Elliot Andrés (Andrew in Spanish) was born on Thursday, March 19, at 3:36 pm, after 15 hours of labor. We had an exciting trip to the hospital in the middle of the night, since the Portage Lake lift bridge was closed for maintenance when we needed to cross. I never expected to need to call 911 on the way to the hospital to ensure that we could cross the bridge, but that’s what we had to do, and a police squad car came to let us on the bridge.
But other than that, Elliot’s delivery was pretty normal (at least, that’s what I was told – I don’t exactly have anything to compare it to!) and we now have another healthy little boy in our house! I am enjoying all of the snuggles that he gives, and it has been really fun to see how excited Caleb is to help us with Elliot. He is very observant of how we take care of Elliot and has started doing things on his own to help. (For example, he will come pat Elliot on the back when he is fussy. It is really quite precious.)
But that’s enough info… I know you really just want to see pictures!
Life has been moving ahead at full steam, especially due to the large amounts of home improvements we’ve been working on the past few weeks. Hans spent almost all of last Thursday (his day off) sanding the drywall of the last bedroom. A few students came to help Hans prime the two remaining rooms on Saturday, and then Hans and I painted one room yesterday (Sunday). We finished up the crazy weekend of house work by painting Caleb’s room this morning – with his help. (Who knew our three-year-old is such a good painter?! He worked with us for an hour and actually was helpful without making any extra messes!)
With the baby due in less than two weeks, we were pushing pretty hard to finish and are in a pretty good spot. All we really need to do now is mop and set up furniture – it will be nice to have three finished bedrooms for the first time ever in this house!
It’s been nice having Hans’ flexible schedule (we moved his day off to Monday this week since his supervisor is visiting on Thursday) to be able to get more done. We’re all looking forward to having truly restful days off now that the pressing work is finished.
For some reason we only took pictures of one of the rooms when we were painting. Eventually we may get photos up of the completed rooms!
When we first heard that our co-worker with InterVarsity was going to be on sabbatical this semester, and that Hans was going to be working with both the undergraduate (American) chapter and with the international group, we knew that this semester was going to be a little crazy. (Especially with a baby due in the middle of the semester!) Adding in normal family and church activities, plus trying our best to get our two unfinished bedrooms finished before baby comes, has made life rather chaotic.
But in spite of the crazy and somewhat chaotic pace of life these days, it feels like we have more of a routine than I can remember since we started with InterVarsity almost three years ago. I’m not sure if I’ve simply adjusted (finally) to the random and non-traditional schedule that we lead working with a campus ministry, or if we’ve figured out how to make that schedule work for our family. In reality, it’s probably a little of both.
I do know that I’ve enjoyed having more of an active campus staff role with leading the apprenticeship (discipleship) group each Saturday morning. It’s been encouraging to see students really engaging in the material and growing as a result. It’s been a bit more to juggle than just cooking for the group, but we’ve had help from people at church who have cooked the large amounts of food needed to feed 25 hungry college students for breakfast some weeks. That has been a huge help, especially as I’m getting more tired in the last weeks of pregnancy, and has definitely kept life a little calmer while I am leading! (Next week is my last week leading my group, and then they merge with Hans’ group and he’ll take over – just in time before baby comes!)
As the days are getting longer and sunnier (though not much warmer…), we’re starting to think of summer. Thinking ahead makes me think that life is going to be crazy and chaotic then, too, just in different ways. We want to have a garden again this summer and the thought of balancing that with a new baby, ministry, and just enjoying summer seems crazy, too. I guess we’ll see what happens, and continue to enjoy the path God has set us on. He’s definitely working around us and in us this semester and keeping us going in spite of the craziness of the semester. Somehow, it doesn’t really seem crazy!
This weekend was the first “normal” weekend we’ve had since school started this semester. On the first weekend we had barely arrived home from all of our travels, and only had some of the usual activities with students. Last weekend, we were up north in the Keweenaw at the chapter’s winter retreat, so none of those usual activities happened either. But this weekend we had the full schedule. And full is how it felt!
On Saturday mornings, we have been hosting a group of (American) students for breakfast and discipleship training. With the group from last semester we looked at the Five Thresholds of Conversion – a fancy way of looking at the stages of how people generally come to know and follow Jesus. This semester, we started another group of students and they are also going through the same material. But the tricky part comes with the fact that the first group hadn’t quite finished up yet… so we decided to run two simultaneous groups!
How does that work? Hans is continuing with the first group, which happens to be smaller – a mere seven students – and they get the privilege of eating breakfast and meeting upstairs in Caleb’s bedroom. (Why Caleb’s bedroom?… the spare bedroom has absolutely no furniture in it currently… maybe we should finish that room!) The new group, which has 16 students, gets to meet in our livingroom with me. I’m excited to lead the group through the material and see them grow in their faith. (I’m also more than a little nervous to be leading something like this!) The goal is to work through all of the material by spring break, which also happens to be near our baby’s due date, and then we will combine both groups and Hans will continue with them.
On Sunday nights this semester we will be hosting two leadership meetings over dinner, with additional students joining for dessert. This group was a little smaller – only eight students made it for dinner this week, though I’ve been told that number was a little lower than usual. But seven more joined for dessert, so we still had a good crowd.
I have been thankful for the size and location of our house many times in the past two years, but this weekend made me thankful again. It was wonderful to see our house full of students, and to see so many students excited to grow in their faith, lead the chapter, and encourage others to grow as well. We dreamed of having a house full of people when we bought it, and it is great to see God filling it up!
During last night’s leadership meeting, Caleb and I ate our dinner in the Bible Study leader’s prep meeting, since attendance was low this week and there was room at the table. The group is in the middle of the Gospel of Mark, and a miracle of Jesus healing a blind man was mentioned. We were all surprised when Caleb immediately began to tell us how Jesus spat on the ground, made mud, put it on the blind man’s eyes and told him to go wash his face in water and be healed! (This particular miracle happens to be recorded in the Gospel of John, but that’s a minor detail!) I don’t even remember when Caleb first heard this story of Jesus, but he had all of the details correct. I am starting to see that having students come to our house for trainings, Bible studies, and other events is not only teaching students, but also teaching Caleb!