Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Before watching video, make sure to scroll down and turn off the playlist.

So this is the first time we have wanted to go on a trip of this sort and didn't raise A DIME!! We have always raised all the funds we have needed, even if just of in the nick of time. However this time we didn't. We sent letters and all the stuff we normally do, but nothing. We bought our tickets through a friends ministry with the idea that we would raise the money and reimburse her. However we didn't. I was totally stressed cuz we had never done that before either. We always raise the money buy our tickets, not the other way around. While I was in Spain, God was doing amazing things, my friend emailed me to tell me that the tickets were covered, they had a big donation. But we still needed the money to cover our stay in India. Ha!!! We didn't have a dime. We don't make hardly any money here in the states, I don't know how we survive, seriously, not with 9 kids. It is only God.

So we kept on going, praying that God would supply. about a week before our leaving I was crying out to God (stressed) about this trip. I wanted to be able to give our team the heads up that we wouldn't be able to go. We needed $1000 and had NOTHING. I had really been meditating on the name of God, "Jehovah Jireh" God my Provider. I don't really resonate with that name, and always struggle in this area. I asked God Sunday morning at about 6 am to please forgive me for stressing and if he wanted to provide, that would be great, we were going to spread His Gospel. However, if he would, would He do it Today! so that we could tell our team if we were going to be going with them or not.

At about 9am Bryan texted me from Church that someone had donated $1000 for our trip. Which is miraculous because we are new there and people don't know us. I know in India they experience things like this all the time (we do too really) but this time it was so much more. When we got to the conference there was a pastor who gave testimony. He said he didn't want to come. God told him to come to the conference and he decided not to. Then the Lord told him again to go. He didn't have a dime to get there, but he obeyed. He went to the bus station without any money and waited. This lady came to him and told him that the Lord told her to give him money for a bus ticket!!! He came to the conference, we met him!!! He didn't even have money to get home! He said that the teaching was such a blessing, God knew that he needed to be there!

Here we were, tickets paid for, and doubting if we should come cuz we didn't have the $1000 for the hotel and food in India. Dumb! This man was BEYOND blessed for what he learned at the conference and had we not obeyed and gone to India, canceled our trip, he would have not been blessed with the teaching and we would have never been blessed with his testimony. However, in India people struggle for so much more. He went with nothing trusting God would provide. Lesson learned (or so I think, I am really just like the Israelites) we had EVERYTHING we needed to get there and didn't trust!!!

India is deep in my. It has been amazing to see my hubby so deeply touched by this too. We can to bless others and got back far more blessing than we gave out. My mind is still overwhelmed by the time there, and I didn’t even really know what to blog. I don't know how I could explain India. It is nothing like the places I have been in Africa. A whole new world that is for sure. The sights, sounds, head bobbling, smells, tastes (all of which I enjoyed a lot, didn't loose a pound) but not too many words to describe, except Glorious. Isaiah says; His Glory fills the whole earth. It seems hard to believe in a place so dark that His glory still fills the whole earth, even the cracks and crevasses in India. However, I saw Jesus, in the faces of lost people. I saw Him lying on the sidewalk, sweeping trash, wading in knee high water and sewage, cooking on a little cart on the side of the road. I saw Jesus usher our bags in at the hotel, drive us to our destinations, preach on a Sunday, I saw him in the face of a little boy holding tight onto a motor bike full of other passengers. I saw Him most every where I looked, sometimes He was recognizable like in the face of our new family in India, sometime He was passed by like the poor old grandma begging on the street corner, BUT He was there!!!! Praise the Lord!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Ultimate Experience...

Recently my three oldest daughters and I planned to go to a dinner theater. Not the kind with a stage play, the AMC kind of theater where they serve dinner, a new experience, the ultimate experience!

The theater was doing soft runs before their grand opening night, we were their guests. My daughter got us four free tickets off line for an entrée and a movie ticket. We were so excited! We felt like royalty when we walked through the door on the red carpet, the place was lined with employees just waiting to serve us. We went to guest relations, where we chose our seats and were handed a meal voucher. When we turned around to find out where we order our food, there was a fully stocked bar. Exciting to most maybe, startling to me.

The waitress came to order our soft drinks and let me know that we could order food inside while we watch the movie. Now, let me clarify, I am not talking about your run of the mill hot dog, warmed on a spinning rack, or popcorn drenched with artificial butter. I am talking signature items, Chicken Alfredo, Bleu Cheese Wedge Salad, shrimp or gourmet pizza. Once inside the theater we were greeted by an attendant and seated in large, red leather chairs, most of which reclined. The waiter was only a few paces away from the hostess, and was ready to take our orders on his wireless computer pad and send off directly to the kitchen.

Our server explained the call light located on the left of my table was to call him incase we needed anything. He explained that we could upgrade our seats next time to the suite, with fully reclining seats complete with a hot clothe for our faces once the movie was finished. Our food was served in a flash and we settled in, cozyed up, ate and drank in the lap of luxury while watching our movie.

Fancy call light

Meske, Cailee, Me and Coral

Coral and Meske

Me and Cailee

I am not going to lie, it was the ultimate experience! We were a part of the it and it was going to be fun! But it got me thinking. I started to think on what kind of lies we have bought i

nto as a culture. What is worse, what kind of lies have we bought into as Christians? In a world that says, we should indulge, “we deserve it,” or that, “money is no object,” or “everyone needs to have a little fun,” I began to wonder where we have been deceived.

Colossians 2:8 says; See to it that no-one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. This scripture is the essence of the lie that we, as believers, have fallen prey to, deceptive philosophy. Philosophy defined means: credo, beliefs, convictions, ideology, ideas, thinking, notions, theories. It left me begging the question, “What do we as believers believe?”

Do we really believe Matthew 6:19-21: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. I wondered, what if? What if we did actually believe that our treasure was in heaven, would we then be so self-indulgent, and callous to the ways of the world? If we truly believed the word of God cautions us against being taken captive by hollow and deceptive philosophy of this world, then would we be cautious?

“We have prioritized our comforts over the needs of the world around us, and we need to repent.” - Dr. David Platt. The population of India is over 3.5 billion people. Of that number over 88% do not know, or have never even heard of the name of Jesus! In the United States there is one trained Christian Pastor for every 250 people. In the rest of the world, there is one trained Christian Pastor for ever 450,000 people.

We have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to India, to help train, encourage and equip Pastors and leaders so that they can more effectively reach and disciple their people for Christ!

William Burns, a 1800 century missionary to China, said; “I am ready to burn out for God. I am ready to endure any hardship, if by any means I might save some. The longing of my heart is to make known my glorious Redeemer to those who have never heard.” This my friends is true conviction true belief. This is “The Ultimate Experience”!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Faith! The word is common among the Christian community. We hear about it in our churches, talk about it among friends and small groups, and pray for it in our quiet time with Jesus. It is something that is easily found, but not easily held on to, or so we think.

I was recently in Illinois visiting some friends, when the Lord used something so simple to teach me something so profound. I thought I would share it with you.

Most of us are familiar with the scripture of the mustard seed. In Matthew 17:20, Jesus is speaking to His disciples answering their questions as to "why they couldn't drive out the demon?" Jesus answers with this; "Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here, to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

All my life I grew up thinking about that little mustard seed and what could be accomplished with such small faith, which meant, at times, mine was even smaller that that tiny little seed. While this scripture is true, I would like to share with you what I learned about that little seed and why these words from Jesus meant so much to the disciples he was talking to. This is a broader picture.

The mustard plant is a weed.

- noun [weed]
1. A valueless plant, growing wild, especially one that grows on cultivated ground to the exclusion or injury to the desired crop.

2. An undesirable or troublesome plant, especially one that grows profusely where it is not wanted.

While faith is not valueless, or undesirable, the picture Christ may be painting for us is something that should be desirable by all. Below is a picture of one type of a mustard plant.

When driving through Illinois, I noticed this beautiful flower. I was admiring the beautiful farm land and cute little farm houses and of course this beautiful flower. Because we were among farms, I naturally thought this was something that was being harvested. My friend who I was driving with told me it was a weed. "A weed?" I said, " It is too beautiful to be a weed!" "It is unwanted by the farmers," he said, "But they can't stop it. It is wild mustard plant."

Every year the farmers plant their crops and then harvest them. In the winter the land freezes over. Come spring, everything begins to bloom, including the mustard weed. No matter what the farmer does, there is no getting rid of this undesirable weed. They don't harvest it, and what is more, they don't even plant it. By the time weed blooms, the farmer is just getting ready to plant the thawed field. By the time the farmer is ready to plant the field the, the beautiful mustard weed has already gone to seed.

Once the tiny little seed has fallen to the ground, the farmer is ready to plant his own crop. He sprays the little yellow plants with weed killer and begins to sow his beloved crop. Soon the plant dies, but it is only gone for a season. Because safely nestled into the fertile soil lies the seed that will sprout yet another plant next spring. With that small mustard seed, that has been sown, the plant spreads and insures it's existence for yet another year.

I believe we can learn a lot from this delicate plant and it's tiny, minuscule seed. When we sow one seed of faith, when we do as Jesus said and believe Him, that faith, that is the size of a mustard seed, breeds more and more faith. Until what was once only one small seed....

Becomes....Field's of Faith!

Again, He said, "What shall we say the Kingdom of God is like, or what parable should we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches, that the birds can perch in it's shade." Mark 4:30

Monday, March 21, 2011

I'm Sorry...

Setting the Stage:

Most of you know I have a lot of kids. All with different personalities and different bents. Some have given me "well earned" gray hair, and some are not even a challenge. They are all beautiful inside and out.

Today I just want to share something that tickled me about my oldest biological daughter Coral. Being the oldest girl should tell you something about her personality. She is a strong, influencing, leader. She knows what she wants and is determined, and enduring. She love Jesus, more than any young girl I have ever known. She has a wonderful servants heart, and whats more, the Lord has a plan for this girls life and she is on the journey of finding out what it is!

I home school all of my kids (yes, I do ask myself "why" from time to time). I am not the best teacher, but we make it work and by God's grace, all my kids read and write and are pretty bright. I use different curriculum to make this school thing fit the different needs of my kids.

Last year I used an online program to school some of our kids while we adjusted to our new additions. It gave me some extra time in the day to work with the ones who needed me more. However this seemed to be a big mistake. The program that I used had underlining messages of, no absolute truth, and there is no real God.

As you may have guessed, this didn't settle well with me. It was fine for my Coral because she seems to be well grounded, but not for some of my other kids who are just learning their identity in Christ. And even though Coral would survive, I would rather have her learning solid Christian values rather than worldly ones at her age.

Ok...the story. This made Coral upset. She wanted to graduate early on the online program, and I was throwing off her groove. She didn't want to return to curriculum "A" because she thought it was not challenging enough and said it was a waste of her time. I decided she would not continue on the online program, so I would mix it up. I didn't return to curriculum "A" but found other programs that would fit. We battled on this one and she ended up hurting my feelings trying to prove her point.We worked it out all then and she apologized.

A year later, (a few months ago) Coral decided, she disliked the new curriculum's I used in place of the online program, and really wanted what she had...curriculum "A"! As you can imagine I laughed at the thought. She proceeded to tell me how wrong she was, and how she just didn't get it then and now she does. "Please mom, please let me use curriculum "A" you were right I was wrong. I will get a better education with this and be able to stay on track!"

So...I got a bright idea. "Coral," I said. "I will switch you back to "A" IF you write me apology letter, and I will post it for the world to see!"

Well, I told you she was determined, she did just that. So here it is world!!! Take notes...this is what it looks like when a 15 year old apologizes publicly to her mother! (I have typed it just as written minus mentioning the name of the curriculum).

Dear Mom,
I must admit I've been stubborn, annoying, and all around awful. I have put you through some hardships. As I think about my heart then, it was evil and impure. It makes me truly depressed. I count the grey hairs I helped produce and feel sorry.

As I write this essay, I feel stupid for what I have said. I feel the need to mention, I love you. Now that I have been put into a less school challenging curriculum, I feel the need to go back to the curriculum, I "claimed" to hate. I understand that you make the right choices and curriculum "A" was clearly the right choice.

To put this paper to an end, I would like you to know you are the smartest mom I know, besides Carol Denny, since you ask her for advice. But still, I think curriculum"A" is the smartest choice yet! Thank you for still loving me.


Now, I know what you all may be thinking, "You are so lucky to have a daughter who understands her mother and finally gets it." or "I wish my daughter would write a letter like this one!" I want to encourage you all, you too can have a letter writing daughter...it just takes the right touch and a little bribery, and I am not above that at all. With perseverance and a little grey hair, you too can have your very own apology writing child. But remember there is always someone smarter than you!

My Coral

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Parasites, Scabies and More...

What do parasites, scabies, malaria and an unreached people group have in common?

I just returned from Uganda, Africa where the Lord used disease to bring Himself Glory. The Karamojong Tribe in Northern Uganda are an unreached people group. They are a nomadic people who pillage and steal cattle from the other tribes in Uganda. They are frowned upon among the people because of the havoc they reek in villages. Most Karamojong are not welcomed among any of the people in the market, and churches. They also can't get jobs and are just tolerated at best.

The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

This trip to Africa was like all others. Hard work and planning was the prelude before the actual travel. We needed to fundraise, send letters, and organize garage sales. Originally Bryan and I both planned to go on the trip. We would visit our missionaries in Uganda, cross the border to Kenya and spend time with Pastor Cyrus and the kids at the orphanage. We worked hard to earned money, and had several donations but we just didn't bring in enough for us both to go. We needed to make a decision, put off the trip again, or go with what the Lord had provided thus far. We had prayed for the Lord to show us and he opened the door for just me to travel and that is just what I did.

Once in Uganda, almost a day later than planned, I was greeted at the airport by my dear friend Tonya. We had big plans for my stay, sick babies, visiting ministries, vision casting, and travel to Kenya. We arrived at her house at 5am and slept for a couple of hours and when we woke, Tonya was sick with a fever. I spent the day at a program down the street that cares for sick and dying kids, (pictures to follow).

Day two in Jinja, Uganda started off well and ended bad. Some how I picked up a mean parasite and well you probably know what that means but I'll tell you anyway, vomiting and diarrhea. I pretty much would have rather die, but that wasn't going to happen. It was just miserable enough to beg for mercy and lay in bed and not move. By day four I had recovered and was ready for the mission field, or so I thought. Day 4 also was the start of high fever for Tonya's son, who tested negative for malaria shortly there after.

In the back house lived Aunt Sara and Mama Maria. Maria is Karamojong. She has three children living with her, Phillip, Angela and Longoli. If you follow my blog you may recognize the names of the children (if you want a quick background click here to read the story). Phillip and Angela were Tonya's foster children. Tonya had been caring for Phillip and Angela for a few months while searching for their mother. Maria had been separated from her children for about a year previous to Tonya meeting them. Once Tonya had the children in her custody, and Maria found her children, Tonya starting to form a bond with Maria and helped Maria to form a bond with her children.

Tonya then invited Maria to live with her to make the transition for the kids from Tonya to Maria easier on the children. When I arrived Maria was very welcoming and I was immediately drawn to her. She sat on a mat in the side yard listening to the Proclaimer (a New Testament reading of the scripture in her language).

In between being sick and laying low, I would venture out back with Maria to talk, the best I knew how, using sign language and common threads between women. I invited myself to sit on her mat and hold her precious 2 month old baby girl and she willingly and joyfully excepted.

About day five, we started to make our plans for our big travel to Kenya to visit Pastor Cyrus and his wife Eucbeth. Our ministry has adopted Pastor Cyrus' orphanage and I try to make regular trips out there to see the kids. Day five was also the day Tonya and I started itching! Some time in the morning Tonya was telling me of the bites on her body that she had been complaining about for a couple of weeks. I began to see some bites on me too, but figured that it was Africa, so what else would I expect.

While sitting on the couch one night I saw these tiny, tiny, bugs crawling on me and assumed they were hatching spiders. So I remedied that situation, I got off the couch! If you know me, you know I HATE bugs of ANY kind. Day six, Tonya is really itching and can feel things crawling on her and I can feel things crawling on me, more little spiders! I proceed to pick these buggers off of her neck like a monkey would groom her baby and she did the same. Gross I know, but necessary for the story! So we groomed ourselves and sometimes each other, as needed. After a while we decided to put the bugs in a ziplock bag, and head for Al Shaffa clinic for a twofer, diagnosis of bugs and a malaria smear for Tonya's son who still had a high fever.

The Doctor informed us that we were infested with scabies, a microscopic bug that burrows under your skin and lays eggs (look it up if you don't know), and another negative malaria test. The remedy for the bugs was to treat ourselves with a "poison" lotion, literally, and boil all of our clothes and linen. Easy for people in America, but hard and time consuming for people in Africa. We did what we had to and bought 15 bottles of "poison" and treated the whole compound and ourselves.

Now at this point there are far more stories to tell about wood eating bugs in my bed, toads in my bathroom and the sort, but I will spare you the details in order to keep this from turning into a novel (dangerously approaching one already, I know). But lets suffice to say that the devil was on the hunt to destroy every ounce of hope and every opportunity to share the Gospel with anyone outside of our compound. BUT God determined our steps.

At some point, as I am sure you would understand, I began to get discouraged. I kept asking God why had he brought me halfway around the world to get all of these sicknesses. I could have been sick at home. My personality is such that I began to feel bad for the people who poured themselves and their finances into this trip. Nothing but sick was happening. I couldn't even go love on sick babies in fear I would make them more sick! I kept being reminded that God knew every part of this story already and I had to trust in that, but my plans to travel to Kenya were slowly fading, especially when I found out that Cyrus had contracted a bad case of malaria.

We spent many days at home with Maria. I had brought Maria some gifts from home and we spent time laughing together, clapping at new outfits she would try on and model for us and holding and loving on her babies. One gift in particular struck me. Someone had donated a Bible coloring book. The color book was for kids, with pages from Genesis to Revelation. It was used and some of the pages were colored in, but it was new to them! I had gifted it to Phillip, but Maria was the one who was captivated by it. Then it dawned on me, of course she was her tribe was mostly illiterate! This appealed to Maria because it was story made from pictures!

She began to point at the pictures, loving calling us Mommy, and saying the charters in the story by name. "Mommy, Abraham! Mommy, Jesus! Mommy, Moses!" She knew each one, it was astonishing. Then in her own tongue she would sing! The songs were unfamiliar, but ministered to my soul. I could pick out words like Jesus or Abraham. She new it all. "Mommy, Angel!, Mommy", pointing to the Cross. The words that I once couldn't understand came to light.

Someone had gotten to Maria, long before Tonya or I came along. Someone had told her about Jesus. Her understanding my not have been focused, but it was a start. What joy it was to see her sad eyes come to life, a tool of communication in a kids coloring book. At times we would look out the window to see what she was doing and we could see the color book next to her on the mat and Maria there flipping the pages.

The days went by and our Kenya window closed. I wouldn't be able to visit the kids I so much in Kisii. I kept asking God to make clear for me the reason for all of this illness and the steps he determined for me. Our scabies were gone, Tonya's son received treatment for malaria (even thought he tested negative) and we were all feeling better. Only 48 hours before our return to the states and Pastor Cyrus called and said he was taking a bus to come and see us! Praise the Lord!

Cyrus arrived what a reunion, and with Cyrus we had a perfect translator. Maria had her own tribal language and spoke Swahili, Cyrus' native tongue. He was able to tell her all that Tonya and I wanted to say. We talked about Jesus and how he loved her. We talked about the kids how she would care for herself once we were gone. Tonya had been thinking how wonderful it would be if somehow Maria would be able to go with Cyrus back to his compound and live with them. She asked Cyrus what he thought and he loved the idea.

Cyrus asked Maria if she would come and live at the orphanage with him and his wife. At first Maria was tentative and said that she would do whatever Tonya did. But we explained that Tonya was coming back to the states for awhile and wanted Maria and the kids to be cared for.

Karamojongs are notorious alcoholics and drug addicts. They put their small children on the streets to beg and then spend the money on little food and lots of drugs. They are sober on rare occasions. But Maria had a definite interest in caring for her kids and most importantly, Jesus.

When asking the question to an American, "What does poverty mean to you? List everything that pops into your head." What do you think of? I thought of several things, no food, no water, no shelter, no work, no education, no clothes, etc. But when that same question was asked among the poor, the very objects of poverty, around the world in various different cultures and countries, the answer was astounding. It was NOT based off of material things like food or water or housing. It was based on one thing, SELF WORTH! These people didn't have anything to say about their lack of watter, or food, what they said was, they feel useless, like they didn't matter, their life was meaningless, they had no self worth (When Helping Hurts).

Maria, like most Karamojongs lacked self worth. No one respects her in her culture expect her own. She can't and won't work which creates this horrible unending cycle of poverty and low self worth. It is a vicious cycle that consumes and devours thousands maybe millions of lives around the world. Moving with Pastor Cyrus would provide the Godly model of working, going to church, caring for others, community, and discipleship which brings about WORTH!

Maria, Phillip, Angela and Longoli are all in Kisii, Kenya now. Phillip has started school and has a "smart" school uniform. Maria is being mentored by Eucabeth, Cyrus' wife. Angela is making new friends and Longoli is growing and doing just fine.

(Phillip in his school uniform)

So what do parasites, scabies, malaria and an unreached people group have in common? Answer, God's perfect plan. It is simple, had we have gone to Kenya as planned, we would have missed this opportunity for Maria to move with Pastor Cyrus! God determined our steps, now that is worthy of praise!

(Eucabeth, Phillip, Maria, Longoli, Cyrus and Angela)

As for Maria, will you please join us in prayer. This will be a long road for her, breaking the bonds of addiction, changing her place of living, and learning to trust Jesus for everything. Our prayer for Maria is that she would fall madly in love with her Savior and then return to her people where she can share God's truth and this people group can change status from unreached to reached!

The Source of the Nile

Angela and her new baby

Me and Maria, looking at pictures of my tribe (kids) she was amazed

Rejoicing with Maria over Gods goodness

The untold story of my wood eating beetles, this is the saw dust after one night!

One of the many beetles in my bed

Girls carrying water from a muddy, dirty water bed

Bujagali Falls

Angela getting her baby tied on her back, The African way

This is Harriet. She is over one year old, but the size of a 6 month old. I fell in love over and over with these kids. Harriet suffers from malnutrition and HIV/Aids. She is currently being treated for both.

I had the privelege to love on some really sick babies. This is Harriet.

My other heart throb, Abby. Her mom and dad are young about 13 and are from two different tribes and are cousins and not married. When the elders of the tribe found out about the baby they planned to kill her because she was a disgrace to the tribes. She was recued and brought to Rene, who runs malnutrition rehab center in Jinja, Uganda. Abby is awaiting adoption.

One, two, three...swing

Tonya with Maria and the kids (with one extra)

The slum in Kampala

Cyrus and I having lunch at Two Friends Restaurant

Maria and Longoli, so beautiful

The sunrise over Jinja town from Tonya's balconey

Lake Victory in the morning and the view from Tonya's house

My dear friend Seggy and I, having coffee

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