We are back! We are now in our 5th full day back in AMERICA! Our first full day back was Thanksgiving, and yesterday (Sunday) we got to experience a full day at church together. We are slowly starting to figure out our new routine and are thankful for your continued prayers and support. You can pray specifically for the following list: - School schedules (the older two won't start back until January) - Upcoming travel (before and after Christmas) - Additional expenses that come with the holiday season - Continued binding of our family - Friends for the kids (they love how everyone has been so "kind") - Continued strength for me and Kristina (individually and our marriage) - Good health [Updated 11/19/2019]
Today is day 18 of our trip (of what we now hope to be a 26-day trip). Today was the day we were originally planning to fly back to Memphis. We are now in "overtime" which is the primary reason for this fundraiser. Please read the original post to better understand the amount of money we are raising; we know it is a lot.
We are so thankful for the support we have gotten up to this point. Thank you for your generosity AND your encouraging phone calls, texts, and messages. We need it! We are praying that God will use this "overtime" to further bind us together as we prepare to come back home.
Please pray for: - The following dates/appointments to hit cleanly: --- Nov 20 return of blood work, review with Dr. Mendez --- Nov 21 successful trip to the US Embassy to apply for visas --- Nov 26 visa pick-up ---Nov 27 return to Memphis (short connection time which will include immigration with non-citizens) --- (***missing any of these could push us back another 4-7 days) - The kids to continue to get along. They have spent all day every day together over the last 16 days in four different houses (new routines, new rooms, etc.). They are still doing a good job but that is a prayer priority. - Me and Kristina. We are both waking up very anxious most days. We are both experiencing strong highs and lows every day. The middle of the day has been especially defeating the last few days so extra prayers would be appreciated during that time. - Ashley, Isaac, and Israel. We are going back home but they will be going to a place that is totally foreign to them. They know there are a lot of people who love them and are eager to see them, but they have their own anxiousness. - Charlee, Levi, and Mia. This has been our core family for the last 3-6 years. We want to make sure that they get all of their mom-and-dad needs met with the addition of their brothers and sister. They are really doing great but also looking forward to getting home.
I am trying to pray this for our family many times a day. If you don't have the right words to pray for us, just use this: Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
[Original post from 11/12/2019 below]
Family and Friends,
I am sorry to have to do this again, but we need to open up another adoption fundraiser. We are currently on day 11 of what we originally thought to be an 18-day trip. Today, we found out that we will be here for an additional 7 days. The amount we are asking for will help cover an additional week of lodging, transportation, and food as well as covering changes that had to be made (flights, etc.). Additionally, the amount includes unexpected expenses while here in Belize (we have paid $1,500+ in additional shots and blood work that we did not know about coming into the trip). We were not aware of certain calendar glitches and had to change accommodations and transportation several times (i.e. minors can only give blood at a certain clinic on Mondays; our appointment was on a Tuesday so we had to wait until the following Monday). Did you know that November 19th is a big national holiday in Belize? Neither did we, and everything is closed (including the US Embassy).
We are still faithful and hopeful, we just need help. This has been the most unique experience of my life to this point. We have been stretched emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and financially. I feel like God has been challenging me with one specific thing each day—one day fear, another day anxiety, etc. I am not a crier, but there have been several times on this trip where I just started crying from feeling overwhelmed and anxious, one time in front of the whole family. This trip has had challenging moments, and it is hard work to blend two families into one big family.
There have been some really cool moments on this trip (outside of the ways that God has revealed Himself to us). The kids (on both sides) are doing great! The little ones love having big siblings, and the big siblings have been a great help with the little ones. We knew each other coming into the trip, but we are really getting to know each other now. It has been fun to watch the trust grow and to try to get the boys to stop calling me Mr. Matt. We have never had a teenager and are experiencing the joys of that! Most of all, I have never felt closer to or more proud of Kristina. She is an amazing wife and mom and has calmly walked me through my low moments of the trip. She has said to me on several occasions, “I’ll be strong for you today.” I’M IN LOVE!
I also wanted to take a moment that thank all of the people who have already been generous toward us. We know that over 200 people have contributed to this adoption in one way or another. We also know that there are many people back in Memphis right now helping us get the house ready and making repairs in their room. We have not forgotten all of the support that we have gotten up to this point and are SO GRATEFUL for your generosity and love. Whether or not you are able to help us financially, please commit to praying for us for the duration of our trip. I really believe that I can feel when someone is taking a moment to pray for us. I will have a random and unexpected moment of peace. We need LOTS of those in the upcoming days!
I wanted to share a lyric that I wrote a few days ago and have been singing to myself over and over (the 2nd house we stayed at had a guitar so I could sing and play to wind down at night). The lyrics are in response to what God has been teaching me each day, how He is pin-pointing sin in my life and trying to make me a more faithful follower.
“You know you’ll never meet another Who can take away your sins
He’ll teach you and you will discover All the brokenness within
And He’ll stare you in your eyes He’ll dig into your soul
And He does all this just so we can know Him more”
Prayer requests: - Patience (we are really trying to take this one day at a time and enjoy it) - That the kids continue to get along (we are together all-day-everyday in changing unfamiliar environments; we will have been in at least four different houses by the end of this trip) - We need several things to hit at the right time in order to get back before Thanksgiving (return of blood tests, processing of visas, etc.). Monday the 18th, Thursday the 21st, Tuesday the 26th, and Wednesday the 27th are all big dates where things need to hit correctly.