"Before you saw the light of the day, I had holy plans"
My dear Elisha
I love you. With an eternal and longing kind of love. A love that doesn't matter how far you are, it makes me feel that you are closer than ever. When I found out about you, I was ecstatic! Your daddy's and my anniversary was just 3 days away, and originally I was planning on telling your dad that day, but I couldn't wait for it so the moment he got home I told him about you. We were both so joyful, so filled with hope after waiting for you for a time than felt longer than normal. I talked to you everyday and your big brother Asher learned how to say baby and kiss my belly. He was so sweet connecting with you even that early on.
I was kind of shocked when I starting having some minor bleeding. They told me not to worry and we scheduled an ultrasound just in case. Your daddy and I felt a little unsettled about it, but we when to the ultrasound full of hope and fear. Once they started the ultrasound, we knew right away that you were too beautiful for Earth. We wept in that tiny ultrasound room as it sank in to us that we won't be able to hold you for awhile, that there will not chubby cheeks to kiss, a first laugh to hear, or a competition to see if you say Mommy or Daddy first.
It has been an interesting journey that on which we have had to embark. Some days are better than others, but I can tell you for sure that there is not one day that goes by that I don't miss you or think about you. Your name means "My God is salvation" and it is the fuel that pushes my faith as I think that your very own name reminds me that one day, I will see you again. I don't know in how long that will be or how are you going to look like, but I do know something... what a glorious day that will be.
Something that has help us to go through this is something your daddy was reminded of that your Aunty Lisa asked Jesus one time. As she hiked through mountains she encountered beautiful flowers all over it, she wonder "what a waste, these flowers won't be enjoyed by anyone." She then felt Jesus telling her that he values them and he enjoys them, and even if He is the only one who gets to enjoy them, they are still as valuable as any other flower. Your daddy felt Jesus telling him as we went through all the ups and downs of losing you that in the same way those flowers are there for Him and they have the same value than any other flower, your life wasn't any less valuable just because God is the only one that gets to see it. You are our little mountain flower. We will always be reminded of you, when we see one.
I love you my precious child. I am still grieving for all the moments that we won't have here on Earth but I look forward to eternity with you.
Love you, Mommy
What an adventure this has been for me (Luke)! I have taken leadership of the School of Ministry Development here at YWAM Minneapolis, and we have completed the first three weeks of class, and it has been exciting, exhausting, and stretching all at the same time!
We have eight leaders in training in this school! They come from Guatemala, Germany, Colombia, Texas, Iowa, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Minnesota!
It is my goal and vision, to help them embrace the vision and calling God has for their lives, and to launch them out into a missional life-style to wherever God has them!
The fun part of this school, which is a secondary school in YWAM, is that these leaders in training, are to set up their own outreach to put into practice what they have learned, and to go where God is leading them. They are in the planning stage, but at this point we have people going all over the world! We have some that will be interns here at the base, others wanting to plug into ministries here in the Minneapolis area, in Texas, in Bolivia, Colmbia, and Latvia! It is amazing to be a part of the planning stage with these future leaders! This has been a huge blessing!
Please keep us in your prayers as I am leading this school, and pray for these future leaders as they are stepping out in so many ways!
The team is now back in the USA, and we have been busy with setting up for the next team, getting things ready for me (Luke) to return to the US and putting on Anti-Human Trafficking presentations in the church, radio and local school with a friend of ours! But to take the time to reflect back on what God did over the week that HCA was here, really puts me in awe of what God can do through us!
Cristal wrote about the first two days already here, so I'll continue on from Day 3....
Day 3: We went to a community called Salitrosa and worked in their Elementary School, and we were able share with every student throughout the morning. The group from HCA came prepared with Bible stories they had memorized in Spanish and the Gospel by Colors presentation and craft where they were able to present the gospel in Spanish, and we would fill in where their Spanish lacked. It was great to see these young people (and adult chaperones!) step out and share the gospel and impact these kids lives! It is great that we keep coming back here year after year with teams, and we can see the impact that bringing these
We went on an adventurous and somewhat scary tour of the sugar factory called Santa Rosa. We got an in-depth view of how the make sugar, which is one of the principle products of the economy in this part of Panama.
Later we had a church service in Aguadulce, where Mr. Krussow (the principle of HCA) challenged all of us that attended to be living sacrifices, and the church hasn't stopped talking about the idea of truly being a living sacrifice since then. It greatly challenged them.
Day 4: We took the team to a beach and had a fun morning of fun in the sun with the youth from the church!
That evening, we headed to Salitrosa where we did a lot of house to house visits and to share and pray with them. We invited them also to an Evangelistic Presentation in the park and we had a lot of people come to hear about how much God loves them! We are so excited how God's love was poured out on this community!
Day 5: We made the trek out to a town 45 minutes away from Aguadulce where we loaded up in the back of pick-up trucks and went another 40 minutes into the mountains of Panama to a small village called Agua Fria. We went around inviting kids to a program for children and we had a children's program for them.
Later that evening back in Aguadulce, we had a Youth Service in the church and it's always a party when we celebrate with the teams and the local youth! I got the privilege to share with them. It was lots of fun, since we were wanting both the youth from Hope to hear and the youth, I spoke in English and Cristal translated. It's always fun when we get to minister together in this way!
Day 6: We helped with the churches AWANA program for the morning service and after that we took the team to Panama City for their tourist day! We went to the Canal, Craft Market, and a stroll on the Causeway and ate dinner overlooking the Ocean! Panama sure is a beautiful place to be! Once we made it to our hotel in Panama City, we had a final de-brief and prayer time with the team, we were able to bless each student and speak into their lives what we see God doing in them, and they also blessed us too!
Day 7: An early morning to take them to the airport, and then say good-bye! It was a great week with them! We saw many people give their hearts to God, or open up to Him in a new way! How cool it was to see this team step out in obedience to God!
Thank you for your prayers as we were leading this team here in Panama! We are so thankful for this opportunity to serve in this way!
Luke & Cristal