Birthday Boy

Judah’s first birthday was VERY memorable.

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Cheerful traveling birthday boy!

He spent it in the car seat!

We drove back from our support raising trip to Chicago on November 11th, meaning that the birthday boy was strapped in for a good 12 hours. He was a trooper though! The Lord has certainly gifted us with a good traveler. It must be those strong Missionary Kid genes (he is a third-generation MK)!

It must not have been all that traumatizing, because shortly after we returned to Tennessee Judah gave us a very sweet gift.

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On the move!

Yes, Judah is walking! While he had been taking small steps on his own before, he is now in full-on upright mode. Fearless, joyful, and precise, he is a wonder to watch grow up.

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Happy Birthday Judah! #birthdayboy

Later on in the week we had a proper first birthday party for the little man. Doesn’t it feel like just yesterday we first brought him home?! Marmie and Gramps hosted a party at the house, and we invited Judah’s great-grandparents for presents and dessert. Of course, Judah’s absent aunts and uncle wouldn’t miss this occasion, so we video-chatted them in!

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Judah with great-grandpa Ragan, as aunt Claire and uncle Caleb saying hello from afar. (Lara’s sister Jessica also said hi!)

After enjoying his new toys, Judah partook in his first birthday cake. We were hoping to do a proper cake-smash, but alas, Judah is just too much like his dad. Rather than throwing cake everywhere (as uncle Caleb was known to do), he preferred to take it slow: eating small, manageable pieces so as not to make too much of a mess.

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There’s not even frosting on his shirt! Also notice his proper etiquette in eating with a fork.

We rejoice and delight in the son the Lord has given us. Although we celebrate him daily, it is particularly special to celebrate a first birthday. It’s an honor to be this little man’s parents, and to get to know him as the unique person that God created. This is what I wrote of him on this first birthday:

Thanks, Judah, for making us parents one year ago. You bring us so much joy! You are so curious, engaging, playful, and discerning. We continue to pray that you will come to know your Savior and be a blessing to many people. Happy Birthday!

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Would you pray with us for this little Missionary-Kid-in-training?


Getting off the Ground

We are excited to say that we are getting things off the ground!

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Fall 2016 JV Missionaries in Training

The week after our vision trip to Czech, we met up with other new JV missionaries-in-training in Wheaton for orientation. We had a wonderful week of sharing stories, receiving coaching, and being prepared for this stage in the journey. It was special for us to develop friendships with people who we will be serving with over in Europe soon.

Once we returned to Tennessee, we spent several weeks getting adjusted back into our new jobs and planning for the months to come. We wrote our support letter, finalized our budget, and began printing materials.

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A familiar skyline.

Before we knew it, we were on our way back up to Chicago! We reconnected with old friends and had many opportunities to share about what God is doing in the Czech Republic. It really is a tremendous blessing to share our story and invite others to participate in God’s work in Central and Eastern Europe.

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Judah at the kids table while the parents socialize!

It was a special treat to spend a whole day at Moody. Despite having graduated three years ago, we still ran into a lot of people we know and love. It is my sister Claire’s last semester there, so we especially appreciated time with her! Moody continues to have a special place in both our hearts, as a place where we grew both spiritually and academically. We look forward to facilitating that kind of a learning environment in the Czech Republic!

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Lara with Judah outside her old dormitory, Smith Hall.

One of the major reasons we took this trip up to Chicago was so I could defend my Master’s thesis. I had spent hundreds of hours writing since June, resulting in a 151-page 431-footnote thesis on “blessing and curse in Genesis 1-11.” It was an incredibly rich and stretching process of learning. The final step before graduation was to defend my work. After two hours with two Old Testament professors, I am happy to say that I received a full pass! This means I am able to submit my thesis with little revision and graduate this December.

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On Trinity’s campus about to head in to defend my Master’s thesis.

Things are getting off the ground. Life continues to move quickly; but we don’t want to miss a moment! These are sweet days of asking God to pave the way for us. We are stretched as we learn to trust God more, and we also rejoice at the opportunity to invite others to be a part of God’s movement among the nations.


A sneak peek of our support letter. Let us know if you’d like a copy!

If God is calling you to be a part of this ministry, please consider joining our support team. Our goal is to reach Czech by the summer of 2017, but we can only do that if we reach 100% support. Right now we are at about 7% of our monthly goal of $6,800 ($3,200 salary, $3,600 ministry budget). We would be overjoyed for you to join us as we follow God’s call on our lives!