Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Couple of Fun Days

Yesterday we went swimming and enjoyed the luxury of a day at the Sheridan hotel.  Jesse and Nicole were in their glory, they swam in the pool for the entire six hours we were there on a "pool pass".  We enjoyed ice cream and drinks by the pool, and had a nice, relaxing time.  Deborah was enthralled by swimming, she could have stayed in the 32 degree warm water all day.
Apparently no one in Ethiopia will will ever forget that it is the Sabbath, and in case they do, at midnight they sound a signal of wailing music that lasts for at least two hours (trust me, I laid in bed counting the minutes for both of them), which is accompanied by loud chanting over loudspeakers.  Between that and the dogs barking in the streets, it was another sleep-depraved night for me and Trish, but Anna, Jesse, Nicole, and Deborah slept like logs again.  Deborah has been a wonderful sleeper and has gone into a great daily routine already, Anna thinks they must have had the Baby-wise book at the transition home:)
 In the morning we went by taxi to an evangelical church downtown, but we got there just as the service was ending, so we couldn't attend.  Jesse and Nicole were crushed:)  On the way back the the hotel we stopped at the Edna "mall" and the kids went to "Bongo Bobs", the Ethiopian version of Chuck E. Cheese, complete with prizes that don't work or break upon first use.
We then had lunch, and decided to go to the Hilton pool for the afternoon.  Their pools are fed by hot springs, so the water was about 95 degrees, very warm and comfortable.  Once again, all of us loved it and Deborah lounged in the water for a long time after a good nap first (for both of us).
While we were at the Hilton, I went to the Ethiopian airlines desk and changed our flights home.  We will be leaving Wednesday at midnight instead of Friday, which puts us back in Toronto on Thursday afternoon at 3 PM.  It will be nice to sleep in our own beds, and get Deborah settled into her own room.
We have had a wonderful time here so far, seeing many things that we will remember forever and can tell Deborah of for years to come about her birth nation.  Deborah has been terrific, she is such a happy little girl, always ready to give a smile to her big sister and brother who have been smothering her with love.  She even did a few steps of crawling tonight, which we are quite sure has been a first for her!  A milestone that we were able to share with her!
I (Paul) have been doing all the blogging via e-mail, Anna says hello to all of her blogging and e-mail friends and will catch up with you upon our return home when she can get back to regular routine again.  Thank you to all of you for your prayers and encouragement, they have been a blessing to us over here.
God is good!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Vos family Photo (minus Curtis)

So much to say, not enough words to do justice to them, so a picture instead (for now).
We are well, and having a journey that will change us forever, no doubt about that.

Thank God from whom all blessings flow!

Miss you, Curtis, hugs and kisses from all of us, especially your new sister.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gotcha Day!!

We  just got back from bring Deborah home from the transition home.  What an experience, we are way above cloud 9 right now!  Deborah cried a little when Anna took her from Hanna's arms (her nurse for the past few months at the home), but then Deborah got to hold some of the toys and musical stuffed toy that we sent her way back in April after the referral, and Deborah settled right in.  She was enthralled by all the traffic in the city, her little eyes were looking everywhere!  By the time we returned to the Weygoss, Deborah was sound asleep in Anna's arms and that is where she is right now as I type this message at an internet cafe across the street. (internet is done at the weygoss, I think a common theme in these parts:)
All of us are doing well, everyone is healthy even though a little sleep depraved (for me and Trish, believe it our not, everyone else had slept like logs!)
We will get pictures posted once we have a more stable internet connection, but rest assured that she is the most beautiful baby that has been born in the past 6 years!  
God is good, we are so thankful to Him for making our lives and Deborah's become one.

London to Addis, Thursday, October 28

Yesterday was a day that we are sure will be deeply engrained in our collective memories for the rest of our lives, and it will be impossible to properly summarize it in a few sentences, but I will give it a try. We left London at 10 pm after a short delay, and arrived at Bole International Airport at 7 am. Putting all of our 11 pieces of luggage,plus our carry on, plus the five of us into two small Hyundai cars was certainly a feat in itself.
After a short cab ride through the city, where we saw people and poverty already like we have never seen before, we arrived at our Tazina guest house, which it turns out was in the middle of nowhere. In relation to shopping or any type of amenities we could use. We hauled all of our luggage inside, had a quick shower, and then were picked up by Solomon to go the Kids link agency first, where we received all of Deborah's vital documents like her passport. We also made the decision here to move from Tazina to the Weygoss guest house, where others we know have stayed. The Weygoss is much more central in town, and walkable to many shops and cafes.
After finishing at the kids link office, it was off to the Transition home where Deborah has been living since May 11. Once again, there are no words to express the moment when we got to meet the gift that God has planned for us since the beginning of time. Deborah is a wonderful, precious, beautiful, awesome etc etc etc little girl, and we had about two hours together with her where she had a little nap and Anna got to feed her a bowl of rice for lunch. Unfortunately, then we had to say goodbye for the day. Deborah, we will meet you again on Friday to bring you home forever!
The rest of the day was filled with moving from the Tazina to our new home, the Weygoss, and settling in. We played some games, then went across the street (an adventure in itself) to the local mall, and then had dinner on Cloud 9, a wonderful rooftop patio on top of the mall.
A wonderful and eventful first day, surely an exciting indicator of our days ahead in this beautiful country.

The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is my stronghold, of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A day in London en route to Addis Ababa

We had a great flight to London, and after checking in at the "Yotel", we toured the city for a few hours. We got to meet lots of nice people while we were there, but we are still thinking of one who remains at home and one who is a day away from our "gotcha" day.

Sent from my iPad

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave..." (1 Kings 8:56)

#1058- #1072

-Deborah's Visa is in!!!!
-leaving for Ethiopia tomorrow
-bringing our daughter home very soon!!

-flowers from my thoughtful sister-in-law

-dressing up for the fun of it!

-spa (while waiting for a turn of shuffle board)

-serious game of shuffle board with my mom!

-games night
-supportive Christian teachers
-hugs and prayers from teachers
-lots of hugs and prayers from our amazing church family
-suitcases full of donations to bring to Africa tomorrow from friends/family
-homemade/knitted hats made out of love specifically for the children in Africa
-jumping with the children on the trampoline
-proud older brothers and sister who can't wait to bring home their little sister!

holy experience

Friday, October 22, 2010

Adoption Update- Deborah's Coming Home!!

"I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer"
(Psalm 17:6).

This is me, hyperventilating with excitement as we received the news this morning that Deborah's Visa is ready, just after my last post of asking God for wisdom in deciding what to do. Another lesson in just trusting in Him and that He has control over all things! We were informed this morning from our MP that her Visa is printed and is being couriered to Ethiopia. We leave on Tuesday night, fly to London, then to Addis Ababa to meet our baby girl and to bring her home!! We are beyond being excited! Paul was shaking when he came home this morning to tell me the news. I needed to know for sure that we were leaving and now that we have our flight arrangements all made, I'm flying higher than a kite!! What an answer to many prayers! God is so good!


"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight"
(Proverbs 3:5,6).

Paul prayed at breakfast this morning for wisdom. We need to decide whether or not to go to Ethiopia on Tuesday. We still have no word where Deborah's Visa is. It is our prayer that God will give us peace, and wisdom and that we'll hear soon that Deborah's Visa is in Ethiopia.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


"When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and alien. I am the LORD your God"
(Leviticus 19:9, 10).

Today we were very blessed to tour the Ontario Christian Gleaners. Shelley (the manager), toured us, introduced us to all the volunteers, and then graciously and humbly gave us 14 bags of dry soup mix to take to Ethiopia. Each bag gives 100 servings of soup. We can't wait to distribute the bags to the many needy children/families in Ethiopia.
Many are blessed and will be blessed by the humble work of the Gleaners.

About the Gleaners:
"Gleaning is a biblical concept in which God commanded farmers to allow the poor to gather food from fields already harvested. Today we can feed the hungry through gleaning from the surplus fruit and vegetables from farms, food processing and food distribution companies

Inspired by the Okanagan and Fraser Valley Gleaners and after much prayer, several committed believers were led by the Holy Spirit to start a similar operation in Ontario. As a result the Ontario Christian Gleaners (OCG) was established in 2004. In September 2008 production began at the new facility in Cambridge, Ontario.

The OCG exists to share God’s love and compassion by supplying out of our surplus to those in need around the world in Christ’s Name."

-the process

-my father-in-law cutting the veggies

-Fred placing the veggies in the dicing machine

-veggies going into the ovens to dry

-veggies donated by local farmers

-Shelley- the manager- a person with a big heart!

-a map showing the many countries around the world where the Gleaners have distributed their dry food packages. We can't wait to put a red sticker on Ethiopia on the map behind us!

Monday, October 18, 2010

One Thousand Gifts (Continued)

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD" (Psalm 150:6)
My list of praise and thanks continues...
#1 046- 1 057

-amazing supportive church community
-a creative God -love those leaves!
-Deborah's Visa being issued and granted
-bazaar preparations

-surprise visit and Visa cake from awesome friends!

-studious children

-athletic children

-daughter and son running cross country (they seem to be doing things in pairs this year)

-daughter completing her first race! So proud of you, Nicole and Jesse!

-the best present you can get at a wedding (presentation of the wedding Bible)

-decorating my office space

-my new "office" space

holy experience

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Adoption Update- Light at the End of the Tunnel

"Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD" (Psalm 31:24).

Agh...what a confusing day. No Visa, yes Visa. Disappointment, excitement. Our Visa did not come in the pouch today (but congratulations to the five families that did get their Visa). However...
Good news, we have been issued a Visa! It still needs to be printed, and officially documented, but it has been approved and issued, we just didn't receive it because of some computer glitch in the process.

Since we still need to wait for it to be printed (not sure why, in this electronic age), we will probably need to wait until mid to late next week to travel, but at least we have an answer now!
Thanks for all your prayers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Adoption Update

"For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth" (Psalm 71:5).

Apparently the Embassy in Ethiopia was closed today.
Here's hoping for good news tomorrow that Deborah's Visa is ready!

Monday, October 11, 2010

One Thousand Gifts (Continued)

"Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name" (Psalm 103:1).

Today's Thanksgiving Day. I am overflowing with things to be thankful for. Our pastor preached this morning about the importance of being intentional about giving thanks. He explained how being grateful is "a spiritual exercise that acknowledges our dependency on an unseen God and as we give thanks for His presence and provisions, those become more real to us" (and so does God). As he read from Psalm 103:1-5, our pastor that first and foremost, we ought to give thanks for who God is. Then, everything else becomes more profound.

My gratitude list is not only mine, but it includes my family's list as well.
#1 021- #1 045

-God knows what's best for us
-God's perfect will
-God and His salvation of us and my wife and all 4 of my children and that they love God (Paul's list)
-God and the Lord and my family (Curtis' list)
-Jesus, my Saviour and the Bible (Nicole's list)
-my friends and all the food we have (Jesse's list)

-God giving my husband the strength and confidence to pray in church this morning
-Paul's prayer:
"Lord, you are awesome and majestic, so it is with humble hearts that we come before your throne of grace in a prayer of thanksgiving for your gospel of reconciliation. Lord, we stand before your with hearts and lives that are burdened with the weight of our sinful nature. We thank you for opening our eyes to the way that we grieve you with each of our wrongdoings.

Thank-you for bringing people, circumstances, and events to our lives that reveal to us just how depraved we are. Through this revelation of depravity, you also bless us with the knowledge that we cannot do anything good on our own. Thank-you for our reliance on your grace as the only means to set us free from the captivity of our sin.

Thank-you also for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, who sets us eternally free from the guilt of our sin. Thank-you for our assurance of salvation through the cross of Christ.

Lord, please work in our hearts, minds, and hands each day, that we will be led by you to live lives of faith in Christ. We pray that you will open our eyes to ways that we can bring the gratitude of our hearts out in the actions of our hands.

Please reveal to us ways that we can glorify you through our lives, and give us the faith, confidence, and courage to act on those revelations. Amen"

-our niece's wedding this past weekend

-brother and sister together on the spelling bee team and winning first place!

-ability to run and participate in cross country

-extended family

-fall colours

-group hike

-amazing Mother and Father-in-law -their love of the outdoors and hiking
-51 years of marriage

-older cousins


-great host and hostess

-Thanksgiving decorations (not mine, but my very talented sister-in-law)
-eating outside
-leaves falling everywhere
-son listening to a suggestion from our pastor and leaning over, "Mom, we should do that!"
-siblings playing together
-charts and schedules

holy experience

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15b).

This was the verse that the minister preached about yesterday at our niece's wedding. This was also the verse chosen by my in-laws 51 years ago. I think it's a verse that will stay in the family, because our other niece used the same verse at her wedding last year. I hope and pray that it does stay in the family, perhaps not as wedding texts (although that would be great too), but in all of our daily lives. The choice that Joshua is offering to the Israelites seems obvious, but how often we fail to make godly choices as we use our free will. We so easily choose other gods in our lives - money, fame, acceptance, leisure, sports, alcohol, possessions, etc. It is my prayer for Jen and Trevor (and all of us) that we with the help of the Lord, we will choose to serve Him everyday and that He will be the center of Jen and Trevor's married life and in all of our marriages.

-listening to beautiful music by Jen's aunt and cousin

-driving in style

-definitely a highlight of the wedding- the infamous father/daughter dance; Ken comes alive as he and Jen shock the pants off everyone with their amazingly choreographed dance that they had been practicing!

-the slow father/daughter dance before the "real" dancing began!

-guess the donut to get the married couple to kiss- a fun idea by the MC's (my nephew and niece)

I pray that God will richly bless Jen and Trevor as they begin their lives together as a married couple. I pray that they will follow Him and allow Him to be their guide.