Tuesday, August 30, 2011


It was that night after we had visited M3.  By far the most emotionally taxing day I had experienced.  One hundred seventy-nine young children with 3 caretakers.  All of them in rags, each one starving for food but even more so for love and affection.  I will never forget getting off the bus...if we weren't getting off then they were getting on with us!  Four and five at a time they would latch on as we exited the bus.  They gathered on the porch and we watched their little faces light up as they sang about Jesus.  Not a single person on our team was without tears.

It was that night that we gathered as a team to worship together...to try and somehow process what we had seen and what in world to do with what we had seen.

Music is my thing.  I think in songs.  God speaks to me through songs.  My heart is most joyful when I am singing His songs.   But on this night as I began to sing,  I couldn't help but to think what a fraud I was.

"All of you is more than enough for all of me"...that was the first line we sung.

Suddenly I found myself wondering...is all of God more than enough for me?  Is this song so easy for me to sing because I have God AND so much other stuff?  Would God be more than enough for me if I were living in a prison?

"For every thirst and every need, you satisfy me with your love"...the next line in the song.

My thoughts continued.  How can a girl who lives in the land of plenty, a girl who has never once been thirsty in her whole life sing this song and really mean it?  Would I be satisfied with God just meeting my basic needs.  Would I be able to praise Him if I had only posh and beans EVERY SINGLE DAY?

The next day as we were welcomed at Royal Hope Academy we watched in wonder as the children lead us in worship.  The music was beautiful...there were drums and clapping and even some dancing.  But the part that will stay with me forever is towards the end of the worship service.  Our sweet little worship leaders got so lost in their worship that they were on their on their knees, faces to the ground thanking God for his mercy and for his provision, for his love, and for his son.  I have never in all of my life seen worship this pure and true and just completely real.  All coming from CHILDREN who live in the slums and have NOTHING.

So now here I am, this American girl who has been to Africa, and things just cannot go on like they did before.  I have seen that there is MORE.  There is more of our God to experience.  So many times I miss Him because my prosperity and all of my things get in the way.  No more!  No more do I want to just sing the songs... I want to believe the songs.  I want to believe my God the way I watched the people in Africa believe my God.  I want to trust Him to make my way instead of trying to make it myself.

I have no idea how to do that here...in this land of plenty.  In this place where we pull up our boot straps and just get it done.  I have no idea how to trust him for my every need in a place that has taught me to take care of myself all by myself.  I have no idea.

What I do know is that Psalm 25:4-5 says this..."Show me YOUR ways, O Lord, teach me YOUR paths; guide me in YOUR truth and teach me, for YOU are God my savior and my hope is YOU all day long."

Thank you Uganda...you have forever changed my life.  The richness of your faith has exposed the poverty of mine.  This land may be called the land of plenty but we are completely spiritually malnourished and in need of awakening, may we learn to draw near to the source the way you so beautifully taught us!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cafeteria Line

My sweet preacher husband often reminds me and our church that the word of God is not a cafeteria line...

But on days like today...days when I am longing for Africa, longing to know who our little girl is, longing to have her home.  On days like today I wish I could do a little picking and choosing in the scriptures.

Today I would choose to have the second half of Psalm 37:4
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of the heart."

I would totally pass on the first half of Psalm 37:7
"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him..."

And I think I would wash it down with a little Luke 11:9
"Ask and it will be given to you"!

In all reality I am ready...ready to know who she is, ready to bring her home, ready to experience Africa again but... I am trusting.  I am trusting that my God has a plan and that His timing is perfect.  I am trusting that He has something to show us and teach us in the wait and that he is preparing our family and precious little girl on the other side of the world to be a family.

So just forget my order above...

 Instead, I will take a little of Jeremiah 32:17
“Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you."

With a side of Psalm 33:11
"But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations."

And I might just take a little of Isaiah 40:22...just as a reminder of who is really in control!
"He sits enthroned above the circle of the Earth"

Sunday, August 21, 2011


I know so many mamas who joke about being desperate for tomorrow to come.  What is tomorrow?  The first day of school! These mamas are ready to get things back into a routine and ready for a little bit of a break (I haven't quite reached desperation level but check back with me when we hit the teenage years!).

As we laid out school clothes tonight and talked about what we would have for our "first day of school breakfast".  I could help but think of some other mamas that I know who are truly desperate.

These mamas are desperate for their children just to have the opportunity to go to school.  I have met with these women...I have seen the tears in their eyes as they asked if knew of any solutions for this great problem.
This woman was so desperate for her daughter to have a better chance at life that she tried to give her to one of our team members.

You see in Uganda, like in many other countries, school is not something children "have" to go to...it is something children "get" to go to.  And only those who can afford it "get" to go.

 faces of children who don't get the opportunity to go to school

In Uganda school is not just a formality it is a must if you plan on getting a job.  In order to be a driver, or a cashier, a hotel worker, or even a maid you must attend school.  For those children whose families are not able to send them to school there is little hope of ever getting out of their current state of poverty.

Those children who do indeed get the opportunity to go do not take it lightly.  I watched as the kiddos from Canaan's would come home each day and take their one and only uniform off and change into other clothes just to keep their uniform for as long as possible (many of them wore ripped on tattered uniforms).  I watched as they each protected their little pencil box that contained only 1 pencil and sometimes a razor blade to sharpen it with.  One of the girls I spent time with showed me her school notebooks...I was amazed at the care she took as she got them out and handed them gently to me. 

 Gloria, Eunice, and Ruth...3 children who have the chance to go to school

Every child at Canaan's is going to school because someone sponsors them.  They are each so thankful for their sponsor and the opportunity they have to attend school.

 Children at Canaan's Primary school enjoying their morning break

Canaan's School Moto and Misssion

I have seen it first hand...sponsorship makes a difference!

Giving one child the chance to go to school could change an entire family...an entire village maybe.

Sponsoring one child to go to school through SixtyFeet gives that child time away from the prison and the hope of a brighter future.

 Patrick...a boy at one of the prisons that would love to go to school

Sponsoring one child through Amazima gives that one child a chance to go to school and eat 2 meals a day, plus a time of bible study on Saturdays where they are fed and given food to take home for dinners.

Mutessi...a 4 year old orphan who gets the chance to go to school and be fed because of a sponsor through Amazima
faces of the children waiting outside of the gate to Amazima...they just need a sponsor.

Sponsoring one child through My Father's House/Royal Hope Academy gives one child the chance to go to school in a place where Jesus is King and they learn to worship Him in ways that I have never experienced in my 30 years, as well as 2 meals a day.

Children at Royal Hope Academy eager to learn even though they had the day off!

Sponsoring one child through Canaan's gives that child a bed to sleep in, clothes to wear, aunties and uncles to look after them, and the chance to attend school.

All of the children who attend Canaan's Baby School lined up for their morning porridge.

God may or may not be calling you to action in the way of sponsorship.  I can tell you that I have seen each of these ministries first hand and I have complete faith that money sent to any of these ministries will be used not only to send children to school but to teach them about Jesus their true provider.

While he may not call everyone to sponsor or adopt or go across the world I am certain that he has called us a believers to lift up our brothers and sister across the world in prayer.  So would you join me tomorrow as we send our precious little ones off to school...would you commit to pray for the desperate mamas and dads around the world who just want an opportunity for their children.  Pray about what He may be calling you to do as we seek to love not only in word but also in action (1 John 3:18)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Meet Janet...

This is my friend Janet.
We met her on our very first day in Uganda.  Evey day Janet travels by boda boda (motorcycle) and then by bus to get to the Kolping hotel where she sets up a little shop to sell jewelry, dresses, purses, baskets etc.

We connected one day when I tried on one of her dresses.  We began to talk about our families and she told me that she was a mom...to 3 little boys...it was an instant connection.  We boy mamas just have to stick together!(: 

As we talked more I was moved by Janet's great faith.  She began showing me pictures of her 3 boys...the were precious and just a few years older than mine.  Then she pulled out a picture of a 4th little boy.  Janet met Amos on the street one day.  Her heart was immediately drawn to him and she asked him about his story.  Amos' mom had died and he was now living with his older brother who had sent him to the streets to sell nuts.  Amos also had a father but his father was a drunk.  Janet had great compassion for this little boy...he began coming to her house each morning to eat breakfast with her family.  One night after seeing his living conditions Janet came home and got her knees for 3 hours with her 3 boys and they cried out to the Lord for Amos.  When she looked up from praying Amos' brother was coming down the road.  That night he gave Janet permission to take Amos in on a permanent basis.  Talk about an answer to prayer!

Janet and her husband did not stop there.  They decided that it would be best to adopt Amos.  After much prayer Janet found Amos' father and asked permission.  Amos is now thriving in their family.  She told me that you would never even know that he had not been with them all of his life.  Now he is able to attend school and have the love of a mother and father who know the love of Jesus.

Through tears Janet told me that her family had done this not because they were rich but because Christ had so richly blessed their lives and that they wanted to share that blessing.  By this time I was crying with her!

She then pulled out one more picture.  This time it was a teenage girl.  Janet had never even met this teenage girl but she had heard about her and how bright she was but unfortunately could not afford her school fees.  My friend Janet stepped up to sponsor this girl that she still to this day has never even met.

When I asked her how I could pray for her...she began to cry once again.  Her husband Moses has recently lost his job as a driver.

Can you imagine...this sweet family is supporting 4 little boys and sending a teenage girl to school all on what Janet is able to sell in her little shop.

I wish you could meet Janet face to face and see her great faith...the love of Jesus truly radiates from her!  When I left I promised I would pray for her and her family and that I would share her story so that even more people would be praying for her.

So would you join me in praying for my friend Janet and her husband Moses!?!  Please pray that the Lord will provide a vehicle so Moses can drive again.  Pray that Janet can find a more permanent place to sell her things.  Pray for the lives of her 4 sweet boys and the teenage girl who they support.

Thank you in advance!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


There is one thing that was consistent at every place we visited while in Uganda...their greeting.  They were not satisfied with a simple hello or a nod...they wanted to make sure that each of us knew that we were welcome.  They would usually stop to shake our hands, look into our eyes, and say "You are welcome here".  Many of them even skipped the handshake and went straight for the hug.  And when they hug in Uganda...they really hug!
When we visited Royal Hope Academy the children even lined the road we were walking in on and sang a special song to welcome us to their school.
I am not sure I will ever forget the night we pulled up to Canaan's.  We were late getting there and it was already dark.  Even still the kiddos swarmed the van and were waiting with arms open to welcome us.  What I didn't expect was the adults...I knew that we were late and were causing the children to be up late and I also knew that if it were me I would have wanted to get this greeting thing over with so I could just get all of the kids in bed and actually have a few minutes to myself before bed.  This was not the case.  The adults were mixed in with the kiddos hugging and welcoming us with just as much enthusiasm.  It was mama Rebecca that touched my heart that night.  When we hugged she told me I was welcome there, I thanked her and apologized to her about being late...what she said next has stayed with me even weeks later.  She pulled me back looked into my eyes and said..."You are home here, you are never late at home."

Papa Isaac with Mama Rebecca

Those words have continued to roll around in head and have had me thinking...isn't that how it should be in our churches?  Shouldn't we be greeting others by saying "You are welcome here" or even better yet "You are HOME here...no matter how messed up, no matter how alone you feel, no matter where you have been...you are never too fill in the blank for home".

My sweet friend Jennifer shared with me that she had been working on this very thing with her kiddos.  They have been practicing with one another at home on how to greet people.  She reminded me that in Proverbs it says that a cheerful look brings joy to the heart and that pleasant words are like honeycomb sweet to the soul.

How often we forget that the simple things like a smile and pleasant words can brighten a life.  So we practiced this morning and we will continue to practice this skill that the people of Uganda have displayed for us so wonderfully.

You are welcome here...Oh, may the Lord remind us to share his love and grace with those around us and not to just keep moving through our busy lives.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


We are officially #5 on the waitlist for our little girl!!!
We got the news on Friday afternoon and by the time we made it to my amazing friend, Kathyrn's house for dinner she already had a cake with a number 5 and Kenzi's name on it!!

What a fun way to celebrate this milestone in our adoption journey!

We are still being told that the wait is around 3 to 6 months...but we are praying for a miracle!  It would be such a blessing in more ways than one if we could have Kenzi baby home by the end of the year.  In the adoption world that is almost certainly impossible...BUT we serve a great God and nothing is too hard for Him!

Again, we cannot say thank you enough to those of you who are a part of this journey!
From buying CDs, to running on the Kenzi for Keeps team, and most importantly for your prayers...we are so thankful for each of you!

PS.  There is still time to sign up for the Chosen Marathon if your would like to run (or walk) a half marathon with us.  All of the entry fees paid by those running on the Kenzi for Keeps team will go straight to our adoption fund!  Just click on the picture below...then click on race and then on register to race...Make sure you sign up to be on the Kenzi for Keeps team!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

God even uses Facebook!

I am sure you can tell from my last post that my heart has been captivated by this sweet baby Ruth.  I have spent so many moments whispering prayers for her and wondering how she is.  I have wished over and over that I could just hold her again and see her sweet smile.  Missing her has been one of the hardest parts about coming home.

But God...(oh how I love those words!)

in His sweet mercy used Facebook to bless my heart just 2 nights ago.  I opened my message box to find a message from a girl named Lexi who also loves Ruth with all of her heart!  I was so blessed to find her page and see all of the pictures of my sweet Ruth with her big smile.

 Through Lexi I learned that Ruth has a beautiful sister, Tracy,  who is almost 7 years old.  The girls became total orphans in 2008 when both of their parents drowned in a fishing accident.   My heart breaks for these girls and the loss that they have already endured in their short little lives.
Lexi went on her first trip with Visiting Orphans in March of 2011.  Ruth grabbed her heart right away and God used Ruth to make the orphan crisis real in Lexi's life.  After her trip Lexi felt the Lord calling her to do more.  She has now started a ministry called Muzungu Mama Ministries that exists to share the light of Jesus in Eastern Uganda through loving on children and their families.  In September Lexi is taking a huge leap of faith and moving to Uganda where she will be partnering with To Africa With Love Ministries in Pallisa, Uganda to help children and families that are in need.

While there is a part of my heart that is a little jealous(only because I love her so much:) I am so thankful that Lexi will get to love on Ruth and Tracy on a regular basis since she will be close.  What a sweet blessing that the Lord would allow me to meet Lexi and see her heart for Ruth.  I can't wait to see how God uses Lexi in the lives of these sweet girls!

Please take a minute to visit Lexi's blog and ministry website to learn how you can pray for her as she embarks on this new and exciting journey with the Lord!
Lexi and Ruth

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


There is so much to be said about the time I was able to spend in Uganda.  So many great experiences, so many hard experiences, such people of great faith to share about.  There are ministries to write about that are truly changing lives...so many words to share.

But words are hard to find when she is constantly on my mind.

I met her on our first day at Canaan's.  She approached me with arms held up...just the way each of my boys come to me when they just need mommy.  So I scooped her up and she fit perfect right there on my hip.  We spent the day together...she was so shy and timid and rarely smiled that first day.  I spun her around just to see her laugh.  By late afternoon she settled in for a nap on my shoulder, which was so sweet for this mama whose little guys out grew that stage many months ago.  I walked her to her dorm that night and laid her in her bed.  I kissed her head and left the room quite sure that it was just a coincidence that she had found me that day.  Most of the little ones bounced from one person to the next and I figured that sweet Ruth would have a new friend the next day.

Much to my surprise I found her waiting at the bottom of the stairs for me that next day.

Once again she lifted her arms to me and this time she smiled when I swooped her up.  And so it was,  for the rest of our time at Canaan's...me and little miss Ruth, like 2 peas in a pod. 

Yes, I did play with some of the older kiddos but always with Ruth on my hip or holding my hand. 

Sweet Ruth always took at least 1 or 2 naps in my lap each day and would even pretend like she was asleep each night when I walked her to her room so that I would lay her in her bed...pure sweetness!

Each day she allowed herself to open up more and more...even to the point of making silly faces for me!:)
  I will never forget when she saw me during her porridge break at school.  Her big bright eyes just lit up and her smile was the biggest I had seen the whole time I had been with her.  She came running...arms lifted...knowing I would hold her and love her.  By this point it was clear...she was mine and I was hers.  I remember her pushing other kiddos away when they came to hold my other hand...much like the Kolson gets jealous when I hold another baby.  She chose a place away from the crowd for me to sit and then she curled up in my lap and let me blow on her porridge to cool it down.

When we went to leave I noticed that her smiles had disappeared and she was gripping my neck more tightly than before.  I put her down, kissed her, told her that I loved her...that Jesus loved her and I walked away.  It would have been best for me if I had just kept going but there wasn't room on the bus I was trying to get on so I had to turn around.  When I walked back by I saw them...big tears silently rolling down her sweet cheeks.  So I held her again and we both let our tears fall together and I prayed...prayed that God would be near to her broken little heart.  I prayed that God would send more and more teams with people to love on her and her friends.  I prayed that God would make himself known and so real in her life as her father.
On one of the days she colored a picture (never leaving my lap).  We traced her hands and she colored them...I brought that picture home with me and it is now hanging on my refrigerator next to memory verses, and the calendar, and the art work of my sweet little ones.  Each time I see it I am reminded of her smile and her sweet eyes.  I wish that she could be mine.  I wish that she didn't have to know loss and hurt and fear.  I wish I could give her all the things that I think are good.  But I am trusting my God.  He says that He is a father to the fatherless and that He is near the broken hearted...and I am trusting Him to do just that for my sweet Ruth.  I know that all good things come from Him and that He and He alone can give her all that she needs.
So I will pray for little Ruth just like I pray for my boys and I will trust God with her little life!

Love you sweet girl!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Almost Home...

We have made it to DC!!  Just a few more hours and we will be home and loving on our families. 

There is so much to process, so many stories to tell, and so much of God's goodness to ponder. 

More blogs will come but for now...

A piece of my heart is back in Uganda with this sweet little one....