Monday, August 24, 2009

What Happens When You Ask God To Use You

I became a christian years ago in high school. Shortly after God made Himself known to me, He put a desire in my heart for the nations. I had visions of being a missionary in foreign lands. Instead, I have spent the past 20-some years in basically the same town.

At least 3 separate times I was signed up to go on a missions trip and for various reasons, I had to cancel. Many times I questioned whether I had heard God correctly. So, I would pray and ask God to remove the desire if it was not from Him. It became stronger. Finally my long-awaited desire became a reality this past Spring. I went on my first overseas missions trip.

I loved every moment I spent in Africa. There were moments of soul-searching, in fact, most of my moments were cutting me to the core of who I am. Every ounce of me was put into question. Could I love these people the way Jesus wants me to? Am I genuinely concerned about their needs? Will I trust God to protect me from sickness and disease? Who am I really when all of my comforts have been stripped away?

I learned so much about myself and my Saviour. Ever since I have been back I have had a one track mind - Africa. I long to be THERE but have a family and husband HERE. I had a taste of what significance looks like and nothing here seems to compare. When you look a child in the eyes who has not eaten for days and you get the opportunity to serve her, your life takes on new meaning.

Discontentment - that is what I have allowed to breed in my life. So, I asked God to use me and He has! I still would prefer Africa, but for now this is my ministry. Take a look at these kids. It seems like they have come out of the woodwork this summer. This is the first year that I consistently have anywhere from 12 to 14 kids at my house. They are not always the same kids but they all have two things in common. One, all of them come from broken homes. Two, all of them need Jesus.

You see, God used my trip to Africa to teach me the importance of feeding a child and taking time to notice him/her. Had I not gone on my missions trip, these children would have probably been annoyances. Instead, they are my mission field. Tonight I had 3 extra kids for dinner. Most people think I am nuts. I choose to think that God will use our family to show these kids what a home-cooked meal and two-parent home looks like. Besides, they always get to witness us praying when they stay for supper. Most nights they get to listen to us do devotions as well.

I still believe Africa is in my future (how can it not be when 2 of my children are from there). For now, I will look out my window and see that the harvest is ripe.

Here are just a few of the kids who hang out with us:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Weekend in Madison

Dear hubby surprised all of us and planned a get-away to Madison. It was a much needed reprieve from our hectic life.

We arrived Friday night at the hotel, which was booked solely on the fact that it was the only one in the city with an indoor water park. Everyone quickly changed into their swimming suits and we were ready to hit the slides. Our plans were soon thwarted when we read the following sign, "Pool closed due to vomit in it." Everyone who knows me knows that I would rather have read it was full of blood or boogers - anything but the dreaded vomit.

All of us changed clothes and decided to go play a mean round of mini-golf. The children all take after their mother when it comes to accuracy and hitting a ball. Let's just say the ball never goes in the direction it is supposed to.

We ended the evening by taking a stroll down State Street. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Madison, State Street is the epitome of the melting pot. You will find every kind of person and personality there. Joshua feared for his life and decided he liked our small town better. Caleb thought the bantering between people was hilarious. Elizabeth loved the music wanna-be musicians were playing and being silly with her dad (at one point they pretended they were chickens - and on that street, no one thought they were crazy). The younger ones only cared about which flavor of ice cream to choose.

Saturday we experienced something called Africa-Fest. It was amazing! We had the privilege of meeting people from all over Africa. A couple of highlights were meeting a woman from Liberia. She found out my daughter was from Liberia as well. The woman asked me which tribe she was from and started speaking to my daughter in her native tongue. To my complete astonishment, Brie answered her back in Bassa! Mind you, she is only 3 and has been with us for 1 and 1/2 years. God has made our minds in such an intricate way, hasn't He?

The second blessing was a booth at the end of the lane. I have been missing Africa terribly ever since I returned. I particularly miss a certain city that God has laid upon my heart - Jinja, for this city holds people that are dear to my heart. Earlier that very morning I had spent some time with God and had been reading about Gideon.(trust me, I'll tie all of this together soon) God called Gideon "mighty warrior" even though Gideon was small in stature. The lesson I learned is that the way God sees us is not at all how we see ourselves. He sees our potential when we are trusting in Him alone. So, back to the booth. I look up and see a great big sign that says "Jinja"! It was the only booth labeled with the name of a city (and the city I love out of all of the ones in Africa). Of course I had to go and talk to the men who were manning the booth.

We shared our love for Africa and talked about what we were doing in Jinja. I finally decided I had taken up enough of these gentleman's time and turned to leave. One of the men stopped me and said, "I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name." I told him mine and he said, "Nice to meet you. My name is Gideon"!

Oh how I love my Savior!

Needless to say, we had a great time in Madison.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More pictures from the pool

We had some family time today. Can you tell that everyone had a good time? Like the magazine pose of Josiah!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009


Last weekend my roommate from college came for a visit with her family. We had a great time catching up and our kids meshed like they had known each other forever. We each have 2 adopted children. Hers are adopted from the United States, so it's a little bit harder to distinguish adopted versus biological:) Here they all are together (minus one who was working).