24 June 2016

next to His heart

God clearly knows and cares because He's been putting us on your hearts and I'm blessed by your encouragement.  

Kansas was the perfect place to head from Haiti...the loved on us like they were professional love on people-ers.  Our favorite foods (bbq ribs and sweet corn and berries galore) bubbles and sidewalk chalk and new jammies for the girls and a Nora tent!,  enough ice cream for every day, a date night with awesome child-care, allowing the girls to attend VBS (which they ADORED and begged to go to every day), and most, with FRIENDS.  We officially have friends in Kansas.

I know that sounds dumb.  But most places we go, we are "the missionaries in Haiti." And it's TRUE, we are! But I think sometimes that intimidates people into not just being their actual selves, or thinking that we aren't just like any other person who lives for relationship and would love to be "normal" friends.  It's also hard to always be visitors...to always be in and out!

When we were introduced in church last Sunday, it was as "real live missionaries" and to my delight Lily busted out laughing, and then introduced herself the rest of the week as "real live Lily!" 
I know I've said it a million times, but we are "real live missionaries" just like you are, and I love the way Sabetha, Kansas has loved on and embraced us as just as brothers and sisters.  After all these years of us going there and them coming to Haiti, we're just so grateful for many genuine and dear friendships...Jane and Robert, Mr. and Mrs. Oval-Head, Grandma Cherry and "that other guy that Sofie likes", the Voos crew, Andrew and Emily, Ry and Chey, Anthony and Randi, Kuenzi and crew and all the kids...we're just blessed and thankful and were in great need of being loved on and rested and friended!

And it's Aunt Sharon and Uncle Martin who have sucked us in to all of that, and loved us true.  I can't even get into it.  They know us five well, they love us anyway, they allow us and encourage us and belong us, over and above and again and again.  I didn't ever even pray prayers big enough for a Martin and Sharon in our lives.  Thankful.
We are now safely in Columbus, Ohio, and already been major grocery shopping, have gotten Sofie's passport (which expires tomorrow) on it's renewal way, had all three girls to the doctor, and have taken a chunk out of this overwhelmingly huge task of going through all of our things, the girls things, my mothers things, and boil it all down to a few rubbermaid totes.  (So far, the consensus is that I have FAR too many journals and scrapbooks and photo albums. And Matt has too many books. And the girls are unwilling to part with ONE stuffed animal...we're going to have to do some "after bed" sorting :)
Nora's new favorite thing

When we walked in the door, there was a children's book on the table...if it's from you, please tell me!  Titled "Swirly", it's a beautiful book written for children who have grown up in and become part of different cultures, and ultimately shares with them how Jesus himself left one culture to join another, and now lives in the hearts of people of every tribe, tongue and nation...answering the question I see Lily and Sofie struggling with of "Where do I belong?" with "Right next to the heart of Jesus."

Ah, the tears as I was reading it to my three precious girls his morning.  What a gift.  Thank you, whoever you are.  Add in an encouraging and inspiring message from a friend I haven't spoken to or heard from in at least 7 years and an unexpected note of encouragement in the mail...just what I needed today.

Our family's all-time life-long favorite restaurant is closing it's doors tomorrow (of course. This is the summer of letting go) and so tonight we took my dad and his wife there for Dad's birthday. It made me miss my sister terribly...can't wait to see her and my nieces in a few days!  

We'll be sharing and preaching at Grace Ministries on Sunday...

Thank you so much for your prayers during this wild time...that He is still on the throne for.
 Another EBS team hits Haiti tomorrow...so thankful for the Heckmans, Edlers, friends and staff all doing their things, and so well!

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