We Walk to Remember.

We did something simple last Sunday. Simple, but significant.

We took a family walk. It wasn’t a big deal. We probably would’ve done it anyway. But we wouldn’t have worn matching tshirts… that part was to remind us of the significance.

All dressed for our walk.

Across a little ocean called the Pacific, on the shores of California, my family all got together to take a walk too… for a special lady we call Ado.

Team Adorama

I have fond memories of visiting Ado in Newport Beach and later in Hawaii as a child. I suppose in some ways you could say she gave us a pretty great excuse to take a family vacation at an awesome tropical destination.

Since I’ve grown, she is one of the greatest champions of us nieces and nephews as we have our babies. She keeps current pictures of them rotating on the infamous Marble Top Table and frames their watercolours for her wall. She is arguably their greatest fan.

A few of Ados favourite walking babies and their moms (my cousins!)

And that’s why we wanted to take the day to cheer her on.

Ado has had arthritis since I can remember. It has been incredibly physically dehabilitating, and even though you don’t hear her complain, I can only imagine the quiet sorrow and sacrifice it has caused through the years. Oh, she makes the most of it, let me tell you… but we all know that you can only make the most of it after counting the cost in your heart… and there is cost. Much cost.

So we walked in hope of a cure. We walked to bond. We walked to remember the hard part of Ado’s life, not just the sweet aunty who teaches the babies to paint. We walked for relief… for hope… for a cure.

Donations were collected for this event and I’m amazed to say that over $5000 was raised by Team Adorama. I’m sure the National Arthritis Society would not say no to more! ūüôā Click here to give.

BYO Water!?!

This has been a year of babies, babies, babies. For the past couple of months, I’ve had a friend deliver a baby at least once a week… and they’re not stopping anytime soon. I think I am up to 10 friends/acquaintances who are due the same week that I am early next year!

Just in the past few weeks, four of my girlfriends here have had beautiful little babies, all born in the comfort of our local hospital, with wonderful care to keep them and their mamas safe.

That’s why I was shocked when I read this as my own little one kicked around in my belly this afternoon:

“A sign at the front of the hospital in [Papua New Guinea] reads, ‘Women in labour must bring their own water.'” — Fraser Coast Chronicle

Holy. Cow. There are no words. There are absolutely no words.

And this coming from a girl who has been studying health care in PNG for the past number of years, spending this very week up late at night writing up our current strategies while Jared helps to outfit the new waiting area onboard our medical ship, knowing full well that 1 in 7 women in rural PNG will die during childbirth…

Knowing Molly’s story intimately… Molly the sweet newborn girl who didn’t live… but has inspired hundreds to take compassionate action…

Knowing that for many of these women, clean water is actually quite hard to come by in the best of circumstances, much less in the middle of contractions.

And yet, as upsetting as it seems that a woman would have to BYO water to deliver a baby in a hospital, also knowing that it is still probably the best possible place to deliver and the ones who get to go there are truly the lucky ones.

I guess some days it hits you harder. Fresher. A deeper knowing. Deeper motivation to keep on keeping on to do what we can to change it… for more to have¬†life to the max.

Let it be…

Max visiting a remote village in PNG earlier this year.

Happy, Happy, Happy!

That’s what this little man kept saying today as we walked the trails to one of our area’s more secluded beaches.

“Happy! Happy! Happy!”

I smiled and all I could think was, “Me too, kid; me too.”

We’ve had lots of happy news lately. It was the first weekend that I was able to do a full clean on the house (a top to bottom clean and on my own) since getting so sick. I turned a significant corner at the 16 week mark and though I was still puffing a bit on our short hike to a secluded beach today, my fitness is coming back faster than I thought it would after laying flat for so long.

More importantly, we got happy news from Max’s surgeon. We left the hospital with tears on our cheeks after being told we would almost certainly be returning for surgery three weeks ago, but as we prayed we began to think that God is up to something else… something miraculous, maybe?

And so it was last Tuesday that while our favourite nurses teased that maybe we were optimistic parents thinking that perhaps those lumps were getting smaller, the surgeon himself wondered if it was a possibility they were starting to break down. The past week and a half Max has been symptom-free on the meds, so he suggested we keep going for a couple of months and see what happens. He also asked us to meet with the infectious disease doctor who is overseeing Max’s case to confirm, but we are feeling confident that something has changed… that a miracle is happening.

And while we don’t love going to the hospital every week for checkups, we are excited that on Tuesday we will not only be visiting the infectious disease unit; we’ll also get to see our new little baby too! A few more days and I’ll be half way through this pregnancy, and we can barely wait to see if this is the little girl we’ve been suspecting or another precious little boy.

Oh, and in case you wondered, in the midst of our craziness, we’re still doing our work with YWAM. And we’re still loving it. And we’re still seeing lives changed. Stories to come! Good ones.

Happy, Happy, Happy Ones!

The Sweetest Home, Sweet Home

Did we have to leave?!

We had such an amazing time in Papua New Guinea. I am still working on getting our stories updated. We had trouble with internet and then trouble with ¬†pictures but I’ve uploaded a couple now and will continue to do so – with or without pictures! – over the next few days.

Because it was amazing and you will love it.

It was hard to say goodbye but we are making the most of our time at home.

And I do mean the most.

Cookie baking most.

There’s something in this egg kinda most.

Making messes most.

It is sweet to be home… and I don’t just mean the chocolate. I mean, the richness of family. The fresh gratefulness for every single thing we have. The feeling that our bed… our house… our yard… is absolutely huge. And luscious. Grocery stores stocked with food. Friends next door.

And then there’s Jesus. This has been an incredible season to remember and reflect on His sweetness.

It is sweet to be home.

Linking Up with the Paper Mama's Multicolored Challenge

The Paper Mama

A Rocky Start to An Incredible Adventure

We’re here. One exhausted dry docked daddy. One meetinged-out mama. And a baby boy whose “white” skin, as tan as it is, is quite the novelty around these parts. We are talking strangers-taking-pictures-of-you sort of novelty.

It’s strange to be on the other side. Strange and good.

We are anchored off the coast of Port Moresby where we have welcomed doctors, dentists, nurses and deckhands to join us in the Gulf next week.

I’m not going to lie and say that it’s the romantic picture I’ve had in my head. Keeping a kid quiet around 50 sleeping people in close quarters (read: very few actual walls) is not easy. Pacing him around the only room on the ship that is sound proof before sunrise was not part of the vision.

But at the same time, we are so so so convinced we are to be here at this time. Challenges are interesting like that. They seem to take the best of you, mess it all up, and spit you out. But sometimes what comes out is pure conviction… And pure conviction is hard to argue with. We have a job to do and we are not going anywhere.

Clearly, deep thoughts muddled by an exhausted mind while sitting on the steep steps of a ships cabin don’t come out very eloquent.

I wish this was the time and place to tell you how amazing this week has been meeting with different leaders of this country. But, this place is the world wide web and it would in fact be wholly inappropriate. So you’ll have to trust me when I say that it has been absolutely fantastic.

Can you picture me in my heels and a life jacket riding across in a Zodiac to go to meetings with Governors and CEOs?

Now you can.

The adventure was the icing on the cake of a truly amazing week.

So was this little honey who fell asleep in his daddy’s arms as his thick teething drool literally hung about a meter long, waving in the wind of the Zodiac.

After our 15 minute boat ride, he stayed asleep in that life jacket for well over three hours.

Sweet boy.

We are off to the Gulf early next week but for now we sleep in our gorgeously renovated cabin with 42 balls underneath us.

We can hardly wait to meet the friends who will receive them!!

Love, The Hoovers

My Heart Is Aching.

I’ve been struggling. A lot. Packing for PNG has never been so hard.

On the one hand, I have to “plan for the worst”… and plan for everything. I’m a sort of simple traveller: “We’ll pick it up when we get there,” “We’ll only buy it if we need it.” But this time there is no Walmart. There is not even a corner store. This time, what we have is what we’ve got – bar maybe a village shop that sells coca cola and chicken biscuits.

And even that is not so bad, except this time, we have a child.

Someone gets a bug bite? Or a scraped knee? Or a sunburn? Or nappy rash? Or some rumbling in the tummy? We’ve gotta have it all.

I’m an organised person. I like to be prepared. So even though I’m packing a lot more than I normally do, this isn’t even the real problem.

Because its not until I’m ¬†actually putting Max’s hat to shade him from the nasty sun and his rubber boots to keep him from getting the intestinal worms (which are epidemic in PNG and causing malnutrition, stunted growth and minimising mental capacity in children) into the suitcase¬†that my heart starts to break.

The picture in my mind starts out cute. My happy little man running around all cute in his gumboots and smelling like coconut sunscreen… and then I see the dark-skinned, bare-bottomed babies running with him, open sores with festered flies, bloated bellies from worms or malaria.

This is not an if. This is not a possibility. I’ve been there before. This is their life. This is what is happening today. This is what it will be like in just a couple of weeks when we arrive.

I don’t know how to stand there with my little man as protected as he can be (this coming from a fairly relaxed mother!), and watch them suffer? I can’t bring boots for them all and yet I will be choosing each day to put those sweet plastic shoes on the two feet I kiss every day… possibly to the detriment of another child.

Its been a challenge for my heart, and yet I know that it would be just as wrong to give those shoes to another and not do my very best to look after my own child.

Injustice sucks.

And even though I feel heartbroken and challenged and frustrated, I’m using the pain as a catalyst and asking God to help my heart understand in new ways. I’m allowing my heart to explore… to learn to love deeper, to learn to listen more intently, to consider how I can help.

I don’t go naive… I go understanding that they will teach me lessons too. These strong, beautiful women have a lot to teach me.

And I know that regardless of his conscious memories, this trip will shape Max as well. You can’t experience something like this and not be the same. I’m being deliberate to take action that will teach him generosity, friendship, community and service… in simple ways that his tiny mind can comprehend.

These have always been the reasons we are going; but as the suitcase gets heavier and the realities sink in, the resolve becomes stronger.

One more week…!

We Cannot WAIT To Meet This Guy!

Believe it or not, in the midst of floods and cyclones and first birthday parties, we’ve been making preparations to take our first family trip to Papua New Guinea.

I know, I know! “Taking a toddler on that ship for weeks on end?! What are you thinking?!”

Well, we’re thinking we’ve invested a lot into this ship and we really want to be a part of the business end of this hunk o’ metal! On top of that, I’ve had a deep, deep love of PNG since my first visit at age 19, and Jared has a heap of friends he’s looking forward to seeing from his first advance trip now a couple of years ago… and this ship could actually use some of our help!

Besides, we do what we do as a family, and we’re super eager to show Max what he’s been a part of – to have from his earliest memories the experiences of helping others, learning about other cultures, and being okay with sleeping in a tiny bed and taking 2 minute showers and doing one load of laundry a week. (I actually wish for this many weeks, but somehow I don’t think this is exactly how I anticipated my wish being granted!!)

Honestly, when you meet some of the people we’re looking forward to meet, you will understand… it really is the least we could do!¬†A few weeks (our itinerary isn’t quite confirmed) really isn’t much when you see what those weeks will most definitely equate to. We can’t wait to meet this guy (and maybe some of his friends):