Sunday, February 20, 2011

Our Family update- New Year Letter Feb. 2011

Happy New Year Friends and Family,

I have been meaning to write a newsletter for 2 months now and so finally I have a break with semi silence to string some thoughts together. I haven't been great keeping up the blog lately but have put many photos and quick updates on Facebook. If you have Facebook you can find me as Melissa Ammons Carter.
We have had an extremely busy year this year (what year isn't?)Besides all the birthdays that cover almost every month at our house, we traveled quite a bit. I will try to put it all down in as short form as possible. This newsletter may end up coming to you into two parts though. :-)
The kids are all doing well and growing. All of them are still at home so our house is still bustling with lots of activity, though the kids will claim they are bored! I'll try to give you most of the highlights of our year in 2010.

Duane and I got to steal away to Destin, Florida in January but had to cut the trip short due to the death of my wonderful grandmother. My sweet husband drove me to Birmingham from the beach to catch a plane to NC so I could attend her funeral.
Feeling a little overwhelmed with homeschooling everyone, and deciding that they needed a little structure,we decided to put all the little kids in public school. Though at first I sorta grieved not having them around they all seemed to fully enjoy the change and I started to really enjoy some time to get things done that had been on the back burner for too long. I actually got some time to paint as well. I kept the four older kids at home to finish up their homeschooling and they graduated in June of 2010!
To my surprise, later in January, I received the DIANA (Distinguished International Academy of Noble Achievement)Award from a local chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha an international philanthropic organization for women, for the North Alabama Region. The award is designed to recognize those outside of ESA, who have dedicated their time and love to others.
In early February, we were totally surprised by the amount of snow we got! 4-5 inches and it was beautiful! We just don't get snow like that. Seora was in heaven and Isaiah became a lover of the stuff! In late February we took a winter week to Branson, MO. I don't think too many of us liked it there. We did enjoy a day at an indoor waterpark but most of us voted to go somewhere else next time.
As you remember, we started adding on to our house back in December 2008 and then had to stop due to the call to come to Uganda which funneled our finances originally for the house into the long stay and trips back and forth to Uganda. Construction pretty much stopped for a long time, but in February after many rain problems and flooding of our home, we were finally able to get the roof finished and the bricking put on! It was nice to finally get the house into the dry. Then there was a long lull again as we couldn't find anyone to help finance a project already in the works. Up to this point, we had financed it ourselves. It was again a test of patience and perseverance. Then in November 2010, we had a bank that agreed to work with us and we secured financing to finsh the project. So hammering has begun again and I am so excited that it will be finished soon.
In March, I had the privilege of going to Thailand with 2 friends to visit some missionary friends there. That trip impacted my life so much that I have to side track here and share a little bit about it. God opened my heart to see the vast problem of exploitation of girls and of human sex trafficking. My heart has cried out many times since then in intercession for those girls. You can go to my blog to read about the trip here . You can also watch a short video of our time there by going here-- I can no longer ignore the problem. I have a responsibility to stir up others to this terrible thing. After walking among hundreds of prostitutes on the streets, after talking and smiling at them as I passed by, all I could feel in my soul and heart was deep compassion and I wondered if this was what Jesus experienced as he walked among the crowds. I even felt this for the many men wandering the streets. I honestly thought I would feel anger towards them. What overcame me actually took me by surprise. Later as I processed it, I realized that Jesus had walked with me down those streets and let me in on his heart. Wow!
As I stopped at the bar that had European girls lined up for sale, my heart broke and tears streamed down my face. They were so beautiful but so sad They had this vacant lonely look in their eyes. These girls were most likely trafficked from Russia, Romania & Ukraine etc. I couldn't help but see MY girls. These girls could have been my girls, had they not been adopted. God had me walk back and forth in the street in the front of the European bars to pray for these girls who had no mother, who had no hope of escaping this lifestyle, who have no voice. Two books you can read about this subject is NOT for SALE by David Batstone and PRICELESS by Tom Davis. You can purchase them through the links above. My friend Tom Davis, president of Children's Hope Chest who works tirelessly to help these kids, wrote the novel Priceless based on true stories of girls in Russia. You won't want to put this book down but sometimes you'll just have to to process the story.
I met many wonderful peoole in Thailand who work daily to minister to girls on the streets. Nella Davis with Tamar Center is doing a wonderful job in rescuing girls and training them in new vocations. You can buy their cards and jewelry at their website. Our friends, Sarah and Jason Ricketts are opening up a night care to help keep kids off of the streets where they are at risk to be abducted or abused or sold. Visit their website .
After coming back from Thailand, all the little kids, Allenni, Eli and Andrew had soccer start up and that kept us quite busy getting them to the many practices and games. They really love the game and did quite well I might add.
Of course in April, Easter came around and we celebrated with dying Easter eggs which was Allenni, Isaiah,and Andrew's first time. They thought the Easter egg hunt at Nana's house was amazing! I think we had 180 plus eggs!
In early April, we headed to Edisto Island, SC for Spring Break Vacation. We had the chance to stop in ATL and see one of my childhood friends, Valerie. I hadn't seen her in over 10 years and the hours we spent talking just flew by too fast! Edisto,was so wonderful! We all enjoyed a different place to go where there was no hustle and bustle, just the beach and bicycle rides. I think we all agreed it was one of our favorites. Later in April, Duane and I enjoyed going to a conference with some friends in Franklin,TN for a few days, taught by Dan Allendar and Scotty Smith. It was with great surprise that I ran into Mary Beth Chapman (Steven Curtis Chapman's wife) and was able to say hello for a moment.
In May, my dad had open heart surgery and so I went to GA for several days to be with him and mom. I am thankful to God for his great recovery.
To my surprise again, in May, I was chosen to receive the DIANA award for the State of Alabama and so the whole family traveled to Birmingham to attend a luncheon where they presented me with the award.
June brought the graduation of Seora, Maggie, Ben and Nathaniel. We celebrated with a fun graduation ceremony where the older kids even did a dance routine. We had a great party afterwards. It was hard to believe that they were entering that phase of their lives. They have been busy trying to find a job and taking some classes at NW Shoals to help them in the work force.
A friend of ours, Song moved into our guest house this month as well and we have all enjoyed having her around. June also brought the opening of the pool and the kids practically lived out there. Isaiah amazed us all with his love of the water and bugged everybody ALL day to take him "schwimming".
In Late June, Duane and I took off for a few days to Franklin, TN to celebrate our 18th anniversary. It was a much needed break to be with my love.
We celebrated July 4th with some great friends and Graham taught Isaiah how to dip Oreos in milk. We were sad to see Casscass, Nana and Papaw's big Malamut go to doggie heaven this month as well. All the kids really loved her and she did them as well. She would just talk to them when we went over to Nana's. Duane and I then headed to Orlando for several days with our friends, Nikki and Paul and it was great! I don't think we had ever done that before. When we got back from there, we headed back to the airport to put Maggie and Seora on a plane to Thailand. They were gone for almost 3 months doing volunteer work with our friends Sarah and Jason Ricketts. They were totally happy to be back int he States after being gone so long. (to be continued) ......

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails