May 24, 2013

Getting Ready...

Greetings Friends and Family, 

We've got about 11 days until we leave for Israel and, now that Ryan is home from his work trip to Colorado, we are starting to plan and get ready for our trip. 
It is interesting how different people prepare for a trip like this. I (Ryan) went to the library yesterday and picked up four books on Israel, modern and ancient, to read and prepare for the trip. I've got each day's itinerary highlighted and different biblical references to each of the sites listed. I like to prepare by reading, planning and strategizing to maximize our time 'on the ground' during our trip. 
Kealy, on the other hand, takes a wonderfully different approach. She wants to experience each of the places we will visit 'as is', in the present, without seeing photos ahead of time and become over-saturated with information or opinions about each particular site or location. I've come to really appreciate this about her, because she helps me to be present to each moment and experience, rather than living too much in the past or the future. 
We are however, trying to 'strategize' for the kids with a fun daily activity they can do while we are gone that will hopefully keep them from missing us too much and give them something to look forward to 'from us' each day. On the day we travel the Sea of Galilee by boat, we'll provide boat supplies in a box so they can go to the bath tub and build a boat and float it in the tub or swimming pool outside. On the day we visit the traditional site of Jesus' resurrection, we'll encourage them to make a tomb 'fort' and practice leaping out of the fort and yelling, "Jesus is Risen!" We also have special stuffed animals they can hug while we are gone and, if they hug the stuffed animal, it'll be like they are hugging us. 

So, we are continuing to prepare for our trip and wait in anticipation for this amazing adventure! 

How do you prepare for big trips? 

Grace and Peace,

Kealy and Ryan

May 19, 2013

The Trip Before 'The Trip': 5 Days in the Rocky Mountains

Greetings Friends and Family,

At the risk of making you wonder if those of us in full time pastoral ministry really work that hard at all, I want to share with you an opportunity that I (Ryan) am currently experiencing. I have the privilege of being in Estes Park, Colorado at the YMCA of the Rockies for a 'Denominational Orientation Week' with the church organization that Corvallis Evangelical is associated with. It is an opportunity to spend time with my friend and mentor, Ron Johnson, and to learn more about our denomination's history, theology and mission. Much to my excitement, the meetings are taking place at the foot of the beautiful Rocky Mountains.
Sunday morning in the Rocky Mountains
We arrived here yesterday after a day of flying and driving, to a HUGE campus retreat center. The various lodges and cabins are absolutely beautiful and the accommodations are extremely comfortable...I'm really suffering for Jesus. The camp sits at about 8,000 feet in elevation, which even for a guy from Sandy, Oregon is quite high and it took me a little while to catch my breath. The other elevation issue that I have experienced is thirst. I've been thirsty and no matter how much water I seem to drink, I'm still parched and trying to stay hydrated.

During our worship gathering and times of reflection and prayer today (the classes start tomorrow) there was a theme that God kept bringing to my attention and its reflected well in a teaching from Jesus in John 7:37-38:

"Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believe in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." 

The invitation that Jesus has given to me during this 'trip before the trip', is to 'come and drink'. To drink from the life-giving water of God's Holy Spirit because there is nothing else in all of the world that will satisfy or quench my thirst like God's Spirit will. I want to be the husband, father, pastor and person who is committed to passionately pursuing a relationship with Jesus each and every day and my need for that relationship becomes the same as my need for water to sustain me. So, in the same way that I am physically thirsting for water at 8,000 feet, my prayer for myself and for each of us, is that we might come to Jesus for the gift of His Holy Spirit, to renew, refresh and fill us up in order that we might be a life-giving presence to those around us.

I'll try and post some pictures and maybe additional thoughts from my time here. Pray for Kealy and the kids while I'm away.

Grace and Peace,

Ryan Thorson

Here are some photos from a hike we took this morning...we happened to come across 5 bull elk about 10 feet away...pretty cool!

Up the Trail

Rocks in the "Rockies" #ironic

a herd of mule deer

a herd of bull elk

the big daddy elk from about 10 ft away still with velvet antlers

May 14, 2013

Holy Land Classic: An Overview

Tiberias, Israel
 Greetings Friends and Family,

We are glad that you've taken the time to hop onto our blog and find out more about our next big adventure coming up! In just three weeks we'll be on our way to, "the land of milk and honey", Israel! We are getting more and more excited each passing day as we prepare ourselves (and the kids) for our 10 day adventure.

Below is an itinerary (one of Ryan's favorite things in the world) of our trip. Listed each day are just some of the places and things that we will see on our trip. We'll be staying two nights in Tiberias, Israel at the Royal Plaza Hotel and in Jerusalem at the Olive Tree Hotel...(looks like we'll be suffering for Jesus).

Royal Plaza Hotel-Tiberias, Israel
Olive Tree Hotel-Jerusalem, Israel

I've linked to each of these places so that you can see pictures and read about each place we'll be visiting...

We'll keep you posted on preparations and info as we get closer to our departure date!

Grace and Peace,

Ryan and Kealy

Holy Land Classic Tour

JUNE 4, 2013

Depart USA on your flight to Tel-Aviv, Israel

JUNE 5, 2013

Arrive in Tel Aviv and transfer to Tiberias and arrive at Royal Plaza Hotel

JUNE 6, 2013

Baptismal Site at Jordan River, Boat Ride on Sea of Galilee, Tabgha, Peter's Primacy, Mt. of Beatitudes, Capernaum

JUNE 7, 2013

Nazareth, Megiddo, Caesarea and overnight in Jerusalem at the Olive Tree Hotel

JUNE 8, 2013
Qumran, Jericho, Mt. of Olives

JUNE 9, 2013

Bethlehem, Shepherd's Field, Garden of Gethsemane, Mt. Zion, House of Caiaphas, Upper Room, King David's Tomb

JUNE 10, 2013

Pool of Bethesda, Church of St. Anne's, Antonia Fortress, Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Southern Wall Excavations, Western Wall, Cardo

JUNE 11, 2013

Masada and Dead Sea Tour

JUNE 12, 2013

Morning free, Ein Kerem, Yad Vashem and Garden Tomb. Basic passengers transfer to the airport for the night flight. 

JUNE 13, 2013

Return back to the USA

May 10, 2013

Great Is Your Faithfulness, Oh God

The Thorson Family
 Greetings friends and family,

WOW! In reigniting this blog we realized it has been almost 3 years since we last posted anything in the tales of the 'Thorson Adventures'! Needless to say, quite a few things have happened in our life since then. We have had the privilege of living in Gresham and Sandy and serving at two wonderful churches in the Portland Metro Area. Our sweet Avery Anne was born on Jan. 29th of 2012 and our amazing, energetic twins are now 3 1/2 years old!

We now live in 'Beaver Town', home of the OSU Beavers, Corvallis, Oregon! Above is a picture of us on our first day in our new home last September. We love living back in the Williamette Valley and God has continued to be faithful to us as we have done our best to follow His calling in our lives.

We are blessed with 3 amazing kids: Annabelle, age 3, who loves to sing, dance and organize her room:
Annabelle Faye
Levi, age 3, who loves to play baseball and wrestle and enjoys fixing trains and bikes of all kinds:
Mr. Levi Robert
And our sweet Avery Anne, age 15 months, who loves to laugh and smile and read books and go on walks (and do whatever her older brother and sister are doing):
Sweet Avery Anne
Kealy is spending her days with the kids, taking them to the library, aquatic center and the various parks around the Corvallis area. Ryan is serving as an Associate Pastor/Senior Leader in Training at  Corvallis Evangelical Church. We are so blessed to be a part of a community of followers of Jesus committed to engaging our world with the Good News of the Gospel!
Our Family, Sept. 2012
One of our main purposes in re-launching our blog is not just to give you family updates (as exciting as those are) but to give you a chance to get a window into another adventure we'll be embarking on in less than a month. Through the generosity of many people around the Northwest, Kealy and I will be traveling to Israel for a 10 day tour of the Holy Lands! Our adventure begins on Tuesday, June 4th and we are excited to be able to share this experience together, along with Ryan's dad, Greg, and 6 others from Sandy, OR. We will be traveling with Educational Opportunities and will be visiting the sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Masada, the Dead Sea and of course, Jerusalem.
Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem, Israel
While we are on our trip, we will be attempting to keep you updated each day on the things we have seen and experienced. We are extremely excited to see, touch, smell and hear the sounds of the land where so much of our spiritual heritage and history has taken place and hope you check in before, during and after our trip so that we can share this experience with you.

Thank you for all of your support, prayers and love for our family as we continue to embrace God's will for our family and cling to His faithfulness in our lives.

Grace and Peace,

Kealy, Ryan, Annabelle, Avery and Levi