On the Move

Many of you have been praying for us and our next step in life. The past week has been quite a whirlwind and God has answered those prayers. Last week, Brandon was offered a job as a Resident Director at Missouri Baptist University. We accepted on Friday and are packing the moving truck on Thursday night! Crazy? Yes. And here are answers to some questions you might be asking…

Why so soon? There is a 1 month wait period before we can get on the college’s health insurance. They agreed to have Brandon’s contract start on July 1 if we’re there by Monday. That means insurance kicks in August 1, giving baby girl #2 a 10 day lead time. Please pray that she doesn’t make an early appearance. I know that’s a strange request from a pregnant woman in the summer, but I’m willing to wait this time around.

What happened to seminary? MoBap is actually located within walking distance from Covenant Seminary, Brandon’s #1 choice for a seminary. The RD job at MoBap will be much less time intensive than his role at NWC. At NWC he had 9 RAs and 200 men in the dorm. MoBap has 4 RAs and 100 men. Given the structure at MoBap, Brandon will be able to attend seminary part-time for now and possibly full-time in the near future.

Where will you live? In the dorm with 100 guys. My odds are getting better! When we started at NWC it was 201 men and me. Then Joanna came and we doubled our end of the ratio 2:201. Now I’m getting another girl and there are less boys…3:101! We’re also getting a very nice apartment. It has 3 bedrooms, new carpet, appliances and paint. Oh and did I mention there is a guest room down the hall? Visitor’s are welcome. 🙂

How come we haven’t heard from you in forever? Blogging, aka free writing, is not my favorite thing to do. I think I’d rather clean the bathroom. I thought blogging would be a good way to keep up with family and friends while we were in Israel and share some of our adventures with them. When we got back, I needed a break. Now that we’re moving away from family and friends again I’ve decided to return to blogging. Kinda. My plan is to blog at least once a month. So look for me again in late July or early August.

How are you adjusting? We’re all doing pretty well. A friend from Israel summed it up best, “Life in Israel is simple but not easy. Life in the US is easy but not simple.” We enjoy the ease of life here but miss the simplicity of Israel. This paragraph could go on but I’ll keep it short and sweet for now.

And in order to indulge Joanna’s Grandpas, Grandmas, Aunts and Uncles, here’s a cheesy picture just for you.


3 days left that is! Yikes! Where has the time gone. We’ve had guests here the past week and they’ve loved on Joanna quite a bit. Here are some of the pics they’ve taken.

One morning while we were getting ready, Joanna came up to me dressed in this…nothing but her diaper and tennies. Very funny guys!

Please pray for our travels home. We have a layover in Germany so we need prayers that the volcano doesn’t cause flight cancellations. Our flight departs at 5 am Israel time on Thursday (9pm CST, Wednesday). We have layovers in Germany and Chicago and will arrive in Omaha at 7:15 pm CST on Thursday (3:15 am Friday, Israel time). Then it’s on to Orange City to sleep off some jet-lag. 🙂

FYI:Our internet won’t be set up at home until next week and the internet café is a bit of a walk from our house. We also already used most of our cell phone minutes so we’ll be a bit limited in our communication for the next few days. Next week our minutes will have started over and we’ll be wired so the posts will come more regularly. For now this post will be a bit longer since you have several days to read it.

We’re in Jerusalem! We still can hardly believe it. As we look out our living room window we see the southern view of the Old City (Mt. Zion, Mt. of Olives, Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, etc.). In one sense it’s like looking at the skyline of any big city. On the other hand it’s crazy to see such significant places right in front of us.


Flights: Our first flight was easy. Joanna had her own seat and slept for ½ hour. We had a couple hour layover in Chicago which worked out great because we had to change terminals at O’Hare and get Joanna her lunch. Our 2nd flight was 8 hours and Joanna didn’t have her own seat. That was rough. Brandon was starting to get sick and Joanna didn’t sleep until the last hour of the flight. It was tiring trying to keep her occupied. Then we had a 5 hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany (something we wouldn’t recommend). It was 5am-10am there which was 9pm-2am central time). Again, Joanna didn’t sleep. The 3rd flight was about 4 hours and thankfully Joanna slept the entire time. Brandon slept also, but was feeling really weak by that time. I didn’t get much sleep since I had to hold Joanna again, and I got sick on the way down (thankfully that only happened once and on the last flight.) But in the end we made it safe and sound with all our luggage (even the suitcase with 270 diapers.)

The first 24 hours in Jerusalem: Many of you have heard us comment on how helpful our “property manager” (aka landlord) has been. In our eyes she is God’s provision for us. Darla and her husband Oz actually live across the hall and met us at the apartment after they had their taxi driver pick us up from the airport. They took us in their car to get a pack n play for Joanna and to get groceries as soon as we got here. They are a HUGE blessing. And the timing was great because we were all able to stay up until bedtime. Joanna slept 13 hours that night. We slept OK but woke up several times. We spent our day unpacking, getting organized and cleaning. The man who usually lives in this apartment is a bachelor and lived as such. I’ve been busy putting my “Dutch Clean” genes to the test. Tonight Darla and Oz showed us how to work the stove and TV and just got us more acquainted with our new home. Did I say they are great? Oh and all of this they are doing just because they are nice. It’s something most landlords wouldn’t do here.

Interesting tidbit: The owner of our apartment is a Christian. The books he’s left around indicate so and he left us the Michael W Smith CD box set, Steve Green cassette tape and many more gems. Oh and he’s a photo journalist and watched Fox News. Gotta love it. We’ll probably meet him in October.

Day 2:Last night was a bit more tireless. I think the exhaustion has worn off and jet-lag is hitting us full force. Thankfully Joanna was only up for an hour in the middle of the night and still slept until 8 am. This afternoon we made the short trek to Jerusalem University College (JUC). Did I say we can see it from our apartment window? It’s only a 10 minute walk (down one small mountain and up another). We also ventured to the grocery store on our own. We roasted in the heat but were so thankful to be able to find our way around and discover that there is so much nearby. God has truly provided us with the perfect apartment.

Agenda for the near future: Tomorrow we have more cleaning to do. Tomorrow morning Darla and Oz are going to take us to Emek Refraim, the closest street with lots of great shops. It’s within walking distance but is a bit confusing to get to. They’ll show us the way so we can get there on our own later. Sunday we’re hoping to find a church nearby. Brandon has orientation August 29.

Here’s a short list of praises thus far: safe travel, good rest, a crib for Joanna, Darla & Oz.

A few more prayer requests: focused minds for finding our way around the city, patience in learning to cook and shop for groceries, continued rest.

Thanks again for all your prayers. God is good!

Today ‘s the big day. Can you believe it? We leave at 10:30 am from Omaha. Then it’s on to Chicago, Germany, Tel Aviv and finally Jerusalem. So 3 plane rides, a taxi and 26 hours later we’ll arrive at our new home. Please pray for safe travels, that we’d make all our connecting flights, that our colds will heal VERY quickly, that Joanna would travel well and that we’d all be a little more flexible than normal. You will all be missed. Thanks for following along on this journey.

Just over two weeks ago we made our first move…to Grandma Jo’s basement. All of our belongings — minus 4 suitcases and a few straggeling boxes — are stored in Brandon’s parent’s garage. It was strange saying goodbye to Coly, and although we’ll miss the guys and all of the random good times, we know it was time to say adios to those concrete block walls. 

Farewell Colenbrander

Grandma Jo has been a delightful and gracious host. We have a place to ourselves in the basement, but we find we spend most of our time upstairs. We’ve already hosted several of Grandma’s friends for games. We try to hold our own with these retired experts. 🙂

Joanna is loving it too. There’s all kinds of new stuff to explore. Her favorite thing at Grandma’s is the “puppy”. Thus far we only have one broken serving bowl. Oops. Guess we missed locking up that cupboard.

On August 17 we fly out to Israel. Almost all the details are in place. Now we need to focus on maxing out four 50 lb suitcases! God has taken care of each detail in perfect timing. We are excited and a bit anxious for the journey ahead.

Oh and in case you’re wondering, the picture at the top of the blog is the view from our apartment. Nothing like waking up in the morning to a view of Mt. Zion and the Old City!