October 2017 Evan & Natasha Richmond Update
While we were home in Canada I was often asked how it felt to be a first time mom. I couldn’t help but chuckle when the question was asked. After all, it had been so long since I had felt like a first time mom. While Mateus may have been our first-born, he is far from the first child we’ve been blessed to mother and father.
I’ve heard many say that they never knew how much they could love and how deep they could love until the birth of their children. And while I feel this is a beautiful sentiment, it was not my reality. Truth be told, I knew the love I could feel, I knew the depth. But Mateus wasn’t the one to teach me that; it was our girls. Our girls have challenged us, stretched us, inspired us, and amazed us in more ways than we could ever imagine. While we were ‘at home in Canada’, we thought about the girls all the time. We were fortunate to be able to keep in contact with them through email and online messages. We were also thankful to be able to provide insight and guidance from afar, thanks to the great advances of modern technology! We were so grateful to have the opportunity to share as guest speakers at some public schools in Ottawa about our incredible girls and our work with Iris Ministries Canada.
After six months, I must admit, I am not surprised by how much I love our beautiful baby boy---but I am surprised how much I like him! Our youngest girl was four years old when she came to us. I knew how fun school age kiddos were, but I was unaware just how much fun babies are! He is funny, adventurous, determined, strong-willed, playful, flexible, and so much more. He has been a beautiful gift from God to us and I’m forever grateful. Our pastors back home told us that God gave us exactly the kind of baby we needed, and they couldn’t be more accurate. In six months Mateus has braved over 40 hours of travel and international flights, been passed around hundreds if not thousands of times, and survived 37C heat during Mozambique’s winter months. And best of all, he’s done it with a smile.
There is something so exciting and magical about introducing a new baby to their older siblings. And while Mateus had to wait a little longer than normal to meet his big sisters, the anticipation, suspense, and beauty of the moment was no less. As we landed in Maputo back in July we received a video message from another missionary with a video of our girls playing on the play structure chanting our names in joyful anticipation. As the car pulled in the gate, the ‘lookout’ (who was waiting by our home) ran to tell the rest and, within fifteen seconds dozens of girls came pouring into our home. They knocked Evan over and ran towards Mateus. A family united once again. See the video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ny7GohWlFE .
So what’s it like being back at Zimpeto with a baby? It is one wild roller coaster! Jumping back into things full swing with our girls has included everything from Evan teaching karate/self-defense classes, girl’s discipleship, arts and crafts, new literacy program updates and so much more. From solving day to day problems at the centre with our local Mozambican leadership team, to trying to make sure all seventy of our girls have completed their homework--there is never a dull moment. Today alone, we had the opportunity to welcome one new girl into our dorm. What’s it like for Mateus who spent 4 months as a seemingly only child now to share Mom and Dad with seventy sisters---that’s for another blog update! As for now, ‘happy six months Mateus!