Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yet another Christmas Blessing

Wow, when it rains it pours!  This evening we went to my parents' house for supper along with my sister and her three kids.  My brother-in-law was going to join us but I was told he was tied up at a work meeting and he wouldn't be there until after supper.  My parents just got home on Sunday from visiting my brother and sister-in-law and niece in California, so it was really nice to see them again. 

A little while into supper, my brother-in-law, Lukas showed up, but right after saying hello, he went back outside.  I didn't even notice anything, until the doorbell rang and when I looked into the porch, he was gone.  I assumed that he had run back outside simply to ring the doorbell to bug everyone, so I didn't think anything of it.  The doorbell continued ringing and then the door opened and in walked my brother, sister-in-law and niece from California.  I was stunned!  What an amazing Christmas surprise.  It turns out that this was a Christmas present from Nicole and Lukas so that our entire family could be together again before Steve and the kids and I leave for the Philippines.

This will definitely be a wonderful Christmas to remember!

Merry Christmas,


Our wonderful Christmas surprise

Monday, December 20, 2010

God's Amazing Blessings

This weekend has been an amazing time of experiencing God's blessings for our family in very tangible ways.  On Saturday we were given 50lbs of beef which had been donated by a local cattle rancher; on Sunday we were given an unexpected donation towards us moving to the Philippines; and this morning we had the Cochrane fire department show up unexpectedly and deliver presents for our whole family along with the largest Christmas food hamper we have ever seen.  I didn't know if I should laugh or cry when the fire department came, so I laughed at first and then spent a good amount of time this afternoon crying tears of joy.  Along with the presents for us, there was an additional present that came with a note saying that it was a gift for us to bless another family with.  We chose to give it to some wonderful friends and when their children saw it they wanted to open it right away.  It was a model train set  and it turns out that it was the exact one that the son had seen in a store a few months earlier and was wanting to buy.  What an amazing blessing for their family, and the credit can only go to God.

We have no idea where these Christmas gifts and food came from or why our family was the recipient of them, but I don't think we really want to know - it's simply a wonderful reminder of how much God loves us and blesses us even when we least expect it.  All I can say is thank you God.

Below are some pictures from this morning!



Receiving the presents and food from the Cochrane Fire Department

Thank you to the Cochrane Fire Department for delivering the gifts!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Monthly Donations

I've had a few people express interest in setting up a monthly ongoing donation.  I have set up a new button on our blog to enable you to do so should you choose.  Just enter the amount you would like to donate in the box and click on the "Automatic Billing" button.  Again, all donations are done through PayPal, so the transactions are secure and you can choose several methods for billing.

Thank you in advance for your support!

Done classes!

This may be a bit premature, as this week is actually the last week of classes, then final, then I have to wait for my marks, but as far as I'm concerned, I"M DONE MY CLASSES!

At the end of this semester I will have all of the classroom requirements for my degree finished.  Next semester will be just my Field Education; basically a ministry internship.  I will be doing this at Rockyview, and I am quite excited about it.

It seems hard to believe that the end is in sight.  The past two years have been great ones.  Much has happened, some of it good, some of it not quite so good, some of it downright miserable, but through it all we have seen God leading and shaping us, preparing us for whatever He has in mind for us in the future.  In many ways the past two years have flown by, and in other ways it seems like we've been here FOREVER!

For now, we will still be in Cochrane, until June when we will hopefully head over to the Philippines...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fundraiser Dinner Update

We had our fundraiser dinner on Saturday evening, and it was a great time.  It was such an encouragement to have about 100 people who were interested in coming out to support us and to learn more about what we are doing.  It was great to be able to visit with friends and family, and to be able to reconnect with people we haven't  seen in many years, and to meet some people we've never met before!

It was also a great chance to show everyone what we are doing, but more importantly, to explain why we are doing it.  Kerri did a great job with her first major public speaking event, and wasn't even as nervous as she thought she'd be!

Thank you to everyone who came out to the dinner.  Thank you as well to all those who helped out in so many ways, with the food preparation and serving, powerpoint and music, setup and clean up, photography, donations for the silent auction, and in so many other ways.  We couldn't have pulled it off without your help!

For those who were unable to make it out to the dinner, thank you too for your support.  We will be having more events in the future, so don't feel bad about not being able to be there!

The next event which we have planned is a benefit concert in late January.  We have several musician friends who will be performing, and it should be a great night of music and fun.  It looks like it will be taking place on Saturday, January 29 at Rockyview Alliance Church in Calgary.  We will post more details soon...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fundraiser Dinner

Here are the details for our upcoming fundraiser dinner:

Date: November 27
Time: 4:30-8:30
Location: Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary
200 Seminary View, Cochrane, AB
Cost: $15/person or $40/family
Food: A fusion of Filipino and other Asian cuisine

In addition to eating there will be a presentation by Kerri and myself regarding where we are going, what we are doing, and why we are doing it. There will also be opportunities to support us in other ways, including a silent auction.

If you would like to come please let us know either through Facebook or by email ( That way we will have an idea of how many to expect.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, October 29, 2010

More Details

Wow. Three posts in three days. I hope you aren't getting tired of hearing from us.

I figured I would fill in some of the details which Kerri didn't mention. Yes, we are going to the Philippines. We are hoping to leave Canada in June of 2011, taking only suitcases, and relocating halfway around the world.

Yes, our kids are coming with us. I know it seems crazy to take them from all the benefits of a childhood in Canada to go to a largely developing country where we know no one and will have to learn a new culture. But what an experience for them.

Kerri will be in classes and the clinic lots. Something like 40-60 hours a week. That will be her life for 2 1/2 years.

I will be Mr. Mom. Due to the visa regulations to enter the country, Kerri and I will both be entering under a missionary visa. That means that I will not be able to have a job. My role will be to stay home with the kids, to homeschool them, and to do all the household stuff that Kerri has done so well for the last 12 years. I will have to learn to grocery shop in a new culture, how to cook with new ingredients, and generally how to adapt to this phase of our lives. I am really looking forward to the challenge.

With that being said, because I will not be working, we will be largely dependent on raising funds before we go and on ongoing support while we are there. The financial requirements are estimated to be between $50,000-75,000 for the 2 1/2 years we will be there. This seems like a huge amount to have to come up with in a short amount of time, but we trust that God will provide as He has in the past. Currently Kerri and I are both working (Kerri having just gotten a new job) to provide for the need, but we will be unable to finance it all ourselves.

That is where we would love for you to partner with us. We are planning several fundraiser events in the next 8 months, the first being a dinner on November 27. We would love to see you come out, not just to support us financially, but to have the opportunity for Kerri and I to be able to share more about this passion and desire which God has placed on our hearts. For more details, feel free to email us at, or for those of you we have connected with on Facebook, watch for a Facebook event invitation coming soon.

There will be several more events in the New Year as well. You may have also noticed that we have added a "Donate" button to our blog. This is a Paypal based setup, where should you choose to you can make a donation towards Kerri's training and our living expenses. Currently it is a one-time donation, but I am working on setting up the opportunity for ongoing monthly giving.

(One thing to note: because these donations are being used for Kerri to go to school and for us to live, we are unable to issue income tax receipts. Hopefully in the future we will be able to set up a charitable organization and offer receipts, but for now our situation does not fit the criteria.)

If we are unable to bank a sufficient amount before the spring we may have to postpone our plans to go for one year, during which we will both work and save up as much as we can to go, but we are moving ahead in faith that God will provide for us to go this coming year.

We would also appreciate your prayers. As much as we need the finances in place, we need your prayers even more. This will be a time of huge stress for all of us. We will be leaving behind everything and everyone we know. This will affect all of us, including the kids. There are a lot of unknowns which we will face. It will be exciting, fun, and a wonderful experience, but it will also be sad, hard, and at times downright depressing. There will be many good things which come out of it, and many not-so-good things as well. We will make new friends, but will miss all of our friends and family. We need your prayers.

Thank you in advance for your support, both emotionally, spiritually, and financially. We can't do this without you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another answer to prayer

After having no success in the job hunt since August, I had an interview this morning and will be starting a job on Monday as a medical receptionist at the Alpen Medical Clinic here in town.  I will be working Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:00-3:00, so I will still be able to pick Julia and Daniel up after school and be home with them when they have professional days at school.

Once again I am thankful for God's provision and faithfulness to us!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Newlife Int'l School of Midwifery

On our way

We received some very exciting news on Saturday night - I have been granted a provisional acceptance to volunteer and train at Mercy Maternity Center in Davao City, Philippines!  The condition is that we need to have all of the finances in place.  Because we are not going with an organization, we have to raise all of our own support, for living costs for the two and a half years that we will be there.

For those of you who have been praying for us, thank you so much and please continue to do so as we move forward with raising the support that we need.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Steady On

Slow and steady wins the race, right?  That's what it feels like for us, we have been walking on, slow and steady and now we are coming to the end; the end of school for Steve that is.  He is now in his last semester of classes with midterms behind him and only 8 weeks of classes left.  In some ways it seems to have flown by and in other ways I don't remember what it was like to not be out here with him in school.  The last requirement for his graduation will be for him to do his field education (practicum) in the winter semester.  He was hoping to work with the Arabic Alliance church that meets out of Airdrie Alliance, but unfortunately that didn't work out and now he is trying to figure out how to best meet his field education requirements.  It will be a big change for all of us to have him finished with his classes, but we are excited for what will be in store for us next.

As for my schooling, I am just waiting on a telephone interview for both Steve and I, and then that's the last step on my part. 

We will keep you posted when anything new and exciting happens from this end!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Application is complete

Well, my application to Newlife International School of Midwifery is complete and I was ready to email it in, when I realized that I needed to include a recent picture of myself.  When I went to find one I found out that no one has taken any recent pictures of me by myself!  I have tons of pictures of me with the kids doing all kinds of goofy things even some nice ones of me and the kids, and me and Steve, but not one of just me, unless you count a side view of me rock climbing.  Not exactly a good picture to send in with an application form.  So needless to say I now have to wait until Steve comes home and takes a picture of me, which I hopefully will like, and then I can send in my application.  I also have to mail in the application fee and a copy of my high school and college diplomas and transcripts which is turning out to be much more complicated than I thought.  I realize it's been a long time since high school, but it's kind of crazy;  I first had to request my Alberta Education ID number which was fairly easy to get, then I did an online request to have my transcripts mailed to me, however the address that they have on file for me and the one which they would mail the transcript to is one from 14 years ago, not quite current.  So I called them and found out that I needed to fill in a request for change of address form and fax it into them which I did with both my maiden and married name on it, and when I phoned them today to see if I could go ahead with the transcript request, I found out that I now need to fax them a copy of my marriage certificate because somehow they have two different student ID numbers for me, one under Sutton and one under Oishi.  So although I put both last names on the form and although my high school transcripts are under my maiden name and not my married name, they cannot make the changes without proof that I was Kerri Sutton and am now Kerri Oishi!  AHHHHHHH!!!  Needless to say, I am hoping that once I fax this in today, I will be able to request my high school transcript and mail the rest of the paperwork to them early next week.  Then I will have to wait until my references email in their forms and the director will have to look over my application and proceed with an interview.  So it's a lot of hurry up and wait, which seems to be what I have been doing over the last little while anyway.  But at least after this, my part will be done and it will be out of my hands.

For those of you who are going "midwifery school, huh"? let me back up a little.  The medical field has always been a passion of mine although I did move it to the back burner and wondered if it would go away, but it didn't.  Over the last couple of years the desire to be in the medical field has come back stronger and I have been trying to figure out what that looked like for me.  In about December of last year I began to think about midwifery, partly because I was looking into becoming a birth doula, which I did in April, and I found many different schools.  Canada has two midwifery programs in Ontario, through McMaster and Ryerson University, Quebec has one through Laval and BC has a new program through UBC.  I looked at all of these programs and at some offered in the US and none of them really grabbed me.  Then in January I came across the school at which I am applying, Newlife International School of Midwifery, and it simply grabbed my heart.  It is a Christian run school which offers an Associate Degree of Science in Midwifery through a two and a half year program.  The degree is actually awarded through the States and at the end I will be able to write my North American Registry of Midwives exam, enabling me to work as a midwife.  After nine months of praying about it and many conversations around midiwfery, we have decided that I should go ahead and pursue this desire to become a midwife.  We are aware that God could close this door at any time, however we feel that we should walk this path until God says otherwise.

With the calling that Steve and I feel to work overseas in a developing country, this schooling would come in very handy.  So much of the world has a ridiculously high maternal mortality rate, something that thankfully here in Canada we don't have to worry about.  According to the World Health Organization "The number of women dying due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth has decreased by 34% from an estimated 546 000 in 1990 to 358 000 in 2008".  However, "pregnant women still die from four major causes: severe bleeding after childbirth, infections, hypertensive disorders, and unsafe abortion. Every day, about 1000 women died due to these complications in 2008. Out of the 1000, 570 lived in sub-Saharan Africa, 300 in South Asia and five in high-income countries. The risk of a woman in a developing country dying from a pregnancy-related cause during her lifetime is about 36 times higher compared to a woman living in a developed country".  In Afghanistan the lifetime risk of maternal death according to 2008 statistics is 1 in 11; Chad is 1 in 14; Niger is 1 in 16 and Nigeria is 1 in 23.  Now compare that to Canada's rate of maternal mortality which is  1 in 5600 or the United States which is 1 in 2100.  Big difference in numbers.

We would definitely appreciate any prayers as we walk this new journey that God is setting forth before us and we will keep you updated as things move along.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sorry, it's been too long.

I need to apologize for not updating in quite a while. The problem was that when Google decided to change our blog over to a Google account we no longer had access because the email address we had used was no longer active.

But the problem is now solved, so we will try to update much more frequently!

You may be wondering what has been happening in our lives in the past while. I have begun my last year of school. Hopefully all my classes will done by the end of the semester. Then it will be my Field Education, which I haven't figured out what it will look like.

Over the summer I was working a little bit. I had planned on having two jobs, which should have provided full time hours, but that didn't work out quite the way I had hoped. I was able to work my retail job (Trailblazers) one day a week, but the construction job didn't amount to much. God did provide some work for me in May and June, which gave me a bunch of various construction type work to do.

We then went to Logan, Utah for a family holiday, which was great. We spent two weeks relaxing and sightseeing (and rock climbing!) around Logan and Salt Lake City. It was a lot of fun for all of us.

When we got back I realized that I had some free time, and that the playground up here at the school wasn't getting done, so I volunteered to help out. I didn't realize at the time that I would be overseeing the project and that the playground was a bit more elaborate than I thought! I was expecting a couple days worth of work, but it turned out to be a month and a half (part time), and involved drilling 40+ holes, assembling a massive school-yard quality playground, and pouring 5 1/2 cubic meters of concrete into the holes! Then we backfilled the entire area with 9" of gravel, and let the kids go!

It was quite a challenge and a learning experience, but it turned out great and the kids love it.

Kerri had the opportunity to take some training to become a birth doula, and had the privilege to attend her first birth. She has a couple more lined up for the next few months, and is quite excited about it.

So that's been our summer. As for what's happening now, we have some direction and a lot of unknowns. Kerri is beginning an application to become a midwife at a school located in the Philippines. I'll let her explain more about it as soon as she has a chance, but for now we would appreciate your prayers as she fills out all the paperwork.

I would also appreciate your prayers for me as I am back in school, as well as working more than I have in previous semesters.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New Adventure

Well the semester has finally come to an end and to be honest it feels as though we have finally burst through a very long, dark tunnel into the brilliant light. To say that this past semester was hard would be an incredible understatement. It was by far the most difficult time for both Steve and I, but thankfully God is faithful and He brought us through. A passage of Scripture that God brought to my mind early in the semester is from Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light". This has been the Scripture that I have been clinging to for the last four months and I am so thankful for it. As we continue on this journey that God has planned for us, I'm sure we will look back at this time and remember God's faithfulness to us.

Now what? Well now that we have four months off of school, Steve is going to be working at Trailblazers, the camping/outdoor store here in town, one day a week, and then working with a friend of ours building safety anchors for his company. We are going to be heading to Radium for some much needed R&R next weekend for four days and Mom and Dad are going to be watching the kids for us. After that, Mom, Julia and I are heading to St. Ignatius, Montana in June for an Amish auction weekend. I'm pretty excited about this and you never know what treasures I will come home with. We are also planning to take a family holiday down in Logan, Utah for a couple of weeks at the beginning of July. We plan to relax, relax and then relax some more with of course some rock climbing on the side. My brother and sister-in-law and new little niece may also join us there for a while so that will be exciting as we have not yet met little Shianne.

I'm still plugging away at my last course and will finish June 8th (at least that's the plan) and this past weekend I took a Birth Doula training workshop and I am hoping to start working on my certification in the next little while. For all of you who are thinking "what's a birth doula"? and I know there are lots of you, doula is the Greek word meaning "woman's servant". We provide non-medical support and care to a woman and her partner in childbirth. A birth doula provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and helps the mother obtain information to make informed decisions. I can work as a birth doula without my certification, but can't charge for any of the births I am present for. So basically I am offering free birth doula services for the next while. I have to be a part of three births and then read a number of different books, and complete essays in order to obtain my certification. It is a long process, but one that I am really exciting to be a part of. When I finished my training workshop I realized that this is what God has created me to be a part of and it will be interesting to see where it leads and how it will work for what He has planned for us. This is just one more adventure in the very interesting journey that God has us on and when I told my parents what I was going to be doing my dad said "We never know what's going to come out of your mouth next", and he's right, we never really know what God has in store for us, but right now we are rolling with what He puts in front of us and are willing to see where it all will lead.

We will keep you posted with new adventures as they arise, but for now we are simply following where God leads.


Sunday, January 31, 2010


School is back in after a long Christmas break. This semester is shaping up to be a tough one. I have four classes total, and Kerri is doing two. We both are doing an online class which is a requirement to work for the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and it's tough. There is a lot of reading to be done and the lectures and assignments are stretching for both of us. They are difficult to understand and use lots of big complicated words. Hopefully we will both get through it.

We are still plugging away at school. Beyond that we don't really have a clue what our future holds. There is a new opportunity which has presented itself recently which we are exploring. I will let Kerri explain that later, but for now I will say that I don't know how or if it fits in with our original plans, but it is something we are praying over a lot, and if we end up pursuing it it will be a huge opportunity and huge financial cost. More on that to come...

Please continue to pray for us both in school and in figuring out what we will be doing in the future.