Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hands and Feet

As Dw and Emmy leave with the team this week-end I was able to have most of today off from responsibility.  I went and sat with an ice tea at a local coffee shop reading my Bible.

I was pondering a dream I had last night {and no, I don't understand yet what it meant}...but anyway, I was reading my Bible and writing verses on a piece of paper.

After I was there for an hour or so a young man approached me.  He commented on how intently I was studying.  I remarked that it was my relationship with Christ and His Holy word that kept me afloat and how I didn't know how I would have done my life without my relationship with Christ.

We got to talking and he told me of a situation he and his young wife are in and how they need some direction.  I asked if I could pray for the situation with him right then.  He readily agreed to it.  We bowed our heads as I prayed.

As he and I were talking, it turns out that he and his wife spent a few years living in Ch*na and she volunteered at an orphanage there.  I asked what city it was in and would you believe it was the same city that our Jubilee was in?   I could not believe it!  I am going to email her pictures of our Jubilee while at the orphanage....and there is a very real likelihood that she crossed paths with our precious girl, once upon a time!

My eyes welled with tears as this young man and I talked about those that the Lord has placed around this globe to be His hands and feet wherever we are.   Of course the thing is that each of us have to decide to be His hands and feet!  His wife had gone in at least two times a week {for years} to this giant government orphanage to serve those behind the closed doors.

I continue to well with tears as I type now, knowing that there is a likelihood that she even ministered to our sweet baby girl.  Can you imagine?  No doubt, this young woman could have chose to do something else with her 'free time', but there she was emptying herself to love on the special need orphans there.

It reminded me that there are people all over the world at this moment, many without anyone knowing, serving the hurting, ministering to the fatherless, providing for the widow, caring for the homeless....and I urge you to join me in praying for strength, hope, protection, determination, peace, courage and perseverance for their hearts.  

And praying also that we, too, would be His hands and feet wherever we are at this moment.  Because each personal touch matters.  Because we are not where we are by accident, whether we be in Poland, the Netherlands, Germany, Kor*a, Qat*r, Ch*na, Uganda, Ethiopia, Australia, the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Afgh*nistan, Ir*n, Ir*q, Ecuador, Mexico, or anywhere else!

Because if we aren't His hands and feet to this world where we are, who will be?

And on a completely different note:

You guys have been amazing!  Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for your generous gifts.  We're just about there and we will be able to get it all done - the boys will get their court, Praise and her children will get clean water and the Pastor's will be ministered to.  He is faithful and He uses ordinary people {like you and me} to accomplish extraordinary things!  You guys rock!

May God bless each of you exponentially for your generous gifts!!  We love you dearly!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Because He Asked

Dw asked me to do a blog post today.

I have to say, in the four years since I began sharing our lives at a Place Called Simplicity I can't remember a time that he asked me to do a post.  I might be forgetting one, but I just don't think so.

Besides how could I resist his adorable blue eyes?

So here's the reality folks:

Dw, Emma and a team of 20 {total} are leaving this week-end for Uganda.  There is no doubt that this team has been uniquely planned by God and excitement, anticipation and giddiness is in the air!  I confess I am jealous {in a good way} that they get to go.  I really thought after being there so long to bring Ruby home that I would be okay with not being there for awhile, but that is not the case!  I miss Uganda...and I miss it bad.

When leading a GO team, we are convinced that the team needs to do what it is sent to do.   We do not GO to sightsee or relax, we GO to serve and serve is the only thing we GO to do.

Last trip, the February 2012 GO Team led by Dw and Emma met a young Ugandan woman who is fostering 24 children.  They live in the crudest of conditions!  Dw could hardly talk about it.  This young woman {all of 26 years old herself!} didn't set out to foster children, but she saw a need and had to do something.  Little by little, she now cares for 24 children.  The February GO Team ministered to this precious young woman and her 24 children.

This is the young woman who fosters 24 children.  Do you see the joyous smile?   Emma is showing her the quilts....

International Voice of the Orphan had had a young woman donate quilts she made for her senior project, some of which we gave to her for her children.  She was overjoyed!  The young quilter's name is Alison.  Just think, Alison has been donating her time and her talent to give away to the needs of the orphan.  Don't you just love to see teenagers with hearts that serve others freely?

During the time spent with this young single foster mom the GO Team they walked with her children to get water.  Dw said the water hole was a disgusting place that they were drawing their water out of.  He could not believe it!  So this June GO Team will be serving this young woman and her 24 children by, Lord willing, putting in a clean water system for her.  

Since officially launching International Voice of the Orphan {IVO} a few months back we have stood in amazement at all God has done!  God has provided amazing partners with Front Lines {an arm of IVO} who have contributed some one time gifts, some monthly, so that sixty {60} orphan street boys are now being fed three times a week. 

The boys in the Front Lines feeding program are being taught about the love of God each time they are fed.  They also are having a simple school program and medical needs are met.

Because these boys have lived on the streets for so long, they are not really always ready to move off the streets into a home.  So they are watched and after much prayer it is slowly determined who seems ready to move to a half-way type home.  From there they are moved to a group home where they become family for the rest of their lives.

Past GO Teams have helped build these boy's homes, kitchens and school buildings; working hard alongside Ugandan nationals {we employee to help} on many different trips.   There are several homes now on the property owned by API {our partner in Uganda}.

We asked Abby and David of API what could the boys really use this trip?

Abby and David said that they really long for a basketball court for all the boys to play on.  Although it might be considered a luxury, just think....our kids have opportunities to play in parks, on teams, swim, roller skate, skateboard, ride bikes, etc.  These boys were never allowed to be children.  Until now. This GO Team will be building a basketball court for the boys!

Lastly, the GO Team will be serving at the Legacy Pastor's Conference.  This is a conference that will minister to hundreds of pastors who have no other opportunity to be encouraged and challenged but through the 5th Annual Legacy Conference.

Dw wrote about the Legacy Conference they did in February in Eastern Uganda.  Pastors had come from many countries surrounding Uganda and many had arrived four days early.  Four days early to sit in a field without food or water waiting.  Imagine that!  These pastors are that hungry for the word of God.  Sitting in a field without food or water or housing, just waiting.  {Think about all we belly-ache about in a day!}

Anyway, so the bottom line is the financial needs for the project are huge this trip.

A clean water system, a basketball court and a Legacy Pastor's conference.

I am convinced that many want to do something, they just don't know what to do. Here's a first hand opportunity to do something.  Many are unable to GO to Uganda....but they can help with the work there by giving.

As always, every donation given to a project goes directly to that project.

And so since Dw asked me to ask you, our generous bloggy friends, I am here asking.  It feels weird, because I have never asked for financial help of any kind.  But there you have it... tangible ways to care for the orphans and third world pastors!  The needs are huge, but you are the most generous bunch of folks out there.  The backpacks and snack bags are ready to speed their way there!

All you have to do is click here and donate to a specific project or whatever need is greatest.

No matter how small the gift, it all will help in a huge way!

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

And on behalf of the orphans in Uganda and the pastors in Uganda and surrounding countries,
thank you!
I know that Almighty God will bless you exponentially for your generosity, because He's just that faithful.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Good News From a Distant Land

Like cold water to a weary soul
is good news from a distant land.

Proverbs 25:25

Many of you will remember the post I wrote March 17th advocating for a family for a little girl named


It was a heart's plea....we had met her, played with her, snuggled with her, laid hands on her head and prayed over her....and she desperately needed a family....

Well just two months later, her forever family has found her and there is good news from a distant land....

Read this!

Rejoice with us!

He heard our prayers and has answered, we will celebrate this news for the rest of our lives!

Esther has a family!  Esther has a family!  Esther has a family!

Monday, May 28, 2012

It's Not Really About the Picnic

Although picnics with friends and family have been planned across our nation today,

it's not really about the picnic...

Today is a day that was set aside to honor those who chose to sacrifice 
their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today.

Sadly in backyards, parks and homes across America, 
family and friends will gather today and there will not be a single mention
 of our nations heroes....

Men, women, families who have paid the ultimate sacrifice by giving 
their lives for the freedoms we so often take for granted.

As a military family, I implore you to talk with your kids, family and friends about
 those who fought or currently defend our freedom.  

Although often romanticized in the movies, war does take its toll.

One cannot be part of active combat and walk away unscathed.

Every area of life is affected.
To deny it, would be unjust and it would be pretending.

Can I be perfectly frank?

No matter how little it is mentioned: Each soldier's life is never the same.

Holding a dying comrade is life-altering.

No amount of book-learning, movie-watching or story-hearing can prepare one for this.

Our hero-son has been on five deployments as a member of our nation's Special Forc*s.
After one depl*yment, he literally landed, spent one night with his precious wife and boarded a plane the very next day to accompany a fallen friend's casket to his hometown where he spent the week comforting the family of his friend.

Yet, most will picnic and party today, never even thinking of the sacrifices
 that are made day in and day out by our military.

Not even cross most minds that there are people depl*yed around the world, 
far from family and friends, 
often with little ability to communicate.  

Some can say: "Well they signed up for it."
True enough.

But that ungrateful attitude is so penetrating to this military mom!

Being up close and personal:  Because our son {and many sons and daughters and husbands and wives and brothers and sisters} love this country enough to lay down his/her life for yours and my freedom, it would really behoove each of us to stop and ponder what that really, really, truly means.

A few years back, I remember anticipating our son's imminent arrival for a leave just before one of his depl*yments.  We had not seen him in months as his days and nights are spent preparing with his unit for the life they live on their depl*yments.  Suddenly though we got a phone call, something had happened somewhere in the world and he could not leave as his unit was on high alert and might have to depl*y immediately.

Our family was deeply affected.  

To know that there are those in our nation that don't appreciate the
 daily sacrifices made by our military is a hard pill to swallow for this military mama.

And so today, would you stop for a moment and pray for our military?
Would you pray for their families?
Would you pray for God's peace to flood hearts?
For His healing in their lives for the things they have seen?

 To all who proudly serve or have served our great nation and to you who have children, spouses or extended family serving:  May the God of all comfort and peace bless you abundantly, may He minister to you, may He protect you, may you know that our family stands with you appreciating each sacrifice you and your family have made.  

Our family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Final Chapter

Yesterday Dw, the kids, the dogs and I packed up to head to Colorado.

We barely stopped and had a lot of fun laughing and reminiscing.  

A sweet trip over all.

Little Miss Ruby did wonderful and was awake 
{with the exception of a 20 minute nap} the entire trip.

We are checking her often to make sure her {very open} fontanel is fine.

Her neurosurgeon cleared her to come, but we are watching closely.

We got to Pagosa in the nick o' time as Autumn had her bridal shower last night. 

Such fun to see that precious girl of ours
opening presents in anticipation of the miracle wedding of the century.

We took tons of pictures, but the internet at the campground is s-l-o-o-o--o-w.

Savannah and Emmy's best bud Destini joined us.

Such fun memories are being made!

Tomorrow Dw is officiating the wedding of a precious young orphan lovin' couple who attended the church we pastored here.   They wanted to be sure that the world knows their hearts for the orphan are huge and so they requested that Jubilee, Isaiah, Elizabeth and Elijah would be in the wedding {not to mention that they were the most adorable little treasures this side of the Mississippi}!

Then Sunday Dw is speaking at a church in Bayfield, called Life Church.
The 'party' starts at 9:30am with church starting at 10.
If you are in the area, please come!

It will give me a chance to love on treasured friends whom
 I never got the chance to say good-bye to.  
They will also get to meet our little miracle Miss Ruby Grace.

Very odd to be back in town after 8.5 months!
Never would have guessed when Emma and I left for Africa that our world would change so much...and I would never return to our home or to the church we senior pastored for 7.5 years.

The winds are supposed to be 60-70 mph in Pagosa Springs tomorrow...
{and it's already started up}...

Soooo, camping should be really interesting....

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Summer Worth Remembering...

Dw and I were talking yesterday and looking back over some of the things we have done with our summers.

One summer in probably about 1981 we opened our home to host six pastors for a conference they were attending that week at our church in Buffalo.

In the summer of 1984 we opened our home and hearts to a little girl from the inner city of New York.  She was with us through a program in those day known as "The Fresh Air Fund" which took kids out of the inner city and placed them for the summer in a home where they could breathe fresh air and just be a kid.

I wish I still had the photos to show fact, come to think of it, that little girl we sponsored in the summer of 1984 looks an awful lot like a little girl waiting in Uganda we know.

There were others in between, but that one in particular stands out.  It was an amazing time!

In the summer of 1988, Billy Graham did a crusade in Buffalo, New York.  We were heavily involved and actually sponsored a Chin*se national who came to the states for the conference with her grown daughter.  They did not speak English and of course, we did not speak any Chin*se.

It was such a crazy adventure for us!  We loved having the Chin*se mom and her daughter stay with us.  We prayed that they would meet the King of Kings.

During their week stay with us, one lunch I made grilled cheese sandwiches.  The daughter came to me and asked if I would write the recipe down for her.  How adorable is that?  Somewhere in Ch*na a Grilled Cheese sandwich recipe is floating around compliments of Linny.  {It was an old family recipe....ya' know?  Butter a side of each slice of bread, slice cheese, grill.  haha}

But what about this coming summer?  Have you and your family wondered and prayed if there is something in particular the Lord would have you do this summer?

Maybe minister to the orphans in some way?

Ya' know....making a difference to one.

Well here's an opportunity to do just that!

I am mentioning two programs for sponsoring orphans this summer, there are plenty of others.  In fact if you are part of a Orphan Summer Sponsorship program, please leave a comment under this post with a link to your program .

I have had contact with these two groups and desperately want to see the Lord provide a home for each child available.

Maybe you could be the home for one.

The first is a ministry called Guglielmo's Hope, Inc. - finding homes for children from the Ukraine.

I have spoken in person to Ginger who is the co-founder of the program.  She's a rockin' awesome woman with a heart for the orphan.   I spoke to her a few weeks ago.  She was leaving for the Ukraine the next day, but what struck me, was what she said as we were hanging up:  "Call me any time, any or night...these kids need sponsors."  Love her heart.

Time is running out for these treasures - could you be a host family?

Ginger's recent email:

Please take a look at the photo list and see if someone touches your heart. They each have a bio. If you have been on the fence waiting to see who was going to be hosted first, now is the time to make a selection so we can focus on getting paperwork done. All the children in the beginning after the word "Available" still need families.   If they are after "Hold" or "Hosted" they are the children selected to have an amazing summer. Thank You God!!!!

Click to see is the listing of kids still waiting in the Ukraine for matches for this summer.  There are still 9 singles waiting and 3 sibling groups.  Let's blitz Facebook and see if we can find homes for these treasures desperately longing for a family.  

If you want more information, please contact Ginger:

The other ministry I have information on is:

2012 Taiwan Summer Tour of Hope

There are six treasures pictured.  They are needing sponsors for two weeks in July.

For more information see the link highlighted link above.

Please spread the word!  Just think, if each of us told all our FB friends and any one else we know...there would surely be some who would have been wondering [at the Lord's prompting] what to do this summer....

You can be an advocate from your own home today. Point your Facebook friends to these two great organizations {and any others listed in the comments} and perhaps help an orphan find their forever family!

In the mean time, let's pray that God will provide homes above and beyond all that we could think or ask and each child allowed to be hosted, will, indeed, have a host family provided and make it a summer worth remembering.

"Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed."
Psalm 82:3