Jul 24, 2011

Love from home...

Greetings from Jo-Berg! I've had such full weeks since we've last chatted, I don't think I'll be able to even begin to fit all that's happened in my July posting. It has been wonderfully busy (I know I ALWAYS say that, but it's true) with 8 new babies, saying hello and goodbye to the dearest of friends, being apart of handing 6 babies over to their forever families, doctors visits, one hospital run and a much needed/anticipated holiday in Cape Town.


Perhaps the best way to attempt to cover the details is to use pictures to help guide our way!


Here are some of the highlights:

Probably the biggest and best highlight of all was having my very first visitors from home: Allison Auser and Megan Updegraff. They brought with them beautiful fellowship, wonderful updates from home and a special surprise: gifts, cards and love from home for me and my little babies! Thank you to everyone who sent the wonderful gifts and cards from my home in CA! They are much appreciated and will be put to good use (and many already have)! The most needed gift was a new charger for my MacBook (thank you Marilyn!) because my old one died and I had been using Beth's but as you'll read later on she is now back in the US). One amazing gift was a handcrafted quilt made my Martha Howden and 4 of her quilting buddies that is made up of wonderfully patterned fabrics and all of my old youth group t-shirts. It is quite possibly one of the most beautiful gifts I've ever received! I'll take a picture of it and post it soon...

The Sunday before the girls arrived we had a group baby dedication at Berea Baptist Church. I had the honor of holding my precious Jackson as Pastor Stanely and Pastor Cheryl prayed over him and dedicated him to the Lord. He smiled and basked in the attention as the Pastors prayed over him and the other 12 babies who joined him up front. I am so honored to be apart of this little man's life and I cannot wait until that day in eternity when we will have the privilege of looking over the whole of his life and all of the ways that God rescued him to bring Himself glory!

Part of the medical workup we do for our preemie babies include cranial sonars, eye tests and ear tests. We did all three for some of our littles this past month. The picture above is me and little baby "L" as we wait for her turn with the eye doctor. Thankfully her eyes are perfect which is a miracle considering this little one was born at 26 weeks!

We've had the privilege of handing over 6 babies to their forever families since I've blogged last. This little girl was one of our babies at BH2 and she is such a perfect fit for her family. One of the most exciting parts of handing over a baby is getting to see how well the Father does at matching these babies with their families. More often that not you can see the connection and similarities in personality, family set-up and even physical similarities right off the bat. This little girl looked just like her European papa and she felt right at home in his arms!

Here is another picture from one of our placements. This is my roommate Lisa with the little dude that she named the day that I left the US to fly here. He was one of our fussiest little men when he was a small baby but he blossomed into a beautiful, sensitive and happy fellow. To be honest, he was one of my very favorites and I have to admit that I got a little teary eyed handing him to his new mommy. His family was so precious, with an older adopted sister and a parents who were creative and oh so stylish...the perfect fit for his sensitive soul and temperament! Allison and Megan got to be with us on this day which also made it extra special!
We often get calls to come and get preemies that are ready for discharge much sooner than premature babies would ever be release in the US. We picked up a little baby who was born at 26 weeks and we were picking her up at 3 weeks old! She was (and still is) one of the tiniest babies I've ever held. We got to the hospital, Beth and I donned on the white hairnets and were led to her incubator where she was laying in just a diaper. The sister changed her and then placed her in my arms, I quickly dressed her in a snuggly, we grabbed some paperwork and we were off! She was so tiny (under 4lbs) that she spent the first 2 weeks with us kangarooed skin-to-skin with an Auntie 24/7. She is doing beautifully, is gaining weight and just perfect.

My sister Emily is pregnant with my 4th nephew and he and baby "R" are approximately the same age! However he is all warm and growing in Emily while she is out and about. She is such a miracle and a testimony to what can be accomplished when our Father wills something (or someone) to be. Every time I look at this little doll I marvel at the work of His hand and I am reminded that nothing is impossible for our God!


I made a new friend! Well, Beth shared her hilarious and kind friend Brooke with us. Brooke flew out to help Beth move back home and we were able to enjoy her company while we kicked the festivities into high gear as we said goodbye to Beth. Brooke loves our babies here at DOH...Jackson obviously loved her!



As a Staff Goodbye to Beth a group of us went up to a cute little area called Hartbeespoort Dam, we did some shopping, walked across the dam, enjoyed lunch and had a fun time hanging out together celebrating Beth and the contribution she's made to Door of Hope these past 2 and half years. This is our happy crew at a tiny little church in Hartbeespoort.


We decided that since our real Christmas celebration this year was rather anticlimactic we decided to go all out and celebrate with a Christmas-in-July dinner and party. We all made our favorite Christmas food, invited our friends over to watch Elf, opened presents and stockings and had a fabulous time together. This Christmas decoration was donated by one of the little boys who lives downstairs...you can't really tell from the picture but it only has one eye which made me laugh every time I saw it!



We also found the best Mexican restaurant to help usher Beth back to the US. It was the most authentic place we've located thus far...complete with yummy margs and chips even though the salsa was a little weird (who puts curry spice in salsa? Oh wait, South Africans do!).


And then faster than I could imagine or was prepared for, Beth and Brooke were off. It was such a pleasure to get to know, love and serve alongside such beautiful women of God. I've missed Beth every day since she's been home and I've emailed her tons of questions and probably will for some time! I think she's ready for it...haha!


Allison, Lisa, Megan, Corrine and I were able to spend a relaxing and sunny week in Cape Town. We had a marvelous time enjoying beautiful Cape Town enjoying the perfect mix of sightseeing, resting, sleeping in and watching the sunset on the very tip of the African Continent. Here is us on our first day on the top of Table Mountain.


We drove to the Cape Point and spent a day enjoying those sights, including a bunch of the cutest penguins ever! The penguins were quite possibly Megan's favorite part of our trip!


I adore the beach and could spend hours upon hours with my feet in the waves getting lost in the sounds and sights of such powerful beauty. The beaches we visited were made even more spectacular with Table Mountain as a backdrop!


Here we are at the Cape of Good Hope...we had the most beautiful weather. Everyone warned us that Cape Town weather this time of year was rainy and temperamental but we had sunshine everyday! Not one drop of rain...in fact we all packed warm clothes and were wishing for short sleeves and carpi's.

I am so blessed to have the people in my life that I do. One of the craziest part of this adventure is the bittersweet mix of hellos and goodbyes. Life lived in intense community all the while fighting insatiable loneliness, enjoying all that make Jo-berg so unique while missing the comforts of the US and the love of the people I miss and love who don't currently reside on this continent. Today in church I felt the Spirit reminding that the cost of discipleship is great but that He is worth any cost. That bringing Christ glory and being obedient to the call that He's placed on this season of my life is what matters most but that my High Priest knows much better than I the pain of sacrifice. And that He is patient with me in my weaknesses and that He has promised to give me everything that I need for life and godliness here in Jo-berg...and I'm grateful.

I am truthfully loving my life here in Jo-berg serving here at DOH. Please be praying for me as I continue to seek the Lord's will for the future and as I serve as the Children's Care Manager. We have a few babies and Aunties who are sick so please be praying for healing and containment of the stomach bug and strep throat that has afflicted a few. Please pray that our smallest ones will grow strong and thrive in our care. We have 3 more handovers tomorrow morning, pray that those would go smoothly. Please pray that the Lord would continue to provide for me financially and that our needs at DOH would be met according the will of our Father. I miss you and love you and praise our Jesus for your love and support!

XOXOXOXOXO from me and my babies!

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