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“Let’s go shopping, Grandma”

This was one of Lisa’s favorite phrases and also one of her favorite pastimes on furlough in Arizona. This was partly because her English improved so much while we were in the US, but also because she quickly realized the toy section of the local Wal-Mart was a veritable paradise. It was reinforced by the fact that Mom, Dad or Grandma would occasionally buy her something, although not nearly as much as she asked for.

A Welcome Break

People often ask us what the difference is between furlough and vacation. Vacation is time off from work, sometimes spent in your own country, but sometimes in another country, or sometimes just spent at home. Furlough is when you live in a foreign country and you take time off to go back to your own country to visit family and friends and just to be in your own culture again. Furlough for a missionary is an important time to re-connect with his/her culture and with supporters, or to raise new supporters.

For us, furlough is usually a mix of both. Click to see the full-size imageWe take time off to just relax and spend time with family and friends, but we also often take time with our church and supporters (who also happen to be our friends). We share about what we’re doing, or we preach in churches.

This furlough, though was more vacation than anything else. My parents were able to take some time off and get away for a vacation with us. We visited Tucson, Phoenix, Sedona and Flagstaff. Our visit to Sedona probably stands out in my mind as the highlight.

Our time on furlough was really good for us. It was especially good to see Lisa having fun and getting to know her Grandma, Grandpa, cousin and uncle. It was also good to hear her English improving.

Normally at Heidebeek we get 3 months of furlough every two years, but since little ones like Lisa (and the other little one on the way), grow so quickly, we would like to try and take furlough to the US more often and for shorter periods, like this last furlough. We have gotten approval from Heidebeek to chop up our furlough as we see fit, spreading three months out over the two year period. We have to see if this is financially doable, of course. Please pray for us for wisdom in this area. We want to try and balance the calling and work to which God has called us with time spent with family, which we know is also very important to Him.

Teaching

You may or may not remember that I had mentioned in our last update way back in April that there were two teaching opportunities this Summer, one in India and one in Latvia. Neither of those are going through, but many more are quickly popping their heads up. We hope you realize that when we mention these opportunities, they are rarely ever set in stone, and we like to mention them to get your prayer support.

When you pray for these, please pray for God’s guidance and wisdom in whether or not I/we should accept these offers. When it seems more certain that I/we will be going, we would appreciate your prayers for travel protection, God’s anointing, His wisdom about what to share, and of course finances.

Having said that, we would like to share with you that I have several opportunities to teach this Fall and Winter. I’ll just list them by month with a short description.

October – November (2 weeks?): Worship Seminar in Chennai, India
December (1 week): Worship Seminar in Eastern Europe (the exact location is a little sensitive, so I’ll share more about that when the time is right)
Winter/Spring 2007 (2 weeks): Worship Seminar in Egypt
Spring 2007 (2 weeks): Worship Seminar in Romania

As you can imagine, I probably won’t be able to visit all of these places, especially with the expected arrival of our baby in January, so please pray for wisdom for us to know which opportunities I should pursue, and which I shouldn’t. If any of you get direct words or scriptures concerning these things, please let us know.

Surgery

It’s been almost nine years ago that an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor suggested I have surgery on my nose, and now it’s finally going to happen, if all goes as planned. The surgery is to correct a deviated septum, which basically means that the bridge of my nose is crooked which cuts off air supply, which means my nosed is stuffed up most of the time, especially at night, making it difficult to get a good night’s rest.

This results in the fact that I’m tired most of the time and don’t have much energy. Several people I have spoken to who have had this surgery say it has dramatically imporved their energy level.

The surgery is planned for July 17th and the expected recovery time is two weeks. Please keep me in your prayers leading up to, during and especially after this time.

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The New Blevins

In closing we would like to announce that we are expecting our second child. Jolanda is about 14 weeks along and is due sometime in the last week of December or the first week of January. We would like to leave you with one of the first pictures of our unborn baby. This one is taken from the side, and you can clearly see the spinal cord, upper legs, and a couple of little knees. Jo is doing fine, and the baby seems to be okay. Please keep them in your prayers.

We’ve posted these an other pictures in a couple of picture galleries, so feel free to check those out.
BB2: Blevins Baby 2
Furlough 2006
Note: Click on the small pictures to see full-size images.

Thanks again for reading our update. Until next time.