“I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” 3 John v 4
The month of December was full of ups and downs, but the one thing we feel about it overall is joy.
Last year we did nothing American to celebrate Christmas besides cinnamon rolls for breakfast and reading the story of Christ’s birth in Luke. The day passed slowly and ended up being kind of miserable because we didn’t sleep at all that night, hearing the disco’s throbbing music and the public showing of movie after movie, as loudly as if they were inside our bedrooms, all through the night. This year we decided to be a little more traditional and put up a few lights and decorations, do a gift exchange with the kids, and invite some dear friends, 3 single ladies, over for dinner since their families had traveled for the holiday to different villages. It was not quite a white Christmas or a comfy cozy one, but it was restful and fun for all of us. And the disco got rained out, which was an answer to prayer for us (both for sleep, but also for the sake of our community and discouraging them from celebrating in ungodly ways).
And the New Year slipped in so nonchalantly. There were events to mark the day, but having no real change of season to mark the time has made it difficult to believe that another year is in the past.
I want to let you know about our friend Luke, who’s health we had asked you to pray for. As soon as he saw he wasn’t going to get any real answers and that he was not getting any better in the hospitals here, he flew back to the States and sought treatment there. Thankfully he recovered steadily from his first doctor’s visit, and I believe he is on track with his health to be joining us again soon. The doctors in America guessed that it was an undiagnosed case of pneumonia, among other possible things. But the good news is that God has been healing Luke and giving his body strength! Praise God for these answers to prayer!
Now we have something to share which is never easy to talk about. Over the last half a year, God has been readying our hearts to receive another child. With all 3 of our children, we’ve really felt God preparing us beforehand for them, and even with Noah, we felt God leading us to pray for a boy months before he was conceived, though we weren’t sure whether to expect one through adoption or of ourselves. This time, late in November we found out I was pregnant. We were happy to know this and were glad God had been preparing us. But just two days after the positive test, I miscarried. I was only about 4 weeks along, some people wouldn’t have even guessed they were pregnant at that point, but I had, and I was. And then I wasn’t. It was a confusing few days as we tried to understand what might have caused it or if the test had just malfunctioned to begin with. Well, just 2 weeks later we had it medically confirmed as a miscarriage in a wild rush of physical pain and emotions. After a day of cramping and a night of fitful sleep, I woke up to excruciating pain in my lower right abdomen. We packed up the kids, called our x-ray technician friend in town, and left the house at 5:30 in the morning. Friends kept the kids for us as we waited for answers: Completion of miscarriage (which can take up to 6 wks for some people), malaria, and early appendicitis. After a lot of help from the Lord, a few days of bed rest, and a whole lot of pills, I made it through and am physically feeling fine.
Emotionally I’m doing well too. God has given us peace about the final resting place of this child. We decided to name him Jordan, after the river (it’s easier to say ‘him’, but we don’t know which the child was). When the Israelites went into the land God had promised, they crossed the Jordan River. The name seemed fitting since this baby crossed into the Promised Land before us. And while we truly are sad to miss any future here on earth with Jordan, we have such comfort knowing where he is, and where we would have hoped and prayed all his life on earth that he would go if he had stayed; the arms of the Father. A verse that has always held such meaning for me in regards to our children is 3 John, verse 4, which says, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”
And to know that my child has already reached the end of that “walk”, and is resting now in the presence of the Lord… I have a peace that passes my own understanding and joy. I look forward now to worshipping the Lord together with him one day.
Please do continue to pray for us as we keep our eyes on the goal of Christ’s glory.
Many blessings in Jesus,
Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline, and Noah