Update: Fundraising, Thoughts on Lent, Top 9 of 9 yrs. of Marriage…

Travel/Fundraising: We are feeling extremely encouraged after the last several weeks. We have been fortunate to meet many new people and add to our fast growing network of partners! In the last several weeks we have driven nearly 1,700 miles and visited several awesome churches. It has been busy, and at times difficult to juggle with travel, our family, Jessica’s job, and my tutoring, but we are thankful for it all. We were grateful to have had the opportunity to share and build relationships at The Journey (Dunn, NC), Capital Church (Garner, NC), Parkway Christian Center (Chesapeake, VA), Culbreth Memorial (Falcon, NC), Wilmington 1st (Wilmington, NC) Church Alive Ministries (Pikesville, NC) and Kingdom Place (Lumberton, NC). We also attended 6 Great Commission Meals in NC and SC. We are thankful for every church and individual that we have met along the way. We have also done some traveling for the Falcon Children’s Home (Virginia Beach, VA, and Methodist College) for Jessica’s job, so that has provided added opportunities for ministry.
We are continuing to make progress towards meeting our budget. According to our most recent report we have met more than 40% of our budget! The great news is that this report didn’t include the majority of partners that have been added in the last 2-3 months! We are very encouraged by this. Thank you for partnering with us!
The next few months look to be just as busy…if not busier! Between speaking engagements and Great Commission Meals we have 13 commitments in the next 15 days! We are excited and grateful for every door that is opening to us. If you are interested in having us share about our vision for work in Kenya with your church, we have a few open Sunday (mornings or evenings) and Wednesday nights in the coming months. We would also enjoy sharing with your small group, home group, family, book club, or fantasy football league….anyone really, just let us know!

Lent: “As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst…’Repent and believe’ Jesus tells us. What are we to repent? Our indifference, our hardness of heart. What are we to believe? Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor — He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you.” –Mother Teresa.
We are currently in the middle of the Lent season. Lent is the 40 day fast in preparation for the day of Christ’s Resurrection, where one attempts to identify (in a very small way) with the suffering of Jesus Christ. It is a time of repentance. A time of fasting and increased prayer and study. We have not always observed Lent, as it was not a part of our church’s background or practices. However, in the last several years it has become an extremely important part of our spiritual journey.

Sophie and Ethan: The kids are both doing well. We have asked a lot of them with the travel, and busy schedules, but they are troopers. They are not perfect…nowhere close actually, but we honestly could not ask for more laid back and go-with-the-flow kids. There are times that they seem to get tired of meeting new people and traveling so much, but overall they do well and enjoy it. The late nights do occasionally lead to temper tantrums the next day….but we can usually get Jessica calmed down fairly quickly.
Sophie continues to grow and amaze us every day. She is smart, creative, and extremely social. She has recently fallen in love with chapter books, and loves Daddy to read them to her at bedtime. She is also turning into a bit of a pack-rat. There is no such thing as trash…everything is usable. A few weeks ago we brought her a surprise after a weekend away. I reached into the bag to pull out the gift, and saw an empty medicine box in the bottom of the bag…clearly trash. I jokingly pulled it out and said, “Surprise!”….expecting a look of concern. Instead she said, “Daddy, I LOVE it! I can use this in my Dr. kit, or keep special things in it! Thank you!!!” I laughed and told her I was kidding and then gave her the real gift. She said, “Wow! Thanks!….but can I still keep the box too?” Three weeks later, that box is now decorated with stickers and contains all types of mini-treasures. We love that about her. She has also found her calling….she is a candy pusher. After services she carries the candy bowl around and makes sure everyone has gotten a piece…or 5. This shows her giving and compassionate nature, but it also gives her unlimited, unsupervised, access to the candy bowl…which she takes advantage of for herself as well.
Ethan will be 2 in April. His personality is starting to grow and develop. He is inquisitive, adventurous, sweet-natured, sneaky, and loves to make people laugh…especially “Soapy” (what he called Soph). He adores his big sister….but he is also learning how to annoy her as well, which is part of the package. He loves being outdoors, animals, and riding in Papa’s “cruck.” His verbal skills have really taken off recently as well. He is talking so much. He is also a good little worker, and enjoys helping me when we work with my Dad. The other day he reminded us of how frequently we visit new churches, when we pulled up to a restaurant and he said, “Nursery?”

Our 9th Anniversary: On March 26 we celebrated out 9th Wedding Anniversary! We had a church scheduled on that evening, so we decided to celebrate the weekend before. We didn’t do anything extravagant, just spent a day in Raliegh, just the two of us. In honor of 9 incredible years together, here is a list of our 9 Best Memories/Events of the last 9 years (in no particular order, except for #1 and #2)….
1. Having Sophie and Ethan.
2. Moving to Kenya…and all of the amazing things that are a part of that: (ministry and partnerships, incredible friends, Rosslyn, safari, hikes, camping trips, coast trips….)
3. Trip to Italy….all of it (Rome, Venice, Pisa, Milan, espresso, gelato, food)….but mainly hiking the Cinqe Terre together.
4. Trip to Egypt….all of it (Cairo, Sharm El Sheikh, Pyramids, Khan Al Khalili, Felucca ride on the Nile, Coptic Cairo)…but mainly watching the sunrise from the top of Mt. Sinai after hiking through the night.
5. Rafting the source of the Nile River in Jinja, Uganda.
6. Seeing Les Miserable at the Queen’s Theater in London.
7. Honeymoon in Hawaii.
8. Leading short-term missions teams from Emmanuel College to Peru and Kenya in 2006 and 2007….(While in Peru, Jess got to see Machu Picchu and hike to the top of Huayna Picchu for the 1st time!)
9. Now…preparing for our future of living and working in Kenya. We are completely at peace and stoked about the direction our lives have taken.
***On the Bubble….Sky Diving (engagement, so it was before marriage), Washington trip to see the Redskins play!, California trip to see Dave and Iniray, Dunning Family Cruise, walking down Main Street in Highlands, NC, during a beautiful snow flurry, Vogel State Park Camping Trip, section hiking the A.T., Seeing Phantom of the Opera at the FOX in Atlanta…we have been blessed and can’t wait to see what the future holds for us and our family.

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