I am still in awe of what the next few weeks will hold for our family. Honestly, I am still in a bit of denial that we are getting ready to have some of the best and hardest weeks of our lives. Several months ago, David was awarded an amazing grant for renewal and refreshment from the Lilly Foundation. This grant is given to around 150 pastors a year and it is a tremendous blessing. For David's refreshment and renewal this grant is providing "birth place visits" for our family.
The first "birth place visit" will be just the two of us visiting where David was born. It just so happens that he was born in Hawaii! I still am amazed that God has provided this extended period of time for just the two of us. It is simply a gift that we really still can't believe is a reality. I am guessing in 12 days as we stand on the beach in Maui it will seem real to us. We have already had so much fun together planning each day and what we hope to do on each island. This time away is also such a great gift as it falls right before our next "birth place visit" that will be both wonderful and emotional for our entire family.
The week after we return from Hawaii all nine of us will be traveling to Ethiopia as the next part of this "birth place visit". Our adopted children have not visited their friends or family since becoming part of our family several years ago. We are thrilled to get to travel back with them but we also know how emotionally challenging this time will be for all nine of us. We covet your prayers as we try to prepare our family for this visit. There will also be a short visit to South Africa and Spain (yes, for a soccer game) at the end of that trip to try and help the emotions as we leave from their families and return home.
The gift of these trips (plus a trip to visit Jesus birth place in the fall) are such a blessing. We could never have imagined being able to take such trips. If I were honest, I feel a little embarrassed at the luxury that we are about to embark on. Yesterday, as I was praying I felt God say, "Mendy, you are worth this. I am giving you a blessing beyond what you could have dreamed for your family." I wiped a tear and started to sing the words to "Good, Good Father." Guys, He is so good, so faithful and so loving. He has been here on our darkest days and He gives good gifts to His children. We are not worthy of what He has lavished on our family the next few weeks yet He has given us this great gift. He wants us to be refreshed, renewed and reconnected. He wants to remind us of how much He loves us. We will forever be thankful and in the rough spots ahead we will remember these trips and know that He loves us more than we could ever begin to imagine.
We are asking that you begin to pray for our family:
For safe travel May 11th-31st
For our adopted children to be ready to step back in to proverty that was once daily life for them.
For our kids to not be overwhelmed that they no longer speak the language of their birth families.
For me (Mendy) as I watch Tia, Garrett and Lemi interact the first few minutes with their birth moms. It will be so precious yet my heart aches for all involved. Pray that I have wisdom on how to be their adopted mom and let their mom be their birth mom for our visit. Not many have walked this path and I want to walk it well!
For our kids to share what they are feeling with us.
For David as he cares for our families emotional needs while in Ethiopia.
For all 7 kids to enjoy the time with our extended family.
For Megan as she stays a month beyond our visit.
For all 9 of us to stay healthy.
For both families there to know how much we love and care about them.
For our goodbyes to just what they need to be.
Thank you for journeying with our family. The ups, downs and everything in between. We will forever be thankful for the Lilly Foundation and how God has used them to bless our family! Off to pack, make frozen meals for several weeks (so our kids eat decently healthy while we are in Hawaii) and get ready to be away for what is ahead-