HAPPY 16th BIRTHDAY ZEKE!

If this was your expression last year, we can only imagine this year...

Your expression last year… we can only imagine this year…

Happy “Finding Day” anniversary day.

Happy “Three Days With Your Forever Family” anniversary day.

Happy “Happy Land” day!

 

There is a happy land, not far away,

Where saints in glory stand, bright, bright as day;

Oh, how they sweetly sing, worthy is our Savior King,

Loud let His praises ring, forever more!

 

Come to that happy land, come, come away;

Why will you doubting stand, why still delay?

Oh, we shall happy be, when from sin and sorrow free,

Lord, we shall live with Thee, blest, evermore.

 

Bright, in that happy land, beams every eye;

Kept by a Father’s hand, love cannot die;

Oh, then to glory run; be a crown and kingdom won;

And, bright, above the sun, reign evermore.

(Lyrics by Andrew Young, 1838)

 

“Gotta run now, there’s an angelic throng

By the river of life and they’re singing my song…

Jesus loves me, now I know;

Just now in His arms He told me so…”

(Mike Miller 1982)

 

Someday, all together…

We’re coming, Zeke-buddy, we’re coming….

 

 

Hope

I never wanted Zeke’s obituary to be the last post on this blog.  His LIFE isn’t over and it didn’t seem right that this record of it should be. But everything I thought about saying, well, it’s already been said, only much more profound.

Until now.

Prayer requests abound, I know. But there is something very dear to my heart….so much so that it wakes me in the middle of the night and I am prompted to call on saints everywhere to lift this request to the Father.

I’m going to be very careful with my words on this post. It’s easy…too easy…to forget that persecution of believers isn’t just “out there somewhere”. No, it is very real and happening every day. I get a lot of spam comments in Ch**ese on this blog and I have no idea if I should be freaked out about this or not but I do want to be careful until I get it figured out.

Here it is…the latest miracle in Zeke’s life and our prayer request: This month, the Truth is going to his former home. Via a very special messenger, Zeke’s life story, which includes ALL the Truth, is going to be told to the very ones who cared for him before he came to us. This has never happened before and is only possible now because of Zeke’s death and through miraculous provision.

My breath catches in my throat as I write this. If only I could paint a picture for you of Zeke looking longingly into my eyes as we would talk about his old friends.  “We’ve got to tell them, Mom. They don’t know. We’ve got to tell them.”  I was helpless to respond. “Someday, Zeke”, I would say. “Maybe someday, Father will make a way for us to do that.”

Zeke came to understand that his beloved country was not free and he knew it wasn’t as simple as hopping on a plane with the Good Book under our arm. But the yearning in his heart for his childhood friends and teachers never left. It only intensified as he learned more and more of the Truth.

This is Zeke’s dream come true. It’s happening now and I am asking you…please, if you can at all, please pray! For softened hearts, for ready soil, for the messenger, and for the Truth to be unhindered and embedded and BELIEVED. Pray however you feel led. We know so little and hear no reports. We only know it’s going.

Stepping back in time a bit…It is exactly one week before Zeke’s death and we are in Seattle for doctor appointments. Back in our motel for the evening, we decide to watch the movie, “Home Beyond The Sun”. The setting is Ch**a and a short summary of the story line is this: a supposedly mean policeman turns out to be a believer who secretly helps children . It’s obviously a low budget movie and when it is over Kristi dissolves into peals of laughter while I snicker about how I can act better than those actors. Suddenly we notice that Zeke is very, very quiet. He carefully takes the DVD, puts it back in the case, and says slowly and soberly, “I LIKE that movie”. We immediately become quiet and I realize that the simplicity of the movie actually made it easy for Zeke, with his limited English, to understand the story. He is obviously touched.

He picks up his pajamas and goes into the bathroom. A few seconds later the door opens a crack and a dark head pokes out. “Maybe, when I am big, I will go to Ch**a and help the children.” Door shuts, only to open again 10 seconds later. The Asian eyes look at us, full of seriousness, “But maybe not. Very scary.”  The door shuts and we are quiet.

Zeke understood the need and grasped, at least in part, the risk.

Oh Father, yes. Please help the children. Give them Truth and Life.

 

already been said, only much more profound
already been said, only much more profound

   Ezekiel Guo Biao Bowman was found on a street corner of Zhuhai, China on March 17, 2002 at the age of 4 years. He spent the next ten years of his life being cared for by the orphanage workers, asking often if there was a family for him… somewhere.  In 2010, the Chris and Annette Place family, serving nearby, began taking Zeke to their home on weekends or whenever they could, planting little seeds of Jesus in him, through their love. They began to pray that someday he would find a family.

On November 27th 2011, God, who is rich in mercy, provided a way for us to receive word of this special boy waiting for someone to embrace him. Less than 4 months later, Zeke came home to the ones who loved him and anticipated his adoption into their family.

The next year brought many changes in Zeke’s life and ours, as he began learning to speak English and the meaning of all the words. When he would understand a new word, his eyes would light up and he would say, ”O,Ya?” He was never short of energy for any task he was asked to do. Zeke loved people and every friend he made brought him happiness beyond description.

Zeke only remembers one hug in his life before Annette began to volunteer at the orphanage.  He suffered many things in his early years, including much ridicule.  But God, in His great love and mercy, protected his little heart.  Zeke came to us with a heart free from all bitterness and malice, ready to receive our love and eager to give it in return.

Zeke’s life experiences were very limited during his childhood but God placed in him a great desire to learn. Faced with hundreds of new people, new words, new sights, new sounds, new food, new feelings….Zeke took every opportunity to embrace it all.

Zeke had been exposed to many gods, but when introduced to the One True God and to Jesus Christ, he believed with a beautiful, unwavering faith.  “I think”, he would tell us often, “that God talked to me in China. I just didn’t know who He was. Now I know.” Zeke did have one unfulfilled longing…he wanted to hear God’s audible voice. Now, every desire of his heart is completely fulfilled.

On October 21, 2013, nineteen months after he arrived Home, Zeke was taken to be with Jesus after being involved in a tragic accident near Zillah. We will forever cherish the memories that we have, and will ever be thankful for the time we have been given together as a family.

Mourning his death, trusting God, and waiting for the glad reunion day are his parents, Dwayne and Sherri Bowman of Zillah, WA, his siblings, Clement  and Bev Ann Bowman of Union City Ohio, Kristi Bowman, Shelly and Trent Graybill, Joshua and Layna Bowman, and Marykate Bowman, all of Zillah, nieces and nephews, Camille, Pierre, Andre’, Sophia Bowman, and Vashti Graybill, loving Grandparents, Marvin and Kathryn Mohler of Zillah, Wa, and Calvin and Beverly Bowman of Union City, OH. He is also survived by a large number of extended family and friends.   Zeke was preceded in death by an infant niece, Rael Graybill.

Visitaton is planned for Friday, October 25th from 2:00pm -8:00pm and the funeral service will be held Saturday, October 25th at 10:00am; both at the German Baptist Brethren Church, 203 West Centennial Drive, Zillah, WA.

And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.  Zechariah 8:5 

 

 

Victory In Jesus- Pastor Lamb

 

Pastor Lamb died earlier this month. This well loved pastor spent over 20 years in prison/labor camps and never lost his faith! Upon gaining freedom, he began one of the largest house churches (maybe THE largest?) in Ch*na.  In recent years, enough world dignitaries have attended his church to keep the authorities from bothering him. But he would have preached anyway…this man knew the Truth.

He loved sharing the books he had written.

The street outside the building where the church met.

We were blessed to attend Pastor Lamb’s services while we were in Ch*na and even sat around a table with him afterwards, while he encouraged us with his words of faith and hope.

“More persecution”, he declared with a passion,”means more growth!”

Now blessed forever is made,

And life has rewarded his pain,

Now glory has crowned his head,

He lives with the Lamb who was slain

Pray for the persecuted. It is oh, so real.

http://www.christiantelegraph.com/issue20593.html

Ephphatah!

“And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.  And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.  And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is , Be opened.  And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed…..Mark 7:31-35

God has performed this same miracle for Zeke and we are all thanking Him from our hearts!

“Ephphata! Be opened!”   Zeke’s ears are opened!   All my doubts as to whether he would like to hear after 15 years of deafness have flown out the window. He likes to hear. For Zeke, a whole new world is opening up.

For us, well, we are enjoying using our “inside voices” again 🙂

Oh, that the LORD will be glorified by this wonderful gift He has given to Zeke.

Love the smile we got as the audiologist turned the BAHA on.

It’s very small, comfortable, and easy to care for. YAY for bonus’!

 

 

 

 

Day 3

Day 3:  the day of the shower. Yay for showers! I just cannot imagine the olden days…when all the children lined up for their Saturday night baths.

We came home Friday afternoon and Zeke basically had no pain all that day. Not sure if the local numbing hadn’t worn off or what but Saturday was a different story. Poor kid. He wouldn’t talk all day and ate only a few bites. He wandered around, bored but not feeling well enough to do anything. When I would suggest games or art he would agree, only to look at me and shake his head 1 minute into it.

He slept through the night but woke me up early this morning saying “Mom, hurts so bad”. I gave him so Tyleonl/Codine, he slept a few more hours and now is feeling much better. The finally-allowed shower surely helped 🙂 and he was able to eat a little lunch. I gave him some mountain dew. Hey, at least it’s calories and sugar…better than nothing.

The incision looks like a big Z that covers the soft section of the roof of Zeke’s mouth and extends down to his uvula. I take pictures of it periodically so he can see it but I’ll refrain from posting here, in honor of any readers who are not medically fascinated.

The sleep apnea associated with back sleeping is not yet resolved. Dr Sie assured me it is caused by the swelling and I’m hoping she is right. We’ve dealt with that in one kiddo already…not fun.

Ahh….this is sounding a bit negative. We’re not. We are blessed, safe, thankful and healing! The ear surgery site looks great and it not very painful. Zeke is not complaining at all. My work is caught up and I am able to spend a couple days next week helping others instead of being helped. A welcome change.

It always amazes me to be reminded again of the way God created our body to restore and repair itself. New cells are made…out of what?  Life is a such a mystery…we often take healing for granted but really, it is quite a miracle every. single. time.

 

 

Surgery, Part 2

Feeling a bit melancholy this morning. We spent last evening at Butchart Gardens, strolling among the most beautiful landscape of flowers I have ever seen! God’s hand was all around, gifting our senses with every step. It truly is beyond words. My mind is  filled with the beauty yet this morning, and there simply are not enough adjectives to describe it.

Just minutes ago, I heard from a friend. They are going through a difficult time of grace-less communication and relationships that are dipping below the freezing point.

It is true that God put us here in a gorgeous world…the gifts are innumerable…the beauty astounding. But all the artistry in the world…even divine artistry…cannot make up for the ugliness that assaults our senses when the hearts of men cease to love.

Only God HIMSELF can lift our eyes above that unsightliness. Only in prayer can we find relief from the stench. It is HIS Spirit that lifts us up where we able to see HIS Beauty and breath the cool, clean air that is only found UP HIGHER!

So thankful to Him for His lifting power.

We’re on a strange sort of a vacation this week. Zeke has a bit of adoption paperwork that needs to be finished. There is a  sweet Christian lawyer who does this type of work for a tiny fraction of the normal cost but it means a mid-week trip to Port Townsend. Since Port T. is just a hop across the water from Victoria, we decided to spend a day here. We plan to walk the town of Victoria, ferry back across to Anacortis tonight, drive down through Whidbey Island, and do the paperwork tomorrow afternoon.

Port T is 30 minutes from the Back To Eden Farm so we may be able to make a dash over there before heading to Seattle tomorrow night.

Thursday is Zeke’s surgery. The second BAHA (hearing aide) surgery. To explain it simply, the first time they stuck a little thing in the bone behind his ear…something that a post can screw into. Then we waited 4 months for the little thing to graft into the bone. This time they will open it back up and screw the post into it. He will have a tiny bit of the post sticking out of his head. In two weeks we go back and they will snap the hearing aide onto the little post, turn it on, and viola! All of Zeke’s hearing issues will be going forever.

I wish 🙂 Actually, at his age, it will probably take months for him to get used to hearing noise at normal levels. Plus we have the issue of aesthetics. Zeke is terribly concerned about people seeing it and all my  “Look, I have glasses…Grandpa has hearing aides…that person has a fake leg”  talk has still not convinced him that it’s okie-dokie to have a little black box hanging off the side of one’s head.

Sooo….we’ll keep praying. Zeke has come a long way in both learning the American culture and learning about God’s love and acceptance. But it’s still hard…and I suppose many 15 year olds would struggle a bit with wearing a BAHA.

The surgeon is also going to work on Zeke’s soft palate. Simple explanation again: Cut, turn muscles the other way, sew.

Ouch!  They tell us it’s similar to having your tonsils out, which is not terribly serious but still, no walk in the park for a teenager. Poor guy. We have put this off for months, hoping that intensive speech therapy would solve his problem. We drove to Yakima twice a week for 3 months and also did our homework every day. Zeke’s speech improved greatly but he still can’t get that stubborn palate to close against the back of his throat. It’s just too short. Of course, this surgery won’t automatically fix all speech issues but it should make it much easier for Zeke to learn. We’ll be back at therapy this fall.

In spite of my complaining about the constant trips to Yakima, I have become a huge fan of Speech Therapy. It’s a fascinating field of work! Just thought I’d throw that in in case anyone is career hunting…

We’ll keep you posted. Thank you for prayers. I continue to be astounded at the people who tell me they have prayed for Zeke at some time or another. We truly are grateful. He is an amazing young man….God has a plan for him….we are humbled and thankful to be a part of it.

All kinds of School

School in July? Just another one of the crazy things we do around here.

When it feels like we’ve made little progress in the last year, old pictures inspire.

Our first schedule….

 

And our current one…

Of course, there have been several in between. Pictures, then pictures with words, and finally just words. I look at this, blink, and try to insert into my brain the fact that this is progress. In black and white.

So little of teaching an adopted child is black and white. By nature, I am a workbook mom. The more list checking, page turning, and big-fat-marking-things-off I can do the happier I am. Learning to slooooow down and use a bit of unschooling ….it feels kind of like I’m being peeled and turned inside out. Ouch.

The schedule make me happy. Yep, we did reading today. You can see it right there. And yes, we’re still approximately 7 years behind in reading but guess what? We also baked cookies, walked to the new neighbors, tie-dyed a shirt….and while we snapped green beans we talked about China, Fear, and Satan. About all the lies he tries to get us to believe. “So probably when we are 30, he leaves us alone, right?” I answer no to that question and give examples of how the devil tempts older people. Wide eyes look back at me.

Making up for lost education…it’s so much more than I ever knew.

Sweet Rael

We have 6 grandchildren….one of them is a precious little girl who was born 2 years ago…into the arms of Jesus. We will forever miss Vashti’s big sister!  I always thought Rael would have had blonde curly hair like her Papa…but now I wonder 🙂