Thursday, December 27, 2007


Well Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

I've had a blog typed up for over a week now, but due to no internet, I have had no chance to send it out! Jessi, Sunda and I had a wonderful Christmas this year (even in spite of having electricity go out for Christmas eve and Christmas morning)! First and foremost we want to thank EVERYONE who sent a card, letter or e-mail our way. It was amazing! One day we went to our post office box to find nearly 25 letters from people all over Brooke County. We even got a whole packet of Christmas letters from a class at Wellsburg Middle School. You all helped make our Christmas very special.
We spent Christmas morning together and then went to a big gathering at our friends, the Colmbrinks. We had a nice dinner and lots of fun running around with Sunda as she chased around every animal in sight (cows, cats, dogs, etc.) The best part was that we obtained full custody of our little girl nearly two weeks ago so we were able to spend the holiday together as a family. We have a few meetings early in January and a final court date until the adoption is totally final! Praise the Lord!
We're working on getting a family pic up, but even now the internet is giving us problems so we'll continue trying...keep a lookout!
We hope and pray that you all had a wonderful time celebrating our Saviors birth and that you all have a great new year. Heiko, a friend of mine here in Zambia, told me about a question that hit him hard a few days back and I'm going to pose that same question to you. The three wisemen each longed for the day they would see their King and when that day finally arrived they each brought him the most precious thing possible: gold, frankenscence and myrhh (probably spelled wrong). So the question we have for all of you followers of Jesus Christ is this...What have you brought your King? Is it your best?
We love you all!
Jake, Jessi and Sunda

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas and Adoption

I don’t know who started the Christmas Card campaign in Wellsburg, WV…but we are extremely grateful! The last three times that Jake and I have been to the post office, we have been flooded with 10+ Christmas cards! We’ve received Christmas cards from people we don’t know very well, from family friends, from community church members, and from a 5th grade class at Wellsburg middle school! We can’t express our gratefulness to those of you who have taken the time to think of us at this time of year. And the pure multitude of those that are thinking of us have us completely overwhelmed and full of appreciation. The farm director, Jeff, joked yesterday that if we keep getting this much mail, we’re going to have to rent our own post office box, because everyone else’s mail won’t fit! So, if you are reading this, thank you very much for your thoughts and wishes…if feels so good to get mail in Africa!

On another exciting note, Jacob is in Lusaka right now meeting with the Social Services Department. If all goes according to plan, he will walk out of the office with a form stating that we have permission to foster Mukansunda (meaning that we have responsibility for her and that she can stay with us full-time) until the adoption proceeding goes through. This is a great thing, and what we have been waiting for. Because as soon as we have permission to take her with us, we can really start embarking on the full-scale bush ministry that we are excited about doing. It’s just crazy the way that God’s perfect timing is not always our idea of perfection.

Two weeks ago, we were feeling in a rut because our tent was stuck in the airport awaiting duty fees, our apartment was still empty because of small problems that kept us from moving in, and we had heard nothing from the States about our homestudy adoption papers. All of a sudden, we received our tent, the apartment was livable, and we got word that our papers had gone through. All at about the same time! And really, we couldn’t have had Sunda stay with us until we had an apartment, and we couldn’t do outreach ministry with Sunda without a tent. So, once again…it’s a good thing He’s God and I’m not. Who knows where my impatience and independence would have ended us up?

Christmas is fastly approaching, but somehow it feels more Christmasy than last year. I want to decorate and bake cookies and watch Christmas movies. Last year, I wanted to go to bed and be woken up when Dec. 25 had past. It will be my first Christmas with an understanding of what work and commitment moms of all ages and races put into the holiday. I guess I’d better start planning ahead! Sugar cookies, here I come!

Just wanted to kick out a short update and let everyone know how grateful we are for the Christmas greetings. And how excited we are about how quickly the adoption process is moving! I will humbly, but boldly, ask you to pray that the process would actually move smoothly without red tape and hoop jumping. And for Sunda, that she would be seamlessly transitioned into our home.

Happy Tuesday, and Happy Christmas Shopping.


I wrote this on Tuesday...couldn't post until Thursday so as of now we have custody of Sunda!!! Praise God! She spent her first night with us last night. :o)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Come....and Stay!

How incredible to be asked to "come" by the King of kings. This thought has come to my mind several times in the past week. Scriptures where Christ beckons us to approach Him and receive all that we need are hard to fathom. That the Almighty, Uncreated One would allow me to even enter His divine presence is a wonder to begin with; however, I've been reminded that He has called us to an even deeper, more intimate place.
A few years ago I felt a great pull in my spirit to go and spend some alone time with the Lord. I was at my parents home in West Virginia and so I went down to the basement and lay down on the carpet. I really had nothing to say, no prayer requests came to mind, but only a simple desire to be with God. I laid there on my face for maybe ten minutes in silence. The only communication taking place was my heart and God's...His love and my love being exchanged. After some time I decided that I was simply wasting my time and could be doing far better things for God's kingdom than laying on my face on the floor. As I went to get up I had one of the most distinct times of hearing the voice of God in my life. His words were, "Don't leave yet..." Now immediately the reality of God hit me and I spent quite a bit more time on my face thanking God for His love and nearness. This moment has not left me in the past few years and it is not until recently that I've understood it's importance.
The highest aim of God is for union with His people. This union begins when God says come to each and every heart and by His grace we are drawn to Him. However, this is simply the BEGINNING place for that union. The EVEN GREATER call is that God tells us to STAY! How wonderful when someone you love and desire asks you to come and speak with them, but to be constrained to stay is a far greater pleasure. John 15 speaks of this great desire in the heart of God to have His people "abide". To abide is to stay or remain. I'm tired of my "amens" at the end of a prayer translating to "see you later God". There is far more to life than "time with God". There is abiding with God. Never leaving. A constant, life-giving flow of relationship that can be maintained through every daily chore, work activity, and conversation.
The beauty is that it is by God's grace that we can stay. He has made the way for us to come and given us the ability to stay. All we are called to do is admit that we are weak and unable and receive His fresh mercy each morning to believe that His power is enough to conquer our minds and wills and keep us in that Holy of Holies. In that place where the only thing that matters is loving God with all of our being. Loving him with every action, every gesture, every thought, every movement and knowing that we do this because we have received indescribable love from Him! Let me ruin all of your comfort zones right now by saying that there is far more to this life than we are experiencing. We have been created to abide. I may be abiding for one hour a day (on a good day). But I want unbroken fellowship. I'm sure if it becomes our aim and pure goal that God will give us more and more as we humble ourselves before Him. For any of you who are hungry for this, let me give you two books that will truly set you on a good path: Practicing His Presence by Brother Lawrence and Andrew Murray on Prayer by Andrew Murray. Try them in the order I have suggested and you will not be dissapointed (of course use these in conjunction with the greatest book of all...the Bible). I love you all and am praying for God to give you a desire for unbroken fellowship with Him.