Monday, June 20, 2011

Email Update: Father of Three

Dear Friends and Family,

Father of Three (Aleisha)
Sunday, June 19th was Father's Day and our seventh wedding anniversary. Seven years ago we never would have believed that this picture would be our life.

This Father's Day Brian was the father of three! When I married him seven years ago, I knew he was a great man, but after this particular year of marriage, I am overwhelmed at how amazing he is. We are on quite the adventure together, and while some days are hard in this crazy season of life, I am one lucky girl!

Eight weeks ago, Alexander James and Gabriel Roland were born at 34 weeks.

After all they had been through it is amazing that they were born so healthy; however, I don't think anyone could have prepared us for the challenges of having premature babies. The past weeks have been some of the hardest of my life. Recovering from a C-section, the NICU, having a cross-cultural birth, an extended hospital stay, ensuring that both boys are gaining enough weight, travel to and from the hospital, transitioning from one kid to three . . . . These weeks seem like a blur now, and it's crazy to think that all of that has happened.

JV Council and Spring Conference (Brian)
The same day the boys came home from the hospital was the first day of our bi-annual JV Council meeting with leaders from all eleven JV countries. This was immediately followed by our annual JV Spring Family Conference for our North American missionaries. I attended as much of the Council meetings as I could, and then Cece and I attended the entire Spring Conference. This is one of the four events each year that our team plans and hosts. This conference provides an opportunity for our North American missionaries to come together as a family. It also allows us to see and hear about the movement of God across Eastern Europe. Some of the highlights of the week for me:
  • Slovenia, one of our hardest spiritual countries, had an opportunity to share the gospel with 18,000 Slovene's in one amazing week. To hear the update, click here. To read about the event, visit our JV blog "Who is Praying for These Students" and "Praying for the Walls to Come Down".
  • Our team in Serbia reminded us, through their Gypsy Camp, that no culture is overlooked by God. Please visit our blog and read "A Culture Overlooked".
  • The young families of JV: We had over 200 people at the conference and over 60 of those people were kids. Most exciting, 12 of those kids have been born in the past year (we represent 2 of those!). Josiah Venture has a group of amazing young families reaching Eastern Europe.

  • Serving JV: On Friday morning we had our In-House session (think of it as an all-employee meeting). Our team got to (or had to!) listen to me speak for over an hour about HR, insurance, taxes, websites, email, expense reports, Google, etc. It was this amazing confirmation for me - sitting with my JV Family and using my gifts to serve them... and loving every moment of it.
It was a long week (especially since every night included 2AM feedings with the boys). But the wonderful thing was I left the week with energy and strength. Our entire team felt the same way. As we reflected on this a few weeks later, we realized that we all slid into our giftings, and when we served from that place, we actually grew in strength. I love this team and how we work together!

Living in Community (Aleisha)
While this season of life is certainly keeping me on my toes, I have been overwhelmed with the way others have cared for us. For several months now, I have been thinking about and learning more about Christ-centered community. I have been really wanting to be intentional about really living life with other people--in community. Well, without me really doing anything (except having twins), it has happened. We have had so much help, and we have been loved so well through this. The word community hardly does it justice.

When I have a moment to stop and soak it all in, I can hardly believe that I am the mother of three!

Prayer Requests
  • Sleep! We assume that every parent prays for more sleep, but please pray that despite two newborns, we could both get good sleep.
  • Patience (for Aleisha)! Please pray that I would be a great mom to all three of my kids. Pray that I would remember the things that are most important to give to my kids.
  • Protection! Pray that God would protect our family, especially in the area of health.
  • Effectiveness! Despite a very crazy season of life, we desire to continue to serve well and to love others.
When I think about that very first email that we sent asking for prayer for these boys, I get tears in my eyes thinking of how all of you joined us in fighting for our family! Thank you for supporting us, our ministry, and most importantly, standing with us when we need it the most!

We love you,
Brian, Aleisha, Cecelia, Gabriel, and Alexander