Promise is sleeping, so I've sneaked away to write a few words. Bethany's parents arrived on Friday evening, and it is fantastic to see them. We've been having a great visit and they have already blessed us richly. I'm learning that grandparents play a vital role in family life: they take your baby off your hands for a couple of hours so you can get a Sunday afternoon nap.
Mom and Dad Mc showed up with a big surprise. They carried a massive suitcase full of baby clothes across the Pacific. Bethany and I sat amazed as they pulled out one outfit after another from a seemingly magic piece of luggage. Some of the gifts came from family members and family friends. Others came from people that we don't even know. You might have been one of them. We are learning that there are many faithful readers of this journal that we have never met, nor heard from. Perhaps we've never met you, but you have blessed us beyond words. Thank you so much for your thoughtful gifts. We won't have to buy Promise any clothing for at least a year (even longer if we can find a way to stunt her growth).
It was a great privilege to have Jim and Connie at our church this morning. It was also Promise's first church service. Between the cute little baby, the return of Bethany after a six week absence, and the arrival of new white people, we were a very popular group this morning. The children seemed especially taken with Jim, as they gathered around to hang on his neck and poke his belly.
I've just returned from a bit of excitement. An hour ago, Matt—the director of Bethany's school—called me, and shouted into the phone "Get to the clinic right away!" Prior to the phone call, we had been listening with interest as a chorus of fire engines continued to gather somewhere in the distance. As soon as I got Matt's call, it suddenly occurred to me that the cacophony was coming from somewhere very close to the clinic. Bethany and I left Promise with the grandparents and immediately jumped in the car to go investigate and help if need be. As we approached the area, we were confronted with an entire fleet of emergency vehicles. We parked a couple of blocks from the clinic—we couldn't get any closer—and jogged the rest of the way. As we rounded the corner it became clear that neither the clinic nor the dorms were in danger. The fire fighters had successfully contained a large house fire that at one point had threatened to devastate the entire block.
This was a classic example of a communication breakdown. In the confusion, Matt had received a message that the neighborhood was on fire. He was naturally alarmed and called me, no doubt envisioning a massive evacuation of patients, equipment, and vital documents. As I arrived at the scene, Joe was also making his way to the clinic, having been supplied with a slight variation on the big news. Poor Joe had been told that the girl's dorms were on fire. He expressed confusion as he approached the property and saw all of the girls standing only a few meters from their front door. He quickly concluded that his informant had a limited understanding of the situation.
While it was sobering to see the aftermath of the fire, to my knowledge nobody was hurt in the incident. The clinic lost power, so most of the patients were moved to Jenn and Joe's house, though I don't know much more than that. The girls are without power for now, but considering their house is still standing, I think they are taking it all in stride. It was certainly an exciting evening, but everything should be back to normal by the morning. Sadly the same cannot be said for the poor family that lost their home tonight.
As per usual, my word count is getting out of hand. We will try to write again later this week to tell you how our visit is progressing. Having learned about all of our silent (but generous) readers, I'm feeling a greater responsibility to update this blog regularly. Let me once again say thank you to all who have given gifts since Promise's arrival (McClellans, Stewarts, VanAndels, Cleverleys, and all the others who are too numerous to count).
I'll leave you with a few pics of the grandparents, and Bethany and Promise sitting among the loot. I took a poll earlier today, and the consensus is that Promise is indeed very cute.
One last thing, and answer honestly: How many of you are still dwelling on the whole "sneaked" versus "snuck" thing from the first sentence?