Archive | July, 2011

My ‘Motion Of Mercy’ Journey

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My ‘Motion Of Mercy’ Journey

Posted on 29 July 2011 by Kari Gibson

Francesca Battistelli has a beautiful song called Motion of Mercy and every time I hear it, I feel like she is singing to me.  About 10 years ago I was completely poor, weak, and bankrupt spiritually.  I was selfish and unsatisfied with my life.  I loved being a wife and mother, but there was no purpose or passion for ministry.  It was important for me to keep my life simple and comfortable- really only choosing to do things that were convenient to my needs.  I had no idea what it meant to give myself away. In all honestly, I wasted so much time, energy and money on things that have no purpose or meaning.  It makes me [sniff] right now thinking about the lost years.

I love that God pours His mercy on the most hungry and thirsty of His children.  He created a purpose for me and I just needed to open my heart and listen to His calling.  His mercies saved my life.  I had no idea what God had in store when we made the decision to adopt Zoie.  He had a plan already made and was waiting [ever so patiently] for us to set things in motion.  He knew our speed would be super slow, but He never stopped pouring mercy on our family.  Adoption changed our lives, but the next part of His plan – caring for the fatherless was the missing link in my life.  I will be forever grateful to Him for connecting me with Visiting Orphans ministry.  The ministry He has waiting for me has radically changed my life.  The words … I was empty before now I’m drawn to compassion now take on a whole new meaning.  God give me strength to give something for nothing
I wanna be a glimpse of the Kingdom that’s coming soonThat’s the motion of mercy … Changing the way and the why we are. That’s the motion of mercy … Moving my heart.  I went on my first mission trip when I was 41 years old and I pray I can dedicate the next 41+ years to serving and living for the lost and loving ‘til it hurts … No matter what the cost.

I’d really love to hear how God has started the “Motion of Mercy” in your life?  I pray we can continue to support and encourage each other in blog land to keep loving Him big!!

This is a personal video I took sitting next to the Nile River in Uganda alone- just me and God.  It’s emotional for me to listen again to my prayer and thankfulness how God changed the way and why in my life.


“Motion Of Mercy”

I was poor I was weak
I was the definition of the spiritually
Bankrupt condition
So in need of help

I was unsatisfied
Hungry and thirsty
When You rushed to my side
So unworthy
Still You gave yourself away…

That’s the motion of mercy
Changing the way and the why we are
That’s the motion of mercy
Moving my heart

Now I’m filled by a love
That calls me to action
I was empty before now I’m drawn to compassion
And to give myself away

Living for the lost
Loving ‘til it hurts
No matter what the cost
Like You loved me first
That’s the motion of mercy

God give me strength to give something for nothing
I wanna be a glimpse of the Kingdom that’s coming soon

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Lunch With Amazima [Katie Davis]

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Lunch With Amazima [Katie Davis]

Posted on 27 July 2011 by Kari Gibson

What a fun day serving lunch to the hundreds of Karamojong kids that Katie Davis’ ministry, Amazima feeds everyday in Uganda.  It was amazing to see the growth of the new playground and church. I’m grateful I’ve had the opportunity to see the before and after. The Karamojong kids are bused daily to Amazima to eat and worship with Pastor Patrick. They all get to hear the good news of God’s love for them.  This particular tribe is considered the least of the least in Uganda.  I know that Christ would have personally spent time with this community- loving, touching, blessing, feeding, healing, and serving.  The opportunity to go and love big on a mission trip will change your life.  It gives you purpose and a joy to love one another in a radical way.

If you are interested in joining me next year to Uganda and Ethiopia- apply now to my Simply Love trip with Visiting Orphans.  We only have limited space available.

Lunch Time Fun:


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Empowering Change

Posted on 26 July 2011 by Kari Gibson

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Family Day At The Tattoo Parlor

Family Day At The Tattoo Parlor

Posted on 25 July 2011 by Kari Gibson

We have never had a house guest stay with us for 2 weeks, but it was such a gift to our family.  I think we were all nervous on Day 1.  I had butterflies in my tummy hoping Worldu would feel welcomed and at home in our house.  This was his first adventure in America and I wanted it to be a memorable and wonderful experience.  Also, we were taking him to family camp and had no idea if he would enjoy being around our crazy family [in one room] or understand the craziness of the camp counselors.  Roger and I met Worldu two years ago and already knew what an incredible person he was, but we really wanted our kids to bond with him, too.  My kids did an amazing job making him feel like part of the family.  I watched them each bond with Worldu and made friendships that will last forever.

We took Worldu on an Ozark adventure and did all the touristy things.  We were happy to know he already went on the “Duck Ride” in Oregon with the Cornish Family!  That crazy Duck is not fun in hot 105 degree humid weather.  The kids enjoyed go-carts, nightly ice cream runs, and movies.  The best part of the 2 weeks was watching Worldu be a kid at family camp.

Worldu made a commitment to the Lord at camp that He would “believe” in the promises, truth, and love that God has poured over his life.  God took him off the trash dump for a special purpose and He will never send Worldu back there.  We talked a lot about what the word Believe means in Amharic and in English… as well as in the Bible.  As a statement and marker of his experience at the Cross Talk with Joe White, he wanted to get a tattoo of the word Believe.  You can’t see them under his jacket, but Worldu has several tattoos that testify his faith in God. Roger and I were at a loss of where to take him… neither of us have any tats. We quickly found out, asking around town, that the best tattoo artist was Mikey.  I felt like I was in an episode of Ozark Ink!  The entire family joined Worldu for his Believe tattoo.  It was a celebration of his commitment to the Lord.  God cares and loves the fatherless with all His heart!

My heart still hurts saying goodbye to Worldu… he’s back home with his family in Addis Ababa.  The Yates are so blessed to call him son.  Thank you for allowing us the honor of hosting Worldu and we can’t wait to have him come back to visit next year.

What statement of your faith would you want tattooed and where would you show it off?




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Simply Love Prison M1

Posted on 23 July 2011 by Kari Gibson

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Face Full Of Freckles {Adoption Story}


Face Full Of Freckles {Adoption Story}

Posted on 22 July 2011 by Kari Gibson

We’re often told that God has has a reason for allowing bad things to happen. It’s usually little comfort when trudging through seemingly awful circumstances. But it’s the hope and trust in what God is doing that carries us through, especially knowing we would never otherwise make it on our own strength.

But every once in a while, God shows us those reasons, and it is such a gift that it makes it impossible not to share with everyone.

It will be five years ago this December when we were expecting the birth of our firstborn, a little boy whom we decided to name Logan. His due date was December 10th. A Christmas baby.

Logan, however, had different plans. I was induced and delivered him on September 16th, a day after a middle-of-the-night rush to Labour and Delivery revealed that Logan had died in utero.

We held him, we prayed over him, and with tear-stained faces, handed him back to God.

We had just had our baby shower. We knew it was traditionally a few weeks early, but we wanted to have it over a three-day-weekend so that more out-of-town guests could come. While in the hospital my husband privately coordinated with friends and family to have all of our gifts removed from our apartment before we returned home.

Three days after coming back to an empty house I was admitted to the hospital with a heart rate of 32 beats per minute. To shorten a rather lengthy story, odds were really good that if I had carried my pregnancy to term my heart would not have made it. At that point it became glaringly obvious  why God had me deliver when I did. Although we could not understand why we lost our little boy, we were at least comforted with the knowledge that it was necessary for him to arrive early in order to save my life.

And so life went on. Our original plan was to have one birth child and adopt the rest. We had our birth child, for the little time that he was here with us. On the anniversary of his stillbirth, we were introduced to a woman who had foster-adopted through a local agency and were given their contact information. We were ready to move forward.

In fact, our living situation further encouraged growing our family. We had the opportunity to move from our one-bedroom apartment into the only two-bedroom unit in our building by the beach, graciously offered to us by the building’s owner. We moved, cleaned, and painted, leaving the spare room empty, a physical reminder of the hole in our family that we were seeking to fill.

My husband and I attended our foster-adoption orientation on October 6th. There we learned a number of things: Healthy, newborn babies were rare, so don’t expect one. The younger the child you want, the longer you will wait especially if you want a girl. And don’t expect a “Christmas baby.” For some reason the adoption agency gets a high rate of parents starting the adoption process right before Christmas, expecting their child to be home before the holiday. Interesting. All good things to know.

As much as we would have wanted a newborn, our hearts were open to whatever God had planned for us, so we embarked on our paperwork journey believing that we would probably end up with a sibling set of toddler (or older) boys.

For those who know me, it is no surprise that I finished our entire adoption packet in three weeks. I’m a paperwork junkie, and if there is one thing that I do well, it’s details. Besides, I had it in my head that the faster that I got my part in the adoption process completed, the faster that God could do His work in bringing our child (or children) home.

By mid-November (a month into the adoption process) our social worker finished our home visit for the homestudy, and I was left with nothing to do but wait for her to write it up and start the search process.

When pregnant mothers unpack their baby shower gifts, decorating and preparing the nursery for their babies, it’s called “nesting.” When a woman who just started the adoption process starts pulling out the gifts she received from the baby shower of her stillborn child, it’s called “crazy.”  But I just had it on my heart to put the crib together, to pull out the blankets and bottles and clothes. To have everything washed and to finally start filling that empty room. I’m not a very patient person so I needed to be doing something to help with the adoption process. And that was that was all I had at the time.

Our social worker was still working on writing up our homestudy, so we received calls from her from time to time asking for clarification of this or that. So it wasn’t a huge shock to have her call me early in December (2 months into the adoption process) while I was putting the final touches on our “spare room.” Before answering her call I remember looking around and thinking it finally felt like it could be a home for someone.

What was shocking about the call was that our social worker relayed that a healthy, negative-tox, newborn baby girl was relinquished at the hospital and she wanted to ask if we were interested in adopting her!

A relinquishment is when a birthmother did not make an adoption plan and relinquishes the baby at the hospital. Rarely are healthy babies reqlinquished nowadays, and even more rarely was our adoption agency the one that was called in such instances. As such, we were informed that time was of the essence, so we needed to make a decision fast.

My head was spinning. I had just finished putting away the baby clothes in the dresser of the spare room. The baby clothes that would have never have fit a toddler. I called my husband, who was teaching, so that we could quickly discuss the situation. Up until this call we had had our minds wrapped around having toddler boys. However, we were totally open to what God had planned for us. We decided to let our social worker know that we were interested in learning more and wanted to know how we should proceed. I hung up with my husband and was ready to call our social worker back.

And then it occurred to me. It was December 10th. One year, to the day, of our son’s original due date. And I wept. From that moment forward I knew in my heart that this was the plan that God had for us all along. This is why we had our baby shower early; we were going to need those baby things, just not when we thought we were going to. This was why I rushed to get the paperwork completed so quickly. This was why I was putting together a crib and washing baby clothes when everyone around me was rolling their eyes and shaking their heads. It wasn’t just a child that God had planned for us. It was this child, and everything needed to happen exactly when it did in order for us to receive her.

We had to submit our homestudy for her, along with several other hopeful parents. And our social worker had to pull an all-nighter just to write ours up to be considered. It took three days before we heard that we were chosen to be her forever family.  When we asked what we were supposed to do next, she said “Come pick her up.”

And that was the day we met our daughter. She was six days old, healthy, and beautiful. Although she was African American, she had a full head face of freckles. I have freckles, myself, and I loved the fact that she did too.  Although they have long since faded, I like to think that God placed those freckles on her for the sole purpose of allowing me something about her to which I could immediately bond.

Her birthmother had 2 weeks to change her mind. Those two weeks ended on Christmas Eve. When we awoke Christmas morning we knew for certain she was here to stay. On the very day that God’s son was born, so was our family.

Sometimes God gives a reason for why bad things happen. By walking in faith and obedience, when one child was taken away, another was given. If Logan were to have lived, we most certainly would have adopted. We just wouldn’t have adopted this little girl. And this little girl was so clearly the one whom the Lord wanted for us to have.

We called her Zoe, which means “alive,” not so much for the fact that she was the living of the two children with whom the Lord blessed us, but because without the hope that lived within us during this whole experience we never would have known her.

Chocolate Hair / Vanilla Care

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My Surprise Visit To See Mulu [Video]

My Surprise Visit To See Mulu [Video]

Posted on 22 July 2011 by Kari Gibson

Last February, we met Mercy and prayed for God’s healing. I was so excited to see what God had done in her life for the past four months since we had served in Korah. Taylor and I decided to go to Great Hope Church on Sunday morning. It was a blessing to worship with the community in their world. One of the things I asked the Lord, was to make us invisible.. I didn’t want to be a distraction to the church family. We were definitely the only “Ferengi” in the neighborhood! We joined the prayer service and had an incredible time to pray for our sisters and brothers in Korah, as well as my team heading back home. I was amazed by the different worship style I was accustomed to in my church. I have the honor of attending James River Assembly and feel the freedom to pray outloud, but this was unlike anything I was used to. The congregation of Great Hope pray loudly and with great passion and emotion. I loved listening to the words in Amharic praising the one true God. He was alive in this place of worship!!

The best part, I noticed to my side, a beautiful woman in a red sweater (I recognized it immediately) was Mulu, Mercy’s mother. She was deep in prayer and worship, so I didn’t want to disturb her. Finally, after an hour of starring at her… I decided to go over and hug her, so I quietly crossed to the other side. I know she did not see me. In fact, one of the things I had prayed for was that Taylor and I would blend in… I didn’t want to distract anyone from worshipping by our presence.

I put my arm around Mulu and she still didn’t look at me. I will never forget the expression on her face when she finally opened her eyes and saw me standing there next to her. She literally screamed in joy and hugged me falling to the ground repeating my name “Kari”… crying. I started crying and held her close to me. She was trembling and praying to God saying… amesege’nallo’ (thank you in Amaharic) over and over again. She told her friend, sitting next to her to run get Mercy. We just held on to each other and worshipped the Lord like two sisters. I had no idea what the pastor was saying for 2 hours of service in Amharic, but I know his words were filled with truth, hope, love, and encouragement. I was so blessed!

We spent the morning with Mulu and Mercy. She took us to her home and prepared a special coffee ceremony. It’s very humbling knowing how very little this precious mother has, but she wanted to share coffee and bread with us. It was surreal seeing my photo album and Mercy wearing the ring I gave her in February to testify of her healing … all symbolizing change and hope and miracles. I loved watching my niece and Mercy become friends quickly. They are two teenage girls with very different lives, but equal passion for the Lord. Mercy looked simply radiant and singing again at a local church in Korah. God healed her body completely in February and was celebrating life by giving back to her community.

I am once again reminded how very little I know about deep worship. I was standing with a community that has felt unimportant, lost, persecuted and hopeless for over 75 years, but God sent them a Savior who radically changed their lives. He sent them Great Hope Church and Project 61… as well as many wonderful ministries directly serving the people of Korah. I’m grateful to call them my family and my friends. It was very difficult to leave Korah that day, but I know that God will direct my steps and open doors I never dreamed possible. I just have to keep walking forward in faith.

Mulu later told me that surprising her at church was exactly what it will feel like when Jesus returns… we never know the time or day, but we believe He is coming. It will be a surprise, she told me. I will never forget my BIG surprise and will long to return again to serve His precious people in Korah.

What is your favorite verse to share the excitement of Christ returning again?




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Adopt Without Debt – Can It Be Done?

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Adopt Without Debt – Can It Be Done?

Posted on 21 July 2011 by Kari Gibson


When my husband and I started our adoption journey in the fall of 2007, we had just completed another lengthy “journey.” We had spent the previous seven years paying off all of our debt, including our mortgage. (We’re HUGE Dave Ramsey fans and used his plan to do it.)

During the first 12 months of intense debt-payment (paying off $30,000 in credit card, car and student loans), we scrimped and sacrificed a lot. We rarely ate out, we put off big purchases, we watched where every penny went. By the time we cleared that debt, we really didn’t miss all the things we’d “given up.” We found a new sense of contentment with what God provided us.

We also found the joy in giving. Suddenly we had $900 every month that wasn’t going toward a bank or credit card company. We were able to increase what we gave to our church, support friends who were missionaries and help families in our church who had financial needs.

And THAT is where it started. As our eyes started to open to the needs in the world around us, God began working on both of us, unbeknownst to the other. Somehow he took this mom, who defiantly declared herself D-O-N-E having kids a year earlier, and made her yearn for two beautiful children in Ethiopia.

Being the number-crunching people that we are, we began to look at the $28,000 cost to see how we could afford it. To further complicate matters, a couple months after we started the process, Mark felt called to leave his job at our church to pursue full time mission work. We just didn’t know what that would be. (And it would be 12 months before he found it.)

I began to panic. HOW were we going to afford this adoption? We had $10,000 in our savings and that was IT! I tried to remain calm and casually threw out, “Well, if we have to do an interest-free adoption loan, we’ll just pay it off as quick as we can.”

This was met by mostly silence from my husband.

A few weeks later I was at a friends, flipping TV channels, and came across Dave Ramsey’s TV show on Fox Business. A man called in and said he felt God calling him to a career change, which meant going back to school and incurring student loan debt. Of course I knew Dave wasn’t going to support THAT idea! He encouraged the man to find creative ways to finance his schooling or wait and save up the money.

Then Dave uttered the words that rocked my world.

“There is not one example in the Bible of God calling someone to do something,
and then using debt as a tool to accomplish it!”
I think my jaw dropped into my lap. I had such little faith. Sure, I knew God could provide the means for us to adopt.  But here I was, trying to take control and figure out HOW he would provide. I had put God in an itty-bitty box and forgot how powerful He truly is.

Mark and I knew all the scriptural warnings about debt. God knew about our commitment to live debt free. So why would He ask us to adopt and then require debt to be part of that process?

The simple answer is, He wouldn’t. And he didn’t. We brought home Wendemagegn (now Luke) and Beza 12 months later without a penny of debt. It took some hard work, but it was so worth it and God showed up in amazing ways.

It was this journey, and God’s prompting, that inspired me to write “Adopt Without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption”. I wanted to show people that through grants and some pretty creative fundraising, adoption can be affordable – lack of money should NEVER be an excuse.

The book shares more of our story, and some ways we trimmed our budget during these months.  It also features 25 other families who shared their fundraising successes with me. In total, the book has about $65,000 worth of ideas to help those adopting.

On June 7th I’m excited to be able to share our story and this message on The Dave Ramsey Show. (Talk about a dream come true!)

I know that many people write off the idea of adoption because of the price tag. Don’t! If you’re already in the process of adoption, I hope the book will give you encouragement and the resources you need to raise more funds.

Julie Gumm blogs about their crazy family life, living debt free and being an orphan advocate at Four Plus More.


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A Boy Named John


A Boy Named John

Posted on 20 July 2011 by Kari Gibson

Today was so special for me to spend quality time with a boy named John. I met John last year at Cannan’s Children Home and he touched many people’s heart who spent time with him. I feel like I missed out getting to know John, due to holding my Allan the entire time. John walks with crutches. He’s 15 and strong in heart and body! He’s gentle, kind, curious, and protective. We decided as a team to play Ugandan Football and headed to an open field. A few girls (my niece, Alex, Audra, Brittany) played too! I was the sideline cheerleader and had a blast sitting with the kids and cheering Canaan’s on to victory. After about 30 min. a few of the big boys decided it was time to move to the large field and play with the local kids.  John had just arrived (walking in the area was difficult for him) I asked him if he’d like to join us and he told me it was a long walk. I asked him.. how long? He just smiled and said it was not too long, but he could not go up there with his crutches. I HATED leaving him behind, but I was the “adult” in the group and needed to venture out with the teens playing soccer.

We started our trek up the hill and I found myself in the middle of paradise. The village is stunning and so lush and green. We hiked for about a mile and I started feeling the burn. I’m thankful for the few days I spent on the treadmill before coming on the trip. Haha I kept asking the kids… are we there yet? They would keep telling me… just around the corner or we’re almost there. They were sooo lying!! At one point, the jungle turned pretty jungly… I had to stoop down really low to the ground for almost ½ mile. I thought… how embarrassing to get stuck in the brush and have the kids drag me out by my feet. I was really wishing I had spent time doing squats.. I needed super thigh strength.

We FINALLY made it to the big open football field and it was worth the crazy hike.

The fresh breeze at the top was so refreshing. There were about 50 boys getting ready for the game and the girls were so disappointed when they were refused the opportunity to play- one of the locals said- no girls. What they really met was no Mzungus- but they did ask our 2 boys to referee!  We sat in the shade and cheered the game on for about an hour.

I noticed coming up the hill was John and a few of the team. He made it!!! I have no idea how he managed trekking though the jungle with his crutches, but he did it! I headed over and gave him a big hug and he knew how happy we were that he was there with us.

He asked me a few questions- what was my hobby? And then I asked him what was his dream when he grew up. He smiled and started sharing with me that he wanted to be a doctor and help others with his special needs. I told him he would make a great doctor because he has such compassion, love and strength. John stopped and hugged me in the middle of the road. I melted in the middle of the road.

Later, he wrote me a letter and thanked me for being one of the first people to believe in his dreams. I also asked him if I could be his mom for the time I was there visiting his home. He thanked me for letting him me my son.

Taking the time to give the blessing to a child who obviously has had such a difficult life is so important. He soaked it all up like a sweet sponge. I’m praying for opportunities everyday to give the gift of blessing to the children who are fatherless living in Uganda. Thank you Lord for sending me back to this piece of heaven. It continues to change my life taking advantage of the little God moments He gives us each day.

Thank you John for reminding me what perseverance, courage, compassion, and hope really means.  Since being home, John now has Facebook and we keep in touch.

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My Hubby’s Greatest Big Love Moment [His Story]

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My Hubby’s Greatest Big Love Moment [His Story]

Posted on 20 July 2011 by Kari Gibson

Man Up is really about LOVING BIG

Three years ago, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia I found myself lying in bed shaking from the fear of death.   Not my own, but for my brand new daughter. I had already been down this path before not once, but twice.  A daddy losing a little child definitely has a lasting sting. The first one I lost, the second one became our beautiful daughter, Hannah.  I was not ready for trip number three.

After 48 hours of constantly nurturing Zoie Senait, being rejected by four hospitals, and finally the doctor who did see us said, “Good luck. I hope she makes it” as if she was trying out for the junior high cheerleading squad. Finally, we made it back to the hotel and we put Zoie down to sleep. I fell crashed on the bed and tried to go to sleep, but my mind was racing to figure out how to get out of my daughter’s death. (I know, pathetic.) I felt guilty that I was even thinking such thoughts. I just couldn’t face the thought of it.  For me, it was the pain of failure. How could a real father allow a little girl to die? How could a real father not provide the things that she needs to have a GREAT life?  I had only been her daddy for two days and I was scared out of my mind!

Kari could sense my anxiety so she encouraged me to pick up the phone and call the one person who always seems to have the right answers, my dad. Hearing his voice is always so calming and his words are filled with wisdom. It was in the middle of the night back home, but I needed my dad, so I made the call. As soon as he picked up the phone, I instantly started sharing how inconvenient this whole adoption thing has been – problems with the embassy, problems with our paperwork, and to make matters worse, a sick baby in a foreign country…  blah, blah, blah. I finally ran out of words and was patiently awaiting for his perfect, uplifting words. I needed him to validate my inconvenience. There was a long awkward pause … then I hear the words I will never forget … Man Up! (Did my dad just tell me to Man Up? Where was the validation I was looking for? Doesn’t he know how much I’ve been through?) He repeats himself to make sure I did indeed hear his words, “Man Up, Son! Zoie needs you. If she were to die right now, at least she can say she had a daddy for two days. Who loved her and fought for her with everything he had. Who else is going to stand up for her? Only you, so love her BIG!”

Man Up is really about Loving Big.

Man Up is really about doing what we (men) were made to do: lead, protect, and love… the greatest of the three is love.  I’m often reminded of the parable of the Good Samaritan when thinking about Man Up. Lying right in the middle of the path is a beaten, unconscious, naked man who has just been robbed of everything. The first two dudes to walk by actually sidestep the problem as though it doesn’t exist. These were guys who would have been the most qualified to “fix” the problem, but chose not to. The third guy was just like me and perhaps you – ordinary. Yet, Christ uses an ordinary Samaritan to demonstrate what it means to Simply Love.
That dreaded, embarrassing meltdown I had in Ethiopia is forever etched into my memory as me being one of those “qualified” wimpy dudes. Not wanting to be inconvenienced, or face another possible sting, or sacrifice my time. I’m so thankful for my dad speaking truth to me. The rest is history. Zoie is now a healthy, beautiful three year old girl that I could never imagine life without. Since that time, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to Man Up for the Fatherless. Men, they need us. They need to experience authentic love from a man. They need to feel the healthy touch from a man. They need to see a smile from a man. They need to experience the blessing from a man. They need you.

If you are interested in joining me this summer on the Visiting Orphans Man Up mission trip July 31- August 14th, please email me [here on the blog] and I will get in touch with you.  I promise you, it will change your life forever!

Roger Gibson

Visiting Orphans Website

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No Tooth Fairy

No Tooth Fairy

Posted on 18 July 2011 by Kari Gibson

I wanted to introduce you to a very special ministry called Sixty Feet… sharing a few stories from my mission trip that changed my life.  It’s hard to comprehend that children living in Uganda who are orphaned, lost, abandoned, rejected are sent to prison, but it’s the truth of their existence.  I’m still trying to process the things I witnessed at the prisons we visited [code names] M1, M3 and M4.  I hope you will join me in praying for the imprisoned children who desperately need God's miracles in their lives. I saw what I saw.

This is my personal journal entry for June 3rd ....

I wanted to share with you my special happy today at M1. I've been praying that God will give me a blessing to wrap my heart around each day. Today, I was holding a little girl- maybe 5 years old. She was so tiny and really dirty. I held her close and the smell was so overpowering. I asked God to immediately make her smell sweet and I wrapped my arms around her even tighter. She is living in M1 as a lost child. She is Karamonjong. The least of the least in Uganda. She had her fingers in her mouth and I noticed she pulled something out.... it was a tooth!! The VERY first thing I wanted to say was... ohhh sweetie, the tooth fairy will get to come see you tonight. It hit my heart so hard- there would be no tooth fairy or dollar bill under her pillow tonight. It just broke my heart.

This precious little girl threw her tooth on the floor and thought nothing special about it. I held her close and prayed a mommy prayer over her that God would give her a mom and dad.. a family someday that would celebrate all the little things like losing a tooth. I pray that she knew how much I loved her and wishing I could sneak in her room tonight and put money under her pillow. The reality, she has no bed, no pillow... she lives in a prison- just existing.

Sixty Feet is making such a difference in the lives of each child living at M1. I can't wait to share more about this AMAZING ministry here in Uganda!!

Thank you for praying for our team and covering us with your support and encouragement. We are seeing things that we should NEVER have to see- conditions that are out of our control, but now that we see with our eyes can make a real difference. We visited orphans today and received the blessing of LOVE!!

You can sponsor any of the Imprisoned kids through Sixty Feet's website!!! We visit M3 and M4 prisons tomm.

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Healing Hearts With Handkerchiefs

Healing Hearts With Handkerchiefs

Posted on 15 July 2011 by Kari Gibson

I wanted to share my personal journal notes when I was in Uganda … its raw and real.

June 7th 2011

It’s been sooo crazy busy so I’m behind updating our daily stuff, but I hope with photos you are seeing how much fun we are all having with the children.  My heart focus has really been on making sure I connect with the older kids- the teens at each ministry opportunity.  I brought my glow in the dark footballl “rugby ball” they call it in Uganda.  There’s not a whole lot I can brag about athletically, but oh man I can throw a perfect spiral and hit my target shot after shot.  Seriously… I really do amaze people with my talent! lol

I have been teaching the boys how to throw a perfect spiral.  The teen boys are initially amazed at my gift but soon jump in and want to learn.  It’s a great time bonding and cheering them on!!!

Two days ago at Prison M3.. I had been throwing for an hour, my arm burning and wishing my talent was painting fingernails… a very shy boy came up to me and wanted to learn.  I showed him where to place his fingers and he copied me. He had huge hands and I thought WOW would the NFL draft love to have him on their team. I told him to give it a try and he hesitated for a few seconds, but went for it.  It was the BEST spiral I have ever seen and it went sooo far it made him shocked too.  It was so amazing to watch the joy in his face making me so happy!  It made me realize that the little things we can do for the children can make such a big difference.  I had to continue throwing spirals for a LONG time that day… I can barely move my arms but it makes my heart happy.  I’m thrilled that God knew all those years ago when I played ball with my brothers [who taught me how to throw a perfect spiral] I would use my talent someday to bless an orphan living at a prison in Uganda.  What a God surprise!!!


I have prayed every day that God would open up an opportunity to do the “handkerchief therapy” with teens  in one of the orphanages we visit.  Last night, my prayer happened in such a big powerful way!!  Four of us invited the teens living at Canaan’s Childrens Home to join us in the dining room for a special craft.  They got home from school at 7pm- had dinner and headed to finish homework till 9pm.  What a long day, but they were so happy to join us… ALL 35 teens!! WOW I have anticipated doing this for a year, but I am not a therapist, so I was really nervous… but had been trained with Visiting Orphans how to help heal hearts with handkerchiefs.  They all received 2 white cloths and markers.  I asked them to draw or write their BEST DAY and their WORST DAY in their life.  I told them if they trusted us to share their stories, I would trust them to share my story.  We colored and talked for about an hour and then broke up in 4 small groups.  I was sooo nervous and was praying we would make sense what we were trying to do.  While we were coloring, my team member Dee Dee Neir constructed a wooden cross with 2 logs. It was really beautiful (photos coming soon)  I shared with the kids that God gives us both best days and worst days because He loves us so much.  He wants us to thank him for both, too.  I shared with my group my best day- the day I married my best friend and my children.  I shared with them my worst day was … the day my baby boy died.  My heart broke.  They reached out and touched me saying how sorry they were for me.  It made me cry but inside was feeling healing happening.  I was being blessed in my OWN life with the handkerchief therapy!!!!!!  God is so good!  I told Kari H. who is currently taking a  trauma training class…. I should have done this years ago.

We went around the group and the children that wanted to share their best and worst days… shared with us.  Others told us they wanted to share in private.  Their stories broke our hearts!!!!  They wouldn’t be living at Canaan’s without having a worst day in their lives.

We all stood up with our 2 cloths and I shared that God loves us so much and died on the cross to save us… He gave us the BEST gift!!!  He takes our worst days in our life and changes them to treasures, but we have to give him thanks.  We all put our worst day cloths on the cross- it was so stunning watching all the big kids put their troubles, problems, pain, stress, and trials on the cross.  I put mine up there too!

We closed our time with one of the teens praying- it was so beautiful!!!

I’m grateful for the pain in my life, so I can have massive compassion for each and every child living here without a mom and dad and family.  They are the fatherless, but have a mighty, powerful Father who loves them and comforts them.

Thank you Canaan’s for allowing us to be a part of your home for 4 days!!  You change my life with your joy and love and strength.  You help me believe I can go through anything as long as I have Jesus helping me through.  I love you!!!!

Mama Kiki

If you want to go on a life-changing Visiting Orphans mission trip please check out

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Bunking With An Orphan

Bunking With An Orphan

Posted on 13 July 2011 by Kari Gibson

It’s not possible for me to express what God did in my life on my last mission trip, except to share a few of my favorite stories.  God worked on breaking my heart, but in turn also healed my heart using the very children I was visiting.  I want to hear your heart, too.  What is holding you back from your passions?

We had the opportunity to live at an orphanage for 5 days in Jinja, Uganda and bonded with the 200+ children living at Canaan’s Childrens Home.

I love how excited kids get when they sleep in bunk beds, but have you ever seen grown-ups giddy about grabbing a bunk and camping out together.  It’s incredible connecting as a mission team to hang out and bond at Canaans.  Pastor Isaac has made a home away from home for teams coming to minister to his children and its heaven!  Each bed (queens for the couples in their own room:) has mosquito nets and its sooo charming with flashlights and giggling from sharing funny stories.  The other night, I was going around tucking in my team for the night (hey I’m Mama Kiki) and one of the gals was on her bunk with her lantern on and pen in hand praying.  I was being silly and shined my light in her face and she didn’t budge.  I realized she was fast asleep and it cracked me up.  All of a sudden she opened her eyes and started swiping at invisible bugs.  I was like… Elisa, what are you doing.  She looked at me and said- stop you heifer!!!  WHAT??! Did just called me a cow?  I was laughing in hysterics and the girls came over and we started teasing her realizing she was high on Ambien:))  Sleeping pills and bunk parties are a crazy combo!!

Mission teams quickly become family and as a family we love on the children and staff 24/7.  Canaan’s is so unique due to waking up in the morning and heading outside to kids getting ready for school, washing clothes, doing their chores or playing.  The opportunities to pour love are endless.  Every personality can benefit from a mission trip.  Sitting one on one with a child can change the course of their lives, playing with a group of kids with your iPad games can make you the #1 popular rock star, or just helping scrub tables with the staff before meals is such a blessing.  Tucking the kids in their bunk beds is so precious… they do things so differently than how I put Zoie to bed – peeing in a bucket (really) and dancing and singing for 30 min. But, it makes you feel like a part of something so amazing- you’re in their world.

Going on a mission trip can bless so many children, but honestly the KIDS change our lives.  We are the ones who are blessed the most.  I promise you, if you can jump in with both feet your life will never be the same.

Learn more at

PS: I’m writing this sitting next to the Nile with a lantern and twinkle lights in the sky!!!

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Taking Missions To Family Kamp

Taking Missions To Family Kamp

Posted on 11 July 2011 by Kari Gibson

I’m really sorry I’ve been bloggy MIA the past week.  We had a 4 day missions fundraiser [garage sale] and you know how crazy that gets hanging out in your garage with temporary insanity, but it was all worth it for the Man Up trip!!  We are now at a wonderful family camp in the Ozarks with a very special guest.  I met a young man two years ago leading my first mission trip to Ethiopia.  Worldu is 17 years old and probably one of the most precious kids I have ever met!  He was one of the hundreds of kids that have been blessed by the ministry Project 61 and no longer have to survive on the trash dump in Addis Ababa.  I can’t believe what a miracle it is that Worldu is here with us … missions are real and change lives forever.

We have prayed that God will pour his miracles on Worldu while he is here at camp..  and we are watching with our own eyes God’s faithfulness and favor.  The very first night, I noticed how nervous he was … it must be so overwhelming to not only be in the US for the first time, but thrown in the middle of camp craziness.  We told him that he could go with his age group [15-18] for some fun activities or just hang out with us.  He chose to stay with us.  In about 5 minuets, a counselor named Josh Rich approached him and started talking.  I could see the excitement build in Worldu and he decided to join the older teens in their 1st team activity.  I had tears in my eyes, when he came running up to me asking if he could show Josh photos of the trash dump where he grew up.  He was so proud.  What a witness to God’s healing and protecting of the fatherless.  Josh has a special place at our table now at each meal and Worldu is building so many new friendships with the staff counselors and teens.  This is what it means to love BIG!

PS: I was at the pool and heard my name “Kiki” being yelled loudly.  I looked across and noticed high up on the treetop challenge, Worldu waving like crazy!!  He was 30 feet up in the trees, wired to the ropes course.  We all started cheering and ran over to watch him go through the obstacle course in record speed. He never stopped smiling.  Love BIG and Go BIG!!  Sumer and Cory Yates… thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us the GREAT honor of hosting your beautiful son for two weeks!  We want to repeat this fun tradition next year!!!

Please leave a special prayer or cheer of support for Worldu as he learns more about Jesus and challenges himself to do new things at camp.  You can join us next summer – check out Kanakuk Family Kamp HERE.


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