D avid Immanuel Willard has made his grand entrance! Born on Dec 6th at 3:17 am in Pretoria, South Africa (7:17 pm Dec 5th, CST), weighing 7.6 lbs. and 21 in. long, he’s a sight to behold! Both David and Lora are healthy and happy after the process. And quite the incredible process it was!
In the months leading up to David’s birth, Lora and I both held a lot of reservation and some amount of apprehension about how it would all turn out. When Matimu was born, Lora’s water broke several days after the due date, then Lora went through about 16 hours of labor, got an epidural, and then it was another 16 hours before Matimu was born and she needed a fair bit of recovery time. Neither of us wanted to go through that again, and Lora was again hopeful at having a natural birth. So we prayed constantly, asked others to do the same, and we held out hope that things would be smoother this time.
And God definitely answered our prayers! I don’t think it could’ve gone any better. For a couple weeks, Lora’s body had been preparing her (albeit, uncomfortably) for the moment. Then, Saturday night, a few days after the due date, she started rapid and heavy contractions. We went to the hospital right away and less than two hours later, David was born! According to the attending midwives and the doula (and from what I saw with my own eyes), Lora did an amazing job staying focused, working through the labor and delivering our baby with a water birth, completely all natural, no medicine or medical interventions. God answered prayers!
Lora was able to choose some music to listen to as she labored, something to calm and focus her, so we played several of Gungor’s worship albums. At various times between contractions, Lora would sing along with: “You make beautiful things,” and, “You are my strength”. During the intense work of delivery, the music was playing, “my soul cries out, my soul cries out for you.” And when David was born, pressed against Lora’s chest and he started to cry, the music was declaring, “Life is breaking out, it’s breaking out!” Lora and I both laughed and cried and thanked God for the miracle he’s given us, a wonderful, safe and quick delivery, and our beautiful new son.
W e love the name David because he’s a character in the Bible who always sought God. Even in his greatest error and deepest despair, he turned to God and repented and followed “after God’s heart.” In Hebrew, David means, “beloved” or “darling”, and certainly that’s who our son, David, is to us, and we believe God also sees him that way.
Immanuel reminds us that God is always with us. In the last few years, as we’ve encountered difficulties and challenges like never before, we’ve known that God is with us each step of the way. We’re amazed by the story of our God who would come down and meet each of us (everyone in the world) where we’re at, to set us free and make us new. And certainly we could see clearly that God was with us during David’s birth. Our son will be to us a constant reminder that God is with us always, that God is with the world and is rescuing the world. We pray that one day David Immanuel could also be God’s incarnational presence in the world, playing a crucial part in God’s plan of rescue to some people here on earth.
T hank you to all of you for celebrating this wonderful joy with us! Praise God that it was a quick and uncomplicated birth. As expected, our associated costs have been about $6000-$7000 (including travel for his birth, and antenatal and postnatal checkups) and we’ve paid those expenses out-of-pocket from our medical savings (that we contribute to every month in our regular budget). David’s birth has taken a big chunk out of our medical savings, so if you’d like to help us replenish that budget, please donate here. Thanks to all of you who’ve already supported us in that area and in our work in general; we really appreciate it!
Our plans now are for Lora to recover from the birth, to get our first check-ups for David, and to get the necessary paperwork to establish his US citizenship and get his passport, and visa for entry to Madagascar. Then, if everything goes quickly and smoothly, we’ll be returning to Madagascar on January 5th to rejoin our team on Nosy Mitsio and continue the work of seeing the Antakarana reached with the life-giving Gospel of Christ!
Please be praying for Lora’s quick healing (already off to a good start), for continued health for her and David, and for paperwork to be processed quickly and smoothly, that we would have no delays in returning to Madagascar to rejoin the work of God there!
Adam, Lora, Matimu, and David