Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Graham, I love You"


Whooooa.

What a day!

After nine plus years....

Our Jubilee Promise can hear!

This past week Jubilee had another appointment at the audiologists.  Her hearing loss is moderate to severe in her right ear and severe to profound in her left.  It has taken awhile to figure it all out, but finally it has been determined that if they skip the outer ear and middle ear, we can achieve hearing!  

And so this past week, Jubilee was fit with a temporary hearing device called a BAHA.

The video says it all....





Next step, is a trip to a ear surgeon's in Denver to see if she is a candidate for permanent BAHA surgery.  {Two surgeries, months apart where a titanium peg is implanted into her skull.  She needs enough bone mass to be eligible for the surgery.  We are prayerful that her microcephaly will not prohibit her from being a candidate.  So tests, tests and more tests and expert weigh-in....but for now - she can hear us!!}

When we got home sporting her BAHA on her headband Graham was not home.

The next morning he said, "What's Jubilee wearing?"  

I told him.  

Instantly Graham turned around.  

I wondered what he was doing.

The other kids were working and talking...so the room was far from silent.

He was about 20 feet from her and since he had turned around she could not see his mouth.  

Quietly he said, 

"Jubilee, I love you."  

And from across the room, unbeknownst to her 
that he was about to 'test' her, she spoke up, 

"Graham, I love you."  

Four of the most precious words on the entire earth!

Oh my.

She can truly hear!!

We are overjoyed at what this means....

and rejoice that she is home with us and we live in America 
where we were able to discover her hearing loss
and do something about it!!

Gracious God how we praise YOUR name!!


"God places the lonely in families; 
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy"
Psalm 68:6a

Friday, April 29, 2011

Their Faces....

When we were in Uganda, towards the end of our trip, there were some protests in the streets.  Our son, George, did not think that they would come anywhere near us.  Yet the last day, they came right to where we were.  Hundreds of Ugandans very angry about the rising costs.

There was some shootings in the streets on our last day as well.  We were scheduled to go back to the slums, but I canceled us going for the safety of the team. 
I have had people ask me what the cost of living in Uganda is like.  Well, for starters, most food and clothing is very similar to the same cost as in America. 


BUT the wages are FAR different.  

Their income {if they have one} is next to nothing. 

So no doubt, it is nearly impossible to buy essentials on that!
Today there was more protests and they have turned to rioting.   
There have been shootings and about 150 have been injured and hospitalized.   
We love Uganda.  

We love the people of Uganda.  
Our hearts are pleading with the Lord.  We have ministered now {combined} seven times there in the last 2-1/2 years.  

We see the faces in our minds.  
Would you pray for the rioting to stop?


For the safety of those children living on the streets?
Where do they run to hide?  

Who will protect them?  

Prayer is all I can do from here. 

Would you please pray with us? 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sharing the Burdens



With the death toll rising and the horrific pictures all over the news and media....how can we do anything but stop and pray for those affected by the tornadoes? 

The tornado that wreaked havoc in the area when we were pastoring in Virginia was devastating to our hearts.   I wrote here about that tornado and how I narrowly escaped death.

One of the most terrifying experiences I have ever lived to tell about.

 There is no way that I am comparing our tornado to what happened yesterday....I am merely remarking that our lives were profoundly affected by the tornado we experienced and I simply cannot imagine what the folks in the southeast portion of the United States are feeling......

major devastation everywhere.   

How does one even begin to rebuild?  

And all the loss of life?  

Completely unfathomable.  

May the God of all peace and comfort minister and give grace for each moment

and may we share the burdens, both in prayer and action.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How Can We?

As I walked around and greeted boys and talked to them during the Wedding Feast I noticed something….some of the boys that had eaten were now going over to the plates that were being scraped and eating the piles of scrapings.  

Scrapes of food from all these plates....




were being scraped off and put on trays like this....

so the dishes could be washed...
{cause there weren't enough dishes}

And some of the forgotten treasures of Uganda,
 {who had already eaten their plate full} 
were crouching behind the serving table and 
eating ravenously the food off the scraps tray.


Ever been so hungry that a plate of scrapings from all kinds of people that you don't even know looks appealing?


Ever been so hungry that you eat as fast as you can, hoping no one is watching because you are afraid that someone might try to stop you?


Me neither.  



But there are millions around the world whose 
daily existence does not
guarantee a meal any given day.   

{And being painfully honest - how many Christians don't have the courage to fast - even one meal to see God move a mountain? Yet most of the world isn't even guaranteed one meal?? Ouch.}


How can we ever complain again about the flavor of the food we have been served? 

Or the portion size? 

Or the item on our plates? 

Or listen to complaints from our family about leftovers?  

Or how can we sleep at night allowing our children to 
grumble and complain about what is being served??  

"I don't like this ham sandwich."


"I don't feel like having meatloaf for dinner, we had that last night." 


"I don't really like eggs for dinner."   

 "I want McDonalds for lunch not Wendys."  

Seriously, how can we?

And once again, 
our hearts were smashed to smithereens 
by the things that break His.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sometimes...

Did you ever have a time where you just need to be reminded of God's love for you?

Do you know what I mean?

Something happens that shakes at your core.

It produces all kinds of emotions.

I know every one of you have experienced it.

Let me back up a bit.

When we were pastoring in Virginia, we lived on acres, surrounded by farmland.  I loved it.  I was one of those girls who grew up in a city, but longed for the country. 

 Every single day.

Seriously.  Not a day passed that I didn't try to figure a way to move to the country.

So when we lived on acres and acres pastoring in Virginia, I was one of the happiest ladies alive.

The first night we moved to our first pastorate I heard a weird sound.  It was loud.  

I had to ask someone what it was.  

They said it was "tree frogs".
{just like this little guy}




And I just gotta' say that every single night those tree frogs serenaded me.  I loved them.  They are one of the most favorite sounds {to me}.  

Ever.

Well when we moved to Colorado I never heard the sound of tree frogs again.  And regularly I would think about their sound and my heart would long to hear them again.
 Seven years have passed since we left our little place on 15 acres in Virginia.  

And for seven years I have longed to hear their sound.

A few months ago I even mentioned to the Lord how much I missed the tree frogs.

And last week I returned from Africa.

It was a very difficult trip on many fronts. 

Tuesday night {the night after returning home} as I was in my bathroom getting ready for bed, I heard something.  I thought, "What is that noise?"  I stopped and I'm sure my face looked perplexed.  That was not crickets.  

No indeed!

It was tree frogs!!

I could not believe it!! 
{I started giggling with delight!  And I almost started jumping up and down.} 

We have lived on this little place for the better part of 4 years and not once had I ever heard a tree frog.  Not once in the SEVEN years we have pastored here in Colorado. 

And since last Tuesday, I have heard them every single night.

I have to believe that my Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God moved a few tree frogs to the almost 6,500+ feet altitude of our 3 acre place.  
Why would He do that?

Cause He knew that this girl of His needed a secret love gift. 

Just for me. 

Only from Him.

And for that I am forever grateful. 

Cause sometimes a girl just needs to know that He loves that much. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Thankful


Easter was beautiful this year.  

Simple.

Just some close friends and my mom
and
eight of our kids
and
a boyfriend
and
a girlfriend

Perfect.





 Rob and Dw
My mom...


During our last bloggy prayer day I asked for prayer for Emma's best friend, Destini.  She had just been diagnosed with Histiocytosis.   It had already done some very extensive damage to her skull.  

Destini and her family are some of our closest friends.  Rob and Robin moved to our area about five years ago.  Just real people, who really love God and really love others.  You will often see them in pictures of our holiday celebrations.  They are just some of the sweetest people you'd ever want to meet.
How we met them, is one of the craziest stories you'll ever hear.  

So God.

He knew we needed them.

Anyway, when Destini was diagnosed we were all devastated.  We cried buckets of tears. This girl is a treasure.  She's Emmy's best friend.  She loves God.  She loves others. Lots of people prayed.  We had a church wide prayer for her.  Many of us fasted for her healing.  She was anointed with oil.

Two weeks ago, while we were in Africa Destini had brain surgery up in Denver {we were so frustrated that the surgery fell during the time we were in Africa.}  A neurosurgeon performed the delicate surgery.  They sent the tumor to pathology and were shocked to discover it was NOT Histiocytosis!!  It was something that was removed and should never return!!

It was a miracle!!

So yesterday as we celebrated OUR Risen Lord with Destini and her family, 
we celebrated His healing power. 

 Yes, Jehovah Rapha heals today!! 

How we praise His name!!


Can you believe that she just had brain surgery?  
{And was healed!}
Yippee Jesus!
Rob and Robin

 Piles of craziness.

 Graham and Savannah
 Graham and Tanner  {usually up to no good together}
Words are inadequate to express our thankfulness to Almighty God for healing this sweet girl!!

How we praise HIS name!
{thankful to all who prayed with us - seriously friends - 
the power of prayer can never, ever be underestimated!}

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Safe


Maybe you noticed in the pictures of the wedding feast that there 
were some boys sleeping in the background? 

Slumped over at their tables.

No one mentioned it, so maybe no one noticed.

But I had to write about it. 

Do you see it now?

So why would the boys, who had been excitedly looking forward to this most spectacular wedding feast day {for weeks, since Abby told them} be sound asleep?

Because their life on the streets means always protecting yourself.

Staying awake at night when the most dangers lurk.

Subject to predators.

Subject to those wanting to take advantage of the weakest and most vulnerable.

Subject to those who would kidnap and take into the international sex trade industry

{like some very precious little boys who were in Abby's ministry and were kidnapped,
never to be seen again.  I wrote about them here almost 2 years ago.}

And so it was that when they found themselves in the safety of the wedding feast, many of them slumped over sound asleep.

Have you ever felt that unsafe that you were unable to sleep - 

unable to sleep night after night,

for days,

for week,

for years?


Do you even notice the handsome little guy in the purple striped shirt?

Sound asleep sitting up.

It is hard to see, but in the background on the right there are others asleep.

Many were asleep all over the place.

Finally safe.

For a little while.

And again, our hearts broke for the things that break His.

Friday, April 22, 2011

He Lives Today



The Greatest Man in History Jesus 
had no servants, 
yet they called Him Master
Had no degree, 
yet they called Him Teacher
Had no medicines,
yet they called Him Healer
He had no army, 
yet kings feared Him. 
He won no military battles, 
yet He conquered the world.
He committed no crime, 
yet they crucified Him. 
He was buried in a tomb,
yet He lives today
I feel honored to serve such a Leader who loves us!
~Anonymous

Healer of crumpled lives,
Healer of disintegrated dreams,
Healer of broken hearts,
Healer of severed relationships,
Healer of fragmented bodies,
Healer of shattered emotions,
Healer of mangled marriages,
Healer of splintered friendships,
Healer,
Forever.
Always.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Wedding Feast

Oh.my.


When we got to the wedding we found that it was well underway!! 

Yes, we were late, although we had come directly from dressing the boys {and we were not in our wedding attire ourselves - ha!}  But in Africa nothing starts on time....except for David and Abby's wedding, I guess!

We were sorely disappointed that we did not have time to set up the live feed.  Emmy cried.  I got teary. I hated to disappoint you who had woke up to watch it.   I am so sorry.  It was totally out of our control.  And there was absolutely nothing we could do about it.  


We grabbed some seats all over the church auditorium and slowly the street boys began to trickle in from the buses that were used to bring them.


The wedding was beautiful and the team was able to run to the guest house and change after the wedding ceremony before heading to the reception.

The reception was beautiful and Abby and David had the street boys served at the front of the line….when I saw that - I could not help but cry more.  Not the back of the line - but the front.  Amazing!


I think my favorite part of it all was that each got their own soda bottle.  They could pick which kind they wanted!!  And their joy was contagious!




There were seats, so I'm not sure why this little guy chose to sit against the wall.  I guess we can each imagine for ourselves.



Another one eating by the wall.  Hmmmm.

Look at his grin!!  Pleased as punch, no doubt!
A plate of food, special clothes and a soda all his own!












By the way, Piper and friends....
some of the guests found flowers and adorned them almost like a lei.  
Check it out.















This little guy must have been one of the late eaters, cause he is eating off a tray {they had run out of dishes and some of our team were feverishly working to wash plates from guests that had already finished.}


Check out the distinct tie below.  Whoever sent that sure out to recognize it!!
{And I can't think for the life of me, who the cartoon character is, call it jet lag, I guess.}

Thought you all would love to see the authentic African dress.
They were beautiful!!!
Emma has one.  
Made especially for 
her by the village where 
she has ministered the last 6 trips - they love her!





And check this out!
When I asked if I could take this treasure's picture,
he quickly displayed "his" family's picture.
It was close at hand!  
I told ya' they would love knowing you all love them
and that that picture would be as loved {if not more} 
as the clothes themselves!!
Pray for him, whoever you are who sent the picture!
Pray for him - look at the concern on his face.
Life has been cruel and hard...
but your picture and your love brought him hope!












This is Kathy from the team.
A true orphan-lover and fellow adoptive mom....
such a delight to call "friend"....














This is a little guy that Emma sees every trip.  He has such a sweet smile....
and he is off the streets and in Abby's home.  












Stacy loving on the orphan....







And this is Celestia.

Mother of the Bride.

Orphan lover.

Sacrificial God-follower.

Servant.

Godly woman, passionate about seeing people set free from their pain.

And one of my dearest friends, ever.

A true kindred spirit.