It is difficult for us to believe, but we have now been back in the States for 4 months. We have settled in and developed a routine of what our lives will be during our time home. It is busy and frantic, but wonderful as well. The following is an update on our lives over the last several weeks. This past month has been overshadowed by the tragedy at Westgate in Nairobi on September 21 (we shared a few thoughts on the attack in a post that is below this one). It is still difficult for us to process this senseless act of terror, but we continue to pray for all affected.
Travel/Fundraising: We have had a busy and successful month of traveling and speaking. We have driven over 1,600 miles this month, speaking at 5 different churches and attending 5 Global Outreach Rallies in S.C. We are thankful for all of the people we have had the opportunity to meet during our visits, and for those that have felt led to partner with us through prayers and support. We are grateful to the Pastors and congregations of Maranatha PH (Turbeville, SC), Farrington Road Baptist (Durham, NC), Manly Grove (Mt, Olive, NC), New Life Worship (Wadesboro, NC) and Destiny Now-Hope Mills (Hope Mills, NC) for opening their doors to us. We have been blessed by each church we have visited, and we praise the Lord for what He is doing in each of them.
Our travel schedule is starting to fill up a bit, but we still have several open dates in November and December. We would love to visit your church, small group, home, etc., to tell you more about our vision and heart. Let us know if you are interested.
Jamie and Jess: Jess has settled into her job at Falcon Children’s Home. She is working with Marketing and Public Relations and enjoying the challenge. We were so blessed that this opportunity opened up for her while we are home. I (Jamie) am at home, organizing our travel schedule, making contacts, and handling other ministry related tasks. I am also enjoying my role as stay-at-home Dad. The time with the kids is awesome, but the laundry, dishes, and grocery shopping is not as enjoyable. It is a blessing, though, to be able to watch the kids grow each day. Whether we are doing “pre-school,” writing songs on the ukulele, keeping Ethan from destroying himself and the house, playing soccer, or on one of our daily trips to the park, it is a blessing to be able to have this time with them. I have also started tutoring at the Falcon Children’s Home three afternoons a week, and look forward to being “in the classroom” for a few hours each week.
Sophie and Ethan: The kids are doing well and adjusting to our new lives here. Sophie is getting smarter every day. She loves preschool with Daddy. She is working on recognizing letters and knowing the associated sounds, as well as on basic addition. She has really been missing her friends in Kenya. She loves playing with her cousins, Emery and Rayf, but she sees them just a few times a week, and in Kenya she had several neighbors that she played with all day, every day while were at work. So she has started taking a dance/gymnastics class once a week at the Little Gym in Fayetteville. The class is for 3-4 yr. olds and it is an introduction to ballet, tap, and gymnastics, but in a laid-back and playful atmosphere. She is loving her “ballerina class” and getting to dance, tap, and flip with other little girls once a week. She is growing and maturing so much. The thing that impresses us the most about her these days is how intuitive and thoughtful she is. She notices things, makes amazing inferences, and is socially aware beyond her years. She is loving being close to family and loves every second with grandparents, cousins and aunts and uncles, but she still asks about going “home” to Kenya a few times a week. She did tell us today that she likes it when we visit churches and meet new people….so that is good, because we are doing a lot of that!
Ethan is growing and keeping us busy! He is very active and is a curious explorer. He is fascinated by mechanical things and loves to figure out how things work, especially trucks, tractors, trains and planes. His curious nature is awesome, but we have to watch him closely because his curiosity, and his ability to climb nearly anything, often puts him in precarious situations. The other day I found him standing on the dining room table swinging the light fixture (he could just get his fingers on it enough to make it sway). He most enjoys sneaking into the bathroom so that he can climb into the sink and turn the water on. Needless to say we have a strict “all doors closed” policy…but just a few days ago he figured out how to turn doorknobs….sigh. He has really started taking off with his speech. He is using dozens of words and can communicate most anything that he wants. One of his newer words that we love hearing is “truck” (he sounds like he is speaking Arabic when he says it…with a throat clearing ending. It is really cute).
Trip to California: In the beginning of September we were able to take a trip to San Jose, CA, to visit some of our closest friends, David and Iniray Luper. David has an amazing job working at Apple with the maps team (if you have seen the icons on Apple Maps for hotels, restaurants, and businesses, with reviews from Yelp…well Dave’s work makes that happen). It was our first trip to CA. We spent some time in San Francisco, hiking among the giant redwoods in Muir Woods National Park, driving up the scenic coastline on Highway 1, and eating good food….but most importantly we got to spend some time with our friends that we hadn’t seen in 3 years. They are two of the most genuine and generous people we know, and we are so grateful to have them as friends.
1st Football Season in 6 Years!: Technically, we have watched football the last 5 years, BUT, we have had to record games or watch in the middle of the night. We definitely haven’t been able to go to any live games. Since being home we have been able to go to NC State-Clemson (Jess enjoyed the outcome more than I did), Clemson-Wake Forest, and we will be heading to Clemson-Florida State next week. We would love to be able to catch a Skins game in D.C. while home, but that is more of a long-shot. We both love football, so being able to be home during the season for the 1st time in 6 seasons has been an added bonus.
Well, that is what is new with us. We are blessed and exhausted, but full of joy….thanks for stopping by.