First, Akelo Rikot is now living with us and has been with us since the beginning of December. In a month she has grown so much. The last time we went to her village those who were taking care of her had left here at home by herself and had gone to another town. She was sick, lethargic, and was laying alone in front of the house. With their permission we brought her home. She didn't speak a single word of English but we are learning to communicate through our broken Ngakarimojong and a lot of hand guestures. In this past month she has changed dramatically by the grace of God. She has gained almost 12 lbs in that time period. She is a smart little girl and is picking up English so fast! She loves to sing and we are doing praise and worship with the kids every night and she joins in enthusiastically. The kids have adjusted well to her presence but there is some fighting that we are working through. They are being patient with her as she not only adjusts to a new language but a whole new culture and way of life. At moments it has all seemed overwhelming and has been difficult but we are inspired by families like the Fulks who took on 3 at one time and we are sustained by God. We take comfort knowing that it is He who leads us. More than anything, she loves to sing and dance and brings joy to the whole house.
Our first Christmas away from friends and family and familiarity of the United States has been testing but we have also found moments of joy. There are the small disappointments of not having the food you love at Christmas, not seeing the decorations everywhere, not hearing Christmas music around town but it is not being with friends and family that makes this time so difficult. We got a little joy in sitting on our front porch Christmas morning drinking tea in 70 degree weather. The highlight of Christmas was buying gifts for the ladies in the mercy ministry, women who are widowed, handicapped, etc. and have no way to earn a living for themselves. We bought clothes, cups, bowls, washing soap, cooking pans, for every family for Christmas. We gathered them together and distributed the stuff. Everyone was so happy and thankful to receive the much needed items.
Finally, Kristi and I celebrated our 10th anniversary on December 16th. We have been blessed to enjoy a great marriage and see how God has grown our family. He has brought us through so much together and we are thankful for every day he has given us in one another's company.