Archive | October, 2011


Spreading Hope In Korah

Posted on 31 October 2011 by Kari Gibson

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One Less Broken


One Less Broken

Posted on 31 October 2011 by Kari Gibson

Thank you for being my guest adoption blogger this week!!

God placed adoption on my heart at an early age.  In high school, I knew that one day I wanted to adopt. I had not only a love for children, but also a love for adoption.  I just thought it was a beautiful picture of what the Heavenly Father does for us, and I loved the idea of helping and loving a child who did not have a family.  When Jayson and I started dating, adoption was one of the things we discussed.

I was so very thankful that he thought adoption was great as well and did not have any concerns about growing our family this way one day in the future.  Once we were married, we were eager to start our family.  The Lord blessed us with two biological boys, but adoption was still on our hearts.  When our youngest son was just about 14 months, we decided it was time to move forward to adopt.  We met a family who adopted a little girl from Taiwan.  We did a little research and found an agency right in our home state of Florida that worked in Taiwan.  We qualified, made some calls, and decided to go ahead and get waiting (since it would take about 2 years to complete the process.)  The waiting was VERY hard.  Even though we knew going into it that we would have to wait, I was just very unsettled and not content waiting.  There were children all over the world that needed families RIGHT NOW.  I was ready to have a baby (and hopefully a girl) RIGHT NOW.  It just didn’t seem right to wait on a long waiting list when children were waiting.  So, we had waited over a year with not much movement in the Taiwan program and the need just didn’t seem to be very big there.  We started looking into other countries where there was a greater need.  Our friend’s friend had just adopted from Uganda and was trying to place some of the children she met while there with forever families.  After getting in touch, we soon learned that God was directing us to Uganda.  There were children waiting for homes.  We would not have to sit on a waiting list.  We got to work on updating our home study and gathering all the information that would be needed for our dossier.  We were hoping for a baby girl.  After two boys, my heart was longing for a daughter.  But we were told that we needed to be open to either gender, and we agreed that as much as we were praying and hoping for a daughter, it wasn’t about us.  It was about a child in need of a family, and we decided that if God wanted us to have another son then that would be just fine with us.

When our paperwork was complete and we were just waiting on our I171h approval, we were matched with our precious DAUGHTER!  We couldn’t believe that we were going to be the parents of a little baby girl. Seeing her face for the first time over the computer was amazing and thankfully we only had to wait a few months before we were able to travel to Uganda and meet our newest addition.  We were in love with her right away, and we also fell in love with Uganda.  The culture, the beauty, the lifestyle, the friends, the food-we LOVED it all and miss it now.  We are already anxious to return, whether it be for Missions trips, vacations, or hopefully another adoption journey.  We have been home with our little girl for over 5 months now, and we are enjoying every minute of parenting her.  She has grown so much and is doing so well.  She is walking (almost running) everywhere!  She loves to eat!  She loves playing with her big brothers.  She loves to be cuddled.  She does not like to have her hair done, but I am still trying.  She is our daughter and we love her so much.  We cannot imagine life without her.  She has brought us so much joy, and we our honored that we get to be her parents.  We will forever be grateful to those that helped us in this process, and our lives will never be the same.  Uganda will forever be a part of our lives.  We love this beautiful country that gave us our beautiful daughter.  We love how God directed us, all the way across the world in the U.S., to our daughter in Uganda.  It is truly a miracle.

Current Update:  Kai has now been home over 10 months and is doing so well.  She has grown a ton and is so happy and active. She loves running around the house and playing with her big brothers.  In September, I was so blessed to be able to return to Uganda.  I went with Sixty Feet on an amazing missions trip and made many new friends and spent time with some of the sweetest children ever.  I would encourage everyone to check out this amazing organization and consider going on a future missions trip.  You will forever be changed and it would be so meaningful to the staff in Uganda and the children residing in remand centers there.  I also was able to visit the orphanage where our daughter once was and able to show the amazing ladies that care for the children there how much she has grown through a picture book.  We are excited to begin the process of adopting our next child from Uganda.  Our home study is scheduled for December 12 and we look forward to seeing how God works to bring us our the next Harvey.  We can’t wait to return to Uganda in 2012!  Please feel free to follow our journey here.




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I Choose You No Matter What!


I Choose You No Matter What!

Posted on 28 October 2011 by Kari Gibson

Alison, thank you for being my guest adoption blogger this week!

When Mark and I got married we very intentionally put the word “choose” in our vows.  We wanted to declare that out of all the people we could have chosen, we chose each other to love… no matter what.  We wanted to say that love is a choice, not a feeling.  Regardless of what we feel about each other, we are committed to that person, we are committed to loving each other in the way that God has loved us.

How does this relate to adoption?  Adoption, in the same way, is about choosing to love someone… no matter what.  Just like finding our future spouse, falling in love, and filling out paperwork to make our marriage official, so we find our future child, fall in love through pictures and updates, and fill out paperwork to make this “marriage,” called adoption, official.

The glue that holds our marriage together is not feelings.  It is a strong commitment, a choice, to love that person, even when they don’t seem loveable.  Adoption is tough.  It will not be easy to learn to live with this new child in our life.  But it was hard learning to live with my new husband!  God takes a strange man, puts him into my life, and then I have to learn how to live and love him.  In the same way, God has picked out a strange child, will put them into my life, and I will learn to live and love them.  I am not saying this in a bad way, just that it will be different than the previous norm.  And that it IS possible to love the person that starts out as a stranger.

Some people will say that giving birth to a child is natural, and falling in love with that biological child is natural.  But then when that child is older, they say things like, “well, I’m stuck with him, I don’t have a choice.” or “I guess she’s stuck with us as her parents.  She didn’t have a choice.“  How can you say that about a child?  You always have the choice to love that child… no matter what.  Maybe those who never adopt may never truly understand the concept of loving a child by choice.  Or maybe they do have a glimpse of what it means, through their experience with marriage.   But our very first child will be coming to us because we choose to have them in our life, and because God had chosen them for our family.

I want our child to know that they are chosen… they are loved… no matter what.  I think it almost makes sense to make the same kind of commitment to your child that you do for your spouse.  Here’s part of what we vowed to each other, written out for our child:
Dear Child, as we commit to being your parents, we choose to love you in every circumstance that we face, no matter what our financial status or social standing, and regardless of your physical, mental, or emotional state.  We choose to be loyal to you, to serve you – putting your interests before our own – to honor and respect you, speaking good of you and not evil.  We choose to provide for your physical and spiritual well-being, to the best of our ability, in God’s strength, until we are separated by death.

(We have not made this official commitment or anything, I was just thinking about what it would
be like if we did)
I just want to mention that it doesn’t take being blood-related to love someone.  My husband
and I are not blood-related (thank goodness!), and we love each other.  Love for our adopted
child will not be any less than love for a biologically-related child.  Love doesn’t mean that we
have to look alike.  Our skin will always be white, our child’s skin will always be brown.  My
legs will always be a bit longer than Mark’s, and His nose will always be bigger than mine!
We still choose to love each other!

As I think about what lies ahead for our family and the challenges to come, I am encouraged to apply my commitment of love to my child.  This stranger-child may not like our family at first.  This child may want to try everything they can to fight and run away from anything scary… including someone that may want to love them.  This child may not love me back for the first couple of months, maybe not for a couple of years.  But remember, love isn’t just a feeling.

This causes me to pause and consider the amazing love of my Heavenly Father.  He is a Father who has chosen me for His family.  I did not love Him at first.  He chose me when I was hating Him.  He chose to love me… no matter what.
I am one of God’s elect “who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood” (1 Peter 1:2 ).

He has adopted me into His family, He has made me His child, He has called me by His name.   

How Great The Father’s Love For Us!

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1) What an example to follow as we choose to love our child in the many years to come…. no matter what!

Alison’s Blog

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It Is Worth It

Posted on 27 October 2011 by Kari Gibson

Thank you for being my guest adoption blogger this week! Your story is so inspiring!

This adoption was an adoption of faith-almost from day one!  We signed on with our agency in February and were excited to again add to our family through the miracle of adoption. Greg lost his job in October, along with the $5000 adoption credit his company would give. Yikes!  There were so many questions at that time–where would he find a job? Would we have to move? What about the adoption? Did we hear God wrong?  We chose to have faith and believe God had something in store for us and He did! Greg took a job with our local food bank which lines up with his heart for helping the vulnerable! We were blessed as he only had to go two weeks without a job.

We continued to wait for our referral.

In March we received the referral of a beautiful baby boy whose name means “Praise.” We were excited and quickly fell in love. We received a court date for the first week of June. The Monday of the week were leaving, I received that DREADED phone call.  Our little one’s mother came to court and changed her mind and took him home. My first emotional reaction? I am done. Adoption is too hard. I can’t stand the emotional roller coaster anymore.  I AM DONE! 

Even in the midst of this God was working and moving. My caseworker called my husband first and told him to come home. A friend was walking up the walk for a play date minutes after I hung up. (little did she know it was going to be a cry fest!)  We cried, prayed, asked many why’s and just sat in silence. 

As we continued to pray God asked me, “what is adoption about? You or the child that needs a home?”  I began to realize, (I knew it down deep but it finally rose to the surface of my heart) that this was a good thing.   If this little baby’s mom changed her mind and could raise him–than that is who he should be with!  A friend emailed me words that comforted my heart “a baby is back in the arms of his mother tonight.”  How could I be upset with that?  Was I grieving?  Yes–for the loss of the child who we thought would be our son. However, I was so happy that this child could be raised by the mother that carried him, named him, and loved him. 

We were also blessed to have friends there when she picked up him from the orphanage that took pictures of them together and told us that she loved him and he would be okay.  Our hearts will forever be linked to theirs. There was a purpose and reason for all of it. Little “Praise” will be thought of and in our prayers for the rest of our lives.  He was not to be our son, but he will not be forgotten.

Fast forward a couple of days and we received another referral of a tiny little boy, Teshale, whose name means “Better One.” I can’t even begin to tell you how that confirmed everything for us. God has blessed us immensely and looking back we can see how everything worked according to His plan.  Teshale needed to be home quickly. Because we were already in the court system, the gracious judge just postponed our court date for us.  As my caseworker said, “you are ready and he needs to be home quicklya perfect situation.

July 15 we were in Ethiopia for court and met our son. He was our son! The bond was immediate and we knew this was the child God had for our family. We came home September 10th ( after an amazingly quick for clearing Embassy) and are doing well. Adoption is hard. It is emotional.  It is full of bumps, curves, and road blocks.

It is worth it.

I now have so much more of a picture of what Christ endured for me. I have a glimpse of His heartache and passion. As I sat and cried over that first little boy I imagined how God weeps over those that He longs to have as His children.

God, continue to break my heart for the things that break Yours.
My Blog:

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Wednesday WOW Recipe – Fall Into Crock Pots

Wednesday WOW Recipe – Fall Into Crock Pots

Posted on 26 October 2011 by Kari Gibson

Awesome Slow Cooker Pot Roast

By: Brenda Arnold
“This is a very easy recipe for a delicious pot roast. It makes its own gravy. It’s designed especially for the working person who does not have time to cook all day, but it tastes like you did. You’ll want the cut to be between 5 and 6 pounds.”


  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 5 1/2 pounds pot roast


  1. In a slow cooker, mix cream of mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and water. Place pot roast in slow cooker and coat with soup mixture.
  2. Cook on High setting for 3 to 4 hours, or on Low setting for 8 to 9 hours.

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My Son’s Crazy Well Project

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My Son’s Crazy Well Project

Posted on 25 October 2011 by Kari Gibson

Over the past year, my son and the Pirates have raised over $20,000 for their well project in Chuko, Ethiopia. Take a peek here. They even got to visit the community and see their well site this summer. This is no longer a dream, it’s a reality for this tiny village.

Would you donate $5 today to help complete their goal. October 29th is their silent auction event and even if you can’t join us in real life, please consider buying a ticket. 100% of the ticket proceeds goes directly to the well project.


Once upon a time there was a group of Pirates that didn’t have anything to do. Arrrrrr they were tired of the same old lazy land lubbin’plundering, homework, sports practice, and chores. Well, the Pirates who didn’t do anything decided to make a difference in Ethiopia and dig a well. They were good at digging, but had neverrrr “piratin”such an adventure before!

I’m one proud mom of one of those crazy Pirates who arrrrrr digging a well in Ethiopia- please email me if you have any questions about how you can jump on board!! The Pirates have teamed up with Julie and Rob Neal’s Dig Deep Project and A Glimmer of Hope and are working hard to raise the final $60,000 as a school to bring fresh, clean water to Chuko Weyama. In fact, at the time of print, their total booty earnings $21,325!!!


Campaign Details
Campaign Type: General Fund Raising
Targeted Project Type: Water and Sanitation
Village: Chuko Weyama

You can participate simply by donating to the well project - DONATE HERE

A little information about A Glimmer of Hope: first of all, 100% OF ALL DONATIONS go directly to funding Pirates Dig A Well (even credit card and Paypal fees are reimbursed by Glimmer and back to the projects!) Glimmer’s mission is to lift women, children and families out of extreme poverty in rural Ethiopia. Using an entrepreneurial model developed by the organization, it provides clean water, schools, health clinics and micro finance loans. Over the last 10 years, A Glimmer of Hope has improved 2.5 million lives. On behalf of those who lives are forever transformed by your generosity, thank you.

We are the pirates we don’t do anything

We just stay at home and lie around

And if you ask us to do anything

We’ll just tell you, we don’t do anything… but now we are DIGGING A WELL IN ETHIOPIA!!

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Me and Jack Bauer (Aka Steve Ijames)

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Me and Jack Bauer (Aka Steve Ijames)

Posted on 22 October 2011 by Kari Gibson

I really do know the real Jack Bauer!  Two years ago, I went on my very first mission trip with Bauer’s team (aka Steve Ijames) and ministered in Haiti.  This trip changed my life and ultimately God has opened the door for me to lead mission with Visiting Orphans! He’s a fantastic leader, and it only took me begging him one time to convince him to lead with me again to Haiti January 20th- 27th 2012!!  Take a peek at a short clip of us a year ago, planning our 2nd trip back to Haiti to bring formula post-earthquake with my church family.  (He’s a hoot!)

I have 6 spots open for “Simply Love Haiti” 2012 Mission Trip!!

Apply here- Visiting Orphans

Do you know the #1 reason why people are not serving in Haiti?  The F.E.A.R. of earthquakes, violence, and disease are keeping the numbers down low for Haiti Mission Trips.  Well, I want to break the mold and DO IT AFRAID!!!!!  I’m bringing a co-leader who has traveled extensively throughout Haiti and has built a relationship with the police in Port-au-Prince… they trust this guy!  We will travel through Haiti with the best of the best!!  My new Visiting Orphans “Hope for Haiti” mission trip in 2012 will change your life- I promise!

Tell me what your thinking?

Jack Bauer’s Bio:

Major has been a police officer for the past 29 years, and recently retired as an assistant chief with the Springfield, Missouri Police Department.  Ijames is a graduate of the 186th FBI National Academy, and has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, and a master’s degree in Public Administration. During his law enforcement tenure Ijames served in, supervised, and commanded a variety of assignments including uniformed patrol, investigations, undercover narcotics, and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT).  Ijames created the less lethal force (impact projectiles, chemical munitions, noise flash diversionary devices, TASER) instructor/trainer programs for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and is the author of their model policies and position papers involving these technologies. Ijames has offered related training on behalf of the IACP and the U.S. Department of State across the United States, Canada, and in 33 other countries including such places as Tanzania, Bosnia, Somalia, Haiti, El Salvador, Yemen, Pakistan, and East Timor. Ijames has served on a number of post event use of force investigative commissions, most recently in New York City and Boston, has reviewed approximately 1,500 police use of force cases for agencies of varied size including the Los Angeles and Chicago police departments, and provides police litigation consulting in a wide variety of resistance control and related areas.
(now do you feel safe:)

A Christian since age 17, has led mission teams to Nicaragua each year for the past 13, and is on the Board of Directors of Project Hope, a 501C3 group serving Nicaragua and Haiti. Went into Haiti the day after the earthquake with Convoy of Hope, and made numerous other trips to Haiti in 2010. Will lead two trips to Nicaragua this summer for PJ Hope and James River Assembly, and will serve in a feeding ministry in India during the month of August, 2011.
We only have space for 20 team members, so don’t miss out on this God-Adventure in Haiti.  You can fill out the Visiting Orphans application here.
[older post] To learn more about the Pignon Haiti Home of Hope (HHH) that we delivered formula- READ HERE.






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Join Me On “Simply Love Haiti” Mission Trip


Join Me On “Simply Love Haiti” Mission Trip

Posted on 21 October 2011 by Kari Gibson

Don’t forget to purchase your mission trip {giveaway tees} here!!

I want to invite you to join me in Haiti on a Visiting Orphans mission trip, January 20th – 27th 2012! I have 4 open spots to fill a team of 20 warriors for Christ to visit orphans in Port-au-Prince and Pignon. If you are interested or know someone who desires to serve in Haiti, please email me.

My very first mission trip was visiting orphans in Haiti.  I have had the honor of ministering there pre-earthquake and post-earthquake.  Haiti has a special place in my heart that is very personal and life changing.  I fell in love with missions in Haiti!!  I want to shout out to all my bloggy friends to join me on my mission trip. Please don’t miss out on this God adventure!!

New dates … January 20th – 27th!  We made this important date change to allow students and Hubs greater freedom to join us in Haiti to serve orphans in Port au Prince and Pignon.

Calling all men, students and orphan advocates….  we have only 4 more spots to fill our trip to the max.  Here isour trip itinerary:

Apply NOW! 

“Simply Love” 2012 Trip
Dates: January 20-27, 2012
Leader: Kari Gibson & Steve Ijames
Location: Port-au-Prince & Pignon, Haiti
Team Size: 20 persons max
Cost: Estimated $2400-$2700 (trip total varies depending on flight costs)
Join My Crazy Adoption blogger, Kari Gibson celebrating her 45th birthday on a 7 day missions adventure to Haiti.
Details:  Port-Au-Prince portion:  This team will spend the first few days visiting 2 orphanage partners in PAP. Children Household of Tomorrow Orphanage is located right in the heart of PAP and is home to 44 children. This orphanage more than doubled in size after the earthquake and is in desperate need of assistance. Well Being Orphanage is located just outside the city in an area called Croix de Bouquette and is home to 30 children. These children are currently living in large tent on the property that is owned by the family members of the woman who cares for these kids – they have been living there since the earthquake destroyed the original orphanage.  We will also minister to the children, as well as bring supplies needed to care for them.
Orphanage Haiti Home of Hope portion:  We will venture out of the city, up to the mountainous village of Pignon where we will live and minister for five days with Kari’s good friends, Bill and Jennifer Campbell at their orphanage, Haiti Home of Hope (HHH) The children range in age from 2 to 17 years old with special needs, children who were former slaves, those who were abused, one who is terminal, and those that almost died from simple starvation. They are all beautiful and loving princesses and princes!  They enjoy crafts, games, and being loved on. We have a projector, and can have a big movie night, under the stars, with popcorn and the works! Our goal at HHH is to bring up children in a Godly manner, and stop the cycle of ignorance, abuse, and poverty.
Clinic of Pignon portion:  The team will also serve at the clinic with Family VBS- devotions, prayer, and singing. “We have had a number of voodoo practicing families come to know Christ, after hearing the Word in clinic, and the change in their lives is amazing- HHH” We will prepare a big meal for all the clinic families, and serve them and minister to them… providing seed packets, formula, and diapers! Village of Pignon portion: We will have the opportunity to minister to the village of Pignon! Home visits are a great way to find out specific needs and specific ways to help individuals. The Campbells have finished building houses for widows, put roofs homes to keep the rain out, passed out medicines, saved children from slavery, prevented children from becoming slaves, found sick and injured and taken them to hospitals. Making home visits is vital for HHH.

“Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes” David Platt

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Wednesday WOW Recipes – Turkey (Gobble) Chili


Wednesday WOW Recipes – Turkey (Gobble) Chili

Posted on 19 October 2011 by Kari Gibson

Thank you, for the yummy Turkey Chili Recipe. If you have a delicious, easy recipe to share with my crazy readers for Wednesday WOW, please email me.

  • 2 pounds ground lean turkey
  • 1 large yellow onion – diced
  • 2 green peppers – diced
  • 2 cans tomato soup (if you use condensed, you’ll want to remember to add water – though I DON’T as I like it to have a thicker consistency)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans black beans – rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans corn – rinsed and drained

To taste:

  • Chili powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Cumin
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt

Cook the turkey ahead of time and drain. Add all ingredients to a crock pot (or stove top pot) and stir together. I set my crock pot on high for 4 hours.
I have a bad habit of tossing in more seasonings every time I walk by the crock pot. Makes for some really spicy chili – but oh, so good!!

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Check Out The 2 Winning Tees You Voted For!


Check Out The 2 Winning Tees You Voted For!

Posted on 17 October 2011 by Kari Gibson

Thank you for voting for your favorite Visiting Orphans + Simply Love tees! You made it so fun for the team all week long reading your comments! I hand counted each and every one of your votes (whew!) We are so thrilled to share the 2 winning tees that will kick off a very exciting project! I will announce the NEW project on November 1st, so stay tuned to the craziness coming soon right here on My Crazy Adoption blog!

The 2 Winning Tees:

With 105 votes…

With 57 votes….

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Short Term Missionary or Tourist?


Short Term Missionary or Tourist?

Posted on 12 October 2011 by Kari Gibson

I’ve wanted to write this post for awhile, but decided to wait and pray about what I really wanted to say to you. I poured my heart out and when I clicked “save draft” the Internet connection at Barns and Noble crashed and I lost everything. (Don’t you hate when that happens!) I appreciate your bloggy friendships and even though most of us have never met in real life, we are friends of the heart. I wanted to challenge you this week to share your thoughts at the end of this post, so we can learn from each other.

A few weeks ago, a post here was brought to my attention and here. I have to be honest, my first reaction, I wanted to KA-POW her posts on short term mission trips comparing them to tourism. I think what was missing was the heart of the matter. We are all called to SIMPLY LOVE. I hope I can point you in the right direction to GO big and LOVE big and SERVE big on a mission trip.  All I could think about was Sammy Liben telling me that living on the trash dump was horrific, but even worse was knowing his community was unimportant. lost, cursed, rejected, unloved. This all changed, when God used Sammy’s passion and a mom named, Sumer Yates to make a real life change for hundreds of children formerly living on the trash dump in Korah. You can visit Project 61 sponsorship program on a Visiting Orphans mission trip and be a part of serving and loving a community that desperately needs care. But, this is only one example … there IS a place for short term missions! I also want to take the time to thank long term missionaries for living each day James 1:27!

I admit, I might be a tad sensitive about the subject being an adoptive mom … but I want to defend and protect what I believe in, too. In fact, just the other day, I found a blog post written (about me) blasting my CRAZY post here. I was encouraging others to take care of orphans and go serve on a mission trip. I guess the blogger didn’t “get” my sense of humor about losing weight on a mission trip. I showed my hubby her post and asked him if I should leave a comment to defend my actions. He reminded me that if we weren’t doing the right thing- others wouldn’t take the time to attack what we are doing. I’m trying to learn not to let their issues become my issues.

(Our sponsor daughter, Mercy)

God used ordinary people like Kristen and Sumer who both went on mission trips to do extraordinary things to help facilitate real life change after the trip? I call this a definite win/win!!

Unfortunately, there are mission trips out there that are more like tourism, than about being ambassadors for Christ. It actually doesn’t take much time to get a sense of an organizations’ priorities. Just look at the trip itinerary and descriptions. How will the participants be spending their time?

“I think the controversy centers around organizations & people who visit with little to no concern for those whom they visit. They take their pictures, buy some souvenirs, give themselves a pat on the back, then head on home. I think one key to preventing this type of “charity” tourism is short-term groups partnering with local, long-term organizations. Another key, in my opinion, is the heart of the sending organizations and the leadership.”

Do you feel there is a place for short term mission trips? What are your thoughts about taking a trip to love and serve orphans? What are some mission trips or organizations you recommend that make a difference AFTER the trip is over?

I received this email from, Jason Clement who was on the Man Up mission team and wanted to share it with you:

It is amazing how our lives can be impacted in a short time period:  the moment you meet your future spouse, the first time you are introduced to a lifelong friend, when you make the decision to take on a new job, and most importantly when “it” clicks and you genuinely accept Christ and receive the Holy Spirit.  Many of these life changing events are set up by moments that occur during a “short term” day, which at sunrise, seemed unassuming. 

 My experience on a short term, 2 week mission trip provided these meaningful moments for the orphans and widows that we encountered.  The obvious opportunities included children at a prison who were not allowed outside for 60 straight days but because of “special guests”, they played soccer on a sunny day over an endless field (felt endless to me while playing with them).  Other obvious moments were receiving new clothes/shelter providing security & confidence they may have never experienced; lepers getting fed full meals with dignity they deserved; homes (64 sq ft mud huts) that were fixed from leaks with new bedding and a floor covering; kids receiving new sport equipment that set them up for joy, friendship, and teambuilding during foundational development years of life; and single mothers who received months’ worth of money for our purchase of their homemade jewelry.  As the Pastor of that village shared with me, “Your group was its own stimulus package to this village and an answer to prayer.”  We spent about only $300 in total, and his attendance in church tripled because of that investment in their lives.

(Jason Clement with the Karamajong Tribe in Ugnada – Man Up Mission Trip 2011)

 Those were all great moments but they pale in comparison to the instances that will spark life changing events for these kids.  One example: We worshipped with children in a government prison.  Hours later while on the soccer field, one child shared with me that he had known OF Jesus for months, but today he met Jesus “locally” and personally.  This 14 year old boy asked Jesus for forgiveness for stealing money from his Uncle to help pay for his father’s medical bills.  He realized that day that he was forgiven and ached to leave prison so that he could study to be a doctor to help men like his father and sick children in prisons.  God has a way of setting the stage for short term mission teams to be an exclamation mark of truth, joy, and communicate His love in people’s lives.  The beauty of our short term mission is that while it was only 2 weeks, it followed a different team’s 2 week trip to the same places, which followed a separate team’s 1 week trip and so on…  While someone may be signing up for just a few days or weeks, their short term mission trip is stitched together by other mission trips & experiences that God has orchestrated to meet these people directly where they need it.  That is why a consistent Man-Up presence can be so powerful:  Widows and young orphans receiving (for some the first time in their life) a CONSISTENT male presence over the course of years that demonstrates our Father’s love, grace, and joy.




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I Need Your Adoption Stories- November Celebration!

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I Need Your Adoption Stories- November Celebration!

Posted on 06 October 2011 by Kari Gibson

As you know,  November is National Adoption Month, and I want to celebrate in a big crazy way here all month long! Will you share YOUR adoption story- pre and post adoption and all in between? Email and submit your post “ready to go” with photo attachments.GUEST NOV. BLOGGER in the subject line. I’m so excited to celebrate adoption with my favorite bloggers! We are all in this together- living James 1:27 in a radical way! **Dads, I need you to man up and write your stories, too!

Subject: Adoption

(Our very first photo of baby Zoie)

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Man Up & Go Movie Trailer Preview

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Man Up & Go Movie Trailer Preview

Posted on 05 October 2011 by Kari Gibson

We are so excited to finally be able to share the Man Up and Go trailer to all my bloggy friends! There is so much to share with you, but for now … enjoy the trailer. We need your help! Help us spread this video and copy the embedded code to share on your blogs, too. The full featured film will debut in theaters nationwide, Summer 2012. Your help will spread the fire to encourage men to love BIG and Go BIG!

Why would an unlikely band of American brothers go on an adventure, a road trip, to the depths of Ethiopia and Uganda and join with African men? To combat the heartbreaking problem of over 7,000,000 orphans suffering. Not dismayed by the staggering numbers, the men literally man up and go to change lives and discover their own lives are most impacted.

This cast of characters is joined by a common passion — to love and care for orphans and hurting people. Many call home Missouri, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Uganda and Ethiopia. Miles apart geographically and worlds apart socially, economically and culturally, this band of American brothers includes a seasoned cop, a retired military man and an architect. Then there is the standout ex-college football player, highly successful businessman, well-known publicist, celebrity athlete and teenage boys. With over 30 adventurers on this rag tag team, most previously have never stepped on African soil.

Focusing on five Americans, the film reveals the unique stories of the men…before the trip even starts. We see them at home, work and play and connect with their unfolding lives. The film’s journey continues as the team come together at an airport in Washington DC — for most, a first time meeting, yet they unite as one.

The American’s are contrasted and compared with the lives of African brothers. Included are harrowing stories of survival through unthinkable situations — one being left for dead on a mountain of bodies and the second once orphaned himself, living in a dump. These stories and others represent shining examples of manhood and the spirit of the adventure.

Strongly drawing attention to the touching lives of orphaned children, the Man Up team travels to hidden children prisons and a dump site, which is home to thousands of orphans. The journey continues to a ministry for street children, a remote village in the middle of Ethiopia and to a multitude of orphanages. The needs of the precious children are revealed by the spirited actions of the Man Up team, entwining strong, common threads of hope, joy, love and the power these have over adversity

In-the-end, the American team travels home to their comfortable lives…but will they ever be the same? Will the choking facade of the American Dream grip them like it used to? The men return with the truth planted that life is not just about them; they are transformed by their African adventure and brothers, and are united with a strong commitment to love big and to be fathers to the fatherless.

Man Up And Go, a documentary motion picture, is being produced to bring significant awareness to viewers regarding the critical needs of the growing number (50,000,000 currently) of orphans in Africa and the desperate, heartbreaking lives that these beautiful children and people are forced to live.

Engaging character driven stories will unfold from the film’s main subjects, a group of men from America and Africa that are part of a team calling themselves Man Up 4 Orphans. With vastly different lives that contrast and compare, the film will illustrate that simple actions taken by normal people like you and me can produce encouraging, powerful change. Instead of focusing the film’s viewers only on the despair and heartache associated with the orphans, Man Up And Go looks to empower, inspire and lift people to act…and one-by-one we can make a difference.

When completed, Man Up And Go will be a feature-length documentary movie (Approximate 90 minutes with an anticipated PG rating). The film is scheduled to be filmed and edited over a one-year period with a release date in summer 2012. Shoot locations will be in the USA, Ethiopia and Uganda.

For more information contact:
Randy Bacon, Producer/Director
Jonathan Murphy, Producer/Senior Editor

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Me, Hannah, and Taylor Swift


Me, Hannah, and Taylor Swift

Posted on 04 October 2011 by Kari Gibson

Let’s be real, it’s not easy planning something your teenager will love. I work really hard to keep on track with her favorite movie crushes and Top 20 songs she loves. I wanted to plan an extra special birthday for her 15th and with the help of our girlfriends, we pulled off the big surprise. Hannah and I had the most incredible weekend together (I got to feel like a teenager) She wanted me to share her special birthday photos with my favorite bloggers really.  Here are her own words …

Birthday Wish: I wanted to go to the Taylor Swift concert sooooo bad!

Location: We got to road trip to Kansas City.

What did you wear? Mom picked out a special dress for me at this cool thrift shop called Weezies. It has really expensive clothes on sale. My dress had a broken zipper so we got it for only $20.00. In the car, mom tried to fix it and it zipped up perfectly. We found a cute sweater and bling for all our outfits. I loved my mom’s outfit too, she looked really good (awwwww)

What really happened?  Well, a lady came up to mom and told her that Taylor Swift was going to walk down our row. We waited at the end of the roped off area and she came around the corner. I was screaming and reached out and she grabbed both my hands. She hugged me and I wanted to pass out! I will never forget that I got to touch Taylor!

We got to the concert four hours early (crazy I know) but the girls wanted to shop and take photos. We entered to win a free suite and waited for an hour for the drawing. We took some really fun pics in the field of weeds. We didn’t win the suite, but tee shirts and glow in the dark necklaces. We all realized had we won the prize, we wouldn’t have been close enough to touch Taylor Swift. It was a blessing in disguise.

What I loved most about the weekend, spending quality time with my daughter, with a little birthday magic sprinkled all over the day. Do you have a favorite mom memory making moment you can share today?


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