Dear Nathanael (7 months)

My dearest Nathanael,

If only you understood how significant the last month or your life has been! One day you will ask why we live in Austria and not in the United States with the rest of our family. And we will tell you our family story, especially how God led us to solidify the decision this past month. It is amazing to think that you will be fluent in two languages - German and English - and that you will likely be correcting Daddy and Mommy's German pronunciation for years. We trust that this decision is God's good for you, and we are excited to see how He matures you in Christ as you grow up in Austria.

Many parents told us that this age was one of their favorites. We whole-heartedly agree so far. You are an absolute delight! Every day brings something new - a new physical development or vocalization or food. You are enthralled with life, and your joy is completely contagious!

You are a healthy, growing boy, weighing around 19 pounds (58th percentile) and 27.75 inches in length (73rd percentile), according to our measurements. Every time we pick you up, we exclaim about how big you are! No one prepared us for how big you would be in seven short months; what a transformation! You love your solid foods and have become an incredible eater; it seems your new favorites are mango, squash, and banana. It is so much fun to feed you little bites when we're eating the soft fruits!

The last few weeks have brought about great change in your ability to entertain yourself. I think your physically developments have helped to keep you distracted. You roll all over, scoot backwards a little, push up on your hands and knees, are trying to sit on your own, and stand holding on to objects. And you simply cannot get enough standing and walking (you prefer to walk backwards) holding our hands. You are learning to wave (with your entire arm), and you seem to discover a new sound or facial contortion every day! You continue to sleep well at night (11-13 hours!) and even did quite well sleeping in the car one night and in many new places when we traveled to western Kansas and Colorado for ten days. You sleep in the oddest positions sometimes, but you seem to be fine with whatever happens - back, stomach, side, squished in a corner, etc. Oh, and the smiles and giggles -- you pour them out generously to our delight! I still love your big, tight hugs and slobbery kisses. You seem to be offering them to others a little more now too, which warms many hearts.

This was a big month for you as far as new experiences -- your first snowfall, a new state - Colorado - and seeing the Rockies, interacting more with other babies and kids, actually allowing a few people other than family to hold you, traveling through the night, a hike in the foothills, a few days playing with your Granny Nanny, meeting some of Daddy and Mommy's dear friends in Colorado, seeing fish in a fishtank, riding in an umbrella stroller, seeing the international space station cross the sky, and the loss of your first pet - our cat Ayse (well, I don't think you comprehend the last two, but we want you to know you experienced them).

Nathanael Alim, you are a gift from God. We are excited to see you understand and believe this over the years! Happy seven months, son!

your daddy and mommy

Nathanael Alim - 7 month old
And a few outtakes:


Something new every day

Today's new adventures:
sucking in his lips (for minutes at a time)
and holding himself up to stand
Oh, and we can't forget giving kisses to Mr. Bear

Watch out, world!

We have a scooter! It looks like crawling is close behind.


Autumn Photos

We finally got around to taking a few autumn photos of Nathanael today. He was too fascinated with the leaves to really look up and smile, but these were my favorites.

Nathanael Alim, 6 & 1/2 months old


Long-awaited Direction

God has turned a new page in the story of our life, and we are excited about what He has shown us! A little over four months ago, we moved from Boston to Emporia. We had no idea what God was doing, but we knew He was asking us to take a step of faith in searching for a new direction for our family. And now He has enabled us to catch a glimpse of that new direction.

On Thursday, Gregory, Nathanael, and I were commissioned to serve with Greater Europe Mission (G.E.M.) in Vienna, Austria. Gregory will be serving the Austrian church through theological education, and we will together seek ways to share the love of Christ with the Viennese immigrant community. What an incredible answer to prayer this new direction is for us!

We spent the past week at an interview/orientation week in Colorado.

Prior to our time with G.E.M., we were able to reconnect with some dear friends in Denver. (I can't believe we didn't get pictures with everyone, but here are some of Gregory's MSU friends.)
Nathanael wore his Halloween sleeper on the 31st. :)
We experienced our first snow of the season, Nathanael's first ever!
The newly appointed group, going to the UK, Germany, and Austria, with G.E.M.
Nathanael had an amazing time with Grandma (the granny nanny); she even let him drive!
You may be wondering when we'll be moving to Vienna. Before we go, we will be developing a network of prayer and financial ministry partners. So we're not sure what God's timing is for our move, but we'll definitely be working diligently to develop our partnership network over the next few months. We are thrilled to enter into this task and are excited to see who God leads to join us in strengthening the Austrian church and sharing His love among the Viennese immigrants.