We enjoyed a quiet morning at our flat reading and preparing for the day. Before meeting our taxi and translator, I checked my email and was blessed by the following note from one of my dearest friends. Someone God put in my life during college. What a gift the Body of Christ is to us! Let us each consider how we may continue to spur one another on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). Thank you Jodi and all who continue to spur us on...
I am reading your blog at 4:30 in the morning, and my heart is so full for you that I am crying, my dear and precious, lifelong friend. I am so thankful for the bounty that GOD is giving you and Tony and for the fullness and beauty of your lives. The song that is playing over and over again in my mind is..."tis so sweet to trust in JESUS, just to take HIM at HIS word, just to rest upon HIS promise, just to know 'thus saith the LORD', JESUS, JESUS, how i trust HIM, how i've proved HIM o'er and o'er, JESUS, JESUS, precious JESUS, oh for grace to trust HIM more". I am crying and praising and praying with you and for you.
I love you with all of my heart, Jodi
During our visit today we spent the first 30 minutes playing with James and Grace on the playground. They love hanging upside and all around on the monkey bars. It is quite a nerve-racking sight at times (ha ha). After we went inside we pulled out my laptop to show them some pictures to try and explain what's going on. I had put a brief slideshow together to try and tell the story. I started with a picture from the day we first met them followed by...
"Here is where you live now. In a couple weeks (hopefully on May 1st) we will take you from this place..."
"... by airplane for several hours..."
"... all the way to Hattiesburg, Mississippi... Can you say 'Mississippi'?" They did! (By the way, notice how this mapmaker spelled our neighboring state... too funny)
"This is our dog, Titus."
"This will be your new home."
I had pictures of some of the inside of the house, pictures of grandparents, pictures of each of the kids, and then ended with our family picture. They enjoyed it and did a good job obeying "Do not touch." :) Meanwhile, many of you have asked when we will show you pictures. :) Our official court date is this coming Tuesday, April 21st at 10 AM. Praying all continues to go well, we should then be able to post pictures after court! Stay tuned and continue praying. Thanks.
The little ones were up from their nap at 4 PM and joined the excitement upstairs with us. We gave them each a small pack of gummy animals. They had fun (Sophia and Joy especially) identifying the animals and then eating them or feeding us - bears and rabbits. Tony and I broke a sweat playing tag with one or the other on our backs. At one point, Sophia and Joy were thirsty and had me walk them downstairs to their classroom for water. The teacher poured a coffee mug of water. While on my knees, the little ones handed it to me saying "Momma". After I took a quick sip, they each took their turn, placed it back down on the table and grabbed my hands to go back upstairs.
After wearing ourselves out a bit upstairs, I pulled out my laptop again to show the pictures to Sophia and Joy. James and Grace also joined us on the floor for the slide show. Afterwards, they asked if my computer could do anything else (ha ha). So, I played a couple songs on itunes and showed a little video clip. They loved it. They each want their own computer and television. Yeah right. :) Actually, they did really well not touching momma's computer and paying attention.
It was time to go at 5:15 PM. The little ones hugged and kissed us goodbye. James and Grace wanted to walk us to our taxi, as well as show us their jump rope skills. James keeps asking for a watch like Papa's and Grace wants her own jump rope. Actually, Sophia asked for a ring, Grace and Joy asked for necklaces. Everyday we have seen them they have worn the same smelly clothes. Tony took a picture of Grace's shoes as you will see on his blog. It is heartbreaking to watch their conditions and this orphanage is actually one of the better ones.
We are hoping to go to Kiev for just a couple days following court to visit friends, shop for a few clothes items and travel necessities for the kids. However, we are struggling with the thought of leaving them behind for a couple days. We are looking at the possibility of not getting to visit them for 3 or possibly 4 days. I don't know if we can stomach it. Our translator today said they told her they cry for us each night and look forward to us coming. They ask everyday we leave, "Are you coming back tomorrow?" So, I ask that you would pray for wisdom for us in this matter and peace, as well as understanding, for each of the kids. Thank you.
Thank you dear friends for your continued prayers. I don't think we can ever thank you enough. May God bless you and yours as you seek to know HIM (our Living Hope) and make HIM known.