We left the kids with Hans’ parents for the first weekend in October and headed to Cross Training (IV’s fall conference) for a weekend “getaway.” Really, it meant that we stayed up even later than normal and spent the weekend looking at the Bible with students from four UP schools (LSSU, NMU, MTU, and Gogebic CC).
Going into the weekend, we had four Global InterVarsity students signed up. The day before we left, one of them came down with the flu and decided to stay home (which was a good thing). And after we arrived on Friday we found out two others wouldn’t make it due to unexpected grad school complications. We enjoyed the weekend with the students who were there – but were disappointed that 3/4 of our students weren’t able to make it.
Hans spent the weekend leading four students and one volunteer through the new curriculum we helped design this summer called “Come and See: Meet the International God”. (It was designed specifically for non-Christian international students). Ironically, everyone in his group was American, but it worked better than we had expected for them.
My responsibility for the weekend was new for me – I got to be the emcee for the large group times. When I signed up for the role, I didn’t realize that the emcee was also the organizer for the large group times – and got to be part of a planning committee for our InterVarsity region. Through that planning committee, I also got to co-write three skits that were presented during the large groups.
As emcee, I was the one inviting the group to respond to God on Saturday night – which was intimidating. Having only spoken to a large InterVarsity group on two other occasions, and never having presented the gospel or given an opportunity to respond to it in that setting, I was a little overwhelmed as I prepared. But after spending 1 1/2 weeks preparing during naptimes and after the boys’ bedtime, the weekend arrived.
It was a beautiful weekend, and the extra time I had to prepare while everyone was in their groups was nice. And as the emcee, I had the privilege of hearing students tell me what they were learning from God, and had the chance to see them responding to God – both throughout the weekend, and during the response time I led. 11 students committed to following God in mission, 20 responded with specific things they needed to release (or re-release) to God, and 1 student made a first time decision to follow Jesus! (Actually, I almost moved on before he stood up to say he wanted to follow Jesus. Whoops! Next time I’ll make sure to pause longer.)
The student who made the first time decision to follow Jesus was part of Hans’ group for the weekend. It was amazing to be a part of it.
It was a long, full weekend. But it was a good one – and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to emcee again in the future.
I met with a student on Tuesday for a prayer walk, just a few hours after I had been feeling anxious and overwhelmed by all that needed to be done by next week.
We read this from Mark:
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4:26-29 (NIV)
As we discussed what we could learn about the kingdom of God from the parable, we came to the role of the farmer. He scatters, trusts, waits, and identifies the right time to harvest.
Just as the farmer was attentive to the growth of the plant, we need to be attentive to what God is doing around us, identifying our role/responsibility in the process.
Praying that God would open our eyes to those around us, we made our way over to her department. As we walked through the halls, we prayed for those whose offices we passed by. She introduced me to a number of people from her department, including a postdoc that she just recently found out is also a Christian.
We ended at her empty office, praying for success in her research and a better relationship with her office mate. We sat to debrief the prayer walk, and she realized how large her network was; she knew by name nearly everyone we passed in the halls. As we talked further, it became clear that her next step was to seek out and pursue relationships within her department, made easier by the fact that many grad students eat lunch together in the lounge every day.
God answered our opening prayer; he opened her eyes to the community in her department, and invited her to step further into it. It’s not often that I call Lindsay immediately after a meeting with a student, but I was so excited and encouraged that I couldn’t wait to tell her!
Hebrews 4:12 begins: “For the word of God is alive and active,” and I saw that on Tuesday. This parable applied well to the prayer walk, and our eyes were open to the opportunities in her department. But when the same text is used in a different application in my life, Hebrews 4:12 rings that much more true.
Our planting coach, Sarah, was praying for me the following day, and the same parable came to mind for her. The farmer was not anxious in his sleep; he was able to trust that his crop would grow – mysterious as that process may be. Sarah prayed that I would be able to let go and trust God in what he is doing, and that we would have eyes to see how things have grown in the times that we’re not working. It was a powerful reminder of who really is in control, and that I need to keep trusting and keep putting him first.
Just as this student was challenged in mission through the parable of the growing seed in exactly the way that she needed, I was ministered to by the same parable, just as I needed. God’s Word is truly active and alive. Praise God!
On Sunday Elliot was one month old. It seems like he has been a part of the family for a long time, yet it’s only been a little over four weeks. (Of course, some of that feeling probably comes from the fact that I’m not sleeping more than three hours at a time…) We’ve been asked over and over how we’re adjusting to being a family of four (rather well, if you’re curious), and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how little stress I feel compared to when Caleb was a baby. At least, I don’t have nearly as much of the “am I doing it right?” stress. I’m learning that having a second baby brings different kinds of stresses and joys than the first baby.
- Less Sleep
Common sense tells me that I’m going to sleep less now that there’s another child in the house, but for some reason I was surprised by how tired I’ve been. It actually took a week or two for me to realize that I’m more tired because I nap less with Elliot than I did when Caleb was a baby. Little sleep heightens my emotions, so it’s been a little bit of a roller coaster ride.
- The Big Brother
I wasn’t sure how Caleb would adjust to being a big brother, but he is doing great and is a big help. For example, when we were at church this morning for Bible study, some of the other kids were trying to rock Elliot in his carseat and Caleb got upset – trying to push the other kids away, saying “he’s my baby”. While I don’t want him to be too possessive of Elliot or get jealous because the other kids are trying to help, I love that he has started to bond with his little brother.It’s definitely been different juggling caring for a baby with caring for a preschooler, and sometimes I feel guilty because I think I’m not interacting with Elliot enough, but then I see Caleb run up and sing Elliot a song because he is crying. That’s been a reminder that Elliot doesn’t just have Hans and I – he has a big brother, too!
- New Parent Stress
Like I said above, this time around I have felt much less of the “am I doing it right?” stress since a lot of the actions of caring for a new baby seemed to come back naturally – I have just enjoyed taking care of the baby instead of worrying about doing it “right”. But Elliot has been a gassy baby from day one, and has had a lot of pain (and therefore, lots of crying). The stressful part is trying to figure out what to do to help him feel better. He was put on medicine to help with reflux, but the medicine seems to make it worse, so we’ll see what the doctor says.
I could keep coming up with differences, but it doesn’t matter. Elliot is a different child than Caleb and I am enjoying having him in our family. It will be fun to see how he is like his big brother and how he is different as the days and weeks progress. And it will be fun to continue to see Caleb and Elliot’s relationship grow, too!
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!