back in the states

We haven't shared anything on the blog in quite a while. Obviously our posting will slow down now that we're back in the States, but you can always follow Landon + Kate's blog for more frequent updates about the girls! Teddy and I arrived back in Wichita on Black Friday. We've been readjusting to life in America slowly but surely--all of our winter clothes were in storage and it's been COLD in Kansas, but other than that we had a smooth transition. Landon + Kate very graciously take time out of their busy days to send us updates and although we miss the girls we know they are in very capable hands.

We've been able to meet with the Eight Oaksters a few times since we got back. After praying semi-ambiguously for so many months, it is incredible to join together with this group and pray and talk about the girls BY NAME, knowing their personalities and stories and seeing their faces.

Truly and honestly, we cannot overstate how thankful we are for the support of the amazing family that surrounds these girls--and for the opportunity to witness their redemption.

I just have a few pictures for now--we hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The Lord worked in astounding ways in 2013. We're excited to see what 2014 has to hold. And as always, thank you to everyone who has contributed to Eight Oaks in any and every way: our girls had a real Christmas this year with presents and food and laughter and twinkle lights!! Glory to God in the highest.

a PE lesson with Uncle Teddy. hilarious.
Little Sarah
Mercy making fufu!
this dough is made by boiling plantains and yams and pounding them until the consistency is smooth and elastic: it's then shaped into balls and eaten with soup! We liked it a lot, it's much sweeter than akple.
everyone took a turn pounding the dough...the whole process takes a LONG time and that stick is h-e-a-v-y.
one afternoon the girls climbed the papaya trees and feasted.
we miss the girls AND the fresh fruit.
Rosemary (Bernard + Celestine's great-neice). She's a doll--we love when she comes over.
Rosemary + Richlove
Richlove, Lucky, Regina. I call this "Serious."
I call this "Not Serious."
the girls usually wash their clothes in the morning and then lay them on the concrete to dry in the afternoon sun. This is about 5:00pm, when the sun starts to set.
sometimes the band at the local college starts playing music and the girls run out to the front porch, stand on the railing, and dance. It's entertaining to say the least. This is Lucky:)
Dina, Sarah Sr., Gloria, Richlove, Lucky, God's Way
The Yellow House has officially been kid-o-fied...we found this crayon masterpiece on one of the walls.
We took group pictures the day we left...which wasn't the best idea because all the girls were very sad and most were unwilling to smile. And Gloria, true to form, fell asleep:)
Papa Bernard with his girls--Left to Right Regina, Lucky, God's Way, Dina.