Friday, May 31, 2013


I wish I could post photos tonight. It truly is one of those occasions when a picture or two or three would paint a thousand words. I can't stay up late posting as we have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow but I wanted to check in and give a few basic details.

*Breakfast was yummy! Eggs, Canadian-style bacon, toast, avocado, oranges, and fresh squeezed orange juice. The produce was straight from the Donaldsons' yard.

*We spent the day at Bheveni carepoint. Loved on so many beautiful kids and their care providers. Got to see both of our sponsored girls and visit the teacher's new home. Rhonda was brave and tried mealie meal porridge. We laughed and held babies and sang songs and took a million photos and some videos, too.

*My driving has vastly improved. I only turned the wipers on instead of the turn signal a couple of times today instead of about a billion yesterday. I also did not almost kill us on mountain roads.

*We ate supper at a new place (in the old Rustic Tavern location for you Swaziphiles) tonight. Rhonda, who grew up on fish and chips as a native New Englander, had their fish and chips offering and gave it high ratings. Anna and Betsie had the same. I had curry. Yum!

*After supper, Betsie helped Inge, our hostess, prepare lessons for tomorrow's Zion Bible College class. Rhonda and I walked laps around and around the yard talking about our faith journey. We had to fly all the way over to Africa to get this kind of uninterrupted talking time in.

All in all, I end my day feeling overwhelmed by the goodness of God. He has given me so many precious gifts today. I go to bed feeling so very loved and blessed.

Tomorrow will be another full day and I look forward with anticipation to all the Father has planned for us as we visit a nearby rural community, go to the market, and meet friends for supper at Nando's. Please keep praying, yes, for safety, but even more than that, for us to continue to see God's presence and guidance in what we are hearing, seeing, and doing. we know He is here. We know He is speaking. We just want the eyes and ears to see and hear all He wants for us.

Good night from Africa...or as the Swazis would say, lala kahle (sleep well)!

Thursday, May 30, 2013


And incredibly, safe and without crashing the rental car.

Listen, it has been 23 years since I drove on the left side of the road. You add to that the unique crazyness that is the state of most African roads, my lack of recent experience in driving a stick shift up and down mountains, and an intense two day flight from the U.S. and you can understand why I am totally praising God for taking care of us!

AYE-YI-YI! I bet He had our angels working overtime.

Anyway, we are here. We had good flights and a lovely, long, layover in Frankfurt, Germany, which allowed us to spend the afternoon walking around part of the downtown area. We ate in a tower that was hundreds of years old, bought amazing pastries, saw many beautiful buildings, posed with a Batman mannequin (well, at least Betsie and Anna did), walked over a beautiful bridge, and made it back in plenty of time to catch our flight to Africa. I was very, very nervous about leaving the airport but forced myself to do it because the rest of my crew wanted to go. I would have very easily sat in the airport for the whole day, but I'm glad I didn't. I'm glad I did not let my worrywart, fearful side keep me from enjoying the experience with my girls and Rhonda.

All too often, I'm afraid I have let this side prevent me from doing some things that though they might take me out of my comfort zone, have been so worth it.

And back to the crazyness of me driving here in Africa. I have been really nervous about this whole prospect. But in order for me and these gals to be able to come to Swaziland and do the exploring and getting around that we need to do, it required me getting over my fears, trusting God, and acting.

Once again, it has reminded me that God has not given me a spirit of fear. When I let fear ---- whether it is rational or irrational --- control my life, then I'm limiting the ways that God can use me for His kingdom and the ways He can bless my life.

We don't have to look far to see folks who did some scary things but God used them in big ways.

Ruth who left her homeland and traveled with her dead husband's mother to a strange country. She ended up meeting an incredible man and became one of the ancestor's of Jesus.

Esther was a Jewish maiden who was thrust into the royal household, became the wife of a king who could have had her killed for no good reason, and was asked to help save the lives of the entire Jewish population. Just her making a request to her husband could have resulted in her death. But she did it and God used that to save His people.

David was just a shepherd boy. He was the youngest of his family. God called him to fight Goliath, a literal giant. And then made him king over all of Israel.

Often times we are faced with big challenges. Even dangerous ones. We all are given the choice of saying "no" based on fears or saying "yes" based on faith.

God has brought me a long way from the scaredy cat I used to be, after all, I live nearly fearlessly in inner-city Jackson, a city with one of the highest murder rates in the nation. I still have a long way to go, though, in the area of living by faith for the Lord. I still have small, petty fears but I also have big ones.

But regardless if they are small or big, they are not too big for God to overcome. If I let those fears hold me back, then I'll be missing a whole lot of things He has planned for me. And as a good Father, I need to trust that those things are worth the stepping out and just doing, even if I'm shaking in my oh-so-fashionable boots those first few feet.

Two main prayer requests so far for our Swaziland trip:

1. PLEASE pray continued safety as we drive around Swaziland and that God will help me think clearly.

2. Pray that we'll make all the connections God wants us to make, be sensitive to the people He wants us to spend time with, pray for, bless, and that we'll hear and see what we need to hear and see as we seek His will about what our life should look like in Swaziland once we move here.

Monday, May 27, 2013


In exactly 24 hours, we will be arriving at the airport with all our gear headed toward Swaziland.  In the meantime, especially for the two mamas involved in this "Super Chicks for Swaziland" trip, we're still got a lot of preparation to do.

Packing for Swaziland and praying I won't lose my mind. #swazilandtrip2013 #packing #stuffformissionaries #breatherightstrips #chocolatechips #tripprep

Will you please pray for us? Pray that we won't lose our minds, get too stressed out, or forget some really important things as we pack and prepare. Pray that everything that needs to get done will get done. The last day always feels a bit overwhelming to me as I take care of not just my stuff but try to get things ready for leaving the family.

And speaking of family, please pray not just for us four team members, but for our family that is staying at home. It is also stressful for them and very easy for them to feel left out since we're going on this big, exciting, God adventure and they're, well, being left behind.

Thanks so much! This trip will not be what God wants it to be without lots and lots of prayer --- ours and yours!

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Over five years ago, in January of 2008, I returned to Swaziland after nearly an eighteen years absence. Betsie and Anna were also on that trip.

To say that God used those ten or so days to totally change our lives is not an overstatement. God didn't just use it to change our lives, He used it to change the lives of our whole family. After all, just this past summer we sold our farm, moved to an inner-city ministry, and began making yearly trips back to Swaziland, all in preparation for moving there to live and serve.

A few months after returning from our 2008 trip, Betsie --- who was then only twelve years old --- wrote a poem about a little Swazi girl we met. She hadn't forgotten her then, she still hasn't forgotten her.

In less than two days, we leave once again for Swaziland. Once again, we'll meet children who will be forever a part of our memories. And this time around, we'll also be meeting children who will stay a part of our future as we prepare for our new lives in Swaziland. Those little children who might seem insignificant to the greater world, are not unimportant. They are very important to our Lord, important enough that He is calling people from different places and walks to leave it all behind and follow Him to Swaziland. They are important to us, important enough that I think of them every single day with longing.

In light of our upcoming departure, I'm sharing the post I wrote on June 8, 2008, which included the poem written by Betsie.


When we were in Swaziland, one of the most memorable things we did was to visit and interact with the children who attended some of the Children's HopeChest and Adventures in Missions carepoints. Many of these children receive their only food at these carepoints. But not only do they receive food, they also receive love from concerned adults...something that too many of them aren't getting anywhere else. In a country with the world's highest HIV/AIDS rate, many households have older children raising younger children. Or if they do have a loving parent involved in their lives, that parent might very well be dying from HIV/AIDS and too sick and weak to do much or its a poor, overworked grandmother trying to raise a score of grandchildren and greatchildren left behind when their parents died or left for cities in search of work.
The situation is truly heartbreaking. Yet despite the horrific conditions, the children are still beautiful. One of the precious ones that stands out is a little girl named Cebisile. We met her at Enaleni, a carepoint started by Swazi pastor Peter Langa. There was just something about her that reached out and grabbed our hearts...and didn't let go.
Months later we still remember her. And in her honor, my 12 year old daughter has written this poem.
You were so little, just a baby
And yet so much was expected of you.
You had to take care of yourself, you had to survive.
When I saw your face I fell completely in love;
You were so innocent,
I held you and you laughed and smiled.
Will you ever laugh again?
Will you remember me when you are older?
Will you remember the girl that came all the way from another land to hold your hand?
Will you remember me?
I will not and cannot forget you.
If you would like to be involved in ministering to Cebisile and other children through the ministry of Children's HopeChest, visit their website. Every little bit helps. Even $5 will feed an orphan like Cebisile for a month.


Saturday, May 25, 2013


With three and a half days left til we depart for our Swaziland trip, I've actually started packing (early for me) and bought the last few things I needed at Target.

Starting to pack for the Swaziland trip! #swazilandtrip2013 #swazilandbound #packing #breatheright #goodiesformissionaries #chocolatechips

The schedule for our week in Africa seems to be coming together nicely and Anna arrived from New Orleans today, bringing Betsie with her. Betsie had gone down to spend a few days after last weekend's graduation. With them here, the packing started, and all the trip stuff purchased (except for a last-minute requested container of salsa for some very sweet missionaries), I actually feel like I'm almost ready to go.

Oh wait, I still have to finish Betsie's transcript, do her yearbook page, fill out a day camp registration forms for Travis and Merry, make a needs-to-happen-while-I'm-gone list for Jim, call about VBS for the youngest kids, and get the giant pile of clothes off of the trunk in my room and put away.

Okay, so maybe I'm not so ready to go after all.

Pray! We're gonna need it.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Five days from right now, this Friday, TODAY,  I will be on my way to Africa. Five days. FIVE DAYS!

As Betsie pointed out, you know it is close to time for leaving when you can count the days left on one hand. Wow.

And yeah, I am obviously a whole lotta excited! So looking forward to seeing my Swazi sweeties again.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


While eating big, beautiful salads today, I was reminded of yet one more thing I'm grateful for here at We Will Go.  I am thankful for our ministry's community garden.   The city has given us permission to use two lots that used to basically be neighborhood dumps full of beer bottles, cans, wire, and other rubbish.  Now, thanks to the generous donations of ministry supporters and lots of hard workers -- missionaries, volunteers, and neighbors -- we are picking gorgeous squash, salad greens, peppers, strawberries, and more right from those former trash heaps.  And I and the other missionaries aren't the only ones who benefit from the produce, anybody that wants or needs food can freely pick from the garden.  The collards are especially popular in the 'hood.  I personally can't wait for the peppers and eggplants to be ready for  eating.

Veggie picking date with my hubby. #lifeatwewillgo #communitygarden #squash #urbanfarming #urbangardening #creativedate

Little ones prayed blessing on these plants on the day they were put in the ground and they are growing and producing in amazing and abundant ways.  Praise God!  This produce is given freely to all who want and need it. #lifeatwewillgo #wewillgoministries

Fresh veggies right from our neighborhood garden.  Just another blessing here at We Will Go. #communitygarden #lifeatwewillgo #urbanfarming #urbangardening #healthyliving #iloveveggies #foodiemama #squash #zucchini #eatlocal #localtarian #eatfresh #wewill

Thank you, God, for this life you've given me. Once again, You've shown me that when I follow you, I'll never cease to be amazed at the goodness that comes from it. Sometimes, it is even tangible, able-to-be-tasted goodness.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


As I write this post, I don't even know if I'll publish it. I'm just feeling so overwhelmed and mixed up right now. I need to process and us extroverted people types like to talk it out. Since that's not an option right now, writing is another viable option. I, of course, need to do lots of talking to the Lord and listening. And I'd really appreciate you talking to the Lord about me and mine, too.

See, just a few months ago, we thought we knew what our life in Swaziland would be looking like a year from now. But then some doors were shut and we were left not knowing anything other than that God's called us to go live there, we're called to love orphans, and we're called to do it as a family. Jim is gifted and called to be a teacher and has a special heart for the fatherless so he not only wants to reach those fatherless boys but also strengthen the fathers and help restore families. He will be a spiritual father for many. I'm called to be a mother, not just to my biological children but many others as well, and someone who helps others discover their God-given dreams and then helps them follow those dreams.

Having those doors shut caused us as a family to really press in and pray about what we felt like the ministry God was calling us to should look like. We know it will be a ministry that involves all the elements listed above. But the particulars, the where and the how and the who, we still don't know. And today, an interesting element got thrown into the mix that gives us one more thing to consider.

I can't go into what that "one mroe thing" is at this point, but I'll be honest and tell you that it has me really confused.

I know, I know.


Neither has He given me a spirit of fear.

But people and situations sure can confuse me and I can surely confuse myself.

I can also let myself get scared. Get scared of missing God's best. Get scared that I'll let people down. Get scared that I'll not hear what God is trying to tell me.

That's with my flesh.

With my faith and with the part of my mind that I have allowed the Lord to transform, I know that He has promised that He will work all things for our good and His glory.

I know that He is the one calling us to Swaziland and He has plans that are good for us and for those He wants us to minister and He is big enough and loud enough to make sure we hear His voice.

I know that in the past, I've walked through valleys of confusion and anxiety. He's always managed to get me through those foggy times and set my feet on the right path. He did it then, He can do it now.

Twenty five years ago, I strongly felt the call to Swaziland as a single missionary straight out of college, but my candidate weekend went terribly and it looked like I would not be accepted to go. I remember crying and crying and crying because I did not understand how someone could tell me I wasn't going to be accepted as a Journeyman missionary when God had spoken more clearly about that being His will than I'd ever heard Him speak about anything else in my life, to be honest, I've never heard that strongly or clearly since. A couple of weeks later, I received a letter telling me that I'd been accepted and was offered my first choice position, the Swaziland assignment.

Then just a few years ago, I returned to Swaziland and fell more deeply in love with that nation. My heart was absolutely broken and I wanted to be back there loving those precious little ones with a longing that was so deep it hurt. At that point, my husband had no intention at all of moving to Africa. Swaziland was only on his radar as somewhere that I had lived a long, long time ago. I remember the day that God told me to quit talking about Swaziland to Jim because Jim was convinced that I loved Swaziland more than I loved him. He was struggling with intense depression at the time and the depression did not allow him to see things accurately. I cried (yes, I can be a crier) and said "but Lord, if I quit talking about it, I'll never get to go to Swaziland again" and I think I said things like "how will I get money for the orphans?" and God told me to be quiet anyway and show my husband that he was my first priority. I obeyed. I told my husband I would quit talking about Swaziland and that I loved him more than I loved Swaziland. Just a couple of days later, he walked in the kitchen where I was standing in the same place I had been standing when God told me to quit talking about Swaziland and trust Him, and he told me that he realized he could retire in a few years and we could possibly "move to Swaziland". Well, as you know, a couple of years later, Jim and I both traveled to Africa and Jim sensed God's strong call to the nation of my heart.

Over and over again, I find myself in places where I have no idea how things are going to work out. And over and over again, God proves Himself faithful to complete His good work in me and bring His will to pass.

I have to keep clinging to that. I don't have to know all the answers right now. I don't have to see how it is all going to work out. I don't have to worry that if we don't do a certain ministry then no one else will do it. I just have to keep saying "yes" to God. Keep saying "I will go and do whatever You want me to do when You tell me to do it" and then trust and step as He leads.

About three years ago, I remember Amy and David Lancaster, our leaders here at We Will Go, telling us when we were seeking God's will about Swaziland that we should not worry that we wouldn't hear and know God's will. They said that God is a good Father. He wants His children to obey Him so why wouldn't He tell us what He wanted us to do?

When it is put that way, it seems pretty obvious, doesn't it?

The problem is, we want the answer immediately. Most of us aren't really good with the waiting and seeking process. Most of us Americans are planners and we want to get all our little ducks in a row. We want to know when and how and where and what and we want to know it yesterday.

But that's just not how God works much of the time. There are times when He lays out a long range plan with lots of the details already worked out. But a lot of the time, following God is like a fancy, big park,roller coaster. I can remember riding Space Mountain at Disney World and the scariest part for me was that it was inside a huge structure and it was kept mostly dark inside. I could maybe see part of the next loop or dip ahead of me, but when I was in the darkest parts, I didn't know what was going to be waiting for me up ahead. I also didn't like the safety belt and safety bar situation. On other roller coasters, I'd been snuggly belted in and even had a secure bar across my waist. In Space Mountain, I was almost reclining and neither the belt nor the bar had me snuggly held in place. I could move around a good bit and it often felt like I was going to fly right out of the car. It was a very insecure feeling. I had to hold on for dear life and hope that with all the dips and curves and even going upside down  (if I'm remembering correctly), that I'd arrive alive at the end, just where I was supposed to be. I'll be honest, even though I made it safely to the end, I didn't ride that one again. I can remember that I rode the mine ride roller coaster over and over again. Even though it was just as curvy and loopy as Space Mountain, I felt more secure. My belt and bar was tight and I could see what was about to happen to me. Space Mountain was just too scary because it was too much of the unknown and "loose".

See, it is really easy for me to say that I trust God and I want to follow Him when I can see where He's taking me and it is down paths that I understand. When I have a map. When I feel like I am secure and safe and maybe even a bit in control.

But it is a whole different story when at this point, I have absolutely know idea what He's up to and all the lights have been turned off. Not only have the lights been turned off, but I'm being sent on part of this journey without my husband there to help me figure it out.

Wait, that's not really true.

Yes, I am flying to Swaziland next week with Anna, Betsie, and my friend Rhonda while my husband stays here with the other kids.

Yes, at this point, I have no idea where we will be living, what city or town we'll be living in, what ministry site or organization we'll be working with, etc. etc.

Yes, I am expected to talk to realtors when I don't even know where to tell them we're looking at living.

Yes, I am expected to meet with a whole lot of people who will be showing me places that need us to minister but I won't be able to tell them "yes" or "no".

Yes, I am given the responsibility to take all that information in and what I've perceived and then bring it back to the rest of the family.

BUT...even though I don't know at this point His will, the lights really haven't been turned off completely. Actually, they're not out at all. God sees things perfectly clear. It is not confusing or overwhelming even one bit for Him. He sees next year as easily as he sees last year and a hundred years ago and a hundred years from now. He sees the whole story. He's just waiting in His perfect timing to tell us the next line or chapter in this story.

And another thing. I am not alone. Not only has He promised me a counselor in the form of the Holy Spirit, but He's given me others along this path to help me decipher the road signs and map. He's sending me with Anna, Betsie, and my friend Rhonda next week. He's given me an amazing husband and five other children. Jim is very wise and God gives Him so much down-to-earth insight.  He's also blessed us with personalities that balance each other out and help us to see situations from various angles and then come to a decision together. He's blessed us with an incredible spiritual family here at We Will Go and others in our lives who love us and the Lord and fully support our call, including our local church's leadership and many other friends.

When the time is right, God will provide the lights that we need to see His chosen path for our lives in Swaziland. He will put the sign posts up written in ways that we can understand. He'll bring unity to our family as we step toward the path that is His will. And those we trust will cheer us on as they support us in our journey.

Those things I must cling to. Right now, the safety harness and bar feel very loose. The ride seems out of control as it barrels along. My eyes go from being squeezed tight shut to being wide open and overwhelmed by what I see.

But whether I look at this life as a roller coaster or a trail or even doors, He is in control. He is good. He is bigger than it all. He is the creator of this big ole world and all who inhabit it. And He will keep us going where we need to be going because He loves us and He knows we, even in our inadequate manner, love Him.


Obviously, I did choose to share this post. It really helped me to calm down as I reminded myself of past times He has come through for us and reminded myself of who God is. Would you please pray for us? Pray that I will trust Him and pray that we will hear from Him at just the right time. We really and truly need you. You are part of His provision. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Sometimes showing love to someone is complicated. Sometimes showing love to someone requires a lot of planning and work and effort. It takes a lot of preparation, for instance, to go on a mission trip to another country. It takes hours of projecting and fund raising to start a community food ministry or organize an after-school tutoring program. Sometimes showing love calls for hard sacrifices and much dying to self.

But sometimes? Sometimes love is easy. And simple. Sometimes love is as uncomplicated as an impromptu photo shoot with a teenager, leaving an extra big tip and a kind word with a harried waitress, or buying dark chocolate for a friend.

And you know what? Sometimes those simple, easy, uncomplicated acts of love are just as important and powerful as those complicated, hard, intense ones.

Love is good that way.

GOD is good that way.

Now get out there and love!

Monday, May 20, 2013


Today was one of those days that wear you out but only in the best day. Over 300 homeschoolers hit Twin Lakes Camp and Conference Center for our annual field day.

We hung out with friends, swam, came across interesting critters, played on the swings, slid, canoed, rafted, rested in the hammocks, splashed, hiked, ran, laughed, climbed, fought battles, watched, ate huckleberries, and took lots and lots of photos. This is just one of the dozens but it will have to suffice as this very blessed mama needs to get in bed. Tomorrow might not be as physically active as today, but I'm sure it will be just as full.


Sunday, May 19, 2013


Today's blog post was written a few days ago by Maegan Mitchell, one of the We Will Go missionaries that we serve alongside. When I read it, once again, I was humbled and also honored that God would make me a mother and give me children that He is using in amazing and powerful ways, even the youngest, my seven year old Merry. 

There is hope for the hopeless. No, I'm not just talking about the homeless or someone that does not know Jesus. Actually, I am talking about myself.

Last night, I cried out to the Lord for vision and hope - not because I never had them. I cried out to God because I'd grown weary of carrying the dreams and visions He'd given me against the current of my circumstances. I have yet to see all the Lord has said come to pass.

But, God has been so gracious and kind to keep reminding me to hold fast to what He has given me. I walked into our We Will Go team prayer desperately longing to hear from my heavenly Father.

I had just gone through a legalistic list of why I wasn't seeing what He has shown me come to pass. I thought, "Am I not praying enough, am I not fasting enough? I did eat after sundown yesterday." To be honest, I'm probably not doing enough. I could never do enough.

But, the Lord said to me, "Maegan, you've done everything I've asked you. I asked you to trust me and you are." How is it possible that the God of the whole universe is pleased with me? I realize, even now, He sees me covered in the blood of Jesus. He is faithful and I follow - sometimes maimed, limping along, and several steps behind where I feel I need to be. He gives me the strength through his Holy Spirit to follow.

By the time I arrived at team prayer, I didn't want more prayer. I didn't want another meeting or more worship music. I wanted and needed Jesus, face to face. The Holy Spirit directed me to sit by one of our youngest missionaries, Merry. She asked to borrow my phone to use my bible app. She immediately went to Galatians 6:7: Do not be misled- you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.

I asked her, "Did you write that verse, and place it on my family's home on Houston Ave?"

Merry replied, "Yes, but I didn't finish it." The part she didn't write on the card then, was meant to encourage me at that moment." YOU WILL ALWAYS HARVEST WHAT YOU PLANT. God used Merry in an amazing way. This was exactly what I needed. This was Jesus speaking, face to face.

Merry continued, "That is my favorite scripture verse. Actually, God attracted me to that verse when you were teaching." And here I was, harvesting those verses that had been planted, when I needed to hear from Him so desperately. I had gathered those scriptures and words of prayer from the ground after it had rained. I told Merry I had framed it.

She smiled and the Lord reminded me yet again of Matthew 18:2-5: Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, "I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me."

Why should I grow weary with such an amazing, relentlessly loving partner and friend as Jesus? Holy Spirit help me!

Lord Jesus, forgive me for being deceived. Help me to believe and have faith like a child. Restore my innocence and help me believe. Help me to grow more expectant every day and not more jaded with the passing time. I will reap from years of prayer, and worship, and reading your word. I will reap from the overflow of your presence. I believe everything you've said, Lord Jesus, will come to pass. Thank you for always providing what I need, when I need it. Thank you for such beautiful encouragement from Merry. Help me to partner with your work in Jackson and in your kingdom.

I love you Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


A few weeks ago, we celebrated the Betsie's high school graduation, her first, that is. Today, we celebrated the second one. See, that's what happens when you're a teensy bit of an over achiever and your family is involved with not just one, but two homeschool groups.

Betsie's senior display at the graduation reception. #betsiesgraduation #checgraduation #seniordisplay #betsiessenioryear #thegraduate

So back in April, Betsie marched in a more intimate ceremony as part of the Florence-Richland Homeschool Group's Class of 2013 and today she marched in one at First Baptist Jackson as part of the Class of 2013 from the Christian Home Educators Connection. There were over forty in this group and even the governor of Mississippi was in attendance. Yes, it was pretty posh with hundreds in attendance.

Despite the differences in size and execution, they were both beautiful ceremonies, done with a lot of love, and both meant a great deal to the graduates and their families. I'm very thankful to all those who worked so hard on making these events very special ones for Betsie. And I'm very thankful to God for giving me such an amazing daughter. Betsie truly is, as her middle name indicates, a Joy in our lives.

Congratulations, Betsie! 
Your family couldn't be any more proud of you.
 We are truly going to miss you when you start your
 new adventure at MUW come this fall.

Friday, May 17, 2013


My life is pretty amazing right now. God's got us living in a beautiful intentional community where every day I get to love on precious people and receive amazing ministry from unexpected avenues. My kids are doing great, my husband is hunky, and I have more friends than I ever have time to see.

But some days, I miss Swaziland and those sweet faces almost more than I can stand.

Mornings like the one I'm having right now find me close to tears just thinking about them and seeing other people's online posts and pictures related to Africa.

Because see, a true call to a people or place or cause isn't an escape from a yucky, mundane life. A true call is a supernatural impartation of love and passion straight from the Father's heart for a specific mission. It isn't a "get out of jail" card. It isn't a deliverance from struggling relationships or failures. It isn't an excuse not to deal with personal issues that need to be dealt with.

A call is something bigger than you. It is bigger than your circumstances. It is a love and drive so big for God and what He is calling you to do and be that you are compelled to say "yes" even if saying "yes" means big sacrifices. It is saying "yes" even if what you are already doing is fulfilling and fruitful.

Yes, sometimes the calling does take you from a place of ho-hum to a place of adrenaline and significance. Sometimes the calling does lift us out of a place of pain and struggle. But often the call takes a girl like me, who is perfectly happy with where she's at, and breaks her heart so intensely that all the good stuff of this life --- the growing church, the purpose-driven ministry, the beautiful adult children, the network of fabulous friends, the lovely home --- pale in comparison to what He's calling her, too. Even if that call is going to entail more heartbreak, many third world frustrations, a huge deduction in income, people with more needs than I can ever meet, and missing my American friends and family like crazy.

A call means that doing what God wants me to do for Him and His loved ones becomes the driving factor in my life and is as impossible to ignore as a hurricane ripping through my life.

 Let the winds roar, Lord. I am listening. I am going. I say "yes"!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Today we had two big deal events happen in our family.


David, along with fellow We Will Go missionary Ellie Hamilton, took and passed his driver's license test yesterday. Obviously, he was more than a bit pleased.


Then in the evening, Merry and Laura had their very first ballet recital. Both girls' classes danced to pieces by Tchaikovsky. Merry was a petite swan and Laura was a maiden. They did beautifully. A nice reception followed afterwards with cake, brownies, punch, and other goodies.


But to honor their big events, we added to the celebration with a trip to Izzo's Illegal Burritos. Along for the food and the fun were two other missionaries, Gabby and Maggy Sims, along with Grandmommy who is visiting this week.


It was a delicious way to end a wonderful day for the MacKids and their very proud parents.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I have said it before but it is a truth worth repeating:

We could not do what we do here at We Will Go without the volunteers and others who support us and come alongside us in the ministry. 

 Whether it is the off-campus folks who come every week and lead our WOW Kids children's ministry or the teams of folks who show up on Saturday morning and help in the clothes ministry, work in the garden, clean the guest housing, or pack canned good bags, whether it is the homeschool family that comes and assists with neighbors getting clothes on Tuesday mornings or the local church ladies who come and pray with, whether it is these ways or a host of others, these folks and their efforts multiply our efforts.

Another important part others play is with their donations. We have school groups that do food drives and choirs that collect sleeping bags. We have mamas who clean out their kids' closets and bring us their too-small clothes and furniture stores that donate beds and mattresses.

We as missionaries share what we have, but because of these other generous donors, literally hundreds of people each month are blessed with food, clothing, toiletries, shoes, and so much more.

I am frequently asked what is needed in the "free" clothes shop since I am the lead coordinator of donations headed to that ministry. Since we are finally getting out of cold weather and into the warmer weather, I thought I'd share the most important needs we have this season:

  • Summer clothes in all sizes but especially the very large and very tall sizes.
  • Brand new underwear in all sizes but especially men's boxer shorts
  • Gently used bras
  • Mosquito repellant spray and wipes
  • Casual shoes 
  • Sandals and flip-flops
  • Baby powder in small bottles
  • Wash cloths 
  • Toothpaste
  • T-shirts, especially in XL, XXL, and XXXL
  • White, athletic ankle socks for men and women
All clothing and shoes except the panties, briefs, boxers, and socks can be gently used. Feel free to leave comments if you have any questions or contact me via my email at elysamaclellan "at" gmail "dot" com. Thanks and even if you can't come work or donate, please pray for us. We are on the front lines here and truly can't succeed without the power and provision of the Lord.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Hope your Monday's been very merry. I know mine has been. How could it not be with this little hobbit running around?

DSCF0063 Merry We Will Go Kids Day

But seriously, it is easy for us to sometimes focus on what we don't have instead of what we do have. Often times, we just need to ask the Father to give us the eyes of a child to see His blessings. Small children get excited about the little things.

A cupcake sticker.
Twirling round and around just because.
Sucking the nectar from honeysuckle.
Splashing in puddles.
Silly emoticons on an iPhone.
Watching a bird build its nest.
Going really high up on their swing.
A new stack of picture books from the library.
"Popsicles" made in the ice tray from apple juice.
Hot cocoa with marshmallows.
Popcorn and a movie on a rainy afternoon.
Tents made out of sheets and chairs.
Honking the car horn while driving under the train track.
Sandwiches cut in triangles.
Jumping through the sprinkler.
Reading in bed with a flashlight.
Pouring ingredients into the cooking pot.
Visiting a new park.
Watching old family videos.
Learning how to make clover chains.
Yummy smelling bubble bath.
Puppy licks.
Gummy vitamins shaped like bears.
Using the hand-held vac.
Getting a super hero band-aid.
Sleeping bag surfing down the stairs.
Feeding grass to a horse through the fence.
Throwing stale bread chunks to ducks.
Piggyback rides.
Licking the frosting off the beaters.
Finding animal shapes in the cloud.
Backyard picnics.
Wearing a costume to the store.
Digging for worms.
Eating blueberries right off the bush.
Discovering four leaf clovers.
Getting mail.
Riding escalators up and down and up again.

May we never get so grown up, so "mature", that we lose the ability to look at the world with eyes of wonder and find amazement at how beautiful God's world is, how full of unexpected blessings, how rich life really is, even amidst the demands of our adult lives.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


I feel very blessed, even downright spoiled, this Mothers Day. Jim took me shopping Friday night and bought me a new camera to replace my old, broken one.

Be jealous IPhone, be very jealous.  I have a new camera in my life and I am in love. #mynewcamera #iloveblue #kiss #cameralove #fujifilm #mothersdaygift

Then Sunday morning, the Mothers Day gifting and loving continued.   At breakfast, the kids each gave me a small gift of their making or choosing.  The three youngest gave me hand-drawn cards.  Two of them gave me some coins.  Patrick gave me chocolate.  David gave me a Rachael Ray magazine.  Betsie made me lots of yummy food.

Betsie fixed me a lovely breakfast with a Pioneer Woman quiche as the centerpiece then each of the kids had a small gift for me. Betsie's gift is all the cooking for the day.  David gave me a Rachael Ray magazine, Patrick gave me dark chocolate, each of t

The breakfast consisted of a Pioneer woman quiche, strawberries, and Little Debbie Swiss Rolls.  Lunch was another Pioneer Woman recipe, this time "Fancy Macaroni and Cheese" along with some fabulous jalepeno cornbread muffins.

Mothers Day lunch made by Betsie with some sibling assistance ---  Pioneer Woman macaroni and 5 cheese plus jalepeno cornbread muffins.  These are the best muffins ever.  Betsie got the recipe from orphan advocate Ericka Jackson. #mothersday #yum #macaron

A highlight of the morning was a FaceTime chat with Anna.  This is the first time she's not been home on Mother's Day.  I'm grateful that technology at least lets us spend some virtual time together as is the new norm for our life now that she's all grown up and living in New Orleans and we'll soon be living in Swaziland.

My Mothers Day time with Anna.  The new normal.

At church, the younger kids made cute Mothers Day cards. I'm always thankful for Sunday School teachers who make the effort to arrange these sorts of activities. It really does mean a lot to us sentimental types.

Love my Mothers Day card Merry made for me at church.  Love my Merry made for me by God even more. #mothersday #merry #mothersdaycard #ilovethisgirl #childrenareagiftfromthelord

After the delicious lunch that Betsie prepared with some help from her siblings, it was on to the pavilion for We Will Go worship. At the end, roses were given out to all the moms, prayers were given for those mamas who needed praying for, phones were made available for neighbors to call their mamas or the other important women in their lives, and leftover roses were sent home with neighbor men for their mothers and other caregivers. When the fellowship was over, we had team time. I was happily surprised to find a cute Mothers Day card, chocolate, and a rose waiting for me from a fellow missionary. Ashley had cards with sweet notes waiting for all the team moms. It was the perfect final garnish on my Mothers Day blessing.

Found this surprise waiting for me at the WWG team meeting last night.  Thank you, Ashley! #mothersday #gifts #mothersdaycard #lifeatwewillgo #chocolate #rose #blessed

Though I know that everyone's Mothers Day looks differently, I hope that if you're a mom, you knew that you are loved and valued. You might not get all the credit and reward in the hear and now that you deserve, but the Lord sees and loves and values you. After all, Father God trusted His only son, Jesus, to a mother.

And God doesn't just want to use "pefect" mamas in big ways.  After all, look at the women listed in the geneology of Jesus.  All the ones listed had major flaws.  Adultery, prostitution, and idol worship are just some of the not-so-perfect aspects of his maternal roots, but yet they were used in amazing ways for God's purposes.  If God can use Bathsheba and Tamar and Ruth, then God can use even me and even you.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Saturday was the second Kids Day Outreach we've held here at We Will Go this year and the first we've held this summer. We'll be holding them on a monthly basis if you, your family, or your group would like to be a part of reaching the children of the Farish District and Midtown with the love and truth of Jesus Christ. 

Friday, May 10, 2013


Or should that be one step farther?

Thursday night, Betsie's CHEC Class of 2013 had their senior banquet. Nearly two weeks ago, she participated in the Florence-Richland Homeschool Group's graduation ceremony. Next Saturday, she'll be walking in the Christian Home Educators Connection graduation. So while last night it was one step closer to finally being completely graduated, it is also one step on the journey that is taking her farther away from us.

One a time of mixed-emotions this season is life is for us all. We're all excited about what God is doing in her beautiful life but because her life is so beautiful, we're going to miss her terribly. Betsie set as a goal for her last year at home that she'd be such a good daughter, such a loving sister, that when she left, she'd leave a big gaping hole and we'd all feel her absence intensely. She is definitely meeting that goal.

I love you, Betsie Girl, but that love means this mama heart sure is going to have some pretty hard missing-Betsie days in the years to come.

#classof2013 #seniorbanquet #betsiessenioryear #chec #christianhomeeducatorsconnection #seniors