Archive | February, 2012

Man Up and Go — Our IndiGoGo Website campaign is LIVE!!

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Man Up and Go — Our IndiGoGo Website campaign is LIVE!!

Posted on 29 February 2012 by Kari Gibson

For those of you who might be new to My Crazy Adoption website- we are so excited to be a part of the incredible documentary film Man Up and Go. This full feature documentary film will premiere Summer 2012!! We got to preview on Sunday the first 22 minutes of the film and was blown away! You can be a crazy part of making this film come to life on the big screen- donating your time praying, fundraising, and sharing with your family and friends: Pin It, Facebook it and tweet it!!

Read all about the film and how you can be a partner to Man Up and Go. Click here- Man Up and Go Indigogo page.

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 comes together at an airport in Washington DC — for most, a first time meeting, yet they unite as one.

The Americans 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). Shoot locations will be in the USA, Ethiopia and Uganda.

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


We have taken the first step to get this important message out by self-funding the first portion of this project.  We fronted the money for the trip to Africa allowing us to capture the trip section of the film.  Now we need your help to help us complete the editing of the full length feature film, Man Up and Go.  We are trying to raise enough money to allow our team to edit full time and complete the movie. The money will also be used for the follow up “post-trip” filming and the film premiere.

MEET THE DIRECTOR- RANDY BACON – Director / Producer / Director of Photography-Cinematographer / Editor

Randy has been shooting professionally since 1985 and is in very high demand as a art portrait, editorial and commercial still photographer and cinematographer.   His clients reside throughout Missouri, nationally and internationally.  His adept still photography skills and artistry has gained him a multitude of awards to include:
American Photographer Magazine:  Images of the Year – Best Portrait Selection
417 Magazine: Photographer of the Year AND Artist of the Year (three time winner)
Gannett News-Leader: Photographer of the Year (seven time winner)
Business Journal Magazine:  Selected as one of the “Twelve People You Need To Know in 2011″
Addy Awards:  Best Photography in Print Advertising Campaign (multiple winner)

In 2008, Bacon expanded his creative still talents into the motion picture arena.  Instantly, securing a number of commercial video projects that continues to grow, he honed his motion abilities as to apply to his passion of film making.  Bacon’s movie film career exploded in 2010 with the release of his directorial debut and film production, The Last Days of Extraordinary Lives.    Produced by a long list of prominent supporters, the 90-minute documentary feature celebrates the meaning of life.  The movie has garnered a significant amount of film coverage and awards.  Included is the red carpet premiere at the Gillioz Theatre, playing to an audience of over 800 people.  In addition, the film has played on PBS to rave reviews and continues to appear at multiple universities and organizations.   The Last Days of Extraordinary Lives ran the film festival circuit and accumulated an impressive 15 film festival official selections and won over 10 awards, including Best Feature Documentary and Best Director. The film is now in the process of gaining national distribution.

Bacon’s career also has ventured into being a highly sought after public speaker at universities, schools, churches, businesses and more.   In addition, Randy and his wife/business partner, Shannon, own and manage one of the Missouri’s premiere art destinations, the Monarch Art Factory.  The Monarch is a 16,000 square foot art center that is home to a multitude of creative endeavors including Bacon’s 8,000 square foot studio and art galleries, as well as to their film production company, Bacon / Murphy Films.


Even if you can’t give, post this link on your Facebook, Twitter, blog or email list to get the message out to others.  Every little bit helps.  Thanks so much for taking the time to see what we are passionate about and partnering with us in making this film a reality!  Without you, we couldn’t make this happen.


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Are Short Term Mission Trips Wasteful?

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Are Short Term Mission Trips Wasteful?

Posted on 28 February 2012 by Kari Gibson

One of my favorite things (as a mom blogger) is when men speak up and want to share on my blog. I appreciated this post from my friend, Caleb David-  Machine Gun Camera here and thought this would be another cool perspective on short term mission trip. My guest, Ben Singleton, really challenged me to look deeply in the heart of what Jesus considers “wasteful.” I want you to feel like your growing and gaining greater understanding when you have the opportunity to go and share the gospel with the world’s unreached people groups- there IS a place for long or short term missionaries- mission-hearted people that want to simply love and live James 1:27 in a crazy way. I want to know your thoughts after you read this new post. This is a crazy reason to encourage your hubbys, brothers, uncles, and friends to Man Up and Go. Don’t forget to come over bright and early on March 5th to My Crazy Adoption and enter to WIN a mission trip with Tom Davis’ Children’s HopeChest ministry!!!! Mark your calendars!

I just read your post and the last couple from Tom Davis. There seemed to be a common theme so I thought I would weigh in…

First of all, I think the conversation about short-term mission trips vs. long-term holistic solutions should be started in scripture.  Matthew 25 provides crystal clear support for meeting urgent (short-term) needs.  Jesus recognizes his own by their response to hunger, thirst, nakedness, imprisonment, etc.  It is important to note the response that Christ affirms as “knowing Him” is embodied in giving a drink, a meal, a shirt, or a visit.  He doesn’t necessarily ask for holistic solutions, economic development, not even (interestingly) any preaching, teaching, or theology lessons.  What lessons can we take from this?  First, the obvious message is that if we truly indwelt by the Spirit of God, we will see people (especially “the least of these”) with love & compassion in a way that make’s their needs more important to us than our own agendas.  Second, the gospel can be clearly and effectively communicated to the lost and hurting by our attitudes and actions if we truly love God and love others as ourselves.  Third, each of us is not called to solve every problem under the sun, rather we are called to respond with love and compassion to needs that God puts in front of us.

It saddens me deeply to see people who are deeply committed to the ideas of compassion and justice diminish the value of short-term responses to deep, urgent, legitimate needs.  While we are all called to be good stewards of the abundant riches God has poured out on us, it is just as important not to lose sight of what God considers good stewardship.  For example, Judas chastised Mary for “wasting” expensive perfume anointing Jesus’ feet instead of giving it to the poor, but Christ sided with Mary’s action.  By all worldly standards, Judas was correct that it would be more prudent to sell the perfume for the benefit of the poor, but this was not God’s purpose for the perfume.  This account rings in my ears every time I hear believers criticize the “effectiveness” of Spirit-led acts of compassion.  Other examples that God’s accounting systems don’t work like the world’s are found in the Good Shepard leaving the ninety-nine just to find the one, or the poor widow whose two small coins were “more” than large bags given by rich people.

I have also heard people criticize the “wastefulness” of the thousands of dollars required for each participant to undertake a short-term mission trip; the common sentiment being that funds could be more effectively used in other ways to benefit the least of these.  Again, an empty bottle of perfume pops into my mind.  But so does the fact that almost all of us spend money to take a vacation every year, an act that is probably just as expensive and yet roundly accepted and even encouraged.  Why is a trip to Africa condemned as wasteful when a trip to the Bahamas is much needed break from our demanding lives?  The answer, I believe, is that the source of attacks on the prudence of short-term trips mission is the father of lies himself.  Let’s look at this another way.  Imagine that your best friend lives on the other side of the country and is diagnosed and hospitalized with advanced pancreatic cancer.  What would you do?  Your first response wouldn’t be to work overtime so you could send money to help with his medical bills, to make a donation to the American Cancer Society, or to start doing your own research in a desperate attempt to find a cure.  Obviously you would go see him, even if the trip cost a lot of money, required you be away from your family for a short time, take time off work, etc.  The same is true with short-term missions.  It is an entirely appropriate response to the love and compassion that Spirit gives us for orphans in Africa, for example, to go and be with them.

There are even camps of people who criticize adoption because it doesn’t solve the root causes of the orphan crisis.  Again, the enemy must surely be the source of these ideas because ADOPTION IS THE GOSPEL as clearly demonstrated in Ephesians 1.  There could have been no more holistic solution to the suffering of three of “the least of these” who now call me Dad.

On the other hand, Isaiah 58 instructs us to loose the chains of injustice, set the oppressed free, to spend ourselves on behalf of the hungry, to satisfy the needs of the oppressed, and to be repairers and restorers.  None of these directive can be accomplished in the short-term.  Accomplishing these Kingdom purposes requires time, wisdom, resources, and commitment in addition to the love and compassion required in Matthew 25.  The problem with focusing solely holistic solutions to fixing broken nations is two-fold.  First without the simple, compassionate love of Matthew 25, Christ-followers will not have the staying power to affect long-term change, and without first going, seeing, listening and living the pain of the least of these, Christ-followers will have the wisdom to understand the problems. Second, some of the least of these simply cannot wait for a long-term solution (revisiting again the wisdom of leaving the ninety-nine just to find the one).  Christ conquered BIG problems like sin and death, and he told us to solve big problems like poverty, oppression, suffering, hunger, thirst, and injustice.  I think it is worth while to note that before Jesus conjured the grave, he fed thousands, hugged lepers, ate supper with prostitutes and thieves, celebrated with friends, wept with the mourning, loved children, spoke the truth, and offered the Kingdom of God to all.  There is nothing wrong with his children doing the same smaller things before accomplishing the bigger ones.  

Ben Singleton
Adoptive Dad, Orphan Advocate and One Child Campaign Advisory Board Member

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I Will Give You A New Heart

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I Will Give You A New Heart

Posted on 22 February 2012 by Kari Gibson

I wanted to personally introduce this amazing couple …. Brady and Lisa Stark are dear friends of ours! We go to the same church, as well as serve together on the mission field. They are both leading a May 17-28th mission trip (with Cherrie Cornish) to Ethiopia with Visiting Orphans – if you want to join the team there is space available. The first time I met Brady, I was a little intimidated. He’s a cop and security for the church staff on Sunday mornings. He’s very serious on the outside, but I could also see his big heart. Lisa told me that her hubby’s life was changed going on a mission trip and I’m thrilled to share their story to encourage you today! This is a very personal testimony and I hope you’ll spread them some support and love in the comments.

My Life Is Crazy Too is a new series of reader submissions. This is your opportunity to share stories about life, love, and mommyhood to provide understanding, hope, and compassion in the unique situations each of us face every day. If you would like to submit a story to this series, email me. Today’s crazy guest is Lisa Stark.

God doesn’t change, but He can sure change us.  He can change our focus in life, our direction of decisions, and even our marriage. That’s what God did in our life and our marriage.  He picked us up and redirected our course of life.

The beginning of our story is not unique.  Brady and I have been married for 20 years now, but the majority of these years were spent in struggle, division, and isolation.  We were living under the same roof but the only unity it seemed like we had in our marriage was our foundation in Christ.

We attended church regularly, and volunteered in various ministries in our church, but something was missing.  For many years, I was the spiritual leader in our family.  I developed a close relationship with God and He became so real to me.  But it seemed like Brady was very content to remain constant in his walk with the Lord.  He did not seem to want, or need, a closer relationship with God.  Brady was content where he was.

This went on for many years.  Then in 2007, Brady sensed a stirring within himself that God wanted him to do more.  This stirring consisted of a quiet thought that kept coming to him about disaster relief and medical aide.  From that, Brady started praying for direction from God.  Brady finished his bachelor degree and decided to apply for PA (physician assistant) school.

In October 2008, I took my first mission trip to Venezuela and it changed my life.  This trip was a construction / medical based trip.  While on that trip, I sensed God’s calling to become a medical provider to the poor and to those in need.  After returning home, I approached Brady about God’s leading.  I was somewhat apprehensive about pursuing this calling because I did not want Brady to feel like I was in competition with him by returning to school also.  Brady was very supportive and in agreement with this leading.  I applied to the nurse practitioner program at SLU and started in January 2009.

Meanwhile, Brady applied but was not accepted into the PA program.  This rejection into the program was huge to Brady.  He questioned whether or not he even heard from God to begin with.  Brady struggled with why God would lead him this far, only to have a closed door.  It was during this time of struggle and questioning that I said to Brady, “God has something special for you.  Maybe it’s just a matter of timing.”  Those words resonated with Brady; and still do to this day.

During that time of trying to figure out what he was going to do, now that he wasn’t going to the PA program, I signed Brady up for a mission trip to Africa.  Surprisingly, Brady decided to go.

Brady served on that trip and came home a changed man.  God revealed Himself to Brady in a miraculous way.  Brady experienced suffering, hunger, sorrow, illness, poverty, abandonment, and thirst.  He also experienced a physical healing of a young woman after members of the team prayed over her.  Brady experienced God’s presence in a land of brokenness.  And then God broke Brady’s heart.

Brady came home from that trip a different man.  And he has never been the same.  God became real.  So real, that God became Brady’s focus.  That change in focus brought about change in our decision-making.  From those decisions, changes in our marriage occurred as a result.

Our eyes were opened.  We wanted to serve our God, by serving those in need:  the broken, the sick, and the lost.  When our focus to serve God in this capacity occurred, a unity in our marriage occurred.  We became one heart, a heart for God.  Christ was no longer just the foundation of our marriage.  He was the walls, the windows, the door, and the roof.  God used our service on a mission trip to change the focus and the direction of our lives.  We both went on separate trips, at separate times, and both came back changed people.

I prayed for many years for a whole marriage, a unified marriage.  I prayed for many years for God to reveal Himself to Brady in a powerful way.  I prayed for many years for God to use me, for God to change me.  God doesn’t change.  He hears our prayers and gives us our hearts’ desires.  He has a way of molding our hearts’ desire to become a desire to serve Him.

And yes, it was all a matter of timing.  Brady applied again for PA school and was accepted into the program.  I graduated last year and now work as a nurse practitioner in an underserved area.  After Brady graduates, we hope to serve in Africa; whether it be a disaster or whether it be the disaster of poverty, our hearts’ desire is to work in the mission field as medical providers.  To give not only medicines and health care, but most importantly, to give eternal hope to those in need.

Brady returned to Africa six months later on another mission trip.  But this time he took our son with him.  As Brady stood in the dump in Korah, he realized God’s plan.  As he stood in the muck, the decay, surrounded by the hurting and the hungry, he wept.  He was in God’s presence.  God was there.  Brady would give up everything he owned now to serve his Lord.  It was no longer about the cars, the money, or the ‘things’ of life.  He experienced a glimmer of God and he didn’t want to be anywhere else.

All because of prayer.  All because of a mission trip.  “And I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you…”  Ezekiel 36: 26a.

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The Craziness Starts 3/5 – Simply Love + Tom Davis Giveaway!!!

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The Craziness Starts 3/5 – Simply Love + Tom Davis Giveaway!!!

Posted on 21 February 2012 by Kari Gibson

Hello crazy readers, I wanted to personally say …. I’M SORRY if you came over here and got bit by a nasty computer virus bug. I have a brand new web manager and thick walls of protection around my site. I’m 100% virus free and you can feel safe to “share” links or “Pin It” to your blog friends. I’m grateful to you, my faithful friends and appreciate your patience waiting for new posts. I had to take a mini vacation absence during the clean up, but have the official GO to continue blogging daily to encourage moms, support adoption, and celebrate our humanitarian projects to make a difference in the whole wide world!

I’m sooooo excited to announce our 2nd collaboration with Tom Davis and Children’s HopeChest ministry starting March 5th right here on My Crazy Adoption! This will be the craziest, biggest, heart pounding 2 week project we’ve ever done together! We have two projects we are raising funds for in Haiti and Moldova, as well as GIVING AWAY a special mission trip (value: $3,000) to one mission-hearted blogger! 1 tee = 1 entry to win!!

I need your help before we kick off the crazy project 3/5. Children’s HopeChest needs 10 volunteers to purchase 1 tee shirt for a test run to ensure the new store site is running without any snags. We want the process to be problem-free from start to purchase for every donation. If you are interested in volunteering, there is a bonus gift for you. We can refund you for your purchase or we can give you an additional tee shirt, including an extra entry to win the mission trip giveaway! Please email me here and let me know you want to be a “Crazy Project Volunteer” I will pick the first 10 people starting now ….. on your mark get set GO! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the new Tom Davis + Simply Love Project coming soon!!

BTW- Happy Mardi Gras Day. We took this “Fat Tuesday” photo of Zoie in 2009! Hope this makes your day happy!


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Baby Julie Needs Your Urgent Prayers {Haiti}

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Baby Julie Needs Your Urgent Prayers {Haiti}

Posted on 16 February 2012 by Kari Gibson

One of my favorite days in Pignon, Haiti was meeting Baby Julie and her family. They live 15 miles from Haiti Home of Hope and walk every Wednesday to clinic day for formula and food and care. Baby Julie has some special needs and her family loves her very much. Life is so hard in rural Pignon, it was difficult for me to wrap my heart around how very difficult it was for this family to care for her needs. The entire family are followers of Jesus and greeted us with such warmth and kindness to their home. We had brought several gifts for the family, as well as bottles for Julie to help her drink easier without effort. Thank you again everyone who sent monetary donations for formula and bottles for Julie. It was so fun to go shopping with my mom the night before I left for Haiti and bought Julie two adorable outfits. I will never forget Julie’s mommy’s face when she opened up her gift- pure joy!

I was so touched holding this precious baby and knowing God was taking care of all her needs. Our team has helped organized her surgery for cleft palate repair and can’t wait to see her grow and thrive.

I want to challenge you to wrap your heart around Haiti … please!! There are many organizations that you can sponsor a child from Haiti, as well as go and minister! If you can love big, give hugs, pass out food, organize crafts, pound a hammer, hold hands, bring hope, pray, sing, and dare to try new things, you are EXACTLY what Haiti needs! I promise, your heart will never be the same.

We received an update today on Julie and she needs our fervent prayers! Julie and her mother are both in the hospital with cholera. This is SO SERIOUS … please pray for God’s protection and healing!

Please share this with your blog friends … spread the word to pray for Julie!





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10 {Crazy} Reasons To Go Love Big In Haiti

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10 {Crazy} Reasons To Go Love Big In Haiti

Posted on 10 February 2012 by Kari Gibson

I asked my extraordinary Visiting Orphans “Simply Love Haiti” team what was their very favorite thingsabout their mission trip to Haiti and here’s what they wanted you to know:

  1.  It’s only a 2 hour and 15 minute flight on American Airlines to Port-au-Prince from Miami, Florida. Is that easy or what! (Kari)
  2. The endless opportunities to love. (Stephanie)
  3. The mango’s (hanging from trees) at Well-Being, the church service in Pignon, praying with different families on clinic day, home visits, seeing our witch doctor friend singing along with Jesus Loves Me on clinic day, the beautiful Haitian countryside, and above all the KIDS! (Susan)
  4. The smiles and endless hugs… The kids running down the road with us after the church service!!!! (Becky)
  5. The blankets of stars in the sky, hearing a bunch of little kids sing their hearts out in a shack church, unbelievable scenery, the blind woman singing on clinic day! (Sonja)
  6. I have to agree with the stars and the cacti fencing- very resourceful!!! I also think it is pretty amazing that so many women were able to live together for a week closely with shared bathrooms and limited food and not one person got disgruntled. There is so much to love… Jen’s facial expressions, I also cannot get out of my mind the forlorn face of the brother whose sister was in the witch doctor’s care… I can only imagine what his face looked like when he got formula for those babies and offered a job!!!! The singing… everything. Can we go back ???? (Ashley)
  7. I loved the singing in the little church! I have a video of that and I watch it everyday! The love, smiles and endless hugs from all the kids! (Jennifer)
  8. I loved watching the kids leave for school in Pignon in the mornings all decked out in their uniforms. (Becky)
  9. Watching the team walk into ministry opportunities daily and embrace every single moment with a big heart! (Mama Kiki)
  10. And my favorite was seeing how God used the talents of every member of our group through-out the entire week. The breadth of knowledge utilized through the various situations and projects was mind-boggling. (Becky)

This was just a taste of our 7 days in Haiti. We (the girls) talked late one night under our mosquito nets about how important it is to spread the word when we get home about our time in Haiti … to open eyes and hearts to come here and serve. Haiti needs you to come and love big! There are endless reasons you’ll fall in love, too! If you can love big, give hugs, pass out food, organize crafts, pound a hammer, hold hands, bring hope, pray, sing, and dare to try new things, you are EXACTLY what Haiti needs!

I’d love to know if you have any questions about going on a mission trip to Haiti … how can we (the team) help inform you about going, your concerns, fears, or anything!!!! We are NOT pros, but we fell in love with Haiti, so can you!

Team Photos:



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7 Crazy Days in Haiti Changed My Life

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7 Crazy Days in Haiti Changed My Life

Posted on 03 February 2012 by Kari Gibson

I just got back from my Visiting Orphans mission trip “Simply Love Haiti” and can’t wait to share with you the incredible stories and photos from the 7 days in Haiti. I love that God turned this trip into a grand adventure … all 16 of my team were extraordinary and just like you …. want to make a difference to the unreached people groups who have never heard about Jesus! On a personal note, God used this trip to rock my heart and taught me that I have so much to learn about sharing the gospel and loving BIG with compassion – not judging the actions of others. I will kick off Haiti Week here starting next Monday through Friday!  God gave me the gift of cheerleading and I pray that the stories will encourage you to GO and DO something to live dead. John 12:24.

I also wanted to thank you for your unswerving support and prayers the past week we were in Haiti. We needed prayer warriors and the comments and Facebook messages you left me made such a difference. We spent 2 days in Port-au-Prince and 5 days up in the mountains of Pignon- living at an orphanage called Haiti Home of Hope with the Campbell family.

Don’t miss the start of my project with Tom Davis and Children’s HopeChest ministry on February 14th …. Valentine’s Day!!!! This project will bless children and YOU with an extreme giveaway you can be a part of!! I can’t wait to tell you all about it!! Love you all!


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