Author name: Liz Eck

Time for friendships

Time for friendships

Earlier this month, I enjoyed the SERVE missionary women’s retreat in Sinaia, Romania while Matt held down the fort in Vienna. I’m so grateful that the missions office provided this for us! The retreat was an especially sweet time of deepening friendships with these sisters who have a unique understanding of the challenges that go along with this missionary lifestyle. For our long term encouragement and longevity on the mission field, as well as our long-term faithfulness to Christ, cultivating these friendships is a priority. Janis Saville emphasized this point in one of the devotional times on Hebrews 12:1-3. Janis encouraged us to be diligent in continually building spiritually encouraging friendships, especially as we experience cycles of good friends moving away from our different locations.

Along with many of the missionary women serving in Europe, Janis Saville, Rachel Pruett, Linda Hudspeth, and Carolyn Harris traveled from Denton and joined us in the middle of their women’s teaching trip in Romania. The retreat was very intentionally set up by Janis with a minimal schedule so that we could all do what we needed for refreshment. We had lots of time to hike around nature, socialize and pray together, and we even toured a castle! Please pray that all of us would continue to faithfully run the race set before us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus!

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School Trip Stress

School Trip Stress

The beginning of this school year for Naomi came with a time of unexpected difficult and emotional talks as a married couple. As I attended the back-to-school parents meeting, I learned that there was a big, week-long field trip planned in June for the class of 22 students and 2 teachers. While I was aware that a fourth grade week away with the class was a normal thing here, I was unprepared to deal with this issue this year! Although I approached the teacher and asked if I could come along on the 5-night trip to a farm, the principal didn’t approve my request as it would be seen as unfair to the other families, and in the eyes of the school, would hinder the independence of the children that they hope to foster during this week away. Since my going along was the only way we would feel comfortable with Naomi being on the trip, we had to opt out. Naomi took it all in stride, praise God, even though the school counselor questioned her about it before we had officially let Naomi know our decision. When the counselor asked why she wasn’t able to go on the trip, Naomi responded that she didn’t know, but that it sounded like it was too long for her to be away from her parents! During the week of the class trip, Naomi will have to sit in the back of another class during school hours. I don’t know what they will have her do, but please pray she wouldn’t be too sad about missing out, and that we would be able to do lots of special things as a family that week after school. God is protecting our children and giving them wisdom, and we are thankful. Please pray for us as parents to make wise decisions and have God’s continual guidance in our children’s schooling decisions. Thank you!

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Kid Business


One thing about apartment living, especially during the summer, is that going to the park most mornings is part of our regular schedule. Much of the time I’m happy to do this (after we get through the ordeal of three kids getting ready to leave the house: put on clothes, maybe comb hair, take turns using the bathroom), because I know it’s good for them to run around and play outside. Sometimes I can even steal away moments to do things I enjoy, like sending text messages to friends to plan play dates or working on my “mom photography” (taking quick, multiple shots) skills.
But sometimes, there are things happening every other minute that require my attention. Often I get  frustrated when “my” moments are interrupted by the needs or wants of my kids; when I think of the shopping that will have to be squeezed in just before making dinner; or all of the other projects or chores that are just piling up because of the morning spent at the park. Combine that with the stressful, packed-full summer we’ve had, along with the normal level of stress present when living in a different culture, and I can get pretty worked up grasping for moments of fleeting fun or productivity on my terms.
During our last week before vacation, I took the kids to what they call, “Our Park”, which is right across the street, so really pretty convenient. Opening the gate, Naomi announced, “the park is open for business!”
“Psssh, maybe KID business,” I said. Naomi then proceeded to run in, yelling with all her might, “KID BUSINESS!” What a fun, silly moment!
The next day we were at another one of the playgrounds within walking distance and Naomi asked me to swing with her. I reluctantly agreed, putting away the grocery list I was trying to write. As we got to swinging, she exclaimed, “This is fun, right Mommy?”
Silent tears started streaming down my face as I kind of remembered what it used to feel like to swing at her age, how easy it was to have fun. Nowadays it takes real work for me to have fun and I realized that she (and her siblings) can help me with the serious “kid business” of playing and living in the moment that I desperately need. I pray that God would help me to see the value of and to enjoy each moment and to be fully present in it.

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