My family loves this yummy lasagna recipe. I substitute turkey, but you would never know the difference. I want to know if you think this is the world’s best lasagna!! Also, share in the comments any recipes you want to pass on.
Yes Yes Yes!!
Yes, you can afford missions!! The number one excuse reason I hear from people considering NOT going on a missions trip is the cost. Mission trips cost money. If you travel overseas, a trip can cost up to $3,400. I understand that the amount makes most of us gulp [read more...]
I love recommending wonderful organizations that help families adopt. Lifesong is inviting their faithful readers and supporters to step up and help in a time of need for Lifesong Liberia. Liberia is located on the west coast of Africa, between Cote d’Ivorie and Sierra Leone. After 14 years of civil war, the country’s infrastructure was destroyed. A peace agreement was signed in 2003, though significant issues still remain. Currently, there is an unemployment rate of 80%. Read More
We are going through major TNT with our 2 year old… mom’s unite- I want to hear from you!! Princess Z can throw a temper tantrum like a keg of dynomite with a pink bow. It can be startling, when the fuse blows and we missed the vital [...]
We spent the day serving food to 500+ local children with Amazima ministries!! I was so excited to meet one of my real life heroes in Uganda and watching the amazing Katie Davis love in action. Take a peek at our crazy interview!!
It has taken me weeks to process how to introduce my next hero, Pastor Isaac Wagaba. I want his life to encourage you, inspire you, and challenge you. Have you ever met someone that you have an instant heart connection? URGENT: Sponsors needed for 23 NEW babies ages 3-5 at Canaan’s Childrens Home (just arrived!!)
My life has been so easy. I have everything I need right at my reach, but meeting new friends that have lived a life so difficult, and painful and dangerous has given me a new perspective of life. I love that God can use the pain and suffering of His people to encourage others to live a life that honors the Savior. Does that make sense?
Mike Gerson, former chief speechwriter to President Bush, has a tremendous column on international adoption in today’s Washington Post. Mike has a reputation even among critics as not just a master communicator, but also both an incisive analyst of international issues and a devout Christian. During work-related travel in Zambia, we visited homes of AIDS victims together, and I saw in him a truly Christlike heart of compassion—one not content with just writing about needs, but yearning to address them as well. International adoption: From a broken bond to an instant bond: Read More
I’m so excited to introduce you to my new friend, Rebecca Sorensen. I had no idea there was a real life princess living in Kampala, Uganda in a house full of love. God called her to serve and minister to orphans [read more of her story] Please leave her a crazy comment of support!!
I wanted to personally introduce my new guest blogger, Kit who is one of my dearest friends (in real life). She is a survivor on so many levels and I’m really excited about her new monthly series, Inner Beauty. Kit’s articles will focus on healing and forgiveness through the pain of loss, abuse, anxiety, stress, eating disorders and overcoming fear. My friend is not a professional counselor, but she is a wife, adoptive mom, and friend who wants to boldly talk about subjects that can hinder our Inner Beauty. Kit would love to hear your comments and will respond right here on my blog. Read More
My first hero I want to introduce you to is Pastor Samuel from Return Ministries in Kampala, Uganda. He introduced us to his big crazy family and helped us understand what it really means to be an orphan. His passion is training up people to love and care for orphans, but he is a living testimony of what it means to simply love. We learned that Pastor Samuel could only work part time for his ministry due to high living costs in Kampala for his family. He could not afford to minister full time… that breaks my heart!
My first few nights in Uganda, it took me a long time to go to sleep. I wrote a few things by flashlight in my personal journal to share with you.
We met Pastor Samuel at 10:30 am for breakfast at Sophie Hotel. We ate eggs, fruit and toast. He spoke with us about why we are here and what exactly is an orphan. It was outstanding. I am learning more about what it means to be an orphan spiritually, physically and emotionally. The children are so lost and lonely, but need to feel a part of a family. The children Samuel works with are 15 true orphans that he has living on the compound.. they live there, eat, go to school, and are a part of a family. The other 200 VERY needy children come when they can and eat and interact with Pastor Samuel’s adopted “family.”
The team went to the bank together and exchanged the money we had for donations and shopping. We had about a 30 min. drive to Kampala and Return Ministries. The children had been waiting for a long time for us to arrive (had to wait to eat) They were ecstatic. The looks on over 200 faces of children ranging from ages 1-15 was something I won’t forget. They were cheering and dancing and sooo excited to see our team. *Remember, we do not have any of our donations bags, but we had glitter and fingernail polish and bubbles to play. The children did a short program for us of songs and dancing. It was really precious. They sang several songs and then we got to eat with the children and staff.
There is a very old man (photo by Carrie) and his wife Josephina living at the compound. I think it really hit home for me that Pastor Samuel needs to be here too- full time! There was rice, potatoes, beef stew, peanut mixture (purple?) and bread like a flat tortilla to eat. The kids went first and then we served all 200+ children their food. I noticed we ran out of dishes quickly, so I asked if I could help wash dishes. Oh, what an experience:) They put me in a room with a pile of dirty dishes and I scrubbed in a metal pot with a few of my team mates… with a tiny stringy scrubber and got to work!! It was so much fun working side by side with the staff of girls helping feed the children.
The children played for the next few hours with the team. Every child had glitter on their faces and finger nails and toes painted in bright colors. I went around taking photos of the children, but they had to hold my hand before I clicked for them. It was my way of bonding and taking photos with the children. I got to hold 2 girls about Zoie’s age and they both fell asleep in my arms. I was in heaven. I also got to have my hair braided by a group of about 5 girls and 1 staff member. Oh boy did it hurt. My head is still tender:)) I think my team had more fun seeing my wild crazy hair, but it was worth it.
We left the ministry about 5:30pm and went directly to the airport. The big surprise… all 26 bags showed up!!!! I know from experience that this is a flat out miracle!! We were ecstatic due to all our donations making it and many people had no clothes for 24 hours. We came back to Sophie Hotel for a delicious meal of fried chicken and a array of delicious Ugandan food. We had a brief “debriefing” and talked about how we want to spread our donations out for the remainder of the trip. Randi led the group in breaking up the children we visit today in 4 age groups, so we can really bond. The team met late tonight to come up with some wonderful Bible skits and songs to work with the children.
We love Pastor Samuel. His spirit is so quiet, strong and passionate about what his mission is for his people. He welcomed us back to the orphanage and this time we came with a plan. Randi’s ideas were a wild success. We broke the kids up in 5 age groups and everyone went were they felt led to serve. It was such a blessing for me to watch “my crazy team” loving and playing and ministering to the children. In fact, I was blown away!!!!!! Every single child today was loved. Every child received a hug or nurturing touch from my team. Every child was able to witness the love of Jesus in the kindness and love and playfulness and affection that the team poured out. I was the witness to a miracle of what it truly means to simply love.
The children received 200 color books and crayons… we worked with them as they held a crayon, maybe for the first time. A sweet little girl bent over in her chair clutching her color book and threw her guts up. Awwww I felt so bad for her. Watching the older children/siblings jump in and take over parenting skills with their younger siblings was a reality eye opener. They are so loving and nurturing.
I bonded with baby Dora. She was 2.5 and tiny with the most stunning smile I have ever seen. She had a deep spirit that shined in her sweet eyes. She has seen things in her short life that I most likely will never witness. Her older sister came around several times to check on her in my arms, but Dora would push her away. She wanted full time me:)) I didn’t let her go for hours. When I had to say goodbye, she clung to me and cried. This tiny toddler knew that I loved her and didn’t want me to let her go. Our time together was precious and Dora and I didn’t want to let go. I took a precious photo of the 2 sisters saying goodbye to me at the gate. I was told the girls were being raised by grandmother.
I’m really happy to announce that with love, support and team donations through Visiting Orphans, we have come together and helped Samuel leave his job at IT and work full time in Kampala with Return Ministries. God placed us at this amazing ministry at the perfect time to make a real difference in hundreds of children’s lives.
(I just received this email from Pastor Samuel- please pray)
praise the Lord!
Join me and my brother, Michael Smalley to Uganda June 2-11th 2011 with Visiting Orphans. The trip is filling up fast… sign up HERE.
My Favorite Team Pics:
(photo by Carrie)
Video made by Joe
To learn more about Return Ministries and how you can visit Pastor Samuel in Kampala, Uganda- click on button.
My hubby showed me this hilarious article from Christian blogger, Jon Acuff. It made me laugh so hard, due to the craziness of social networking sites. I think I had literally done everything he had listed on my FaceBook and more! This guy has a wonderful blog/website and sense of humor, so please check out more of his funny posts. OK Bloggy friends- I want to know if you can come up with any other crazy ways to facebook your mission trip that Jon forgot to mention? Read More
September of 2009 God made it very clear that we were supposed to sponsor a little baby that was approx 8-9 months old. He had been abandoned at the front gates of the hotel where our American team was staying. [read more]