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Posts Tagged ‘baby’

Each new experience in life gives us another opportunity to learn more about our Lord’s precious ways toward believers. Oksana and I are gaining insight into some of the aspects of the Lord’s imminent coming. Of course, we are clearly experiencing the “any moment” nature of His coming, as we see Oksana’s belly getting bigger and bigger (sorry, no pictures!), and as she gets more and more uncomfortable (though in general, she’s doing quite well by the Lord’s strength).

We are also trying to predict when our son will come, as we see the “signs” of his coming, just as we do in relation to the Lord’s coming. Jesus’ return is predicted by sure promises. For our son’s coming, we have no promises. We do have anecdotes from others, though. They are all just theories, but it’s interesting that people tell us things as if they are gospel fact.

Boys are always late; girls are always early.

When your belly drops such that you can put four fingers above the belly and below the bra line, you are ready to deliver.

If you start experiencing nesting instincts and do nesting things at odd hours of the night, you are close.

If you experience certain pains (which they like describing to Oksana), you are on the verge.

Of course, some of these things may actually be quite common among expectant mothers (especially #3), but one key thing I am learning about a coming delivery–every women has her unique story to tell. Three women experiencing the same thing doesn’t make it fact; it’s still just anecdotes that can lead to a theory, but not a fact. Here’s my theory that I almost believe as fact:

First-born sons look more like their mom; first-born daughters look more like their dad.

No, I haven’t done a scientific study of this theory, but I choose to accept it as almost fact, because I’ve seen it come true in at least three families (ha!). Actually, I’ve seen it in many more families, but I’m still trying to keep it just as a theory. However, I’m expecting our son to look like Oksana (God would be merciful to us if He granted that!).

We’ve had fun preparing our son’s room for him. Here’s a picture of his room before we began much work or bought anything (sorry, I said the next pictures on my blog would be of our son, but he’s delaying and I gotta post something):

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This room actually used to be my office, but I and some friends helped me move everything to the basement. Though it may sound bad to be at the end of the basement, I’m actually liking my new location. My wife and I think it really improved the look of the basement to have my office down there.

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And here’s what our son’s room now looks like (still a few things left to do):

So, we are ready for him to arrive…any moment now! As I have been thinking about our joy in preparing a place for our son, I reflect upon the Lord’s joy in preparing a place for us. Think of Him busily working away to prepare our heavenly dwelling place.

John 14:1 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.
2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
3 “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
4 “And you know the way where I am going.” (NAU)

The Lord’s words in John 14 are intended to assure our hearts that He will come back and take us to His glory–because He’s prepared a place for us. He will certainly come for us who believe! Oh, Lord, come quickly!

The truth is that we have no promise that our son will actually arrive. To be honest, our hearts have been a little anxious when we couldn’t feel our son moving in Oksana’s belly for an extended period of time (and then we breathe a thankful prayer to God when he starts moving again!). We don’t know if God will actually allow us to hold our son (our first child died in the womb), but we have confidence that He has only good purposes for all He does in our lives. This is what He has promised, and it’s what we are clinging to.

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11 NAU)

We cling to that, and we also grasp hold of God’s good character and His power to bring life into this world. He certainly has the power to give us a healthy child, and so we are praying earnestly that God would do that…and that He would do it soon!

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If you are planning on a C-section, you can plan a baby’s birth, and you can pray for guidance on when it should happen. But if you are hoping to have the baby naturally, as Oksana wants to do (and I want that too!), then you can’t really plan when that can happen. But we can definitely pray that God would cause it to happen at just the right time. Of course, His sovereign purposes in our lives are mysterious to us, and He knows when the best timing is, but that doesn’t mean we can’t offer up our requests and desires to Him. I’m praying for our baby boy to arrive on May 11 or a little sooner.

Why? Because I have to lead a translation checking workshop on the Haitian Creole OT on May 15 for two weeks (at the BI office). I’ve tried to find a way to lighten my load in May, but I wasn’t successful. How will I be able to lead the workshop if our son is born during the workshop? Only God knows! But I’m praying for him to come before May 15.

Why else? Well, we are scheduled to leave for Quebec on June 16 (or June 15), and we want our boy and my wife to get into a good routine before we have to hit the road visiting churches. I’ve heard that takes 4-6 weeks, so the sooner our boy comes the better!

Oksana’s doctor explained yesterday that it’s when the baby’s lungs are fully developed and ready to breathe on their own that the baby is ready to come out. Somehow, his lungs will let my wife’s body know that he wants to get out and meet the world. Pray that his body would develop well and that his lungs will trigger this wonderful (but extremely painful) process of delivery…before May 15.

Lord willing, the next picture you’ll see on my blog will include a healthy baby boy, born at St. Mary’s hospital in Grand Rapids, MI, in early May! 🙂

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On Saturday some of my friends and I moved all of my office items from the upstairs bedroom near the master bedroom to the far end of the basement. We figured that upstairs bedroom would work best for our son’s room. We also decided the far end of the basement is a good spot for my home office, since it meant we didn’t lose a guest bedroom. I’m not as excited about having to walk further to get to my office–not to mention having to use the stairs too!–but I think I like the new set-up. The new office is set up such that everything is within close reach, and my drawing table is not far away anymore. It’s in the same room as my desk now, along with my two guitars.

I’m thankful that my former office’s room’s walls were blue, because that meant I didn’t have to paint them a different color for our baby. I was definitely rejoicing in that small blessing when we found out we are having a boy! But other than having the room cleared (with a crib and a rocking chair currently in there) and the walls being blue, I feel like Oksana and I are walking into completely unknown territory. We have so many questions about the future. Here are some of Oksana’s questions:

  1. How can my stomach get any bigger? (she’s due on May 11)
  2. Will I truly love this child as I should? (she used to long to have children, but those desires cooled down some in later years)
  3. Will this child keep me from traveling and ministering for BI? (she doesn’t want to stop at all)
  4. Is it more economical to use cloth diapers?
  5. Will I survive the delivery?
  6. Can I teach him Ukrainian and Russian?

She has more, but these are the only ones I can think of right now. Here are some of my questions:

  1. Will I be able to tear myself away from playing with my son in the evenings so that I can get other work done?
  2. Will I get any reading done in the evenings? Still be able to workout at the fitness center?
  3. Will my child understand my English? Will I learn Russian with him?
  4. What will we do about his schooling?
  5. Will people have a hard time spelling his name?
  6. Will he keep my wife from getting anything else done at home? (she has many tasks to do for BMM and BI)
  7. Will we have strength as we age to play with him? (we aren’t exactly 20-year-olds having kids!)
  8. How much extra stuff will we have to carry around with us when we visit churches? When we go overseas?

Of course, the biggest questions are: will we be able to raise him to love the Lord with all his heart, mind, and soul? Will he embrace Christ as strongly as we would desire him to do?

Right now, we have more questions than answers, but our trust is not in ourselves, but in the Lord. And we have many examples around us of new parents who survived the transition into parenthood and successfully raised their children for the Lord. They encourage us to keep pressing forward to that inevitable due date of May 11.

On another note, we look forward to visiting churches in the coming weeks. We’ll be at a missions conference at Waterman Baptist Church in Kingman, IN, this week. And then next week we’ll join Bible Baptist Church in Wakarusa for their missions emphasis month. Then we head to Peoples Baptist Church in Frederick, MD, for their missions emphasis weekend. It’s going to be a blessed and busy two weeks!

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One activity that gives me great delight is organizing stuff–putting things in the proper place and attaching labels to find them easily later. I took the time before I left my BI office to do that before Christmas. I filed away all papers and made sure every folder had clear labels. I also got basically caught up on all urgent emails. Considering that I was around 90 behind in the fall, that was quite a challenging task! It was such a good feeling to leave the office on December 23, knowing that I could go back on Wednesday with basically a fresh start–nothing lingering from the previous year.

I also found delight in organizing our storage room at home during the past week of compensation days (which I earned from traveling so much in the fall). I put up drywall so that I could mount shelving and then get everything into its proper place. But before I installed the shelving, I put bright white paint on the drywall and also covered the grey foundation walls with two fresh coats of bright white. It feels good now to know that things that had remained somewhat unorganized for as much as a few years are now in their proper place. My larger motivation was to prepare the house for the baby coming. Since my office will become the baby room, I need to find another place in the house to set up shop. We have a nice area for that right outside the storage room, and that room can function as a place where I can keep office supplies.

Another activity that brings me great delight is reviewing God’s workings in our lives over the past year. I was able to do that yesterday, and here are some highlights of our year on a personal level:

  • Early January started with our final appointments concerning the miscarriage of Salem.
  • We were cleared to travel to Eurasia and Ukraine for 4 weeks in January.
  • While in Ukraine, we heard that the BI director, Dr. Hantz Bernard, was released by the new BMM President, Dr. Vernon Rosenau.
  • On Feb. 2, my mom moved up to Grand Rapids and stayed with us for 2 months until her newly renovated condo was ready to move into.
  • In late Feb and early March I conducted a Haitian Creole OT workshop at the office.
  • During the workshop (3/2), we drove to Detroit where Oksana had her Green Card interview and passed with flying colors!
  • At the end of the workshop (3/4-6), I led a missions conference at our church.
  • Our first deputation meeting was actually on Jan. 3 at our home church here, but then the meetings really began in March. We ended up having 16 deputation meetings throughout the year. 4 of those churches have taken us on for support, and we gained 2 individual supporters. We also visited 8 supporting churches. I spoke a total of 70 times throughout the year in 28 churches and 3 schools. Oksana probably spoke about half that number. We put 6,282 miles onto our car, and we added around 5,000 to two rental cars.
  • We started the year at 74% and saw it go up to 83%. But then because of insurance and baby-needs increases, it went down to 73%. Now, it’s back up to 83%.
  • On April 15 we found out that Oksana’s nephew, Roma, died early on April 16 morning. Oksana flew out on April 16 for a week.
  • On May 19 Oksana passed her BMM doctrinal questioning with flying colors!
  • On May 30-June 10 I led another Haitian Creole OT workshop at the office.
  • In early July Oksana attended the BMM Candidate Seminar.
  • Later in July I began taking courses to become a certified biblical counselor.
  • On July 19 we found out that Oksana’s unsaved father died at the age of 69.
  • Right after the BI Consultant Seminar and Annual Retreat, Oksana and I flew to Eurasia and then took vacation in Ukraine.
  • After the overseas trip we had 2 days before we had to leave for 5 weeks of deputation.
  • We had a week after that before we headed out for another 3 weeks of deputation.
  • Throughout the busy fall, I was also administering a graduate-level Discourse Analysis course to 4 consultants in training.
  • On September 8 we found out that Oksana was pregnant. A few weeks later that was confirmed with doctors, and we were told the due date is on May 11. We are quite excited and thankful!
  • In addition to taking vacation in Ukraine, we also took short breaks in Grand Haven, Chicago, Washington DC, and the outer banks of NC.
  • I read the following 12 books throughout the year: Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus (John Gray), The People’s Bible (Derek Thomas), Christian Counselor’s Medical Desk Reference (Robert Smith), The Bible Translator (Aug 2015 & April 2016), The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (Rosaria Butterfield), Sticking Points (Haydn Shaw), Pioneer Missions (Forrest McPhail), Holistic Discourse Analysis (Longacre and Hwang), A Theology of Christian Counseling (Jay Adams), What Is a Healthy Church Member? (Thabiti Anyabwile), and A Bible for Every Hand and Heart (Michael Grant, ed.)

It was a good year–filled with God’s blessings and trials. I am thankful that He carried us safely through and look forward to the new year. This year will include:

  • Jan/Feb: Eurasia/Ukraine
  • March: 2 missions conferences
  • Mar/Apr: Myanmar/Singapore
  • May: BABY!!
  • June: Quebec
  • July: missions trip to British Columbia
  • Aug: annual events at BI
  • Sept: Haiti
  • Oct/Nov: India, Chad, Eurasia, Ukraine

May God bless and guide in all our endeavors!

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Dear Family and Friends,

In an effort to help us understand how much we need God, Paul David Tripp points out in his book, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, that God made us to be “revelation receivers.” Even before man’s fall, we needed God’s Word to guide us. We cannot live for His glory without a growing relationship with God’s Word.

A BABY IS COMING!

It was one of those moments in which we wanted to shed tears and shout in praise to God at the same time. On November 7, we heard the heartbeat of our child in Oksana’s womb. What a relief, after not being able to hear a heartbeat a year ago! We look forward to welcoming our baby in early May. PRAY for the many adjustments involved in preparing for this little one.

SUPPORT ROLLERCOASTER

The coming of the baby and the rise in health insurance put us on a rollercoaster in support raising, which was our main activity for the fall. We had seen our support rise to 83%, but then it went down to 73% because of all the increased expenses. It’s now back up to 81%, thanks to Keystone Baptist (new) in Berryville, VA; Bethany Baptist (new) in Grand Rapids, OH; Calvary Baptist (increase) in Westminster, MD; as well as two families in Michigan and another in Pennsylvania. We also received all the funds we need for Oksana to go to Eurasia for the workshop in January. We are so thankful to the generous gift from First Baptist Church in Lebanon, PA, as well as the gifts of friends from another place in Pennsylvania and from Florida.

PRAY for the Lord to provide for the remainder of our support. We need another $130 per month to break even on our reduced budget, which does not include the full health insurance increase, the expense of a second car and second driver (Oksana), and a few other budget items. Based on how much our 32 churches give us on average, we need 11 more churches to take us on for support to bring us to the full 100%. We can’t imagine trying to report to 43 churches on a rotating basis, while also trying to keep up with full-time ministry. PRAY that God would provide in such a way that we would partner with the supporters God wants for us but also in a way that’s manageable for our future schedule. We are thankful that we gained three new churches after speaking at 16 non-supporting churches this year; and a fourth is planning on starting support in January. We had 24 church meetings total this year. We are thankful for the many blessings in all those travels but hoping that we won’t have to be on the road as much in the future, especially with a baby coming. We look forward to missions conferences in IN and MD in March.

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RECRUITING

While on the road to visit churches, we also did recruiting at Bob Jones University and Maranatha Baptist University. We are thankful that we made about 20 new contacts for BI. PRAY for the Lord to send forth laborers to this part of His harvest.

WORKSHOPS

The Haitian Creole translator wasn’t able to complete enough material to warrant a workshop in November, so PRAY that he will be able to manage all his responsibilities better (including two special needs children) and keep up with the work. However, I must say I was thankful for the extra time at home and at the office to get caught up on the large piles of work.

PRAY for us to accomplish more in the January workshop in Eurasia. PRAY also for good health for the translators and for deliverance from heavy persecution.

Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year!

Troy (for both of us)

 

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We’ve already announced this to most people we know and we published it in the Facebook world, but I haven’t yet written about it on my blog. Oksana suspected she was pregnant back in early September and we had it confirmed by Oksana’s doctor’s office when we got back to the US in mid-September. We were so thankful when we heard our baby’s heartbeat on November 7. When we met with the doctor at the same point in the pregnancy last year, we heard no heartbeat at the office, and then the ultrasound confirmed that evening that our baby had died. So, when we heard the heartbeat with the sonogram that morning, our hearts leaped for joy. It was a moment when I wanted to laugh, cry, and shout for joy at the same time. We certainly praised God for His protection over our yet-to-be-born baby. He or she is due on May 11. We’ll get an ultrasound done in early January so we can find out the gender (though we may not tell anyone!).

With the baby on its way and the increase in health care costs, our support estimate had to be recalculated. We were at 82.4% of reaching full support with the former estimate, but with the new one, we are now at 75%. It’s tempting to get discouraged, because we’ve worked very hard to get the support from 66% (when we first got married) to 82.4%. But on the other hand, much of that increase came simply because of God’s blessing. And we know He can bless again and bring the support back up. We have already heard from 2 new churches, one currently supporting church, and a new individual about increases. Pray that they would be able to do it and that others would take us on! We hope to hear of many increases when the new year starts and budgets get settled.

We are thankful for a great meeting at Southwest Community Baptist Church in Parma, OH, a few weeks ago and then another at Thompson Road Baptist Church in Indianapolis, IN, last week. Southwest is searching for a new pastor, so they aren’t in a position to take on new missionaries. But Pastor Slutz at Thompson Road said we are on his “short list.”

After our meeting last week we stopped by Widow’s Jar Ministries to pick up supplies that they collect to give away for free to missionaries. We focused mostly on provisions for our baby. We ended up filling our Ford Escape from front to back and from top to bottom. We are thankful for the labor of love of the many volunteers who help there and for God’s provision for all these supplies. We probably had $1,000 worth of supplies in our vehicle.

We stopped off at the Ukrainian embassy in Chicago on our way home to settle some paperwork concerning Oksana’s mom’s apartment in Ukraine. We hope the paperwork will arrive on time. Though we had to spend a lot for this trip, parking in Chicago, and FedEx to get the paper to Ukraine, we hope it will save having to change our Ukraine trip plans, which are currently for after the Eurasia workshop. If the paperwork doesn’t arrive, we would have to go to Ukraine before Eurasia, which would mess up other things in the works.

 

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In case you missed our recent Facebook post, a future US citizen is now in Oksana’s womb! The baby is due on June 22. We are still adjusting to life as a married couple, and Oksana is still adjusting to the USA, but now we have another huge adjustment to prepare for. Pray for Oksana as her body is already going through all sorts of adjustments.

Now that we are home for a few weeks, I can get into a good daily routine at work. One of the things I’ve put in my routine is studying Russian for an hour a day. I want to learn it to speak to my wife’s family and friends, but the main reason is so that I can work better with the project in Eurasia that we just started working on. They communicate with us in Russian, and they put their translation into a word-for-word Russian so that we can understand what they have written. But the problem is that I can’t understand their Russian material either! Of course, I will depend greatly upon my wife to help me, but it would be so much easier if I could understand the Russian myself. I don’t need to be able to speak it, but I need to be able to read it with understanding. I did that with the Haitian Creole and the Tok Pisin (PNG), but Russian will be much harder than those two Creoles.

The first hurdle in learning Russian is mastering the Cyrillic alphabet. For an English speaker, it can be confusing, because their letters look similar to ours but can have a completely different sound. For example, the letter that looks like “Y” is pronounced like our “u.” The letter that looks like “H” is pronounced as an “n,” while the letter that looks like a reversed “N” is pronounced as an “i.” The letter that looks like “C” is pronounced as an “s.” And then there’s the issue of the cursive forms looking even different than their print version. For example, a lowercase version of their “D” looks like our lowercase “g.” The letter that looks like a “T” in print form looks like an “m” in cursive form. How will I ever master these confusing symbols?! Thankfully, my knowledge of Greek is helping, because some letter look just like Greek letters, and the alphabet is organized in basically the same order as the Greek alphabet.

If I can ever get beyond the pronunciation complications, then I have to slowly work through the 6 noun case endings. The verbs will also be a real challenge, especially since they make use of “aspect” much more than English does. But by God’s grace, I will persevere and learn as much as the Lord will enable me to do.

Pray for our continued support needs. We’ve seen one church increase their support, and another individual supporter considering doing so. A church is presumably voting on us quite soon, since we completed a questionnaire recently. But so far, we are still at 73%. I did some work on Friday to get meetings at new churches, and I’ve already set up one meeting in VA and hope to set up a second one in PA soon. God is blessing! Keep praying!

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