Sunday, June 30, 2013
All my siblings were in for the visit- we were just one brother-in-law short of a full family gathering (we missed you, George!). Here are a few of the highlights:
Watching doggy videos on Aunt Cynthia’s phone.
Waiting for the rest of the family to join us at the zoo.
More zoo pictures.
On Friday, the kids woke up before anyone else, so I decided to take them on a breakfast date, then to see a few sites from my High School days. Their favorite part: The new fabulous playground we discovered!
On Friday night, Milena had another surprise birthday celebration. She was full of smiles and hugs, and it was wonderful to see her so touched by her family’s love. Of course, I forgot to take a photo.
On Saturday we headed home to begin the second stage of our fortnight, packing and saying goodbye to local friends. To Be Continued…
We’ve planned these weeks for 6 months now, and it feels surreal to be in the middle of them. I’ve been taking lots of photos! I want to document this time for my children, and the family and friends that are interested. If you’re not so interested, feel free to skip this series of posts.
Part 1 of the fortnight was June 22. It started with the happy-and-relieved discovery of Don’s FBI Clearance in the mailbox. Whew! Really should have taken a photo of that, and of my poor, overloaded car on the way to Illinois. We had several more items to deliver to their storage places with family and friend, plus luggage for the trip. Let’s just say that the car and the roof rack were full.
We arrived on Saturday afternoon at Don’s parents home. The kids were thrilled, as always, to see Grandparents and other family members.
Ice cones with Grandma McGrew = summer delight.
Saturday evening, Milena was surprised with an early birthday party. Actually, surprised was an understatement. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so shocked! I knew she had been admiring a rainbow cake on Pinterest, so I slipped the recipe to Do’s sister Judy. Milena was thrilled with the results!
On Sunday, we were happy to be able to attend a family reunion. We’ve missed this one for several years, so it was perfect time to catch up with family and enjoy way too much great food.
Debby and the cutest little dude at the party:
Such a great helper! Milena helped tirelessly in the kitchen during the reunion. Most of her favorite people were in there too, and she enjoys working alongside her grandma and aunts.
Elijah and Uncle Dan keeping a balloon in the air:
Aunt Judy visited several times, and on Monday she brought this:
Not just a little fun, let me tell you. This one was played with over, and over. And OVER. I don’t think the marbles were ever actually cleaned up for the next 48 hours. They were always in motion. Good times!
We left Don’s parents Wednesday morning with a tearful farewell. We’re not so fond of all the goodbyes, that is certain. We’re already looking forward to visiting in 10 months or so!
Part 2 coming soon…
Friday, June 21, 2013
I know, from touring the Blogosphere, that there are many other families in similar situations to the one we are in. We are waiting (again) for a document to arrive, one that should have been here a week ago, one that will delay our departure if it does not arrive quickly.
It’s hard, this waiting. The not knowing is the worst. Will we be delayed? What preparations do we need to make just in case? It would be easier to have everything 100% ready, to be able to emotionally prepare, one way or another.
But, clearly, there is something to be learned in this season. Whether waiting for a new assignment, a document to arrive, or learning a flight has been delayed, there are many uncertainties in the lives of nomad families. The issue is learning to deal with these uncertainties without giving fear and worry a foothold.
I will be the first to admit that I have not conquered these lessons just yet. I have been learning to turn to Scripture more quickly, as a first response, rather then after 8 hours of ulcer-inducing worry.
And because I know that there are so many others in this same situation, I thought perhaps it would encourage someone else if I posted a list of the verses I am reciting over and over these days. The added benefit is that I can pull up this list myself as needed. So, here is my list.
1 John 4:18- There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Matthew 6:25- Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food and the body then clothing?
Matthew 6: 33-34 - But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
John 14:1- Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.
Psalm 32:10- Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.
Psalm 33:20-21 – We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.
Psalm 34:4- I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 42:8- By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me- a prayer to the God of my life.
Which verses do you stand on in trouble times? I’d love a few to add to my list!
Monday, June 17, 2013
We are now in the final stages of preparations! We are praising the Lord that Alyssa's background check came back, just in the nick of time. We will now be able to send all of our visa-related paperwork to our Immigration attorney, so that it can be translated into Bulgarian and the proper forms can be completed for our arrival. What a relief to have all of that nearly taken care of!
We will be leaving Indiana on July 5, and heading to Chicago for a family weekend before flying out of O'Hare Airport at 5pm on July 8th. Please keep us in your prayers as we travel on July 8th and 9th.
On July 11th, we will be spending the day looking at, and hopefully selecting, an apartment in Sofia. Please pray that our real estate agent selects exactly the right properties for us to view, and that we have wisdom in choosing the best one for our family. We will send photos of our new place as soon as possible!
Partnership UpdateWe are so THANKFUL to be able to report that we now have all of the funds needed for departure. In addition, we have nearly $1,000 in monthly support. At the moment, our biggest financial need is to increase this monthly support by another $1,200 per month. This will not only cover our monthly expenses, but allow us to save for expenses like our return trip tickets. Thank you for your support!
If you want to support our ministry, the fastest way is to make an Online Donation via www.WorldOutreach.org/donations and select our names from the list. The system can process USA & International cards. You can also set-up automatic Monthly gifts if you choose the "Monthly" option. Or simply mail your check to: World Outreach Ministries, PO Box B, Marietta, GA 30061 and designate for Don and Alyssa McGrew #214.
Don & Alyssa