December speedily passed us by, but not without great celebration of this wonderful season! I dropped off a few meals to friends who delivered new babies, went to my last church Mom’s Group meeting, and finished up my Bible study on the book of Esther. John and I continued in preparations for our move to Northern Ireland and attended interviews to obtain our religious worker visas; we found out at the end of this month that they were approved! We also started packing our home into boxes for storage and for donation.
I had coffee dates with a few different friends to hang out and say goodbye, we also went to several different Christmas parties! We went to my parents’ office party at McCrummen Immigration Law Group and Hosea loved listening to the bagpipers! He said, “Where’s my chanter?!” We had a good time visiting with people, eating food, and watching Hosea enjoy the bagpipes. Looks like he’s already getting a taste of Northern Ireland 🙂
John worked his last day at the Farmer’s Market and I worked my last day as a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor for WIC this month. I really enjoyed being able to help new moms achieve their breastfeeding goals! I hope someday I can continue with lactation support and pair it with my doula work.
For an early Christmas present, my dad got tickets for my mom and I to attend the So You Think You Can Dance tour at the Midland Theater. This is my very favorite TV show (the only one I really watch) and I’ve always wanted to attend the live show when it comes to KC! We had a great time.
My Make & Take group had another meeting and this one was dedicated to learning about fermented veggies! We made sauerkraut and a sweet potato/zucchini combo. They are in the fridge now and we can’t wait to try them. This is the perfect season for making and eating fermented veggies when sickness is running rampant! Probiotic-rich foods are a great way to increase the amount of healthy bacteria in your gut, and therefore boost your immune system.
Unfortunately we dealt with a bout of sickness at our house this month! Hosea was pretty sick for over a week and we felt so bad for him. I made a huge batch of elderberry syrup which is a great natural way to boost your immune system. You can take it once you start feeling sick or as a preventative. I made so much that I ended up selling several bottles to local friends! He had a fever for about 4 days and after small improvement from our natural remedies, we ended up taking him to the doctor. Turns out he had bronchitis and double ear infections and was sent home with antibiotics. Luckily the only fluid he would drink was kombucha, a fermented tea rich in probiotics. He had John running to the store at 7am to buy it for him! Once he started feeling better he had to detox from all the movies he’d been watching on our computer; we had to remind him that he had toys he could play with now!
On Christmas Eve we attended a great church service where we sang Christmas carols! I really enjoy having the boys in church with us. Christmas day we woke up and opened a few gifts, just the four of us. Hosea got a new plane toy, I got a pair of earrings, and John got an ipad case with family photos on it. We didn’t get a tree but decided to set up Hosea’s nativity scene that Kathy knitted for him. Then we went to John’s parents’ house and opened gifts there. We had a yummy taco dinner (standard Carr Christmas fare) and then cookies for dessert. One of Hosea’s favorite snacks is pecans, so I found this awesome pecan pie cookie recipe!
On December 30th, my sister’s family finally made it to Kansas City and we all met at the Melting Plot on the Plaza! What a fun night of a fancy dinner without our (combined) 6 kids! We ate a lot, laughed even more, and just had a really good time in each others’ company. We are cherishing these last sweet moments with family before we leave the country.
On the morning of December 31st we celebrated Christmas with my whole family, eating breakfast, exchanging gifts, and opening stockings. Our stocking tradition is one of my favorites!! We always get new toiletries, toothbrushes, socks, and gift cards. This year I even got a little note saying I had three kabocha squash waiting for me in the fridge! This squash is my favorite food right now and my mom found some for me at the story seeing as how they’ve run out of them at the farmer’s market. Along with our gifts, we all gave away some of our old things that we thought someone else would enjoy. Millie got a walking/barking dog of Hosea’s, Katie’s three girls all got an assortment of my old jewelry that I don’t wear anymore, and Levi got an old comic book and superman of John’s. It was fun to see them enjoy those things!!
This year we decided to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas leading up to Epiphany on January 6th. We are planning an Epiphany feast (to celebrate when the wise men arrived to greet baby Jesus), but more on that in January!
Our fundraising goal was to have 75% of our funds by December 31st. We surpassed that and had about 80% raised! God is faithful and paving the way for us to participate in this program. It is amazing! Here are some more photos from December:
November was a wonderful month. I got brave on November 1st and took the boys to the zoo all by myself. I wanted to see the animals play with and smash pumpkins and Hosea was really excited about it. We had a great time but I may have gotten in a little over my head with a 3 week old baby and an active toddler! Let’s just say we all took really long naps when we got home that day 🙂
With all the cold days we decided we needed something to keep Hosea busy inside the house. John came up with this cute pompom/tupperware game and Hosea loves it! Yaya also came over a few times and read him stories. We are treasuring these last few months with family close by.
I continued working from home as a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor for WIC and taught my last Breastfeeding class of the year. Moses was even there with me to help demonstrate! I attended MOPS meetings along with the moms group meetings at our church. We even had a few more meals trickling in from friends and family! Since Moses was born we probably had over 25 meals brought to us– all delicious! I continued attending my Beth Moore Bible Study on the book of Esther, sporadically going to playgroup and mommy/baby yoga, and we had some more friends over for dinner. John continued working at the OP Farmers Market and started reading the textbooks for our next set of seminary courses coming up in January.
We had the opportunity to speak during a Sunday evening service at KC First Church of the Nazarene. We weren’t sure what type of format to expect but we were welcomed with open arms and greeted by name. They even chose to sing all Irish songs during worship! This group was made up of primarily “more experienced” church members and they were so kind and chatty with us afterward. We met many who currently hold or who have held important positions within the Church of the Nazarene and knowing they support us is a big deal! As we were leaving I heard one couple exclaim, “What a wonderful young family! So down-to-earth. They will be very successful.” This just made my day and reminded me that God’s plan for us is perfect!
John had his interview at Shawnee for his Local Minister’s License. We haven’t heard anything yet but this would be the first step toward his ordination in the Church of the Nazarene!
On November 16th we had the great privilege of speaking at my home church of Overland Park Church of the Nazarene. I’ve attended this church from age 3 through my college years. Even though we go to Shawnee now, I still occasionally visit OP to sing with my dad. My family has grown very close to the people there and they have been supportive of me throughout my entire life! They’ve given money for me to participate in various mission trips, volunteered with the youth group, prayed for me in college, attended my wedding, and had baby showers for me. Many of these people have become my family over the years and I was so excited to be able to share with them about Northern Ireland. John shared a story of redemption from when we were in Haiti and talked about how God uses people in our community to shape us to be more like Christ. They took a generous offering for us and a few people even said they would like to support us monthly!
The very next weekend we were invited to speak at the Nazarene Church in Wright City, MO, about 45 minutes outside of St. Louis. The pastors there are Joe and Kim Purl and they were my children’s pastors growing up at OP! I had such a great time catching up with them, getting to know their family, and meeting their four kids. Every year during the Thanksgiving service, all Nazarene churches take an offering for the World Evangelism Fund which is what supports our missionaries worldwide. We had a unique opportunity to share not only about us, but about Nazarene missions as a whole. We shared details about the 365m program and how it can prepare students to become missionaries with the Nazarene church. Congregations often hear stories from the mission field but they don’t often hear about how missionaries are prepared before they GET to the mission field. It is so humbling to know that people all over the country are investing in us as future missionaries! This is a photo of Kim and Joe’s daughter, Chloe. Hosea was her biggest fan over the weekend!
Thanksgiving was another grand affair this year! We had almost all of my aunts, uncles, cousins (and their spouses and kids) join us in KC for a big meal on Saturday. Here are some photos of my grandma and cousin Summer holding Moses.
We even were able to pull off a SURPRISE 80th birthday party for my Grandma Angie and Grandpa Rich that evening.
Everyone got out their instruments and we celebrated them through music. The kids even gathered to sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and ‘You Are My Sunshine’. We all put our fingerprints on a family tree that my cousin Jason painted and it was full by the end! Many of us got up to share funny stories or general things about how important grandma is to us.
For our two Thanksgiving meals, Hosea helped me make 2 paleo apple pies and was very focused in the kitchen. He loved rolling out the dough and “painting” on the egg whites. Being a 2 year old is fun! We ate with John’s family on Thursday, and my family on Saturday.
Thanksgiving weekend was a FULL one but we got in some great family time! Katie, Josh, Gabe, John and I even went out one night to see the new Hunger Games movie! This was my first time leaving Moses behind and I’m proud to report he was a little angel for his Yaya!
To top off an already meaningful weekend, we were able to take time Sunday morning to dedicate Moses at church. Pastor Jason showed him off to the congregation and we shared Moses’ life verse. 1 Corinthians 11:1 says “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” We want Moses to follow us as we, his parents, strive to be like Christ, but we also want this verse to be something he can say as he grows older and encourages others to follow him. We have only been attending this church for about 8 months but we have never felt more at home than we do here. Everyone has been so supportive of us from the first day we attended!
Our flight to Northern Ireland leaves on January 31st so until then, we are scrambling to get our visa paperwork turned in, pack up our things, read textbooks for our seminary courses, and finish raising our necessary funds. We have about 75% of our funds raised but we’re still looking for prayerful financial support. If you are interested in giving monthly or even making a one-time gift, visit web.nazarene.org/goto/carr_family.
Please keep us in your prayers as we enjoy this season of advent with family and prepare to leave the country in 8 short weeks!
Peace and love this advent season
<3 The Carrs
The past several months have been super busy and we were SO looking forward to October because, not only would this be the month that our new baby would arrive, but we had nothing else planned! We were hoping to spend much of this month just hanging out as a family and relaxing together.
John and Hosea worked hard to get our house ready to welcome the new baby!
We went on a date (our last one for a while…) to see my friend Kristen in a production of “Hair” at The Barn Players in Mission. Turns out this is the last photo of me pregnant. I was 39 weeks and 4 days along here.
On Tuesday, October 7th at 7:03am, Moses Gabriel Carr was born to us weighing 8 lbs. If you’d like to read his detailed birth story, click here.
He has been so sweet and we’ve loved having a newborn around the house again! It has definitely been an adjustment but we get better every day. Hosea really enjoys getting to be a big brother and has an intense love for Moses. He wants to hold him and touch him all the time. If Moses gets fussy or starts crying, it really upsets Hosea and he gets whiny too. He keeps him company in the backseat and tells him where we’re going, “We’re going to Narna’s baby Moses. We’re almost there!” He likes to hold his hand in the car and tries to “save him” by covering his mouth when he’s upset. John lets Moses suck on his finger if he’s crying in the car and somehow Hosea thinks this is “saving” Moses 🙂
Another big event that happened this month was the booking of our flights to Northern Ireland! We leave Kansas City on January 31st and arrive in Larne the next day. Praise God for bringing in the funds to be able to purchase our tickets. He is so faithful.
I had two opportunities to sell my natural products at different events this month. I had a table at the cloth diaper consignment sale and also at my MOPS group’s Swap & Shop event. It’s really fun to make and sell these products but I love being able to share WHY I’m making them. People have been so supportive! If you’re interested in purchasing natural products from us, visit our facebook page.
We also started our last seminary course for the Fall semester. This particular module couldn’t have come at a better time and is all about Self-Care. We’re learning about how we can better care for ourselves emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally, and inter-personally.
We went on a family outing to the Louisburg Cider Mill and Pumpkin Patch which was fun but tiring! It was such a beautiful day though and I loved getting to be outside.
We also enjoyed the Royals games from the comfort of our couches. It was so fun to watch them play and go on to shine in the World Series! Here is a picture of Gabe and Moses watching one of the games together.
John has spent the last 50 weeks attending class every Monday night. He was enrolled in a Bachelor’s completion program at Mid America Nazarene University in Olathe and has FINISHED this month! After many papers, presentations, group projects, and a huge capstone project, he officially has his BA in Applied Organizational Leadership. Getting this degree was essential for our participation in the 365m program at the seminary and I am so proud of him! He worked so hard this year.
Halloween snuck up on us and we weren’t very prepared, but we figured out last-minute costumes anyway. Hosea dressed up as a wizard and we decided he would be a perfect Draco Malfoy because of his white-blonde hair! Moses was a teeny soccer player, and John and I dressed up as lumberjacks. We went “trick-or-treating” at Badseed Farmer’s Market and were given organic cookies, a persimmon, a small white pumpkin, and a head of garlic to ward off vampires!
Overall, this month has been somewhat more relaxed (compared to the past few!) and definitely more dedicated to family time. Baby Moses has kept us busy in other ways 🙂 We even had time for a zoo trip, extra snuggles, and professional photos!
Until next time <3
September was yet another busy month in the life of our family! We started off strong and visited Arkansas during the first week. On our way there we stopped in Galena, KS so that Hosea could see “Tow Mater”. He loved climbing around inside the real tow truck that inspired Mater’s character from the animated Cars movie!
Once we got to Arkansas, we spent a day in Springdale with Katie, Josh, and the kids. Hosea and Millie love to play together!
We left Springdale and made our way to Heber Springs, AR. While there, we got to spend some long overdue time with my youth pastor and his family. Aaron Lynn is now the head pastor at the Nazarene Church in Heber Springs. I had such a great time catching up with him, his wife Stephanie, and getting to know their three boys! Hosea really enjoyed playing with Micah, Noah, and Jonah. The congregation at Heber Springs Church was so warm and welcoming to us when we visited Sunday morning. John spoke on Matthew 18:15-20 and talked about conflict resolution among people in the body of Christ. We also shared our testimonies, what we will be doing in Northern Ireland, and invited people to partner with us. We were blown away by their generosity that day!!
One of my doula friends (sacredhourdoula.com) offered to take maternity/family photos for me and got some amazing shots of our family of three! I’m 36 weeks along in these photos. Here are some of my favorites.
John has a friend who works at the Overland Park Farmer’s Market who let us come to his orchard in Paola and pick some ultra gold apples. This was one of our last adventures as a family of three! We had a great time and Hosea ate his weight in apples!
The last weekend in September we were invited to speak at a church in Ponca City, Oklahoma. I got nervous traveling at 38 1/2 weeks pregnant, so John and Hosea went down by themselves. John spoke on Acts 13:47 and shared the redemptive story of a girl that we met in Haiti. This church was very generous and welcoming!
In the midst of all these adventures we still kept up with our regular activities. MOPS meetings started back up, John continued working at the market, I attended prenatal yoga a few times a week, we did childbirth classes, saw Blue Man Group perform at Starlight Theater, went to life group, took Hosea to playdates, I taught a breastfeeding class, we had dinner and coffee dates with friends, I hosted a freezer meal workshop (stocked my freezer for when baby arrives!), went to all my midwife appointments, and John began wrapping up his bachelors program at MNU. Life keeps marching on, and God is good all the time!
*We are still looking for financial partners for our ministry in Northern Ireland. For more info, visit web.nazarene.org/goto/Carr_family
I’m proud to say that we have survived the month of August. We got in a little over our heads with everything we had planned! We started off the first weekend with an Irish-themed fundraiser party. Many of our friends weren’t able to make it but it was still a great success! We had Irish dancing, bagpiping, a dessert auction, and time to catch up with friends and family. One of my favorite parts was getting to see all the kiddos enjoy the Irish dancing! They jumped right in and had a blast. Even Hosea and a few other 2 year-olds danced with us! I’m 31 weeks along in this first picture. And the second one is of Hosea wearing Gabe’s old kilt from when he was two! It matches my dad’s and they’re made from the McCrummen tartan. Hosea had a blast playing the chanter!
Overall, we had a wonderful (albeit exhausting!) time and God definitely blessed our event.
Four days later we took off for Wichita, KS. I attended a 3-day conference (and am now a Certified Breastfeeding Educator, hooray!) while John and Hosea explored the town. They went to Tanganyika Wildlife Park, the Sedgwick County Zoo, Exploration Place, and enjoyed the hotel pool. Hosea thought staying in a hotel was pretty amazing and really enjoyed the elevators. Every time the doors opened or closed he would say, “Thank you alligator door!!”
From there we drove down to Oklahoma City and stayed with friends for the weekend. We were able to see several of my friends from college and had the opportunity to share about our ministry in Northern Ireland. The purpose of this trip was to speak on Sunday morning at First Church of the Nazarene in Shawnee, OK. We were so warmly welcomed by this congregation! John did a great job with the sermon and spoke about 3 John and how we are to serve THE name (of Jesus) and not our own names. I even had the blessing of singing ‘Not for a Moment’ by Meredith Andrews. “After all, you are constant. After all, you are only good. After all, you are sovereign. Not for a moment will you forsake me.” These lines are repeated throughout the song and really speak to me. God has always provided for us and I have faith that He will continue to be our provider. This church family was so financially generous to us and they even took us out to lunch afterward at a delicious Italian restaurant!
We also got to spend an afternoon in Mustang, OK with my friend Reba and Hosea was in paradise with the horses and tractors!
He got to ride Charlie with Reba and ride in a tractor. I was so impressed with how brave he was. He still remembers all the horses’ names too! I’m 32 weeks along in this 4th photo.
The day we returned from our Wichita/OKC trip, we started packing up boxes at our apartment in Olathe. The next day we got the key to our new rental house in Kansas City, MO and started moving in! Some friends from our Life Group helped us immensely by helping John move all the big stuff and helping clean the apartment once everything was out. Moving while pregnant is hard work! And I must not have learned my lesson, because we moved while I was pregnant with Hosea too! Moving week was busy and so Hosea got to spend some time with his cousin Levi while he was here visiting my mom. John and I also went to the Nickel Creek Concert with my dad and brother Gabe, and as if we weren’t busy enough, I even took Hosea to meet Daniel Tiger in Topeka.
We are pretty much settled into our new place and Hosea is loving all the extra space! He spends his time at home running from room to room and spinning around in circles, all while giggling. When we pull up into the driveway he says, “NEW HOUSE WOOHOO!” So I think he’s happy here 🙂
We got to enjoy a Sunday at our church and then this past weekend we visited and spoke at New Beginnings Church in Lee’s Summit. We were there on what seemed like the perfect Sunday for us because it was a time of sharing stories of what God has done in people’s lives. John spoke for 5-7 minutes about 365m, what we will be doing in Northern Ireland, and what we feel God has called us to long term, and we ended up receiving a very generous donation from this church! I am blown away by the ways in which God chooses to provide for us during this time. We have received more financial gifts and support from people we’ve never met than from people we know. Our God is mysterious, isn’t He?
We finished the afternoon getting to celebrate baby Carr #2 with a fun baby shower thrown by some ladies at our church. More blessings abound!
September will be filled with more travel and speaking engagements. We ask for your prayers again for those events and for a continued healthy pregnancy! We’ve also been trying to find time to get schoolwork done, so pray for us in that regard too. We are humbled to be on this journey of service to our amazing God.
So I’ve decided to write monthly updates about our fundraising/ministry goals (and hopefully other posts scattered in between too!) and this is the first one!
A couple days after returning from our trip to the beach we started our first online class for the 365m program at Nazarene Theological Seminary. It’s called “Contextual Education: Financial Partnership in Mission” which basically means we are introduced to new perspectives on fundraising. Starting the class, we were under the impression that it was going to help us learn how to ask people for money… that’s what fundraising is right?! Well, we were wrong. This class has been so formative for us. We’re learning how to invite people to partner with us in ministry, not just raise money. Everyone in the church is called to be involved in cross-cultural ministry, but not everyone can be the ones who “go”. We need support from prayer warriors, financial partners, people willing to share their time and talents, and wisdom from those who have gone before us to help “send” the ones called to “go”. Thankfully, throughout the past few months we have been able to experience firsthand these many types of support.
-We have had close friends and family give financially.
-We have had close friends commit to praying for us on a specific day each week or month.
-In the planning of our fundraiser party, we have friends and family donating their time and talents. Desserts, dancing, bagpiping (Thanks, Dad!), decorating ideas, prizes, etc. (Want to attend? Click here for details!)
-We even have a generous partner who is going to match every dollar made at the fundraiser party! This will double our funds raised that evening.
-We’ve been able to share our story in two Sunday School classes and 1 church congregation so far and the people have been so warm and generous!
We had to reach a goal of raising 25% of our funds by August 1st. Even though the majority of our speaking engagements, meetings, and fundraisers are scheduled for later this fall, we were able to meet our goal.
God has answered so many prayers. I’m continually amazed at how He not only provides for our needs, but many of our desires as well. Since our relationship began, it has been on our hearts to do cross-cultural ministry and we are SO excited that this is now a family endeavor! God’s timing is always perfect.
Thank you so much, muchísimas gracias, and mesi anpil to those who have already given of their finances, time and talents. You are making sacrifices and doing good work for the kingdom; may your faith be strengthened and your joy be renewed! We are still looking for people to partner with us in any of the ways I’ve mentioned. As you seek The Lord’s guidance, please keep the following prayer requests in mind.
-Our fundraiser party is happening on Friday! I’ve been overwhelmed with getting everything ready and I want it to be fun and meaningful, not stressful.
-We are moving from Olathe to KCMO starting August 18th. I will be almost 33 weeks pregnant so I won’t be much help besides keeping track of Hosea. Involved in this is getting rid of a bunch of our stuff, selling what we can, and packing away what we can do without.
-We are speaking at churches in Shawnee, Oklahoma and Lee’s Summit, MO in August. Pray for calm nerves (more for me than for John… he doesn’t seem to get nervous!), and that people’s hearts would be opened to partnering with us.
-So far my pregnancy is going very well and I’m thoroughly enjoying it! Prayers that this would continue are much appreciated.
-Continued prayers for Hosea and all these upcoming transitions (moving twice, baby’s arrival, leaving family, etc.). He has a sensitive heart.
-We are seeking people who are willing to come alongside us by staying up to date on our blog, emailing us to check in, holding us accountable to the commitments we’ve made here and overseas, and supporting us financially. Maybe this is you?
-Prayers for those we’ll meet and work with in Northern Ireland; pray that our lives would reflect the love of Christ and that they would come to know Him, that our knowledge of cross-cultural ministry and church development would be grown and strengthened!
How can we pray for you?
P.S- We leave in less than 6 months!!!