Friday, December 7, 2012


I remember leaving my family 18 months ago.  I was standing in the airport and we finally came to the point where there was no turning back.  I could see the dread and aguish in my parents faces.  Finally, what they had prayed for their whole lives was coming true…only they didn’t realize how much it would hurt.  Goodbyes were spoken and I took a deep breath, grabbed the hand of my husband and children (along with an insane amount of luggage) and walked through security.  At that moment, my sight lost them and my eyes fixed on 254 children in Zambia.  From that moment, I haven’t looked back.  Rare have been the days that I found myself longing for anything but the dirt of Zambia. 

2 days ago, my family and I stepped foot onto a plane.  “Home for Christmas,” a nostalgic phrase.  The anticipation around me was just exactly like it should be on Christmas morning.  I had 3 little kids knowing what awaited them on the other side of the trip… and they could barely contain themselves.  I had 2 older children who, with every blink was taking in something new and exciting… and anticipating what things “might be like” upon arrival. I had a husband who dreams of Starbucks… and when his next encounter with one might be. Excitement was high.  Myself, excited… yet contained.  When we finally landed on the ground in Atlanta, pushed ourselves through the various security measures, and saw my parents on the other side… kids went running and Shane and I were still bearing the burden of the luggage. Ha.

For me, excited, yet still contained.  But then it happened.  We pulled into the house, and I stepped out of the car.  My mom rushed inside to turn the Christmas lights on.  When my feet hit the rocks, I smelled “Smoky Mountain Air.”  I walked in to the house, and it smelled as it always does at Christmas time.  I looked around and very few things had changed (with the exception of my stocking position, which is slowly creeping off the edge of the mantel… and with one or 2 more additions I will find myself booted right off).  I was HOME.  Laughter and giggles filled the air, despite our 12:30pm arrival time.  And my mom, as always, took me on the tour to show me where to find exactly what we might need… that her and my grandmother worked so hard to organize.  It took a few minutes.  My mom slipped off to bed.  I finally corralled my children to bed.  I grabbed a book from the book basket.  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  It had a .49$ sticker on it.  In the front it read “Brad only” (that’s my brother).  That would explain why there were 2 copies of the book. J I read the story to my littles, and noticed in the background that the fooseball table stopped and I could hear the older boys listening from the loft.  They eventually drifted off to sleep.  I walked through the house and it hit me.  “How have I not missed every single thing about this place?”  “How have I not grieved missing so much of my family’s life?”  “How does my heart not LONG to be here?”  It was the Holy Spirit just whispering to me… “I did that for you.  I covered your heart in peace.  I set your eyes on the things I wanted your heart to follow.  It is only by my GRACE and my STRENGTH that allows you to go.”  And the tears fall.  I miss home so much.  I miss my family so much.  But I haven’t shed one.tear. for “wanting to come home.”  That is God’s grace.   I’m so grateful for God’s grace and protection.  I’m so thankful that we can all step foot inside this home again, and rejoice in what the Lord has done for us.  I’ll be home for Christmas… 


Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Wow... It's been almost 2 months... yikes! 

*Please read this with a grain of salt... not a lot of filtering and more for my own processing. * (mom don't freak out that i'm on the verge of a breakdown... I'm not. )

Today, I'm weary.  So much so I feel myself shaking inside.  I'm on the verge of tears at every turn.  WHY?  I can go days or weeks feeling fine, but honestly I feel myself moving towards complete exhaustion.  I'm not sure if it is because my mind is set on our return home for a few weeks.  If my mind is starting to wonder to those things that are so comfortable.  Some days I just long for "easy."  No sick kids... no staffing issues... no unhappy complaints... no death... gas in the gas station... hot water... or well... just water... a well stocked pantry... time ALONE... maybe find myself snowed in somewhere with just my family... a nap... you know... nice and easy.  nothing hard.  not for one day. just one day. 

Ok.  I'm done whining.  

I'm so in love.  I so love Zambia... I love my staff and team... I love education... I love social work... I love 267 children... I love my 5 children... I love my husband... I love to cook... I love to have a clean house... I love to teach... I love visitors... I love planning for the future... I love this ministry... on and on... 

My limits are starting to smack me in the face.  I love much... but feel very unable.  I'm simply unable. 

I'm weary and quite frankly want to run far far away.  (with my husband and children VERY close behind) 

My need for Jesus has never been clearer than it is right now.  I'm feeling a bit in rags.  
But God leaves me with the comfort of his word... 

"Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up." Gal 6:9


Thursday, September 6, 2012

what you don't see...

Behind the blog posts, FB status's, and emails... there's so much that goes on that never makes it to the pages for everyone to see.  Most of the time that is due to the pace of life we keep.  However, there has been one area of our life that I have kept private for a reason.  It's not private if you visit, because you can see it for yourself. It's hard to write about something so emotionally charged, difficult, and especially when things are unclear.  But... the smog is rising and God is moving.  So... now's the time to write. 
Most of you know our hearts for adoption.  It walks hand in hand alongside our calling to orphan care.  We walked away from our 2nd adoption process when we knew God was asking us to move to Zambia.  
It wasn't long after arriving in Zambia, God began to place certain kids in our path that just "felt" different than the rest to me. But, after moving to a foreign country with so much need... one can't really trust their emotions.  Over time, a boy named Ngosa, started to bond with our family.  He was a single orphan, who at the time had not seen his mother in 5 years.  His father was dead.  His grandmother was seeking Lifesong to care for him as she was aging and becoming unable to do so.  Over time, our family resumed care for Ngosa.  As of now, he has been an unofficial part of our family for 10 months.  
Ngosa is smart (in the top 4 in the class... and #7 over all grade 7s in our area).  He's 14 years old... and one of the funniest kids I've ever met.  We've been walking a road with him that has NOT been easy.  But, we've seen a boy who was fearful, hoarding, and acting in every way to "self-preserve"... to a boy who is loving, thoughtful, helpful, and trusting.  We haven't arrived, but we've come a LONG way. 
In addition to Ngosa, about 5 months ago, a double orphan in our program began to once again bond with our family.  Paul has floated from place to place after his parents died years ago. Paul is now with us, as well. He says he is 13, but his grandmother swears he can't be older than 11.  (haha)  He is such a tender boy, who is smart but has so much hurt in his life. We are still in what I would call a crucial/critical stage with him. 
I've hesitated to even write this.  Why? 1. Criticism.  2. Misunderstandings 3. Prevention of Friends and Family Freak out.  4.  Our journey has been RAW and we haven't been in a place to share. 
We NEVER set out to foster ANY children older than our own.  
We FULLY understand the risks involved... and are taking appropriate precautions. 
We KNOW this may not make ANY sense to many of you... financially, emotionally, and so on. 
But what we can say is this... We know we are called to play a key role in their lives. 
We see how they are responding to love, nurture, structure, and Godly discipline... and how God is making us... in some strange way... a family. 
It has been one of the hardest years of our lives.  But what we can say is the clouds are lifting... we feel like we have not only been adjusting to life in a new country, with so many responsibilities... but also walking through the difficulties of an older child adoption... without the perks of a celebrated, actual adoption.  
For now, things are going well.  We're finding our balance and God is answering prayers.  What the future holds, we don't know, but we know that God is faithful and He loves us, our 3 littles, and the boys.
All I can say is that our house is full of laughter, homework, laundry, adventure, and funny smells.  But we certainly have 5 of the best children in all of the world.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sorrow turned to joy...

Many of you remember my post last month about Davison, and the death of his brother.  If not, you can scroll 2 posts down.  

Often times I think we can write and tell about the hard things, but not the joyful things.  In Davison, I see healing, and I have to share it. 

About 3 weeks ago, I sat with him at church.  It just so happened that the speaker that day had just lost his father the night before.  The sermon was about death, life after death, and how we can view death as Christians.  It was really powerful to see Davison soak it all in and feel that this sermon was so applicable to where his heart was. And there he was... with that Bible... looking up every single scripture mentioned. We stood and then sang together "Blessed be the name of the Lord."  It was a beautiful full time that we could worship Christ together. 

About a week after that, the kids went to a local church camp.  Leslie and I had to visit the camp to make arrangements for the days to come.  When we got there, we walked in during prayer time.  The entire building of youth were praying aloud.  It was pretty powerful.  The kids didn't know we were anyway around.  So (instead of praying, yes, i stink) I surveyed the crowd to find our students and saw them pouring their hearts out to the Lord.  And there it was... I saw Davison.  He was praying so intensely... it looked as if Jesus was standing right in front of him and Davison was just telling him all that was in his heart... all his hurts... his grief... his requests... laid out right there before the Father.  

I see his sorrow turning into healing.  

and... I also see his sorrow turning into laughter.  

"you have turned for me my morning into dancing...." Ps. 30:11

I've yet to learn to always keep my camera close.  So... when I found these, I thought "well, it looks like Davison is enjoying himself... at least with my camera!" 

(Davison is on the left... )

It's good to see sorrow turned to joy... HE does make beautiful things out of the dust.... 


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Is this my life?

There are some days I just sit and think "really?  is this my life?"  It's not negative, or positive... but more in a state of awe... ha.  

Really?  Did I just haul a casket, et al in my van?

Really? Did a 14 year old just kill a 4 ft cobra near my house?

Really?  No hot water for a shower this WEEK?

Really? Did a dog just bite my pastor's daughter?

Really?  You think I can dance like THAT?

Really? another dead rat stuck under the bathtub with no escape until it completely decays?

Really? has it been so long since I went shopping that picking out a light fixture finds me totally overwhelmed and incompetent? 

Really? am i hours away from flying my daughter to South Africa for medical care because she has had malaria 6 TIMES IN 10 MONTHS?  

Some days... yes.  It's hard to believe this is the life I live.  I feel like I should be relaxing by a pool somewhere... watching my kids swim and eat popsicles.  I feel like I should be thinking about what movie to see next, or what the "back to school" fashion will be this Fall.  

Regardless of what I THOUGHT I'd be doing... the truth is THIS is my life.  And even in the midst of so many uncertain things... we can have JOY in THIS LIFE.  MY life.  


Friday, July 20, 2012

The story of grief...

It's morning here, Saturday morning.  As I sit and listen to the waking of noises, big and small, my fingers are stiff because it is so cold outside this morning.  It's winter in Zambia.  

Before today's needs steal yesterday from me, I have to sit and process, and pray.  

First, you must know Davison.  He's in grade 7 and 14 years old.  Hard working, respectful, beautiful, loving, yet has a splash of strut. Here is pic of him with the crazy snake killed on the farm.

In March.... 

 I visited his home for the first time.  We were a few feet away and he stops me.  He looks and says "My brother, I have a sick brother."  I asked him to explain and he wasn't able to.  He said "You will see."  As we went into the home, I met Willy for the first time.  I entered the dark, small house.  It was there I saw him.  Willy laid in the middle of the floor on a mattress, unable to move.  He was paralyzed from the waist down. He had been like this since 2008, when he was diving in shallow water at the river. Now, he was 21 years old. 

It was then I fully understood why Davison was always rushing home after school, or why he was working around his home so much.  

I sat and talked with Willy, and it didn't take long to see that he was smart.  He enjoyed to read and listen to the radio.  Davison would also read to him, but Davison said "He reads better than I do!"  So often, Willy read to Davison.  
We ended the visit with my promise to send him some books to read, as long as he would return them.  And so, that's what we did.  

2 weeks ago... 

Davison was in my house, and he asked for a Bible.  Litterally, the next day a team arrived and brought extra Bibles.  There was one Bible that stood out to me, and was written for teenage boys.  It was perfect!  So, I gave Davison that Bible and he was very happy!!

6 days ago... 

Davison once again found himself at my house, and we were washing dishes together.  I asked if he was enjoying his Bible and he said "very much, it is very nice."  I asked about Willy, and if he needed any new books.  Davison said he was doing fine, and that they were reading the Bible together.  "Willy reads it in Bemba, and then I read the same verse in English."  

Conversation over. 

2 nights ago... 

Davison was sitting with Willy.  Willy asked for some water because his heart was racing.  Within minutes he died. 


I hear the news.  I glance and see Davison lined up at school in the morning.  I walk up to him and he cannot make eye contact.  I say, "Davison, are you ok?"  He shakes his head NO with eyes straight ahead.  The tears begin.  I take him by the arm and walk him to a quiet place.  There, I sit and cry with him for a long time.  There, I pray God's presence for his family, despite the lack of understanding "why"... and there, I prayed that Davison would be able to think about the day that Willy can RUN to him in heaven.. and there I prayed God's word would bring peace to Davison.  

Davison leaves school and returns to his family. 

2 hours later... 

I find myself, 3 other staff, and 2 students walking up to Davison's home.  The black burning in the street is evidence of the grief.  People are everywhere.  As we approach the door, Davison walks out, gets us and leads us inside the home.  Mourners line the narrow, dirt hallway, and fill the room where Willy still remained on the mattress where I first met him. The crying of his mother and sister is almost more than I can bear.  We sat, and we prayed, and we cried.  

4 hours later... 

I'm driving a van with Sheila and another staff to provide the transport to the burial, for the body.  We pull up, and a box painted like marble casket exit the home.  The men, grandmothers, mother, and sister enter the van with the body.  To say that 10 minute drive was the longest of my life would be an understatement.  Driving slow over every bumpy, narrow path in the compound... out into the bush.  The rhythmic wailing increased as we approached the cemetery.  My knuckles gripped the steering wheel as an alternative to completely breaking down emotionally. 

In the middle of the bush were mounds and mounds of burials... the reminder that death is simply a part of every day life here.  The funeral began, the wailing continued.  I scanned the crowed for the boy my heart hurt the most for, Davison.  I saw him, sitting on the far side of the burial ground... and it was there I saw him... with that Bible out, reading.  The Bible I'd given him 2 weeks earlier.  He was reading his Bible... the favorite pastime of him and Willy.  My heart was so full of grief for him, and at the same time filled with gladness that He recognizes where peace comes from.  

Before long, it was time to go... and Davison walks to us, and we put him in the van, with his other family.  The grieving continued back to the home.  Davison's face buried in his hands.  As we arrive and I lift the back of the van open, I see their faces of grief.  I help lift them up out of the van.  They disappear into the house.  We sit for a few minutes, say our goodbyes, and leave.  


Silence falls on my heart... yet the noise of life continues. 


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Where did June go?

It has been quite a while since blogging... and now I realize that in good "blogging" practices I'm putting my "readership" at risk... ha.  
I have to be honest, sometimes I just have a hard time figuring out how to accurately share what we experience throughout even just one week  day!  

In the past 4 weeks, we have had 3 teams that have come and blessed us beyond belief!  So many blessings have come our way and it has been a great time for us to be refueled by friends and church family.  Next Friday, we host our biggest mission team yet... 19 people, including our head pastor and his family!  (no pressure... haha) For the first time, I am on the other end of a mission trip... 

As for the family... Since June 1st... I've had malaria, Shane's had a sinus infection, KG has an infection in her leg and she has had her 5th case of malaria!  haha.  (ok, come on... that's a great reason not to be blogging!) At the same token... we've been fishing, dug up some big ol' carrots in our garden, made cake pops (thanks to Holly Love), hung out in the compound for dinner, seen Victoria Falls and been on a safari with one of the groups!  WHERE ARE THE PICTURES FOR CRYING OUT LOUD?!  

I have to say, that while it seems in writing things have been chaotic, God's grace is so real and so full...  While we are often "giving" of our time, money, love, etc... we are experiencing God's words in Luke 6:38 when he says "Give and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over."  Our marriage is becoming stronger and stronger... Our children are adjusting and doing wonderfully in school (which is a blessing regardless of how we decide to move in the future)... we are learning to balance family and ministry... I do believe we are starting to FINALLY find our pace. (well, that only took a year... haha) And hopefully... I'll start pacing myself on blogging, too.  


Friday, June 1, 2012


There are times that I could kick myself for not taking note of the things that happen in a day... not just "stuff" but the really special things that happen.  Today... there were 4. 

1.  Today was uniform pick up day for the parents/caregivers for Lifesong students (pics to come... especially on Monday when they show up in their uniforms!) These days are always hard for some.  Today, I got to be the "stand in" mom for 2 kiddos.  2 of the most amazing kids on the campus.  It's such an honor for me to do that even though it seems like such a little thing. 

2.  Another kiddo who had recently had a death in the family came and spent some usual time at our house.  He shared how traveling to a funeral, seeing his mother for the first time in 5 years was painful. He then shared how his mom would be traveling here to stay (in the compound) due to his step father dying. He's processing the fact that his mother has 5 children younger than himself... and why she hasn't cared for him for all these years. Jesus give me healing words. 

3.  An amazing conversation over dish washing... one that has been months in the making... one that only God could be orchestrating.  (maybe more details to come another time) When love and true hearts desire is shared... it is good. 

4.  Last but certainly the one that makes my heart flutter... Z, before going to bed says "I want to be with you more than anything in the world."  THAT, my friend, is why it's hard not to snuggle with the kid all night long.  don't judge me. 

All this in a 12 hour span.  


Thursday, May 17, 2012

When you caught between 3 sleeping people... awake

Well, I've been trying to go back to sleep for the past 2 hours... and... I've given up.  Being sandwiched between 3 sleeping people (2 small children with various interesting noises while sleeping mixed with the occasional punch in the face) has made me give up the hope of the sand man coming my way again tonight.  *it's now 4:30 am. *

There are so many things floating through my head right now: Lifesong school: needed improvements, goals, curriculum, logistics in schedules, etc... to TEAMS: we have so many wonderful teams coming our way this "summer" to my kiddos.  The heaviest is certainly my children. 

You know, it's really easy to get wrapped up in everyone else's need and the urgency that it brings.  However, at the end of the day... when I see my kids needs, that's what matters most to me.  

Right now, I'm honestly struggling.  Theres 100 reasons why, and I'm not even going to get into all the administrational/missional aspects.  Most importantly are my children.  I'm simply not sure.  
I'm not sure about schooling.  
While KG and E are doing pretty awesome, Z is really struggling.  Not so much academically (because he is just 6 and in grade 1, reading pretty good, writing pretty well, and a whiz at math)... but rather emotionally. It's not because of his peers, but rather because of what I would call a "harsh" environment when it comes to discipline.  

Can I just brag for a minute?  Lifesong Teachers are amazing.  While they are certainly not easy or soft when it comes to discipline, they do it with love and respect of a child's dignity.  I LOVE that.  I love that I can trust them not to emotionally damage a child because of the style of discipline or classroom management they choose to implement.  

Z is my tender child.  You might not pick that up immediately, because E is more "sensitive" but Z is more tender.  KG is who she is. ;) Z simply does't do well in a harsh environment.  It either makes him loose all confidence, or it makes him angry.  Unless he is perfect in class *and he won't be*, he is going to be subject to some pretty harsh, shame based discipline.  It's something we aren't used to.  It goes against EVERYTHING I know is good for a child.  ugh.  

Words can't say how much I love my children.  It's inconceivable unless you're a mother.  I really want God to show me if my heart is wrong, or if I'm being to quick to judge.  I need to know the right way. 2 out of 3 enjoy it there.  1 really DOESNT.  Does he just need time? a period of adjustment? or is this harmful to him?  will he just learn to "do the right thing or else?"  ha.  *SCREAM*  But not only that... i just don't want him to think it's ok to laugh at... shame at... or look down on his peers in ANY way.  Right now he really loves kids... his friends.  He would rather be playing with the boys who have NOTHING than the ones who have lots.  He doesn't consider himself different or better... or even know the concept of "looking down" on someone.  I certainly don't want him to learn that at school.  

prayers prayers prayer.  

Our true hearts desire is to have a teacher who would teach our children 3-4 days a week and volunteer at Lifesong 1-2 days.  I don't know if that is an American teacher or a Zambian teacher.  So just pray that God would provide what He would have for us, in His timing.  In the meanwhile, pray that God would speak SO CLEARLY to us.  I know that we were to make this decision.  I know God is moving or going to work through it... teaching us things as we go.  

well... that's what you get when I can't sleep... ;)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The decision for school...

Well, if you have seen any of my Facebook updates, you know that my 3 kiddos started school this week.  *sigh*

First, I don't really recommend that all 3 children start school for the first time all in one day. :) 

Second, I'm blow.away. by how cool my kids are.  

I've really never anticipated my kids settling into another culture as brave as they have.  They are so accepting, so understanding, and are able to pick out the best of life in Zambia. 

The decision to start them in a Private Christian School, called CCM Academy (Center for Christian Missions) was one Shane and I really spent a lot of time discussing and praying about. 

Factors to consider for us were:

*Ability to protect homeschooling time from:
- the unforeseen, yet guaranteed emergencies
-the crazy schedules during the 'US' summer months (5 teams in 2 months!)
* the impact of consistently being in an impoverished environment for our children
*the need for a steady routine despite all the visits, troubles, and changes that often come our way
*the need for both Shane and I at the school until things become more manageable 

Thus... CCM was the choice.  It's come highly recommended by another family who worked there for a time.  While our kids are the only non-Zambians... I'm completely confident that they are in a very good environment... that is challenging them academically.  

So, term by term we go... we shall see what the future holds.  

For now... it's early mornings, packed lunches, uniforms... and very sweet early afternoon time with my 3 kiddos.  


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Living in the Mess

For those of you who know us, you probably think we've been accustomed to living in a "mess" for a long time.  It seems since we left our corporate jobs 4 years ago, things have always had a flair of messy to it.  
But for those of you who have set foot onto Zambian soil, you have a little glimpse into our lives... the demands, the never-ending need, and the unpredictable situations that often determine your day. 

The unique challenge that we have is our house location is right in the middle of endless opportunity for ministry. We are only a half mile from say... Sweet T's house, and about 10 others. We are right on the edge of the compound, so we are accessible when need arrises.  Now, I personally love that.  I don't want to be so far removed that we can't fully be a part of their lives.  However, it has certainly presented its challenges.  

There really could be several blog posts stem from this one... "Marrying Compassion and Empowerment in Ministry"... "Setting Healthy boundaries in Missions"... "Motherhood and Missions= a place for both"... I could go on and on! 

I'm not going to elaborate here... maybe someday. But here are some of the things we are doing to attempt to live in the mess well... not withdraw from it. 

1.  Boundaries: The Mr. and I have to consistently judge and share with each other on how we are doing in setting appropriate boundaries that a. protect our time with the Lord b. Protect our time with each other c. Protect our time with our children. *That our first job is to protect our marriage and our children* 

2. Having set Family Days:  We struggle more with this, but we have Tuesdays and Thursday evenings set aside as ONLY family. During the holiday and with teams, it's kinda hard to preserve that, but we do our best to call it later in the week if it gets missed. 

3.  Having Rules about when the farm house is "Open for visitors" and when it isn't. And holding the kids to some clear rules when they are here. 

4. For me, to realize that God's gifted me a certain way, and that isn't a mistake, but a blessing.  He's equipped me to do certain parts of this ministry, not all of it. I could elaborate, and will, on how this has impacted the way I function as a wife, mom, and someone in missions.  

5.  We can't do it all.  We are not the solution to these people's problems.  Jesus is.  We can only do what He has called us to.  Jesus didn't heal everyone, although he had the power to do so.  Which means God must give us wisdom in how to move and act each day. 

These are the areas that are necessary for living in a place where those you love bring their heartache, their baggage, etc. to your doorstep.  Honestly, it is a daily struggle to continue to keep these boundaries and order in place.  You can pray for us in these areas so that we are able to Live well in the mess.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Inviting in brokenness...

Brokenness... it's becoming a friend I can embrace. Sometimes my heart wants to just cry to Jesus "NO MORE BROKENNESS!"

I read a blog post here, and my favorite part of the post says this:

"When we love people, we invite their brokenness and mess into our lives. Mess is inconvenient; it takes our time, energy, and sometimes money to make it better. Despite our efforts, the mess can not be fully containted. It spills over and touches the people who dare to stand near."

That concept can seem so scary. To knowingly invite in brokenness. Isn't that completely against what we've been taught? Everything we do... from Kindergarten upwards... is to ensure you have a "comfortable"... "presentable" life.

Be well educated= go to college= get a good job with lotsa $$$
Surround yourself with good upstanding people = so other's don't pull you down
*certainly don't go to that side of town* etc...

It's true... "when we LOVE". Well, there it is. Do we really love?

We've found ourselves in the midst of many, many children that we love. And therefore, their mess has come our way.
Some messes are:
*kids showing up after being chased... and staying for a bit.
* Dealing with issues like: pornography, jealousy, and someone said "hyper individualism", poverty mindset, abusive parents, hunger, abandonment, etc.
*Crying for and with a mother whose 7 month old baby died of a preventable disease.

Just yesterday, we dropped a sick baby off at the clinic and my 4 year old said "Mom, why do they not go to our doctor?" (we attend the best doctor in town... it's expensive even for us... talk about a life lesson at the age of 4.)

It's kinda messy. It's inconvenient, and it certainly take energy! Often times Satan wants us to believe that it's not worth it... or we aren't making a bit of difference because these issues listed aren't resolving. The mess will never be contained this side of heaven. And their brokenness becomes yours if you dare to stand near.

Now... this isn't something that only Africa provides an opportunity for. Brokenness is everywhere. Are you daring to stand near?

(next post will be Living in the Mess... something we are trying to learn!)


Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Often times, I hear others voices inside my head (no, I'm not talking mental health issues, don't pull out the DSM IV)... who sometimes try to convince me that Africa is somehow offering Less to my children than they deserve...need...or whatever...

If Africa is less... then less is more in my book...


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Holy Week + Real Life

Today, Maundy Thursday, of our Holy Week... The reflection of the KING as servant. And the anticipation of the worlds greatest need met. And yet, creation continues to groan for the return of our great King.

Today started out with great pain here on the farm. I have the privilege of seeing some amazing women work hard for their families each day, as our home is located smack dab in the middle of Lifesong's Strawberry Farm. When we first moved... I met a young woman with a 2 week old baby tied to her back! She was working in the fields. I grew to enjoy seeing the baby, and sometimes holding it and making her laugh (or scaring her with my white skin...haha) The baby has been sick off and on. Even last week she came to our home at lunch asking for some food for the baby. Just last night, her baby met Jesus. Everyone on the farm is grieving. Not just for the loss of a sweet life here, but for S... her mother. You see, S's husband died 2 months before the baby was born. So in the last year, she has lost her husband and her baby girl.

And creation groans.

We continued on with our end of term awards and party. Here is what I saw:

#1 student in grade 1: Searching for a parent to get his award, fighting back tears... alone.

2 boys close to my heart asking "who will get my certificate with me?"

The rawness of orphan life. Those who are "vulnerable" are the blessed ones today. Because today I saw children SEARCHING for someone to share in their achievement, someone to applaud them, someone to walk with them to get their awards. So, today... I was the "stand in" mom.

And while that is ok... creation groans.

I saw young men who live on campus, being abandoned by their families, receive awards... yet their distant relatives will come quickly to collect the awards with "pride" despite not seeing, visiting, nor caring for these children on a monthly basis... much less a daily one.

And creation groans.

I saw a boy who had been abandoned at a young age, finally achieve the #1 spot in his class... and with tears in his eyes... he proudly accepted the award with his elderly grandmother.

Now.. that... That is my SUNDAY!

While there is so much brokenness around us... as we groan through the "passion"... we must find the resurrection in this life... the new life He has given us... the HOPE for the next life to come. Redemption is here.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

More than a Match...

Recently we got this AMAZING news...

Great, you say... a matching grant... it's pretty cool! It's a great time to give, for sure.

What's better than having your gift DOUBLED?

Well, to me... the Kingdom work being multiplied by YOUR dollars simply can't fit into a mathematical equation.

To me, this means more than a match... it's more than dollars being multiplied.


It means that I can look at JoNAtHAN, in Baby class and say that next year, he won't have to sit on the ground outside... in the rain... or crowd with 252 kids bigger than he is into a small space to eat in a dry spot.

It means that I can confidently look at the double orphan on the street who desperately wants to come to school and say "yes, next year we will have the classroom space to add a class for YOU."

It means that the boys, who live on campus, can experience what it would be like to live in a home....

It means that I can look at 22 GRADE 7's and say... "Lifesong is here to FINISH WHAT WE'VE STARTED... we will be able to continue educating, discipling, and training you through graduation."

The kids sing a song here that says
"He give's me joy-O, He give's me peace-O, everything He gives is double...everything is double double."

This match means so much more than double to our team... it means continued growth in ministry. It means that we can continue being about what God brought us here to do. It means that the children who have been abandoned and forgotten in the past, won't have to feel that way again, simply because of a lack of financial support. It means "buying" more time for God to continue working in the hearts and minds of the children Lifesong has been pouring into for the past 6 years. God simply isn't finished with them... and we don't want to let them go due to lack of space.

I rarely ask for things on this blog... but I'm asking you to consider joining Lifesong in raising funds to help with our match! This isn't our personal support... this is directly going to the needs of growth at our school. Each and EVERY dollar will be going to construct the necessary buildings we are mandated to have in order to grow through grade 12 with our current students. I PROMISE your dollars will be MORE THAN DOUBLED by investing in the lives of these very special children...

To join us... email!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

When the streets find your home...

(Ok, before I get to this serious post... Is it REALLY MARCH 20 and I'm JUST NOW posting my first post in MARCH?!?!?! Maybe I could blame the 30 member vision team that came, or KGs 4th bought of malaria, or E's stomach virus, or Zack's finger infection, or us being extremely short staffed, or KG's allergic reaction, or what I'm about to write about... But I'd just be lying. I'm a blog neglector... it's true. forgive me.)

Last Friday evening, I found myself opening the door to something pretty special.

I opened the door and am certain the look on my face was one of confusion. (they try to train you in grad school to control your facial expressions, but I'm certain I failed at that moment.) Some of the kids who were hanging out at our house came carrying big bags full of stuff and saying "they've come to stay with you." WHO? And around the corner crept 4 teenage boys with sheepish grins on their faces... like "hey... uh... haha... kinda need a place to live right now." There wasn't a moment of consultation, Shane and I both grabbed their bags and welcomed them in.

This is where the streets found our home.

You see, these boys aren't just "any" boys. They used to live on the streets... not just for a day or two, but for YEARS they lived on the streets. Some had abusive homes that drove them to the streets. Some had families force them to live on the streets and beg. Some had no family at all. Either way, they all had one thing in common... life on the streets. This life consisted of abuse, sometimes drugs, and a true "survival of the fittest" mentality.

BUT God had a plan for their lives. About 3-4 years ago, they were rescued from the streets. They were trained in structure, and given the nurture of Jesus Christ.

But this day, they faced the choice of living in a situation that wasn't healthy for them, or going to the streets. They desired to leave, and were told to go.

And they came to us.

There was no way that our spirit would let them go back to that life on the street, not even for one day.

Yes, you may think we are crazy... careless... or thoughtless. But if you were in my house this weekend, I can promise you a few things:

1. If you didn't know they had lived on the streets, you would have NEVER known.
(actually, I'd be honored if someone tried to give me credit for raising these boys)

2. You would have been amazed at the work ethic and respect that NATURALLY flowed from them... truly the fruits of the Spirit flowed out of them.

3. You would have laughed your head off.

4. You would have had the opportunity to have conversations with them about how hard, yet worth it, making life change really is.

5. You would have seen them truly enjoy being around our kids, and you would have seen our kids enjoy having 4 big brothers around the house.

6. Your pantry would be empty.

7. You would see them for who they are... P is the clown, JR is the "tough guy", F is the smarty pants, and E is the super sweet, try really really hard kind of guy.

8. You would see brotherhood at its finest. They keep each other in line, and hold each other to a high standard.

And my favorite memory of the weekend was this:

We went to a pizza joint that we frequent. Our family is there often, and it happens to be where many of the street kids are... begging for food. We've tried to build a relationship with some of the boys there. They know that they can "watch" our car, and we give them dinner. It's our deal. Even our kids give them the food, we aren't afraid... and they've never tried to be rough to them. (now, each other... that's another story)
So... here we are... our "family" for the weekend... 4 FORMER street boys. We eat until our bellies are going to explode. We had an entire pizza left (because we really have NO IDEA how many pizza's 4 teenage boys can eat). Before we even mentioned giving it... the boys looked through the iron bars that separated us from the streets... and saw them. I believe they saw what COULD HAVE BEEN in their own lives. They said "can we give it to them?" And of course, we said yes. They each took some food over and gave it to the street boys. (I could have fallen in the floor crying if it wouldn't cause a scene.) I saw the street boys looking as we were eating. They know our boys. Maybe they lived together on the streets. They see the life change. And I believe they want it to. That's the power of the Gospel. What you see in E, P, JR, and F... it's simply the power of JESUS CHRIST in their lives. They will say it themselves. They know truth. And now, they are living it out...

We are thankful that God reunified them with the people who have walked with them through their journey of change. They are in a great place. The best place for them.

I, however, will always treasure conversations that were had... and I am so terribly grateful we were able to be the safety net... and in turn start a wonderful relationship with 4 of the most amazing young men.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and the new has come." 2 Cor 5:17