Well, the first anniversary passed by rather quietly.  Yep, the Sprinter has been with us for one year.  We are so thankful for the marked improvement the van has brought to our everyday routine with Rachel and Janneke.

... not to mention that when Em and Soph have friends over, they still think it's pretty cool to go for a ride in the Sprinter.  And there are often dance parties to songs from Britt Nicole, Sereena Ryder and others in the van after church.

But, I digress.

We are thankful for the incredible changes that came about in 2012.  This comes in accordance with His will worked through so many of you, starting with the intense fundraising in 2011.  I still remember those early meetings in 2011, wondering how on earth we would reach our goal of a van.

And the end result? We had money left over to begin our home renovations.  Awesome.  Now, almost two years after the first fundraising planning session, we have a renovated home and an accessible van.

Many say this was all answered prayer.

I agree.  Yet, I mull over the phrase answered prayer.  What about some of the other prayers we've been praying that have been seemingly unanswered?  We try to smother that frustration with smart phrases -albeit well-intended, but those words end up being dis-comforting and empty.  Smothering that frustration only leads to a deeper set angst.

I've been reading some works by J. Sittser, one in particular about prayer.  He writes the following:

I believe that prayer is an epic story. God does and will answer our prayers, though it may take a while, sometimes a long while.  But the problem is, all of us pass through stretches of time -sometimes long stretches of time- when God does not seem willing or capable of answering our prayers.

It's been another couple of days of sickness for Rachel and Janneke.  Just when we are up and in regular routine again, they seem to catch someone's cold.  And a cold means that they are affected all over - with their stomach, breathing, and bowels.  No fun.

lots of Pedialyte..
And little sleep.

In these moments, I find myself reflecting on prayer - and unanswered prayer.  I like how Sittser writes that it is an epic story.  Epic meaning long.  Long meaning there is a need to persist.  Persist meaning don't give up. Wrestle with God.

Persist in hoping and waiting.

There is an end in sight, but it may be a long way off.  Maybe my persistence with those unanswered prayers will radically my life.  I might not get the answer I want, but I'm guessing I'll be surprised by the effects of not giving up.

So for now, persist.

Be driven and persist.

Peace to your homes,

Side note: All this makes me think of the word determined - and the determination I see in parents near me who are not willing to give up hope with their kids.

A cousin of mine, Brenda, is determined to catch the attention of the right leaders who can provide additional funding for children with special needs (particularly those with ASD) living in the Kingston area.  Read her story here.

Friends of ours are organizing a fundraiser next Friday night here in Port Dalhousie to raise money for their two kids who have been diagnosed with Autism.  If you're on Facebook, search Let it Shine.  We'll be there!