Tuesday, December 25, 2012

advent day 25

Merry Christmas!!

I realize that Advent is anticipating Christmas. Thus, on the 25th, it is no longer Advent. Christmas is here. Yet, I like to include something for Christmas Day. As you've seen, among our ornaments are pieces of a Nativity scene. Since Christmas is a day to celebrate the birth of Christ, I save the baby Jesus ornament for the 25th. Since Advent is only 24 days and 24 pockets on the calendar, I decided to do something else with this one:

Growing up, it was tradition to read Luke 2 before exchanging gifts with each other. To me, it is important to remind ourselves of the gift of Jesus on the Earth, Emmanuel, and the gift of God's grace and eternal life. We don't give each other gifts just because we enjoy it, though we certainly do enjoy giving to those we love and (I'm not gonna lie) receiving gifts, too. We give gifts as a reflection of the gifts God has given.

What we are doing this year is to open the 25th ornament and read Luke 2:1-20 before we open our gifts. We'll see how it turns out!

Luke 2:1-20

The Birth of Jesus Christ
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should beregistered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem,because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths andlaid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Andthis will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Monday, December 24, 2012

advent day 24

Luke 2:25-32
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
    according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
    that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

Sunday, December 23, 2012

advent day 23

Matthew 18:2-4
And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

Mark 16:15
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Psalm 33:20
Our soul waits for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

advent day 22

1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.

Luke 4:18-21
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Friday, December 21, 2012

advent day 21

Philippians 2:5-11
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Luke 1:46-55
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

Thursday, December 20, 2012

advent day 20

Matthew 2:1-12, 16
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

advent day 19

[It's my birthday! I've said goodbye to my 20's, welcoming the big 3-0 today.]

Psalm 100:1-2
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
    Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!

John 1:15
John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

advent day 18

Psalm 98:1-6
Oh sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm
    have worked salvation for him.
The Lord has made known his salvation;
    he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
    to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation of our God.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
    break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
    with the lyre and the sound of melody!
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
    make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!

Monday, December 17, 2012

advent day 17

Psalm 37:23-24
The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
    when he delights in his way;
though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
    for the Lord upholds his hand.

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet
    and a light to my path.

John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

2012 Christmas Letter

Normally I mail our photo Christmas card with a little letter about our year. This Christmas finds us in Kenya, thus we're doing our Christmas cards digitally, as part of my "this year in pictures" end-of-the-year blog post. So for those of you coming to the blog for the first time via our Christmas card email: Karibuni! Welcome!


Nate turned 2!! We were living at Camp Tejas, working on our first fundraising goal so that we could move to Kenya. God amazed us by meeting our fundraising goal around the end of the month.


We got ready to move to Kenya by traveling around the state, speaking in churches, and visiting family


We arrived in Kenya and began settling in to our new way of life. We were sent here by non-profit organization Maisha Kamili to start children's homes. The first phase of our work was to register Maisha Kamili in Kenya, look for land to buy, and set a fundraising goal for buying land


The boys got to meet lots of their Kenyan cousins and make friends in our neighborhood.


Rodgers' birthday! And look! My parents came to visit. We also went on a game drive (safari) in Tsavo. My first! I'm sure I've mentioned that it was awesome.


June started fun with my parents still visiting, but after they both left, Ben got sick, and we had trouble with our car and the electric company. Good news: Ben is a strong, healthy guy! He recovered and has not been sick since. We rented cars when we needed them, and we were able to stay in a hotel with a bathtub while our power was out.


In July, Nate decided he was done with daytime diapers (nighttime potty training took a couple more months)! Ben started eating real food. Pictured here having just "cleaned up" Nate's spilled snack. He also started climbing the stairs. Maisha Kamili began supporting orphans and children of widows who need help paying school fees.


Ben and Nate started really playing together. They love rough-housing with their dad. Below, they were pretending to be in a bobsled. Ben's goofy personality came out more and more. He loves playing jokes and making us laugh.


Ben turned 1!!


We went to Nyahururu to work on getting Maisha Kamili registered as a ministry in Kenya and also to see how one of our friends is running their children's home. We went to Lake Nakuru while we were up there, as well as crossing both the Rift Valley and the Equator and seeing Mt Kenya. Ben went from taking a few tentative steps to running around with Nate. Nate says that Ben is his best friend. Neither one can stand being away from the other for very long. Also, my uncle and cousin came to visit. I really didn't take many pics of them, but here they are looking at the Indian Ocean.


Our work continued, and these two boys just kept growing. The 7 MKKs we were taking care of at this point are pictured below, with their names in the photo caption. We had them all over to our house for Thanksgiving dinner.

(back row: Moses, Beatrice, Pamplin Mpate; middle row: Santa, Tiffany, John; front row: Joshua)


We've been planning to have a Christmas in Kenya since 2010. That one fell through because I was 38 weeks pregnant on Christmas Day. We rescheduled Christmas 2011 in Kenya because we were planning to move here this year. We will have Christmas dinner with Rodgers' family on the Saturday before Christmas, followed by Christmas with just the 4 of us at home, followed by 26 hours of flying and layovers (a longer trip if you count from the time we leave here for the airport until the time we arrive at my parents' place from the airport on the other side) to get us to Texas for a month of visits and reporting on Maisha Kamili. Our December and Christmasy adventures will be posted here on the blog, though considering how busy we will be the last week of December, posts may not be very prompt!

As I finished this post up, I enjoyed going back through our picture posts from previous years.