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And then there were SEVEN!!!

Newest Family Pic147 million orphans minus one.  “He places the lonely in families.”

Today we welcomed Isaiah into our lives, our hearts and our family.  We met him just a week ago at a babies’ home in Jinja, where the kids and I go each week.  Because of his story, there are no leads on family or relatives at all, so the process to begin fostering him was efficient and we had favor literally poured out on us in ONE DAY…that is unheard of anywhere, but especially in Africa!!

Since Riah’s adoption nearly 6 years ago, Dave and I have prayed and hoped that God would again grace us with the privilege of being the family for one that is without.  We have prayed and waited.  I have no way to explain this story other than the sovereignty and love of our Good Father in Heaven—who sees and does not forget any of His own.

We walked into the babies’ home Monday, and Caleb announced, “Mama, there’s a new little boy…” Both OUR boys turned and smiled HUGE at me from across the room.  My spirit literally woke and jumped inside my chest. I have never had that feeling before—it was like I knew him.  I honestly felt in that moment he was part of our family.  The Lord spoke and asked for obedience—reckless and immediate.  So I gently probed about him.  No one knew anything. No family.  No names.  No leads.  So, he needed a family.  And I know we needed him.

Immediately, the Holy Spirit brought Isaiah 49 to my heart and I felt like weeping..”How can a mother forget her child, BUT I WILL NOT FORGET YOU’, declares the LORD.”  He assured me that there would be no way for me to understand how this precious little one was left alone, but that God did NOT FORGET.  When we had our family meeting to pray that night for God’s guidance, Ella saw all the pictures of him and said, “His name is Isaiah.”  We all knew.

The Holy Spirit confirmed this to Dave, and my kids had already been praying for a baby (really since Selah was born!!) This was also confirmation to us that our childrens’ hearts are open and so ready to embrace another child that needs a family.

We were called in to meet the Official on Monday morning at 10:30. He asked us lots of questions in an attempt to test us, but really he couldn’t help but grin at our crazy crew squeezed onto 3 chairs in his little office.  He asked the same question the babies’ home asked us in South Korea… “Why do you want more children?? You have too many already.”  Beautifully, Dave shared that we believe every child needs a family and God has given us the capacity to welcome  them in.  After our short meeting, Dave asked what the next steps in the process were and he said, “Get me these forms today and you get that baby home.  I can see your children are happy.”  Praise GOD!! We have heard that this step in the process doesn’t always go this smoothly or quickly and many wait  for many months for the paperwork we received in one day.  God poured favor on us (and Selah even pulled through and shook his hand at the end!!)  We sat shocked and overjoyed.  And shocked.  And grateful.

Then suddenly, it was like we were pregnant and giving birth the same day (with a LOT of paperwork in the middle!!)  Dave and I tag-teamed; he ran all over creation finding people for signatures and stamps…and I re-organized the house, prepared a little bed and prayed over it all.  The tribe were running all over, moving furniture, giggling, asking a million questions and being my incredible ‘helpers’!  By 6:00 Monday evening, miraculously, the paperwork was complete and we drove to pick Isaiah up.  He smiled and acted as though we were of course, supposed to be his family.  Truly.  This is a miracle.  We all loved each other, pretty much instantly.  He is a JOY baby and a gift to our hearts and lives.

Isaiah is a precious little boy, probably between 8 and 9 months old.  He is a bit malnourished and was found a couple weeks ago fairly ill with malaria and diarrhea, so he was treated for a few days in a local hospital and then cared for in an incredible babies home here (Amani Baby Cottage) for the past 2 weeks.  Isaiah has a special spirit of JOY, and gladness…He is so incredibly healthy emotionally, we thank God that someone loved him so well.  He has entered our home in PEACE.  The kids are delighted…I am overwhelmed with love and grief (for his story), and joy and awe.  Dave loves having another little guy around and Isaiah is quickly learning to jump on daddy and will be tackling soon I’m sure.  Isaiah means “YAHWEH is our salvation” and we see this deeply in our little guy.  God’s love over his life protected him, and we are thankful to now be a part of the story God is writing.  We sense a powerful purpose for this little warrior’s life and we are honored to watch Jesus grow and shape his life and heart.

Thank you for praying for us as we embrace this new little boy.  We are so in awe of our Father’s love.

Because of HIM,
The Ayer Tribe (crazy, but for His Glory!!)

Details of ‘fostering’ here…because I know many of you are wondering 🙂
The laws in Uganda just changed a month ago. The Ugandan people are very committed to re-settling children back into their families, and they work very hard to accomplish this (which we really love and believe in).  However, if a child is left abandoned…there is little that they are able to do.  These are the cases that can go more quickly into a foster care home, because it is good for the child.  There are some ways that the government is searching for a lead on Isaiah, but usually there aren’t many answers to be found. So we are praying and trusting in this.  Here, you must ‘foster’ a child in your family and home for a year (changed from 3 years), before you can apply for the adoption process.  So, we were able to complete all of our requirements to foster him legally as of Monday, June 20th.

Melissa Burch - Congratulations on your growing family. I want to tell you we sold the DuPont home and now live in SC. Chad and I have started the adoption process to adopt from foster care. We are so excited and glad to have met your family.

John and Lisa Cranmer - We are SO blessed by Isaiah’s story – what a beautiful testimony. AND excited that we also have a son Isaiah the same age- so these two little stories of salvation across the world. Love to you all.

Barb Nelson - Blessing to you the amazing Ayer Tribe! What an glorious and special time for your family to be able to welcome Isaiah into your family. I loved reading about how this came about.
Our nephew and his wife have fostered 5 children to adopt. The adoption went through on 4. They have all been very blessed to become a family. They also put their faith in God and accepted the challenge of having to give one daughter back before being able to adopt her.
Thank you for sharing your journey with us as you live and serve in Africa. I am sure you are looking forward to the next visit from your parents. I wish I could tag along.
Blessing! Barb

Julie - Wow!! Melissa!! Thanks for writing! That is so so encouraging!! We are also grateful that God intersected our lives!! Many blessings as you bring in another sweet child!!
xo
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Joyce Lynch - Hello Dr. and Mrs. Ayer
I love your blog. Debbie Matthews, a Lake City Church friend of you and I gave me your blog address. I am traveling to Uganda March 28 thru April 19 with a friend who grew up there; we will stay for part of the time in a village near Tororo, and also in Kampala on weekends. I think that Jinga is on the way between the two places. My friend Carolyn also met Dr. Ayer’s brother this winter, so by two separate connections, we “found” you. I would love to visit if you are in country during those dates. Carolyn invited me to her village to give support for village school there, after I tutored her son, here. I’ve homeschooled my kids, and provide homeschool assessments here too- so that is my background for this honor. Looking forward to the visit- as well as any wisdom you might share. Blessings, Joyce Lynch, Lakewood, WA

a new thing…

Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength…

 

I have been quiet. In a waiting. In a season of loss—loss of another home, another community, another country, another place of ministry, loss of friendships, of dreams, of seeing deep things of God’s heart. In a season of transition—packing and unpacking, re-starting, comforting little hearts, trusting, praying, hoping, watching, setting up another home in another foreign land…praying for vision. In a season of fear—attacks from the enemy over our children, over my own health, over the uncertainty and the lack of control. In a season of watching—watching God heal, watching him answer even the deepest prayers, watching him bring new life from the ashes, watching him spring up before us with love, vision and renewed hope to pour out our lives…watching him bring person after person into our lives.   In a season of restoration and rebuilding…the broken places being re-shaped, the weary places receiving new life, the dry places receiving rain and light and hope again…

Not too many words to be written, but only to be offered up quietly to the ONE who holds all of this in His sovereign, loving hands.

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And then, it’s as if the dawn broke…a new morning came. New mercies awoke my spirit. I sensed it coming. Healing had come—He was working it out in each of us…but suddenly He spoke through the bright eyed face of my son…he spoke it out into my spirit,

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I AM DOING A NEW THING.

Isaiah Asher, woke me up. God used him to awaken something in me that has been laid down for awhile. My spirit jumped when I laid eyes on this little boy whom I instantly loved. He resurrected something in me….this baby is JOY…it is the ‘gladness’ of God in my arms. It is irresistible and contagious…it is free and unmerited. IT is good and pure. It is delight and grace.

I sense that Isaiah marks a fresh place in our lives here in Uganda. IT is a new beginning. It is a place of sanctuary and joy. A place of laughter and LOVE. Refocusing. Re-peaceing…of our family and our hearts. It is a re-aligning with the things I love…simplicity, love, surrender, offering, worship, family, laughter, and joy…

 

We Wait…and HE lets us soar.

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Our Evie-Bear is 7!!!

oh, don’t you just want to kiss this face?!?!

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVIE BEAR!!!

What a delight you are!! This year has marked a LOT of growth in you, in your spirit, in your faith!!

I have loved watching you overcome so much this year through prayer and hiding God’s word in your heart! You have such a tender spirit and a BIG HEART!! I love watching you love, and laugh, and create.  I love how you tackle things.  I love how you always tell me you love me.  I love that you have a discerning spirit!  I love that you have prayed for your baby brother for years and he came home right in time for your birthday!

I can hardly believe you’re finished with 1st grade…7 years old and such a GIFT TO ALL OF US!! We love you, Evie! You are a delight and a joy to us!!photo 1

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You are LOVED.

Behold…

Behold…

 

And then, there YOU are …right here in the midst of all of this mess. There you are, quietly, consistently, beautifully, lovingly present.

 

The past weeks have felt heavy. Lacking. Inner lacking has been my diagnosis. I have had a weary soul. I have felt vision-limping. Limping behind my husband, my Jesus, my kids, even my own heart. I have felt frustrated and confused, tired and un-inspired. Wondering as I look around where I came from and why. How did I arrive here in this new, strange country? How were we led hear, when I’ve heard nothing? How do we stand on new ground yet again?   How am I settled but so unsettled in soul? How does my husband SEE and HEAR so much hear and I stand numb behind him?

 

The only truth to stand on, to re-build on is JESUS. HE alone is my ROCK and my Foundation…upon that I build again. Here on this earth, these homes, these dwellings, these paths are so temporary. The switchbacks are seemingly endless, the climb intense. But HERE HE IS …Here in this place, we build another temporary dwelling, to put our hands to the Eternal. He is HERE, so we can trust the lasting. We can long for and find beauty. We can find redemptive places and stay there—savoring this undeserved grace. We can get up again, begging to see Him, to behold him wherever He has re-planted our lives.

 

I am a pilgrim. A nomad. Moving. Living. Loving. Moving. Living. Loving.

 

Re-building. Re-planting. Re-orienting. But always, always Redeemed and receiving and re-made and motivated by His love and constancy.

 

This morning I woke to the pounding of these heavy Ugandan rains on my rooftop. I didn’t want to face the day. So I stayed still with the Word…begging for His heart to override my flesh today. The rest with Him was sweet and inspiring for the rising and living and teaching and serving and all that came in my day. I felt His spirit pull the reins a few times inside of myself as I veered off the path of peace He had graced me with today. I saw and was awed by God. In my sweet three year old…in the incredible intricacies of my son’s chameleon, in friendships that were placed here for me, in watching my children play and love these beautiful children right down the street who go home to live in shacks, and mine go home to comfort. I was broken by Dave watching a child die today, by a woman’s story of brokenness, another woman’s story of mercy….

 

But He whispers in it all. I AM. And He is. All of this will be redeemed. All the coming together of beauty and ashes, loss and gain, grieving and dancing. So we fix our eyes and see Him here, and again He is enough, and again He pours in, and I behold His glory, HERE and now. Thank you, Father.

I behold your glory.  And I am awed.

4 years in Africa

4 years in Africa.

 

Ayer-39(Photo Credit–Kelly Powers)

“Never once did we ever walk along.

Never once did you leave us on our own.

YOU are faithful, God you are faithful.”

 

This is my offering today—only worship and awe. Only gratitude that this is what you’ve done in our lives. It’s been messy and beautiful, purposeful and a trust walk. It’s been holding on and letting go. It’s been an adventure and a laying down, a journey and a deeper surrender. It’s been fighting you and releasing to you…it’s been loss, but greater gain. I have held the deepest hurts and fears, as well as the most sacred moments of my life. I have seen you and known you, felt lost and unknown. I have seen heaven reach down, and have been assured of the fleeting nature of this earth. These four years have been my best, my fullest, my deepest and my richest. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am walking a life that I never could have dreamed in a land I didn’t know to pray for, with people you have chosen and aligned my life with…I am awed today, and so deeply grateful.

GOD YOU ARE.

Always.

Enough.

Always

Beautiful

Always

Here.

Always Faithful.

 

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