Sunday, December 29, 2013

Caleb in the E.R....yet again on Christmas day! ...and more updates

     Christmas day was a wonderful day of relaxing with our family here, calling/skyping our extended family for Christmas wishes, and having 2 ladies in our class over for dinner for a great evening.  Then at around 10:30 pm Caleb woke up and could barely breathe.  So I took him into the E.R. and yep, he had Crupe.  Poor little guy, this was his 5th time in the hospital since he has been born (4 times with Crupe and once w/ Bronchitis).  They kept him overnight and we were able to leave the next day just before noon.  There had been a cold cycling through our family for over a week and we knew that if it got to him, he could end up going to the E.R. again.  But praise God that he's fine and the breathing treatment and steroid took well.  Also praise the Lord for supplying insurance for our kids so we're not slammed with a huge bill to pay. 

I wanted to give a report back to the prayer requests I had asked for back in October and then would like to update you on what God's been doing with our neighbors.
  *Aaron has been able to be more consistently patient with the kids.
  *We have made it through 1/2 the school year with the kids and they are doing very well overall.  They are advanced in reading and math and Andrea knows already which curriculum she will be teaching next year to the kids.  We are going to pick out their 'activities' in January (ie: baseball, dance, etc. - which will all be free from the school!)
  *God provided financially for every single person at Impact and all of their tuition is paid in full!  In fact, it went down to the wire, the last day when tuition was due, 11 students needed funds for a total of $10,000 and it all got paid!
  *The Lord did provide assistance for health care for our kids.  So everything w/ Caleb has been paid in full and all of their health appointments/shots/check ups/dentist appointments are covered!  Praise God, it's actually better insurance than what I had at my last job, however Andrea and I were not able to get medical coverage.

     *So we have met a variety of our neighbors, here is what is happening.
*Two doors down there is a large family w/ cousins/uncles/aunts/etc living there.  We were told at one point drugs might have been through it and cops show up regularly.  We thought not a better place to receive the love of God.  They have a 5 yr old and 6 yr old that play outside regularly that our kids love to bike and run around with.  A little over a month ago, the cops showed up and took the mom to jail b/c of her association even though she had not done anything to be found guilty of.  Through that event, we were able to take the kids to church for 2 Sundays and they had never in their life ever been to church.  They really loved it but for different reasons have not been in the last 4 weeks.  During that day Aaron also got to go through the gospel with Edgar and he prayed to receive Christ as his Savior!  We were able to get him a Bible to start reading but he has not been plugged into discipleship yet.  The mom was released and is now trying to get back her identification that they are holding (drivers license, social security, etc).  We invited her to church and she was going to come on Christmas but cancelled last minute.  Please pray for this house.  Edgar that he would have a desire to grow, for the kids to be able to come back to church where they can hear God's truth and for their mom.  There is a lot of spiritual warfare going on in that home, but praise the Lord through different ways have been able to establish relationship with them.
  *Our immediate neighbors next to us are an older couple (late 70's) that through our cookie outreach, God is growing our relationship with them.  In fact the other day I sat on the porch with him for over an hour listening to all of his jobs he had and he showed me all of the cars he has owned.
  *The other side of our house is an elderly widow, Irene.  She has been taken to the hospital by ambulance twice since we've been here.  (she thought she was having a stroke).  We have been able to bring over cake and other goodies to her and she is a very nice lady, but does not want to talk about 'religion.'  She let us pray over her for healing and carries on conversation, just doesn't at this point want to hear about Jesus.  Her father was in the church and was an alcoholic, so I believe there is bitterness there.
  *The next neighbors are a sweet couple that have a almost 2 yr old boy that Caleb and our other children love to play with.  We are hoping to have them over for dinner after the Holidays.

*Please be praying for them, that God would grant us opportunities to share with them and that He would lead us to the ones that are good soil so His Word is heard and received, and that when the opportunities arise, we would take them.

A couple of fun updates on the kids:
- Malachi traded in his action Bible and upgraded to the Real Deal!  He now has a real Bible that he has already started underlining verses in.  He is very excited about it and told me "I want to read it front to back."
- Rachel is an amazing helper and time after time she is the one we can count on to help when we need it.
- Isaiah has had 5 or 6 'naked' days (we were really tired of poopy underwear) where he goes all day with only wearing a shirt.  So far he has made it to the potty every time.  Now the challenge is going to be transitioning this success into wearing underwear.
- Caleb is climbing everything, including our 24" barstools.

Thank you for praying for us out here and keeping up on our family.  Please continue to pray for our neighbors and that God would use us here for His kingdom in their lives.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy 2nd birthday to our sweet Caleb Anthony

Praise the Lord that today I was able to sit and remember that two years ago at this time Aaron and I were in the hospital praying that our fourth son would wait to be born 9 more weeks, and the Lord said "No". His will was for us to not be able to stop labor and the next morning around 8:30a.m. our doctor came in to check me and I was dilated to 6cm. We burst into tears...terrified. We knew that our son could possibly not make it. Through our tears Aaron knelt with me and prayed. And then asked, sobbing, if "Caleb Anthony" was ok for his name. A peace came over me. I am grateful that the Holy Spirit lives in me. I knew Caleb was the Lords and not mine. He was a gift to me, to never hold with a closed hand and trust God to do His will, His good and perfect will. Not long after we knew we were delivering Caleb labor really kicked in and my doctor explained he would probably be 2lbs and not even cry when he came out. I remember feeling this peace that he would surprise her. When he came out screaming and looked in my eyes it was amazing. He weighed in at 3 lbs. 12 oz. Caleb Anthony has great purpose in his life and God knows that his purpose is not done. 
This past year Caleb has accomplished a lot for a little guy. He may even surpass his brother Isaiah in height and shoe size soon! He is curious, funny, observant, loving, and definitely mischievous. One thing that touches Aaron and I is when we go to lay him down to bed he instantly puts his tiny hand out to hold ours and lays his head on our shoulder to pray. He has done this for 9 months and it just touches me how he knows we are praying. He has even approached us when we circle to pray with a classmate or a neighbor to pray and raises his hands to hold ours. He is precious.  Caleb...your name is absolutely who you are..."whole hearted, faithful."

Friday, December 20, 2013

Time to catch up! Sorry folks!

Hello's almost Christmas time and this term has flown by! Aaron and I have meant to sit and blog so many times but our bodies have lurred us to sleep too soon! For those of you who are just hoping into our blog we are out in San Diego with our four kids after Aaron left his job at Furniture Row of 10 years, sold our house and tons of stuff and followed our Lord Jesus to attend discipleship school here for one year! Our first term was absolutely amazing and hard and full of so much. I am going to do my best to update you on some major highlights!
 Some fun pictures from fun in our blessed to have Aaron home!

 Here we got to celebrate Aaron's best friends Cisco's daughter, Serena's birthday! Next to Rachel is my mentor, Cat and then Analisa who is going to Oaxaca, Mexico as a missionary with Cisco and his family for at least two years

 The birthday girl!!

What a blessing this school is for our family in so many ways. After we got back from our week of camping the Lord has continued to move and bless in our lives. We had two major weeks at school that we definetely want to share with you. One week was an amazing week of prayer and worship. It was an entire week that school was only at night and we had amazing worship, prayer and messages! It was amazing. We had a sitter set up for every night and it was the first time Aaron and I got to go and fellowship and worship together. It was wonderful. After that awesome week was Thanksgiving. Last year we had finally started a family tradition that we'd wanted to do for some time of serving on Thanksgiving day at homeless dinning hall. This year we signed up Rachel and Malachi with us to serve at San Diego's largest homeless outreach. That morning the Horizon Christian Fellowship takes buses and picks up the homeless and brings them to their school campus. Rachel and I worked in the children's ministry area while Aaron and Malachi washed the feet of the homeless and gave them new socks. Halfway through our morning Rachel and I took a break and went to check on Malachi and Aaron. The haircutting station was packed....probably 40 hairstylist lined up and cutting was amazing. Right next to that was the foot washing station. It wasn't super busy so Aaron was walking around telling people to come have their feet washed. I saw two little boys waiting for hair cuts with no socks or shoes and Aaron asked their mom if they could get their feet washed and new socks. The minute one of the boys sat...he was probably close to Malachi's age...Malachi excitedly served him and washed his feet. Absolutley not one grumble. It touched my heart so much. After that Rachel stayed to serve with the feet and Malachi came with me. They both had a wonderful time and truly blessed us to see the Lord shine in them. After that was an afternoon of cooking...with one of our favorite teachers, Maria...who had offered to watch Isaiah and Caleb that morning while we did outreach. Aaron and I know what it's like to be alone on the holidays after moving around the country for the first five years of our marriage and we felt the Lord wanted us to open our house to the "orphans" at our school(anyone who worked at the school or went that had no family here to be with). Our house was so full! It was absolutely one of the best Thanksgiving days we have had. From people dropping in from 5-10pm to so much laughter, games, eating and our kids throwing plays in their rooms for our entertainment. Also one of our classmates, Randy, a retired Navy Seal, had brought someone he had met hiking a hill(they call it a mountain here...but we're from know). His name is Bosco and did not know Jesus. He had no where to go and just happened to be hiking that morning and Randy saw that he had a military tattoo and invited him. The Lord moved all night through so many testimonies and gospel shared. He didn't leave till after 11pm. The night was just full of joy...praise Jesus for this amazing family He has given us here. The body of Christ is amazing when we are walking like the body.
Here's Larry on the left(One of Aaron's classmates) and Aaron's mentor Seth
 Ha ha ha! Randy fell asleep...from left to right here are three ladies in Aaron's day class, Natalie, Tirhaus, and Rosie.

Here a group decided that they need to play a game called Ninja...I did not partake but it was hillarious to watch!. From left to right, Chelsea who is a graduate, Willie who is Aaron's classmate and Abraham who is a grad.

Foosball was super fun that night too...from left to right...Sophia on the chair( my classmate, Dziugas' sister), Bosco( the random hiker), Dziugas my classmate...he is from Lithuania, then Gary a grad and Marlon who is Aaron's classmate.

And food...tons of food..Nancy is on the left who just graduated last week, then Drew next to her is a grad and me and Crystal who is in Aaron's day class.

Overall we had 21 people over that night and it was wonderful. Right after Thanksgiving we decorated our home and got ready for any term finals we had. Every week our Fridays are outreach. I know we have shared a bit on Facebook about outreaches so I will give a brief about what we do. Since Aaron goes to outreach in the day he gets a lot of opportunities to serve ministries that need help and for me at night we do end up doing a lot of straight evangelism at malls, trolleys and even a try at a bingo parlor. Aaron has gone to homeless areas in downtown and handed out water and offered prayer. We also have volunteered with the kids to serve at a huge Asian Hindu celebration with a former Hindu who is now a Christian pastor and his wife who try to reach the Hindus. There was from 5-8000 people there. It was wonderful. We made free balloon animals to bless the kids there and others got to talk with so many people. It was sweet. Also another week that was super was Design week. Every day of our week we learned how the Lord has created every aspect of who we are to be like Him. We took series of tests individually and really learned things about ourselves and each other. Our dispositions, strengths, emotional maturity, spiritual gifts and natural abilities. It was amazing. I think as we continue on it is so neat to know these gifts He gave us and finally in so many ways walk in them. It's amazing that even today, as we did our second day of our homeless outreach during break, that I met a man who probably has been homeless for years and years. He loves Jesus deeply and his prayer over us touched our hearts and brought us to tears. And I saw in this man, Harry Smith, the gift of a pastor/teacher and word of wisdom. He had never been asked about pastors in his family or probably told that he has a gift. He does and the Lord is using that gift even in a man who doesn't recognize it but loves Jesus. Just think if we all knew our exact design and walked empowered by the Holy Spirit which Christ gave us when He left what world changers we would all be for His kingdom.
               As we finished this term we have learned so much about the Lord, His design for us, His love, the Word of God and most of all the community of Christ. Reading through Acts as one of our classes it is so neat to see how the first "church" is and has been lived out around us from our last church, Summitview serving us so much when Caleb was in the NICU to the amazing acts of service in all the teachers here who are volunteers and the amazing love everyone here has for each is amazing. Praise Jesus...

Tonight...I will pause a bit and we will come back with more stories about this term...we love and miss you all!

When will I just trust.....

Seasons. Transitions. Flexibility. Adaptability. These words have been our lives for the past 5 years.  Has it become our normal? In some ...