Wow, not sure where to start. It has been an eventful 24+ hours since we last posted. We posted a couple of urgent prayer requests on Facebook. Thank you to everyone who prayed for us.
We had some really difficult interactions with Mercy yesterday. We had a very helpful guide in Changsha. After much prayer, the guide's help and persistent love.... we were able to navigate some significant challenges yesterday afternoon. What a blessing to be able to express again and again that nothing could ever take our love away. We explained that families talk things out and work through problems together. We were able to share some clear boundaries in a particular area (with the guide's help). This will be the beginning of these type of conversations over and over we suspect.
We want to respect her privacy so we are intentionally vague here, but we do ask that you continue to pray for us. We are asking HIM for wisdom. We are asking HIM to minister comfort, peace and healing where needed. We are filled with compassion for all the changes in her life right now. We are lifting her up and asking HIM to reveal HIMSELF to her. We need HIS help to lay down our lives, reflect HIS character and love both these girls well. Please pray for us.
Yesterday afternoon, we finished critical paperwork and then headed to the airport to board our 1 hour flight to Guangzhou. About 50 minutes into the flight, there was an announcement in Mandarin and then one in English indicating that the flight was returning back to Changsha where we started. The captain explained that the weather was bad in Guangzhou and we could not land. Wow. We have never experienced anything like this before. We landed back in Changsha- no guide, no English staff/speakers in sight and thoughts of the critical doctor appointments already scheduled for first thing Sat AM. We sat on that airplane for over 2 hrs. We were then moved by bus to a waiting area in the airport. Eventually, we boarded another plane and flew to Guangzhou. We had our kids at the hotel and in bed by 2 am. The 1 hr flight turned into a 7 hour event. The first flight was a bit turbulent and scary for Zoey. She was crying. It was so hard. The Lord met us in some neat ways. We could not get any internet access on our phone. We could not send any texts, but we got a text from a friend in Little Rock (thanks, Deb!). We were somehow able to respond to her. She got involved and posted prayer requests for us. Amazing- so grateful! Zoey fell asleep as we were just ascending on the 2nd flight. She slept the entire 1 hour flight. When we were in the airport, there was nobody around speaking English. Seemed like out of nowhere, this young Chinese man (not staff) walked up to us - speaking perfect English - and told us to go board a particular flight to Guangzhou. He directed us to the bus area and escorted us to the plane. Amazing!!!! We got the girls to bed in the wee hours of the morning and then sat down at the computer briefly to send an update. We want you to know that we were touched by your prayers and messages. Thank you for interceding for us. Thank you for taking the time to lift up these really weary parents. Yesterday was really hard. We battled fear, worry, exhaustion.... our flesh. Yet, the Lord ministered some specific scriptures to us- Isaiah 54:17 (no weapons formed against us would prosper) and a gentle reminder from Lamentations 3:22-23(that He is faithful & His mercies are new every morning). We are crying out to HIM and clinging to HIM and mindful that we cannot walk for a moment on this road without HIS help.
We made it to our doctors appointments this am. Zoey's cough sounds bad to us today. The doctor said her lungs sounded clear. She prescribed a cough syrup. Both girls did well with shots and blood tests. We are praying for the ALL CLEAR to travel. Both must have clear TB tests and no significant findings from tests. PLEASE PRAY WITH US for no glitches. We are ready to fly home on Thursday as planned.
Ready for one last GOD story today? .... we are with a new group of parents here in Guangzhou as we all finish up paperwork at US consulate. GOD has orchestrated some amazing connections. There were three families this am. One family is from GA. They are adopting their 5 & 6 China kiddos. Mom is traveling with older son. Her hubby is home with other kids. She tells us that her hubby is visually impaired- has a guide dog and his job is in the blind community. The other family- from Austin, TX- both Dad and Mom are both blind. He walks with cane. They have adopted a visually impaired child. Dad works within blind community as well. His primary job is with mobility training. We have so much to learn from both of these families. We are excited for these connections and we have all agreed this is GOD joining us together. It was such an encouragement. They all have so much knowledge and experience. Already, we sense the LORD equipping us for the road ahead. HE is in the smallest of details. HE is with us every step of the way. Incredible?!??! Right?
Love you all- thank you for the sweet reminders that we are NOT ALONE- thank you for praying.
Hugs from CHINA- Art, Jen, Mercy & Zoey
PS: Meredith and kids are doing well at home. Thank you for praying for them also. Thank you to those bringing meals and showing them love. What an amazing thing to experience the BODY of CHRIST! You have given us such hope in difficult circumstances.