Sunday, October 23, 2011

To You Who Are Heavy Laden....

For those who are overwhelmed....

For those whose load is seemingly too great....

For those who cannot imagine life getting harder....

There is HOPE!

Our daughter Sunshine blogged today and it is really a remarkable post.  Click HERE to read her post and be reminded that He is greater than our trials, He is greater than our failures.  He is our PEACE!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Home again, oh it's good to be Home again!

 Houmas House - near Baton Rouge, Lousiana.  I ate dinner there last night!!!

After being gone the entire week in Baton Rouge on business, I am glad to be back home!!

What did I miss about life at home?  Well, let me tell ya.

I missed Peaches' smile that lights up the room and her humorous use (or rather misuse) of the English language.

I missed Eddie Joe's irresistible love of cuddling and his constant questions.

I missed the Big Fella's infectious laugh and his repeated requests to play computer games.

I missed T-bird's love of playing with his younger siblings and his love of finding things to worry about.

I missed Rye Bread's ability to play amazing guitar sounds and his inability to find anything that belongs to him.

I missed Sunshine's long, long hugs and her long, long stories.

And of course, what I missed the most, is being with my bride, being able to share life together, being able to embrace the chaos of our lives together.  Everything that I see when I'm traveling makes me think of her, makes me wish she was with me, makes me wish we were taking it in together.

Fortunately I'm done traveling for awhile. I'm thankful to be able to be back home, back with my girl, back with my family, getting life back to normal....whatever that is.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Passport Through Darkness"

Just finished reading the book Passport Through Darkness by Kimberly L. Smith.  Really a powerful book about the author's experiences and passion in establishing an orphanage in western Sudan near the Darfur region.  

There are a number of very sobering stories that are shared in the book - sobering in the sense that it is hard to imagine that suffering of this type is going on in our world today.  How can this be when we enjoy such affluence?  It is a grim reminder of the sufferings that people are facing and the hope that God provides in the midst of suffering. 

In a war-torn region where there was no hope, no food, no resources, no intra-country government support, Kimberly Smith - along with some Sudan nationals - built an orphanage to house 300 children who had suffered untold loss at the hands of Sudan Arabs from northern Sudan.  The story displays God's ability to overcome the worst situations imaginable.  He can overcome war, famine, disease, governments, etc.  There is no struggle that is difficult for Him.

It was also a reminder of what possible darkness our Peaches came from.  Since western Gambella has a lot of Sudanese influences, our minds have been drawn to better understand the people and political situation in Sudan.  It is a very desperate situation that many of the South Sudan people live in.  We don't know for sure many of the details of Peaches' life prior to becoming an orphan, but we do know that the many pains that she has endured - loss of family, culture, country, food, etc. - are more than a 4 (now 5) year old should endure.  We're struck by the resiliency that God has placed within her to be so "normal" after being exposed to a lifetime's worth of difficulties condensed to a matter of a few months.

If you have read any good books, let me know about them!  I am always looking for good biographical stories related to orphan care - stories that reveal the plight of the orphan and the ability of God to rescue, heal, and restore those who do not escape His eye.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday Peaches!!!

A year ago our little Peaches would have celebrated her birthday in an orphanage in Gambella, Ethiopia.  It is unlikely that there was any celebration or any awareness of her birthday.  What a difference a year makes!

Her 5th birthday came with great anticipation for her family, though Peaches didn't seem to realize the full extent of what a birthday really meant.  We had planned to celebrate on the day of her birthday with family and some Ethiopian food - injera which was to be prepared by our new Ethiopian friend and we were even going to take a try at preparing some goat meat.  The next night we were going to have many of our friends over as a celebration to God for the bringing of Peaches into our home.  At last count, we were at 47 people!

Heather's unexpected surgery and stay in the hospital put a wrench in those plans, but her release from the hospital on Peaches' birthday did allow us to have a small celebration at home that night.  Her continued confusion about what a birthday is was a reminder of what it means to be an orphan.  There's no one to celebrate your birthday, no one to remember you on special occasions, no one to take notice of you when you accomplish a first in life.  It's just you against the world.  And there's no one to even take notice that it is just you against the world.

We were blessed by some friends who brought over some last minute birthday party supplies - since our week was detoured through the hospital rather than into birthday party preparation.  The supplies were perfect.

It is interesting that this was Peaches' first real celebration opening presents.  She was somewhat unsure of what to do, but quickly got the hang of it.  She was also unsure what it really meant to now be "5" and also unsure how long this recognition lasted.

Enjoy the pictures of our beautiful little girl - the excitement in her eyes and the smile that requires no camera flash!  We brought her into our home not just to shower her with gifts on her birthday, but also to allow her to be rooted within a family - our family - and to be celebrated for who she is.

 Peaches was excited to open her gifts - unfortunately we only had Toy Story 3 wrapping paper in the house!  Not very girly!

 Tangled is her favorite movie!

 She has always wanted a robe - mainly because Eddie Joe has one!

She now has her very own Tangled dress and crown!  What a princess!

McDonald's for supper!  What could be better!

Bugg made some special cupcakes for Peaches.  They were amazing.

Look what we found when we opened the box!

Ready to light the candles!

And with an unsureness as to what this was all about, she complied with our excited screams of "blow out the candles"!!

A cupcake fit for a princess!

Those eyes say it all!

We were also blessed to find out that an Indonesian tradition is to bring fruit to someone who has been sick.  Our newest addition to our church body (Anna, who is from Indonesia) brought this plate of fruit for Heather.  A beautiful gesture.  Thank you Anna!

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Weak Body Served by His Body

What happens when the physical body becomes weak?  It needs help from those around.  Yes, that seems obvious.  But when you're the one in need, it suddenly takes on greater importance. 

We saw that first hand this week.  On Tuesday, we saw Heather's body suddenly require emergency surgery.  And in the process, we saw the body of Christ suddenly spring into action and absorb our family's needs as quickly as they arose.  Many of those needs were quickly extinguished without even asking us.  We are blessed beyond measure and are thankful for those whose hearts have been transformed by the love of God.

It's a testimony to us - the receivers of great care - of how important taking specific actions to reach out to those in need.  Love is action, not just words.  Think of God's love for us, think of what our love for others should look like.

For a glimpse of one of the specific families that sprung into action, please click and visit the Beavers' blog Unto Him We Live

We also had families that provided emergency birthday supplies for our dear Peaches' 5th b-day (coming in a later post), we had beautiful cupcakes made by the beautiful Bugg, meals arranged for us, visits in the hospital, our house cleaned from top to bottom, and so on and so on.  We are overwhelmed!

Blessings to everyone that prayed for us this week.  We are very thankful to be beyond the surgical/hospital phase and moving on with healing at home.  And we are even more thankful for those around us who help not only with the healing of the body, but the healing of the soul.