Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day - Poverty

Poverty. Truth be told, it wasn't until I was in high school that my eyes began to open to the world around me. But when reality hit, it hit hard.

I remember one specific day. Who would've guessed that what came in the mail that day would change my life and my heart forever.

I was flipping through my monthly Brio Magazine when I noticed an insert I hadn't seen before. Teen Missions. I started reading it. I soon found myself fighting back tears as I read about AIDS orphans and street children in Zimbabwe. I knew I had to go. I had to see. I had to help.

Fast forward 6 months. I found myself on a plane with 30+ teammates. On a Balkan Airlines flight that would layover in Sofia, Bulgaria prior to landing in Johannesburg, South Africa. I still remember the sunrise through the airplane window as we descended over South Africa - breathtaking.

After landing in Johannesburg, we boarded a bus headed for a small village in Zimbabwe. Outside the bus windows as we drove, giraffe browsed the surrounding trees while a herd of buffalo grazed the grasslands beyond.

We spent 3 months in this Zimbabwean village. We focused most of our time on building the foundation for an AIDS Orphanage. What amazed me at the time was that whenever we were out there working, it felt as if the whole village would come out to help. Children would watch from outside the building perimeter.

Every Sunday we would walk to church with the nationals. The day when two of the local children took my hands as we walked will be forever ingrained in my memory.

The warmth and kindness of the people gripped my heart. Their smiles. Their love for one another. The way they cared for each others children as their own. How the way their voices carried into the night as I lie in my tent brought me to tears every time. Compared to what I had, they had so little. But whenever I heard them ask God for anything, it was more mercy, grace and compassion. Something I could use a lesson or two in.

I went to help. But instead, I was the one who needed help. I needed my eyes opened. My heart widened. My reality questioned.
Ever since my heart has ached. I can't get these people out of my head. The children living on the streets with little to eat, drink. No roof over their heads. Parents unable to provide sustenance for their children no matter how hard they work. A disease that plagues the nation. But what can one person do?

I have huge dreams. I love the ONE Campaign. I dream of one day working in Africa, fighting for such a cause. I dream of one day adopting a child from Africa. But where do I start?

Daniel and I made a decision last year. We don't want to be the kind of people that say, "One day, when we have enough money, we will do something about poverty in the world." Because the truth is, if we aren't living it now, who's to say we will when we are in a better financial situation? So we make small decisions. One by one. Decisions that put our money where our heart is. Even if it costs us. One of these decisions is to sponsor this sweet Rwandan boy with Compassion International who loves to play soccer and marbles and sing songs.

It's the small things we do each day, each month, each year that can make a big difference. We hope that the decisions we make in how we choose to live our lives now will shape the way Jackson sees the world. And that he too, one day, will choose to make a difference.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

9 Months and Other Stuff

So we found out yesterday afternoon that Jackson's surgery has been postponed until November 12th. We were really hoping for him to be well on his way to healing prior to the holidays, but it looks like the recovery process will be more right smack dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle. Oh well... (I find myself saying that over and over these days. Hmmm... Maybe I should find a new thing to say? Ideas?)

On a lighter note... Jackson is 9 months old today! While at the doctor's office yesterday, they decided to weigh him just to find out where he's at. Our boy weighed in at a healthy 20.5 lbs! Yes, you read that right! I was wondering why my arm has been hurting. Daniel and I are a bit intimidated by the fact that one day Jackson will most likely be towering over us...

We just started fruits and vegetables. The unfortunate thing about open palates - everything comes through the nose, not to mention ending up all over his face in general.

I can't resist these dimples...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Surgery Postponement

As many of you know, Jackson was scheduled for palate surgery this Wednesday. Unfortunately, Jackson woke up sick today with an upper respiratory infection. He was put on antibiotics, but as any type of respiratory illness amplifies the risks of anethesiology, it is highly likely that his surgery will be rescheduled. We called CHLA today, and we are supposed to hear back this afternoon in regards to whether or not we will move forward. This is very disappointing for us, but also important that we take every necessary precaution. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.