If you've been reading since this summer, you know we made a trip with Visiting Orphans to Uganda & Ethiopia on the first official "man up" trip. Close to half of our team is from the Branson/Springfield area and a "Pirates dig a well" fundraiser was all we needed to make, as Rob coined it, the Elder tour of the Ozarks.
It took me 3 flights, but finally made it to Brason! It really is a beautiful part of the country - cool weather, beautiful fall leaves, it felt very fall-ish!
The awesome thing about this fall tour was that we got to stay with 2 diffrent families. Mitch's family & Rob's family :) We bonded immieditly with Mitch's kids, Landri & Kyson! I have to say snuggling with them was one of the highlights of my weekend.
The families all had stuff going on Friday night, so we got a tour of Randy Bacon's studio - that included Jonathan & Shailey's space too (Harp Creative)! Then we walked downtown Springfiled to a yummy Mexican food dinner. So fun to catch up with Jonathan & Shailey! Friends that are of like mind & have expierenced the same life-changing event as you are fun & easy to be with!
Saturday we were seriously awakened with Starbucks IN BED (thanks Shannon!) and then had a fun day of snuggling, watching college football, shopping, sushi lunch with the girls & hang out at the Neals house! All before the big event......
Dinner with the gang in Brason before the fundraiser!
The fundraiser was a blast - so fun to catch up with old friends AND support the Chuko water project. More on this soon :)
click above link for more info!
It was so fun to get to meet spouces, kids & get to go to CHURCH with our man up family. This is us after church at lunch. Loved their spirit filled church, loved worshiping our God with them. I can't lie that my face was puffy and red after about 20 minutes of just letting the tears flow. Thanking our Father for the precious friends that live their lives all for HIS glory, giving their lives away for the cause of Christ.
What you've all been waiting for......the KIDS!
this is Zoie, she's Roger & Kari's Ethiopian princess!
she sings, she dances, she asks you to get in the "car" and drive to Target, she runs away when you try to tickle her. she is a ham & I absolutely LOVE her.
Caden is Rob & Julie's oldest Ethiopian little guy :) Him & his brother, Cruz, are super into Batman & Superman and are pretty much all over the place. Love him!
Cruz is Rob & Julie's other Ethiopian nugget. and my new boyfriend. that's right.
It took a full 24 hours for this 4 year old to warm up to me but once he did, he woudln't leave my lap. We snuggled, chased each other around, took pictures on his mom's phone (that he apparently carried around staring at after I left.....sad :( Him & his brother Caden make me SUPER EXCITED to have my own Ethiopian son one day!
Oh and how could we forget Kyson! Landri's little brother this guy is all boy. We read books together, watched college basketball, played mr potato head and of coarse, we snuggled.
It's really hard for me to think of these kiddos as once orphans. To see them in loving homes with christian families allows me know the father heart of God even more than before.
It makes we wonder what would have been if these families had said no.
Oh but God is good.
One of our favorite parts of the trip was the time we had at the Neals home. Rob was one of the leaders on our trip & quickly became one of our favorite people. Getting to know his wife, Julie, and 5 kids (well, 4 since oldest Caleb was on trip) was easy and fun.
We felt like a part of their family for the weekend.
whether it was sitting around the table eating Sunday pizza, or Saturday night after the event eating Wendy's with the older ones watching SNL (really took me back), going to church & to get ice cream and just sitting around chatting on the couch.
We can't wait for our home to be a place of love & lots of kids.
to be an open door for people to come & feel at home.
Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves that we don't yet have a family, why can't we be a family to those in our city that don't have one?
Don't know what that looks like yet....but praying!
What about you? What do you love most about being with family?