Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas and Babies

It has been over 2 weeks since I wrote anything on here. I think that in itself will give you an indication of how busy our lives have been!!!!!! I have eaten more food, been to more parties, and played more games that I could even count (ok, maybe I could count the parties and my belly will prove the food part). We have continued to be very loved and blessed by family and friends, and it has really filled us up. I loved seeing everyone and doing the fundraising that needed to be done last furlough, but being in one place for 2 months is pretty great.
I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas!! We missed our first Christmas in Lesotho in 5 years, but we gained some good family memories too. It will be a Christmas to remember for a few years because we will miss it again for a year or two. It was not a white Christmas like my kids were praying for, in fact it was raining a little bit. We have less than a month for the snow to fall, so I am sure my kids will double their efforts in the praying snow department!

On a more serious note, I have been thinking so much about babies this Christmas. Last Sunday, a friend of ours shared a sad story of her grandchild's traumatic entry into the world and his death. Only a week before Christmas, and they are left to mourn this child who was desperately wanted. The parents wanted to give him their love and care and to tell Him how special he was for many years to come. Another baby entered the world this week to an incredible loving couple (Congrats Steve and Heidi). This child was born healthy, and it was so great to see the huge smile on the proud father's face today. That little baby will be loved, cared for, and raised to know and love her Lord. A third baby entered the world today whose mother is barely more than a child herself with no job, and no real means of supporting her child other than government assistance. I do not think that she knows the Lord and I know that her mother was not a good role model, so I wonder how raising this child will go for her.
Jesus came into the world as a baby. He did not chose the easiest or most comfortable way to enter the world (I seriously doubt the comfort of a manger and rags, poverty and a mother who was probably shunned for having a baby out of wedlock). He experienced so many things (like poverty and living in a strange land when they fled to Egypt) and can relate to so many things that we all go through because He lived as one of us. It breaks my heart that my friend's grandchild did not get to live, and it breaks my heart that children is Lesotho are thrown away as if they are no more than a candy wrapper. It is also hard to watch children growing up in poverty struggling to find their next meal. But, it is also beautiful to see a family coming together to celebrate the birth of their child. Some situations seem so much more unfair than others, and yet, we do not walk through any of the hard stuff without our loving Father by our side. We do not go through the injustices without Jesus walking along with us, and saying that everything is going to be ok and He understands. We do not go through the valleys without the Holy Spirit comforting us, or carrying us when the shadow of death is upon us. I am glad God sent His son to us as a tiny baby so we can know how much He cares and understands.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Showered in love

I feel so blessed and overwhelmed with love today. We are now living in our home town of Zeeland. A wonderful couple from this area has gone out west for the winter and are letting us stay in their condo rent free. It is on a pond, in a quiet community and it is a great fit for our family. What a blessing to have our own space so we are close to our church family, and we can invite people over. It was great staying with our family for the last month, and they were so generous with their time and space, and we lacked for nothing.
Yesterday, we moved into this condo, but I had agreed to meet my nieces after school (they had a half day) so we could all hang out and then we went to a hockey game that my brother got us tickets to. I did not have time to get many groceries, only breakfast and lunch stuff since it was 10:45pm and my kids were in the car.
Today, our accountability group (friends who have walked with us for the last 5 years and prayed with us) stopped by dropping off groceries, baked goods, and even a gift card. We feel completely blessed and overwhelmed by the love and generosity of our family and our church family/ community. One of our sending churches even collected some gift cards for our family so I could get my kids, and Bryan and I some new clothes.
We have had so many offers for visits and heard from many friends and family who want to see us and it is overwhelming, but good. Being away for a few years and then walking back into such a loving community really makes us feel lucky. We have been out of sight for a long time, but we have not been overlooked or forgotten. For those of you who have been walking this journey with us for the last 5 years, thank you. Thank you for your love, your prayers, your comments and encouragement. We just celebrated our 5th anniversary as missionaries to Beautiful Gate on December 4th, and we are feeling revived and re-energized to finish our final 2 years well.