Tuesday, May 29, 2007

We are getting very close to the end! We are packing up, moving sold furniture to friends’ houses, and this past Saturday, we had a village-wide yard sale! It was not your average, orderly, calm, browse-at-a-slow-pace Saturday yard sale. This was Aja style!! Kelly and I had thought it would be best (thinking like Americans) to have all the sale items in one room and file in about 3 people at a time so as to maintain order. Of course, we relinquished all rights to style when we told the church leaders that the proceeds would go to the church, so therefore the church leaders would run the sale. We provide the stuff – they sell it! When we talked about having the sale in one room with only a few people at a time, they all politely disagreed with looks like “have you ever done a yard sale before!” Again, they are thinking African-market style! This means, no private viewing rooms with a limited number of buyers. But put EVERYTHING in a 10x10 room and make it a free-for-all! So Saturday morning about 8:30a, we started moving the items into a small shaded area outside and the swarm of people who started arriving was overwhelming. It was humorous to my American view of a yard sale. But they were in their element – bickering, bartering, negotiating, shouting, tugging, laughing, socializing…all characteristic of an interactive African market! Aja style!!

The sale was finished just after lunch! (By the way, as entertaining as Kelly and I thought it was at first, we stayed most of the time in our house packing up boxes, preferring to hear the market in action from a distance.) The proceeds mounted to about $60…not a whole lot for the value and number of things in the “market” but the good thing was that a lot of people got a little something. This was the church leaders’ vision: not that they would make a profit, but that everyone who came could walk away with something valuable as a gift (at a very very small price). This was fine with us because at the low prices, EVERYTHING was gone by the end of the day!

Every day we spend much of the time packing away, cleaning rooms, and sorting certain household items that are reserved for special African friends. We can’t give a gift to every member of the church, but we do have a top tier of special friends who we want to bless. In a gift-giving culture, it is just as important HOW you give the gift as WHAT it is. While we’re trying to scale down to the bare minimum, we also must wait until the very end to give these special gifts so as to maximize their significance! This also may be a part of our delayed grief, too…it’s hard to look at these close friends and know we are weeks away from not seeing them on a daily basis. Today, I spent several hours with my favorite church leaders – the ones I will miss the very most. It’s hard to talk about exact departure dates – it’s a lot easier to use generic terms. It softens the edge of this finality. Just like in many cultures, a lot of Aja people don’t express a lot of sad, tearful emotion. A mother will not likely even be around the day her daughter leaves to go be with her new husband (we don’t have wedding ceremonies per se; just appointed days when the child leaves father/mother and joins her husband). She’ll say it’s too painful. Even one of the dear friends who we’ve known the whole time told her kids that she would not be around the day we leave – too painful. Fortunately, her children have encouraged her otherwise (we do hope she’ll be there as we drive off). This is the reality of the missionary cycle – 8 years ago we crowded into a small room at the airport almost a hundred teary-eyed family and friends who were deeply grieving our departure. We cried as we got on the plane to come to this foreign country. Now all these years later, our excitement about returning to our home state of Texas can overwhelm us…but in the same breath, we stare into the faces of friends who, while perhaps not teary-eyed in the same way, are deeply grieving this upcoming parting. We are, too, and it reminds me of the way Paul wept with the Ephesian elders. We have become friends, mentors/disciples, family. Now we say words that indicate our relationship is changing. Still we prefer “until next time” over “good-bye”. We will never forget our Aja friends!

OK – a week ago we wrote about our fingerprints and the pending FBI background check. Still nothing. We will now re-do the fingerprinting and re-send them back through. We have received very helpful communication from the higher-ups in the US Customs and Immigration office and as well from the State Department (US Embassy here in Benin). Everyone is working on it, but it will take some time. We have so many people praying about this, we are sure it will work best in time. That’s not to say it’s easy! We wrestle throughout the day with frustration, sadness, anger, disbelief and aggravation! But we keep coming back (often by way of reminder from a praying friend, thank you!!) to the reality that God’s timing is absolutely perfect! While we really wanted to leave Benin on a certain date, that is not likely to happen. Did we not pray hard enough? Did we not hear that date right? All are questions we have asked ourselves. But we know it’s not all about us – God has His reasons for this timeframe. Admittedly it makes no sense to us…especially as we ponder a 4th of July reunion of Jeffrey family members…surely we’ll be there, right?!!! We are praying so! But we don’t know right now when we will leave. Just one day at a time.
Just FYI: for security reasons, we will not be posting our exact departure date, nor our arrival date in Texas on this public blog. If you want to know more, please feel free and email us at rkvaughn@harvestfields.net and ask!


-Randy

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Recent days...










This car was in front of us on the way to Cotonou and in front of us on the way home 3 days later. In the French language PARDON means Forgiveness.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It has been good to be in Cotonou and away from our home for a few days. I did not realize how much we needed to change the scenery and the pace of what we have been doing. It has been good to eat at restaurants and just BE somewhere else. We drove into town looking like the Hillbillies with so much furniture and household goods on top of the car. Everytime we drop off something, Randy and I feel some amount of relief and that is a great feeling.

We are literally working daily to figure out this fingerprint thing
It is so frustrating but as long as we are working on something we feel like we are making progress.

We received an email today from the FBI today in West Virginia that our names have not yet been received into the system. They either are not there or they have not yet been opened. We are in communication with every contact (and our contacts are growing) that we have to discern what to do next.

We spoke with the consular at the US Embassy this morning in Benin and she was very encouraging. She offered us some counsel and said we could come tomorrow to discuss further Lael's visa. We are going to review all of our documents with her and make certain there is nothing remaining that needs attention while we are waiting for the clearance.

Thank you for your prayers. We trust God is working out the details!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007



We were asked to put together some pictures of Lael during the year of 2007. We thought they were so cute that we would share them with you.

We are leaving for Cotonou early in the morning for a few days. Not sure yet if we will have internet access so we thought we would post something tonight. We are heading to Cotonou for multiple reasons, to deliver furniture and various items that people have purchased from us, to handle paperwork dealing with the purchase of our car, to potentially have a visa interview, and do some shopping for our upcoming visitors who are coming to bless and support our family and the Aja Christians in our final days together in Benin. We could not be more excited about their arrival!

Our thoughts and emotions are so diverse within the day. We are so thankful to be on your minds and in your prayers at any given moment. Tonight my sweet Tori was really having a hard time processing what is taking place. We had already put the kids to bed and about 30 minutes after everyone else was asleep, she came into the hall and said,"Mom, I can't sleep because I have so much on my mind." I could see the tears in her eyes and so we stayed up and talked for awhile. She is grieving the upcoming loss of her friends. She plays with these friends every evening and has done this for as many years as she can remember. They reenact Bible stories, pretend they are having church, set up medical clinics, wrestle and play hide and seek. Today they held a funeral for a frog they killed. She meticulously watches the clock every day for the hour to arrive when she can go out and play with these 10-12 friends. Tori has already helped put together gift sacks for each one of them. When she thinks of friends in the world, right now, this is who she thinks about. Tonight in her tears she said, "I have 98 friends here and I only have one in America." (Smile) Obviously Tori knows well that she is loved by friends and cousins in America but this statement shows where her mind is at this moment.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Timo!






We all enjoyed a day of celebrating 4 years of life with Timothy Randall Vaughn! The day he was born our lives were changed forever! Randy, Tori, and myself were SO ready to welcome him into our world. We had longed for him and he was the answer to prayers from the deepest places in our hearts. We love him so much and we are confident that the Lord has great plans for Timothy. He is tough and he is tender...a great combination in a man of God.

Today we started out the day with a special breakfast with Timo as "Co-cooker" with his Dad. Randy was making pancakes and Timo was making blue scrambled eggs. At one point, Randy reached over to assist in stirring the eggs and Timo said, "Dad, Cookers don't mess with other cookers stuff." ....wise words from Timo.

One of the pictures above is Tori reading a special birthday card to Timo that she wrote for him. Timo also helped to ice and decorate his own cake. Randy plans to make him a special birthday cake later in the summer in the USA! You see in the pictures above that the kids enjoyed today's cake very much. Tori was very concerned about Jonathan being too close to the candles. She did not think that I was worried enough.

I believe Timothy went to bed feeling worn out from his day but knowing that he is loved and treasured. We are absolutely crazy about this kid! We love him so much our hearts hurt and we love to anticipate the days to come. God's plans are always good and we know his plans are good for Timothy Randall Vaughn!

Kid Tricks


Passport in Hand ! - repost

Yesterday's post did not allow comments (don't know why). Sorry!




WE THINK LAEL LOOKS READY TO GO!

Today completed the last step that involves Benin government. We started the adoption process in August 2005. 21 months later all is complete!
When the Benin official placed the passport in our hands today it felt like a BIG DEAL! We have looked at it multiple times today and have thanked the Lord for bringing us this far! He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it!

Keep praying with us for the remaining details that surround obtaining Lael's immigrant visa.

Believing God is working out ALL things!

Kelly
THIS IS A RE-POST - Yesterday's post did not allow comments (don't know why). Sorry!


Today we made a day trip to Cotonou to pick up Lael's passport and celebrate Timo's birthday at his favorite restaurant! He turns 4 years old tomorrow!...There will be more celebrations tomorrow, but today we had a great time. These pictures were taken over the course of our day. You will notice my glistening face!:)
It is SO HOT here!

We had already packed away the wrapping paper so Timothy opened his presents grab bag style. He closed his eyes and pulled out a present. He was delighted to receive some caterpillars and rubber snakes, among other things! Boys are so much fun!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Passport in hand!



WE THINK LAEL LOOKS READY TO GO!

Today completed the last step that involves Benin government. We started the adoption process in August 2005. 21 months later all is complete!
When the Benin official placed the passport in our hands today it felt like a BIG DEAL! We have looked at it multiple times today and have thanked the Lord for bringing us this far! He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it!

Keep praying with us for the remaining details that surround obtaining Lael's immigrant visa.

Believing God is working out ALL things!

Kelly

Celebrating Timo



Today we made a day trip to Cotonou to pick up Lael's passport and celebrate Timo's birthday at his favorite restaurant! He turns 4 years old tomorrow!...There will be more celebrations tomorrow, but today we had a great time. These pictures were taken over the course of our day. You will notice my glistening face!:)
It is SO HOT here!

We had already packed away the wrapping paper so Timothy opened his presents grab bag style. He closed his eyes and pulled out a present. He was delighted to receive some caterpillars and rubber snakes, among other things! Boys are so much fun!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Home is where your heart is.
Home is where your stuff is.
Home is where your family is.
Home is where your friends are.
Home is where you dwell.
Home is neither here, nor there, but in heaven.

The “definition” could go on and on. Any of you who have made a major life move can understand the feeling of being torn between the familiar present and the unknown future. You know well that feeling of your heart being divided in two. We have heard from countless missionaries who have made the trek across the ocean back to America. Our personal voyage ahead consumes much of our thoughts: excitement about the opportunities, curious about the unknown.

If things go as we hope, pray and plan, we will leave this country in less than 30 days. We are still awaiting clearance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Our fingerprints were processed here almost 2 months ago, but still no word yet from DHS (part of our application being approved as adoptive parents). We are planning and preparing in faith that we will receive this word very soon!! We are scheduled for a visa “interview” for Lael at the end of next week. We’ll sit down with the Consular at the U.S. Embassy here in Benin and she will review all of our documents to make sure everything is in order. Once all is approved by her, it shouldn’t take long before we’ll have the visa and be ready to go! If we don’t hear from DHS by then, everything begins to get pushed back.

Today I spent from 8a – 6p breaking down this house! We just had one “deep cleaning” last October, but after 8 years of living here, we still have so much stuff to get rid of. We are working with the Leadership Council here to host a “garage sale” to benefit the churches. We are planning it for next week, so this week we are clearing out everything! We’re not taking anything with us to Texas, except what we will put in a few pieces of luggage as we fly out. Toys, clothes, shoes, medicines, bedding, furniture, dishes, towels, picture frames, d├ęcor…everything has already been claimed by other missionaries or is going to the garage sale!

I know this house so well. I know all its quirks and all its nuances that add “character” to this place (like the fact that none of our plywood cabinet have EVER closed properly because the humidity has warped the doors). What will our new home in Texas look like? What quirks will it have? I think about this so often, trying to picture myself actually living in another house. We have spent a lot of time over the past month perusing real estate websites. That’s been fun to think about the differences between our house in Benin and our home in Texas.

The same with our vehicle. Next week I will go and sign the paperwork for the missionary who is buying our truck. That makes it seem very final (we get to hold on to the truck until our last day). We have had 1 family vehicle the past 8 years. But we realize that we’ll probably need 2 in Texas (eventually). What will they be? We’ve also enjoyed looking online at various vehicle/dealership sites. We’ve looked at a variety of 6-8 passenger vehicles, new and used. It’s fun, overwhelming, consuming, nerve-wracking and exciting…all at the same time! Anybody out there wish to chime in with their favorite car pick for us?! We’re open to suggestions!

We are having some very sad conversations with our close friends here…people we love so much and with whom we spend hours and hours each week. While they do not wish to hold us back, I can’t say they are sharing our excitement about this move. Eight years ago, we boarded a plane with excitement in our hearts. But we said many tearful goodbyes to an airport crowded with friends and family (if you were among the multitude there at DFW on 3/16/99, we still remember that day and can’t believe we’re on the other side now). Now it is 2007, and we have to re-do that event all over again. We know well the faces of our family and friends who will be there to greet us in America! But we grieve now with those cherished friends and African family members whom we have grown to love so much. Please remember us and them these final weeks.

Please join the many people around the world praying that our DHS clearance will come through very soon…even this week! Once again, we revert to the old adage of a family friend, “God is seldom early, but never late!” When it comes, we will rejoice in God’s perfect timing!

-Randy

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Children are a blessing!

I am so thankful for my treasures straight from heaven.
Children are a blessing!
I remember when I was in the hospital in the days following Jonathan's birth, the nurse bringing him to me in the night so that he could eat. I was so tired and happy to see him but...it was a lot of work to sit up and go through the process of getting ready to feed him, feeding him and all that follows. Everytime the nurse would come in to wake me up, she would say, "Mother, it's time to wake up, children are a blessing!" I remember thinking that it was a funny way to wake me up and a couple of days later it actually dawned on me that she was speaking Scripture!
Children are a blessing and I am abundantly blessed!
Tori, Timothy, Jonathan and Lael bring so much JOY to my days.
Oh I love them so much!
I truly cannot believe my life has been so blessed in this way that I am their mother!
Today they brought me bowls of flowers from the yard! Tori and Timothy made me sweet cards! And with Daddy's help, they gave me the much needed gift of a LONG UNINTERUPPTED nap! We had dinner together and they had their baths...then the power went out. It was so dark and we still had a few things to do! We ate a special desert they had made for me by the light of a flashlight and the pictures you see below were lit only by the flash of the camera! These are special days!
In the past 24 hours I have had the pleasure of talking with my sweet mother and my dear mother in law! I am so thankful for their influence in my life. They have both taught me so many things. Enjoying life and marriage, embracing adventure even when it requires big steps in faith, believing God to be who he says He is, and how to make my children feel special are a few things that come to my mind. I am thankful for who they are and continue to be!
God is good!
I pray that today their hearts are full with love and encouragement. They are blessed women and I love them so!

Our visit with the Chankins was too short! We so enjoyed them being here!

Emma and Jackson are so sweet and fun! Their parents are too!




Saturday, May 12, 2007

Tonight we have some special friends in our house.
Archie and Mandy Chankin and their 2 kids, Emma and Jack.
Emma is pictured above. They are missionaries in Burkina Faso and are on their way home from a missionary retreat in Ghana. We have been friends for a long time but we have never had the opportunity to visit in each other's homes. We are so blessed that they have made the effort to come and see us before we leave. We have been up late tonight talking and anticipate more good times tomorrow before they go.

Sharing Stories from the Bible

A few weeks ago a very special Caregroup from Richland Hills sent over some Hand made Bible story books made by the kids in this group...all of whom are very dear friends of ours and Tori has a special relationship with these kids. Uncle Donny and his family are a part of this Caregroup. He shared with the kids about Tori having opportunities to share God's love with her friends.
This afternoon Tori and I took these stories outside and shared them with her friends. Together we told the stories of each book. The kids loved them. Tori told them all they could take one home and share it with their family and friends. The kids were thrilled. It was Tori's idea to take some individual pictures with the kids holding the story they chose so maybe the kids in Care Group who drew their pictures could see who had their story.
That was a wonderful idea and we really enjoyed the books, sharing them with our own kids. It was special to share them today!






















Teamwork


This picture is an example of teamwork between Jonathan and Lael. They decided together somehow ...I was not aware of their exact process....to move their chairs over together to the stereo and turn on some music. They both love to dance to music. Here they are getting into an instrumental version of "Deep in the Heart of Texas!"

Friday, May 11, 2007

This week we have made 2 separate whirlwind trips to Cotonou ( 3 hours each way). The first trip involved an overnight stay and we took everyone. We returned on Wednesday night and had to return again today! Today Tori and Timothy went with us and Lael and Jonathan spent the day with Laurance at the house. These trips have been to renew visas and work on applying for Lael's Benin passport. We have also worked on phasing out details with our car insurance. As well, Lael had her required medical exam for her visa to America, which she passed with flying colors! We picked up official documents that have been translated from French to English and we attempted 2 different times to get our police record, however the courts are again on strike and this was not possible. An updated report is due at our visa interview. We were told today that we can pick up Lael's Benin Passport on Monday!!! In regards to the documents that we have obtained for Lael 4 out of 5 days this week, we have felt the favor of God meet us everytime! People, some we were only meeting for the first time have gone out of their way to help us. We have been walking in blessing.
The only thing now that we are waiting on is the fingerprint clearance! Once we have this, Lael can have her visa interview!! We are getting SO close!
We covet your prayers for the details that remain!


Tori and Timo at lunch today in Cotonou


When we got home we
received quite the welcome from these 2!
Tonight we are thankful for a safe return from Cotonou and to be together again.
There is great peace in being together as a family in our home tonight.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Update

I spent most of the day with Jonathan and Lael.
Randy went on a 4 hour road trip this morning with Tori and Timothy gathering more documents for Lael. Everything they set out to get, they received in record time! We are leaving for Cotonou in the morning and will spend one night there. We will be applying for Lael's Benin passport as well as renewing our Benin visas, which are set to expire next week. We called again today to check on the Fingerprint clearance. Still no word. We are praying we will hear a good word about these before the end of the week. It seems funny that for so long we have been waiting on the Benin process. Now that is done and we are waiting on America!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

I'm So Excited and I Just Can't Hide It !!

OK, here's Lael with her new ID card (she was asleep when we got back last night with it). Doesn't she seem thrilled?!!

Also, thank you for praying for my study of Revelation at our leadership meeting today. I enjoyed so much presenting an overview of this book. I believe the 20+ leaders were encouraged as well. I crammed it all into 2 1/2 hours....but I did leave them with a rather lengthy handout that will fill in alot of the details. We had a great meeting, ate rice and fish tails, and enjoyed some good worship and prayer time. Whenever we have these national leadership meetings once a month, I leave there refreshed. I'm impressed with the caliber of men God is raising up as leaders, not only of the Aja churches, but among the churches in other people groups as well. Innovative thinkers, men who love the Lord and His Word, and humble servants who sacrifice so much for the Kingdom. It is enjoyable to share fellowship with them!
Keep praying that we hear word about our fingerprint clearance!

-Randy

Friday, May 04, 2007

ID CARD FOR LAEL + FINGERPRINTS + REVELATION!!

Today...uh...tonight....we received an answer to prayer! We have been working on Lael's national identity card for almost 2 months. It requires a slew of various documents and alot of time and gas money (running from town to town to retrieve certain docs, then to another to drop off others). We were praying all day that we'd get her card today so that we'll be ready to head to the capital city next week to apply for her Benin passport (the ID card is one of the prerequisites, along with another handful of important documents)! We called our contact in Lokossa who has been overseeing this process. At 3p, he said, "just wait until you hear from me." Maybe in other worlds, such a response is somewhat reassuring (like maybe, "don't you worry about things...I'm in control here and you'll be the first to know when it is ready")....but here, such a word usually indicates something is not moving quite as expected. I was busy working all afternoon, but constantly viewing the clock...4p, 5p, 6p...and on Friday afternoon. Finally at 6:03, I called our friend expecting him to say, "come on Monday." But immediately he said, "come right now." Now, we live about a 30 minute drive from where he's at. But we gathered things up, and we were on the road by 6:10p (and...confession...we were in Lokossa by 6:30p!) We pulled up to the ID office and after a quick signature and alot of expressions of gratitude, we got Lael's ID card!

After that, in order to apply for the passport next week, we had to get an official certified parental consent letter...permitting Lael to apply for her passport (she's a minor). Now by this time it is 6:45 and our contact (who I'll call "JA") is still at his job where we get such authorizations...he is swamped with other people trying to obtain various other important documents (at this point in time, it's hard not to think that OUR paperwork should be his most important task...even though in reality, alot of the other paperwork for other people involves them not getting their government paycheck!) He was super nice and we trust God's favor was certainly with us!! It was after 7:30p (quittin' time was 6:30p) and, after turning off his computer and putting on his coat, he said, "let's go". The parental consent requires a high ranking official's signature...but it is after hours. So "JA" gets on his cell phone and calls this official...Joss says again, "let's go." We are driving in the dark, with only a few street lights in town, when he suddenly says, "stop here, there he is." This very important official is standing on the side of the road waiting on us! After about a 15-minute, very-culturally-appropriate "friendly debate", the high ranking official said something to "JA"..."JA" then gets back into our truck and says, "let's go." (I usually follow his command with a silly question, "to where?"...at which point he kinda nods and mumbles, until he says again, "stop here.") In order for the very high ranking official to officially authorize this certified letter, it's got to have a stamp. There are two kinds of stamps in Benin: (1) the actual physical stamp that brings in revenue to the country, and (2) the inkpad rubber stamp that makes everything here look very official. The latter was ready, but we were lacking the actual "lick and seal" stamp! But "JA" does some talking and finally this high ranking official gets on his cell phone and within 15 minutes, his assistant (who got off work over 2 hours earlier) shows up with the 2 much needed stamps! (only they don't like licking here...they prefer messy glue). Anyway, all said and done, by 8:30p, we had her ID card plus the necessary parental notification letter we need to apply for Lael's Benin passport next week! Praise God for His special favor and grace (pray that God will bless all those who sacrificed their Friday night in order to help us!)

At the same time we are working on Lael's ID card and passport, we are also eagerly awaiting notification from the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security regarding our approval as adoptive parents (this is the prerequisite for applying for Lael's visa). In order to receive approval from DHS, we have to have a required fingerprint analysis from the FBI done on us. We are still waiting on confirmation from the DHS office here in West Africa to let us know when we have been approved! Please pray with us that this will be soon (it's been 2 months already). We cannot apply for Lael's visa to America until we get this approval!

Tomorrow, at our national leadership meeting, I have been asked to teach an overview of Revelation....and I've been giving only a 3 hour slot of time!! I have been working on my study for almost 2 months now...and I just finished tonight! My mind still doesn't grasp all the contents as some academic scholars might (or some folks who love multi-colored prophecy charts!) But I think I have a pretty good handle on the practical interpretation....in the end, Jesus wins (and thus, so do all those who persevere in faith until the very end!) I can somewhat articulate these truths in English, but tomorrow I have to do it all in French (at our monthly leadership meetings, because of the multiple people groups represented, we speak in the common national language). Pray that God's Word will flow fluently through my lips and that, even if some of my French is bad, the Spirit will be my interpreter and make the necessary changes before they reach other people's ears! More than anything, I want these leaders to be reminded of the VICTORY we have in Jesus, and as well, leave the meeting equipped with alot of good information about this book so they can teach from it to encourage others!

Celebrating the victory of Christ with you,

-Randy

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Second Grade Graduation

The Teacher and her BEST student!
We have an extraordinary second grader in our home!
This year has not been a typical second grade year. We have had countless interruptions including a 2 and 1/2 month trip to the states in the middle of the fall semester. It has been rare to have 2 continual weeks of school, but Tori has done well and has completed all of her assignments! We are so proud of her. Today we had a small graduation ceremony which included Tori's family and our friend "Mrs Virginia" and her son Timothy. Daddy was able to take a short break and join us for this special time. I took the opportunity to show off some of Tori's best work and to read some of her creative writing assignments. Tori is a wonderful student and I have loved being her teacher. I know next year my heart will ache when she actually leaves the house and goes to a new school. Even so, I know that she will thrive in an environment with other children her age!
We will spend the rest of this month in what we are calling "Maymester".
We will continue to spend a short time everyday working on Math and preparing for the TAKS test which she will take in third grade.

Rainbows

This afternoon when Tori and Timothy went out to play with their friends, they immediately came running back in and said, "Mommy! You have to see this rainbow!"
It was a beautiful sight and fun to see their excitement in discovering it!
Tori came in and said she wanted to get some paper and crayons so that she and her friends could draw rainbows! She informed them all that it would be a great idea to draw a rainbow and then give the picture to someone special.

Everyone was proud to show off their artwork.








Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A productive day...


Today our family made a day trip to Cotonou to accomplish MANY things. Thankfully, it was a productive day! We did what we needed to do, actually had a pleasant lunch at our favorite restaurant with all 4 kids without any help and even made it safely home before dark! Thank you Lord! The pictures above were taken for the most part in the car! Much of the time in Cotonou was spent in the car with Randy or myself running in to some office or store while the other waited in the car with the kids. They were good and they were LOUD! On the second row there is a picture of Tori and Timo standing by a cage. There are 2 sad monkeys in this cage. I say sad because they have been in this cage for as long as we have lived in Benin and Laurance says they have been there for as long as she can remember before that! Monkeys are not supposed to live in cages like this in the city. Our kids always enjoy looking at them every time we turn down this road. Today we decided to get out and take a picture so we will remember them. Timo was a little unsure about being that close! His fear was appropriate!

Our life is intensifying as the days pass and we come closer to our date of departure. We have purchased tickets and plan to leave mid-June. There is still SO much to do! Even so, we are stepping out and believing that God is bringing all these things together and to a completion!

We are READY! We covet your prayers for our each member of our family, for our health and safety, our emotional state of mind, and that we will be alert and aware of our enemy's schemes to discourage us in our final days in Benin. The Lord has generously blessed our time in Benin. His grace has been sufficient and we have SO many stories of His victories, His rescues and His saving grace! To God be the glory! We pray that in this last month our lives will continue to glorify Him and others will be encouraged to put their trust and hope in Jesus Christ!
Please continue to pray for the details of obtaining Lael's paperwork for immigration into the United States. She is legally Kadi Lael Vaughn. There is no question about that! What we are waiting on presently is her Benin passport and the paperwork clearing us to apply for her visa to the States! Every week and most days there is something that we are doing to speed this process along. She will also complete a medical exam next week that is required for her visa. Progress is being made daily.
Tori and I will finish second grade this week! Stay tuned for pictures of how we celebrate !