Thursday, July 21, 2011

Holla! is really here...I am getting on a plane and starting my journey to Uganda Africa!  I am excited, nervous, scared, sad to leave my sweet family, and just waiting in anticipation for all that God is going to do!

I fell in love with this country over a year ago and now I am getting to go there!  What a mighty God we serve!

I couldn't leave without giving a shout out for my amazing husband!  None of this would be possible without his support, help, and sacrifice!  You see when he leaves to go on a mission trip I just have to do my job alone.  But when I leave on a mission trip it means that he will have to do his job AND my job alone!  I know he is going to do a great job and I am going to come home to a house full of Daddy's boys...he has already promised them unlimited chocolate milk!!

I love you Nathan!  You are more than I ever dreamed of!  I love our life together and I am so thankful that the Lord is allowing both of us to experience Africa this summer!  Thank you for being such an amazing husband and father!  Praying the Lord gives you strength and energy for the days ahead and that he blesses you and the boys with a wonderful time as father and sons!!

Next stop...DC and then on to Uganda tomorrow!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Kids in America making a difference in Africa!!

Not long ago my husband made a promise during our church's VBS.

Nathan promised the kiddos that if they could raise $1,000.00 to go to Uganda that he would allow them to shave his head!!

With a promise like that would could resist...they absolutely raised the $1,000.00 and last week all of the kiddos gathered in the children's building to take part in the shaving of my hubby's head!

Let the shaving begin!!

 Kaden insisted on making the first cut!

No turning back now!!

 Almost done!!

 The finished product!!  I still think he is as handsome as ever and I am so proud of his willingness to think out side of the box to make a difference!

Our kiddos didn't stop there...later that evening they gathered together to stuff over 60 bags that we will be delivering to the caregivers in Uganda!  It is our heartfelt prayer that these bags will somehow refresh the hearts of the caregivers and remind them how much God loves them. 

The kids filled each bag with a handmade card and lots of goodies that we hope will bless these precious people!

Even little Brooklyn got in on the service project!!
As I watched them work I couldn't help but to think of 1 Timothy 4:12...Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
Even when given the opportunity to go play on the playground most of them stayed and worked on filling more bags.  What an example of love!

Just a portion of the finished bags! we come!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Precious memories...July 10, 2011

Dear Kaden,
June 1, 2004 will always be one of the best days of my life.  That is the day you were born and the moment that my life as a mom began! 

 I will never forget the excitement your Daddy and I felt as we welcomed you into the world.  We treasured all of your first moments...your first smile and your first laugh (Daddy got them both), your first time to crawl and your first steps.  So many firsts and precious moments we have shared with you sweet boy.
We have so many hopes and dreams for you!  We have been praying for you even before you were born.  We have prayed for your safety and your health.  We have prayed for your future wife and for your happiness.  More than all of this though, we have prayed that you would make Jesus the Lord of your life!
I will always remember July 1, 2011 because that was the day you told your Daddy and I that you were ready to ask Jesus in your heart!!  I loved hearing you pray with your Daddy and the excitement you had after you knew that Jesus was now in your heart!

Last week you were so excited about walking down the aisle that you didn't even want to go to Sunday School first.  You insisted on sitting as far back as you could so that everyone could see you walk down and know that you have given your life to Jesus.
Today you were blessed to have Papa, Anut Jenji, Ethan , Mamme, Big, Papaw and Nonnie all there to witness you being baptized!  What a blessing to celebrate this moment with family and friends!

 The sweetest thing was watching your Daddy baptize you as his brother in Christ!!  I am not sure there was a dry eye in the place!

My favorite moment was when he picked you up out the water!!
Kaden  I pray that you will continue to grow in the love and truth of your savior.  I pray that God will protect your tender heart and allow you use it to bless others.  I pray that you will serve Him with an undivided heart and that you will always remember these last few weeks and never doubt that Jesus is your savior and that you are sealed for the day of redemption!

You are precious to us son and we love you more than you know!

Our newly baptized boy!!
 Best friend cousins!

A video of the big day!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Freedom with Friends

Each year Nathan's Dad puts on an amazing 4th of July celebration at his house.  It started several years back when Maria was battling cancer, and now we continue the tradition as way to celebrate our freedom but also to remember our sweet Re.  It is really the perfect way to remember her because it has all of the things she loved the, friends, laughing grand babies, and great food!(: 
This year we had the privilege of bringing 2 other families with us totally 14 people in all!  Yes, that is 6 adults and 8 kiddos in on 15 passenger van...a little cramped but oh so much fun!!

 Nick and Stephanie with baby Kasey
Jayson and Brandi
 Me and my love

 Karty boy on the biggest slide I have ever seen!
 Racing Cousins
 Chow time!
 Kennedy enjoying the pool at the end of the slide

The other kiddos were having so much fun on the slide that I never even got a picture of them!!  I am not sure they ever even got off the slide!

After our time at Nathan's Dad's we headed over to his mom's house for more swimming and a huge feast that she had prepared for us!  Nathan's mom is the most wonderful cook!  The food was so good I didn''t even think about taking a picture!

What a day!  All of the little ones were asleep before we crossed the state line.  Thanks for celebrating with us friends!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

When Lightning Strikes...

Some people have what I like to call lightning bolt testimonies.  You know that the type where God steps into their lives like lightning and things are never the same again.  My  precious husband has one of those testimonies.  He was your average teenage bad boy when God drew him to himself and Nathan was never the same again.  He tells me stories about losing his friends and people not really understanding what happened to him.  He went from pasture parties to leading a prayer group at his high school that was so big it began getting media attention.  I love to hear my hubby talk about what God did in his heart on February 8th of 1998. 
If I am just honest I have always been a little jealous of Nathan's lightning bolt experience with God.  My experience has been slightly more like the evolving of a butterfly.  While I was saved in 7th grade I was always a pretty "good girl" so it has taken a little longer for God to show me the error of my ways and my transformation has been more gradual.
While I love the way that the Lord has knit Nathan and I together knowing that He would be able to use both types of testimonies to reach different people, I have always secretly longed for a lightning bolt experience of my own.

Over a year ago, God in His great mercy, granted my secret desire and did something so unexpected in my heart that it has truly felt like lightning.  I am not the same girl I was before that one late December night in 2009.

What happened?

Throughout a series of events I clicked on this blog....

I saw these faces...

I read the stories of this country...

Right there in that moment my heart was changed...forever.  Lightning struck and I have not been the same.  I once thought going to Africa would be the worst thing in the I love this place I have never even been to with a love I cannot even explain.

In the next few months that followed I was a complete wreck as I wrestled with God on what in the world this new love meant for my everyday life.  Finally, He clearly called us to adopt from Africa!  For a while I thought that might be all He was calling me to do.  But then my husband began preaching about missions and the great commission and I knew that God was calling me to go!

Nathan wasn't sure at first...letting his wife go to a foreign country is a huge step of faith for him!  And what in the world would we do with our 3 precious little boys for 12 days during the hours Nathan needed to be at work?  How would we come up with the money...we are in the middle of trying to save and raise $28,000 to bring our future daughter home?   There were so many questions and unknowns and even obstacles to overcome.

But...It was time for us to practice what we preach!   We decided to say yes! 

So in 15 days I will be boarding a plane to Uganda, the country that started my lightning bolt experience!  I will actually have the opportunity to serve in the very ministry that God used to change my heart and my very life!  Since we said yes God has been so faithful to provide every step of the way.

9 of us girls from here in Malakoff will join a team of 30 people in Washington DC where we will all fly to Uganda to love on orphans in several different orphanages.  We will feed the Karimojong children, and we will even have to opportunity to go into 3 children's prisons to share the love of Christ and just love on and play with the children there.

While saying yes has brought on it's own challenges I am so glad that we did and I can't wait to see what God has planned!!

Uganda here I come!!

Have you had a lightning experience? 

What is God waiting for you to say YES to?

Friday, July 1, 2011

And the angels rejoice!!

Our precious Kaden asked Jesus to be his savior today!!  I am in awe and beyond excited about the way the Lord is working in our oldest son!  What a privilege is was to hear his Daddy lead him to Jesus this afternoon!

Tonight after our VBS bash we let Kaden call all of his grandparents to share the news...I loved hearing him say..."I turned into a Christian today"!

Sweet toothless Kaden we are so proud of you and so honored to have the opportunity to be your parents!  God has big things planned for that big heart of yours!

Not long ago we got Kaden his first "real" bible.  Tonight in his own handwriting he wrote "I trusted Jesus! July, 1 2011"!

We are rejoicing with the angels tonight as we celebrate with our sweet boy!   We pray that he will continue to grow in wisdom and in stature and that God will somehow use us to be an example to him!