Monthly Archives: May 2009

James Brown, please meet us at the airport

Strange suggestion, we know, but we want to recreate the scene from Rocky 4 when James Brown sings “I-live-in-Amer-ica” right before Apollo Creed fights the Russian. We want that as Sam comes off the plane. (Not really, and please do not attempt to re-create this in any way).

The point is Sam is now one of the elect. He was chosen by the United States of America, not by any works of his own, to be called an American citizen. His visa interview went so great, so fast, and was so refreshing after some of the interviews we’ve been through.

Altogether we were at the consulate for about 30 minutes, and the visa interview only took about 10 minutes. It was really more of them telling us what was going to happen next and what documents we would need along the way. We also got the famed “sealed envelope” to carry home with us. We celebrated by paying about $18 for some ice cream and a shake at Baskin Robbins, and we could not have been more excited about it.

So everything we came here for has been done, everyone we need permission from to get out of here and into American has given it, and plane tickets have been purchased. We leave here tomorrow night around 3am headed for Frankfurt, then on to Dallas where we arrive at 2:30pm Sunday.

Thank you to everyone who has walked with us through some or all of this. We will be posting some about other things and people as we close out this season in the next few days or weeks, but thank you. We know that we could not have done this without so many of you.


“Lord willing” is the most appropriate phrase here

In the book of James, he says that we make all these plans, but that we don’t know what a day will bring. He says we will do this and that if the Lord wills it. So you hear lots of people say things like this, “Today we will leave our city headed for Almaty on our way home, Lord willing!” And attaching Lord willing to it is the most appropriate way to say it as we have seen in our time here and especially in these last few days. You can just never be sure.

So I preface all this with the fact that you can never be sure here. So having said that, Lord willing, we will be leaving our city this afternoon at 5pm on a train headed for Almaty. If things go smoothly we will be heading home on Sunday, May 31st.

Without sharing too many details, we heard two days ago and again yesterday that tings would not be finished by today and that we would be here several more days, but it was. God is powerful, and in this case we have seen his power even over men’s hearts. He moves things and people however he wants to, and his power touches everything.

So we head to Almaty for a doctor visit tomorrow and then we turn our stuff in to the Embassy the next day. The next day we have Sam’s visa interview where we will, Lord willing, get his visa and be ready to come home. So for now pray for a quick and good doctor visit. This will also be our first with Sam so his mom and dad are a little nervous about what all might come from it. Also please pray that all of our documents are in order when we go to the embassy.

Thank you, and hopefully we will be takling to many of you face to face real soon. Thank you for walking with us for all this time. We love you.

a short update

Hey friends. We have gotten a little slower in updates lately because of laziness, but also beause Charity’s brother Davy is here with us. He came in for some much needed refreshment and encouragement, and it has been great. Sam loves him already, and I think the rest of our family is jealous that he got to meet Sam first. We have attached a picture of Davy with Sam.

We also got some news recently of a possible return date coming up real soon. We are waiting to hear back about a couple of document details, and we will hold back exact dates until we can know more concretely, just because we know it might create a small swirling buzz, but we think that word will come on Monday. And we are really hopeful for a quick return date.  So more details to come soon on that.

We have really seen some things happen in our own personal lives in the last week or week and a half that have been sort of refining but very good, so we can see at least some of the goodness in being here longer. These are all things that could only have happened in us being here for longer. We have seen some things growing in us and God working some things in our spirits and our hearts that wil be good. One of our prayers about all of those things in the last 2 years is that they will stick. We don’t want to return to “life as usual” or try to make things back the way they were. We want to know that things have changed and that it’s just a good kind of different. And we want to learn to integrate what God has done in us. We don’t want things to go back to how they were for us personally and as a family.

So there  is our latest update. Hopefully there will be a little more detail to share in our next update. Thanks for walking with us. Now, on to the pictures.

Zoo…and Sam is growing up

This week we got out for an adventure at the zoo with some local friends who were very good to us. We weren’t quite sure what animals to expect, and they did have chickens, rabbits, foxes, horses, donkeys. But they also had bears, lions, pumas, tigers, and a hippo. It was pretty cool and made for a good day out for the family. We get pretty cooped up, so that was a good day.

Sam even shared a banana with a hippo. Charity was giving Sam a snack as we walked away form the hippo when he started out of the water and slowly right toward us. You can get pretty close to most of the animals, so he came right up to us and opened his mouth wide. We looked at each other, and Charity threw in a piece of banana. Turns out that was exactly what he wanted. He did it again and then again and he knew as soon as he got that little piece of banana in his huge mouth every time. Crazy sucker!

Sam has also semi learned to drink and feed himself. He can get some pretty good bites when there is something pretty sticky in his bowl. Once we were talking and just looked over and he was holding up his glass taking a drink all by himself. We were surprised and just laughed at how the little dude keeps surprising us. He is growing and changing so fast already.

We have been reading and telling Sam the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and how big of a deal it was that they would not bow to any god other than the real God. At the end of the story we asked Sam if he would bow and he shook his head no while mom yelled, “no!” That’s our thing with him now. We posted a video for our college students on our youtube page called Hillcrest Video May 17. You can see Sam saying “no, he will not bow” in it. It’s about 5:20 long and shows a little bit of what we do during the day here, which ain’t much.

And here’s a bonus today for anyone who wants to see the journey in video form. We have been poasting videos of Sam since day one for grandparents, doctors, and such that we are no longer keeping a secret. The page is and has about 45 videos of Sam from the first day we spent with him until now. If you are into that, enjoy.

The biggest prayer requests we have right now are for Sam’s passport to some on Monday and for his visa to be approved by Friday. The passport is supposed to be here on Monday, but you never know. And the visa could take up to 10 business days, but we are praying that it will be this week so we can get moving. Once those two things happen we will be able to start making some tentative plans to head back toward home. We would also appreciate prayer for our continued perseverance and patience. We are doing well, but days get long here without much to do. We have really seen the blessing of this amount of time together before returning to the craziness that will be the summer, but we are getting a little stir crazy. So we are praying for speed in the process, but also grace, perseveranc, and patience in the waiting.

Thank you for loving us and walking with us. We love you guys.

a fun weekend along with another little dose of reality

There’s bad news and good news. Good news first. Yesterday was Victor’s Day, a holiday left over from the Soviet days, but we all know the Kazakhstani people love their holidays. They had a big fair open down at Central Park. It was complete with rides, vendors selling food, shows, cotton candy, horse rides, and all kinds of other things. We don’t do much of anything formally these days like go to work, go the baby house, church, or anything else. We hang out all day every day. So we are usualy looking for things to do.

We went to the carnival yesterday for a while and it was a good time. We ate some popsicles and ice cream, rode the boat across the lake, and let Sam play in the bounce house. We went back again today to see if it was still going on, and it definitely was. Today we did a little more.

We kept a running total of our expenditures, and it’s just ridiculous. First we took a carriage ride, 200 tenge. Next we rode the ferris wheel, 120 tenge. Then little kids swings for Mom and Sam, 60 tenge. Then the big swings for Dad and Sam, 120 tenge. Then two popsicles, 140 tenge. Altogether 640 tenge. Total in US dollars: $4.27. A day outside of your one room apartment on the warmest day yet with your new son on Mother’s Day: of course, priceless.

Now for the bad news. We found out a few days ago that Sam’s documents are taking longer for some reason. We don’t know what all is going on, as usual, but they told us his passport will be ready on May 18th, then up to 10 days to get his visa, then 3 days for registering in the capitol, then 3 days or so in Almaty, then on to the States. That’s way longer than we were told to expect. We aren’t sure why or what we can do about it. We are trying to look into it, but at this point we are just praying. It was a pretty discouraging day when we heard that, and to be honest, we’re still taking it pretty hard.

It’s been good to remember all the good things God has done for us. He has brought us so far and given us Sam. This would be so much worse if this were a problem while Sam was still in the baby house, so for that we are incredibly thankful. We know God is doing good things and we trust him. We really had our minds set on getting home and starting life. The time here without much going on has been so great, and we can see how valuable it has been and continues to be with every new day. But we are all getting a little stir crazy.

Thank you guys for remembering us, and thank you for praying us through all this. We’ll see how things work out and when. We trust that God will take care of the things that were needing our attention back home.

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