Monday, April 30, 2012


What the heck, you say?  That's right.  Good times are for sale...the kind that come from hanging out with friends at the deer camp or having grand kids over to sleep in your RV.  Or maybe it is a good time because you let the grand kids have the house and you sleep in the RV!

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Either way, we just might have what you've been looking for. After our house fire two years ago, my cousin and her husband loaned us their RV. We were renting one already but with a family of nine, it was pretty cramped and didn't give our teen aged daughters any privacy. The loaned RV was just what was needed to give us some much needed room.

Well, when we no longer needed it and contacted my cousin about getting it back to them, she told us to keep it. Her sweet husband Sam said that we could sell it and use the money for missions.

Now that's the kind of family that knows how to bless in ways that are surely needed.

As most of y'all know, our oldest daughter is heading to Africa this summer. Anna will be spending two months ministering with a team in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. She still needs around $3,000. We have told her if we can sell the RV, that she can have the money for the trip. We just don't have any extra funds any other way since we just went as a family to Swaziland in January and we've got a lot of things that need to be done to get our house ready to sell so we can move to the mission field.

If you are interested, or maybe you know someone looking for an RV, it is a Royal Dutchman 300. It is 26 feet long and has the potential to sleep six with a couple of simple modifications. We aren't sure how old it is as it was passed down thru my cousin's extended family. We think it is between ten and fifteen years old. It is not fancy but it is perfect for a deer camp, construction site, or "spare bedroom" when the grand kids come visiting.

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If you'd like more information, please let me know. We've listed it on Craig's List so we're getting a lot of interest but I wanted to offer it to my friends and readers before it was gone.

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And listen, if you're not interested in it for yourself, would you consider sharing the link with others and/or praying for it to sell. Anna needs the remaining funds to be into her account in just two weeks so we'd really like to sell this baby.

Thanks and blessings to you all!

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Cooking skills that is...or at least the ability to organize those who do have cooking skills?

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The folks at the WE WILL GO Ministry need you!

Every Sunday afternoon, after the weekly worship, prayer, and teaching service, a fellowship meal is served. This meal is made available for whoever wants to join in --- homeless folks, visiting church people, neighbors of the ministry, prostitutes and pimps, addicts and dealers, and ministry interns --- whoever! It is a good opportunity for people to sit down and get to know each other. WWG is not about just giving away free stuff. WWG is about building relationships and sharing the love and truth of Jesus. A meal is a very natural way for this to happen.

In the very beginning, David and Amy Lancaster would fix all the food and just invite their friends and neighbors over to eat in their backyard. As the ministry grew and it became common for over a hundred folks to break bread together, others have become a part of the provision. Some churches commit to providing a meal once a month. Other churches, families, and groups cook and serve a meal a just once. The meals can be as simple as take-out pizza, tossed salad, and cookies or as elaborate as turkey, dressing, and all the fixings.

Whether the meal is a homecooked dinner or something picked up at a carry-out, it is one of the ways that Jesus is bringing light and love into inner-city Jackson.

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If you'd like to find out more details about what's needed and when, let me know or you can directly contact Amy Lancaster at We Will Go. You can find her contact info at the ministry website:

Saturday, April 28, 2012


From my daughter Betsie's blog, CALLED TO LOVE:

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Him Fighting For Us+Being a Princess+Galatians 5:1

Last Sunday night, we girls all went to a pottery place for youth group. After painting frogs and mugs, we went to Dairy Queen for dinner and our lesson. I sat in between my new friend, Victoria, and the leader of the week around an outside table underneath a starless, city sky while she told us about our identities in Christ: princesses. (And I now have a sticker-ed note card with "Princess Betsie" written all curlicued tucked into my mirror frame to prove it.) See, because He is our Father, and He is the King of all kings, then we are princesses. We are who we are because of Who He is. Plain and simple.

Now, the world's and our culture's definition of a "princess" is a diva. Privileged. Spoiled. A lot of times, too, in our eyes, a princess and her worth is judged upon the grounds of who her Prince Charming is, or if she even has one. Without Prince Charming there to sweep Cinderella off her feet and take major part in the magical transformation of a scullery maid turned future queen of an entire kingdom, would we even care for the tale? Without Prince Charming, Cinderella would just always be a girl sitting in cinders. Without Prince Phillip there to climb through the thorns and brambles, overthrow the cruel witch, and smooch Aurora with the "kiss of life", she'd still be sleeping. No happily ever after. No story at all, really. Just a pathetic girl who pricked her finger on a needle.


However, we as the Lord's daughters, we are defined by the world or our culture. As His daughters, we must be a completely different sort of princess; His definition of the word. We aren't who we are because of wealth or family blood or a ridiculous prince with a savior complex--we are who we are because of who He is and who He has made us.

Therefore, our leader explained, a true princess must focus more on inner beauty than outer; be willing to be different, possibly an outcast; a "lily among brambles" (Song of Solomon 2:2); value her Father's acceptance over man's; give up the world's good things for the Lord's great things; sometimes be alone.
Our teacher shared how she had similar conversations with her son. (Except on how to be a prince, not a princess...) She told us that she was always telling him she would fight him forever. She would fight with him even when he was eighteen, even when he was grown and out of the house. She would still fight him when he was married and had his own family, fight him until the day he died. Why? Because, her voice choked a bit, he is worth fighting for. That's exactly how our Father feels about us, except so, so much more.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!.."
-Galatians 5:1

Now, I have another best friend who is cool enough to be studying Galatians with me, and we discovered this mind-blowing verse during our our very first Bible study two weeks ago. "For freedom Christ has set us free!..."--wow! WOW. For freedom, He has set us free! However, even though I had discovered the verse, I hadn't yet discovered the complete and full potency, its full mind-blowing earth-trembling potency, until then. That's when it made sense. I saw the parallel in an explosion of beauty, and I realized you couldn't have one without the other.

Him fighting for us + being a princess + Galatians 5:1 =

He died for us. Jesus died for us. He looked at us, and He saw something so beautiful--the daughter, the princess His Father created you to be. He saw that, He saw us, and it,us, was more than worth fighting for.

So He died for us; He died for us! He died so that we might have a choice. A choice to never come to Him, to never accept everything He has planned for us, to never acknowledge what He did that day, never love Him. He died, though, that we might simply have a chance to. He died knowing that we would most likely reject Him, yet He still died; just so that we might have the chance to love Him back. That's how much He loves us, that He would die for us while we were yet still in sin so that someday, we might not be and we might come to Him.


My heart and head nearly exploded, so impossible is it to wrap both around His incomprehensible, all-consuming, universe-big love for us! Ahh, He just blows my mind. The end.

To read more of Betsie's writings, visit her blog:


Friday, April 27, 2012


This has been a rough week in some ways emotionally around the MacHouse.
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A friend's father died unexpectedly this morning. Another dear friend's husband suddenly collapsed and died on Sunday. And a couple of days ago, I found out that an addict I'd been befriending through the We Will Go ministry had died of an overdose a few weeks ago. Add to that, just the emotional stress that occurs on a regular basis as we face many changes in preparation for moving to minister in Jackson and then on to Swaziland.

The other night, six year old Merry crawled up in my lap and just cried and cried over the fact that our horses will soon be going to a new home. One of my other children cried today about our future housing situation and where they'll be sleeping when we move.

And I'll admit, that though I've not broken down in tears yet, I've also faced emotional pain and angst. We have had such a wonderfully idyllic life out here. When we get home in the evening, those hours are ours. We live in a quiet neighborhood and the rowdiest things get is the coyotes barking or the neighbors shooting off fireworks or target practicing. Our house might be a bit messy, but its comfy with plenty of elbow room and lots of space for all our stuff.

But times they are a'changing. God is calling us to live in a committed community of other believers, that though it will bring many blessings, will also bring many sacrifices. We'll have meetings we have to attend, ministry activities to participate in, less space for less stuff, and for folks who have been used to roaming the countryside, we'll have to adjust to city living.

Last week, I had a Keith Green CD playing as I worked out. These lyrics started playing ---

Well, I pledge my head to heaven for the gospel,
And I ask no man on earth to fill my needs.
Like the sparrow up above, I am enveloped in his love,
And I trust him like those little ones, he feeds.

Well I pledge my wife to heaven, for the gospel,
Though our love each passing day just seems to grow.
As I told her when we wed, I'd surely rather be found dead,
Than to love her more than the one who saved my soul.

I'm your child, and I want to be in your family forever.
I'm your child, and I'm going to follow you,
No matter whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost.

Well I pledge my son to heaven for the gospel.
Though he's kicked and beaten, ridiculed and scorn.
I will teach him to rejoice, and life a thankful praising voice,
And to be like him who bore the nails and crown of thorns.

I'm your child, and I want to be in your family forever.
I'm your child, and I'm going to follow you,
No matter whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost.
Oh no matter whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost.
Well I've had the chance to gain the world, and to live just like a king,
But without your love, it doesn't mean a thing.

Oh no matter whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost,
Oh no matter whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost.
Well I pledge my son, I pledge my wife, I pledge my head to heaven,
I pledge my son, I pledge my wife, I pledge my head to heaven, for the gospel.

Now obviously, I don't have a wife. But I have a husband, and I have a son --- actually three sons and four daughters. And I have a life --- a fabulous life filled with so many blessings.

But I'm God's child and I want to follow Him no matter what He asks or what happens. I want to always be willing to give it all for the sake of His gospel, His good news that He has for the world. Sometimes, I lose sight of why we're doing this. It is easy to get focused on my own discomfort, my own pain, my own stress. I start whining and feeling sorry for myself. Yeah, I'm not backing out, but I'm not exactly doing what all needs to be done without turmoil and complaining.

I want to be able to open my hands freely to release my hopes, my dreams, my comforts, my stuff. I want to be so in love with Jesus that, just like a love-sick girl is reckless with her devotion to the one who has captured her heart, I'll be reckless with my devotion. I want to be consumed with Him. I want to not just begrudgingly give it away for Him but I want to willingly give it away.

I'm not there yet. I still feel my stomach tightening and even aching at the thought of getting rid of stuff dear to me. I still find myself worrying about who is going to buy our house. And I definitely feel overwhelmed at all that has to be done to get our house ready for this move.

I pray that He'll change my heart. I pray that He'll provide what we need when we need it. I pray that He'll give us peace and strength. I pray that through this all I will learn to trust Him more and more.

Because I know He's faithful even when I'm not. I know that He'll keep using us even when we are inadequate. I know that He loves me and delights in me even when I forget these things and doubt Him.

Oh Lord, You treat me so much better than I treat you or than I deserve.

Forgive me for when I cling tightly to my rights, my possessions, my perceived needs, my time. Help me say with all sincerity "no matter the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost" and then do it with peace, joy, and trust.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


We have received some very sad news from Swaziland. A friend of ours, Mike Hampson, collapsed and died suddenly this past weekend while out bike riding with his wife Di. On two of my Swaziland trips, I've had the blessing of meeting Mike, and this past January, my whole family got to spend good time with him.

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Mike and Di are South Africans who have been living in Swaziland for many years. Mike was the manager of the largest grocery store in their community, the Matata Spar, and Di is the director of the Moriah Centre, a carepoint and preschool that serves orphans and other at-risk and extremely impoverished children. They have also served faithfully in the Big Bend Christian Fellowship church.

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Please pray for Di and their family, including their grown children, as they deal with this sudden loss. Mike was Di's husband and also her best friend. They had a wonderful marriage and life together. I can't even imagine how much she is already missing him.

Oh Lord, we look forward to the day when You will wipe away every tear and mend every hurting heart.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Fifteen years ago, our first born son entered the world. He was born with a few wisps of blonde hair right on the back of his head, duck down really, and a dimple on his chin just like his daddy. David was adored by his big sister Betsie who instantly, at her ripe age of not quite two, made him her baby. She called him Day-Boy because she could barely talk and even if he was crying, singing Baby Beluga made him smile. Of course, I changed it to David Beluga.

A lot has changed in the ensuing years, including his height and voice. He's taller than both me and his dad and his voice is increasingly getting deeper and more mature. But more than just his physical stature, he's character is growing. He is becoming a young man deeply committed to Jesus and this is reflected in his honesty, responsibility, strong work ethic, and desire to serve the Lord as he serves those in need.

Today our family celebrated David's life and how much we love him.

P4250232 (1) Square David with cake

I fixed his favorite meals --- cheese grits, pig bacon, and hash browns for breakfast; pizza for lunch; and lasagna, corn, and French bread for supper. He didn't have to do most of his school work nor kitchen duty. And tonight, after supper, we had cheesecake before he opened his gifts from his siblings and parents --- Reese's cups, homemade cards, full-ownership of the ds he previously shared with his brother, a ukalele Beatle's music book, a ticket to the new Avenger's movie, and a guitar case. He also received money from his Grandmommy and he's saving that to apply toward buying a ukalele.

P4250249 (1) Cropped and re-sized David, Elysa, Jim

Yes, he loves music, loves playing it, and loves worshipping the Lord with that gift. I'm looking forward to watching him grow and seeing where God sends him with that guitar --- and uke --- in the years to come. I can only imagine that it is going to be quite the trip.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


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"I have come to see clearly that life is more than self. It is more than doing what I want, striving for what will benefit me, dreaming of all I can be. Life is all about my relationship with God. There is no higher calling, no loftier dream, and no greater goal than to live, breathe, and be poured out for Jesus Christ."

--Jamie in Brother Andrew's "The Calling”

Monday, April 23, 2012


Before we move into our "Little House in the Hood", a lot of work has to be done. For years, our sweet little home was an abandoned crack house. Now it is being lovingly restored so it can be used to bring love and light into the historic Farish Street neighborhood in Jackson.

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Amy Lancaster, one of the ministry founders, has written up a list of all the things that must be done to the "Power House" before it is live-able:

1.Patch kitchen ceiling and patch beadboard in kitchen
2.Trim out around windows – wood
3.Support underneath kitchen floor and back entry floor
4.Trim out two closets in bedrooms
5.Replace 2 aluminum windows with wood windows
6.Replace broken glass in windows that need replacing
7.Replace front doors
8.Paint/white wash den
9.Reinforce attic and floor attic to use for storage
10.Install furnace in attice
11.Paint kitchen
12.Refinish two bathtubs
13.Install front porch lights – outside
14.Install back porch lights – outside
15.Vent bathroom exhaust fans
16.Plumbing inspection
17.Sheetrock three bedrooms, plus 2 baths, plus 2 back entryways after passing plumbing inspection
18.The kitchen needs a fridge, dishwasher, washer and dryer, kitchen sink, electric stove, mounted microwave – white appliances

If you can help with any of these things, please let me know right away. Long after we've moved to Swaziland, this house will continue to house other missionaries as they share the Good News of Jesus with their neighbors and those God sends their way.

Besides our house, there are other houses that need the same kind of work. So if you're someone who enjoys this sort of thing or you're part of a group looking for a ministry project, there is plenty of work to go around!

If you want to contact Amy or David Lancaster directly, their email address is: alancaster "at" wewillgo "dot" org

We also still need help with our present house. We are in the throes of cleaning, decluttering, packing, and doing whatever else is needed including yardwork and minor repairs. If you'd like to pitch in and help, we'd be forever grateful. I'll be honest. I'm freaking out a bit right now.

Y'all please pray for me. I'm feeling so overwhelmed about all that has to be done to get this house sold and packed up and ready for us to move to what God is calling us to do.

I know, know, know with my head and my faith that He wouldn't call us to live at WE WILL GO and then move to Africa if He wasn't going to bring us a buyer and help all this get done, but my flesh is just overly overwhelmed right now.

Anyway, time for me to take a big breath, pray, finish this post, pray some more, and then head back to the piles that are screeching my name.

Thanks in advance and bless you all!



Sunday, April 22, 2012


I may be willing and able to slog thru mud and complete a crazy thing called the WARRIOR DASH to raise money for Swazi children.

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I am even able to homeschool my million children.

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And move those same children to live in an inner-city neighborhood, former, crack house.

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But what I can't do without assistance is get us to that restored home so we can serve the Lord, be trained for the mission field, and transition to our new life in Africa. Anyone that knows me well knows that I am great at organizing people and events but stink at organizing stuff. It is also hard for me to let go of things that have a lot of sentimental value. It is a truly painful process for me and I really, really need help.

This week, we've got a couple coming to see our house. If they don't buy it, hopefully more people will be coming to see it soon. We've got to get it de-cluttered, cleaned, and ready for viewing. On top of that, we've got way too much stuff to take to our new house which has less than half the space of our present home. We have got to get rid of possessions and organize all of it as some is going to consignment stores to sell for missions, some of it is being given away, some of it is being packed for moving to our new home, and some of it is being packed for storage to be shipped later to Swaziland.

I can not do this on my own. My sweet mama is here for a couple of days to help me but I really need more than that. If you like to organize, clean, or do yard work...or you don't like it but you're willing to help anyway...please let me know. We need to get a lot done this week but between now and when we move and settle in to our new home at We Will Go, we're going to be needing huge amounts of assistance.

You might not feel called to move into an inner-city neighborhood or go to Africa, but when you help us, you are becoming an active part of our call becoming a reality. It takes all the body of Christ working together to get missionaries on the field and keep them there.

God designed us to need each other and this is one of those times that I desperately need you.

Thanks in advance,

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Ran, crawled, slogged, swam, ducked, walked, climbed, slipped, danced, jogged, jumped, fell, waded, balanced, wriggled, stumbled, and screamed thru the WARRIOR DASH 5K today.

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I participated in it to raise money for ministry in Africa. I called us the "Warriors for Orphans".

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It was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life and, to be honest, while swimming in my heavy running shoes, I worried my children would see me drown there and then. But I survived and around $200 was raised, as a result, for the Children's HopeChest Bheveni Carepoint ministry is Swaziland.

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Thanks to everyone who cheered us on, whether in spirit or in person, and thank you so much for those who donated money for the cause of those African children I love so much.

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Because today's race was really, really hard, but thinking about those kids not having all that they need is even harder.

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I love you all and my friends and family who supported me are definitely warriors, too.  Even if you didn't almost drown in the water obstacle.


Friday, April 20, 2012


Here is the house at WE WILL GO that we will be moving to as soon as our farm sells.  It is nestled in the Farish Street Historic District of Jackson, Mississippi.


The insides are still stripped bare and need lots and lots of work --- flooring, walls, appliances, the works --- but the outside is already adorable and we're already calling it ours.

Isn't it amazing how God plants a supernatural love into our hearts for the people and places He's calling us to serve?

Thursday, April 19, 2012


See the blue house in the picture below? The one with the boarded up doors and windows?

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This is our future home at We Will Go Ministry. But we had no idea of this at the time I took this picture.

Last July, I took some of my kids and a few friends to participate in a special day at We Will Go. Teams of people were assigned street corners, blocks, and strategic places within the We Will Go neighborhood to pray and read scripture out loud. We were assigned a block of Cohea Street. For over an hour we spoke the Word of God over that place and prayed for new life, restoration, and redemption. We prayed that all who lived there would know the love and truth of God. We prayed that Cohea Street would be used in mighty ways by God.

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And yesterday, we found out that we will be living there. God is moving our family to be a part of bringing that new life, restoration, redemption, love, and truth to the residents of that block.

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How wild and amazing is that? We didn't choose the place we prayed and read God's word over last summer. But looking back now, I can see that the time we spent there was just one more piece of the puzzle that God was putting into place.

What a big, big God we serve. He certainly fits everything together in picture perfect ways.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


We are really and truly moving to WE WILL GO to minister in inner-city Jackson. Over the past four years we have served there a few times a month. As we've prayed for people, served food, painted houses, worked in the gardents, helped in the clothing ministry, and attended worship services and Bible studies, we've fallen in love with what God is doing there and the people of WE WILL GO --- both those that serve there and those who are served.

PC250355 Mary and Elysa Resized

Back in February, we sat down with David and Amy Lancaster, the founders, and talked to them about our desire to join them on a daily --- and nightly --- basis. A couple of weeks later, our family spent the weekend in one of their team homes and started the application process.

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Last week, we were officially invited to join the WE WILL GO family and today we met with them to work out some of the details. As soon as our farm sells, we will be moving to a restored house on Base 2 of WE WILL GO and begin an exciting and challenging season of service, training, growth, and transition.

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Please keep praying for us as we prepare for this move, pray for our home to sell, and if you live locally, get ready to party! Because you know this party-loving family won't be moving without throwing at least a party or two.

Look out Jackson --- The MacFamily is heading your way!

To read more about the ministry of WE WILL GO, visit their website:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


In six weeks, Anna will be leaving for her two months of ministry in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

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She has her new passport and heavy-duty backpack. She has bought needed clothes and is doing fitness trainig that will help her stay strong on the super long hikes and work details. Her appointment has been scheduled to get her yellow fever shot and malaria tablet prescription as well as one for anti-diarhea medicine.

Yeah, that aspect is always fun.

What she doesn't have is all the needed funds.

She is still short by approximately $3,000.

She has over $2,000. She has even applied the $500 her grandmother is giving her for a high school graduation gift, the money she had planned to use for college related expenses but is readily willing to sacrifice for this call God has placed on her life at this time.

If you feel led to donate towards her trip, it would bless us so incredibly and will, in the long run, bless all those she ministers to this summer.

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To donate online, go to this link:

Select "Passport" program and enter Anna MacLellan to ensure it is credited to her account.

If you would like to donate via a check, please mail your tax-deductible contribution to:

Adventures In Missions
P.O. Box 534470
Atlanta, GA 30353-4470

Be sure to indicate the purpose of your gift on your check: Anna MacLellan - Passport

Monday, April 16, 2012


Yeah, I went there.

And I didn't pick that title just to grab your attention.

There is actually some good truth there.

The good truth is that when your child wakes you up on a Monday morning to inform you that they threw up, you get to start your week with really clean carpet, bathroom floors, and toilets.

Yep, my sweet little Merry succumbed to the same stomach virus that had Travis throwing up in his tent at the Cub Scout Cuboree this past weekend. Fortunately for me, my hunky hubby had rinsed off most of the damage before they got home so all I had to do was put the soiled items in the washing machine and they came out good as new.

All of this cleaning up of vomit-ish stuff reminds me of an important lesson.

Often in life, it is all about perspective.

I could have chosen to get a bad attitude about the whole thing. I could have felt sorry for myself, resented my husband that he got to leave for work and I had to stay home and deal with it, and I could have let it start my week off with a dark cloud hanging over me. Instead, I chose to see the good in it.

Now believe me, I don't always make this good choice. There are plenty of times that I let my attitude stink.

But maybe part of my positive attitude had to do with something I read yesterday. God is growing me up. I really am a lazy person who used to be a big time whiner. Just ask my husband. He can confirm that.

One of the things that God is using to change me is not only my involvement with missions, but the stories of other missionaries.

Elysa at Dlamini homestead resized

When I've been in Africa or other places serving, I've used plenty of squatty potties; eaten fish swarming with flies; visited hospitals so primitive and dirty that we wouldn't want our pets to be treated there; and seen women struggling to make a nice home out of sticks, mud, salvaged wood, sheet metal, and pieces of cardboard. Yesterday, I read a blog post that was fresh in my mind as I placed the soiled clothes in the washing machine and used my electric carpet cleaner to take care of the mess.

Here's what an Adventures in Missions team member, Melody Brewer, had to say about doing laundry in Tanzania without the luxury of electrical appliances or even running water:

Washing clothes takes a while. Especially when you are washing 40 bed sheets. By hand.

Working at Camp Joshua Christian School for the past week has been wonderful. On Friday, we asked the headmaster what we could do to help today. He asked if we would be willing to wash some clothes, "Sure!" was our response. We were told Isaac, a 12 year old boy, would help us begin.

The first step was to draw water out of the 50 foot well with a bucket and rope. It was exhausting to say the least considering we had to make probably six or seven rounds of drawing the water. When we finished getting water, Isaac had brought the detergent. He proceeded to take a handful of the powder and put it in the bucket. And then another handful. And then another. And then he just dumped the rest of the box's contents into the already sudsy water. I just looked at my teammates, knowing this was the soapiest water to ever be used. Isaac took his hand and mixed the water. Soap bubbles were flowing over the sides of the bucket. So we began to wash. One sheet at a time. The bright pink sheets are difficult to wash, not only because of their size, but because when they get wet it is very difficult to tell where the spots were to get them out, so you just kind of have to guess. Two of us were washing and two of us were rinsing. We realized that rinsing in the one bucket of clean water was not going to cut it considering the sheets were still slimy from the soap. So we proceeded to rinse again. And again. And again. After rinsing these 40 bedsheets (plus other clothes) four times we gave up. We decided to just hang them up on the line to dry, they were going to be starchy and stiff anyways.

So after washing for over two hours, we finished the laundry the headmaster had asked us to do. Jacob, one of our local friends, asked us why in the world they allowed us mzungus (white people) to wash clothes, considering all we do is "play with them" and not actually wash them. But, we did it. Forty bedsheets, numerous clothes, way too much soap, and four rinsings later, we finished. Welcome to laundry in Tanzania.
The thing is, these young missionaries are only having to do this short-term. In the not too distant future, they'll be like me, back in America with the wonder of electricity, modern appliances, and clean water straight from a faucet.

But I bet, like me, they won't forget the women and children who have no choice but to draw water from a well and scrub their clothes by hand every time they have to do the laundry. And it changes your perspective.

Two principles usually apply to any negative situation.

First of all, don't complain because in almost any case, it could be worse. Yeah, I was cleaning up vomit, but at least I had time saving devices to make the process a whole lot easier. I also had a husband who had done his part the day before. I wasn't trying to clean up a mess with no running water. I wasn't having to just scrub it with a brush. And the kids sickness got spaced out so I wasn't dealing with two sets of messes at the same time. And I could go on and on with "worse than this" scenarios.

Second, God promises us that out of everything, He can bring good when we love and trust Him. That's Romans 8:28 by the way. Now sometimes, this principle is lived out in the practical. As I said at the beginning of this post, because my girl got sick all over the carpet and bathroom, I was motivated to get things good and clean. I even cleaned a few non-vomitose spots in the process. But I have to choose to see the good and be thankful for it. Sometimes, the good goes beyond the surface. The circumstances might actually stay bad or even get worse. But God has promised that He'll use even the bad --- even the "worse" --- to make me more like Jesus if I'll only trust Him and follow Him.

Now that is something I can be thankful for ... even if it sometimes involves a whole lot of vomit.

To read more about the missionary adventures of Melody Brewer and her team in Tanzania, visit their blog:

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I wasn't sure what to blog about tonight so I posed that question on facebook.

P4150410 Elysa, computer, blog resized

In response to my query " Hmmm...what to blog about......?" I got several suggestions which finally culminated in someone combining suggestions to form the African Aardvark Advocates of America.

Oh my. I do have funny friends.

But in all honesty, it wasn't that I didn't have anything going on in my mind. I just have so much going on in my mind --- and heart --- that the thought of trying to put down into a not-too-long post just seemed a bit overwhelming.

I still don't know if I'm up to writing about it. So I guess I ramble a bit. I could even dress it up with a high falutin' literary term and call it stream of consciousness.

But mostly, I'm just feeling...gosh, what am I feeling? Sad? Excited? Unworthy? Blessed?

I guess all those things.

I see so many people who have woken up to their calling. I see missionaries and local folks who have realized that the purpose of their life is so much more than just getting by or striving for personal success and excellence. I read about people who have been willing to give it all to follow the will of God.

And that stirs up a slurry of emotions and thoughts.

I feel excitement and blessing over what God is doing in our family and how He is using us. I also feel conviction because sometimes people hold us up as an example of people who are willing to give it all yet I know I still hold so much back.

I'm often still so very selfish and lazy and mean-spirited. I often do not want to go out of my way to minister. I still worry about what other people will say and don't want to make waves. I often let mu fears of personal safety or even fear of messy people hold me back from radically following Him.

Part of me wants to be completely extravagant with my life, my gifts, my everything. Part of me just doesn't want to.

But I want to want to!

I read stories about heroes of the faith and missionaries who God has used in unimaginable ways and I want to be like them. I want to truly surrender it all for the sake of the call. But sometimes it is a lot more appealing to my flesh, my selfish desires, my "me-ness" to just play it safe. Do nice, non-scary advocating for African aardvarks in America.

Today, Larry Pate preached at church about the call God is giving our church. We come together to worship and learn and fellowship. Those are all part of being church. But we're not supposed to get free and get better just so we can be free and be better. We're supposed to be about them.

We're supposed to be about those who are in need of love and truth and rescue.

We are not supposed to live our life so wrapped up in the mundane of every day life that we shut ourselves off from those God calls us to serve. We can't be so focused on "me and mine" that we forget to look for those God wants us to see.

Betty Hodge camera resized

We need to be intentional about our living. When we shop and when we party and when we work, we should always be not just open but looking for those around us who need the Lord.

Sometimes, that means that we might need to let go of some "good" stuff in our life so we have more time to open our lives up to those God sends our way. Sometimes that means we need to take a few unfamiliar paths so that we might meet those who would not normally touch our lives. Sometimes it might even mean some major life changes...even if just for a season.

It all starts with love, though. When we really, really grasp how much God loves us, then we're going to find ourselves loving others more and more. And as we start acting on that love, a spiritual snow ball begins to happen. The more we love, the more we give and the more we serve and the more we go. And the more we give and the more we serve and the more we go, the more we love. And on and on it goes.

David Sills, in the book “The Missionary Call”, says ---

"When you love the Lord, you long to glorify Him and see the nations fall at His feet in worship. When you love your neighbor as yourself, you share the gospel with him and seek to meet his needs in every way you can, which includes seeing him fall at Jesus' feet in thanksgiving for salvation."

I want to love the Lord that way. I want the desire to glorify Him and love others to be so great that I will freely give it all to Him, not seeing it as sacrifice, but as a blessed honor.

I'm not there yet, but I pray God gives me the grace to be there one day.

In the meantime, I'm so thankful that He chooses to use me despite my inadequacies anyway.

And He chooses to use you, too.

By the way, I guess that "stream of consciousness" thing worked.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


In about seven weeks, my first born baby will be in Africa along with a teamful of other young adults starting out on the adventure of a life-time with the Adventures in Missions Passport program. For two months, these radical Jesus followers will be living out of backpacks as they live among the nationals in Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya while they share the love and truth of Jesus with all those God sends their way. There is another Passport team in Africa right now doing many of the same things that Anna and her team will be doing. I wanted to share what one of the members, Megan Lee Esposito, posted on their trip blog:

Expedition Passport Team spring 2012 Megan Esposito Resized

Oh my goodness! My body feels like its falling apart! Now I have to stop writing and go eat dinner. I shall resume.. Awe best dinner of my life :) Drayton made banana fritters. Oh my! They were delicious. To make it 1000x better, right after dinner Daniel and Lizzie came back from town with gummi bears, peanut butter and oreos. I'm eating the gummi bears right now and I'm in love!! And to make it even BETTER, Lizzie sent my emails today. Greatest day of my life :D I'm not kidding. My taste buds are in heaven. Ah, wait it gets better..They surprised is with chocolate during our team talk. Yum!! What did I do to deserve that!? Super exciting!

As for ministry, we did door to door from 9:50-12:30ish. Estimated walking distance was 4 miles. It was a pretty normal day. Kendra shared the gospel and Melissa, Melody and Lil Dray shared a word of encouragement. By the way, 4 miles and only 3 houses. Welcome to Africa haha. I wasn't feeling door to door until later this afternoon when I spoke to Stella (pastors niece). I'll get to that in a minute though. After door to door we came home and chowed down on some ugali and beans. I've honestly never seen ugali fly off the plate that fast. We scrapped everything clean. We were hungry!

Oh, I almost forgot about fasting. During breakfast we discussed what fasting looks like for us. Corporate or individual fasts. The conversation went really well. A few people brought up some pretty awesome ideas. Melody mentioned not necessarily fasting FROM something but rather fasting TO something. For example, dedicating one hour everyday to continuously reading the bible- uninterrupted. Drayton also had a great idea. She mentioned dedicating 30 minutes to straight prayer on one subject. I like both of those ideas a lot :) I'm going to pray about it tonight and see where the Spirit leads me.

As for the afternoon, we went back to the secondary school which we estimated to be 6 miles there and back. All together that's 10 miles for the day. That's not including walking to the watering hole to do laundry. That adds another mile. So 11miles in less than 8 hours. It was a rough day. I'm beat! Anyway, about the secondary school, it was pretty much the same as our first visit. The kids were really quiet and didn't interact with us very much. We encouraged them to ask questions and unfortunately they only asked two: Do you have street children in America and are you allowed absences in school? We answered their questions and elaborated on the importance of education. I fumbled a bit because I wasn't really prepared but overall I think we all handled it pretty well considering our leaders weren't with us. We usually lean on them during rough or awkward situations and this time it was all on us. It was a good afternoon though. The kids sang a traditional Maasai song for us. That was really cool. We danced with them and tried to sing but we weren't doing so great. They got a kick out of that. Apparently we aren't very good dancers. Thank you for making that clear to us, Kenya ;)

On to what I had mentioned about Stella.. Her and I had a pretty good talk during our 3 mile trek across the plains of Kenya. We talked about school fees and what that looks like for her. She is trusting that God will provide for her and it was awesome to hear her express her faith in that. What she doesn't know is that as a team we want to help her with school finances. We have extra money set aside at the end of our stay with our ministry contacts to donate/gift to whomever we'd like. She just happens to be one of those people :) We are more than happy to help her. She is such a nice girl and has helped us out so much! I'm super excited to surprise her with the gift of finances. Stella has faith that God will provide and we are so thankful to be the answer to her prayers. What a blessing<3

Back to our talk.. She had mentioned that us being here has been a blessing to the community and I didn't quite understand what she meant. It was weird hearing this because lately I have felt very disconnected from ministry. It was exactly what I needed to hear though. She said her church community shares the Gospel with non believers all the time but they brush it off. When we come in, from a far away country, they think, "Maybe there is some truth to this. What would posses people to leave America to come here and share this?" Hearing her say that stopped me in my tracks. There have been too many times that I've caught myself beginning to get frustrated with the language barrier or unresponsive people and blown it off. I never thought about it in the way that Stella explained it. I need to put myself in their shoes. Traveling is normal to me but they see it as something epic and huge. Which it is but in their eyes to leave America is bizarre. Why would anyone do that?

That's what I have to ask myself in my moments of doubt and frustration. Why did I do this? Why did I leave home for four months? I did this out of obedience. I did this because Jesus saved me by giving His life for mine. This is my passion. I can't allow that myself to forget that. Although I don't like to admit it, sometimes I neglect ministry. I know I can try harder and love a whole lot more. I only have a few days remaining in this beautiful place and I want to make the best of it. Less complaining and more laughing, loving and smiling! I don't want to look back and think, "I could have tried harder. I could have done more." That would break my heart.

And regardless of what else you put on,
wear LOVE.
 It is your basic, all purpose garment.
Never be without it.

Colossians 3:13-14


To read more about the ministry that these young people are experiencing in Africa, visit their team blog:

And to read more about how and why Anna is going to Africa this summer, go to this blog post:

Friday, April 13, 2012


Hope you and yours are enjoying this Friday evening. I have to tell you, I love Fridays. I've usually had a busy day filled with homeschool group and various errands. But the time it is officially the weekend, I'm ready for either some fun or some rest or some restful fun knowing that two days of more of the same await me and I'll hopefully get to sleep in on Saturday and grab a nap or two between now and Monday.

hello dolly resized and framed

So how am I spending this restfully fun Friday evening?

The girls and I are lounging very comfortably on our big, fat, leather couch while we watch HELLO DOLLY (Dang!  That woman can SING!), eat potpies (for them), popcorn (lots for me), and dark chcolate-covered Cajun CrawTaters.

Mmmm-m-mmm-m...what a delicious way to start the weekend.