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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Baby, oh baby!

For those of you who haven't heard... WE'RE EXPECTING A BABY!!!

Happy news indeed! We are super excited to announce that we are having a little girl, due in mid-May, and her name is Shiloh.

The name Shiloh is Hebrew for "gift for him", so as soon as Brandon knew this, he was in love with the name... how perfectly fitting! We are still waiting on a middle name...

It was a rough first trimester... some of you mothers out there may identify with the many woes of "morning sickness" (although its never JUST in the morning)... but I was dealt FIVE WHOLE WEEKS of non-stop, day and night, good ol' fashioned morning sickness. The toilet saw more of me than anyone else! It was just awful...ask Brandon! Hahaha! But what better to motivate a woman through those difficult moments than the miracle growing inside her belly.

By the time my second trimester began, it was like day and night. Basically all the symptons went away and my energy returned. Since then, I've truly been enjoying this pregnancy! And now, my belly is growing by the day, and so is little Shiloh. Each day her movements and kicks become stronger, and more fun to watch and feel. Thats the very fun part for Brandon, he enjoys the times that he can catch her kicking... he always says, "Whoa! Thats not you? Thats her? Amazing!"

As for the normal pregnancy stereotypes... I actually haven't had many cravings... and I have not woken Brandon up in the middle of the night to make him go out and get me ice-cream. But I am thinking maybe I should, while I can! During the day, I am constantly hungry... but I find it fun! Bending over to pick something up off the floor has become a journey... I'm wondering if the day will come soon when I can't even do it anymore! Hahaha! And getting in and out of our car is WORK! My body does ache, but fortunately I have an amazing husband that gives me back rubs and foot rubs just about every time I ask!

Over the next few months we are hoping to set up Shiloh's pad. And by pad, I mean, her little nook in our shoebox of an apartment. Since we live in such tight quarters and with all the traveling we'll be doing, we have opted for a simple pack-n-play crib, that doubles as a bassinet. We're also going 1950's and doing the cloth route. I know, I know, "brave soul!", you're thinking... but I figure, 'if my mom did it, then I can too'. Plus it'll help us save a little money each month. I'm taking any tips from you moms out there, so if you know anything about cloth diapering, please share!

My respect for moms has changed so much with my pregnancy thus far... I said I've been enjoying it very much, and I have, but I also have been learning so much. To let go of things like, the shape of my body, or a comfortable night of sleep, or even the usual kind of exercise is hard, but it has taught me what sacrificial love is. I am sure I'll continue to learn more and more about it for the rest of my life!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Over Halfway into the Outreaches...

Our school from YWAM VA is currently over halfway through their outreach phase. Two teams... one in Angola, Africa... and one team (one student) in Arizona on the Hopi Tribal base. Halfway into the two months, and already we are hearing great things from the teams.

The Angola team has been doing ministry through a local church, as well as venturing into many small villages surrounding Luanda (the capital city) and praying for the needs of the people living in each. Among the reports we've been reading, the photos speak for themselves. Seeing the students laying hands on children, praying for the sick, and speaking to crowds are very exciting. The language of Angola is primarily portuguese, and leading the outreach team are our two fellow Brazilian staff members. Plus one of the students is also Brazilian, so there are 3 available translators for the remaining 7 students who don't speak portuguese.

The team in Arizona, a student named Karine, has been enjoying the tribal reservation of the Hopi people... YWAM Tribal Winds in Arizona works on the Hopi reservation to minister to the natives. Karine has been plugged in at a local school and is mostly working with the young children there. Brandon and I just traveled to visit her, and were astonished at how well she is doing for being on outreach without any of her teammates. The Hopi base is located deep inside the Hopi reservation and there are two women who live there full time at the YWAM house. Karine is assisting them, and they are currently taking care of two foster girls. Karine has been learning a lot, and has been able to join the women as they go out to local homes and help where there is a need. She is enjoying prayer walks, delivering wood to people unable to get their own to keep their homes warm, passing out coats, food and other basic needs... the reservation, while being in the US, almost seems like a whole different country. While we were there, we got to see much of the villages surrounding the YWAM house, but unfortunately the Hopi people many times are offended by outsiders taking pictures, so we were not able to photograph Karine in action. But we did get one of her overlooking the land below one of the mesas!

Both outreaches finish around Feb. 16th, and Brandon will be flying back out to Virginia then to prepare for the returning students, and then spend the following week facilitating their debrief and re-entry week. That is a week that is often ignored, but in our opinion is one of the most important parts of a DTS. The week will focus on allowing the students to process their experiences throughout their DTS, and also to prepare them on transitioning back home. The school will graduated on Feb. 26th... exciting! We can't believe that its almost over... but we are praying that these last weeks of the outreaches, and the debrief will be fruitful and bring glory to God.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A beautiful reminder...

Brandon and I had our "Mary and Joseph" moment about a month ago. We wrapped up the VA DTS lecture phase in Richmond and packed up our lil' car to drive from Virginia to Texas for the Christmas holiday. The night before we left, a rather large winter storm hit Virginia. But on the Saturday morning we got ready to leave, we even checked the traffic weather advisories and saw that it would be a slow trek, but that the roads were still clear and safe. The advisories lied.

3 hours into the trip (on what would have normally taken us 1 hour) we hit a standstill on the highway that lasted for more than 4 hours. The snow kept falling and it was making the roads very difficult to drive on. After a full day of driving, we were in the thick of it near Roanoke Virginia... and the car began to act up, overheating and we realized that even if the traffic was creeping, we weren't going to make it very far. We tried to take refuge at an exit... but the exit was closed with police and firemen not allowing anyone to get off. We had to beg them to allow us to just park our car for the night. We were escorted to a gas station, and passed tons of 18-wheelers stuck in the snow left and right! It was absolute chaos.

We realized that we would be staying at the gas station for the night... but then the attendant, a woman, offered to mop a portion of the floor, put down cardboard boxes, and give us a place to lay down to sleep. She even bought me a snuggie! Then her husband came over and woke us up to invite us to their home... they lived within a mile of the station and they offered us a warm bed to sleep in. So we went with them around 1am to their beautiful home, and were able to sleep in a very nice and warm bed. Then in the morning they even cooked us a full bacon, egg, and pancake breakfast! What a blessing! We were dropped back off at the gas station in the morning, and we saw that even though many truckers were still digging out of the snow, the highway traffic was flowing smoothly.

It was a beautiful reminder that God will always take care of us and provide for us. Just when our night began to look bleak, God sent 2 people to show us mercy and to care for us. God will never forsake us, never leave us, and will always take care of us!


A country shaken, and hearts stirred...

Our 3 friends (and fellow YWAMers) Tyler Dean, Will Barrow, and Jacque Gowing dropped everything last week when they heard news of the earthquake in Haiti to fly there and assist the YWAM base as they helped the victims. Its times like this when people are truly in need of Jesus, and its very encouraging to have people like them who are willing to go at a moments notice to bring love and help. You can keep up with their doings while in Haiti at...

http://www.tylerdean.blogspot.com (Tyler's been able to update his blog since arriving in Haiti)

and if your on the facebook train, you can check their profiles for the latest updates.

A picture of Jacque helping the nurses tend to one of many earthquake victims.

If you feel led to help support them, you can give online at our ywam website, ywampismobeach.org... and make a note that its for their Haiti trip.

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