We’re still here in the hospital. We might be able to go home tomorrow but not sure yet. And I’d truly love to go home, but until that time, God has changed my prayers and prayer requests.
I’m praying for the lady across the hallway who lives in my same town and doesn’t have a church home. She’s been very sweet to me and I’m hoping to be able to make a connection with her once she leaves the hospital. Which she says won’t be until at least Friday for her and her 2 month old baby girl.
I’m praying for the room down the hall with motherless babies. There are about 6 cribs in one room - all babies whose mothers aren’t here. I don’t know if they’re orphans or if their mom’s just can’t stay up here with them. I pray for them constantly! There are only two nurses for the entire respiratory wing. They can’t possibly tend to the needs of these poor ones. Today I stood outside the door and saw one baby - probably one year old - lift her head and just wail. I felt so helpless. She had mucus just dripping from her nose. I got a tissue and cleaned her face off, but I wish I could do so much more. I keep praying for the God who loves all His children to send them His Spirit for peace and comfort. I’m praying His promises that He sees them and loves them.
I’m praying for Alexandra, the sweetest little 11 year old girl down the hallway - who has 6 more siblings at home, preventing her mama from being here with her in the hospital. I gave her some chocolate and talk to her as much as I can. She’s soft spoken, and it looks as though her mama French-braided her hair before she came to the hospital, and it hasn’t been fixed or combed or washed since. She gives me the biggest grin every time she sees me, and she often stands at the door of the motherless babies. She clearly has a soft heart for them, probably because she’s in the same situation.
I’m praying for the sweet little girl next door who has this terrible barking cough. I can’t even explain how it sounds. I hear it all night long.
I’m praying for all the poor kids who have to have treatments done that they neither want nor understand. That they’re afraid of and are uncomfortable. All hours of the night I hear kids screaming because they’re scared. And often don’t have a mama to comfort them.
I’m praying for the lady down the hallway who has twins here - both sick. I can’t even imagine how overwhelmed she must be since I feel like one baby is so hard! She ran out of diapers for them today and asked if I could give her some. I gave her half the bag I have and told her I’d give her whatever I have left after I leave.
I’m praying for the girl across the hall who ended up here in the hospital without any credit left on her phone, so she had to borrow a phone to even call someone to tell her she’s here and needs supplies. Her sweet baby daughter has the thickest head of dark black hair, coupled with pretty blue eyes. Her daughter’s name is Catalina.
I’m praying for the nurses who come only two at a time for 12-hour shifts. Who are most assuredly tired and overwhelmed. Who do their best to meet the needs of everyone. Who probably feel unappreciated. When I asked one of them this morning how she’s doing, she was taken aback and thought I was asking my own baby. When I said I was asking her she was surprised and then smiled and softened toward me as she answered. Then there’s the other nurse with an infinity tattoo on her arm. When I commented on it and asked her about it, she softly, lovingly, sadly mentioned it was in honor of her sister. Even a language barrier doesn’t keep me from knowing what that means.
I still pray for Denton. And I still want to go home. But it’s been harder and harder for me to pray for myself these last few days as I’ve gotten to know the needs of others here. I have friends who come to relieve me. I have a sweet husband who brings my other babies up here for quick five-minute visits so I can hug and kiss them, and they bring me food and more clothes and toiletries. I have a sweet daughter at home who remembers to pack socks for Denton and a piece of paper and an orange highlighter for me, in case I get bored and want to color.
I walk up and down the hallways a lot, softly bouncing Denton and singing hymns. Nobody understands anything I sing. But God does. And I’ll keep using the oddity of my “fat baby” (as the other ladies here affectionately call him) to open up conversations and allow the Lord to work His love on their hearts. I want to go home, but until God says it’s time, I’ll keep praying and singing for my little mission field here.
It's Thanksgiving, and we wanted to help tell all of you how thankful we are for your support - in all the many, many different ways you support us! So we decided to record a video. And as real life goes, we couldn't seem to get a "perfect" take. And that's okay. Because there is nothing perfect about our life. So you get to choose from two versions of our thank you message.
Option 1: The version where the camera drops in the middle and the cat jumps up in our laps,
Option 2: The version where I make a grammar mistake and our neighbor speeds away in his roaring motorcycle.
It's been exactly one month since Derek and I were officially approved with MTW to head to Romania. We started the month with a semi-lofty goal of getting to 10% of our monthly support needs before Atticus arrives, and we had every intention of hitting the ground running during October. Honestly, I don't really know why we said 10% - it just seemed like the number God was laying on our hearts. We didn't tell anyone else that was our goal. We just prayed. And we've been praying for the Lord to begin stirring the hearts of those who will be as passionate about bringing Christ's message of love and grace to Romania. But despite our good intentions, as things often go, life happened this month. A lot! Sickness, crazy amounts of work at school, getting ready for Atticus, friends having babies, and everything else has taken our attention away from support raising. But even in the midst of everything, God has been so faithful to move us forward with support raising.
God has literally dropped supporters in our lap! Back in May one person told us that her family wanted to support us, even before we had even gotten approved. The same thing happened with our home church, Ivy Creek. Both sets of our parents started supporting us this month. But then God led someone's heart to just send Derek a message on Facebook, telling him that her family wants to support us! And with one other family member getting behind us, we were up to about 7%, which was awesome! But I started to doubt the goal because we only have one more week before I'm induced with Atticus, and I just honestly had no idea how we were going to find time to speak to anyone during this last, crazy week. And once again, God showed me that my faith is so small!
Some very dear friends graciously told us over lunch this weekend, "You know, you don't have to ask us to support you. We're already going to. And this is how much we want to give..." With their support, God exceeded our goal, as we now have reached almost 11% of our monthly support needs; there is literally no other explanation than that God brought all of our supporters to us!
I'm sure I'm supposed to be spiritual enough to not be surprised at all with how God has come through with this, but acting as if I knew it would happen the whole time would be dishonest. I'm blown away time and time again at God's provision and how he just seems to be opening doors for us to get to Romania. It is so encouraging to us, because it helps us see that this is God's plan - not ours. We are truly not in this journey alone, and that is the best support we could possibly receive!
Well, our journey is now officially beginning! It's good timing, too, because it's been right at about a year since the Lord started making it clear to each of us individually that He's ready for us to move forward, so a lot has happened in a year that has prepared us to be able to step onto the yellow brick road now. So for those of you who don't know, instead of heading to the Emerald City, we're heading to Brasov, Romania. And instead of going there to find our way back home, we're planning to make that city our new home as we serve as full-time career missionaries for church planting and university ministry for a minimum of four years. And instead of facing flying monkeys and a witch, we're sure to face spiritual battles and language learning and sad goodbyes. And there won't be any ruby red slippers because there's no fat chance that with two children I'll be donning my too tall Jessica Simpson red stilettos anytime soon.
Ok, so maybe the whole Wizard of Oz reference breaks down in a number of ways...
But we do hope to skip along happily with friends who want to join us along the way in helping us get to Romania. And we do rest in assurance that, like Glenda the Good Witch, we have someone sovereignly watching over us every step of the way. And we pray that the Lord will use us to minister to others in a way that helps them find their heart as Jesus softens it, their courage as they trust in Him, and their brain as they recognize that Jesus is the truth.
There. Redeemed the analogy. Maybe.
But really, that's exactly why we feel called to go to another country. Because Jesus changed our hearts, helped us understand the truth of his resurrection intellectually, and has given us courage that can only come from Him. And we really want others to experience the same thing.
Because, at the end of the day, we know that there's truly no place like home, as long as that home is with Jesus.