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Europe, Africa and Baby Asia

MIA is an abbreviation for “missing in action.”

Just call me Mr. MIA. I really enjoy keeping you all updated on the life and adventures of the Sloan family. However, when Asia came into our lives, we set aside quite a bit to just enjoy our new family. It’s been a sweet 8+ months. We have enjoyed every single minute, well- all except for the 3am “screamfests”. Those suck but everything else has been a gift.

Baby Asia

Our beautiful daughter is amazing. I am little bias but she really is a wonderful little girl. She has a joyful demeanor, loves everyone she meets, sleeps fairly well, loves to explorer of all thing forbidden (including the dog’s food!) and is as healthy as can be. We dare not take these things for granted. We know what it’s like to sit up with her in the hospital. We praise God for her health and for that cute little grin. We hope you enjoy her as well…

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Trip to the Middle East

This fall I was able to go on international trips to Lebanon, Ethiopia and France. They were all great trips but one sticks out.

In September, I traveled with 3 other good friends to Beirut to visit a non-profit serving Syrian and Iraqi refugees who have lost their homes, jobs and family members through the civil war in Syria and through the carnage of ISIS. If you’ve turn on the TV or watched the news online, you have seen the wicked deeds of both Bashar Hafez al-Assad, president of Syria, and the terrorist group ISIS who are spread across Syria and Iraq. Both have sought to crush the weak and helpless around them.

On this trip to Lebanon, we were able to travel north, just five miles from the Syrian border, and provide food and essential supplies to displaced Syrian families. We sat in their tents and heard stories of their homes being flattened and of husbands and sons who were unjustly imprisoned.

We also traveled to southern Lebanon to provide aid and to visit families. We sat in the home of one family whose father who had been killed by a sniper and talked to a former solider who fled and is now hunted. He was tired of fighting for a wicked army. He risked his life to save his family and now hides in a small apartment in this area of the country

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We were hit with story after story of murdered family members and whole towns destroyed. We heard stories of greed and uncontrolled wickedness. It was a privilege to suffer with these refugees, if only for a few days.  Pray for my new found friends. May they find relief from their sufferings and trust in the God who created them and offers them forgiveness and eternal live. May they find that Jesus truly can empathize with their sufferings.

We do not know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, or why is it so random, but now at least we know what the reason is not. It cannot be that he does not love us. It cannot be that he does not care. He is so committed to our ultimate happiness that he is willing to plunge into the greatest depths of sufferings himself. He understanding us, he has been there, and he assures us that he has a plan to eventually wipe away every tear. [Rev. 21]

Tim Keller, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering (p.121)

First day at home

Our Greatest Adventure

It’s been quite an adventure.

On Friday, Asia was finally released from the hospital after a 3.5 week stay. She is doing incredibly well and to our surprise, she is already in a good sleeping routine. Though the sleeping routine may not continue, we will enjoy it as long as it lasts. Thanks to my very kind employer, I have two weeks of paternity leave to spend with my wonderful family.

People have been asking me why we named our daughter Anastasia and why we are calling her Asia. All along we have wanted to give our child a name with deep meaning that would tell a story. A story that would let her know just how good our God is. The name Anastasia is a very old word that means “resurrection”. Anastasia has been used as a name by Christians for well over a thousand years. Given our last 18 months of hardship and the fact that our little girl is being adopted into our family, we felt the name resurrection was a prefect fit- from death to life. Secondly, the name can also mean, “the one who will be born again.” The greatest hope we have for our daughter is that she would come to know and love Jesus. What better way to say that than by giving her a name that means as much. Finally, we decided to call her Asia because it was in Asia where Sarah and I first met and fell in love. Living in Asia was one of the most memorable events of our lives and our love and passion for that part of the world is deeply rooted in us.

As we have thought about all the great travels and adventures we’ve had as a married couple, all that was and all that is to come; we can’t help but know that little Asia is our greatest adventure.

Journey Across Western China

I know that many of you are hoping for an update on our adoption. Sarah plans to go with our birthmother for her last ultrasound so we are holding off the update until then. Just know that there are good things in store!

A few weeks ago I head out on a trip across Western China for my work. Myself and four others were able to visit the beautiful cities of Xining, Lhasa and Chengdu. This part of the world has always astounded me and though I have been able to go before, this trip allowed me to get a fuller picture of the life and culture of Western China.

Western China is a mixture of cultures and people. There are millions and millions of Han Chinese but also hundreds of other minority groups. Our small group was able to taste the language, culture, food and life of quite a few of these minority groups. China is rich with culture and its people were nothing but hospitable. Without hesitation I can say that China and its people hold some of the most beautiful experiences on the planet. Below are a collection of pictures from my trip. I hope they give you a taste of life there and that you develop a desire to go and see these places yourself.

Regents Park- London

My Love Affair with Travel

This time last year, as I lay in a hospital bed, I was not sure if I would ever get a chance to travel again. Apart from it being a key component of my job, I also love traveling. Let me say that again. I LOVE to travel.  Now I know what you may be thinking – don’t we all love to travel. Yes, to some degree, but I love every part of it. I love the packing, sitting in the waiting area with a cup of coffee, small plane seats, airplane food, new stamps in my passport, crazy third world driving, the confusion of government process, unrecognizable food,  bizarre cultural customs, the great people I meet along the way, feeling lost in a language I do not understand, adding to my storehouse of stories and the adventure of not knowing what tomorrow may bring. Sure, there are things I don’t like – not being able to a shower everyday (what can I say, I like to be clean), puking my guts out from food poisoning, seeing injustice and lostness that I am helpless to address, and a short list of other hard things.

With my declaration of love for travel out in the open, I thought I would share with you a few pictures of our last trip overseas last November. We spent the month visiting friends in France, Italy, Tunisia, Switzerland and the UK. Let me just say, I am thankful to once again be able to sit in a tiny seat, crammed in with hundreds of other people, eating delicious airplane food as I head out to visit with by brothers and sister all over the globe. Ah, life on the road…

Regents Park- London

Regents Park- London

Hanging with our friend Macy in Lyon

Hanging with our friend Macy in Lyon

City of Lyon, France

City of Lyon, France

Lyon bookshop. Bought a classic work here dated 1770

Lyon bookshop. Bought a classic work here dated 1770

Ruins of the first church in Lyon- 133 AD

Ruins of the first church in Lyon- 133 AD

Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva

The Reformers Monument in Geneva, Switzerland

The Reformers Monument in Geneva, Switzerland

Castle in Aosta Valley, Italy

Castle in Aosta Valley, Italy

The moon over the Alps from Aosta, Italy

The moon over the Alps from Aosta, Italy

Alps

Alps

Switzerland- this was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen

Side of the road in Switzerland – crazy beautiful

Friedrich and Mary Ellen with us on vacation in the Alps

Friedrich and Mary Ellen with us on vacation in the Alps

Visiting friends on the coast of Tunisia

Visiting friends on the coast of Tunisia

Blue door - Tunisia

Blue door – Tunisia

 

Spending the day in Amsterdam

Traveling Sloans

As you may be able to tell from the title of our blog, travelingsloan, Sarah and I love to travel. That is a good thing because we have spent a good chunk of our adult lives in other countries. For two years, we  lived and worked in Kathmandu. I (Nathan) spent a semester of college living in China and we have both been to several dozen countries. With each country came crazy food, confusing languages, lifelong friendships and a desire to keep experiencing the diversity and beauty of God’s creation.

We are blessed to be able to travel for work and take every opportunity to explore new places and learn new cultures. Why do I share all this you ask? Well, we have talked to many of you and consistently we hear how much you have enjoyed journeying with us in our story through our blog. We want to keep writing but would love to talk about more than just cancer. We want to talk about the things we love, some of those being travel, culture, food, the city of Louisville, what we are reading, great danes and the crazy things that happen in our lives. So bear with us and keep checking back. We know our cancer story brought you here but we hope the stories of hope, beauty and adventure will keep you coming back.

Wanting to start off well, we thought what better way than to share some picture of our previous travels. Enjoy the photos, some taken by us and some by our traveling companions.

Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea- France

Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea- France

Island in the Mediterranean- France

Island in the Mediterranean- France

Canal in Amsterdam

Canal in Amsterdam

Stonehenge on a stormy day- England

Stonehenge on a stormy day- England

Palace of Versailles, France

Palace of Versailles, France

Notre Dame- Paris, France

Notre Dame- Paris, France

Mars Hill- Athens, Greece

Mars Hill- Athens, Greece

Walking the Park- Belgrade, Serbia

Walking the Park- Belgrade, Serbia

Ancient Palace- Ethiopia

Ancient Palace- Ethiopia
Ethiopian Kids

Ethiopian Kids

Baboons in the Simien Mtns- Ethiopia

Baboons in the Simien Mtns- Ethiopia

Potala- Lhasa, Tibet

Potala- Lhasa, Tibet

Overlooking Lhasa, Tibet

Overlooking Lhasa, Tibet

Mt. Everest Base Camp- Nepal

Mt. Everest Base Camp- Nepal

Bhouda Stupa- Kathmandu, Nepal

Bhouda Stupa- Kathmandu, Nepal

Fitting for a Tibetan Chupa- Lhasa, Tibet

Fitting for a Tibetan Chupa- Lhasa, Tibet