Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


DAY TRIP WITH US!

I am planning a day trip that I think you might be interested in.


In mid-November, I will be taking a group of area students up to Mississippi University for Women to tour the campus, meet professors and students, learn about scholarship opportunities, and find out about student activities. MUW is truly one of the South's best kept educational secrets.


*It has the ONLY culinary arts degree program in the state of Mississippi.

*The nursing program is highly respected and the nursing grads have a 100% pass rate on their board exams.

*The fine and performing arts program allows NON-music and theater majors to perform in their groups and plays (something that many schools do NOT allow)

*U.S.News & World Report has consistently ranked MUW among the top Southern public master's universities

*MUW is rated by both U.S. News and World Report and Consumer Digest as a best value for your education dollar.

*All classes are taught by professors, not graduate students. With a student body population of arou8nd 2,400, the low 12 to 1 student to faculty ratio gives professors the opportunity to be effectively invested in their students’ lives, both in and out of the classroom.


It is truly a private school education at a public school cost.


Some of the other most well-known programs include education, fine and performing arts, exercise science, art and design, psychology, women's studies, speech pathology, and music therapy, as well as all the other main academic areas you'd expect to find at a major college --- business, English, political science, biology, business, etc. Also available is a certification in "English as a Second Language". This is an exciting and useful option for those considering foreign or home missions.


I attended MUW on a full paid scholarship. That was the initial draw, but I can honestly say that the four years there were four of the best years of my life. The professors knew me by name, there were numerous opportunities for leadership development, and the rich traditions made it a fun place to be as a young adult. It is not a "party" campus and there were, and still are, many options for being involved with campus ministries. It was while I was there that I started being discipled on a serious basis for the first time and started doing missions work.


I am still best friends with many of the girls I went to college with and look forward to going back every year for homecoming.


I encourage you to give MUW a chance even if it sounds like some "old, boring, no guys" school. I thought the same way til my first visit on campus.


They also have a wide range of degree options and fabulous schoolarships. In fact, a 24 on the ACT is the threshold to actually apply for one of the full paid scholarships available every year to incoming freshmen.


Let me know if you are interested and I will message you with the details. Even if you don't choose MUW, it will be a fun day. And if you can't go with us, just visit the MUW website listed at the bottom of this post and the folks in admissions will be glad to help you in any way they can.


A representative from MUW will also be coming to our homeschool group to speak in the fall. Anyone is welcome to attend this meeting. Again, just let me know if you need details and I'll be glad to send them your way.


Looking forward to a beautiful, fall day on the MUW campus!
Elysa



P.S. Please feel free to pass this on to other prospective students, parents, and student/homeschool groups

http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/mississippi-women-2422


http://web2.muw.edu/index.php/admissions

Monday, August 29, 2011

AT ANY COST

"The faithfulness of God is the only certain thing in the world today. We need not fear the result of trusting Him" --- John Stam



John Stam and his wife Betty served as missionaries in China where, in 1934, they were beheaded for their faith and their obedience to God. They were only in their late twenties. They left behind an infant daughter who was rescued after Betty hid Helen in a sleeping bag when they were on their way to be executed.

Another missionary, Daniel Smith, noted that "they were roughly handled, stripped of their outward clothing, painfully bound, and publicly beheaded. They died – but not without the comfort and support of the Lord, and not without the light of life shining through the darkest circumstances life could bring."

Just a decade before, 18 year old Betty wrote this prayer to the God she loved and served ---

"Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes all my own desires and hopes and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt and work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost now and forever."

Reading about the Stams humbles and convicts me. So often I let fears, even silly fears, keep me from being bold for God. I let petty worries keep me from giving it all to Him. I pray that I would be willing to face death and sacrifice with such peace and grace because of my love for Him and for those He loves...those He has called His church to tell.

*********************

To learn more about the life of John and Betty Stam, read this convocation address given by Don Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary: http://www.danielakin.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Psalm-67-The-Missionary-Psalm-Beautifully-Obeyed-in-the-Life-and-Martyrdom-of-John-and-Betty-Stam-Manuscript-ds.pdf



Sunday, August 28, 2011


THAT WHICH IS BEAUTIFUL...




That which is striking and beautiful is not always good;
but that which is good is always beautiful.
http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

Ninon de L'Enclos

****************************

Photo is of Chandler Robertson with Tabini featured in yesterday's blog post. To read about Chandler's time in Swaziland, visit her blog: http://www.chanrobertson.blogspot.com/

Saturday, August 27, 2011

WHAT LOVE CAN DO

This blog post was written by Adventures in Missions missionary Cait Evangelista who led short-term Ambassador trip to Swaziland this past summer.




Some of you think God doesn't move anymore.
You think God doesn't speak today.
You think the Gifts of the Spirit have ceased.
You think that miracles don't don't happen anymore.
If this is you, this blog might upset you.


Meet Tabani. He used to be mute. Today, he speaks. He enjoys worshiping Jesus at the top of his lungs. He had a condition where his tongue was too big for his mouth, and where his tongue was abnormally shaped...basically his tongue just didn't work right. That resulted in him having trouble containing his saliva to inside his mouth. You could usually find him covered in drool from his nose to his belly button by noontime everyday. On cold Swazi afternoons he would be shivering because his drool had saturated his clothes.

His Mother works across the street from Timbutini carepoint at the Saloon (African hair salon, or a wooden box where you can get your weave done). His little sister is the craziest and funniest little girl. One second she is a little angel singing, "My God is SO BIG, SO STRONG, AND SO MIGHTY. There is nothing my God cannot do FOR YOU" and then pokes you surprisingly hard in the chest. Then the next moment she is making a crazy face yelling, "MASA MASA MASA!!!" If you can't see how that is freaky, try it yourself.

The Timbutini care point is run by the Bomake, or Mamas. These are lovely women who spend their days cooking food over the fire for hundreds of Swazi children. They don't get paid for this. Last year a Real Life team was at this same care point and they talked to the Bomagi about Tabani. The team told the women how Tabani could speak...they just needed to believe he could, and love him. But, unfortunately they were stuck in a Swazi mindset and didn't want anything to do with him. Tabani wasn't healed...then.



A year later the Swaziland Ambassador Team arrives on the spot. On one of the first days of ministry at Timbutini care point God put it on some people's heart to pray for Tabani to be healed. After 30 minutes of praying over him, Tabani laughs. Outloud. This has never happened before. Later in the day he proceeds to say, "YEBO!!!" [siSwati for "yes"]

Over the weeks we spent at that care point we saw Tabani grow. The other children started playing with him. When we would play with him and lay him on his back, he wouldn't choke on his spit anymore. I watched him dance around the Sunday School building wearing a broken fireman hat screaming, "HALLELUJAH!!!" for hours.

As we were nearing our last day of ministry, a group of 12 or so crowded around Tabani to pray for him some more. As I was praying for him, all I could think about was how Tabani was being pursued. I'm sure I repeatedly said that phrase out loud as I prayed for him. Looking at his beautiful, snotty face all I could see was the look of a child being pursued by his Father. He was in love. He was being loved. He was drowning in the love of the Father. It just radiated out of his face. (If you want an example, take another look at the first picture in this post.)

On our last day of ministry at this care point we had to say our goodbyes. After we gave hundreds of hugs and repeatedly answered children with, "I have no money" (which was true), we couldn't say goodbye to Tabani. We were starting to go down the dirt path to our homestead and we were still with him. After saying goodbye and speaking truth over him in Siswati, we needed to head home. We turned around to walk away, and we heard a small voice say, "Bubbye!"

"WHAT?!?!" we all thought to ourselves. We looked behind us to see if it was him, and it was.

After rejoicing, we turned to head home. And, again, we heard that same voice say, "BUBBYE!"

Again, he ran into our arms and we rejoiced.

I'm sure this happened another time, too.

The interesting thing about all of this was that when we turned around to hear him say more, he would stop speaking. Only when we were walking away did we hear him speak. It's like God was saying, "Do you trust me with him? Do you trust that I am a Good Father? Do you trust that I know what I'm doing? Do you trust that I will finish what I started?"




"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another,
God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."
1 John 4:7-12 ESV

I've been learning that Jesus is love with skin on. Let me say that again. Jesus is love with skin on. Jesus is a lot of things, but Jesus is love. That's why He came to Earth. That's why He had to leave. His love changes everything. His love brings death to life, literally. There's nothing that His love can't change. "I can never escape from your spirit! I can never get away from your presence!" (Psalm 139:7 NLT) When Jesus died, "the curtain in the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom" (Mark 15:38). We now have full access to the God's throne.

"I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.
Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it"
(John 14:12-14 NLT).

So, if Jesus had to leave for us to accomplish greater works than what He did, what are we doing with our lives? In the Early Church, "sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter's [the apostle] shadow might fall across some of them as he went by (Acts 5:15 NLT). When the sick came to Peter, instead of giving them Advil and a pat on the back, he said, "I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!" (Acts 3:6 ESV).

We are called to so much more than the life we are living today.
We are members of an upside down Kingdom...
Where those who are lowest here on Earth are the highest in Heaven.
Where if you cling to your life, you will lose it.
Where those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Where the greatest among you must be a servant.
Where love walks, breathes, speaks and lives.


Remember, Love always wins.

To read more about the adventures God is taking Cait on, read her blog at: http://caitlynevangelista.myadventures.org/



Friday, August 26, 2011


THE PROCRASTINATING ENDS

I've been procrastinating on completing my missionary application. But I'm making myself sit down this afternoon and finish it all, including answering all the in-depth questions that make me think and also make me try to figure out tricky grammatical issues. Pray for me as I finish it up and then as Jim and I mail the forms in, that if this organization is God's will for us in Swaziland, that He'll continue to make the way clear.



Some days, I sure wish that this step of the journey was over and I was already in Swaziland rocking some fat, drooly babies; hugging some sweet, Swazi kids; and singing some joyful, siSwati songs.

But I know this time is necessary. I know we need these next two years to learn and grow in the areas God has planned for us. And I know I want to enjoy being with my teenage girls before they leave for college.

Why can't there be two of me?

And why do I procrastinate? I don't know. It seems to be the story of my life. Well....that, and my love for God, my family, my friends, and, of course, Swaziland.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

MY BABY HOBBIT IS A BIG GIRL

Today my little hobbit turned six years old. I tried to talk her into doing a re-do of five years old or even going back to four and just staying there but she wouldn't go for it. She said she was ready to be a big girl...and give up daily naps!

She has had a fun and busy day full of food and frivolity designed just for her including a yellow submarine cake made by me and her sister Bets plus horse riding and friends over for a small family party.

Wait...is anything small with a family this size?

Anyway, here is her cake:


And here are her "best bunnies", handcrafted presents from her party guests, the Jennings. Aren't they precious? As cute as she is.


And she already is smitten with the pair. In fact, when I asked her what her favorite part of the day was, she said "opening presents and my bunnies".

Happy Birthday, little hobbit baby!

I know, I know...you're a big girl now and all that, but you will always be my last American baby.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


YOU ARE WORTH DYING FOR

A lot of folks I know are going through rough times right now. I know about some of the struggles, but some are kept so well hidden that no one knows or even suspects ... except God.

He knows all your struggles.

He knows all of you.

And He believes that you are worth dying for.



For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. --- John 3:16



You might be the wife,
Waiting up at night
You might be the man,
Struggling to provide
Feeling like it's hopeless

Maybe you're the son,
Who chose a broken road
Maybe you're the girl,
Thinking you'll end up alone
Praying God can you hear me?
Oh God are you listening?

Am I more than flesh and bone?
Am I really something beautiful?
Yeah, I wanna believe, I wanna believe that
I'm not just some wandering soul
That you don't see and you don't know
Yeah I wanna believe, Jesus help me believe that I
Am someone worth dying for

I know you've heard the truth that God has set you free
But you think you're the one that grace could never reach
Find More lyrics at www.sweetslyrics.com
So you just keep asking, what everybody's asking

You're worth it, you can't earn it
Yeah the Cross has proven
That you're sacred and blameless
Your life has purpose

And you are more than flesh and bone
Can't you see you're something beautiful
Yeah you gotta believe, you gotta believe
He wants you to see, He wants you to see
That you're not just some wandering soul
That can't be seen and can't be known
Yeah you gotta believe, you gotta believe that you
Are someone worth dying for

You're someone worth dying for
You're someone worth dying for

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


THREADS of HOPE WOVEN by GOD


Yesterday, I blogged about the need for people to donate dresses and skirts for the girls of the Bheveni and Mangwaneni Carepoints in Swaziland seen here wearing some of the new clothes our team gave them last year.



Now I want to tell you about something that has me excited!

One of the women I've gotten to know since becoming and advocate for Swazi orphans and at-risk children is Deb Gangemi. She has recently formed a group to recruit crafters who can sew, knit, and crochet to make clothes, gloves, scarves, blankets, etc. for those in need over in Swaziland. I have any of these garment-making skills but I can spread the word and encourage others. I wanted to pass along this opportunity to others so they can fulfill the command of Jesus when He told us to clothe the naked and take care of the widows and orphans in their time of distress. Y'all, let me tell you, I know from first hand experience that there are a whole lot of distressed orphans and widows in that beautiful nation. There are too many children wearing rags and shivering in the cold because they are dressed inadequately. Because believe me, it gets cold in Swaziland!

So if you knit or crochet, or perhaps you don't but you'd be willing to donate supplies, read this note from Deb where she shares her heart and vision. Then, if you are on facebook, go search for "Threads of Hope Woven by God" and join in on this joyous blessing. If you are not on facebook, email her at redeemingorphanshope"at" gmail "dot" com.

****************************************

Welcome!

I have had the distinct joy of being part of a FB group called the Bheveni Sewing Machines. We have been busy sewing clothing for the children of Bheveni and Mangwaneni, for Mike and Danielle Brower and their team to bring to Swaziland in September. It has been an extraordinary joy for me to be able to pray for each individual girl who will soon wear the dresses I made.

As I said to someone earlier today, I pray that God will raise up an army of people who will create garments of prayer, using cotton and thread. I pray that each child who wears the clothing knows the truth about Jesus' love, and feels the love of a Mama's hands reaching through the cloth. I pray that these garments become a banner of love and protection over the bodies that wear them.

We are looking for people who sew, knit or crochet, or those who will come alongside us.

We would also love to hear from people who are traveling to carepoints and from people who live there, caring for the children day by day.

I picture us as an army manned with knitting needles, crochet hooks and sewing machines.

It will take a lot of people to make this work for the children! It would help significantly if you would share this group name with people you know! This may be exactly the opportunity for someone to get involved in caring for vulnerable children in a way that is meaningful to both the children and the person who joins the group!

Can you imagine a child wearing something you made for him or her?

That child will know someone cared enough to make something just for that child! What the children may not know is how many prayers have been said over the creation of the garment. Instead of wearing a coat of many colors, like Joseph, the children will wear garments of many prayers!



May our Abba Father encourage each of us to serve His little ones!

In faith in His promises!

Deb Gangemi

Monday, August 22, 2011

CLOTHED IN BEAUTY


I love the children of Swaziland. And just the thought of their amazing smiles makes me smile.


And the girls of that nation? Well, I do admit a special fondness and admiration for them as they face a life that is often filled with poverty, hard work, loss, and sickness with grace, beauty, and joy.



In just a few weeks, a team will be going over to Bheveni Carepoint and ministering to the children and their caregivers that Jim, Anna, and I were at last September. This time around, as we did last time, the team wants to take one new outfit to each of the children. For many, if not most of these children, it will be the only new garment they will receive all year long. Most of these kids only own a couple of outfits and often these clothes are threadbare, stained, and inadequate against the elements.


Danielle Brower, the team leader and carepoint sponsor coordinator, is gathering up items to take over with the team. She is in the process of trying to get the last needed items donated. That means, that before mid-September, she needs about 50 new dresses. These can be simple, handmade dresses (such as pillowcase or t-shirt dresses) or they can be store-bought.


Still needed are:

20 dresses - sizes 10-12, 12-14
30 dresses - sizes smaller than 5/6 (toddler sizes for under age 5)

Here are the guidelines:

* no spaghetti straps (1 inch ribbon straps are fine)--- if you DO buy or make a dress with spaghetti straps, a shirt needs to be included with the dress.

* fabric - nothing too 'frilly' or flimsy. DURABLE is the key!

* no fabrics with fairies, or any magical type style

* no camouflage, military prints, or overtly American

* Swazi girls are long-legged, so dresses that would be at/below the knee are preferred.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

* pockets would be great, but not necessary

* any "season" dress is fine as the temperatures fluctuate a lot in Swaziland with cold one day and hot the next

* please pray over the young girl who will be receiving your handywork!

Strength and beauty are her clothing, and she shall laugh in the latter day. --- Provers 31:25


If you would like to donate or sew dresses, please contact Danielle at daniellebrower@gmail.com. She can answer further questions and give you her mailing address.

**************

NEWS FLASH!!!! Just found out that we need about 20 skirts for teenage girls. These can be new handmade or store bought skirts. Draw string or elastic waist ones are preferred just because it is easier to match them to girls and can "grow" with the girls as needed.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

FAITH AND WORKS, TRUST AND OBEDIENCE


"Faith and obedience are bound up in the same bundle. He that obeys God trusts God; and he that trusts God obeys God. He that is without faith is without works; and he that is without works is without faith." --- Charles H. Spurgeon




Pictured is Jen Peterson, missionary to one of the poorest parts of Swaziland, a nation that is ranked among one of the most impoverished in the world. Read more about her family's ministry at http://ericandjen.myadventures.org/.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

CATERPILLAR, BEATLES, & OLD TIMEY TV

Anna stayed home and babysat 5 year old Miss M today while her daddy and I were off doing things with the rest of the crew.

On their agenda, was the watching of Richard Scarry shows. At one point, Anna mentioned that she had watched Richard Scarry when she was little which caused Miss M to proclaim them "old timey" shows. Anna went on to query her about just how old Miss M thought she was. Well, M was convinced that Anna must have had black & white tv and lived during the Beatles' Days.

I heard all about this from the both of them when I got home this afternoon. Then Anna escaped up to her tower, er, bedroom, while Little Miss M started making Magna-Doodle masterpieces.



Don't you just love her caterpillar?

And now she's writing me love letter lyrics with made up scribbles on her Magna-Doodle.

"Mother, Mother, you will always be a funny mom.
Do you remember this all day long?
When you are gone and when I am gone.
When I am asleep and when I am awake.
And when I am joyful and when I am sadful.
But you will never ferget this of your life."

I sure do love that little girl. Well, to be honest, I love both of those girls.

Friday, August 19, 2011


HOW COULD THEY?

This quote from David Platt, from his book RADICAL, hits me every time I read it:



"We look back on slave-owning churchgoers of 150 years ago and ask, 'How could they have treated their fellow human beings that way?' I wonder if followers of Christ 150 years from now will look back at Christians in America today and ask, 'How could they live in such big houses? How could they drive such nice cars and wear such nice clothes? How could they live in such affluence while thousands of children were dying because they didn’t have food and water? How could they go on with their lives as though the billions of poor didn’t even exist?'"

Thursday, August 18, 2011


WHAT ARE YOU ... ?

What are you dreaming about?

What are you passionate about?

If you are like a lot of people, you don't even know how to answer that question. Either you've never discovered your passions and have never been encouraged to dream about what your life could be like, or you used to dream and feel passionate about certain areas of your life but the life you are now living has pushed all that out of the way.

Now, whether it is because of a too busy schedule or health issues or perhaps even deep hurts and rejections, you've forgotten about those things that used to inspire and excite you. You long ago let go of your dreams and now discount them as impractical, too hard, unaffordable, or maybe that you don't even deserve to have a life that is filled with purpose and worth.

But that is just wrong thinking.

Yes, maybe those dreams you had when you were 7 and dreamed of growing up and being the Queen of England need a little re-thinking, but maybe that unrealistic dream actually somehow had a seed of reality in it somewhere. Maybe God has put in you a gift for leading and loving and being majestic with your life. Maybe you can't be the Queen of England, but maybe you can help broken, rejected, hurting girls and women see themselves as daughters of the King. Maybe God is calling you into a ministry for HIS Kingdom that will bring His subjects to a place that they can see how richly they are loved by the King of the Universe.

To me, that beats being the Queen of England any day.

For me, as many of you know, I grew up dreaming of running my own orphanage and loved hearing missionary stories. Now, in my mid-40's, God is changing our lives, changing our plans, and even changing our mailing address has He has stirred up that old childhood dream and turned it into a life plan. I'll be spending the rest of my life, Lord willing, loving orphans and at-risk African children while encouraging and equipping those in their communities who are caring for them.



I get excited just thinking about it!

But for a long time, my dreams and passions were sidelined as I struggled through the early years of mommy-hood and healed up from deep spiritual wounds.

I am so thankful to God that He brought the people, books, and blogs into my life that eventually led me back to Swaziland and now have been instrumental in my husband and children gaining a vision for going into all the world.

I want each of you to be living out those passionate dreams that God has for your life. It probably won't look much like my life and that's okay. Your passion and dream might look like a few hours spent every week doing free haircuts and styles for residents at a homeless shelter or going monthly to a children's hospital and putting on puppet shows or a community garden in a poor, inner-city neighborhood.



Maybe your passion and dream means you go back to college and get that nursing degree or learn American Sign Language so you can work with special needs kids or finish that education degree so you can move to a closed country and teach English while sharing Jesus relationally.

Seth Barnes, found of Adventures in Missions, has written a short e-book that is geared toward helping you discover that passion, release your dream, and then make it a reality.

So spend about 8 minutes reading DISCOVERING YOUR PASSION and then get ready to watch God change your life and the world around you.



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

NOW SHE IS TAKEN CARE OF

Larry Vann and his family live here in America, but like me, they have given a huge chunk of their heart to the children of Swaziland. Their church sponsors a carepoint, and on top of the support they can offer from here, they visit Swaziland on a regular basis ministering to the children and those who care for them on a regular basis.


They have seen first hand all too many times the devastation caused by disease and extreme poverty. This week, they were painfully reminded of how harshly these two factors impact the little ones. I read this post by Larry today and wanted to share it here at GRACELAND.

TINGETILE WAS EIGHT

During Assembly this morning, I received a phone call from our daughter, Elizabeth. It’s not unusual for her to call me – but the timing was out of the ordinary. As I was closing the lesson on obedience, I encouraged the children to love and obey God. “If we all say we love the Lord, one of the best ways to show Him love is to obey Him.” Then my phone rang again. It was Liz... again.

When I answered, Liz was very distraught. In-between the uncontrollable sobs and cries of hurt, I understood what she was saying. “Tingetile is dead, Dad. She is gone,” she said. Tingetile was eight.

Ashley and Liz were able to spend three weeks in Swaziland before I arrived this summer. They had gone countless times to the local government hospital in Manzini, Swaziland. This hospital is nothing like you and I are used to. Not even close. There is so much death and sadness there. I promise you – evil preys there. In 2008, we actually experienced a demon-possessed man in the parking lot. He was angry. Very angry. We had just left the men’s ward where we publicly shared the Gospel and spoke life and love into and over some very sick people. I remember that day as though it was today.

So they went. Ashley, Liz, Amy McAdams and Allison Clyburn. They visited day after day..after day. During their visits they invested time with so many children. Some of the children had a family member with them – usually either a mom or grandmother. But many, like Tingetile, had been abandoned or orphaned. Those are the children these women focused their attention on. These women bathed these children. They crawled into the bed with them. They clothed them. They brought them blankets, stuffed-animals, [dolls], smiles and the love of Jesus. These women prayed over these babies. They rubbed their hollow tummies. They gazed into their little eyes as these sick little Angels dozed off. Do you know how quickly an abandoned child can go to sleep if they feel the love and protection of a caring adult? We take so much for granted.

Tonight Liz shared with me a dream she had around mid-May. She only told one other person about this dream when it happened. She told me it didn’t make a whole lot of sense then. But it does now. Her dream was about a little girl who was abandoned on the street. The little girl was very sick. Liz did her best to get the little girl to the hospital but she couldn’t get there fast enough. The little girl died. When Liz woke up, she wrote about it so she could remember. Tonight, Liz shared a poem she wrote. I am sharing it with you with her permission:

Innocent child, with life in your eyes

How can this be that you were disguised?

Found in the rubble with nothing to claim

I carried you so closely so I could refrain.

From the tears, the hurt, the anger inside –

I took this sweet child and swallowed my pride.

I am no superwoman, just a girl with a face

And you were God’s gift to the whole human race.

How can this be that this child might die?

But I clinged to Your word and held on for life.

And in that moment, that precious sweet moment,

I could see the stars in her eyes -

The warmth in her smile -

The faith….like a child.

No sorrow, no pain, no ill-gotten strife.

I could only see Jesus and His great sacrifice.

I wish I could put into words how excited Liz was the first time we skyped about Tingetile. The first time they met her, she was very close to death. She had been diagnosed with TB. Lord only knows what else this baby had going on. The doctors in Swaziland are very reserved. They typically do not have conversation with their patients or anyone else, for that matter – especially women. But on day three of visiting with Tingetile, she had shown a drastic improvement! She was actually able to lift her head and even mustered enough energy to sit up. When the doctor came to check on her, he offered the ladies a very encouraging word. He told them their love was making this little girl come alive!

Over the next several weeks, these women visited sweet Tingetile and countless other children and adults – all who have their own story.

I had the honor of meeting Tingetile and spending time with her on three different occasions. Each time, she would tell us how much she appreciated out visits. She would tell us how much she loved having us there to love on her and offer her words of encouragement. She would tell us these things and so much more without speaking a single word. I never heard her say a word. I only heard her whimper a couple of times. One time is when I picked her up from my lap to put her back in her bed. The other time was when she got upset when I took her oxygen tube off her nose so I could put a cute Hoover Bucs Cheerleading shirt on her. That little girl loved that shirt! We all oooohed and aaaahed over her that day. You would have thought she had won Miss Swaziland or something.

I will forever remember the last time I saw her. As we were leaving the complex, Liz and I went back over to her window and looked in. As we did, there were her eyes, gazing out the window at us. She nodded and waved goodbye to us as we turned to walk away. I think she knew she would die. A part of me wants to believe what she was telling us was that ‘it will be okay. This body is just a temporary shelter. God is going to heal me on His side of heaven. I will see you again.’

Time with Tingetile taught us all something. ‘Things’ really aren’t important; Love is the greatest gift you can give – and receive; and we have to trust that God is who He says He is.

Time with her also re-affirms something else. We need the McAdams and Clyburn families to remain in Swaziland. They believe God has them there at this point in time. We believe that, as well. All the hospital visits and trips to the countryside and into the bush is part of what they do. But it’s a small part of what they do. They are a part of something much bigger than simply providing ARV’s to countless children and adults; or the feeding of 5,000 vulnerable and orphaned children…daily; or the logistics involved with matching sponsors with children at the care points; or daily discipleship to so many people. All these things are good things. All these things must be carried out and carried on. God tells us to do these things. He commands all of us to do these things. We have to support these two families financially and in prayer. We do believe God will provide the financial stability needed for them to remain in Swaziland. Will you please consider supporting both families? No need to pray about it and seek guidance. God has given very clear direction for us to invest in sharing the Gospel and to care for widows and orphans. Please. Be a part of something that is life-changing. For you – and for the people these families can and do impact.
Link








I picture Jesus reaching down to Tingetile and removing the oxygen tube. I can see him reassuring her that she doesn’t need it anymore. I imagine her little stomach is no longer bloated and she can take full, deep breaths. I also imagine she immediately forgot the hurt and pain she endured during her short time on earth. No more pain. No more suffering. No more hunger. No more going to sleep while laying in the dirt. No more wondering what love is and how to experience it. Now she is with Jesus. She is taken care of.


Until we meet again, sweet, precious Tingetile – we will keep the faith and share His love. Rest well our sweet angel.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

NOBILITY IN GOD'S KINGDOM


"In the Kingdom of God,
service is not a stepping-stone to nobility:



it is nobility,
the only kind of nobility that is recognized."

T.W. Manson

Monday, August 15, 2011

LET US NOT BE SATISFIED

"Let us not be satisfied with just giving money.


Money is not enough, money can be got,
but they need your hearts to love them.
So, spread your love everywhere you go."

Mother Teresa

Sunday, August 14, 2011

DANCING FOR AFRICA

This one always gets me dancing!



Have I told you lately that I love Africa?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

SAMPLING WORKS


When I was employed at Chick-fil-A back in high school, I learned the power of sampling when I worked as the main sample girl. It was my job to stand out in the mall with a plateful of nuggets and offer one to each passerby. I saw customer after customer stop, eat one, and then quite usually, go in and order some. I also saw my waist line increasing as the power of sampling worked on me! At that time, employees could eat for free so by the time my meal break came around, I was ready for a heaping plateful of the delicious chicken bites.

This past week, I was reminded of the power of samples. I was in Kroger shopping for the regular produce items --- bananas, apples, and grapes --- when I spotted a display of cut-up honeydew melon. I've never cared for that particular fruit in the past but it was free and I was hungry so I tried one.

WOW! Was it ever good. So yeah, I tried another bite and then promptly put a melon in my buggy.

Then another customer and I noticed a bright yellow melon about the same size and the produce worker told us it was a Golden Melon and was very sweet. So I snagged one of those as well.

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Like I said, the marketing technique of offering free samples works. Because I didn't just buy them last time, but I'll be buying them next week and the week after and probably the week after as well.

In my journey to eat and live healthier, I'm always looking for yummy things that are as good for my senses as good for my body, especially snacks that fit this category.



This afternoon I was really, really hungry. I thought I was out of my standby reduced-fat, whole grain, satisfyingly crunchy Triscuits and I'd already had peanut butter for the day, another standby. So I decided to live a little on the wild side.

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I grabbed the fat-free cottage cheese, cut some Golden melon up over it, sprinkled on some ground up flax seed, stirred it all up, and took a bite.

Another WOW!

Seriously, this combination was really, really good and very satisfying. In fact, 3 hours later, I'm still full.

So next time you're thinking you don't like a certain fruit, give it a try. You might find out like I did, that even though I've thought for 45 years that I didn't like any melon but watermelon, that you are wrong. And you might just discover a new favorite food.

Long live sampling!

Friday, August 12, 2011

THAT SHALL BE MY HOME


"I have but one passion - it is He, it is He alone.


The world is the field and the field is the world;
and henceforth that country shall be my home
where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ."

--- Count Zinzindorf

Thursday, August 11, 2011


THE STEWARD OF LOVE


"A man doesn't own his marriage; he is only the steward of his wife's love."

--- Ed Cole



And today, my sweet man was a good steward of his wife's love. He called Anna this morning and had her run to the store for him. Why? To get me flowers. And when I called to thank him and questioned him about the reason, he said it was just to "romance" me.

As I said, he was a very good --- and wise --- steward today.

I love you, Jim!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

IT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT MINISTRY

I've written before on my blog about the Petersons who are serving in Swaziland with Adventures in Missions. I read their blog with great interest because as new missionaries to Swaziland with two kids around two of my kids' ages, it is easy for me to imagine our family in just a couple of years going through what they are experiencing.




A while back, Jen wrote about a day in their life that ended in an unexpected way. There is a lesson to be learned from her that applies whether you are living as a full-time missionary in Africa or serving your family and neighbors here in America.

AN EXTRA LOAF OF BREAD

So today wasn't supposed to be about ministry. We decided to get away for the day as a family. We needed some time off! We knew we couldn't really get away, so thankfully there is a place a little over an hour and half from where we live where we feel like we can get away! I (jen) was able to get a much needed hair cut and Eric and the kids were able to watch a movie. YES! There is a movie theater in Swaziland! Actually, this is a very new phenomenon. The movies are not new new...but they are new to us!

We also did some grocery shopping and since we were near a store that has more then five aisles this was quite something!! We also stopped at a bakery, which is a favorite and a super treat. After we got back to the car, I felt a very strong prompting to return inside and purchase an extra loaf of bread. I knew we didn't need another loaf of fresh bread but it seemed clear that we were to buy an extra loaf of bread and give it to someone else.

All the way home, I prayed that the Lord would show me clearly to whom we were to deliver this loaf of bread. I felt certain that the answer would come. Yet, as we drove and tried to race the setting sun so as not to be on the roads after dark, it seemed we must be missing the appropriate stops.

As we neared a familiar village, I remembered seeing a man in a wheelchair at the side of the road as we passed earlier in the day. This certainly must be the one to whom we are to deliver this extra loaf of bread. Yet, as we drive by now in the twilight, the spot is empty.

The miles pass and we are closer and closer to our home in Nsoko. There is no striking, obvious moment where we feel we must stop.

Then, in the distance, there is a man sitting on the side of the road all alone. He doesn't seem to be heading to anywhere. He isn't clearly trying to flag down a lift. He is just sitting...all alone.

"Do you think he is the one?" Eric asks

"Maybe, so..." I say...mostly out of desperation. At this point I am just so determined to find someone to give this extra loaf of bread to!

Eric pulls over and I get out of the car, holding the now cooling loaf of bread in my hands.

"Are you hungry?" I say, as I approach this man on the side of the darkening road.

"Yes, madam!" he replies, straightening his shirt as he stands up.

I hand him the loaf of bread and say:

"Jesus is the bread of Life. As this bread fills your stomach may Jesus fill your soul!"

I get back in the car and share with Eric and Claire and Jacob what just happened. ! I know that this day that 'wasn't about ministry' suddenly became all about ministry!

It seems to be a lesson...that the Kingdom of God never takes a day off! There is always work to do! As citizens of that Kingdom, we always need to be willing to buy that extra loaf of bread!



To read more about the Peterson's life in Swaziland, visit their blog: http://ericandjen.myadventures.org/

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A SUPER INTERVIEW

I was wondering what to blog about today, and my best friend Rhonda said I should interview Patrick. But Patrick was busy watching the PBS show WORD GIRL with his siblings and trying to interview someone while they're engrossed in a program usually results in answers such as "um....yeah" or "um.......no...what did you say?"



But Rhonda gave me the idea to ask him what WORD GIRL super villain he would be and his answer, along with his siblings response, gave me an idea for today's post.

So here goes:

Patrick, what villian are you the most like?

"I don't know" then his siblings said "Chuck" or "The Butcher" so then he responded "Nocan the Contrarian" because "I don't take directions very well"!




David, who which character or super villain are you tne most like?

David says he doesn't know but Patrick says he'd be The Coach who can convince people to do his work for him. "Just like you do to the little kids". To which one of his little sisters responded with "WA-AA-AH".




LG, who are you like?

David says "she's Miss Question because Miss Question is always asking questions when you tell her to do something." And Laura agreed.




Miss M, what about you?

"I'm nothing", says Miss M, but her siblings say "she's so the Birthday Girl" because "she's always wanting more and more stuff and if she doesen't get it, she throws a temper tantrum". Is that true, M? To which she responds "yes" in a quiet but resigned voice.



So T, what character are you?

"I would probably be...hmm...I don't know" to which Patrick responded that he's Whammer or The Sandwich Guy." David says he's more like the sandwich making guy because he's not a very good villian but they also point out that he's like The Whammer running around and destroying stuff.



What about Anna?

"I don't know. I don't watch WORD GIRL." But Patrick says she's like Granny May because she is strong and she can convince people to do what she wants because they think she's weak and defenseless. Anna said she's fine with whatever character is in charge.




And Betsie isn't here to defend herself or answer the questions but her siblings seem to unanimously agree that she's Lady Redundant Woman who is always repeating herself.




Okay, to be fair, who would I be?

"I don't think Mom would be a villain. She's too nice."

Aw, Patrick. Give that boy an extra helping of the good stuff next time he asks for it.