Insights into these Shoes' Soul

Welcome to our blog! You'll get glimpses into the fabric of our lives... find out what is happening in our family, learn what our latest adjustment is to life in the US, find out what is going on in our minds, see what makes us smile, and hear what makes us tick. You'll also get ministry updates! We hope these insights into our souls will make you smile, keep you informed and challenge you to pray for us.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

75 years young

May 3 my mom turned 75.  Thanks to my sisters, I was able to fly to Greenville, SC for a long weekend so I could be there to help her celebrate.  We had a very nice time together, just enjoying each other’s company.



Left to right, Marti, B, Frank (Marti’s husband), my mother Mary Anne, Carrie, Sylas (her son) and Randy (Carrie’s husband).  A very nice family picture.  Wish Dan could have been there to make the picture complete!


We always seem to arrange ourselves in birth order for pictures, but not in this photo.  But here it is….me (in the yellow and purple), Marti (in the red), B (in the orange) and Carrie (in the aqua and brown).  My mom looks pretty good doesn’t she?!


No Cosper gathering is complete without a shopping trip.  We Cosper women love our bling!

It was a memorable time together.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A tragic death in the family

It’s hard to adequately explain how we felt when we got the phone call early April 11 from my sister, Brandi, telling us that our sister, Marti’s, youngest, Jonathan, had unexpectedly died during the night.  He was 27.  We were speechless, stunned, shocked.  J loved life and lived it out loud.  And he was suddenly gone.  An accidental overdose of prescription cough medicine.

Dan and I had returned the night before after a 5 day ministry trip to Jacksonville, FL.  After crying with Marti on the phone, we quickly did our laundry, re-packed, stopped by the office for a few minutes and headed north to be with Marti, Frank and the rest of the family in Columbia, SC.  [Devon had to work and Dawn was in school and also had work.  Neither were able to make it to South Carolina.]

Wordless hugs, crying and laughing at funny memories.  We were there for support and help in any way we could.  We cleaned the house, cleaned the kitchen after meals that were brought in – and only somewhat eaten, and ran errands.  As reality set in they set about putting together a funeral, a time of spiritual comfort, that would minister to the family as well as a time of remembrance and memorial that would show honor and respect of J where he was in life, something that his very large circle of friends would feel free to attend.  It was a delicate balance.  Marti and Frank were able to find that balance with a service that had 2 parts, giving people the freedom to attend one or the other or both.  Almost everyone attended both.

They brought many items from his childhood, his teenage years, as well as things from his house to chronicle his life, his many interests and the many things he did to the funeral home.  People were able to have a good insight into his life and who he was.  It was very well done…and heart wrenching to look at and realize that he was not there anymore. 

There were over 300 people at the funeral.  The chapel had standing room only; they even opened the doors and had people standing outside on the sidewalks listening to the service.  J touched many lives.  We were surprised to hear that he didn’t have any friends – he had best friends.  Many, many best friends.  We didn’t have much of a chance to get to know him because of our living overseas for so long as well as the fact that he lived several states away.  But we got to know him at the service.  Made us even more sad that we hadn’t had the chance to get to know him better in life.

We were there to give comfort with our presence.  I pray that we were able to accomplish that.

This is J (in the red) with his sister Rachel (in the purple), her husband, Rusty, and his oldest sister, Rebecca (in the blue). 

J and his sisters, 2008Here is his obituary.

Jonathan “Jonny” Corey Howard Bedell, or simply “J” to his family, age 27, passed away unexpectedly early Thursday morning, April 11, 2013. The celebration of Jonathan’s life will be Sunday, April 14 at Dunbar Funeral Home located at 7600 Woodrow St. Irmo, SC 29063. There will be a worship service beginning at 3:00 pm, followed by an opportunity to share stories and memories at 3:45. Bring your fondest memories of Jonathan to share.  There will also be an opportunity to leave Jonathan with your private written goodbyes. Visitation will take place between 5:00 and 7:00. Please join us for all of these events or any one event that fits your style.

Born in Columbia, South Carolina, on December 18, 1985, Jonathan was the third child born of Frank and Marti Cosper Bedell. J is survived by his sisters, Rebecca Hughes (Tim) of Florida and Rachel McKie (Rusty) of Tennessee.  J loved his niece, Alissa Hughes, and his new nephew, Justus McKie.  Jonny is also survived by his life partner, Amauri Almanza of Columbia, who is also loved by the entire Bedell family. Jonathan comes from a large extended family and will be missed greatly by his many aunts, uncles, cousins, niece and nephew and his grandparents, Cliff and Prue Bedell and Mary Anne Cosper.

Jonny brought joy, love, and friendship to scores of people around the world. An explorer at heart, Jonny was able to study in Scotland for his junior year of college. He loved to hike the Scottish trails, particularly Hadrian’s Wall and, most recently, the Great Glen Way.

Jonny was a runner who ran for many different reasons.  Sometimes he ran to be physically fit, to accompany a friend, or simply for the finisher’s medal.  He ran several half as well as full marathons. He was spontaneous and at times entered these races with little or no preparation, but  he always completed them.

Jonathan was unusually compassionate, both to people, especially the hurting or the underdog, and to animals, the injured and the orphaned. As a young man, he volunteered at Carolina Wildlife, Inc. for many years, later working part time for them until his passing. His work included  the at-home care of preemie squirrels known as “pinkies”. His dedication to these small animals was such that he would stay up all night tending to their needs.  His love for animals was further evident in the special bond he had with his cat Puffy Face, who was his best friend for sixteen years. His unique love for cats continued as he and Amauri took in three cats that needed a home: Alistar, Cotton and Robert, as well as two “porch” cats, Bobbin and Nubin.

Dreaming and planning for the future brought joy to Jonny. He enjoyed traveling immensely - many times overseas - doing projects around the house, and making trips with friends, just to name a few. At the time of his passing, he was eagerly saving all his coins in a large jar labeled “Cruise”.

His friends were  of paramount importance to Jonny. He showed his love for his friends through countless self-giving ways. He loved Facebook, and we all will miss his many informative and humorous posts. It brought Jonny great happiness to cook his favorite Indian dish for his friends and family. He also enjoyed a monthly supper club. It was a delight to Jonny to work at “sbux”, where he made many friends on both sides of the counter. In addition, he was loved by his coworkers at SCDEW.

Jonathan was kind, empathetic, smart, tenacious, passionate, and loved others deeply. He never missed an opportunity to say “I love you”. Since he was a child,  his favorite response to his mom’s “I love you” was “I love you more”.

Cherish and share the good memories forever. Jonathan, J, Jonny- you will always own a piece of our heart.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

30 years!

March 26, 1983


1984-1993 family pictures

1994-1998 family pictures

1999-2003 family pictures

2005-2008 family pictures

2011 family picture

2012 family picture

2013 familly picture

March 26, 2013

30 years

We thought that you’d like to see our family through the last 30 years.  To celebrate we took a Caribbean cruise with our close friends, Kim and Barbara Rose.  You can see the pictures HERE.  It was a blast – so much fun.  It’s been a wonderful 30 years.  We’ve lived in 3 places…or 300, depending on if you count all the many places and people we’ve visited over the years.  We always told our kids that home was where the suitcases were.  And those suitcases went many, many places.

We’ve gotten older but hopefully wiser.  And we’d do it all over again.  This time next year we will be able to include an extra member to the family.  Devon and Kristen will be getting married in just 2 months!

God has been good to us.  We are grateful to him for the 30 years we’ve had together, the lives and ministry that we’ve had and our 2 fantastic kids.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What was Alaska like?

Uncharacteristically clear and sunny but freezing cold.  Breathtakingly beautiful.  Completely different culture, but still a part of America.  Since pictures are worth a thousand words, I’ll let these pics speak a bit.

Petersburg Alaska is located on Petersburg Island.  Located in the lower chain of Alaskan islands, it isn’t too far from Vancouver Island.  Since it is only accessible by ferry or by air, that meant quite a few flights, including an overnight layover is Seattle.  The economy is centered around the ocean…fishing, shrimping, crabbing, whatever is in season.  Petersburg is a small town, around 3,000 souls, and of that, about 300 attend Petersburg Bible Church.  It didn’t take long to get a tour of the island and town (since it really is quite small), but since it was unusually clear and sunny, Dan was able to see the mountains and get some amazing pics and testaments to the beauty of God’s creation. 

It was his first trip there and he was able to represent RMI and share of the many changes that are happening in RMI.  He ate every meal at a different home and was able to get to know quite a few people.  They made sure he stayed warm, too.  The weather reverted to it’s usual state by the time he left…it was socked in and blowing snow as he flew out.

Several of the pastoral staff of the church and a couple of their kids took Dan out to pull in some shrimp pots that they’d set out the day before (just for him).  The catch then had to be de-headed, packaged and frozen.  They gave it to him to bring home (knowing that the name “Shoemaker” is synonymous with “loves to eat everything from the sea”).  I like that part!  I got to at least get a little taste of Alaska.  Just about everyone is involved in the fishing industry; many make it a family affair, going out for months at a time, husband, wife and the kids.  Living on a remote island presents quite a few challenges, not the least of which is shopping for supplies.  Frequently they buy in bulk from Costco and have it air freighted in!  I’ll bet not much “retail therapy” happens there.

He then stayed a couple of days in the Seattle area where he had meetings with 2 Sister Churches and had a “Haiti MK” reunion meal with several MK’s that he grew up with who live in that area.  Three days after he got home, he boarded a much different kind of ship and found seafood there also.  But that is another story for another day.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

From Petersburg to Petersburg in one week

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” — Tim Cahill      

This is especially true for RMI President, Dan Shoemaker, this week.  If the miles were counted, he would indeed be weary!  4700+ miles between the Petersburgs.  Saturday Dan presented RMI’s ministries to a church missions committee in St. Petersburg, Florida.  It was exciting to see them grasp the concepts of having a long term, in-depth relationship with a Sister Church and realize the potential that it could have for their congregation.  Tuesday Dan then journeys to Seattle where he will stay with friends in a Sister Church there before continuing Wednesday to Petersburg, Alaska.  Though Petersburg Bible Church finds itself in a small fishing village on an island, it is excited to be a Sister Church.  Yes, they travel all the way to Haiti to visit their Sister Church.  Yes, it’s a long, long, very long way, but it is worth it for them to see friends.  They aren’t measuring the miles, they are measuring the friends.

On the way home, Dan will once again stop over in Seattle, visiting friends in 2 Sister Churches as well as long time friends from his early years as a missionary in Haiti.
The world isn’t so big when you measure it in friends!

Monday, March 4, 2013

The tale of the $50 tile repair job

What started out as a $50 tile repair job turned out not to be.  Almost 2 months later, we’ve finally come to end of the journey.  I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

This is what we started with.  We had to put down a pathway of
sheets through the bedroom for the workers to walk on.

There was a lot to rip out - right down to the outside block wall.

A new, proper subwall was put in...the original builders had slapped the tile 
right onto drywall. It was good to see the tile go on.

Toilet in the shower?  That's where it had to sit 
while the floor was being re-done.  

The main floor was re-done.

The loose tiles that needed to be re-applied revealed a MUCH MUCH bigger, blacker problem.  The tiles had been applied to sheet rock instead of shower backer board.  The subsequent moisture turned into black mold throughout the whole shower.  It had to be torn out and taken down to the outside block walls.  Picking out new shower tiles, showerhead, etc. was not how we’d planned on spending our weekend, but there was no choice for it. All of the recommendations we received for a tile store were for the same store, so we went there and within 20 minutes had picked out what we wanted.  Working us into his schedule and working around our schedule meant that the work was done in the evenings and a couple of Saturdays.  And now we are finally done.  What a relief!!  I mean…What. A. Relief!

Now I can take a shower in peace, knowing that the black mold monster will not get ahold of me!  And I’ll be able to see what I’m doing. 

P.S. Dan put the shower light in himself!!  YAY Dan!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dawn is a celebrity!

Imagine my surprise when a friend of mine called to tell me that she saw Dawn in Trinity’s monthly letter!  We had no idea.  My friend sent it to me and we just about burst with pride when we read it.

[Disclaimer:  Unfortunately she wasn’t happy with the picture they chose to run with it!]
She’d done the interview last year, but didn’t know when they’d run it.  They stated that she’s a junior, but now she’s a senior.  Oh well.  We’re still pleased with them choosing her as a spokesman and as a student that represents Trinity well.

She received an scholarship over the Christmas break that allowed her to go back this semester.  She also got word that she was given a manager’s position in food services at Trinity where she worked last semester.  This means she’ll get more hours and a slight raise in pay.  It basically pays for gas, food and a few necessities.

She had to move out of the school’s apartment because the school closed it.  There were a few dropouts, opening enough room in the dorm for the apartment girls.  Since she doesn’t have the funds to live in the dorm, she is living off campus in a bit of an unusual situation. 

She and her roommate, Kate, are living in Kate’s grandmother’s RV for 2 1/2 months.  Before you panic, the RV is one of the huge, long ones that has a couple of pull out sections.  It will be parked in her grandmother’s yard (her grandfather will do the weekly septic run for them), which is 2 houses away from Kate’s family.  So we feel that it’s a reasonably safe option.  Dawn is looking for another living situation after this one is finished at the end of March – a big prayer request!!  It will need to be from the end of March and possibly be through the end of the summer.  The school said she could be an RA again in the apartment that they anticipate opening up again in the fall. 

She left this week and is already back to work and in classes. We’re empty nesters again!

Monday, January 7, 2013

An even bigger reason to smile and jump for joy! An engagement announcement….

On Dec. 21 she said yes!!

Devon asked his girlfriend, Kristen Discavage, to marry him and she said yes!  We’re going to be “in-laws”.  And since he proposed with a much longed for puppy, we already have a “grand puppy” that comes to visit.  Chloe is a red fox lab and will be a big, lovable dog.

It was fun being a part of the secret, visiting the puppy with Devon, seeing the ring and helping with Devon’s “epic ask”. 

Here is the video of it….
You might have to watch it a couple of times to hear everything.  Turn your volume up quite a bit and you’ll have to turn your head sideways a bit because of the camera angle.  Let me walk you through it…The camera is set into a decorated Christmas tree in a small public park.  The ring was positioned in it’s box near it so you’ll see Devon reach up near the camera to retrieve it.  Dawn, Caleb (Devon’s cousin) and Wes (Devon’s roommate) all helped get everything ready.  Devon picked the puppy up from the breeder that afternoon. While he took Kristen to supper, the backup crew decorated a huge box, cut out letters to spell her name on the box, took care of the puppy then, on cue, took the box, cameras, puppy and ring to the park.  They had everything all ready, including the puppy (who was very quiet at that point because it had just been taken from her mom and she wasn’t sure what was going on) in the box ready to go.  They hid in the shadows with additional cameras running.

Kristen opens the box and sees the puppy.  She’s so overwhelmed at the puppy that she doesn’t take her out of the box.  This step is important because there are 2 tags on the dog.  One has her name and one says “will you marry me”.  So you see Devon (who has retrieved the ring from the tree and is hiding it behind his back) trying to stay on one knee.  He lifts the puppy out of the box one handed and encourages her to read the tags.  It takes her a minute to find the 2nd tag.  That’s when he pops the question. oh…and his pet name for her is “girlie”…so he calls her girlie Discavage.

At the end the backup crew come into view.

They’ve been busy planning the wedding since then.  The important details right now is that they’ve set the date of July 27, 2013 and it’ll take place in the Ft. Lauderdale area (her hometown).

Kristen is a sweet gal that compliments Devon in many ways.  We love her and are excited to have her join the family soon!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year of Ministry

We here at RMI are ready to take on a new year of ministry!  

Yes there will be challenges, disappointments, victories and probably more changes than a person would care to think of (some exciting, some not - some we know of and some we don't---but that is the way life is!)!  However, one thing we know for sure...God is good and He is sovereign.

It is our hearts’ desire is to see lives transformed, both Haitian and American.  God enabled us to see so many lives touched last year spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The transformative gospel is alive and well, and we thank God that He has allowed RMI to be a part of what He is doing in this world.

As we look to 2013, would you join us in prayer:

For good spiritual health for all of our staff...

For good physical health for all of our staff – they work long hard hours…

For the finding/hiring of additional staff in Haiti as well as here in the Ft. Myers office...

That Greg and Star Harvie and Lee and Tina Nunemaker (and family) will see enough funds come in that they are able to be in Haiti by the end of the year – they are badly needed there…

For 10-15 new Sister Churches…

For the plans, funds and teams to be in place by the end of the year to begin the construction of the new RMI Haiti Ministry Center (more information will be coming about this soon!)…

For increased funding for RMI’s ministry! God is moving RMI forward on so many levels but we need the funding to continue to accomplish all these things. 

We count on your partnership in prayer!  We know that we cannot carry this ministry without God’s blessing and help.  Thank you for your involvement with us.

Help us transform lives and make an eternal impact with RMI in 2013!