is that we have SO much family time! If Brent was traveling alone, we would miss out on so many blessings.

Late April/early May, we took our survey trip to Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Wow—what a life changing trip! From the townships to the towns, from the ocean view to the wild animals, from orphanages to churches, it was fantastic. Even our children felt at home and longed to stay! The Lord confirmed OVER and OVER again that this is His calling on our lives! We can’t WAIT to finally be “home” in this beautiful land.

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May was also very hard on our family.   Our sweet Johanna, whom we adopted at 14 years old, was having some major struggles. The combination of early child neglect, abuses of every kind, post-traumatic-stress-disorder, and so much more, was culminating in a rough patch for our girl. We are experienced with these struggles, but seeing she was getting closer to 18 (and therefore a legal adult, with less resources available), we took action and sought professional help for her in a residential setting. As you might imagine–even though we believe it was the BEST situation for our entire family–this was a very hard transition for ALL of us. We prayed and prayed that fruit would come of this process….it wasn’t until we publicly shared what was going on with Johanna, and BEGGED Christians to PRAY on her behalf, that we saw lasting change!!! We learned not to be afraid to share things with fellow believers, and we were encouraged by the POWER in prayer! She is a treasure and we believe God’s plan for her is G-R-E-A-T!

One of the highlights of the month of July was our week at the Bill Rice Ranch. We’ve attended Family Camp there 3 times and never been disappointed!

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As summer drew to a end, so did our pregnancy. We came “off the road” for a few weeks, and settled in at Pocahontas State Park to await the birth of our precious son. His beautiful (and extremely SCARY!) birth occurred on August 17, and Titus Alexander Bergey has been nothing but pure J-O-Y to all of us! He has been quite the little traveler already, as our meetings have taken us to over 7 states (from northern Michigan to southern Florida!) since he was born. We hit the ground running, so to speak, 2 weeks after his birth, as our schedule for the fall was VERY full!

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Our meetings in September took us to Brent’s home state of Michigan, and his parents enjoyed some quality time with all of the children. Around mid-October, we made a scheduled trip to spend more time with Johanna. When we arrived, she was NOT doing well like before, and after several stressful and PRAYERFUL days, we pulled her from the program and brought her home. She was having some health problems, but after 2 hospitalizations and some time to heal (both physically and emotionally), she is now doing amazingly well, and we have become even closer as a family through this ”trial”. We are so thankful and proud of our girl, as she continues to overcome so much.

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The month of October also brought some pretty hefty health challenges—besides Johanna’s needs, 6 of our other children got chicken pox and 5 of us dealt with strep throat! We had FIVE back to back missions conferences to attend and yet we had SO much sickness. The combination of a newborn, Johanna’s needs, multiple sick children, traveling, and MANY meetings took it’s toll on us all. :) Brent graciously and wisely scheduled a “break” to allow us to regroup a bit, and we spent November and December in missionary housing. We continued our weekend meetings but had some good time to catch up on homeschooling. Brent was also able to work extra at scheduling more meetings for this year. The last benefit was that we had a LOVELY Christmas and most of our extended family was able to come and visit. (Company will NOT fit in our trailer, lol!)

Fulltime travel, a precious new baby, growth for Johanna, many new supporting churches—yes, it was a year full of challenges AND blessings. :) We are thankful for a Savior who counts us worthy to serve Him and who strengthens our faith and grows it one day at a time!

Our schedule for 2015 is filling up and we are EXCITED about this year!! We have the opportunity and privilege to share about South Africa’s ORPHANS. We have the joy of teaching and training our children to serve Jesus. There is NOTHING we would rather be doing!

“For I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL of Christ, for it is the POWER of God unto SALVATION.”

Survey Trip, Part 1, The Townships, Buildings and People

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The month of May brought our long-anticipated SURVEY TRIP!

Oh, how our hearts were stirred by this trip…….

I’m splitting the details of the trip into several posts because I have so many pictures to share with you. :)

I’m going to start with the most heartbreaking moments of our trip: our days in the townships.

The townships in South Africa are where the blacks reside. There are several townships in Port Elizabeth, and the surprising fact is that they are all a VERY short distance from the more affluent white communities. Literally, one minute you’re in a decent neighborhood, on a paved road, and the very next minute you are experiencing poverty, filth, cardboard homes, trash filled dirt roads, and animals running through the streets.

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Homes are constructed from anything available….often simply layers of cardboard with only a tarp for a roof.

(And we complain about OUR houses???)

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Want to do your laundry this way?

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Need to use the restroom?

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Rocks were holding this “roof” down…

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Seriously, tiny little ones, running around in the streets.  IMG_0033

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We passed out candy and gospel tracts, and played a makeshift soccer with some of the children.

It was clearly evident that many of the children are sick, probably with HIV.

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Their precious faces haunt our memories.

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They have no hope of ever leaving the destitution and poverty of the townships.

In Part 2, I’ll share the about attending church in the townships. This was church like we’ve never experienced, friends.

Life-changing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This and That

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Whew. What a summer it’s been.

I feel like I need a week to just catch my breath—but there isn’t even time for that. :) I wish I had tons of pictures to post but sadly, the charger for my camera went missing and has yet to be found. I even took some new videos with the intention of sharing them here on the website BUT the charger broke for the video camera! Apparently, pictures and videos will have to wait a bit until we can budget to fix the aforementioned devices. :)

Two Weeks and Counting….

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We’ve been on our first long road trip for a little over two weeks now.

It’s been a time of “I love ministering with my family!” and “How do I cook dinner for nine people in a 35 ft travel trailer?” and “How will God provide for this need?” and “Will my little ones ever see an early bedtime again?” :)

The children have been amazing. They work right alongside us and are our greatest blessing. Johanna and Gabbey have struggled a bit with the unpredictable schedule (remember, they come from orphanages were nothing ever changed, so change is challenging) but I have faith that they will adjust as they get used to our new “normal”.

Sleeping on the road is becoming quite easy for our youngest ones.

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We’re SO thankful that no one gets carsick!

On the Road: West Virginia

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Our meeting on June 23, 2013, was at Grace Gospel Baptist Church in Ripley, WV. We left home on Saturday morning and drove most of the day, arriving around 5:00 pm. Sometimes we make good time, other times, we seem to make frequent “rest” stops. :)

 

Stretching our legs a bit at a nice rest stop.

Stretching our legs a bit at a nice rest stop.

The Longest 24 Hours EVER

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It is estimated that we will need to travel to 300 churches before leaving for South Africa. This would obviously be less of a challenge if Brent and I were just traveling alone. :)  Adding seven children to the constant road trips makes for a, shall we say, more interesting experience.

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