If we had to sum up in one word what our year was about, we would say LEARNING. Learning how to be spouses to each other. Learning how to live with someone else. Learning how to be parents. Learning how to be parents of a toddler. Learning how to work together. Learning how to organize your life with a toddler. Learning,learning,learning.
Most of our learning revolved around marriage and parenting (and imagine it will be an ongoing process). This year,when we started to hear the Christmas message that we all know so well, we heard it differently. We had a different perspective. Up to this point in our life, we always saw the Christmas story from the point of view of an observer. Maybe like what a shepherd may have experienced. But this year, being new parents, we automatically put ourselves in the shoes of Mary and Joseph. We are in AWE of Mary and Joseph now more than ever. We can now imagine what it must have been like to get the news that Mary was pregnant. Probably a million questions passed through their heads after they accepted the news. How are we going to care and protect this special baby? What do we need to teach him to prepare him to honor God? What do we need to learn before he comes? What if we fail? This year, we asked all these questions and so many more because for the first time in our lives, we became parents. Obviously not to the Messiah, but to a sweet boy who we know has God's hand on him since before he was even born.
So, here is what we realized just this Sunday as we were at church together as a family. Mary and Joseph didn't plan for Jesus, but he came into their lives and changed it drastically and impacted the world. I'm sure they didn't understand all the struggles they were faced with; why he had to be born in a stable in the lowest conditions, but they accepted it and trusted God to guide and care for them all. So, despite the fact that they had no idea what they were getting into,or how they were going to care for him, or how the story ended, they chose to LOVE HIM and accept whatever came their way...
We feel the same about our journey with Kaleb. We are still fostering him. We don't know how to do a lot of things regarding parenting. We don't know how our story as a family will end, but we do know that we can trust that our Lord is caring for us and will guide our steps. We thank you for your continued prayers in our journey.
Kaleb turned 2 and we had a very fun Mickey Mouse birthday party!
Clever got his green card approved so we are excited to have his US residency completed on an upcoming trip to the US in January. Please pray for all of us as he will be traveling alone and I'll be here in Peru with Kaleb, since Kaleb can not travel yet.
We had our dear friends Evan and Stephanie and their sweet daughter come for a visit from Michigan and we got to celebrate Thanksgiving with them at our Pastor's house!
We celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary on December 2!
Clever and Lisa both celebrated another year of life!
On December 29th will be 1 year cancer free for Lisa!
*****We have SO MUCH to be thankful for!!!!*****
In November we had our 3rd annual parent retreat for parents with Kids with Special needs. We served over 40 different families over the 2 day event with about 75% of the families being new. We had 2 sets of parents with children with special needs come from the US to share their experiences and love on the families and we had a special guest, Hali , the daughter of one of the couples, Brad and Karen Thompson, who started the retreat with us 3 years ago. It was really fun to get to meet Hali live! I know that every detail of that event sewed seeds into the families that attended. Please be praying that we continue to see fruit and growth in the KIDS HD area due to this retreat.
We continue to help lead and support the volunteers at all 6 campuses who serve each sunday with the kids with special needs. It is a joy to see how the program continues to grow and how we can impact these families lives the way we do. Sometimes, we also get to connect with kids that don't have any physical or intellectual special needs, but have a need for some extra emotional support. This happened recently at our main campus where a little girl suddenly had a switch in her behavior and couldn't stay in her class. We were asked to help be with her since she clearly needed one on one support. After short conversation with her grandma, we found out that the little girl (3 yrs old and her 6 yr old sister) had lost their mom just a month ago due to suicide. Our hearts broke to hear this news. It is hard to imagine how to process something like that as an adult let alone a child. We are so thankful to be a support and a light for this family, including the father of these 2 who is also grieving this loss. Can you be praying along with us for this family?
We also continue to serve in the area of wheelchair distribution. Clever has traveled to the jungle to teach a class to volunteers from a church who will partner with Camino de Vida to give the gift of mobility and share the message of Jesus Christ. There are 4 more trainings scheduled for these upcoming months in different parts of Peru. Clever is in charge of the training team, and Lisa does all the logistical support leading up to each training. We also have participated in various wheelchair distributions over the past few months with focus on modifying the wheelchairs to give a better fit to children.
This is just a short update of what has been happening here in Lima, Peru as we serve in Camino de Vida, serving children and adults with special needs. We know that you have many options to support many worthy causes and we are SO THANKFUL for your generosity over this past year supporting us since we are a missionary family and do not receive any payment for our work here in county. It is through the generosity of each of you that helps us stay here to continue to come alongside each person we encounter and be a light to them. We thank you also for coming alongside us as we walk out in faith our journey with Kaleb. Thank you for every prayer you have prayed and every word of encouragement you have given.
This past year has been incredible. We have seen God work in our lives and in the lives of so many others. We are so excited to see what 2019 brings and how we can continue to shine the light of Jesus on others.
We wish each one of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2019. The best is yet to come.
Clever, Lisa, & Kaleb