Thursday, December 5, 2013

A first world person with a heart in a third world country.


My body lives in a first world country but yet my mind and heart reside in a third world country.

It is hard to explain to those who haven’t been called to a third world country as my friends that recently made the trip to Africa with me can attest. I have felt a sense of compassion for them because I remember all too well when I returned home from my first trip. It is a feeling of total unrest, like you just don’t know where you belong in a land of plenty when you have just seen some of the poorest people on the planet. You began to question even the smallest of things.

Some people feel guilt, some depression, some just get angry. And, some feel each of these and if we are honest there are times when we feel all of these. With each of my three trips to Africa I have come home a little different. I wish I could say with each trip it is easier, if anything I have learned how to manage my emotions.



 How can a place so beautiful hold such a horrifying secret




How can I sit still while babies are drowning in a sea of poverty and slavery?



When people ask me to tell them about my trip I have to formulate how to word it because my first instinct is to express how angry I am. How angry I am that children are being victimized for selfishness and money. I am angry that apathy has stolen the American people and churches. I am angry with myself, at how I would rather be comfortable than do what Christ has called me to do.



We all see the faces of the poor and we ALL make a decision. Yes, I will help or No, I will not. It is that simple. We choose daily by how we live our lives to either aid or hinder. Once we have seen we are responsible. Faith has a response.



Gideon just happened to be born in a land filled with poverty. He is six years old and lives a life on a fishing boat. A life that is not too far removed from where I sit in a cozy home with luxuries. I used to think I needed bigger and better, a better house, a nicer car but my perspective changed drastically in 2011 and now I am sickened by the way I wasted before.

We went to the lake this time and I had a mission. You see, Ed had been struck by a picture. I never knew ones heart could be so broken and messed up by one photo yet, it happened. I watched as Ed would sit and cry because of his heart breaking for this one little boy.




I had my cell phone out asking the kids that could speak enough English to understand me if they knew this boy. I asked probably 12 of them and no one could quite understand what I was saying until Festus approached me and said that it was Sammy but that he wasn’t there today. I was saddened and disappointed because I wanted to just hold him. So we left the lake that day but God had other plans.

Later that night Hack told us that he was feeling very conflicted because we still had a lot of items left to give out and he wanted it all to go to the kids on the lake. So, we adjusted plans for the next day and delayed our departure from Yeji. I decided to sit back and take pictures in the morning because I had recently had surgery on mu hand and it was injured by the grabbing for the items. So, I stood back and took photos of the others handing out all the goodies. I had given up on seeing Sammy and was just looking off into the lake when I looked down beside me and saw this…


My heart leapt. I looked and Kim and Kim and said “that’s him”. I bent down and scooped him into my arms and immediately my heart was gone, connected to a boy whose picture hangs in my living room, the boy who stolen my husband’s heart, the boy with the eyes I will never forget. He snuggled into my grasp and we stood there for what seems like a lifetime. The absolute hardest thing I have ever done was to put him down and leave him there. As we drove off, my heart was torn in pieces. How could I just leave him there? These are the things that make trips like this hard.


We are commanded to be the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves whether it is in Africa or right next door to you. So, we continue to work. To be hope to the hopeless. My heart beats for the children on Lake Volta and for that reason I cannot sit still.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Stay out of my dirt

I was sweeping the floors today and I had to continually tell A, who is two and a half to stay out of my dirt. She was persistent though and kept getting in it. She was trying to "help". I finally gave in and gave her the dustpan and little broom and let her help.

I was reminded that often times we want to wallow in our own dirt and don't want anyone to get in it with us. We try to hide it or minimize it. We think we have it all under control. But, we weren't called to walk through life alone. God is our ever present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46). He also sent Holy Spirit to be our guide. We also have a valuable resource in community. It's important that we have a support system in place, people that can say the hard things to us without it bothering us. We are made to be relational. That can be hard because people will always let us down but it's better then walking through life alone.

We are given opportunities each day to be Jesus hand and feet. There are hurting people all around us. All we have to do is step in faith and reach out to someone that crosses our path. I encourage you to reach out to someone today.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Our Fostering Journey

It all started with an innocent conversation... Ed: Cole is going to college soon Me: Yep Ed: We will have empty rooms that could be put to good use Me: Yep And that was pretty much it. You see, I would opt for the much less messy approach to care for the volunerable and needy children of the world. Adoption. But not Ed, he felt that in our community were a whole host of kids that needed a safe place, even if just for a little while and so we were getting licensed when we got the placement. I would love to sit here and say that it has been the most beautiful process and all is right in our little world but I cannot. I have harbored many ill feelings and my emotions have been on a rollar cosater ride for the past six months. However, through the grace of God we have come a long way and the feelings that were once bitter are now love. Love for someone that may have never been shown what real love looks like. Love for the lost and hurting in our world. Love that will move mountains if only we let it. Loving the kids is the easy part. I was once the lost person that someone gave a chance to so why shouldn't I return that to someone else? Afterall we are called to be a light to the dark world in which we live. So, with that we strive daily to reach out and be a witness to the redemptive power of Jesus. It isn't easy, but it is worth it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

No one can do everything but everyone can do something


That's the number of times we have heard the following statements:

"You must be saints" (uh not hardly, I mean you have met us)

"I could never do what you are doing" (really? Why don't you try)

"I would be too afraid I would get attached" (you do)

"Will you get to adopt them" (the goal is always reunification)

"I don't time or energy to do that" (and you think we do?)

BUT 153,000,000 is also the estimated number of orphaned or vulnerable children there are in the world today according to UNICEF.

I'll be honest here, foster care is NOT something that I would have ever wanted to do but because my husband felt the call from God to do it we did. I can also tell you that while it is the hardest thing we have ever done, it is also the most rewarding thing we've ever done.

The fact is whether or not you decide to do something, these kids end up somewhere anyway. So our thought is why not open our home with extra rooms in it to love with only a love Jesus can give us even if it means it is temporary.

How do we do it? Only by the grace of God. My emotions are like a roller coaster between compassion and anger but this I know, we have been the ones blessed and stretched and grown through this. It may be for only a season but the rewards from it are far reaching.

What many foster families won't tell you is that there are times where it's the loneliness place to be. You feel as if no one understands what you are feeling. God has blessed us with friends that have made this journey a little easier by encouraging words, gift cards to fast food, Walmart, or for gas. Cooked us meals. Had play dates. Listened to us cry. Listened to our joys. Just simply been God's hands and feet to us.

I encourage you to seek out the foster families in your communities and reach out to them in some way. You have no idea what it will mean to them.