Monday, November 29, 2010

Kiddo Updates

There is one kind of photo that really excites me. Some call them the 'before and afters.' I like to call them photos of children that were literally on the brink of death, or so malnourished they didn't play or smile...and now they are happy and healthy! Let me share with you a few photos of some children who don't even look like the same children any more! Praise be to God!

You might remember Gifty. When we found her, she was incredibly sick. Gifty spent months in the hospital, and we eventually learned that she needed a liver transplant. She has had a very difficult road--battling illness after illness, and just getting no relief. Through the miraculous hand of God, not only was Gifty adopted (adoptions in Liberia were closed), but she also had a liver transplant! This is Gifty just a few weeks ago!

CCF Kids

These children are very special to me. We have traveled a long and difficult road together. Their home really was the 'worst of the worst.' I thought I put it on the blog (I guess not), but I know I had it in my newsletter. Back in June, their orphanage had a fire. The boy's dorm was destroyed. This was an interesting answer to a long-standing prayer--God, send relief for these children! The children were divided up and sent to four different orphanages. These four children went to an orphanage together. After only one week there, they were happier and healthier. Now, it's been a few months. Look at them now--thumbs up!

Being able to step back and see how far these children have come makes me extremely grateful. Grateful to God for bringing relief to these children. Thankful that they are all happy and healthy. Thankful that now they have been given new and improved opportunities in life. God is so good, and I can't wait to share the another great 'before and after' story!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


It's here!!! My new pledge is up on Pledgebank! I am collecting throw blankets this time, and I need your help. When you're doing your holiday shopping (even if it's at 3am--why?!), please pick up a throw blanket for an orphan, like Lucky. Blankets are needed, especially for rainy season, and they will arrive just in time! Ready...set...go!

Sign my pledge at PledgeBank

Monday, November 22, 2010


The other day, I started thinking about my time in Virginia--how more than a year ago, I had spent a week there, and now I have just spent over a week there. I started thinking about what last year’s trip entailed. It was a week of God--God whispering, God speaking, God teaching, God renewing, God stirring. However, the last 2 days of my trip felt like it cancelled out my week of God. I won’t go into details, but the last 2 days of my trip was the beginning of the enemy stealing my joy.

The enemy loves to steal our joy. Sometimes, he takes huge chunks of joy, and those times are recognizable and painful. Other times, he slowly steals our joy. He comes in the darkness of night, or flies under our radar, and over time we hardly notice how far we’ve fallen into his pit. During my week in VA last year, a huge chunk of joy was ripped away from me. It hurt. It stung. I tried hard to move on, to regain what was lost, but I began to slowly slip into the pit of darkness, lies and complacency. Some of you might have taken notice, and you might not have known it at the time, but this was the during the darkest hour.

I started to feel better and life started to improve. But, I knew that I didn’t feel right inside. I was tired, frustrated, hurt and just trying to keep my head above the water. I knew that I needed His joy back! I would taste joy, or see joy in others. I struggled and wondered what was wrong with me. I wanted something so badly, and didn’t quite understand why it was no where to be found.

Then, I went to Virginia last week. God moved. God spoke in new and fresh ways. God gave me a dream. God put others into my path. God provided time and space to be with Him intimately.

I had multiple people pray for me, and specifically for joy. Nope, I hadn’t told any of them (heck, I didn’t even know them) about my stolen joy, but I’m pretty sure that some people have just seen it in my eyes. One person shared with me that they saw me scanning scripture over and over again, and that this was where my joy would come from. WOW! That took me a minute, or a few days, to really think about. It’s true, though. I’ve been scanning and scanning and searching and praying and listening. Not because someone looked into a crystal ball and told me to, but because God has given me His joy and the desire to draw closer to Him. I have new eyes and a new mind and a new heart. I feel good, and feel like I have a bounce in my step. I don’t feel tired, beat-up and broken down. I feel thirsty, and that my thirst is being quenched, but I also just want more.

You can pray for me, that I would continually be filled with His joy, so that I might overflow into the lives of others. And also, that the joy would just get packed inside in preparation for returning to Liberia. I’m not sure where this will all lead, but I pray that God would fill you with His joy today!

Pray for Bill

This is Bill. Bill is meek and shy and he's just a super good kid. Last year, he started complaining of "bone pain." We asked alot of questions, trying to better understand what exactly he meant. But Bill was in serious pain from time to time. One day, I showed up at his orphanage and he was in tears--he was in alot of pain and he couldn't move his arms. Without knowing what else to do, I loaded him in the truck and took him to the hospital. He silently cried the whole ride there, and was released that night without any kind of diagnosis.

Deb and Elena, who are currently in Liberia, told us this past week that Bill has been diagnosed with sickle cell disease. As soon as I heard the news, my mind went back to that afternoon that I took him to the hospital--making guests ride in the bed of the truck through the worst downpour of rainy season, but all to get a child in extreme pain to the hospital. My heart broke.

I don't know too much about the disease, but know that living with it in Liberia is going to make life very difficult for Bill. Standard treatments available in the first-world will not be an option and poor healthcare make the possibility of serious complications scary.

I'm asking you to pray for Bill. Pray that the pain would subside. Pray for healing and comfort. Pray that treatments would be made available, and the there would be no complications. Pray for patience and endurance and perseverance--living in an orphanage in Liberia with any disease has to be difficult. Pray for wisdom for doctors and for us, as decisions are made regarding treatment. Lift Bill up to the throne and pray for healing!

Friday, November 19, 2010


It's been quiet around here. I've been a traveling woman--2,143 miles! I just got home from spending 11 days in Virginia doing fundraising for ORR. The time was jam-packed and it was tiring, but the time in VA was awesome! It's always great to share and connect with new people, and it's even better when God provides divine appointment after divine appointment. And, it's so encouraging when you talk with people who 'get it' and want to be a part of Orphan Relief and Rescue's ministry in Liberia!
[The Nacho Libre Fundraiser at the monastery! Awesome idea and so much fun was had!]
You might remember that I spent a week in Virginia last year at a monastery. I will be the first to admit that I was totally hesitant prior to the monastery experience, and I might have even thought it was alittle weird and goofy. However, there is something special about that place. Other than the wonderful people and the beautiful chapels and grounds, the halls of that place are filled with the Holy Spirit. I lovethe prayer chapel and have been known to spend hours in there, laying on the floor with my Bible and journal and some crayons or colored pencils. So this past week, I just wanted to seek refuge in the prayer chapel--specifically on the floor between the pews of the third and fourth row on the right side--but the schedule was just too hectic. I longed for that space. I needed that space.

So, after an awesome week, and a time of worship and renewal at The Ascent, I decided to stay in Virginia alittle longer than I had planned. The goal of my first day was to spend as much time outside with God as possible. My other favorite place in VA is on the bank of the James River.
[Two afternoons on the James River. Can it get any better than the picnic photo?! And my view?!]
Whenever I had the tiniest bit of free time, I would make my escape to the river! It was freezing cold every time, except God brought the warmth and minimized the winds for my Sunday afternoon on the river! I spent 4 hours there...with my Bible and journal, enjoying His warmth, the water and the sounds of the waves. Then I decided to take a walk, well, more like a trek. The Noland Trail is a 5 mile path through the woods and around a huge lake, and this time of year it was absolutely beautiful with the changing leaves! I set out on the 5 miles, hoping that my foot would hold up. I did all 5 miles and my foot felt great! And has felt great since then! I got back to the river just in time to see the sunset!
[The BEAUTIFUL fall colors on the Noland Trail! God is good and He created us to admire His beauty!]
The goal of my extra morning in VA was to wake up and spend time in the prayer chapel. This was really just a culmination of the week...and a time to find calm and peace, and to thank God for everything that had happened in VA, before I started my 10+ hour drive back home.

So much more happened while in Virginia, and I look forward to sharing those stories with you. I feel like I could write a few chapters of a book right now, so I will stop here for today. I am going to get all of my thoughts in order, and then the storytelling will begin! God is up to some pretty cool things, and His joy is filling my heart on a daily basis!