Blog

Below you’ll find several stories, letters and updates about my “life. It’s exactly what the link claims it is: my blog. It’s mainly intended to keep people up to date about my ministry. The quarterly prayer letters will be posted here as well as any other additional updates or stories. Thanks for taking time to read.

Sand Stories

At the beginning of September, we took a much needed family trip to Swaziland. It is only a four hour drive to the border or six if you have two toddlers. I have crossed a couple of borders before so I thought I knew what I was in for. I was wrong. First surprise was we had to get out of our car on the South African side of the border. We had to go into a building, wait in a long slow moving line to get our passports stamped. The second surprise was we had to drive 300 feet to the Swaziland side of the border and do the same thing!

Once we were in Mbabane, we had a wonderful time. When you are in Swaziland, you can open up the window in the morning and hear nothing but the birds singing. Internet access is sketchy at best so we enjoyed several days of just being together as a family and having fun. We went to a game park where we could get out and walk. We saw lots of buck and zebra up close. We saw two crocodiles too but didn’t want to to come too close to them. I was quite proud of Ary. She walked 2 km without a complaint.

Chilling by the swimming pool

The braai master

Greetings to Miliwane Park by a buck

We also stopped to see some TWR friends. The kids and I finally got to visit the transmitter site where many of our programs are broadcast. Our friend who runs the transmitter site told us a fantastic story about the building at the site.

TWR did not have the money for all the materials to build the building at the transmitter site. Specifically they did not have enough money for the sand and transporting it to the site. They started praying to God that he would provide the funds. Later, Swaziland experienced a big and ferocious thunderstorm that lasted for three days. When the workers came to check for damage at the site, they discovered a vast amount of sand deposited in the stream next to the site. God provided the sand and the transportation to the site so the building could be built.

The sand you see below us is where the sand was deposited by God’s storm

The transmitter site today

We all have sand stories. Stories where God took a terrible storm in you life and provided for you. Stories where God answered your prayer but not in the way you expected. Since living over here in South Africa and joining TWR. I have learned to pray specifically and then expect God to show up and He does. God is faithful. Sometimes I just need to pay attention more to see what God is doing.

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September 2018 Newsletter

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Laura and Lauren enjoying some eats before they went back home

Well, intern season is over and while Ryan might not have two heads mounted on the wall, TWR Women of Hope does have a new app.  Our interns, Laura and Lauren, worked hard and managed to build a working app in less than two months.  The app still needs to go though a few approval channels before being released to the public, but the major work is done.

Aryanna and Owen hanging out after churchLaura and Lauren both jumped into TWR with a huge learning curve before them.  They set out determined to build what they needed.  With a little help and mentoring, they both grew as developers and did an impressive amount of work.  Ryan enjoyed getting a rare opportunity to work with other software developers.  It was satisfying to mentor other young developers and pass what he has learned over the years.

Aryanna and Owen hanging out after church

We also enjoyed getting to know Laura and Lauren on a personal level, having them over for dinner.  Aryanna adored them both and called them “the one with the hat” and “the one with the hair”.  We’ll miss having them around and we hope they’ll be able to return one day.

Elyse finished writing scripts for “Hope for our Children” in August. It was a challenging work for her. She enjoyed the struggle and even was challenged by what she was teaching about money. The program is now being translated into Zulu and produced so it can begin airing by the end of the year.

Ary and Owen’s Corner

Aryanna on the swings with friends at her birthday party

Ary turned 3 in June. We had a birthday party with Ary’s three best friends at a local playground. The kids had lots of fun playing on the equipment and eating Ary’s special request: Toy Story ice cream cake.  Ary has started to develop into a little girl instead of a toddler. When Ary is awake, she is talking. She loves to play with her stuffed animals in the bath tub calling it Grandpa’s boat. She loves to read and will sometimes read to us. She can even pick out letters and numbers on pages and signs. Her favorite place to visit is the Botanical Gardens so she can feed ducks and play in the dirt and trees.

Owen is an energetic toddler. He can be entertained by cars whether big or small or in a book. He notices every airplane that comes near our home. Owen would rather be outside than anything else. He will throw or kick a ball with you for hours on end. He is still not talking but communicates very well with his hands.

Listener Story

I am a faithful listener of your programs. Your topics have given me spiritual growth in term of Bible reading and the courage to go through hardships. I am starting to see the difference between the person I was in 2017 and the person I am today. I believe that God is going through your programs to revolutionize my Christian life. Thank you so much.
-A listener in Cote d’Ivoire

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Carry One Anothers’ Burdens

“Can my daughters and I sleep in your garage? We are being kicked out and have no place to go.” I was caught by surprise when my neighbor showed up and made such an interesting request. Our garage can barely fit a car inside it. It has one power outlet and one light. My answer, “definitely not! If you need a place to stay, you can stay in our home.”

We have become friends with our neighbor and her three girls over the past six months. The three girls are 9, 13, and 14. they moved in the day after we did. Ary and Owen had so much fun being adored by these girls. At first they would come over and knock on our door so they could play with Ary and Owen. As we got to know them, I noticed the girls were often home alone. Then I noticed that the oldest girl didn’t go to school. When I asked her about it, she said that they didn’t have enough money for school fees, a new uniform, and all her books and supplies. Once they had saved up enough she would be able to go. About once a month she would come to me excitedly about how she would be going to school next week but then next week would come she still wasn’t able to go. Then, when they started coming over after school, the girls would ask for food. They hadn’t eaten all day.

It turns out that this seemingly happy family was having hard financial times even though both parents are working. Also as is quite common lately, we discovered that the dad had a girlfriend and was not caring for his family as he ought to. So, when they were kicked out of their apartment, we took the three girls to temporarily live with us.

It was quite an adjustment going from two children to five especially with two teenagers. Thank God that he works us up to teenagers and doesn’t give the to us right off. Keeping up with everyone’s needs like food, clothes, and sleep were exhausting for me. Ary and Owen were now sharing a small room that had just enough room to put their beds and a dresser. We had to move most of Ary’s things from her closet to Owen’s closet to make room for the girls to have room to put their things in Ary’s closet. Ary and Owen did not like the idea at first of sleeping in the same room. Owen still wakes up in the night and so neither of them slept well. Ary also woke up Owen in the morning and at nap time quite frequently.

Our grocery bill jumped up quite a bit and cleaning became a bigger priority with more people living in our home. Ryan and I had to wake up earlier so we could get the girls off to school. We always made sure that they had something to eat before they left and made lunches for them. I think the hardest thing for me is that I had no down time ever. As soon as I got Ary and Owen down for a nap, the girls got home from school and wanted my attention.

As hectic as our lives became, I can’t imagine how the girls felt as their world became flipped upside down, living away from their mom and dad. I was glad that we could be there to provide a little stability in their lives while they finished up their last three weeks at school and more importantly, exams. Even in the chaos, I hope Ryan and I spoke into their lives. Many people were shocked that we even took these girls in, saying we were crazy. The girls were just aching for love and boundaries. We gave them that and they were great kids. We don’t have tv in our home so we ended up listening to music, talking, and playing board games a lot more. Plus we got them to study for their exams. I learned first hand about Black culture here in South Africa

We were able to take a lot of pressure off the girls’ mama. She was so overwhelmed and downtrodden that she had considered suicide. She said, she could never repay us for what we had done. She asked if we were really angels in disguise. I told her, “no, we are just people who are obeying God and helping our sister in Christ.”

We are told to carry each others burdens in Galatians 6:2. I was listening to a sermon about this passage when I was getting more frustrated with the situation we were in. The pastor said that the word burdens refers to trouble that the person got themselves into. So often I find I don’t want to help people because they got themselves into this trouble by their bad choices. They are just reaping the consequences of their decisions. God put this on my heart, “Did I leave you alone to reap the consequences of your sin? Did I leave you to spend eternity in hell?” It changed the way I look at helping people and bearing one anothers burdens.

After school was over, the mom and dad were able to take the girls home with them. I have not heard from them since. I have tried to communicate with them but there is no reply. Please pray for this family.

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June 2018 Newsletter

No one better than Mommy!

I hope you are all enjoying your summer. We are entering the hard cold months of June and July here. It is not just cold season but also intern season. We have two interns, Laura and Lauren, coming to South Africa at the beginning of June. Our “Women of Hope” ministry needs a mobile app for their prayer groups that the interns will be creating. As it happens Ryan knows the technology well, making him the best candidate for managing and mentoring both interns. This will be the first time Ryan has mentored other software developers. The last two months have been sprinkled with preparing for Laura and Lauren among other responsibilities. The project for revamping our uploading software for our online media archive has still been Ryan’s main focus. There should be an initial release ready to early users at the end of June.

It’s Never Too early to start drumming

Elyse has not returned to the office at TWR. We could not find a day care that suited our needs. So, Elyse got organized and writes during naptime. At the moment Elyse is writing a piece of the program, Hope for our Children. She is writing about financial responsibility. So many people in South Africa live in poverty. We want to instill biblical principles and easy action steps to help kids use the money they have well. So as they grow into adults, they have a better understanding about money. Elyse is writing on subjects like contentment with what you have, how to make a budget, working hard for what you get, and generosity and giving.

Ary and Owen

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Time to go where no child has gone before in our brand new spaceship!

Owen turned 1 in March. We had a family party with cake and presents. He now walks and climbs. Quite often Elyse finds him in high places such as the burglar bars on the window and on top of the table. He doesn’t speak but over the last few weeks, he has learned to communicate a few words such as “more”, “all done”, and “please” through sign language.

Ary has become more interested in doing puzzles and reading books. She asked if Elyse would teach her ABC’s. She also enjoys playing with the neighbourhood kids who come to our house almost daily to play. Our complex is bursting with kids from babies to teenagers. We have become friends with our neighbors right next door. We play with the kids but I think more importantly we listen to them. We listen to their problems and joys. They love to help Elyse cook. Some of the girls come and cry to Elyse. Elyse bakes cupcakes for birthdays and we all decorate. Ryan is a favorite for swinging people around and chasing them.

Listener Story

I am a homeless, inexperienced, young mother who gave birth on the streets. When my baby was a month old, he fell sick from a cold and I thought that he was going to die. I would like to thank TWR for the programme, Challenge of Africa, which had a topic about common cold in children. After listening to your programme, I am no more ignorant concerning my child. Thanks for educating us.

– A listener in the Ivory Coast

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March 2018 Newsletter

Our first dinner in our new appartment.

We had an incredibly cold but wonderful Christmas with Ryan’s family. But at the beginning of January, we made the long journey back to South Africa. Now, after six months of being nomads, we are finally in our new home. We were very happy to move into our new apartment at the end of January. Our first day in our new home we had beds set up with clean sheets, that was it. All of our possessions were stored in a garage so every dish, blanket, curtain, and clothing had to be washed. Elyse had to wash down every surface of the apartment before we moved in. The first night in our apartment, the only clean space to eat in was our hallway. Slowly but surely the chaos died down. Things got put away and reorganized as we figured out where everything should go.  There are a lot of children in the complex and they love Ary and Owen. We go outside to play with them almost every day. Ryan struggled for weeks to get us an internet connection and a South African bank account.

Owen Enjoying himself at a braai

While this transition feels like it has been a lot of struggle getting back into life here, not everything has. We returned to our church. Ryan is playing drums and Elyse teaches Sunday School. Ary was excited to see all her friends again and Owen is beginning to make friends. We found a raspberry field where we enjoyed a fun filled morning of picking raspberries and eating them too.

Ryan jumped right back into work releasing a new versions of the Producer’s Tool and continuing work on the new web interface for uploading files to LinguaDMS. Elyse took some extra time to see the kids settle in more. We are currently looking for a nanny or a day care so Elyse can work part time writing part of a program, Hope for our Children. Most of Elyse’s episodes will center on how to use money wisely.

Pray for the Team in Swaziland

Our team in Swaziland needs your prayer. One of our fellow missionaries was robbed and then highjacked with her 1 year old son. They are both ok as their car broke down 1 km from their home. The robbers then ran away on foot. She was then able to get the car to a local butchery and call for help. Crime has been increasing near our Swaziland office. Please pray for our team’s safety.

Listener Story

“Thanks be to the Lord for the programme of Bible Bus. It’s not easy to explain what the reading of the word is doing in my life. The more I listen, the more I want to hear. I am really filled with joy and hope. May the Lord extend your territory and increase more languages to help our illiterate population of the world, especially [on South African farms]. I am really pleased and excited about TWR programmes. Be Blessed.”

– A listener in South Africa

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December 2017 Newsletter

We got to play at a pumpkin patch in October.

Where in the world is the Seal family? I feel like we need a map for all the places we have been in the last three months. I write to you from a chilly blustery day in Colorado. We traveled from North Carolina to New York and Pennsylvania where we spent time with Elyse’s family and friends. We were also able to visit with two of our supporting churches. Then, onward to Texas, where we had a family reunion with Ryan’s family and visited with other supporters. Elyse was able to go to a conference by an organization called Christian Women in Media Association. It was a great time networking and encouragement for her.

Finally to Colorado, where most of our supporters are. We visited as many people as we could contact and had many

Family Picture Time. DON’T SMILE.

fun reunions. We enjoyed speaking at three more of our supporting churches here in Colorado. We have also had good quality family bonding time between going to parks, carving pumpkins, watching football, trunk or treat, and having Thanksgiving together. Ryan went to a quick conference in North Carolina about cyber security at the end of October. Some special events that happened were a visit to Canada to visit some former TWR friends, going to a Broncos game for Ryan’s birthday, and a special Christmas light show at the botanical gardens.

We are headed to Nebraska in December to spend Christmas with Ryan’s family. Then, we head back to South Africa. It has been a long trip but we are enjoying the time we get to share with family and friends.

Still Some Work To Do

Ryan getting spoiled for his birthday at a Broncos game.

Ryan has continued to work on the project he started in North Carolina and a few minor bug fixes for the Producer’s Tool. Furlough has also been a good time for Ryan to improve his software development skills. The software industry moves quickly and being away from the pressures of work allowed him to catch up on some much needed research and development.

Listener Story

Hi there to all you wonderful people in Christ Jesus. I study with you every night [listening to “Thru the Bible” on 1170 Medium Wave]. There is some interference but I do manage. I learn a lot from your studies. You always comfort me as two of my children passed on. It hurts so much but God always sees me through each day. Thank you for this programme. God bless you.
~ A Listener in South Africa

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September 2017 Newsletter

Owen Enoch “discovering” his toes

Hello from the USA! We arrived in North Carolina on July 21st with quite a bump, literally and figuratively. While struggling with jetlag, Aryanna and Elyse became ill and both needed antibiotics. Owen struggled the most with the transition and still isn’t sleeping more that 3 or 4 hours at night. We spent a week at the TWR lodge while we had meetings with the HR department and prepared to come on furlough. Then we moved out and have been living with family.

Living overseas we rarely spend quality time with family. We enjoyed immensely the opportunity to stay with family during our time in North Carolina. Despite the travel challenges, furlough gives us opportunity for catching up on the last three years. We plan on making the most of our time with family and friends during this furlough.
Elyse has been helping the kids stay with their usual routines while they adjust to so many new things. Ryan has spent over an hour commuting to the Cary office each way leaving most of the burden of helping the kids adjust on her. On top of that, the details of furlough (contacting people, booking flights and rental cars, looking up VISA requirements) were handled by her. Where would we be without her!

Aryanna enjoying the slide at park near our “home” in North Carolina

Once we settled in, Ryan began working at the Cary office. One thing we need to refine in LinguaDMS (our media archive) is the process for uploading files. The Producer’s Tool Ryan wrote automates a few things that makes uploading and publishing files a little bit easier. Several partners in America, however, wanted a website to use instead of needing to install software on their machines. He spent August building a prototype for that website. Though not quite finished, there is still a lot of interest and it was good to build face-to-face connections with colleagues in the US. Ryan will continue part-time work on the project remotely during the rest of furlough.

 

Please Pray for Sierra Leone

They call it, ”the day the earth moved”. On August 14th, 2017 a devastating mudslide took the community in Freetown, Sierra Leone by surprise. Heavy rains and floods contributed to the disaster that took at least 500 lives. An additional 800 people are still missing as cleanup and searches continue. At least 3,000 people have been displaced and its estimated that around 9,000 people have been affected in some way by the mudslides. On top of all of this the standing pools of water and the bodies could encourage a cholera outbreak.


Sierra Leone went through a civil war from 1991 to 2002, then just 3 years ago the country fought the Ebola outbreak that ravaged many families. In light of the events that are troubling the country, Elyse and I would like to ask to you to lift up the people of Sierra Leone in your prayers. When you think to pray for us, also lift up Sierra Leone. Pray for the safety of the cleanup crews as they work in dangerous areas, and pray that a cholera outbreak would not happen. Pray for God’s hope to reach Sierra Leone and for Christians there to be beacons of hope for their communities.

Listener Story

“I want to express my thanks to you for your great efforts to feed your listeners with the word of God so many times. You give us the real food which has eternal value.”
~ A listener in Burundi

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The Journey of Owen Enoch

Owen Enoch was born March 15, 2017 right on his due date. We didn’t think he would ever get here. It was so hard to wait especially since I went into false labor almost every day for two weeks. We would get our hopes up only to have them dashed when the contractions went away. We were fighting the clock; my OB said if I didn’t have the baby by March 16th, she would need to operate. So on March 15, when the contractions started early in the morning, I was ready and excited. I told Ryan he was not going into work that day. We spent from 5:30 am to noon at home working through the contractions together and occasionally with Mum and Aryanna when they would run into the bedroom while they were playing. Around noon, the pain was starting to become too much for me. We called my midwife and she encouraged us to come to the hospital. The 20 minute ride to the hospital was rough. Sitting made the contractions far more painful and the potholes and speed bumps made me want to scream. When we got to the hospital I could barely walk. We got up to the 3rd floor ( thank God for elevators) and my midwife checked me out.

She looked at me and said, “Elyse, not only have you not dilated, your cervix has not moved down into the birthing position.”

I said, “ok, id there anything we can do to get this rolling, I’m in constant pain here.”

My midwife froze. “Constant pain? You should be getting relief in between the contractions.”

My heart sank. “Well, I’m not. The pain lessens but it is not going away.”

She sent for the OB right away. I knew right then I was headed for a c-section. That realization crushed me, I would never be able to have a baby naturally now. I know that having a healthy baby is the most important thing but it was important to me that I be able to give birth naturally and not have to worry about having major abdominal surgery.  I cried in Ryan’s arms until the OB came. By this time, the contractions were only manageable because I was standing up and holding tight to Ryan and I breathed deep and moaned.  She examined me too and heard my midwife’s report. The OB told me that both the baby and I were in trouble and we needed to get down to the Theatre right now and do the c-section. I wasn’t even allowed to fill out paperwork. I signed the release for the c-section and they immediately started to prep me for surgery. They whisked me away downstairs. There was a flurry of action happening as everyone was called to the theatre.

I don’t know how long it took them to prep the theatre because that time is a haze of pain for me. I was laying on a gurney. Every contraction was worse than the last and getting closer together. I demanded a bucket because I felt like I was seconds from throwing up because of the pain. My world became nothing except breathing and moaning through the pain.

They got me into the theatre and had to put me on the operating table. Unfortunately, I had to help. I was in so much pain; it was agonizing to move. We moved inch by inch between contractions. Ryan was not in the room. He was being scrubbed up so he could be in the room. My OB came over and put me in a bear hug. She told me, “ the pain is almost over. Hold onto me. We’ll get through this together.” The spinal block was put in place and I cannot express the relief I felt in that moment. The pain was gone completely, I could finally relax and let the doctors do what was needed.

My OB started cutting me open. She brought Ryan over to look at me. She told him that if I had labored another hour, I would have ruptured my uterus and both Owen and I could have died. Thank God my midwife caught the warning signs when she did. Then, as they were cutting me open, Owen flipped inside me. It felt like the OB was digging around inside me. They had a difficult time getting Owen out. Finally, when they did get him out, there was silence.

“What’s going on?” I called out. Ryan had gone over to see Owen. No one was paying attention to me. All I hear is the Pediatrician telling Ryan, “He’s ok. He’s ok”

I’m thinking, “Why does she need to be telling him that? What’s wrong? Why isn’t my baby crying?”

Turns out that Owen had been in distress along with me. He had meconium in his mouth and nose. Thank God he did not actually breathe any of it in. The doctor sucked all the meconium out of Owen and I heard that blessed cry. It wasn’t very loud but it was there. I still didn’t know if I had a boy or a girl. No one was telling me anything. Finally I heard Ryan say, “hello, Owen Enoch.” I knew I had a son.

It took much longer to sew me up and get me out of recovery. I think it was almost a full hour before I got to hold my baby Owen.

When we got back to my room, I was utterly exhausted. Everything from the waist down was numb and couldn’t move. All my son wanted to do was eat. I felt utterly helpless. Through the next 24 hours, I was not well taken care of. My nurses did not bring my pain medicine on time so my pain went from a zero to a nine before I could get a nurse to do anything about it. Then of course it took a while to bring the pain down to a manageable level. When I got the chance to be transferred to another unit, I jumped at it. When I got down to the other unit, the Head Nurse asked me how I was doing. I told her that I was in a lot of pain.

She whirled on my nurse and demanded, “ why is this woman in pain? What have you been doing?” I felt vindicated.

The nurse replied, “It’s not my fault. Some people are not as strong as others.”

My jaw dropped. It was a good thing for her I was in pain or else I would have slapped her. I couldn’t believe I was being called weak after going through such a difficult and traumatic birth. I had just had abdominal surgery for Pete’s sake! Let’s cut you open and then deny you pain medicine and see how you like it!!!

The Head nurse took care of me personally after that. I think she felt bad for my ill treatment upstairs. My pain was finally cared for so I could think about my son. I still could not sleep but at least that was not because of the pain.

In the month that has followed, I have struggled not just with physical pain, which I still have. Sometimes I feel like I have done nothing all day and yet my scar still hurts at the end of the day. I’m still walking tender sometimes. My body is not bouncing back like I hoped it would, like it did after Aryanna’s birth. But I still have to take care of two children. They depend on me. Thank God that my wonderful mother was here the first two weeks of Owen’s life. I don’t know if we could have survived without her. I depended on my mom to take care of Ary, to cook, and to handle my emotions when Owen would not stop crying some days. My mum took everything in stride and let me lean on her without complaint. When she left, I was still hurting. I panicked a little that night. I didn’t know how I was going to take care of my kids without her.

I have felt isolated. I was not able to drive until the end of April. At first, when I asked for help from the people who said they would be there, all I got was silence. They didn’t want to provide the help I needed. I felt so alone and discouraged. I could not pick up Aryanna until the end of April. It is so frustrating to not be able to pick up my child or even have her on my lap because it may hurt me. Owen is also a pretty fussy child. He wants to be held constantly and cries a lot if he is awake. It is exhausting for both Ryan and myself. I feel like a bad mother when I can’t give Aryanna the attention she needs because Owen is crying for an hour.

Finally on Good Friday, we had a terrible day, but we went to church anyway for the Good Friday service. God met me there. He refreshed my spirit with the story of Christ’s suffering and the worship. After the service, I had several people tell me they could help in the ways that I needed. I could have cried. We just started going to this new church in February. We have not had a chance to really get to know people. Our new church family who barely know us, is supporting and loving me in a most overwhelming manner. Thank God for His goodness. I still have my bad days but I am encouraged to know that I can call someone and get the help I need. I indeed have a family here in South Africa that treats me like my own family.

 

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March 2017 Newsletter

Daddy and Ary Swinging in the park

After much discussion and prayer we have decided to stay on another term with TWR here in South Africa. However, we will be heading to the USA in the last week of July for furlough. We will be heading to North Carolina first for some meetings. Then we will be travelling around to see as many of you as possible. The details are still in the making but we will be contacting you about when we are in your area.

Ryan has released version 2 of the Producer’s Tool and is working hard on the TWR Africa iOS app for you crazy MAC users. Elyse is on maternity leave because she doesn’t have the energy anymore to work and care for Ary. We don’t have a lot of news this month so we want to introduce Mike and Wendy Lambert to you.

The Lambert Family

One of the things TWR is always in need of is quality engineers. Mike Lambert has been looking to serve TWR in this capacity for a long time now. They started fund raising before we did and are still struggling to get full monthly support. We had a chance to meet the Lambert’s and their three boys recently as they travelled to Swaziland to see where their future assignment will be. They want to get out there and serve God. Both coming from non-Christian families has made fund-raising more difficult for them. Our heart went out to them. We remember how difficult it was to fund-raise even though we have our families, friends, and home church fully behind us. They are so close at 75% of their monthly support. Elyse and I want to take the time to ask you to pray for them but also consider supporting them. We are currently fully supported so if any of you were considering increasing your support to us or beginning to support us, we would ask you to consider pledging those funds to the Lambert’s instead. You can find out how to contact Mike and Wendy by going to http://www.twr.org/lambert

Seal Baby 2.0

Aryanna, ready to show Munchkin “how its done”

On March 15th, Owen Enoch Seal was born.  He came out a whopping 8 pounds 6 ounces.  Elyse had to have an emergency cesarean section as her uterus almost burst at the place of the scar from Aryanna’s birth.  We praise the Lord Elyse and Owen made it out healthy.  We will post pictures and more details later.

 

As always – There is an interesting listener story that you should take the time to read: https://twrafrica.org/index.php/see/listener-stories/579-kids-demand-bible-reading

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Trusting God

I hope your New Year has been a good one so far.

Ours has been a month filled with struggle. You see normally in our newsletters we try to fill you all in on the big picture of what is going on in our lives. We like to tell you the exciting things that are happening in our lives and in the ministry. However, that also makes it look like our lives are perfect and everything is going smoothly. But we all know that is not how life is. There are ups and downs. The month of January has definitely been a month of trusting God more.

I’ll start with the first week of January. I got a call for my OB that said he was no longer practicing and I needed to find a new doctor to give birth. Ok. Goodbye. No recommendations. No explanations. I was 30 weeks pregnant and had not seen an OB in 6 weeks because of the Christmas holiday. I sat at my dining room table in shock. How in the world was I going to find an OB here in Johannesburg who would help me to have a natural birth instead of just wanting to rip me open again? I don’t know what the practice is in the USA since I am having both my kids here in South Africa, but it is very difficult to find an OB who is willing to do a natural birth after a woman has had a C-section. I can’t validate which story is true; I just know I was left hanging with 10 weeks to go in my pregnancy with no one to deliver this baby except Ryan and possibly my mum. No one to check up on me to make sure I wasn’t developing any complications.

I sat down and cried. “God, why? What are you doing?”

After a good long cry to get it all out (I am pregnant), I heard God say, “I have something better.”

So I went to work. I asked for recommendations but this time I asked for midwives. I got a recommendation on a good hospital to give birth at who had a lot of midwives working there. I got a list of names and phone numbers. It felt like picking my husband based on how much I liked his name! How do pick someone from a list to help you with one of the most important times in your life? I told God that he would have to lead me to the right person. I started calling people. I called seven midwives and they all said that they don’t do VBAC’s (Vaginal Birth After C-Section) or I was too far along for them to want to take me on. I was getting very discouraged and despaired that I would find anyone who would help me. I was thinking I would just have to bite the bullet and get a C-section when the last midwife told me that she knew someone who did VBAC’s and gave me her number. She accepted me immediately and set up an appointment.

My midwife is the best thing that could have happened to me in this pregnancy. Her values on labor, delivery, and birth are similar to mine. She loves it that Ryan is very involved. She answered every question we had until we were satisfied. She helped with all the rushed paperwork that needed to be done. She set up an appointment for me with her back-up OB. She coordinated everything so I didn’t have the extra stress. The hospital in which I will give birth has policies so I won’t be chained to a bed. They have all the equipment I may need to having a successful natural birth such as birthing balls and tubs. This hospital is only 20 minutes away unlike the other one which was 35-60 minutes away depending on Johannesburg traffic. My midwife is going to be helping me through my labor. She is not going to be there just to catch like the doctor was. God did have something better for us. I don’t know what labor will be like, but I am more hopeful than ever that I can actually have this baby without having surgery.

Please join Ryan and I in praying that this little one will be delivered naturally. Please also pray that the baby would turn. Little Munchkin is head down (Thank God) but is backwards. His/her face is supposed to face by back but, at the moment he/she is facing my stomach. That doesn’t make it impossible for me to give birth but it may make it more difficult.

My due date in March 15 but everyone knows babies come in their own time. My mum is coming out on March 5th. She would appreciate it if you would all pray that Little Munchkin come after March 5th so she can be here. She missed Aryanna’s birth by a week because Ary came 2 weeks early.

For Ary’s birth we had a little contest: a baby pool. No you will not be winning money if you get it right but I will send you chocolate. If you want to have a little fun with us, go ahead and guess

(If the form doesn’t show, you can enter in info by going to this link: https://forms.zohopublic.com/zohoryan178/form/MunchkinPool/formperma/M4eAE1J11K1_C0m6AD1Kj1e32)

Ryan and I will be putting in our guesses too since we will be surprised as well. Thank you all for supporting us and praying for us.

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