First of all, I just wanted to apologize for our distance for the last couple months… we have had a lot going on, with visitors and traveling, and have found that we are very reluctant to be on the computer when there is opportunity for community in front of us. So, a little (well, maybe big) update on lots of stuff that’s been happening to/with us these last couple months... first, to start the month of May out, our Pastoral Care staff from The Mission Society, Lauren & JoAnn Helveston came and stayed with us for a week. It was a great opportunity to share life with them and get to have some good, deep discussions about our life and ministry here. During that time, we took a trip over to Morretes (the city we’ll be moving to in September) and had a good opportunity to talk about expectations for us at the children’s home and get to know the staff and kids a little bit more
The same day Lauren & JoAnn left, our good friends, Mason & Melody Reedy came to stay with us for the last 3 weeks that we were in Brazil. During the time they were here, we had the opportunity to experience our first American short-term missions team, got to hang in the favela and at friend's houses with them... it was so great to see how quickly our Brazilian friends fell in love with them. It was also really cool for Steve to get to show them where we're going to move and get to introduce them to some of the kids we'll be working with at the children's home in Morretes. We were blessed that they were with us on the day that we left to return to the States. Naomi woke in an episode, and they prayed for us and were a source of support during that rough time. Overall, they were a huge blessing and we are thankful that they chose to take 3 weeks out of their time to come spend with our family!
Time in the US:
Left with the girl in an episode, which was an experience all in and of itself… not sure how smart it was getting on an airplane and increasing the pressure in her brain while she was in the episode, but we did it anyways… it added some crazy amount of work to travel, but I’m glad we did it. She came out of the episode right before we got on our long flight to Panama, which was an answer to prayer for me, and the pressure didn’t seem to affect her in any way. We arrived in Florida at 1am and were picked up by my mom, sister Jackie, and brother Kedrick. Thankfully, both kids are amazing at being able to sleep anywhere, so after the letdown of finding out they had to sit in carseats (it had been a whole year since they’d even seen one), and the excitement wore off of getting to hang with family, they were fast asleep.
The rest of that next week was spent catching up with loved ones and getting ready for Steve’s brother’s wedding because Saturday was the big day! The kids were so excited to get to be the flower girl and “sword bearer” at the wedding. Uncle Scott had carved a piece of driftwood into a sword for Caleb to carry the rings with, which turned out really cool; and the fact that Caleb didn’t injure anyone as he walked down the aisle made it even better J. The kids did an amazing job at the wedding and even into the late hours of the night as we got to celebrate with Scott & Liz at the reception.
The next week was filled with continuing to catch up with people we hadn’t seen in a year and then we began our travels to Orlando & Jacksonville. We stayed with our dear friends, Joe & Mindy Eichorn, and their little ones – Natalie & Nicholas, and had a great time. They were gracious enough to open their house for us to have people come and hang with us there, which allowed us to see a bunch more people than we would've in the short time we were there. We are so blessed to have such dear friends that we can connect with, even when we haven't seen them in a long time.
From there we headed to Jacksonville to stay with some dear friends there and visit their church where the atmosphere is an open and loving place. The couple of days before we got there had been a hard and exhausting time for us, as our precious daughter had 3 episodes in 3 days. We were pretty much at a loss for what to do from there because we had been as strict on the diet as we could possibly be, and she was having more problems as a result of it, so we decided that if the diet wasn't helping then we would take her off of it and let the poor girl eat. So we did. Her first meal on a "normal" diet was at Firehouse Subs and I actually cried watching her eat... she was SO excited just to get to eat a sub again! I think she ate the thing down in 3 bites, all the while giggling and announcing to everyone that she was eating a sub. It's now been 3 weeks since we started her back on this regular diet and she has been doing great! We were able to have several restful days in Jacksonville, while we hung out with friends and vegged, and then headed back toward Venice. We decided to stop back in Orlando to shorten the trip for the kids and also allow us to see a couple more friends that we weren't able to see on the way up. We had plans, before Naomi's episodes, to travel up to GA and see some friends and visit The Mission Society, but decided it would be wiser for us to have some down time and not return back to Brazil more tired than when we left.
The last week seemed to fly by, as we were making last-minute purchases and making sure we had everything we would need for when the baby comes. We were thankful to be able to spend some good quality time with our friends, Sarah & Anthony and the kids were ecstatic to be able to wake up and play with their son, Abraham while we were staying there, who is one of their best friends. Also, Naomi got to have a princess sleepover with another good friend of hers, which pretty much made the trip for Naomi. We were also able to have a quick lunch with our soon-to-be intern, Brittany, and it was great getting to know her a little bit - we really look forward to working/living life with her when she gets down to Curitiba. We're so blessed by the friends we have and were grateful for the time we had to see some of you... and bummed at the same time that we didn't get to see everyone that we wanted, but thankfully we'll be back in December and will get to spend time with others that we didn't get to see on this trip.
Our trip back was a little less eventful than the one coming to the States, but was much longer as our first flight was cancelled and we were sent up to Atlanta for a 9+ hour layover. This actually turned out to be a blessing, as we were able to hop over to The Mission Society office and hang with some wonderful people there for a couple hours. It was a good time and the kids did a great job traveling. After that, we were homebound and other than being absolutely exhausted when we got home, everything went great. We're so blessed to have such great travelers, and we're praying that this next little guy is as good as the other 2 - guess we'll find out in December :)
Will try to be better about keeping up on here as much will be happening in our life in the coming months. Thank you all for walking this journey with us and for your prayers... we are more and more aware of our need for them every day that passes.