Saturday, December 20, 2014

There's Been A Whole Lot of This...

In the last week, so much time in planes, airports, cars but finally, time with family!

IMG 2737

Our transfer in Doha, Qatar

IMG 2733

On our 15 hour flight, we flew ahead of the sunrise for hours. It was beautiful and mind-boggling.

Since landing, there’s just sweetness all around!  The girls holding their new cousin, so many hugs and snuggles, rekindled memories and so many humorous comments from the girls.

IMG 4984

First meeting Lynnae, getting ready for the wedding weekend. It only took a few minutes for The Littles to warm up to her!  Lynnae is as sweet and amazing as we had heard. 

IMG 4983

IMG 2798

IMG 2808

IMG 2827

Overall, things have been pure joy but on the reality side, we have also had sick tummies, exhausted girls, runny noses and the effects of jet lag and culture shock.  We are praying we can get fully into the swing of things. 

We feel your love and support.

Our family is so thankful for our village and friends in Ethiopia and thankful for our “village” that includes all of you stateside, loving on us, graciously overlooking our meltdowns and praying for us.




Friday, December 19, 2014


Hey everyone!  We made it safely to the US on Tuesday night. Thanks for all your prayers. Little A’s fever went down mid flight and she did really well. We did have to frequently take trips to the bathroom because of tummy troubles but a blessing of this is that on our 15 hour flight, my feet didn’t even swell. :) There was a little stress in making our last flight but nothing that running through the airport and sweating profusely didn’t solve. 

It’s been a whirlwind of eating (I have to be strategic in my meals. I want to eat so many different things that I get to full by the time I get to it all), baby holding, hugs, dress fittings, a Christmas party, shopping in my sister-in-laws closet (thanks Chris!) and trying to convince our kids to sleep (these girls are running on fumes and excitement as they are having a hard time sleeping at night, “But Mama, why do I want to stay awake all night and sleep during the day?”, “Daddy, PLEASE can it be day?!?!").

Today starts our wedding festivities, so we pack up our suitcase and are on the road again. Do you know that there are no donkeys on these roads??? ;)

We feel your love, support and prayers, thank you. And starting now, I will take pictures! 

Monday, December 15, 2014


Last night, we planned a good night of sleep as our next two will be spent in airports and airplanes. Right as Jon and I were headed to bed, a very sick Little A woke up. Let’s just say the night wasn’t great. She had a high fever along with some other miserable symptoms (no, it’s not Ebola). We tested her for malaria this morning and she tested negative.

IMG 4343

The girls sport their dresses Jon brought them from Burundi


So, this whole pack up your suitcase and travel through time zones with no one in your family sleeping for more than one hour at a time, isn’t the easiest thing and on top of that, a sick and very miserable child won’t make it any smoother. We also don’t want to get flagged at any health checkpoints. I am in support of the Ebola checkpoints and thankful for them but seeing as we are further away from Ebola in Ethiopia as Michigan is to Hawaii, I really hope our health doesn’t put us under the microscope unneccesarily. 

For those of you praying for our friend Peter, he is still in a South African hospital. They had another scare with a blood clot and it sounds like there are good days and bad days but it continues to be a serious situation. 

Can you please pray for Peter and our family’s health? Thanks so much!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Flying Across The World...

You guys! We leave tomorrow. As in, I pack up our bags and get ready to visit the US for a whirlwind of wedding and Christmases. Will you pray for our trip?  The Littles are a stressed out mess, talking about everyone and everything they don’t think they remember. Little A is a bundle of nervous energy, literally bouncing, I may have to sedate her on the plane. We have two short flights and one fifteen hour flight (here’s to hoping that our in-flight entertainment system is working!). 


Little A is miserably sick. Please pray we can get to the bottom of it and that she would feel better as her symptoms would be very miserable on an airplane. They are also taking our last good night of sleep for awhile! Thanks!


We still have so many fun pictures of our time with Dad and Mom G. Here is a few from a hike that was a bit more intense than we planned as we took a new route down to go for coffee.

SAM 0463

SAM 0466

SAM 0475

SAM 0508

SAM 0510

SAM 0518

SAM 0535

We switchbacked to our destination, glad we all made it there.


And, deep breath, here we go! It’s our first trip back, please be gracious, we may be jet-lagged and culture-shocked and possibly sick as we eat as many dairy products as possible. :)


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

We Went Down To The River To Pray

Bright and early on the Sunday morning before our visitors left, we went out on Lake Tana, in search of hippos. The giant creatures were nowhere to be seen but we were out on a holiday celebrating Mary and we also stopped at an island monastery that is dedicated to Mary. Along the river bank, people were worshipping and waiting on a small boat to take them to the island.

SAM 1031

It was a beautiful sight.

SAM 1035

The girls watch pelicans and worshippers as Jon and Dad talk about how amazing a ski boat would be. 

SAM 1055


SAM 1060

The line of people, waiting on a boat.

SAM 1063

SAM 1071

We docked at the island.

SAM 1100

Worshippers inside the monastery compound. We didn’t go in because services were taking place.

SAM 1125

A memorable Sunday morning, to be sure!

 I had packed snacks that were supposed to be breakfast but got all weird about eating them...

SAM 0986

You just never know and the theme song for “Gilligan’s Island” was on replay in my brain and I started to think about how long the food and water would last us. Yeah, I am really fun like that. Life is lovely and full here but very unpredictable and it always makes me feel better to face whatever crisis with plenty of food, water and toilet paper. Thankfully, the vessel was seaworthy and we made it back to shore in time to eat breakfast and I still had a very full snack bag, you know, just in case. ;)


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Roles Grandparents Best Fill

Thanks so much for those who have prayed for Peter. (Jenny, thanks for reminding me to update here!) 

He is still in South Africa, at a hospital. They are seeing improvements and he is going to be able to avoid highly toxic medication. He has just been given a trachea as he still needs help breathing. His wife and at least two daughters are with him. I have more technical info but I don’t want to publicize things that family has not.  I can tell you more over e-mail if you are interested. Keep praying!


These pictures make me laugh and I’m so thankful for the time that we all had together. At any spare moment or sign of an empty lap, it was quickly filled by a sweet girl, snuggling in.

SAM 0219

I heard The Littles tell their dolls, “Okay sweetie, there is a nice man who is going to teach you ballet class.” and I laughed to myself as they ran out to grandpa and he gently told the “sweeties” that he didn’t know how to teach ballet. So the girls said instead he could teach a fairy class. This was met with little enthusiasm from grandpa. They decided he would instead do music class and so there they sat, singing hymns until I broke up the party. 




SAM 0865

I love this, playing Hide-n-Seek. 

There wer so many sweet moments and then those others…you know, when you find your five-year olds completely enraptured...

SAM 0926

As they watch grandma pull out an iron and improvise an iron board with a suitcase and towels and The Littles wanted to know what she was doing and why.

Yeah, there is absolutely nothing embarrassing that my five-year olds learn to iron from my mother-in-law. ;)

SAM 0992

Going on a hippo hunt!

SAM 0991

SAM 0982


 Such a sweet time!

Thanksgiving, Chicken, Pies and Football

Our family is safe in Addis Ababa. We had a long drive today but it was uneventful and now we have internet at the SIM guesthouse. 

Jon and I start a training tomorrow on orality and storying. 

Back to time with Jon’s parents. :)

Last year’s Thanksgiving, we were at a team meeting and ate out at a restaurant, this year, we tried our best to create an American Thanksgiving meal (with a chicken instead of turkey).

SAM 0785

Thanksgiving morning, the girls put their “football” clothes on so they could play.

SAM 0846

Jon and Dad taught the girls and friends to play flag football...

SAM 0825

Little A felt cheated that her team didn’t understand that they needed to have "secret meetings” and protested loudly every time the other team huddled.

SAM 0824

Our fierce players. I am sure you can imagine how much of a force The Littles were. 

SAM 0775

SAM 0807

SAM 0806

Teaching new traditions, Yeshi and Desalgn break the wishbone.

SAM 0818

Mark and Debbie dominated us all in Spoons!

SAM 0801

The kitchen crew. I have a great kitchen, we all three fit. 

SAM 0811

Little A was in charge of “dolloping” the whip cream. Mom brought pecans and made her amazing crust so we had pecan and pumpkin pie.

 I love Thanksgiving, it was wonderful to have friends and family to celebrate it with us.