Monday, April 11, 2016

Milestone Monday

Every day brings new changes around here. Our babes are growing, learning, changing all the time. We're so proud of them! Here is a bit of what we've been up to lately! 
Memo lost her two front teeth!
Evey is the wildest of women. 
Suzy is still working hard at physio! Keep praying she will sit!
They've learned to make human trains, and will walk like this forever! 
Essie and Lot are walking and at Haven 2!
Edith graduated from physio!
These snit snorts all eat nshima like big kids with their hands now, not in a baby bowl!

Jenny is sitting!
Luyando is taking 4 steps!

Roinah's starting to use those legs!

Memo is walking now! She's still going to physio 3 times a week, but I think she'll be discharged soon! 
Nora continues to gain weight at an abnormally fast rate. 😂
Lamby is walking! And loves to have that tongue hanging out. 


And as always, we've had tons of birthdays! 

Dwini turned 3! (Peeps as a cake-- I already know. I'm the worst.)
Flo turned 3!

Watupa turned 2!

Sesa Bean turned 7!
John turned 3!
Priscilla turned 3!

This gang all turned 1!

Chabilo

Frecha
Catra

Emmanuel (Manu)
Jose turned 5!
Abbie turned 10!
Jonah turned 4!
Edith turned 2-- and is walking!!
Maureen is 6!
And so is Memory! 😉

All is well in our world. Thanks for loving us and praying for us! 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Haven T-shirts


We, like everyone else in the world, fell in love with Fight Song last summer. Our kids of all ages love to scream it at the top of their lungs, and it brings tears to my eyes every time. Each one of them is a little fighter, overcoming all sorts of circumstances that brought them to us, and we pray that they keep believing how strong they are as they go off into the big wide world out there. The first line of the song says, "Like a small boat on the ocean, sending big waves into motion." Each of our sweet babes, tiny as they may be, changes the world. 

That line inspired our auntie's t-shirts this year! You can buy one and help us get a school bus for our kids! 

If you're interested in buying one, email emily.kurt@oc.edu. They are available in adult and kid sizes! 

Thanks for all the ways you support the Haven!

Lamby and the Lamb of God

A little over a year ago, a tiny, dying Mary moved in with me. Because I am who I am and couldn't NOT give her a nickname, she obviously became Lamb as a tribute to the classic nursery song. Lamb quickly turned into Lamby, and before long, the fact that she actually had another, real name was a distant memory. She is Lamby to every other baby, to every auntie, and all of our baby dolls around here even bear that name. 

Lamby transitioned back to the Haven when she was well again, but she never stopped being my every Sunday morning church date. No matter which church I am in on Sunday mornings, she's with me.  For over a year of Sundays now I've rocked that baby in church, fed her, taken her out as she became increasingly vocal and mobile, and cherished those sacred mornings of togetherness. Of course I still see her every day at the Haven, but our Sundays have always been special to me. 

The baby who lived with me before Lamb was Mercy, and during the days she lived with me, I started noticing how often her name came up in songs. It always made me smile as I rocked my Mercy in church and heard her name being used in worship, and even now after she's been gone a long time, I don't sing that name without thinking of that sweet girl. 

But you know what name seems to be in even more songs than Mercy? Lamb. It seems every single song we sing in church here, in English or in Tonga, contains her name. I'll never forget early on in her time with me, when we still prayed daily for a miracle that would give her life, holding her in church on a Sunday night and singing the words "dear dying lamb" from the old hymn "There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood". It stopped me mid song, brought tears to my eyes, as I pleaded again in prayer for God to spare her life and not take her from us. I did not want my Lamb to die. 

This morning, fifty-five Sundays later, I sat rocking that same sweet baby girl, my Lamby, saved by God's mercy and power. She's gotten harder and harder to keep in church, louder and busier and more distracting to those around us, so this morning of still and sleep was a sweet gift to me. I sat and marveled at her, at every perfect thing about her, at the rise and fall of her little chest and her scrunched nose and her nails that need cut and her soft, curly hair. A year ago I didn't think she'd make it, and I definitely didn't think I could love her anymore than I already did. But today as I sat staring at her, I realized how much more depth and history and relationship there is to us now. It's not that I love her more than I did then , but I definitely love her deeper with every day I get with her. 

Our thoughts were turned to John 3:16 by Ba Rodwell as we took communion, and I thought about God giving us his only son, his Lamb. I've always thought of my Lamby when I read verses and sing songs about the Lamb of God, but this morning, watching her sleep perfectly, innocently, vulnerably in my arms, I cried thinking of my little Lamb being hurt in anyway, of anyone being mean to her or rejecting her. I can't even stomach the thought. My thoughts go to a year ago, pleading with God to not take my Lamb from me, to save her instead. 

I've known about God's sacrifice of his only son as long as I've been alive. But I've never had a Lamb before.  So I'd never thought as much about that sacrifice as I did today, in the context of my Lamby and his Lamb. 
God, who didn't just love his Lamb for a year, but has loved him for all of eternity. 
God, who sent his Lamb for all of us to have life.
God, who watched his Lamb be tortured and rejected and humiliated. 
It blows my mind that He who holds all power broke his own heart, not backing down when it became too painful to stomach, but sacrificed anyway, sure of the victory to come. 

Lamby is at the stage where she won't leave me without a fight. If you take her from me, you'll feel the brunt of it. She kicks and screams (and sometimes claws) at whoever tries to separate her from the one she loves the most (if I do say so myself :)). So the willingness of Jesus, the Lamb of God, to come, to leave the one he loves the most, strikes me again, too. How loved we are, by both the Father and the Lamb!

Maybe this outs me for not paying attention too closely in church this morning, but in reality, it was the closest communion I've shared with Him in awhile. 


Friday, December 25, 2015

Haven Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

I'm here in Zambia for Christmas this year, and so I've tried to make these days leading up to Christmas extra fun and special. We cut snowflakes, we made paper chains, we practiced Jingle Bells until we're all humming it all the time. So much anticipation for today! 
Jose
Mercy
Helen
Patu
Risa
Reuby
The big day, our Christmas, finally arrived! They could barely be contained as they saw a pile of gifts with their names written on them. Jason and Kathi had picked out the gifts on a recent trip to Lusaka, and Cintia lovingly wrapped them to add to the curiosity and mystery! One by one they opened their gifts, celebrating with each other as we went along. It was such a great time. 

John
Dwini
Jonah
Jose
Reuby
Watupa (This is the face I got whenever I tried to help him get that paper off!)
Patu
Priscilla
Sesa Bean
Binny
Kenty
Flavia
Maureen
Memo
Helen
Flo
Edith
Mercy

A hula-hoop for all, and to all a good night

I've been thinking so much about Christ's birth, about how he entered this world solely to redeem us. I still can't fathom that at his birth, he was Lord and was our savior. It further blows my mind that he did that not only for those living in his time, or for us who live now and currently need that salvation, but for everyone who is still to come. I especially love thinking about how he knows each of our babies by name, by heart, and he knows how they'll sin and struggle one day. And that tiny baby Jesus coming took care of them, too. 

It has been so fun to see our babes marvel at the gifts and fun this season brings. At this point in their lives, they can't really comprehend the greater gift this season means in their lives-- a savior born just for them. Our prayer is that they'll grow to learn and understand that incredible gift he's given to each of us. 

Merry Christmas to you and yours! We love you guys!