Friday, February 28, 2014

3 Weeks Out

Let me just start off by saying that the Lord is sill amazing me every single day.  Whether that be by a little brown box with a smile on it at my doorstep, an encouraging word from a friend, watching children drop handfuls of coins into the jars for Change 4 Change at Apex, or an email offering gift cards to purchase items for Ebenezer.  I told house church on Tuesday, with tears streaming down my face, no blog post, Facebook status or words can express our appreciation for all of you coming alongside our family in this process.  ALL of us are seeing the hand of God work in this journey!  Quick story...
Sunday morning we went to church and as Rob and I were checking the kids in they went and looked in one of their Change 4 Change jars.  They immediately started calling for Rob and I.  We looked up and saw absolute shock and joy on their faces.  As we walked over they began to say, "There are 2 $50 bills in the jar!  That is $100 Mom and Dad!"  They, along with Rob and I, could not believe this.  That brings our total for Change 4 Change to over $200...AND WE HAVEN'T EVEN COUNTED THE CHANGE YET!!!!!!

In the book, Finish the Mission by a lot of wise men, John Piper says, "God gives his people material wealth for the sake of the world's spiritual worship.  That is, he blesses his church with riches for the sake of reaching the nations.  He gives a bountiful wheat harvest for the sake of a bountiful world harvest.  He gives us more money than we need so that we can meet the world's greatest need-the need to know God through Jesus Christ. We are blessed to be a blessing."

Thank you to all of you that have used your material wealth to be a blessing to our family.  And most importantly to being a blessing to the nations.

We are only 3 weeks away from getting on that plane and flying across the pond.  AAAAAHHHHHHH!  (That is a scream with a little bit of panic and a whole lot of excitement!)
Okay...I feel better.  Broderick keeps asking me...every day..."Can we leave tomorrow?"  Well no, my dear child we can't.  There is much preparation still and our plane tickets clearly say March 21.
That being said I wanted to give you all an update of were we are and how you can still help.

-Pray.  Seriously...I can't express enough how important this is.  There are a lot of details involved in planning and preparing to take your family to Africa.  I read a quote on a friends Facebook page that said, "Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be the big things that you do – but the little ones you love. What God’s graciously given you is always enough to be abundant grace for someone else." from Ann Voscamp.  We do not want to get caught up in those details.  We want this trip to be about sharing the grace of our God with every person we come in contact with.  Pray for us.

- We are still collecting change for Change 4 Change.  This is the Broderick and Carys' fundraiser.  They have decided to use the money for food and/or school supplies while we are in Uganda.

-We have reached our first goal of $10,000 for the building of the school!!!!  Praise the Lord for this.  Now we only have $20,000 more to go.  If you would like to give to the building of the school you can go to Equip1 and select the donate tab.  You can also give me a check.  Don't let the big number intimidate you...every penny counts...seriously!

Classroom now

Future home of Ebenezer Children's Ministry and Primary School

-If you would like to support our family financially you can email me at

-Pray.  Oh wait...I already said that.  But for real...pray for us!  We have started a Facebook page to share a little more intimately with people who want to pray for us.  You can go here to check it out and follow it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cheerful Giver

Not only has God totally blown me away with the generosity of my friends and family, but now he is blowing me away with the generosity of children!  Like I mentioned in my last post, the kids are doing their own fundraiser, Change 4 Change.  The kids shared this weekend at our church gathering with about 100 children about where they are going and what they will be doing.  (You can watch the video here.  It's a little long but worth the 7 minutes!) They sent home flyers about the Change 4 Change fundraiser for all the children.  Here a few stories about the generosity of children:

- One little girl was at church Saturday night and heard the Broderick and Carys share.  She was coming back Sunday morning to serve with her family.  She told her mom she wanted to take her change to give.  She didn't even think about it!  She was there Saturday and gave Sunday!

- A 5 year old girl told her parents she wanted to give ALL her savings to Broderick and Carys.  I know what you are thinking..."how much savings does a 5 year old have?"  First of all it doesn't matter.  What matters is she wanted to give it ALL.  It could have been $1 or over $100 (which is was over $100 by the way!!!!)  I also give huge credit to her parents for allowing her to give it all.  If one of my kids wanted to give over $100 I think I might talk them out of it.  Way to go mom and dad!!!

- A little girl gave me 4 pennies.  She found them and wanted Carys and Broderick to have them.  (Again, I think of the 2 copper coins)

- Almost every child at our house church brought something last night to give.  And again, the amount doesn't matter.  These children are taking what they have and asking who needs it. 

Every child that gave had a HUGE smile on their face.  It is so humbling to watch a joyful child give what they have. 

2 Corinthians 9:7
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

I can not wait to get back and share with all these sweet children the amazing ways God used their change.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Time to Crack Open Those Piggy Banks

The kids have been so excited to hear how God has been working through all of you that they wanted to get involved with their own fundraising.  Rob and I feel this is a great idea because they will be able to see God working through their friends as well.
As a family we came up with the idea below...
I have spoken with the director of our children's ministry at church and this weekend the flyers will go home with each family AND the Broderick and Carys get to talk in front of ALL the kids at our church!  As if that wasn't enough, both kids asked me if they could tell their class at school and send papers home with all their classmates! 
My heart is bursting with joy!
I love that this is truly a family thing!
Sure I am excited to watch the change come in (not so excited about counting it) but I am most excited about God working in the lives of all the people that will receive a flyer. 
Especially the ones from school.  I am also so excited for Broderick and Carys to see God at work. the flyer says, look in your couch cushions, clean out your car, and crack open those piggy banks!  You know you have change laying around.  (or is it lying?)  Anyway, I would LOVE for God to use you to bless my kids!

Friday, February 7, 2014

God at Work

Do you believe God is always at work?  I do.

The question is, do I see him at work.

It has been 5 short days since we bought our tickets to Africa and started sharing the news of our trip.  I have seriously been blown away by seeing God work.  Already. 

Shortly after we shared with some people we received an email that said, "As soon as you said you were going I knew what I needed to do. I didn't want to share right away because I wanted to talk to my wife."  That amazes me.  As soon as we shared...they knew.  Well, he did talk to his wife and she felt the same way.  Come to find out they are giving us their entire tax return to use however we/God sees fit!  Rob and I were in tears.  Rob and I are pretty sure exactly where that money will go.  (We will share more on that later.)

I have received emails, Facebook comments, and phone call of people saying they wanted to help either financially or by donating items for us to take.  Someone even stopped me in the grocery store today to tell me they wanted to help! 

I also have friend who is going to do a Zumbathon to help us raise money for Ebenezer.

This one blows me away too...
Our family has been serving at a place called Hands Against Hunger the last couple months.  (Awesome place.  If you live in our area we would LOVE for you to join us!)  Anyhow, they pack food and ship it all over.  If you have ever helped at Apex for Haiti bagging day...same thing.  It is a bag of food with rice, dried veggies, protein powder and soy.  Rob thought, let's ask them if we can buy some boxes to take with us. need to buy them.  They are giving us over 100 pounds of food to take!  100 pounds of food!  I can not wait to pass it out!

In the book Tales of the Not Forgotten the author, Beth, says, " All mission opportunities start like this - looking at what we have in our hands and asking who needs it, then figuring out the best way to build a bridge between the two."  Our family has received so much joy by all of you looking at what you have in your hands and asking who needs it.  We feel so blessed that God is allowing us to be the bridge.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Back to Africa

A little over 2 years ago God began a work in our family that we never thought would lead us to where we are today.

It didn't seem like a big deal at the time.  It just seemed like a way to do something for someone else.  We started sponsoring 2 children in Kenya, Africa.  We sent money monthly, wrote the occasional letter, sent Christmas and birthday gifts, prayed for the children each night.  Didn't seem like a major deal, but God was using this simple act of obedience to care for the orphan and oppressed to plant a seed in our lives.
                                                  Rita                                                             Micheal

That summer we took a family missions trip to Pikeville, Kentucky.  It was a wonderful experience to serve others as a family.  The seed began to get watered.

Friends of ours had gone to Africa and shared their experiences with us...roots began to form.  When they returned we started to help them with small projects while they were there and support their trips...a little sprout grew.  Rob went to Africa with Equip 1 ministries in March of 2013...sprout grew larger.

We felt God nudging us to step out of our comfort zone and take another family missions trip.  This time to Mexico...more growth.

Rob and I, after much prayer, travelled to Uganda in October with Hope Grafted In.  We visited the same orphanage Rob went to in March...deeper roots.

We feel the next natural step for our family is to travel to Uganda, together.  So that is what we are doing!  We are taking a spring break missions trip as a family.  Just the four of us.  We could not be more excited!  The kids ask everyday when we are going.  They can't wait to play with all the kids at Ebenezer.  Rob and I are so excited to take them to a place we love and to meet our family in Africa!

Carys says, "I am most excited about meeting Evelyn and Georgie and all the children at Ebenezer.  I am really looking forward to jumping rope with Evelyn and playing catch with Georgie.
I am not nervous or worried about anything."  (Gotta love child-like faith!)  We sent Evelyn a locket necklace fore Christmas, Carys has the same one with Evelyn's picture.  She is excited to wear it and show Eveyln that they have matching necklaces!  Such a girl.

Broderick says, "I am most excited about finally seeing Georgie and all the children at Ebenezer.  I would like to teach some of the kids some basic karate moves!  (Oh my...the joy in my heart right now!)  I am a little nervous about the time difference and adjusting to sleeping on a different schedule."

Every time I think about my kids meeting and playing with the children they have prayed for and sent letters and gifts to, I get a ginormous grin on my face!  This is going to be GREAT!!!

There is much work to be done at Ebenezer.  A few things we will be working on while there are...
-Planning and discussing construction of school and dorm on their new land.

-Possible construction and working on the new school if donations come in.
-Assessing and meeting needs at the current location of Ebenezer. (food, temporary school structures, possible malaria prevention, and whatever else God reveals while we are on the ground.)

-Visiting and speaking to a few local schools about the importance of education and staying in school.

-Encouraging current Ebenezer staff on loving and nurturing the children.
-Visiting families in their homes in the village around Ebenezer.

-Possible discussions around discipleship.
-And, of course, loving on A LOT of children!!!!!!

If you would like to help us here is what you can do...

-We REALLY need your prayers.  I read some of these things above and literally laugh because I have NO idea how or why God would allow me to do some of this work.  Please pray over each thing.  Also pray we would be sensitive to the Lord's prompting for whatever else he has in store for us.  Prayer is the number one most important piece to this trip.  I know from going before it is what gets us through.  More than anything, prayer is the key to His work.

-Help financially support our trip or donate money to the work we will be doing while on the ground you can email me at and I will give you an address to mail it to.  Or you can go to Equip 1 website ( and donate and enter Ebenezer in the project line.

-Donate items for us to take with us to give to the children at Ebenezer.  (More info on this to come or you can email me for more details.)
And to think...this all started with sponsorship!