Friday, December 23, 2011

Welcoming Jesus...


Thousands of years ago, the world didn't know what they were about to behold...

The shepherds were going about their business
The inn keeper was busy preparing for the many people
Bethlehem was bustling and unknowingly standing on the hours of birthing the Savior

But then... He came, and everything changed.

(this pic hangs on our fridge drawn by Ngosa in grade 5)

This year, I find myself preparing for the celebration of the first coming, with GREAT anticipation for the second coming. While in his first coming, that first Christmas... he brought us HOPE and SALVATION... and REDEMPTION. But I am longing for the moment that He comes again and makes ALL THINGS NEW... or BEAUTIFUL.

The past few months have changed me. I continue to be changed. Sara Groves says "your pain has changed me"... and yes, it's true. It's changed my view on Christmas. I celebrate deeply the coming of our LORD... BOTH the past and the future coming.
This Christmas I'm celebrating in the Hope to come...

no hungry bellies
no abusive parents
no death
no orphans
no disease
no thieves
no pain

Everything.New.

So, this Christmas... I will celebrate the gift of life He has given us in this time... and the gift of making all things new in the future.

Merry Christmas! Celebrate the Hope we have in Jesus!



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Thursday, December 8, 2011

No escape...


I remember having the luxury of "forgetting" or "escaping" every once in a while, the need or the plight of the orphan. We've been involved in this "line of work" for a while now, and I remember "taking a break" from it. Or... coming home at night, flipping on the TV, visiting friends, or life OUTSIDE of "work."

Now, Life is work... ministry.
There's no escaping.
When you wake, you are preparing yourself for the day of needs.
When you go about your day, you are emotionally/physically/spiritually available for those with needs.
When you are at home, they are there too.
When you eat your dinner, you are wondering if they have food.
When you lay your head down at night, you are praying for safety for those you love... The ones you love who live so vastly different than you.

There's no "only need on that side of town" kind of option. It is everywhere.
Even when you "get away for a couple of hours"... maybe to town, or to a park... they come too... in your heart and mind. There is no escape. Once you know them, love them, feed them, and become like a mother to them... there is no escape.

I'm grateful. While it is one of the heaviest burdens I've ever had to bare, I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity to see Jesus work in their lives, and in mine, each and every day. I'm grateful that I don't have to go far to live out the gospel. That I can choose to see Jesus in a real and new way. And I'm sure He is capable of carrying not only me, and my heavy burdens for the many children I love... but He is carrying them too.

"The Lord is near to all who call on Him..." Ps 145: 14-18


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Thursday, December 1, 2011

A message from Zack...

The other day I went into the kids room and found Z writing this message. I think it might have been just for me. Just wanted to share it with you, because I know there are days we really need to just sit and remember this....




"God you are mighty and strong."



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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks...


Thanksgiving... it's one of my favorite holidays. It's the beginning of the official "holiday" season. It reminds me of cool weather in Tennessee, and the best food you could imagine.

The day before Thanksgiving, I usually get a new hair cut. (Don't ask me why, it's just what I do). We usually are with family. Shane goes squirrel hunting (unsuccessfully of course), just for the memory. Me and the kids watch the Macy Day parade, and then I help my mom decorate the tree. We over indulge in all things yummy! It's super awesome!

We end the day in a huge family meal, recalling what we are thankful for and usually take a minute to remember those who are "less fortunate" as my dad says.


This year... Thanksgiving changes.


While it usually gives off this warm and fuzzy feel, this year I find myself on.my.knees. in thanksgiving.

"Father, God... You are so mighty. Thank you for being my Father. Thank you for being our provider, our comforter, our healer. Thank you for the presence of your spirit in our lives. Thank you for your calling upon our lives to change us... to change our Thanksgiving. Father, forgive me of where I do NOT thank you when I should. Forgive me of when I do not recognize the gifts you give, regardless of the packaging. Forgive me of wanting something more than what you have blessed me with. Now, Father... I pray for those who I love. Our family and friends. I pray that you would bless them with a wonderful day celebrating. I pray you would bring remembrance to their hearts for all you have done. God, we pray for those we love here... our new family. Father, I pray that you would meet their needs today. God, provide them food at home. Father, give them health. Please find a way to love each heart today. Help us to give your love so that they can indeed be thankful regardless of their circumstances. Lord, you are mighty and strong. Without you, our work is meaningless. We thank you for the ability to lift up our prayers and thanksgiving to you. Amen."
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The faces I live with...

*here is my disclaimer... I never intended to be a horrific blogger. I thought I would blog all the time here... afterall, I do have quite the stories to tell. However, fighting the unpredictable power, lightening strikes taking out internet, flooding in the house, balanced delicately with a very full schedule of responsibilities, blogging has proven to be difficult. :/

These are some of the faces I live with. We so often find ourselves looking at pictures, but don't fully know the child behind them.










I can say, knowing makes it all the more beautiful and painful. I never knew that the two could mix so amazingly strong... but I'm finding the true beauty of contrast: light and darkness... joy and sorrow... rejoicing and suffering.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Missionary Mom...


Well, one thing is for sure, when I envisioned being a mom, I certainly never envisioned raising children in Africa. While, yes, I've always felt a strong calling to missions, I kinda thought that would be my "single life" occupation. But, raising kids on the "mission field?" NOT.A.CHANCE.

After all, *Most*MKs are kinda weird, right? (sorry if you are one... but let's be honest)

I thought my efforts in raising my children would be revolving around:

*where to send them to school?
*what kind of birthday party will we have?
*Christmas pictures... oh what to wear?
*what type of cupcakes should I send to class?

Instead they are:

*heavy education of snakes and spiders, and the like...
*shopping consists of traipsing through the local outdoor market...
*praying that NO ONE has to go to the bathroom anywhere other than HOME... and even that, some days, is risky.
*learning what kind of new skin funk we have this week...
*and explaining the really hard things in life: death, disease, poverty...

While my day to day thoughts, as a "Missionary Mom" v. "Mom in the suburbs", have certainly changed, my desire for my children hasn't. I'm just praying they grow up to love Jesus and live that out in whatever way He's equipped them to. (Ok, and I'm praying they don't turn out a little...ahem... strange)



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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Best.Date.Ever.


So, there's so many wonderful things about living in Zambia. One of those things is that there is NEVER A DULL MOMENT. It's quite up my alley!

The other night, our sweet roomie, Leslie, gave Shane and I a date night by watching our kiddos while we went out to eat at a little restaurant in town. On our way out, we had about 4 boys to drop off near the compound. Shane and I had fun explaining to them what a "date" was, and how important it is for men to love their wives. Anyway, they laughed and thought we were funny.

We drop them off at the compound, and are immediately approached by 2 of the piece workers on our farm. They said, "Shane, we have emergency, my wife is having a baby." Shane said "like, right now?" "yes!" he said. They wanted us to take them to the clinic. Of course, we say YES! So, we drive through the compound (talk about sticking out like a sore thumb... NO ONE DRIVES IN THE COMPOUND HARDLY) ... and arrive at the one room shack... truly the size of an oversized bathroom. ... The men go in, and a second later, one of them comes out with a huge wadded blanket... WITH A BABY IN IT! He gets in the car... and Shane and I are FREAKING OUT! "Um... did she just have that baby?!?!?!" "Yes, about an hour ago..." he laughed. Shane and I are kinda not knowing what to do at this point.

The husband comes out and says, "Well, she is unable to walk right now, so she will need to go to the clinic tomorrow." We paid for a nurse to come and check her out... dropped off the men at the market so they could buy some items, and went on our way.

Needless to say, the dinner conversation was NOT the HIGHLIGHT of this date...

Can't wait to see what happens next time.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Glimpse of Redemption...


My Redeemer... My sweet Jesus. He is certainly about making whole, making beauty out of ashes, and filling any gaps, scars, and holes that a sinful world has left marked on His children.

Today, I saw it for my own eyes. It was such a beautiful outward display of what is in the hearts of two boys. Boys that have lived through the death of both their father and their mother. Boys that have wondered "what will happen to my life now?" Yet, they are boys who have experienced REDEMPTION, grace, and LOVE... They have experienced the hands and feet of Jesus in their lives through LifeSong. They see that there is more to life than the hopelessness they see around them. They acknowledge that God has a plan for their lives, and they want to follow him.

video


Just yesterday, we took them to get some clothes (which we need to do for most of the kids)... and Haggai had some extra money left over. He could have spent it on another pair of socks, or food for himself. However, He bought apples with it and gave it to the street boys at the market. He didn't do this to receive praise... but rather it was out of love and gratitude for what God's provision has given him... and so he has decided to share it with those around him in need.

Redemption... now being spilled out of one broken soul to the next. They will see Jesus in them. I know it. Because I see it.

These boys are wanted...
Loved...
Desired...
Chosen...
Made New...
and Redeemed...


"Who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with love and compassion."
Ps 103:4
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Adoption ... redefined...

Adoption... it's such a buzz word these days. What I find kinda humorous is that people in Zambia have NO IDEA that there are so many Americans wanting to adopt. It's kinda strange to step out of one culture (the adoption/orphan care world) and step into another culture (one ravished with disease, poverty, and many orphans). It's like one world was made to penetrate the other, only the need is so deep and so wide, that it never fully will.

I used to think that Adoption was something that was concrete, set in stone, legal.... acknowledge by the governments. But what I'm finding is that adoption can be different than that, especially in this culture... actually is just what's in your heart... how it overflows from love of the father onto children around you in need. It's CHOOSING, TAKING IN, ACCEPTING, MAKING
ONE's OWN.

While many... no most... maybe none... of these children will ever be a McB on paper... I'm certain that they will feel CHOSEN, TAKEN IN, ACCEPTED, AND part of US... OUR FAMILY. There surely is power in that... and it sounds like adoption... with a different face.


1. To take into one's family through legal means and raise as one's own child.
2.
a. To take and follow (a course of action, for example) by choice or assent: adopt a new technique.
b. To take up and make one's own: adopt a new idea.
3. To take on or assume: adopted an air of importance.
4. To vote to accept: adopt a resolution.
5. To choose as standard or required in a course: adopt a new line of English textbooks.


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Sunday, October 23, 2011

backwards...

When you think that you are the one giving... you find that really you are the one receiving.

My heart is full.





This is what our home looks like on a Sunday...
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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Meet something beautiful...

Because I am the WORST.BLOGGER.EVER. I have decided to give you a glance at some of the beautiful things that makes up our week...

Please forgive me... but there have been several power outages, I'm gonna blame that. ;)

So... welcome to the inside of our week...and our kids...


On Wednesdays, we go into the compound (village) to visit homes... super glad our kiddos can come and experience ministering to others alongside us...


These are 3 of our teachers that were visiting with us, and delivering food.



Felt kinda crazy one evening and taught some of the kids what bowling is... awesomeness...


A, N, C, E, C... boys at school being silly...



Boys will be boys no matter where they grow up.... ;)


"Football" game today. (I'm practically Zambian calling it football) Tie 1-1. This is "T." He has a hard life, but a ton of potential... pray for God to soften his heart.


This is "Y"... she is a beautiful girl who LOVES playing Volleyball. :) We played across my clothesline today with a flat soccer ball. ha. She's a gal that will benefit from our FGO party we hosted a few months ago. ;)


The kids LOVE to read to us in English. It's one of our favorite things too. I love introducing quality reading, like Francis Chan's children books.


Meet KG's best friend... "W" She is one of the most fun gals here at LS.
(and yes, it's been a month since my hair has seen a blow dryer or hairspray... so don't judge me)



Crazy blessed, and I promise to do better in sharing with with you all!! God is doing so much... each and every day... it blows me away. Whether it is taking a burned baby to the hospital, giving away our food to kids as they leave our homes knowing they are hungry, or singing with them each and every morning before school... we know God is present and working in ALL things. We love you all!!

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Against my instinct...

Since arriving in Zambia, I've been continually in a place of conflict within my mothers heart. So many things that are " just life" here continually shatter my mother's instinct.

It is NOT ok with me as a mother to see children I love...

wear the same outfit all week long... dirty or not

walk out of my house, an hour before dinner, and I not know if they have food waiting on them wherever they are going...

to walk home in the rain

to work their fingers to the bone when they should be playing

I knew I always believed this... but more and more I see it clearly. Kids were made to be in families. Moms and Dads were made to love their children.


I love my 3+215... and this breaks.my.heart... BUT... I love them NOTHING like my Father does...

Behind these amazing smiles... is so much heartbreak... so much unknown... a desire for more.

praying the Father can use this mother to... you guessed it... "Love like Crazy!"


"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Ps 147:3




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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Made to be Courageous...

I'm sure you have all heard about the movie Courageous that is now in theaters. Obviously, I won't be seeing that anytime soon. ;) However, I've loved the song by Casting Crowns... that coupled with Dennis Rainey's newest book, Stepping Up, has gotten me to thinking.

When I married Shane, I knew for sure I was getting "the real deal." I often joked that he was the loaded Lexus SUV... only God added things that I LOVE but didn't even know I desired beforehand. You know that feeling? You know, when you buy something and then discover something hidden or super awesome about it that you didn't know beforehand? SWEET!

Well, Shane has turned out to be quite the courageous man. Many would look and think that it may be irresponsible to move your family to a land of malaria and deadly snakes. Some would say that it is not wise to live as we do financially, dependent on a team of other believers to partner with us.


This isn't where we thought we would be. Shane thought we were going to live out our Christian lives in a nice little suburb dubbed as "one of the best places to raise a family." Great schools. Great food. Great sports. Great church.

Over time, though, I saw Shane and his plan for our family decrease. I saw him struggle to loosen the grip of control and give his most valuable possession: us... to His Father. I saw him wrestle with trusting God to provide over his own ability. I see his self reliance decrease and his dependence on God increase.

This takes courage. It takes courage to depend on something you cannot see, trust something so powerful, and walk your family into a place you do not fully know... all because God says "Go." My husband is a man of courage.

What I thought I wanted was a man who could provide me with security, provisions, and a safe life. But what God provided me with was a man who was full of courage... not of his own accord, but of Gods... courage that flows only from a full trust of the Father. I'm so unbelievably grateful that my man is willing to live out what He was created for. And so I say... SWEET! Who knew he was loaded with courage? That all along that was what he was MADE for... and what I DESIRED?

I can't imagine life any other way...

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ministry around the table...

This is J. He's quite the cutie. I remember meeting him in April, because I thought he had the most beautiful eyes. Little did I know that he would be at the house every day.


Let me tell you what I know about J. He's 9 years old and in the 2nd grade. He lives with his mother, who works for us on the strawberry farm. He also lives with his 2 brothers and 1 sister, all who are older than he is. J struggles a bit in school, mostly with his rowdy behaviors.

Early this morning, they were outside playing and I had my kiddos come in because it was time for school. J stuck around, without my knowing. :) I went out to get towels off the line and there he was... sitting on our back steps. I said "J, didn't i ask you to go home?" He didn't answer, but replied "I will help you." And he began getting the towels off the line.
-insert here: now... I'm well aware at how sweet this sounds... but also, we are learning that we have to MAKE the kids go home... or they WONT! haha-

I said, "Well, if you want to help, then come in. " I then had him and Z fold the towels. ha. I then said, "if you are staying, then you have to participate in school with us." He agreed. And he did! I told him that I knew he struggled with listening at school. He grinned and said "I make too much noise." I said, "Well, today, I'm sure you will do just fine." And he did. He has great handwriting, but is clearly behind in some other areas.
As I sat and watched my kids learning with J sitting at the table learning, too, I just became full. While some would be annoyed by his presence, I'm asking God to show me how to influence and see into his heart... so that we can help him in school. I've seen parts of his heart... and it is sweet.

As (home) school came to a close, and lunch approached, I said "J, it is time for you to go home. I'm going to give you a banana, and then you have to go. If you obey, you are welcome to come back tomorrow." He agreed and left right away. This is another behavior that he has struggled with at school: obedience, specifically around going home. First, I'm praying that God will give me more time so that I can gain a bigger glance into what "home" is like for J. I'm hoping that over time, trust is built and boundaries are set in place to help him grow into a Godly young man.

So... you can join me in praying for J... and for the influence our family might make on his life.

(on a side note... and much lighter side... the kids came running in this am after breakfast and said "there's a black mamba in the yard!" We all go running out the door and see, indeed, there is a black snake "swimming" across our mud puddle. Shane grabs a hoe and chops it up. The ladies working on the farm then inform us that it isn't a black mamba... but a spitting cobra instead. Oh good, that makes me feel a lot better. ???!?!?!?!)
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"It's Malaria..."

Those are the words that I hoped I wouldn't have to hear for at least a year or so, as we get settled in to our new home in Zambia. Actually, it was one of my biggest fears in bringing my children to Africa.

On Sunday night, KG started running a fever... no other symptoms. On Monday morning, she still had her fever and we took her to a clinic about 30 minutes away. It is the best clinic and medical care you can get in this area. They did a finger prick and blood test, and the Dr. brought us back into her office and said "It's Malaria.." She went on to describe the treatment, and what we needed to be aware of. Wow. Malaria? Didn't I spray them obsessively when they were out past 5? Am I not the one who continuously obsesses over the door being closed? Don't they sleep under a net? Aren't we taking a preventative medication for malaria? YES! AND YET...It was time to face my fear head.on.

(KG under to mosquito net the first night in Zambia)


While the potential for "freak out" was pretty high, I have to say that we were "ok." I can't explain it other than God's grace is sufficient... His word is true.
KG really was a trooper. She's been whining and not sleeping the best, but otherwise doing pretty good. We are hopeful the medications we have (which cost us a total of $15) will rid her of malaria. We are to go back next week for a test and hope it comes back negative. Ultimately, it was a mild case. However, there are SO.MANY. MOSQUITOS in our home! We aren't sure if they are getting in through screens that aren't working well, or through the "vent" system... which is just holes drilled... without any screens that we can tell. Either way... just pray that we can find the source and get it fixed asap.

I can't help but think... ultimately, without 1. Parents to notice she wasn't well 2. Access to medical care 3. Ability to pay for the medication : She could have very well DIED from it.

3,000 children die each day from Malaria.

We.are.blessed.

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Meet My Neighbors...

"Love your neighbor as yourself..." Jesus. (Luke 10:27)

Today I was afforded the opportunity to walk into the "Zambia Compound" to visit a home of a child, sweet C, who attends our school. The compound is something like a squatter village, with many homes that house over 2,000 children in our area. Our home is about .5 mile from this compound. Those who live within it... they are my neighbors.

I have been in the compound before, by car, but never by foot. I walked with E and Z, along with visiting Vision Team members.

I cast my eyes upon children... every which way that I looked. I saw children with no clothes... I saw a mother struggle to carry her twins: one on the front and one on the back... I saw a little boy who had a bad cut on his face, needing a mother's care. I saw children tending to themselves with their mothers laying lifeless under a tree. We encountered men who had clearly had too much of something, and were aggressive with the children we love. I met a mother who has 4 biological children, and is caring for her dead sisters 2 children. She has no job. She has no husband. The oldest child is deaf and mute. Yet she says "Without Jesus Christ, I could not face these trials."

It simply isn't right. For us to live as if this does not exist, and for me to live as if they are not my neighbor... is wrong. To not love them as Jesus would is a reflection of a hardened heart.

So... meet my neighbors...











And so...

"... who is my neighbor?" (Luke 10:29)



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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A little glimpse...

Our first night in Africa... it was a sweet time, blessed with a beautiful sunset! (like every night)





The walk down our road to and from the school... it's a beautiful walk, and a beautiful thing to see my children walk the roads with such amazing people!


The kids were a bit overwhelmed at first, with 215 kids staring them down. In the words of KG "it was kinda crowdy." ha. BUT, since then, E has attended class, KG has found several playmates, and Z has been to basket weaving cla
ss 2 days! (plus they are all getting spoiled by the older kids!)

We are so blessed to live among the only strawberry farm in Zambia! That's Lifesong Farm! You can click here to see more. The kids LOVE it!


A little story and some prayer...

I wanted to ask you to pray for P. He is a little boy that is Z's age who is constantly sick. He was at school with his mother yesterday, as she wanted him to see the nurse at school. I was asked to sit in on the visit to possibly help from a social work standpoint. You see, little P is suspected to be HIV +. However, his mother denies this greatly and has up to this point refused to get him tested. I sat down next to P and another team member. Our nurse, Christabell (who ROCKS), had a heart to heart with the mother. She said "do you want your child to die?" The mother hung her head and eventually said "no." She said "You can get tested, treated and take medication and do very well." The mother agreed to go immediately and have him tested. LS provided the ability for her to get to the clinic. We are supposed to learn tomorrow these results and get him medication if necessary. Pray for his mother, that she would be able to stand strong and make wise choices for P. Pray that she would be able to keep his best interest in mind rather than the stigma she and her family may face. Pray for P. He is a sweet, sweet little boy who wants to be well... to run and play like other 6 year old boys do.

Ya'll... I don't know what more to say, other than now that I am here I feel like this is what I was made for. While I'm not blinded to the darkness around, I'm finding such deep joy and gladness that God chose us to be in this place.

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