Sunday, July 31, 2016

Jeff's Wedding!

When I heard Jeff was engaged, I was surprised, the youngest in the family.  I remember when Jeff was born, I was in 7th grade and I ran into my classroom to announce his arrival, so proud of my little brother.  I still am. I have loved watching him grow in grace. 

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The nieces, waiting for pictures

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Dad, Jeff and Mom

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Aren’t they so cute?

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The brothers and brother-in-laws

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All the sisters/sister-in-laws with Jeff

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Sweet little one, so fun to catch up with our little niece

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The five originals


We are so thankful we have been able to celebrate with Jeff and Anna!

Thursday, July 21, 2016


Thanks to those of you who have prayed for Challie, a boy I wrote about on Instagram. The day before we left Injibara, his father carried him to our house. When we hiked to visit him, moving at a good pace, it was an hour. I can only imagine it was several with his son in his arms. Challie’s parents love him relentlessly. 

Challie still has not gained use of his leg and though there has been marked improvement, I was disappointed to not have seen more use of the leg and it is still infected with very swollen knee and thigh. As I am so inexperienced, I think I have impossible expectations on the length of the healing process. 

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Will you keep praying for Challie’s healing? He is a boy who has grabbed our hearts. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Graduation and Expectations

As we scurried to get out of Injibara and down to Addis, we realized we had never officially graduated the girls from KG2. 

Because we travel so much and miss days, we were finishing up our school year. This called for a party.

I am so glad we did it, even amidst the packing mess, as the girls were delighted. Our teammates and two summer interns came over and we ate and celebrated their accomplishments.

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Hands down, favorite part of the evening was their “Graduation Speeches” which they gave, prompted by questions from Jon. 

When A was asked, “What are you most looking forward to about next year?” She sweetly exclaimed, “Riding the school bus!”

J was asked the same question and she said, “Umm, getting a different teacher.” She also mentioned to me earlier in the week that she was really hoping she would be able to go to first grade in a castle and she was feeling disappointed.  We all were trying to control our laughter to not stop the speeches. 

We had a few conversations about expectations and we realized they think school is only when they go to the international school in Addis. Apparently what Mama and the girls do is just hang out? Crack me up!

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We had a time of prayer and then said goodbye to the team as we start our journey to the US on Monday night! (your day). Have I mentioned how much I love international travel (sarcasm is heavy here)…we will save this post for another day. :)  Please join us in prayer for safe and uneventful flights, sleep and our health. Thanks so much!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

June, Where Have You Gone?

Today I write under gloomy skies, under a pile of blankets, I think the melancholy weather may leak through into my mood. :) The month of June has passed in a rush of neighbors, guests, meetings and sickness.  There have been infrastructure changes on our project and we prayerfully move forward. It seems I have spent a disproportional amount of time looking at my ceiling as I’ve had a few rounds of bugs.  The rains are heavy and nights are cold so many neighbors have been sick as well. 

A few chances at listening to medical concerns and helping others get to a hospital has been rewarding but also makes me ache. Often when we see someone sick, it is at a much later point than we would react to in the USA so it’s a bit alarming and urgent.

When we are asked for medical help, I realize I can’t yet do it without suffering with that person, taking it on, crying out to God for healing. I don’t know if this is an area where I can learn mentally healthy separation or if my aching will always be my human response to others in pain.

Following trusted men down a trail to a new region to visit a sick child.

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I wrote on instagram that I felt like Dr Quinn Medicine Woman but without the skill, knowledge or life-saving capabilities.

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Challie, so sweet and joyful despite a terrible sickness that had claimed the use of his leg. His parents had been washing and caring for his leg, oozing pus and blood but it was far beyond what washing could fix.  They had been advised that as he had loss use of his legs, he needs to get used to walking with a crutch, this is what life would be forever. 

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We were served boiled potatoes and coffee that was roasted and ground in the main room. Everyone peels their own potatoes (not cultural to eat skins). We laugh and chat before getting to the purpose of the visit because life here is wholly relational.

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The grandmother in the house showed a picture of her father who had fought with the Italians.

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The picture, he looking so regal in his military uniform.

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Charlie’s sisters, so gracious and welcoming. The older sister did the whole coffee process over the fire.

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This little one has probably never been to the main road, eyes bright and full of life, excited to start school in two years..

The father carried Challie to the main road and through God and your generous support, he went to Bahir Dar for medical treatment. They saw knowledgable doctors and he will regain use of his leg as his bone infection clears up and he does some therapy, praise God.

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God’s brought many friends along for the girls in this season of life.  It is so amazing when we get visitors here (these are Swiss girls, family stationed in Addis Ababa) as we have time for our shyness to melt away and deep bonds to form.

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The girls hike along with their babies.

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They also love Christian, a frequent visitor to our house. :)

And now, here we are, coming to the USA in two weeks. 

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Our rainy fourth of July cookout, complete with teammates, friends passing through, coffee, burgers and smores.

As always, we think about our trip to America with great excitement and thankfulness. We also have some nerves.  The girls have begun asking if we can stay at Grandma’s house, the one that’s been the most home base of any in the US since they were two.  They say they can’t believe Grandma has died and wish they could sit and play piano with her.  When we are gone, life rightfully moves on and it feels we are in a parallel universe, where time travels differently and we should be able to go back to just how things were. 

Another brother is getting married and we are overjoyed. I’ve also identified it makes me panic a bit, to have my family change so much while we are away and not know the shape the reforming takes. 

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This coming year is full of unknowns, mostly tied to family growth, location, timing, if we are chosen, an unknown amount of times we fly across continents, unknown amount of time we spend in the US to finalize and adoption and start a visa process.  It’s thrilling, stretching and unnerving.

Thank you for all your prayers!