Monday, July 26, 2010

happy 2nd, Makaria!

Makaria is officially 2! Her birthday celebration started like this:

All 7 us, with all our luggage crammed into a van to head to the airport. While in the van, we sang the Chinese national anthem and lots of Chinese kid songs with our driver.

A few days after we landed, we ended up playing in the fountains at a nearby mall. She's getting so big. It's surreal to think she's been with us for a year already. We made her adoption final last year on her first birthday, while in Ethiopia. We got an email from one of her original nannies on her birthday. Makaria was so loved and cared for in her care center. It brings tears to my eyes to think of how much these nannies ministered to her.

We got to celebrate with Brad's side of the family. It was lots of fun introducing both Kesed and Makaria to family.

I will tell you, this girl is so wonderful. She sat and played with her seatbelt for an hour on the flight to the States. She's super chilled, funny, compassionate, loves to imitate and a pure joy to be around. God truly knit our family together. She's a perfect match with our other kids.

Here she is with her cousin. They are so cute together.

Happy Birthday, sweet girl! May the testimony of the Lord go forth as you grow. We pray that your joy will and glorify the Lord in the darkest of places. We love you.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Malachi's Baptism

One of the most exciting things that has happened in the last few weeks is that Malachi was baptized! A few months prior, we were doing home school and the book talked about giving your life to the Lord (yet another reason I love home school). I asked him what his thoughts were and he said "I want to become a Christian, but I'm waiting for you and Daddy to say it's ok."

He's expressed interest several times, but we've been trying to weed through the desire in him to just believe what we believe and genuine conversion. As a parent, it's always a step of faith. Even if he was 18, we can only see if his heart desires the Lord, is drawn to bearing fruit, understands the gospel and hates sin.

One of our last days in our city, we had a huge celebration where two other kids got baptized. It was an awesome night of prayer, worship, rejoicing through baptism, and lots and lots of tears. It was wonderful.

Each dad asked the kids questions to see if they understood what they were doing. We had been working with Malachi all week to understand the seriousness of baptism. He seems to really understand it and the significance of Jesus' death, resurrection and our regeneration. He gave a short testimony and then we prayed for him.

Sorry the pictures are grainy, I had it on the wrong setting when I handed it to a friend to take pictures.

There are no words to express what it is like to be a part of your own child's baptism. It's the crescendo of the prayers we've been praying for him since before he was born. We pray for his wife, his leadership, for him to be a Godly man of prayer and service. That he would have a heart for the downcast. That he would find creative ways to see the world as Jesus saw it.

We see the Lord changing him and growing him daily. As a parent, sometimes it's hard to remember that just because he's a Christian, doesn't mean he automatically has the maturity of a 40 year old. He's still a 6 year old boy. And he'll still make 6 year old boy decisions.

Little buddy, you are treasured by the Lord because now you are His. We pray and pray for you. May you seek our the Lord's glory in every minute you breathe and find joy in every step you take. We Love You!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Battle at "5 Dragons Park"

The few days before we left, we headed to the park for a little family time. If you've ever packed a family to head on an overseas trip, things can get a little stressful right beforehand. At least that's what other people have said. We wanted to end on a positive note, so we headed to the park.

We tried to find a pool that was a little secluded. There was not a single person there when we found this pool. Within 5 minutes, we had this. We happened upon a group of intruders approaching us by land. We had no choice. We had to defend our territory. "Freedom is not FREE!!!" There were men, women and children firing from every direction. They were ducking behind trees, assaulting us from behind. It was intense. But my family held their ground. I say family because I had to document the attack from the shore. And the water was really cold.

Charis thought it was a little cold too, so she swam for a little bit and then found comfort by eating bananas and sitting with mom.

But this little guy was quite the soldier. He would walk straight up to people and pour water on their heads. Unsuspecting victims. He sought out the vulnerable.

It was a fun last day.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Carpool Line

I realize that I've got a lot of blogging to catch up on. I'm just going to start at the beginning of the pictures on my camera and go from there. I've been wanting to capture this picture for a long time, but kept forgetting my camera when I went to pick up the kids from kindergarten. Let's just be glad that I remembered to pick up all the kids. This is the infamous lamb slaughtering station.

I took the above picture to prove to you just how close to our kid's school this even actually takes place. The yellow sign on the right hand side is above the front gate of the school.

And here they are with their heads dangling into the drain. At least their blood dripped into a drain. I just considered this my twisted carpool line that I wait in to pick up my kids from school. I also love this picture because no carpool line in China would be complete without a middle aged man with his shirt rolled up to his chest.

I will say though that we have had some great discussions above the sacrifice of Christ versus the sacrifice of animals. It's a great picture of the seriousness of Jesus' death. And the absolute truth that His death was essential.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Pushing away from the dock of fear

For the last month, I have been overwhelmed by the Lord's goodness. It's been relatively chaotic for the last 5 weeks or so, yet the Lord has continued to carry us along in faithfulness and gentleness. I have been moved to tears at very random times (ie, going through the subways in Beijing) at just how clearly He has revealed Himself to me as of late.

This morning I read in Matthew 8 about Jesus calming the storm. The disciples are frantically moving about the boat in fear. Yet, Jesus rests. I love this passage of Scripture because it is such a clear picture of our lack of peace and our idol of fear.

I allow fear to make decisions for me.
I allow fear to prevent me from action and serving others.
I allow fear to make me critical.
I allow fear to make me doubt the Lord's goodness in any given situation.

And yet Jesus sleeps. Why? Because He's not afraid. He's not afraid of outcomes or death or trials of this life. His hope was not founded in earthly terms.

I've been praying that I would have that type of peace. The type that is joyful in persecution and loving to my enemies. My gut reaction is to become bitter and angry and impatient because I am fearful.

We Made It

We made it! I've got several blogs to post, but jet lag still has my brain working in slow motion. I'll post some more soon, I promise. The trip went great. Those movies on the back of the seats are a gift from the Lord. We are headed out of town on Monday, so I'm in the middle of unpacking and re-packing.

More soon...

Thursday, July 01, 2010

My Packing Philosophy

I have a packing philosophy that has done me well over the last 11 years that we've been married. Start early. As in, earlier than you could ever think you'd need earlier. Here's some of things that you get to experience the week before you leave, when you start packing early:

You get to go to the park with friends and throw cups of water on their heads.

You get to throw your arms out in jubilation as you get pelted in the back with cold pond scum.

You get to swim with your pants falling off. Which, if you know my family, is pretty much anytime of the day.

You get to schedule a play date with a wonderful friend and get little flowers painted on your nails.

And you still have time to get stared at and asked the question "where are you from" just one last time.

You get to say 'yes' to the friend that calls at 7 am to come over and play all day. And then you get to hug.

You also get to fly in the shark airplane thingy and smile and throw your head back in laughter.

And finally, you get to board the plane, happy at how the next three months is beginning.
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