Mum and Dad Eicher showed their love to us in many ways.
One of them was the Eicher birthday party.
An afternoon (later evening) of games and food, with a specially shaped cake fashioned by Dad (now called Opa Eicher).
We are privileged to see some of this continue in our kids.
One addition that we have made is to choose a Bible verse for the birthday girl / boy and make a poster.
ASHA ESTHER ALICE EICHER (b. 16 Jan 2001)
Asha turned a ripe 6 earlier this year.
It seems hardly possible that the earth has circled the sun 6 times already since those dramatic days in Tumbagarah village in Jharkand state (where we were serving at the Nav Jivan Hospital).
Asha's due date was the end of January - and we felt it would be possible for him to go to Delhi to attend an EHA conference. He had hardly got there when an announcement was made - phone call for Andi. On the line was Dad Eicher - there was decreased foetal movement - they were going to go ahead with a caesarian section latest the next morning.
How to get back? The train to Delhi had been delayed for 11 hours because of fog. To get a flight? To reach? Prayers went up - and it was possible. That night a flight to Patna, Bihar. Being picked up after mid-night by faithful Elias Bara. Driving through the night through sleeping towns and along the darkened highway. Finally, coming to Nav Jivan at 7.30. Walking into the hospital room and giving the bouquet from the flight to the beaming (and very large) mother-to-be Sheba.
Six years since we heard Asha's first cry - another miracle as Asha had been a 'placenta previa' (the placenta covering the birth exit) and was born with the umbilical chord twisted around her.
And so we celebrate each year. This time with a heart-shaped cake and a small party where Asha's best friends Nikita and Jasper came to from Borivali. Joined by Urvashi and Hrishav from church, Guddu from school and Suhani and Suvarna from next door, a splendid time was had by all!
ENOCH ANAND GRACESON EICHER (b. 19 Feb 2003)
All our kids have mouthfulls of names, but we love them so much that we couldn't help but give them multiple names!
This year we were blessed to have both sets of grandparents with us for Enoch's birthday!
The original cake-meister himself, Opa, worked hard and we had another master-piece - the Doulos shaped cake!
Last May we were privileged to spend a night on board the OM ship Doulos when it was visiting Vishakapatnam. Sleeping in bunk beds and eating 'strange' food (read non-Hindusthani khana) was an unforgettable experience for us all.
We were blessed to be share about the HIV work with the staff in a night of prayer as well and were so encouraged to see how much OM is working to equip the church to reach out to people with HIV.
This Amma and Appa were also with us. Enoch was blessed with an absolute cracker of an outfit (see pic) which he has worn to great effect since!
More than gifts, what our parents bring is their love and prayers. We realise as we work through the challenges of parenting how much they have loved us (and how little we have been able to express our appreciation).
Our children (and us) receive a daily gift of prayer from both Mum and Dad and Amma and Appa - numerous times!
Its something money cannot buy.
Oh, that we would keep this living 'tradition' alive with our children too.
The evenings festivities for Enoch were enlivened by a small by sprightly group of friends. Alistair and Freya Black were present and added their own charms to a room that was already bursting with beauty.
Its amazing to realise that we have now been in Thane for well over 4 years!
When we arrived, Enoch was very much present, but very much inside Sheba. Even today people are still telling Sheba that she has 'lost weight' since the only Sheba most know are immediately pre- and post-Enoch!
Enoch was a second C-section. He decided that he would put himself feet first just before his due date and so Dr. Ashalatha decided to use the scalpel.
Andi was one of the few fathers who has been able to be present at a birth at Lok Hospital, where Enoch was born. That makes it 2 out of 2 births for Andi!
Our hearts are really filled with gratitude at the many, many different ways that God has heard prayers and answered them.
Birthdays are great ways to remember this.
We are so grateful to our families for all that they have done for us - and for our parents for being with us during this special day!
ASHISH CHRISTOPHER ION EICHER (b. 25 June 2006)
Giving plenty of names is not just a Thane Eicher phenomenon!
Our wonderful Stefan and Neeru were in Mumbai for 2 months, and we had the joy of celebrating Ashish's first birthday together!
We so appreciate Stefan and Neeru for making the choice to let Neeru train lawyers from the International Justice Mission in Mumbai - because it allowed us to meet a number of memorable times together.
One of the hardest part of our lives is being so far away from people with love.
Their decision to come here and spend these days was such a gift to us - and has left us with a wealth of happy memories.
Ashish is an absolute charmer. He loves doing things - an active crawler and expert thrower (future cricketer?) the lad cannot sit still.
Following his multi-talented father's footsteps, Ashish gets tremendously excited whenever he sees a guitar!
There was no question about what shape the cake was going to be!
"We're glad God made you, we're glad God made you, we're sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo glad God made you, Happy Birthday to you!"
A year has gone by since the Lord brought Asha and Enoch's wonderful cousin into this world.
We look back and thank God for helping out in multiple ways. He is doing a great work in and through Stefan and Neeru, and to see the little one was such a blessing to us.
Asha and Enoch just could not get enough of Ashish - and are already hoping and praying for their next visit with him.
As parents we are grateful to see such life and joy. In the middle of so much suffering and cruelty, our kids do give us hope. They remind us that God has a better tomorrow - and a great today!
Thanks for coming along with us on this journey!