Stephanie and I sat on a couch next to a family from a different culture that spoke a different language. Even with the obvious barriers we felt like family. Communicating via translator we were all very anxious to hear each other’s story. God was weaving an amazing story of His goodness in the midst of tragedy. This moment would leave us all speechless, in tears, and willing to give everything and anything to see Him move once again.
December 2nd, 2014 started like any other day. Wake up, dress for work, cup of coffee, and out the door for the commute. However, this was the morning that my amazing wife, Stephanie, gave me what we will forever refer to as “the call.” As the phone was answered I heard conviction in her voice as she implored, “God told me to pray for baby Grace and you need to pray for her with me.” “Baby who?” was my sidetracked response as I tried to talk and return emails simultaneously.
“Who is baby Grace?”
“I don’t know who she is, but God clearly told me to pray for her.”
“Seriously? Do you have any idea how crazy and stressful life is right now? I don’t have time to pray for imaginary kids that might not even exist. Maybe God was asking you to pray for grace, generally speaking.”
“This isn’t about you Jason, it’s about her. God made it clear to me it was BABY Grace. God told me to pray for her, and I’m asking you to join me.”
“Fine. It’s getting close to lunch and I have a ton to do. We’ll talk about this later.”
Not a shining moment as a husband. While I was stressed out, busy for the sake of being busy, Stephanie interceded on behalf of this little baby that none of us knew. Knowing I wasn’t taking her request seriously, she asked everyone she knew to pray for baby Grace. As usual, Stephanie beautifully displayed faith, trust and obedience.
On March 14th, 2015 Stephanie and her mother were out celebrating mom’s birthday. Stephanie had sold some furniture through Craigslist and ladies were enjoying a cup of coffee at Starbucks waiting for the buyer. Kelly, the person interested in the purchase, pulled up in an SUV and began conversation prior to the transaction. Stephanie has a way of meeting people and very quickly becoming friends. I once came home from work to find Stephanie and a girl I had never met sitting on a couch crying together in our driveway. Come to find out Stephanie had never met her either. The girl was there to buy the couch. Stephanie was there to love and speak truth to her and to sell the couch. After a few hours of conversation and tears Stephanie had made a new friend and God began to heal a wounded heart. We have a sign in our house above the living room entrance someone gave to us that reads, “Enter as strangers and leave as friends.” I don’t know of a better way to describe the gift that is Stephanie.
Stephanie engaged Kelly in conversation and quickly built rapport. The conversation started with furniture but quickly moved to life. Kelly had mentioned she had a baby in the back of her car. If you know anything about Stephanie, you know that if there is a baby within holding distance she will be the one holding. That was the moment Stephanie met baby Sian, a beautiful little Burmese girl seated safely in the back of Kelly’s car. However, Kelly is a blonde American woman. Something didn’t line up. There was more of a story to be told.
Kelly explained to Stephanie that Sian was born to a refugee family from Burma who lived in Tukwila, WA. Kelly was helping to take care of her because the housing situation for Sian’s family was not good and could have led to serious complications for the premature baby. As they parted ways Stephanie jumped on her phone to search baby Sian’s name to get a more in depth look into her story. She found that the meaning of the name Sian is “God’s Grace.” Shortly after I received a phone call from Stephanie. “You won’t believe what happened. I think I just met baby Grace!”
Maybe it was a coincidence, maybe not. If we thought it was coincidence I probably wouldn’t be writing this story. That evening Stephanie was able to piece the story of what had happened to the refugee family via online news articles and reports. According to news sources, Sian’s mother and six siblings had moved from Burma the year prior after being separated from their father for ten years. After nine months of being reunited in Tukwila as a family, Sian’s mother suddenly collapsed in the kitchen. She was six months pregnant. The children were at school and mom was rushed to the hospital for an emergency Cesarean section. Sian was born premature at 2 ½ pounds at the Swedish Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Seattle. Her head was the size of an apple and she could mostly fit in your hand. Her mother did not survive.
A few days after their initial introduction I came home to find Kelly, Stephanie, Sian and our four-year-old daughter Addison sitting around our living room getting to know each other. True to Stephanie’s gift of hospitality, Kelly felt a connection and wanted to get to know her more. We each took turns holding the baby as the story of Sian was told in greater detail along with Stephanie’s story of the call she made to me the December before. As the stories were exchanged we began to realize God had been doing something amazing. Kelly felt this story needed to be told and put a meeting together with us and the Burmese family. This roller coaster was starting to speed up.