We'll Be Home for Christmas, but Not Really.

As most of you know, we are having a baby girl in January. What you may not know is that we can't have Cypress here in Mozambique. It's complicated; I won't bore you with details. We have two options. She can be born in South Africa, where Cedar was born, or we can go to the States. Either way, we have to leave Maputo at least 4 weeks before my due date of January 20 because NO BABIES BORN MID-TRAVEL PLEASE! We prayed about this decision a lot, but we still had to make a pros and cons list because sometimes we are 16. Here's a peak at our musings...

It is an interesting thing planning which country your child is to be born in, and as you can see from our super-professional list, it's not just choosing the hospital or picking a doctor. Our conversations are more like, "Hey babe, are you thinking rent a place in Joburg, SA, or fly to the States?" and "…might be pretty boring to be alone on Christmas." Of course, our ideal would be to have our bundle be born in Mozambique without crazy time/environment changes for us and Cedar, BUT we really enjoy our life and all the adventures that come along with it. These challenges are just the nature of the call.

Both our options mean a time away from our students (who are amazing people; you guys would love them) and what God is doing here (even more amazing, but we know God can hold down the fort). Those are THE hardest parts of making any decision to leave Mozambique, but some of the stress this time is alleviated a little by the fact that our weeks away line up exactly with the summer break for all the universities here. That's right: It's summer right now in the southern hemisphere, so we won't miss any of the school year! Isn't God the best planner?

Both options also equal us being away from home and away from our ministry, but only one option allows for us to be with family over the holidays and for the birth. DRUM ROLLLLLLLL! We have decided to have Cypress in Arkansas. [Side note: We are coming for you Panera….And no, this is not most important, but I am pregnant and I haven't had access to any of my cravings so my priorities are slightly skewed. Family, we are coming for you too.]

Cedar hanging out with his bestie for the last time for a while.

Cedar hanging out with his bestie for the last time for a while.

The craziest part? It feels weird to say "I'll be home for Christmas," because Mozambique is now home. This place I once couldn't picture myself living no matter how hard I tried, where they speak a language I couldn't utter a word in correctly, where I knew no one is now not just where I live, but HOME. God is so good to not just call us, but to lead us and to settle us. And this doesn't just apply to missionaries; it's for everyone in every situation. It's for you.

Are you trying to feel at home in a new job, city, stage of life? With the holidays around the corner, are feeling alone and isolated? Comment below or email us at xamarlin@me.com. We'd love to pray for you. 

P.S. Now to just decide on where exactly Cypress will be born and who will deliver her!!! Can you say a prayer with us about those details?

A Name and a Date...Part 1

Ok, so there is much more to this story than just a name and a date, and I don't think I would be honoring God if I didn't tell the whole thing. It's a good story too, if you're into low lows and high highs, and freak-out moments followed by complete peace...and throw up...yeah, sorry about that part. 

Pregnancy with Cedar wasn't fun; they call it Hypermesis Gravidarum, but I call it, "when do I get to die?" You may think I am being dramatic, and that's ok. You wouldn't be the first to tell me that, and I still love you. So the scene is Lisbon. Enter our cute apartment and find me lying in bed. Not moving. This was me most days from 7-20 weeks. Other than 5ish days, there was lots of puking, dehydration, and weight loss paired with no eating/drinking, and rarely being able to stand. At first we thought I had some crazy Portuguese virus (I just pictured a little virus walking around yelling non-sense), but after realizing these were my pregnancy symptoms, we decided not to tell family about the baby, just in case. We had recently lost a sweet babe, and we didn't want everyone to go through that again. We prayed and prayed and hoped the symptoms would disappear and that the baby would be healthy. Did I mention there's no medicine or treatment for HG or any kind of severe nausea in Portugal? Well, unless I count my super tan, 5 foot doctor who was trying to channel a mafia supermodel (do those exist?) with stilettos and piles of gold jewelry, grabbing my skin and yelling at me to, "Stop losing weight! Eat food! And no throwing up!" It was good advice; I just wasn't teachable, I guess. Then I threw up. 

Fast forward to 30ish weeks and we now live in Mozambique. My symptoms have subsided enough to where I can get out of bed, but I am still extremely nauseated and having a hard time keeping food down. Our new South African doctor, after laughing out loud at the sight of me and asking if I swallowed a gum ball, tells us that our sweet boy is behind on his growth by 6 weeks and that we should be prepared that something is developmentally wrong with him. (For those who don't know much about South Africa, you can stop imagining a bush doctor in a hut. This was an amazing hospital with top of the line equipement.) I was carrying small, but that wasn't what we were expecting to hear. As soon as we got to our car, we told the Lord we weren't owning that report and that we trusted him to work a miracle. And we kept praying that everyday until our next appointment when the doctor said Cedar was only one week behind. ONE! 

But, the best part? It's all God taught me during the hardest days. I often worried I was killing our baby, but God brought peace, even showed me visions of Cedar in adulthood. When I thought I couldn't stand to lie in bed sick for another moment, Jesus told me to pray for those dealing with terminal illness. On days when the blessing of pregnancy felt more like a curse, the Holy Spirit led me to pray for the wombs of those desiring a baby. He opened my eyes. He always does when I let him. All that to say, thank you Jesus for our sweet Cedar and thank you for teaching me more about your character and love for people. 

To be continued...click here for part 2!