Their mission: to tape up as many colored paper hearts as they could all over the walls, windows and doors, upstairs and down. It was still dark that early morning in February. As Shannon and I were sleeping soundly, our kids Alina and Jeshua (JJ) were sneaking around the house, giggling and trying not to make noise. After hanging banners in the doorways and cooking up a batch of heart-shaped waffles, they shouted in unison, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
Still stoked with his stealthy success, JJ took me all around the house, pointing out little decorations and details that he was afraid I might have overlooked, savoring my delighted reactions. One such detail was on our bedroom door. There were four paper hearts arranged in a square and a smaller one in the middle of them. “Those two hearts on top are you and Mom,” JJ explained, “and these two down here are me and Alina. And that tiny one in the middle is the baby.”
“What baby?” I replied.
“You know, the baby Mom is going to have,” JJ grinned. For years, he and Alina had been lobbying for a little sibling, but to no avail. They hadn’t brought it up recently, so I had thought they had given up.
“Yeah? We’ll see,” was my amused dismissal as we headed back down the stairs for our Valentine breakfast.
But JJ’s playful joke had gotten my wheels turning. In truth, Shannon and I had been considering having another child for years. But we each flip-flopped back and forth between readiness and fear. That evening when the kids were in bed, I shared my thoughts with Shannon. “You know, Sweetie, we’ve been thinking about having another child for a long time. I love being a dad to Alina and JJ! We get so many happy, proud-parent moments as we watch them grow. I know I have been waffling about having another child, fearing that it might not be the right choice for us. But today, I was struck again by how much of a blessing our kids are. Having them brings so much joy and spontaneity to our lives! I’ve considered my fears of having more kids and concluded that they are mostly fears of inconvenience and cost. But when I compare the potential joy of a dream vacation with the regular daily joys of having another child to love and raise for God’s kingdom, there is no comparison. So today, once again, I’m thinking that I want another child. What do you think? Sure, we have our fears, but do you think that once that precious child is born and we’re holding it and looking into its face, we could ever say, ‘Boy, we blew it! This child was a mistake?’ Never!” Shannon agreed. So we decided then and there that we would pray again about it and try to have another one and see what God’s answer would be.
About nine months later, on November 12, Alina and JJ were bouncing off the walls with excitement as we left them with our friends and teammates, the Tumbergs, before Shannon and I continued on to the hospital, just a few minutes from our house. And I’m happy to report that, after a relatively easy labor, to our great delight, Selah Joy Sorensen made her beautiful, healthy entrance into the world! And sure enough, we haven’t regretted her arrival for a moment! Rather, we are so thankful to God that once again we are able to stretch out our tent and “lengthen the cords” (Isa. 54:2) as we have made room for little Selah in our hearts and home.
For nearly five years, we have been stretching our tent and lengthening the cords in the spiritual realm here in Khon Kaen. God loves having “kids,” and He wants more kids for His Kingdom. God has blessed our work and church family here in Khon Kaen with more precious spiritual children, increasing our joy as we serve and worship Him together. Three more were baptized in November, and more are to come in December. One of our newly baptized young ladies gave her first sermon during our quarterly youth Sabbath program, and she did a great job. We were so proud of her as we witnessed how God has been recreating this young woman in His image and giving her victory after victory in her life. It was another one of those “happy, proud-parent” moments that warms our hearts like nothing else.
We now feel more strongly than ever that the time is at hand when we must enlarge our tent. To increase our ministry and accommodate our growing spiritual family, we are laying plans to build a center for youth training that will house our church and music school. The house we currently rent has served us well for nearly five years, but it has reached its capacity, and our landlord has given us notice that he wants to let his daughter use it (see Kyle Tumberg’s article on p.24).
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support as together we continue serving and sacrificing for the growth of God’s family here in Khon Kaen and throughout Thailand.