Friday, June 17, 2016

Our Needs made known...

Well, it happened.  We have landed. Delirious and emotional. 

While we do not know for certain when the next time our feet will hit Zambian soil, we know that we can't go that long... 

And while I have a million thoughts and emotions processing through my mind right now, I'm choosing to wait on sharing those. 

However, Here's what can't wait.  Recently we sent out a letter to our faithful support team making our needs known for this transition.  We totally get that serving in the US is much less "glamorous" than serving in Zambia. (I mean, I'd rather be THERE if you weren't picking up on that)

But, to have our needs met here are important as well, and we must let our needs be known.  Here is the letter that we have sent and ways in which many people can help.  Maybe you can only help a little, maybe you can help a lot... That's not for me to determine. For us, we will be faithful in making our needs known. 

Dearest Friends, Family, and Supporters…

We pray that this letter finds you well, and enjoying the warmer weather where you are.  As for us, we are in our winter and the coolness feels nice. 

Our time in Zambia is quickly coming to a close, and the weeks and months ahead feel very scary, painful, and strange.  We are certainly in the grieving process amidst the very busy season of teams, interns, and change.   Things have been given away, sold, and the house is starting to look empty of things, but certainly not children.  The house says “something big is about to happen.”  One room is piled with things that we are bringing home.  That squeezing your life into 14 bags… again… feels familiar but unwelcome.

However, despite our own emotions, things on the ground are going well.  We continue to look forward to 4 more boarding homes being completed by the end of the year, and a total of 100 students in boarding for next year.  Currently there are 74! Plans continue to be made towards growth for the future, and students continue to be serious about their learning and are producing good results.  The forward momentum continues, and will continue.  The program is solid and we have made a plan for the responsibilities to be divided and therefore conquered.  Shane will continue to observe reports and be available to leadership on the ground while he is in the US office.  Next year we will have our first graduating class!  We so pray our family (or at least part) is able to return for that celebration. 

As in a previous email, we will remain on support for the next 12-18 months.  We so desire for you to continue your support as our family transitions.  It is necessary for us to continue with the ministry God has placed us in.  In addition, we have some one-time needs that are coming our way because of the relocation.  We have been very blessed with families advocating for us to collect a lot of things needed for our return.  If you have been one of those who have donated furniture, etc… we are so so grateful. 

We would be so grateful if you would consider a one-time gift to help our family transition back to the US.  Some of the one time expenses we have coming to us are listed below:

·      Immigration Fees for our 2 oldest children ($5,000)
·      A second car/van for our growing family ($7,500)
·      Medical exams/checkups/etc for our children to enter school ($1,000)
·      Plane tickets & school fees for our 2 foster boys: Brian and Webby ($8,000)

We have not made very many requests over the last 5 years.  We’ve rarely asked for an increase in giving to our personal support.  We ask that you prayerfully consider a one-time gift to help our family transition well.  If you are unable to do so, but able to increase giving for a period of time, we ask that you prayerfully consider that.  We look forward to a time where we are able to transition off of support, but we always welcome opportunities to see God’s faith stretching provision. 

Beyond giving, we truly covet your prayers.  There are many many details that must come together in the next couple of weeks.  Pray for emotional endurance, a good ending of a season here in Zambia, wisdom for the steps ahead, and the hearts of our children especially.  Pray we would be wise in making the many decisions necessary to transition from another country.  Pray for the people and children we leave behind.  Pray for the VISA appointments for our foster children, that they would be granted the student visa allowing them to remain a part of our family.  (Surprise! Many of you didn’t know we have more than 5!) Please pray for provision.  Pray for protection for the family we leave behind.  Pray for good, Godly friends for my children as we start a new life in Normal, IL. 

Words cannot express how grateful we are to each of you.  Tears feel my eyes and my heart feels like it will explode with gratitude.  The work that has taken place here over the last 5 years is a product of YOUR faithfulness.  It would NOT have happened without YOU.  God is at work, and I believe that in Heaven… if not before… some of our Zambian children will thank you.  Their lives are changed forever.  And, this is not the end.  My vision remains for this place and these children.  We still have work to do and we pray you will continue that with us!

We will be sending an update as soon as we get settled in the US.  Please feel free to call us or email us anytime.  After June 16th, you can reach us at 423-404-3334.  Our email and giving information is below. 

We love you all beyond words! Nalikutemwa! (We love you!)

          Shane, Mitzi, James, Paul, Zack, Kaytie, & Elijah

Giving information:
Check and Mail: Please make checks payable to “Lifesong for Orphans” and mail them to: 
Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40 Gridley, IL 61744
 *In the memo line, please write “McBride:  97800"
Online Giving:


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Confessions of a Missionary...

Confession: My greatest fears of living in the USA. 

Before even getting started, allow me to make 2 disclaimers. 
#1:  I love my country. But it is not my only home.  Actually, it doesn't even feel like home to me, nor my children.  Our home is here, in Zambia.  So when you say "Welcome HOME" or "Aren't you glad to be back on US soil?"  It feels strange and disconnecting. Because for a while, the answer is going to be "No." 
 #2: I know that fear is not a place believers want to live... but it is something we experience.  So, I totally get that perfect love casts out fear... and I won't be living with these things forever. But right now, these are thing real life things swirling in m mind. 

So with that disclaimer made, Let's get started. 

Fear Confession #1:

People won't understand us and won't want to talk about our experiences in Zambia because it makes them feel uncomfortable.

Maybe talking about orphans, or other peoples struggles or even victories makes people feel guilty.  

Fear Confession #2:

People won't be accepting of our family, the way it is. 

We are messy.  Everyone is if they are honest. But we are REAL.  

Fear Confession #3:

The Wardrobe Effect: Once you walk through the wardrobe, you start to wonder if Narnia is even real.  I'm scared this life I've lived for 5 years will start to feel like a dream. 

Leaving you want to believe it is, but once you are around others who haven't been to Narnia, it can make you start living as if it wasn't real. 

Fear Confession #4: 

Letting go of life together. Like really LIFE TOGETHER.  African Style.  What if I only can be with others by appointment? We can call it community, but that's not LIFE. 

I dare you to pop in without being announced! It will feel oddly comforting. 

Fear Confession #5:

I'm scared of comfort because it feels good. What if I become self absorbed? 

In reality I know it won't happen because I have lots of kids left behind who will keep me focused. 

Fear Confession #6: 

What if I don't want my kids to be "Americanized?" Will that put them as the oddballs out?

I have so much to say to Africa for it's unbelievably amazing childhoods that it has given my children.

Fear Confession #7:

I'm scared of starting to TRUST in ME more than I TRUST in HIM. 

Let's be honest, Americans are prideful (that's a good thing... so are Zambians!)... and we hold OUR dreams close (again, a good thing), and sometimes we think we are actually the ones in CONTROL (here's the faulty thinking).  I've known better the last 5 years, but I feel this strange magnetic pull to switch my dependency from fully on HIM to fully on ME.  

Fear Confession #8:

I'm scared of all the things that have changed that I'm totally unaware of. 

I mean, I must confess, on my last furlough I didn't know how to use the cards with the chip... OH, insert... not swipe. 

Fear Confession #9:

I won't be needed outside the walls of my own home. 

I remember KG saying 2 furloughs ago as we were walking, "no one needs us here, where are the poor people?" And it's true... you have to go searching. They are segregated in THAT part of town... or let's not even talk about the poor... how about your neighbor?  Can I need my neighbor?  Like for real... if you need a cup of sugar... come on over and I'll probably give you some tea too.

Fear Confession #10: 

Will the hustle and bustle take over the politeness and warmness of relationship?

I completely believe now that God has created us to be in relationship with one another.  Deeply. Sincerely. Not just closed off into the walls of our own family and our own schedule. Greeting someone here can take 5 minutes! But it's genuine.  It's refreshing. People have time for people here. And they will almost ALWAYS drop what they are doing if someone else needs help.  I love that.  We've fallen into that pattern.  Lord, please help us to demonstrate that in a culture so overtaken by schedules, demands, and self consumption. 

And last but certainly not least ... Fear Confession #11:

Do I seriously have to vote in November?

Come now, enjoy my comic relief.  

While I know that some of these fears are just that... fears.. some of them come from cultural differences.  I also know that not everyone is the same, and I believe God is going to address each one of these the same way he addressed each one of mine coming here.  That's the cool part.  I have some experience with this under my belt and He's still the same God... only now, I see Him way more powerful than before. However, I felt it important to post so that even I could remember what I felt at this time... and once again see God's faithful hand as he deals with each one in the future.