Archive | July, 2012


Our Super Nanny

Posted on 30 July 2012 by Kari Gibson

I have been a mom for 18 years and I’ve never had the rare opportunity to have a nanny. In my world, we hire a babysitter for a few hours when we want a night out without our 3 kids. Mary Poppins exists only in fairy tales, but my dream came true when we asked our dear friend, Dovie White (18) to come with us to Africa to take care of Zoie on the mission field. From the start, we planned on having our girls join us with ministry and serving and loving the community of Korah. We needed the extra set of arms and eyes to watch out for our energetic 4 year old. I’m sure many of you, after hearing we were bringing our daughters to Ethiopia, wondered how in the world we would handle missions and parenting. Super-nanny, Dovie made that possible. She melted away my stress as a mom, knowing her passion for my daughters and strong temperament, a lioness, would handle the job like a pro. I needed someone to love and also keep control during the craziness. It was awkward at first to remind myself to ask her to do my mommy jobs, like make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches daily for Zoie. That was always my job at home, but super nanny jumped in with her heart wide open. There are some days when life in Korah is just too chaotic for Zoie to handle, so they enjoy a day at home playing and doing crafts.

Hannah’s favorite things about having Dovie here with her in Africa is her endless doses of encouragement, motivation, friendship, and having someone close to her own age. Dovie is Hannah’s small group leader at home, so she looks up to Dovie as a big sister and mentor. Super-nanny has adjusted like a seasoned veteran with new surroundings, changing guest houses (2x) and falling in LOVE with Korah… inside and out.

What does a super-nanny pack in her bag? Dovie thought of everything I forgot. She packed crafts, stickers, scissors, tape, books, and kid-friendly snacks, too. She helped Roger pack Zoie’s suitcase and went last second shopping at Walmart for items for Zoie from head to toes. She also packed compassion, endurance, flexibility too, in a special carry on bag … just for our family!

What does it take to be a super-nanny? Dovie’s strength and spunk and drive help her face the new challenges every day on the mission field. She wakes up in the morning and it never looks the same. Some days are sunny and some days are muddy. The loves she pours on my daughters makes me love her even more. She supports and encourages us in the big and small ways – every day. But the best of all, she has an incredible laugh and wicked sense of humor … just what I need to make it through my day!! It’s not easy being a super nanny, especially the days when Zoie is grumpy or tired. I’m thankful for her ability to re-direct and super size her patience. She has embraced everything Roger and I have thrown at her as newbie missionaries with grace and more grace. I’ve watched her grow in her love for Jesus and sharing the gospel to the unreached people groups. Yesterday, she told me she can’t wait to share the gospel at Missouri State University in the fall, taking what she has learned here in Africa back to her own community!

The best decision we ever made was bringing a super-nanny with us who has touched all of our lives in such a special way, but will take a BIG hunk of our hearts when she returns to the USA (with Mercy) on Aug. 10th. Thank you, Dovie for loving our family through the challenges, joys, fun, and craziness on our 1st mission adventure in Ethiopia!! We love you SUPER NANNY!!!!

Poem: Salom (by Dovie White aka: Super-Nanny)

I love Ethiopia for the people
dark and slim
for the smells of coffee and injera
for the joy that is within
I love Ethiopia for the walkers
hand in hand
for the animals that share the street
for the mountains and green land
I love Ethiopia for the rain
daily at three
for the language and the dancing
and the avocado tree
I love Ethiopia for the streets
horns blaring
driving fast
I love it for the way Korah
takes me to the past
I love Ethiopia
for their love of children true
for the bright smiles
and the buildings painted
Korah blue
I love Ethiopia
for the tea
and barbwire fence
for the courtyards and the guards
the way no one feels tense
I love Ethiopia for the friends that I have here
for the family that adopted me
for each lesson and each tear
I’m so thankful that I came
and so sad that I have to leave
but anxious beyond measure
to see what Ethiopia has done to me.


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Destroying the Goliaths in Korah

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Destroying the Goliaths in Korah

Posted on 25 July 2012 by Kari Gibson

1 Samuel 17 is the story of David & Goliath. “Then David took his shepherd’s staff, selected five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s pack, and with his sling in his hand approached Goliath.” When I walk around the village of Korah, I can almost imagine the hideous giant, Goliath standing, mocking loudly in the streets. He brings terror and fear straight to the heart of this people group of lepers and children living in the slums of Korah. The Goliaths of pain, suffering, sickness, and tragedy stand towering over every corner you turn. It’s overwhelming, but I know God’s power will conquer every single Goliath with the courage and salvation of the lost hearts,

Today, we shared the story of David and Goliath with the Ordinary Hero team to the Project 61 students. It was a spontaneous production of a shepard played by Brook and a big, bad Goliath played by Stephen Murray. The spin off was from the Veggie Tale version and I quickly ran outside and grabbed 5 red stones from a pile of dirt. The story lasted only five minuets, but the message was powerful. God gave David mighty strength and power to kill Goliath. After the actors took a humble bow, it was my turn to share the gospel with our translator, Brook aka King David. I wanted to keep things simple, but felt in my heart I needed to be bold. I shared that God promises to help us face our own Goliaths. When life is difficult and painful and heartbreaking God stands by our side and destroys the giants with His mighty power. I asked the children if anyone had a Goliath in their home… every single hand went up in the room. I shared the ONLY way to have this power in our lives is to ask Jesus Christ to come into our hearts. I encouraged them to raise their hands if they had never asked Jesus to be their personal Savior, their Father. When I looked out in the crowd, I saw 4 older boys boldly wave their hands. It was a precious sight … they didn’t even consider putting down their hands until a few team members went to sit down next to them. We prayed outloud together the prayer of salvation. Let me tell you, the children of Korah pray without abandon!! It was loud and joyful and full of crazy love.

The 4 boys came up to give me a big hug and I gave each of them one of the “five stones.” I explained to them that they needed to keep the stone as a reminder TODAY they are sons of God, mighty warriors for the Kingdom, and children of royalty. I promised to give them each an Amharic Bible and asked them to start reading the Word of God every single day … for the rest of their lives.

Every day when I’m serving in Korah, the 4 boys find me and pull out of their pockets their red stone… their reminder that God is alive in their hearts and will never leave their side.

I Am the Light of the world. Men crawl through their lives cursing the darkness, but all the while I am shining brightly. I desire each of My followers to be a LIGHT-BEARER. The Holy Spirit who lives in you can shine from your face, making Me visible to people around you. Ask My Spirit to LIVE through you, as you wend your way through this day. Hold My hand in joyful trust, for I never leave your side. The Light of My Presence is shining upon you. Brighten up the world by reflecting who I Am. (Jesus Calling, Sarah Young)

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Sleeping In Zoie’s Room

Posted on 17 July 2012 by Kari Gibson

We had to move guest homes a few days ago and in my heart, it wasn’t easy. We knew we had to move only one time this summer, but when the time came, I realized we all felt like home. (that’s good news) I made a nest for my family and we had to shake it up. We bought 4 new shelves for our home and unpacked our life on a few tiny shelves. Of course, the day we moved Zoie woke up with a fever and Roger left for Uganda. Moving days are always crazy, but the staff was here to help us every step of the way. (Thanks Sammy The Man!!) I always tell my teams they need to be flexible … take a flex pill when we are redirected on a new path. I had to pop a big flex pill!!!! I wanted to move and not grumble in front of my family, I needed to live what I preach! We moved and much to my surprise, I’m sleeping in Zoie’s room.

The last time our daughter Zoie Senait was in Ethiopia was four years ago. We met the tiniest, baldest, most beautiful baby girl at the orphanage and fell in love. Our adoption, radically changed our lives forever. Our family grew to five and we pray we always open our hearts for the kind of hospitality only God can create through adoption. Watching Zoie learn Amharic this summer has touched my heart in such a strange way. One of the most difficult part (for me) was removing our daughter from her homeland, her traditions, her culture, her everything… to a new world with our family. She bonded ferociously with her new family and she proudly shares … “I’m Ethiopian American” to her new friends here in Addis. She has learned so many Amharic words and phrases … picks it up so easy. Hearing her count to 10 in Amharic almost brings me to tears. I hoped and prayed she would embrace the country of her birth … we are watching her hug everything around her, except the food!! She is still our french fry loving girl, but we keep tempting her to try a little injera.

I’m sleeping in a small bed, but over it hangs a huge photo of Zoie Senait. I think she was a little shocked when she saw the wall art. “Mommy, why is my picture on the wall?” she asked me puzzled. I told her that she was kinda famous around these parts. I think she liked my answer. We are grateful for the McIlrath family and Ethiopia Guest Home and the extraordinary staff for embracing our family mission adventure. The staff are real life super-stars and we can’t imagine living anywhere else in Addis Ababa!!! So, if I have to move a few more times during our stay here, I think with a few flex pills and my Zoie wall art … this mommy will do just fine!

Thank you for praying for our family. I wanted to ask for specific prayer in these areas this week:

  1. Opportunities and boldness to share the gospel to the unreached people groups.. kids and adults. We have asked 15 street boys living near our guest home to go to Beza church on with us on Sunday. I have no idea what the laws are here on how many kids you can stuff in a van, but we’ll give it our best shot!
  2. Strength in body and spirit.
  3. Mercy’s health and travel plans to the USA
  4. Opportunities to offer support, care, and encouragement where it’s most needed with the Man Up Visiting Orphans team arriving to Ethiopia on Friday … make a major impact in Addis and Korah!!!


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Hubby Shares …. Simply Ignorant

Posted on 13 July 2012 by Kari Gibson

I watched my hubby spends weeks writing this post and pouring his heart into researching the subject. We have two daughters, and I know this was a hard one to tackle. I’m so proud of the Man Up teams for standing UP (with muscles flexing) against human trafficking and going to the unreached people groups to share the gospel with the very men who are abusing girls. Please pray for the team that God is building to make a difference in the life of the fatherless who are priceless.

That’s me … simply ignorant. About human trafficking that is. I first heard about sex slavery through my church. In fact, I still remember thinking that the word “slavery” seemed to be a little strong. We are in the 21st century? Slavery … we got rid that when Abraham Lincoln was president, right?

Girls are being lured, snatched, and taken to be sold into slavery from Russia to India to Thailand to Ethiopia to Brazil to the United States. Yes, it’s real and it is a problem right here in our own backyard. As of April 4, 2012 the UN announced, “That 2.4 million people are victims of human trafficking at any one time. And, 80% of them are being exploited as sexual slaves.” That means at least 1,920,000 are being sexually assaulted today! Check out this website here called A21 Campaign to learn more about abolishing injustice.

Detestable! I wish this corruption could be treated like a disease. We could hire a group of scientist to invent a vaccine or an antibiotic to eliminate the atrocity of this horrible crime, but obviously we can’t do that. So … what can we do?
Ashton Kuchter and Demi Moore did an anti-trafficking campaign called, Real Men Don’t Buy Girls. Regardless of how they live their personal lives, Ashton and Demi are on the right track in helping to eliminate trafficking … by targeting MEN! Now, I’m a man and I love being a man and I have no intentions of bashing men. I’m just simply going to CHALLENGE men. Why? Unfortunately, men make up the majority of the perpetrators against these young girls and boys. I know, it is getting worse by the minute. Men preying on boys is also a part of the moneymaking sex trade industry. With all the new laws, regulations, and task force assigned to help eliminate trafficking it will only have a minor impact. The real antidote to trafficking is getting MEN to simply Man Up Against Trafficking.

Why do we need men to Man Up Against Trafficking? There is a great story in the bible about a man who Manned Up. In fact, he has a whole book dedicated to his Man Up adventure. It’s called, Nehemiah. He was a simple man who saw a problem and answered the calling. He took a city whose walls were destroyed and rebuilt the entire wall around Jerusalem in just 52 days. Nehemiah gives us a good blue print of what we (men & women) can do to help restore the sanctity of these precious lives caught in the this horrible crime.

  1. Pray: After Nehemiah heard the news of Jerusalem walls being torn down he fasted and prayed with such intensity that he wept and mourned for days.  Basically, all of Nehemiah chapter is his prayer to God for the restoration of Jerusalem. The prelude that pushed Nehemiah to pray was hearing that not just the walls were broken down and its gates were destroyed by fire, but in Nehemiah 1:3 it says the people were in “great trouble and shame”. Nehemiah was not weeping and mourning over a wall. It’s the people who were living inside of the wall. It was his people. God’s chosen ones. Every child who is being exploited is in “great trouble and shame” needs our prayers!
  2. Protection: Obviously, the walls gave the Israelites protection against their enemies. Without a solid fortitude around Jerusalem it left the people exposed to attacks. What would happen if all the men in the U.S. decided to Man Up and say, NO to trafficking and prostitution? I know that is not possible, but what can we (men) do to Man Up and say no more?
  3. Restoration: Imagine the daily humiliation, beatings, and being degraded daily by men. Picture the orphan who so desperately wants a daddy to love them, protect them, and be a “daddy’s girl”. Instead, a pimp is looking at how they can increase that child’s profit margin as opposed to nurturing that child’s heart. By rebuilding the wall, Nehemiah gave the Israelites tremendous confidence. The wall represented “strength” and without it the Israelites were very ashamed.  Men who are followers of Jesus Christ can restore the wall by modeling the love of our Heavenly Father to show what real love looks like. Men who choose to Man Up can be a part of changing a girl’s perspective of what a real Godly man looks like … honorable, leader, honest, gentle, integrity, sacrificial love, etc. What can we do to restore the sanctity of these precious lives? What can we do to bring hope and big dreams to each child who has had their future snatched from them?

I’m sure you are asking, “Where are the solutions?” “How can we put an end to this?” Like I said, I’m just simply ignorant about human trafficking. However, I’m a dad. I’m a dad who wants to love and protect the fatherless. If trafficking makes you MAD. If trafficking breaks your heart. If trafficking makes you want to stand up and fight. It doesn’t matter if you are a male, female, knowledgeable or not knowledgeable about trafficking, like myself, I want to challenge you to Man Up and go to the front line of trafficking. Research and find mission trips to see where trafficking takes place, were you can visit orphanages where the pimps take the girls from, we will visit and love BIG on former girls who were rescued from trafficking.  Most of all, you get to be the start of change and hope for a child stuck in the atrocity of these horrible acts. You don’t know them or how, but God is already at work. Join His work in rebuilding the walls around the fatherless.

Today, when you are braiding your daughter’s hair or watching them play with their dolls or picking out the perfect outfit for the day … would you pray for the young girls in the world ages 3-13 year olds who are being raped, abused, neglected, and sold into slavery.

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Our Hippo Holiday on Lake Lewi

Posted on 10 July 2012 by Kari Gibson

We took Hannah, Dovie, Zoie, and Mercy on a 2 day fun-filled holiday to rural Ethiopia. The adventure to Awassa is a wild, donkey darting 4 hour drive. You can even spot camel along the way. We chose a beautiful lakeside resort called Hotel Lewi. Hannah and I visited there a few weeks before with our Visiting Orphans team for a special dinner. It poured rain on the drive from Addis Ababa, so spotting the camels and mud huts, I promised the girls, was nearly impossible. We forgot to check the weather report for the weekend. Despite the rain, the monkeys came alive when we arrived at the hotel. A huge monkey walked right into our room and grabbed Zoie’s cracker box and walked back out. We laughed so hard, but had no idea if they would attack us or keep their distance. The colorful monkeys were bold and brave grabbing food off our plates at breakfast, even stealing the sugar dish. We had a ball cheering the monkey’s on, even though they were a terrible nuisance to the wonderful staff armed with sling shots.

The sun came out on Saturday and the girls played in the (freezing) pool. We met four men from Saudi Arabia at dinner the night before who invited us to join them on a hippo boat ride. We were thrilled to set sail on a 2 hour ride to hunt down hippos!!! We passed near the Hawassa fishing docks and scattered fishermen. The mountains surrounding the lake were stunning. Everywhere we looked, the wildlife was straight out of an Animal Planet episode! I honestly thought it was a scam, but soon we were 10 feet away from a herd of hippo floating in the water munching on the tall grass. They were huge!!!!!! The boat driver kept reminding us to “balance” as we zipped from side to side taking photos! It felt like we were REALLY in Africa! We all felt a little nervous when the massive “King of the Lake” opened his mouth wide to disapprove of how close we were to his family. Our boat driver respected the hippo’s grumpiness as a sign to leave.

We serve God best as passion-filled people. It’s so important for our family to love big and serve the needs of the people here as missionaries, but we also need to take time as a family to just have fun. “ The thiefs purpose is to kill, steal, and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” (John 10:10) Satan’s attempt to drain our energy during our mission-adventure in Ethiopia is the real deal. God wants us to live life to the fullest with joy, passion, and zest!!! I’m thankful for the reminder in Awassa that God loves His beauty. He loves to brag. He created the hippos and the beautiful sunset we enjoyed each night resting behind the mountains. Our mini holiday re-energized our family to go back and face the day to day challenges on the mission field. He is the Life Giver. Continue Reading

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I Watched Jesus Cleanse the Lepers (in Korah)

Posted on 09 July 2012 by Kari Gibson

Luke 17: 11-19 MSG “It happened that as [Jesus] made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.

UPDATE 7/9 – I went to visit Sisay today to make sure he was feeling comfortable and had food … but God gave me an urgent request… a divine appointment. I visited out of obedience to share the gospel to my friend. We walked inside his home and immediately thought he was unconscious. He was barely breathing and didn’t move when I called out his name. We finally brought him out of a deep sleep and asked him what he needed. He asked for eggs and water. I raced back to Great Hope and we bought the items. We also carried a new mattress. We all sat around Sisay and I asked Berhanu to interpret. This was the moment I had been praying for and God urgently pushing me to ask my friend …. “Sisay, are you a Christian?” He whispered to us that he was Orthodox. I asked him if he wanted to ask Jesus Christ to come into his heart and accept the gift of salvation. I held my breath. He slowly said to us – YES he did want to pray and would we pray with him. This precious man that has lived a life as a leper was ready to spend an eternity with his Savior!!!!!!!!!!! We prayed with him the sinner’s prayer and he repeated everything we said out loud and repeatedly thanked God. When he started to cry, I completely lost it. I held his hands and told him that his new family would spend forever with him in heaven and he would be perfect and whole, with a new body!!! We reassured him how much God loved him and would hold him closely to the very end. He shouted out that he was ALIVE!!! We changed his clothes and made his new bed and told him we would visit in the morning. I know in my heart that my dear friend, Sesay will not be on this earth for much longer, but the honor of being with him as he accepted Jesus is a priceless gift I will never forget. God has healed him and cleansed his body miraculously. “Your faith has healed and saved you.

I have often wondered why God brought a special man named Sisay into my life that has leprosy. There are so many stories in the Bible that talk about Jesus healing lepers. Honestly, I had no connection with the verses about lepers and had no idea what it would even look like to have leprosy. Three years ago, I met Sisay. He’s probably around 80 years old and has a lively spirit. He’s lived in his home for over 50 years, but previously was a beggar. I’m assuming he’s had leprosy for over 50 years and was an outcast from his village, community and family. I want to ask him to tell me his story, so I’m hoping for the opportunity this week to learn more about my friend. When I first met Sisay, he had a lively spirit and joy that was contagious with the teams and elders in Korah. Great Hope Ministry feeds 35 elders with leprosy every single day, except the weekends. There is a brand new home in Korah for the leper men. They have the VERY first toilet and shower in Korah!!! I think that is just remarkable … watching these precious men enjoy a comfort I have had my entire life.

Today I met my good friend, Berhanu to help move four of the lepers to the hospital in Korah called Alert. This is a special hospital for lepers and the treatment of complications that come from the disease. I was happy to help Berhanu and recruited a few good men from the Visiting Orphans “super 7” team!! I honestly had no idea how you move lepers to a van, but soon learned the simple process… Two men carry one leper. We greeted the men and shared, with the help of translation, we were going to Alert Hospital. We wanted them to know we loved them and cared for their health. We loaded three men into the van and headed to Sesay’s home. The smell of their wounds hit me instantly. They were the most serious cases and we needed to get them care and medicine today!!

We walked inside to greet Sisay and my heart broke. He was lying in is bed in an awkward position and he looked like he was in pain. I called out, “Hi Sisay, it’s Kiki.” He always gets so happy to hear my voice, he can no longer see, but put his hands on my face and cried out, Kiki! I held his hands while Berhanu evaluated the situation. I just want you to know that (newlywed to Emily Cornish) is only 24 years old and takes care of his community and elders with all his heart and strength. He’s a big guy, but has a gentle soul. Berhanu showed me today what a real man looks like. There was no spotlight, no team, no one to impress … I had the great honor of watching a man simply love. It took four men to pick up Sisay on a hand made gurney and CARRY him to the Alert hospital. His illness was so severe, we weren’t able to drive him. I couldn’t believe my eyes watching them walk through the rain and mud carrying Sisay with dignity and love. It was like watching the Old Testament come to life.

The rest of the day we spent talking to doctors and caregivers about the elders of Korah. We had to put Sisay down on the floor and wait for someone to see us. He called out to me for Wuha (water) and I asked the five nurses standing near for help. They looked at me with arrogance and unwillingness to help. I could feel my heart start pounding. Sisay deserved dignity. I looked around and said in my best English … I want water for my friend NOW!! (I heard later, that Berhanu had a “come to Jesus’ talk with the nurses!!!) I was escorted inside a small room to talk to the assistant on duty. He explained to me kindly that we arrived 30 minutes too late to see the physician today. We would have to go home. For those of you who know me personally, I don’t really hear the word no. I calmly looked at the assistant and said I would not be able to leave today unless my friends were examined. I explained that the reason we were 30 minutes late, was the great difficulty it took us to bring the men here. Again, he kindly told me that they could not help us today. I looked at him and told him it would break my heart if he turned us away. I started to cry. My friends were hanging their heads through the window and surprised to see me so emotional. This was my very first time to cry in Korah.

I think the assistant could see Mama Kiki wasn’t going to budge until he helped my friends!! He assured me that they would track down the head doctor on the grounds and convince him to [help us] examine the four lepers from Korah. They took us to a small private room and we, once again, placed Sisay down on the ground, but this time in the grassy courtyard. Everything I saw was different than anything I would see at my local hospital. The hunted-down doctor warmly greeted us, even though we were late and examined his new four patients. They removed the dressings and it was very difficult (for me) to look at their injuries. Lepers lose the nerves and sensation of feeling in the diseased areas of their body and skin, so they can hurt and injure the infected area without even knowing they are hurt. One of the men’s injuries today was from burns getting too close to the cooking fire.

Today, when you are cooking a meal for your family, please pray for the elders in Korah that they are safe from harm and have a meal for the week.

The only comfort in my heart, was knowing someday when they leave their earthly bodies, they will see the face of Jesus and be whole again … cleansed and perfect in His image. I feel grateful and honored to know the lepers of Korah. They are people of dignity and deserve our service and kindness. Please pray for their salvation. I know some of the men do not know Jesus as their personal savior. I’m praying God will give me the boldness this week to share the gospel and simply love. I know God has the power to heal and cleanse their bodies instantly, but I’m also praying He heals their hearts. Continue Reading

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My Plans Are Not Always the Best Plans

Posted on 03 July 2012 by Kari Gibson

Thank you God for giving me grace grace today!!!

Our little family of five was so excited to join our friends and the Visiting Orphan’s team for Sunday service at Beza Church! Last Sunday, we were blessed hearing Pastor Zi share on giving, but today was the healing service and this was going to be a powerful message! Zoie couldn’t wait to join her new friends at kid’s class, too. We were all ready to worship and join with our new church family in unity, joy and blessing in the Holy Spirit.

We spent extravagant time with Jesus. It was simply beautiful enjoying time with our brothers and sisters singing and praising and loving Jesus together. As I looked around the congregation, there were so many people groups from all over the world. We had friends sitting near us from Africa, United States, Australia, and even France. The testimonies of healing glorified God and encouraged others to go forward for prayer. “The whole church must take the whole gospel to the whole world.” (Live Dead)

One of the things God put on my heart was letting go of all my “plans.” It took me weeks to plan what to bring to Africa for my family. I planned on the things I anticipated we would need here for the four months in Ethiopia, but already I realize most of the stuff I packed was unnecessary. I never thought I was much of a planner, but enjoy the surprises that come along with adventure. However, in my mind, I made a lot of plans about how I thought things would go. I keep reminding myself, I have no agenda when I wake up in the morning, but I can sense in my heart how much I crave feeling needed and wanted. The worst thought would be to go through an entire day and not serve big or love big. Today, God reminded me that the only thing He wants me to do daily, hourly, second by second … first SEEK God’s kingdom. Jesus says, “Fall into freedom; trust me, and stop worrying about what you have or don’t have.”

So, today sitting with my new church family, I confessed my motives and weakness to make my own plans to serve my purpose for the day. I want to step aside and let God make the plans. He knows exactly what He wants me to do during my time here in Ethiopia. He will use my strengths and weaknesses.. I just need to obey. I’m so grateful for the ministries and missionaries and adoption families that I love are [here] with me in Addis Ababa. There was no way I could ever have planned that!! I want to be a “happy helper” but more than anything, I want to please my heavenly Father and enjoy each and every day in freedom. I look forward to living this day to the fullest and not worry about tomorrow. Continue Reading

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A Letter to My Beautiful Daughter, Hannah

Posted on 02 July 2012 by Kari Gibson

Dear Hannah,

I was watching you today and couldn’t help wondering what special plan God has for your life. You were holding a precious little girl in your arms and I could picture so many things in your future. Your compassion, gentleness, and spunk have been unique gifts of yours since you were a baby. You started off life only weighing 2 pounds. Your spunk and determination not only saved your life, but it’s now giving the children you love big the same hope to never give up. This little girl probably doesn’t feel she has a future. We visited her home and it was only the size of your walk in closet. It’s hard to wrap our brains around the needs we see. Your gentleness made her feel safe and she fell asleep in your arms. The mission team even gave you the nickname- baby whisperer.

Dad and I know our family mission adventure to Ethiopia has been challenging for you. I’m sure you have a list a mile long of all the things you miss every day. You love alone time to just chill out and that luxury is pretty much non-existent in a 2 room guest house with 5 people living inside. You exchanged your huge closet for 1 shelf. I hope you know we could never do this journey without you … your joy, humor and silly creativity makes us laugh and relieve the stress of the day. I’ve watched your sister, Zoie cling to your confidence and joy as she ventures out trying new things. I heard her tell you today, “I want to do everything my big sister does!”

I’m also watching you with my “mommy” heart … hoping and praying you are growing, learning, stretching, and challenging your walk with the Lord to find contentment in any situation God puts in front of you. The greatest of all … sharing the gospel with the bright light inside of you to the people you meet every day.

Thank you for trusting us, your parents and jumping in with both feet to join us in loving and serving in a radical way here in Ethiopia. You will watch our achievements and failures… please give us big grace. I can only hope that our decisions and actions will make an impact in your heart that you will carry with you for the rest of your life… so you can better know Him. As you abide in Christ, listen to His heart. It beats for lost people.

I’m thankful you are my daughter and look forward every single day watching you grow into the woman God designed you to be.

I love you, Hannah


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Operation: Haiti

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