Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior... Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.... “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”
Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Familia Marcum

Familia Marcum
The earth is yours and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.” Ps. 24:1

Things are under your care O Lord. The surety of your presence has “been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” Rom. 1:20 Ever since you stooped down, gathered dust, and breathed you likeness into man we’ve had your imprint left on us. How come we’ve received such attention from the Divine? But you are our Maker and we your most esteemed creation. Forgive us for falling short of your all perfect design. Thank you for believing in us –for the tender and gracious extension you’ve medae to restore us and breath in us anew.

Now that I’ve been directly gifted with two of your precious works –Michaela and now Eliana –my heart vacillates between emotions of extreme blessedness and deep responsibility. O heavenly Father, is this an accurate portrayal of the tension within your own heart? Is this what you feel daily for your own children?

This child turns now to you in thankfulness for you love and constant provision. As the Psalmist exclaimed, truly “the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.”Ps. 16:6.

Please help me along. Give me your child, the courage to live entirely for your praise alone. The intentions of my heart as guided by your will are to guide my family in righteousness, creating a home filled with your peace and presence. I commit also to your church, to serve her, and those with whom you given me to work. May my love, service, and leadership only pour down from the vantage point of your amazing grace.

Thank you for hearing the prayer I offer on this Thanksgiving Day!

submitted by Joshua Marcum

Friday, November 17, 2006

Team Time

Although the pace of life is really picking up for all the families here, we still make a point to have some fellowship time together. Every other Tuesday, we get together for some praise time (in English!), some prayer time, and a meal. Here's a picture we took last time of our growing team!


Actually, with 2 kids under the age of 2, there hasn't been much time for reflections lately. But I know some have asked about the labor and delivery experience here - and also many are just wondering about the adjustment to a new baby.

The doctor here told us that my labor and delivery was like a "parto de campo" (delivery in the country!), which for his clinic is a little unusual as most of his deliveries are done with cesarean. I wanted to have Eliana like I did Michaela - as natural as possible. And I probably enjoyed the labor experience a little more here than in the States. I wasn't strapped down to fetal monitors or IVs. I was able to walk and use different positions to help me through the contractions. There were a couple of unexpected moments - when they took me into the delivery room, they stuck an oxygen tube up my nose (I was a little put out at first, until I discovered how much it helped during the pushing - I didn't realize how the altitude was making me so breathless). And they weren't going to let Josh in at first (I guess it's unusual for fathers to be present at the actual delivery here)! We put a stop to that line of thinking real fast. I also wasn't expecting that all my knowledge of Spanish completely went out the window - which is probably a good thing, because at one point while I was pushing, the nurse told me (in Spanish) that I didn't have to yell! She probably would have got a smack in the face if I had actually heard her! But again, like with Michaela, the whole experience is worth it when you're handed your baby for the first time and get to see the perfect little life that God has helped you bring into the world.

We only stayed at the clinic for a day - and definitely got better sleep there than I did in the States. It seemed like with Michaela they would come in to check our vitals or bring us food every time after we had just gotten to sleep. The nurses at the clinic here were available, but pretty much let me do my own thing. Upon our arrival home, the team pitched in with meals which really helped out that first week. Eliana has proved to be a very easy baby - although she sure likes to be held. And although we're still trying to find our equilibrium as Josh puts it, we are enjoying both our daughters. Michaela has had some "security issues" for lack of a better word, and has begun waking up at night to check and make sure we're there (and to see what Mommy is doing with the baby). But she likes her little sister a lot - sometimes we can't get her to stop giving Eliana kisses! I think we're all gradually settling into a routine again (minus a little more sleep). Josh is able to come home for lunch (the siesta hour here) and that gives us some good family time and helps Mom get both the girls down for naps so she can take one herself.

At times, I feel like a juggler. You get one's needs met, and then get to turn around and attend to the other. I remember someone saying once, "With one child, you get to trade on and off; with two, you have to handle them man on man; with three or more, you gotta play zone defense!" Truer words were never spoken. But then you have the quiet moments nursing when you just get to marvel at the beauty of your daughter; or the times tickling Michaela where her laugh makes you chuckle; or the times snuggling Eliana as you're burping her; or the times when Michaela is touching your face using her new repetoire of words: "eyes" "nose" "mouth"; or the times spent in humble prayer seeking wisdom and strength and patience, knowing there is no way you can ever be it all for your family. And you remember to count your blessings - a loving husband, 2 beautiful daughters, and the list goes on and on. Lord, help me to reflect daily on your goodness, and on the love you show to us as a parent to his children.