Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Children on the mission field

I want to say right upfront that I did not write what I am going to post below.  It came from a Godly lady named Amy Block.  I do not know her personally, but I read her blog regularly and I feel like I know her.  I think in real life we would be friends :) 

Anyway, her and her family are fixing to move to Guatemala onto the mission field there.  This is a post that she wrote yesterday that I can very much identify with, except for the fact that we still live in the US (although many times I feel like we are in a different country).  The words that she wrote come from my heart as well.  You should check out her blog:

Her words: 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Children on the mission field

One of the top questions we have had lately is how do we feel about raising our children on the mission field. I am assuming the reason we get this question so often is because of fear. People fear something happening to their children and fear not being able to offer them 'the best things' in life so they assume we feel the same way.
First of all, we believe that raising our children in the center of God's will is the safest and best place to raise them.

While some may view moving to another country as unsafe- I can assure you we are doing everything in our power to provide a safe life for our children.

Our power is the key word.

Because the truth is- while you and I can do all the 'right' things to make sure our kids are safe and healthy- in reality, there is only so much we can do. Whether we live in the comfy old USA or in a 3rd world country- things happen. People get sick- cancer rears it's ugly head, we break bones, and get in car accidents. They are a part of life no matter who you are or where you live.                      

Does it scare me those things could happen to my children? Of course. It scares me right now living in the USA. But what scares me more is raising my children in a world where they are constantly bombarded by the pursuit of personal happiness. Where 'the finer things in life' are constantly dangled in front of their eyes and where they are brainwashed into thinking 'things' are more important than people. 

We learned a long time ago that there are no guarantees in life- and we learned a long time ago that the Lord isn't so much concerned with our 'happiness' as He is our holiness. While we do need to be wise- we also don't want to stand in front of God one day and realize we missed out on the very purpose He created us because we were too afraid to really live.

While it's true the USA is considered the land of opportunity, I believe my children will experience 'other' opportunities while living in another country that many Americans will not. They will see things, experience things, and live things that are different than those living in the United States- but equally as good. They will learn to relate on a new level to others who are not like them and learn to appreciate those differences. They will learn to be fluent in two languages and learn how to step out of their comfort zones. They will experience different cultures first hand- rather than just reading about them in geography books. They will learn to be resourceful, flexible, and adaptable.

I think many people believe that by taking our children onto the mission field they will somehow be deprived. If being deprived means no more video games, cheer leading try-outs, cartoons, or fast food- then we are okay with that. While they may be giving up some things- I believe what they are gaining is so much more important. It's simply a matter of priorities.

We view our going to Guatemala as our family mission. The Great Commission isn't only for adults. Each one of us are playing a vital part in reaching the world for His kingdom. Each one of us will relate to specific people in specific ways. Each one of us have different strength and gifts the Lord has given us and each one of us will come into contact with different people. I have already seen my children touch the lives of people that I never would have been able to. Each one of us, no matter how old or young, are able to love and reach out to others. And, I think it's crucial we teach our children this at a very young age.   

More than anything in this world I want my children to know Jesus deeply. I want them to understand that life isn't just about their getting ahead- having the biggest house or the biggest bank account. Life isn't about being #1, being popular, the smartest, the greatest athlete, or the best looking. It isn't even about our personal safety our comfort. It is so much more- and most of us are missing it.

 There is world out there full of people who are hurting and lost. A whole world out there who's only answer is knowing Jesus personally. You and I were put here on this earth to be His hands and feet-to tell others about Him...not to spend our days trying to prove WE are worthy. We were given life to show others His love- regardless of who they are, where they were born or whether they deserve it or not. If my children discover how to love others regardless of social status, ethnicity, diseases or ability to give anything back- than I truly believe we have succeeded in giving them the very best in life. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Beginning of a New Chapter

Well, we officially started a new chapter in our lives today.  Our sweet Ella started Kindergarten.  Where has the time gone?  It seems just like yesterday that she looked like this: 

Look at those chubby cheeks and arms!

But today she looks like this:

All ready for her first day!

She was so excited to start school that I didn't even have to wake her up.  She came in the bathroom while I was taking a shower and said, "I'm up and ready to go to school!"  If you know my child at all, this is a big deal.  She loves to sleep late, and I just knew I was gonna have to drag her out of bed.  Not today!!

She picked out her own clothes and shoes and got ready really quick.  Of course, we had to get a few pictures of her on her special day before we took off.

Ella loving on Brayden (Side note: See the cat that has taken up residence at our house.  FYI- I don't care for cats, but evidently it really likes us.)

Daddy and his little girl.  (Another side note- we heard Steven Curtis Chapman's song "I danced with Cinderella" on the way home from school.  Not a good song to hear on the first day of K.)

My little girl :)
I'm not gonna lie- this was a very emotional day for me, for all of us really.  The first day of Kindergarten is hard anyway, but even harder when you know nothing about the school, teacher, etc.  However, we were confident that the school that she is going to in Chandler (not going to say the name because there are weirdos out there) is the one she should be attending, so we knew it would be ok. 

We pulled up to the parking lot this morning and there were kids everywhere.  A majority of the kids walk to school because it is so close to the neighborhood that they live in.  We were a little overwhelmed.  Ella immediately got out of the van ready to go.

We found her classroom and met her teacher, Mrs. Willman.  She was super nice (as most K teachers are) and showed Ella where she could sit.

I did really well holding my emotions in until we got back to the van and then the flood gates opened.  I gained control and did pretty good throughout the remainder of the day (just a couple of sniffles here and there).

It was just a weird day.  It felt weird eating lunch and not making her plate.  It was weird to not hear any fighting or arguing over toys.  I actually missed it.  Brayden missed her too.  Although I will say, he was extremely well behaved today.  He played quietly in his room several times.  He was so quiet I had to go look for him to make sure he was ok :)

When the clock said 2:30, I was ready to go pick her up.  We waited in the parent pick up line forever (realizing it is the first day) it seemed.  Finally, it was our turn.  She was excited to see us.  Her teacher said she had a really good first day.  No tears ever.  She said she was very well behaved.  

We asked her a million questions on the way home.  Who did she sit by?  Did she make new friends?  What did she have for lunch?  Did they play on the playground? Etc.  She was most excited that she made 2 new friends.  She was also excited that there was a boy in her class named Brayden, one named Aiden (cousin's name) and someone named Bailey (her friend from KY).  She liked recess and snack time.  (She is my child haha)  She said it was a really good day.

So, we made it through the first day.  I think better than expected.  Although I'm sad that my baby is growing up, I'm looking forward to the new chapter that we are beginning.  One that hopefully involves her growing into a beautiful, young lady and child of God!!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Quick Update

I wanted to give everyone a quick update about Ella and the school situatuion.  We got a letter in the mail this past week from the school district that we wanted her to go to that said she has been ACCEPTED!!!  Yeah!  Thanks for your prayers about this situation!

Now we are busy getting everything ready for school. Her first day of Kindergarten is MONDAY!  Yes, that is only 4 days away.  She is so excited!  I am excited for her, but sad for me :)  I'll let you know how the first day of school goes!


Monday, July 11, 2011

My Baby Girl and Starting School

Y'all, Ella starts Kindergarten in less than a month!!!  I can't believe it!  I know that I have had 5 years and 9 months to prepare for this, but I'm still not ready.  I am having such a hard time with it. 

She, on the other hand, can not wait.  She talks about it all the time.  She says, "Daddy, how many new friends do you think I'm gonna have when I start Kindergarten?"  Today, we went to the school that she is "supposed" to go to and she said, "Momma, how long do you think we get to play out on the playground?"  She is full of curiousity and questions.  It makes me excited that she is excited.

I am mostly writing this to ask you guys to pray about the school situation.  Not about me having a hard time with it (I suppose I will get over it), but about "picking" the right school.  We have a school just a couple of blocks from our house that she is supposed to go to.  We have visited several times, and mostly have just talked to the secretary, but every time I leave I literally feel sick to my stomach.  There is just something about it that doesn't feel right to me.  It is way different than any school in KY.  Now I know that just because something is different doesn't mean it is wrong or is worse, etc. but I am having a hard time adjusting. 

Let me give you an example:  I told the secretary that I didn't turn in the transportation form for Ella to ride a bus because I am going to transport her myself.  She gave me the weirdest look.  She said, "Are you sure?  Everyone rides the bus.  No one brings their child to school."  She then proceeded to look at Ella and ask, "Don't you want to ride the bus?"  Of course she does, but I feel more comfortable with taking her the first year.  I proceeded to tell her that and explain that we just live a couple of blocks over and if I have to walk with her to a bus stop then I might as well just drive my car to the school.  It would take the same amount of time.  She said, "Well, I guess that makes sense."  

Another thing I am not "crazy" about is that they have to wear school uniforms, although I do understand the reasoning for it. Gold/yellow shirts and navy pants or skirt.  AND, no flip flops allowed-only tennis shoes.  We will be fighting every single morning over that one.  If you know my child at all, you know that she can not stand any closed toe shoe or socks either.  I'm gonna start preparing her now. 

Last thing that makes me uneasy is the Kindergarten schedule.  It is only for a half day and only 4 days.  Of course, that means I will get to spend more time with her, but I wonder how much instruction she will get in only 3 hours.  I wonder if she will be prepared for first grade. I wonder if she will be learning the same things that she already knows.  I wonder a lot.

I asked the secretary today about having any kind of open house or meet the teacher night, etc.  before school starts.  She said, "Oh, that would be nice, but I don't think we'll have anything like that.  We're really unorganized this year and I just don't think we'll have everything ready to do anything like that."  I promise that is what she said.  I managed to smile and walk away before I said anything that I would regret later.

So, Arizona is a state that is considered to be open enrollment.  This means you can go to a school that is not in your district.  However, you have to be approved and there has to be openings at the school.  The deadline to turn in an application for that was in April.  We didn't know that.  So we filled out an application any way and took it to the district that we want her to go to, but they don't know when they will get back with us on that.  It could be after school starts :(  Seriously, I feel like we are trying to get her into Harvard or something. 

I say all of that to say that although I don't know what is "right" at the time, God does.  He knows where my sweet Ella will go to school and who her friends will be and who her teacher will be.  He holds her in His hands.  He loves her more than I do.  So, I'm going to trust Him and be okay with what happens in the end.  Will you pray for us as we make the decisions that need to be made?  Will you pray that God will reveal His plan for Ella and that we will recognize it and trust it?  Thanks y'all!!!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Crisis in the Congo

This is a very intense documentary about the Crisis in the Congo; the home of our son.  Please pray for this country and for these precious people.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

4th of July Weekend

We had a fabulous weekend spending time together as a family!  We have had mission teams at our house every weekend for 4 weeks until this past weekend, so we took advantage of enjoying much needed family time!

First, we got haircuts.

Cutting out the tangles :)

Always so serious when getting his haircut

Aren't they hot stuff? :)

Then, we had family movie night at home.  We watched Secretariat because we love horses so much.

Notice all the stuffed animals in the background that had to watch the movie too :)
 Unfortunatley, Daddy got called to go help some friends whose vans had broken down so he missed all the movie.  BUT, it was okay because we had a lazy Sunday afternoon and watched it again!!

Then, Sunday night, we went to the community fireworks show.  This was really the first community event that we have went to and participated in.  It was a little different walking into a crowd of over 1,000 people and being the ONLY white family there.  Eric said it was like a reverse Tater Day (for those of you who live in Marshall County and can understand that statement) haha :)  Nevertheless, we had a really good time.  We met up with some of our students from church and hung out with them and their family.  There was all kinds of stuff to do: food, water slide, basketball tournament, skateboard tournament, etc.  There was also a chicken scratch band (the type of music that many Natives listen to and dance to) that played the whole night.  Ella and Brayden danced the night away :)

Eric talking with Joker, Doug's dad
Of couse, my camera went dead before I could get the pics of the kids dancing and the fireworks.

On Monday, we relaxed and played in the water.  That night we went to the drive-in in Scottsdale and watched Cars 2. 

 They wanted to go swimming, but we don't have a pool.  So, we did the next best thing-filled up a bucket of water :)  You only have so many options when you live in the desert! 

Ready for the movie to start!

We had a fun weekend!  Hope you did too!!  Happy 4th of July!!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011


We officially received our referral one day last week!  We are adopting a sweet, precious baby boy from the Democratic Republic of the Congo!  Right now, he is 6 months old!! 

We do have a picture of him, but we are not allowed to post it online- only after everything is official through court and he is officially a Gibbs. 

I can't tell you how excited we are and ready to meet him face to face!!  We love him so much already and can't wait to hold him in our arms!! 

Please don't forget about our matching grant that we received from Lifesong for Orphans.  They will match up to $3000 of what we raise, so we could have $6000 to put towards our adoption expenses.  Any amount donated at all is helpful to reaching our goal- even if it is $5 or $10.  (See previous post for the mailing address.) Or you can make a donation online @  and go to make a donation (type Gibbs Family adoption #2064).

Thanks for all your prayers and financial support to help bring our little boy home!!!