Monday, December 18, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Lily's half birthday

Lily turned 6 months on December 11. She on the verge of learning to crawl. She also had her first solid food yesterday (rice cereal). She's doing great. Here are some pictures from the past few days (that's her first "solid" food on her face in the last one)...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Our apartment building in Long Beach burned on Friday

Our apartment building caught on fire two days ago, Friday afternoon. Mini, Lily, and I escaped the building unharmed as smoke quickly filled our apartment. Two people died in the fire and almost 20 more were hospitalized. Firemen arrived and directed us out. When we left the premises, the flames were right next to our building. We did not know when we went to bed last night if our unit had burned or not.

Yesterday afternoon we were escorted to our unit by firemen. It was an astonishing sight. The fire had completely charred the hallways and elevator lobby immediately outside of our apartment. It was total destruction. The outside of our front door, like everything else in the hallway, was completely charred. But when we opened our door, the inside of our apartment was untouched by the fire. The sturdy door had stopped the fire, and we did not lose anything. There was a smell of smoke, but even that was not serious, and had not discolored our clothes. We have a bunch of laundry to do, but with the possible exception of our mattresses, I think our belongings will be fine. Our unit was the “last apartment standing,” so to speak, since it was the first unit in the row that was saved. Apartments up to # 136 were burned, and we lived (intentional past tense!) in # 137.

The only thing we lost was our place! Our wing of the building has been declared unfit for habitation, so we definitely will have to move. It is a shame, because we had met so many of our neighbors and really liked the people and the building. It’s possible that we may be able to move into another wing of the building that was untouched by the fire. (?) Or we may move to another building altogether. At this point we don’t know. We’ll have to see how God leads us. For the time being, we're staying with Mini's folks in San Dimas.

I think we're all handling it pretty well, but it is definitely a stresser during a very busy month. We welcome your prayers for us. This is the seventh time we have had to move in the past 2 years and 7 months. We'd really like to just settle down somewhere!

You can find the LA Times story on the fire by clicking here. Our friend Ximena from our building is quoted in the story. Here are a couple of pictures:

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Bigfoot Lil' foot

This picture was actually taken two months ago, but I didn't post it on the blog, and someone saw it and said I HAD to put it on. Think Lily will ever catch up with daddy? (Let's hope not!)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lily is five months old

Lily is five months old today! This picture of her, taken yesterday, may be my new all-time favorite:

Here's another one in her trainer chair -- she's learning to sit up!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Everything is A-OK!

This picture was actually taken a few weeks back...

...And these two were taken just yesterday. I call that last picture, everything is A-OK! And so it seems to be in Lily's world. She's happy, healthy, and growing (14 pounds, 13 ounces as of yesterday -- more than double her birth weight). Her motor skills are expanding. She smiles and even laughs aloud quite a lot (Mini really knows how to get her going), and is giving us lots of baby talk these days. She's very good natured and a daily joy.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Laughing Lily

Lily is 21 weeks old -- almost 5 months. She has been learning to laugh out loud. She's doing a lot more baby "talking" too -- she's discovered her vocal cords and is learning to use them. It's been a lot of fun to play with her. This picture is shot right in the midst of a big laugh...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pretty in Papasan

Lily got a new "papasan" chair this week, courtesy one of our kind neighbors who gave it to us. She loves to sit in it. Very adorable.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Indian princess

Here's a picture of Lily in Indian raiment. She turned 4 months old on October 11.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Typical American girl

A funny thing happened at last weekend's camp with the South Asian congregation, that I thought I would post on the blog, and give some of you a laugh. First you have to have two pieces of background information:

First, as you may know Indian culture has different standards of modesty and propriety than US culture, and baring your legs, even wearing a dress where your knees on down are showing, is considered immodest, especially by the older generation.

Second, our precious daughter Lily hates to be covered up when she lies down to sleep. If we put a blanket or something over her, she always flails her legs like she is performing Riverdance, and kicks it right off.

OK, so, last week we were at the Indian church camp in Big Bear. We were above 7,000 feet elevation, and it was cold at night, and we wrapped Lily up in a blanket to keep her warm, but by morning, sure enough, she had kicked it off and her skin was COLD even inside of her sleeper bodysuit. No harm done, Lily was fine. That morning Mini was telling one of the older Indian “aunties” at the retreat about how Lily had kicked off her blanket, the reason being that Lily doesn’t like to have her legs covered up. Without a moment’s hesitation, and as far as we can tell in complete seriousness, this Indian auntie says, “Typical American girl!” Mini and I laughed and laughed at the suggestion of Lily's lack of modesty, at less than four months old (!), as if she were posing for an unsavory magazine or something. It was hilarious!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Rolly Polly

Here is our sweetie at 16 weeks old in a cute pink dress. Lily is rolling over all the time from her back to her tummy now. She hasn't quite figured out how to get back onto her back from her tummy though. It is so cute to watch her roll over.

Weekend in Big Bear

We spent last weekend in Big Bear, on a retreat with the South Asian church in which Mini and I first met. I taught on Romans 8, being "more than conquerors." (If you'd like to read my message notes, leave a comment on this post, or send me an email). The camp site had a "zip line" and I couldn't resist the opportunity to go zipping along (see picture below).

As for Lily, she is quite the traveler. In her first three and a half months of life, she has been up to Sacramento, Oregon, Mammoth Lakes, over the sea to Catalina Island, and now out to Big Bear Lake.

Monday, September 25, 2006

2 cute pictures of who else?

No, that's not a bindi. It's a chiquita banana sticker, and Lily clearly knows how to follow instructions! ...

"I can hold Daddy's finger IN MY SLEEP." Talented! ...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ramadan begins today

Today is the first day of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. It is a month of heightened spiritual fervor and seeking after truth and virtue for many Muslims. For the past 15 years an increasing number of Christians have prayed daily for Muslims each day during the 30 days of fasting. If you would like to access this year's daily prayer guide online, click here. It is very well done!

You might also try fasting in addition to praying for Muslims. After all, Jesus said, "WHEN you fast" (Matthew 6:16), not "IF you fast." Jesus clearly assumed that his followers would indeed fast for suitable reasons and occasions. The salvation of 1.3 billion Muslims qualifies, if you ask me! Of course, if you do choose to fast, there is no legalistic standard for how you must do so. The point is not to satisfy a rigid code, but to draw near to God, and to feel in our very bodies our desperate, daily need for him. If you do not choose to fast all day, you could skip a meal on occasion, or even daily. Many Christians abstain from either breakfast or lunch daily during the month of fasting, as they pray for Muslims. Other Christians keep the whole month of fasting right along with the Muslims. If you choose to fast as well as pray in any fashion, may you find it to be a blessing. And may all the blessings of God in Jesus Christ come to the Muslims of the world -- each one of them!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Prayer letter, September 11

Dear friends,

We hope and pray you’ve had a great summer! Our summer has been a joy, seeing many of you again, and watching our precious Lily grow.

Lily update

Lily is three months old today! She is such a wonderful baby. She sleeps great at night (she got the sleep gene from both of her parents!), and is very good natured and delightful. She is getting more and more interactive, and is starting to play with us. We are so thankful to God for Lily. I’ve attached to this email a few pictures of her on her three month birthday! Thank you so much for your prayers for her. Please do continue to pray for wisdom from God for Mini and me for every stage of Lily’s life.

Living in Long Beach

We have moved to Long Beach! Our new home address is:

6481 Atlantic Avenue #137
Long Beach, CA 90805

We live in a large apartment complex. We’ve been meeting our neighbors and inviting them to church. Just yesterday I met a Hindu couple from India who live in our building. I spoke Hindi to them and they were astonished to hear a white man speaking their mother tongue. They invited us to come over any time. Do pray for our relationships with our neighbors and opportunities to share the gospel.

The new church plant we are a part of (Fountain of Life Covenant Church) will have its very first public church service this coming Sunday, September 17. We’ll have one “preview” service a month in September, October, and November, and then we start with weekly services in early December. We’re all very excited about what God will do in this community. Please pray for us.

Visits to Sacramento and Oregon

In July and August we traveled up to Sacramento and Oregon, visiting family and friends. Lily got to meet her great-grandparents in Oregon – that was extra special. (I wrote a tribute to my grandparents on our blog, dated August 8. Feel free to read it!) We also had a “welcome Lily” party in Sacramento that many of you attended. Mini and I talked afterward about how grateful we are to God that he has given us so many dear friends (not only in Sacramento!) who love us and care about us, and our daughter. We are blessed!

The Crossroads Conference

In my last prayer letter I asked you to pray for our teaching at the Crossroads Conference. Mini and I taught a seminar, hoping to inspire young people to devote their lives to missions for the sake of the joy set before us. After we did the seminar, it occurred to me that some of you might like to read it. So, I’ve attached it to this email too. Feel free to have a look if you are interested. If you have any comments at all (positive or negative), I would be glad to hear your feedback!

Servant Partners’ Global Urban Training School

Servant Partners’ annual Global Urban Training School (GUTS) is starting in two weeks. I will be helping to coordinate the first week of the training, which will be held here in Los Angeles from September 24 - 29. Then, the candidates go to Manila, the Philippines for exposure to an international urban poor setting, and additional training. I would appreciate your prayers for me and for all of this year’s candidates. One of my roles here in the US is to help prepare and train new missionaries who are going to the field with Servant Partners, so GUTS is an important time for me.

Upcoming church retreat

I would also appreciate your prayers on Saturday, September 30 and Sunday, October 1. I will be teaching on Romans 8 at a weekend church retreat for East West Church.

We love you, and we are always happy to hear from you! We pray for all of God’s blessings in your life, and joy and peace in our Lord Jesus.

For the joy set before us,

Dave, Mini, & Lily

Monday, September 11, 2006

Lily is three months old

Here are some pictures of Lily on her three month birthday! (September 11)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mini's childhood friend Finny

Yesterday Mini and I went to the wedding reception of one of Mini's good childhood friends, Finny Kuruvilla, and his new wife Laura. Finny is a brilliant young man who has both an MD and a PhD from Harvard. He is also a devoted follower of Jesus, and has written many essays on Christianity, and also edited a book of Charles Finney's writings, under the title "True Christianity." Finny's speech at his wedding reception was a fabulous articulation of the gospel and what it really means to be a true follower of Jesus. I took a look at Finny's web page, and was very impressed with and challenged by his writings and reflections. We are kindred spirits. If you'd like to check out Finny's webpage, click here.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Lily at 10 weeks

Here's a big smile from Lily, who is 10 weeks old tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lily's great grandparents

Last week we went to Oregon to visit relatives, including Lily’s great grandparents (my mother’s parents), Robert and Louise Wolfe. Lily is actually their 30th great-grandchild! They have experienced many times over, and surpassed by a full generation, the blessing of Psalm 128:6 – “May you live to see your children’s children.” I was so happy that they got to meet Lily last week, and I am also delighted and proud that they are part of our daughter’s heritage. I have great love and admiration for my grandparents. Their exemplary life is worthy of honor and imitation.

Robert and Louise were married in 1945. They have been married for 61 years. They had five children (one of them of course being my mother). In the early years of their marriage, with a full quiver of little ones underfoot, Grandpa completed a seminary degree and also worked full time to pay the bills. For more than half a century, up to this present day, my grandparents have devoted themselves to ministry, planting new churches, pastoring them, serving on the foreign mission field, and being an example of faith and love to their family and friends. My grandfather is in his 80s, but he still goes regularly to a convalescent home where he serves as a chaplain. I have been inspired throughout my life by their faith and perseverance over the decades in the face of many hardships and suffering as well as joys. In fact, from even before my teen years my grandparents were my earliest inspiration to become a foreign missionary myself, as they were.

I am also forever grateful to my grandparents for raising my mother into the incredible, strong woman that she is. My Mom grew up in a loving home, with parents who modeled faith, loving affection, godly character and values, and discipline. The way they raised my mother has had a direct impact on the quality of her ability to raise me, and my ability to raise Lily. It is my privilege to honor them for lives well lived, and a legacy that will carry on even when they are at home with Jesus.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Lily's first swim

Lily swam inside of mommy for nine months. Yesterday, with daddy, she took her first swim since coming out into the big wide world. She seemed right at home.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Lily of course

Here are a couple more pictures of Lily, at five and a half weeks old.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

One happy baby

The past two days with Lily have been a great joy. She has been so happy whenever she is awake, smiling and cooing and making faces at us. I didn't want to go to bed last night, I was having so much fun watching Lily's smiling happy face. She is even smiling back at us while we change her diaper, seeming to enjoy the proceedings-- she almost always cried and protested during diaper changes before. She's sleeping well at night, at only five weeks old. We are counting our blessings and praising God for his mercy! Here are three pictures, each with a different hairstyle! :^)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Lily is one month old today

Lily is one month old today! Two days ago she rolled over all by herself from her tummy to her back. Impressive! :^) Here are a couple adorable pictures of her getting her "tummy time" in:

Prayer letter, July 11

Dear friends,

Today Mini and I are rejoicing over life. Our daughter Lily Grace is celebrating her ONE MONTH birthday today! Obviously taking care of our newborn daughter has been the main focus of the past month. We’ve changed a couple hundred diapers, fed her a couple hundred times, and tried to get a couple hours of sleep in between each of those events! The past two weeks have already gotten easier than the first two, and Lily is already starting to sleep pretty well at night for a one-month old. Mini and I are tired, but not overwhelmed. We so appreciate your prayers for us. We are so in love with little Lily and delighted to be entrusted with such a precious gift. Please keep praying for all three of us!

But we are also sorrowing today over death. You may have heard that eight bombs were planted on trains in Mumbai today, by terrorists. 200+ people have died so far in the simultaneous blasts, and another 700+ are wounded. It strikes close to home for us since Mini and I were riding those same trains and passing through those same rail stations a mere four months ago. We are trying to get in contact with our friends in Mumbai to hear how they are doing. Please pray for the people of Mumbai. It appears likely that this was done by Muslims. If so, it will definitely increase the tension between the religious communities in India, and will likely also increase tension between India and Pakistan. How we long for our Father’s kingdom to come and for his will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Pray that the eyes of the blind will be opened.

We also welcome your prayers for these upcoming events over the next several weeks:

I will be speaking on missions at East West Community Church on Sunday, July 23. Please pray for me and for all who hear the message, that God will use it to inspire and call his people.

With the exception of my Mom, my side of the family in Sacramento still has yet to meet our daughter Lily. We plan to travel up to Sacramento on July 24, and stay until August 14. Please pray for our travels, especially with a baby. Also, we are planning a party for all of you in Sacramento who would like to meet Lily, on Sunday afternoon, August 6. If you need details, please contact us.

“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of, so they can see that it is not the answer.” – Jim Carrey ... I love this quote, and it comes to mind since my 20 year high school reunion is next month! Can you believe it? I’ve lived longer since graduating high school than I did up to my graduation. I guess middle age is fast upon me! :^) But don’t worry – I’m not having a midlife crisis. As I look back on the past 20 years and reflect on what God has done in my life, I am filled with joy and pleasure at the things he has allowed me to be a part of. And I am so eager for what is to come, in my family life with Mini and Lily, and also in our upcoming ministry in Long Beach, and training missionaries for the unreached nations with Servant Partners. Many of you have been receiving these prayer letters and praying for us and partnering with us for the better part of those 20 years. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your faithfulness and love in our lives, whether it’s been 20 years, or less than one. We love you and are so grateful to God for you all!

We plan to move to Long Beach in the third week of August, when we return from Sacramento.

Mini and I will be teaching a seminar together on missions at the 2006 Crossroads Conference, on Saturday, August 26. Many young people will be in attendance and we hope to see many of them grow in vision and inspiration for devoting their lives to Jesus and to missions. Please pray for our preparation and teaching, and for the young people who will attend. (For more information about this conference, go to

We love you, and we are always happy to hear from you! We pray for all of God’s blessings in your life, and joy and peace in our Lord Jesus.

For the joy set before us,

Dave, Mini, & Lily

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Lily starts to smile

Almost four weeks into parenthood, Mini and I are managing pretty well. It is already feeling easier than the first two weeks. Praise God.

Lily is starting to smile at us now and again. It is so heartwarming to see her smile. We still don't have a picture of her best smiles, but you get the idea from these next two pictures.

This one was taken when she was 18 days old...

And in this one she is three weeks old (21 days)...

Here's another picture of Lily with her Mommy, taken at 22 days old... I'm truly blessed to have these two sweethearts to love! :^)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Strength of a Woman

This post is written in honor of my dear wife Mini, and of women in general. I have been so impressed with Mini for as long as I have known her, and particularly for these past nine months of her pregnancy and the beginning of life with our sweet little Lily. Mini showed so much perseverance, patience, and strength in bearing Lily for nine months. She was so courageous and strong in giving birth to Lily two weeks ago – naturally, without any medications at that! And these past two weeks, while her body is still recovering from the ordeal of delivery, there’s been no holiday or Sabbath from round-the-clock feeding times every two to three hours. Sleep has taken a back seat to keeping “Mini’s Diner” open around the clock for her little girl who needs her. Mini has a great sense of humor, and she was joking the other day that in one respect the past two weeks have been like a bad fraternity hazing experience, complete with physical pain, sleep deprivation, and nutrients regularly sucked from your body! Mommy’s done great through it all nonetheless, and I am duly impressed. If you reply, “Well, that’s no different from what all new moms do,” then that is all the more reason to respect and honor every one of those moms from Eve onward, rather than to diminish the efforts and achievements of this one new mommy in particular. Here’s to the strength (and love) of a woman!

PS: These pictures were taken just five days before Mini gave birth.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Kid Gloves

“Introducing the new, flyweight champion of the world… LILY… GRACE… PALMER!”

Lily is 10 days old today. We are getting used to the 24 hour round-the-clock routine of food time, nap time, and love time. It’s been challenging of course, but we are managing, and constantly grateful for the precious little cause of all the fuss. It’s so worth it. I love to hold her, sing to her, just look into her eyes and feel the awe and wonder of having a little girl to love for the rest of my life.

OK, I can't resist -- here's another picture of our sweetie, after her very first bath...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Arrival of our daughter, Lily Grace Palmer

With great joy we announce the arrival of our daughter, Lily Grace Palmer. Lily is a pretty name we both liked, which is used in both US and Indian cultures. We chose Grace for her middle name, because that’s what our precious little girl is to us, and we pray she experiences God’s grace in full measure, and becomes a person of grace, as she grows up.

Lily was born at 12:48 pm on Sunday, June 11, 2006. Mother and daughter are both doing fine apart from obvious weariness and soreness for Mini. Mini started active labor at about 4:30 am Sunday, and progressed quickly. She pushed from 9:10 am until 12:48 pm. Mini did great and I was so proud of her. Lily was 7 pounds and 2 ounces at birth, and 21.5 inches long. She has mommy’s curly black hair, and daddy’s big hands and feet, and long torso. I think she's going to be tall. Lily is so adorable. She was born alert and wide awake, and was lifting her head and looking around wide-eyed at her new surroundings from her first moments of life in the big wide world, and motioning with her hands. It was so cute.

We look forward to introducing our sweet little girl to you.

Pray for the new parents, as well as our new, precious little girl! We can't wait to see all the blessings and joys that God has in store for us and for Lily in the coming days and years.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Baby Palmer takes Mommy and Daddy into Overtime

Our pregnancy has now gone into “overtime.” Baby Palmer was due yesterday, June 9. But he or she apparently is not quite finished baking in there. Mini felt some light “practice” contractions last night, so we are hoping we are very close to meeting this little person currently veiled behind an inch or so of mommy’s tummy. We can hardly wait!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

What's in a name? Why this blog is called "The Palmers' Pilgrimage"

Did you know that the origin of the surname “Palmer” dates back to the Middle Ages in England? It refers to a religious pilgrim, someone who goes on pilgrimage to a holy place, such as the city of Jerusalem. Medieval Christian pilgrims who went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem were given a palm branch as they entered the city, hearkening back to Jesus triumphal entry (see John 12: 12-13). They were then called "palmers" in reference to their palm branch. In the late 14th Century, the great poet Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340 – 1400) referred to these “palmers” in the opening lines of the Canterbury Tales:
[In the Spring months, as nature comes alive…]
Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage.
And palmers to go seeking out strange strands,
To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.
(from the General Prologue, lines 12-14)

I love the associations between palmers and pilgrims, because, of course, the Christian life of faith is commonly referred to as a pilgrimage, a journey through this world to our heavenly home. John Bunyan’s book Pilgrim’s Progress, of course, is the classic example. There are a number of passages in Scripture from which this concept of God’s people as pilgrims comes – we are strangers and exiles on this earth, sojourners who are on the way to our true homeland, for which we eagerly long:

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11, KJV)

And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile. (1 Peter 1:17, ESV)

By faith he (Abraham) went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, …for he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. (Hebrews 11: 9-10, ESV)

These all died in faith, …having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11: 13-16, ESV)

These texts have been very significant to me throughout my adult life. My longing is and has been to live my life “for the joy set before me,” with my eyes fixed on Jesus and my eternal home, as a pilgrim and sojourner on this earth. Hence the name of this blog. I hope it serves as an ongoing reminder and inspiration to me and others, to live every day and to do everything in eager anticipation of the better country, the city that has foundations.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Why we got this blog

We finally decided to get a blog. For three reasons:

First, because our first child is due to arrive in just two more weeks, on June 9. Now anyone who wants to can read about our life with baby Palmer. That is, as long as we're not too tired, as new parents, to post with a semblance of regularity! Who knows, maybe baby Palmer him-or-herself will also read this years from now! (We still don't know if we are having a boy or a girl -- we eagerly look forward to finding out what God has blessed us with when our precious gift arrives.)

Second, because after years in India, we now plan to be in the US for some time. Lots of transitions and new experiences are ahead -- our baby's arrival is just one of them. The blog will facilitate recording and sharing our life, ministry, and reflections with our friends and those who pray for us.

And third, I (Dave) hope to share some biblical reflections, devotions, theology, etc. from time to time on the blog too.

I don't expect to be one of those prolific bloggers who post every day, or multiple times a day. I'm thinking more like once or twice a week at this point. Mini of course may post too -- but I'm not sure how often she plans to do that these days, especially as she's about to become a new mommy. Just so you, dear reader, know what to expect!

Thanks for being a companion on our pilgrimage.