Friday, January 27, 2012

Fun with Pregnancy!

To all you Mother’s out there…I salute you!
I have met so many women who have told me their joys of pregnancy: how their skin glows, how thick their hair gets, their ability to eat for two, how much energy they have, how beautiful they feel, etc. I must say that everyone’s personal experience is different and I must confess I drew the short end of the straw. Here is my attempt to put humor into my situation.
A pregnancy poem:
As my precious baby grows in my womb, wondrous things continue to change about my body.
My blood flow increases to provide nutrients to my baby,
My organs shift about to make room for her growth,
My heart beats stronger and I can watch my belly grow.
Good-bye to my fruit cravings and welcome my unnatural love for hot sauce!
I love snuggling next to my husband as we lay down to sleep.
I love how quickly he falls into slumber and begins his unique, soft snore.
Unfortunately, it is amazing how I cannot control this abnormal giggling I have started.
And Kevin soon wakes un-amused at my humor, and to find I have wet the bed…again.
All you fathers out there who enjoy watching the glorious changes to your wife, have probably enjoyed your new ability to make your woman cry on command.
Go ahead and laugh now but you are the one who has to put up with us getting up every two hours to pee in the middle of the night.
Gone is my ability to run gracefully on the treadmill.
Now I huff and puff when I roll over in bed, like a fat kid running uphill chasing the ice cream truck.
When will I enjoy eating for two?
Now I do! Every one to two hours or woe is my nausea.
It is amazing this little thing is so large inside of me. 
Then I sneeze and realize where she is hiding…
Long gone is my ability to hide the gross noises a woman can make.
Hello ability to out belch my husband (but let us ignore the little “weasels”).
What happened to my craving for spinach salads with balsamic vinegar dressing?
Now I obsess over Hardee’s buffalo chicken tenders…stupid commercials!
Oh how I love to lounge and read books.
Oh how my body hates for me to sit still!
Where, oh where is my ability to converse? My eloquent execution, my perfect pronunciation, and my variable vocabulary have disappeared.
Here in its place, I have pregnancy brain and I forget…where was I going with that line?
I used to be a scholar, or at least that is how I remember it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my baby already and can’t wait to see her, and this is why time has slowed down to the point of all minutes equaling an hour!
So, have fun all you beautiful, glowing, showing pregnant ladies who can wear cute pregnancy clothing and take adorable pictures of yourself!
I may be one of you now, but I doubt you will ever see a cute pregnancy photo of me! 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Updates, Updates, Updates!!!

Sorry for the delay in writing this blog but we have had a busy week! No complaints from us! So, here are some of the updates we would like to fill you in on:
-Our May cultural orientation training at MAF headquarters has officially been postponed. We were worried that because we would attempt to travel by air while I was 37 weeks that we would not be permitted to fly back home. Travel across country by car for a pregnant woman of 37 weeks from Idaho to Tennessee was not an option. So we will go to this training next year as part of our standardized flight and maintenance training.
-Our timeline is looking more complete. Our new agenda is to leave for Canada somewhere in the dates of July 15th – 31st so that we can be there by the beginning of August. This will give us about a month to settle in to our new place/environment and adjust to the change in temperature. This also gives us an idea of when to put our house up for sale to prevent moving a lot with a newborn.
-Baby girl is looking pretty healthy and we are in the process of moving from our OB-GYN to the birthing center. We had our first meeting with a midwife on Wednesday and everything seems to be going well. We have another ultrasound scheduled for Tuesday. They will complete the tests the OB-GYN did not and check her heart, thorax, lungs, and check or a cleft palate.  We are praying for positive news (not that we have had any negative news) and a completely healthy baby.
-We have been working on our house for about 3 weeks now and have made some improvements towards finishing the basement in order to sell the house. We have also met with a realtor to discuss any potential things we might have overlooked.
-My 13 year-old dog Maggie has stopped using her back right leg, the one that was broken during our candidacy this past July while we are gone. The vet has put her on steroids as a last resort to keep her comfortable. She seems to be a fighter, but we know that we only have so much time left with her. Kevin is hoping she will make it to a little closer to when Adah is born.
-We still have not found a home for our two cats. With language school coming up, we know we cannot take our pets to live in a campus dorm. So, we are still passing out fliers and asking random people at every opportunity about pets.  My mother-in-law has graciously volunteered to take care of our other dog Cessna and Maggie if she is still with us. (Shameless plug) So, if you know anyone who wants a cat, please check with us before heading to Petsmart!
-We will be on the road again the second week of February making new connections and building up the relationships from our previous contacts. Please pray for safe travels and few potty breaks!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Part II: Questions and Answers

Here is part 2 in our questions and answers series. Keep the questions coming and we will keep producing the answers!

-          What is in it for us (i.e. how does this benefit a prayer or financial partner)?
o   In Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 Paul gives a list of gifts that the spirit equips the body of Christ with. Everybody has at least one, no one has all. We believe everyone has a call to ministry (a.k.a. missions). By joining us in this ministry (prayerfully, financially, etc.), you are able to directly make an impact in the Kingdom of God. In Matthew 25, Jesus says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”. Later in Matthew 28 He gives us the Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all nations” and expounds on all nations in Acts 1 “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The remote areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo DEFINITELY qualify as “ends of the earth”. There are people in desperate need of the witness of Jesus, dying physically and spiritually. We cannot be witnesses of the Gospel independently. We must be      
inter-dependent on each other for support, encouragement and abilities. We cannot do what we have been called to do without the help and support of the body of Christ. As a team, as the body, we can be the example of true love He calls us to be.
-          Won’t you get anthrax?
o   While MAF prepares us for our journey, we are responsible for contacting the travel embassy to be prepared and up to date on any medical things (shots, medications, preventatives, etc.). We are fully aware of (and vaccinated for) such things as tuberculosis, yellow fever, hepatitis, tetanus, and measles. While there are diseases and infections by being exposed to strange people, we will have access to the medicine and equipment we need (we are near an airplane base). I think of it as going camping. I know if I forget my mosquito spray, I will be miserable! So, I will bring my mosquito spray and other medicine I need for an emergency.  “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days." (Proverbs 19:20)
-          Isn’t the Democratic Republic of Congo dangerous?
o   2 Timothy 2:8-10 “ Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead…for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.”
If we went to live in a different place like New York City, we must adapt our way of thinking to be safe and responsible inhabitants of that city NYC has riots, shootings, gang activity and other unfortunate events, yet millions of people continue to live safely. Life in Kinshasa (population ~10 million) will have challenges that will require the same adaptive thinking we would need in any other large city. MAF wants us to be prepared for the cultural differences and particular quirks of life in DRC. Part of our training includes two weeks of cultural training before our departure. Politically, things have begun to calm down since the country (formerly Zaire, formerly Belgian Congo, formerly something else) has become a democracy. Fortunately, our ministry uses the airplane as a tool, which we also can use to evacuate quickly as a last resort.
-          What will you eat?
o   Generally, I like to eat food (ha-ha!) We will be fortunate enough to live in the capital city of Kinshasa where the US Embassy is also located. We will have access to most American/Western products, but it will be a much higher cost. But in general, there will be lots of fresh fruit, much of it impossible to get fresh from the field in the US (bananas, passion fruit, mangos, etc.). There will be some local cuisine like goat dishes and “fu-fu” (a dumpling like dish). We must simply have open eyes and an eager palate!
-          Why does it take so long to get there?
o   It is important that we prepare for our journey as missionaries in body, mind, and spirit. Once we were accepted as missionaries, we were to prepare our hearts and spirit for this journey with our Ministry Partnership Process (funding the ministry as well as developing prayer partners). After we have a foundation of prayer and financial partners, we have our spiritual backing for our journey. In order to prepare our minds, we are sent to language school so that we will be able to help others in their language. Finally, we are to prepare our bodies with a final orientation/adaptation training as well as a final pilot training. MAF wants us to be fully prepared for our journey and they are very thorough in leaving no stone unturned. I could not image us being successful missionaries without being prepared. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3). Because of the large list of qualifications and an environment that requires a high degree of technical proficiency, it takes the average MAF pilot 10 years of prepararation to be able to work safely in the mission field. Acceptance and training with MAF typically happens during the last two years of this 10 year period. We are within a year and a half of finally reaching the field.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Baby on Board!

“On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” John 16:23-24.
This morning was our big baby appointment. After experiencing a miscarriage, this second baby has been a time of fear for me. Fear that I will lose this baby or that he/she will not be developed. This morning, I prayed to God. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart.” Knowing this, Kevin and I decided that we would not do any genetic testing for this baby. God knows what needs to happen to develop us as servants for His Kingdom and He has decided that the baby inside of me will be ours to “bring up in the way it should go”. As I prayed this morning, I did not pray for relief for my fears, I did not pray for a healthy baby, and I did not pray that this baby will be ours to raise. Instead, I did what I felt in my heart was right – I prayed that God would be there with us, beside us, during the ultrasound. Immediately, I felt a calm come over me and a “feeling” that I needed to pray right before the ultrasound with Kevin and the technician.
Driving to the OB-GYN:
On the way to the OB-GYN, Kevin and I spoke about our morning. I told Kevin what God what us to do – pray for the ultrasound.  That was when Kevin confessed to me that he had the same prayer this morning. He began praying for the health and wellbeing, but then felt the overwhelming need to stop asking and just acknowledge and adore God for who He is how He takes care of his children. That was when Jeremiah 29:11 came to mind for both of us– “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This baby is God’s baby. We have been chosen as the parents so that we can teach this child to know God, love God, and fear God. Our duty is to parent the child of God that He has chosen us to raise and in this knowledge, we know that God is going to uphold and sustain the child while it is inside of me.
OB-GYN visit:
We prayed with the technician and she said that was the first time in 12 years that anyone has done that and she wished everyone would do it! Then, the technician (Tonya) went through the ultrasound and scans letting us know each item was good – the bones are forming, the heart is strong, the brain looks perfect, there are fingers and toes (8 fingers, two thumbs, 10 toes), the kidneys (both, Kevin only has one….he’s jealous) are functioning, the bladder looks good, etc. Lastly, we turned our heads during the gender screening and the technician wrote down on a piece of paper a confirmation of the sex of our baby. We drove home with our ultrasound video and our sealed envelope. Once we gathered with our family, we watched the video and opened up our sealed envelope. What is the baby’s gender? Stays tuned for the video, or check us out on Facebook!