Friday, October 31, 2008


When we woke up Tuesday morning, it was snowing. We were surprised. Everyone else was, too. And caught off guard. But the adventure was only beginning! The snow turned into a once-every-decade blizzard! You see, we live at the top of a mountain, which is higher in elevation than the surrounding areas. When there is bad weather, we generally experience the worst of it. And this was to be one of those times. We stared in awe as it snowed and snowed and snowed.

As we were walking back to our little apartment from our regular noon-time prayer with the Global Mission staff here, we could hear trees and large branches snap, pop, and crack under the weight of the newly formed snow.

Because the trees had not yet lost their leaves, they acted as gloves, and caught the snow as it fell. For many trees, the weight of the snow became too heavy, and they fell to the ground, each sounding like a rifle shot as they broke. It sounded like a battle outside, as shot after shot echoed through the woods. And the snow piled higher and higher. All over the mountain, hundreds and thousands of trees and branches crashed, some on power lines.

A typical scene around the Liebenzell Headquarters property the next morning.

Notice the large branches on the power lines and on the ground. This scene is behind our little apartment. Two and a half days later, nothing's changed. At noon, our power went off. At 2:00 in the afternoon, Anne and I ventured outside to measure what turned out to be 11 1/2 inches of snow - and it was still coming down hard.

Here is Anne with a 12 inch ruler.

Anne after placing the 12 inch ruler into the snow next to her. See the top? Only 1/2 inch is sticking up. Eventually, we lost our water. Then as evening fell, 45 to 50 MPH winds started whipping through - just like in Guam when a typhoon blows through! Only this time, IT WAS COLD!!! FREEZING!!!

Staying warm has been on our minds the most since last Tuesday. So we slept that night under all the blankets we could find, and in as many clothes as we felt comfortable. In the morning, when it's cold outside the blankets, and there's no heat in the house, most people will get up and build a fire in the fireplace. We don't have one! The only way we can stay warm is to throw on a few more clothes. Eventually, we even throw on the winter coat, the stocking cap (called by some a toboggan), gloves, and a scarf. And at some times since then, we've passed the time reading while sitting on a coach under a blanket.
So, it's been a little bit of a challenge to stay warm enough to keep on packing, find a way to eat, while trying to stay warm. And did we mention trying to stay warm?

So, there's been a small number of us here on the mountain who have spent time searching for a way down the mountain and a place with the Internet. A way down was found the next day. But it's taken a little while longer to find the Internet. Bill Schuit, our Global Missions Director, just called a few minutes ago with the word, "There's a warm fire in the fireplace and the Internet at Panera Bread at..." then he names the place. It's not too far away. So we jump in the car. wind our way down the mountain, and here we are! We still don't have power, water, or heat, but we have plenty of God's grace to keep us going!

We're planning to move down off the mountain this weekend to Virginia to begin our slow crawl back to Micronesia. Who knows, maybe we'll even have a chance to get a warm shower before we leave!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Where Did This Come From?

So you can imagine our surprise when we woke up this morning and looked out the window to see it snowing like crazy! We were just beginning to enjoy the colorful leaves of the Fall season when Winter shows up!

This is what it looked like around here last week when we went biking along a lazy river just down the mountain where we live. But no more! You'll have to forgive us if we seem overly amazed. As ones who have lived in the tropics of the Pacific for the last 30 years, snow seems so unreal. We still have to get used to it.

Packing Out

The time has arrived for us to pack up and ship out! At least, from Schooley's Mountain. We spent practically all day yesterday packing and boxing and taping and addressing. If you've read a copy of our last prayer-news update, you know that we plan to move down from the Liebenzell Mission headquarters here on Schooley's Mountain to Daleville, Virginia, for the last two months of our stay in the States. This is an approximate time table only. Steve is done with his degree and his eye issues are under control. So we've decided it would be better to move closer to our families, friends, supporters and supporting churches before heading back to Guam. We also need to concentrate on raising the remaining support we need, and it's easier to do that when we're closer to the people who know us and our ministry a little bit better. We have wonderful supporters - supporters who give, not only their finances, but also their time, ideas, commitment and love. We appreciate them very much.