Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Sending out warm (yeah, it's warm here) Christmas wishes to you all.  We just got back yesterday from a 3 day vacation on the lake here in Rwanda.  It was very nice & everyone had lots of fun.  We got some amazing pictures...  and now I can't find my camera!  :(  Please pray that I find it & that it's not lost forever-- I was so happy to have pictures of our first family vacation together (with both of our Rwandan kids with us).

Our kids threw an anniversary party for us the night before we left. 19 years- wow!  It was a fun night and very sweet of the kids to work so hard (they did everything) to show love to their parents.  Now we have lots of work to do to get ready for the Christmas party for sponsored children on January 1st.  Lots of clothes and shoes to buy & food to prepare!

Have a wonderful Christmas full of Christ's love & may your heart adore him.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Season?

This is not the first time I have been in a warm climate during Christmas time ('89 I was in Hawaii doing my Discipleship Training School after graduating high school).  I think it was different then because I was in the US where you see Christmas decorations and hear Christmas music.  Santa & palm trees was pretty strange but it was nothing like this.  I keep telling myself that I should get out the Christmas lights I brought with us (where am I going to hang them?) and hang up our stockings (really?  now?) but so far I have not been able to convince myself.  Is Christmas really only 3 weeks away?  So strange.

I think we are going to take the kids away on a little vacation somewhere for Christmas.  It will be their Christmas gift & make it more special, instead of just staying here & being like any other day.   It will be nice to have a get away together.

The girls have been busy.  Christine is trying to get her online studies done, but it's very difficult because it takes a long time & she gets bored or frustrated with it sometimes.  She also has joined the dance team at church & is leading as well.  KaLia is dancing with them too.  KaLia and some of her friends had initiated a bake sale at her school.  Together they raised $600 that will be given as a Christmas gift to the Home of Innocence and the Home of Hope (a Mother Theresa orphanage in Kigali).  Christine also is brainstorming some way that she can raise money to buy clothes for the children who live on the streets.  Very proud of our girls!

Of course proud of our boys too.  Our Rwandan son (no, not officially, but our son none the less) Michael gets to come home from boarding school this week.  We are all so very excited.  He's a great boy, so smart, and we all love him very much.  We all love Nate too, even if he does toss baby kittens in the air, or sneak big glasses of water right before bed, or cry and fuss when it's time to do school work-- he's our Nate!  We love him and we also know the sweet, tender, loving side of him.

Thank you for your prayers for us.  We would appreciate your prayers for our family's financial needs as in January we are going to need to pay several months rent, and it will be a financially strained month for TTI as well with school fees, rent, Christmas party, etc.  We've got to go shopping & buy full outfits for 40 kids!  I have a feeling my Christmas shopping is going to be a little different than yours- probably most of you will not be shopping at an open market and bartering for best prices on pairs of shoes... 

I pray your Christmas time is filled with reflections on Christ and what it means to receive the greatest gift of all time.  For many of you this is a busy, busy time of year filled with activities and to-do lists.  I pray you find time to stop and rest and thank God for all the gifts he's given you.

God Bless You,

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It's Happened

I am homesick.  I am not talking about the regular missing my family & friends, I've known that since we left 3 months ago.  I'm talking about the kind of homesick where your heart cries out, "I miss home!"
This morning I got up and someone said something to me that they didn't mean to hurt me, but suddenly I found myself very, very sad.   A few minutes earlier we had been talking about our home situation (I will go into that more later) and I was already feeling sad over the choices we are having to make.  After this other thing was said I wondered, "why am I feeling so sad right now?"  I can't blame my hormones, I know how those can mess with our emotions sometimes, but this was not one of those times.  Then I started thinking about missing being at home, and I could feel my sadness really break through.  "Oh, that's what it is...  I am homesick."

It's a bit strange to me.  We've been here for 3 month stays before, but when you're only here for 3 months you know the time goes by quickly & soon it's time to leave.  Now, I should clarify, I don't really want to go home now.  I know we have much more to do here, and I don't want to leave our Rwandan kids behind.  However, there is a part of me that is tired and just misses being able to be in our home in the US, with our friends, family, and church.  With routines that I am used to and understand.

I think a lot of it boils down to being tired & a bit overwhelmed in several areas.  Being in a different culture and circumstances than what you're used to can be exhausting.  I'm being very honest right now but don't want to go into too much detail.  It also probably has something to do with me lacking in emotional connections with anyone outside of my home.  I guess I am sharing all this on my blog because this, in similar ways to facebook, is a psuedo-emotional connection (not quite like connecting emotionally with friends, but close).  Thank you friends for praying for me & our family.

Today we have the blessing of having a team from Texas come visit us.  Their trip is arranged through AGCI (All God's Children International) - an organization that has already brought one team to Rwanda and plans to bring more in the future.  They are a small team of 7 and because our other lodging arrangements fell through they will be staying in our home with us.  We have 5 bedrooms, and by borrowing a bed from a friend (and letting Nate sleep with mom & dad in the king size bed) we will be able to fit!  It will also be nice for our kids because this team includes a 9 year old boy (who hopefully will be ready & patient enough for the instant friend he will have in Nate), an 11 year old girl (fun for KaLia) and a 20 year old girl (nice for Christine?).  We always enjoy having teams here & getting to introduce them to the various ministries going on in Rwanda, including our own.  They will be here for one week & we are praying for their time here to be blessed.

I told you I would share with you what's going on with our home situation, and I will try to be brief because this blog post is getting very long (kudos to you if you are still reading- ha!)  When we came we knew we would be staying in this home until January, when the missionary family who has been renting it long term returns from the US.  It met our needs and is next door to the mission house, as well as being fairly central to the various places we go, so it worked well for us.  However, we have been looking for someplace else come January, and hoping to find a place that we could keep for the long term.  A place that could feel like "ours", even if it was only a long term rental.  It would be nice to have a place that is ready & waiting for us when we return from the states next August.  Just a few weeks ago we found a good home:  same general area, big yard (something I had been asking God for), big parking area, ample sized kitchen, mostly furnished.  It seemed perfect.  Then we got a call from the missionaries who were supposed to be returning in January.  They are not coming back til June.  This is their home and they don't want to lose it to someone else, they have asked us to stay here for the remainder of our trip so they can keep this home.

After much prayer about what we should do, we're feeling like we should stay here, but I won't say that I'm exactly happy about it.  I am sad about losing the other house to someone else & I am tired of being in "other people's homes" (even in the US we have been living in my dad's home for the last 2 1/2 years).  But even in the midst of this, I trust in God's goodness.  I know he has good planned for us.  A hope and a future, not harm.  I know he will take care of us.  I know he loves us.  Sometimes we have to let go of something we think is good, because God is saying "not yet".  It may hurt, but this is where faith comes in.  We have faith that there must be something better that he wants to do for us.

I love this song right now.  You can watch the video on Youtube & see if you love it's message too.

On a lighter family update note:  the baby bunnies are a month old now & doing well.  We've also added a baby cat to the family.  Taken from the feral cat living on the roof, he is about 4 weeks old also and aptly named Lucky.  Right now I am feeding him homemade formula with a medicine dropper until he can get older & ready to eat food.  Everyone is healthy, doing well, and we thank God for his many blessings.  Oh, and because of the team coming to stay with us I got a new refrigerator (it's bigger & more like a "real" refrigerator- yeah!) and a washing machine- no more handwashing "delicates" for the whole family- double yeah!

Thank you for your prayers & interest in our family & the ministry here in Rwanda.

God Bless You,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


At the end of September a team came to build a basketball court at a local primary school.  Included on this team was some of our friends from Vancouver and it was so great to share Rwanda with them for a little while!  This team also brought us so many things from our wish list- we were amazed & humbled!  I had to take a picture to show you just how big they blessed us!
And this is not all- another team from All God's Children International came this month and they brought us more items from our wish list- including a new stainless steel skillet- which I needed so much.  My other skillet *had* non-stick coating on it that was all scratched off, it was warped, and just in terrible shape!  So happy to have a nice pan that will last me now.

One of the things we got to do with this team was to spend a few days visiting an orphanage on the other side of the country.  There are around 600 kids of all ages there.  Somewhat overwhelming, especially at first.  I found my place in the one year old room.  A small room (about 6 ft. by 12 ft?) with 20 babies in it.  There are foam pads on the floor where the workers and babies all sit and hang out together.  The nice thing is there are many workers here (all volunteer, just paid room, board and some pocket money).  Of course there are no diapers for all these babies, so they take scraps of material and tie them in a make shift cloth diaper around the babies.  Needless to say, as I sat on the floor with those babies, I got peed on everyday.  But I didn't mind too much.  I love that age & part of that is probably because they are old enough to become attached to you and really respond to you.  I had a few special little friends that I was sad to have to leave.

It got me thinking about how I am praying for Rwanda.  I am praying for the country to become more open to adoption, both inside the country and international.  Then on Sunday the pastor was preaching about something else, but when he got to Romans 8:15-16 he talked to the congregation about how Rwandans traditionally do not have an understanding of adoption.  It is very common for households to take in children from extended family members, neighbors, or friends.  However, these children are not considered full members of the household.  Many times they are treated like hired workers.  The pastor (who has spent much time in the US) talked about how in the West when a child is adopted they become a full heir and on equal standing with any other children in the family.  It was a blessing to me, because inside I am saying "Yes!"  I really would love to see the hearts of Rwanda open to adoption in all ways so that more children would be placed into forever homes.

Let's agree and pray together for God to change hearts and direct the future of a country.

Please also remember to keep our family in our prayers. Our paperwork for Christine's adoption is still sitting in an office here.  #74 out of 150, and I think they have started working on the first few in that pile.  We need our adoption completed before we return to the US June 3rd.

We also are beginning this week with online high school for Christine.  She is wanting to make up for lost time so she can enter 12th grade next fall.  It means basically taking a double load of classes for the next 8 months, and a double load for me as her homeschool teacher.  And I'm still trying to homeschool Nate (which can be very challenging).

Thank you for your prayers!

God Bless You,

P.S.  Another blessing for our family (especially KaLia) is that her pet rabbits had babies this week.  Eight baby bunnies- very exciting!

Monday, September 13, 2010

An Exercise In Gratitude

The other day I was shaking something out & the corner of my eye caught something very disturbing.  It was the skin under my arms shaking back & forth.  If you're a woman you know what I'm talking about!  I guess it's time for me to start participating in my husband's exercise classes!

In some ways God made our bodies very complex, but in other ways they are very simple.  Muscles for instance- you want them stronger?  You use them.  You don't use them, they grow weak.  I think the same applies to our attitudes, we can practice being grateful and that part of our attitude becomes stronger.  I want to flex my grateful muscles right now, and maybe you can follow my lead and practice some gratitude too.  I'm going to pick some things I would not naturally be grateful for & flex!

I am thankful for the bugs- cockroaches, ants, millipedes- that attempt to invade our home.  It means we have a home, and I know there are many people nearby who do not.

I am thankful for pillows made out of lumps of foam.  It means I have a safe place to lay my head at night, while children who live on the streets sleep in drainage ditches.

I am thankful for a car that has been nicknamed "The Blue Beast".  It means we are able to get where we need to go (most of the time) when we want to go (most of the time).

I am thankful I am homeschooling Nate.  It means he doesn't have to hate "going" to school because of not being able to meet other's expectations.  (Now, him hating doing school at home is a whole 'nother thing...)

I am thankful for cooking from scratch with ingredients that are limited or different from what I'm used to.  It means we have food in our house, even if it is not always what we want, while many people are wondering today where their next meal will come from.

I am thankful for things that are different, or new, or unexpected, because it means we learn to "just let go" of our expectations.

I am thankful for hard times and struggles and prayers still unanswered, because it means I draw closer to Jesus to lean on his strength and I live by faith- not sight.

Thoughts I had the other day:  If we never needed to use our anchor, we would never know how strong and sure it is.  If we never encountered a storm we would never know the relief that comes from finding a safe harbor.  If we never found ourselves in situations that were beyond what we felt we could handle, we would never know how God can give us His strength. 

The gift found in the midst of hard times is being able to know your savior more.  We get to see that His promises are true: His peace, His joy, His strength, His grace, is freely given & does not depend on our outward circumstances.  Just like the anchor, it is unchanging in spite of storms all around.

I pray you are able to flex your gratitude muscles today & in so doing you are brought closer to being able to "consider it all joy" (James 1).


 And, yes, I am even thankful for the feral (wild) cats that live outside our house.  Because, after all, being awakened at 4 or 5 am by the cat's meowing just gives me more time to pray (while I try to fall back asleep), right?

This post is also linked up to Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Please pray for us to find a TV.  Really.  We came here knowing the house we were going to rent was furnished but did not have a TV, but I really felt like we could trust God to provide us with an opportunity to find an inexpensive TV.  We even brought our Wii game system, believing we would find a TV.  Nate loves the Wii, and right before we left he got two new games that he really enjoys.  So, ever since we got here he has been waiting to play his new games again.  He has been begging me to go get a TV.  However, new TV's for sale here are very expensive- Mike says you would have to spend $500.  That's out of the question!

For Nate, the honeymoon of being in Rwanda seems to be over.  He asks everyday why we're not going back to America, and when he prays he says "I like to go back to America".  I think having his Wii operational would actually make a big difference to him.

Nate's two week "trial" period at the school is over now & they have told us that they are just unable to meet his needs.  He requires too much supervision & attention (constant, basically).  I brought a few homeschool resources with us for teaching writing and reading, plus I put out a request to the ladies in the Bible study I attend and received several items from them.  It really is a difficult task to get him to focus on his studies & actually try.  Plus I think he's bored just being at home.  Please pray for me: I don't know how to homeschool him, but it's the only option he has right now.  The school has offered to let him come in, with me staying as his helper, for two mornings a week.  So, hopefully we will begin that soon.  Nate misses the friends he made during his two weeks there.

KaLia has joined the band program at school and will be playing the flute.  The band instructor had some instruments available for rental, so for now we are renting a flute for her.  KaLia's birthday is this Friday (12 years old) and she has invited some friends from school to join her at a local pool to celebrate.  Now I just have to find some baking chocolate so I can make her a cake!  Or maybe it will be a banana cake!
Friday is also the day we may be going to look at some rabbits (to raise).

In the last several months Mike has learned a lot about exercise and it is his intention to lead some exercises classes while we are here (he brought donated exercise bands with him for this purpose).  He has started one in our home, and so far we have one other missionary coming a few times a week.  I think soon he will open up another day time class & hope for more participation.  Sometimes Nate even participates, as you can see in this picture here...

Thank you for your prayers for us & we pray you are living in the fullness of all that God has for you!

P.S. please pray for our rental house back in the US to be back in the condition to be rented soon & for God to provide renters for it quickly (our last renters just moved out but did not leave the place as they found it - to say the least...)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Life As We Know It

It rained on Sunday.  This was the first rain in Rwanda since June, and I am told that even the rain they had in June was very small.  It is the "dry season" in Rwanda, everything is dry & dusty.  Dust kicks up off the roads & coats everything outside and inside.  It is a welcome relief to receive a little rain.  I stood in the doorway of our house & watched it come down lightly at first.  You should have seen all the birds frolicking out there in it- loving it.  Of course, a month or so from now we will be into one of their two rainy seasons of the year.  All the dusty dirt will turn to a caking clay mud that gets tracked everywhere.  Then we will be grateful for a few sunny dry days (especially so we can dry our clothes)!

Apparently we have feral cats living here too.  One early morning we heard a cat carrying on quite loudly.  I asked the neighbor boy about it & he said the cat lives on our roof & it has babies (or apparently it was having babies, thus the noise?)  Now, we hear a cat meowing from time to time & it is like a "Where's Waldo?" for KaLia- she has been the one to spot the cat in the yard twice and I did not see it at all.  Then tonight I saw a cat outside the kitchen window.  From it's description KaLia thinks it is a different cat than the one she saw, so maybe we have a cat cluster living on our roof- who knows!

The kids (well, KaLia mostly) are begging us constantly for a puppy.  The neighbor has a cute fluffy puppy, so we may be checking into that.  It would be good for the kids to have some kind of entertainment.  We brought our Wii, but we have no TV so that is not available.  We have a portable DVD player, but KaLia is not really interested in any of the movies (she's seen them all) and Nate has to earn the priviledge of watching movies by being obedient in school (so far he's only been able to watch movies on weekends... sigh!)  Nate and the neighbor play together just about every day, but I can tell that KaLia is bored at times.  She reads a lot, and then she starts entertaining herself by being a pest.  Yeah, time for a diversion...

I just am still feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything right now.  Lots to do and I hate to add more to it (taking care of a puppy).  Tomorrow we have someone coming to work for us, her name is Sanyu.  She is a friend of many years & she will help me with the house cleaning, shopping at the open market, and some of the cooking.  I did get to go to a ladies Bible study today.  It was created for foreigners living in Rwanda, it is hosted at various homes, and the members are from a variety of churches and backgrounds.  Some of the ladies there today were from South Africa, England, and America too.  We are going to be studying James, which is so appropriate since Mike & I are really needing wisdom in so many areas right now!

KaLia is doing fine in school.  She is excited because they are starting up an afterschool music program.  She is joining the school band (she wants to play the flute or the trumpet) and the same teacher is also offering a guitar class (great since KaLia has a guitar in the US but hasn't had any lessons yet).  Nate's road in school so far has been bumpy.  The principal is unsure if the school is able to help him adequately, and has offered to allow for these first two weeks to be a trial period of sorts, and then we will meet together to discuss where we will go from here.  I am unsure of where this will lead, if we will end up having to homeschool him or not.  Please pray for us, for wisdom, and for the best for Nate.

We got to see our daughter Christine last weekend.  She is doing OK, but we really would like for her to be with us after she finishes her term at boarding school (their school year ends in November).  The government of Rwanda has put a hold on all foreign adoptions, but they have also promised to work through the applications that have been waiting to be processed (all 120 of them!  They apparently have been piling up since the beginning of 2010).  Our paperwork is somewhere in the middle of that pile, but I know someday soon it will be reached & our prayers will be answered as God has promised.

Thank you for your prayers for us. We are doing a lot of work right now with the ministry, sorting through things and restructuring some things. We definitely need lots of wisdom (especially for Mike).  I am so glad that God has promised "if any of you lacks wisdom let him ask God, who gives generously to all"!


(and soon I will add some pictures to these posts- it's just going to be a labor of love & time because of the lack of speed on the internet here!)

P.S.  I added a new page to the blog here, see it on the left?  It's right above our family picture & it says "Wish List"...

Monday, August 23, 2010

We Are Here!

We arrived in Rwanda Thursday night, as did our luggage (which you really learn to appreciate once you have a trip where it does not)!  Coming from the airport, riding through the streets of Kigali, it was a strange feeling.  It felt familiar and strange all at the same time.  Rwanda is familiar to me from the other times we have lived here, but it was also strange because of the length of time since I was here last (15 months).  It also felt strange because the reality of what we are doing was still sinking in.  I was thinking, "Really?  Are we really doing this?  We're going to stay in Rwanda for 9 months?  That's a long time!"  Granted, not as long as other missionaries who may come for 4 years or longer at a time, but it still feels like, "Wow!  Really?"

I am very thankful that our flights this time went quite smoothly and 28 hours of traveling is not bad at all for going half way around the world!  I even got some sleep on our last flight- I have had trips where I didn't sleep at all so this was a welcome relief.  We arrived at the house we are renting for the next four months & found out our furnished home had a completely bare kitchen and no blankets.  Thankfully I had packed our water bottles and even a couple of light blankets, and the next day (after having breakfast at a restaurant) we got some things out of storage where we had plates, cups & other home items.

Friday we went and visited the school the kids are enrolled in.  They were still very jet-lagged and Nate had fallen asleep on the way there- fast asleep.  He was crying and carrying on about not wanting to meet his teacher.  Well, I figure this way we've made the worst possible first impression, so if Nate is pleasant during his first day of school they will be pleasantly surprised!  We did meet both their teachers and I am sure this is going to be a great place for KaLia, and I hope for Nate too.

Bad news is our home definitely has a cockroach (like the 2" long kind) and ant problem.  Good news is that our neighbors are English speaking and have a young boy as well as 2 girls who are near KaLia's age.

I have to go pick up the kids from their first day of school now- thank you all for your prayers for us!


Monday, August 16, 2010

Prayer Requests

As we prepare to leave for Rwanda this Wednesday, the 18th, I would ask for your prayers on our behalf:
  • please pray for the travel itself:  about 28 hours... misery if you're not able to sleep.  Please pray for us to get some sleep in the airplanes.
  • Nate's ears while traveling:  when we went to Mexico his ears did not adjust to the plane's pressure & it was very painful for him (and uncomfortable for everyone around him)!
  • Our vehicle in Rwanda:  last we heard it was not running.  Please pray that it would be fixed & ready for us when we get there.
  • Our luggage: for everything to arrive safely & at the same time we do!  We have had luggage missing before, and I would really like everything I pack to get there with us.
  • Flights: (we only have to make 2 connections (Chicago & Brussels) on the way there, but I would pray for us to make those connections without a problem.
  • Health & safety for our family.
  • Kids school:  this will be their biggest adjustment.  A new school, homework, new friends, etc.  I have talked in the past about Nate's issues with behavior & attention.  I am praying for his teacher to be experienced & ready to help him, as well as for him to settle into his new routine at school quickly.  That he would see the benefits of complying & would be able to learn along with everyone else.  For KaLia I am specifically praying for her to find some great new friends.
  • Our home here in the US: we just found out today (2 days before we leave) that our renters are moving out.  Joy.  We will have to lean heavily on friends & family to help us get new renters in there.  We know that nothing takes God by surprise & he wouldn't provide the funds we need to get to Rwanda only to leave us with mortgage payments looming over our heads back in the US.  Please pray for us to get some good (reliable) renters in there quickly!!!
  • Jet lag:  please pray for us to adjust quickly to the change in times (9 hours ahead).
Thank you for agreeing & believing together with us.  Our God is amazing & each of these situations is just another opportunity for Him to be glorified in answering it!  Now, I have to get back to packing-- you can pray for me to be able to finish our packing & remember everything too!  Ugh- it's all a bit overwhelming at this point- so much to do!

Praise Him!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I told you!

We are going- oh yes we are!  Funds have been given, additional commitments have been made, and now we can see the answer to 15 months of prayer coming to pass.  Ever since our whole family was last in Rwanda we have been praying and asking God to send us back for an extended period of time.  Here we are, seeing the fulfillment of that desire (placed in us by God I am sure).

I rejoice in what God has done, and at the same time I am very humbled.  We had an event last Saturday night to raise funds for our family.  There were about 45 people there: around one-fourth or one-fifth of what we had at our Ten Talents banquet last year.  And yet there was over $6,000 given.  That amount represents many people giving sacrificially.  People are giving, not because they have extra money sitting around they need something to do with, but they are giving as an exercise of their faith.  They are giving because they believe in the work God has called us to do.  It is incredibly humbling for me, and I am so grateful.

There are several wonderful things about this.  First of all, I know God will reward their faith.  He will bless them.  Secondly, now these people have become partners with us in the work we do.  Everything we do, every life God allows us to touch, they have been a part of that touch.  They will meet people in heaven who are there because they chose to give.

This is why we believe God usually does not provide through just one person.  He uses many people as givers, that way they receive the blessing of being an instrument of the provision of God and they also receive the blessing of giving by faith and seeing God take care of their own needs.  It really is magnificent.  This is why we are not ashamed to give people the opportunity to give.  It really is a blessing to give.

We are still a few thousand short of what we need, but commitments have been made & we are confident that all will be provided.

Now, I will admit I am a procrastinator.  And I will admit that I am just today starting to pack- only 8 packing days left!  We leave August 18th & arrive August 19th (25 hours of travel- not too bad for going half way aroud the world)!  Our kids will start school a few days late: Monday, August 23rd.  Nate just got glasses today: hopefully they will not get broken in Rwanda!

Thank you for your prayers on our behalf!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We're going

We are going to Rwanda August 15th.  We are staying for 9 months.

Last night, I decided that this is how I will start talking about this from now on. 

Do we have the money for plane tickets?  No.  Do we have the money for renting a home there?  No.  Do we have the money to pay for the kids school?  No.  But I am sick & tired of saying, "Well, we want to be in Rwanda, but we don't have the finances yet...  We are hoping to be there August 15th, but it will take a miracle."  Saying this again yesterday, I was suddenly overcome by a deep discouragement that this was just never going to happen.  There is no sign that it's going to happen.  I had thoughts like, "I should just give up & accept that it's not happening."  It was not a fun place to be.

By the end of the night I decided that what I have to do is change the way I think & talk about it.  We're going.  I think the reason I've hedged around it with my words in the past is because I don't want to be shown as "wrong" later- if it doesn't happen I don't want to look like a fool.  However, I do believe this is what God wants us to do, and for my own mental & spiritual health I need to start talking about it as a fact.

If it doesn't happen, well, then I'll let you know.

The other night we watched the movie, "Faith Like Potatoes".  If you can get through the first 30 minutes where the main character is a real jerk (after that God totally changes his life) it is a really inspirational movie (based on a true story, by the way).  The main character is a farmer, and later a preacher too.  Everyone is talking about a drought & how there is not going to be any rain.  His faith leads him to choose to plant potatoes- a very water thirsty plant.  And he lets everyone know this at a country wide prayer meeting in a stadium.

He puts all his family's crop money into seed potatoes, which he plants in the dry dusty ground.  His faith means that he continues to tend to the potato plants even when it looks (from the surface) that they have died (potatoes grow under ground you know).  I don't want to totally spoil the movie for you, but you should know that God rewards his faith.

This farmer/preacher is talking to the children in the orphanage and tells them to pick up a potato, to touch it and smell it.  He tells them that their faith should be like that- something you can touch.  I was reminded of the verse,

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

in the NIV it says it like this, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

But I was thinking about "substance".  That's what he was talking about with the potatoes I think- your faith should have substance, it should look like something.  For us, I guess right now our faith looks like the fact that we have enrolled our kids in the private school in Rwanda.  I'm asking God, what else should our faith look like?  Should it look like plane tickets for August 15th?  If that's what He wants we'll do it.  I know for sure it looks like me talking about our trip as something sure & certain.

What about for you?  What does your faith "look like"?  What has God spoken to you, but you have not yet seen the fulfillment of?  What can you do to give your faith substance today?

In Christ,

Friday, July 9, 2010

We're Back!

This has taken me nearly a week to get in here to post- but we're back from Mexico!  It was a great trip.  I thank God for keeping us all safe & healthy during this trip.  I'm also thankful that the cooking went well.  You can read more about the cooking part of this trip on my other blog.  I won't go into it all over again here- for everyone's sake!

You know my main concern was how it was going to be with Nate there.  Basically, when we got there I just decided I was going to have to go into what I call "Third World Parenting Mode".  If you travel to any area that is impoverished you will probably see this scene:  children outside, playing together, with no adults around.  The older children take care of the younger children, while the adults are either working in the fields, selling things in the market, or doing what needs to be done for their families to survive.  In our case, Mike was busy with projects, and I was busy in the kitchen, so I just knew that I had to trust God to take care of Nate, know we had team mates around to see what he was doing most of the time, and just trust him to be OK.
Thanks Donna for helping Nate!
Thankfully, Nate did not ever leave the gates of the orphanage compound.  Maybe it had something to do with all the toys and play equipment, and kids to play with, were inside the gates.  Or maybe it had something to do with the fact that when we got there I pointed out the gates to Nate and told him not to go out them or he would "get lost and eaten by bears".  Really, I did!  I was actually joking & I didn't think he would believe me.  I thought I'd get a, "Mo-m!"  But he said nothing.  So, I guess in Nate's mind if you're in Mexico there could be bears there...  Although that would be giving him credit for listening to me, which I'm not sure if history would "bear" witness to that!
Nate had a good time & spent all day long playing.  Of course he did plenty of things that were naughty- like throwing dirt or rocks.  Actually, it looked like he rolled in the dirt every day we were there.  Dirt head to toe, but he did have a good time!  KaLia had a good time too.  She was a little shy at first because of the language barrier, but along with Nate she eventually got involved in playing with some kids & then would not stop begging me to adopt two more kids from Mexico!
Now that we're back I feel like it's taken me all week to catch up - I left the house a mess & had to bring a mess back with me also.  Thankfully it's all starting to get back in order now- I love order!

We are still praying & believing for a miracle of provision in order for us to be in Rwanda in August.  August!!!  I am trying (with some help) to put together a fund raising event for August 7th.  Similar to the TTI banquets we have had in the past, except this will be on a slightly smaller scale.  I know summer is a busy time, but if you are available please plan to join us that evening.  And please let me know if you can invite some friends to come with you.  More details will be coming out to you soon.

Your prayers on our behalf are always appreciated.  We would not be where we are today without people like you praying for us.  I know our God is faithful & the plans he has for us are for our good.  Not to harm us or cause us pain, but for good!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mexico here we come

Mike & Mike (sound like a candy?) leave with the van full of luggage, tools, and supplies tomorrow morning.  Please pray for their trip- 2 days of driving & hopefully they arrive safely & in good time.

The rest of us fly out on Friday.  Good news is that my mom has decided to come on the trip with us.  It will be nice to get to have some time with her in Mexico and also to have another pair of eyes to keep track of Nate!

I still have to go finish packing for the family, so this is only a quick post.  I am so thankful for how far Jesus has brought us and all he is going to do in & through us in the days to come.

God Bless You,

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hit the ground running

Mike, Darcee, and Darius all arrived home safely last Wednesday night (9th).  Now we are only a week away from our trip to Mexico, then we will be into July and time is going by so fast!  We are believing God for a miracle to get us to Rwanda in August.  I was just watching some of our videos (I added a new video at the bottom of the blog) and I miss Rwanda so much!

I'm working on my plans for the meals during that week we are in Ensenada, Mexico.  We will be working with El Sauzal orphanage.  I still have real trepidations about bringing Nate.  It has not been a good week for him behavior wise.  Some days with Nate are better than others, but he's always a handful.  And then there are days...  days when I wonder, "What else can I do?"  I feel so helpless because I feel like I've done all I know how to do & yet it's not enough.  He doesn't listen, doesn't mind.  We (mom & dad) can barely get him to obey us, much less other people.  :: sigh ::  How do I explain him?  (reminds me of a song from the Sound of Music...) 

Yet I know there is so much amazing treasure God has placed within him.  He is smart- like he notices things, remembers things that are important to him, and figures things out.  He is joyful- he loves to be happy and have fun, and he rejoices with others.  He is loving and affectionate.  I am praying for the teacher he will have in school in Rwanda.  These teachers are mostly from America, so I'm praying this teacher will "happen to have" a background in special education, maybe even speech therapy, and will be able to understand and work with Nate.  I know he is a challenge, but I'm praying the teacher he has will see past his challenging behavior to the true boy inside.  I am also praying, as I have been for years, that God would help Nate develop in all areas.

I have not shared it in this blog, but there are 4 mountains in my life that I am praying will be moved.  We have had words & confirmations that this will be so.  They are: our personal finances (for us to have the full support we need to be in Rwanda for 9 months), our adoption of Christine (still no word on that- except the discouraging words the person in that office gave Mike & Christine the day Mike was leaving the country), KaLia's health (I mentioned it briefly here), and Nate's development.

Tomorrow is my 39th birthday.  My last year in my 30's, but that's OK.  The 30's were good, but somehow I know that the best is yet to come!  With God there is always the promise of more!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We Trust

Fed Ex delivered our adoption paperwork to Rwanda one day ahead of schedule- that got me excited!  Mike hand delivered it to the government office which handles all adoptions, and he was shown a list of 40 names.  People whose paperwork had been received ahead of ours.  Still, because our situation is unique (we have identified our child, we are not waiting for a referral) I had hoped we might hear something in the remaining week of Mike's trip.  But we did not.

Still, we trust that God is at work, and the good work that He has begun He will be faithful to complete!

Mike is at the airport in Rwanda right now, getting ready to head home.  Mike, Darcee, and Darius will be flying back to Portland and arriving Wednesday night.  I am so excited to have Mike back home!  The kids are too.  Nate especially keeps saying, "I sure miss dad," and is counting down the days.  "Number 9 is when dad comes home!"  (June 9th)

The memorial for Mike's dad will be this Saturday, June 12th.  We would pray that God would use us to help the family as we process this loss together.

I recently found out the that school that I have enrolled the kids in for this fall actually begins on August 16th!  That is at least a couple weeks ahead of when I was thinking we would need to be there.  Suddenly everything is coming up fast.  That would make our departure only a little over 2 months away- yikes!

We still need a miracle in the area of our personal support.  That mountain has to be moved & we believe God is leading us & wants to move that mountain.  Please pray with us for that.

Our trip to Mexico is a little over 2 weeks away also & I still feel very intimidated at the thought of cooking three meals a day for 20 people.  Can I correctly estimate how much I'll need?  Can I come up with meals that won't take hours & hours to prepare?  And I am torn over the thought of having Nate there, but being too busy to adequately keep an eye on him (if you know Nate, then you know what I mean).  But let our God be glorified as I trust in Him and know we'll make it through somehow!

"But Christ (the Messiah) was faithful over His [own Father's] house as a Son [and Master of it]. And it is we who are [now members] of this house, if we hold fast and firm to the end our joyful and exultant confidence and sense of triumph in our hope [in Christ]."  Hebrews 3:6 (Amplified)

Thank you for your prayers.
God Bless You,

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's Out of My Hands

It was a strange feeling today, walking away from the FedEx store with empty hands.  I had gone in there with a binder stuffed full of documents for our adoption.  Documents we had to have notarized, then authenticated at the state level, then certified by the Secretary of State in Washington DC, then approved by the Rwandan Embassy in Washington DC too.  Whew!  Feeling that thick binder in my hands I knew our journey to adopt Christine was coming to it's end (we pray)! 

Knowing the documents were now in FedEx's possession and it was up to them to deliver them safely & in a timely manner to Rwanda, I felt a lot less in control.  "It's out of my hands now," I thought, and then I corrected myself, "Well, it never was in my hands to begin with."  This whole situation belongs to God. 

Our first desires to adopt Christine began when KaLia made her first trip to Rwanda in 2006 at the age of 8.  She bonded with Christine & they loved each other enough to call each other "sister".  When they returned and I heard the stores and saw the pictures, the thought began to enter my head, should we adopt Christine?

In 2007 the whole family went to Rwanda for 2 weeks.  Again KaLia & Christine held fast to each other, and again we wondered, should we adopt her?  When we got home we actually began to find out information about international adoption and were ready to begin, but then suddenly the door closed and we felt like we didn't have a clear "go ahead" from God.  So we waited.

Then in 2008 we spent 3 months in Rwanda.  When Christine was on break from school she stayed with us, and it was also during this trip that we enrolled her in a different (better) secondary school.  She called me mom, Mike dad, and KaLia and Nate were her sister and brother.  Christine had known Mike since 2004, but had just met me briefly in 2007, so while she was deeply attached to her dad, the relationship between myself & Christine would be a slow bloom.  But when we returned from that trip we knew we would pursue an adoption of Christine.
Our family in Rwanda 2008

What you may not know is that we were pursuing two adoptions at the time, Christine and our Rwandan son Michael.  Since this is the story of Christine I have not mentioned Michael thus far, but his story & God weaving him into our family was also happening all along.  They are our children in our hearts and we knew it was time to make them legally ours also.  Six months after we returned to the US in 2008 we were back in Rwanda for another three months, but before we left I filed applications to be approved by the US to adopt internationally.

While we were in Rwanda in 2009 we worked on getting documents like the children's birth certificates (not an easy task when their births were never registered to begin with, which is common).  While doing this we found out through Michael's extended family that, although he thought he was 15, he was actually 16.  The US government will not let you adopt an international orphan who is over the age of 15.  Suddenly, we would not be able to adopt Michael after all.  It was during this trip that God had been teaching me to praise him in all circumstances and to trust in his goodness.  Here was some real "field application" for those truths and although it broke my heart I surrendered it all to God and just asked him to use us to do His good will for Michael & Christine.  We have our plans & our desires, but I know God desires what is best for us & I trust His will.
April 2009

Christine was still 15 at this time, and so we proceeded with her adoption.  That was over 12 months ago now. It has been amazing to me how many delays, fumbles, road blocks, etc. have been a part of this journey.  Plus, the kids & I have not been back to Rwanda since May 2009.  Over 12 months now.  I miss my Rwandan kids so much.  It is so so hard to be a parent from the other side of the world!  I need my kids with me so I can truly be a parent & be a real & permanent part of their lives. 
 Michael & Christine during Mike's visit, November 2009

I had hoped to send our paperwork with Mike when he left for Rwanda over a week ago, but it was not ready until now, so I'm sending it across the world and it will arrive with just 1 week left in Mike's trip, and it's all in God's hands.  Just like it has been all along.  Just like Christine is.  Just like our son Michael is.  And just like our own futures, all our hopes and dreams, our plans of being in Rwanda this fall for nine months.  It's all in God's hands.

"In God's hands" does not mean that we just throw our hands up and say, "Whatever God wants will happen".  No, it means we know that God is in control and his hands are powerful!  We also know that he has chosen to make himself vulnerable to our desires (that's a quote from Pastor Dav).  He has chosen to limit himself to working through our prayers, and there are times when we are required to contend for those things which we desire.

Look at Luke 18:1-6
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'  "For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' "
 And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

Please pray with us for this adoption.  Expecting it to be done in Rwanda in one weeks time is to ask the impossible God to move in a mighty way!  Our God can make a way where there seems to be no way!  He is the mountain mover!

I'm praying & believing & telling my mountains, "You are gonna fall!  To the glory of God!"


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We give

We surrender our whole lives & all we have to God and to do the work he has called us to.  Sometimes that includes surrendering the ability to be there for our loved ones in their times of need or loss.  Yesterday, May 19th, Mike's dad (Vern) passed away.  So many people were praying for him to hold on, but God allowed him to be released from the pain of this life and pass to the next.  I believe what he experienced when he was embraced by the Father arms of God was complete wholeness in every way.  A new body, new mind, new joy, new peace.  We say, "he isn't suffering anymore" but if in fact he is in heaven it is so much more than that.  Just like receiving Jesus as your savior is so much more than just being saved from Hell, entering heaven is so much more than just being released from the pain & suffering of this world.  SO... much... more!

Of course for those who are still here on this side of eternity, we are left to mourn the loss of his presence in our lives.  We appreciate your prayers for everyone.  The kids are doing OK.  They are sad, but even Nate said, "Grandpa is with God now and we will see him again someday."  It is challenging for Mike, in that he is so far away & unable to be here with us all.  We are thankful that we are able to talk with him on the phone or Skype.  I do wish Grandpa could have waited to meet his Rwandan grandchildren, but we will be together in Heaven one day (::tears::).

 Christine with KaLia & Nate- February 2009

We finally got our paperwork back from Olympia for Christine's adoption and expressed it to Washington DC.  It has to be approved by the Secretary of the State for the US and then the Rwandan Embassy.  Normally this process takes 2 weeks, but we are praying for it to happen much quicker- because I want to then send the documents to Rwanda so Mike can present them to the government there & maybe even get approval before he has to leave Rwanda- and maybe even bring Christine home with him!  This is a huge longshot- but that doesn't stop me from believing our God can do it- for His glory!

If he could Mike would be here with his grieving family, but he is helping someone else in desperate need right now.  Visit the Ten Talents Blog to read about the boy, Benjamin, who lives in the Home of Innocence and needs heart surgery urgently.  We are praying for him & for the resources to come in so he can get his surgery.

God Bless You,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Important Request

Mike left yesterday morning for a three week trip to Rwanda.  I won't go into all the details here, but if you visit our Ten Talents blog you can read more about some of his goals for this trip.  However, I have an urgent prayer request right now that goes beyond what is happening in ministry.  Mike's dad's health is seriously declining.
This is a picture of Mike with his dad from January, 2009.
Vern McColm worked as a drywaller (putting up sheet rock) for many years, back when asbestos was in sheet rock.  His lungs suffer from asbestos poisoning.  His heart is also now very sick & working very hard.  Last Saturday Mike was able to visit his dad (his mom & dad live about 45 minutes north of us), specifically because the doctors have said there is nothing else they can do for him and he does not have very long to live.

Why this would happen now, when Mike is in Rwanda for 3+weeks, I do not know.  But one thing I do know is that our God can do anything.  I am praying, and I would ask you to pray with me, that God would sustain Vern until Mike returns from Rwanda.  I can not explain to you how much of a rock Mike is to his mother and the rest of his family, but they need him to be here in a time of distress.

Vern has been placed on in-home hospice.  Right now he is miserable.  Please pray for him to be made comfortable so that 3 more weeks will not be so much of a hardship.  Pray for God to sustain his heart and lungs so that they are able to supply what his body needs right now.  Pray for him to have appetite, for his blood sugar to be stable, and to be able to sleep at night.  Pray also for the family to have peace in this time.

Mike will return home on June 9th.  I would so appreciate it if you can bring Vern & the family before God's throne in prayer until that time.  

Thank you & God bless you,

Friday, April 23, 2010


Theonest (from the Home of Innocence)
I have heard people say, "We should help our own before we help anyone else."  Meaning, don't give to those outside the US while there are still people who need help here.  What are your thoughts on this?

A friend of ours is doing an English paper and sent some interview questions to Mike.  He asked me to help answer a few of the questions.  Here are two of them:

#3.    How is helping orphans or street children in another country important to our society?
We must realize that these invisible borders we have traced across this earth do not sever the tie we have to people around the world.  When we mistakenly believe that we are able to ignore suffering because it “belongs to someone else”, while we live in relative prosperity we not only rob them but we rob ourselves of the connection that comes from reaching out to our “brothers and sisters” around the world.  We were created with feelings, and to ignore or shut out the cries of the needy is to shut down & kill a part of our own hearts.  To be truly “human” means we care when we see suffering, even if that person looks different from us or speaks differently than we do.

#12.    Is there anything you would like to add that would help others understand the needs of these children?  They are children just like yours.  They laugh at jokes, they cry when they are hurt, they run, they play, and they long for someone to tell them they are special & to know they are loved.  They have not chosen the life they have, but because of choices made by others they are forced to live a life of survival.  They have hopes and dreams like any other child.  They want to be teachers, doctors, lawyers, business owners, and more.  They hold on to the hope that someday they will be able to go to school, someday things will change.  They know how precious opportunity is & most of them, if given the chance to go to school and move beyond survival, will seize the opportunity.  It is so beautiful to see them soar!

What are your thoughts on this? What do you think when you hear people say something similar to "help our own first"? I would love to hear from you.

God Bless You,

P.S. Please pray for us as we consider a home for rent in Rwanda, from a missionary family going on furlough (we would be able to rent beginning Sept. 1st). We are praying to see if this is the home God wants us to be in.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Coffee Shop Fundraising

For everyone in the Vancouver, WA area: From April 26th to 29th the Engedi Cafe will be donating 100% of proceeds to Ten Talents International.  Come in & enjoy a specialty coffee drink or all fruit smoothie in their relaxing atmosphere & donate to Ten Talents International at the same time!  Here is the information about Engedi:
Monday – Thursday,  6:30am - 3:30pm
“Refreshing Ministries One Cup at a Time”
Location: The lobby of the US Digital Outreach Center
1400 NE 136th Ave Vancouver, WA 98684
Our Mission: To be a refreshing oasis to our local community by helping fund the US Digital Outreach Center and in turn create a ripple effect sharing Christ’s love.  100% of proceeds help support the 23+ ministries in our outreach center!   
Did you know?:  All recipe ingredients are free of preservatives, colors, & artificial sweeteners!   You’ll love our fair trade, organic Café Femenino espresso and even if you’re not a coffee drinker, our real fruit smoothies and hot cocoa made with homemade chocolate sauce are delightful.    
About our name: “Engedi” is an actual place in eastern Israel which for hundreds of years has served as a refreshing oasis in the middle of the desert to weary travelers.  Our hope is that you too will be refreshed by our delicious drinks as you refresh our Outreach Center with your visit.
About Café Femenino coffee beans:  A new specialty coffee, Café Femenino is giving strength, unity, and hope to women in other nations around the world.  Vendors selling Café Femenino beans donate a portion of their profits directly to women coffee growers to help break the cycle of abuse and poverty in third world countries.  This gives them their very own money for the first time in their lives and helps provide grants to fund leadership training, education, nutrition, develop alternative income sources, and improve conditions for their families.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

If you are unfamiliar with the location of the US Digital Outreach Center (also the location of our Ten Talents Int. office), it is located inside the US Digital Building on 136th Avenue, north of the DMV/Winco and south of 18th Street.

There is even a small children's area in the cafe area, so even with little ones in-tow you can stop by, be refreshed, and give at the same time!  Tell your friends! 

God Bless You,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More Prayers For Our Kids

I read this today on Lysa TerKeurst's blog, and it was so good I wanted to share it with you...

"Angela Thomas was speaking just after me at the E-Women conference and she shared something so powerful, I feel compelled to share it with you.

She described how she prays every day for the Spirit of God to lay across her house. And she prays her kids will feel it. She prays they feel the Spirit of God when they eat their cereal and when they blow dry their hair and they kick their shoes underneath their bed and when they hang out as a family.

She prays the Spirit of God laying on top of them will become their normal and what feels right. That way if they leave home and start sticking their toes outside the will of God it will feel so wrong, they will just have to run back to Him.

I love that. I want my kids to crave the covering of God as well. So, I've started praying for the Spirit of God to lay across my house each day too.

I know with 5 kids I will probably experience some times where toes venture out. But I'm telling you right now, their mama's prayers and the covering of God will be right there to step on them every time.

Yes ma'am."

Isn't that good?  So good.  Our God is good and he wants to cover our children, our loved ones.  He loves them more than we do & his heart is broken more than ours when they venture outside His will.  Why not start praying a prayer today that you know God wants to answer?  I think I hear an "Amen!" out there somewhere...

God Bless You,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More Mexico

Mike successfully returned from Mexico on Friday night. The orphanage there has many needs & it will definitely take some discernment to decide which needs the team should focus on during their brief visit.  Mike also came back from the trip thinking that he & another person should leave a few days before the team, driving down his van with luggage (with the luggage surcharges the airlines have now the money saved would pay for the gas), project supplies, and donations for the orphanage.  This has opened up an interesting situation- it looks like Nate & I might be going to Mexico after all...  (I am excited but trying not to "jump the gun".)  We would transfer Mike's ticket to me & I would fly down with the team.  There could also be another ticket open for Nate because of the team member riding with Mike.

The reason "why?" the team needs me to go, besides being with the team on the flight to San Diego, is because they need a team cook!  Ack!  (That's my inner Cathy coming out.)  Cooking for a team of 16 people is a bit intimidating- even more so because of being in a different country, and in a strange (different) kitchen.  Of course, if I cause myself to think back to our time in Rwanda last year, there were days when our Rwandan kids were on break from school and we had 7 extra kids staying in our home.  So, along with our house helper, I was cooking meals for 12 people.  16 isn't too much of a stretch from there... right?  (gulp)  And when I was 18 and I did a Discipleship Training School with Youth with a Mission in Kona, my chore there was to work in the kitchen.  Of course, someone else decided what the meals would be & the portions, I just did the work I was told to do!  I am concerned about figuring out correct portions/amounts for that size of a group.  I also will have to make some compromises to how I normally cook (see my other blog) - like, will I make homemade bread for 16 people everyday?  Somehow I doubt it!  The good news is that Ensenada has a Costco & a Wal-Mart!  Can you believe it?  Ensenada has changed since we were there last (mission trip in the mid 90's).

KaLia told me last night that she wishes she could be the one in charge of planning the meals & cooking.  She allowed that I could be the one, but I must let her help!  (Let's see if she still wants to help when it's washing dishes time- ha!)

So, I am excited to go and be a part of the mission to Mexico & scared of the responsibility at the same time.  Plus, if I'm busy in the kitchen, and Mike's busy working with the team, what would Nate do?  Still requires some prayer & listening to God for clarity.  You can pray for us too, and all the Mexico trip preparations, as well as the team members who are going & our ministry while we are there.  And let's also start praying now for the van to drive down to Mexico with NO mechanical problems at all!

Thank you!
God Bless You,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mike is in Mexico

Mike left our house at "o-dark-thirty" this morning to go to Mexico for 3 days.  He is going to visit the orphanage that the mission team will be working with in June & deciding what kind of project the team will be working on there.  Please pray for him to find all the resources he needs and for everything to come together for this trip.  He could also use your prayers because he has been struggling with a cold- not a good thing anytime, but especially when you’re traveling & trying to get things done!  You can find out more about El Sauzal orphanage by visiting their website at

God Bless You,

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Praying for our Kids

This post is a part of Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers

I am captivated by His boundless love for me.
Once captive and bound to sin, but in Him I'm free.

Do you ever hear something said & have your mind take you off on a tangent on that one thing?  Well yesterday I was listening to the radio & I heard a verse of a song use the word captivated.  My mind suddenly started to think about how captivated and captive are so close & yet have such different meanings.  The same with bound and boundless.  I came up with the above verse & I like my little play on words that brings out some profound truth.  :)

Earlier this week we caught one of our kids in something that was a pretty big deal.  Mike & I had to discuss what we were going to do, how we were going to address it, consequences, follow up, etc.  I was mulling this over in my mind, and thinking about what a bear it can be to parent sometimes.  Sometimes it just is not fun!  But then my mind (prompted by God) went back to my prayers earlier that day.  I have a prayer that I constantly pray for my kids.  I ask God that if they are going in the wrong direction they would get caught & repent.  I pray this not only for the kids in my home, but also "my kids" who are in the group homes in Rwanda.  I realized that even though we were dealing with something "not fun", in actuality it was God answering my prayer!

This prayer was not original with me, it came from Stormie O'Martian in her book "The Power of a Praying Parent".  Isn't it true that "the power of sin is in it's secrecy"?  I am reminded of the verse in Galatians 5

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:

"Wake up, O sleeper,

rise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you."
Much of the control that sin has over us happens because it is something kept in secret.  Once a sin is exposed & visible then we see how ugly it really is. I can think back over my life & there have been many times when by God's mercy I was caught doing something I shouldn't have.  You know my mom must have been praying because I never got away with anything!  ;)
So I am thankful for these answers to prayers, even if it is messy sometimes.  I am also thankful for new supporters that have pledged in the last few weeks- God is bringing us step by step closer to our hearts' desire.  We are about half way there, but we believe God is faithful & able to bring us all the way.
We are also getting closer in our paperwork for the adoption of Christine.  We are hoping that when Mike makes a visit to Rwanda in May that we will have everything ready & he will be able to get approval while he is there & bring her home!
Thank you for agreeing in prayer with us!
God Bless You,

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ups & Downs

I think everyone of us has weeks that are like a roller coaster ride- you're up & then you're down, and then maybe back up again! Early this week we had an awesome blessing of finding out our personal support had increased by $200 per month. Very encouraging after praying & waiting to see God's provision! We still have a ways to go, but this was a big step in the right direction- praise God!

Of course, then there's the parts of life that can bring you down- like power struggles with tweenagers (I endured a 2 hour battle with my 11 year old & only lost my cool a couple of times- I think I should get an award for that!) Or days where you feel like you get a big fat F for the day (the day I was working on the computer & Mike came home telling me he had found Nate talking to the landscapers 3 houses up the street- yup, stellar mommy moment for me).

What I am so grateful for is the grace of God. Through the ups, the downs, the victories and failures, God always holds us in the palm of his hand. John 10:27-30 Jesus said:
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

Isn't that GREAT news?! Thank God that he never lets go of us. I love the verse from Psalm 37:
"If the LORD delights in a man's way,
he makes his steps firm;

though he stumble, he will not fall,
for the LORD upholds him with his hand."

I hope that is encouraging for you today too!

I've started another blog- I have 3 now! You may think I just have too much time on my hands (ha ha!) Actually everyday I feel overwhelmed with too much to do. Somethings (like an updated TTI newsletter) just get pushed to the side- I've got to get to work on that this month! Plus I need to work on our paperwork for Christine's adoption & getting the kids enrolled in school in Rwanda for the fall. My newest blog is is because with all the new things I am learning & experimenting with in nourishing foods I wanted to be able to share it with someone. I have been reading lots of "real food" blogs & just decided I would start one too- I think it's a necessary outlet for me since I don't know anyone else (personally) as radical about what they feed their family as I am!

I wanted to add one other thing. I have talked about how it is a struggle for me in our current home- how I wish it were someplace my own, someplace "cute". I have to say though, living with my dad is a huge help. We never pay for a babysitter- my dad is always willing & almost always available. My dad also buys a few groceries now & then (hard for us becuase I'm picky- but I just let those non-organic apples come in, wash them good & don't complain) :) He also does a lot of laundry, complete with folding and putting it away (sometimes I find my socks in Nate's drawer, or KaLia's shirt in my closet, but it is still a huge help). He really does keep us afloat in many ways. So, I am thankful to be here with my dad to help us. I choose thankfulness!

picture of Nate & my dad (the guy in the middle, not the back) at the Rhodie Garden over in Portland, last June- isn't it funny how distance/perspective makes Nate bigger?  Someday I know it will be true!  :)


Monday, March 1, 2010

Here I am

Let's play good news/bad news. I always want the bad news first (I like happy endings) :) So, a sad thing is I don't think I'm going to be able to go with the team to Mexico this summer. Not only do we not have the extra funds for it, but even if we did it doesn't seem wise to spend $ on that- which would be taking away funds that we need to go to Rwanda. I would love to go to Mexico (have been there on short term mission trips, uh, I don't know probably 5 or 6 times, but it's been since before our daughter was born- 11+ years ago- that I was last there.) But I don't think it's going to happen.

On to some good news- TTI in Rwanda moved a widow & her children into a new safe home today- one that will be much better than the falling down one she was in previously. yeah God & yeah for people who stepped up & gave! :) See TTI blog...

Our journey into "real food" has been going pretty good. My latest thing has been creating my own sourdough starter & trying to make sourdough bread (that did not turn out so good). But I did use my starter to make some tasty homemade crackers, pita bread, and my tortillas have been good too! I am going to keep working on it & I have noticed some unexpected health benefits in myself that is good news too! (hormonal stuff)

Last week at Bible study God dropped a really cool picture in my mind. We were reading Romans 8:14-16 "because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
I was thinking about God as our Father, and I thought of my son (age 6). In the morning he likes to give me a hug, but not just a little hug, I pick him up & he hugs me with his whole body- legs wrapped around me, arms holding tight, and I walk around holding him. The thought that came to me was that *this* is what being led by the Spirit means. We are lost in the embrace of God & he carries us along. I love that picture. I need to get lost in God's embrace.

Please keep us in your prayers. The "mountain" of finances seems insurmountable, and yet we know that God can do it. I realize that our target date of being in Rwanda is a little over 6 months away & I know we are not very much closer to where we need to be! It can be overwhelming, but we know that our God can make a way. We believe this is what he wants us to do & we know that our God is a God of miracles! Pray for our faith to be strengthened & for us to begin to see the provision of God in our finances.

Thank You!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Saying "Yes"

We are doing a Bible study at church that is wonderful! It is the book called, "What happens when women say yes to God" by Lysa Terkeurst. Week two & I'm loving it. This morning the thought that came to my head was, "God, you can count on me today." When you tell someone they can "count on you" what does that mean? It means you're making yourself available to them, and if they need anything you'll be there! That's right, that's what I'm saying to God today- whatever he needs (I mean needs done, like ministry wise), I want him to know he can call on me.

There are some verses I read in my devotions recently that ministered to me. Philippians 3:7-14
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

I will be honest & tell you that there are many times when I wish we could live in a nice house. I pass lots of nice houses as I'm driving around town- and I'm not saying I want a fancy house, just a "pretty" house. The one we live in now is the same early 70-s ranch style house I grew up in. It is a blessing to be able to live here rent free (with my dad)- huge blessing! But it is not a pretty house- just blah. If we had extra money I would probably do some things to perk up the place up, but as it is I need to be satisfied with what we have. And when I see those "pretty" houses I have decided to consider them "rubbish" for the sake of following Christ!

Speaking of rubbish I will tell you that our family is beginning a journey into what's called "traditional foods" or "real foods" or "whole foods" (I said, "speaking of rubbish" because that is what a lot of "food" that you find in stores & restaurants are- if you can't pronounce an ingredient or don't know what it is, you shouldn't be ingesting it!). Did you see Michael Pollan on Oprah- well, I had already begun learning more about eating "real" before this- but it's a nice reinforcement that it happened this week. I am trying to eliminate all the processed/packaged food from our menus & making only wholesome old-fashioned food. Moving towards organic produce, meats, and dairy. I've already begun making our own bread, rolls, and today I will try tortillas! No refined sugars either! I don't know if I have a personal goal in this- but I know what I know about nutrition & the food available for purchase in the stores, and I am making choices that I think will enhance my family's health both now & in the long run.

There is a huge amount of support I have found on the web (blogs, yahoo groups) so that should help. I will let you know how it goes!

Thanks for your continued prayers for us as we wait on the Lord & expect great things in 2010! Mike is taking a team to Mexico in June. KaLia is saving money to go & I would love to be able to bring myself & Nate along also (put that ol' high school Spanish to use!) but with us also trying to have the funds to go to Rwanda (and stay for 9 months) in September, I am not sure if it is possible (or the Lord's will- not a lot of clarity on that yet). Pray with me regarding this & we'll see what happens. Who knows what God might do :)


Friday, January 8, 2010

Welcome 2010

I have great faith & hope for 2010 to be an amazing year! The word God has spoken to me for 2010 is - MORE! Pastor was preaching 2 weeks ago and the question he asked was, "What does God have for you in 2010?" I really felt God speaking to my heart that what he wants for me & my family is MORE! What God has for us (all) is good & he is wanting to bring MORE THAN ENOUGH into our lives. More than enough healing, more than enough provision, more than enough joy, more than enough peace, more than enough support, more than enough of all that we need!

I believe God wants me to step out of the area of living in lack (what I call the land of LessThan) and into what he wants for me- the land of MoreThanEnough! My part in this is to seek his face, delight myself in him. He will grant me the desires of my heart, and he will do exceedingly & abundantly more than we can ask or think!

I am praying for more for my family- more health for my daughter (healthy choices & weight loss for child who wants to/needs to lose weight, a gentle transition into adolescence), more for my son (abilities beyond what he has now for a child placed in special ed), more togetherness as a family, more connections and love and respect to happen among family members. More of God's spirit working & moving through us. More of Jesus in me- me being more of a blessing to my family, more getting done at home, more connections at church, more! More of God's kingdom being displayed in our lives & being expanded through us!

Do you see a recurring theme here? :) This is what God wants for us too- more! This is not greed- this is saying, where we have allowed ourselves to live right now is *not* the "promised land" God has for us. We have settled for LessThan and it's time for us to move into MoreThanEnough! It is our rightful place - there's a spot there reserved for you!

Pray & believe with me for MORE for you too this year!
Amen! :)