Monday, December 31, 2012

SWING IN THE NEW YEAR

Happy New Year's Eve from all of us MacLellans at We Will Go to all of you out there all around the world.

Our New Year's Eve began with a big ole country "bupper" (breakfast at suppertime) followed by prayer, worship, and dance at the worship pavilion. Then it was home for a mini-party. Usually, our house is packed on New Year's Eve, but plans had to change with our move into Jackson. We're keeping it small with just a couple of the teenaged guys friends, popcorn, sweets, Sorry!, sparkling grape juice, and watching the televised dropping of the ball in Times Square.

This time next year, I hope to be settling into our new life in Africa. But for now, as I said, Happy New Year's Eve from our not-so-little house in the hood to yours!

May all your God-given dreams come true in 2013!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

AND THEY'RE OFF!

This morning, Betsie, Anna, and Betsie's long-time bestie Candace, left for Atlanta, Georgia. They'll be seeing a lot of Anna's friends from her Passport African missions team and attending the Passion Conference. They've only been gone about 14 hours and already I miss them.

And they're off! #passion2012 #roadtrip #friends #jesuslove #smiles #missionaries

I am so glad they have this chance. I know they are going to have a great time and God is going to speak to them all.

But it doesn't make me miss them any less.

These separations are just becoming more and more the norm.

Anna already lives in another city going to college. Our times with her are now comprised of a weekend here and there and holiday breaks. Betsie is still at home but between work and other activities, her time at home is becoming more limited. And in about 9 months? She'll be moving out and going to college, too.

Then, of course, a year from now, we'll be moving to Swaziland. Then our time with them really will be limited.

Now don't get me wrong, I want to move to Swaziland. I've wanted to live there for a long time and the day I move into our African home will be a dream come true.

That doesn't mean I'm not going to miss my girls and some days won't be tough. I know there will be tears and lonely times.

But Jesus is worth it.

This morning I taught children's church. One of the things we discussed was the importance to obey God no matter what. Obey him when the times are good and asks easy things of us and obey him when times are hard and He asks tough things of us.

And sometimes He asks us to do things that are mix.

Living in Africa and serving as missionaries is one of those mixed up things.

So many things about our life there are going to be fabulous yet at the same time so many things are going to be really rough. We'll have to face the death of babies and mothers and others in a country with a tragically high mortality rate. We'll have to deal with overwhelming needs while accepting that we can't do it all. There will be the everyday frustrations that come from living in a 3rd world nation. And we'll have to deal with painful goodbyes and thousands of miles between us and our daughters, our parents, our dear friends, our extended family, and eventually, more of our children.

But Jesus is worth it and God is faithful.

His calling is not easy but I'm learning that being right in the center of His will is the absolutely best place on earth to be. On those days when I'm missing my girls, I'm very thankful that being in the center of His will means I'll be living in Swaziland surrounded by beautiful brown children that I get to love on every single day.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

GOING BACK TO SERVE

This past January, we took all our kids to Swaziland to see their future home and also to minister. One of our favorite places to go during our time there was the Sandra Lee Centre in Mbabane. My kids had a blast just loving on the kids who live there, kids who were abandoned at birth in the local hospital or left without parents for other reasons.


Sadly, this is an all too common occurence for the children of Swaziland and most of those parentless children don't find themselves in a loving situation like the Sandra Lee Centre or even with a carepoint to go to once a day for a meal and other needs to be met.

P1180803 Patrick and Baby

As I have mentioned before, my son Patrick will be going this summer for a month to minister to children in Swaziland. He will be serving with Adventures in Missions mostly at carepoints. He also has to raise over $4,000 in order to go.

From time to time over the next few months, we will be selling various items to raise money for this summer. Today, we've got a pair of beautiful earrings made in Mozambique, Africa, out of horn. We are selling them for $12 plus shipping and handling.

Mozambican horn earrings for sale to raise money for Patrick's mission trip with AIM to Swaziland.  Asking price is $12 plus shipping and handling.

If you don't want to buy the earrings but would just like to make a donation, we're totally cool with that, too, or as the Swazis would say, "kuhle".

Just follow this link:   https://www.adventures.org/give/donate.asp?giveto=partFund&multi=

Then choose "Ambassador" for program and type in "Patrick MacLellan" for participant's name.  And if you don't mind, shoot me a message or leave me a comment letting me know you're making a donation.  That way, we can make sure it got credited to the correct account.

Thanks and whether you can help financially or not, we really do ask for your prayers.  Money is nice, but prayers are essential!  And I don't just say that because it sounds like something nice to say.  It is the truth and we couldn't do anything effective for His Kingdom without it.

Friday, December 28, 2012

WHEN WE IGNORE THE LEAST

"Jesus explained that when we ignore the least, we ignore Him. No amount of spinning or clever justification can neutralize Jesus’ point. If we claim affinity for Christ but turn a blind eye to those He identified Himself with, there is no honor in that. There is no truth in it. 

527226_4488528855483_802547968_n Edited version 

This is how grave the gospel’s challenge is: 'Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me' (Matthew 25:40). It is as simple as it is radical. If every believer obeyed accordingly, I daresay we would become the answer to all that ails society." --- Jen Hatmaker

Thursday, December 27, 2012

THANKFUL THURSDAY

Often since my trip back to Swaziland five years ago, I have felt out of step with this American culture. I miss Africa and find myself feeling all sorts of muddled up emotions. I have cried about things that would have barely registered on my radar and sacrificed for people and causes I didn't even know existed six or seven years ago. I have many times felt like an alien in my own country.

Tonight, we spent the evening with Jim's sister and her family. Deidra and her husband Michael have also ministered in Africa. They have also found their lives radically changed by God as a result. There is a wrecking that can go on as a product of mission trips that is almost impossible to understand if you've not experienced it yourself.

I am not glad that others experience the pain that can occur when God rips open hearts on behalf of the lost and the least, but I am thankful that not only can we now walk through this journey together, but that God is turning the hearts of more and more of His children toward the orphans and widows of Africa.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

WE WISH YOU

From all of us MacLellans here at We Will Go, we wish you and yours a very merry Christmas!

  I love my life!

May the love of God be made fresh and real to you as we celebrate the Savior's birth.

 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Monday, December 24, 2012

YOU ARE WELCOME!

I have a two part invitation.

Actually, three part.

First off, if you're someone who needs someone to share Christmas with, we'd love to have you spend it with us here at We Will Go.

PC250351 AC and Merry resized

Whatever your circumstances, if you're someone who doesn't have a place filled with love to spend your day, we'd love to have you here with us. Lots of people around us, whether from right here in our own inner-city neighborhood or out in the suburbs, find the holidays to be very lonely. We want to do something about that.

Second, if you've got folks to spend the holiday with but you're looking for a way to give back to Jesus or do something different this year besides just open presents and eat too much food, we'd love to have you join us at We Will Go. Our family started coming here on Christmas Day a few years ago. We would get up, open our gifts, eat breakfast, and then head into Jackson where we'd love on a bunch of inner-city folks, sing Christmas carols, help around the ministry as needed, and eat lots of food surrounded by a group like none we'd ever spent Christmas with before. You can't find too many places where rich socialites, homeschoolers from the 'burbs, and leaders of big churches are eating pumpkin pie next to homeless men, former drug dealers, and prostitutes. But here at We Will Go, we know that all of us are loved by the Lord and we're all about bringing the light and love of Jesus to those still walking in darkness as well as encouraging and loving on those who have turned away from the darkness and are now dancing in His light. And guess what? Some of those from the "nice" places are in just as much darkness as those living in the "bad" places. And some of those living in the "hard" places are dancing in the light while some of those from the "good" places are stumbling around blind. We want everyone to know the freedom of His loving salvation! So if you'd like to be a part of this amazing, beautiful day, come on down.

Or third, maybe both of those options apply to you. You need someone to celebrate the birthday of Jesus with and you'd like to do something of significance with your day.

From 10 to 2, we'll all be joining together in the Worship Pavilion on North Congress Street behind the Love House. Folks who can will bring food, folks who can't will just enjoy the blessing. Gifts will be passed out to those in need. We'll sing Christmas carols, share testimony, and just bless each other as we enjoy our Jesus. It is come and go so don't feel like you have to stay the whole time. Maybe all you have time for is to drop off a ham and some sweet potato casserole before heading out to see your family. That's okay, too.

Our family started coming here on Christmas Day a few years ago. We would get up, open our gifts, eat breakfast, and then head into Jackson where we'd love on a bunch of inner-city folks, sing Christmas carols, help around the ministry as needed, and eat lots of food surrounded by a group like none we'd ever spent Christmas with before. You can't find too many places where rich socialites, homeschoolers from the 'burbs, and leaders of big churches are eating pumpkin pie next to homeless men, former drug dealers, and prostitutes. But here at We Will Go, we know that all of us are loved by the Lord and we're all about bringing the light and love of Jesus to those still walking in darkness as well as encouraging and loving on those who have turned away from the darkness and are now dancing in His light. And guess what? Some of those from the "nice" places are in just as much darkness as those living in the "bad" places. And some of those living in the "hard" places are dancing in the light while some of those from the "good" places are stumbling around blind. We want everyone to know the freedom of His loving salvation! So if you'd like to be a part of this amazing, beautiful day, come on down.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A SUNDAY SEEN

If you had been at We Will Go today for our afternoon worship service, you would have seen these beautiful children singing their hearts out for Jesus. 


Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.

My three youngest, as well as others from Restoration Church, brought their Christmas program from their small town church to our inner-city worship pavilion. Though they are all still kids, God used them. They shared what they had. It wasn't fancy or professional, but it was still beautiful and a blessing.

Their little choir was a precious reminder that though they are little, God doesn't see them as worth little in His Kingdom. In His economy, they are hugely important and can be used in bigger ways than most in this world give them credit for. When they praise Him with a pure heart, they are worshiping warriors. In the Old Testament, God would often direct worshipers to be placed before the soldiers when going into battle.

Living here in Jackson, we are wise to remember that this is not a physical battle we wage against sin and darkness but a spiritual battle. And when children sing about our Lord and His love and glory, it does more than bless the ones listening, it brings light into the darkness and literally wages war against the dark forces that would want destruction and hatred to reign in our neighborhood. Their songs of praise are crucial to winning this battle. 


Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there . --- Matthew 19:13-15

Saturday, December 22, 2012

SWEET D

Please pray for my pastor's wife, Debra Brown, or D as some call her.

Like most pastor's wives, she has a full plate most of the time. Christmas season means even more commitments but this time has brought some unexpected challenges. A couple of weeks ago, she found out that she needed to go in for fairly spur-of-the-moment thyroid surgery and yesterday she was diagnosed with pneumonia.

Pray for rest and healing. Please also pray for her family as they fill in for her. The children's Christmas program is tomorrow and Miss Debra is the brains behind it. Her daughter Terri will be stepping in to lead it in place of her mom and she could use your prayers, as well.

Thanks everyone!



Friday, December 21, 2012

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: WHEN NERDY WASN'T COOL

You know that Barbara Mandrell song?

"I was country, when country wasn't cool"?

Okay, so maybe you don't know it, but it is a real song. And when I look at this picture of me ready for Christmas when I was about 9 years old, I can't help but hear these slightly twisted lyrics...

IMG_1869 Elysa in sleeping cap and gown

..."I was nerdy, when nerdy wasn't cool".

Oh well, that's okay, I thought I was absolutely fabulous in my sleeping cap and flannel gown. It appealed to the Laura Ingalls wanna-be in me that reigned supreme during my elementary years. If I couldn't marry Almonzo, at least I could look like her, sorta.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

SOME CHRISTMAS SWAG

Everyday here at We Will Go, I get to meet new people. Sometimes it is a man traveling through the city who heard this was a place that would give him some food. Other times, it might be a woman who has just moved into our neighborhood and attends a service or comes to the clothes ministry needing new shoes and a warm outfit.

Two great guys from MDOT who delivered food and swag bags for our neighbors.  Thanks Kenny and Mike!!!

 But other days, the folks I meet aren't asking for anything, they're turning us into the recipients. With Christmas Day quickly approaching, the amount of donations has multiplied. People have been bringing boxes of fresh fruit, bags of clothes and toys, dozens of hygiene items, and swag bags full of goodies.

That's right, swag bags. And you thought swag bags were only for folks attending the Hollywood award ceremonies or ritzy events. Nope, here at We Will Go, thanks to some really sweet folks at the Mississippi Department of Transportation, our neighbors will get be-ribboned gift bags filled with water bottles, key chains, pens, and other goodies. 

Simple items for sure, but when you think that for many of our neighborhood friends, they won't be finding pretty gifts under a tree or brown packages delivered by UPS come next week. For all too many people, Christmas Day is a lonely time filled with longing and sad memories.

But for the ones who come to We Will Go next week, the swag bags, Christmas food, carols sung, and big hugs will remind them that they are not alone.

They might not have the Hallmark card family scene, but they've got us and they've got God. They've got a God who will never forget them. Never say they've gone too far to come back home. 

 And we've got that same God.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Please pray for broken hearts.

This morning, a sweet baby boy in our neighborhood was found dead in his crib. This is the little one I held in my arms and prayed and sang over just a couple of weeks ago.

Tonight, some of the women of We Will Go held that same baby's grandma as she cried and we prayed and read scripture over her while my son David and another missionary kid played their guitars and led the others in worshiping The Lord and crying out to Him for comfort and provision and peace.

Please pray for this hurting family during this extremely difficult time and pray for us here at We Will Go as we ask God to use us in this situation.


Monday, December 17, 2012

LIVING WATER

Thirsty for the River of Life



Thirsty for the River of Life.

"He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."

Jeremiah 17:8

Sunday, December 16, 2012

CRAZY LOVE COMPELS


When you encounter the very tangible presence of the Lord and His crazy, gracious, amazing love, you just can't help but want to love others and boldly share Him with them.  (Don't worry, you can share others without having wacky eyes.)


Love this neighbor's hat.  What a fun life God has blessed me with!!!!

I am just so in love with Jesus right now and don't want anyone I know to miss out on living a life full of His presence and goodness.

If you don't know Him, please find Him for yourself. He is such a wonder. He's the mighty King of Kings yet He is gentle and good enough to tenderly hold your heart in His hand and patiently woo you to Him.



John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

FOR ALL SEASONS

Happy birthday to my best friend Rhonda! What a blessing this woman is in my life. She's the kind of pal that I can talk deep things with, subjects like grace and social justice, but can also laugh hysterically with, such as when the dressing room curtain falls down with me in it!

Rhonda's birthday framed

She's there for fun times, like lunch today at Table 100 and trying on fabulous vintage clothing at The Green Room, but also the hard times, such as when we had our housefire and she faithfully washed clothes for us during the months we lived in the travel trailer.

She's a friend for all seasons and one of the people I'll miss most when I move to Swaziland. It has become an annual tradition to take her out to the restaurant of her choice on her birthday. Guess in a couple of years, she's just gonna have to choose one in Africa.

Friday, December 14, 2012

WAS AND AM

I have just finished Rolland and Heidi Baker's book MORE THAN ENOUGH about "God's miraculous provision among the poorest children on earth", in this case, Mozambique. The founders of our ministry are good friends with the Bakers and the Lancasters, along with many others who minister here at We Will Go, have spent a lot of time serving in Mozambique with them. So besides the fact that the majority of the book was set in Africa, I was also interested in reading more about the amazing ministry I've already heard so much about. It was a challenging book and really reminds me that my ability to truly minister effectively and for the long term depends on me intimately knowing The Lord and depending on His provision, not my own.

I am now starting Jen Hatmaker's SEVEN, "an experimental mutiny against access". I'll be honest, I am a bit nervous about reading this book. I already struggle with the extreme materialism associated with Christmas here in America because of the extreme poverty I've seen in other parts of the world, but I keep feeling pulled to it, so for better or for worse, I'm plunging in.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

ALL THOSE INTERRUPTIONS

 Last night I wrote about the importance of not wishing away my kids' growing up years, even when some of those years are difficult ones.  Something else I have to fight against wishing away is the interruptions that I often see as taking me away from something important when, in fact, those interruptions are the important things.


The best example of this is the life of Jesus.  His ministry seemed to be one long string comprised of interruption after interruption after interruption.  He's walking down a crowded street and a woman whose been bleeding for years reaches out and grabs His garment because she's desperate for a healing.  He's teaching and another woman is brought to Him because she's been caught in adultery and some religious folks want to stone her.  Another time he's at a dinner party and a yet another woman interrupts the scene, this time she pours expensive oil on his feet and just loves on Him.


All three of these happenings, plus so many others, weren't on Jesus' official agenda for the day.  They occurred as He was on His way somewhere or already doing an activity.  Now Jesus isn't known for frivolously using His time.  He was about His Father's business doing eternally important things.  But despite the fact that He was already busy doing the things He'd been sent to do, He didn't see these interruptions as bad things.  In fact, He not only would willingly serve those who got in the way of the plans, but He would often use those very interruptions to teach very important Kingdom principles.  He saw these interruptions as valuable because He loved and valued the people who were interrupting Him.  He also loved the people observing Him during these times, loved the people --- us --- that He knew would one day be reading about these occurrences, and He wanted wanted us to learn from them.

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Sometimes those lessons where hard teaching times, times of rebuke and correction such as toward the men who wanted to kill the sinning woman.  Other times, He wanted His disciples and other followers to learn by example.

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Under girding all these teaching moments was a binding thread of love.  He allowed these interruptions because He loved the people involved.  He loved the people watching and He loved those in need.  He didn't let a time schedule or the shallow agendas of other people keep Him from doing what was most important....loving those who were rejected, setting free those in bondage, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, giving sight to the blind.  By stopping and attending to the needs of those who others probably perceived as interruptions, He changed the very course of those people's lives, both here and in eternity.  He saw these times not as interruptions to His purpose but the very essence of His purpose.

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Now if Jesus, who was the only begotten son of Father God and sent to earth for a very limited time and a specific purpose, knew that by attending to the interruptions He was actually fulfilling His purpose, then shouldn't we as His followers?  But all too often, we don't see them this way.

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More often than I care to admit, I let pleas for help --- whether from my kids, husband, or strangers --- irritate me and I just see them as interruptions of the "important" stuff. God is teaching me thru living here at We Will Go that often those interruptions ARE the important stuff.  That homeless guy needing a pair of socks, the church person dropping by with donations, the child who needs help with tying their shoes, or the older man who is hungry and wants something to eat, they are all loved by God and very important to Him.

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He knows their needs and He desires to see them served and loved.  He desires for them to experience His powerful love in tangible ways and for them to be encouraged just a few more steps along their God journey.  If He chooses to let me be a part of that journey, then instead of sighing deeply over one more knock on the door or yet another child asking for help, I should actually be filled with joy and gratitude that He has blessed me with the opportunity to be His hands and feet here in this all-too often uncaring and too-busy world..



Pickled pigs' feet. 

Even if that act of love looks like a jar of pickled pig feet given to a neighbor in need who, believe it or not, really loves pickled pig feet.


"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing,15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”
  Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky"

Philipians 2:1-15



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

REMINDING MYSELF

When I was just the overwhelmed mom of only little ones, older parents used to tell me to not get so stressed out over the little things that I couldn't enjoy the ages that my children were in at the time. These sages assured me that the dirty diaper, into-everything stage wouldn't last forever. That I'd blink and they'd be gone and grown up. While not thinking that they were right out liars, that prediction just didn't seem like it could be accurate. After all, there were some sleepless nights that seemed to last for an eternity and didn't it seem like each child would never, ever learn to go in the potty? 

 Anna's baby ornament. 

 But they do grow up and then they really are gone. That's my first little baby holding her baby ornament.

While it doesn't seem like yesterday, it definitely doesn't seem like nearly two decades ago since we were first hanging that ornament on the tree. It really seems like just a few years ago that I was dressing Anna in her first Christmas dress, all red and velvety, and her daddy was giving her a little Gap bear as a Christmas gift, though at not quite two months old, she wasn't quite opening it herself. And now she lives in another city, alone in her own apartment, and just made great grades her first year in college. She works as the emergency dispatcher for her huge apartment complex and has traveled in Asia and Africa without me. 

My baby girl.

I still have six kids at home. Three of them are busy with teenaged lives and are racing towards adulthood. Anna's leaving has helped prepare me for the day that they will fly out of this crazy nest. I know now that I'm gonna blink my mascared lashes and they'll be packing up and gone. 

And those three little ones? They are still wanting to hold my hand when we walk down the street and snuggle up for read alouds, but I know they're leaving is going to get here faster than I'd like,too. 

Because of this,  I'm going to tell myself often what those older parents used to say to me ---- enjoy them because they'll be gone before I know it. I'm going to take the time to read that picture book, decorate those cookies, and play that silly search game as we walk home from ballet. I'm going to miss some sleep staying up late for chats with the teenagers, spend a little extra money taking them out to eat, and grill their sandwiches just because they prefer them that way.

I'm going to not waste these years but spend them wisely. I'm going to make sure I show them how much I love them and how much I value my relationship with them. I'm going to pray with them and minister alongside them. I'm going to do all I can to send them out in this world with a deep and real faith in the Lord and an assurance that though they're all grown up and competent, that they have a mom and a dad who love them madly and will always be here for them, even if "here" is a home far, far away.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A LAST MINUTE GIFT

We all know about those last minute gifts. We friend calls to say they are on their way over with a gift and we scramble for something we can re-gift or we find out at the last minute that we need a gift for a party so we run into Walgreens and frantically grab a photo album or box of chocolates. Sometimes those last minute gifts are pretty good, sometimes not so much. 

My "last minute gift" that I received today is awesome. My gift is my daughter Anna. 

 Anna made a quick trip home for Christmas fun and brought our friend Jake with her.  Jake is a missionary to Ecuador. 

 As we bought our tree yesterday and then started decorating it, I really began missing Anna. 

This is the first Christmas that she's not been at home for the holidays. Even though she is finished with college for the semester, her job means she has to stay put in New Orleans for the majority of her school break. Motivated by mommy yearning, I sent her a text message with the request that she come home for a couple of days, with the perk of gas money thrown in to sweeten the deal, and she said yes!

A missionary friend, Jake Bickham, was visiting in New Orleans, so they both jumped in her truck and headed north today. They arrived in time to drop in at the Hands and Feet clothing ministry time, do some exploring of our neighborhood, decorate a few cookies, and participate in the We Will Go missionary Christmas party. She, her dad, Jake, and Betsie, are on an egg nog run to Kroger right now and tomorrow we'll cram a few more happenings into the mix before they drive back to New Orleans. 

So yeah....sometimes those spur of the moment gifts result in a gift that is destined to make the re-gifting rounds for eternity, but sometimes, that spur-of-the-moment gift turns out incredibly awesome. And this is one of those times.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sunday, December 09, 2012

A FOURTEENTH INTERVIEW

No, not that this is the 14th interview in a series but this is an interview in honor of Patrick's 14th bday.

Here goes.

Patrick, how have you celebrated your special occasion?

Last night I threw a party. Two of my friends came over. We Ate e pizza and watched a movie and played video games in the Man Cave.

What did you do today on your actual birthday?

We had my special breakfast with donuts. Then we went to Mai
Tai Chinese restaurant for lunch. I went with the youth group. Then I came home and took a nap then I went to We Will Go church. I wore a paper clip on my shirt to get money. I got $19. Then we had a WWG birthday party for me and Gabby, an intern whose birthday is tomorrow.

What was your best gift?

The Wolverine Chopper Lego set.

How do you think you have changed the most since your last birthday or what's something important you've learned or done?

I have experienced a full relationship with Christ.

That's pretty huge. What do you look forward to God doing in your life this coming year and how can people pray for you?

God called me to go to Swazilandi with AIM and that the team be unified and that God will put the right words in my mouth when I go to Swaziland.

Thanks for sharing all of this, Patrick. I was blessed by your birth fourteen years ago and I am blessed by your life now.







Saturday, December 08, 2012

Friday, December 07, 2012

FILLED FRIDAY

Friday was my first day since Monday that I didn't spend most of it in bed due to a crazy bug going around. To be honest, I would have spent the majority of the day taking it easy but with Patrick's birthday coming up on Sunday, presents and food needed to be bought and there are just some things that a mama's got to do.

Shopping for Patrick's birthday.

So....my day was filled with getting the things needed to celebrate his 14th birthday.

I had always liked the food here, but after surviving on little more than crackers and animal cookies for the last few days, this Mexican supper tasted like a royal feast!

Going out to eat supper (a veritable feast after days of crackers and animal cookies) with the mister followed by picking up my son-of-another-mother.

I love my Betsie Joy!

Taking him on to Swirly Treats to visit Betsie and David at work.

Trying to make the light decision.

Then last but not least, on to Target where we faced the important decision of what kind of lights were needed for the front of our new not-so-little house in the hood.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas 'round here....and Patrick's birthday, too.


Thursday, December 06, 2012

A PIPELINE OF PROVISION

Dear Readers---

I have been sick this week with some sort of terrible bug. Even now, I write this with aching arms, hurting neck, and painful back. I am weak and praying for strength to write this and then just go back to bed.

See, there are a lot of widows in Africa who are struggling to barely keep their families alive despite their own physical pains and illnesses, ones that are a lot worse than mine. And there are even more little children in Africa who are sick and hurting and don't have a mama or a doctor or anyone to take care of them. Some of them live all by themselves, begging on streets. Others, live in a hutful of orphaned siblings. Some, though they've lost their parents, are blessed enough to have an orphan home for them to live in. But those homes need financial support to buy food, medicine, clothes, and all the other things that little children need to grow up into big, healthy, productive people.

And God is providing. And one of the ways He is doing that is through people like me and you.

Ekubo Children's Home Africa Uganda

One family in particular is on a mission to be the pipeline of God's provision for orphans in Uganda. The Magera's are a blend of African and American joined together by the mighty love of God. Please take the time to go and read their story and see if you can be part of the plan God has to take care of His precious ones at Ekubo Children's Home.

Thanks you from me but thank you even more from those precious ones at Ekubo!

http://compassinmyheart.blogspot.com/2012/11/god-is-on-move_28.html

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

COUNTING SHEEP, er, BUNNIES

Day two of bunny cracker consumption due to being sick still. The plus side was that being in bed and resting meant lots of time for reading and editing photos.

Monday, December 03, 2012

STILL

I am sick in the bed with a nasty tummy. Despite the yuckiness, I can still enjoy good books, including one of my childhood favorites, MISS SUZY, with little Merry.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

THE PRESENT OF PRESENCE

My mama's here! She arrived Friday and is already pitching in and settling right in here in the We Will Go life.

My mama's here!

Whether it is hanging out with the overnight volunteers at our house last night, helping in the clothes ministry, or visiting with neighbors at today's fellowship meal, she's been a help and a blessing.

My sweet mama pitching right in and helping with the clothes ministry.

This week we'll be doing some special Christmas things as well as doing the regular ministry activities, plus, she's going to help me unpack some boxes and hopefully get my kitchen better organized. What a wonderful mama she is. She has always tried to be supportive of what God calls me to even if my life and His plans for me are completely different from her life and even mean that sometimes that calling takes me far away from her. She's also been willing to go where God calls me to, whether it was visiting me in Africa 23 years ago or staying a week with me here in the hood.

It may only be the 2nd day of Christmas, but I've already received a priceless gift this season, my mama and her sweet, sweet presence.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

DOUBLE JOY

What brought me a double portion of joy today?  I think this picture speaks pretty clearly for itself.

Double Joy

I love it when God brings little surprise blessings into my life here at We Will Go, even if it is only for an hour or two.  He knows it helps hold me over til we move to Swaziland and I have lots and lots of tiny ones to love on.

Friday, November 30, 2012

CAN I REALLY DO THIS?

Sometimes things are too good to be true...or too good to last.

Case in point, this morning's playtime. As I peeked out my back window this morning, my three youngest were sweetly playing together, though my littlest one was doing a darn good fake cry over some imaginary drama they were acting out. Within moments, though, that changed. A child, whose name is being withheld to protect the not-so-innocent, stole Merry's toy and the imaginary drama turned into a very real, scream-laden drama requiring Mama's judicial intervention.

So sometimes things seem too good, too perfect, to last.


I have a new iPhone and I just found a new app that is promoting itself as enabling me to post to my blog via my phone. Now for this very busy mom of 7 living at a high demand ministry, this sounds like blogger bliss. But is the promise too good to believe? Will I really be able to blog from my bed, my front porch, even a plane?

Well, if you are reading this, then the app was as good as it was described.

If not, you won't ever know but I will and my sweet mobile blogging time will be transformed into a scream-laden blogger drama.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

THE GOOD SOIL


Just as some people said nothing would grow in the rubbish covered empty lots around We Will Go Ministries, so did some people say that there was no hope for the neighbors around We Will Go.

Elysa blessed with a good harvest.

And just as we are experiencing a beautiful harvest in our ministry garden, so are we seeing beautiful new life among our neighbors.  Nothing is too hard for God.  Not even turning bad soil into good.

Green onions grew in good soil...even if it is riddled w/ rocks, glass, and wire.

"The seed that fell on good soil
represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word
and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times
as much as had been planted!”

Matthew 13:23

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WHY WE CAN TRULY CELEBRATE

I adore Christmas. I love the gift giving and the gift getting. I love the special church services and the traditional foods. I love the glitzy decorations and the sweet homemade ornaments. I love the books I read to the kids only at this time of year and the seasonal clothes and jewelry. I especially love that this is one time of year where the amazing message of Jesus is proclaimed everywhere you turn, even in some pretty incongruous places.

Around the MacHome, we hold off on the Christmas decorations, music, etc. til after Thanksgiving. We want to make sure we focus on that special time of the year before we hop head long into the next. But when Thanksgiving is past and the ban on carols is lifted, you'll hear me playing the old and new seasonal songs every chance I get.

This year, I've discovered a new favorite by Francesca Batisteli. I love that it includes so many of the elements that make up the merriment of Christmas for many of us, myself included, but still let's it be known that Christmas is really about Jesus and what He did for us when He came to this world.



So enjoy those chocolate balls and handcut paper snowflakes, sing those carols loudly and kiss your mister under the mistletoe with romantic fervor, but don't forget that the whole reason we can laugh and love and celebrate is because HE came to this world and brought true life and light.

Now let's get this party started!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS and MERRY CHRISTMAS, Y'ALL!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

BIFOCALS OF FAITH


PA060108 Edited We Will Go inner city Jackson shack

"We pray for the bifocals of faith -- that see the despair and the need of the hour but also see, further on, the patience of our God working out His plan in the world He has made."

Peter Marshall, U.S. Senate Chaplain 1947-49

Monday, November 26, 2012

HAVE YOU HEARD THIS COOL NEWS?

Our son Patrick is going to Swaziland this summer with Adventures in Missions? He will be part of an Ambassador team, the same kind of team his sister Anna went to Swaziland with when she was fifteen. That was a heart changing, life altering summer for her. When Betsie and David went on their Ambassador trips, they had the same effect. God used them in amazingly powerful ways. We expect no less for Patrick.


African necklace

For one month, he'll be living with a team of teenagers and their leaders as they minister at carepoints and in Swazi churches. They will teach others about the love of God while experiencing it on a deeper level for themselves.

But Patrick can't get there on his own. He needs lots of prayer support and he needs financial help. The trip will cost over $4,000 . We'll be holding fund raisers and sending out support letters. We'll also be selling items to raise the needed money.

The first thing we are selling would make a great Christmas gift for the African lover in your life, or perhaps a gift to yourself.

This short, black beaded necklace has a white African-shaped pendant which sits right on the collar bone. It was actually handcrafted in Mozambique. Because of the simplicity of the style, it would be appropriate for a male or female.

The necklace is selling for $10. If you are local, that's it, just $10 bucks. If I need to mail it to you, I will need to charge $1 for shipping.

Just leave me a comment if you're interested and we'll work out the payment details. If someone snaps it up before you get the chance, don't worry, I'll be offering lots of other fabulous items including African earrings and bracelets, missions themed paintings, and t-shirts.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

COME LET US BOW DOWN

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.


Precious.


For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

Psalm 95: 1-7

Saturday, November 24, 2012

THE HOST?


We just got back from spending time with my family on the Gulf Coast and I'm scaring myself! For the third trip in a row this month, I've unpacked my suitcase the very night I've arrived home.

I'm scaring myself!  For the third trip in a row, in less than a month, I've unpacked my suitcase the very night I've arrived home. What alien has taken control of me???? Am I becoming just "The Host"??? #alienabduction #scary #thehost

What alien has taken control of me? 

Am I becoming just "The Host"???

Friday, November 23, 2012

THE THANKS CONTINUE

Yesterday was devoted to giving thanks to the Lord for all His many blessings.  They blessings didn't stop yesterday and neither did my thankful heart.

Girls' Day Out

Today, I was able to spend time with my Coast family, including special time with the "big" girls. Anna, Betsie, my mom, my sister-in-law, and I, spent time in beautiful and artsy Ocean Springs. The surroundings were lovely, the food at Phoenecia Gourmet Cuisine was sublime, and the company was both of those.

Love my girls, love my life, love my God.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours!
I pray that you've been reminded afresh today of God's amazing love and faithfulness.

upload



1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

4 to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
5 who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
6 who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
7 who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
8 the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
9 the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

Psalm 136, NIV

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

OUR TOP TEN LISTS OF THANKFULNESS


On this Thanksgiving Eve, our family is taking the time to count just some of the many blessings God has bestowed on us in 2012.

Thanksgiving card from Grandmommy

Here are our top ten lists:

Anna, 19 --- trip to East Africa, the friends she made on that trip and the friendships that were strengthened, her apartment, a great school year, her family and their support of her since she moved to New Orleans, getting to go white water rafting on the Nile and bungee jumping in Uganda as well as zip-lining in Swaziland, her best friends and how they are growing in God and bringing her along on their journeys, Delta Sky Miles so she could fly to Chicago on her birthday, getting to work back stage at a Switchfoot show, and the family trip to Paris and Africa.

Patrick, 13 --- Legos, his room, grandparents, freedom, his relationship with God, family, trips to different places, technology, macaroni and cheese, the month of December

Merry, 7 --- her dad, God, horses, Anna, Betsie, Faith House [where we live], her bed, ballet, Ashley here at We Will Go, and food.

Betsie, 17 ---her best friend Candace, lessons in faith, the worship team, her youth pastor, road-trips with the family, her tickets to the upcoming Passion conference, her editor a.k.a. Grandmommy, her MUW scholarship, her Daddy's grace, her balcony on her "hood house".

Travis, 9 --- God, Mom and Dad, siblings, grandparents, relatives, video games, friends, food, water, the Bible.

Laura, 11 --- books and libraries, family, friends, her own room, animals (especially cats), Paris, board games, GA's, God, crayons.

David, 15 --- God's love for him, family, friends, his guitar, the Amazon, buffalo wings, pizza, Batman, Star Wars,  and Lord of the Rings

Jim ---his wife (that's me!), his children, the life God has given him to live, his dad, Jesus saving him, coffee, rooibos tea, good books, time to spend with family, his pastor who is a spiritual father to him

Elysa (that's me!) --- my hunky hubby, all seven of my beautiful children plus a few extra kids who seem like part of my brood, family and friends who support our call to missions, our sponsored girls in Swaziland, our new life here at We Will Go Ministries, dark chocolate, the many missionaries out there serving around the world, Adventures in Missions and how God has used it to impact the lives of my older kids, popcorn, and God's amazing grace.

He truly loves us and blesses us more than we could ever deserve even if we lived a thousand times over.

Thank You, thank You, thank You, Lord, and Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A FIRST FOR FAITH

Today, we had another first here at our new home, The Faith House at We Will Go Ministries. Ever since Jim and I got married over twenty years ago, homemade biscuits have been part of our food tradition. My mother-in-law taught me how to make them and I've, in turn, taught my oldest girls how to make them. Now, I've made them here in inner-city Jackson.

First biscuits made in our new home.

Here at We Will Go, we're definitely all about being family, commemorating milestones, and celebrating holidays together. We especially love the holidays that are centered on God and His goodness.

Thanksgiving is right up there in the top for holidays focused on just that.

On Sunday, Crossgates Baptist Church folks brought a turkey and dressing dinner for us to serve after our worship service. Tonight, the on-base missionaries plus a few others in our ministry family had a special Thanksgiving meal. Thursday, we'll be having another one for our extended We Will Go family (many of whom are homeless folks or neighbors who don't have a biological family to share the day with), and after that lunch, our family will be celebrating with my mom and my brother's family.

Four Thanksgiving meals.

Yep, four.

I could really get used to this.

I also love the many reminders to stop and take time to say thanks to the Lord for His goodness and blessings.  Too often, I let myself get so busy or stressed or just wrapped up in shallow pursuits that I forget to dwell on how incredible God is -- that His mercy endures forever and that He, because of His powerful awesomeness, is able to take even the bad things in this life and use them for my good and His glory.   Some of His blessings are obvious --- a faithful husband, healthy children, plenty to eat --- and others can sometimes only be best appreciated in hind sight.

But whether they are easy circumstances to praise Him in or whether they are challenges that require us to choose to worship Him, because He is our perfect and loving God, He always deserves our trusting thankfulness.

And today, I am thankful that He has called our little, big family to live on this corner of Jackson and share our lives and love with those around us.  Sometimes, that looks like biscuits being baked in a former crack-house kitchen.