Saturday, July 31, 2010


This is a video made at the Nsoko Carepoint in Swaziland. It is one of the carepoints that Children's HopeChest and Adventures in Missions operates in Swaziland to care for children and their families who are living in extreme poverty, many of them dying from HIV/AIDS.

The Beveni Carepoint, where we will be ministering in September, is about 30 to 45 minutes north-west of Nsoko.

If you would like to be involved in impacting the lives of children like the ones featured in this video, contact me directly or visit the CHC and AIM websites at:

Friday, July 30, 2010

BIG NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our oldest daughter has been added to our Swaziland team roster. We are so excited. This will be her third time to return to Swaziland. The first time was with me and her younger sister, the second time was with her AIM Ambassador team last summer, and now!

That is the exciting part!

The UNexciting part is that she only has about 6 or 7 weeks to raise $2500. So here's where you come in...yeah, I'm a mom so I can do this for my girl....would you please pray for her that God will provide the funds and then will some of you consider whether you are part of His provision? If you want to help but can't give yourself, we'd love if some people would help with fundraisers. You can either help us as we put on fundraisers or do a fundraiser on her behalf. This can be as easy as helping us with a road block or donating handcrafted items for us to sell. If you wanted to do a fundraiser, I'll be glad to help you with ideas. When I was going to Swaziland, someone auctioned off a cross necklace on EBay and gave the proceeds towards the trip. Another friend sold bracelets for us to people in her Bible study and church. Another very simple idea, but much appreciated, would be to put a donation can by the cash register of a business you own or frequent.

But seriously, if you can't give, that's totally okay. Your prayers really are what we need the most. And pray for me...I'm finding myself starting to worry and I know that's not the symptom of a trusting heart.

A very happy mama

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Interested in coming to Swaziland, Africa with us this September? Here are the trip details from my beautiful and oh-so-talented team leader, Danielle

September 18th-29th, 2010

Beveni Carepoint in Swaziland, Africa

Children’s HopeChest

Trip Leader: Danielle Brower

Trip Code: SZ100902T

1. Airfare: $1500 round trip. All team members will fly out of Atlanta on the 18th on the SAME flight, arriving in Johannesburg on the 19th together. We will be purchasing our airline tickets BEFORE August 18th.

2. Land Costs: $1500 includes all ground transportation, lodging & meals. A guide will meet us at the airport and within a day (this may or may not include an overnight stay in South Africa, depending on when our flight arrives) we will be driven 3 hours to the Beveni Carepoint. After a brief visit, we will be taken to the hotel to settle in & be debriefed about Swaziland culture, etc. More specific land cost details are provided for in the Travel Guidelines document under “The Land Package”

ALL TOTALS ARE APPROXIMATE!!! Please understand that the final costs depends on the number of team members we have. As soon as I know the exact totals, you will too!

What will we be doing while we are there?

For the rest of the week we will spend as much time as possible at Beveni, assisting in whatever ways we can. The details are still being worked out but here are some of the things that each team member will be expected to help with.

1. Vacation Bible School-type outreach to the Beveni children. There will teachings, singing, dancing, crafts, and games for the older children as well as the preschoolers. Our number one goal will be to be a vessel for God to share His love with the children & the volunteers who care for them on a daily basis.

2. Capital Projects – specifics are still unclear, but we are envision that this may involve repairs or maintenance to the Carepoint & property. We may also work in the garden. If a capital project arises such as building a chicken coup or setting up a soccer field, we’ll be prepared for that. Again, we will await word from HopeChest on this.

3. Home Visits –most likely part of our team would stay at the Carepoint while the other half visits some of the children’s home.

4. Adult Volunteers – we are going to serve the children, and part of the way we can do this is by blessing & encouraging all the adults who care for them. If the go-go’s need help in the kitchen, we will help. If we need to clean the latrine, we will do so.

5. Distributing shoes & other gifts. This will be so FUN!!! And will be done in a very orderly fashion. Once we arrive in Swaziland, someone will be assigned the task of purchasing the shoes & gift bags for the kids. Also at the hotel we will ‘pool’ everything from our luggage and what is bought at the store so it can be sorted before taking it to the Carepoint.

Team members need to plan on taking TWO checked-in luggage bags. One for your personal items. The other will be filled with items that we will leave with the children & Carepoint leaders. A few weeks before the trip, you will receive more info about what to collect & what to bring.

If people want to know how they can support you beyond giving to your personal trip, we will provide a list of items they can donate which can be brought along in your luggage for the Carepoint. For example, we may have one person bring as many crayons as possible. And others we may ask to pack t-shirts for the kids. We will let you know.


Please have the following information to me as soon as you can. I will then send it on to HopeChest, in one team package.

Danielle Brower

420 Hazel Ave E

Kimball, MN 55353

1. TWO black & white crisp copies of your passport – the first page only that has your photo on it.

2. A $250 check made out to Children’s HopeChest, for deposit on your trip. The balance due to HopeChest will need to paid in full before our trip. Remember the only money due to HopeChest is the Land Costs. Airfare is to be paid by each of us to the airline.

3. Trip Application – filled out & signed.

4. Power of Attorney form – if you are a minor.

5. Hotel Room Request – if there is someone specific you’d like to room with, please put it on a note & send it to me with the other forms.

All these forms I will email to you –

1. Trip application

2. Power of Attorney forms

3. HopeChest Travel Guidelines

4. Personal General Health Care for the Traveler – this includes info on recommended vaccines & how to avoid getting sick while traveling, and much more.

5. Global Underwriters Travel Insurance Schedule of Benefits

So please let me know your email address & I’ll get all these forms sent out right away!

We are so excited about the missions trip & look forward to the adventure God has planned! If there are any other questions, I’m here for you!

Danielle Brower

Cell – 763.516.0599
– where you’ll find I talk a lot about Swaziland!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


A dear, sweet friend of mine ---mother to three, nearly grown children--- wrote this on her blog recently. I wanted to share it here at Graceland:

I was looking through pictures on my computer and was struck by this one. It was taken in 2004 and the kids were running from me because they were tired of me taking pictures of them. The funny thing is, I couldn't figure out the camera and all of the pictures came out too dark except for this one. Boy, they sure do grow up fast.

It makes me laugh. How much time do we spend in our lives running from our parents?

Frappy is going to school through the summer again. She wants to be a physical therapist and will have 3 years of medical school after she gets her bachelor's degree. She is majoring in Spanish. She's called me a couple times this week in tears. She just isn't getting chemistry. She has three pre-requisite chemistry classes she needs to get through and is currently in the second one. She is meeting with a tutor today and will likely see one for the duration of the class. She just turned 20 and could graduate from college next year. We are thinking it might be wise to ease up a bit and take another semester.

Frappy has been working for a wealthy woman in town cleaning and doing yard work. She wasn't able to find a job most of the school year and she is worried about us paying for things for her. She's been paying for her own gas and food. She had me laughing so hard one day when she called!

Frappy: Oh my gosh Mom this job SUCKS!!!

Me: Why?

Frappy: It's like the JOB JAR!!!

I had an old fashioned glass jar with a wooden lid that I named the Job Jar. In it were a bunch of slips of paper with jobs on them like picking all the leaves out of the rocks, scrubbing the walls, scrubbing the baseboards, cleaning out the junk drawer, etc. They were punishments when they got in trouble. I'd yell, "That's it! Two jobs from the Job Jar!"

Me: Laughing... Really?

Frappy: YES!!! I feel like telling her, "Dude! Get a Job Jar and make your 12 year old do this stuff!" That kid just lays around the pool and watches me do stuff. He doesn't even clean his room! I don't think it is good for kids to not have to do chores.

Me: Oh Really now??? You didn't think that back then!

Frappy: Yeah, well... you know.

Me: Laughing... Yes, I know.

Well, she called crying again last night. She had been upset the day before because the lady texted her saying the house looked great and she didn't need her. She was counting on that money. Yesterday she worked but then got a text saying, again, that everything was great and they wouldn't need her until Monday. I told her not to worry and that we would help her but she is wanting to pay for things herself. I then called Mr. Macchiato to have him call her and see if he could settle her down. Daddy did.

I think we all run from our parents at some point... be it literally or figuratively. We want to figure things out for ourselves. We want to be independent and free. We don't want rules and responsibilities not of our choosing. We don't see the wisdom or understand that our parents are trying to protect us and guide us so that our lives are better for us.

Who better to run to when we get knocked down by life than those we know in our hearts love us?

I think God chose to identify himself as a father for a reason. As a parent I have learned more lessons about Him through the hands and hearts of my children than in any other circumstance. I think the love we feel for our children is the closest thing we can grasp to how He feels about us. To me, it breaks my heart to see my children making choices that will bring them pain and/or make their life harder for them.

Even though this has been a rough week for our Frappy... listening to her cry as she laid her worries and frustration out blessed me greatly. Since she's gone away to college, I've been re-instated as Mom, Kisser of all Boo Boo's. It seems like a long time that I was placed in the position of, Mom, Sayer of NO! and consequently the very Gatekeeper of Hell (I read that about me in Chai Tea's journal once).

I don't know about you, but, I sometimes have a hard time praying. Last night I took a look at how I felt when Frappy runs to me... and then about God as my Father. If I, a totally fallable and sinful mother feel the way I do when my child runs to me... How much more so does my Father in Heaven when I run to Him?

To read more from THE RIGHTEOUS BUZZ, follow this link:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who have supported our family and our second daughter B as God took her to Romania to love others but also to find out for herself more about His amazing love for her and see more clearly how much we love her, too. Her middle name is Joy, and this trip was used to polish the tarnish off of that joy and bring her back more dedicated to following Him passionately and loving life to it's fullest.

Your prayers, financial contributions, letters, messages, counsel, and acts of hospitality were all so appreciated. We are blessed.

If you think about it, please continue to pray for her as she adjusts back to life in America and life away from her Adventures in Missions teammates. Her body is still getting back to normal but she and we don't want her spirit to get back to before trip normalacy. We want to see her continue on in the things God started in Romania, but at times that can be painful and tricky. Pray she'll press on, full of joy, laughter, and love. Pray that she'll carry with her for the rest of her life a bit more of eternity found among those Romanian hills.

Btw, this photo was taken the day her team took the children from an orphanage on a trip to the zoo.

Monday, July 26, 2010


As you might know from a previous post, we are trying to help raise money to buy medical supplies and needed items for the children of the Beveni Carepoint in Swaziland. Our sponsor group coordinator wrote this post over the weekend on her blog:

I confess. Tonight I Googled, “How to get people to give to online charity”

I’m ashamed. I really was trying to avoid resorting to guilt & pressure (as you’ll read below). And that’s why I did it.


I genuinely DO want to see people open their hearts & pocket books –

Wait back this blog train up – did I just say pocket books? I must have suddenly warped to 1953 when women called purses pocket books. Let me start that thought again!

I genuinely DO want to see people open their hearts and purses so that our 132 Beveni kids in Swaziland can have basic medicines, first aid supplies, clothes & paper for school! In fact, it’s been nearly all I can think about since last Tuesday. How can we get the kids the items they have need of?

God opened the doors through connecting us with Kids Against Hunger who is sending a shipment of food to Swaziland very soon. One of our sponsors is working diligently on our behalf to also ship medicines & other supplies to our Beveni kids, on that same container. It should arrive just before we do, in mid-September.

Then God sparked the idea for Beveni Outpouring 72. $7200 in 72 hours for Beveni kids’ supplies. And the needs are being fulfilled! Our Beveni Team (you’re on the team, too) is raising the money to buy the supplies….

Just not as fast as I’d hoped.
At some point today I got worried… (just before I googled) What if we don’t get enough money to send the supplies? And I began to formulate all kinds of cockamamie ideas (can I say that on a Christian blog?) anyhow…

* Maybe God said 1072 – $1072 in ONE THOUSAND SEVENTY-TWO hours.

* All my friends clicked “HIDE” when they saw I was doing an online fundraising campaign.

* And the worst – It can’t be done. Who can raise $7200 online in 72 hours? I asked God, “What am I missing?”

God Googles, right?

So what did Google say?

I found out that people give for several reasons.

* Guilt – not gonna go there.
* Pressure – here either.
* Happiness – happy people give more. It’s a fact. Trust me. I don’t know what site I read it on, but a study was conducted sighting that happy people are 40% more likely to give than those who aren’t happy. Duh.

If you feel guilt-ed or pressured into giving to the Beveni Outpouring 72, don’t do it. Did you read that right? Yep. Don’t give if you feel a measure of guilt or pressure.

I know, I can’t believe I said it either. I may regret it later.

Give Because

* It’s there is a need that you can fill – money goes FAR in Africa!
* You have a happy heart!
* You want to spread that joy to others!

If you haven’t read the specifics of the Outpouring 72, please do so at the Beveni Outpouring 72 Announcement Post

Otherwise, if you want to GIVE from your happy heart, GIVE HERE! THANK YOU! That’s the link to Children’s HopeChest Ministry’s online giving form. In the notes section, be sure to write BEVENI SUPPLIES. Then drop me an email & tell me how much you gave, so I can add it to the grand total.

The truth is I believe (now that I got through the worry) we will hit the mark of $7200 by 8a.m. Monday morning. But even if we don’t, God will use the money that has been given and multiply it in the lives of the givers & the Beveni kids. I know that for certain…

…without Google’s help!

Shine On Sisters!


Ps. I hope this doesn’t take away from those who have given during our first 48 hours of the Beveni Outpouring 72. I’m so thankful that you stepped up to the plate! I just had a few discouraged hours and decided to blog about how God got me through it! :)


It is Monday morning and we haven't reached our goal yet, but even though the 72 hours are now officially over, it is not too late to donate towards this cause. Any contribution, even ones that seem small, will be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance from me, our group, and the children of Beveni Carepoint. Your donations mean so much in their lives.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Just over two years ago, I traveled to Swaziland with my two teenage daughters and an amazing group of folks...all who had a heart for the orphans and other at-risk children living in extreme poverty in this beautiful but struggling nation. Not too long afterwards, an online community of sponsors was founded to provide care for the children at one of the carepoints we visited. All the members pledge to monthly give money to ensure that their sponsored child is fed, clothed, educated, discipled, and loved. Letters are also exchanged and sponsors are encouraged to actually travel to Beveni and meet their child. It is more than just about money, it is about relationship.

This September, my husband and I will be traveling to Swaziland to minister at the Beveni Carepoint. We will be putting on a Vacation Bible School among other acts of service to this community. I want to give each of you to participate in loving these least of these. You do not have to be a sponsor to be a part of this amazing outpour. Here is what our Danielle, sponsor group coordinator, sent me via email today:

"All of our kids are now sponsored at Beveni – all 132 of them! The six kids who recently needed sponsors received them in just a few short weeks. What an amazing group we have! Thank you all for sending monthly support & love to the children you sponsor.

Some days it may not feel like you are making a big impact, but you are sending a clear message to them that they are NOT forgotten & they are NOT alone. I can think of no greater gift.

We also have a team traveling to Swaziland this September 18th-29th. We will be spending our time at the Beveni Carepoint with your sponsored children! There’s still time to travel with us if you’d like to! Please contact me right away to find out more.

The kids’ basic needs are being provided through your monthly giving, but there is much more that the children of Beveni need, things that you & I take for granted. Here is an opportunity for an amazing OUTPOURING of Hope at Beveni!

We are launching our first ever Beveni Outpouring 72.

$7200 raised for Beveni in 72 hours!

We can do this if we all give a little…

100 friends give $25

50 friends give $50

22 friends give $100

We will have met our goal!!!

The fundraising campaign starts Friday morning, 8a.m.

(but of course, you can start giving now!)

and ends 72 hours later - Monday at 8a.m.

Here’s where your money will go:

° Basic medical supplies – Tylenol, cold, allergy meds, first aid needs

° School supplies – pencils, crayons, paper, rulers, mathematical drawing sets, flashcards, music cd’s & a boom box, etc.

° Personal supplies – soaps, deodorants, toothbrushes/paste, shirts, socks, shoes

° Fun – soccer balls, jump ropes, dolls, card games, candy

There is a potential for us to ship the medicines & first aid supplies via Kids Against Hunger Cincinnati who ships protein-rich foods to the Carepoints in Swaziland. This shipment leaves the US very soon. Thus, the need for a 72-hour campaign. For the rest of the supplies, we will buy them in Swaziland and hand-deliver them to the kids & the Carepoint leaders! This will also help the local business & economy.


Here’s how:

1. Click on this link to HopeChest, or copy & paste into your browser.

2. Fill out the form & indicate the $$$ you wish to give

3. **VERY Important** in the NOTES section write: BEVENI SUPPLIES

4. SHARE this information on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, with your church, your friends, and your kids… I've attached a word document & logos for this purpose.

5. PRAY that God blesses this event of outpouring. Pray that He also provides an outpouring of hope to our kids at Beveni, their families & all the workers at Beveni. Pray that He blesses the givers!

Your gift will be tax deductible.

We would like to keep a running total of how close we are toward our $7200 goal.

Would you consider replying to this email (for my eyes only) and let me know how much you gave?

Names will not be shared, only dollar amounts.

If you have any questions, please contact me via email at

Danielle Brower

Beveni Sponsorship Coordinator

Ps. If you haven't already, I encourage you to join our Facebook Beveni Community Group at"

Thursday, July 22, 2010


...happy birthday, to you!

Today is my beloved husband's birthday. He is now half-way to 90.

We started his birthday celebration with a breakfast of his choosing consisting of hashbrowns, bacon, and eggs. I added strawberries to the mix to make it a bit more heart healthy. Hey! I want him to still be around for his 90th!

Later on in the morning, the kids and I stopped by his office and sang "Happy Birthday" again and 4 year old Miss M gave him a birthday card.

One of the men he works with treated him to a muffaletta for lunch and then this evening he once again had a meal in his honor. According to his request, I made one of his favorite recipes, a Rachael Ray burger one. Our supper was comprised of RR's Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers, bbq beans, steak fries, and fresh pineapple. Dessert was chocolate cake and icecream. No, I didn't make the cake. Have you seen the oven in our RV?!?

Below are pics from our evening:

The kids pray as the food and Jim is blessed.

Almost all the kids gave Jim chocolate of some form or another for his gift.

Muppet flicks and John Wayne's GREEN BERETS were at this top of his wish list.

Desmond, our oldest son's best friend and our "son of another color" joined us for the fun and the imbibing of Jones' soda. It is awesome!

Forty-five candles was going to just be too many to try to light so instead, Patch put the candles in the shape of the number 45. Even then, he and I had a challenge getting them all lit.

And then when all was said and done, the night ended with watching the Muppets solve the great jewelry robbery case.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

B is now in Atlanta with her team just waiting for us to pick her up on Friday morning. Pray for her and them as they adjust back to their back-home lives. The next few days, even weeks and months, will be challenging in many ways. Also, please pray for all of them as they travel to their final destinations. Thanks!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Some of you have asked how things are coming where our house is concerned so I thought I'd post an update.

Our contractor is predicting that we will be able to move back into the house in about three weeks! We are so excited and I've begun a list of all the things we'll need to purchase. When you are starting from almost scratch, there are so many things you have to think about such as mops and dusters and calendars.

But in the meantime, here's what is going on:

The three downstairs bedrooms are completely done as well as the two bathrooms. The living room is almost complete. It still needs the stairs rebuilt. The dining room has been painted but the floors for the kitchen, dining room, hall, and living room are being worked on now. They will have stained concrete in a pretty tobacco color. Our contractor is presently building the kitchen cabinets. The mudroom has been floored and painted and I'm once again able to wash clothes in our new washing machine and dryer.

Upstairs there is still a good bit to be done. All the trim has just about been finished but the walls need painting, the bathroom needs a good deal of work, and the Berber carpet will have to be installed.

But all in all, what is done is look so pretty and it is going to be an amazing blessing once we move back in. If you live local, plan on coming to our HUGE housewarming/blessing party.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Here are a few more photos from B's trip to Romania. These were taken by her team leader, Jessie Miller.

Friday, July 09, 2010


Here's the first photo I've been able to view of B with some of her teammates in Romania. I just love seeing her precious face as she interacts with this little Roma child. Wow!

By the way, if you don't know my B in real life, she's the one in the bright, yellow skirt.

I can not WAIT to see more and hear all the truly fabulous stories. God is so good!

Thursday, July 08, 2010


My daughter's team has just a few days left in Romania. But it is so obvious to me from their reports that they are having an absolutely amazing time. Please pray for them that their last bit of time will be all that God would want it to be for them and then safety as they return to the U.S.

Here is a post from Emily, one of her teammates:

Last week, we had the pleasure of taking a bunch of kids from a nearby orphanage to the zoo. After seeing all the animals, we had a few hours to kill. Instead of chilling in the shade, I ended up playing soccer tennis with some of the kids. I don't remember the boy's name but the two girls I played with were Amalia and Andrea.

I grew up playing soccer but I quit recently because it wasn't fun anymore; it got too competitive. Playing with these kids was so much fun. When one of us messed up, we laughed and teased each other but there were no hard feelings. The atmosphere was so much more chill than I was used to and I really began to enjoy it. Eventually, we got yelled at by an employee for playing on the sidewalk but we didn't let that ruin our fun.

As a group, we headed to a giant playground outside the zoo. This playground was amazing. I've never seen anything like it. It had everything from ziplines to ping-pong tables. I played with a lot of the kids but I spent most of the afternoon with Amalia and Andrea. We spent our time trying to out-do each other, taking pictures and getting in tickle fights. My favorite part was watching Amalia break dance; she was a beast. I quickly forgot that these girls were only thirteen because I got along with them just like I would with my friends at home.

My high from the afternoon ended when we got on the bus to take them home because the fact that they were orphans really hit me then. At home I have two parents and an easy life. I basically have everything handed to me on a silver platter yet they still have so much more joy than I do. When we dropped them off at the orphanage, I figured we would never see them again, but it turns out that, though Amalia lives at the orphanage, her mom lives in Viile Tecii, the village we're staying in. I've been lucky enough to see her almost everyday since. Our conversations are limited but now she feels comfortable enough to let me buy her coke and ice cream from the store down the street. We even have a secret handshake.

One thing I've learned since we've been here is that the success of a mission trip isn't measured by the amount of people who come to know Christ through our influence or the number of churches we build. In fact, there's no way to measure success. All we can do is love on the people here. If that means building a pig pen, so be it. If that means playing goose (tag) with kids for hours on end, so be it. The fact is that God brought us here for a reason. It's clear to all of us that that reason was to love the people here. I don't know where Amalia is at in her relationship with God or if she even believes in him. What I do know though, is that simply being her friend and loving her for who she is what God brought me here to do. If he has chosen her to be his child, he will pursue her in a way that I, as a human, can not.

In Him,

(In the picture, Amalia is on the left and Andrea is on the right)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


From Sarah, one of Betsie's teammates in Romania:

"But he replied to the man who told him, "Who is my mother and who are my brothers?". And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother,"
Matthew 12:48-50

Family has always played a huge role in my life. That really goes without saying when people find out I am the oldest of four and graduated high school having been home schooled my entire life. But my family has never been strictly the people that share my DNA. I've given the title of brother and sister to many of my closest friends and call a lot of their parents mom and dad.

I knew going into this trip that I'd be going a month away from my family. I wouldn't be able to jump on my moms bed at midnight just to talk, play zombie video games with my brother, or make a random trip to Chipotle with my dad for a whole 31 days. While having only email to communicate with them has been different, I oddly have not been homesick yet. I credit this to the fact that I serve a Creator who shares my belief that your family isn't limited to blood relatives.

I could write to you for hours on how God has given me a family in this team. The way we have bonded and grown together and the way we relate to each other is exactly like the way siblings would. I will confidently tell you that we were all hand picked by God to be on this team together. There is no way that out of billions of people on Earth, the nine of us ended up here by chance. God knew what he was doing when he sent us on this trip.

But He didn't stop with the team. During our time here in Romania, we have been staying with two families. Though they had never met us before, they welcomed us into their homes with open arms. From the moment we arrived we were made to feel like a member of the family. They've made us like their children and we've all taken up the role. Anyone who knows me knows I am the least domestic person on the planet, yet I was given the job of cooking when we made gogosi, and I learned to peel potatoes while helping make dinner for the family.

I'm one of those people who is touched by the little things. Grand gestures get you no where with me, but something small and meaningful will mean the world. This is no exception without these families.

Last week, we were all on our way home from church in the two cars the families drive. We were leading the way home to have dinner when Abi, the father in the house where I'm staying, pulled over the car and got out without saying anything to us. Confused, we sat there as the other car went on past us and our team mates gave us equally confused looks as they went by. A few minutes later, Abi returns holding five colored [items] wrapped in his hand. He got back into the car, turned to us in the backseat, and hands each of us one of the ice creams, letting us pick between chocolate and vanilla. With a smile, he told us that he had wanted to get ice cream for "his girls". I've never enjoyed ice cream as much as I did in that moment, and it wasn't because of the quality of the ice cream itself. It was the meaning behind it.

Our families are never defined by our blood relatives. Through Christ we have brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers everywhere from our homes to others cities and even other countries all the way across the ocean. This trip has truly taught me the real meaning of the body of Christ working together through both the families here and the amazing team I am so blessed to be a part of.

In Him,

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


A snapshot of my life right now:

My team is upstairs; Bryan is messing around on his accoustic guitar, playing some Jack Johnson song, and occasionally whooping loud enough for me to hear from downstairs. Someone's singing and someone else is snapping their fingers. Most of our Romanian family are outside working on the pig pen, except for Sanda and Laura who are playing with their children on the bed as Beni (a little five year old boy) repeats, "Google-y goo! Google-y goo!" We've just got back from playing with a group of very poor gypsy children and the day is winding down.

In a week's time from now this picture will be impossible to recreate as we will be going home. "Going home." It sounds so odd in my mouth when I say it aloud. How can you go home when you're already there?

Jesus taught a lot about not biological families, but families solely united in the Lord and His will. I, as a Christian, am in the body of Christ. But no one has ever demonstrated to me what that is as well as the Romanian people have. The first thing Abi (he owns the house I'm staying at) said to me was, "I'm Abi. But you can call me papa! I will be your Romanian father." Every time he sees me, he hugs me and says, "My beautiful girl!" The openness and incredible loving servant heart our two families have shown all of us has floored me. They have put my needs above their own, they offer me their finest, and they serve me unbegrudgingly. It's the family of Christ perfectly painted.

Romania is my home because this is my family in Christ's home. But America is, too; and my own family waits or me there. That's how God means it to be, though, right? Because of His love, I have family members all over the world.

"That is why you are no longer foreigners and outsiders but citizens together with God's people and members of God's family." Ephesians 2:19