Sunday, August 30, 2015

Day 2 and 3 of International Orientation

Sunday afternoon finds Cory working on Eli's computer, Anna exploring the dorm activity room, and since I didn't recharge my Kindle I'm here.

Eli and the rest of the international folks should be enjoying the Lake Michigan beach.

Thankfully the rainy cool weather from yesterday gave way to a bit warmer weather but it remains cloudy.

Yesterday we enjoyed our first breakfast at Calvin. Anna joined another younger sister, from Africa.

Then the parents loaded up into a bus to visit the Fredrick Meijer Garden.

After a short time looking around the inside conservatories [arid, carnivorous plants, and rain forest] we loaded into a tram and enjoyed a 45 minute drive through the sculpture park.

We returned to Calvin for lunch and then returned to the bus for the big shopping trip to a local Meijer store.

Meijer sells many things including: food, clothes, hardware, school/office supplies, plants, household items, electronics....and more.

So picture 4 big buses with over 200 people stopping by your local store!!

 The staff stationed them selves by the areas that held the items on the list from Calvin.

Eli teamed up with a student from China and we tagged along. After completing their lists they checked out at one of the 5 check-out lanes designated for Calvin students.

Helpers wrote each student's name on their bags to help with sorting back at Calvin.

After a tasty Asian Dinner we enjoyed the night's entertainment which included the students being divided into 7 cultural groups and then each group acted out a skit.

Four elements needed to be included as they competed.....the China heritage group won.

Eli joined the group from Africa. Ghana students made up their own group so Eli joined the 'rest of Africa group'.

This morning after breakfast, students and family shared a meaningful time of worship.

After lunch everyone moved into their rooms for the year.

Until Eli's roommate arrives he will not be able to arrange his room so either later today or Wednesday.

Dividing up into the different dorms.
Tomorrow 1/3 of the Freshman class from America and Canada will join the international students for 3 days of orientation.

This will focus more on life at Calvin and academics.

Six events will still be specific for the international students.
Looking at the bed arrangement possibilities.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

First full day at Calvin

Good day yesterday.  Thank you for the prayers for Eli, our family, and Haiti. Looks like parts of Haiti received rain and wind on the news but could have been worse. Not sure when we'll be able to talk to the staff at Fauche but will update when we can.

We did a few things before heading back to Calvin including a bit of shopping.

We joined the rest of the students and parents for lunch.  Following lunch the whole group went to a banking talk and students signed up for the local bank.

Then the parents loaded into a couple of old-fashioned trolleys for a tour of Grand Rapids. This was a fun and interesting way to learn a bit more about Calvin and Grand Rapids.

Then we had a bit of down time before a Welcoming reception and Dinner. The president of Calvin, Michael Le Roy spoke as well as some of the staff for international students.

Interesting many of the 'third culture kids' growing up in a culture other than that of their parent's nationalities are missionary kids from Korea growing up in other cultures like countries in Africa or Asia.

I had a cultural moment with a grandfather from the Netherlands noticed my name tag and asked if TerAvest was Dutch. He noted that they did not print the space and that it wasn't a very common name even in the Netherlands.

At the dinner they asked various groups of the students to stand. Eli's the only new student coming from Haiti but we met a Mom who lived in Haiti as a child.

Surprising that only two were from Europe! Only about 20-30 are American TCK's.

Today and tomorrow Anna will come with us. Will be a long day today with visit to the Frederik Meijer Garden, a shopping trip to Meijer store with our students, an Asian dinner followed by the major cultural groups student acted interpretation of Romeo & Juliet....not sure if Eli will be in the African group [culture] or Latin America [location].

So a late night and then back early for breakfast and worship.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Please pray for Haiti as it looks like tropical storm Erika could dump lots of rain on the north coast and produce some high winds. 

On Wednesday, we celebrated Eli's 18th birthday with Cory's family.

We did some shopping while Cory's mom took the older cousins to a local place for some games like laser tag and pizza.

Thursday we headed out to Calvin after an early lunch. We signed in and picked up our name tags.

Eli quickly joined the mixer games already in process.

I know how privileged we are to get to experience the International student orientation with Eli and even just getting to drop him off at college. Many families living over-seas do not get this chance.

Groups took tours of Calvin's campus before we headed to dinner. Eli went in one group while we joined another. A very nice and compact campus so at least Eli will not need to hike across long distances come winter time.

We chatted with some of the other parents. Close to 10% of Calvin's students come from other countries.

While some of the international students will be arriving this morning between 115 to 120 will participate in International Passport orientation.

Calvin students represent 55 different countries!

I'll try to keep you posted but with a very full schedule the next few days you may need to wait for details until after Wednesday.

I'm starting to like the whole texting option, just need to figure out how to continue once we return to Haiti and leave grandma's phone behind.

 Eli slept well but needs a blanket as he got cold.

He only brought the basics as he will not move into his room until Sunday afternoon.

Today the parents will be sitting in on a banking talk, visiting downtown Grand Rapids and then enjoying a welcome reception and dinner.

 Anna plans to join us for Saturday and Sunday's activities.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Indiana trip.

Feels a bit like fall in Michigan today with a grey sky and a cool wind reminding us that major changes are right around the corner.

Saturday we traveled as a family down to Indiana and spent most of the day talking about Haiti.

We connected with two missionary "aunts' from my childhood years in Haiti.

They both encouraged our family and prayed with us.

We then continued on our way to overnight at the Shenum house and connected with the most-recent missionary family to get clearance to move to Haiti. We rejoice with them for completing this major milestone.

Sunday morning we headed south to share at Crossroads Wesleyan church, and learned a new term for us a "pitch-in meal" [Potluck for those in the north.]

Having a bit of extra time during the afternoon we stopped in at the Muscatatuck nature reserve near Seymour.

Cory enjoyed the big trees while I think the rest of us most enjoyed watching many types of birds at the bird feeders.

For the evening service, we shared at the Seymour Wesleyan church followed by more food and fellowship.

Monday morning we enjoyed breakfast with Jim and Jeanette Vermilya, enjoying more missionary stories, before heading back north.

We shopped for some food in Shipshewana and then college supplies for Eli in Kalamazoo.

Cypress root "knees"
Today we worked on thank-you notes, did some office stuff and contacted supporting churches about faith promise.

 Just five weeks remain before we hope to return to Haiti so praying we can get financial clearance.

Tomorrow we plan to spend some time with Cory's family to celebrate Eli's birthday a bit early.

Eli's college pile. 
On Thursday Cory, Eli and I will start Calvin's Passport program, the orientation for international students.  Thank you for the prayers.

Monday, August 17, 2015


Sorry for the quiet gap.

I find it easier to keep track of the blog and updates during our school day in Haiti with more of a routine that does not include interacting with so many people in person.

Thank you to all who recently mentioned following the blog, and that you enjoy following our family's story and our ministry.

Last week, we worked with the Konsey children's book. Eli studied driving.

We worked at the old farm a bit, but the major task included working and mailing a new newsletter.

We put them in the mail Friday morning on our way to Iowa.

For those receiving our e-mail updates, the newsletter should have arrived today.

For folks who do not attend a supporting church and didn't connect with us this summer, but would like to receive a new prayer card, please contact us with your mailing address.

We enjoyed our trip to Iowa.

On Friday, we traveled to Cedar Springs. Saturday we backtracked a bit to visit the zoo in Davenport and a faithful prayer partner.

In the afternoon, we headed back to Cedar Springs for a bonfire/hayride.

We really enjoyed the casual setting and getting to know the Living Hope Wesleyan church family better.

We shared in Sunday school and then a few minutes during church. We also enjoyed reconnecting with Tom, Grace, and Gwendolyn from Brazil.

After over a long lunch with great fellowship, we headed back to Michigan. Eli completed his required night driving time.

Today friends from Canada dropped in for a short visit to talk about Haiti.