Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Danielle Alig was in Swaziland this summer with Adventures in Missions just like my son Patrick except she was on a longer trip geared toward college-aged young adults. Her Passport team ministered in many of the same places as the Ambassadors including the Mangwaneni Carepoint. This Manzini Carepoint is located within walking distance of the neighborhood we are looking at living in. I was able to visit there with Children's HopeChest back in 2008. Patrick's team has spent many days there. For all these reasons, I am always particularly interested when I see anything written about it. I found this blog post particularly poignant and Danielle is allowing me to share it here at Graceland.

My heart tends to fight for the underdog and against the big bad bully in nearly every situation. My heart aches for the ones who are picked on or are generally ignored. These feelings also surface not only in caring for the underdog but in disciplining the oppressor (Future Teacher Status).

The "Dump" carepoint in Manzini, is a place in which the Lord has truly showed me his face and his love for the ignored of this world. Upon arriving nearly 7 weeks ago and each Monday that followed, I felt and noticed a continued air of sexuality and inappropriateness over the young children. They were winking at us, giving looks that gave me chills, touching us and each other in inappropriate ways, and saying inappropriate things.

There was one boy in particular that always seemed too attach on to this persona more than all of the others. He was also always hitting and pushing all of the other children. I instantly deemed him "Trouble", and was constantly keeping my distant and reprimanding him when he hit or kicked. I knew who he was and his face stuck with me but for reasons that were not of the Lord.

Two weeks ago, he was up to his usual business, and I felt an exceptional pull to him. I felt the need to pray over the child and ask the Lord to remove the spirits that were surrounding him. I felt the Lord tell me to pray for his protection at home and to give him back his beautiful childlike spirit rather than the one that he currently carried, that was far beyond his years. I left that particular Monday feeling defeated and aching for the children especially this little boy. I do not know what their home lives are like but I do know they are learning and consequently acting out these characteristics somewhere.

This past Monday when we arrived at the carepoint, this same little boy caught my eye and I thought there's trouble. I wonder what he will be up to today; I had better stay clear from him. Little did I know the Lord planned to use this "troubled" child to teach me a major lesson and show me more of His love for me.

I sat down on in the dirt and was instantly bombarded with little boys climbing all over me. There were three in my lap and one that was inconveniently chocking me while climbing on my back. When the children are chocking me I tend to quickly push them off my back, but today for some reason I let them all be. However after about 10 minutes my legs fell terrible asleep, I made the children stand up but kept the one on my back. Little did I know "trouble" was on my back. I sat back down and he was then lying in my lap. He was being good so I let him be. Over the course of the next three hours we became best friends. The day was full of laughter, making funny faces, photos, and videos. The Lord made me fall in love with his beautiful child.

"Trouble" was being a child, a beautiful 5 year-old-boy. He was simply loving on me and I felt a bond forming between us. He wasn't being mean to anyone or doing things that made me shake my head he was just enjoying his afternoon playing with this weird white girl. I could not control my smile and neither could he. It was just the two of us bonding together and finding a little bit of peace in what must be a hard world even for this 5 year old boy.

The Lord truly changed my heart for this boy. He showed me that this little boy is the underdog just as much as the one he sometimes bullies. He needs love just as much as the other children. He is angry or doing the things he is doing because he is lost and doesn't know the meaning of true love.

As I walked away from the carepoint that day with my heart full of love for this child and longing to see him next week, I heard the Lord whisper this is how I felt and feel about YOU. I was the "trouble" child. I was living my life as the bully, and often still do, when I was far from the Lord. I was hurting others both physically and verbally and living my life in constant defense. I was living as far away from the Lord as physically possible. Forcing away any sort of love others were trying to poor into my life. The Lord simply took the time to love me. He made me feel His love and gave me his full attention and saved me from my BAD GIRL self and IS TURNING me into the GOOD GIRL he has designed me to be.

This Lord used me to love this BOY like He loves him as well as to teach me even a bit more about the undeserving LOVE he has for me. I loved this boy for one day and feel in love with him, and was able to see the Lord beautifully through him. I cannot even fathom how the Lord Loves me and has seen me through all the trials and separation I have caused between us. I am feeling more and more like a beautiful daughter simply sitting and cuddling in my Father's lap.

To read more blog posts from Danielle's Passport Team, visit their website:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Would you please pray for Patrick's Ambassador team?  Today was their last full day in Africa.  Tomorrow they will leave and arrive back in Atlanta on Thursday.  They've got a lot of traveling, goodbye'ing, and adjusting back to home facing them over the next few days.  In all honesty, this next season of their experience will be the hardest for many of them.

Thank you!

Monday, July 29, 2013


...the unexpected of a package.

What makes that happiness even nicer? When it is a new book!

This one, The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing is by my friend and Adventures in Missions staffer Jeff Goins.  

A very short quote from the book contains great wisdom for me to remember ---

“In the waiting, we become.”

As I wait for the end of this year to get here and our new life in Swaziland to start, I need to keep that thought ever before me.

I'll be sharing more about this book after I've actually started reading it, but just had to share my surprise blessing with you.  After all, those unexpected, unasked-for ones are often some of the sweetest.  Maybe because they are so much like grace?

After all, true grace is God's unmerited favor.  His goodness came to us and keeps coming to us even though we so often don't deserve it.  And when we've experienced it, we just can't help but sharing it with others.

Thank God for grace and thank you, Jeff, for this unexpected gift this Monday afternoon!

Sunday, July 28, 2013


...that I'm more than a bit crazy about Swaziland? And have I told you that we're moving there?

Oh yeah, yesterday I mentioned that. And about a 1,212 times before that.

Today, I told that to some more folks. Now for some of them, it was old news, but for others, brand new.

Our little church by the side of the highway has gone through a growth explosion over the last few months. My children's church class is literally twice as big as it was about 6 or so months ago. The teacher who was assigned for this week actually needed me to step in and teach at the last minute due to a family emergency so I needed to come up with a lesson. After prayer and talking to the hubby, the kids and I made plans to share the story of God moving us to Africa. We threw in lots of facts about that nation (darn, I forgot to mention the black mambas...the boys would have LOVED that), told them about things we'd done on past mission trips, and filled them in on what our family would be doing.

Sharing about our upcoming move to Swaziland in children's church.

We also told them that we were going to need their prayer and we hoped that some of them would come and visit us.

After our talk was over, David led them in two Swazi songs. Our "old timers" know these songs as they've been singing them for years. But for about half the crew, the songs are new for them. Can I just tell you that it absolutely blesses my heart to hear little Mississippi munchkins singing in siSwati?

Singing the Swazi song, Siya Hamba.

Who knows, maybe some day, one or more of these kids will be singing Siya Hamba and Building Up the Temple while in Swaziland? Or singing Jesus Loves Me in Spanish at a Latin American church or preaching through a translator in an Asian nation. After all, it was a missionary to the Choctaw Indians sharing a message at our Baptist church when I was about 9 or 10 years old that God used to get me to say "yes" to being a missionary.

The call starts somewhere, and I pray that all of these kids, no matter what God asks them to do, will say "yes". I pray that all of them will be crazy enough for God and the call He puts on their lives to just do matter the cost.

He is worth it.

Absolutely and completely worth it.

And so are the ones He calls us to serve.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


It hit me really strong yesterday that in five months and just a couple of days, we will be leaving for Swaziland. Not just a short trip, but for good. That is crazy. We have so much to do between now and then. Good thing I am used to doing things last minute!

Jim and I have been talking for the longest time about things that needed to get done and one of them is a newsletter. There are still a lot of our friends and family out there who are not connected with us via facebook, email, or other internet-reliant communication. I know, I know...hard to believe in this day and age, but true. So today, while the kids were all gone various places, we gathered up our stuff and went to Barnes and Noble. Using Jim's MacBook, we started working on the letter.

Mr. Capable helps me figure it all out. #datewithhubby #writingnewsletter

And, of course, we had to have some good stuff to empower our brain cells. Nothing like a toffee and chocolate blondie or a big, ole, chocolate chip cookie to help you think better.

Blonde shaped smile. #datewithhubby

It is a big task to explain clearly why we are going to Africa, how it happened, and what we'll be doing. But I know this needs to be done because we're in this for the long haul and we're going to need the folks back here praying and cheering us on. We truly couldn't do it without our supporters.

They are even more important than ridiculously priced yet oh-so-delicious baked goods.

Friday, July 26, 2013


Somewhere, I have no clue where, Betsie has gotten this idea that she needs to go to college and further her education. She also thinks she is supposed to turn eighteen next week. 


How dare she do this without the rest of her family liking this? We are all thinking that we need to take a vote and make her abide by our decision and stay with us. And we all know the vote would be for her to stay.

Sigh...for some reason, I think she'd go all demagogue on us and not abide by the will of the people.

Anyway, since we'll be traveling on the day of the not-so-happy-event (for us, she thinks it is a big deal and all) and the day before, too, I wanted to do the traditional birthday interview a few days early.

So here goes.

Betsie, you know my opinion of you turning eighteen and going away --- far, far, far away --- to college. What is your take on the matter?

I feel like I have been running a marathon for the past seventeen years and I'm almost to the finish line. I'm on the last paragraph of the chapter and about to start a new one so I'm really excited to turn the page and start that but I'm also kinda sad.

Yeah, you just put that sad part in to try and make us think you're going to miss us. As if....

ANYWAY, back to your birthday. If you could get anything for your birthday, price and realism have not limits, what would you ask for?

Okay, either it would be a vintage convertible or a trip to Thailand. But since I can't get either of those things, I would really like to get a bike.

What color?

Sky blue.

Is that your favorite color?

It is one of my favorite colors. I pride myself on not having a favorite color.

What are you other favorite colors?

Green and dark blue and pale purple and cream.

Since we're on the subject of favorites, what are some other favorites in your life right now. Let's see....ummm....books. What are your favorite books right now?

I'm reading THE KITE RUNNER and that's a page-turner. I'm not a masochist, though, so I will probably never read it again. I'm reading a lot of girl power books lately.

What are your all-time favorite books?

Oh my gosh. I don't know.

Just name a few.


What about music? Favorite right now and all-time favorites?

THE BEST SONG EVER [by One Direction] and the mixed cd my friend Bethany gave me are my favorites right now. All-time favorites? Taylor Swift, Kacey Musgroves, Switchfoot, One Direction, Keith Urban, Jesus Culture.

Favorite scripture verse or Bible story/passage?

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. At least that's it for the moment. It changes a lot.

Favorite foods? Real food and junk food.

Chocolate chip cookie dough, fro-yo, rotel [dip], anything Thai as long as its not spicy, and MEXICANNNNNNN!

Favorite thing to do when you just wanna chill.

Either a movie or tv show marathon and eat.

Favorite place to hang out with friends.

Somewhere outdoors, maybe the park.

Really? I figured coffee shops.

Oh, coffee shop couch.

Speaking of coffee shops, what are your favorite beverages?

Blondie frappes with lots of whipped cream, hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream, I'm digging Dr. Pepper right now, and always water with ice.

Favorite icecream?

Chocolate chip cookie dough and anything Ben and Jerry's. Their cannoli one is uh-maaaaaazing!

Favorite cookies?

Chocolate chip.

Favorite candy?

Ummmmmm......Reese's cups.

Okay, so off the food theme.

Favorite animal.

Probably cats.


Because, they're not clingy like dogs are. They don't drool and rub their bums on you. I hate that about dogs.

You are my daughter.

Okay, so what are ten other things you really like?

Dancing. Annoying people with David --- it is more fun [with him]. The fact that I only have 22 days until college. Getting a nose ring next week. High heels. Driving with the windows down, every time, even in the rain. I like baseball. I don't like saying goodbye. I like Mindy Kaling, she's really cool. And I loooooove getting snap chats from my friends that are really random and sometimes slightly inappropriate.

Oh Betsie. what is your favorite birthday memory from years past?

Probably my 16th birthday. We went to a restaurant and afterwards we bought a disposable camera and when all the girls came back to sleep on my house we took all these pictures out on my balcony. The next day we went to Merit Creek and when we got there, two of my friends had written HAPPY BIRTHDAY in huge letters in the sand on one of the banks.

How do you think you've changed the most since that birthday?

I stick up for myself now. I'm not afraid to tell people when they are doing something that makes me uncomfortable.

How do you think you'll change between now and next year when you turn 19?

I have no idea. I don't know.

Well, you will have lived 6 months on the other side of the world from your mama and daddy. You'll have finished your first year of college. I can only imagine that it is going to be a huge year.

Do you have any hopes for this year, specifically where college is concerned?

That I become really good friends with my suite mates; that I don't commit to too much, take on more than I can handle; that I still go to the gym and don't gain the freshmen 15; and that I will finish the school year knowing that I helped at least one person.

Well knowing you, and how driven you can be and how loving God has made you, I have no doubt that most of those will happen, especially the very last one.

I love you sooooooooo-o-o-oo much and even though I might pout a bit concerning your leaving, you know that I am actually very proud of you and support your choice all the way. The W is a good match for you and God's going to do amazing things in your life this year.

I love you, Birthday Girl!

Ahhhh, thanks, Mom!

Thursday, July 25, 2013


We heard more news from Patrick's team in Swaziland today. This message sent from Drew, one of his male teammates, was especially interesting to us as it mentioned our boy by name:

"Wow...God has done so much in us this week, I don't even know where to start. I'll save most of the stories for when I'm home...God is working amazingly! We have been going to care points usually 5 days a week, and we have built different relationships with the kids. Yesterday Christina and I were helping the women at the care point move food, and we found 6 rats in the food storage room. She, Patrick, and I spent over an hour killing all the rats, cause they were getting all in the kids' food. Yesterday evening we also helped by painting a playground at a different care point. Last week we met another missions team called "Hosea's Heart". They run a home for girls at risk for prostitution and abuse...and tonight we are visiting them and the girls there! i am so excited. We also have an opportunity to do a church service of sorts at the Hope House on Monday."

We also heard that they were going to visit the Nazarene Hospital in Manzini.

As Drew said, "Wow...God has done so much". What amazing opportunities the team, including Patrick, is getting to serve and grow and learn.

After hearing about Patrick killing the rats, his brother Travis said he is now "Prat", a combination of Patrick and Rat.

Prat, the rat killer. Prat a warrior for the little ones. Prat, one who is willing to do the hard things, things he wouldn't have ever done here in America, for the sake of ones who can't fight for themselves.

Today, it was rats. In the years to come, I can only imagine the forces my young man will be willing to stand up against for the sake of the call. For the sake of our Lord. For the sake of the least and the lost.
Patrick at the Sandra Lee Centre
January 2012

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


A team landed in Johannesburg, South Africa, today headed tomorrow to Swaziland. For the next several days, they will be loving on some of the most precious kids in the whole, wide world, the children of Bheveni Carepoint. Their entrepid leaders, Mike and Danielle Brower, are pictured below. Danielle wrote this blog post while en route:

For such a time as this… a divine appointment to travel across the earth to be with our Swazi family once again.

In my journal, on a connecting flight to South Africa, I wrote this to God… after I wrote it I thought, ‘Huh, that might bless someone else.’ So here it is, like it or leave. This is how me & Jesus hang out.

I’m so completely grateful that You are allowing me to be a part of this journey.

I don’t know if I’ll ever understand why You give people desires to travel all the way around the world to minister to other people – a people not their own. Logically, we should all just stay where we are ‘planted’ and be a blessing in our own neighborhoods. But Your plan is not always birthed in logic, isn’t it, Lord?

You love a romance adventure, don’t You? Ha Obviously You do! Sending your own Son to a far-off land, to a people who needed to know Your love – regardless of the distance, resistance, or danger… no matter the costs.

Why then should it seem odd that You call your children to follow Jesus’ example to go and preach the Gospel, to share the Good News, to heal the brokenhearted? There are no lengths you won’t go to, to share Your love – you’ll even use imperfect, scarred people like me to share your Love with anyone who will receive it.

God, You amaze me, in all your profound wisdom, you really have made it simple for us to obey…trust. Go. Love. Wherever You lead – if its across the street or across the world. That’s sorta awesome.

We each have a call, which is simply what Your highest and best is for us, that brings You the most glory and draws us closer to You.

For us, part of our call is to go be Your hands & feet in Swaziland, offering encouragement of God’s illogical, far-reaching, nothing-is-impossible love to children who have been born into a country where they must daily fight loneliness and hunger on many levels. We pray our very presence (our hugs, kisses, goofy games, gifts, and time) simply reminds them that they are valued, worthy of love and not forgotten – and that Jesus’ hands-on Love would be evident in all we do.

What is your purpose? When you are alone, what do you dream of? What do you want to be your legacy, that produces growth and hope far beyond your lifetime? I want my legacy to be eternal, so that means there may be temporal discomfort, temporal sacrifices like leaving our own boys for a few weeks a year, or downsizing to give more. More than taking fancy vacations, sight seeing excursions, or even creating ‘fun’ memories with my boys, I want them to live with a purpose – that they were created to be a blessing, to create hope in the lives of others, and ultimately to bring the Gospel message to those who would believe, no matter how far the miles may take them. Let my life be an example of that kind of love. When it comes down to it, nothing else matters.

Perhaps you don’t know your passion, what you were born to do. That’s okay… until now! I urge you to seek! I urge you to GO, find your God-given passions and use your talents for the furthering of His Love to the world around you.

Those unique desires and talents were GIVEN to you by God Himself for more than you probably think. Have a conversation with God. I dare you to ask Him to show you why you were created, how you can be a light in a dark world.

And watch out, because God honors bold, audacious prayers! You will find your passion, what makes you come alive, what you were born to do! Combine that prayer with faith-filled action to step through the doors He opens and your life will never be the same! The best part? Chances are the lives of those around you will never be the same again either, and create a legacy far beyond your yours.

Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Shine On!


Please pray for the Bheveni Team as they travel tomorrow to Swaziland and then settle in for ministry.  Pray for good health, lots of energy, and team unity.  Pray that above all, God's love will transform them and the lives of the ones they've gone to serve.

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

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Patrick and his Ambassador team have now been in Swaziland for a full two weeks and have one more week to go before they start traveling back to the States.  Here is the latest blog, this one, written by his team leader Stacy Chapman.

Each night, the fourteen of us sit around our common living space and talk about our day. It is a time filled with sharing moments with children at the care points, sometimes sad stories of the kids' lives at home, sometimes happy stories of a brief break in the language barrier and we were able to share something about Jesus with a child. There are stories of praying with the sick and elderly at the Hope House, ways we were able to be an encouragement or a moment of refreshment. Or there are the stories of passing out food in Manzini and the many people we were able to share the gospel with and pray for, even leading some to salvation in Jesus.

But there is an elephant in the room every time we share.

Not because of what we are sharing, but because of what we're not.

Mission trips...

the very phrase brings to mind a thought,

or idea

Or a stigma?

We go with great expectation of God,

but perhaps that expectation limits us.

The pressure to bring back the

tales and gales of miracles,

lives changed,

and mission "success"

is ever present in our thoughts.

And we become discouraged when we don't see what we Expect.

What if God's expectations are not the same as mine?

What if God's desires and plans are not the same as mine?

Am I okay with that?

Are you?

What if I don't see amazing, big miracles?

What if we don't see a huge revival break out as thousands come forward to receive

the grace freely offered?

Do we worship the fruit? Or do we worship the gardener?

Do we worship the miracles or the miracle worker?

Do we desire the healing or the healer?

We go with great expectation of God, but perhaps that limits us from seeing what God is ACTUALLY doing...

His ways are higher than my ways, and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts.

Oh that we would see you in the small ways, the mundane days, our normal day to day. Oh that a mission trip would not be so different from our lives. Not because nothing special happens when we go on a mission trip, but because we live everyday looking for Jesus.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Happy Birthday, Baby!

You ain't never afraid to jump right in and lead the way.  For that and so many other reasons, I am so glad I have you in my life. 

I hope you've had a wonderful birthday.  I love you so much!

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Tomorrow is my amazing, hunky hubby's birthday. He will be forty-eight glorious years old. So if you see him, make sure you wish him a "happy birthday". He deserves a fabulous one because he works so hard at serving his family and those around him.

I love you, sweetheart! 
I'm very blessed to have you as my life partner in this crazy,
glorious journey that God has us on.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance,
 kindness, goodness, faithfulness
 23 gentleness and self-control. 
Against such things there is no law.
 --- Galations 5:22-23

Friday, July 19, 2013


We were thrilled to wake up to this blog post from Swaziland today, written by Patrick's Ambassador team leader:

As we rounded the last corner through the woods, the scenery suddenly opened up to show us the majestic Mantenga Falls. The water rushed over the sides of the cliff falling 95 meters to the icy cold ravine below.

It was a good hike from where we were to get near the base of the falls. Some of us found contentment just sitting on the rocks, occasionally putting their feet in the water. Some were more adventurous, attempting to scale the rocks to the top of the falls.

But for me, it was all about the water. Its clear, blue ripples called out to me, promising refreshment and cleansing. Admittedly, it had not been a good couple of days. Satan had been relentlessly attacking us, causing quite a bit of emotional chaos. And in dealing with it all, he had briefly succeeded in making me feel isolated and alone- even from Taylor, my incredible and devoted co-leader. Tears became my constant companion.

But now, standing by this incredible waterfall, it all began to lift away. Psalms says that all the earth proclaims the glory of the Lord. I stood on a rock about ten feet above the water and I heard the Lord whisper, "Jump."

Now, I had already been in the water, and the words icy cold don't even begin to describe how frigid the water was. And ten feet IS pretty high. And you would definitely need to jump OUT to avoid rocks.


"Trust Me."

Suddenly, it wasn't the water in front of me, but the love, grace, peace and mercy that the Lord longs to pour out. Jump! He says. Jump into my love; dive into my grace; immerse yourself in my peace and joy.

Give your burdens to me. Stop pulling them around with you. Stop wallowing in the trials, for I have overcome the world!

It took awhile, but I jumped. And I haven't looked back.

What is the Lord calling you to jump into? Perhaps forgiveness, salvation- or even a trip to Swaziland yourself....

For if our God is for us, who can be against us?

A couple of other people jumped that day- in quite a different way. Through the sharing of testimonies, we learned that a couple of guys on our team had not been baptized. But I'll let them share their own stories....

"On Saturday July 13, 2013 I was baptized for the second time. My decision was based off my lack of understanding after my first baptism. I grew up as a pastor's kid so Jesus has always been a part of my life. My father brought me up in front of the church one day and asked me if I wanted to have Jesus in my heart. At the time, I understood that Jesus loved me and seeing people get juice and bread for communion was very enticing. I was excited and asked Jesus into my heart, I was saved, life was good, but of course - I was six years old. Since that time, I've slowly become just another man of this world. That's not acceptable, Jesus calls us to be different, and recently I heard His voice. Now that I know with everything I have that He's the Son of God, now that I know my life is nothing without Him, I must make a change. My understanding was based off everythign I had seen God do in my life, not off what my father wanted. On Saturday July 13, 2013 I was ready. I wanted Jesus in my heart and that's why I got baptized."


"I got baptized because I felt like I was ready."

~Patrick (He's a man of few words :) )

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

Thursday, July 18, 2013


There are so many things to be thankful for. Some of them are big, like the healing of David's eye yesterday. Some of them might not seem as big but are still a very sweet gift.

A really sweet short-term missionary from Mass. brought Laura a handmade hula hoop.

Today, my Laura received one of those sweet gifts. A woman with a mission team from Massachusetts had shown the attendees at our Saturday children's ministry outreach some hula hoop tricks. Laura was especially fascinated and had expressed to the woman how impressed she was with the performance and with the special, hand-made hula-hoops. Julie had brought them to use and give out at a Vacation Bible School that their group was leading this week at another inner-city ministry. When she ended up having a couple of them leftover, she brought one by for Laura.

Laura was thrilled, her sister Merry wanted to try the hula hoop stunts, too, and this missionary mama's heart was warmed to see my girl blessed in this way.

Laura practices her hula hooping skills.

Big or little, I am filled with thankfulness today at the sweetness of my Lord and of His people.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


God is doing amazing things in the lives of my young men this summer. Patrick, as you know, is in Swaziland serving with an  Adventures in Missions team . I can only imagine the many things he is learning and experiencing but won't know the details til he gets back on August 2nd.

David, on the other hand, is living and serving right alongside me here at We Will Go. I have the honor of watching him grow as he works with volunteers, leads worship, practices his guitar, pushes his siblings to excel, and interacts with needy neighbors who come to our door. I have also gotten to witness God do a really cool thing that has boosted David's faith. Mine, too.

For the past month or so, David has had a yucky stye in the inside corner of his right eye. He's been treating it with a warm washcloth every day. It was getting smaller and seemed to be getting better til he woke up yesterday morning and it had turned black! The red nasty blob was now a black nasty blob.

After researching the condition online and learning that he needed to seek medical advice ASAP, we sent him off to our favorite family clinic. The nurse said he needed to go to an eye doctor as it was something she'd rarely ever seen or dealt with. So, it was on to a specialist who immediately said he needed to have it removed. He no longer does surgery so an appointment was set up for David to go back in on Thursday afternoon when one of the other doctors has surgery hours. At first, we were told there were no openings, but the doctor insisted that it needed to be done soon and so we were told to come and be prepared to wait as a work-in.

Let me tell you, this was not happy news.

First, David was really nervous about having his eye worked on. We all have our things we hate, his eye being fooled with is his.

Second, we are sucking air where finances are concerned this month. Between a bunch of other medical bills that all came due, two vehicles that required pricey repairs, two out-of-town trips, outfitting Patrick for his mission trip, etc, etc. we were out of money way before we'd even reached the half-way point of the month.

So, we prayed. We'd already been praying for financial provision and protection, now we started praying for David's eye. We thought, "wouldn't it be nice if the Lord healed it up and David didn't even need the procedure?"

And that's just what God did.

This morning, David woke up and the black blob had fallen off and his eye was as good as new.

The need for surgery was gone! He was healed!

God gave us a double provision! David didn't have to have the procedure he was so dreading and God spared us from having to lay out even more money to cover medical bills.

I know in the years to come as we move to Africa, take a huge income cut, and are surrounded by more needs than we can ever begin to meet on our own, we're going to rely on God moving in amazing ways.  I'm thankful for His loving and gentle Spirit that is teaching us to trust Him now, even when a part of me often doubts He'll actually do the things for me I know He is capable of.  I am thankful that His faithfulness doesn't rely on me having a perfect, super faith.  He is teaching me to think back on the times of provision and hide them away in my heart so that in the days to come, when things look impossible, I will cling to the fact that nothing is impossible with my God.


He doesn't always do it the way we want or when we want, but through it all, He is there loving us and doing what He knows is best for us and the plans and purposes He is bringing to pass.

I need to rest in that.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Today's blog post is short and sweet, just two adorable "short" and "sweet" little Swazi darlings blessing us with their beautiful smiles.

Hope they bring joy to your heart the way they do mine. It is easy to let the cares of this world bog us down --- unexpected doctor visits, vehicle repairs, difficult people, lack of funds --- but the Lord wants us to trust Him and go through this life, even through the hard times, knowing that He loves us and we don't have to strive. We can rest in the fact that He is a good Father and nothing is too hard for Him. Even when He lets us go through suffering, it is ultimately for our good and His glory.

Sometimes He sends us reminders of His faithfulness through a scripture passage, worship song, or a sermon. Sometimes it is as simply as the hug from a precious friend or the smile of a beautiful child.

Blessings to you all and may your week be filled with many other reminders that God is good and desires for you to be full of His powerful, sustaining joy.

  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. 
In this world you will have trouble.
 But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus --- John 16:33

Monday, July 15, 2013


Praise God! I am happy to report that all the children of Bheveni Carepoint who still lacked sponsors have now been chosen. Most were sponsored by individuals and families but the last handful of children have now been sponsored through a business in Tennessee! What to go, Volunteer State!

There are going to be a lot of smiling faces when the Bheveni team arrives in just a couple of weeks for its annual visit to the carepoint. And this year, some of those kids are going to be smiling extra big thanks to some amazing folks who stepped forward and said they'd be the conduit God would use to bring hope --- hope that now every single child shares.

To learn more about the ministry of Children's HopeChest in Swaziland, watch this v

Sunday, July 14, 2013


We are boys who come daily to Bheveni Carepoint and love having our pictures made!

Okay, so maybe that's not what they said word for word but that's basically what they were saying with their actions when I saw them back at the end of May.

When I visited this carepoint over five years ago, it was little more than a stick, rock, and mud hut. There was no playground, there was no garden, there was no kitchen, there was no fence to keep the cows out, and most of the kids were struggling to stay in school or were not in school at all.

All this changed when God matched up Children's HopeChest with this carepoint and sponsors started monthly giving so these boys, and over a hundred other kids, could go to school, eat nutritious meals daily, receive medical care when needed, receive Bible instruction, and most of all, receive lots of love and encouragement.

There are still a handful of children who need a sponsor. They still need a special friend or family who will write them letters, send them photos, pray for them, and give financially so they can have their basic needs cared for.

And one of the neatest things about the Children's HopeChest sponsorship program? Every sponsor is invited to actually go and meet their sponsored child. And then you can experience like I have, the joy firsthand that these kids now experience every time they pile onto the carepoint play equipment, line up for big bowls of hot food, or dance and sing during Bible time.

For more information, visit this website:

Be a part of the joy sharing!

Believe me, the kids aren't the only one who are blessed by the relationships!