Friday, December 24, 2010

Charlotte Jessee: Spending Christmas with Jesus

I posted yesterday about a woman from our church who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Well, today, she is completely healed and cancer free... and is walking in the presence of our Lord. She passed away this morning at 3:40am. Please pray for her husband, Bill, and for their families as they mourn the loss of Char.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Appointment Update

Here's a quick post to update about my appointment... even though there really is "nothing" to update! The appointment went well. Baby is measuring absolutely fine [proof to anyone who is questioning my pregnancy!]; his/her heart rate was 144, and is still head down. Good job, baby! I gained just under 1 lb. I have another appointment in two weeks, and then I start going in once a week! It's starting to get really, really close... it's kind of crazy! I'm very excited to meet our baby, as is Jake. I'm feeling pretty good 'nerves wise...' not really so much nervous yet, and I think doing a lot of reading has helped that. I've been scouring the library for books on breastfeeding, water birthing, 'natural' birth, etc. So, things are going well!

I'd like to take a quick moment before I close, though, to ask for prayer for Charlotte Jessee. Charlotte, and her husband Bill, are very active in our church and are such a wonderful, wonderful couple. I've always looked up to them and respected them very much. Charlotte was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and is now at home with hospice care. I would really appreciate it if you would be on your knees before the Lord for Char, Bill and their families. If you'd like to read more specific updates, you can go to the website and type in "charlottejessee" to be taken to her page. Thank you so much.

[char and bill]

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

34 weeks

I figured it was time for another update; it's been too long. I had a huge mental list of all the things I was going to write about, but now as I sit down with the computer, all the thoughts drain out of me! Hopefully once I start writing, things will just "come" to me...

I suppose I can start writing about the baby. I'm now in the middle of my 34th week... which basically means that I'm 2 1/2 weeks away from being 'full term' and I have some 40-odd days until my 'due date.' Did you know only 2-5% of babies are born on their due date? So I keep telling myself that I have approximately two more weeks to go than I do because I know a lot of first time moms go over their due date by as much as two weeks. The baby will come when s/he is good and ready, right? :]

At my last appointment, my midwife gave me a new prescription for some anti-nausea medication to try. We figured that maybe it would help for me to take it consistently rather than just taking it when I thought I needed it [I was just trying to conserve what I had leftover from what I was given in Kenya!]. She gave me a prescription for 90 pills to test it out, but when I got to the Target pharmacy, they informed me that my insurance would only let me have 20 at a time. They said I would have to come back every three days or so to refill. Okay, I can deal with that. So when I went back in a few days later to refill the medication, they told me that apparently I could only have 20 pills every 30 days, per my insurance. My insurance had to send in some paperwork to be filled out by my midwife... which was filled out and faxed to them over a week ago. And here I am, still without the medication and as nauseous as ever! The pharmacist gave me 8 pills to 'tide me over until we got it figured out' last week... I think they felt bad for me... but when you have to take the medication every 4 hours, 8 pills doesn't last very long! I'm hoping and praying that they will get it all figured out soon. It didn't necessarily take away the nausea completely for me, but it at least took the edge off of it for me so that it was more tolerable.

I started feeling Braxtion Hicks contrations last week, too! I was SO curious about "what they felt like" and wondered if I would know when I was having one... well, my curiosity has been fulfilled and they can definitely just go away now! I guess it's good that my body is preparing itself for the 'real deal' but these have not been fun, especially with the back pain I've been having lately... in all honesty, I've never had pain like this in my back before! Rolling over in bed or even being touched made me cry. I like to think that I have somewhat of a high tolerance for pain, so this was really freaking me out... I could barely 'go' [in bathroom terms] because my back just ached so bad. How was I gonna push a baby out?! Thankfully, the pain started decreasing last night... and it's not as bad now as it was earlier this week, but it's definitely still there and I'm a little slow goin'.

I have an appointment today with my midwife... I'll probably post a short update again after that :] But for now... here's the most recent belly picture! I think it has even popped a little bit more since this picture was taken last week.


Jake has been absolutely fantastic with taking care of me... he's so helpful, and I'm so thankful to have him! He is very encouraging and supportive and I appreciate him so much.

I had my 24th birthday on Sunday. It was a decent day, besides not feeling well. We slept in... didn't go to church because I wasn't feeling well... I went dress shopping for my brother in law's wedding in June, stopped at the library and found some books to read, went to Dunn Bro's coffee and got a Vanilla Iced Nirvana [my new favorite coffee!!], watched a movie, and went to Applebee's in the evening with Jake, Andy and Katie for 1/2 priced appetizers. It was a relaxing day and we didn't really "do" anything, but that was definitely okay with me. I like low-key things anyways.

This year we aren't traveling anywhere far for Christmas... we're spending Christmas Eve with my parents and then Christmas day at my grandparent's house. We also plan to go visit Joe, Jake's dad, who is in a rehab center recovering from a surgery that he had a few weeks ago. He's doing well, but I'm sure he is beyond bored!

During the not-so-often occasions when I've been feeling well enough, between the back pain, contractions and nausea, I've been trying to do some Christmas baking... so far I've managed to finish a big batch of Oreo truffles, oreo cookies dipped in chocolate, peanut butter cups, and some fudge... except the fudge hasn't really hardened yet, so I'm afraid it's beyond repair. I think I'm going to see if I can 'fix' it somehow...

I'm not really sure what else to write about... we have definitely been staying busy, though. I'll update again later after my appointment, or sometime this week.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

SNOW // baby blanket project

I spent the day at my grandma's house yesterday. She made me, as well as the other 'older' cousins, a blanket for my high school graduation in 2005... and I decided that I wanted to make one like it for our little one who will be joining us sometime in the near future. These are the 5 different flannel fabrics I started out with:

Since I hadn't ever made this kind of blanket before, I wasn't really sure on what colors to get... I thought I had a pretty colorful bunch, but I know for next time that I should probably pick more solids. At least I got my favorite colors: teal, green and brown! I wasn't expecting to see the patterns of the fabric but I figured more of the color would show through. Oh well, I still absolutely love the finished product! I think it took about 5 hours to complete. The blanket is 38" x 40", and it's not the most 'square' thing you'd ever see [two sides are a little lopsided], but it's hard because the fabric stretches and when you sew diagonally, things just get stretched out of place. But anyways, here's a few pictures!

I'm pretty proud of it. I think it looks really good, but maybe I'm biased. :] It does need to be washed a few more times so that it unravels a bit more and gives it a better 'chenille' look, but it's super soft and cuddly now... and smells delicious. I can't wait until I have a little baby to wrap up inside of it!

We got dumped on today with a bunch of snow... this is what I woke up to this morning:

It's pretty, it's fun to play in... but then dogs pee in it, and it gets muddy and slushy, and you have to scrape it off your car, and you have to drive in it , and you get lakes in your shoes from the melted stuff... so, it's not the most fun thing. I don't mind it... until I have to do something in it that doesn't involve making and throwing white balls, sticking carrots into it or sliding around on it on some mechanical contraption.

Oh well; today was a good day to make a pumpkin cheesecake and to throw a roast into the crock pot... the roast is currently starting to fall apart in all of it's juicy glory. Mmm.

Between that, some garlic red mashed potatoes and an oriental salad... I think we'll be having a feast tonight. Top it off with some of the pumpkin cheesecake, a squirt of whipped cream and some caramel drizzled on top... I think I might have to post a photo of the finished product later.

I think it's time to cuddle on the couch with MY blanket [made with love by grandma] with something warm to drink...

Monday, November 1, 2010

27 Weeks.

It's been just over three weeks since we returned to the States. Re-adjusting seems to be going well. There are things here and there that make us miss Kenya so much, but there are also things that we are enjoying about being home. We don't regret our decision to leave early, but it was a very hard one.

Jake is doing well with work at the Dubbe's. The Dubbe's are a great family to work with/for, and Jake really seems to be enjoying being back there. They have a lot of sod jobs this week since it's supposed to be nice out, and from what I hear, a few of them are quiet large! [on a side note, please continue to pray for Adam Dubbe as he recovers; and for his wife, Abri, and 6 month old son, Evan, for strength, encouragement and understanding]

I've been trying to keep myself busy doing small things; there isn't much to 'do' around here when you don't live in your own house, have a car, and live an hour away from your family... but we are so blessed to have a place to stay! I've been doing some crocheting, and also my mom gave me a sewing machine that someone had given to her... so I've been playing around with that, trying to figure things out. Hopefully I can start sewing some little baby things soon! I did a little extra cooking/baking this week also. As hard as it is for me to rest without feeling lazy, I've been trying to kind of take it easy... and "rest up while I can."

My midwife called me last week and said that all of my test came back negative for parasites/eggs/etc. So, that's good that I don't have little bugs running around my system... but it does make us wonder what was really going on and causing the excruciating stomach pain. We decided not to take further action/do anymore testing as of right now, because the pains/symptoms are decreasing... but if I'm still having problems at my next appointment, my midwife wants to refer me to an infectious disease doctor. I'm still having a lot of nausea, especially in the evenings. And the headaches! The headaches have definitely returned. When my midwife asked if I had any headaches/migraines, I said yes, but that they seemed to significantly decrease when I got pregnant. As I was thinking about it later on in the week, the reason they probably were decreasing was because we were in Africa... higher altitude, better weather, less 'weather changes,' etc. Now that we're back in MN, I've probably had more 'headache days' than 'non-headache days.' So far no migraines... but enough of a headache to put me in kind of a hazy mental state.

It's hard to believe I will be beginning the third trimester next week... and in exactly 10 weeks, I will be considered "full term." Time is really flying by. I feel like there is a lot that I need to do, since we haven't really done... anything... but then again, I think it's silly to stress about because babies don't require much "stuff" anyways. There's quite a bit of research I want to do on various topics, though.

I think that's all for now... here's the most recent 'belly picture.' Still not exactly looking 'pregnant' [at least to the untrained eye!], but the bump is a little more pronounced now.

27 weeks, 1 day

Monday, October 18, 2010

God ALWAYS provides.

I'm sorry that there hasn't been an update recently. We made it home on October 9th. We didn't have any problems during travel, so that was a huge blessing. We did have some fun going through customs coming back into the States, but it wasn't a huge problem. Since we had been on a farm, they had to bleach/disinfect all of our shoes. Took a really long time, but hey, it was one less thing for us to do when we got home, right? Everyone who was on the plane seemed sick, so for the first couple of days of being back home, I was battling a really bad head cold and ear pain. I guess that will happen after being on planes for 16+ hours with a bunch of sick people! After a while it all simmered down to just being a cough, which I'm still dealing with, but I'm feeling better in that sense.

God has really been showing us "who's boss" [He is, in case you're wondering]... He's just been blessing us in huge, huge ways that just leave us breathless, with our jaws on the floor. Here are a few of the ways, so we can praise the Lord together:

-we are living with friends who are taking care of us financially [groceries, rent, etc] until we are able to 'get our feet on the ground.'
-we were blessed with a car that cost us very little to buy, and a few friends put time and money into repairing it with Jake and making it drivable.
-Jake has a job; he is going to return to working at the Dubbe's farm on Wednesday. We are very blessed by this family!
-an anonymous angel sent us a letter in the mail along with quite a large financial gift. Although we don't know who this person is, God knows, and we pray that He will generously bless them for being such a blessing to us.

We serve a really big God! 

I had an appointment with a midwife today. Although nothing was 'figured out' as to why I've been feeling so miserable, it was reassuring to know that the baby is growing as he or she should be. My blood pressure and weight were fine. She had me do the 1 hour gestational diabetes test today, and I passed 'with flying colors,' they said. Supposedly it has to be under 140, and I was at 91. Yayy. The baby's heart rate was 140. She wants me to have an ultrasound done sometime this week; although I wouldn't have normally wanted one at this point in the pregnancy, since they [the doctors in Kenya ] didn't 'do' everything she [the midwife] would have liked them to do/check for, she asked me to have another one. She asked if we wanted to know the gender early, and I said no; she laughed and said we 'might have to look away at this ultrasound because it might be blatantly obvious.' So hopefully we won't 'accidentally find out' what we're having, but it's obviously not the end of the world if we do.

As for me being sick... I'm still having a lot of 'pain' and we're not really sure why. I was in tears on Saturday night because it was so terrible. It just does not seem normal! It seems to be intestinal but sometimes it feels like it could be in my stomach. It comes and goes no matter the activity, what I eat or don't eat, etc. It seems to be worse in the evenings, through the night and sometimes in the morning. The midwife wanted me to give some stool samples to be tested in the lab; she said it's possible that there are eggs or parasites or... something... going on inside of me making me sick. So, I... uh... get to... *whispers* collect some poo... and take it to the lab to get tested. If I test negative for all that, then we'll just take it from there and try to figure out what's going on. I'm still really nauseous a lot, but the pain is what bothers me the most. My appetite seems to be better... but maybe it's because we have access to a refrigerator here and it's easier/possible for me to just grab an apple or milk or something. I was looking through a pamphlet that I got today about eating, and my eyes bugged out at what a typical day of meals should look like for a pregnant woman... still not getting anything close to that, but at least I'm able to get down more than 500 calories per day now.

I think that's all on "us" for now... we'll keep you updated as we find things out. Please just continue to pray for us as we re-adjust to being back here [dealing with re-entry culture shock, etc], as Jake starts his job, ad as I try and grow a baby. We really do appreciate all of your prayers, support and encouragement. Thank you.

We think about Kenya often and hope that you will continue to join us in praying for those we left behind, specifically Eric, Juli and Sarah... and the four student leaders, Mike, Vitalis, Philister and Jonny. Please pray for them as they continue to invest into the students that are there, and that the Lord would renew them and give them strength as this is the point in the year when everyone gets very tired and is worn out. Also, please continue to pray for the students. Graduation weekend is quickly approaching [November 28th]!

We'll update as we are able. Praise the Lord for providing for our needs.

Friday, October 1, 2010

hard decision...

Some of you may have received this e-mail. I wanted to post it on our blog as well so that we could try to let everyone know as best as we could. 

Dear family and friends,

Some of you have been able to keep up with our blog and are aware of the fact that Laura has been struggling with some pregnancy and health issues for the past couple of months. We've been to the doctor several times and have tried some different medications to see if they would help, but we have not noticed any significant change. In talking with Eric and Juli, communicating with a doctor from back home/church, and visiting with a missionary counselor, and also after a lot of prayer, we have decided that it would be in the best interest of Laura's and the baby's health that we return to the States sooner than we had originally planned. Our time in Kenya has brought us through many different experiences… growing, learning and being challenged in various ways. But that doesn’t mean that our early departure will be easy. We have grown to love the ministry, the friends we work with and others we have made, and the students who are in the program. This was a very hard decision for us to make.

The tickets have been changed and we will be returning to the States next Friday, October 8th. We would appreciate your prayers during this time. Our comfort has been the fact that God is God, no matter what happens… He is our Constant, our Rock and our Support. We cling to those promises.

For those who are financial monthly supporters, you can discontinue your support, unless you'd like it to go towards the general fund for Camp Jabez. If anything does get sent in specifically for us, it will be put aside and the giver will be contacted to make sure they are aware that we are home and will be asked if they'd like it to go towards the general fund or to be disregarded.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail us. We won't have phone access for a while. Thank you for walking in this journey with us. We will update you as we are able. 

In Christ Alone,

Jake, Laura and baby

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Kenyan Christians abducted, tortured, raped. Pray?

I don't know much about The Barnabas Fund, but someone posted this article on Facebook and I'd like to ask you to pray for those involved.

"Three men including Mr Y, the leader of a group of Kenyan missionaries supported by Barnabas, had traveled to Nairobi on the morning of Wednesday 15 September to help three Christian women to move out of their apartment to a safer location. The three men arrived safely, but when Mr Y’s wife called them later that day, she could not get an answer. By 9pm she began to realize something serious must have happened. Going to Nairobi, she found the apartment door unlocked but no trace of the missionaries.

The police began an investigation and at 4am on 18 September the group were found - dumped at the side of a main road. They all had their eyes and mouths tightly sealed with tape, and their legs and arms were bound, but they were all alive. The three women had been systematically raped and were deeply traumatised; still suffering from shock, they were not even able to talk. At the hospital they were given drugs to reduce the risk of their contracting AIDS. They will remain in hospital for two weeks of comprehensive care to help them recover from the physical, psychological and emotional distress.

The three men had been tortured and their bodies were covered in bruises; one man needs treatment for a dislocated shoulder after he was thrown “like luggage” into a truck. The men will remain in hospital for five days to receive counselling. But Mr Y’s wife said, “No matter the agony, they praised the Lord.”
Early in the ordeal, the Muslim men asked one of the women, “Who’s the saviour of this world?” When she boldly answered, “Jesus Christ is the Saviour,” they slapped and spat at her and shouted “You’re wrong, you prostitute, it’s Osama who’s the saviour.” When the group was finally released, they were told, “You’re lucky ... we’re directed to free you. We could have killed you this night. Maybe your Jesus saves you. But warning ... stop leading Muslims astray with your corrupt Bible. Nobody shall be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.”

Kenya has a strong Church, yet Christians face challenging opposition, and the situation of converts and women can be particularly difficult. In July, 18 converts from Islam met on a secluded beach to be baptised by Mr Y and his team, when they were suddenly attacked by a crowd of around 100 Muslim men who beat them with pipes and wooden clubs. Five had to be hospitalised for several days, including a woman who had been beaten unconscious and a man with a broken arm.

Barnabas Fund is covering the hospital fees of the missionaries and converts involved in both these incidents."

[ ]

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

// prayer requests \\

Just a short blog post to ask for prayer... after a few weeks of absolutely no appetite, three days spent in bed with no energy, extreme nausea, very weak feeling muscles, 'mental fuzziness' and dizziness, Jake took me back to the doctor yesterday. The doctor was concerned that I was continuing to lose weight [3lbs in 9 days]. He gave me two medications to try; one to help increase my appetite and one to decrease the nausea. We would really appreciate your prayers as we are trying these medications out... specifically, if you can pray that my appetite increases and the sickness goes away so that I CAN eat [and in turn, gain the weight I'm supposed to]... and that baby would remain healthy through this struggle. We would also appreciate prayers for wisdom and discernment for Jake and I... thanks.

*edited to add*

Please also pray for Jake as he is on a mission trip with 3 other guys for 6 days. They're in Samburu [aka "the bush"], in Northern Kenya, until Monday. Pray for safety and protection. I'm having a hard time with him being away, especially this week with not feeling well at all... so I would appreciate prayer for me as well.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Nothing less than unconditional surrender is ever a fitting response to His sacrifice on Calvary..."

I've been reminded several times by several people that I have a blog that severely needs updating... so, now that I have some time to actually sit down and pound out some thoughts, here I am. To keep myself organized, I'll try and stay on one topic at a time, since it's been so long since I've updated.


It's hard to believe that we're down to the last 11 weeks of the discipleship program. In the beginning of this year, I thought the end would never come [not that I wanted it to; it just seemed so far off!] and now it's hard to believe that it's basically almost here. The thought of going home is exciting; it's been a long year, and a challenging one at that... but it's going to be hard to leave this place, too. I've really come to love the people. I'm still working on 'loving' the culture, though... the changes can be difficult sometimes!

We recently took a team of 10 on a 5-day mission trip back to Meru. We've been to Meru once before, in June, I believe. This time it was supposed to be a bunch of churches coming together for a youth 'camp'/program... but only 10-15 students actually came. It was still a good time; the students we brought did very well with the times they were asked to share in the teaching sessions and during the house-to-house evangelism. It was a hard week for me, pregnancy wise; when I had to go to the bathroom, my routine quickly became: "Run into the tin shack, vomit from the smell, pee, and quickly run away." Also because of the heat and all the walking, my legs and feet swelled up and I had to take it easy after that. Since I hadn't had much of an appetite either, it was hard for me to eat the food they provided and the amount they gave... I feel bad, because I don't want to offend anyone; it's not that I don't like the food, it's just that I can't eat all of it. They always make fun of the "wazungus" [white people] who can never finish their food... but I don't think they realize that their portion sizes are about 2.5 times the amount that we normally would eat in one meal!

 [a few pictures from the mission]

 [banana trees]

[the dreaded 'squatties']

 [where the meals were prepared and we ate]

 [me and Philister]

 [everyone sleeping on the way home; the people you can't see are hunched over in their seats, completely zonked out!]

On Monday nights, we meet as a leadership team and have a short Bible study, and we also discuss a book that we are going through together. The plan is to read/finish 5 books by the end of the term... right now we're reading True Discipleship and Spiritual Leadership... two books I wish I would have read earlier! They are really changing my perspective on leadership and showing me how pathetic of a leader I am... not in a bad way, but basically just showing me how small I am and how big God is. They both talk about what it takes to be a leader/disciple... and it takes everything. You have to be willing to give it all up. That's so hard for me to grasp sometimes. "True Discipleship" is where my title quote comes from. It's been on my mind a lot lately. We may think we gave up 'a lot' to come to Africa for a year... but in reality, would we be willing to give up EVERYTHING, down to our lives? I've just been thinking about that kind of stuff a lot lately.

On Tuesday mornings, we still attend the 3 1/2 hour class... last term we were going through a book called "Leading Christian Organizations." This 8 week term, we are going through a book called "Power Ministry." Yeah, the title got me a little nervous, too! It's extremely Pentecostal and honestly, I'm not sure what I think of it... I'm still trying to figure out what I believe regarding the Holy Spirit and all that stuff... I'm trying to do more study and research on the topic so I can make a solid decision. I'm not even sure I want to think about the final exam... I've never really had to take a test on something that I didn't agree with/believe in, so this will be a challenge for me.

On Wednesdays, the bead women still come to the compound with their magazine bead necklaces and such. I've really grown to love this group of women, although I find the book work and going through the necklaces a bit tedious sometimes. The necklaces/bracelets are still for sale, if anyone is interested... they would make great Christmas gifts! Let me know if you'd like to purchase any.

Jake also teaches on Wednesdays... right now he's teaching about false religions to follow up the course on evangelism. He seems to enjoy it.

Fridays are my day to teach the second class, from 5-7... which is just the girls. I think I'm just now starting to "not dread" teaching... after 8 months, I still don't feel it's my gift or my strong point, but it's going okay. We just finished going through the book, "Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free" and now we're going through a devotional book that takes you through the Psalms. I'm not exactly sure how to teach through a devotional book, though; but I guess I'll figure it out.

On Sundays, we usually attend a missionary fellowship church about 45 minutes away from here. The attendance varies from 10 to 25, but it's nice to have fellowship with other missionaries. Occasionally we stay to have a service with the students [they have one every Sunday, whether or not we stay], like we did last week; we shared in communion together... something we haven't done since Easter.

So that's the gist of what our 'weeks' look like... but you gotta tie in all the 'life' stuff that goes on, too... the building projects, being with the students, cooking, going to town,  it usually means we are pretty busy people.


I'm now on my 21st week of pregnancy. It's still going pretty well, although the trimesters seemed to be a little confused; I wasn't ever sick in the previous trimester, but now I'm pretty much nauseous all the time! I haven't sleep well in about a week because the nausea hits the hardest in the evening, although it's pretty constant throughout the day, too. It comes no matter what I do; if I eat, if I don't eat... regardless of what I eat, activity, etc. I haven't had much of an appetite lately, either... for the past couple of months, I've had to force myself to eat because it just hasn't seemed appealing to me, even the foods I like. My mom and a friend both sent me packages with some treats in them, so I've been trying to snack a little bit more... but it's hard when eating just sounds disgusting.

I had my second appointment last week. Everything seemed fine, but the doctor didn't really tell me anything, so I'm assuming all is well. I had to prod him for answers, which he seemed irritated by, but heck, there were things I wanted to know! The baby's heart rate was 148... I'm down 3-5lbs from my last appointment at 10w4d... the placenta is in a good place. The ultrasound technician took pictures, which we were told at the end of the appointment 'were for the doctor to look at, not for us to keep...' which I guess was fine, because there weren't any 'fun' pictures [face, full body, etc], anyways. Jake took pictures of the pictures with our camera, but they're not all that exciting. At the end of the appointment, the doctor lectured me for about 10 minutes for not knowing what reactions I had to certain medications that I'm allergic to. I was kind of stunned at his tone of voice and words, so I was probably stuttering while I said things like, "Well, my mom has records of it all... that stuff happened so long ago, and the reactions were serious enough that I haven't taken them since childhood... I just don't remember..." and he replied, "Well, 'my mom said' isn't good enough for me and I don't consider that an allergy." Rawr. I'm kind of glad that I won't be delivering here... personally, I'd like a doctor who doesn't make me feel like an idiot! I understand what he was talking about; it's probably good stuff to know... but I felt pretty demeaned with how he was talking to me. Oh well.

Here are a couple 'belly photos' from 19w6d. Still not much to show, but at least there's a little somethin' somethin'. I haven't felt baby move yet, but I hope to soon!


After the student's graduation ceremony on November 28th, we [Eric, Juli, Sarah, Jake and I] plan to take a few days and do 'something fun.' I'm not sure what that entails yet, exactly, but I'm pretty sure we'll be traveling someplace somewhat touristy [Mombasa, maybe?] and do some fun things and relax a little bit. It will be nice to have a few days to unwind before we begin the long journey home. I think we are leaving here on the 8th of December and we arrive home on the 9th, late. We'll be staying in Apple Valley with our fantastic friends, Andy and Katie [love you guys!!], for an undetermined amount of time until we figure out 'what's next.'

Eeep, my mom is calling on Skype... gotta go! I think this suffices for now anyways. :] Blessings!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pray for Kenya!

This blog post will be short; we just have one specific prayer request and we'd like to ask you to join us as we lift it up before the Lord. Some of you may know that Kenya is voting on a new constitution tomorrow. This is a pretty big deal for Kenya, and we're asking that you would pray for protection for everyone who is here during this time. Many people have left their homes for fear of violence. We're not too worried about the area that we are in [we live near a military base], but prayer for protection is always a good thing. God has His hand on us and will protect us however He sees fit... His will be done! The results should be announced sometime on Friday.

Our students are on their week-long break at their homes right now, so please also pray for protection for them and their families as well. If things do get sketchy around here, we'll let them stay at home longer if it isn't safe to travel. We hope for them to come 'home' to resume classes for our final term on August 8th.

We'll update you as we are able. Our internet expires tomorrow and we might not be able to renew it for a week or so if we can't travel. Thanks for praying!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Projects, projects and more projects...

I was chatting with a friend this morning and she said that she enjoyed reading our blog. Then I realized that it had been a while since the last time I updated, so I figured it was about time. Thanks for the reminder, Tiara!

There have been three major projects going on here at Camp Jabez... so far, only one of them has been completely finished, but the other two are in progress.

Project #1, a wind generator

[the wind generator is secured by wires in three different places that have been attatched to some cemented rebar]

Project #2, the fish pond

We decided to make the pond out of cement and concrete blocks instead of using plastic lining. There were so many more 'pros' to doing it this way. After everything is in place, it will be water proofed.

Project #3, the cow barn/shed

Right now [like literally, as I type], Jake and the boys are working on cementing the part of the floor where the cows will stand.

I'll have to take some more photos when they're done, after it cures. They've been offered a reward if they finish today: nyama choma [= "roasted meat" in Swahili]... a special treat for working hard! I can hear them from where I am in the house, yelling and chanting on encouragement to each other as they mix the hardcore [rocks], cement, sand and water together.

I'm sure by now you know which of the three projects has been completed and which two are still in progress. :)

More bread baking has been on my list of things "to do..." I really enjoy doing it, and we all enjoy the 'end result.' It sure doesn't last long around here when it's freshly baked!!

Pregnancy wise, things are still going really well. I just passed the 2nd trimester mark... well, at least, I think I did. I never was able to get a straight answer from any resource about when the 2nd trimester started... and I heard a million different answers! Some said at the beginning of 13 weeks, some said at 13w3d, some said at the end of 14 weeks... so I just picked the middle response and went with that. I'm now at 13w4d... baby is the size of a peach and continuing to grow! I still feel fantastic... I still haven't had really any nausea; just the tiredness. The "emotional fog" definitely lifted, for which I am very thankful... that was a rough couple of weeks!

This photo was taken at 12w3d, but even now at 13w4d there is still no 'bump.' The layers I'm wearing look funky, but baby still hasn't made an obvious "I'M IN HERE!" statement... although I'm told that he/she will, and SOON!

Jake and I are getting more and more excited every day... but I still don't think the realization has fully hit either of us yet. We've been doing some reading and we feel pretty prepared on that front... but we still need to contact our "non-insurance company" and see what policies they have regarding birth coverage.

The students are going on their 2nd term break tomorrow; they get 8 days to spend some time at home. I think they are all very excited! Although we've had a lot of issues this term, I think most of them are growing and learning a lot of things. If you could be in prayer regarding the country of Kenya as a whole next Wednesday; they are voting on a new referendum. They aren't expecting things to get nasty around here, but there are quite a few people that have left their homes 'just in case.' If things do get sketchy, the students will end up having a longer break than we planned, as it might not be the safest to travel. But, God is in control and He will take care of all of us.
Jake and I are going to spend the weekend in Nakuru, hopefully; I am VERY EXCITED to have a REAL shower! Bucket baths get a little old after a while. :] I think we'll just relax most of the time, but we plan to go into town and walk around the market for a little while. 
Then we begin our third [and final!] term on August 9th... I can't believe it's almost at the end already! The time is flying by, especially more so now that I am counting down the weeks for something else :] 

I think that's about all that's been going on here lately... we've been staying busy with lots of little things every day, and there's a few big things here and there, too. But life is good. God is good. Things are going well. Thank you for praying!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

There really IS a baby in there!

I guess because of the lack of symptoms I've been having, and the "you're not really pregnant" dreams, I was a little paranoid. But, it's confirmed... baby Hawkins is growing! We're back from our first prenatal appointment... 8 hours later. LONGEST.DAY.EVER. I'm tired.

Detailed version:

It took us about an hour and 15 minutes to get there, so we arrived around 9am. I had to pee when we left home, but I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to pee when the time came for a US, that I held it. We [finally] found the private clinic. Think of every typical American doctors office, and then shove those images out of your head. It was nice for a Kenyan hospital, but would definitely not be up to 'par' in the States. I had to fill out some registration forms and then flipped through a Reader's Digest from the 90's. I had my blood pressure taken, which was really, really high... usually mine is super low. They also took my weight [oh the joys of having this done in front of everyone... things are NOT private here!]... she was like, "You're heavy!" Last time I checked, you DO NOT tell a pregnant, hormonal woman that she is 'heavy," thank you very much!

BUT! I'm letting her comment slide. This time. Because... although I was disappointed I didn't lose MORE weight since coming here, I was happy to see I HAD lost weight... 25 pounds, give or take. So I'm letting that be my victory and I'm just going to ignore what she said.

We waited until 10:30, when we were seen by the doctor. We went over the normal things... LMP... are you healthy, etc... I was surprised she didn't ask MORE questions [are you taking a prenatal, are you taking any other medications, if I have any allergies, etc]. She set my due date as January 30th, one day before the date I figured.  She said it's likely that I'll have to have all of the tests done again when we go home to deliver, because they probably won't accept the records from Kenya... but oh well. And she said that they don't offer any of the testing to see if there is down syndrome or anything like that. I was fine with that; we would have declined it anyways. It will be kind of nice to not have the pressure to take the tests.

She then wanted an ultrasound, urine sample and some blood work... I begged to have the ultrasound first, so I could pee in the stupid cup and empty my bladder. She laughed and said "Okay!" So we walked through the hospital, went outside, up some stairs, and came to the ultrasound area. I told the technician that I had to use the toilet, SOON. He let me go first in line. I felt really bad for the other ladies waiting, but my bladder was about to explode! I laid on the bed and he squeezed the gel on me [brrr] and pressed pretty hard with his magical baby-seeing wand. Made me had to pee all the more! I motioned to Jake to have him close the curtain the rest of the way [there were a lot of people walking back and forth and it was still open about a foot... made me feel weird]. The technician didn't say anything for about a minute. A minute isn't really that long amount of time in general, but laying there waiting, it felt like an eternity. He then asked, "So, you haven't had any problems?" My heart just about stopped beating, because I was so afraid about what he was going to say! The puzzled look on his face certainly didn't help. I looked at Jake as if to say, "Do you see anything?" and he just kinda shrugged. I shouldn't have asked him; he's never seen an ultrasound before, how should he know?

Finally the guy turned the screen and was like, "There it is! You don't have a lazy baby. I think it's happy that we are looking at it right now!"  I seriously wanted to cry, but I was like, "Hold it together, Laura, hold it together!" We didn't hear the heartbeat, but it finally hit me... I have a little baby inside of me!! I can't believe it was moving so much. It just blows my mind. We didn't get any pictures, either... Kenya definitely isn't very high tech. He let us look for a while, then charted what he needed to; he measured me at 11w2d. He wiped the goo off of my abdomen, and sent me on my way to the lab. 

We sat in the lab office for about 10 minutes... there was a guy in front of me. He had his blood drawn, and then the nurse motioned for me to come over... I don't think she even said one word to me. I had to ASK her to change her gloves from the previous guy, though... that was awkward... but seriously, I'm not taking a chance. Instead of a band to tie around the arm, she tied a rubber glove around it. Then, she poked me in my left arm. Nothing. Pulled it out, poked me in a different spot. Nothing. Pulled it out, poked me in a different spot. I could tell she was getting frustrated, and that made me super nervous. She then tried a vein in my wrist... by now she was poking around inside and pushing the needle in and out... NOTHING! She poked me twice there. Finally she tried in my right arm, and she got some within the first try. I was getting irritated. I mean, I didn't even get a sparkly band aid. Come ON! :] And now my arms itch.

So then we got sent back to the clinic part of the hospital. And we waited. And waited. And waited. My labs finally came back, but now we had to wait for the doctor. We waited some more... and finally we were the only ones in the clinic... but the doctor still didn't come. FINALLY at 1pm, she came and said, "Everything looks good!" and we made an appointment for 5 weeks from now... the 19th of August. We finally got out of there, after paying our bill, around 1:30pm.

It took a long time to get home... there was some major fog, and we could only see about 20ft in front of us for a long time. Driving in Kenya is scary enough when you CAN see... driving when you CAN'T see is absolutely insane. We almost got hit twice and almost hit a cow once. We made a quick stop at the grocery store and then made it home around 3:30. 10 hours later after we started our day... we were finally home. I'm exhausted. My head is pounding... I'm ready for this 3-day headache to go away. But I'm happy.

Non-detailed version:
-there actually IS a baby in there!
-she put my due date at 1.30.11
-I'm measuring at 11w2d instead of 10w6d

Whew. I think that's all for now. Tomorrow we're going to the "agricultural show" in Nakuru... we're taking all the students for kind of a 'fun day.' It's KIND of like a fair... but I'm not sure what that looks like here, so who knows. Deep fried everything on a stick, all-you-can-drink milk for $1, Sweet Martha's cookies, foot long hot dogs... I can't wait. Oh, darn... that's the MN State fair. Shucks. Guess I'll be stuck with a soda and a samosa. Oh well. :]

Friday, July 2, 2010

[ little things ]

First of all, I want to give a shout out to my parents, who celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary last Saturday, on the 26th. Happy [belated] anniversary! You are both great parents and we miss you a lot.

There have been a lot of 'little things' going on around here lately... not huge changes, but I figured we could update you :]

We spent last weekend in Meru with four students and a student leader. The weekend was basically a "Weekend Challenge," and all of the students had a chance to share during one of the sessions. The theme was "Make Straight the Paths" based off of Matthew 3:3. It was a good weekend, but definitely an exhausting one for me! It was neat to see some more of the African culture and see more of Kenya. We've been staying in the same place for a long time so it was fun to see some different things and meet new people. Here are a few photos from our weekend:

[this is the car we smashed nine people and all our luggage into for a half an hour ride]

[this is the church where the weekend challenge was held]

[kate leading the children's sunday school class]

[i figured out how kenyans stay so thin but are able to eat so much: they dance. all.the.time]

[mike, the student leader, and jake]

[the team, minus jake, who is the photographer, and me, who was resting at this time]

[meru was a very beautiful place!]

It's hard to believe that I'm already almost 10 weeks along... sometimes it's difficult for me to believe that I'm actually pregnant, because I've been feeling so good. I've had very little queasiness, and my only main symptoms are that I'm extremely tired all.the.time and my emotions are giving me a roller coaster ride. I think my first appointment is next week sometime [I say "I think" because Juli made the appointment for me when she took Arielle in for an appointment, so I'm not exactly sure]. I'm kind of nervous! I know what to expect for a typical appointment in the States but I'm not sure what to expect here... I guess we'll see!

Juli's parents, Bob and Kathy, came in the middle of June and stayed for two weeks. It was sooo good to have them here! Bob and Kathy are really special to us and it was such a treat to have them here. I'm sure they enjoyed spending time with their grandbaby and with Eric and Juli. I really enjoyed the hugs from Kathy. It was just so nice to have them here... I miss them already!

It's Friday, so I'll be teaching the all-girls session tonight. Besides doing that, I've been meeting with one girl every day for some one on one time. I think we've all been enjoying it. It's nice to get to know them better.

Jake is still teaching an evangelism course on Wednesdays, and he's been doing work on the barn, trying to get that finished. We're also trying to figure out a solution to our water problem... not exactly sure what the issue is, but we don't have any water! Rainy season is definitely over so our supply of rain water has been finished.

If you could be praying for one of our students, Flo... her brother passed away earlier this week. Please pray for her and her family as they are grieving.

I think that's all for now... I just heard that there are some turkey eggs about to hatch, so I want to go check it out!


PS. Kathy, this is just for you, because I forgot to show you how to comment on posts before you left :] See at the bottom of the each entry where it says "comments"? You can click that, and a small box will pop up. You can write a comment, and click "publish" and it will post to my blog :]

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dubai Photos

I'm having issues uploading our photos from Dubai onto Facebook, so I thought I would post some more here. I'll have a 'real' update in the next few days, I promise!!

We found an Applebee's... it was so nice to enjoy some familiar food!! I was highly disappointed that they didn't have the Crispy Orange Chicken Bowl, though... basically my only favorite thing at Applebee's. I almost cried. Blame it on the pregnancy hormones. :]

...aaaand, Coldstone!! Deliciousness.

Dubai "night life"

The Beach

...that's all for now :]