Sunday, April 29, 2018

New Prayer Cards Coming Soon to a Church Near You

We landed in the States two weeks ago after two tiring but successful international flights with children in tow.  In the midst of recovering from jet lag and head colds, I happily received a package containing the new prayer cards I'd ordered.  I smile every time I look at the photo on the front because 1) it's a really good photo, and 2) I remember the event of taking that photo which, in hindsight, is cause for laughter.  Many people have asked how we got such a nice photo.  I'm glad you asked...

With Home Assignment just around the corner, it was time for the task.  I’d been dreading it for months, but it couldn’t be put off any longer.  As much as I wished to avoid the entire affair, it was finally time for a family photo shoot.  Home Assignment means church visits, and church visits mean passing out support material like prayer cards, and prayer cards mean One Happy Missionary Family smiling back at you from your refrigerator every day.  And for us, prayer cards mean taking an updated family photo to include the kid who wasn’t born before the last prayer card was printed.  And anyone who knows anything about taking group photos with little kids knows they are not the most cooperative human beings when it comes to standing still and smiling nicely for a photo!

First things first: nice clothes.  It was Sunday, so church clothes were already compulsory and we wrangled three little boys into their clothes despite their protests.  I grabbed the camera only to realize we were already late for church, so we put the photo shoot on hold to run up the hill and make the great attempt to keep their clothes clean before the service was done.  No climbing the iron gate!  No putting rocks in your pockets!  No jumping in the mud!  I begged them to please please please stay clean.

We piled into a row halfway back in the sanctuary and began The Battle of Who Gets to Sit on Mama’s Lap.  With that settled, we proceeded to sit quietly and peacefully like a nice missionary family always does – er, I mean we failed to keep Kid #3 happy which led to a complete meltdown on his part, which led to him needing to be removed from church, which led to a kicking match when my husband picked him up to leave, which led to Kid #3 kicking Kid #1 clean in the face on his way out, which led to serious tears from the latter, which led to him wanting to sit on Mama’s lap but Kid #2 who’d won The Battle refused to give up his throne, which led to more tears and the confirmation that, yes, we had officially brought the circus to Africa (albeit a very sad version of it).

After surviving church, we headed home to tackle the task.  The only problem was one boy who was hungry and crying, another boy who forgot to keep his church clothes on and hid in the closet when I told him to change back into said clothes, and another boy with such bad bedhead that we needed to soak and tame his hair before letting him be in the “we’re such a happy missionary family” photo.

But finally – finally! – we pulled ourselves together to take the photo.

I found a spot outside in the shade with a decent background and set up the tripod.  Then we wrangled all three kids again and instructed them to stand still and smile while the camera click click clicked away with the hope that at least one would turn out.

One kid pulled up his shirt to show off his belly, one kid was digging for gold in his nose, and another kid started running away before the camera was done clicking because he wanted to check the photos on the camera.  So we checked the camera and, sure enough, there was a kid with his shirt up and another kid picking his nose and another kid running away in a blur.  Time for Round Two.

After Round Three we had some photos that could work.  We didn’t look like a picture-perfect family, but we certainly looked like our normal selves and even had smiles on our faces.  Victory!  Eli and I looked at each other and breathed a huge sigh of relief. 

With the task done, we now successfully have a new family photo plastered on a prayer card which will be coming soon to a church near you!