14 December 2013

Goodbye and Hello

Four years ago, a wise friend told us we were embarking on a life of hellos and goodbyes.  We did not understand at the time, but four years later we completely understand.  We have had so many visitors and great teams form the States and have expereinced many hellos and goodbyes.  But we are on the leaving end this time, and that's different.  It's much more difficult to leave.  So many new changes coming.  Jen and I have learned to role with it, and God has proven faithful, but the kids struggle more  We have made some great friends over this time and as excited as we are to say Hello to family and friends, saying goodbye here has been more difficult the Jen and I thought.  Miki has amazing friends and she is so sad to leave them.  The parents and her teacher from he school through her a surprise party on Thursday and it was great to see her interacting with the people she has come to love.  Our kids have become such a part of the community and God has blessed our friendships through them. 
Friday we hosted a big party for the kids friends as well as for our friends.  It was so much fun to see so many people that we have grown close to over the years come to wish us "srecan put" - happy travels!  The night was amazing as we talked and shared coffee one last time, but then it has to end.  All of us were doing great until my sweet Miki began to say goodbye to here friends.... well my heart broke.  God has been faithful to surround us with friends and he will be faithful to keep taking us where he wants us to go.  Here are some pics from our party:

05 December 2013

Throwback Thursday: All about Wilson

The biggest change in our family over the last four years has been the addition of Wilson.  Adding a boy to the mix has been a daily adventure and we can't wait to see what God has in store for my buddy.

27 November 2013

Throwback Thursday: All About Miki

When we arrived, this kid was a toddler.  I can not believe how much she has grown.  Most importantly this little lady has given her heart to Jesus in the time that we have been in Serbia.  Here is a look back at Miki over the last four years. 
Before we left the States, 3 almost 4

5th Birthday

6th Birthday

Little Sassy Lady

First Day of 2nd Grade this past September

25 November 2013

Reflections: Friendship

This is Miki and her best friend on the way home.  They were just riding in the car.  God has blessed us so much in the past four years with amazing friends.  I think this picture just sums up how much we have come to love our Serbian friends and look forward to seeing God use those friendships as we are away.  As God has brought us friends we know he will rekindle those friendships in U.S. that we are so ready to be a part of.  Who knows, maybe we can all ride in the car together and hold hands.  

21 November 2013

Throwback Thursday: All about Kyleigh

Four years ago when we arrived in Serbia my Kyleigh was just a girl.  In three weeks when we leave we will be leaving with a young lady.  God has done much in her life over the past four years and we are so proud of who she is growing up to be.    Here is a throw back in pictures of my girl becoming a lady.

8 years old and ready to leave America

Her First Birthday in Serbia

10 and not very much girl left here

11 and breaking daddy's heart

Spring in Instanbul

Summer of 12
Serving with volunteers her last summer of this term

30 October 2013

The First Annual Stevens Family Fall Festival (a.k.a. Jen's Big Idea)

This past weekend we hosted a fall festival in the courtyard of our building.  This was an idea Jen had to do next year as a way to reconnect with our neighbors.  Then she decided this year to have a little carnival for her AWANA group and in true Jen fashion it grew and grew and GREW.  So with some help from our colleagues Jen's dream became reality.  This is one of the things I love most about my wife, when she Dreams it is big and she loves to make those dreams come true.  So for a week she created carnival games from scratch. I was amazed at the amazing games she made with household items.  We also got to introduce Serbia to some favorites like bobbing for apples.  Now carnival games would not be enough so we had a bounce house and a clown.  The best part of the whole thing was when the kid's figured out that the tickets they got from the games could be redeemed at the prize table.  GREAT FUN watching them choose from all the lute I got at the Chinese market.  I look forward to watching this event grow and become a way for our family to be a city on a hill.  On a side not Monday at school Miki's friends wanted to know when the Winter Festival was... guess it was a big hit!

24 October 2013

Throwback Thursday: One of my Favorites

This post is one of my favorites.  We don't live in this neighborhood anymore but when I run, I often pass this spot.  It's one of the best places in town to me because it meant so much to us early in our time here.  God has continued to bless us.  Read about my brave girls here.