Saturday, June 29, 2013


Here are some more pictures from Independence Day 2008. The crazy thing is that my mom is now living right by this beach and we actually parked on her street and even used the bathroom of our friends who lived there then never imagining that one day my mom would call it home. Even crazier, we will be staying in that house and celebrating Independence Day there this year.  Our last American 4th of July for at least a while.

Next year?  Independence Day Swazi-Style!

Friday, June 28, 2013


Here are some scenes from 4th of July 2008.  We spent it on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that year with my family.  In these pictures, Anna was 14, Betsie was 12, Laura was 6, Travis was 4, and Merry was 2.  David and Patrick were staying with other relatives when these photos were taken.

July 4, 2008

4th of July 2008.  Laura was 6 years old here.

I'm looking forward to making some more wonderful 4th of July this year, our last one spent in America for who knows how long. Of course, our new memories actually kicked off last night with the unexpected fireworks display. Wonder what other surprises lay in wait for us? Here's hoping and praying they are all only the good kind! For you, too.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


You just never know what surprises await here in downtown Jackson living at We Will Go Ministries.  Sometime it's a friend you haven't seen for years showing up with a donation or a team.  Sometimes it is a raccoon climbing out of a nearby storm drain.  Sometimes it is the last neighbor you'd expect standing up and reading the Word of God out loud during a Bible study.


Tonight it was a totally unexpected firework display based just a few blocks from our house which meant we had a great view right from our own home base.

True, we miss our cats and the laid back days of our farm life, but I wouldn't trade this life for that one.

God has us right where we're supposed to be and tonight was just a tangible reminder of the unexpected blessings He has in store for us when we follow His will.

And for that, I am very thankful this Thursday one week before the 4th of July.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


"Worry is belief gone wrong.

Because you don’t believe that God will get it right.

But peace –

Peace is belief that exhales.

Because you believe that God’s provision is everywhere—like air.

Exhale. Let go. Peace is the belief that God’s provision is everywhere.

We could be someone else’s peace – someone else’s God-given provision."

---Ann Voskamp, author of 1,000 Gifts

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


This week, we are hosting dozens of volunteers every day here at We Will Go.

Please pray for the volunteers that they will leave here changed.

Pray for us missionaries.  Pray for energy, Holy Spirit discernment, and love.  Pray we won't feel the crazy heat too badly.

And oray for our neighbors.  Pray that they will crave His light and hate the dark.  Pray for them to want God and His goodness more than anything else.  

Actually, that's a good prayer for all of us.

Monday, June 24, 2013


"Do you know that nothing you ever do in this life will ever matter, 

unless it is about loving God and loving the people He has made." 

--- Francis Chan

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Today you are faced with two options, allowing the circumstances you are going to face to make you more like Jesus or pulling you farther away from Him.

Father God promises that if you will trust Him, He WILL use ALL things for your good, to bring about HIS purpose for your life. (Romans 8:28)

Even those bends in the road when you would prefer straight and smooth.

I pray that you'll choose HIS LIFE today! He'll give you the ability to do it, even choose it, even when you're not strong enough.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Today, Patrick and I were laughing and acting goofy on the inflatable water slide at our church's Vacation Bible School fun day.

Two weeks from today, Patrick will be finishing up his first full day of training camp at Adventures in Missions. That means that we have less than two weeks to raise the remainder of his mission trip money, somewhere between $300 and $500. is time to start the selling of the family jewels.

Oh wait, we don't have any family jewels.

Okay, so we'll sell other cool things instead.

I am not going to be doing them as an auction. We just really don't have time for that at this point. Instead, I'm posting pictures of everything and putting a suggested price. If you don't live local, I'd still love to have you purchase the items. I'll just ask you to tack on a bit for shipping and handling according to how big or heavy the items are.

So, here are the items. If you want one, leave a comment with the description and number of the item along with how I can contact you. Payment can be check, cash, or pay pal.

Item #1 is an MUW grab bag of goodies including a canvas tote, pen, soda can huggie, car sticker, lapel pin, and a couple of pieces of literature handed out at Homecoming or new student orientation. The suggested price for this lot of items is $12.

Item #2 is a 2 inch high detailed and adorable llama from Peru.  It has a keychain attached but could easily be used as a Christmas tree ornament.  The suggested price for this item is $6.

Item #3 is a beaded choker necklace from Swaziland.  In fact, I just bought it while I was there earlier this month.  The beads are in the vibrant colors of that nation.  The pendant, which is removable, is a set of three stacked triangles.  This handcrafted jewelry piece is selling for the suggested price of $15.

Item #4 is a hair accessory handcrafted from a coconut shell.  This lovely piece was also bought in Swaziland on my last rip.  It would be a classy way to dress up a ponytail or bun.  The shell part is approximately 3 inches long.  The suggested price on this simple beauty is $8.  

Item #5 is a cross that I bought at the Manzini Market in Swaziland.  It is made of actual seeds turned into beads.  It measures approximately 9 by 7 inches.  This was actually the first time I remember seeing crosses for sale at Swaziland craft markets.  This item's suggested price is $20.  

The next items are handcrafted hearts from Swaziland.  We have gotten to know a very nice man named Alezario who graduated from an Assembly of God ministry school (or maybe a Bible college) in Mozambique.  He sells great items, mostly wood, at his booth in the Manzini craft market.  He carved a W for MUW (or any name that begins with a W)   and a T for the Troubadour Social (or again, any name that begins with a T ) into these dark blue hearts.  They have been fitted with key rings but the rings could easily be removed and the hearts, which are about 2 inches tall, could be used as a Christmas ornament.  These hearts, which are one-of-a-kind, are selling for $5 a piece.  Please specifiy item #6 for the W one and item #7 for the T one.

I will have more items for sale in a couple of days, but that gets us started for now. 

And listen, even if you can't buy an item, would you consider telling others about this sell?  It would really help!  The more people who know, the more people are likely to buy something.  And if you have something you would like to sell to benefit Patrick --- maybe a service or a painting or even a baked cake --- that would be fabulous!  Every bit helps  and really blesses us.  This trip is going to change his life and do so much to further prepare him for moving over there in six months.

Thanks and good night!

Friday, June 21, 2013


I have had a heart for orphans and adoption since I was a child. I have been blessed with seven biological children and love them very, very much. But deep down, I just really believe that God isn't going to stop at seven. I can't have any more children biologically, but I can have more children through other routes. I can have spiritual children. Those who might have a mom and dad, or could be orphaned. I won't ever adopt them or even foster them. They may never live with me, but God will use me as a mother in their life, nonetheless. Then there will be children that I believe God will bring to us for a season. They might not ever be able to be legally ours, but I will love them just as fiercely as my own "legal" children whether they are with me for just a short time or for years and years. And then I believe there will be children who need a forever home that we will be able to make a legal part of our family. They will be adopted and become just as much a MacLellan, regardless of their color or origin, as my American born babies.

Several weeks ago, I wrote a prayer and blessing for my future children. I wrote it quickly into a spiral bound notebook during a time of worship. I share it here because, to be honest, I am not very good at keeping up with stuff and what with our move to Africa, I didn't want to lose it. I wanted it to be here so one day I can show it to each of them and they can see that their mama loved them even before they were known. It is an unconditional love that reflects Father God's love for us.

My arms yearn to hold them.
My lips long to kiss their beautiful faces.
My hands ache to stroke their hair and caress their foreheads.
My heart aches to be with them, be present with them.
My eyes crave to see them for real.
My spirit hurts for the hurts i know they are feeling now.

Oh Jesus, be with them.
Oh Spirit, comfort them.
Oh Father, let them know that their mommy and daddy are on their way.
Until we are there to be Your provision, let them somehow know that they are loved and that you are holding them til we can get there.

But even when I get there, even when their new daddy takes them to their loving home, even when their brothers and sisters bring them into the loud, craziness of our family, may they know that you are still their true parent. You are the true source of their provision. You are their true family. You still have them in Your arms.

It is You Lord who give us the ability to love them.
It is You Lord who sustains them.
It is You Lord who made our home big enough.
Oh Lord, it is You who makes our sustenance enough.
Or Lord, it is You who makes our love large enough to include all You bring to us.

Lord, help our children know that even more than we will love them,
You will love them forever.
You loved them at Calvary.
You loved them at the laying of the earth's foundation.
You loved them before, You loved them now, You love them in the future.

You love them forever and ever and ever.

Oh my children, my heart for you, my willingness to leave my home, my family, my security, is only a tiny picture of how much He is willing to give for You.

Jesus left Heaven for you! He left all the riches, peace, joy, and love of heaven. He left His home so you can have all His riches, peace, joy, and love. Your daddy and I are on our way to give you a new home, a new family, but Jesus already came to give you an eternal home and an eternal Heaven.

You are my reward and I love you.

I love you now, I'll love you even better in the years to come.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


 This week has been Vacation Bible School at Restoration Church.  With as busy and intense as things are right now with ministering at We Will Go, I knew I didn't need to sign up for a position that  would require preparation so I volunteered for the nursery.

This Thursday I am thankful for the time I've gotten with the babies.  This mama's babies are all big kids now so getting to just love on some really little ones has been lovely.  And I even get some exercise in while I walk the sweet, fussy one.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Anna, Betsie, and I are not the only MacLellans who get to visit the amazing nation of Swaziland this summer. My fourteen year old Patrick is also heading there. He will be part of a high school Adventures in Missions team that will be serving predominately at carepoints where orphans and other at-risk children come daily for food, Bible teaching, preschool education, and lots of love. I am excited for Patrick to have this chance not only for the great growth I expect to result in his life and the beautiful ministry he'll be doing, but also because it will give him a chance to further learn about the country that will be his home for the next few years.

The trip to Swaziland costs a little over $4,000.  He has raised all but about $500.  He leaves in about three weeks.  To help bring in this remaining amount, I am going to be selling and auctioning off several items over the next week.  The first one is actually an item we auctioned off a few months ago.  The sweet lady that bought it has donated it back to Patrick's mission trip cause so we can auction it again and basically double the money.  Thanks, Karen!

So without further adieu, here is what I wrote about the painting and the person who painted it:

This past week, the We Will Go family celebrated the birthday of a favorite brother. I know, I shouldn't have favorites in families. But I gotta be honest, Chris Howard is a favorite.

Priceless laughter!  Jesus put that joy there for sure! #birthday #laughter

A year and a half ago, Chris became our brother. He didn't get that way through adoption or physical birthday. Chris became our brother because he was completely born again through Jesus. Once a hate-filled criminal with an infamous past, Chris was overwhelmed by the unconditional, dogged love of the We Will Go missionaries, especially ministry founder Amy Lancaster.

My daughter Betsie recently wrote an essay about Chris and the inspiration he is to her and so many others. Whenever we get discouraged here at the ministry and think "what's the point, so-n-so will never change", we look at Chris and a handful of others who have turned to Jesus.  Chris not only became a new man because of Jesus, but he is now doing what he can to help others become new in Jesus. God is teaching him to serve others and the Holy Spirit is using him to love in the same way that he has been loved.  Chris is determined to do everything he can to bring the light and love of Jesus to the neighborhood where he first introduced crack decades ago.

Chris concentrates on his labor of love. #lifeatwewillgo #painting #patricksmissiontriptoswaziland

Last week, Chris came over to hang out with us while we were painting pictures to raise money for Patrick's mission trip to Swaziland. He created this powerful painting that is a beautiful reminder of the amazing and transforming work of true love. The frame was  later painted by Bronwyn Baker, a missionary from South Africa. 

Bronwyn painted the frame for Chris Howard's artwork that will soon be auctioned off to raise money for Patrick's mission trip to Swaziland. #artformissions #painting #patrickstriptoswaziland #missionaries #heart #love #lifeatwewillgo

Today, I am offering this painting to be bid on. The auction will last til 9:00 this coming Sunday evening. That means you have a little less than a week to get your bid in. Due to the size of the painting, the amount of time put into it, and the awesomeness of Chris Howard, the bidding will start at $25. To bid, simply leave a comment with your name, the bid amount, and how I can contact you if you are the winner. You can also bid via facebook by messaging me or commenting on the link back to this blog.

If you don't live local and I need to ship it to you, I'll ask that you tack on a few bucks to cover the shipping cost.

Thanks so much and please feel free to share this with others who might be interested.  This especially applies to you folks that know Chris.  You know who you are.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Are you ready for the big reveal?

Drum roll, please....

Finally, after what seems like a super, duper, really long time but has really been only a little over a week, I am able to tell you what our family will be doing when we move to Swaziland at the end of this year.

When Jim sent me, Anna, Betsie, and Rhonda to Swaziland just a couple of weeks ago, it was to go do a lot of looking and listening. We had been asked to consider serving with two particular ministries and we also needed to look into housing options as well as some other details. At the end of our week in Swaziland, all four of us believed that we had accomplished what God wanted us to do during our time there and we all believed that God was telling us "yes" about the two ministries. We also believed He was showing how He would provide for the four areas that Jim was asking provision concerning.

You can read more about this process of seeking His will at a post I wrote a few days ago:

After we returned, we shared with Jim what we had seen, who we had talked to, what we believed God was saying to us, and Jim also agreed. God really orchestrated it all so beautifully. He made the answer very clear for us and put within all of us a peaceful rightness about the whole thing.

So without further adieu, I joyfully share with you what we will be doing during the first season of our life in Swaziland. We realize that in the years to come, our lives will change and what we are doing in Swailand might look very different but for now, we are looking forward to two main areas of ministry.

Just as with our lives here at We Will Go, we want our lives to be characterized by loving our neighbors. We also want our lives in Swaziland to put to use the gifts that God has given us and be a fulfillment of the dreams He has planted within us. For me, that means loving on a lot of little children, especially orphans, and encouraging Christians in living out the purposes that God has for their lives. Jim is a teacher and has a tremendous heart for the fatherless. He wants to be a spiritual daddy for boys in need of a Godly man in their life and he wants to encourage men to be the fathers that God wants them to be.

For us, this journey of ministry will start in Manzini. For those of you not familiar with Swaziland, Manzini is in the middle of the country. It really is the hub. There are only two cities in Swaziland, the capital city which is Mbabane and then Manzini. Now by American standards, most folks would only call them towns. You can easily walk the length of the downtown areas of both cities in just 10 or 15 minutes. Manzini has a population of 73,000. You will find elements representing the modern side of Africa, such as the Kentucky Fried Chicken and a very nice shopping mall, as well as the more traditional side of Africa, such as the craft market and many people still living in mud huts. We will start out renting a house with hopes of building a place of our own in a couple of years.

As far as our ministry, much of it will be informal. We will build friendships with neighbors, pray for the market vendors, and just as we do in the States, throw many parties and constantly have the kids' pals in and out of the house for sleepovers. We want to take the principles that we've loved here at We Will Go, that of simply loving the neighbors that God brings into our lives, and apply them to Swaziland.

We will also minister through more formal channels as well.

Jim has been asked by Dudley Donaldson to teach Bible classes at the Zion Bible College for this coming year. While we felt that God was closing the door on us becoming official Zion Evangelical Ministries of Africa missionaries, we still really love the vision and work of this organization and we're excited that Jim will get to use his gift of teaching through this avenue. He will be part of a teaching team, comprised of Swazi pastors and other missionaries. This will give him the chance to not only teach the Word to Swazis, but also build friendships with Swazi men and learn the language more quickly. I'll get to build relationships with the women who attend the classes and the pastors' wives.

The second more formal ministry also involves the Donaldsons, bless their hearts. I guess they know what they're getting into considering all nine of us stayed with them for about a week last year, Jim and I stayed with them nearly three years ago, and we girls stayed with them on our recent trip. But can you really be fully cognizant of the awesomeness of this crazy menagerie until you've spent lots of time with us? Regardless, they've gone and asked us and even gave us permission to tell the whole world so they are stuck now. When we move to Manzini, we will be partnering with them plus a beautiful, Christian family that the Donaldsons have been blessed to get to know over the last few years. The relationship goes beyond friendship, they are family to each other. This Swazi family is truly walking out true religion as they care for the orphans and widows of their rural community located just a short drive outside of Manzini. The church that they lead is a strong, Biblically-sound fellowship full of true believers who are passionate about Jesus and passionate about loving each other. We will be there to just help however they need and the Lord leads, holding up their arms as they serve God and His precious "least of these". We have already met many of the people living there and I'm already quite smitten with several of the children. I also stand in awe of the strength and servant hearts of some of the women I've met. They will teach me much about obeying the Lord with joy and gratitude in the face of many trials. 

Many have asked about plans between now and when we move to Swaziland. Jim and I will go for a week, probably in November or the beginning of December, to sign a lease on a rental house. Jim's last day to work for the State of Mississippi is December 1. We will, hopefully, get completely packed up during the month of November so when we return from our lease-signing trip, all we have left to do is spend time with family and friends saying good-bye and celebrating the Christmas holidays. Once Christmas is over, it will be time to load our suitcases up and drive to an airport. Some have asked if Anna and Betsie will be going with us. They are hoping to go over for a week or two when we first move over, but much will depend on their college holidays and when we get to actually leave for Africa. They will not be moving with us but instead will stay here to follow God's will for their lives, pursuing their university degrees. We hope that they will both be able to come visit us our first summer in Swaziland, but all that is just hopeful thinking at this point. Jim will start teaching at the beginning of the new school year which there, starts after the beginning of the calendar year. Their school years run January to December.

So there you have it! The big reveal of God's plan. I am very excited. It isn't what I thought it would be even just a few months ago, but now that it is shaping up, it is even better than I expected. And He answered so many of our prayers even faster than I expected. But isn't that like God? When we delight ourselves in Him, then He delights in giving us so much more than we could ever imagine.

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters
 or father or mother or children or lands
for my name’s sake,
 will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.

Matthew 19:29

Thank you, Father, for direction, and calling, and goodness, and grace, and love.  Thank you for answering our prayers and giving us even the ability to serve and love you.  You are so good!  We can never deserve Your goodness and faithfulness but I thank You for it.  Use us, Lord.  We are yours!

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Today is set aside to honor the men in our lives who have fathered us. Some folks may have never known their biological dads or maybe they knew them but the relationship was never one that caused you to want to celebrate, but almost everyone has had other men in their lives who stepped in and filled that place, at least in a small part. Maybe it was that coach or youth pastor, maybe it was an uncle or neighbor. It might not have happened til you married and gained a father-in-law. Or maybe, just maybe, the only good example of father figure you've had in your life is God the Father. And for that, I am very sorry. I can't even imagine how tough that must be. I don't say this lightly when I say that I will be praying for you today that you will let the Father of Heaven and Earth fill those empty places and I also pray that He will bring strong, loving, honorable men into your life who will help heal up some of those hurts and give you what we were all created to need.

I do want to take the time, though, to honor those men who are the fathers in my life. There are men out there who are filling those father roles. They don't do it perfectly, after all, we mothers don't do our role perfectly either. Only God the Father is the perfect parent, but I am still grateful that even in their imperfections, they love me, they love my kids, they love those around who that look to them to be their physical father (and grandfathers) as well as spiritual fathers in their lives.

So to my dad, I say HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! I love you and thank you for all you have given me in this life. You always believed in me and set no limits on what God could do in my life.

To my husband's dad, I say HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! I know you didn't get to raise my husband for many years, but once the Lord brought you two back together, you made up for the years the locust ate. You have been a friend, a confidant, a spiritual leader, an example of faithfulness and honor.

To all the men who have been used by God to teach me something about His heart and what my life as a daughter of the King should look like, I thank you and say HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! I could spend an hour listing you each by name but you know who you are. The missionaries, church leaders, ministry friends, pastors, family friends. You have made a difference in my life and in the lives of so many.

And to my husband, the father of my seven amazing children. I love you fiercely. I know that the past twenty years of parenting have not always been laughter and Hallmark card moments. I know that there have been lots of dirty diapers, rolling of eyes, and teenage drama, but through it all, you have stayed faithful and true. You have pitched in and done what's needed doing even when you've not wanted to. You've driven that car home when you knew that chaos and crying was waiting for you. You've endured our lazyness (and I do mean our), our unteachable attitudes, our cluelessness. You have striven to be a reflection of God's grace-filled love, and you've succeeded. Our kids as they grow into adulthood are proof of that. Thank you.

HAPPY FATHERS' DAY, Y'ALL! May your day be filled with many, many blessings and the assurance that there is a Father who loves you and is there for you always, even if you're a grown-up father yourself.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Have you started your Fathers' Day celebration yet?  Well, I shopped for the rest of the Fathers' Day feast today as well as picking up a couple of yummy gifts and the kids did some prepping, but we've also done some fun things.

Jim took the kids who were home to the children's museum and park then hiked nearly three miles home through Belhaven.  Now we're eating pizza and popcorn while watching TREASURE PLANET.  We've also got two special visitors, my nephew Cullen and a We Will Go visitor, Rachel from England.

Tomorrow will there will be presents and special food and lots of pictures , plus calls to the granddads.  But in the meantime, I'm glad we're enjoying each other today.  

Because after all, it is those other 364 days of fathering that make them deserve a very special day of honor.

Actually, they deserve about a year's worth of honoring.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Laura has been at Camp Garaywa this week.  This is a tradition for us MacGirls.  I attended as a camper back in the mid-70's and then served as a cabin counselor while in college.  Anna and Betsie both went when they were much younger.  

They may have all attended Garaywa but their experience has been very different than mine.  Whereas I was so homesick, I cried every night and made myself ill, my girls have all had great times at Garaywa.

Such great times in fact, that Betsie credits her time at Garaywa as a turning point in her spiritual journey, Anna and Betsie are both still friends with girls they met there, and Laura didn't want to go home today.  She loved it so much that though we were the first to arrive at her cabin for pick up, we were the last to leave.

And next month?  Merry and Travis continue the tradition but this time as day campers.  A new offering  that makes it possible for boys to get in on the Garaywa goodness, too.  Laura's already begging to go back with them!

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Today, I am especially thankful for Children's HopeChest and the opportunity they give us to be actively involved in the lives of children in Swaziland.

Through their sponsorship program, we not only have been blessed with being able to help two girls go to school, get fed every day, be taught the Bible, and receive basic medical care as needed, among other things, but we've also been able to visit the carepoint, get to know the girls' families, be kept up-to-date on prayer needs, send small gifts to them, and build relationships with others who are working on behalf of these children --- both Americans and Swazis.

If you know me at all, you know that a huge part of my heart belongs to Swaziland. You also know that I am counting down the months til we are living in Swaziland and I can actually be there loving on those sweet kids on a regular basis. Until then, I am grateful that through Children's HopeChest, our family can be used by God to love on these kids all the way across the ocean.

To find out more about the sponsorship program at Bheveni Carepoint, visit this website: