May 12, 2016

You Know it's Been Awhile When...

You know it has been awhile when the last time you updated your blog it was a year ago. How embarrassing. Now that I've addressed that elephant in the room let me tell you about some of my latest adventures:


In April the Volunteer Committee planned a getaway to Kruger National Park with all our International Volunteers, 13 in all! We had the best time discovering beautiful wildlife, the joys of Afrikaans Karaoke and the intense competition that games like Hand and Foot and Settlers of Catan can bring out in a group of friends :) 


We've just finished a season with an influx of wonderful, hysterical, talented and fun volunteers. It has been such a joy getting to know new people and strengthening bonds with friends from other trips. I had the unique privilege of getting to have my "worlds" collide when one of my "ex" students from my time in Littleton, Colorado came to serve with us for almost 2 whole months! I've know Kaylin since she was a itty-bitty teenager and it was such a joy to do life along side her again for a tiny slice of time! The Lord continues to show me the beauty in every season (even the ones that change too quickly for my taste) and helping me anticipate with joy the hope of heaven with every goodbye I embrace on earth. 

Speaking of which, in March we were able to celebrate El Roi's 16th adoption when Baby girl A was placed in her mommy's arms with her new brother right by her side! A few days after the adoption we received a special confirmation of this beautiful placement when her new mom shared with us this story. When our babies come to us, I make them a name tag with a picture and Bible verse that we've selected just for them. When Baby A's mom was praying about confirming the match He gave her James 3:17 and that is the exact verse that God had given me to put on her name tag! Her mom also decided to keep the name we had given her as her first name, which doesn't typically happen for someone being adopted so little. 


It's funny that even though I've had a few years to practice this love and release muscle in my heart and mind there are still some placements that knock me off my feet and drive me to the heart of our good, good Father. This was one of them. I am grateful to give of myself until it hurts... but, oh, can it hurt! Thankfully I have 11 precious littles to keep my heart full and my mind busy on the business of doing the good I have to do everyday. Even on the grief tainted ones. 


We currently have a house full of toddlers and we have been spending lots of time adjusting our schedules and patterns to adjust to a bunch of busy, growing, strong-willed little people. We have a few mantras that you can hear spoken dozens of time a day including the popular: 'listen and obey', 'chew your food', 'please, share' and 'do I need to go get Auntie Nicole?' It is so fun watching little personalities emerge in strong and clear ways. We've started an educational component to our days and it is amazing how quickly they are retaining shapes, colors, letters, numbers but most importantly: Biblical concepts, stories, songs and verses! 


We've entered our fall and it has been the perfect excuse to bundle up with blankets while working and looking for excuses to stop for coffee dates. We had Starbucks open up that is kinda/sorta near our pediatrician's office so it has been fun to pop in once or twice just because we could! It is funny how things from home just seem 1,000 times more exciting when they end up on African shores! 


Other highlights had included getting invited to sing at some dear friend's wedding, a trip to Moyo (one of my favorite restaurants in Joburg), a donated haircut and color from a talented local volunteer and a change to represent El Roi at City Life CHurch's annual Epic Easter Egg hunt!

It has been a joy to feel more and more "at home" in my church community and I am grateful to have a wonderful base of people who I can message for a quick coffee date or heart to heart over a delicious place of ribs (ladylike, I know). I am loving getting to watch others grow up close... it encourages me to press in to do the hard inner work that will always, ALWAYS, drive us closer to the heart of our precious Jesus. Even more so, I am grateful for women who will pull me to the side and encourage me to run this race with endurance, throwing off everything that hinders or slows us down on this race to heaven. 


We are continuing to celebrate birthday and first teeth, we are working through regular doctor and OT visits and experiencing grand adventures like potty training. I continue to thank Jesus for a wonderful staff of paid and volunteer Aunties who help create a home environment where our kiddos can thrive!


The South African economic situation has been tough and we continue to trust God to help take care of our babies and the running costs of their home. We have also been fighting many country wide battles for acceptance and facilitation of adoption in South African and abroad. Child abandonment and illegal abortions are on the rise. Many of our babies are awaiting families while there are only a handful of families available in South Africa and the government is reluctant to release children for Inter-country Adoptions. These are all God sized problems. They are not far from His heart or hidden from His eyes. Please join us in praying that God would inspire the change needed in the hearts and minds of those in positions of power who have the authority and responsiblity to help our babies find their Forever Families. 

Thank you to all of you have been praying, supporting, loving and holding me in this adventure. If you haven't liked the El Roi Facebook Page or haven't followed me on Instagram, I would love to invite you to do so today! I am much better about popping up pictures and updates there but I hope to see you again in the space much sooner than last time. If you would like more information about financially supporting me or El Roi directly please message me at Until we meet again I would encourage you to spend a few minutes worship alongside me with one of my "reminder" songs here. Love you all so!

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