Friday, 5 June 2015

Zebedee is here!

Hi everyone,

Sorry for having not posted anything for a while, we have a new baby, hurrah! We are absolutely over the moon (is that just an English expression?), surviving on coffee fumes but loving every bit of this crazy season. God is so good!
We are now in the UK after a mad few weeks of hosting a group of families displaced from homes in the East of Ukraine (arriving at the base with chickenpox - a bit of a challenge for us since Joni has never had it and I was pregnant) and once again trying to settle in somewhere new. The 'Hope' art exhibition in Ternopil came together with the help of the YWAM team in Ternopil and other friends around the country who contributed art work, it all went well. 

Here is a bit of a reflection on the beautiful birth of little Zebedee Joshua Cleaver, born on May 17th:

We are overjoyed to welcome a new baby into our family after lots of waiting and lots of prayer.

Baby Zebedee ('gift from God') was born on Sunday at 3.30am weighing a healthy 9 pounds and melting our hearts from his first moments with us. Joni is thrilled to have a baby brother and we are so thankful he is finally here.

Thank you to everyone who has held us in their thoughts and prayers. 

I think about my prayers about giving birth and they were all answered. I prayed that Josh and I would enjoy special closeness throughout the labour, that we could stay close to God throughout and that I might move the hospital staff we met by drawing strength and peace from God. We also wanted a natural, drug-free birth and thankfully we avoided having to have an induction or c-section which the hospital was encouraging.
I was having strong contractions for over a week before actually giving birth but the hospital did not think I was in active labour. In the end I was put in a hospital ward (not the labour ward) to wait for labour to start (!) and Josh was sent home. So, when Zebedee arrived he took all the staff by surprise and Josh rushed in, only just making it in time for the birth.
The week of contractions before the birth allowed Josh and I many beautiful moments together with no rush. Prayer, massages, walks, even a brunch in the town centre with contractions coming very 3 minutes! I felt peaceful throughout and very relaxed. When Josh was sent home from hospital, I was by myself on a ward where everyone was asleep. It was frightening at first to be alone. I knew at this point that the baby would come soon, even though the hospital disagreed! I prayed and focused on the amazing process happening within me and soon felt peaceful again. I realise now that this time alone in the dark and quiet helped me to stay close with God, I could feel His presence soothing me the whole time. I like to think the hospital staff could see this beautiful closeness with God, it kept me completely calm, even as the midwives worried about getting me to a delivery room in time. Josh prayed whilst Zebedee was born, just as the sun came up. The whole experience was beautiful and we are so, so thankful for this precious gift!

We are staying with a church in Staines (in England) and will stay here until we regroup with YWAM. We have been catching up with our loved ones and supporters and are hugely thankful for this chance to enjoy some of the English summer with churches here. If you would like to arrange a visit from us, please get in touch to let us know (
Heaps of love from all FOUR of us!!!
Nina, Josh, Joni and Zebedee

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