Saturday, December 15, 2012

Firsts!

There have been so many firsts for our two little kiddoes these past few months.
First Thanksgiving! We had so much to be thankful for!
First Christmas tree! The joy and excitement as they decorated was so sweet to watch.

 

Maxim’s first time trying Doritos, which he LOVED! Smart boyJ! There have been many new foods tried by both of them. Some they like, some not so muchJ.

Maxim’s first time ice skating! I missed out on this adventure, but was told much fun was had by all J.
 
 

God has so graciously started to show them what love is and that they can trust us. Nastya and Maxim have been let down and have experienced so much in their young lives, it does not come easy for them to love or trust people. There is still much to work on in that area, but the baby steps are beautiful to watch.  But, we serve a mighty God who can overcome all their pain and bring healing to their hurting hearts!

First time actually hearing God’s word and asking questions about God and wanting to know more about Him! Oh happy day!
 
Today was Maxim’s first birthday with us! I do believe I was more excited about this than I ever was for any of my birthdays. To think that a few months ago I did not know this little boy existed and then to see how he now is an enormous part of my life, I cannot imagine life without my precious little siblings. They bring so much happiness to our lives! Nastya today, while talking to Maxim, said “It is the most wonderful thing to be with a family on your birthday”. This brought tears to my eyes, knowing this is the first time Maxim has been with a family for his birthday (that he can remember)!



 
The day began with much joy.  While Maxim slept, we decorated the house for his birthday.  He awoke to balloons tied onto the cabinet in his bedroom.  Upon seeing them, he “ooohed” and “aaahed”.  Then as he opened his bedroom door he was greeted with hanging streamers and balloons covering his doorway, to which he exclaimed, “WOW”! 
 
 
He made his way to the kitchen and saw his chair with a balloon bouquet on it and exclaimed, “My chair – lookie that!”  His smiles were enormous.  He was very energetic today and could barely contain his excitement.
 
 
This afternoon a friend stopped by with a present for Maxim – such a treat.  Flowers were delivered today for Maxim as well!  Such excitement.
When Mom received flowers for her birthday he told us that sometimes people in Russia would get flowers and he would love them on his :) Thank you Steve and Bethany!
 
Breakfast – pancakes and apple juice. 
 
The birthday cup that we have all used since we were little :)
 
 
Lunch – special treats from the Russian market – chicken, beet salad, herring and onions, and candies. 
 



 
Dinner – pizza and fresh vegetables and of course cake and chocolate ice cream.  Yummy, yummy. 
 




This smile did not leave his face all day!

One of his gifts!
 
Tonight we had his birthday party – his first birthday party.  He couldn’t quite believe this day was here and we were actually having a party, cake, etc.  Grammy/Grampy, Grammy Fox, Auntie, Uncle and cousins – oh and Josh and Heidi arrived too.  We ate dinner and then Maxim opened his presents.  So many surprises.  New clothes, new books, new toys – all Maxim’s – all to keep!  Maxim grinned as big as possible throughout the night and enjoyed every moment.  His birthday cake was a highlight.  He wanted to know why we made such a special cake.  This was the first time he had birthday candles to blow out!  A reminder of how very much we take for granted.  God’s grace to us has been abundant.  The changes in Maxim have been abundant.  We know it is only a most gracious God that has wrought all of this.  Today was a celebration – a celebration of life – a celebration of God’s faithfulness – a celebration of Maxim.  We are blessed. 


~Jessie

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy Birthday!

I just want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my wonderful mother! You are the Proverbs 31 mother to me.  Your love and care for your family and others is beautiful.  You give so selflessly of yourself, even when you are worn-out and exhausted. Always making our home a place where we feel loved. I am so blessed that God gave me a mother who has brought me up in the ways of the Lord. Thank you mom for all that you do for me!!! I LOVE YOU!

 
Proverbs 31:10-31
                 An excellent wife who can find?
                                She is far more precious than jewels.
                The heart of her husband trusts in her,
                                and he will have no lack of gain.
                She does him good, and not harm,
                                all the days of her life.
                She seeks wool and flax,
                                and works with willing hands.
                She is like the ships of the merchant;
                                she brings her food from afar.
                She rises while it is yet night
                                and provides food for her household
                                and portions for her maidens.
                She considers a field and buys it;
                                with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
                She dresses herself with strength
                                and makes her arms strong.
                She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
                                Her lamp does not go out at night.
                She puts her hands to the distaff,
                                and her hands hold the spindle.
                She opens her hand to the poor
                                and reaches out her hands to the needy.
                She is not afraid of snow for her household,
                                for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
                She makes bed coverings for herself;
                                her clothing is fine linen and purple.
                Her husband is known in the gates
                                when he sits among the elders of the land.
                She makes linen garments and sells them;
                                she delivers sashes to the merchant.
                Strength and dignity are her clothing,
                                and she laughs at the time to come.
                She opens her mouth with wisdom,
                                and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
                She looks well to the ways of her household
                                and does not eat the bread of idleness.
                Her children rise up and call her blessed;
                                her husband also, and he praises her:
                “Many women have done excellently,
                                but you surpass them all.”
                Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
                                but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
                Give her of the fruit of her hands,
                                and let her works praise her in the gates.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Joyful


I have to make a post about Gladys. She is the missionaries housekeeper/cook. She is one of the sweetest ladies and you can just see her love for Jesus shining through her.  She has not had an easy life.  Her husband walked away years ago and she was left to raise their children on her own. All of her children were recently abused by a neighbor.  Yet despite all that she always has a smile on her face. She takes joy in her work.  She never fails to greet you good morning and ask you how your sleep was.  She laughs freely and easily, it is a beautiful sound.  When we shared our snickers with her, she joyfully exclaimed that she was so blessed.

Gladys with bread just out of the oven!

And her food!!! My goodness is she an amazing cook. Gladys makes the best bagels I have ever had! Everything is made from scratch and tastes wonderful!




In the afternoon after school some of her children would come over and visit. I loved those times of getting to play games and seeing their smiles when you gave them sweets. I will miss them all dearly.

Me and sweet Joy!

Playing Sorry together :)

~Jessie

Life for us in Cameroon

I have enjoyed my time here in Africa so much! Hard to believe it’s almost over, the time has flown by so very fast. The children here have stolen my heart. Each one of them, so extremely precious! I will never forget my time here. I pray that in the (very near) future God opens the door for me to come back!

Friday was our last day of doing classes at the school. We arrived at the school earlier than normal so that we could be there for morning devotions. 

All the children gathered for devotions.

Reading their bibles.

Some members of the school board came to thank us for coming to the school and gave us each (Grammy, Kali, and I) an African bag! I love it! 

Our bags!
The children all sang some songs as well, it was beautiful to hear! They even had a little band. I love the way they play their drums here! It was sad having to say bye to all the kids. There are certain little ones that have stood out and made me fall for them even more. I will for sure be missing them all!!! As our trip has gone on the children have gotten more comfortable with us. On Friday when we were walking up to the school many of the children came running and held hands with Kali and I, even had some holding onto the back of my shirt. Then when leaving the school the littlest ones from pre-nursery (around 3 years old) came running over to us and gave us all lots of hugs. Their pudgy faces and sweet smiles just melt your heart! I felt like it was a little piece of heaven ;) Children are such beautiful gifts from God. 


Today is our last full day here in Cameroon, I'm hoping we can at least walk up to the school and see the children one last time. I am not ready to leave them...but I am looking forward to seeing my wonderful family! Now if only I could be in two places at once :)

Life here is not easy. Many live with no running water or electricity. Children are on their own at a very young age. You see a six year old taking care of a three year old. When driving the other day there was a little boy (probably no more than seven) walking along the road with a machete in his hand! You see sights like that very often; it is just normal everyday life. People carry just about anything on their heads (firewood, clothes, food, water).



Walking home from work.

~Jessie


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

African Wedding

On Saturday, we got to experience a Cameroonian wedding! It was very long....the service was about 4 hours of sitting on wooden benches :) There were many different traditions than in the US. It was very neat to see how it is done here and what customs they have. Everyone danced down the aisle to give the couple their gifts. It was so fun to watch, the African drums were playing and everyone was singing.  Since the couple getting married are teachers at the school there were a bunch of adorable children at the wedding, all in their best outfits. Loved seeing them :)

The little flowers girls were so cute.

The bride.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Afternoon :)

Today after church we took a drive up a mountain and took a little hike. The drive was very bumpy, well it was beyond bumpy, but I quite enjoyed it :) The view was breathtaking! Reminded me just how great God is and how powerful He is! You could see for miles and miles. Here are some pictures of our adventure :)




Love the waterfalls!

Getting firewood

Taking in the view.

My wonderful grandmother :)


Loved these flowers.

Grammy and Kali with one of the missionaries we are staying with.

Me being me ;)

Pretty lady!





Trying not to slip into the water :)

Loved the view!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pictures, Part 2

One of my favorite little guys :)

Some of the older students.

This was a sunset out the back door a couple nights ago. So beautiful!

During one of the lessons.

Love those eyes :)



These two were so smiley and cute!

Kali with some cuties!

Playing a game. They love competing. 

Trying to get in the picture, one of the little boys ended up on the ground cause everyone  was getting so excited for the camera. 

Playing during a break at school.




Loving getting to teach these precious children!

Washing their hands before lunch.

Lunch break.

She is just so cute!

Gathering around Kali :)

"snap me, snap me" :)

Coloring ;)