Back in April when we first got Janet and Lemu, we were overwhelmed by the changes and challenges. Life was bleak, and the future looked bleaker. So we put out a little cry for help. My mother, Velma, was the first to answer, coming over for a month in Aug-Sept. The second answer came from Amber's twin brothers Justin & Josh, and the third from Calvin & Mary Jane (Velma's older sister) Schrock. Calvin and Mary Jane had come over last year with my parents for two weeks. When we were back in the US last year, they mentioned a time or two they might consider coming back if we wanted them to. Be careful what you say to us!
While they were with us from October to December, together we listened to a few chapters of David Platt's book Radical. I remember after the first chapter I was thinking, "Calvin and Mary Jane are pretty darn radical themselves!" Coming over here in their retirement, sacrificing time in their comfortable routines for both mind-numbing mundanity and extreme ambiguity; sacrificing time with their own children and grandchildren to be with a nephew and his family; sacrificing all sorts of comforts and conveniences for the lack thereof on this side of the Atlantic. And doing it all with an amazing attitude of servanthood and service, kindness, and flexibility. We were impressed time and time again with how well they did, how much they blessed us, and how faithful they were in their obvious mission: to minister to us and to the Ik.
Let me just say it publicly: Calvin and Mary Jane, you are model retirees and Christians, still using your gifts, talents, and resources to bless the world instead of hoarding them for yourselves. We commend you for that and thank you for all you did for us!
They came at just the right time. Of course God would know that. We were missing my mom and Amber's brothers. We were finishing up our house and needed to move soon. We were faced with many tasks beyond our ability to do alone. The rest of this post is just a photo journey through the two months they stayed with us. Keep in mind that though I try to capture many of their contributions in these photos, they did way more than these!
The girls playing with 'Sister Grandma's' hair:
Calvin (on left) helping us raise the water tower (and not kill anybody in the process...):
Mary Jane and the girls riding on our mattress all the way from Kaabong to Timu:
Calving getting a little 'help' from Lemu in fitting our hardwood doors:
Calvin did ALL our plumbing which was a huge relief to us:
Mary Jane cooked a lot of good food for us, including this scrumptious pizza:
After work in the evening, Calvin would often sit and watch something with the girls. They sure appreciated the grandpa time!
Mary Jane was a tremendous blessing in the kitchen, here making dinner:
Mary Jane brought a hand-cranked Singer sewing machine, sewed a bunch of stuff with it, and taught Amber how to use it as well (now she can fix my 'holey' garments):
We had quite a bit of lumber leftover from the construction, so Calvin made good use of it for several projects. Here he's putting together a swing-set for the girls:
In the concrete around the swing-set legs, Calvin helped the girls make impressions of their hands:
Mary Jane hiked with Amber and the girls to pay a medical visit to one of the Ik villages:
Aunt Mary Jane making a rug, by hand, out of old curtains and socks!
Mary Jane and Alice, the happy recipient of some of her clothes:
Having a rest on the benches Calvin made for the local Ik church:
The wonderful wacky cake Mary Jane cooked for us every Sunday (now a tradition!):
How many hundreds, if not thousands of dishes did she do???
Our gardeners, Simon (pictured here) and Emma, enjoyed spending time with Calvin (while Terrill slaved away in his office). It was good for them to see a man 'of a certain age' working actively, especially one eager to discuss spiritual matters when he had the opportunity:
Calvin spent a couple of days working on the community grinding mill:
On Thanksgiving, we invited Janet and Lemu's uncle Lojere's family over. It was the first time we had them all to our new home and the first time we celebrated a major holiday with the Ik (instead of being somewhere else with expatriates). Here's the food our ladies prepared:
In halting Ik, I tried to explain why we celebrate Thanksgiving. I hope I got the message across:
Mary Jane had the dubious privilege of getting to see a birth in progress in less than ideal conditions:
After we moved to our new house, Calvin and Mary Jane remained in our former compound. They occupied one hut, and John Mark Lomeri (see previous post), occupied the other. I know they enjoyed each other's company:
Janet taking advantage of Grandpa Calvin's affection on our boat trip out to the Ssesse Islands (a little vacation before they departed):
Wind-blown, tired...but happy:
From the top of a castle on Banda Island:
Sticking close to Sister Grandma just before we have to say goodbye:
We know they were ready to get back to their lives at home, and we were glad to be a little family of four again...but what a blessing-saturated time we had together. Thanks, Calvin and Mary Jane, and you know you're welcome back any time (there's always the hot water heater to get going!)