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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Noel Orphanage Day 1

I LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. the Noel orphanage!!! This orphanage is just outside Gisenyi. There are 600+ children in this orphanage starving for interaction and love. The workers all work very hard to keep the children fed and clean and dry...but there are just SO many children. We were entertained by many of the kids with an African drum show, an acrobat show & dancing. They really were spectacular! The children gave us tours of the grounds including visiting the pigs, cows, chickens, and two little kittens. I even got to see the cow that was being butchered for there New Years dinner. That was, let's just say...Ewwww!!! Ha! The children get meat on Christmas, New Year's & Easter so for them it is very special. I immediately had friends as I walked off the bus. I spent a big part of the day with Denise, Moses, Patrick & Patrick's brother Patrick. LOL Most of the older children get to choose an English name and apparently they both liked the name Patrick:) The girls and Sid all had buddies too & we hardley saw each other the whole day. We painted fingernails on girls & boys, made salvation bracelets, held babies, jumped rope, played soccer, played football, talked and took pictures ALL day!! It was incredible, especially to see their faces light up when we told them we were coming back tomorrow. Nothing could express to you the emotion you feel when these sweet faces say things like; "Is it ok I call you Mama?", "I want to keep you in my heart", "Are you coming to see me again soon?", and the most brutal... "You want be my Mama cause I very much like you?" Oye! Sniff! We also spent time in the special needs roomwhich was full of older children who were survivors of the genocide. Most were injured or were found months later living in the forest with animals. They loved the attention & we enjoyed loving on them & telling them how special they are & how much they are loved. It was truly heartbreaking. I am excited about returning to spend the day with these sweeties tomorrow, but would love prayers for their hearts & ours as we leave them tomorrow night. It will not be easy. God is working in the hearts of all of those on our team. It truly is impossible to step out of your comfort zone, travel across the world to hold a childs hand and not be changed. My God continue to break my heart for what breaks His.

"Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress."
~ James 1:27

Imbabawzi Home

Today was such a blessing.... We took a beautiful scenic 3 hour drive to the Imbabawzi orphanage and spent the day with teenagers, all who were orphaned by the genocide. The day was spent making crafts, playing soccer, frisbee, singing, worshipping & of course dancing!! This is a working flower plantation that was started in 1949 by American Rosamond Carr who spent 50 years in Rwanda. After leaving the plantation during the genocide she returned to rebuild and seeing the need of the orphaned children to in 40 children in December 1994. Flowers are cut every Wednesday to sell and it is beautiful!! The kids are amazing and just like any other child they just want to be loved. The children that Roz took in are now teenagers and young adults that are being educated and being prepared to transition to independent living. Please join me in praying for the children of Imbabawzi as they grow into adulthood, loveing God and learning to LIVE after so much pain. And THank You to my new friendship with Musasumbuko. What a smart and kind young man. May God continue to use you in a mighty way.

'Til tomorrow.....

Friday, December 30, 2011

The BEST Family

This morning our team went to the Genocide Museum:( WOW! No words can express what the people of this beautiful country have gone through. 1 million people killed in 100 days because they were poor. It was interesting to hear the history of how it all happened but most of all it was inspiring to see how the people of Rwanda are rebuilding their country. Every face you look into here has been affected by the Genocide and it will continue to affect the next generations. After a great lunch at Chez Robert which was close to the Hotel Rawanda, we were off to visit the Best Family. Now, this is not your typical family. This family consists completely of primarily boys(with a few girls) that were all orphaned during the Genocide. In 2001 four boys who had spent day after day surviving as orphans after their families were murdered, started The Best Family simply by SHARING. If one had a little food he'd share with the others, if one had $2 he's split it 4 ways, if one needed something the other had they simply shared. In 2004 they began bringing other children into their home who were also survivors of the Genocide, and today they have 50 orphans who not only are surviving, but are loving each other, getting an education, and loving God through it all. We were so blessed to meet this amazing family and how God continues to enable them to persevere in spite of the heartache they have all endured. These are mighty men(and women) of God, and I pray that God blesses them more than they could ever imagine so that they might continue to share God's love with fatherless. Thanks for the singing, worshipping and all out dance party!! And to my two new friends Claude & Rachel, I pray for peace, for wisdom, and for great results on your exams!!

My Feet are in Rwanda!!!

After two full days of traveling we FINALLY made it to Kigali, Rwanda!!! Wahoo!! Let's just say between the motion sickness and feeling crummy from the Malaria meds the trip seemed crazy long! Ha! We had no major delays and setteled down to recover from traveling in nice little apartments in Kigali. We will be here the next two nights. We are so thankful to God for such a peace. Rwanda is beautiful and the people are amazing!!!

AFRICA Here We Come!!!

The posts over the next week and half will serve as a journal for our family as we travel to Ethiopia & Rwanda with a ministry called Visting Orphans to do just that... VISIT ORPHANS. We are excited and blessed to have the opportunity and can't wait to see how God continues to refine and conform us in His likeness... HERE. WE. GO..............

Friday, December 16, 2011

Will They Come??? Wednesday

Looking to Adopt a Sibling Group? This brother and sister want a 
Mommy & Daddy more than anything!! They would do so well in a LOVING family. Who could resist those brown eyes & giant dimples!

Meet Alyssa & Yates

CLICK HERE to find out more about these sweeties...

Friday, December 9, 2011

When it's Jesus' Birthday, Who gets the gifts???

The past few years have been a real struggle for us emotionally as we sit in rooms full of gifts for us and our children. Some of those gifts are barely even looked at or played with, and rarely do they remember who gave them what gift as the Huge mound of wrapping paper grows larger and larger. So as we have prayed over what Christmas means and Who Christmas is really for, God clearly showed us that December 25th is STILL all about the Birth of our Savior and we have done a really crummy job of celebrating his birth. We asked our kids this morning; When it's your Birthday who get's the gifts? ME! When it's Daddy's Birthday who get's the gifts? Daddy!! When it's Jesus' Birthday who get's the gifts? ...Silence, Uuuummmm We Do. Hmmmmm.... there is something wrong with this picture and clearly our kids understood. So for our family for this Christmas each child can request Something They Want, And Something To Give. They are excited about purchasing goats and chickens for families in need through World Vision and finding people to serve right here in our community

So from this year forward we will give the gifts of time and experiences.  We will serve and share and spend time with one another. We will share what we would have spent on gifts for ourselves on those who are in need; the lonely, the needy, the poor, the orphan, and the widow. 

Thank you to Jen Hatmaker and Ann Voskamp for sharing your perspectives in words, and helping me to see that doing this for our Heavenly Father will NEVER be something that we will regret. 

Check out these Blog Posts to get a little Perspective on where our hearts are as well. 

I pray that the words of these sweet women will touch your hearts and spur you to make a change to GIVE to Jesus on His Birthday!! What a miraculous day the birth of our Savior must have been!

"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince Of Peace. ~Isaiah 9:6 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Poinsetta's For Saul

I have 15 Poinsetta's left for those of you in the Midland area.
Proceeds go toward's Saul's Adoption Grant!!!!
Help me grow Saul's Adoption Grant & enjoy a Beautiful Poinsetta

Contact me & I will deliver!!

Poinsetta's are $15.00

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Will They Come??? Wednesday...

Meet Brenna

The most spectacular eyes!!!! This little lovie needs a Mommy & Daddy!!!
Could it be YOU:)

She Just turned ONE & she is healthy outside of her HIV. She is in an orphanage
where the children have good medical care so is likely on ARV meds:)

Please Pray My Forever Family finds ME!
CLICK HERE for more info on Brenna:)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Happy 14th Birthday Sydnie!!!

Happy Birthday Sydnie!!!

Today we celebrate 14 years of life with you. We are forever grateful that God blessed us with you. The day you were born was sweet and you instantly stole our hearts. Since that day you have given us many memories and many stories to tell. Ha! You are talented, athletic, kind-hearted and a servant to those around you. You love to bake regardless of the fact that your mom is not a good teacher and you can always show me how to run electronics. You make me laugh even when I am trying to be mad at you, you are quick to forgive and you are amazingly patient with the special kiddos in our house. Thank you for what you bring to our family and I pray that you continue to live life to the fullest. I pray that God continues to grow you into an amazing woman of God. Remember you are loved by many and cherished by a loving God and we LOVE YOU LIKE CRAZY!!!

Happy 14th Sydnie!!!
We LOVE You!

Have An AMAZING Year!!!
We Love You!!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy 8th! Tate The Great!!

Clown (noun): a comic performer, as in a circus, theatrical production, 
or the like; a person who acts like a clown or comedian!!! 

That is our Tate The Great!!! What an Amazing Young man you are becoming!!! We love your zest for life, your heart for the hurting and your endless questions about life. You make every day a little brighter, a little more hilarious & a little sweeter with your presence. I pray that you will continue to crave God's word and wanna know why the Bible says what it says. I pray that you continue to grow in God's knowledge and that you continue to love God more every day. We Love you just the way you are and we are so blessed to have you as our son. Hope your day is Amazing and that the next year ROCKS!!!!

Happy Birthday Tate!
We can not imagine our family without your zany personality, 
quick wit & downright craziness

Rarely Serious
Fish Man

What you let your sisters do to you:)


Happy 8th Birthday!!!!!
We Love YOU
Mommy, Daddy, Lacey, Sydnie, Baylie, Jonathan, Charlie, Emmy,  Levi, Kenlie