First family hike (no carriers) on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar

Today we’re remembering the people of Nepal.  Two years after the earthquake and still many families are waiting for their homes to be rebuilt.  For their lives to be a semblance of what they once knew.  For hope to be real.  Please pray for the people of Nepal today.

Nothing seemed fitting to write after the earthquake. No story can properly bridge the gap between the earth shaking beneath your feet day after day and the normalcy that would come with time.  Our hearts still shudder when we’re near the booms of a construction site or when a fire alarm goes off.  But the intensity of fear has dimmed.  And healing has had time to take root.  God walked with us through that darkness and has brought us into a season of abundance.  We don’t deserve this abundance, but we thank God for it day after day.  Still the words don’t come easily.  I’m not sure this blog will recover.  But for the sake of documenting memories for our kids, here’s our best shot.

I was only eight weeks pregnant when the earthquake struck.  I remember walking around Kathmandu with our two year old Abyala in a baby carrier on my front, and Ahsa and Everest tucked away in my belly.  All three children close.  Wanting to protect them with every fibre of my being.  Knowing that I had no control.  Praying persistently.  Tripping over rubble.  Remaining faithful to God’s ask for us to stay.

But God doesn’t always allow you to take root in a community the way you envision.  For us, staying in Nepal was hard but it was home.  With all the comforts of familiarity and community.  But that was about to end.

Everest and Ahsa were born in Indiana, Pennsylvania on November 2nd.  It was a time of relieving joy.  Relief that everyone was healthy and safe.  Two adjectives that held excessively deep meaning during that time in our lives.  Everest was born first with Phil and my Mom on either side of me, holding my hands, pushing me forward as our amazing baby boy came blaring into the world.  With his sweet cry.  Then, fifteen minutes later came Ahsa.  She was breech.  We knew she would be.  And I was terrified I wouldn’t push strong enough to birth her safely.  Pitocin spiked, my hands still being held tightly, Dr McCoy calmly told me to begin pushing again.  Energy surged through my body that I didn’t know I had.  Two pushes later, I remember watching Ahsa being born with her tiny bottom first.  She greeted us with sweet cries as well.  Then I got to hold my Everest.  The joy and fear of two babies was incomprehensible.  I nursed him and afterwards he simply laid on my chest until the nurses whisked him away to an isolette for the next 24 hours.  He had a minor respiratory issue.  And despite having the normal sadness of a Mom simply wanting to hold her baby, I had a deeper sense of peace.  And our Ahsa who didn’t even weigh 5 lbs yet was strong – thank you Jesus!  Every nurse and doctor was amazed.  She could barely nurse because her mouth was so tiny, but we learned together.  God granted patience.  Finally, after a long first day of updates on Everest’s condition, he was rolled into our room and reunited with his family.  We snuggled the two of them together and thanked God for His blessing of abundance.  We are still in awe.

Phil and I had to endure a heart wrenching separation for three of the four months around their birth.  He had to work in Nepal while we waited for the twins’ arrival.  Only two weeks after they were born, Phil had to go back to Nepal.  We can’t put words to that season.  Then, there were three moves in 5 months (USA- old house in Nepal – new house in Nepal – Mongolia) before we were settled at our new home in Ulaanbaatar.  I think we’re still recovering from that time of uprootedness, uncertainty and sheer exhaustion with three kids under 3.  It’s probably a blessing to everyone that we weren’t blogging at that time.

But now we are living in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.  Two years after the Nepali earthquake that will forever mark our lives.  Phil is leading a team who improves education, healthcare, and protection systems for children throughout Mongolia.  Our purpose goes beyond development –  it’s about the great love of Christ going forth in this beautiful land.  It’s not about the adventure – we’re over that.  But we’ll never be over what Jesus did for us on the Cross.  We want everyone to know the love and hope of Christ.  So we continue to follow Jesus.  To the very ends of the earth.  Even when it trembles.

“May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works—
he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains, and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”

Psalm 104:31-33


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