Archive for July, 2010

She’s here!

Hello! I just thought I’d stop in and share a couple of pictures to introduce our newest addition! Elsie was born this past weekend, a few days after her due date, and is such a delightful baby. God blessed my labor far beyond what I could have asked for, to the point that it was almost “easy,”  and these first days as a family of five have been a true joy! We are thanking God for His incredible grace and for entrusting us with this sweet little life to love and raise and to help know  and love Him! Here she is!

(Post by: Ashley)

Farewell for a Little While

Sorry for the sudden lag in posts! There were two causes. First, my whole family has been quite sick for the past week and we’ve spent much time resting, taking care of one another, and going to the doctor, etc. Secondly, the blog server suddenly fell ill as well and would not let me post anything for a few days.

I have been hoping to get a post up here to let you know that Missionary Moms will be taking a break for the next month or so as I try to get myself and my family healthy again and as we are expecting our 3rd child next week! If I could add a quick personal prayer request in here, I’d treasure your prayers that I’d get over this illness before labor. I am sicker than I remember ever being and can’t imagine giving birth like this!

I may put up a post or two in the next month to say hello and to introduce our new baby, but other than that, there won’t be anything new until mid or late August.

If you have any prayer needs that you would like the women here to be in prayer for, please leave that request in the comments so we can all be praying for you!

Farewell until August! I’ll be praying that God richly blesses you in the coming month!

(Post by: Ashley)

Grief Part 6- Grappling with the “Why” in Tragedy and Loss

Prologue: When we first became pregnant we were surprised to learn we were pregnant with identical twin girls. 20 weeks into the pregnancy we learned our girls suffered from a rare condition called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. We experienced a miraculous healing of all symptoms related to this deadly disease and at 32 weeks gave birth to our twin girls, Marylou Janice, our firstborn was stillborn. Providence Joy was just over 2lbs. There was no known cause for Marylou’s death. Time has given me the courage to share some of what God has taught me through our experience of anticipation, joy and grief. It is my hope that I can use this venue and our journey to share with you, dear reader, pieces of what we have learned and experienced so you can walk away with a greater understanding of our God, even amidst pain.

I think the reason that it is not comforting for those who have experienced loss to hear things such as, “he/she is in a better place,” “you couldn’t handle x that is why it was taken from you,”  “or at least you have your ???,”  is that those things in no way explains away the pain. None of the “benefits” of the tragedy actually justify the tragedy, so those who are left in the wake of loss find themselves asking “Why?” over, and over, and over again.

My husband, Jon,  sat me down one night to tell me what God had spoken to him through Romans 8:28. We have found that as we work through our grief and disappointment over the death of Marylou, we struggle with understanding the love that God has for us. It is too easy to view him as someone distant or cold. We get lost in asking “Why?” and when we cannot find answers that justify the loss, we have trouble viewing God as loving.

Jon was helping with elder interviews at church and one of the candidates shared this verse. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, show have been called according to his purpose…” (Romans 8:28). We sat on the couch together and cried as we let the truth of this verse and then entire passage sink into our understanding. Jon articulately said, “It is not that in anyway losing Marylou feels good, but I know that God works for the good of us, those who love him.”

The powerful thing about this passage is that Paul does not just leave us with this hard to grasp concept that God works for the good of us in all good and bad. He also predicts the questions that will fire in our head when confronted with tragedy or loss the natural and good response of  “but how can this possibly be good?” He responds to this unspoken question by explaining the incredibly deep love of Christ, that he gave His Son for us. Thinking about this for a moment leaves me a bit dumbstruck. See, I don’t need to know why life’s losses and tragedies are in anyway good for us because I know that God deeply loves us and this love overflows into His goodness. I don’t need to know the why because I know the Who that controls they whys of life.

We don’t understand how losing Marylou could in anyway be good, but we know that God works for the good of those who loves him, in all things; We know the character of God. This truth is hard to grasp, beyond an intellectual understanding when faced with loss, but it does not take away from its truth.

I don’t know why God took our Marylou home to be with him, or why people have to experience loss in anyway, illness, hospital stays, separation from kids, job losses, infertility, I don’t know the whys but I know the Who. And that is exactly what we need to know. If we allow the character of God to help us be ok with unanswered whys we can navigate tragedy without becoming confused by the goodness of God because that Who is the answer, not the problem.

I wanted to leave you with this verse in context, as Paul (who experienced more then his fair share of loss) explains beautifully how this hope and goodness is possible and how its truth transcends our circumstances through the Who of Christ.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

-Romans 8:28-39

(Post by: Amie)

Tuesday Topic: Preparing Families for an Overseas Move

From Liz: We are in the support raising stage, and I am wondering what you did to get your families ready for your new host country?  We have little ones (3 and 20 months) so any suggests for the little people in the family would be great! (*Please feel free to also offer advice for those moving with older kids, as I know of a few of you who will soon be moving with older children who might be looking for helpful tips!)

(* added by Ashley)

(If you would like to pose a “Tuesday Topic” question, please email it to formissionarymoms@gmail.com . Provide your blog address if you would like to be linked to, and specify also if you would like to remain anonymous. Thanks!)

“Home Sweet Home” Photo Challenge- Post 2

Here are the final photos from the “Home Sweet Home” photo challenge! Enjoy visiting these lovely homes around the world! Also, don’t miss finding out the winner at the end of this post. Thank you so much to everyone who participated!

From Nancy in Niger:

The house from the outside in 2006. We first started fixing it up in 1992.  It had louvered metal windows….no glass, no screen, no air flow.  The floor from the front of the house to the back had a six inch difference (put down a marble in the front and it would roll all the way to the back of the house!)  We ended up with a “split-level”…. kitchen and living room/dining room on one level, then a step down and the two bedrooms and bathroom on another level. The “bathroom” was a drain hole in the wall.  That’s it.  We had to knock the wall out and move it back a few inches and put in plumbing.  Even then you could barely turn around in the bathroom!

There was no kitchen, just a store room.  We knocked a doorway into the storeroom from the living room and put in a kitchen. The first picture is making a kitchen door, and the second picture is of the kitchen in 2006. This is in a village in Niger where we work with SIM.  We lived in this house for 16 years.  We raised our kids in 1,000 sq feet of space and were really sad to move from there in 2008.

From Corinne in Hungary:

Our home in Budapest is in a large multi-family apartment building so we don’t have a yard and “camp-outs” often take place under the “stars” of our ceiling lamp.

From Holly in Cameroon:

Not really a room but my favorite place is our garden. The Lord has really blessed us with a large yard and we just love it, we spend as my time out here as we can. In our old house we only had a little concrete slab as our yard, not much fun for our 3 boys. But since moving we have almost an acre, such a blessing! There are always neighborhood kids over and great for get togethers.

From Liz in Michigan, headed to Honduras:

Right now, we live in camp housing at Camp Barakel in northern Michigan where we serve as missionaries.  One of the things I love about our house is my kitchen.  I really am going to miss it when we move.  I have a space set up with all of my baking supplies right on hand, all my flours, sugars, chocolate, cook books, and band aids within reach.  On the lazy susan below, I have all my measuring cups and spoons, and anything sharp or that could be used to grate things like my finger. I tell people it’s to keep them out of the reach of my toddlers, but really I probably shouldn’t be allowed in there either.  I have two fantastic windows where I can look out the window and watch the deer come to eat my hostas for their dessert.  It’s a sweet place for me, where I can use some of my creative energy while providing a very real service to my family.

From Sarah in Costa Rica:

Our first apartment, in San Jose, Costa Rica, where we went to language school and where we went through all the lessons of culture shock and adjustment.

Our bedroom is my favorite room in our new home in the small town of Atenas.  I love looking out the window at the mountains and volcanoes as I have my devotion times.

And finally, the winner! Chosen at random via random.org is Jessica in Eastern Europe! Check out the pictures of her lovely yard and adorable kids in the first post! Congratulations, Jessica! I’ll be emailing you to see if you’d like your gift certificate from itunes, Snapfish, or Amazon!

“Home Sweet Home” Photo Challenge- Post 1

Welcome to the first of the “Home Sweet Home” photos! I have LOVED seeing everyone’s pictures and hope you do too! There will be two posts, and the winner will be chosen at random and announced at the end of the second post! Enjoy “visiting” each other’s homes!

From Andrea in Mozambique:

“Home Sweet Home”-Our house we are renting in Chimoio, Mozambique

“Wow, that’s bright and ugly.” – What our house looked like when we first moved in. It has been painted and we have different furniture now.

From Phyllis in Ukraine:

The back side of our apartment building

My dream kitchen, the best room in our new home!

From Shilo in Paraguay:

Here’s my favorite spot in our new home!

From Addie in Mukilteo, WA:

“Before”

“After”

This is our current home in Mukilteo WA. We did a lot of remodeling in the first 6 months in order to make our living space more conducive to hosting and entertaining. We have been blessed with a home beyond adequate for our needs, especially since when we moved in we only had an 18 month old daughter. Since moving here we have had two more children, hosted a Japanese exchange student, housed my brother-in-law during a rough time in his life, and hosted various community groups. What began as an investment property we would move out of in a few years has become the home we will probably be in for the foreseeable future (thank you housing market downturn). We are blessed to call this place home and to make it our primary place for ministry!


From Jessica in Eastern Europe:

When we found out we had to move from our flat in Eastern Europe, we were so disappointed.  But then we found this gem and moved on Jan 1st.  We have a single family home (an absolute rarity in this city of monster former communist apartment buildings or multi-family homes) with our own yard!  The kids are having so much playing outside more often, we’re able to have more guests over, and I’m enjoying trying to love my yard into being pretty.

Feel free to ask questions and leave encouraging comments for the ladies who have shared their photos today!


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