Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all our family and friends!  

2013 has been an intense year… where to begin?  How do I recap these past 12 months?  

God has been incredibly faithful to teach us, stretch us and draw us closer to Him - Praise the Lord!

At the beginning of 2013 God burdened our hearts to "simplify"… and boy, has that been the theme.  

In January we received a text from sweet friends that they were ready (after 2 years of dreaming) to buy our home!  Justin and I looked at each other, in that moment, and knew why God was telling us to simplify … we would be heading to Africa with our family!

Selling all, dispersing animals to new homes and placing all our belonging into a storage container, we were on our way to Uganda, East Africa with all of our treasures!

Our goals, while there, were to straighten out delinquent paperwork with the ministry we had been part of for 4 years and buy land to build on.

Though it was hard and stretching, on so many levels, we look back and see that God was faithful and now the ministry is in right standing both on the US side and Uganda side!  Praise the Lord!  This was not an easy task and we learned a lot about working with governments and people.  

Although we looked and looked, traveled down some pretty crazy/memorable roads, we did not secure land to buy. We know that God's timing is perfect and we take great comfort in that.  

A week after we booked our tickets to Uganda we received a court date for the adoption of our new son, Deo.  This was something we had been striving towards for a year + - isn't God so good!  We were over-the-moon to think that we would be able to complete the process while in country.  We had known Deo for 4 years and now he was going to be our son!

Our time in Uganda was incredible for our kids.  They learned so much.  Their world view was broadened and their heart for the things of God grew.  We will forever be grateful for those 3 months of learning that no text book or movie could ever teach!

In July we traveled back to the USA and settled here in Southern California.  

Two years ago both Justin and I knew God was calling us to deepen our knowledge of His word.  Now that our lives were "simplified" we knew it was the time to enroll in bible college.  Through a million beautiful circumstances we were lead to Eternity Bible College.  The more we learn about their heart to make disciples, the more we love being here to glean from them.  Justin is planning to take night classes, as he can while being a full-time lineman.  The first question we always get is "what degree is he going for?"  We smile and share that God has called us to learn more about His word and not necessarily a degree for full-time vocation purposes.  We believe each of us is called to make disciples and knowing the truth, learning how to share it well, is what we are each called to do.

The kids are adjusting to So Cal life.  I would never call this transition seamless, for any of us, but one thing I will shout from the roof tops is that God has given us rich friendships down here.  We are incredibly blessed with the people God has surrounded us with here.  Our kids are attending the best school there could possibly be.  We home school Monday and Tuesday and they are on campus W-F.  Justin and I grew up with the headmaster and his family so to have that connection here is a blessing only God could have provided.  Deo is filling in holes he may have had in his education and all of the kids are being exposed to great literature while being discipled in the things of God.  An amazing blessing we did not see coming!

A week after we landed back in the US, Dawson was due for his MRI at Stanford.  We were confident we would continue to see shrinkage of the lesion on his pituitary because he was doing so well and had cut his replacement hormone dosage to a 1/3 of what he was taking before Africa!  To our surprise, it grew.  We were shocked and devastated.  We had to wait 2 weeks to hear from the oncology board that they were comfortable to wait another 6 months.  His next appointment is January 13.  This week the elders of our church prayed for him and anointed him with oil [James 5].  It meant more than words can express, as does all who pray!  We know God is good and we hold fast to His good, good plans He has for each of us!

Oh if I could show you a picture of our hearts from all that has happened this year - you would see a broken mess covered by the faithful hand of a loving Father. 

As we go into the Christmas season I can't help but be in awe of The Hope God sent into this broken world through a young girl.  He lived a life we could not live and payed a debt He did not owe - Oh what a Savior!

May we never forget what the true gift is this season:  


Love to each of you.  

Let's love well in 2014!