Tuesday, February 26, 2013

We're Here!

Hello dear friends!  Just want you all to know that we've landed safely and all our 
junk (luggage) made it and we're even waking up at decent times now since completely 
switching daylight for nightime hours.  Thank you for praying for us for the journey 
and transition.  Our big kids are still stammering away in mostly English but they're
beginning to remember more and more Chinese and are warming up to the idea of being 
a bilingual family again.  

For now, a friend is posting this for me on our blog because we do not yet have our 
VPN working to be able to access sites like blogger and facebook from our home. 
(Many sites are blocked here unless you have a secure tunnel, like our VPN).  Thank 
you so much for waiting with us til we get that back up and running.  I'll be excited
to share with you more of what's been happening since we've arrived.....John is 
fully riding a bike now, Vivi started school (with a black eye), and we've enjoyed 
some fantastic time with several friends here....especially sweet time in prayer 
together that I'm excited to share about.  

much love to you friends!
jill
  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

take off: tomorrow

We made it through three airports of the five (our total before we're home).  We're still alive and we're actually feeling quite victorious over that pile of stuff.... 


It was late and we were cold.... but we did it!  Praise the Lord!!!
600 pounds (checked + carry-ons) of homeschool books, big kid clothes (I think almost 100% of it was handed down to us or gifted from generous grandparents and family and friends- thank you!), homeschool books, gifts for Chinese friends, a mixer for me!, one car seat we hope to use, and baseball equipment to finish outfitting an entire little league team.  We're grateful for all this stuff and promising ourselves we should never travel with the max. allowed luggage load like this again.  Maybe in a different season....

Since Thursday night, when Isaiah pushed a cart of 150+ pounds around the SeaTac airport with us, and all but Vivi were pushing or pulling some luggage, Matt and I have praised our big boy over (and all of them) over and over again for how they/he stepped up to serve our family.  What would we have done without all of their help?!!

Friday we spent the afternoon at a Children's Museum with precious Seattle area friends and today we swam, slept, and now the big kids are swimming again with Matt.   I am so grateful for this time to finally be done with the fiasco of packing and cleaning and the difficulty of good-byes.  I've slept like I'm repairing a weary body in the two days we've been here.  oh.... such... a gift.  

Sunday morning we fly out for Korea for a 14-hour layover.  We have a hotel package thrown in from our airline b/c the flight schedule changed and they extended the layover time.  We love you Korean Air.   Tuesday we'll be home in China.

I think I feel like this every time we take off for a big new season, but it strikes me still:  I am so aware of how we go forward in weakness.  I would have loved to rest up, read up and figure out all my sin so that I could go back to China a more patient, gentle mama and friend.  But alas, I am still a sinner.  A cracked pot.  And I pray that Christ will somehow shine beautifully as Savior in my I Very Much Need a Savior life.   I think again of what her pastor called her at my mama's funeral:  "a trophy of God's grace."  I long for my life to display like hers the goodness and gladness of how greatly my Savior saves, and how beautifully he loves.... even me.  

Thank you so much for praying for us as we go dear friends!!

The hotel pool was super cold so here's all four kiddos in a warm-up bath back in our room.  Really, it was a fun time!

Friday, February 15, 2013

So Cal

Vivi and I got to see some spectacular friends in So Cal last week.... 

First, (so sad, no picture of Johannah!)  I was her bridesmaid 11 years ago and she would have been mine too if she could have made it to Florida!  Treasured Sister!  And then Lori, my "best friend" from when I was 2 and she was 3 and her mama was my mama's best friend too.   Oh how I love this precious, beautiful friend of mine!

Lori and Dan's beautiful girls
Lori watched Vivi while I drove out to spend an evening with dear friends who came to hear about China.  Matt and I have been so deeply blessed by the two couples there that evening.  We love you Fangs and Radimakers!!

And then a day with JJ!  I can't believe how blessed I am to have such a friend....  one of the most remarkable things about her is how she loves people by listening and then loves with all of her skills too:  nutrients and prayer and gifts and deliciousness and fun and gem jars for joy!   I *marvel* at the Lord to give me such a wonderful friend!


And in the middle of all that, I got to meet this woman, who is truly a celebrity where I live.  This is the giving friend behind Book Ends.  Jeanne sends boxes of books to bless families to the ends of the earth.  What a giving, supportive, encouraging friend she is!!  What a delight to meet you Jeanne!  Thank you for the books!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines

Too sweet to be with family for a Valentine's (Eve) party this year...





And on Valentine's Day, as we drove to the airport, there was news of such gladness that it cheered us all even as we were bracing for the terrible send off.  This New Years Eve and Valentines go down as Great News days for our family..... good news IS such a gift!  Oh to think of what's to come...

We LOVE you Family!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Considering Eternity {part 1}

We drove off on a date, his parents watching our little sweets, and he asked me how I know what's true, really know the big picture "what is truth?"  Matt shared with me what he's learning in his seminary course.  And I love hearing all of it, most especially love hearing him, discussing all this with my love.  

Then I told him what I've been mulling over, that there are two things I can't get around lately...

That I think far too little of hell.  Not in the sense that I don't tremble and fear going there.  No.  I know my Savior and His promises and my faith isn't just words and I trust His Word completely, trust him to be faithful even when I'm not.  

But I do need to think about hell and think through to the ramifications of what Scripture tells us.  Like John 14:6.  If Jesus is the only way to the Father, what does that mean for the many who have never heard or never trusted him?    

I remember hearing Tim Keller respond to the question "So what do you say about the Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist or Jew who is very sincere in their faith and does not trust in Jesus?"  He said something like "If Jesus Christ is who he said he is, if what is recorded about his life and death and all his words are true, then we have got to get him for our souls to live.  There's nothing compassionate or kind about not giving food to a person who needs to eat food to live and if Christ is who he said he is, than we need him just as much, even more, for our souls to be eternally full and thrive."  

We need Christ or we face a God-less eternity. 

And then I read these words, this crystal-clear illustration of my own depraved unconcern.  The book (Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries) that I found it in would get mixed reviews from me, but Oh! this story... 

"Charlie Peace was a criminal.  Laws of God or man curbed him not.  Finally the law caught up with him, and he was condemned to death.  On the fatal morning in Armley Jail, Leeds, England, he was taken on the death-walk.  Before him went the prison chaplain, routinely and sleepily reading some Bible verses.  The criminal touched the preacher and asked what he was reading.  "The Consolations of Religion," was the reply.  Charlie Peace was shocked at the way he professionally read about hell.  Could a man be so unmoved under the very shadow of the scaffold as to lead a fellow-human there and ye, dry-eyed, read of a pit that has no bottom into which this fellow must fall?  Could this preacher believe the words that there is an eternal fire that never consumes it victims, and yet slide over the phrase without a tremor?  Is a man human at all who can say with no tears, "You will be eternally dying and yet never know the relief that death brings?"  All this was too much for Charlie Peace.  So he preached.  List to his on-the-eve-of-hell sermon.

"Sir,"  addressing the preacher, "if I believed what you and the church of God say that you believe, even if Englandwere covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would walk over it, if need be, on hands and knees and think it worthwhile living just to save one soul from an eternal hell like that! (p 33-34)"  

Oh God save me from this chaplain's lame belief, lame love!   And thank you for leaders who do see and love and live that your word is true and eternity is real and worthy....  


“Fight for us, O God, that we not drift numb and bold and foolish into vain and empty excitements. Life is too short, too precious, too painful to waste on worldly bubbles that burst. Heaven is too great, hell is too horrible, eternity is too long that we should putter around....” 

 John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life Study Guide

And this poem I'm pretty sure I've posted before...


From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should aspire, 
From faltering when I should climb higher
From silken self, O Captain, free
They soldier who would follow Thee.

From subtle love of softening things, 
From easy choices, weakenings,
(Not thus are spirits fortified,
Not this way went the Crucified)

From all that dims Thy Calvary
O Lamb of God, deliver me.

Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay
The hope no disappointments tire, 
The passion that will burn like fire; 
Let me not sink to be a clod;
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.

- Amy Carmichael

Oh God, please give me the passion and endurance and faith that would crawl across an England covered with broken glass for the privilege of proclaiming Christ and seeing them,  even one, who has never heard of you, trust in you for forgiveness and new life.  Ignite my vision of eternity.   Give us your favor that we might be fruitful, to your glory and our great, eternal joy.  

together


Such grace to grow our family under such legacies of love!  We are blessed beyond words to be in this family!
We got a scrumptious brunch before the K patriarch and matriarch headed home!  (Thank you Dale and Mary!!)
just these two for a sled ride together
I've fallen behind on picture-taking and posting lately.  But I am so grateful to have a few shots of some of the people that we are so incredibly blessed to call our friends and family.  Grandma Marian made a pillow for me of my most special maternity clothes...  a keepsake to cherish!  Thank you!!  And there was the momentous apple pie baking lesson too.  Yum Yum!!  We love you Harold & Marian!

 These people, these pictures bring me to tears.... and there are so many more friends I'm thinking of that I've missed getting pics of. Oh we are ridiculously blessed to know YOU.

one favorite moment of mine:  this little skater, blind-foldedwith one roller blade on. (I'm not sure which of the twins this is!)  All 8 big kids spent hours together skating the loop around the kitchen-dining-living room.
oh to be there again.... these friends!  this sweet table of joy!
The littlest skater.... these silly "skates" were perfect for him:  kept him inching along like he was trying on a pair of shoes that were still tied together and he never complained.  He loved being big enough to play with the big kids!
we painted toes....  and it was almost pretty.
(The girls are beautiful, but the toes, especially our littlest's ones, never could dry before they were mostly wiped wacky!)  
Good thing they got some snow play in before the last day... when it was 29 degrees below zero!
Oh such deep joy to fellowship together with you in Christ... to dream of eternity and worship and service and God's kingdom coming here, now.  We love you dear friends.  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

lost-dropped: the second first



Marian lost her first tooth Thursday!  It had been wiggling and then barely hanging in there for a looong time and though we were all ready for it to "drop", it was still such a JOY to see!  So fun to see this milestone for this big sweet girl!


And about "dropping" a tooth.... that's the English word our kids use to describe the process after they talk about it in Chinese with friends at school.  In Chinese, you basically say "she dropped a tooth".... and it does make me smile to hear my Chinglish kiddos saying it like that!