theMangoTimes - New and Improved!

A New Look
If this is your first time here, you may not know that theMangoTimes has a new look. We've parked at this domain since 2006 without a change of scenery. To celebrate the 15th Anniversary of theMT (click on the picture to read Issue #1), we thought we would shake a few things up, change our look and take things in a new direction.

A New Community
I did not think this would ever be a blog topic in theMangoTimes, but recently our family made a very difficult decision to leave our church community. For some, leaving a church is a simple decision. For others, the idea of even joining a church body may seem foreign. For us, this was a huge decision in our family. Let me see if I can explain why.

Our family was there from the beginning. Seven years ago, we were one of four families in a bible study that joined together to create this church (see picture on right). The very first worship service took place in the living room of our house. For 1/2 of our children, this is the only church they can even remember. On a personal level, I served as an elder for the first four years and in one way or another was personally involved with the worship or teaching nearly every week. I was the person that thought up and suggested the name that the church uses today. What I'm trying to get at is that this was not the type of church where we snuck in the back door, hung around for a few years and then quietly moved on. Our decision to leave was one of the most difficult choices I've made on behalf of our family. In the sense that Scripture talks about church being "the body," we have felt the amputation.
Why? Why would we leave a church that we had invested in so heavily? The simple answer is that we changed (or rather God used experiences in our lives to change us), and a discerning reader could probably read through the past few years of blog posts in theMangoTimes to get an idea of those changes. However, I'd prefer to leave the reasons very simple...we changed.

New Cars
Changing topics completely...I have always loved old Volkswagens...Hello? Did someone say Volkswagen? That's right, we've added two more cars to the fleet. I was given a project, I mean a 1971 VW camper bus that I have been slowly restoring for the past year. More on that story in a future post. While I was at the VW mechanic's shop, I also picked up a 1971 VW Squareback as a project for the boys to tackle. They are both in great running condition and really fun cars to own. "A little spackle...a little paint...will make 'em look like...what they aint!"

A New Kitchen
This year we will finish the last of the major projects in our home. Kendra has patiently waited for her workspace to be completed and I was pleased to walk in this week and find the cabinets gone and walls bare. Being down a kitchen means meals made in the garage...the school room...and a bunch of fast food (and the MangoKids cheered!). We are very excited for a slightly new layout, regular counter heights, new colors and more open space! Personally, I know this will give Kenj a place to make even better food (though I hardly believe it could get any better!). Drop by if you get a chance, you'll see that I'm right!

A New Direction
In many ways, our decision to leave one church and join another has set our family out in a completely new direction. We have been "doing life" in one way for so long, that every step we take feels new and sometimes awkward, yet refreshingly adventurous at the same time. Stealing from a previous post, we feel like we are leaving life in the town to go and live life as pioneers out on the trail. If you have followed theMT, you know that we have definitely seen our share of exciting trials these last few years and we have learned that life can be messy. As we begin to move in some of these new directions, we are looking forward to the gentle curves in the stream as well as the unknown rapids that are before us. God has always navigated us through, we just need to learn to paddle when it's time to paddle and float when it's time to float.

Thanks for being around for the past 15 years...

Quietly making noise,