Friday, October 28, 2011

This Isn't Easy

I thought coming home and getting back into life would be easier this time.  It's not.  I thought, since I had done this before, that I would come home and be able to get back in to the swing of things more easily than I did last time.  I was wrong.  This is anything but easy.

Last week I held a little one in my arms that would turn two years old soon that weighs just 8 pounds.  Too tiny babies moaning (because crying takes energy they don't have) because malnutrition hurts.  They didn't smile.  The pained looks on their faces, I'll not soon forget.

My heart is broken.

The week before that, I fed 6 ounces of cows milk to an HIV+ 3-month-old darling girl while her tummy made all kinds of grumbling noises because Mama Nelly (who cares for 30 children in her home) can't afford formula.

I didn't think my heart could break any further.

When I saw two police officers drop off a little one of about 4 at a government facility we were visiting knowing what was in store for this tiny guy, I didn't think I could take much more.

I tell people these stories and they ask "Why does God allow this to happen?  Why does He let these people live like this and starve to death?"  I used to wonder the same thing.  I don't anymore.

He doesn't let them starve and not have access to clean water and live on the streets without parents.

We do.

That's right.  We are the ones that let this happen.  God has entrusted us with MUCH to take care of His children, and we are not doing it.  He has blessed us, and we keep it for ourselves.  His heart is broken, and we think we need another (or a bigger) house.  We think we need.

I was not born in this country to educated parents because I am any more special to our Father than the ones I visited in Africa.  I have not been blessed with an awesome job that allows me to take care of my little family and travel around the world because God loves me more.  God expects me to do great things with what He has blessed me with.

I will not let Him down.

If you think that you cannot help because you can't go someplace far away or you can't write a $100 check and send it, you are wrong.  I can't wait to tell you what I did with the money you guys sent me with.  Little sacrifices that you made went a long way and blessed a bunch of lives.  There are so many ways to bless His people.  It's time for us all to step up and do it.  We MUST take what He has given to us, and use it to take care of His children.

I think that's about all I have in me for now.

Would you pray that I will be able to work through all that I've seen and felt and touched and loved so that I can relay the stories that need to be told?  This isn't easy.

Thank you!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm Still Here

I'm still alive!  This has been an amazing trip.  Again, I don't have the words.  I have done no better writing my thoughts this trip than the last.  I'll just have to work through it and write about it as I can.

Our time in Kenya was just wonderful.  We spent LOTS of time with our kids at Fiwagoh, and we were also able to go in to Nakuru and visit two different homes that Visiting Orphans had not been in yet.  Two places with very little (if any) support.

The first of the two was the home of Mama Sweetie.  She has almost 30 children that she cares for in her home.  They have come to her over the last couple of years as their parents (mostly friends of hers) have died of AIDS.  All 30 of them sleep in 8 beds with no mattresses (just the wooden slats.)  She's doing the best she can with what she has.  She has very little.  Future VO teams will hopefully be able to help her.

*pictures are not uploading*  :-(

The second place was Mama Nelly's home.  She has a nice facility that she rents to house her 29 children.  She desperately needs to begin a sponsorship program to help care for her kids.  We've been thinking of ways to help her do that.

Of course we had a WONDERFUL time with our kiddos at Fiwagoh.  The craft that we did this time was to make a pillow.  It was made of fleece and shaped like a lion's head and they glued lion face pieces on them.  They didn't have pillows, so they LOVED making one of their own to sleep on.  I can't wait to show you all of their pictures.  Especially my team from this summer.

I wish I had video of us driving in to the compound.  The recognition on their faces when they saw that it was me was priceless.  For me to come back AGAIN was unbelievable to them.  They thought that was the best thing ever!  I did too!  I just love those kids.  I miss them already.

I was especially close to a little one named Emily this time.  Poor baby just cried and cried when we left.  I may have been a little upset too.  She's 8 years old just like my Brenna (but Emily is so tiny.)  They will have to write some letters to each other.  I had printed a bunch of pictures of me and Brenna and gave them to the kids.  Many of them wrote letters to Brenna for me to take home.  She will love that.

I am missing Brenna.  I called her yesterday before she went to school, and she cried.  Poor kid.  I won't be taking any trips like this again in the near future.  She made me promise before I left.  So I will be done for awhile.  When she gets a little older, I will be able to bring her with me.  But for now, this is hard.

God has shown up in some big ways since I have been here.  He is here.  I will have to write the stories later.  We ran into Linny from A Place Called Simplicity at the Namirembe in Kampala.  I have followed her blog for so long.  It was amazing talking to her.  I got to meet her newest little one.  I can't share much, but would you pray for her?  That family needs us to pray.  God knows what they need.

I'm at an Internet cafe in Jinja right now.  The WiFi was up when I started and has been down for awhile now.  I am hoping they get it back up so that I can post this before we have to leave.

Thank you for praying while I've been here.  Keep praying.  Several of the little one's at Canaan Children's Home where we are staying now (in Jinja) have malaria.  It's not fun.  Poor kids.  They are burning up with fever.  The clinic is full.  We have prayed over many children.  Pray for them.

The Internet just came back up!!  I'd better hit 'publish' before it goes back down.  This is Africa!  I do love it here.

Love you all!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's Time

It's here.  I'm leaving this evening to go spend the night in Washington D.C. before flying out in the morning to Addis and then to Nairobi.  I don't expect to have any Internet access while in Kenya.  On the 17th we will travel to Uganda, and there I may be able to get a signal every now and then. 

I plan to write while I'm traveling this time.  I was not able to do that last time.  I was completely exhausted in every sense of the word.  I wasn't expecting to be quite so shocked and emotionally drained the entire trip.  This time, knowing what to expect, I'm going to try to journal as I go instead of waiting until I get back.  It may not happen this way, but after the 17th check back because I may just have some things to tell you.  :-)

I cannot wait to get on that airplane and sleep.  I've been getting up at 2:30 AM, working 12 hours, and then trying to get packed and prepared for  the last several days.  Last night I went to bed at midnight and then was up at 2:30 and at work by 3:45.  I'm tired.  I need sleep.  I have 2 and a half hours left to work and then I'll leave for the airport. 

Since I'm leaving the country, my daughter has an infected wound on her arm.  Isn't that the way it goes?  Apparently she somehow got a splinter (Mom thought it was out but it wasn't) and now it's infected.  The school nurse got the rest of it out today and says that antibiotic ointment should heal it all up, but if it doesn't she'll have to see a doctor to get oral antibiotics.  Please pray that it heals nicely and there is no need to do the whole doctor thing.  My poor mom.  I don't know what I would do without her and David.  I need these next two weeks to go as smoothly as possible. 

Last night when I picked Brenna up from dance, she was so sad about me leaving.  She shed a few tears.  She's trying to be big about it all.  Poor kid.  I'm feeling REALLY guilty right about now.  She's so sweet.  She made I don't even know how many cards for me to give to the kids I will see.  She made them all bookmarks that say "Jesus Loves You and So Do I!"  Sweet girl.  She wrote in all of them that she prays for them every night, and that she does.  It's a different kind of life we are living right now.  I hope I'm doing  the right thing.  Sometimes I wonder.

She should have fun opening the gifts I have wrapped up for her for while I'm gone.  :-)

I should get back to work now.  I need to go for a walk or something.  :-)  I'm having a terrible time staying awake!

Please pray for protection and peace. 

Thank you so much!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Getting Excited!

There is so much to do and so little time.  In just 5 days, I will board a plane to start my journey.  FIVE days!  Unbelievable that it is already here.

I'm having to be at work a whole lot right now to make up for some of the time I will be gone.  Work is really getting in the way of the things I need to get done.  :-)  I have to get a hair cut in the morning, so I only get to sleep a couple of hours after working all night tonight.  That should be interesting.  I have to see a chiropractor before I can spend all that time on airplanes.  They were able to fit me in Monday after work.  Monday after work I also somehow have to get my dogs to the kennel before they close.  I wish there were two of me right now!  The dogs need a vaccine too, I was told by the good folks at the Barkington Inn.  They will have to get it there, as there is no time to get them to the vet before I leave.  Oh well!

I'm getting nervous about how I will miss Brenna while I'm gone.  I HATE that part.  I'm working on some little surprise gifts that I will leave for her to open throughout the time I'm gone.  If you see her while I'm gone, will you give her a hug for me?  One day she will make this trip with me, but for now she must stay here.  Thank goodness for awesome grandparents.

It has just been amazing the way that God has brought people together to gather donations for me to take with me on this trip.  One friend that I hadn't had any contact with since high school sent countless emails and posted on Facebook for help for me.  She collected LOTS of awesome stuff including a 30 pound bag of children's vitamins for me to take.  The nutrition that these children lack is sad.  These vitamins will help!!

The blessings have poured in.  Now I'm trying to scrape together $250 to take an extra bag.  I just have to get all of this stuff there.  Airlines charge an arm and a leg for extra baggage.  If you'd like to help with that, you can send (any amount will help) to my paypal account.  You don't have to have a paypal account.  You can just use a debit/credit card.  Send to:  Thank you!!

Please pray that God will prepare the hearts of all of us on this team.  This is a hard trip.  I need to be able to focus on being what these kids and their care-givers need me to be.  We will visit places in Kenya that Visiting Orphans hasn't been before.  Pray that we can show Jesus to these little ones and that relationships may begin to form.

Thank you for all of your help!  God is working.

oh and...  I now have a Princess Tiana baby doll and Princess Tiana dress-up dress for this beautiful and perfect Ugandan princess...