The next chapter has begun…

We’ve been writing about three simultaneous chapters these days…one for our sweet daughter, another saying goodbye to Albania and yet another for our intro to Nepal with some Family and American interludes in there. Because it’s been so long since posting, please forgive the long update that follows…

Our sweet Abyala was born on March 8th in Albania. She is by far the most amazing chapter of our journey together to date. We love her more than we could ever have imagined and somehow that love grows with each passing day. Lots of photos can be seen on Facebook, so feel free to enjoy her. πŸ˜‰

Since her birth, we have had quite the adventure. Our Moms were in Albania with us for three weeks! Mom Scherf was in Albania for Abyala’s birth. Such a gift to all of us! And Mom Ewert came just two days after her birth. We surprised her by bringing Abyala to the airport for a memorable welcome. It was fantastic and well worth the craziness! We loved having both of our precious Moms with us in those weeks. I (Mel) was so grateful for their help and Abyala just loved being held 24/7. Phil was an absolute champ handling four ladies in his home at once. Some fun memories for the Moms include trying to walk the stairs up to our apartment but having our Albanian neighbors refuse to let them…they were always forced into an elevator, fairing the Albanian bread line that was a bit pushy, walking the lovely streets of Tirana and finding the awesome chocolate shop, and of course just cuddling with their sweet grand daughter!

After they left, we had to pack our bags and say goodbye to beloved Albania at the end of April. Saying goodbye to our Albanian friends and home was very difficult for us and it still is. Every time I mention Albania to new friends I can’t help but explain that we didn’t want to leave. That we loved our friends there and the nation as a whole. We wanted to commit more of our lives to Albania, but God had other plans. Since we are foremost committed to Him we Go, when He says Go. No matter what or where that means. This time, it meant Nepal but first we wanted to head home to the States to be with our family.

We had a wonderful 3 weeks with our family and friends in the States. Thank you to all of you who showered us with your love, support, prayers and generous gifts. You always remind us of what we love about home – being with you. That’s always what we miss most – our time with you. It’s never been so hard to say goodbye as it was this time. We want Abyala to be with her family EVERY day. But God had asked us to go to Nepal for this season of our lives, so we go…knowing that He will care for all of our hearts, that he’ll make a way for Abyala to bond with her family and that He certainly won’t waste our time apart.

Now we’ve finally landed in Kathmandu, Nepal. Abyala has officially spent significant time in three countries. She’s flown thru the clouds for 38 hours (not counting layovers) and has almost gone completely around the world before her 2 month birthday. What are we doing to her!? Somehow she’s more than good. She’s thriving. But back to Nepal…

We’re in Nepal for at least two years. Phil is Operations Director for World Vision’s Nepali office. I am Abyala’s full-time mom. :). We’re still in a bit of shock that we’re actually here. The city is more like a sprawling village. Thousands of little shops, poorly paved roads that are all dug up, hundreds of dirt alleyways, rickshaws (3 wheeled carts used for transport), women wearing vibrant saris and beautiful nose rings, monkeys hanging around tourists, and incense in the air … Everyone has neen extremely hospitable and kind in the community, a great church, some relationships in-the-making, and a lifestyle that forces us to be humbled and made uncomfortable. We’ve been in constant prayer these last few weeks, just trying to get through each hour of each day. Somehow, I think this is exactly where God wants us.

So hopefully we’ll become faithful bloggers again and post pictures and stories from this next chapter. We’re certain there are a lot of interesting things to come. Please pray with us for the nation of Nepal…that Jesus Christ may be the one and only God of the Nepali people. Please pray also for our family…for good health, safety, a genuine love for the Nepali people, relationships, and opportunities to share the gospel here.

To be continued…

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5 thoughts on “The next chapter has begun…

  1. Hi! Mel and Phil and Abyala- This is your cousin from Pittsburgh, Pa. Mel, your dad’s first cousin. Aunt Juanita’s daughter. I so enjoy keeping up with you all and the beautiful photos of your precious baby girl. Loved reading your blog and enjoying hearing of your travels and adventures as a family.Your Christian ministry is so commendable . I pray that you all remain happy, healthy and safe. Take care and keep posting the pics. I love watching her grow. πŸ™‚

  2. I’ve kept looking at your blog and I’m excited now to tell my friends it’s continued. πŸ™‚ We loved the time we got to spend with you and help spoil Abyala. She is so precious. We’re praying for you constrantly and know the Lord will use you in Nepal.
    Love you so much!
    Linda & Buz

  3. Please keep blogging! I miss you guys, and want to hear all the details! It was great talking with you and seeing adorable Abyala last week! I hope we can do that often. We’ll be praying for you as you get settled in. Love you!

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