Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hope's First Birthday

Last night we gathered at our local pizza place to celebrate a little girl's birthday.

Last year I was assigned to visit teach Lothe. She was pregnant at the time, and she and her husband had recently joined the church. They are originally from Namibia, but are here working and going to school. We made a Tuesday evening appointment to visit Lothe, knowing her due date was soon. We walked to her door and knocked, but no one answered. We knocked again and again. I thought it so strange that she would forget our appointment! Finally we called her phone and got her friend, who told us she wasn't available right then. Then we got a call from her husband, Gapi, who told us she was in fact, in labor at the hospital! No wonder no one was home! That night she had a beautiful baby girl. They named her Hope.

The kids have been excited all week to attend Hope's birthday party. They have been busily making birthday cards.

Boo's was my favorite: "Dear Hope Hapy Brfday. I hope I will see you next week et chrch." The party guests consisted of a group of friends from church, and a group of African friends they have here in town. Most us know one another. There were only one or two that I haven't met on some occasion.

Aren't they all so beautiful?

Gapi and his cousin, Sheny

It's so wonderful to see the type of family community their African friends have created while living here. They really care for their African friends as though they are family. They all treat Hope as if she were their own daughter. It's really touching.

Julia & Hope

When it came time to sing happy birthday, Lothe went to get the lighter from her purse to light the candle, but it was no where to be found. Yaks was anxious to eat some cake, and he asked what was taking so long. After I told him, he matter-of-factly offered, "I have a match." What? We asked to make sure we heard him right, "You have a match with you?" He quickly ran to his coat and sure enough, produced two stick matches. I was torn between feeling horrified and embarrassed that my four-year-old had matches on his person (I could see the headline: "Unsupervised Child Sets House Ablaze; Negligent Mother to Blame"), but grateful and happy that the birthday candle lighting could continue, thanks to my little son. Josh tried lighting the match with his zipper, but was unsuccessful. I almost jokingly said, "Yaks, did you bring the matchbox too?" Why, yes he did! So, Yaks saved the birthday party. I later said, "Yaks, you know that we only light matches with a mommy or a daddy helping us, right?" He looked at me like I had just said the dumbest thing ever, "I know that, Mom. I just fought we would need a match, so I brought one." He takes after his dad - always prepared.

This past month, Gapi and Lothe received their endowments in the Spokane Temple. We're all so happy for them and their beautiful family.

The kids had a great time - singing Christmas songs, coloring, chatting and making up games to play.

Hope never fails to be dressed in a darling outfit and her hairstyles are fantastic!

She's just like her pretty mom.

One thing is for certain, she is one loved little girl. I'm so happy I've had the chance to meet Gapi and Lothe and be a part of their lives. They plan to return to Namibia once Gapi's schooling is over. It's really a blessing to be able to watch them grow in the gospel. They teach me so much.

The party
Little friends

Steve & Gapi

We love you, Hope!


Sarah said...

How wonderful to become great friends with them. Looks like an amazing group of friends. Makes me want to move and enlarge my circle of influences! Really.

(and, I love your family pict on the sidebar...and, I am reading A Christmas Carol too - my first time ever)

Dianna said...

She is BEAUTIFUL! How lucky you are to get to know them. And they are lucky to know the Paulsens as well.

Nicole said...

I am truly touched by the wonderful friends and party, but the tears streaming down my face are because Yaks had matches in his pocket! Oh my gosh! That is too stinking funny! Funny, I tell you!

Mary Jane said...

Yaks is amazing! I never would have thought to bring matches to a birthday party.

Catherine said...

Thats awesome! What cool people you're meeting! I miss the diversity that living outside of happy valley brings. And totally funny about the matches. I've always noticed josh's preparedness too, so maybe its a hereditary thing.

Liz said...

I am impressed with Yaks, too. He'll be a great Boy Scout. What a great experience you're having, meeting so many great people.