Family Stories from France

Some more short stories as we get settled.

August 24th

img_0063Here we are France!

We have arrived in France and have settled into our “new home” for the next 8 months.  Our flight was uneventful, outside of “running” (as much as you can with luggage and kids) for our last connection. As we were boarding the plane, we got to meet and help another family, also coming to the language school.  Overall, the kids did well.  Nathanael slept most of the way, whereas Noah stayed awake playing games and watching TV.  Within a few days of being settled, Nathanael reestablished, to his parents’ dismay, his 5 am wake up routine!

Albertville, Our Apartment and the Language School

img_0151Albertville, which hosted the Olympics in 1992, is an old town with a population of about 18,000.  There are five small forts located within 10 km of each other, two of which we have already visited.  Albertville is located in the cross hairs of 3 valleys and is surrounded by mountains.

The language school has about 50 or so students.  All are missionaries and dedicated to going to serve somewhere in the world.  It is inspiring to see so many people choosing to serve God, and as such, to serve others in this world.

Our apartment, is a part of the language school and is a three-bedroom apartment located on the top floor of a 3 story apartment building.  The nursery for Nathanael is located on the first floor, and the language school is located in an adjacent building.

We have French lessons 4 days a week –Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  School starts each day with 20 minutes of devotions and/or worship.  Classes then start at 9:00 and run until 11:15. Afternoon classes start at 1:45 and go until 4:15.


Noah goes to, what is essentially, pre-k school five days a week, with Wednesday being only a half day.  We walk Noah to school in the mornings, which starts at 8:25; we pick him up for lunch at 11:25; he then returns to school at 1:25 and finishes at 4:30.

We got Noah a new scooter and he loves to ride it to school.  He is in a class of about 25 kids, all of which speak French except for one other “missionary kid”.  We are proud of Noah and thanking God that he wants to go to school in spite of the fact that he does not understand most of what is being said!  We are praying that he will continue to enjoy his school while at the same time learning the language and that he will make some friends.  We do not believe he has an easy task.

img_0099Outside of school, Noah enjoys playing with the other missionary kids here at the language school.  He and Fred have fun hiking up to one of the old forts.  Every Saturday (starting Sept 24th) we’re planning to take him to playimg_0124 some European handball (which will be a 45 min walk one way!).  We’re hoping he’ll enjoy it and that it will allow him to make connections and friendships with other French kids his age.


img_0157Nathanael goes to the nursery for eight hours on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  This had been going well until a few days ago, when he has started to cry as he goes to the nursery.  However, we hear that he only cries for a few minutes and then he is good for the rest of the day (not easy for mom to walk away from!).  The ladies in the nursery are very caring and enjoy playing with him -for this we are very grateful!  We are praying that God will continue to bless the workers and Nathanael in his time there -as for him we know it is not easy as well.

Overall he continues to do well and is very active!  He loves to do whatever Noah is doing from climbing chairs, to taking baths, to running around outside and yelling.  However, unlike Noah, Nathanael is fast to eat but slow to use words.  We hope he will start speaking more over the next few months.

Fred and Lydia

We are doing well and glad to be settling into a home and in to a routine.

Lydia has healed well.  The miscarriage was treated successfully with medications, and no further treatment was required.  And although we were and still are saddened by the event, we can clearly say that God used this time to his glory!  We have had conversations and discussions with people and have been introduced to people because of this event, and we can say without a doubt, they have benefited us and we them, we hope.  Though we would never wish for this experience we are very grateful for what God has brought about as a result of it.  In humility we are reminded of Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Outside of French studies, and the socializing that goes on in a school, we are spending time preparing for our time in Togo.  We are excited, yet cautious, at the opportunity to go back.  Our prayer continues to be for a balanced life and God’s clear direction for us in the future.


As you know we have four projects on the go: PET carts, a midwife training program, cervical cancer screening program, and exercise equipment.  Over the next eight weeks, we hope to post individual updates on each of the projects!  At that time, we will let you know about each project’s funding and the opportunity to give IF you feel so led.

God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

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Blog of Short Stories

So much has been happening that we are not sure how to tell it outside of doing it as a series of short stories.

August 23 French flag

Here we come France!

August 23 is just around the corner.  We are excited!  Our lives have once again been reduced down to 6 suitcases, 3 pack-sacs, and 2 kids.  Yes, there is still a wife/mother and husband/father too, and all of us, with all of our belongings, can all fit into a minivan, go figure.  We are heading to France for 8 months of language study at which time we will be making a short trip home to the US and then on to Togo sometime in May 2017.

crossA Loss

In August we suffered a miscarriage.  This has broken our hearts as we wish to continue to grow our family.  We are grateful and thankful for the support we have received.

“Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.” – John Piper, in A Sweet and Bitter Providence

Medsend MedSend Logo

We have been approved by Project Medsend!

Project MedSend is an organization whose goal is to “enable highly qualified and dedicated healthcare professionals to serve people in need around the world in the name of Christ”.  They do this by “awarding educational loan repayment grants to career healthcare missionaries”.  We have been truly blessed to have received a monthly educational grant that will pay for medical student loans over then next 30 months allowing us to focus our limited resources on succeeding in the field versus paying off loans.

The Medsend grant has been very timely.  While under Samaritans Purse, we were able to use project funds to make loan payments.  With ABWE we are not.  This grant gives us breathing room in an already tight financial situation and is very timely as we are making the final transition from SP to ABWE.  Thank you God, and please bless MedSend for all that they do!

IWU logoAn Award

Indiana Wesleyan University, of which Lydia is an alumna of, has nominated her for a “Distinguished College of Arts and Science Alumni Award”.  We, and very specifically, Lydia, is humbled in this recognition as we realize that this is not of our doing, but of Jesus Christ.  It is his example that has changed our lives and that we are following that is to be credited.

The Award is granted to an alumnus or alumna of the College who has exhibited excellence in serving his or her profession, community, church or alma mater in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

As we are unable to attend the ceremony, a slide show of pictures and a bio of Lydia will be presented during the home coming ceremonies in October 2016. “Go wildcats!”

HBB Project –> Training OB / Medical NursesOB nurses

Great progress has been made with this project with respect to training OB nurses.

We have, through Sister Kay, met via skype the founding member of “Midwives for Haiti”, an organization in Haiti, focused on training Skilled Birthing Attendants to offset the shortage of OB providers.  The impact of “Midwives for Haiti” cannot be understated as presently their grads make up 1/3 of the OB providers in Haiti.

They have offered there French / English curriculum to us and as such offset a lot of work making it possible to have a proposal to HBB sooner than later.  We are excited and will write more on this in the coming months.

PET cartHBB Project –> PET Carts

Life sometime is all about opportunity and timing.

Recently Dr. Gayle and Dr. Ebersol of HBB not only recognized a need but reached out to us enquiring about the PET Carts.  Interesting enough, this need corresponded to the timing of a financial gift specifically ear marked for the PET Carts.  As such and through them 5 PET Carts were shipped out to Togo.

We are excited and cannot wait to see who all will receive the PET Carts and to do follow up visits with the recipients when we arrive in Togo.  We will write more on this in the coming months.


Recently HBB has been focused on developing a vision and plan for its ministry over the next 10 plus years.  This plan which includes an expansion of the hospital from 50 to 75 beds has been approved.  We are excited at the potential of ABWE’s Hospital ministry in Togo over the coming years.

God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

P.S. Do not forget to look at our picture page, prayer page and financial page

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We are leaving August 23, 2016 — June 2016 Newsletter

Lydia Edit 1Happy June!

Did we say we are leaving August 23, 2016 Read all about it in our latest Newsletter.  Our 2016 June Newsletter  is now posted.  Let us share with you what we have been doing and how God’s been working in our lives.  Go to our website under “newsletter” tab or click here.

Please also see our updated prayer requests, pictures and financial pages.

God bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

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The Kids . . . a singer and a dancer

Some of you have been asking how the kids are.  Well they are doing well.  Noah is growing like a weed.  He goes to preschool 1/2 day 5 times a week, he loves the Avengers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spiderman and Grandma and Grandpa.  He likes to run, kick balls and hit things with his bat.  Nathanael loves to walk and do anything his brother is doing except sleep between 2 and 4 am!  Attached below is a small video.  Hope you enjoy!


God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

PS Please also see our updated prayer requests as we head into this new year and our updated pictures.



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Reflections and Preparations

It has been a couple of months now since we have made the decision to go back to Togo and a lot has happened.


The biggest event has been the passing of a colleague, Todd Dekryer, from Lassa Fever, a less-deadly, but still deadly cousin to Ebola. Nothing more shakes resolve than personal loss and or something that becomes personal. We and/or our children could die in Togo! Talk about some sobering thoughts.

Arrogance and pride are strong motivating factors.  However, when you get shaken, pride and arrogance seem to loose there hold and are replaced by questions of purpose and meaning.  Purpose and meaning have sense only in the presence of something bigger than ourselves. For us this in Jesus Christ. Our purpose and meaning is to glorify Him, to provide an example of an “alternative” way to live, and to tell others through our actions and words that they are loved and prayed for.

We have been on the outside of the events that passed at the Hospital of Hope in Mango Togo but have been deeply shaken by the events. We are saddened by the loss, hurt for our colleagues who are going through this experience and resolved to continue along our path to join them in Togo.


The preparation to go to Togo continues.

Under the title of tasks completed, we have renewed our US passports and have registered for language school in Albertville, France. We are in the process of confirming whether or not we need VISA’s as Fred and Noah hold Swiss passports.

Under tasks to be done, we are hoping to touch base with all our financial supporters over the next two months (April and May), to re-confirm their support and the timing of the support. We have to have all our support in and/or started by the end of May to ensure clearance from ABWE in time to start language school in September 2016. From there we have to get our immunization up to date and confirm airline tickets.

Under other tasks, Lydia has been busy studying for her medical re-certification exam ( May 7th -written exam and May 14th practical exam). Fred has been busy maintaining the house hold (cooking, being the “fix-it” man, a lot of yard work, assisting in the renovations of the church kitchen, volunteering at MAG church every Monday afternoon, driving Noah to daycare, filing taxes, and completing the first bible course).  If he ever trivialized the role of a home-maker, he says he was truly mistaken!

Other Stuff

But life has not been without “fun”.

Noah and Nathanael both had birthdays in March. Noah is now 4 years old and Nathanael 1 year old. We celebrated their birthdays on March 19th with a small party that included friends locally and from Indianapolis and Grandma and Grandpa Childress.

DSC09695On March 13th we participated in a Missions Conference at Gibson City Bible Church in Gibson IL. We had a great time in fellowship with the church family, two other missionary couples and the Banner family. There is one thing we often note and that is the love, support and encouragement we have received from people. Thank you very much!

God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

PS  Do not forget to look at our picture page, prayer page and financial page.

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Thank you . . .

12728960_10208617286450608_7658140327934469575_nWe wanted to share with you the life and testimony of one of our friends and colleagues, Todd DeKryger.  He had worked on the southern hospital in Togo as a PA and surgeon for many years.  Along side him was his wife and 4 boys.  A few years ago he had a passion develop for opening a second ABWE hospital in the northern part of Togo as a continued outreach to the Togolese and a growing Muslim population.  They had opened the new Hospital of Hope in March of 2015 with a lot of hard work and prayers.  He and the doctors there have been working a lot of long hours since the opening.

At the beginning of this week we heard that he had fell ill and was hospitalized and was having surgery for further evaluation.  At that time we began to share his story on Facebook and ask for prayers.  Shortly after that he began to decline and there was a lot of prayers for him making it to the airplane to get him to Germany and a bigger hospital.  Less than 24 hours after arriving he passed away.

Todd’s wife, Jennifer, wrote a letter after his passing that summarizes Todd’s life and passion and the peace and joy that only God gives.  Please be in prayer for their family and for the Togo mission team that’s left.

Jennifer’s letter this morning:
Today, Jesus called Todd home from the work he was doing planting and harvesting in Togo. In the mystery of His will, God chose this day to reward Todd with the unequaled joy of heaven. This is the promise of God that we as believers cling to through tears and pain. Todd poured out his life as an offering to God in Togo. I know that Todd would similarly encourage us who remain here for a little while longer to also be faithful in our service to our King (Philippians 2:17). Please continue praying and ask Jesus to bring comfort to William, Grant, Luke, and Drew. Ask that His Spirit would provide peace that is beyond the knowledge of this world. Keep praying that the boys grow strong in their knowledge of God’s Word so they can live out the legacy that their father has given to them. Also, pray that our Father in heaven would send more workers like Todd to the beautiful fields of Togo where the harvest is so great!
My heart is overwhelmed with unspeakable grief – for myself, our boys, our extended family, our spiritual family and the Hospital of Hope team. I cling only to the gospel and the certain hope of our salvation through Jesus Christ. I long for the men, women and children of Togo to know the Savior that Todd served so faithfully. Even in my pain, I am confident that our sacrifice – that Todd’s sacrifice – was worth it. I believe that the great commission is a cause worth dying for. And in the midst of my grief, I fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.

Also see a video showing Todd’s passion and vision:

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Dad’s new toy (Nathanael’s first steps)

It is sure awesome to watch a child grow.  From Noah’s first steps, to him learning numbers, the alphabet, and now the sounds letters make.  Now it’s Nathanael turn.  At 4 days shy of 11 months he is making the decision to take his first steps.  I think he is as fascinated at walking as his parent are watching him.

Psalm 127:3 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.

God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

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We are going to Togo! – 2016 February Newsletter

DSC08476Happy February!

Did I say WE ARE GOING TO TOGO!  Read all about it in our latest Newsletter.  Our  2016 February Newsletter  is now posted.  Let us share with you what we have been doing and how God’s been working in our lives.  Go to our website under “newsletter” tab or click here.

Please also see our updated prayer requests, pictures and financial pages.

God bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

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The origin of Ice Cream! and Season Greetings.

Noah continues to be a joy for us.  The other day it was his friends and him that taught us the origins of ice cream (see video below).

Outside of that, just wanting to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  We have one more interview, one more Togo Presentation and a handful of CME (continuing medical education courses) to-go.

By the 11th of December we are hoping to be back in Madison, Indiana for some extended down time and careful / prayerful consideration of our future.

We want to say a sincere THANK YOU to all –  family, friends, those who listen to our Togo Presentation and those who interviewed us for possible jobs despite our uncertainty.

Our present prayer is that HIS direction becomes very clear!

God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael




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Summer Newsletter 2015

Nattiers & us

Our Summer Newsletter is now posted!  Let us share with you what we have been doing and how God’s been working.  Go to our website under “newsletter” tab or click here.

Please also see our updated prayer requests, pictures and financial pages.

God bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

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