Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Our Heritage


Dear Partners in Prayer,

So many people have asked about the children so I wanted to spend a little space on them. It will probably remind you of those Christmas letters we all write and send to each other about our children!

Noé: He (left, in photo above) turned 17 in August and his main passion in life is praise music; whether it’s playing it on his acoustic guitar, listening to it on his iPod or belting it out in the car, he is perpetually singing God’s praises. I don’t know if his sweet nature is a direct result of this time invested in praising Jesus, but I thank God for Noe’s even disposition and steadiness. He’s been a great help to me in this time of recuperation. He assists with cooking (you have to try his amazing omelets), laundry, and keeping the younger ones in order. Who would have ever thought that this little munchkin (photo at left) would turn out to be such a psalmist for the Lord!

Juan Carlos (a.k.a. Juanca): Now officially a teenager (13 yrs) Juanca has sprouted up so fast that I can barely keep him in shoes and clothes. His favorite thing is to hang out with Noé and so (not surprisingly) he too has a penchant for playing God’s praises. Juanca’s sudden growth has caused a gawky gangliness that tends to make him a bit clumsy. I have tried to reassure him (and myself at the same time) that once the rest of his body catches up with his arms, he should be OK. During his September break, Juanca, Noé, and their friend Eduardo went to the Villa and spent several days chopping grass with a machete and moving earth from one place to another. I was blessed by Juanca’s diligence. (In picture at top, from left are Noé, Juanca, Kevin, and Eduardo with Korean team member Gee who donated a bass guitar this summer to the Jericho band.)

Susana banana: Susana is 7yrs old and she is my little shadow (on the right). She is at that stage of life where she thinks her Mom can do no wrong so I try to take advantage of that to teach her as much about Jesus’ love as possible. She reads to me every night from her Bible Story book which is in English. Do not ask me how she does that…..I do not know. Somehow she innately knows how to pronounce the words even though she hasn’t been taught to read in English. It’s definitely a gift. She has a strong character and loves to tell others what to do (smile!) so we are working on that little issue with her. She’s definitely got leadership in her future. She says she wants to be a missionary doctor when she grows up!

Miguelito: The Mig (above, left) turned 6 this week and he is a very funny child and makes us laugh often. Because of emotional wounding as a toddler, he has a hard time communicating but he doesn’t let that steal his joy. The doctor has assured us that he should outgrow his communication difficulties so in the meantime we enjoy the new words he makes up. This year he moved out to the Villa with Hae Young since she is his Uhm-ma (Korean for Mom). We miss Mig and Hae Young but they come back on the weekendswith Leslie, Vanessa, and Genesis, the three young girls she is caring for at the rehab center. We’re 10 on the weekends, filling up the dining room table not to mention the whole house, which is how I like it best. (See last photo of Genesis, Vanessa, and Leslie playing “red light, green light” with me.)

Marlyn: ( better known to us as Marlynchka or just Lynchka) Marlyn is finishing her last year of University and will graduate with a teaching degree in July 2009. She is specializing in TESOL: Teaching English as a Second Language. A gifted teacher, Marlyn spends her days at Jericho House where she is part of the teaching staff. In the afternoons she goes off to college and then at night she studies and helps take care of the family, including her recuperating Mama Bets. Marlyn is still praying about going to India after she graduates to share the love of Jesus. Once I read that we should send our very best to the mission field. That’s what we will be doing when Lynchka goes.

Maricela (18yrs) and Lety (13yrs): Unfortunately I don’t have any recent photos of Mari and Lety but missionary Suzy McCall (whom they live with) assures me that after some troubled waters, they are both now doing well. Lety (my fellow lover of ballet) came and spent some time with me when I returned from New York. She is a great little nurse. She was on summer break but is now back at International School where she is completing 6th grade. Mari is the receptionist at LAMB Institute ( a missionary training school that Suzy founded) and she is finishing High School with a bilingual online program in the evenings. Both girls are just a joy to be with!

I’m doing a Beth Moore study this month called “Stepping Up” and it has been such a balm to my soul. It’s a study of the Psalms of Ascent and this week’s Psalm was 127. Verse three states,” Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, children a reward.” Whether spiritual, adopted, or biological, children are certainly a wonderful reward! I praise God that while I was away from home receiving medical treatment, He took amazing care of my children through the Body of Christ. Your prayers for them made a huge difference!

Thank you so much for praying for me and for mine.

With love in Jesus,
Betsy

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Palabras

Dear beloved friends,
It’s been a wild week, full of surprises and blessings so I wanted to share them with you!

On Monday of this week Elvia came early in the morning with small vials from the lab and drew blood so that we could find out how the liver enzymes were as well as the complete blood count. She returned late in the afternoon with the amazing news that the bilirubin level had dropped from 20 to 9 in just three weeks. The normal is < 1 but this is definitely a sign that things are headed in the right direction. I was also quite excited because the protein and albumin levels were totally normal which means that the danger of water seeping into the tissues (edema) is no longer an issue which translates into I can more or less dispense with the low salt diet! I ate rice and beans and tortilla chips to celebrate!

Speaking of celebrating, Tuesday was my 51st Birthday and God just spoiled me all day long. The staff had a luncheon for me that a friend of mine named Ellie cooked and the low salt dishes and cake she made were amazing. She explained that God had given her the recipes because she had never made low salt meals before and so she asked God to help her! I teased her about making a book entitled “Recipes from Heaven”! Members of the staff showered me with some of my favorite things: a bar of dark chocolate with almonds, a magazine called Casa y Campo from Spain, a white blouse, practical undergarments to fit my ever decreasing middle, bright cut flowers (Gerbera Daisies), homemade cards and then they shared Palabras (encouraging words). That was the best part because as each person spoke, it became clear that there was an overwhelming theme…..we were all just grateful that God had allowed me to live to see 51 and beyond. They all shared how Jesus had used this health adventure to change their initial unbelief and shock into a strong conviction that God would do what He had promised: heal me completely. We all concurred that this was preparation for all of us for the next phase of the ministry. By the time everyone had shared we were singing praise songs to thank God for His amazing grace!

In the evening, we had more cake at church after the Tuesday service and some of the church members prayed over me confirming once again what God had already been writing on my heart; that the fire I had gone through had brought me to a new level of faith that God would use to heal others.

And Wednesday, well Wednesday brought some amazing gifts as well. Elvia, Hae Young and I had been praying about trying to get custody of Indira’s older two girls (Ana 13 yrs and Lisle 11 yrs pictured on either side of their brother) because Indira once again was struggling with drugs and alcohol which caused her to be abusive to her daughters. Indira’s husband wanted us to take the girls because he knew he could not work and protect them at the same time. It was decided that one of the grandmother’s would take their two boys if we could take the girls. God opened all the doors when Elvia took the girls to testify. The judge gave complete custody of Ana and Lisle to me and the ministry. They will live with Elvia’s family during the week and then with our family on the weekends. It seems that God is having us focus on the next generation to help them have a future in Jesus.


Hee ju Lee, one of our Korean Food for the Hungry volunteers is returning to Korea tomorrow as her two year commitment is now finished. Hee ju is a gem and we will miss her dearly. Her quiet and gentle ways were a nice complement to some of the more boisterous members of our staff. She worked with the High School Students and managed our web page until there was a desperate need for staff at the Villa. She rose to the occasion and even ran the program out there at times when Hae Young was with me in New York. She loved working in the garden and seeing things grow. I have a picture of her written in my memory bank of her squatting down to remove weeds from around the vegetables, wearing her wide brimmed hat and a colorful apron. Above, we are pictured at Heeju’s leave taking.

Friday was tranquil day at the office. I spent the afternoon putting the finishing touches on the 2009 calendar and contacting the printer to make sure they could have it ready by mid-November so that we can send them Northward. Hee ju tinted the photos and the rest I did in the wee hours of the morning when I could not sleep.

Thank you for being on this journey with us through prayer. We continue to praise God for His amazing handiwork in our lives and in yours! Next blog will be an update on the children.

Love to you all in Jesus,
Betsy