Sunday, July 31, 2011


...but after watching my dear friends Robin and Doug Holder renew their wedding vows and celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary, I think that well-weathered married love is richer.

Tonight, in front of their family, friends, and church, they stood before everyone and recommitted themselves to loving each other the way God intends --- wholeheartedly with trust, respect, forgiveness, support, selflessness, grace, mercy, and passion.

I love you two and can't wait to see what God is going to do in and through your lives as you live out the rest of your forever after. You are a true example of what happens when lives are turned over to God and He is allowed to write the love story.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Several days ago, I wrote here on my blog about a precious child in Swaziland who had been killed by his step-father. The boy Mamba had attended a carepoint for years that was part of the Adventures in Missions ministry. He was loved by many there in Swaziland as well as a sponsor family here in America that had been blessed with actually getting to visit him on trips to Africa.

And a few weeks ago, I posted and asked you to pray for the Gerbers as the patriarch of that family had passed away.

Scott Borg, an AIM staff member, is in Swaziland for a short season. He shared this update today and his perspective on the events:


We've been in Africa just over a month now and I've been part of two funerals.

One was for Johan Gerber who left all of us too early but lived a life full of good things. It was sudden and remains sad as we all miss him. In his life he blessed hundreds of children in the children's home where he served. He raised three children who I think are pretty great people. He loved one woman for around 40 years and never left her side until she went home last year. The grandchild he was able to live with for several months was loved beyond words.

The second funeral began today. This one is for Mamba -a little boy who died a tragic death. With a vibrant spirit and a life ahead of him this death is more than sad. It just feels raw and wrong. Unjust, unfair, unbelievable. Seeing the little casket with mourners all around was surreal. How can this be true? But one little boy has mobilized people around the world to pray and to see life a little differently. Somehow the Lord is using this sad end of his life to motivate many to move closer to His heart. The funeral will last all night in a vigil according to cultural norms.

For some reason I was asked to say a few words at the burial at dawn tomorrow morning. It will require me to examine my own faith in times like this - can I trust God even in the midst of this horrible and unthinkable waste of life? Can my anger and shock be transformed into peace and faith in a redeeming Savior? Where else is there to turn in a time like this? Nowhere!

Somehow I think Johan might know what to say. The grace and happiness on his face in the picture above was there every time I was in his presence. There was a spirit in him I admire. He had a way of making everyone feel like he liked them and everyone liked him as well. He knew some things I am still learning.

Little Mamba had that same spirit. That's why the story of his short life is so compelling. Everyone who came to the Thulwane Care Point knew Mamba and liked him. And chances are he would be the first child to walk up to you and let you know he wanted to be your friend.

That's why the Lord can take an anonymous little boy in a rural area with little to nothing in terms of material things and use his life to move thousands of people to action. Mamba did not live or die in vain.

Thank-you Lord for your presence in our lives. We need you every hour.

Please continue to pray for all who loved Mamba and Johan, both in Africa and across the globe. They touched many, many lives in their own unique ways. They will be greatly missed.

Friday, July 29, 2011


My homeschool pal Becky sent me this video via facebook. She knows how much I love Africa. This is a beautiful version of Toto's song AFRICA sung by, of all things, a group from Slovenia.

Turn up you speakers and prepare to have yourself transported to an enchanting African savannah.

By the way, it doesn't just rain in Africa, it also snows. Yep, snow fell in Lesotho and South Africa this week. I bet you don't think of snow when you think of Africa, do you?

Thursday, July 28, 2011


In Swaziland, there is an amazing team of young adults. These team members are all Swazis, except for one Zimbabwean, who are dedicated to God and dedicated to the children of Swaziland.

On my last two trips to Swaziland, I've had the blessing of spending time with them and now have the honor of being their friends.

This video will introduce you to the men and women who daily participate in discipling, feeding, and helping thousands of orphans and other at-risk kids all year round through Adventures in Missions/Children's Hope Chest carepoints.

D-Team Swaziland Africa from Adventures in Missions on Vimeo.

Please pray for them --- pray for protection, direction, peace, and strength. The crazy hard task put before them can only be done by God's grace and provision.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. --- Alexander Graham Bell

What door has God been opening for you?

Photo taken at Ba'an Athitan Church, Chiang Rai, Thailand, June 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Twenty-seven years ago during the month of July, I was preparing to leave for my first year of college. That August, I would move into the beautiful and historical dorm on the front campus of Mississippi University for Women and begin my studies that would eventually lead to a Bachelor's Degree in Family and Human Development.

I would learn a lot in those ivy-covered classrooms. But more my education at M.U.W. was more than just about gaining head knowledge. Due to the small college setting; little distraction from males due to the majority female student population; and the warm, family atmosphere; I would have many opportunities to build amazing relationships.

I never thought I'd quote Muhammad Ali in relation to my alma mater, but this one is quite fitting---

Friendship... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.

Our professors lectured on the industrial revolution, symbolism in English literature, and principles of social work. But through a myriad of organizations, activities, and traditions such as Songfest, social clubs, and class rivalries, deep and lasting friendships were forged.

And the beautiful thing about "W" friendships is that those friendships keep on forming long after we carry the magnolia chain on graduation day. As new students enroll at M.U.W. and more graduate, our college draws us together in ways I never could have imagined back in the summer of 1984.

Twice a year, alums, students, and future W-Girls in our metro area gather at Keifer's Restaurant for good food but mostly for great gab. Some of us have never met before. By age, we're separated by years, sometimes even decades. But the love we share for The W as well as the bond of common experiences overcome those barriers and build friendships out of those who would otherwise remain total strangers.

When I entered M.U.W. I thought I was just going for a college education and some fun thrown in here and there. I had no idea what I was really in for --- gaining a family of friends that only grows bigger and richer with each passing year...and each shared meal of hummus, pita, and gyros.

Monday, July 25, 2011


I've been loving hearing the day-to-day details about David's Peru trip. Yes, I absolutely love hearing about how God moved in his life and how he ministered, but I also love finding out the every day things such as what he ate, how he got his clothes clean, and where he stayed. Maybe it's a mommy thing.

Anywho...found a video at YouTube that shows a short clip of where his team stayed in Nauta. It was made by another team a while back, maybe even a year or so ago because David says there are some houses built near the center that aren't present in the video.

So now you've seen one of their town digs. I'll try to post photos of their jungle village accommodations later on as well as some food photos. I love food photos. Especially ones from other countries that feature my kids eating grubs and raw shell creatures.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


While in Peru, David and his mission team had the opportunity of doing many things to show the love of Jesus to each other and to the Peruvians God sent their way. Whether it was the boys ridding the girls' sleeping area of tarantulas, the team members praying for a woman's healing and then having her get better, or the young Americans simply bringing some joy and laughter to children through the blowing of bubbles, it was all done out of love for Jesus and love for others.

And isn't this what true Christianity is all about in the end? Jesus said that the world will know we are His followers by our love.
What an incredible journey that following is.

You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.
---Henry Drummond

Saturday, July 23, 2011


We're all pretty tired from our long drive back from the Atlanta Airport where we joyfully picked up David this morning but I wanted to post a photo and check in briefly.

David said that God really used the trip to change him and his whole team. It was a lot better than he expected it to be. He loved Peru, the people he served alongside and ministered to. He has grown in many ways, including up! Yep, he's taller now than he was just three weeks ago.

More later, but for now, thank you all so much for your support and prayers.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Now that David's team is out of the jungle, they have access to reliable internet service. One of the team leaders (THANK YOU, ALANA!!!) has posted a few photos at facebook. I wanted to share this one of all the students. David is the one, that for whatever reason, is looking at the ground.

Looking forward to hearing the story behind that one but really, really want to hear the story behind this one:

Because from the expression on the feeder's face, the expression on David's face, and the fact that everyone and their madre is taking pictures of the feeding, tells me that what he's about to ingest ain't something he'd pick up at the local Kroger or Sonic.

P.S. Totally off topic, but if you see or talk to my hunky hubby today, it is his birthday so please wish him a great one. He is now 46 years awesome!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Many missionaries are on my heart tonight and I wanted to ask you to please pray for them.

*First, please pray for Kriek Gerber and the other Adventure in Missions staff in Swaziland as they are deeply grieving right now. One of the little boys who is a regular attendee at one of the carepoints has just been murdered by his step-father. Kriek writes about it in her blog and shares that this is the hardest day she has ever faced as a missionary. Please pray for this little boy's biological family but also for his spiritual family as they mourn his loss and deal with all that is related to this tragedy. Kriek's blog is:

*David and his team are flying home from Peru today and will be arriving in Atlanta tonight. Pray for safety and ease during traveling but also pray for them as they debrief tomorrow and are reunited with their family and friends this weekend. Re-entry into American culture and adjusting back to back-home life can be just as hard if not more hard in some ways than adjusting to the culture they just served in.

*Some of the on-the-field and just-returned missionaries I know are suffering from physical conditions that need healing. Some of these conditions are temporary, such as the tummy issues that short-termers often deal with, but others are long-term issues, such as Dudley Donaldson's extreme sinus problems.

*Serving in other countries, especially those that are extremely poor or intensely different than the American culture, can just be really hard at times. Whether it is lack of running water, language barriers that make communication difficult, missing family and friends back home, or feeling overwhelmed by the dire needs around them, it can all make living and serving on the foreign mission field very, very difficult at times. It can make home look very tempting. Pray that God will strengthen them, comfort them, empower them, encourage them.

*Most missionaries have to raise their own financial support. Pray that they will receive the provision they need to serve on the mission field and have the peace they need while they are waiting for that provision.

*Pray for physical safety. Crazy driving conditions, people hostile to the gospel, dangerous animals, or unstable governments are just some of the things that missionaries need prayer coverage for.

Thank you for joining with me as we support God's messengers of His good news around the world. They really can't do what they do without prayer.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


It was great to wake up to another update from David's Peru Team. The stories we are hearing are so great...and these are just the tip of the iceberg. Or in his case, would it be better to say that these related tales are just a drop in the bucket of Amazon River water?

Anyway, here's the report from Glenalyn Hunt with all the wonderful details:

Hello friends and family of our Peruvian warriors! Yesterday we wrapped up our ministry time in Nauta and made the drive to our debrief location of the capitol of the jungle, Iquitos! Everyone was so overjoyed to have a cold shower, real beds, Chinese food for lunch and cereal for dinner.

On Monday night our students had a really unique opportunity to meet up with the Real Life Peru team who had just come back from two months up river. After going to English class one last time, our students joined the Real Life team in worship. Dillon had a great perspective on the whole experience which I will type on his behalf:

"For one thing the real life team invited us into their worship which was something they really did not have to do. And we were already so thankful that they had invited us into their family. So when worship began it started out really quiet, but everyone was still really into it. and as it progressed people started banging on water jugs and anything else they could find to use as an instrument. And like our whole team we were all screaming and shouting out all the songs we had inside of us. A lot of people were walking around giving words of encouragement from God to other people. And then suddenly as the service began to wind down, the Real Life team invited us to stand in the middle so they could pray over all of us. The leaders were in the middle and then our team circled up around them, and the real life team around us. While they were praying for us we could feel the presence of God so closely, it was crazy! After they finished praying for us we sat around talking for a bit and someone randomly looked at their watch only to discover that we had just been worshiping God for three hours straight. so we all started going back to our bunks since everyone was so exhausted from praising God so intensely. It was Awesome!"

As a leader it was so stellar watching everyone really step into God´s presence and just let Him wash all over them. It was really really epic.

So today we will take the Students around the city to do some sight seeing and such and then tonight really commission them out of this season and into the next. We are so grateful for your support and prayers. Your sons and daughters are amazing and are growing ever deeper in their walk with God!

We fly out tomorrow to begin our journey back to the States. We should be in ATL by the 22 at which point we hope to post some pictures via the high speed internet.

So looking forward to seeing our boy, hearing even more, and yes, looking at all those fabulous photos. Keep praying, okay?

Photo by Megan Morris, 2010 Ambassador missionary to Peru

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


David's mission team down in Peru has just a couple of days left before they return to the States. We received this message from him a couple of days ago:

"The Amazon is so beautiful! It´s the most amazing place I have ever been in my whole life. God has changed so many things about me. See you all soon!"

I am so happy for him that God has blessed him with this opportunity to serve others while also having a great adventure. I gotta be honest, though, and admit that I miss him and and am very excited about seeing him in a few days and hearing all about his trip.

His team just spent some time away from the town of Nauta in a couple of villages doing ministry and learning even more about the Peruvian culture. Here's a blog that his team leader, Rich Brooks, wrote:


"We made it back from the Rivers (All three of them to be exact). The Marañón and Ucayali rivers meet to form the Amazon, and we managed to see all 3. You would be very proud of everyone here! The slept with bats flying around in the living quarters of our first village, while the guys slept in hammocks in an open air house that had just been built shortly before our arrival. Everyone pooped in holes (AKA Squatty Potties) and even took turns killing an plucking chickends for our meals, and YES, they even bathed in the river, taking in breathtaking sunsets and even catching glimpses of the elusive pink river dolphins!

After a 2ish hour boat ride we arrived in our first village where everyone took part in leading two days of VBS and spent the afternoons visiting people in their homes. In the evenings, everone took part in the night time services held by the local church. We performed the drama we learned during training camp, lead worship songs, preached the word, or delivered testimonies.

Another short boat ride later, we arrived in village number 2. It was much larger than the first and rested where the two Amazon River tributaries merge into the Amazon headwaters. Here the students cleared the rooms of taranculas and other various critters as they began once again to wage war against the horse flys that seemed to enjoy the smell of deet. Again the students lead 2 days of VBS, visted people in their homes, and lead evening church services.

It was amazing to watch all of the students overcome the elements so that they could share the gospel with the villagers. They grew in boldness as they spent time in homes praying with natives and pouring out so much love.

Watching everone take care of each other was beautiful. Our men making sure their sistes were safe from spoders, snakes and the like, while also carrying their bags for them. Meanwhile, the women were making sure their brothers had plenty to eat, plenty to drink, and often helped keep the living quarters clean.

Even now (this post was written while still on the boat back to Nauta), I was able to look around at the students laughing, sleeping, talking, and soaking up their surroundings. They have come a long wway since training camp and still have a few more days left to go a little further! I can´t wait to see what else God has in store!"

Photos are from Megan Morris who was on an Ambassador team in the same area last summer.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Today, Nelson Mandela turns 93. I'm not going to assume that all of my readers know who he is. Yes, maybe you've heard of him but can't exactly place him, especially if you are a younger reader and if you live in America. We Americans tend to not always know much about the rest of the world and the newsmakers in far off places.

Nelson Mandela was the first Black African to lead South Africa as its president after apartheid ended. During my teenage years in the 1980's, apartheid was often in the American news as much of the world was starting to put pressure on South Africa to end its legalized discrimination and extreme segregation based on racial identity. And when I moved to Swaziland in 1988, apartheid was still in place but momentum to do away with is was increasing in the neighboring country of South Africa.

Nelson Mandela had spent 27 years in prison for his actions against the White South African government. He was released from prison in 1990 and was elected in 1994 as president by a voting population that included all races represented in that nation. Apartheid had ended and a new chapter had begun. Nelson Mandela chose to take the high road, one that was clearly guided by forgiveness and reconciliation. He could have allowed his time in prison and all those years of injustice against the Blacks to make him bitter and bent on revenge. Instead, it made him intent on laying a strong foundation of equality and justice, a foundation that offered hope and opportunity.

Today, in honor of Nelson Mandela's birthday, I offer quotes from a man who has truly shaped a nation, and in fact, influenced not just a continent but the entire world by his example. Even if we don't agree with all his politics and stands, the grace and mercy he extended to his enemies is one we can all learn from.

For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.


I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.


It always seems impossible until its done.


It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.


There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children.


There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.


There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.


There is no such thing as part freedom.


There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.


We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


"You must pray with all your might. That does not mean saying your prayers, or sitting gazing about in church or chapel with eyes wide open while someone else says them for you.

It means fervent, effectual, untiring wrestling with God...This kind of prayer be sure the devil and the world and your own indolent, unbelieving nature will oppose. They will pour water on this flame." --- William Booth

Saturday, July 16, 2011


"People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa....

It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege."

---David Livingstone

Anna arrived home from Thailand yesterday and one of the things we have been talking about is that despite how hard certain aspects of her Thailand mission trip were, she felt more alive when in the midst of spiritual battle down among the bars and prostitutes than at any other time in her life. Despite the darkness and the danger and the depravity of it all, going and interceding for those trapped in the sex trade, made her come alive. She feels more strongly than ever that this is the purpose she'll be devoting her life to. Going to Bangla Road was not a sacrifice she had to force herself to make, it was a privilege.

And I'm like David Livingstone where Africa is concerned. So many people say things to me along the lines of "what a sacrifice you are making" when really, I feel that it is a gift that is being given me. My sacrifice is staying here until the time comes when we can move over to Swaziland.

And why is that? Because I truly believe that God created me with African babies and children and young adults and mothers and old grandmothers in mind. I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that my passion for that nation was birthed in me by God. I am more "me" when I am there even though it isn't the nation I was born into, even though my earthly citizenship lies here.

When I think about living the rest of my life in Swaziland, I feel so very blessed. Yes, I'll miss my family and friends back in the States. Yes, it will be hard at times. But it is all worth it. All worth it.

So what is that thing in your life that for others would be a hard calling? A sacrifice? An "impossibility"? What is that thing in life that when you are doing it or when you dream about it nothing else compares? If you haven't found that life-passion yet, that thing that gets your blood pumping like nothing else, then find it. God has created each of us with unique giftings and skills and desires. He doesn't mean for you to settle for a life of just getting by.

And if you've found that passion, don't let anything keep you from fulfilling that God given destiny. Yes, maybe you are in a season of waiting just as we wait for Jim's retirement so we can move to Africa. But even in the waiting, you can be preparing and praying.

Don't let anything hold you from God's plan.

Repent from and move past those sins that you are clutching on to.

Let go of those bad relationships that are holding you back or if they are ones can't walk away from, do what it takes to heal them.

Get out of debt and be set free from materialism that has you in shackles.

Gain the skills or education you now lack.

Break free from addictions or unhealthy lifestyles that make you physically unable to move forward.

Don't sit back and waste the precious gift of life that God has given you. Don't waste the passions He has planted deep inside you. Don't get to the end of your time here on earth and have regrets as your constant companion.

Chase after God with all your heart. Follow that path He wants to lead you down. Maybe it is teaching children in a rural, impoverished, Mississippi Delta school or holding the hands of the elderly and dying in a Latin American hospital. He might have called you to be an adoptive mom of special needs kids or a dad right here in America who mentors ghetto boys. Maybe He is calling you to sew clothes for orphans in a 3rd world nation or lead Bible studies for young, teenaged moms.

Whatever the call, that thing that looks like a crazy, hard, impossible sacrifice to others is the very thing that will make you truly alive.

Will it be hard at times? Most definitely yes. But it is the kind of hard you don't want to live without.

Now go start living!

Friday, July 15, 2011

SHE'S HOME!!!!!!!!!!

We met Anna's team at the Atlanta airport today and brought her home. I'm so excited about what God has done and is going to do through this trip.

More news later, but for now, enjoy their smiling faces! Not the whole team, but a good portion of this fabulous group.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I've got a lot going on including a stomach virus that is sweeping thru our family so I'll just keep this quick and send you a sweet Swazi smile.

Hope your day is full of reasons to assume this facial expression.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Yesterday, Anna's team boarded a bus, drove overnight to Bangkok, spent the day de-briefing, and then got up early on Thursday morning (while it was still Wednesday here) to begin the grueling journey across the ocean back to America. After landing in L.A., they will board another plane and fly to Atlanta where they'll spend Thursday night.

Friday morning, it will be time for them to all say their goodbyes to each other and head out to their respective homes. It will be a bittersweet time for them as they look forward to seeing those they've missed back home yet dreading the parting from those who have become their family over the last month.

Our family has morning devotions and prayer time together during almost every breakfast. Usually, we read from COMMON PRAYER: A LITURGY FOR ORDINARY RADICALS. Part of that prayer time includes a blessing we pray over each other. When my kids are gone from home, this prayer takes on special significance.

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you,
wherever He may send you.
May He guide you through the wilderness,
protect you through the storm.
May He bring you home rejoicing
at the wonders He has shown you.
May He bring you home rejoicing
once again into our doors.

Would you please join with me in praying this for Anna and her team? And for David's team, too, as they travel along Peruvian rivers ministering in jungle villages. What wonders God is showing them. What rejoicing we will do!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Wow, back when my David was just a wee little fella with his wispy blonde hair, I never thought I'd be reporting on his mission adventures in the Amazon jungle. God's plans are surely more than we can ever imagine.

I wanted to share with you the reports that his leaders have posted over the last several days.

The first word we rec'd once the team arrived at Nauta, Peru, included a message from David that said, "I am fine. And I see God moving in diferent ways."

Then the team leader, Glenalyn Hunt, posted this:

After a couple of long travel days, we arrived on Tuesday to Nauta. We are very close to one of the headwaters to the Amazon. It is so beautiful here. We have been blessed with amazing contacts who are taking good care of us. There are tons of little ninos who come over and play with your children every day. This is one of our ministry. We have also have taught English to local youth, taught our drama to the same group of youth as a ministry, and done door-to-door evangelism and kids programs. We have also been honing our musical talents to worship God and sing His praises.

I am blown away by the growth in your kids. They are rolling with whatever we give them, stepping up to serve, lead, challenge and change. They have such soft hearts and are so willing to share and care for each other. Honestly it is one of the greatest groups of youth I´ve ever been able to spend time with. As a leader I feel blessed to serve your children--your young men and women who are growing so much!

All your students are healthy, hydrated and happy. If you could be sending up a few extra `prayers on behalf of their leaders´health, that would be fabulous. (We are fine, just need a little extra TLC via prayer :) )

Please be praying for continued health and safe travels, a continuous attitude of service, an abundance of grace and love, and for God to keep showing up and keep moving, because God is moving and things are happening and it is awesome!!

Next week we will be visiting villages along the Amazon, doing Vacation Bible School outreach, door'to-door sharing and encouragement, and probably music ministry. Please be praying for open doors and open hearts. As leaders we are excited to see our team grow and be challenged in new situations. They all have amazing attitudes, so please be praying that continues.

Your students are learning gratitude, patience, flexibility, and so much about God and themselves. As leaders we are so proud of them and excited to see where they go and grow in the next 2 weeks or so.

Thank you for your prayers, support and encouragement. We are so blessed!

Then, this morning, team leader Alana posted this:

Well we are closing out our first week here in Nauta Peru. Our team
has done everything from teaching english to students who hope to some
day be translators, to spontaneous worship services in peoples homes.
They have increased their skills in Pato pato gonzo,or as we know it
the States, duck duck goose. They recently enjoyed a local culunary
delight of sweaty fish which they all actually really enjoyed! As a
leader it has been a blessing to watch them step up and step out of
their comfort zone. The other day we did door to door ministy. I had
the pleasure of going with Lauren, Kayt, and David. We sat in this
tiny room with children, chickens, and a pastor and his wife and were
able to worship with them and pray for them. David, Lauren, and Kayt,
despite the language barrier asked them questions about their families
and such and in doing so brought tears to the people´s eyes as they
encountered a new depth of our Father´s love through those three.
Brittany, Jamie, and Trey are usually found with kids surrounding
them. They love to play games and they know their names as if it were
their favorite song. Trey, Jamie, and Brittany are so good about
playing soccer even in the rain, letting the kids play with their hair
and simply just loving on them in a way these kids have not really
encountered before.

Dillion, Hattie, Emily, and Louisa have really stepped into worship
ministry well and have lead a lot of the spontaneous singing. They
also have really impacted the adults here with their genuine joy and
care of their teammates and in really everyone around them.
All of our students have really blown us away this week with how much
they are growing and really stepping into all that God has prepared
for them here in Peru.

Tomorrow we leave our "comfortable" living in Nauta and will spend six
days up river at two different villages doing life and ministry with
the small churches there. Everyone is really excited about taking a
boat, sleeping in hammocks, eating more local culunary delights, using
primitive bathrooms, and above all bringng more Kingdom together as a
unified body in Christ. Please pray for our health and our safety, and
a multitude of blessings over our contacts and translators who so
graciously bless us with all they have! We will do our absolute best
to post a blog upon returning from our adventures out on the river!
oh and to the parents of our amazon warriors,thanks for sharing them
with Glenalyn, Rich, and me. They are an immense blessing! so thank
you for giving up your time with them and sharing them with us!

Desiring to live dangerously close to God,

I like Alana's closing --- "desiring to live dangerously close to God". And I pray, that more than comfort or success, that this will be David's desire, too. If he comes back from Peru with a reckless passion for loving God and serving the least and the lost, then this mission trip and all the work and effort that it has taken will be well worth it.

Monday, July 11, 2011


As I type this, Anna's team is spending their last night ministering in Phuket, Thailand. Here is a blog post written this past weekend by one of Anna's team leaders, Shannon Higgins:

This is the main road that the small streets full of bars stem off of. This is the street we walk down every other night in prayer. This is also one of the darkest and saddest places I have ever seen. Think of the strips in Myrtle Beach or Daytona Beach that tourist come to and look in shops, hang out, and take pictures. That is Bangla Road plus girls dancing on bars and poles, selling themselves, and Lady Boys who are boys raised to be girls in prostitution, dressed in cabaret costumes.

This was a new sight for me. The bars in Chang Mai did not have many of these things. They also did not have tourist families with their children of all ages exposed to this. It did not have groups of women my age on vacation hanging out in the bars. It did not have them standing and videoing the “entertainment”.

The families with children who took pictures of their 6 year old daughter dancing on a bar with a ladyboy or the father with the 10 year old son staring at the girls dancing on the poles broke my heart and incited my anger. How is this a good idea? Why do these parents not see how wrong this is? Bangla Road is not just about buying women for the night but it is a tourist sight for all to come and watch.

This is when I get overwhelmed with the depravity of mankind. I do not understand why we are okay with women being sold and used for others entertainment. Why aren’t other foreign women appalled by what they see? Instead I see them with their cameras and phones capturing the “entertainment.” I see the women in the bars and on the street and my heart breaks for the life they have to live. Their families have groomed some of the women for this job, some have been trafficked, and some have no other way to provide for their families. They deserve so much more in their lives than being objects for another’s pleasure.

I walk down Bangla Road with my team of four girls. We do not go into the bars or down the side streets of bars. Our main goal is to prayer walk down and up Bangla Road. We listen for the voice of God and obey. I’ve never spent so much time praying in my life, but it has been incredible how God has spoken to us and guided us in our time down there.

My team of girls has built relationships with one of the girls in a bar, an Indian women who works in a shop on Bangla, and an American guy who has been living and working in Phuket. It has been a privilege to go behind these amazing young women and support, encourage, and guide them as they hear God’s voice in obey. I wish I could put into words how powerful prayer can be and important it is for us to be out there praying and interceding for the groups who do go into the bars each night.

Tonight is our last night on Bangla Road. It will be hard to say goodbye to the people we have gotten to know. Pray we finish strong.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


We were glad to hear news from both Anna and David this weekend.

Anna's team is nearing the end of their time in Thailand and will be home at the end of this week.

Monday will be their last full day in Phuket. During the day, they'll be doing construction and working at the school they've been ministering at. Anna figures she'll be at the school. They will go to Bangla Street to minister to the bar girls for the last time that night. They'll take the AIM Real Life team that has been ministering
in the bars to meet the specific girls they've built relationships with. They'll make sure they get to know them so they can keep building on these relationships for the last few weeks that they will be in Phuket.

Tuesday will be for packing, saying goodbyes, and starting their debrief before catching an overnight bus to Bangkok. They'll leave Bangkok early Thursday morning their time (they are twelve hours ahead of us) and they'll arrive in California while it is still morning there due to the time zone craziness. Then it will be on to Atlanta where they'll arrive that evening.

Please pray for traveling mercies, but more than that, pray that God will move powerfully through them their last day of ministry. It is already nearly middle of the day in Phuket so I can only imagine how intent they are right now on squeezing out every bit of the day for His Kingdom.

Thanks in advance for your prayers and thank you for all the support you've shown Anna during this amazing adventure. The folks back "home" are truly a very important part of any missionary's experience.

Tomorrow, I'll post the updates on David and his team way down south in Peru. Their first week of their Amazon adventure is well under way and God is moving.

Saturday, July 09, 2011


Today we went into inner-city Jackson for a time of ministry. Across the targeted area of our city, people scattered in groups to pray and read out loud Bible passages at assigned locations. We also shared a meal together, filled grocery sacks of canned goods for the needy, prayed over crack houses being transformed for the Kingdom, and toured the community garden which provides free produce for whoever wants it. Some of the teenagers and parents from our church joined in on the day as well as three youth girls who are friends of the family.

As we left, I talked to them about what the day had meant to them. Many of them were surprised at how much they enjoyed the day and how much they liked inner-city Jackson. It wasn't the scary place they had expected it to be. Others were hit hard by the Lord's Spirit and will be searching what today means for them in the future.

Betsie, my 15 year old, has been countless times to WE WILL GO and other areas of Jackson, but today was special. Different, in a very good way. Here's Betsie's blog post reflecting on her day:


"We're Christians--what does that look like?"

Mrs. Amy Lancaster, who lives at WeWillGo, the homeless outreach ministry my family and I have been a part of for several years now, asked us this morning. Well, on July 9th, 2011, it looked like over a hundred brothers and sisters in Christ, the body of Christ, joining together to read the entire Bible over the course of a few hours. Today, being a "Christian" looked like a group of five reading passages out of Ezekiel, literally speaking life into and over a 21st century Valley of Dry Bones, prophesying and believing that the Lord would bring life where there has been death. It looked like children, black and white, sitting without the bondage of racism and fear on the porches of abandoned crackhouses, houses in which fugitives have hidden and alcoholics have wasted their lives, helping their parents slay Jackson's Goliaths of drug addiction and poverty through faith. It looked like people with controlled, suburban lives allowing the Lord to control their lives for a few hours, and, by doing so, they found themselves becoming a part of the lives of the sweet, bewildered homeless men and women wanting to know what all these crazy white folk were doing babbling on their corners and blocks.

It looked like reading the Word of God on streets that had truly never heard it before. Not once. And those streets, those people--they were parched. Cracked pavement from the heat and from lack of attention; streets that, in people's eyes, lack worth. Houses that once were homes for families, a refuge. Families once dwelt there, put up Christmas trees there, married there, gave birth there; but now they are only dark caves for people who have run away from their families to crawl into. Once man-made streams are now man-made dumps for used syringes, cast-off-falling-apart right sneakers, garbage, etc. This is my city, the very heart of my state--can the body possibly prosper when the heart is so...sick?

It's not the Lord's plan for it to be parched, and, thankfully, it was His city before it was mine. So if it is His city, and it's always His desire to make all things beautiful (Ecc. 3:9-11) in His perfect timing (Isa. 55:8-9)--what does that mean for Jackson, Mississippi?

It means that restoration, that beauty are coming to flood over the streets, blocks, and crackhouses of Mississippi's capital.

I walked up and down my group's assigned--practically abandoned--street, and as people in my small group took turns reading aloud passages out of 2 Chronicles and Ezra, I held my youngest sister's hand and we played a game. It's called the Let's-See-How-Many-Beautiful-Things-We-Can-Find game, and the only rule was that you had to find the beauty that was around you; because it was there. Veins of lush green shoots running all criss-cross over the cracked lane; mimosa flowers still in bloom above our heads that sunshine danced through; an empty lot that with just a cutting could be a superb baseball lot; wild bushes that could bear fruit with a little tender and care, a polluted stream that, maybe someday, could run clear and be a place where children could splash during summer without fear of broken glass shards and bare needle points. We counted those beauties, the ones that were already before our eyes--the pink mimosa flowers, the strong grass shoots breaking through the concrete--, and we counted the ones that we could see would come to be, by faith and hope.

"You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”
Isaiah 55:12-13

I prayed this verse over the street I walked, and I prayed in absolute faith that these things would come to pass in Jackson because I have already seen them come to pass in other cities, in the lives of others, and in my own life. Where I had planted briers, I have watched Him prune in a hurt-so-good kind of way and then lovingly and tenderly sown seeds of beautiful myrtle, and then water them with the Living Water that only He can offer and the blood that only He shed. Where I had allowed thornbushes to grow in my life, which, over time, cut me savagely and mercilessly, He has completely removed them so that a mighty and strong juniper could spring up. He has made a beautiful thing out of me so that I can better give Him the glory, and He has made beautiful things out of all of His children because He just absolutely adores us.

He doesn't just stop with us, with you and me. He can make beautiful things out of everyone. But why would He just stop there? He could make a beautiful thing out of Jackson, a beautiful thing out of Mississippi, a beautiful thing out of our country, ...He could make a beautiful thing out of our entire world.

Oh. He can. And He does.

Friday, July 08, 2011


Hmmm....I kinda don't know what to blog about tonight. It isn't that I don't have a lot on my mind, sometimes I just get sorta too full to put it all into words and when you combine that with it being late and I'm tired, get the picture.

I think I'll just list a few random things and hope that it isn't so random that it is not even worth reading.

Okay, let's see ---

*Oh! I know. I just receive an instant message via facebook from Anna a few minutes ago. That always makes my mom-of-a-missionary day.

*Haven't heard from David's team directly yet but we did hear indirectly from another missionary in Peru. She said that they have been doing Vacation Bible Schools, teaching English, and working on a drama that they are going to perform as part of their ministry. She said that "the students are learning a lot and loving each other well". Loving each other well...doesn't get much better than that, does it?

*My cousin Elliott continues to improve and is out of ICU and in his own room now. Thanks for your prayers and please keep praying as he heals up and learns to walk again minus a leg and part of another. He seems to be in great spirits from what I hear and I know that it is because of God.

*In closing, here is a photo of Anna in Thailand. It totally blesses my mama heart to see her so happy.

Goodnight to you all and thank you for your continued prayers and support!

Thursday, July 07, 2011


My daughter Anna wrote this blog post earlier this week from Thailand, where she is ministering in a place that in large part, is dedicated to sex tourism and all the darkness that goes with it. Here is what God is doing in her life and showing her about His plans for Phuket, Thailand.


"One of the questions our leaders ask us every day at debrief (a time where we discuss what happened and what we saw the previous night ministering on Bangala) is “What is God teaching you?”

Something that I’ve slowly realized He’s teaching me is His faithfulness and hope.

Yesterday, I was sick. One of the Real Life girls I watch Criminal Minds with on a nightly basis had been quite ill with a fever and some nausea. And I was fairly certain I had caught her sickness.

At one point, I was lying in my bed, wrapped up in a blanket and my sleeping bag. Freezing even though it was in the low nineties (with a heat index in the low hundreds) and I’m on the bed without a fan. As my head ached and I shivered I determined that I was going out that night unless God specifically told me not to, or someone else made me stay.

As the night wore on and I continued to feel feverish I lowered my standards to stay home to someone even saying, “You don’t look so good. Maybe you shouldn’t go out.” But no one did, and I really felt the need to go out that night. So I told God, “If you want me to do this, you’re gonna have to heal me up and give me all the strength I need for this task. Not just for my body, but for my soul as well. I can’t take another spiritual beating like last time. I need some hope or something.”

I’m sure to most of you it will come as no surprise that He did just that. But to me it was as miraculous as the parting of the Red Sea. Not only did I feel fine, I was better than fine. My body felt healthy, strong and energetic. And my spirit was overflowing with readiness, peace and resolve.

On the drive down I listened to a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that perfectly sums up my time thus far in Thailand, especially on Bangala Road. The whole song is beautiful, and the fact that it was written after the death of the artist’s young daughter only adds to the potency and power of it. Below are the lyrics that God pressed on me during this time. I have no doubt in my mind that someday Bangala Road, as it is now, will be merely ruins that the faithful can dance upon.

Slowly panic turns to pain
As we awake to what remains
And sift through the ashes that are left behind
But buried deep beneath
All our broken dreams
We have this hope

Out of these ashes beauty will rise
We will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of these ashes beauty will rise
For we know joy is coming in the morning
In the morning beauty will rise

If you can't believe, I will believe for you
Cause I have seen the signs of spring

Out of these ashes beauty will rise
We will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of these ashes beauty will rise
For we know joy is coming in the morning

I can almost feel the hand of God
Reaching for my face
To wipe the tears away
Say its time to make everything new
Make it all new

This is our hope
This is a promise
This is our hope
This is a promise
It will take our breath away
To see the beauty that's been made
Out of the ashes, out of the ashes
It will take our breath away
To see the beauty that He's made
Out of these ashes, Out of these ashes

Out of these ashes beauty will rise
We will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of this darkness new light will shine
And we'll know the joy that’s coming in the morning
In the morning beauty will rise
Beauty will rise

Beauty will rise. We may not see it during our time here, and maybe not even in our lifetime, but God will transform Bangala Road. And we’ve already been dancing on the streets of this ruined city. Someday beauty, true beauty, will rise from the ashes."


Please continue to pray for Anna, her team, and so many who are still trapped in darkness in Phuket. To read more about the ministry they are doing in Thailand, visit their blog:

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


While Anna is with Adventures in Missions in Thailand, my daughter Betsie's best friend is serving with them in Nicaragua. Candace wrote a blog post this week about an experience at a children's home and how God used it to impact her heart. This blog post was very special for me because firstly, I adore Candace. She's just fabulous, pure and simple, straight and true, fabulous. And secondly, I have had a special spot in my heart for orphans since I was a child. God just planted a special love for them there, both true orphans and those children that are emotional orphans due to parental rejection or neglect.

God plants that special love in the hearts of His people because God has a special love for orphans. After all, He tells us that pure religion is to care for orphans and widows. I'm blessed to see how Candace is putting that pure religion into action, and at only 16 years of age.

This past Friday my team and I went to a Orphanage just for girls. Earlier in the week someone explained to us that most if not all the girls in the orphanage are not really orphans. There parents are most probably still alive, but their parents did not want them, so they brought them to the orphanage. After hearing this it made me want to go even more.

So Friday we set off to go. After about a 10 minute walk we were there. After a Teacher unlocked the front gate so we could come in. The teacher told us we had one hour to spend with the girls.

As we walked through a few girls meet us with big hugs. The girls grabbed our hands and brought us to where we would be for the remainder of the hour. As we were setting our water bottles and the rest of our things on a table, more girls came flowing in. As soon as we had set our things down we started singing and play with the girls. It did not take long to realize the girls are starving for people to love on them. And we are just the right people to do so.

As I walked back over to the table where I had set my water bottle I notice a little girl sitting by herself, a walked over to her to ask her if she wanted to join in all the playing and singing. When I asked her and just shock her head no, I then sat down and started talking to her in a little to no Spanish. After I had said everything I knew in Spanish, I just sat there for a few minutes. Thinking that the the 6 year old girl really did not want me there I started to stand up, once she realized what I was doing she grabbed my hand and told me no in a much louder voice than she had been using. I sat right back down knowing that this girl just wanted someone to love and spend to with her. I was completely out of things to say, but me just being there was enough for her.

I only spent about 20 to 30 minutes with her, but it was one of my favorite things so far that I have done in Nicaragua. This girl was probably brought to the orphanage by her parents because they did not want her, and she probably knows that. She might go to bed at night every night thinking about the family that left her. But God does not look at this little 6 year old girl as orphan or a unwanted child. God sees her as a child of his, a child that he will never leave.

I wanted to tell her all this and more, but my lack of Spanish would not let me tell her all this. The only thing I could do for this little child was to pray in silence as she colored. And all the time I heard God say was the world might see her as a orphan or a unwanted kid, but to me she will never to a orphan.

That night when we can back to the place we staying I put my earphones in and listen to Orphans of God. And for the first time when they sang There are No Orphans of God I saw the face of the little girl. Not just the word Orphans.

To read more about how God is working in and through TEAM NICARAGUA, check out their blog:

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


I found this quote today and wanted to share it:

"It's good to do uncomfortable things. It's weight training for life."

— Anne Lamott (Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith)

Ain't that good? Definitely not one to give you the warm fuzzies, but definitely a quote that packs some hard truth.

So, what uncomfortable thing has God been speaking to you about lately?

Monday, July 04, 2011


Watermelons, oohing and aahing at fireworks, kids not crying over the boom of the fireworks, big hairbows, homemade burgers, wearing patriotic colors, march music, homemade icecream, sparklers, kids eating rocket pops, lawn chairs, blueberries, photo ops, big smiles, brightly colored bunting, holiday sprinkles, flag cake, the aroma of meat cooking on the grill, hand-drawn flags, freedom, and country-style parading down rural roads. That's my newest favorite 4th thing.

So what are your favorite 4th things?