2011 Cali Summer Trip

Wow has time flown!  It seems like just yesterday we were finishing up our last days of training for our sophomore semester at NTBI!  Yet here we are packing to head out to the East Coast for a few weeks before heading back to Wisconsin for one more year.  It went WAY to fast!  Well… here is a quick snapshot of our time in beautiful California!  We arrive in late May and enjoyed some family time and reconnecting with friends in the Livermore/Brentwood area.  We were offered a BRIGHT red Volkswagen Beetle to use and drive around.  We were able to get to a beloved Giants game and enjoy Pete’s Birthday with a sunny BBQ.  We hang out with Cornerstone Brentwood Youth Ministry for their end of the year events and took nice walks with the family in the vineyards of Livermore.  We flew down to San Diego to visit Bree’s little brother, grandparents, cousins, and aunt and uncle for a week and a half….  Can you say beach time?!?!  After we returned from San Diego we went up to Hume Lake with Cornerstone’s Youth Ministry.  Bree hung out with Diane and Caden while my little brother Jeremy and I went camping and survived on hot dogs and sunflower seeds.  Upon our return from Hume we had a chance to be apart of our dear friend Heidi’s wedding, attend a baby dedication, and enjoy some Cornerstone VBS in Brentwood.  What a fun time in the place we love!  Thanks Cali… see you next summer!!!

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Spring Break in Utah!

Bree and I had an Amazing Spring Break and we are sad to see it come to an end. We flew out to Salt Lake City, Utah to visit some of Bree’s family.  Her grandparents drove up from Southern California, Bree’s older brother Ryan, his wife Connie and their 2-year-old son Cannon drove down from upper Idaho, and of course the Trostrud family who live there in Utah who made it all possible!  What a blessed time of fellowship, rest, and laughter!  Not to mention the brilliant views of the Salt Lake valley that never cease to impress.

So here we are back at school for two and a half more weeks before summer break!  We are counting down the days to get back to California and spend time with all of you there!

MK Winter Retreat 2011!

This weekend, Bree and I were blessed to go to an MK (Missionary Kids) Winter Retreat in Northern Indiana where we were privileged to fellowship with 160 college-aged MKs from the all over the world.  What an amazing time.  It definitely stands as one of biggest highlights of our year.

What an amazing opportunity for them to gather and “let their hair down” and be MK.  Life as an MK certainly has its many advantages but it also has difficult struggles that most people don’t understand and an event like this is such a breath of fresh air.  To be among others who actually understand you and your unique background.  What better way is there to relax then a massive international game of snow soccer, snowball fights on a frozen lake, and boxes full of board games! 

Bree and I watched God make the way for this trip and provide unlike we have ever seen.  Every prayer request that we put up on our blog before we left was completely answered.  Whether it was dry roads and blue skies keeping us safe both days we traveled or the ample snowfall that we got while we were there – making it feel like “winter camp”.  Watching the MKs fellowship or watching them learn and understand their identity in Christ better.  Seeing Steve our speaker’s flu get cured or meeting and networking with amazing people currently involved in effective MK ministry…  We just saw the hand of God all over every moment of the trip.  Praise God!

For me, Pete, it was an amazing experience that you couldn’t help but praise God for.  For me, I see MKs as the coolest people around.  They have such a special story and I am so grateful for not only their parents’ sacrifices for the gospel, but THEIR sacrifices as well.  Yes, they didn’t have a choice in the matter, but they did GO, they did grow up in another culture, they played an incredible role in the advance of the gospel, and they make the sacrifice being separated from their parents and siblings who are still ministering overseas, while they are left to fend for themselves.   

Here are a few specific lessons God taught us during the retreat–

1.      MK’s are amazing, and the church needs to realize our role in caring for them.

  • This was a HUGE realization for me.  Growing up in the American Church, I truly thought “supporting Missionaries” was sending money and expecting to get updates from the progress.  MAYBE  if we were really close, we would go and help on a short-term trip…. But wait…  What about their other needs… what about their kids?  When a missionary accepts a call to go and move across the world, they are also saying that they will sacrifice (among many other things) the ability to physically be with their kids through some of the hardest times of their lives… the College years.   Yes, kids in America often separate at this age… but they are but mere phone call away, they have been taught how to drive and have a license, they have been taught and experienced the basics of American banking/finances, they know what to do if there is an accident… the list can go on.  But MKs are very often forced to learn all these things by themselves while in the middle of full culture shock and loss, which adds to the hardship.  We, the church need to fill that void.  It’s neither hard nor daunting.  We just make ourselves available to our returning missionary kids.  Be willing to teach them to drive, take them to the bank, help them find a job, etc.  Every MK is different and has different needs.  When we support missionaries, I truly feel that we also need to recognize that are joining the team in other areas then financial.

2.      When MKs worship together…. Ohhh my… It’s heavenly.        

  • I don’t know exactly what it is, but there is something about it unlike any other.   On top of that, you have kids singing the same songs in many different languages. 

3.      MK’s NEED fellowship with each other –

  • Now, I am not saying that it is all they need… It is vital that they build strong relationships with peers in America.  But MKs deal with an outsider mentality almost constantly.  Many Americans care for them but just can’t relate to their struggles.  I really think that Retreats, Facebook, groups, etc where MKs can network is HUGE. 

4.      Current MK Care –

  • This weekend, we found out about some great people who are actively out there caring for MKs.  We were connected with folks from MuKappa, Barnabas, NTM, and other great organizations.  Thank God for them and what they are doing!  But we are now praying for more.  There just are not enough out there to go around.  Let’s pray for more people (even MKs themselves) to catch the vision and get involved in such a crucial ministry to the Kingdom.

5.      Learned more about why it is difficult (if not impossible) for an MK to call America home  –

  • This weekend I heard from Michele Phoenix’s blog,” If you’re forced to go to the grocery store when you’d rather stay home, you’re going to hate the grocery store.  If you’re forced to eat at the kid’s table with snot-nosed rugrats while the grownups get to eat in the dining room, you’re going to hate the kid’s table.  If you’re forced to go out and shovel snow when there’s a fire in the fireplace and your favorite show on TV, you’re going to hate the yard.  If you’re forced to move to the States for college and there are no other options, you’re going to hate the States.  Period.”  Now combine that with International media coverage of the American culture.  If the only source of information a person absorbs on a regular basis is foreign news coverage and poorly dubbed American TV shows, words like egocentric, materialistic, vain, depraved and arrogant will seem like appropriate descriptors.  Watching the news in France is witnessing America-bashing on a national level.  Watching reruns of Dallas and Dynasty (yup, they’re still on!) reduces an entire culture to its Hollywoodian figureheads.  Bear in mind that most MKs return to the States for “furlough” only every two or four years, and then for a limited, very mobile stay.  The majority of the information they gather about their “home” culture comes while they’re abroad.  That can seriously skew their opinion of the US.”…….. It makes sense to me!
  • We have a big job to do in Cross-Cultural mending.

Here are some pics from the weekend… 

Please Pray – MK Winter Retreat!

This weekend Bree and I have the awesome opportunity to go with 18 MKs to a College MK Retreat in Indiana!  We’re excited to build relationships and connect with over 150 other MKs from all around the Midwest colleges.

Please pray!

Please pray specifically for:

  • Pray for the travels back and forth from WI to IN.
    • Thanks for all of you have already been praying for this trip as the weather is looking to be perfect (other than REALLY cold!) 😉
  • Pray for the Fellowship between all the MKs.
  • Pray for message that will be brought by NTMs very own Steve Swope.
    • Pray for Steve as he has been fighting sickness this week.
  • Pray for the individual MKs to have a deepened relationship with the Lord.
  • Pray for networking opportunities with others involved in ministry to MKs.

In Between Chapters

Morro Bay Getaway, Just Me and Pete and a beach town all to ourselves! We stayed in a beautiful hotel room that felt like a 5 star bungalow. The only downside  however was that most of the trip was spent in jeans and sweatshirts due to coastal fog. I learned not to start a vacation with too high expectations, mine were high for Hot weather. But aside from the weather Pete and I had a Blast! We rode our bikes all over town, we ate some incredible fish and chips, we walked through the seaside shops and art galleries, and witnessed sunsets at Morro Rock – Ah Bliss! And to top it off the hotel gave us free breakfast at a cool little diner every single morning. One morning I ordered a cinnamon roll and it came to me the size of a frisbee! I wish I could say that I ate it all but it was too big. The last day we drove 10 minutes out of Morro bay to Cambria, and there was NO Fog in sight! We ran down to the beach and soaked in the sun for the rest of the day. Too bad we didn’t figure that out sooner 🙂

The Ammerman Family Camp Out! We packed up the cars and spent 4 days and 3 nights at New Melones Lake near Angels Camp. This was the first time the Ammermans had gone tent camping in over a decade! It couldn’t have been more fun! our days looked like this: morning coffee, fellowship and breakfast around a fire as the sun slowly rises and brings the heat. around 11am the heat is too unbearable and we walk down the hill to the water, each carrying our own floaties. With no shade we bake in the sun and swim in the water untill about 2. Hiking up the hill we make sandwiches and quickly realize that we are too hot to be out of the water, so we hike down the hill and swim till around 4. Dinner has never tasted better as we indulge in grilled spicy fajitas with sautéed bell peppers, hand-made juicy hamburgers and fire blackened hot dogs with grilled onions. This is our favorite time of day, feeling great after a shower and lounging by the fire as the cool breeze picks up and the temperature drops to perfection. We watch the sunset and roast marshmallows for smores as we tell progressive stories about zombie dinosaurs and zombie underwear. The stars at night make you feel so small and God so infinite. We all Cheer as we see the Largest shooting star of our lifetimes. Back in the tent we gather around to play knush and yhatzee and then head to bed exhausted from the day and so excited to do it again tomorrow.