He is Risen!

Our first Easter in Saipan was truly memorable. Our Easter weekend started EARLY Friday morning when we participated in the sunrise walk up Mnt. Topochau. Every Good Friday, hundreds of the Saipan locals hike the 2 mile walk straight up the mountain to thank God for His sacrifice for us. It is their way of participating in Christ's suffering and to show gratitude and love.

Many begin the walk as early as 3:30 in the morning, as a couple of my friends in my microbiology class, and their families, did this year. It was amazing to see so many local families hiking the hill, and cool to recognize many of our co-workers and friends from ME weekend.
Another interesting part of the Topochau walk is the enormous wooden cross that is hauled up to the top. Each year, a new one is carried and erected at the top of the mountain. There were about 20 men carrying to heavy cross, and each of them were dripping with sweat.

Hikers walking up the mountain early in the morning.

On Saturday, my honey and I spent the afternoon at American Memorial Park, taking pictures at the beach and of the gorgeous flame trees that are blooming all over the park.
Bright orange flame tree blooms
We found tons of these little black and turquoise crabs- some had one huge red pincher claw in the front of their body.
On Easter Sunday morning, we once again headed up Mt. Topochau (driving this time!) with our friends Josh and Liz for our church's Sunrise Service.

Everyone sat in lawn chairs or on blankets on the grass while several local churches joined together to put on the Easter Sunday service. We were high enough up on the hill that we could look around us and see the ocean on 3 sides of the island. It was a gorgeous view!!
Really, really love this guy
In the afternoon, a group of our friends and us when over the Helen Ann and Dave Bucher's house for an Easter lunch. We all sat out on their patio and enjoyed yummy home-made American food.
Some of us girls dyed Easter eggs- I had forgotten how much fun it is!

Looking lovely in our Easter clothes :)

Thanking God for His sacrifice for us this Easter and that I have the chance to know Him personally. I'm spending this week, and every week, growing closer to God and am grateful that when I draw near to Him, He also draws near to me. Love you all and happy Easter from Saipan, Rachel


Here comes the sun

Here's a plethora of spring time pictures. My wonderful Flametree Apt. neighbors and SNU friends, Liz and Laura. I love this pic of the three of us
Dying Easter Eggs at the Bucher's house on Easter Sunday
Grilling out at Grant and Kara's house- their back porch is the perfect place for this
Love this guy with all my heart

Brian at his awards ceremony for XTerra, receiving his medal
Liz and I at the beginning of the XTerra race- watching Brian do the swim portion
Amy and I at a Twilight watching party- love this pretty girl!
Us a few minutes ago at breakfast- right now we're sitting at Wild Bill's enjoying the super fast internet and eating omelettes, toast, and hashbrowns. Notice my super squinty eye??

A truth that God is helping me to understand and put into action this week: When I fix my eyes on Him, he will take care of all the details of my life. I don't need to worry. When you seek Him first, everything else falls into place and He gives you His peace.

Hey all!

Hello everyone,
It's getting hot HOT in Saipan again. The windy season is over, and it's feeling like summer time for sure on this island!

Here's a little update of what's been happening lately. Two weekends ago, we went on the most awesome couples retreat, Marriage Encounter. ME is a weekend retreat at one of our beautiful local resorts, Aqua Resort. It is sponsored by the Catholic Church, and includes a weekend full of activities and speakers to help strengthen your marriage. It's really popular in our local community and many of our married friends have gone to these ME weekends over the years. We loved it- they had so many great activities to teach you to communicate about all kinds of topics and it was so refreshing to spend the entire weekend with my husband at a romantic resort. Our friends Matt and Amy, and Kara and Grant also did the weekend with us, and the pic above is from the retreat.

Next, Brian has been applying like crazy for jobs in the states. He has put in his application for about 20 schools, and has been working on contacting the principals through Skype. We would love to be back in the states with our families this year, and we'll keep you updated. One thing we know, we don't have to worry about our plans for the future when we are praying that God will do HIS will every day. We are praying that God will put us exactly where he wants us this year (though we are hoping it's in America!!) Either way, we have peace with the result and I'm so thankful that I have a God who leads all of my steps.

We love you family and friends in the states, and really miss you all. We love your comments and love to hear from you. Rachel :)