Showing posts from 2008

Isaac Allen Pumpelly


Birth Plans

On Wednesday, Dec 10th I had an appointment with my midwife. I was exactly 38 weeks, and growing more anxious to deliver by the day (reference the last entry!). She informed me I had a "favorable cervix" (do you say 'Thank you' to that?) and asked me about my birth plan. Whoops. I had filled it out, noting all my preferences: yes to the whirlpool bath, birthing ball, walking around as much as possible, and no to pain meds. But I had forgotten it at home. No problem, she said. Bring it next week, or if you go into labor, bring it to the hospital.
Fast-forward to the next day, Dec 11th. I woke up at 5am, and Chad asked about the contractions. What contractions? Oh, I just have a feeling today's the day, he says. Whatever. I finally fell back asleep. At 8:55am I had a very strange sensation...cramping and pain, and it went on and on for over 2 1/2 minutes. Not so much fun, but then nothing else. I got ready for the day, ate breakfast, and kept having very irregular b…

The Fallacy of Pregnancy

This is my third pregnancy. You'd think I would have my facts straight by now. But I developed this theory when I was pregnant with Ethan, called the fallacy of pregnancy, and it's creeping back into my mind. Someday I may be a famous expert on the topic and you'll see me doing interviews on the talk-show circuit, so remember that you read it here first! The fallacy of pregnancy is simply this: at some point near the end of a pregnancy, the woman becomes convinced that life will be easier once the baby's born. It's what gets us through labor, really. I find myself thinking I'll finally sleep better. I won't be so uncomfortable. I'll be back to "normal". And yet, what's easier about feeding a hungry baby every 2-3 hours? And my right leg may not go numb when sleeping, but is that better than being woken up every few hours? I hear they do that to prisoners-of-war to break their spirits, and I believe it! My back may not be as stressed, but i…

Good-bye, Yakima!

Well, there were times we thought it would never come, but here we are. The typical NW rain is coming down outside, and we're on the farm in Salem. We drove out of Yakima on Sunday, only an hour later than we planned. The crates are packed and in the care of dear friends who will take responsibility for loading them on a truck down to Texas where they'll wait until we have Malawian work permits. We managed to fit almost everything in, though we later discovered a couple things we forgot about (the kids' time-out bench...maybe baby Isaac will be angelic and not need one!? the air mattress for camping trips...I guess we'll just have to really rough it!). And the vacuum cleaner had to stay, but all in all it was a success. There are a couple lessons we learned that we thought we'd pass on, just in case you ever find yourself packing crates!Diapers make GREAT padding and stuffing items. Buy at least one bag of the more expensive Huggies or Pampers...everything smells b…

27 DVDs, a lawnmower, and cloth diapers -check

Miriam loves checking things off the list and that is what we have been doing for--ever! But the shopping, packing and crating are nearing an end. My Dad comes Monday to help me build the two crates (87x87x45 each). We hope to pack them by Thursday next week. We calculated and planed exactly what must or should go with us, but in the end it feels a little random:

Two kids' bikes -check; Anya and Ethan will be so happy to see them next October.

One washer, one dryer, one refrigerator-check; appliances make life so much easier. I thank God for placing our family where both pluming and electricity are available.

That reminds me, a lawnmower -check; I bought one of those push mowers (no gas or oil required). It's better on the environment, better on the budget, easier to fit in the crate, but a little harder to use--hope I don't come to regret that decision.

20 boxes of books -check; now this might seem a little excessive, but a teaching missionary's tools are his books: Old T…

Yakima Fall

In some ways I know that every time we put the kids to bed, we're one day closer to being in Malawi. But most of the time, I just feel like we're in an endless doggy-paddle contest, with no end in sight. One of the ways we're dealing with that is by packing a few boxes each day (thus the 25 boxes piled up in every corner, threatening to entirely take over our only living space in this apartment!) The other way we're coping is by trying to be more intentional about enjoying the small things that life in the US offers...the things that will soon be only memories. Fall is a great time for that, since there is no fall in Africa! So 2 weeks ago we spent the day hand-pressing our own apple cider from apples we picked from the trees. I'm quite sure nothing in this world tastes better, and as proof, the 4 gallons we brought home are gone already. Today we braved the wild world of the Pumpkin Patch/Corn Maze and enjoyed home-made pumpkin donuts and more hand-pressed cider o…

The Portland Marathon in 4:11:10

I just received my official Portland Marathon Finisher Certificate today with my time of four hours, eleven minutes, and ten seconds. I never knew how meaningful training and running a marathon would be. In many ways it was a spiritual experience, conquering doubt with determination, exhaustion with endurance, and pain with patience. Running a marathon has been a long time dream of mine, as Miriam calls it, “one of my top bucket list items.” I thank God for my health and the opportunity to run it. So, let me share a quote that I have found meaningful during these last few months about the race of life:

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the founder and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men,…

The Calm Before the Storm

The last few weeks have been full of traveling and processing and planning, with very little to show for it. Oh sure, we do have $200 worth of shampoo, 4 cases of diapers, and enough Taco seasoning to supply the Yakima Valley for a while all sitting in our already-cramped living room. But really, life is otherwise plugging along pretty normally. Anya's back in the routine of school, though she's had a rough time with her new teacher who doesn't want 2nd graders looking out of the window during school hours...something about "staying on task". Ethan and Chad have a system worked out, running errands, playing on, and frequenting Yakima's parks each day. Miriam finished up work at the clinic for good, so now she's down to working just 21 hours a week at the nursing home. The baby is growing and kicking and down-right doing the jig most of the day, to the kids' delight and Miriam's discomfort. Just a "normal" family, living the n…

Phillippians 4:13-14

Missionary candidates, who entered the interview process with us, were interested in our story as they imagined life for their kids overseas. Miriam and I talked a lot about our experience growing up in Africa and the pressures of being missionary kids. One evening, I began to talk about our family’s worst trials. We endured repeated robberies at gun point, but continued believing it was worth staying in Uganda to remain in the center of God’s will.

Rebecca was one of those candidates. She said, “I remember praying for you Pumpellys in Uganda every night growing up.” Her parents had been committed prayer partners for my family during those hard years. It reminded me how critical praying is for missions to be effective and how encouraging it is to know you have been prayed for.

Rebecca and her husband, Jared, were appointed as missionaries the same time we were and have become our friends. They are doing field personnel orientation in Richmond right now and will be moving to Western Euro…

Srategic Prayer Partners

Following the lead of our team-members, we are looking for 12 churches who will commit to become Strategic Prayer Partners. These will be churches that have a special connection to the work going on in Malawi. If we’re scheduled to speak at your church, you’ll be hearing even more about this soon! Praise God, eight churches have already agreed to partner with us.

These churches are making a 3-year commitment to pray for the ministry in Malawi and for the Pumpelly family one month out of the year. They will track our ministry updates through-out the year, but make special efforts to pray heavily for the needs of our family and the Malawi mission during their one month. By having 12 churches, the work God is doing in Malawi will be bathed in prayer year-round.

We are committed to the partnership also. We will provide monthly newsletters and specific prayer needs related to ministry and family, and will provide multi-media sources as desired by the churches for use during their month of em…

"Are you really ready for Africa?"

This past weekend we went to an Ethiopian friend's wedding. The wedding included an Amharic prayer of blessing and the reception had a traditional Ethiopian feast and Ethiopian dancing. We always encourage our children to participate in the customs of our international friends. We are preparing them for Malawi, you know, so that they engage people with a warm smile, can shake hands, and are able to say, "That's interesting and different for me," instead of, "Yuk!" when served something new.

During the wedding dance, one of the bride's aunts took Anya (age 7) by the hand and before we knew it she was jumping and dancing in the midst of all the Ethiopians. On the way home, I congratulated her on her willingness to try something new. It made our friends so happy that she celebrated with them in that way. She said, "I think I'm ready for Africa, but I'm not sure about you and mom--you didn't even dance. You weren't a very good example fo…

On Getting Oxygen Easily

Breathing air is the witness of God's goodness to me. I have struggled with asthma throughout my life and it has been a major problem for me in the athletic and active parts of my days. Over the last three years I have been blessed with a decreasing number of attacks and over the last year I have been attack free.

This year I have trained for the Portland Marathon, a longtime dream of mine. It requires frequent long runs. Today I ran 17 miles in 2 1/2 hrs (without medication). During mile five I took a deep breath. God revealed himself to me in that moment my lungs filled. The air I breath is a witness to the goodness of God. Paul told the crowd in Lystra (Acts 14) that even when God allows us to go our way, God does not leave us without a witness in doing good-there is rain for the growing season, food to fill our stomachs, joy to fill our hearts, and, adding to Paul's list I say, "air to fill our lungs." Praise God for life's seamingly ordinary blessings.


It's definately a boy

3 weeks ago the internet told us that an unborn baby's genitals were differentiated enough to tell gender. Anya danced around with joy, begged us to go to the ultrasound "right NOW!" and at dinner prayed, thanking God that the baby finally had private parts. Today, those private parts were none too private, and there's no doubt a little boy is on the way! At first I was too wraped up in excitement over having a boy and feeling little flecks of sadness over all the girl-dreams that would never be. But then I started watching the screen as the ultrasonographer was doing her training (and thus took twice as long). I took in the 4 chambers of the beating heart, the perfectly straight spine, the arm and leg bones just the right length, even the little bladder and two kidneys formed as they should be. We saw him swallow, kick, and flip over (to the irritation of the tech, who just wanted one good look at the entire spine!) With baby number 1, I soaked in the beauty of the …

Lessons on Stuff

Perhaps this will be a surpise to those of you who know me, but I am a veritable paradox of values (and my husband says 'Amen!'). I have an un-natural drive to be thrifty (do I hear cheap?), while at the same time longing for highest quality items which I will never be able to afford, nor would I ever allow myself to splurge on even if I could. All this to tell you I have a special bed. A single piece of furniture that finally blended my two selves...$1500, solid maple, 4-poster giant of a bed, purchased brand-new from Eddie Bauer home for $200. The irony is that in the 9 years and 4 houses that have passed since this monumental, crowning achievement of a purchase, it's never once actually fit well in our bedroom. We had become masters of re-arranging our lives to fit this bed into its rightful place of honor. In our last house, we even had to relegate it to the spare bedroom where it became our 3-year old's bed. And still it survived with not a scratch. Then came this…

Testibyte, in 199 words

At age five, in East Africa, I became a believer. My name is Chad. My parents were missionaries to Uganda. I was among the first to come to faith in their 26 years of service with the IMB. As a missionary kid, I was deeply impacted by witnessing my parents’ ministry, by interacting with African friends, and by seeing lives transformed by faith in Jesus.

Miriam, my wife, is also a missionary kid. She grew up in Ethiopia. We always wondered if God would call us back to the mission field, and so, committed ourselves to live life ready to answer that call. One night, browsing the IMB website, I learned of a need for Seminary teachers in Malawi. I read the job request to Miriam and, at once, we knew it was God’s call. As I finished reading, she said, “Let us go!”

Now we and our three young children are moving to Malawi, often called “The Warm Heart of Africa.” There, I will join a team of missionaries and Baptist nationals to provide theological education to Malawian pastors and church plant…