Friday, June 27, 2008

More Mission Trip Pics

As promised, here are some more pics from our trip...

This is the mission where we stayed in Fort Defiance, AZ.

Our Hike to Window Rock

The Canyon de Chelley (pronounced de Shay) Work Team

Learning to Make Fry Bread from our homeowner, Joann. (You can see her in the background.)

Some of our Group Striking a Pose from Cathedral Rock in Sedona

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Back Home Again in Indiana

Well, we are officially back from our trip and officially exhausted, both emotionally and physically. We arrived home at 5:00 on Tuesday afternoon. I have so much to say about our experience, it's difficult to know where to start. This won't be an especially long post, but I promise to post a little more each day.
The kids in our group were amazing. I was so touched by the way they opened themselves up to be moved by God. I saw them give piggy back ride after piggy back ride to attention-starved children, pull weeds and paint houses for 2 days straight, encourage each other, cry with each other, and pray with each other. I feel so honored to have been part of such a group.
Our chaperones were also incredible. They were there for us, especially Travis, when we were out of patience and running on empty. They stepped in at exactly the right moments and helped us continue on.
Here are some pics from the trip...I'll try to post some of our actual experiences later on today or tomorrow.

Hiking in Sedona, AZ

Our Group at the Grand Canyon

At Kids Club with Cecelia & Stacey

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Arizona, Here We Come!

Travis and I are about to embark on a 10 day mission trip with our youth kids. We're headed out early Saturday morning (read: 6am) in a convoy of 4 mini-vans, 14 youth, 6 adult chaperones, and 1 purpose. We driving the 1,400 miles in just 2 days, stopping only in Oklahoma City on Saturday evening. We'll be spending Sunday evening through Friday morning on the Navajo Indian reservation in the Arizona side of the Four Corners area (where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, & Utah meet). While we're there, we'll be doing some home repairs for the Native Americans and also working a Vacation Bible School for the Navajo children. As many of you know, I went on a similar mission trip back in the summer of 1997, so I'm anxious to revisit the area and see how it's changed, if at all. The area is quite impoverished, and maybe the closest to "real" poverty we can see inside the United States.
After our week of service, we'll be taking the youth to camp at the Grand Canyon for a couple of nights. If you've ever been to the Grand Canyon, you know that just seeing it is a religious experience in itself. I think I'm really more excited about seeing the reactions of the youth than I am about seeing it again myself. Pictures, no matter how well taken, do not do the Canyon justice. Hopefully, we'll also get to stop at Walnut Canyon (where we'll see ancient Indian dwellings carved into the walls of the canyon) and Crater Rock (where an asteroid pummeled into the earth many thousands of years ago and left an unbelievable hole).
If you would, remember us in your prayers over the next week. Travis and I have been praying over this trip for many months, specifically that the youth would not see this trip as a vacation or to go into it thinking about what they are going to get out of it. It is our earnest prayer that they would be prepared to serve these people and to show them the love of Jesus Christ. And although we know we, too, will be blessed beyond comprehension, I pray that the focus is not on us.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

E is for Ethiopia

We received one of our first gifts for our baby a couple of months ago. It is, perhaps, one of the most thoughtful gifts anyone could have gotten for us. Our friend Emily and her daughter Gabby (also our goddaughter) sent me this book, special ordered from a couple in Canada.

As you can probably tell from the title, E is for Ethiopia is a children's alphabet book, but instead of phrases like, "B is for blocks", they use items particular to Ethiopia, like "B is for the Blue Nile". (Although if you ever happen to one day in the future read this book to my daughter, you'll notice that the Blue Nile isn't very fact it's pretty brown and muddy looking.) Also in the back of the book is a description of all the items/places mentioned and a brief history/cultural lesson. Travis and I found out all kinds of tidbits of information about Ethiopia, such as:

"C is for Coffee" - Did you know that coffee is Ethiopia's largest export? In fact, Ethiopia is the first place on record that learned how to roast coffee beans and then brew them. They love their coffee, and they have special coffee ceremonies each day where the women roast the beans over a fire. (And as much as we love coffee, I'm sure we'll be sending back lots of coffee on our trip!)

I can't wait to begin reading this book to our daughter and teaching her about her heritage. Thank you Emily & Gabby for this very special gift!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Batter Up!

So, this post really doesn't have anything to do with our adoption, but as a proud aunt of two beautiful children, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share some pics from my nephew Will's 1st birthday party.

Before the cake...

...I think he might like it...

...He likes it! He really likes it!

And what's a party without a pinata? Here's my neice Cassidy, whacking the crap out of the pinata. Listen carefully for her grunt as she swings hard but unfortunately misses. Too cute!

More Referrals

America World (our adoption agency in Virigina; just posted that they received 2 more referrals over the weekend for Ethiopia! This is always encouraging for us to hear as it means the processes are still working and that Ethiopia is still processing our paperwork. They received a referral for one infant girl and one infant boy. The families that received referrals were at a current wait time of 8 months. (Wait time is calculated from the time you submit your dossier.)

So, what does that mean for us? If the process keeps at the current speed, we should receive our referral right around the first of January. Once we receive a referral, time to travel (actually going to Africa and bringing her home) is 6-8 weeks. Travis is still praying for a Christmas miracle (hey - anything can happen), but we'll most likely then have her home mid-February.