Life Is Rich With Great People

When life happens, good or bad, it is always better to share it with someone.  This summer has been full of reconnecting and sharing life with great people.

Three weeks ago, we celebrated G42’s fifth year anniversary in MIjas.  We had 30+ alumni roll into town on Sunday for a week of teachings, talent shows, long meals together, updates, and a whole lot of laughter and fun. Man Hike

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One of my favorite parts of the week was listening to the updates from the alumni.   We heard from alumni in the Czech Republic, Cambodia, Thailand, Ukraine, and countless states in the U.S.  It was very special for Dustin and I, because we have been a part of many alumni’s six months at G42.   Over the last two years, we have sat in class with many of them as they shared their vision projects during their term at G42.  We challenged and pushed the dreams God had placed in their hearts.  We questioned the reality of such lofty goals, and prayed that they would succeed.

Commissioning Jared, Jen, & baby Gabriel as they make final plans for ministry in Columbia.   

I think many of them would say that it doesn’t look quite like they expected when they left G42.  At times, they felt alone and overwhelmed.  They might say they didn’t expect to be back in America.  Some would say they didn’t think it would be quite so hard.

 

But they are doing it.   

 

The Harders are reaching out to the youth in the Ukraine.  In an unstable country, they shared their struggles and victories over the past two years serving with Youth for Christ and YoungLife. Steve

 

Sean Smith is wrapping up five years in Thailand where he and his team have been documenting the genocide of a people group on the Thailand/Burma border.

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Thomas and Stacey Wensil are working overtime to pay off debt, with a plan to be missionaries in Cambodia by fall 2015.

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Tara Stephenson and Shanda Dodd (both former G42 staff) are moving next month to help Steph and Martin Mendez with a church plant in Málaga, Spain.

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 And the list goes on.  No story is the same, but the purpose is profound, yet simple: to bring Christ to the nations.  No one would say pioneering a ministry, starting a church, moving overseas, or even working two jobs to pay off debt has been easy, but definitely something worth fighting for.

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In our lives, we are able to share in each others successes and failures, joys and hardships.  We are not meant to live a life of solitude, but a life of community and fellowship. We are not alone.  God is always with us, and He puts people in our lives to celebrate and encourage us to never give up, and never stand still.  Keep encouraging those around you, because there is life inside of you that they need.

Life is rich with great people, and YOU are one of them.

 

 

Photo credit: Sean Smith and Whitney Gorbett

Building the Bridge

Since we have been living in Spain, one of my main responsibilities has been to help run and teach English to about 80-90 children in Mijas.  We have wrapped up our final week of classes, and I am pleased to say we had a successful year.

Mijas is a small, traditional town, and it can be difficult to truly be a part of the community as a foreigner.  As English teachers, and G42 as a whole, we are determined to show them that our love for their community, and our dedication to doing things excellently far outweighs our cultural differences.  When Bec Hearn started the school four years ago, she started with one student, which turned into four, which turned into ten, which has now grown into more than 80 students each week.  God has used our English classes to help build a bridge between us and the town of Mijas, and at the same time given me the opportunity to do what I love to do: teach.

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The last two Sundays I was invited to go to the local Catholic church to be a part of some of my students First Communion.  Many of them were surprised to see me there, but were quick to wave, or run up and give me a hug, even in the middle of the service.  I loved being a part of their lives outside the classroom, and to show my support for something that is so special in their culture and religion.  I realized how much I love being their English teacher, and what joy I get from seeing those little faces every day.  I also realized that over the past year and a half, I have become a part of their lives, just like they have become a part of mine.

Our English classes have never been about verbally sharing God’s love, but it has always been about showing God’s love through our hard work, actions, and character.  We want them to feel God’s presence every time they walk through the doors, and know that they are in a safe place to be themselves and have fun.

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It has been a process, but we are beginning to see our consistency and faithfulness pay off.  We now have parents who have become friends, and students who are excited to return to classes next year.  We look forward to our summer group starting in July, as well as our growing group for next year!

 

*Photos were taken by Whitney Gorbett at our end of the year ‘A Bug’s Life’ party.

The Trevathan’s in España!

I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my parents and Tiff step through security and onto Spanish soil.  Hours and hours of planning, research, details, and talking about their visit to Spain, and it almost didn’t feel real.  They had finally made it!!!

Spain Trip

When Dustin and I first moved to Spain in November of 2012, we were already telling my parents to get ready to visit.  I honestly didn’t know if my dad would get on the plane or not, but they all made it, and we had a blast!

We spent the first week visiting different parts of Spain, starting in Madrid..

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Madrid

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then traveling to Barcelona…

Barcelona

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Barcelona

then making the twelve hour car ride across country to Mijas.

When we arrived in Mijas, my family met all of our G42 staff, met the interns, sat in on class, and even came to my English classes and played games with my students.

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We also took day trips to Gibraltar,

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Ronda,

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Malaga,

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and Marbella.

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At the end of two and a half weeks, they had eaten everything that we eat, saw everything that we have seen, and knew everything about EVERYTHING by the time they left.  We didn’t miss a beat, and truly made the most of our time together.

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I loved every part of them being here, but the most important thing to me was only this: THEY CAME.  They came thousands of miles just to give us a hug.  They came with suitcases full of little pieces of home.  They came with smiles on their faces that never left.  They came with their dancing shoes:)  They came with a willingness to do anything and everything, far more than I expected.  They came full of life and joy.  They came with adventurous spirits to try new foods, enjoy new cultures, and experience life outside of the United States.  They came to see US.

When they left, they went away knowing what it’s like to live in Mijas.  They left knowing what our daily schedule looks like, and the people we interact with.  They left loving Spain ALMOST as much as we do!  Most importantly, they left with a better understanding of why we chose to make the decisions we made a year and a half ago.

Throughout our journeys the last few years, we have talked about the importance of people a lot.  I am convinced that the people in our lives are the most precious gifts God has ever given to us.  We will never take for granted those we love the most.  So, thank you again, Mom, Dad, and Tiff, for coming and being a part of our lives this spring.  We love you!!

One Year Ago Today…Part 2

In spite of my personal struggles, what an incredible year it has been!  So much has been accomplished and done since we’ve been here.  In one year, we have watched 49 men and women of God complete the G42 program, leaving with a plan of purpose, direction, and a support team behind them.  Our interns have made plans and moved to the Philippines, the Ukraine, Kenya, Cambodia, and countless places in the U.S.  They are planting churches, working with established ministries, and branching out on their own to build something new.  We are so excited about all the work that God is doing in the lives of the interns, as well as those lives they will affect in the future.

                                                                          The Bakery Church in Memphis, TN

The Harders with Youth for Christ and YoungLife Ukraine

   

 

Sarah Hendee with Don and Bridget Bruster, founders of Agape Int’l Missions

 

 

Sending Richelle off to Kenya

 

 

So happy one year anniversary to us and to Spain!  We thank you for walking with us and the G42 Leadership Academy, praying for us, and fighting next to us as we train and equip our generation to change the world for Christ.  We have some incredible people that are doing amazing things in the world today, and we are thankful to be a part of their stories!

 

One Year Ago Today…Part 1

One year ago today, we made the big move to España.

 

One year ago today, we kissed our families goodbye, got on a plane, and hopped over the ocean.

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One year ago today, we were welcomed onto the G42 staff as part of the team, as part of the family.

One year ago today, we began our real journey of leadership, non-profit work, English teaching, and discipleship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One year ago today, responsibility was laid on our shoulders, a little heavier than we imagined, but with full confidence from others that we would succeed.

 

One year ago today, we put faith to our words, and followed the Lord’s calling overseas.

I remember the first few weeks (okay months, maybe), where I wasn’t quite convinced that I wanted to be here in Spain.  It was hard leaving home, and it was hard finding my place in a new job and in a new country.  Looking back, I get an image of playing tug of war with God.  I was digging in my heels and holding on for dear life to what I knew, and what I wanted to happen while we were here, not relenting on anything.  I had planned it all out, and nobody could convince me to change my mind.

 

But after a while, I remembered that God was on my side.  In reality, I was on HIS side, and we were going to do this together.  I have decided to take my heels out of the sand this year, and walk with the Lord, trusting that He has my best interests at heart. I will forever be thankful for my patient, loving husband who walked with me as I struggled to see the good right before my eyes.  I am so thankful that God brought us here, even when it was hard.  I have always loved G42 and Spain in general, but now I really am finding my place and soaking up every minute…

 

 

It’s All About People

September has been a whirlwind of a month for us.  We spent the first two weeks back in Texas, squeezing, loving, and spending quality time with our families.

We…

went to high school football games and parades,

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had cookouts, including morning doughnut runs (thanks, Dad!)

Cook Out

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celebrated everyone’s birthday (I don’t like missing birthdays, so we had a party for everyone so we could be there),

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went camping,

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drank coffee, sat outside, and just enjoyed being home.

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We also have two new, precious nieces (Berkley and Tennessee) who were in desperate need of some love from their aunt and uncle. :)

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In the middle of September, Dustin and I were a part of our fourth G42 graduation, and with each one, I am blown away by God’s transformation in the lives of our interns.  The nervous twenty-somethings that we pick up from the airport the first day they arrive, to the confident, focused adults that leave after six months is incredible.  There is an unspeakable change in their lives that happens when they are at G42.  Yes, they learn how to make a business plan, how to incorporate media and the arts to their ideas, how to church plant, etc., but honestly, they learn way more than that.  What I have gathered from sitting through these graduations is that the lessons they take away from this place are about character, community, excellence, and God’s unimaginable love for us and the rest of the world.

The night of graduation, Dustin stood up and gave a great piece of advice, as the interns were getting ready to leave.  ‘It’s all about people.’  Yes, it’s all about God, but after that, it’s all about people.  He went on to talk about our time at home, and when people ask what we miss the most about Texas, it’s not the food, it’s not the breath-taking sunrises and sunsets, it’s the people that we love the most.  And as we got on the plane to travel halfway around the world back to Spain, tears streaming down my face as we told our families goodbye (thank goodness Dustin can hold it together better than me!), and we ask ourselves why we put everyone through such grief every time we leave, it is because we come back for the people.   In 1 John 4, God calls us to love one another because he has shown us the perfect picture of love through giving us His Son, Jesus.  ‘Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another’ (1 Jn. 4:11).

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We didn’t move to Spain for the culture, the food, the language, or the landscape.  We didn’t move to Spain for the adventure.  We moved here because there are people who need to find their calling, put legs to their dreams, and serve the Lord with their whole hearts.  We moved here because our generation needs to grow up, take responsibility, and  lead our world into the loving arms of Jesus Christ.  We moved here because God wants his family back, and we are doing our small part to lead them there.

So as I start teaching my precious Spanish students today, and as we get ready for a new term at G42 next week, I want God to continue to remind me that it is not about the place, but it’s about the people.

(Note: I realize the pictures are a little lopsided, but someone else took pictures at graduation, and I have yet to receive them!)

P.S. Do you think this little one has missed her Dustin??

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:)

The Suttles Came To Town

Living overseas can be a bit tricky sometimes.  Learning a new language, culture, and lifestyle, just to name a few.

The other part that can get complicated is seeing family.  It’s not like you can make an impromptu visit or drive down on the weekend, just to say hello.  There is a lot of planning that has to happen so we can see those beautiful people we call family.  So, after months of anxious waiting, we finally had our first visitors.  Gene and Lisa spent two weeks with us at the beginning of July, and we had an absolute blast!

At the beginning of their trip, Gene and Lisa had the opportunity to see Dustin and I at work.  We were starting up a new term, so during orientation, Dustin taught “What is God’s Point?” and “The 42nd Generation” with his parents in the crowd.  No pressure:)  We also had the chance to introduce them around at ‘Tapas night’, a fellowship night we have every other Friday with friends from the community.  They even met some of my precious English students while we were out and about in Mijas.

Dustin Teaching

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For the weekend, we made a trip up to beautiful Granada, home of the Alhambra, free tapas, (and also home to our wonderful cousin, José)! We toured the Alhambra by day, then sat down to a15 course food tasting by night, getting the true feel of authentic Spanish cooking!

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The next day, we jetted off to Nerja to visit the beaches at the ‘Balcony of Europe.’

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This scene could be found in almost any city we went to. We always had a plan before we went off into the great unknown:)

After spending several days in and around Mijas and Malaga, we set off once again on a road trip up the coast of the Mediterranean, then back down through the white villages of Andalusia.

Monkeys in Gibraltar

Gibraltar is an interesting place, a British colony smack dab in the middle of Spain. The monkeys were entertaining, but my favorite part was having our waiter at lunch speak to us in English:) Oh, the little things…

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Rock of Gibraltar

 

Jerez

We had such a great time at the ‘dancing’ horse show in Jerez. World-famous horses hopping on two legs, walking sideways, and dancing was quite an experience!

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Arcos de la Frontera

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We covered the entire region of Andalucia while Gene and Lisa were here. It was fun for all of us to explore new places we had never been before!

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We walked all over beautiful Ronda. Let me rephrase…we jumped from shade tree to shade tree in Ronda:)

 

Ronda

Ronda

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Pretty countryside

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Smurf Town!  As a promotional to the movie 'The Smurfs', this small white village, tucked away in the mountains of Spain, decided to be painted blue.  Weird...yes.  Worth the visit...absolutely!

Smurf Town! As a promotional to the movie ‘The Smurfs’, this small white village, tucked away in the mountains of Spain, decided to be painted blue. Weird…yes. Worth the visit…absolutely!

 

 

We finished our time together at a fun evening in Marbella, walking the streets of the ritzy and posh.  IMG_1334 IMG_1342IMG_1362

So needless to say, we had a fun, wonderful visit from Dustin’s parents!  The more time we spend apart from family, the more precious our time is, and this time was no different.  We are grateful for the time we spent together, the laughs we shared, and the memories we made.  This visit made us anxious for others to come and see us;)  If you have ever wanted to come to Spain, I know a great guest bedroom that will be ready and waiting:)

Summer Update

Summer is here!  The weather is warming up, and our small town is getting busy with tourists who are out of school and ready to see the sun!  Here is an update on the G42 ministries, as well as our personal update and plans for the summer.

G42U – We are so excited to be launching G42U this August in Fredericksburg, TX.  We have a team partnered with Journey Church to start a 9-month course for seniors graduating high school.  This program is designed as a ‘Gap Year’ to help students ‘discover what they are passionate about, while surrounded by a vibrant community.’  If you or anyone you know might be interested, here is the website for more information: http://www.g42u.com/

G42 U

Photo Credit: www.G42u.com

G42 Africa - G42 Africa is starting it’s second year of ministry, and they are continuing to pioneer their way through Uganda.  A graduated couple from G42, Armand and Rebeca VanDijk-Suter, have been doing an amazing job of teaching, discipleship, and raising up African leaders to build God’s Kindgom in Africa.

Photo Credit: www.g42africa.org

G42 Leadership Academy - Here at the G42 Leadership Academy, we continue to pour our resources, time, and energy into making God’s calling for the interns into a reality.  We will graduate 18 interns at the end of June, and the majority are leaving with a solid plan for the next season of their lives.

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Photo Credit: www.G42leadershipacademy.com

On a more personal note:

-I (Traci) have finished English classes for the summer.  Yay! We ended last week with a well-earned popcorn party for each of the classes.  Space is filling up for next year, so we look forward to teaching again in the fall.

- This past Friday, we had a ‘Movie Night’ for our English class students to celebrate the beginning of summer.  We played a Spanish movie with English subtitles, then played games and had refreshments.  It was a great night to get to know our students outside of the classroom.

Photo Credit: www.rottentomatoes.com

- On his time away from the office, Dustin has been training hard this past month for the Tough Mudder, ‘an endurance event where participants attempt 10–12 mile long military-style obstacle courses.’  The event is next Saturday, June 8th, in Hampshire, England. Luckily, I get to tag along and take pictures:) We are going with a team as a marketing platform for Global Adventure, a non-profit organization focused on adventure and discipleship for British menGlobal Adventure will launch in mid-August with a father/son weekend trip in Southwest England.

 Photo Credit:www.crossfit.ca

Global Adventure Missions

Photo Credit: www.global-adventure.org

- Dustin will be busy this month getting ready for another G42 graduation on June 21st.  He will begin selecting qualified interns to receive an Alumni grant that will help one or two interns that are ready to begin their non-profit, church plant, or business when they leave G42.  Both of us will be doing a lot of discipleship/mentoring before the current interns leave in a few weeks.

- For the summer months, I will continue teaching conversational English to adults, as well as having Friday summer classes in July and August for children.

- Dustin’s parents will be visiting us in July, and we could not be more excited!  It will be great to have family around, and we can show them why we love Spain so much!

So that’s about it!  If you read through the whole update, thanks for loving us:)  We hope you all enjoy the summer months and have time to relax, spend time with family, and thank God for the many blessings in life. We love you all!

Naive Promises

Maybe I was a bit naive.  Maybe my lure for adventure clouded my practical judgement.  Maybe I was too young.

I remember the day I told Jesus, “Here am I, send me.”  I was in high school, probably about 15 or 16 years old, at a Disciple Now at First Baptist Church in Canyon, TX, and it was during a time of worship that I prayed that prayer and felt the call towards missions/ministry.  I didn’t know for how long, I didn’t know where, and I didn’t know with whom I would be going with, but I knew someday, somehow, I would go.

Ten years after whispering this prayer, Dustin and I are serving a ministry overseas, and God is still proving faithful.  However, when I prayed as a teenage girl, I didn’t know what I was praying for.  Back then, I hadn’t read the rest of Isaiah 6 and seen what kind of struggles Isaiah would face.   I didn’t know the challenges that were before me, and the decisions that would alter my life forever the day I said ‘YES’ to whatever God wanted for my life.

And you know what?  I wouldn’t change a second of it.  Not the decision to move to a different country or the countless tears of leaving home.  Not the frustration of learning a new language or getting lost in a foreign place. I wouldn’t take anything back or change any promise I made, because just like that first prayer, there is a peace that continues to settle in my soul, knowing that I am exactly where God wants me.

The amazing thing about being in God’s will is that no matter the challenges, the blessings are far greater, and that much sweeter. Here are just a few:

Serving alongside Dustin is one of the most rewarding parts of being at G42.  Dustin continues to demonstrate incredible leadership, wisdom, and faithfulness into every aspect of ministry, and it is so much fun to see everyday.

If you ever come visit Dustin and I, you will understand that we live in a beautiful country.  Spain is rich in language, culture, and history, and we are soaking it all in.  We are improving our Spanish daily, giving us a greater opportunity to connect with the community in Mijas, but not without our fumbles and mistakes.  I have become excellent at laughing at my own language mistakes, along with the giggles of my students:)

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Another blessing is the genius of technology.  No matter how far we are, we can still play peek-a-boo with our nieces and nephews, be a part of Sunday lunch (kind of), and talk face to face with our family.  We are connected both here and there, and God’s grace has covered us to be a part of the lives two doors down as well as thousands of miles away.

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Lastly, a blessing that far outweighs the beauty of Spain is the people we serve alongside.  G42 has an amazing leadership team that we continue to learn from, and their dedication to making a difference in other people’s lives is incredible. They have put their lives on hold for the sake of fulfilling someone else’s dream, and we are honored to be a part of such a wonderful group of people.


I could never have imagined what I was signing up for when I was sixteen years old, but life is more beautiful than I could have dreamed.  So today, I am counting my blessings and marveling at the wonder of God and His faithful love for us.  Everyone, everyday, has countless blessing in their lives, you only need to search them out and tell Him thank you!

A Prayer Of Faith

Today, I want to call on all our prayer warriors out there who read our blog.

As some of you may know, both of my brothers’ wives are pregnant with baby girls, and both are due in late March and April.  My oldest brother, Chris, and his wife Brittany are due in April, however, Brittany has been having contractions the last couple of days, and the doctors are concerned about a premature birth.  They were able to stop the contractions, but after extensive testing, she has been told to stay in the hospital until our baby Tennessee is born.  We were hoping she would wait to come for another couple of weeks, but she might come earlier, so we would love for you to join us in prayer for them.

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We all have people in our lives that influence who we are and what we become.  Chris and Brittany are two people who have directly and significantly influenced my life.  Chris was one of my first examples of a man who serves the Lord with his whole heart.  His decision ten years ago to move with his new bride to start YoungLife ministries in Allen, TX had a profound impact on me when I was a teenager.  I saw his passion and desire to serve the Lord, no matter how little he was paid or how difficult it was.

Through the years, there have been times when no one would have blamed him for packing it all up, moving on, and settling for a ‘normal’ job.  He never did.  I’ve seen faith fleshed out in their years of ministry that was never glamorous or big, but quiet, strong, and many times rewarded by God in incredible ways.  A faith and knowledge that God will provide, God will protect, and God will always be faithful.

As Dustin and I begin our fourth month of working in ministry overseas, I can’t help to think that my brother played a big part in why we are here.  His example to love God, love his family, and love people made me confident that I could do the same with my life.  Both Chris and Brittany gave us such great words of wisdom and encouragement when we decided to serve God overseas, and we are grateful beyond words for that. They are a perfect example of what it means to give your life away to others every single day!

 

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So please join us in praying for them as they try to balance two small children at home, as well as a baby that’s ready to see the world!  Pray for peace, comfort, and protection for them, and we will let you know when she arrives!!