Missionary Mommy Advice – Breastfeeding

Amy LOVES giving parenting advice.  She is passionate about cloth diapering, breastfeeding, and sleeping.  One of our friends recently found out she was pregnant and asked Amy for advice.  This series hopes to capture that email exchange for posterity sake!  Missionary mommies, mommies on mission or anyone in general…ENJOY!

 

So, you’re in a foreign country and you get pregnant almost immediately.  After you cry, freak out, take 4 more pregnancy tests, tell your husband and then cry some more, you try to get and handle on everything and move forward, slowly.  At least that’s what happened to me.

I realized pretty quickly, well, here we go again .  Then after I found out, many of my other friends found out they were pregnant too (odd coincidence for sure).  Some of them for the first time; some of them for the fourth time.  Many of them talked about the successes and failures of breast-feeding. So I thought I would capture all of that (and my own experiences) and try share it all as informative as possible in this forum.  Hopefully, it blesses and informs those mommies out there.  From this missionary mommy to you, all you ever wanted to know about breastfeeding.

 

My Experience: 

Having breastfed Madeline for 10 months, Jojo for 13 months, and Elijah for 9 months currently, I have learned a lot.  Those are my qualifications…take them or leave them.

Needed Supplies

First of all, there are some seriously needed supplies that a breastfeeding mother needs, yes needs, to ensure the maximum amount of success (length of breastfeeding) and comfort.

Those supplies are:

  • Lanolin
  • Breast pads (I used washable ones that I threw into a mesh pouch and washed with our clothes in the washing machine)
  • Breast pump (My understanding is that insurance companies need to pay for these now for breastfeeding mothers…ASK!). I used the middle of the road Medela with two pumps.
  • Milk storage bags
  • Nursing cover – This is expected in the States (ridiculous!).  But if you’re a missionary mommy like me then breastfeeding is just an accepted part of life (Note: this gets some odd looks when we return back to the States, and I forget where I am).

Advice:

The following advice is laid out in bullet points of issues that I ran into and overcame or advice that I was so blessed to have a good friend tell me and help me walk through.  The following advice is for those mommies who are capable of breastfeeding.  Some mommies are not physically able to breastfeed due to issues during delivery or have supply issues due to the way God made you.  Don’t beat yourself up.  You are a beloved daughter of our God.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Period.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Also I will say this, if you have to go back to work, I would think that nursing is  A LOT more difficult and I didn’t have this challenge.  I was blessed to be able to stay home once we started having kids and that along with my general stubbornness was huge asset in overcoming breastfeeding challenges.  Anyway, enjoy!

  • Your body is not yours – In case you didn’t figure it out while you were pregnant, your body is no longer yours.  The sooner I accepted that fact and realized that I had to put myself aside and do what is best for the baby, the sooner I was more at peace with the need.  I am not saying I neglected myself or sleep (naps are awesome but increasingly harder with the more kids one has). But I did accept in the evening time I might not get as much sleep as I wanted.  For me it meant that if I just fed one of the kids and they are up screaming again, I probably was going to go back in there (begrudgingly at times) and feed them again.  I was exhausted. Breastfeeding is exhausting but I was giving them nourishment.
  • So this is what a cow feels like – This is a missionary blog so I will save some of the more colorful language that I would prefer to use.  But I felt like a cow with udders….Udders that are cracked and bleeding and HURT…. A LOT.  This is where lanolin comes in.  I used it often. I would behoove you to do the same.  Stick with the feeding, the cracking and bleeding gets better after the first few weeks.  EEEEK  WEEKS, you may be saying to yourself.  Believe me I know.  I know.
  • Now I am a cow AND a doctor on call – I realized quickly that I was the one on call morning, noon, and night.  I was the one that was up with the kids in the evening…scratch evening, I mean in the middle of the freaking night.  I mean right after I had fallen back asleep and I was up again middle of the night.  Doctor on call….remember!  Anyway, I was the one that was up (especially for the first few months) 99% of the time.  Just trust me and do it.  It helps keep your milk supply up.
  • Nipple confusion, WHAT? – So bottles are the key to date nights.  And date nights are the key to a healthy and happy marriage.  If you are not doing a date night with your husband weekly, stop reading this and set one up NOW!!……Waiting….ok are you back?  Moving on.  Bottles are gold but nipple confusion is NOT.  Therefore, wait to introduce a bottle (at least 4 – 6 weeks).  The way kids drink from breasts vs. bottles is different.  Since I primarily breastfed I tried to give a bottle once a week (after 6 weeks) so that we could stay a night away from the kids if we wanted to!
  • Division of labor – I was the one that woke up with the baby in the middle of the night.  The sooner I realized this, the better it was for everyone in the house.  In my experience, all three of the kids wanted to eat when they woke up in the middle of the night.  So at first I sent Josh in there (I was up anyway because for some reason after we had kids, he can’t hear a FREAKING THING in the middle of the night).  So anyway, Josh goes in tried to calm Madeline down.  He came back to bed, and feel right back to sleep (PUNK!).  And I stayed up and listened to Madeline rustle and fuss for about 20 more minutes before I went back in to feed her….every time!  Just trust me it takes way less time to feed the baby with your breasts than it does to warm up a bottle and have your husband do it.  Then you are up anyway to pump to keep up your supply!  Talk about inefficiency!  Josh and I divided labor greatly..but when it came to middle of the night feedings that was one that I had to do.
  • Sustainability – I have  a TERRIBLE habit of NOT drinking water.  It is so unbelievably frustrating to drink water and then not drink it and blow up like a balloon.  Anyway, neither here nor there.  I hate fluid retention! During breastfeeding, DRINK  A LOT OF WATER.  Breast milk is over 80% water.  You need water to give out water.  It’s really just math.  DRINK WATER until you want to be sick and then DRINK MORE.  Just trust me.  Feeling sloshy in the belly because of too much water is better than milk supply issues down the road.
  • Need Extras – I would recommend pumping once per day to store up extra milk.  This totally depends on when you have time.  When we only had Madeline, I pumped in the morning right after the first feeding of the day.  Now with three kids and getting one of them to preschool, I barely have enough time for me to eat….SO I pump before I go to bed.  Extra milk is essential again to DATE NIGHTs and NIGHTS AWAY (like overnight!) from the kid(s) and it is a great additive to baby food when they start eating solids.

Milk Supply Issues

So a couple of times during feeding each of the kids, I had a nervous-nelly moment of dwindling supply when I wasn’t done feeding the kids yet (stubbornness again!).  Anyway, here are some of the things I relied on to boost my supply.

  • Sleep – I understand the paradox and impossibility of this statement.  Bottom line, the body needs rest to replenish (even milk).  Therefore, rest when possible.  Small naps, long naps, just sitting around, Rest.
  • Eat oatmeal – Oatmeal is a food that is known to boost milk production.  Eat it daily if possible.  I would mix oatmeal into yogurt in the morning to lessen the taste (or really improve the bland taste) of the oatmeal.  Note: the less refined the oat meal the greater the milk-boosting benefit.
  • Fenugreek – This is a supplement I have taken a couple of times and it seemed to help.  This can be found, I believe, in any general supplement area of Target or Walmart.
  • Pumping and/or feeding the child more – I am not sure the biology of this.  Here is what I do know, extra stimulation via a child eating, sends a signal to the body to start making more milk.  Therefore, try to feed the child more often to get production back up.
  • Other – Other items I have heard of or read about but haven’t tried to boost milk production are mother’s milk and beer.  I am sure there are some others that I can’t remember at this time.

Hard Lessons Learned:

I did learn some hard lessons, especially early on.  Mostly they were born out of having NO CLUE what was going on.

  • Breastfeeding doesn’t happen on it’s own – With Madeline Josh and I literally thought we just hold newborn Madeline up to a breast and she eats from milk that is there. We had no clue about milk “coming in”, latching, holding, or colostrum.  Seriously, where was this information?  Here are the quick hits.
    • Latching – You have to work to have the baby latch (grab on to breast to eat without a lot of air between mouth and nipple to reduce gas in baby). While gas / pooting / farting / tooting / etc is funny.  It is NO GOOD for a baby.  Reduce air intake for the baby!
    • Colostrum – Colostrum is the very small amount of thick protein / antibody milk that the baby gets in the first few feedings.
    • Holding – there are different holds to hold the baby, cradle, football, etc.  Find one that works for the baby and stick with it, no matter how ridiculous it may look.  If the baby is happiest and healthiest drinking upside down, keg-stand style (sorry, I am redeemed from a life of reckless…that’s good), then do it!
    • Is my milk in yet?– Apparently it takes a few days for the milk to fully come in.  Just trust me when I say this, you WILL NOTICE.
  • So we had to supplement – Yes that’s right we had to supplement with formula right when Madeline was born and she didn’t grow a 3rd eye and hell didn’t open up to swallow us.  Madeline initially had issues with latching and we had NO CLUE what we were doing.  I blame the incompetent hospital staff at the time because I asked for a lactation consultant and they didn’t send anyone in for 24 hours. Anyway.  Madeline dropped weight and we had to syringe feed Madeline formula for the first four or five days after I fed her breast milk.  If you have to supplement with formula, you are NOT a failure!  Don’t let anyone tell you that!
  • Stop looking at the scale – It’s next to impossible to know how much milk the baby is getting.  I have friends that have exta fatty milk and their babies plump up immediately.  I am talking their kids look like they could eat my kids.  Anyway, I was worried about weight with every kid AND I am currently worried about Elijah’s weight.  Talk to your doctor. Different practices have different opinions on this matter. Some are quick to jump to supplementing with formula; others may offer different suggestions. Some practices even have lactation consultants to can speak with.  Bottom line – when shopping for a doctor, I would recommend nailing down the doctor’s opinion on this matter.  More than likely, you could be back in the patient room discussing the baby’s weight.
  • Support system – Like any new adventure, a support system is of paramount importance.  If it wasn’t for a large support system of friends rallying behind me, encouraging me, providing advice, etc, I don’t know if I could have continued.  Find your friends and family to support you unconditionally in your quest to the breastfeed.  If you don’t have any friends / family to help, reach out to a mommy’s blog, this one even :).  Also, I would recommend for newer mommies to take the breastfeeding class offered at hospitals as part of the Lamaze series.  We didn’t take any classes (stubbornness again), but we had friends take the class and many have said it was quite beneficial.

 

Breastfeeding has been and is an adventure!  My last piece of advice is to enjoy it.  We are currently living our life based on the phrase “The days are long but the years are short.”  With our kids it is so true, the time that they breastfeed is so long in the moment but really so short.  Take the time during those feeding to pray for the baby.  Pray God’s blessing over them.  Pray for them to grow up to be described as men and women after God’s own heart and for you as the parent to have the discipline to get out of the way!  Before you know it that ball of cuddles is running around naked outside (which is where 2 of our 3 kids are right now!).

The days are LONG  but the years are SHORT…for sure!

Happy feeding!!

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And on the seventh day….

SO I have started reading through the Bible with a guy I want to disciple and invest in, love on, and see reach his fullness in Christ (more on that – intentional discipleship – in another post).  So I was reading Genesis 1 and it hit me…God by design, in the very beginning put in time to rest.

The answer to the question on what on Earth has the Edmonds family been up to recently….The answer is resting.

For the past two weeks Madeline has been off school – Easter break so she has been around.

And we just got back from our vacation to San Pedro!  AWESOME (more on that down further). But first….

How is The Lord Teaching Me?

Rest.  God designed rest and rest is good.  Rest doesn’t necessarily mean sleeping.  Rest means breathing.  God spent his creation time talking.  “God said” and “God called” are repeated over and over again during the account of creation.  On the seventh day, God rested and took time to breathe in (Note: I am not debating the theological statement that God needed to rest.  I am simply stating that God designed rest into Creation).

I saw this and thought to myself…How do I do at rest?  Then I listed to a KILLER podcast from Andy Stanley on ways that he and his wife Sandra systematically add rest into their lives.  His wife famously said “The days are long but the years are short”  And we feel like that often too.  The days with our small kids seem LONG but the years are VERY short.  For example, Elijah is already 9 months…WHAT!!!

Anyway, He said that he and his wife established two principles of life for their family and they were:

  1. Enjoy being together when the kids are gone.
  2. Live our life so the children want to be with us (parents) and with each other (siblings) even when they have the freedom to do otherwise.

He was saying that he wanted him and his wife to really enjoy their time together when the kids are gone because even though it’s impossible for me to see now, the kids will be gone and then it is just me and Amy.  So we have to do things now to enjoy our time together so that when the kids are gone we are still enjoying each other.

Recently, I realized I was working too many nights at home.  I would sit down and after the kids go to bed, start answering emails, reviewing trips, staffing, etc.  And God rested….

So for the past few weeks, instead of that, we have been sitting at night and playing games….Rumikube, Sequence, Farkle, etc.  It is important to note that so far I am CRUSHING these games at night!!!  We have also compromised on what we watch on TV (mostly Amy compromising).  But Monday we watch WWE (when it’s not Bachelor or Bachelorette season).  And other times we watch an HGTV show!  Amy is even in to wrestling some….well almost!

Secondly, Amy and I wanted to make sure that our kids enjoyed being around us so much that they wanted to do that more often (even when they are older have the opportunity to do other things).

So it’s small things in life that our kids like right now, going outside to water the followers and spraying each other (and MOMMY) with the hose, making and playing in mud puddles and the rain, flying poorly built kites.  Right now my kids want me to be present.  And honestly that is the HARDEST thing in the world with working from home.

But on the 7th day God rested….

So now I try to start work around 7AM each day and at about 3:30pm. I shut it down.  I go see the kids and we just act goofy.  If there is anything else that needs to get done for work, it waits until Amy is in bed and I have had some strong coffee and I’ll work into the night.  But for now, I need the rest and to breathe in each day and my kids need me present!

The importance of a Sabbath – I was always doing something every day that was related to work.  Sometimes it was support raising.  Other times in was blogging.  Other times it was just checking email.  So now one day a week, I have a Sabbath.  It is a day to do NOTHING as it relates to work.  No texts.  No Emails.  No blogs.  Nothing.  Just me, my God, and my family!  Praise God for rest on the Sabbath.

We don’t have it all together.  And our lives are passing through seasons (all too quickly, I may add) but it was important to build margin and rest into my and our days daily, weekly, and each season….And on the 7th day, God rested.

And now onto Vacation…..

Vacation was awesome!  Through a series of nothing short of God-things, we discovered the YWAM DTS on San Pedro was offering missionaries a place to come for furlough!  After a few correspondence, they insisted we come for about a week.  So we packed our things and headed to the Island of San Pedro / Ambergis Caye.

At the DTS, which sat directly on the water, all of our meals were provided for (HUGE BLESSING), and we stayed in a casista with a king bed and 4 bunk beds.  It was PERFECT, small but PERFECT.

Each morning, the kids and I would wake up and we would walk along the beach to pick up sea-shells (of which now we have way too many in our house).  After breakfast, Madeline, Jojo and I would go to the pool (Yes the place even had a pool!!).  And we SWAM!

As it turns out, Madeline LOVES the pool.  She LOVES water!  She spent quite literally 7-8 hours a day inside of the pool, splashing around.

AND…there were only two small incidents when Jojo or Madeline went all the way under the water in the deep end without their floats on and without daddy watching…(oops!).  Let’s just say, my heart has never beat so fast than when I was swimming Michael Phelps style to get them out of the pool!

Anyway, while all this was going on mommy was taking a nap with Elijah (And on the 7th day…..).

After lunch we switched, mommy swam with Madeline and the boys napped (YES!).

The whole 6 or so days we were there was sooo awesome!  It was just the refreshment we needed after a busy end to the spring season.

If you are looking for a vacation spot in Belize and you don’t just want to stay at our house, then San Pedro / Ambergis Caye is a great spot. The town is a little too busy for my liking but the water is blue blue blue and the facilities and resorts are top notch.  Amy and I are looking forward to going back in August….now only if we could get a babysitter?  Any takers?

 

Other Family Updates:

Work – We have since returned from vacation and I have started working again, setting up for summer.  Our final trips have just finished for the spring.   Last Saturday, our good friend Leah stopped by to discuss the last trip she led to Orangewalk Belize.  She then proceeded to share about a miracle of a woman receiving her sight on the trip.  Leah summarizes the story on her blog here (And The Blind Shall Receive Their Sight).  Stories like these from the spring are why we as a family are so blessed to get to do what we do…God’s kingdom coming down to earth!

Madeline– Madeline is still out of school. She returns on Monday!  On Friday, good friend Marion Blease is coming over to braid Madeline’s hair because she wants beads in it for school on Monday!

Amy – is working on extending the garden.  Currently, we are harvesting Okra and tomatoes, and started to use some basil.  I have been cooking more now that we have ingredients I like to use (bad excuse I know).  But the garden is expanding into watermelon, yellow squash, and (hopefully) corn and sunflowers in a couple of weeks!  It is awesome to watch Amy (and Madeline) work together with the plants!

Jojo – is POTTY TRAINED!  He slept the past two nights without a diaper at all and the bed WAS DRY!!!  PRAISE GOD.  (still working on Madeline)

Elijah – FINALLY CUT HIS FIRST TOOTH.  It only took 9 months!  Goodness, at this rate, he may have all his teeth by 12.

Community – I (Josh) was able to spend Monday, Easter Holiday here in Belize, with Pastor Mark, his kids and his in-laws at the river in Cayo!  It was a great time of fellowship and fun!

Community Update 2 – I saw one of the guys I was playing basketball with named “Beard” on Sunday after the Easter Egg Hunt at church.  I asked what was going on at the bball court (it looked like a lot of activity).  Beard then told me about the basketball tournament that night and league starting.  I helped him carry some stuff from church over there, but then forgot about it (sort of).  Anyway, as the kids and I were leaving church, we passed someone on a bike and he stopped to ask me if I wanted to play.  I said of course!  And we played 2 games on Sunday and have another game tonight.  Note: picture an outdoor And 1 mix tape atmosphere, where there is a guy screaming into a microphone and clowning any and everyone.  Now picture that I am the only white person and get my fair share of clowned…..it’s awesome!  I can’t wait until I catch lighting in a bottle and light up this league for about 6 3-pointers one night!

Praises / Prayer Requests

  • Family perseverance – I travel to Minnesota for our staff spring meetings on Sunday.  Pray for Amy and the kids that they will persevere.
  • Spring Praises – Praise God.  We had a great SPRING in Belize.  Celebrate miracles, chains broken, and people meeting the Lord!
  • Community – Pray that this basketball league is an opportunity for me to learn the names and stories of some of the men in the village.
  • Praise – God sent Jesus to die on the cross and He defeated the grave!  Praise God for over-coming Death and completing his rescue plan!
  • Praise – Our family was able to be a small part of our friends Jacob and Anna adopting their son Eric from Belize.  It was a blessing for us to serve them in some small way.  You could read about their Belizean adoption journey here . Join me to praying for their transition at home and being a family.
  • Great Expectations – I am expecting God to do great things over this summer here in Belize and in all of our locations.  Be in prayer that God would reveal more of his glory to us through our experiences this summer. Be in prayer that 500 people will come to meet Jesus this summer!

Thank you for loving us.  Thank you for praying for rest for our family. Thank you for partnering with us in the Gospel.  You are a blessing to our family and a blessing to the Lord’s kingdom.  Our prayer for you all is that you see God’s example of rest from creation and begin to carve out rest in your own life.  Shut off the phone, get outside, sit in an eno, and just rest.  Let our Lord fill you up as you breathe in.

Sunrise!

Sunrise!

they love playdough!

they love playdough!

best friends

best friends

IMG_1744

morning walk

morning walk

just madeline

just madeline

my girls

my girls

in the stillness of a whisper God poke to Elijah

in the stillness of a whisper God poke to Elijah

Flying (trying) to fly the kite

Flying (trying) to fly the kite

Playing in the ocean

Playing in the ocean

The Lord’s timing – Madeline’s story

Yesterday was Madeline Grace’s fourth birthday.  Her story starts in 2007.  We came back from our first mission trip to Belize and thought “Ok that’s off the bucket list, now let’s start a family”  A nice little progression for sure.

We thought it just “happens.”  Ya know?  Off birth-control, get pregnant, start a family, etc.  Not so fast.  There were a few more turns in there.

It took several months but May 2008 we found out we were pregnant.  We were ecstatic!  Obviously, we told EVERYONE we knew (shocking, I know).  Anyway, a few weeks later we go to the first ultra-sound and the little screen isn’t blinking like it should. That’s when the tech went to get the Doctor and it’s then that I knew things weren’t according to our plan.  Miscarriage.

We were shocked saddened but relied on The Lord.  We knew that this was the Lord’s plan.  We left that appointment and immediately I called up my friend Tony to get a spot for Amy on the mission trip in August 2008.

We traveled back to Belize in August 2008 and felt very convicted that adoption is the Lord’s plan for our lives.  On fire, we voraciously devoured all the information we could about adoption in Belize.  It didn’t take very long for us to hit another wall.  We were told adoption from Belize was not possible.

Limping along, we prayed and felt that domestic adoption was the direction that the Lord was directing us.  Undaunted, we found ourselves sitting in an office in Raleigh, NC talking about the process of becoming adoptive parents.

Note: Also, during this time, we were still “trying” to get pregnant.  And every month, it was more of the same…maybe pregnant, oops no not pregnant.  It was this trial of frustration that brought the darkest times in our marriage.

November 2011 we decide to pursue domestic adoption. The next couple of months was a blur of reading, reading, reading, home-studies, and building a book of our family to show what “life would be like” with us as parents.

Then came the waiting.  And with the waiting, more disappointment.  Disappointment that now we were not only NOT pregnant BUT that we weren’t CHOSEN to be adoptive parents.

Then one day in July 2009, our phone rang. It was the agency and they had someone decide that we were going to be the parents of their child.  What followed was frantic scrambling. Getting the nursery ready, car seats in car, diapers bought, clothes washed, showers had.

And more waiting.

Monday July 20-something, 2009 we get the call that the mother had the baby.  I call Amy tears streaming down my face and share the news.  She walks into her principals office and informs him that the week was her last week of work.

Tuesday (next day) – I get a call in the middle of small group from the agency director.  I will never forget her tone of voice and my shock “Josh, there’s been a change of plans.  She has decided to keep the baby.”

A few moments of silence pass and I just stare blankly.  We finish the phone conversation and I go back inside to our small group and lose it.  I am talking full blown sobs with snot bubbles.  They pray over us.  Matt and Faith stay a little longer and everyone leaves.

Shocked I go upstairs lay down in bed and immediately unleash the most guttural, swear-laced prayer to God.  Mostly if I remember correctly, it went something like this “God, why the ______ did this happen?  I need to know why right now?!!?  Was this not your plan God?!?  What are we supposed to do with all this baby stuff??  How is Amy going to get her job back??”

That was Tuesday.  Fast-forward 3 days from then Friday July 20-something.  I get a call from Amy after morning basketball.

Amy: “Josh”

Josh: “Yes, why are you calling me?  It’s early”

Amy: “Because I took a pregnancy test this morning”

Josh:  “Why on earth would you do that?  We aren’t going to have kids any time soon”

Amy: “If you let me finish, I didn’t fail”

Josh: “You didn’t fail….wait….if you didn’t fail….that means you passed…if you passed…that means that you ARE PREGNANT!!!” (insert more snot bubble tears)

Amy was pregnant with Madeline.  4 years later (roughly) we celebrated her birthday yesterday.

The Lord’s timing was perfect.  He knew that in 2008 we weren’t ready to be parents. He knew that Amy needed to come back to Belize in 2008 because without that trip in 2008, we wouldn’t be living as missionaries in Belize now.  He knew that Amy couldn’t stay at home in 2008 but because a requirement of the adoption was for her to stay at home, she was prepared to stay at home with all the kids after we had Madeline in 2010.

The Lord knew that adoption wasn’t for us then but He also knows that adoption is something that He has placed in our hearts and with living in Belize the barriers previously placed in front of us, may be removed.

When we found out we were pregnant, I immediately began begging God to have this pregnancy be a girl.  Girls, many of them, if not all of them have a terrible view of God the Father because their relationship with their dad is horrible.  I wanted the challenge of growing Madeline to understand that my love for her will never end BUT that God’s love is so much more.  I want Madeline to know that she has a Heavenly Father who is WAY WAY WAY better than her “super-dad” here on Earth.

Now we have Madeline.  She is the most extroverted person I have EVER met.  She even has to have someone sit with her in the bathroom while she poops…I don’t even do that!  She is full of life, creativity, and determination.  Oh man does she have determination (the good kind and the bad kind).

Madeline is also full of compassion that if she hears someone cries, she starts getting teary eyed.  She cares from the hurt, for all the poor and powerless.  Whether it’s a gift of a flower she picked, getting help, or singing a song, Madeline is full of compassion.

With her compassion and determination, we know the Lord has great plans for her.  She will be a world-changer caring for the least of these.  I pray Amy and I can grow her in her pursuit of God’s will and then get out of her way of pursuing the direction He calls her.

The Lord’s Timing – He knows.  That’s all I can say.  He just knows.  He prompts and pulls through His Holy Spirit to direct our steps to fulfill His Will.  The Lord’s timing is perfect.  My prayer for our family and for you all is that you pursue God’s Will and then pause and wait patiently for His Perfect timing.  You wont be disappointed!

Praises

  • Spring Fruit – This spring has been full of FRUIT.  Literally, over 50 people have surrendered their lives to Christ.  Medical clinics have happened. We had our first trip ever on Caye Caulker.  People are being freed from lives of dealing drugs or prostitution, into a full life in our Lord.  Praise God for what He has done!  Praise God for your involvement in the ministry this spring.

Prayer Requests

  • Teams returning home – We had a great trip with our friends from Mt. Bethel UMC last week.  I miss my family from Marietta.  Join us in praying for their re-entry as they all go to school this week.
  • Family – We are going on VACATION for A WEEK on THURSDAY!!  Pray that this is a restful time.  Pray that Amy and I can spend time together and with The Lord!  Pray that the kids enjoy the beach and the pool!  We are so stinkin excited!!!
  • Men’s Conference– We have two events from our church this week to reach out into the community.  The first one is a men’s conference tonight (Monday).  Pray that I can have the right words to say if asked to speak and that the Lord would put people in my path to befriend and encourage.
  • Prayer Vigil – Violence and drugs and alcohol have a grip on the young people of Hattieville.  While most of the activities are petty and silly, it can escalate from time to time.  Our church has organized a prayer vigil for Thursday night at the basketball court.  We are proclaiming freedom for our village from the chains that are binding the youth.  We are proclaiming revival.  Join us, stand in agreement, and proclaim Jesus over our village.

For your enjoyment

We did an “interview with Madeline.”  Here are her responses to the 4 year old questions.  Enjoy the humor of her youth!

1. What is your favorite color? purple

2. What is your favorite toy? ummm my legos

3. What is your favorite fruit? oranges, bananas, fruit loops

4. What is your favorite tv show? Sophia

5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? peanut butter and jelly

6. What is your favorite outfit? princess, tangled outfit but my snow white dress is a little too short and I am growing out of it

7. What is your favorite game? fancy nancy game

8. What is your favorite snack? granola bars

9. What is your favorite animal? umm let me think. Ellie has white balls in him to make him comfy and he is so fluffy

10. What is your favorite song? frozen songs

11. What is your favorite book? Frozen Book. I will tell you in one second (she had to look for her Frozen book to show me)

12. Who is your best friend? well my mean girls are nice so they are my friends. Vanesa, Richard, Peppa and they live right on that tree

13. What is your favorite cereal? fruit loops

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? play on my swingset

15. What is your favorite drink? water

16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas Eve and it opens in 3 days

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? my Frozen book

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? we said that already. i know i know. Sandwiches

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? blbl…cake. I want a cupcake for each of my friends and a team can even get one too. And I get 3. and one For Shelly and Hailey and Kayley.

20. What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be when I am a grown up is astronaut. How do you spell it. I thought you spelled it b-i-b-l-e oh wait that is bible.

 

loves her brothers too

loves her brothers too

She's just so beautiful

She’s just so beautiful

seeking counsel from the wise

seeking counsel from the wise

crafty like her mommy

crafty like her mommy

4 years old and has a big girl bike

4 years old and has a big girl bike

Making a cake with daddy

Making a cake with daddy

loves her mommy

loves her mommy

 

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