Sunday, January 31, 2010

They are on their way home!

They got on the first of two planes on their way home 8 hours ago. They will land at DFW on Monday afternoon. Ayana and I are so excited that we can almost pee in our pants...Well, actually Ayana does still pee in her pants but I break that habit a long time ago! We just got back from church and Ayana is down for her nap. We looked like twinkies today at church: we both had on dark wash jeans and cream colored sweaters and we are two curly headed babes! We were so efficient in getting ready this morning that we went to the grocery store before chruch! Ayana had a hard time sleeping last night because she was up a few times. I would hear her babble for a few minutes and then she would go right back to sleep. She was wide awake at 5AM though so I changed her diaper, made a bottle and she went right back down until 9AM. Yesterday we went to see my mom becasue I had to get a tax document that arrived there in the mail. We all went out to lunch at Cheddars and Ayana was so cute. When the waitress walked up to get our order, Ayana would point at herself and say "Ayaya, Ayaya, Ayaya" like she was introducing herself. It was hilarious. She did that to anyone who stopped at our table. The rest of the day we just chilled at the house and played with toys. She had a hard fall yesterday and tripped on the carpet and went face first on to a toy and then the ground. She was screaming and crying so loudly it scared the bajesus outta me! I was standing a few feet away when she fell and it looked like it really hurt too. But after a few tears and 5 minutes of consoling, she was all smiles and giggles and back to playing and not even a mark to show her fall thank goodness! That's all for now...we are counting down the hours until Amber, Rick, and Savvy get home!!!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 6 with Ayana

Ayana is so great. We spent about 45 minutes on the couch reading/looking at her books. She loves the Elmo book the best. We looked at it for 20 minutes. She is so smart. I would say the names of items in the book and point to them. We went all through the book identifying items. Then I would say items and she would flip to the page and point at them! She knew all of them! Sometimes she would even say the names if she could pronounce them. I couldn't believe she could focus that long...She's only 20 months old and I'm 23 and I can barely stay focused on one item that long! But she was just sitting in my lap the whole time. Then she took a fascination to my socks. I'm actually wearing Amber's socks because I forgot to pack my own! Don't worry Amber, I will wash them before you get them back! She would take one off of my foot and take off with it so I would chase her around the living room and get it back. She thought that was hilarious. I would put it back on my foot and she would do it again. We put the socks on her feet and it was so cute. They went all the way up to her knees but she liked wearing them. I wish I would have taken a picture because it was soooo cute!


We talked to Amber & Rick on the phone finally!

As soon as I came home from work, we called Amber and Rick on a new number they gave us. We actually woke them up because it was 3AM in Addis but they were excited to hear from Ayana. Amber said they were awake because the city was doing the Muslim prayer and they can hear it in their room. We had a five minute conversation without being disconnected. It was so exicting to actually get to talk to them and have a clear connection. Ayana was talking up a storm saying, "mama, dada, nana". It was great! We are going to call again tomorrow during lunchtime so they will be fully awake as it should be about 8 or 9PM there.

Email from Amber!!

"We miss Ayana so bad!!!!! But we are glad we didn't bring her. Too many risks to have her here. The polution is so bad that when I blow my nose, black comes out.
This morning we were at the prostitution ministry and this evening we rode out to a village outside the city where one american missionary couple are. They have started a ministry for the children to school and feed them. It felt like we were on National geographic.

It was a remote village with no electricity or water and they live in mud huts. They held a ceremony for the whole village to bless a new peice of land that they aquired to build a new school for more children. The school is about the size of ourt master bath and closet and it holds at least 20 children. CRAZY! The elders of the community were there to bless the land and to tell the people what was going to happen. They slaughtered an ox and cut it up and put it on a hige platter and used their hands to pass it out to everyone to eat, RAW! I didn't want to be rude but we just could not do it! They also cooked some of it but they were so dirty that I just couldn't eat it either.

They all ate like vultures becasue they hadn't eaten in days. Our group supplied the missionaries with the money to buy bread and the ox for the viallge to eat. Seeing the children there was devastating. They had ripped clothes and were so dirty. Some of the children had fungus growing on their heads and some of their skin looked unrecognizable. Some were covered in scabies and other skin infections. I felt guilty for feeling this way, but I was freaking out on the inside. You know that I am a germaphobe and I was absolutely freakin out on the inside for hours. It was horrible. We couldn't help everyone, there was just too many of them. It was so hard.
On the way home, we stopped at the pharmacy and got scabies creme. My skin is absolutley crawling!!!!

I have so much more to tell but I am so tired. Call when you want, no matter what time. We love you guys and miss you so bad!

Give Ayana a big hug and kiss for us! Love you,

Amber, Rick, Savannah"

That's all I have for now. I'm going to try and call after I get home from work so Ayana can talk too.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 4 with Ayana

Ayana is doing amazing well. She slept all through the night and went to sleep as soon as I put her down. The dogs started barking at 1:30AM so I went downstairs to check everything out and change her diaper. I guess the dogs brought her out of that deep sleep so when I started changing her diaper, she woke up. So I made her a bottle and she went right back down. In fact, she was still asleep when I left for work at 8:20. I woke up at 7:25 to unlock the door and open that gate for Ester but I forgot to unlock the actual lock on the door handle so poor little Ester was locked out. I came down stairs to get something and I saw her car in the driveway but she wasn’t inside. So I went to check the door and it was locked. I felt so bad. She was sitting in her car so went out to get her! She was only been out there for 5 or 10 minutes but I still felt bad.

Last night we went over to the Dudley's because I was in need of some home cooked food. I called Shelley and said "If I have to eat another frozen meal or fast food I'm going to barf!" I wanted to make enchilada casserole but I don’t really know how to make it for one. So we went to the Dudley's and I cooked enchilada casserole. A didn’t get to enjoy my famous casserole because I thought it might be too spicy for her so she had a little chips and guac and some mandarin oranges.


Boyd Update

Amber sent me this email:


We have not been able to connect by phone, what a bummer! I am really missing Ayana so badly.

Don't have much time to talk because the internet comes and goes and the power goes out at least once a day in the whole area.

We are all doing fine. God is working in amazing ways. We are emotionally drained and heartbroken.. What we saw today was more devastating than anything I have ever seen or imagined. I can't even put it into words at this time. PLease continue to pray for our safety and health as we continue our mission. I have been journaling when I can so I can share details when I return.

Thank you for taking good care of Ayana and please try to call the number I gave you so we can talk.

Love you.

Amber, Rick and Savvy"

Monday, January 25, 2010

Email from Amber...

We tried to answer the phone when you called but we kept losing connection. How is A doing? We miss her real bad.

Today we went to a drop in center where they run a place for kids who have lost a parent or both and need somewhere to go. This was not an ophange but a place they can go to school and get fed. They go home at the end of the day to a relative. They were all extremely poor but so happy for us to be there to spend the day with them. When we got out of the van, over 100 children bombarded us. They were so appreciative to have someone spend time with them. They looked as if they had not bathed in months and their clothes and shoes were torn. The smell was bad but I remebered that God hung out with the people no one else would hang out with. They were precious human beings. The kids loved Savvy's hair. They kept touching it and trying to braid it. We were able to give a lot fo donations, including much needed shoes.

Later in the afternoon, we tried to visit Toukoul, the orphanage where A was adopted from. Even though we had an appointment, they would not let us see the children at all. It was very disappointing. I may try again later in the week as I don't plan to give up that easy.

Love you


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 2

Last night A woke up at 3AM so I came downstairs, put a bottle in microwave, waited for 48 seconds to pass and when I went to grab the bottle, it slipped out of my hands and splashed all the way down to the ground. It went down the double ovens, onto the cabinets, all over the floor & all over me...EVERYWHERE! Ayana was crying, I was drenched in milk and it was 3AM. All I could do was put another bottle in the microwave, change A, and clean up! I may have said a few choice words along the way but after one diaper, 2 bottles, a few kitchen towels, and a quick shower and a fresh pair of jammies for me, it was back to catching some zzzz's. Ayana woke up at 9. We ate breakfast and called Rick and Amber. I spoke to them briefly last night and they wanted to talk to A but it was 10:30pm our time so I told them I would call them back today so they could talk to Ayana. I called them twice but there was no answer. So I gave A and bath we got ready for church. While we were upstairs getting ready, they called my cell phone twice but I didn't notice the call until we came back downstairs. We called them again and finally Rick answered the phone. We got disconnected after 30 seconds so we called back and got to speak for about three minutes before getting disconnected. A got to talk to 'mama' and 'dada'. She looked at the phone and smiled and said 'mama?' 'dada?'. It was cute. We went to church afterwards, A had a nap as soon as we got back home, had chicken nuggets for lunch, applesauce and roast beef for dinner and down for bed at 8! There was lots of playing and laughing in between all of that, of course. -Lindsay

One day down...

Yesterday was out first full day in Addis. It was jammed pack and very emotional. First, we went to a local church service, call Baza International. (means Redemption, I think) They had an English session and an Amharic session. It was an amazing church. Everyone was so on fire for God and it was inspiring to watch and take part.

The second part of the day, we went to Entoto (sp?) where 4,000 HIV Ethiopians have fled to the mountain because they heard that the Orthodox church there had holy water that could heal them. The lady that I spoke to said that she has been waiting seven years and she is not healed yet. She invited us into her home, which was the size of my mater bath at home and holds a family of five. Her husband already passed away from the disease and she is not raising all the kids and is very sick herself. She laid in bed while we talked to her and loved on her. I asked her if I could pray with her and she said no, because she believes that God already healed her through her priest so only her priest can pray for her. I was so sad for her.

The way we knew about this mountain side, is there is a ministry running there that makes jewelry and gives all proceeds to the mothers so they can learn to support themselves. The lady we spoke to, did indeed work there. As a matter of fact, over 100 women work there from the mountain. We bought some jewelry to help support them. This is an amazing ministry to help mothers learn a trade and get some money to sustain their family when they leave the program. The children also go to school while the moms are working.

We also got to play with the children in the field from the mountain and they were just precious. The sad part is that everyone from that mountainside has a stigma attached to them with HIV and they are rejected by most of society. The children were full of life and oblivious to the fact that they had now shoes and their shirts were torn so bad, they were hanging off of them. We brought all the mothers food/noodles for their families and then ministered the best we can. We wanted them to know they were not any less special than anyone else on the planet and God loves them equally. We pray that a seed has been planted in all of their hearts. Pray that they continually feel the love of Jesus surrounding them daily and for healing.

Thank you Lord for allowing me to see You through your people. I am in awe of your goodness.

Rick and I miss Ayana so bad already! Savvy is doing awesome on the trip and we are so pproud of her. Please continue your prayers. I will post pictures when I return.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

They made it safely to Ethiopia!

Amber emailed me at 2:06 pm our time today... "We made it to Ethiopia. Long journey but we are excited to be here." I will call them later tonight and get more of an update but that is all the news I have so far. On another note, I want to be sure to document everything Ayana does while Rick, Amber, and Savvy are gone so they can see what's been going on while they are gone doing God's work.

Day One with Ayana: I put her down last night at 8 and she went right to sleep. I woke up at 3AM and changed her diaper while she was sleeping in her crib. Since she was sleeping, I was trying to be as delicate as possible to not wake her. So I decided to not put her jammie bottoms back on her. I thought I was smart in doing this but when I went in this morning at 8, she had taken her diaper off and peed in the crib! Needless to say, I got to change and wash sheets today!! The rest of the day was far less eventful...bath in the morning and we chilled at the house most of the day until we went to Johhny Carino's for dinner with the Dudleys. That's basically it for the day. Now I'm about to get her ready for bedtime. Let's hope she sleeps through the night again! -Lindsay

Thursday, January 21, 2010

We are on our way to Ethiopia....

In just a few short hours, we are leaving to go to Ethiopia for our missions trip. In the end we decided to not take Ayana and I am going to miss her so bad! We will have an intense schedule of things that she couldn't go to while in country and I didn't want to leave her with someone she didn't know all day. Our nanny and my firend Lindsay will be watching her. She will be in her bed and stay in her routine while we are gone. I have never left her this long and we will be so far away. Please pray that our strong bond will not be affected long term by us being gone and that she does well.

Also, please pray for our trip and for God to work in His perfect plan.
Here is our schedule and the description of some of the places we are going to:

Day and Date Morning Afternoon

Sunday the 24th Church (Beza International) HIV colony in Entoto with Beza
Monday the 25th Bright Hope School Kechene drop-in-center
Tuesday the 26th CHE drop-in-center Mexico & boys halfway home Lafto Thomas Center Orphanage and Bole Bulbula Village VBS
Wednesday the 27th Boys at the City Dump Leper Colony/Hospital
Thursday the 28th * Optional Morning After School program with Baers
Friday the 29th Hannah's Hope Transitional Home with Almaz Ephrem's Soccer Ministry
Saturday the 30th AHOPE HIV Orphanage IEC Ministry Bazaar
Sunday the 31st. Church (Bible Army Church) Afternoon wrap up and debrief

Beza International is a bilingual, Evangelical church that in the past 3 years has grow from 12 to over 3500. They are extremely intentional in reaching out to those in their community and have an amazing outreach to those affected by HIV and AIDS. The worship service is similar in style to what you might find at an Assemblies of God church.
The HIV colony in Entoto houses over 4000 individuals with HIV and/or AIDS. The site is located on a mountain top overlooking Addis. The initial reason that those with HIV came to the area is because of a local Orthodox church which was understood to have holy water to cure their disease. Unfortunately, there has not been a documented case of such holy water healing. Beza church began a work that is now reaching over 400 in the community. One way they are able to reach this people group is to provide them a job making jewelry and other handy crafts. This provides them a sense of dignity and also helps them to open up to the only real answer in Jesus Christ.
Bright Hope School is one of the oldest schools in Addis with no formal funding. It is located near the Leper colony and dump. In November of 2009, a church came to the school to build the first ever wall around the campus (keeping out hyenas and also protecting the children from any other unwanted visitors. We will join a team that is spending a week at the school. Keep in mind that the primary need is to simply spend time with the kids. You don't have to be a professional at anything...just be willing to give your love and open your heart to the love they have.
The Kechene drop-in-center is a community based model of care. They provide schooling, discipleship, and a solid meal…all wrapped in a blanket of love. Peter Aberra started the center after leaving his position of Area Director for Young Life Ethiopia. People thought he was crazy to leave a job as the director of an American (well-funded) ministry. He left by faith because he saw a need that he couldn't help but do something about. These kids have nothing...and have everything...a fantastic picture of the joy the Lord can provide. We partnered with Peter to help him start a second drop-in-center just one street away from the guest home.
Children's Home Ethiopia (in conjunction with The Forsaken Children USA), have a drop-in-center in the Mexico area of Addis that serves to connect with children on the front lines of need. They build relationships with children who have nowhere else to go. Some have no parents and are on the streets...others may have one parent or grandparent, yet are on the edge of having no adult to care for them. Some have even been found to live under plastic tarps in the median of the busy road outside their center. For those with no adult whatsoever, they have begun a halfway house in Lafto (near the guest home). This provides a sense of family and provides a commitment to these kids to be there for them.
The Thomas Center Orphanage and Bole Bulbula Village is run by pastor Abdissa Benti. Last year, Dave asked Pastor Abdissa where the team could serve. Although he pastored two churches, runs two separate orphanages/transitional homes…he took us to an area that he knew had more need. That area is Bole Bulbula. Although one can see the airport runway from the has been largely passed up. The main source of income is generated by selling cow dung (which is used for fuel...and to build humble buildings). He started a new church now reaching 75 kids and sharing the good news of Jesus.
The city dump is less than 10 minutes from Ethiopia Guest Home, and years ago was far removed from the center of the city. Over time, the city has grown out and it is now unavoidable. Women and children scavenge alongside of vultures, dogs, and pigs (which they do not eat in Ethiopia). Sammy is one of the translators on staff with Ethiopia Guest Home. He grew up in the dump and leper colony (near each other). He still knows many of those at the dump and has helped build a bridge as the Lord has done much in his life. We are looking at creative ways to help give a hand-up vs hand-out to those who long for something more.
The Leper Colony (Korah) is home to the only Leprosy hospital in all of Ethiopia. Alert Hospital is well known throughout the world…yet extremely primitive. There is still a stigma on those with Leprosy as individuals are often shunned by their families. We have connected with Kasa...a man in his 60's who came to Korah in 1967. Without any fingers, he manages to make rugs and makes a living for his family with the income generated from the rugs. Other women there cut plastic bags (originally used for milk storage) into strips that they then make the most amazing purses from. Whether purses or rugs, tapestry, etc...The work provides both physical therapy through motion in their hands as well as a sense of dignity. We are looking to deepen our connection with these individuals and lay the groundwork for sharing the gospel.
Bingham Academy is an International School (only those with a foreign passport are permitted to attend), that serves missionary families, business families, and other internationals in Ethiopia. We will tour the school and find out more about the history and goals they have.
Prayer walk to the Orthodox Church near Lafto. We'll see many faithful Orthodox believers making the trek up the hill/small mountain to connect with God. Additionally, women in Orthodox churches cover their heads with a white scarf ( Men also wear the scarf, yet do not cover their heads. While we may have different specific beliefs, it's important to see the preservation of the Christian faith through the Orthodox church as Ethiopia has a long historical connection with Israel as the Queen of Sheba (from Ethiopia) had a son from King will be a quiet time of prayer at the church.
Tom and Sally Baer are full time missionaries in Ethiopia who are rather new to Ethiopia. They have located a remote area about one hour away and started an after school program designed at building relationships and addressing real needs…which in time will lead to open hearts to the gospel. We will spend some time with their family...hearing about what life is like in Ethiopia and learning about their ministry. We will then buy a sheep or two on the way to their project and kill them together with the people of their community and have a celebration feast. We'll have some great time to connect with the kids there as well.
Hannah's Hope Transitional home sets the bar for orphan care. Children there have been referred to parents who are in the process of adoption. Almaz is the Director. You'll notice a real peace and Joy of the Lord at the center. We'll spend time with younger and older children and hear from the staff as well.
Ephrem Hagos has a soccer ministry to boys on the streets of downtown Addis. Two years ago when we first connected, he was working with 25 boys. Now, his work has swelled to over 100. He started a soccer league for boys on the street…the first of its kind in Ethiopia. He has long term dreams of getting each of the boys sponsored so that they can stay in school. He would also like to have a place for those with no parents of any kind to be able to come and sleep...and receive a solid meal. We'll take some of the boys for ice cream and hear from them about the challenges they face and the hope they have.
AHOPE is the largest HIV + Orphanage in Addis. As there is a tremendous stigma on those with HIV, it's a miracle AHOPE even exists. We'll spend time with the children and provide them with the same love that every child deserves. There has been an increased movement by those in the states and Europe to adopt children who are HIV +. Having spoken with these adoptive parents, they all said that medically...HIV is a breeze. It's the social stigma that exists everywhere that they run into. We'll have some time that night to remember these families in prayer.
The International Evangelical Church (IEC) is one of the oldest churches in Ethiopia started by missionaries with SIM. On the last Saturday of the month, over 50 ministries converge to sell items they have made that in turn help them to pay for the various ministry activities they incur costs for. While it is great to bring home a's even better to bring home a gift that makes a difference.
The Bible Army Church. A trip to Ethiopia would not be complete without a trip to an extremely charismatic church. These are people who love Jesus…and who have some energy about it. There will be dancing, shouting, maybe some people rolling on the floor. It's refreshing to see such energy in the expression of faith...something I'm sure we could use more of.

Well anyway, that's it for now. Gotta go to bed and get ready to go! PLEASE PRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Skin and Haircare Update

In a previous post, I wrote about how Ayana Hair and skin care routine. In that post, I mentioned that Ayana had bumps on her cheek and I didn't know what it was. Since then, we found out that it was Eczema, the doctor said it is very common with children with allergies, which Ayana does have. In that post, you guys left some great comments and I have been able to try some great products.

So...4 months after trying a lot of products on Ayana to see what works best for her, here is what has worked best for us.

A has dry skin in general but battles Eczema on her face that is very persistant in a spot of her left cheek. We tried many, many things that were reccomended and nothing took it away, UNTIL.....we applied straight Tea Tree Oil to it several days and WAA LAA, it went away. The first few days it gets rogher as it will scab over and then heal. We bought it at Wal; Mart for under 5 bucks.

We also apply RENEW intensive skin therapy lotion daily to her face and body and it is awesome stuff!

Our Second favorite lotion is Eucerin Calming Creme. The Eucerin lotion is great but can leave a greasy film on skin that can prevent your skin from breathing and from research it doesn't stand up to handwashing like Renew does, so you have to constantly reapply the Eucerin.

For hair care, we are still trying a variety of products. We just started using the Carol's Daughter Product line but we are experiementing. Their are so many products to try. Ayana has beautiful hair but as it gets longer, it is harder to manage. The back of her head gets so ratty and tangled when she sleeps at night. Do any of you put something on their head to keep it from getting that way and do they keep it on at this age?
More to come on haircare in a future post and my findings on all the differnet products....

We are preparing to leave on Friday to Ethiopia and things are CRAZY at work. I will update you as I can. Thanks for all your support. We are very excited!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Our First Christmas with Ayana!

We went to Kansas City for Christmas. Before we moved to Dallas, we lived in KC and a lot of my family and Rick's family live there. The car ride there is about 9 hours. This would be our first long road trip with Ayana. Savvy and I hate car rides because we get car sick easy but we were ready for the haul and excited to see the fam. We get about half way there and stopped for gas and then we couldn't get the car to start back up again. The battery was dead. It was COLD too! A nice man helped us and thankfully we were at a gas station on not on the highway! *WARNING* do not read if you have a weak stomach...So we get on the road again and about another hour into the drive, Savannah starts yelling, EWHH, Ewwhhh!
I looked back and poor Ayana was throwing up everywhere! So I flew into mommy mode and made sure she wasn't choking. Rick pulls over to help. It was everywhere, on the carseat, her whole body, her hair and well you get the picture. Anyway, we get everything cleaned up the best we can on the side of the highway and change her clothes. After it was over, Savvy and I thought we were going to lose our cookies too but luckily we didn't.

We finally made it and it as it started to sleet and snow. We stayed with my Mom and Step-dad's. I spent many years in that house so it was weird that this will be our last Christmas in that house. My parents are selling it because they are going to be full time missionaries and hope to leave for Africa in February.

My mom always cooks great food and takes such good care of us. Thanks MOM and Dave! I wish I had gotten some pictures with them. Bummer!

This was our first Christmas with A. Ayana spent her first Christmas in an orphanage in Addis so it was so special to have her with us for this Christmas, our first one as a new family. Because she is only 19 months, she wasn't really that excited for presents but her favorite part was playing with all her cousins. We have a lot of young kids in the family and you would think she was in heaven with all the loud, hyper kids and so many toys. She learned so many new words that week and learned to be more vocal while around the other kids. Yes, That was a nice way of saying that she has learned to scream loud and she thinks it's so funny!

We also got to spend time with Rick kids. I just LOVE them! We always have so much fun. For the new blog readers, Rick has two grown children from his previous marriage. They were there with their families at mom's too. We love to play a friendly game Texas Hold em' when we get together. Who are we kidding, it's not always friendly, we are a competitive family. It can be brutal but always FUN!

Here are some additional pic's....

The whole clan...

She makes this face every time she sees a camera. LOL!

I love this one...My girls!

I also got to see my best buddies from High School. We used to be inseparable. We have been lucky enough to stay in touch through the years. It was great to see them!

I want to wish everyone a Blessed New Year! Thank you for all your friendships!