I’ve decided this will be my last monthly update because they are SO LONG. I’ll be updating more frequently and also John’s started blogging more often so I think we’ll be covered 🙂
This month continued our 12 Days of Christmas Celebrations! We made spiced chai cookies on Epiphany because traditionally, people would eat spiced foods on this day to commemorate the gifts brought to Jesus by the wise men.
I attended my last MOPS meeting and had to continue saying goodbye at my last Make & Take meeting, lunches and dinners with friends, and our last trip to our favorite farmer’s market. We also had an evening to ourselves and went ice skating!
We received word this month that we needed to raise $4,000 more than we had originally thought. Yikes! We had halted our fundraising efforts because we were almost fully funded, but then started them back up again. I was so nervous about raising that much money in 4 weeks but it has been coming in, and we are so grateful. I was reminded by God that I am not in control (even though I always try to be) and that HE is the one orchestrating all of this! His providence has been so evident to us during this month and funds are coming in ways that I had never expected!
One of my yoga instructors, who I’ve grown close with throughout this year, offered to teach a donation-based yoga class for me. I was amazed at the people that came and was so touched by the kind words they shared with me. We had pregnant moms, moms with babies, moms with toddlers, and seasoned moms (who left their older kids at home). It was awesome! They raised $268 for us! That afternoon was so meaningful to me because these are women I’ve spent time with weekly throughout the year and we’ve been able to advise and encourage one another in our motherhood journeys.
We also had the unexpected opportunity to speak at one more church service this month! Victory Hills Church of the Nazarene in KCK invited us to share our calling and about the 365m program with them on a Sunday evening. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people and visiting with my Great Aunt and Uncle who are part of this congregation. Pastor Howie Schute is new and has only been at Victory Hills a couple months. He was a missionary for almost 20 years in parts of Africa and was very supportive of us and understanding of the funds we had to raise. He challenged his congregation to give generously, and they did! We continue to be shocked at how fully God is providing for us.
We started packing up our stuff at the beginning of this month, slowly filling boxes and taking them to Catholic Charities or my parents’ house for storage. At some point in the last week or so we started moving all of our furniture and ended up with a home looking like a bachelor pad. We had no dressers and our mattress was on the floor, and I admit I kind of liked this setup! Hosea had been doing fine with the transition until we moved out our dining room table… he continues to state, “I’m looking for the table and I can’t find it! Where’s the table??” I’m not sure why he seems so attached to the table, other than that it’s the table we’ve had since before he was born. It was my great-grandmother’s, then my grandma’s, then my mom’s, then mine, and I’ve now passed it along to my cousin. Some of my friends threw me a going away party! It was great to see them as I had been fairly absent at our recent playgroups/nights out because of all our preparations to leave the country. They made deliciously healthy foods and we chatted for a long while 🙂 The relationships with these moms have been so important to me throughout the past couple years! We’ve shared so many highs and lows and I’m sad to leave behind this supportive community.
We had one last trip to the zoo as a family 🙂 We were trying hard to get in family-time before our classes started up and we were gone all day! The boys did great with my mom and John’s mom, but we also tried to have uninterrupted time with them in the evenings. Yaya took them on a few outings, and Narna did a lot of crafts with Hosea! In the evenings, John and Hosea loved playing in big boxes together.
Starting around mid-January we had a few days of orientation, and then two weeks of intensive module classes at the seminary. The first class was called Short-Term Missions and was incredibly insightful! We learned a lot about best practices for people going on short-term mission trips, what to do, what NOT to do, and how best to form long-term meaningful partnerships in order to really see lasting change in both parties. The second class was called Ethnography, which taught us about how to research aspects of a culture by asking open-ended questions. For this class we get to do an ethnography project where we choose a topic and then ask people in our host culture questions about it. I think I want to research something birth related, I’m excited! The seminary also hosted a “sending service” during the chapel hour one day. This was a wonderful service where our families & friends came and prayed over our cohort along with the seminary community.
We had a great opportunity to get to know everyone in our cohort during these past two weeks. We took a field trip to the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum during our Ethnography class and had a great time. It was an unusually beautiful day in January! Among the 10 of us, we are traveling to Northern Ireland (3), Ireland (2), Scotland (2), Australia (2), and The Philippines (1). We will continue our online courses together throughout this year and be able to share experiences, ideas, etc.
Friday night we had dinner with John’s parents, brother, and grandmother for one last goodbye. Yummy Chinese food!
Then we stayed up late packing, repacking, and moving things from bag to bag. We woke up to a few more donations in our account and it turns out we are FULLY FUNDED!! Praise God for bringing in $4,000 in 4 weeks! Saturday morning we had breakfast with my parents and Gabe, and then we headed to the airport! Yaya did NOT want to say goodbye.