Friday, January 6, 2017

Saying Goodbye...

I knew this day would come and in fact had been praying for it. Over the years I had said my "final" goodbye to my Grandma many times.  Even leaving for Costa Rica, almost 17 years ago, was hard and I knew that my then 81 year old grandma might not be around when we returned from our first term overseas. Of course Grandma continually amazed us with both her longevity and her ability to find joy and humor, even in tough times. She had several stays in the hospital, was on hospice a handful of times, but always bounced back. This past furlough I was able to see her several times a week and most of those trips were good ones. It was hard to see her frustrated with life as it had become. She knew that Jesus was just a few breaths away, but somehow she kept hanging around. I knew that my prayer for her was the mirror of what she was praying. I kept praying, "Lord, just let her come home." Finally, God's and my timing coincided and on December 28th she went to meet Him.  Even though I had thought about and worried over this day for so many years, God, in His mercy, allowed it to happen while we were home. He also allowed me time with her that I never expected or even could have hoped for. Because of His kindness I can't be too sad that she is "gone," because I know it's what we all wanted, and in His ultimate gift of kindness, I will see her again.  I love you Grandma!

Grandma sporting her tattoo sleeve we bought her as a joke!  I will sure miss her humor!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Happy Birthday Josiah!!

Wow!  Where does the time go?  It seems like yesterday that we welcomed all 9 lbs. 13 oz. of this guy into the world.  Well...maybe not yesterday, but surely it hasn't been 16 years?  Crazy!!  We are so thankful for such a wonderful son and his desire to serve God with his life.  This year has been full of changes, but Josiah continues to amaze us with his humble spirit, flexibility, and his ability to quickly build friendships.  It's exciting to think what the next 16 years will look like.  We just hope they don't go quite so fast!!!

What is your favorite activity?
Playing football, basketball, basically any sport.

What is your favorite color? 
Black or Red

What is your favorite "toy?"
The Xbox

Who are your best friends? 
Jonny Umble and Ethan Greulach

What do you want to be when you grow up? 
Probably a History Teacher or maybe, just maybe, a pilot. Depends on what God has planned for me.

What does Dad do all day?
He works around the house and flies.

What does Mom do all day?
Anything that needs done around the house and helps my sister and I.

What do you do all day?
Play a sport, play on the Xbox, and sit around.

What are your favorite books?
The Giver

What are your favorite movies?
The Bourne Series

What are your favorite foods?
Tacos, spaghetti and meatballs, and pizza

What makes you happy?
When people pay attention to me and playing football.

What makes you sad?
When Livy is sad or when others are having a bad day. Also talking about Ecuador.

What makes you mad?
When I get teased A LOT.

What do you like to do with Dad?
Throw the football with him or just talking to him.

What do you like to do with Mom?
Play the Wii with her or help mom when dad is out of the house.

Highlights of 2016
Greatest Lesson Learned
God will always be there, no matter where you go.

Hardest Thing this Year
Moving from Ecuador and leaving my friends.

Favorite Memory
Joining the football team this summer.

Looking forward to 2017
Want to Learn
How to be a strong Christian in America.

Want to get better at
Sharing God's love to others and being more open about my faith.

Goals for 2017
Have a great 6 months left in Ohio and to have a smooth transition to Idaho.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Irwin family, in Ohio this year; making memories and freezing our tails off!  Our first U.S. Christmas in 16 years that we aren't packing up and getting ready to head to warmer weather.  Although we don't miss the packing, we are missing our home, friends, and ministry in Ecuador.   Praying that your family is experiencing the joy that only He can bring during this season!

Friday, September 30, 2016

US happenings

The first two months in the U.S. have gone so fast.  We've hardly had time to sit down and process it all.  With a wedding in Florida and Chad working the week of the airshow in Oshkosh, we kind of felt like we were going to crash and burn.  Somehow we got through it and things have slowed down a little now.

We celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary in Jacksonville, FL where we attended the wedding of wonderful Ecuador friends.  

         JosuĂ© had never shot a handgun before, so Chad took him to the range on his wedding day. He needed to know how to defend himself from his new bride!!!

Here we are with our Ecuadorian son.  Josue and Bailey had a beautiful (but hot) wedding in Florida. 

We traveled up to Oshkosh to spend Saturday with Chad, who worked as an MAF representative/recruiter during the week long airshow. 

Yes, this happened.  Permit in hand, Josiah moved up to the Pilot in Command seat of the mini-van.  So far so good. 

We had to get one camping trip in.  Pretty hard to do with two a day football practices. 

Fun time in Idaho with crazy friends.  Greg is a realtor and we goofed off looking at homes that normal people like us (you know what we mean) could never even imagine.   

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Visiting and being visited

Once we arrived in the U.S. from Ecuador, we spent a week in Idaho.  Our main purpose was to "de-brief" (no funny comments please) about our time in Ecuador.  A bonus was reconnecting with several families whom we served with in Shell.  The Egberth and Tacheny families were both doctor families at the Shell mission hospital.   The Egberths (from Sweden) were visiting the Tachenys in Walla Walla and drove over to Idaho.  The Olsons were both single nurses who met at the Shell hospital, while serving separately.  They have since married, moved to Idaho and had two kids.  Shari was a teacher at Nate Saint and happens to be from Idaho.  In Shell, we all enjoyed Sunday afternoon games of Ultimate Frisbee, so of course we had to schedule a game.   We all met and spent the morning playing and catching up on each other's lives.  The miracle is that no one got hurt!  That was not always the case in Shell.  Thankfully we always played with one or two doctors, a couple of nurses, and a surgeon.

All the kids with Shari.
Elias, Samuel, Josiah, Sam, Sydney, Olivia and Miriam

Sitting in the Olson's back yard shooting the breeze.

Luke and Andi with Rachel

The Ultimate field of battle.  It looks like Gabriela is about to score.

Mike and Heather enjoying lunch.

I'm not sure why we trust this woman with our kids?

The Egberths' continued their trip around the U.S. with a stop in Convoy.  

You have to take the Swedes to Pine Lake.  Fun!!!

Burgers and a sunny afternoon.  Good memories. 
Elias and Miriam stayed with us an extra week and a half.  Tincaps baseball game was a hit.  

Best friends.
Josiah took the girls for a BFF photo shoot.  

A really, really hard goodbye at O'hare.  

Right before the tears started to pour.  Good memories but hard to say goodbye.

Friday, September 23, 2016


We had a little bingo night for some of the Shell folks.  We needed to get rid of our pantry items and chocolate chips are just too valuable to simply give away.  So, we played bingo and the winners got to choose their prizes without looking.  Some got great stuff like chocolate, others got salt grinders!  It was fun and we got to "bless" others with our pantry.

The Isbell family and our next door neighbors.

The Umbles.

The Whiteheads

The Foggs

The Monteros

Lots of concentration.  You can do it Lydia!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hangar Despedida

The hangar team held a "despedida" or goodbye party for us.  They sang and told funny stories about Chad.  They also had a contest to see who knew the most about us.  For each questions they got right, they received a prize.  The questions were things like:  What is Chad's middle name?  In what State do Chad and Andi live in the U.S.?  What are Andi's parent's names?   It was a fun time and we laughed as much as we cried.  What a great team to work with.

Chad with the team.
These are the two guys that are called Chad's sons.  Richard and JosuĂ© are two guys that Chad mentored and tried to encourage over the years.  Proud of them both.
You can't say goodbye without food.  William is a great cook and we ate very well.  

Some friends from the jungle came too.  Mencay has been such a blessing in our lives.

Lydia came down from Quito for the party.  She and Olivia are like twins separated only by blood and about 5 years. 

The Tiwaeno contigent.  Obe, Alicia, and Mencay.  

A few weeks before we left the hangar guys decided  to make crabs for a group lunch.

The "Saint" house.