Thursday, March 14, 2013

Days in Anchorage

What an adventure and it's only just begun. Late on this Thursday night as I wait for the dryer to finish this last load I can't help but think about the past few days and the road that brought us here.

In reality we started this journey in the middle of October when a sweet friend, who just happens to be our youth pastor's wife, told me about this incredible mission trip to Nome Alaska. Mark and I talked about it for a few days, pitched the idea to Junior and the rest is history. Well truth be told its when the journey began. From that day forward for the next 5 months Jr skimped and saved and worked her tail off. We started Parents Night Out at our church, Koza Baptist, and I began working more with the local Japanese children all to raise money for this missions trip. We were blessed that we have not tapped into our families finances for this trip and are making mission debt free!

Now here we are, the night before we fly out to Nome. Do I think we are ready? No, I most certainly do not think we are ready. Is anyone ever really "ready" for a mission trip? For those of you who know me this is a huge step. I like to be in control, I like to know what each day has planned for me and my family. I like to know the people we will be working with, working to help, staying with, eating with, living life and serving God with. I KNOW NONE of this information. This is a HUGE leap for me. A week before we left Okinawa to come on this journey, I was seriously have second thoughts. Fear started to creep inside like I've not felt in such a long time. At times I felt like the stress of everything going on around me was going to swallow me up and render me useless.

Many of you reading this have no clue what the two weeks preceding our first flight entailed. Let's see... My amazing and most wonderful husband had his second right shoulder surgery, leaving him unable to move 3 fingers on his right hand or his wrist. He has since gained complete control and use of them! Praise God, but let me tell you that was a scary 3 days. We had to finish up 2 stupid, I mean very important science fair projects. I [with the drugged up help of Mark] completed our moving paperwork, scheduled the movers, got our plane tickets, and secured hotels for both ends of the move. And did I mention that 36 hours before our flight I was in the ER being diagnosed with a 6mm kidney stone. So yeah, it has been an interesting journey getting here.

I've done a lot of praying in this last few weeks. The Lord has heard all my prayers and has kept me sane in the midst of chaos. I have yet to pass this wicked stone, but once or twice a day it reminds me that it is still there. I have prayed that this will not prevent me from living life, enjoying this trip and serving to the best of my abilities. So far so good, the work is just beginning though.

Jr and I board the last plane of this journey tomorrow morning. I ask that you stand in agreement with us that we will be a vessel through which will will serve and bring honor to God Almighty. We are not just representing ourselves, or our family, but our entire Koza family and Christian family. As the signs states as we leave base in Okinawa... "Remember, You are a US Ambassador", and I always tell the kids ... and a constant witness of Christ and a member of the Francis Family... do what is RIGHT and live with integrity.

So here we go, Ambassadors of Christ, Koza and the Francis Family. Sure hope I don't mess up!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

From Cherry Blossoms to Cherry Point?

Yep, you guessed it. We are moving from beautiful Okinawa Japan to Cherry Point NC.

 From Cherry Blossoms to Cherry Point, we are so excited!

Approximately 105 days to do the following:
pack the house, search for more seaglass, go on a mission trip, recover from another shoulder surgery, eat sushi, terriyaki,and Arashi, complete 2 BSA Eagle Projects & have a ceremony, buy another kokeshi doll or two, sell 2 cars, find a HUGE set of Shisa-dogs, celebrate birthdays, find 20 more geocaches, go ziplining, clean house, find more slide parks, color Easter eggs, finish school and finally rack up some more air miles! 
 We are anticipating our arrival on or around May 26, 2013.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Update on the Christmas Jar

 If you've been keeping up with my blog you know that first off Junior and I are headed to Nome Alaska in just 6 short weeks! I wanted to take a moment to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT of THANKS to the person/family who gave us the Christmas Jar. Inside the jar was enough Yen and Dollar to pay for a round trip plane ticket from Anchorage to Nome! They gave us over 25,386 in Yen and 27.65 in Dollar. That comes out to approximately $306.62!
I am floored, we truly cannot say THANK YOU loud enough!
It took Junior, Mark and myself several hours to sort, roll and count the jar! What a great treat on a Sunday afternoon watching football.
It's not too late to support our trip!
 If you are able to help us get to Nome you can send us a check or contact us directly for more options!
The natives of Nome and the musher sub-culture: are you ready? Because we sure are getting ready! We have been working, praying and preparing for this trip for over 4 months; we can't wait to see, experience and be part of such an amazing group of people.
Please send checks or money orders to:
Colleen Francis
PSC 80 Box 22186
APO, AP 96367

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Christmas Jar

So two Sunday's ago Katie and I arrive at Koza (church) ready to worship and sign families up for Parents Night Out. Much to our surprise on our registration table was this beautiful jar filled with Yen and American coins (a few bills too!)  I had to do a bit of research to see what the Christmas Jar was all about, what a beautiful story. If you'd like to read about it click here ... Christmas Jar!
As we continue to pray and prepare for Alaska I ask that you consider sponsoring us. We are working hard at raising funds and are about 1/2 of the way to our goal. Katie and I have talked and we don't want to just cover our expenses on the trip but would also LOVE to bless the ministries in Nome with a Love Offering. With your help we can bless them abundantly.
If you are able to donate, please send a check or money order to:
Colleen Francis
PSC 80 Box 22186
APO, AP 96367
If you would like your donation to be a tax deduction please make your check out to Koza Baptist Church.
And as one of my favorite Pastor's once said... "You spell thousand T-H-O-U-S-A-N-D and million M-I-L-L-I-O-N!" (Pastor Rick Osborne!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Caching Challenge

So Mark presented me with this challenge. To find at least 1 cache yesterday, so it could count toward our Christmas find. You see what had happened was...we went caching on Christmas (to torment our sweet kids who were dying to get home and play their new BOX!) We didn't realize you could change the time on the geocaching clock! Meaning, we found about 3 caches on December 25, but it registered as Christmas Eve. Our clock wasn't set right; who knew? Now Mark really wanted one on our file for Christmas day.
So being the obedient wife that I am (excuse me while I clear my throat), on my way to pick up Seth from swim team I thought I'd find at least one! Drove to the first one.. NOPE couldn't find the stupid thing. Went to another one... NOPE couldn't find that one either. Now I was late to pick up Seth. Frustrated I gave up!
Fast forward a few hours, Mark gets home from work early and we drag all the kids away from their Xbox out to find these caches! I drive straight to the first one, Mark found it in about 5 minutes! Drove to the second one from my wildly unsuccessful morning trip. Caleb got out of the car walked right up to it and put his hand on it. In less than 5 seconds that stinkin' kid found it. (He wasn't allowed to eat dinner last night!)
We were on a roll, so off we went. We found a total of 6 last night in less than 75 minutes. Each of us found 1, but I ...YES... I found 2! They were all fast find and it was a very successful fun evening. I didn't want to quit but someone, I won't mention any names (Mr. Sexy Pants) got hungry. And if you know him at all when he's hungry he's whiny. So home we went!
All in all a GREAT caching day, but apparently I'm only effective when my family is with me!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

This is a picture of my 3 beautiful children on Christmas Eve opening up their traditional pajamas. I love Christmas, I love the HOLYdays! I love family time and everything Christmas. The shopping, the decorating, the baking, the wrapping, the smells of Christmas, the friends, family, trips and shows... seriously I love it all. I won't lie. This Christmas season has been different. I don't ever recall in my life a year that I was baa humbug, until this year. I miss my mom, the states, and all sorts of Christmas traditions that we can't find or do here. It's just different. I'm 41 years old and I miss my family. I'm looking forward to holidays stateside. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day, even the Marine Corps Birthday has a different feel in the states. This time next year I'll be in a different house, on a different continent, eating at a different table, with different friends and prayerfully our stateside family!

I've enjoyed my time here in Okinawa. We are blessed to have met some amazing families and developed life long friends here. We've experienced more here that I ever dreamt of, and will see and experience many more new and exciting things before we leave. There are many things I will miss about Okinawa... CoCo Curry (which was introduced to me by a favorite Buckeye Amy Krieg), Arashi (also introduced to us by amazing friends the Peters), Koza Baptist, Geo caching (something tells me it's totally different when you aren't driving on teeny tiny goat roads having to pull your mirrors in because you will knock them off as you turn the tight corners!). We will also miss curfews, crappy TV reception, so looking forward to high speed internet and cell phones that work everywhere! I will personally miss the schools within walking distance of the house and of course the kids friends.

So in my tiny rant, I just miss 'home' at Christmas. I wish I was rich and could fly my family home for the HOLYdays or even fly my family out to spend the time with us. Then I feel guilty, because this season isn't about me and my family. It's about Christ, it's HIS birthday. And as I reflect I realize I'm doing exactly what HE wants me to do, serve HIS Marines, love on the people of Okinawa, and spread HIS joy and love to others. I'm also doing it with a smile on my face and peace in my heart for I know the God I serve and I know the future I hold in him.
Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Alaska Mission Trip 2013

Alaska Mission Trip 2013

K80 & I will be going on a jet plane in March for our very first Mother/Daughter Mission Trip (March 11-23). Iditarod Outreach: Finish Line Nome Alaska. We both fell in love with Alaska in the summer of 2011. K80’s youth group leader, Gretchen, shared this trip with us, & of course we had to go! We will be ministering to the mushers of the Iditarod, caring for the race dogs, working the Bible-in-a-Bucket campaign & loving on village elders. We seriously cannot contain our excitement for this trip! K80 & I have been working very hard for the last couple of months raising money this trip. Junior has saved well over $325 from babysitting. I have almost $500 from working the Japanese students.  K80 and I have also started a Parent’s Night Out (PNO) event at our church, Koza Baptist. In November we watched over 65 kids with the help of 20+ volunteers earning approximately $980.    We have another PNO scheduled for December, January and tentatively for February. Our goal is to earn $6,000 to cover our airfare, mission fees, and a love offering to Alaska Missions.


We are almost a third of our way to our goal! We would like for you to join us by praying for a successful outreach in Alaska. K80 & I would also like for you to prayerfully consider supporting us financially.


Thank you very much for taking the time to read this letter and considering being part of the work God is doing in our lives as we prepare for this experience. Please contact us if you have any questions. We are extremely excited to see what all God has planned for us on the “Adventure of a Lifetime!”


In His Grip,

Colleen & K80 Francis