As we look back on the year of 2014 it is overwhelming to see what all God has done in just a matter of 12 months. We have been challenged, loved, stretched, built up and grown in so many ways. And we are excited to see how we will be stretched and grown in the new year of 2015.
One of my favorite moments this past year, you all may be able to guess, was when despite it seeming impossible, my husband was given a 5 year visa to the United States. During that entire visa process it was a time of God really drawing us to believe for bigger, to push for more and to imagine the impossible. It was a reminder of how truly big God is. That He isn't in a box or confined to the expectations of this world, but that His word is true when it says, “with God ALL things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). We witnessed the hand of God open big doors and we are believing and expectant to see Him open even bigger doors in this year to come.
These past few months of us being in the United States have been a time of sweet blessings. We were able to spend 3 weeks in California visiting many friends, family and some site-seeing adventures along the way. A special blessing for my heart was getting to proudly introduce my beloved husband to all the people that have a special part of my life. And It was so fun to get to experience America in a new way through his eyes. Watching him experience all the extra blessings God through in along the way, such as Philipson getting to play a Baby Grand piano for the very first time! Some of our other trip highlights were getting to see the Golden Gate Bridge, visiting the San Diego zoo and most definitely getting to go to a Hillsong concert (a life long dream of his). We also had the pleasure of helping out at a local homeless shelter serving food and Philipson played worship songs as they all ate. They had never had anyone come and play music like that before, and many of the people felt very blessed by it. All in all, it was an amazing California adventure!
A few days before Thanksgiving we flew into Denver, Colorado my hometown, to finally see my wonderful family. This was the first time my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents got to meet my husband face to face...a moment I had dreamed about for so long, finally had come true. When Philipson met my grandparents for the first time, I started crying because of the overwhelming gratitude to God for making that moment possible. On Thanksgiving day I had more than enough things to be thankful for as my husband and I spent the day with my wonderful family.
My grandparents loved Philipson and wanted to be a part of making his dream come true by taking him to see snow for the very first time ever in his life. We drove up to Estes Park and Philipson got so excited when he got out to touch and play in the snow. His first words were, “It's cold!!” We enjoyed the beauty of the great Rocky Mountains and also had fun seeing a fox, deer and a lot of elk up close. Finally being able to say that he has seen snow was a dream come true for Philipson.
One of the unique privileges we had during our time in Colorado, was that we got married...again! We decided to have a celebration of our marriage in Denver for all of our friends and family since many of them were not able to make it to the ceremony in Haiti. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception at Radiance church, the church I grew up in. My dad walked me down the isle, Philipson and I renewed our vows – even it being the second time, I still cried – and then had a simple reception of sharing our story and life in Haiti with everyone. During our first wedding in Haiti Philipson and I were unable to have our First Dance, nor was I able to have my Father-Daughter dance. So an extra special moment for me during this celebration in Colorado was I finally got to have my First dance and my Daddy-Daughter dance. I was again overwhelmed by how God knows our special desires and even though it didn't happen the first time, he made a way for me to have my special dances.
We also were able to have a short adventure in Texas as we drove all the from Denver, Colorado to San Antonio, Texas to visit Philipson's older brother Peterson. It was so great to spend some time with him and for Philipson to get to be with his brother who he hasn't seen in over 3 years. We also had the pleasure of seeing, and me meeting for the first time, our little niece Tabby. She is almost 5 years old and is such a smart little girl! Philipson wanted to bring her a gift that she would always remember him by, so we went to the store and found a huge teddy bear...It was bigger than Philipson! She absolutely loved it and I'm positive she will never forget her uncle Philipson.
One of our Texas highlights was when we stopped in Lubbock, Texas for a few days to visit some friends. While we were there they took us to see their cow dairy farm of 40,000 cows. We had never seen that many cows before! It was really cool to see the whole system of how they take care of the cows and how the dairy works. Also, a secret desire of Philipson's has always been to go hunting and to shoot a gun. So our friends took him out into their field and let him practice shooting at a target all sorts of guns and rifles. How can you go to Texas and not shoot a gun right? Philipson had a blast!
Our two months in the United States went by like a blink of an eye. Every moment was filled with so much love, joy, blessings, and thankfulness. We could not be filled with more gratitude to God who opened the door and for all of you who made this trip possible through prayer and support. Philipson and I feel so encouraged knowing that we have so many who are believing in us, praying for us and pushing us further into God's calling on our lives. We are refreshed and excited for this new step, new season and new beginning!
May the Lord abundantly bless you in this new year of 2015!!
Philipson & Kelsea
P.S. We have arrived in Kona, Hawaii -update coming soon!!