I recently read a blogpost I wrote four years ago right before we left to pick up our youngest three children from Rwanda. Like reading an old journal, I was transported back to another time, to a complex of emotions and reflections that seem far gone but whose power still holds sway as I look back … More Gundersen Year in Review (2015)
Monday marked our last day together as a three-person family with our precious and only son, Judah. Early Tuesday morning I will say my goodbyes and Cindi will fly Judah to Oklahoma to be cared for by grandparents as we depart for our three weeks in East Africa. One of the surprising emotions arising during these latter … More Leaving the Ninety-Nine: Reflections on Leaving One to Bring Home Three
My parents-in-law have a backyard pool. On Monday, I taught Judah how to dive down and pick up rocks from the floor of the three-foot shallow end. On Tuesday, we moved to the four-foot middle section to grab the same smooth red rocks. On Wednesday, he gave it a go in the five-foot end, a deep … More Grow
After a long, enjoyable day worshiping with the saints at Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in L.A., having lunch at Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles on Manchester, and visiting the sad and instructive American I Am exhibit at Exposition Park, we came home and relaxed for a couple hours before putting our napless son to bed early. After … More Watching Him, Watching Me
This morning as I sat on the living room couch reading Isaiah, Judah informed me that we had only one Pop Tart left as he sat at the kitchen table munching on the second-to-last one. Knowing that I was about to leave in the next few minutes, I took the opportunity to pass along a fundamental … More Not Yours But You
I suppose Father’s Day, like Mother’s Day, is meant to be a unilateral holiday. It’s typically a one-way expression of appreciation from children to their fathers. Yet on my second Father’s Day, I find that it’s also a personal celebration of the high privilege and unique joy of fatherhood. It’s a day to reflect on … More I Am a Father
We have a birthday in the family! Judah’s Uncle Juan turns 27 today. Juan is one of our closest friends and one of Judah’s favorite uncles. He and Judah both come from the equator — Judah from Uganda and Juan from Ecuador. Maybe that’s why they get along so well (that and Juan gives Judah … More Happy Birthday Uncle Juan!
Sometime last year, Judah began asking a very basic but world-creating question: “What’s that?” He would encounter some unknown object and would simultaneously point at it and look up at me with a look of hopeful curiosity: “Wuh-tat, Daddy?” I would turn toward the object and kneel down next to him while gathering my thoughts. I’d look … More The Power of Why
One year ago today, Judah arrived at Los Angeles International Airport with Cindi after a 19-month adoption process. From the first hours to the first week to the court appearance that made everything official to his second birthday, we have enjoyed a year of God’s obvious and relentless blessing. I just spent some time reading over some … More Judah’s First Year
This morning I took Judah for a four-mile hike through the Placerita Canyon Nature Area just a few miles east of The Master’s College where we live and serve. For my birthday last month Cindi and her mom bought me a Kelty baby carrier, an aluminum-structured pack made for hiking and weighing only six pounds (which almost makes up for Judah’s … More A Wonderful Father
Today was Judah’s second birthday and our fifth anniversary. We found out several months into the adoption process that Judah was born on our third anniversary. He obviously doesn’t understand the significance of his birthday, but we certainly do. He was born on December 20, 2005 at Mulago National Hospital near the capital city of … More Birthday and Anniversary
Tonight I stood as an adopted child of God holding my own adopted twenty-three-month-old East African son in a country where we couldn’t have sat together fifty years ago surrounded by white middle-class Baptists singing an old Christian hymn written by a former slave trader who had repented of enslaving my son’s ancestors. Amazing grace, indeed.
At 11:36 A.M. Pacific Standard Time on Friday, November 16 at the Children’s Court in Monterrey Park, California, Judge John L. Henning declared that Judah David Mukisa Gundersen is the legal son of David and Cynthia Gundersen, with all the rights and privileges of a natural born child, including inheritance. We swore under oath that we … More Judah David Mukisa Gundersen
Judah came home on July 13, three months ago this weekend. Here are some pictures taken by my brother Mike at my intramural flag football game on Saturday, October 13. Judah is happy, healthy, and precious. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
This week has been SLS Retreat (Servant Leadership Staff), last week was RA Retreat (Resident Assistants), and the week before that was RD Retreat (Resident Directors). That sums up my August and explains my online absence during the past few weeks. Tomorrow is WOW Saturday (Week of Welcome), and we have thirty-four new students checking into the … More The First Few Weeks of August
Three thousand years ago, Solomon wrote a very simple and beautiful Hebrew poem. One of the lines says, “Behold, children are a gift from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Over the past three thousand years, the truth of his song has not changed. We have beheld, and we agree. At this time last week, Cindi and … More The First Week of Psalm 127:3