Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Vague Update on Unrest in Ethiopia

I haven’t known how to express what is going on back in Ethiopia, here’s a write up the Crisis Management Team sent out, thanks Mark and Debbie for writing it.

The country of Ethiopia has been heralded as a one of the shining stars of economic development in Africa, enabled by longterm stability.  However, for the past year, there has been civil unrest that at times have resulted in bloodshed.  The SIM Ethiopia team has been making hard decisions in the midst of this, taking seriously the dual responsibilities of safety of those in the SIM family, as well as the duties we have accepted as carriers of the eternal gospel.  Several downcountry SIM stations have evacuated and have been unable to continue their ministries in the accustomed manner.  The Ethiopian government has called a State of Emergency to deal with the crisis.  Please pray for God’s people to rise up as peacemakers, for His people to be protected, and for vision and courage to see the ministry opportunities that arise from the situation.  Pray too for the leadership of SIM Ethiopia and SIM International in making choices that allow gospel engagement without unnecessary risk.  Pray too for peace, and for His righteousness to shine. He is still our good, good Father, and we are thankful for his watchful care for us.  We also are thankful for our Ethiopian brothers and sisters, who exercised a nationwide three week fasting and prayer event two months ago, and again are calling for another week of it.  Please pray with them and us during this time.

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So, here we are, trusting God has a beautiful plan, thankful to be here and not displaced in the capital, Addis Ababa, but with many thoughts for our friends and community in Ethiopia. I feel I haven’t quite gotten a handle on our new life yet (we’ve traveled, moved recently-all the travels and the move have been great). 

Thanks for patiently loving us, even when we don’t know which end is up. Jon continues work for SIM and is excited to be planning a conference in the early winter in our local area. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Move

We did it!  Well, part of the way. We packed and cleaned our way out of the apartment where we have been living. Jon heads off for a conference so the kids and I will stay at my parents’ for a bit.

In other news, there was a wedding in our family. A married a handsome groom (we are supposed to pretend the stuffed dog is the groom, I wouldn’t let them use Tiger, much to their chagrin). 

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The bridesmaids waiting on the bride (Groom by the altar).

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The girls called Kristi in to officiate. We are going to miss these neighbors. 

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A good time was had by all in attendance though Tiger and I just held down the porch swing. 

Thanks for your love, prayers and support! 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Temporary Normal

I want to write about our normal life, the new normal but everytime I sit down, I realize how “unnormal” life feels and don’t know how to dialogue about the little things of life when my mind swirls with the escalating political unrest in Ethiopia, hurricanes in Haiti, #blacklivesmatter, car accidents involving people we love… Amidst it all, we are enjoying the little things, doing life as normal as we can (at least until our next move-next week. :))

I’ve had a harder time than I expected getting into the swing of homeschool in the USA but I think we’ve got a good rhythm now. The girls have never schooled in the US, it’s just been a place for fun so it was also hard for them to find motivation to study. I manage to accomplish very little in my days but I am learning my small capacity and learning how to do life again in Indiana.

A few of our normals:

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Goofy girls who find dress up wherever we go…

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sweet friends willing to drive far to meet our growing crew.

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friends who don’t care how long it has been since we’ve seen each other.

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trips to the grocery store

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and the doctor (oh my, between dentist and doctor appointments, it’s been crazy).

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Celebrating a 90th birthday party with Grandma

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Reuniting with cousins

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Working on the farm

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Playing with more cousins…

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Trips to the zoo

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and this little guys who has become part of our normal. The four of us just sit around and stare at him and giggle when he coos.

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Just look at this guy! Two months of sweetness and we don’t know how we ever lived without him. 

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Can you believe this was him only two months ago? His birth mom just sent us this photo. 

 During the last two months, we have been living in a furnished apartment, provided for us be people who we barely knew.  They have been the best possible neighbors, showing us how beautiful the Body of Christ can be wherever we are and blessing us everyday. 

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They’ve not only been the neighbors who just wave and say a polite “hello” but the kind of “let’s hang out and share life” kind of neighbors, the best kind if you ask me. 

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There it is, our new normal, at least for now. ;)


Friday, September 23, 2016

Hey.  We are here, in the USA and we are doing…well…we are doing. I want to say amazing and in many points, it’s true. Our family is enjoying this season of homeschool, Jon working for SIM USA, loving on Tiger baby, visiting family, spontaneous trip to reconnect with friends going back to Ethiopia, it’s been a sweet time but also a transitioning time where we are floundering a bit.  For those of you who didn’t get a newsletter, through our team leader’s and director’s counsel, we are staying in the USA.  Ethiopia has had significant political tension and are northern teammates are currently displaced in Addis Ababa. Jon and I knew we had to return to deliver French Fry, but we were all hoping for a few months in ET. 

Once again, this does change our plans and our hearts are full of desire to see our Awi community but we know the miles do not limit the effectiveness of prayers. God is orchestrating the situation and we pray our hearts can be faith-filled. We are loving the extra time with family, friends and church family.  I don’t know how I feel actually, so many conflicting emotions.

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Learning to roller blade

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Tiger meets a friend (or maybe just parents who tell them they will be friends).

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Little Tiger and Uncle Jay

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The girls have become quite the event planners. They planned a series of “dates for any willing couple. 

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Riding with Grandpa

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Ah!  Every time I see this picture, it makes me want to scream at how cute Tiger is!

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A beach in Wisconsin on a September day. We are praying for the Floreks as they moved back to Ethiopia, yesterday, after a year in the USA.


Thanks for your love and support. We feel it and are so thankful for each of you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Hey All!

Tiger is a little angel baby, he still does all the newborn stuff, like not sleep during the nights, but he is incredibly sweet and our whole family dearly loves him! Tiger is Jon and I’s first newborn as J & A came to us at 5 months of age.  It is definitely a different game but a sweet one and it’s amazing to see how quickly his little body and mind changes.  About a week ago, he started making a new sound, and it just means, “Hey, I’m over here! Someone better come talk to me!” 

He is four weeks old today. 

He has huge, gorgeous, dark brown eyes and he loves to study faces. 

Babies point to God, the amazing creator. 

Some photos we took while trying to get a passport photo. He is very expressive and I know not smiling on purpose yet, but I pretend they are meant for us. 

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“Mama, can you leave my alone? I didn’t sleep all night.”

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Ah! He’s cute!  None of these pictures worked though so we had a second session. 

In case the blog is your only connect with us, we also have some other news…

With surprise and joy we announce…

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Yep, we are pregnant. Heeehee.  I know, life is such a ride and God makes sure we are never bored.  So glad His thoughts are so high above ours! The boys (We don’t know the gender of the baby in utero, I just think it makes sense to have a boy, so I am referring to “him”), will be about 7 months apart, another set of twins, Irish twins!  :)

I am temporarily referring to this child as “French Fry” because for about 5 weeks, that is all that sounded good to me to eat!  I am over 15 weeks and feeling a lot better, back to fruits and veggies. :) 

We are once again in a spot of being needy. It seems like we live here, dependent on others. We returned to the US for one month and it’s turning into a whole lot longer.  (Lordwilling, we will deliver French Fry in the US, we are tentatively hoping to return to ET between Tiger’s passport and delivery). We returned with a two suitcases. Your generosity, love, celebration with and prayers for our family can never be thanked enough while on this earth! I am praying treasures in heaven for all of you dear people!

There are further details unfolding in our future we will send out soon in a newsletter. I know, how much more news can we handle? If you aren’t on the list and want to be, let me know.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

August 16th

August 16th is the day our return flight to Ethiopia was scheduled. We are not on that flight and I am not sad to not be sleeping on a plane tonight. :)

Baby Tiger has blessed our lives in so many ways. He is two weeks old today.  Because of his sudden arrival in our family, we will be staying in the US a few months longer than expected.  We are lining up his passport and other documents necessary for his visa.

We don’t have a plan set in stone at this point, but, amazingly enough, the girls’ 1st grade curriculum is mainly in Indiana (math is in Ethiopia).  The girls and I will start homeschool this week. Jon is in Grand Rapids for a training but he has loads of plans and jobs planned. So, while I love having a firmly defined plan for my life, we move forward in faith and praying we have wisdom and clarity for all future steps. We are currently living with my parents but have a gracious offer to stay in an apartment set up for overseas workers.  

A benefit for the extra time is that we have time for dentists, doctor, eye doctor appointments.  This morning, I took the three kids to the dentist, A was the only one with an appointment slot and she had 6 cavities! Not the best start for our appointment spree. 

Now, I know you came for pictures of Tiger. I don’t have any new ones on this computer, but my oh my. He is amazing. He is perfect and daily becoming more alert.  He is also on the nocturnal side, which leads to some exhaustion, but I can’t complain, Jon is immensely helpful in the nights.  While he was gone during training, even Nana took a night shift!   We continue to thank God for this miracle and ask you to continue to pray for his birthmother, a woman very dear to our hearts who is walking deep roads of grief. 


Next post will have pictures!  :) 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Our Son

On Tuesday morning, August 2nd,  Jon and I were sleepy-eyed as my dad dropped us off at the airport for the first available non-stop flight to Salt Lake City, Utah. 

When we landed on US soil, just two weeks before (July 19th), we had heard of a birthmother looking for a family and they asked if we wanted to be presented.  We met her over Skype on Thursday (the 21st) and then heard five days later, one week after we had been in the US, in God’s lavish outpouring, this dear birthmother had chosen our crew to be a family for her precious baby, due any day. 

Jeff’s July 31st wedding was beautiful and we were so glad to be a part. On August 1st, we received a phone call in the evening, asking if we could get to Utah, as soon as possible. 

As the plane flew further from Indiana and closer to Utah, I had time to sit and reflect on the many ways God has been moving. When we were in Ethiopia, I was feeling so fear-filled about this adoption, it’s obstacles seemed too many, the paperwork too hard to do without reliable internet, the likelihood of being chosen by a birthmother too low. I told Jon, “I feel like to adopt, you have to fight the universe”. As we talked with friends, I realized I was hoping for a process as clear as the process God had given us with the girls. A burning bush of sorts that made it unmistakably clear this was the step God wanted us to take. 

I told these friends I was willing to step in any direction but felt like I needed to see so clearly this was what God wanted in our family. They encouraged me to move forward in faith, Moses only had a burning bush one time and he moved forward the rest of his life remembering that. 

As the plane neared Utah, I was overcome at God’s over-the-top goodness towards me, a woman with quivering faith, knowing that, even if the adoption didn’t go through and the birthmother changed her mind, without a doubt, this is the direction God wanted us to step. 


And there have been a million and 10 ways in between we have seen God pour out abundance, so many of you are praying and we are humbled at His hearing and answering. 

As I write, there is a perfect, seven-pound baby boy, swaddled like a burrito on the hotel bed beside me.  

We have been given a son, wanted by us, chosen by God. 

Meet Tiger (NOT HIS REAL NAME-we are trying to keep his name off of the world wide web. Call me a conspirator). For blog purposes, he is Tiger. ;)

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Right now, all he does is sleep, eat a bit and then sleep some more. 

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We are overjoyed and can’t wait for you to meet him.  

Thank you so much for your love, prayers and support.