Saturday, June 30, 2012


This farm has been our dream come true for 13 years, but now we are moving into full-time ministry and must sell.

P4080364 Our house resized

Our home is located on 3 acres. It is ideal for having a few chickens, a horse or two, lots of pets, a big garden, and plenty of privacy and room to roam. Located within easy commuting distance of Jackson, it is like coming home to your own private retreat every day. The modified A-frame design, back deck, and large stone fireplace bring to mind images of mountain get-aways. The house is surrounded by woods and a meadow. The great neighbors are close enough to walk to but just far enough away that you really get all the peace and quiet you crave after a busy day.

Though the house was built in 1977, a complete remodel two years ago means that all the appliances, central air, carpet, wood laminate flooring, etc. are in very good condition.

The house is very spacious with lots of room for entertaining and family get-togethers. Fifteen of us eat Thanksgiving lunch in the dining area every year. Tile in the bathrooms, stained concrete in the living room and dining/kitchen area , and laminate flooring in the downstairs bedrooms makes for easy clean-up. Good quality carpeting upstairs helps insulate sound.

The roomy kitchen is ideal for those who love to cook. It offers spacious counter tops, two year old stainless steel appliances, extensive custom-made cabinetry, deep sinks, and an attached eating area where big projects can easily overflow to the dining room table and still be conveniently located by the sink and kitchen work areas.

Because of the layout, with one downstairs bedroom having its own separate entrance as well as a bathroom, there is flexibility to use two of the rooms as a mother-in-law suite or a home office. The upstairs, with three bedrooms and a full bath, as well as a door to a balcony, could easily be renovated into an adult child's apartment.

The house has plenty of storage space including two walk-in attic spaces, lots of closets, wall-mounted shelving in the laundry area, and a good-sized mudroom. A barn and tractor-shed offer outside storage and work space. The barn includes stalls and a tack room. The tractor shed has a spacious work area, locking storage room, and plenty of space for parking tractors or other vehicles. Both buildings are wired for electricity.

There are also grapevines, a few young fruit trees and blueberry bushes, as well as wild blackberries great for picking and eating.

Whether you're older and want a place to enjoy now that you've got more time on your hands or a family looking for plenty of space in a great school district, If you've been dreaming of a hobby farm at a great price, then we'd love to show our lovely home to you.

To see further details about our six bedroom, three bath home, please visit our listing at For Sale By Owner:

Friday, June 29, 2012


A couple of years back, I discovered the blog writings of Katie Davis, a young woman who had moved to Africa and found herself not just ministering to those around her, but actually becoming the adoptive mama to over a dozen daughters. Katie's blog posts turned into her now well known book, KISSES FROM KATIE. 

 A few weeks, ago, I discovered another blog.

This one is written by Lexi MacKinnon. Lexi is known as the Muzungu Mama, which basically means, white person mama in Swahili. Her blog is called Uganda Mama and she is the founder of Muzungu Mama Ministries in Uganda. She is twenty-three years old and has already adopted one little precious  daughter named Hadassah.

Uganda Mama Lexi McKinnon resized

Lexi is dedicated to showing the love of Jesus to all that God brings her way, but primarily, the African orphans He has given her a passionate love for.

When I read the letter that Lexi wrote for people feeling a call to missions, I knew I wanted to share it and Lexi graciously said I could.


By Lexi MacKinnon

So in this process of living in Uganda I've met A LOT of people who say they want to move on the mission field as well. Most of them don't. Some start preparing. And a few actually leave everything to move to a foreign land. When I made the decision to go, I didn't know a lot of people who had actually gone through with it and were willing to take the time to share HONESTLY about their experiences... so this is for you. Those who dream of life there. Those who can't decide. And those who are packing their bags to go. May you find hope in [this letters]. [It] contain what I wish someone had shared with me...looking back now.

Dear Sweet Little Dreamer of Life in Africa,

You just got back from your first mission trip to the mystical A-F-R-I-C-A, right? Let me guess you sit around now thinking about all the precious orphaned children you met and how you would give anything to hold them. You look through other mission teams' FB photos of their trips and you stalk missionaries living there cause you just can't get the idea of moving to Africa out of your head.

You've read all the hip books that suggest you do something insane for God.... Radical, Crazy Love, Interrupted, Seven. And you've read what the Bible says in Matthew 25? The sheep and the goats? You wouldn't want to be a goat now would you?!? Yeah... I know it's quite a scary thought.

But what's stopping you? Is it your luxe job? The dynamo degree your working on? Your amazing family and fiends? Maybe your sweet mega-church that you've just gotten settled into? Yeah... I know how you feel.

But as much as you love all of those things you can't get that dull ache out of your heart can you? You long for adventure. To live life fully given over to God. To see what He does with those crazy dreams He's developed in you?

So why don't you just do it? You've been there now, right? AND YOU LOVE IT!!!! You've never felt so alive as when you feet were coated with red clay dirt. You didn't even mind the beautiful little babies at the orphanage peeing all over your clothes. And the've never seen or heard anything like that African church service!!! If only....if only there was some way you could go back.

But... you're afraid. What if everyone thinks you're crazy? What would you do exactly? What if you can't raise the money? Where do you even begin the process? What if you never get married and have to live in some spider infested hut? What if you get malaria and die?!? You want to obey the call of Jesus to GO, but you're so incredibly afraid. I mean you literally shake with fear when you think about quitting school, raising a ton of money, and leaving your beloved family behind. But you want to do it so bad!!!

I know. I know. Right now it feels like the biggest and most monumental decision of your life... but I promise it's actually not (if you really go through with it and MOVE TO AFRICA...your life is gonna get a whole lot crazier than you ever imagined!!!). It's a stepping stone though.

This decision to go is going to start chipping away at that fear you have of what other people think of you. And it's going to sling shot you into the land of life utterly and completely dependent on God!!!

I promise it's not going to be easy. There will be times here where you'll doubt your decision. You'll question your calling from God and then you'll question your sanity. But know this dear friend... He promises never to leave you. Follow Him. He will be faithful. He will meet your every need and He will direct your path.

So what are you waiting for?!? Just do it already... decide to obey! Decide to go. We will see you soon!!!


P.S. There are a lot of really cool missionaries already here in Africa and we'd love some more muzungu friends!!!! We know better than anyone that it's so hard to leave life there, but we are praying for you to come serve with us here!

Please pray for Lexi as she pours her life out in Uganda and pray for the sweet children she is serving. And visit her blog. I think you'll be as blessed as I was:

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Here's the latest from my daughter Anna in Bungoma, Kenya, located near the Ugandan border:

africa_map resized and edited

Sometimes, God does so many incredible things in you and through you that all you can do is drop to your knees in humble adoration. Sometimes, God works in you so deep that it's all you can do to accept his teaching and movements in your heart. The next two weeks in Kenya are going to be falling alot into the latter category for me.

In Uganda, I was nearly overwhelmed by the leaps and bounds God was growing me. And I was totally overwhelmed by some of the things God did with me. I was challenged, to be sure, in Uganda, but I was mostly being challenged by my outward circumstances, not as much challenged by my own heart and flesh. Coming into Kenya, I was expecting we'd be in the middle of nowhere, and that outside challenges would continue to be the means God used to grow me. Boy, was I wrong.

We walked into a gorgeous house around midnight four days ago that is our base house here in Kenya. There's electricity, running water, and beds with real mattresses. The second I knew that's where we'd be staying, I realized the challenges in Kenya, will be mostly within my own heart. Which is honestly way more intense and hard for me to deal with. And of course also exactly why God has me right here, right now.

I'd be lying if I said I was totally excited about everything God is doing in me. I am excited, but it's too hard and painful to be just completely stoked about. That said, I desperately want God's movement in me. I desperately need to be more like Jesus. I know in Kenya I'm gonna be broken in ways I never imagined, but I know this is the fire of refinement for me.

I want to be one today centered and true. I'm singing 'Spirit take me up in arms with You'. And you're raising the dead in me now, but I'm not copping out, when you're raising the dead in me.

Go ahead and raise the dead in me, God. Let's get this out in the open. I'm ready for your Spirit to break and remake me.

To read more reports from Anna's team, visit their blog at

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I love this photo. Yeah, America it is against the law to have a child sitting in your lap when you drive, but this is Africa, folks. It is a different place and when you're driving about negative 5 miles an hour down a dirt road in a game park with no other cars in sight, the rules are just a little bit diffrent.

But I digress.

I love this photo. I love what it symbolizes and what it reminds me.

Dudley Donaldson and Lunga at Hlane Swaziland resized

Dudley Donaldson, ZEMA missionary to Swaziland said that "driving through Hlane Game Reserve, four-year-old Lunga was afraid of the big animals. He was hiding on the floor of the car, so I invited him to help me drive and it worked (for the most part)."

Isn't that like us and isn't that like our Father in Heaven?

Here He plans this big adventure for our lives. He takes us to a place we've never been before. A place that is going to be crazy amazing. But we all too often don't trust our Daddy that He has good planned for us. That He's about to blow our mind away with more than we could ever imagine. All we think about is the unknown, the scary. We huddle on that figurative floor board, afraid to look, afraid to enjoy the life God has planned for us.

After some coaxing from the Lord, we finally agree to get up off of the floor board, but only with His promise that He'll let us sit on His lap and His arms will wrap around us as, together, the wheel is steered. He doesn't turn the wheel and control over to us fully. He knows we need Him and He wants to partner with us. But sitting up there on Daddy's lap, we can see the plans He has for us and actually enjoy them, or at least for the most part. As Dudley pointed out about Lunga, even with Daddy right there with us, we still sometimes let the fears keep us from fully enjoying the journey.

Today, I say to my Heavenly Daddy, I want to go whereever You want to take me. I don't want to huddle on the floor board and miss the best stuff. I don't want to just get to the end of the journey, I want to see it all and be fully participating every bit of the way.

Help me remember Lord that you are in control. You're steering this thing and You won't let me go. You won't take your hand off the wheel.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Jessica Warren is a beautiful sunflower of a woman that God has planted deep in the heart of inner-city Jackson. There, and everywhere she goes around the world, she brings joy and brightness and love.

Jessica Warren edited and resized

Soon, she's leaving us at the We Will Go family to move to Hondorus where she will minister. As she prepares for this change, she's had a lot to reflect on. The calling as a missionary is one of these things. I love what she had to say about this on her blog and wanted to share it here at Graceland.

YOU WANT ME TO BE WHAT? By Jessica Warren

Missionary… Growing up in a small town and conservative church, the only thing I knew about missionaries were cutting their picture out of the ”Gleaner” magazine, or having them as a guest speaker at a church. I remember growing up and praying, “Dear Lord Jesus! Please don’t send me to Africa or another continent! ” In fact, I was so ignorant to think that missionaries only came from homeschooled parents, and they never sinned (perfect people). The biggest myth was the mission field was easy work! Fast forward a few years, and God has not only got me selling everything, packing up, and moving to another continent, He has placed me on training ground to teach me I’m a missionary everyday of my life!

Praise Jesus for His patience and grace during those years! I love when reality sets a place in my journey of walking my life out with Jesus! These are some truths I am learning in this transition of my journey:

1) Single women can be missionaries! God wants to use ANYONE who is willing! God is teaching me that you don’t have to have a religion degree to be called to a big destiny! In fact, each person God created is made for a huge destiny, but we must be willing to say, “Lord, I want you to use me!” I truly give you Lordship over my life, my heart, my mind, my soul, my strength.! I give you everything!” AND WALK THAT OUT!! unfortunately, this is where many people stop and do not pray such an extravagant prayer because the cost is too high. My Jesus warned me that the cost would be high, but the product of obedience is extravagant! Yes, sign me up for that promise please!

2) Missionaries do not have to be perfect! Praise Jesus for this one! I am a divorced woman who satan has repeatedly told me that I am worthless and screwed everything up, so I must settle for an ordinary life. The Truth my Father says is, “You have fallen short of my glory, but in your weakness, I want to show my strength! I want to still give you the best!! My love for you is unconditional and your weaknesses does not alter my decision in the huge destiny I have planned for you Daughter!” Missionaries do not have more access to the throne room, mastered the keys to a successful Christian Walk, or never walk through hardships! Missionaries are ordinary people who loves Jesus a whole a lot and wants everything He has to offer, no matter the cost! I’ll take seconds of that please!!!

3) Missionaries still deal with everyday struggles of the real world. There are still bills to pay, calls to make, emails to answer, clothes to wash, crying children, groceries to buy, stressful moments, headaches, backaches… Loving the unlovable…. Laying down selfish desires, wanting to go workout instead of deal with people, running far away from situations only to face it dead in the face at your next destination, forgiving people who has ripped your heart out…. Should I go on? Ok… People constantly telling you that you are crazy for moving to another country; you will never get the financial support; how are you going to support yourself when you get back; God gave you a brain to think… And the list goes on… Missionaries are not exempted from the everyday struggles of life, the attacks of Satan and his demons, or our sinful fleshy desires! HOWEVER, Father God wants to use all that for His Glory!! I love how God never used logical sense when he parted the Red Sea, told Abraham to sacrifice His Son, threw Daniel into a den of lions, had Jonah swallowed up by a whale, and used a murderer and adulterer to rule His people and put him in the bloodline of my Jesus!!!

Father, You can have all of me! I pray the person who reads it will say the same thing! Today is the day to surrender everything friend!

To read more about Jessica and the work God is doing in her life, visit her blog:

And please pray for her.  She's got a lot of preparation, planning, and changes going on in her life over the next few weeks.  Because despite all the craziness, God is speaking and I know He's got big, beautiful plans for her life.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Wanted to pass on the latest news about Anna's African trip. After long bus rides from Uganda, both Expedition teams have made it to Bungoma, Kenya, where they will be ministering for the next couple of weeks.

Kenya Bungoma Anna's Expedition Trip

Bungoma is located in the western part of Kenya. Islam is a very real presence in that area. Wife inheritance is a traditional part of their culture and this, as well as other lifestyle choices, is compounding the HIV/AIDS problem there. Extreme poverty is all too common in the Bungoma area and there are large numbers of street children, including many who are addicted to sniffing glue to help stave off hunger pains.

Bungoma is a good sized town with shops, internet cafes, schools, churches, and lots of farm related businesses. It is actually only a little over an hour from where Jim's sister and her husband will be serving this summer in Kitale as short-term missionaries.

Kenya Bungoma Store resized

Please continue to pray for Anna and her team. Pray for safety and good health, yes, but more than that, pray that they will continue to grow more and more in love with Jesus and more and more bold and passionate about reaching those living in darkness and despair.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Aren't these guys adorable?

Uganda smiles Stephanie Andrew resized

I have had a full, wonderful, intense Sunday. I'm really too tired to do much blogging so I just wanted to share some smiles with you before I head to bed. I hope these African boys bring some joy to the end of your day...or your Monday morning.

G'night, friends!

(Thanks, Stephanie, for letting me snag your photo from Uganda!)

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Blowing bubbles --- the international language of fun.

Uganda blowing bubbles Stephanie Andrews resized

As I was looking at this photo that Stephanie Andrew took while in Uganda, I started thinking about how such a simple thing can mean so much to kids in impoverished parts of Africa. Pull out the bubbles, a pack of balloons, or a ball, and before you know it, you've got a crowd of kids gathered around you laughing, playing, and ready to be your best friend.

And that made me think about how really, it is the simple things that God often uses to show His love to others through us.

We often want to make "loving your neighbor as yourself" so complicated. And sometimes it is hard and time-intensive. Rural communities need hospitals built and waterless communities need wells dug. Illiterate children need educated teachers and schools while jobless parents need programs that teach them how to set up a micro-business or give them technical skills to gain employment.

But a lot of times, God is just calling us to what we can do with what we have right now.

Think about the Good Samaritan. He passed a man beat up and in need of help. He didn't have to start a non-profit or go to seminary to reach that man. He just gave him some first aid, made sure he had a place to heal up, and left some money to cover his expenses. And over and over again in the Bible we see examples of this --- the boy who gave his fishes and loaves, the widow who provided food and shelter for a prophet, women who made clothes for those in need, and a prostitute who hid Hebrew spies.

At We Will Go here in Jackson, we often have volunteers from church groups and camps come to serve. One of the things we tell them is that we do very practical things to "love our neighbors as we love ourselves". If we were hungry, we'd want someone to share their food with us so we share our food. If we were sick and without a car to get to the doctor, we'd want someone to give us a ride. And if we were broken hearted and needed a good cry, we'd want someone who would listen and pray with us.

See? When we give that bag of food or give a lift or offer a shoulder to cry on, we're fulfilling God's commandment.

He told us that the greatest rule to obey is to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbor as much as we love our self. It is that simple.

We don't give a bag of food just to be giving a bag of food so we can say "we gave X amount of canned goods out this week",we give that bag of food because God first loved us and made sure that we knew it.  We give that bag of food so that they will know that they are loved,  so they will know they are valuable to us, and in turn valuable to God.    We give that bag of food so we have the chance to get to know them and minister to them. We don't just throw the bag of food at them and get them off the porch as fast as we can. We take that opportunity to ask them how they are doing and how can we pray for them. We take that time to listen to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to direct our conversation. Maybe they know the Lord and just need to be reminded that He cares about them, that He knows their name,that they are not just some homeless person without hope. Maybe they need us to pray for them to find work or pray for their mama who has cancer. Or maybe we find out that they aren't walking with the Lord but they are ready to come home spiritually and the person giving that bag of food has the honor of leading them into the Kingdom. Or maybe we give them that bag of food and they curse us and reject all attempts to build a relationship, but we bless them anyway and pray for them, and in returning good for evil, we give them a picture of the Father who loves them despite all their sin and dirt.

That's an every day part of life and ministry at We Will Go, but we want those who come to serve for an afternoon or a weekend to see that this kind of ministry is something that God calls them to do not just in inner-city Jackson, but wherever He has them living their life. We want them to love their neighbor as much as they love themselves whether it is by asking the bag boy how they can pray for him, cutting the grass for the single mom next door,  or leaving a bag of groceries on the porch of the unemployed neighbor. 

Loving God and loving your neighbor really can be pretty simple.

As simple as blowing bubbles for African children living in the mud huts of Uganda.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Once upon a Sunday, it was sometime leading up to Easter back in the 70's, a home missionary to the Choctaws here in Mississippi came and spoke at my church. I remember sitting in that big, stain-glassed sanctuary and weeping as I said "yes" to the Lord and His call to missions.

Elysa in elementary school resized and framed

I was only about 9 or 10 years old. Though I was a Christian, I was also a pretty typical Tomboy growing up in a small town. I got in trouble for talking too much in school, I laughed when the boys pretended their cheeks full of mashed potatoes were pimples being popped, and I fought with my brother when he touched my side of the back seat.

I don't remember going up after the service and talking to the missionary afterwards. I don't even remember her name. I just remember that as we sang a song that said "Here is my life, I want to give it serving my fellow man", I said "yes". That woman had no way of knowing the impact her presence and what she said and what God did through her would have on my life. Sure, I was exposed to lots of missionary stories growing up and was active in our church's missions education programs, but there was something about that day that was special. For some reason, God used that day to bring me, even as an elementary aged kid, to the point of seeing the great need for missionaries. He made it real for me that day. His spirit moved my spirit and my will became His will.

I really ought to try and find that missionary, and if she is still alive, tell her the impact that she had on my life. I'm sure she's made a difference in the lives of many over the years because she was willing to go and do for God. But I wish I could let her know that there was this chubby, freckle-faced, awkward Tomboy sitting near the front of the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs one Spring Sunday who was never the same again and because of that decisive moment, and many times of saying "yes" down the road, is now living the life of a missionary.

I'm trying to follow my Lord as He leads me to clothe the naked, set free the captives, feed the hungry, comfort the mourning, visit the sick, and tell them of God's great love for them and His plans to bring them into a saving relationship with Him both here in Jackson and far, far away --- in Israel, Thailand, Swaziland, and wherever He tells me to go.

This summer at We Will Go, we've been having a lot of elementary kids and teenagers coming to serve. They are there only for a sprinkling of hours. We try to cram a lot into those few hours. We share them why we do what we do and what God wants to do through them. We try to help them see that they can be a minister for His kingdom both now, where they live, and in the future, wherever God calls them.

Centri-Kids at We Will Go framed and resized

Some days we wonder if anything we said sunk in. Some days we get a lot of deer-in-the-headlights expressions. Other days we don't have enough time to answer all their questions and pray all the prayers they want to lift up to the Lord. But whether they plunge right in with zeal or hold back with timidity, who knows for sure what is going on in their spirits and in their minds.

I just remind myself about that little girl who heard His call and said "yes" long time ago and know that maybe one of the little ones He is sending our way to prayer walk, sort paper goods, pack food bags, and weed gardens, is going to say "yes" to Him, and passionately sell out for the call to go unto all the earth taking the good news of Jesus Christ.

What an honor to be a part of their journey.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Over the next couple of days, Anna and her Expedition team will be saying goodbye to their new Ugandan and World Race friends and be traveling to Kenya where they will settle in for a few more weeks of ministry.

Uganda Anna's Team and WR Mbarara resized

Please pray for them that they will say anything that needs to be said, do anything that needs to be done, and go anywhere that needs to be visited before they leave. Pray that they will leave Uganda with no regrets, taking with them all that God has taught them so far, and that He will deliver them safely to their new African "home" where they will build on what God has done over the last three weeks to do even greater things for His Kingdom.

I know they will be sad to leave the ones they've come to love, but I also know that they must be excited to see what else God has in store for them. Truly, this summer is going to be amazing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


One of the things we've really wanted for our family as we've walked down this path towards serving God more fully and living in Swaziland is to have our children on board and unified. Over and over again, we've been amazed and thankful as we've seen evidence that God is answering our prayers, giving us the desire of our heart, and putting into our children's hearts the love for serving the lost and the least.

P1010014 Merry with Sims Girls We Will Go resized and square

That's little Miss Merry above. She's hanging out with two girls whose family is also involved with ministry at We Will Go and are presently at Iris Ministries in Mozambique. Merry loves them but they're not the only reason Merry loves going to We Will Go.

Today's post is about Merry and her feelings about We Will Go.

So tell me, Merry, what did you do today?

"Well, today when we went to We Will Go, it used to be when we went to We Will Go I would stay with my mother. But now, I will go with one of the summer interns that I know really good. Today, what I did at WWG, I helped in the clothes closet [ministry] with the intern I told you about named Lindsey and some of the Centrifuge kids came. And a really good thing was that we didn't have a lot of black bags to do [to sort] today and last time we were at WWG I was helping with that same intern."

What did you do with your time since you got finished working quickly?

"We were walking over to Base 2, the intern that I was working with, when we were at those old, broken down houses, said a scripture verse in the Bible. And the intern I was working with, she told all those Centrifuge girls and one boy about how first if you weren't a Christian, you'd be like all those broken down houses but when you have a new life in God, the houses that WWG build [restored] is like when you are with God. Can I tell them about my tooth?"

Yes, you can tell them about your tooth.

"Tonight, I was using the potty --- don't put potty, use 'restroom' --- and my tooth fell out! And that's what today was. A very good day!"

Why do you like going to WWG?

"Because God really shows me when we go to WWG is that this home back in the country, is feeling less and less like home and WWG is mean more and more to me like home. And the Bible says, also, if you give up something, He'll give you something greater."

Straight from the mouths of babes, or in this case, one MacBabe.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


If you've seen the movie END OF THE SPEAR, then you know the story of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, and the others who gave their very lives to reach an Amazonian tribe with the good news of Jesus.

End of the Spear Nate Steve Saint resized

For me as a parent, one of the most poignant elements of the movie involved Nate Saint's son, Steve.  That little boy is now grown up and has carried on his father's legacy of reaching the world for his Savior.  Today, Steve Saint needs our prayers.

End of the Spear Steve Saint edited and resized

This is posted at the "Joni and Friends" website:

Steve Saint is known around the world as one of the most passionate advocates for global missions. His father, Nate Saint, was one of the missionaries, along with Jim Elliott, who was killed by Auca Indians back in the 50's. Last week, our friend Steve suffered a serious spinal cord injury which has left him paralyzed from the neck down for now. Tomorrow on June 19 he will undergo surgery to stabilize the vertebrae in his neck. Please pray for skilled hands by the surgeon... and ask God to restore Steve!

Please pray for Steve Saint, the medical staff involved, and his friends and family. Also, please consider passing this prayer request on to your friends and family. You can share this link or you can go to the "Joni and Friends" website and you'll find a Facebook, Twitter, and Google + share option there.

Monday, June 18, 2012


What a fabulous Father's Day gift --- we were able to instant message with Anna on Sunday morning and she wrote a new blog post. She is really growing in the Lord and God is doing amazing things in and through their team. I wanted to share her post here with you all. Thank you for your continued prayers.

"We are marching, marching we are marching, marching we are marching in the light of God."

I've heard that song a thousand times before in my life. My mother lived in Swaziland for a couple of years before I was born, and I grew up singing that song before I even realized Swaziland was a real place. In the visits I've been privileged to make to Swaziland, that song has always been a constant. Everyone there knows it and likes to sing it.

Coming into this trip, I was really making a concentrated effort not to draw imagined similarities between Uganda and Swaziland. But it turns out some things can be familiar, even in countries as different as these. Besides that song, I discovered that at least in the local languages, the same terms are used to address people (sisi for a sister or girl, make for a mother or woman) as in Swaziland and South Africa. And that they also sing and play children's games I know from those southern African countries.

Uganda WR team there with Anna 2012 resized and cinema

All of this has really pressed into me how connected our world really is. As if those connections spanning thousands of miles across a gigantic continent were not enough, we sang the Chris Tomlin song, 'How Great Is Our God' in church Sunday. If you didn't know, Tomlin has recorded a version of that song with singers from across the globe and it is, in a word, incredible. I first heard it at Passion this year and was totally blown away. I remember laying on the ground, totally at a loss because it was such a clear picture of Heaven and reminded me so much of all the places I'd been and the people I'd met.

Our first Sunday in Africa, at an awesome church in Mbarara, Uganda, we sang that song again. And once again I was totally blown away by God. To come half-way across the world, to a totally new situation, with new people, new language, new everything, and then hear that familiar song that is in many ways an ultimate image of the unified church to me, was awe-inspiring.

"The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak, night after night they make Him known. They speak without a sound or word, their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world..." - Psalm 19:1-4

No matter how far, how different, how much everything else has changed, God remains the same. And I'm thoroughly enjoying meeting with Him in Uganda.

To read more of the blog posts being written by Anna's team, visit the Expedition website:
Thank you to Erica Floyd for the photograph. She is part of a World Race team serving alongside Anna's team.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


A video from our Father's Day celebration and messages from Merry and Laura.

"Happy Father's Day, Daddy. I love you because you let me watch movies that Mom doesn't, you take us on camping trips, you read bed-time stories, you take us to the movies, and you are a good daddy." --- From 10 year old Laura

"I'm wishing you Happy Father's Day, Daddy. I love you because you let me ride on Pepper [the horse]. I love you because you take me to things that only me and you go to. You take us on walks. You let me watch movies. You're a good dad because you read us books. I love you because you love me. I love you because you're a good dad, you train us right, and I love you because you were able to hang up a picture for me, two of my pictures I wanted you to hang up. I love you because you want to train us and you are the right Father for us. And that would be just about it!" --- From 6 year old Merry

Happy Father's Day to my amazing husband, father of my 7 beautiful children, and to all the dads in my life --- my dad Ed Harvey, my step-dad Roy Clark, Jim's dad James MacLellan, and all the spiritual fathers that God has blessed me with over the years. I love you all, even if you are no longer with me but gone ahead to the greatest Father ever, our Lord God in Heaven.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


And Jesus read, "The Spirit of the Lord is with me. He has anointed me to tell the Good News to the poor.

P6060004 We Will Go bars captive resized

He has sent me to announce forgiveness to the prisoners of sin and the restoring of sight to the blind, to forgive those who have been shattered by sin, to announce the year of the Lord's favor." Luke 4:18-19

Friday, June 15, 2012


David and Patrick will be spending a few days with their MacLellan grandparents so won't be here on Father's Day. We Macs are always looking for an excuse to throw a celebration so we decided to do an early one tonight so they could be included, too. Then we'll do a smaller one on Fathers Day itself with just us big'ns, the three little'ns, and Betsie...the sole teenager who'll be at home.

P6150283 Jim and Elysa resized

Jim and I sat down a couple of nights ago with cookbooks and picked out his menu. For the meal, he chose burgers and fries. I made the fries with sweet potatoes and added some bbq black beans on the side. For dessert, he picked out a banana and white chocolate pudding. Betsie bought the ingredients and made it as his Father's Day gift from her. I can honestly say it is the best bread pudding I've ever had. Seriously. It was beyond amazing.

P6150294 Jim and Betsie resized

The three little kids had all decorated a Hallmark gift book for Jim and then the six kids at home all recorded a message for him in it.

P6150304 Jim and Kids resized

Other gifts included a dark chocolate bar and a Spydeco knife.

P6150308 Jim and Travis resized

It was a bit sad not having Anna here as we celebrate an early Father's Day dinner with Jim but we honestly wouldn't have it any other way because she's right where she needs to be --- where her Heavenly Father has sent her. Because as wonderful as Jim is at being a father, God is even better. The plans that He has for her are the very best plans that could ever be, for all of us, too.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Anna's teammates in Uganda have been able to get to an internet cafe and do a good bit of blogging this week. Though we've not heard directly from Anna in about a week, we have heard good things via the team blog. God is truly doing incredible things in and through this bunch of young adults. One such team member is Beth Grosz. Here's what she had to say about their first week so far in Africa:

Uganda Photo from Tess


I'm having a difficult time knowing where to start this blog after all I have experienced these last few days. God has proved faithful in our time in Mbarara, Uganda, and I am continually amazed at His provision and guidance. We have amazing hosts, Pastor Solomon and his wife Lillian, who have provided us with a place to stay and 3 meals a day. I have been amazed at how the Lord works. I cannot even begin to describe all that I have learned by living here. We have no electricity, no toilets, no running water, and I am more content than I have ever been in my life. A lesson that I have learned is that less is truly so much more. The joy that is found in the laughter of these children and the smiles of the Ugandan people is inspiring . There is so much to learn from them and I am so grateful for the relationships that I am building with these people. I came on this trip with the sole purpose of helping others and telling them about Christ. God is taking that and doing wild things with it, but He is also shaping me and teaching me through the lives of others. He is showing me who I am as His daughter.

We have had many opportunities in ministry so far. This week we were able to go to the school and work with the kids. I was in the classroom with 5-8 year olds and I was amazed. These kids can write and speak English so well. I have never seen 5 year old children write as well as they do. They are bright, well behaved, and beautiful. Last night we had the opportunity to do hospital ministry. The Lord broke me. The heaviness and lifeless feeling you get walking into the hospital is almost overpowering. But our God is One of strength, and I had to continually ask for it. I was in the group that visited the children's ward (imagine that :)) and I honestly had no idea how I was going to do it. Looking into those kids' eyes, seeing their hurt and pain was heartbreaking. Each ward has one room. One room filled with beds pushed together. It's dirty. Crammed. I had to keep reminding myself that these people didn't need a bunch of Americans walking through crying and staring at them. No, they needed smiles. They needed hope. They needed Jesus, and I was happy to bring Him. It was an experience that was very difficult and draining, but the Lord showed up for me and gave me so much faith and confidence in Him.

There are so many more stories I want to share, but if I were to do so my blog would never end. All I can say is I will never tire of the sound of children giggling and sprinting toward me. I will never tire of watching these people worship, seeing their authenticity. I love this country and seeing how much the Lord loves each and every person here with a powerful love. We will be in Mbarara until June 23rd, and then we will be on our way to Kenya. Please keep us in your prayers as we spread God's love to these people. God is good and I am so happy to be able to proclaim that fact to all who will listen.

Photo by another of Anna's teammates, Tess Ottinger.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I used to set lots of limits on God. I had certain things that I would do and certain things that I wouldn't do. I was not going to be a single missionary and I did not want to live in a city and do inner-city ministry. Well, God did send me as a missionary to Swaziland as a single missionary straight out of college and now He's moving us to inner-city Jackson to serve.

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These two young women are living lives a lot more abandoned to God and His, what sometimes seems like to us, crazy plans.

I met Krystal, on the right, when she was just a baby sitting on her mama's hip. Over the years, we lost touch, but then a few months ago, we met again at a We Will Go Sunday service. There, Krystal heard about an upcoming mission trip to Mozambique. The trip was just a few months away and she didn't have a job, rich parents, or a fancy plan for raising money. But when she heard the call of God to go, she said "yes" and God provided. She's now in Mozambique for nearly three weeks, learning more about serving Him radically and, knowing Krystal, loving a whole lot of people extravagantly.

The other girl is Krystal's friend Kaylah. They met while a part of the Acquire the Fire ministry. I don't know her as well. She flew out to spend a week or so with Krystal before the mission trip and they came out to spend the night with us during that time. But as she shared her heart and her willingness to go do whatever God calls her to do no matter how impractical or wild it seems, I knew that God was going to do amazing things with her life, too.

Because see, they've learned something at a young age that it is taking me a lot longer to learn, God will use you in as big and intense ways as you'll surrender and let Him use you.

They've also grasped something that I'm still learning.

Sometimes we hold back from God because we are afraid of what saying "yes" will bring. But I'm finding more and more that when I let go of what I have for what He's offering, it is so much better, so much more than I could ever have imagined!

 Please pray for Krystal and the We Will Go team as they serve in Mozambique and for Kaylah as she seeks God's will for the next chapter in her life of serving Him.  I can only imagine the incredible stories they will have to tell me one day because they are saying "yes"!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


It doesn't take any time at all on my blog to know that I love Africa. There is something incredibly special about that continent that is often hard to adequately describe. It is a land of sharp contrasts and intensities. One of my daughter Anna's fellow Expedition missionaries, Rebecca Gonzalez, wrote about just this suject on the team blog this week:

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You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of the dust.
You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of us...

"My team and I have been in Africa a little less than a week. We've been in a city called Mbarara in Uganda for only close to 5 days. But in this short time there is so much God is impressing on my heart. But perhaps what has astounded me most is the juxtaposition of all of the beauty here with all of the brokenness. This literally is the most beautiful place I've ever been in my life. There is something about the bright green of the plants against the red dirt of Uganda against the smiling beautiful faces here...something that makes you understand what is meant by the word beauty. The children that come to be with us every day are all so joyful and friendly, everyone seems to have the heart of a servant and every once in a while we hear a chorus of neighbors outside of the house we are staying (an incredible blessing by the way -- a house given to us by Pastor Solomon, his wife Lillian and their baby Sufficient Grace, with beds and an abundance of delicious Ugandan food). I'm so grateful to be in this place. And beauty is the only way I can describe the reason.

Still, it is clear that the people we encounter, though joyful in a way I've never seen before, need so much. And there is darkness fighting the beauty. We have had the honor to help teach in the village schools and while the children are happy and obedient, you know that some are very sick or missing something (like food) or someone at home (some orphaned). Likewise some of the adults I have encountered have a hunger for love in their eyes. The brokenness of it all as heavy on my team yesterday as some went to the hospitals (where they encountered hard conditions for people both dying of AIDS and suffering from malaria) and others spent time getting to know that stories of the people in the village. I can see more clearly here than ever how God brings beauty out of ashes, that He is already working in this place and He simply wants to use us in the process. But I do desire desperately that He would use us to heal some of this brokenness, to help somehow in this place that He loved enough to give them the Nile and their joy. I pray that we could be part of bringing the message that this isn't all He gave them, but He also offers provision, healing and Himself. And I pray that we would not leave here unchanged by beauty and brokenness.

Please pray for our team, that we would have strength to stand up against attacks, energy to do all we can here and open hearts that God may touch us. Thank you to everyone supporting us in any way. Be blessed by beauty."

To read more about the Expedition missionary adventures, visit their blog:

Sunday, June 10, 2012


I've had a pretty darn blessed day. Our pastor at Restoration Church preached a great sermon on really knowing Jesus, we had a fabulous afternoon service and fellowship time at We Will Go, I met lots of wonderful people in Jackson, and my new friend Maegan Mitchell brought a true word from the Lord. But the first blessing of the day came from far across the ocean. When I went online this morning, a blog post from one of Anna's teammates was waiting on the team page. Here's that post:


SIMPLY IN AWE by Bailee Slack

"Here I sit in a tiny internet cafe in Mbarara, Uganda. To get here I rode with a driver and 2 other girls (4 people) on the back of a motabota, which is somewhere in between a dirt bike and a motorcycle, and they are tiny! It is so much fun but honestly their driving totally freaks me out.

I literally cannot believe I'm here, it feels so surreal. Let me give you a quick run down of my time here and you'll understand why.

We flew into Entebbe a few days ago and took so team bonding time to witer water raft the Nile river and go bungee jumping. It was absolutely incredible. I can't believe I swam in the same river Moses floated down, words really can't describe it.

Time in Africa is pretty much non-existent, and neither are traffic laws. To get to Mbarara we got on a bus and were told it would leave in one hour and be a two hour ride. We left three hours later and the ride ended up being something like 5 hours. 5 hours on a hot sticky bus crammed together. I would be complaining except I'm pretty much living my dream by being here and truly enjoying every minute, and the people I'm with are absolutely incredible. They challenge me and encourage me and make me laugh...I love just living life with them, even when it happens to be when we spend an indefinite amount of time sitting together on a bus.

Once we got to Mbarara Pastor Solomon picked us up and we are staying in a house next to him right behind the church. It has no running water or electricity so the women cook our meals over fires in the back and we use gas lanterns to eat at night. Bathroom? Shower? There is a "squatty" behind the house and today we are lucky enough to get to "shower", which entails getting a bucket of water and a cup and helping each other scrub off in swimsuits...I seriously am not complaining though, all the people around me are happy and content and so am I. I feel the presence of God so strongly in this place and am so at peace. It is so right.

Everyday I get to spend time with God's children, singing songs and playing games and carrying them and holding them. They love it when you hold hands and swing them in a circle as they fly around. I got so dizzy from doing it yesterday I fell down but I'd do it 1000 times over just to hear them laugh. It's impossible to fit my time here into a blog post, but I'm loving every minute and God is doing great things here through myself and my team. I can't wait to come home and share them with everyone, please keep us in your prayers. If you want to know more or have any questions just leave a comment! Blessings!"

Saturday, June 09, 2012


6 years years ago, I was living a nice, neat, compartmentalized Christianity.  I avoided messy people and was afraid of putting myself out there.  I was trapped in a very safe yet scared life.  And then God used a book and a movie to start me on this incredible journey that is taking us into inner-city Jackson and Africa.

The movie was AMAZING GRACE about the life of William Wilberforce.  The book was QUAKER SUMMER by Lisa Samson.  This June marks the 4 year anniversary of us beginning to serve at We Will Go.  In light of that, I want to share a blog post I wrote about this book way back then.  I had no idea what God was getting me into, but I wouldn't change a thing about where He's taken us.

God has been speaking to me over the last couple of months about getting out of my comfort zone and ministering to those who are enslaved...enslaved by sin, addictions, poverty, and abuse. He has used QUAKER SUMMER by Lisa Samson and the movie AMAZING GRACE to open my eyes to the fact that though slavery may no longer be legal here in America, there are so many who are enslaved in other ways. They need to be set free...they need the Father's grace and power to remove the shackles that bind them up.
But how will they know if those of us who are already free do not go and show and tell?
In AMAZING GRACE, the story is told of William Wilberforce and others who poured out their very lives to fight against the slave trade. Theirs is a historically true story...a profound story of God's grace and power.
QUAKER SUMMER is a fictional story, but it is still very true. For in it is a message of truth. The protagonist, Heather, is a woman who "has it all". She has a devoted husband, a great teenage son, a beautiful home, and all the other stuff and fluff that money can buy. But she's empty inside and all the "good stuff" in her life is enslaving her in a gilded cage.
Through a God-ordained "accident", she finds herself slammed with the reality of how the "other half" lives. She meets Godly women whose lives are not dedicated to living "the good life" but to DOING good to and for others. She begins to finally see that all the stuff in the world will never fill the void inside...the void that only God and being about His business can fill.
Heather must make some scary choices. She must be willing to sacrifice and change. She must be willing to break out of HER chains that bind in order to help set the captives free.
And through it all, Heather learns that its only in giving away does she really receive.

Related Links:
Lisa Samson' blog---
Lisa Samson interviewed about QUAKER SUMMER, the "ministry of presence", and upcoming books---
Shauna's most excellent blog review---

Friday, June 08, 2012


Four years ago, our family first started serving at We Will Go in downtown Jackson.  At first, it was just going a couple of times a month and helping  serve a meal on Sunday afternoons as part of a church summer youth outreach.

Over time, that involvement grew.  We started coming and helping out some on Saturdays when work was needed doing around the campus.  I tried coming when I could to help with the clothing ministry.  And holidays, like Christmas, just seemed to be missing something if we weren't spending part of the day at We Will Go.

And now look at us...making plans to move here, ministering and attending meetings here a few times a week, leading volunteer teams, and heck!  I'm even blogging from here today.

It just goes to show you that you never know where God might take something little, like handing out Domino's Pizza on a Sunday afternoon, and use it to totally change your life...and hopefully, some of the lives you'll come into contact with.

God tells us not to despise the little things for when we're faithful in the small, He'll use us in the big.

I hope you'll not get discouraged when it sometimes feels like all you'll ever do is the small things.  Just keep trusting Him, loving Him, and loving those people you serve in the "small" things and you just might find yourself amazed at the huge and even eternal impact you might be making in the world for His Kingdom.  You may never preach before thousands or write a best-selling novel, but that middle-schooler taught in VBS might preach before thousands and that kid you helped tutor might write a book that brings revival and healing to a hurting world.   You just never know.

But He does.