Meet Tarrah and Jayson. Aren't they cute?
Tarrah and I met during the summer of 1997. We were both working for our church in the Student Ministries department, and happened to be stuck in the same cubicle together. She was the junior high intern, and I was the senior high intern. We both loved to talk about things that are Eternal. We bonded. I don't really remember how we became close friends. We just did. It was natural. Later, we were roommates for a short season. It was a sweet season, right after I met Chris, and we were on the phone ALWAYS. And I am sure it was annoying to Tarrah, as she was not dating anyone at the time. But I remember feeling that she was so sincerely happy for me. She was, of course, one of my bridesmaids. Just a year later, she met her husband, and came down to Texas to visit us (are you beginning to notice that she is a faithful friend?) Jayson asked Tarrah to marry him in a sweet little chapel in Fort Worth, and we were thrilled to be a part of that happy part in their relationship.
Jayson and Tarrah are an amazing couple. Everyone who has known them can attest to that. Through the last 10 years, most of which we were in Texas, and they were in Minnesota, we stayed close. But we really got to bond again when Chris and I moved back to Minnesota. I was so excited to be back in the land of the Palms. We had similar lives. We were raising scores of little kids. We love Keens. We could walk through REI for hours. We could pick up right where we left off. During a lonely season in Minnesota, the Palms were a listening ear.
Then it came time to make a decision. And the Palms were open to God's calling on their life to help out Freedom Firm in Ooty, India. They went forward, and did not turn back. I distinctly remember thinking when they told us what they were thinking of doing, that this was NOT a good idea. Dragging 4 little kids to a very non-Western country is a huge of sacrifice. Was it worth it? Was this the right timing? I got to watch Tarrah support her husband, and take a risk for that which is heavy on God's heart, the sexual slavery of girls in India. I watched her sell belongings and leave for India with all they own in some suitcases and boxes. I watched her gracefully say good-bye to friends she has lived life with for years, knowing that there is much she will miss. I watched her put faith in the Lord that her kids would be all the better for this journey in their life. Let me just admit something. I have always had a immense personal pride of my non-girlyness. I can sleep in a tent. I can eat weird food. I spent a summer in Africa. I am not afraid in big cities. I can live on just a little bit of money. I (well, I used to be) am very independent. But let me just say with a little shame, because of some fear issues in my life that I have had to work through, that what the Palms have done over this past 18 months, I am not sure I could have done. They have been amazing... enduring through the emotional, physical, and spiritual challenges of being in Ooty, India with their kids (the oldest was 5 when they left). They have been honest and faithful. They have worked hard. They have really given nearly all of their comforts over to the Lord. I have been in awe, really. Daily, when I face feelings of self-pity or discouragement, I remind myself that Tarrah and Jayson are doing all that I am doing, but with none of the resources that I have. It challenges me, my attitudes, and my faith.
We were able to spend a couple of days up in Bemidji with the Palms during our time here (Tarrah's parents were our gracious hosts). It was refreshing. We laughed, like always. We tried to arrange some marriages between our children. We had heartfelt conversation in the evening. It was wonderful. We love you, Palms, and will continue to be impressed, for all the right reasons, with your faith, endurance, and joy.
Please check out their blog, The Palm Six. You will be blessed, And you will laugh out loud. And now, what would a blog entry be without some photos...
Our kids were able to catch their first fish.
Don't they make a cute couple? Look at the way she is admiring his fish. I think she is in love.
Meet Jovie, the most perfect child ever. The antethesis of Baby Cry Cry.
And her big sis, Sydney, who looks so cute sucking her fingers on the boat.
Mother and daughter enjoying the boat ride.
How do I look with all these girls?
James, who is normally surrounded by 3 sisters, was loving having so many boys to play with.
A Minnesota moment.
Another Minnesota moment.
All the Palm/Wolfe kids minus Baby Cry Cry who was stayed with the grandparents.
This picture was taken by 7 year-old Ani. Pretty good, eh?
Did I mentioned that we laughed?
Thank you for a great couple of days. A special thank you to the Saufferers for so graciously hosting us in your home. We continue to give thanks for you, remembering you in our prayers (Ephesians 1:16).