And…We’re Back!

And…We’re Back!

After a three-year absence on this blog, we’ve decided to move back!  Below are the links to old blog posts from our ministry website with Ethnos360 (we’ll be keeping that blog current, as well).  We’re looking forward to reconnecting with you here at thekresges.com.  While you’re here, check out our new pages: Helicopter and Books.

April 9, 2018: The Day Tarzan Fell
February 23, 2018: Loving in Small Ways
August 8, 2017: A Year in Pictures
July 23, 2017: Brake for Chickens
July 6, 2017: CLA Classroom: Greetings
July 5, 2017: Business First
February 27, 2017: Count Your Many Blessings
November 2, 2017: Toilet Paper and Traffic Patterns
September 8, 2016: New Home, New Eyes
July 26, 2016: Have You Ever Memorized a Tracking Number?
July 7, 2016: New Territory (And Why We’re Not Excited)
June 13, 2016: Blood, Sweat, and Suitcases
March 25, 2016: Geronimo!
December 14, 2015: A Video Is Worth a Million Words
November 6, 2015: You Have a New Follower
October 6, 2015: Arizona: A Pokey Kind of Pretty
July 26, 2015: With Hands So Full, Why Do My Arms Feel Empty?
June 4, 2015: Transitions

Home, Sweet Homesick

Maple syrup is on our list of “a few favorite things.”  We put it on pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, cereal, smoothies, milk–and it never hurts to just eat it off the spoon!  For the last three years, we had the privilege of boiling down our own maple syrup at the place we rented in Michigan.  Last August, when we moved to Missouri for training, we carefully and wistfully packed up our remaining jars (“only” eight gallons!) and drove away, not knowing if we’d ever get a chance to experience “sap season” again.

It’s the small, simple things in life that give you a sense of belonging.  The traditions, the smells, the companionship and laughter, the familiar tastes and sights and sounds.  During maple syrup season, we always smelled of woodsmoke and fresh air; the boys delighted in their freedom to romp outside at all hours and experience the slow onset of a northern Spring. 

This year, maple syrup season in Michigan has come and gone without us.  Family and friends back home have carried on the tradition as usual, but we’ve only experienced it through photos and comments.  And there’s a strange little pain inside us that goes deeper than just missing out on the good flavor of fresh maple syrup.

It’s a growing realizationmaple syrup 6 that we might never feel “at home” again.  It’s a sense of lost identity that’s all wrapped up in homey, familiar things like morning frost and squashing mud and billowing steam.  The thud of a mallet and the crackle of burning logs and the sting of smoke in your eyes.  And along with all of this, we know that we’ll be saying goodbye to more important things–the friends that would stay up past midnight with us, finishing off that last gallon of syrup.  The easy camaraderie of chatting around the fire.  The loved ones that have received a Christmas bow-tied jar of the sticky goodness every year.

It’s this poignant, homesick feeling that keeps reminding us of what’s most important.  He is maple syrup 7worthy.  He is risen.  And there are a lot of people far away from our beloved maple trees who need to hear it.  The apostle Peter calls us “the people of God…strangers and foreigners on the earth” (1 Pet. 2:10, 11).  This is the identity we must embrace in this life.  Yes, it’s painful at times.  But our comfort comes in knowing that the God who holds our citizenship in Heaven is the same God who makes the maples flow.

MTC Classroom: Animism

Welcome to the Missionary Training Center!  “MTC Classroom” posts are to share with you some of the important things we are learning to prepare for our future ministry overseas.

Imagine living in a world where your daily existence–life or death, health or sickness, fullness or starvation–all depended on the whims of fickle, capricious spirits.  What if you believed those spirits had power over things as simple as your next meal and as complex as relational attraction?  What if those spirits existed everywhere: in the sky, in the air you breathe, in trees and rivers, in the smoke of a fire, in animals, and even in other people?

What if even the false “god” you believed in was so high and far-removed that he couldn’t be bothered about the concerns of your life?

Whom could you trust?  Where could you flee without being hounded by an overwhelming sense of fear?

Welcome to the world of the animist.

One of our teachers in Bible school used to say that “animism is the default religion of fallen humanity.”  Cultures around the globe are bound up in these beliefs, and it is within animistic systems like this that New Tribes Mission operates.  As ambassadors of the Gospel, it is our goal to see Christ glorified in the lives of people as they turn from darkness into light.  From lies to truth.  From fear to confidence.  From despair to hope.  From manipulation of the spirit world to trust in God for every need.

Even though we’re headed into missionary aviation, we are so thankful to be armed with an understanding of concepts like animism.  Not only will this understanding enable us to minister more effectively to missionaries we serve in the villages, but we will also be prepared to speak truth into the lives of our national neighbors.

MTC Classroom: Phonetics

Welcome to the Missionary Training Center!  “MTC Classroom” posts are to share with you some of the important things we are learning to prepare for our future ministry overseas.

Welcome to Phonetics, a whole new world of language!  This class is designed to:

  • introduce us to the diversity of sounds found in languages around the world
  • teach us how and where these sounds are articulated in the mouth
  • give us practice hearing, writing, and producing these sounds ourselves

Phonetic terminology includes words such as vowels, consonants, fricatives, affricates, nasals, laterals, flaps, glottals, voiced and unvoiced, glides, tone, and stress.  Sound strange?  Add to that a brand new alphabet (click here to see it), and you’ve got phonetics!

So, What?

Why in the world do we need phonetics?  After all, we’re going into aviation…it’s not like we’ll be transcribing an unwritten language, right?

Believe it or not, even phonetics has eternal value!  As missionaries on a foreign field, we will be learning a new language in order to communicate–on the radio, at the market, with our neighbors, and with government officials.  We desire to be fluent speakers of this new language in order to function effectively in a cross-cultural environment.  Phonetics helps us to understand the new sounds we will encounter and to sound more “native” when we speak that language.

God went to great lengths to communicate with humanity clearly, both through His written Word and through the Living Word–His Son, Jesus Christ.  It is this WORD that we wish to pass on to others, and this must be done in sounds that are fully understandable to our audience.  This is why we do Phonetics.

The Verdict Is In

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The release of our pent-up breath was audible on Friday afternoon as we sat on swivel chairs in a conference room and finally heard the words, “We are accepting you as a pilot/mechanic in the New Tribes Mission Aviation training program.” 

We (Jared, Carol, and Ivan) spent the past week at the NTM Aviation facility in McNeal, Arizona undergoing an intense technical evaluation.  It seemed surreal that the past eight to ten years of preparation for missionary aviation could be decided upon in one short week!  We are vastly relieved to be through this week and to finally be able to say decisively that we are  pursuing missionary aviation through New Tribes Mission!

Our next steps are as follows:

  • Return to the Missionary Training Center in Camdenton, Missouri and finish our second semester of training for overseas missions.
  • Actively pursue support-raising over the coming months (especially the summer) in order to expedite our transition to a field of service.
  • Move to McNeal, Arizona in late August to begin the final aviation training program (9-12 months) before heading overseas.

We are so excited about serving with New Tribes Mission Aviation!  Thank you for journeying with us through this long process of preparation.  No matter how many uncertainties we encounter, we know that the God we serve is always certain of the future…and whatever it holds, it is good.

“But It Still Hurts!”

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Since classes began in August, our family has experienced an unending whirlwind of sickness.  The boys have been in childcare for the first time, and they pick up every germ that gets passed around.  Add to that the airborne allergens of Missouri, and the result is very sick kiddos who are generous enough to share their germs with their parents.  Between countless colds, influenza, Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD), and a severe attack of eczema in Ivan, our lives have been short of sleep and just short of insanity.

The latest round of illness was HFMD in both boys.  As the painful, itchy rash began to show, they needed lots of love and attention.  Especially at night.  If Ivan was a wreck, Titus was an absolute basket case!  Five nights in a row we were up countless times with both boys, awakened from our fitful sleep by shrieks and wails.

Then the intense crying would start.  Most of the time, all I could do was hold them and cry with them.  I prayed unceasingly that God would speed their healing and give us an easier night so we could sleep.  Their cries continued, and I didn’t see answers right away.

On one particularly difficult night, I leaned over Titus and helped him pray that God would heal him and ease his pain.  Just a moment after we finished, Titus cried despairingly, “But, Mom, it still hurts!”

Oh, how his voice echoed the cry of my heart!  “But, God, it still hurts!  If you’re with us now and see our pain, why do you let it continue?”

In the middle of the night, it’s really hard to trust that God is there, caring and loving–even crying with us.  When my circumstances belie my faith and I focus on the pain surrounding me, I start to doubt.  This is when I have to choose to cling to God’s promises and the assurance of His character.  This is the source of our all-sufficient hope; it is what gives us courage to face another day–and another night.

Recently we have known of several people who have experienced incredible losses or trauma.  A young man at the Training Center lost fingers in a wood shop accident a few days ago.  A young pilot overseas lost his leg in a motorcycle accident.  Others have experienced serious health issues or traumatic incidents.

Where is God in all this pain?

We believe He is right here in the midst of it.  He’s holding out His arms, pleading with us to come sit with Him and allow Him to heal our wounded hearts.  He is leading us through the pain, not directly out of it.  Even when He doesn’t fulfill our every  request, He is still good.

We will choose to trust.  We will continue to cry out to Him, laying our burdens–with thanksgiving–at His feet.  His promises are sure, and His purposes are good.

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
Job 13:15