Monday, December 29, 2014

It's Time

It's been 9 months since my feet felt the red dirt between my toes. 
9 long months since I held those sweet babies at Ebenezer.
9 months of thinking about all the people I love in Uganda.
9 months of  dreaming of being back in a place that God used to break my heart for the fatherless, oppressed and poor.

But in just 80 days my feet will be in the red dirt, my arms will be holding those babies, I can spend time with people I love, and I can again be sharing the love of Jesus with the fatherless, oppressed and poor.

Words can not express how excited I am that our family will be returning to Ebenezer Children's Ministry in March to continue our partnership with them.  Over the next several weeks we will prayerfully be planning details of exactly what we will be doing to serve the people of Uganda...specifically in Kibuku and at Ebenezer's Children's Ministry. A few things that are already in the works are, visiting the community, visiting the new school, and spending lots of time with the children living at Ebenezer.

This trip is going to cost us roughly $10,000.  We are trusting the Lord will provide these funds for us.  He has always been faithful in the past.  We will be having some fundraising events to help with some of the cost.  If you are interested in supporting us financially or would like to speak to us more about this trip please email me at  We are always willing to come share with bible studies, house churches or small groups about the work God is doing at Ebenezer.  We also covet all of your prayers, from now until we get home. 

For a little more background on what our family has done in the past please visit Apex Anthologies.  Our church did a blog post on our families first trip to Uganda.

Also, there is a YouTube video that recaps our trip.

Thank you so much for your support of our family and the work God is doing.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog so you can receive any updates via email.

Monday, July 7, 2014


For as long as I can remember fear has been a huge part of my life.  When I was little I would wake up in the middle of the night and crawl into bed with my mom and dad because I was afraid of the dark.  I was terrified of flying.  I would cry hysterically whenever I would have to get on a plane.  Ask my brother-in-law about this one.  He got to experience it first hand when he went on vacation with us for the first time.  I was afraid of tornadoes and thunderstorms.  I would watch the weather all day if there was a chance of a thunderstorm and make myself physically ill over the thought of bad storms.  And I would be the first one in the basement at the first sight of rain. When I was a teenager I still slept with my mom because I was afraid someone was going to break into my house.  Probably because someone tried one night.  As an adult I still fight the fear of storms and flying.  I am also afraid something will happen to my children or Rob.  I hate staying by myself when Rob is out of town.  In fact, until recently I would go stay at my moms while he was gone.  I am insecure in relationships which stems from a fear of being abandoned, rejected or betrayed.  I am afraid of the "what if" and constantly play out "what if" scenarios in my mind.

A few weeks ago a friend and I began reading the book, "What Women Fear" by Angie Smith.  (Angie is a blogger at Bring the Rain.  I was vaguely familiar with her story regarding her daughter's birth and death, but I was not aware of the struggle with fear she has had.  I encourage you to read her story.)  I knew when I picked it up that there would be a few chapters that I would be able to relate to.  What I was not prepared for was being able to relate to every single one.  Each time I start the chapter I read the title and the subtitle, for example...Chapter 1 Sitting by the Well, fear of the "What if"  and I think, "yeah, I can relate" or Chapter 5 Wind and Waves, Fear of death, "Nah, I am not afraid of dying.  I know where I am going."  And by the end, I am convicted of how the fears she spoke of in the chapter totally relate to me.  I think there have been 2 chapters (out of 7 so far) that I feel like were not written just for me.  2 CHAPTERS!!!!!! I would say fear has had a pretty good hold on me. 

However, God has used this book, along with memorizing scripture, to help me to come face to face with some of these fears and then overcome them.  To be honest, this is something He has been working on for about the past year.  You may remember the trip to Mexico and all the "what if" scenarios and the trip to the park.  And let's not forget there was a plane ride.  Then Africa happened.  Where I was flying over the ocean, without my kids.  And then there was my 2nd trip to Africa with another plane ride and this time with my kids!  Through each one of these trips God worked out some major fears.  I came back from my first trip to Africa and wrote a post about what if I would have said no.  And my fear changed from being afraid of what could happen to being afraid of what I would have missed. 

There is a sentence in the book, "I wanted to look at the ocean like it was beautiful and not something that could swallow me up."  (Probably one of my favorite sentences in the whole book.)  That is me...I look at things and think "what if".  What if the plane crashes?  What if a tornado hits my house? What if something happens with this friendship? What if Rob dies? What if my kids get sick?  And the list goes on and on. 
But now I can ask the question, What if I miss something incredible the Lord has for me?  What if I have an incredible experience?  What if I have a beautiful friendship if only for a short time?  What if I get a special moment with my kids?  What if...and the list goes on and on.

I have been forced to ask myself, "Where is my faith?" (Luke 8:25)  Is it in my house with locked doors?  Is it in the basement?  Is it in other people?  Is it in the borders of my country?  Or is it truly in my Savior...the Sovereign God?

Let's be clear about something, I have not completely overcome these fears.  Each day is a battle.  Some I win (like riding the ferris wheel Thursday) some I lose (like waking up in the middle of the night and checking to make sure the doors are indeed locked.)  But through the power of the Holy Spirit I can face these fears.

2 Timothy 1:7
"For God did not give me a spirit of fear, but of love, power and self-control."

2 Corinthians 10:5
"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ."

Friday, June 27, 2014


 Today we celebrate God blessing our family with Carys Elizabeth.
 To know Carys is to know innocence,



a true girl in every sense of the word,

and a true servant.
Our family has been so blessed by this tender-hearted, thoughtful, loving little girl.  Each day with her is a joy.  She brings laughter to all of us with her silly sense of humor.  It is hard to believe that today she is 8.  I look back at these pictures and can not believe how fast the time has gone.  I pray for her future and know that God is going to use her in might ways for His glory.  I don't know if I have ever met a child that loves the way she does and I know that the love she has comes straight form the Lord.

Monday, June 2, 2014


Saturday ended the "official" dance season.  (We still have one competition left.) It was a long 2 days between rehearsal and recital, but so worth it.  Rob said it best, "You spend all this money and time and think should we be doing this, then you see your daughter on stage..."  And it all becomes worth every penny and minute!  I know I am a little bias but God has truly given Carys the gift of dance!  She is a beautiful dancer and absolutely adores it!
I love the friends she (and I) make during the year.
 A friend from house church also dances at the studio.  After she got done performing Carys met her backstage with a big hug and encouraging words.
 Backstage coloring while waiting for their next dance.
 "Shooting Stars" and their fabulous teacher!
 Sass much!?

Carys and Allie have danced together for 4 years now.  (This is them in their ballet costumes.  This was an absolute beautiful dance!) They have such a great time together.  Her mom has become a great friend as well!
What a GREAT year!  Here's to many more!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I had the wonderful privilege of attending CAFO2014 Thursday and Friday last week.  (That is the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit) It was a very enriching and informative couple of days.  (Also full of fun and laughter with two of my greatest friends!)  Let's just say...God moved in me.

If you are involved at all in orphan/vulnerable children care you have heard one (if not all of these phrases):
Be the difference for one.
Make a difference for one.
Do for one what you wish you could do for them all.
If you can't feed 100 just feed one.

I don't know about you, but I read these and think, okay...I can help one, but really what is that going to do? Anything?

Yes!  I heard multiple stories over 2 days of one life being changed which in turn changed many lives.  Let me share just a few of them with you...

Tyrone Flowers was born to teenaged parents who could not raise him. He spent his childhood being shuffled between foster homes, detention centers, reform schools, and state youth facilities.  Labeled "beyond parental control" at age seven, he was also diagnosed with behavior problems and learning disorders.  Service providers saw no hope for his future.  He spent time in and out of Juvenile Detention all through his adolescents.  While there ONE woman, a cafeteria worker, took an interest in ONE boy, Tyrone.  She became more of a parent to him than anything he had known.  He ended up going back to school and getting very involved in basketball and even got offered a scholarship to play in college.  But before he got to college he was shot three times by a friend that paralyzed him.  He now has an organization called Higher M-Pact that offers intense, long-term mentoring for a select group of high-risk urban adolescents. (Tyrone called them Urban Orphans) Higher M-Pact also provides life and social skills training, spiritual development, education, job training, guidance counseling and recreational services.  Project Restoring Hope (part of Higher M-pact) features after-school programs that promote structure and provide positive activities for our youth.  Higher M-Pact also educates communities about the serious issues facing our high-risk urban youth and the effect they have on the community.   This ONE man is now making a difference in the life of many.

Daniel is a pastor in Kampala, Uganda (yes I about died as soon as he started speaking!)  He was a street orphan at a very young age.  One day he decided he was going to take his own life by hanging himself in a tree at his school.  He waited until very late in the day when everyone had gone home and went over to the tree.  When he got there, someone was waiting.  A friend.  The friend talked to him about Jesus and invited him to stay at his home.  ONE family took this boy in.  Now Daniel is a pastor in Kampala, sharing the gospel with many people.  And he has 8+ children.  This one man is now making a difference in the life of many.

Friends, this is just two short stories of thousands of lives changed.  I know, for me, that I really can make a difference for ONE!

Friday, April 25, 2014


Is it ironic that I will take my last malaria pill today?

Yes, yes it is.

Why you ask?  Good question.  Because today is World Malaria Day! 

Malaria is a nasty illness that I unfortunately have looked in the eyes of.

A child sick with Malaria
 A child sick with malaria
A child sick with malaria.
600,000 children in Africa died from malaria in 2010.  600,000!  A child dies from malaria every 60 seconds, most of them are under 5 years old.  The maddening part about this illness is that it is totally treatable, preventable and curable!  For less than $3 a person can be tested and treated for malaria.  So why do so many people die of it, you ask?  Great question again...a few reasons.  1...they don't know what they have.  When we visited a village with Healing Faith, we were able to watch Jason share with a lady what malaria is and what causes it.
Guys...she didn't know.  He had to tell her it wasn't an evil spirit but a mosquito.  They don't have Google.  Sometimes it is as simple as not knowing.  (The best part of talking to this lady was Jason also shared Jesus with her!)
2.They don't have access to health care.  Simple as that...they can't get to a clinic.
3. They don't have the $3 to get the test and the treatment.  Most Ugandan families live on less than $2 a day.  Let me say that again, MOST UGANDAN FAMILIES LIVE ON LESS THAN $2 A DAY!
When you/I think about 600,000 children dying from an illness it can seem overwhelming.  So you might be asking yourself, "I want to help, but what can I do?"  Oh all are asking such wonderful questions.  I am so proud.  There is this great organization Healing Faith.  They are in Uganda and are dedicated to educating, testing and treating malaria.  And...sharing the gospel.  Rob and I had the honor of serving with them in October and hanging out with them in March.

The work they do is fantastic.  There is one problem...right now in Uganda it is the rainy season.  Which doesn't seem like a huge deal, but when you are trying to get to a village, down a dirt road, in the rain...well, that is pretty difficult.  If it is raining Healing Faith usually has to cancel their village visits, which means more malaria going untreated.  Booo!  We don't want that. 
Healing Faith is starting a campaign today to raise $25,000 in one week to buy a fully-equipped Mobile Malaria Vehicle that will allow the team to reach the villages year round.  You want to help!?  Great!  Go to this website and donate ANY amount.  And I seriously mean any amount!  Any donation amount will get you entered into a contest to win a t-shirt.  A $50 donation gets you a t-shirt.  I am going to head over there now and make my donation and get my free shirt!
Aren't they great!?  I just love them.  In fact, I love them so much that I am going to do my own contest through the blog!!!  All you have to do is share this post on Facebook, Instagram, and/or twitter (when you share it #worldmalariaday, #malariabites, #mobilemalariavehicle) and like the Healing Faith Facebook page.  Then you will be entered into a drawing to win one of these shirts.  If you do all of those things, that is 4 chances to win.  I will pick the winner next Friday May 2nd.  So you can share this post, on each of those outlets once a day for a week.  If you do that you have a pretty good chance of winning! 
Let's spread the word about malaria and help Healing Faith get their Mobile Malaria Vehicle!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


This word "retreat" keeps coming up in my head. I keep hearing, "Just go back to the way you were living.  It would be so much easier.  Watch tv every night, find something fun to do on the weekend, do what you for yourself.  Retreat."  Every time I start feeling something, or "processing" something I hear, "retreat, retreat, retreat." 

Then I feel this nudge to press on.  Keep moving past the pain, hurt, confusion.  Keep my eyes on the Lord and press on. 

Today I really felt it...

Retreat, retreat, retreat.

Some things kind of came crashing down on me and it was all a little to much.  Things I have been suppressing for the past week and a half, things I have been retreating from hit me like a brick wall.

As I was driving to house church I was thinking, "ok, people are going to ask me how I am doing.  Do I give them the fake I am okay or the honest I am feeling a little bi-polar today."  God knew what I needed because actually no one asked.  One sweet friend simply came up gave me a hug and said, "I wasn't going to ask how you are, I just have been wanting to give you a hug."  Have you ever felt like you just wish God had on skin and could hug you?  Well, that was God's way of giving me a hug.  He is so good.  I am sure my friend had no idea that in that moment she was Jesus to me, but she was.

We sat down to do our content time and Rob played this video.  Go watch it...seriously. 

I sat their, with tears in my eyes, thinking "this is why I am not going to retreat.  This is why I press on."

Jesus didn't retreat. 
He surrendered...
his whole self...
to God's will...
on a cross.

That is the God I serve.  A God that died for me. 

I am going to stop listening to the enemy yelling "retreat, retreat, retreat" and I am going to start listening to Jesus whisper, "surrender, surrender, surrender."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Re-Entry, Processing, and How Was Africa

I hate these words.  All of them. 

I don't want to "re-enter."  I don't know how to re-enter. 
I don't want to "process."  I don't know how to process.
What do those words even mean?  How do you take your entire family to the other side of the world, to a world that is nothing like the one you live in and then re-enter...process.

How do I begin to answer the question, "How was Africa?"  (Don't get me wrong, I know people mean well when they is just really hard to answer this.)

A great friend has reminded me this time around that "re-entry" is similar to grief.  After all, we are grieving the loss of something...a place/people we love.  So as I think over the stages of grief, I find myself somewhere between denial/isolation and anger.  I don't want to allow myself to think about all that happened.  I have emotionally disconnected myself.  If I "go there" I might just break down.  If I re-live all that was...I will just grow sad that it is over.  If I come to terms with the reality of Uganda, I may never go back.  So I deny...refuse to think about it.  I have isolated myself.  I don't really want to talk to people.  I don't want to answer the question "How was Africa?" That would require me to re-live it and remember...I am in denial.

Then the anger piece starts to creep in.  Why did I have to come home?  Why did I ever go in the first place?  Why do I love people that live so far away? And I just get kind of mad. 

I know that in time I will move past these things, but right is hard.  I don't want to go back to "normal" life, but I don't know where to go from here.  Each day I awake and pray, "Lord, I don't know what this day holds, but I am praying for your grace to take the next step.  Lead me, Father.  Lead me."

If you have gone a trip like this before you are thinking, "Yup...I know that feeling."  If you have not, you are thinking, " probably need to check into a hospital and get on some meds."  Let me ease all of your worry...this is normal.  I struggled in October too.  It was different, but it was still a struggle.  I will resurface soon.  It may take awhile and I will be changed, but I will. 

Until then...
I will wake up and go through the motions and
miss this...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I Am a Lucky Girl

To say the last 12 days were some of the best of my life would be an understatement.
Not only did I get to see people I love and serve a God I love,
but I got to do it with people I love.
Particularly this guy...

He has worked so hard over the last several months to plan out every detail of this trip.
He sent email after email to book rooms and our driver.
He corresponded with George often about our "program."
He was in constant contact with Brett and Diana from Equip 1
about what we needed to do from a ministry stand point.
He spent many hours talking to the kids and I about what we would experience and how
God would use this trip in our family.
He spent time posting things on Facebook to raise money for Ebenezer and Change4Change.
He took time to prepare his heart and mind for all God had for us.
All that time he spent to prepare for this journey paid off ten fold.
Even though his plans didn't go exactly as he planned, he knew they were
going exactly as God planned.
I love watching him serve the people of Uganda with joy.

He is a great example of love to the children at Ebenezer and the surrounding community.
He is so compassionate for the needy and oppressed.

He is fearless when it comes to preaching the word of God.

He is amazing at encouraging the young people.

He is a hard, hard worker!

He is loving and caring for the fatherless.
How is it that I get to do this life with him?
I am not sure...
but I am sure happy and blessed that it is me!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

An Introvert In Africa

Broderick is an introvert in every sense of the word. 
I guess I always knew that, but it has become very clear this trip.
Remove everything familiar and comfortable from anyone and drop them in another country and it can be very difficult, especially for an introvert.
This boy has amazed me. 

Each day he pushes himself a little more.
I have loved catching little sweet, tender moments of him playing with the boys one on one.

He has done a wonderful job of doing what boys do with these children.
It has been such a blessing to watch him do things he is
uncomfortable with but knows he needs to do.
Nothing warms my heart more than to see him grow in who he is and who God created him to be.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Break My Heart for What Breaks Yours

Everyday we drive from Mbale to Kibuku, about a 45 minute drive through the countryside of Uganda.  It is breath taking, I am not going to lie. 
Each day I see huts, beautiful children yelling "mzugu", woman walking for water, children walking to school with no shoes, men working in the fields, boys herding cattle, ladies with children strapped on their backs, naked babies playing in the dirt, and many people struggling to survive. 
These things I am beginning to get used to.
Some days I see things I have not seen before.  Like a crippled, elderly man crawling down a dirt road.  Or a man that had been riding his bike now laying on the side of the road because he has been hit by a car.  Or bull horns fresh from the bull being transported in a box on a bike. 
 Each day brings something new.  And those things I have not gotten used to.
Today, I watched 3 street orphans sit outside our car with nothing.  (they are had to see but they are in the picture above.)  The clothes they had on were filthy and torn.  They had no food.  And tonight as I sit in my comfy, cool, locked up room, I wonder where they are.  Did they ever find food or water?  Do they have a place to sleep?  Are they all huddled together to keep warm?  Are they afraid?
This is something I will never get used to.
No child should have to wonder where they will sleep, or how they will get food, or if someone is going to hurt them.  Today was a rough, heavy, emotional day.  (Don't get me wrong...there were great joyful moments.)  It ended with me sitting in the car in Mbale with 3 beautiful smiling faces looking back at me.  No where to call home, no one to call mom and no food to eat.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Africa Is On Her Now

What happens when you bring your children to Africa?
They fall in love!
It all started here...
Carys was helping Moses put his sweater on. (Yes, sweater.  As soon as it gets below 80 degrees they put on sweaters and coats!)  They have been buddies since!
When Rob came last March Moses wouldn't go anywhere near him. He cried all the time.  When we came in October, he was pretty much the same.  Rob got one picture of him smiling.
Yesterday, Carys bridged that gap with Moses and made a sweet connection.  Sylvia, the director of Ebenezer said, "Carys has changed Moses."

Look at the light in his eyes. 

Today they didn't leave each other.  Where she went he went.  Where he went she went.
We walked to check on the construction of the house and Carys wouldn't come unless Moses could. 

And then it happened.  She said, "Mom, how am I going to leave him?"
Wow...I told her, "It's going to hurt, and you are going to miss him.  Trust me...I know."
When it was time to leave she cried.  But it is was a different cry.  It wasn't a temper tantrum was a sad cry.  She really didn't want to leave him.
This girl has opened her heart big and God has filled it with love.  His love.
Africa is on her now too!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Making a Difference Through Change

In October when Rob and I were in Uganda we met a family in the community near Ebenezer.

This is a grandmother and grandfather, with 2 adults and 8 children living in the hut behind them with no bed, no blankets and very little food.  Since we were here in October this family has been impressed on our hearts.  Before we came we talked and prayed about helping and really making a difference for one family in the community.  We were thinking food and maybe beds.  After discussing this with Broderick and Carys and thinking how we could help them, they decided they wanted to use the Change4Change money.  Rob and I contacted George to see if we could help them.  He said, "oh yes, we shall build them a house."  Yeah, okay...we were thinking some beds and food, but let's build a house! 

Today we visited the family and Broderick and Carys shared with them that they collected coins to raise money to build them a house! 

The moment was sweet, and joyous, and tearful all at the same time.  To know that children, friends and family are truly changing the life of a family here in Uganda is incredible!

If you are like me I am sure many of you who gave change were thinking if your change could really make a change ... ha, did you like that?  It does!  It is!  It will!  This family, these children, will have a better life because of some pennies you gave!  They will no longer sleep on the floor of a mud hut.  They will no longer worry about their home flooding when it rains.  And God used you to do that!

Keep watching because construction started today, so we will be updating as the house is completed.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Let's Get a Few Things Out of the Way

There is a wonderful feeling that comes with waking up in Africa! I thankfully experienced this yesterday morning.  We arrived safely Saturday evening and had a wonderful surprise awaiting us at the airport.  Sylvia left Mbale at 3:00pm, took a taxi to Kampala, traffic was bad so around 7:00pm she hopped on a Boda-boda and finished her long journey to arrive at the airport around 10:00pm to surprise us!  Did you catch that . . . she traveled 7 hours just to surprise us by greeting us at the airport.  It was so wonderful to see her!  We woke up Sunday and had a lovely breakfast.  I was so pleased to see that our driver was using the Sole Hope van to cart us around in for a few days.  I literally walked out from breakfast and thought, "Great, we have a reliable van so this should be a smooth drive to Jinja."

We loaded up and hit the road.  About 30 minutes into the drive something happened and Paul could not shift the gears of the van.  He drove for a little while until the van stopped and wouldn't restart.  We were right in the middle of Kampala.  I felt in this moment that God was saying, "Hey Rob...that nice schedule you have that you spent hours on, can forget about it.  Oh and need to relax.  You do remember you are in Africa, right?"  Now I know he wasn't really saying this. But he was saying it, just a little more graciously. 

Rob, Paul and some kind Ugandans pushed the van onto the sidewalk in Kampala.  Paul talked to a mechanic.  Pause...I still haven't figured out how one of the guys that helped pushed the van was actually a mechanic.  Ok...back to the story.  They figured out what was wrong and started taking the van apart.  Yup, took it apart on the sidewalk.  I asked Paul how long this would take and he said, "40 minutes."  If you have been to Africa before you are already laughing because you know what this means.  We were NOT going to be back on the road in 40 minutes.  They were taking the van apart on the sidewalk remember.  4 hours later we were back in the car on our way to Jinja! 4 hours we just hung out on a corner in Kampala.  Let me clear something up for you...I didn't want to be anywhere near Kampala.  I didn't want to drive through Kampala.  Let alone spend 4 hours just sitting on the street corner.  God was making something very clear to Rob and I. 

Then last night we were laying in bed talking about our long day.  (After a fantastic visit with Kari and Jason and their family!)  And something hit me.  What if we missed the whole point of the breakdown.  What if I was so worried about being in Kampala and Rob was so worried about us being off schedule that we missed the blessing God had for us.  We saw street orphans and mothers with small children begging for food.  We had bags full of food that were donated to us to give out.  But we had a plan for them.  And my American mind said, if you start handing out food you will cause a big scene and many people will start coming.  Really!?  What did Jesus say to the disciples about feeding the crowd?  I am pretty sure he said feed them and then multiplied the food! 
Did God want us to do something and we didn't?  Could I have seen God multiply food?  Could I have helped save a child from starvation?  I have no clue, but I can tell you these questions have been reeling in my mind the last 24 hours. 
I have got to let this grip of fear on me loose, otherwise I will miss all God has planned.