Archive | October, 2012

How You Can Support Our Family

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How You Can Support Our Family

Posted on 24 October 2012 by Kari Gibson

Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers – Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker

We are starting our NEW crazy mission adventure and I’m so excited for you to join us as mission-hearted people. As you know, God sold our home when we sent an email to a wonderful missionary family living in a tiny village in Haiti called Pignon. If you say it with a fancy French Creole accent, it sounds really beautiful! Bill and Jennifer Campbell have lived in Pignon for the past 10 years and dreamed of celebrating their 10th year anniversary in the states. However, they have an orphanage (Haiti Home of Hope) and medical clinic they serve 24/7, so picking up and leaving together as a couple takes huge effort and basically impossible.

OPERATION: HAITI. The Gibson family were thrilled to help our missionary friends take a much needed break from missions, so we said, “We’ll do it!!!” We are heading to Pignon, as a family for the months of November through January for Part 2 of our mission’s adventure. We are thrilled and excited and a little scared for this next chapter, but with prayers and support from family and friends … we can do it afraid. We do not feel adequate or worthy to be happy helpers in Haiti, but very grateful for this incredible opportunity and thankful to God for allowing our family to do something soooo crazy! We need 50 donors to give $50 a month through September 2013!!

Our Top 8 Needs:

  1. Travel: Haiti – $2,800
  2. Travel: Nicaragua- $2,800
  3. Travel: Ethiopia – $8,000
  4. Health Insurance: $800 a month
  5. In-country residence: $1000 a month
  6. In-country transportation: $700 a month
  7. Food: $400 a month
  8. Personal items- $500 a month

What will we be doing in Pignon, Haiti?

We leave mid-November (on faith promise) to Pignon, Haiti through January 16th. Roger and I will be learning the ropes with our missionary friends, the Campbells on training 101, conducting the day to day responsibilities of Haiti Home of Hope (orphanage) and the clinic. They have a weekly mother’s milk program and provide formula and basic needs to the children & community families. Throughout the next few weeks, I’m going to share with you stories and photos of the beautiful community of Pignon we will be serving in Haiti. They will change your life, too.

(2 month) Haiti Happy Helpers:

  • Haiti Home of Hope Orphanage
  • Mother’s Milk Program
  • Weekly Clinic for community
  • Man Up Bible Study for teens & young adults in the community

Bloggy friends, how can you help?

We need your help … please pray, encourage, and support our family as short term missionaries. Roger and I self funded all our personal and project expenses the past 4 months living in Ethiopia. Now, we want to finish the mission-dream God called us to do this year and serve big. As missionaries, it’s humbling to ask people for money, but as mission-hearted people, you have an amazing opportunity to join us and live James 1:27 together… even if you can’t be with us physically in Pignon, Haiti or Ethiopia.

We have “circled” an amount of money we need to raise for our personal expenses for 12 months on the mission-field, as well as our projects in Haiti and Ethiopia. We can’t do this on our own, but God can do it!! If you are a regular reader on My Crazy Adoption blog, you know … we are home-less and unemployed, but 100% committed to being a mission-hearted family, serving and sharing the gospel to the unreached people groups.

If you would like to help fund our mission’s adventure to Pignon, and back to Ethiopia, consider giving to our brand new ministry, Simply Love monthly or a one-time gift. Your tax-deductible donations will not only help us live out our mission dreams, but will help us with our many projects we are doing in Haiti and Ethiopia. You can give and pray and cheer and love big = Simply Love.

What we need to raise for support:

Many of you have asked us to share the specifics of how you can help us with our mission’s adventure support.

You can support us by first and foremost keeping our family in your prayers. We have self funded our mission adventure, but now it’s time for us to ask for financial support. Here are specific needs we have:

  • Health Insurance- $9,600 a year ($800 a month)
  • Flights: Haiti – $2,800 / Nicaragua- $2,800 / Ethiopia – $8,000
  • In-country residence: $1,000 a month
  • In-country transportation: $500 a month, Fuel $200 a month
  • Food: $400 a month
  • Personal items: $500 a month

In addition, you an support us financially with a one time gift or monthly contribution. Any monetary gift will go towards helping us meet our monthly expenses. Overages will go towards helping facilitate projects in the area we serve such as feeding, building, bedding, medications, etc.

Please send any financial support* by check (made payable to Simply Love) to:

706 North Lindenwood Drive #100
Olathe, Kansas 66062

or make a contribution by credit card here …


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Bonne Fete {Happy Birthday} Mama Kiki

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Bonne Fete {Happy Birthday} Mama Kiki

Posted on 11 October 2012 by Kari Gibson

(POSTED JANUARY 2012) Last year, when hubby asked me what I wanted to do for my 45th birthday. My wish was a little different crazy, but what I really wanted more than anything was to wake up on January 21st and hear the words “Bonne Fete Mama Kiki” in Haiti with a team of crazy mission-hearted people. I love Haiti. I love the adventure, the people, the beauty, and the spirit of Haiti. If I could only pick one word to describe Haitians, it would be “courageous.” Their courage has been tested to extreme levels, but I can testify that our brothers and sisters are standing firm in their faith in God.

Here’s my crazy wish for you … I want YOU to fall in love with Haiti, too. I have a challenge for my friends to look past your fears and ask God to grow a deep love for the unreached people groups in Haiti. Did you know that traveling to Haiti is only a short, 2 hour and 15 minute flight from Miami? Did you know there are organizations that will help you serve in the poorest place in the Western Hemisphere, where we can make a real difference? You may think you don’t have skills to volunteer in Haiti, but I promise …. you do!! 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!

It breaks my heart when I hear people say to me “I’m afraid to go to Haiti” or “It’s too risky” or “Can’t I get sick?”  Haiti is one of the five places in the world that NEEDS your help the most! That’s what volunteering is all about … giving your love in a place that desperately needs it. (Allison Thompson, Guideposts) We need to be mission-hearted together. Ask Jesus if He wants you to go- to share His gospel in Haiti. Because, Jesus is worthy, because Jesus is worth it, “the whole church must take the whole gospel to the whole world.” As we fall deeper in love with Jesus, we become like Him. To be like Jesus is to love the nations of the world! The gospel is what God has done for us in Christ. (Live-Dead) There is a spiritual battle between Christianity and Voudo religion … Haiti needs our fervent prayers.

When we were ministering in the community of Pignon, Haiti, I met a new mommy living in horrific conditions with her newborn twins. Her family brought her to a witch doctor for healing. We went inside the home, with permission from the WD and asked to pray with her. She was sitting on the edge of a bed, swollen and drugged beyond reason. I wrapped my arms around her and looked around the tiny space. This was her crossroads, if she made a decision to leave the house, we could help her, but if she chose to stay she was under the care of Satan, literally. She was completely lost. As we prayed for her healing and heart, I could feel the battle going on all around us. My heart was broken when her family refused to let her go. Her brother, was the only Christian in the family and he was desperate for our prayers. He shared that he wanted to be the man of the home, but struggled with not having the courage and strength to stand up to the witch doctor and Voudo control. Our team, also surrounded the brother and prayed for him. We left there that day not knowing how the outcome would be for the mom and twins. But, we knew with all our hearts, God has directed us specifically there that day to simply love.

I heard a few days ago, that the mother died in the witch doctor’s care and the twins were now being cared for by their uncle, our brother in the Lord. The saddest part of the story for me is the fact that she was lost and separated from the gift of salvation. This has made a great impact in my heart … If we love Jesus Christ, we will listen. Eventually we will feel His broken heart. If we love Him we will like the mighty men of old, make His longing our MISSION no matter what the risk. (Live-Dead)

Does this leave a mark on your heart?




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You Captured Our Hearts [Haiti Re-Post]

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You Captured Our Hearts [Haiti Re-Post]

Posted on 10 October 2012 by Kari Gibson

(Post January 2012) This is the story of a baby boy named “Rudy” who captured the hearts of our Simply Love Haiti team. We were all so excited for clinic day at Haiti Home of Hope (HHH). We heard there would be about 60 people that would walk over 15 miles to receive care, food, and baby formula. Almost all the babies on the milk program are there because their moms have died. These babies would most likely die without this lifesaving formula. We also work with nursing moms who are having a hard time nursing. We help the moms with vitamins and food, to improve their nutrition, so they can nurse well. I want to thank those of you who donated formula- Tymm Hoffman’s ministry Brighton Their World. We packed their storage room full of life-saving formula! We were beyond surprised when over 120 people arrived (maybe they heard about 16 crazy Americans being there) and we had the opportunity to love, feed, care, sing, and share the gospel during the 6+ hours in the outdoor waiting room. I want to shout out a special thanks to the Campbell family, missionaries who live and love in Pignon, the past 8 years dedicated to making a difference to the unreached people groups in Haiti. I was simply amazed watching this family in action and fell deeply in love with all 38 of their children!! I want to be YOU when I grow up, !

We had invited several people the day before on our home visits, including a witch doctor named Luckner. This poor man had no idea what he was walking into, but we had an incredible time sharing and praying with him during clinic day. Pignon, Haiti is located 100 miles from Port-au-Prince up in the mountains. It’s a rural, very poor area that desperately needs our help and care. We met many new mothers and caretakers in the milk day program that literally are keeping their babies alive with the donated formula. They were overjoyed and so grateful that we were there helping. One of my favorite memories was when team members, Amanda and Becky started singing. Our team shared a few songs, and then we asked it THEY would sing to us. There were many women who came forward and gave us their gift of song. One in particular was a blind women who had a voice like an angel. We were so touched and blessed with our impromptu sing-a-long.

One of the mothers had a challenging history with HHH. She was abusive to her children and left three years ago (illegally) to live in the Dominican Republic. She came back on clinic day with baby Rudy. He was 2 months old, but weighed barely 5 pounds. Of course, I was immediately back in time holding my baby Zoie with memories flooding in my heart. However, this baby boy was being deliberately starved by his birthmother. Jennifer Campbell rushed the baby inside the clinic and we immediately started giving him urgent care. He was so sick and weak, he couldn’t suck the bottle, so we had to put a NG tube down his nose into his little tummy. I started bawling, because I had to do this with my own premature daughter, Hannah and the emotions overwhelmed my heart! Jennifer requested from Rudy’s mother the choice to allow us to nurse him, literally back to life. She agreed and left HHH for several days. We nursed Rudy around the clock 24/7 and slowly he started growing stronger. There are no words to describe what our team felt caring for Rudy. He was truly our miracle boy. There are a lot of details I won’t share in this story, but I wanted to update you (Monday 2/6) Rudy’s parents showed up this morning and we all went down to Cap Haitian. The parents denied that he tested positive for hiv, so a doctor did another test, which came back positive. The father is having a hard time with this news, and what it means to him. He changed his mind about leaving Rudy in the Cap Haitian orphanage, and decided to take him back to the Dominican and seek medical care there. So we gave them money for transportation, and took them to the bus station. God is still in control of this situation. We know that Rudy’s father loves him very much, and wants to be with him. Because of this, I believe he will find the medical treatment he needs. Please continue to pray for this family. Jennifer. (photo- Parents are pictured below with Rudy.)

We are grateful for the time we had loving him, feeding him, giving him his first bubble bath, and rocking him as we fed him each hour, every day. My dear friend, Kari Hamilton ended up staying an extra week to help the Campbell family take care of him. Baby Rudy has 21 new adopted aunts, uncles, and a mama Kari in his life watching over him and loving him and praying for him.

(Baby Rudy 2 days after we fed him every hour 24/7)

My personal challenge dealing with Rudy’s mother was not judging her, but having compassion. I had to keep saying 1 Cor. 13:13 over and over in my heart. It was very difficult and several times during our stay, I wanted to judge her angrily with my words and actions for hurting Rudy. God (and my team) kept reminding me that God has a special plan for Rudy and despite the abuse he had to endure from his mother, he was in the care and hands of our heavenly father. I had the opportunity to pray and talk to mom with the help of … sharing the gospel and also my own struggles and mistakes as a mom. I had a heart to heart talk with her and shared about Zoie’s adoption and Hannah’s miracle story. God used MY pain to hopefully encourage this young mother. Please pray for baby Rudy and his parents…. we will keep you updated on his progress.

Life is pitiful, death so familiar, suffering and pain so common, yet I would not be anywhere else. Do not wish me out of this or in any way seek to get me out, for I will not be got out while this trial is on. These are my people, God has given them to me, and I will live or die for Him and His glory. – Gladys Aylward (Live-Dead)

If you enjoyed or learned something from this post … please share it.

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The Last Day of an Extraordinary Life

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The Last Day of an Extraordinary Life

Posted on 07 October 2012 by Kari Gibson

I visited Sisay on his last day. I didn’t know that God has something very special planned for Sisay on this day. I had the opportunity to take one of the Visiting Orphans team on a tour of the (leper) Alert Hospital in Korah. I like this gig … being a tour guide for the lepers. The structure has been there over 80 years and the artisans, mainly elders work on their trade of weaving, embroidery, and many other beautiful creations. On the walk back to Great Hope church, I invited the team to meet my friend, Sisay. He looked weak, but clean and peaceful, moved on the other side of the bed, so I knew his neighbor had been there today. We greeted Sisay and he whispered his familiar greeting. The team sang him a song of hope and joy. Wesley Sellers prayed an emotional blessing and we gently laid our hands on his quiet body. Someone on THAT team had a divine appointment to meet Sisay… I don’t know who they were, but I know in my heart God will use the testimony of Sisay’s life, pain, and salvation to impact THAT person.

(Saturday) My dear brother, Murad called me this afternoon and told me that Sisay had died. It was a shock to hear the news I had anticipated the past many weeks. Sisay was gone. We quickly called our driver, Dougu and asked him to take us to Korah to support his family and friends. As soon as I started walking down the familiar muddy road to Sisay’s home… I started to cry. Every day for the past 2 months, I have brought him water, eggs, bread, oil, charcoal, and 1 onion. We made sure his sores were clean with medication and bandaged. It was my duty to bring him new friends and fellowship from mission teams. We sang songs and prayed for healing. My 3 P61 boys, Senti, Baby, and Tuloosa helped me buy the items from a tiny “Suk” near Sisay’s home. They showed great respect for their elder. It broke my heart that this precious man was no longer here, but my heart was also relieved. My friend would no longer suffer in pain, but was celebrating in his new home. Today, Heaven welcomed Sisay. Oh, what a party Sisay’s having with his new feet and new hands and perfect new body in Christ dancing with the angels! He no longer has leprosy… he is finally healed.

The daughter of Sisay came around the corner and started sobbing when she saw us. God had softened my heart toward this woman and helped me look at the situation the past few months without judgement. Culturally, it was unacceptable for her to abandon taking care of her father’s needs, but God allowed us to be there to care for her father. She hugged me and we both cried for her father’s death. She invited us inside and it hurt my heart to no longer see his bed. Sisay had lived in this home for over 50 years. The tiny mud home was filled with benches and visitors, but we honestly had no idea what to do. We sat down next to his friends who were grieving the death of their neighbor. It was very emotional for all of us. I was amazed at how our family just fit in. We were truly a special part of Sisay’s last days and his friends were so thankful for us being there.

Thank you David Parks from Visiting Orphans team for this very special photo. Please read Dovie White’s 2 posts about Sisay.

(Sunday)Today we went to Sisay’s funeral. It started at 9:00am in the morning and the P61 mission team decided to join us. We walked through the rain and mud almost a mile through Korah. We made it to the Orthodox church as they were covering the grave with dirt. At first, I was a little disappointed we didn’t make it there on time, but we joined the procession through each step of the ceremony. The daughter of Sisay carried his photograph and we followed. The family set up a tent next to his home and literally hundreds of people were there to pay their respects. I was so proud to have known Sisay and to feel the love pouring from his community. Roger and I secretly helped the family pay for the funeral, injera, wood, and maze for their guests. The cost … 500 birr ($25 US)

A few weeks ago when I asked Sisay what he needed most, he told me, “I don’t need anything, but just bring me visitors.” I want to thank the team members who visited Sisay this summer, who ministered to a very old and sick man who needed big love and prayer. I’m grateful that God allowed us to hold Sisay’s hand when he asked Jesus to come into his heart. I will always cherish the friendship God gave me with this extraordinary man! Goodbye, dear friend!

You can see Sisay on the Man Up and Go movie coming out October 20th.

As you listen to birds calling to one another, hear also My Love-call to you. I speak to you continually: through sights, sounds, thoughts, impressions, Scripture. There is no limit to the variety of ways I can communicate with you. Your part is to be attentive to My messages, in whatever form they come. When you set out to find Me in a day, you discover that the world is vibrantly alive with My Presence. You can find Me not only in beauty and birdcalls, but also in tragedy and faces filled with grief. I can take the deepest sorrow and weave it into a pattern for GOOD. Search for Me and My messages, as you go through this day. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole being. (Jesus Calling, Sarah Young)

If you would like to leave a special blessing for Sisay, I will include this in our mission-adventure e-book.

Photos I took from Sisay’s funeral processional:



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You Make Beautiful Things

Posted on 05 October 2012 by Kari Gibson

Have you ever met someone who flat out changes your life? When we met Mulu (Mercy’s mother) two years ago, we had no idea the impact that meeting would make in our lives- then and now. We are grateful for the opportunity to host her daughter in the USA for medical treatment and celebrating like crazy this week receiving the good news that her body is healthy and tests ALL normal. She endured 2 months of testing from head to toe (and shots) but was always a trooper! We are still flabbergasted with this news, but not surprised. Our God is a big God and has had His hands covered around this precious family from day 1. Thanks for celebrating with us and you will continue to play a big part in her life with your prayers and support! Our biggest dream for Mercy when we started this journey, was for her to return back to her family healed, healthy, and happy. She’s been working so hard everyday on English and home-school lessons with Hannah. Yesterday, we finished lessons and made it to play at Target all before noon. (I think I’m going to really like this!!) She is part of our family … helping with babysitting (we have 9 kids living under 1 roof) and chores. We’ve encouraged her to try new things … her biggest challenge has been finding her God-confidence in a new country, but she keeps moving forward with courage! She will return to Ethiopia starting the 11th grade at Bright Hope School with Project 61. We will continue to sponsor the entire family … prayerfully forever!!

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

Mulu and 30 women living in Korah work for a ministry (we love and adore) called Mission Ethiopia. When you stay at one of the beautiful EGH guest homes in Addis Ababa, you also support Mission Ethiopia. Check out their website here- The women are widows and single moms … each one with a story. Roger and I showed up every day and fell madly in love with these beautiful women who make beautiful things out of magazines and clay mud.  On our first day living in Ethiopia, we headed to the tiny blue shop next to Great Hope Church where they make jewelry, beads, scarves, woven rugs (famous Casa is the weaver) and other beautiful things. They sat us down on a hard bench and handed me a tiny flat stick and clay bead … my only directions, “shine!” They work at a feverish pace, and I wasn’t about to slow their system down. I rubbed the bead like crazy until they told me in Amharic “Gobez (good job)” and handed me another bead. After two hours of shining beads, my back was aching and I was literally pooped! The next day, we showed up to make beautiful things and they were already hard at work making magazine bead necklaces. I was soooo excited, because I simply love wearing [everyday] the made-with-love-necklaces and honestly had no idea how they were made. I soon learned the hands on way. They handed me a long, clear string that looked like fishing line and a pile of bright colored beads. They showed me at super-woman speed how to string beads. My first attempt, I accidentally bumped my pile and they scattered all over the floor. The women howled with laughter, but quickly gave me another pile. “chiggeryellum (no problem)” I worked so hard to make them proud. I wanted the women of Mission Ethiopia to know how much I admired them and valued their beautiful things.

The tiny blue house is jam packed with love. The women work and sing and pray all day long (with an hour lunch break) and their kids play outside, so Zoie always had a play mate. They embraced our family and invited us to come inside to work and learn Amharic 101, the beautiful language in Ethiopia. Roger and I were determined to learn a few important phrases and they would practice with us over and over and over. I think they soon realized we were “slow-minded” and worked fervently with us as we made beautiful things together. We owe the women of Mission Ethiopia all the recognition and credit for helping us survive the language barriers serving in Korah and actually having a semi-decent conversation with the community in our best Amharic. Even though, we sounded terrible, they were honored that we never gave up trying to learn.

“Imagine being an HIV positive widow, or a woman handicapped by leprosy: both outcasts and considered unemployable. Women like these and many others spent their days in the garbage dump searching for food or begging in the streets to feed their families until they were offered employment by Mission Ethiopia.

Mission Ethiopia empowers individuals by providing a sustainable job to support themselves and their families with the fruit of that labor. By purchasing these products, you have helped to restore dignity by providing a hand-up instead of a handout.”

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You …

You make me new, You are making me new.

“Mission Ethiopia helps to provide jobs through local churches to help women support and feed their families. Today, 56 women (single mothers, widows, and women with HIV) come daily to 4 local churches where they form clay beads, which are later dried, glazed and designed into beautiful necklaces. This year, by the grace of God, we hope to double the number of women who participate in this project.

Unemployment and underemployment are significantly prevalent in both urban and rural areas.  We want to build on what the poor already have – willing hearts and minds that just need an opportunity.”  The number of women we are able to provide with an opportunity for employment is directly affected by the number of guests that stay at .”

OK, now that you have met and fallen in love them too, will you go over and “Like” their wonderful ? This would mean the world to the ladies, if all MY bloggy friends follow and share with their mission to make beautiful things. The EGH staff updates with new photos weekly!!

(Beautiful Things video- Gungor)

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

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You Are Worth More Than Gold

Posted on 04 October 2012 by Kari Gibson

The theme this summer on our Simply Love mission trip was Gold. I love this upbeat song by Britt Nicole, my daughter Hannah shared with me as we prepared to leave for our mission adventure. The team taught lessons to the girls and boys in Uganda and Ethiopia that they are worth more than gold. We played the song so many times at the different ministries we served… we had it memorized! We sang, danced, and cheered with the Kings and Queens of Africa. Team members made hundreds of stars with the song laminated on them. There’s even one hanging in the Man Up Cave … we don’t want them to ever forget how valuable they are day and night.

I learned from the children we served, that sticks and stones hurt, but words can break your heart when you’ve been told you are NOT worth anything. I grew up in a home that daily renewed my value as a daughter and that I was beautiful inside and out. There are millions of boys and girls all over the world who have never heard the words … you are beautiful, you are valuable, you are loved. When people ask me why going on a mission trip is so important, I always keep it simple, “Every child deserves to be loved.” You can have the honor of telling a child for the first time in their life, you are worth more than gold. That is a priceless gift.

whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
so hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold so don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
you’re a king you’re a queen inside and out!!!!!!!

One of the craziest stories happened on our last week in Addis Ababa. Hannah bonded with a precious little girl named Beza and asked Sumer Yates if she could sponsor her so she could go to school and be a part of the Project 61 program. Beza lost her mother in a tragic way, and in one night lost her entire world. Beza turned 13 years old and Hannah brought her home for a 2-day birthday sleepover at our guest home. Beza was in heaven, she played with Zoie and watched movies and baked cookies. It was a birthday to remember. Every day she would stalk watch our van pull up at Great Hope Church in Korah and was visibly upset when Hannah wasn’t with us. One day, Roger and I had to stay late in Korah and worked on finishing up a project with a mission team. We pulled up to the guest home at around 6pm and when we opened the door we were VERY surprised to see Beza standing on the stairs looking down at us with a nervous expression. We were confused, how in the world did she get here? Did she sneak in our van and we didn’t see her get out? The mystery of Beza was solved when Hannah told us she had walked from Korah to Lafto in her bare feet and had arrived an hour earlier. WHATTTT? She had walked over 10 miles to our guest home??!!!! “I missed Hannah,” was all she said to her defense. She even got a thorn in her foot that Hannah had to pull out with tweezers, praying hard not to pass out. It would have been a funny story, minus of course, the danger and thorns of a 13 year old walking alone at dusk. Mama Kiki (me) had to sit down with the help of our staff and have a firm discussion in English and Amharic why we don’t make surprise visits without permission. In the end, we decided to let her stay with a big hug and kiss … she learned, even through our correction, she was valuable and worthy and loved.

We have an opportunity every day to teach value and worth in our own homes, on a mission trip… literally all over the world, that you are worth more than gold. Please feel free to “borrow” our theme and use this amazing song to remind YOUR kids today, how much you love them. I hope none of us feel ashamed to wear our crowns … we are daughters and sons of royalty!

I made this video with personal photos of beautiful Kings and Queens in Ethiopia … enjoy and share!

You were walking on the moon, now you’re feeling low
What they said wasn’t true, you’re beautiful
Sticks and stones break your bones, I know what you’re feeling
words like those won’t steal your glow, you’re one in a million

this, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
so hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
You’re worth more than gold

well everybody keeps score, afraid you’re gonna lose
just ignore they don’t know the real you
all the rain in the sky can’t put out your fire
of all the stars out tonight, you shine brighter

this, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
so hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
You’re worth more than gold

so don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not loved
and don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not enough
yeah there are days that we all feel like we are messed up
but the truth is that we’re all diamonds in the rough
so don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
you’re a king you’re a queen inside and out
you glow like the moon, you shine like the stars
this is for you, wherever you are

this, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
(so hold your head up high) so hold your head up high,
it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
You’re worth more than gold

so don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
you’re a king you’re a queen inside and out


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Freedom Reigns {Letting Go}

Posted on 03 October 2012 by Kari Gibson

The definition of freedom: The state of being free, of not being imprisoned or enslaved. God sold our home and we are experiencing freedom in a new, radical way. People give me a funny look when I tell them we are homeless and loving it! God provided everything we needed to self-fund our 110 days living in Ethiopia as newbie missionaries. God sent people in our path that allowed us live in a beautiful and serve daily in our daughter’s village of Korah. Since being back in the states, we are fervently praying for God to provide the way for us to raise funds with Simply Love to serve in Haiti for 2 months and back to Ethiopia until the end of July. We are praying circles around the details, but walking forward in faith to complete the 1 year mission’s adventure God called our family. I can’t wait to tell you all the ministry details … coming soon!

My single biggest adjustment to obeying God this year has been the humbleness in my heart to accept the gift of freedom. My family and closest friends know how much I loved my home and shopping for stuff for my home, but in His faithfulness to give our family freedom, we had to die to self. Believe me, this has been a long, painful journey. I remember vividly when God first put on our hearts to sell our dream home, I dug my fingers and toes in stubbornness and refused to let go. This was MY beautiful home … God don’t you realize we custom built every corner to meet OUR needs. I was very comfortable in my life and home and community. I lost my sense of adventure being so inflexible and inconveniently selfish and fearful. Thankfully, God was more courageous than I could ever be, and in His tenderness and discipline (ouch) He allowed me to learn important lessons of forgiveness, gratefulness, humility, victory, and freedom! God knew everything about me- even the numbers of hairs on my head. I don’t need to work at revealing myself to Him. (Jesus Calling) God was preparing my heart to learn the process of letting go for future good-byes.

In His perfect timing He planned a supernatural freedom journey for us and we have only just begun. Please pray for our family, we need warriors to circle us with prayer and support and encouragement. It’s not easy, not having a home. But once again, God knew our deepest desires. Our dear friends, the Neal family, opened up their hearts and home to our family of 6 to live the next 2 months before heading to Pignon, Haiti. There are no words to thank our friends for this incredible sacrifice of love… radical hospitality. We are a big family of 14 and realized by day 3, we were living an incredible reality TV series … 4 with 9 Kids and Counting or Neals & Gibsons Plus 14. Can you imagine the good we would do for missions and digging wells with that paycheck from TLC!!

Feel the chains fall away, Feel the heaviness all the weight. Jesus reigns. The only way I can describe to you what I have learned about letting go is sharing this story. On our last day in Ethiopia, we had to say goodbye to our Korah family. I didn’t want to leave with any regrets and definitely wanted the children to feel a sense of closure. We didn’t make any promises, but asked them to pray big and bold with us to return in February. They understood that God would be the one to open the doors back up for us to return. We spent the morning in the Man Up Cave, completing the bible study of Daniel and decorating the cave with framed pictures. I wanted to leave a few motherly touches from Enate (mom) with the children we deeply loved and cared about. We spent the day before on our “history walks” saying goodbye to each of their families, but for the ones who had no family, this was going to be a painful departure of hearts. I remember giving my oldest son, Michael on his first day of Kindergarten the book, The Kissing Hand. Chester the raccoon doesn’t want to leave his mother, so she teaches him a secret way to carry her love with him. This simple story helps dry tears and soothes anxious children and mothers, too. I knew in my heart, I would never be able to say goodbye to Korah or the people I loved with all my heart, but I had to let go, just like little Chester the Raccoon and be brave.

Mercy’s mother, Mulu came to us and asked if the women of Mission Ethiopia could pray and say goodbye. We brought all our kids inside the tiny building (all 30+) and accepted the gift of prayer in Amharic over our big family. I could feel the “ugly cry” coming rapidly. I hid my face in my beautiful scarf, a traditional gift from the staff and started bawling. I had no idea what the women were praying, but I knew in my heart. It was the most painful moment for me the entire trip. It was hard enough saying goodbye to our son back home in the states, but this time it was multiplied by an entire village. It was more than my heart could handle. I’m sure I scared the kids to death with my wailing sobs and sniffles. The truth of the matter, I didn’t want to leave. My heart was torn in half. I HAD to return to take care of Mercy and reunite with our family, but this was not what I physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually wanted to do... please God, don’t make me leave Ethiopia. In fact, writing this now makes the tears flow again, my heart is still torn with bittersweet feelings. The reality is simple, we had to let go, to come back. When we piled into the van with only 4, I cried even harder. How could Enate (mom), leave my kids behind? It was impossible, but a necessary action of faith. Our beautiful, adopted son Sentayehu D. jumped on the van, wiped my tears and told me, “Mommy, it’s going to be OK.” In my mind, nothing was OK, but this was the moment I had to be a woman of courage, faith, and prayer. “I love you, Mom,” he said softly. At that moment, I had to entrust my loved ones to Him. I had to release them into His protective care. “When you release loved ones to Me, you are free to cling to My hand. As you entrust others into My care, I am free to shower blessings on them. My Presence will go with them wherever they go, and I will give them rest. This same Presence stays with you, as you relax and place your trust in Me. Watch to see what I will do- Jesus Calling.  God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” (Eph. 3:20 msg) Freedom reigns in this place. Showers of Mercy and Grace. Falling on every face, there is freedom…

Just for you: What “stuff” are you holding on to that’s stopping you from living free?

If you would like to support our family this year with a monetary gift, please click here on Simply Love.
Freedom Reigns- Jesus Culture

Verse 1: Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Lift your eyes to heaven there is freedom. (Lift your eyes) Lift your eyes to heaven there is freedom.

Verse 2: Freedom reigns in this place, showers of Mercy and Grace. Falling on every face, there is freedom. If your tired and thirsty, there is freedom. If your tired and thirsty, there is freedom. Give your all to Jesus (Give your all) There is freedom. (ohh) Give your all to Jesus, there is freedom.

Chorus: Freedom reigns in this place. Showers of Mercy and Grace. Falling on every face, there is freedom. (Cause Jesus reigns… yes) Jesus reigns in this place, showers of mercy and grace. Falling on every face, there is freedom. (yeah)
Freedom reigns in this place, showers of mercy and grace. Falling on every face, there is freedom. (Jesus my Jesus) My Jesus reigns in this place, showers of mercy and grace. Falling on every face, there is freedom. (yeah-yeah)

Feel the chains fall away, Feel the heaviness all the weight. Jesus reigns. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom, there is freedom, there is freedom. (ohhh) Jesus (yeah) You reign, you reign (ohh-ohh) My God (yeah)

Great is your faithfulness, Great is your faithfulness, Great is your faithfulness. Oh God to this generation all my life, All my life, Great is your faithfulness. We call the name tonight, Great is your faithfulness God. Great is your faithfulness (yeah-yeah)

Freedom reigns in this place, showers of mercy and grace. Falling on every (every) single face, there is freedom (all the grace I need Jesus) My Jesus reigns in this place, showers of mercy and grace. Falling on every face there is freedom.

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Steady My Heart

Posted on 02 October 2012 by Kari Gibson

“Life is hard.” This is what our adopted son, Sentayehu D told us one day after Man Up Bible study. My husband studied the book of Daniel for 3 1/2 months with about 35+ young men living in Korah, a slum community in Ethiopia. Every single day they came and learned together how to live a life of courage, faith, and prayer like Daniel. The Bible tells us Daniel lost his home, family, friends, and community … everything he knew, but the Babylonians never could take away his relationship with God. The guys all understood Daniel’s heartaches and his loss and his battles. Most of them had lost everything, too … they are fatherless and motherless and familyless.

When I look back over my life, the past 45 years … I agree, life is hard. I have experienced great loss, but nothing can compare to losing your family, your dad and mom. The conditions are heartbreaking living in Korah, living on a trash dump. The boys and girls living at the shelter with Great Hope Charity and Project 61 ministry have lived through death, rape, or abuse. Trust has to be earned. Roger and I showed up every day. We had to prove (at first) our loyalty to the community and children, that we loved them unconditionally. I met Sentayehu two years ago on a 2-week mission trip, but it took showing up daily and taking long walks, for him to finally open up and share his history, his story. It was easier for him to write the painful memories in letters, and finally trusted me enough to share the details of his mother’s death. Steady my heart, my broken mommy heart; there are really no words to say to comfort this beautiful boy who had lost everything. Why is life so messy? Why is pain a part of us? Nothing ever goes right. Sometimes it just hurts so much. Roger and I made a commitment to Senti that we. are. family. We gave him the blessing and security that he will never be alone again …. this young man has many people that love him, but knowing he has an Abate (dad) and Enate (mom) and a big brother and two little sisters is healing to the soul.

I learned from the children, the importance of family. I had the great honor of being a mommy to the motherless in Ethiopia. I took on the role of protecting and loving and cuddling and hand-holding and parenting and teaching and feeding and caring for children that desperately need a mom in their life. In Ethiopia  a mom is called Enate (Amharic). I will never forget the first time I heard the kids call me this affectionate name. It melted my heart. I love being a mom to Michael, Hannah, and Zoie, so it was very natural for me to “mother” the children we served in Korah. I wanted so much to give them this precious gift, I wanted them to know what it means to have a family, but most importantly, I wanted to ease, like only a mommy can do, their pain of loss. Teaching them that in life … what’s good and what gets broken happens just the way that You [God] plan. They taught me through their suffering, that God is real and is the Healer of my scars. 

Here’s the truth behind my craziness for missions … for years, I lived with the false belief that leaving my children behind to go on a mission trip was bad. It was irresponsible for me as a mom to spend money on a mission “vacation” to love orphans. My belief system was messed up because I used this as a barricade to hide my real fears of travel, or death, or spending time away from my children. How could I ever sacrifice motherhood for kids (out there) I didn’t even know. On my 41st birthday, God helped me to TEAR down all my fears of missions and clearly see the truth. I celebrated this victory and went on my 1st mission trip to Haiti with my church family. It changed my life and I’m grateful He never gave up on me. He was the only one who really knew my heart’s deepest desires. I think this is why I’m jetting full blast ahead making up for lost time. It’s my passion now to obediently live life wholly for Jesus. To die to self, knowing God will do a greater work through me. (John 12:24)

Now, here’s my challenge back to you … pray bold and act fearlessly to visit the widows and orphans on a short term mission trip. Stop making excuses, using your children or lack of money as a barricade to NOT do what God has CALLED us to do in James 1:27. There are so many wonderful churches and ministries out there that lead mission trips. We are currently planning 4 amazing Simply Love and Man Up mission trips this year. It’s your choice where, when, how, why … pick one and go. I made a decision to live my life full-on, as if it’s my last day, to share the gospel to the unreached people groups and inspire others to GO and love big on the fatherless and motherless and familyless. It’s our responsibility to love like Psalms 89:1 Your love, God, is my song, and I’ll sing it! I’m forever telling everyone how faithful you are. I’ll never quit telling the story of your love— What is your barricade holding you back from loving radically on a mission trip? Be honest and let’s pray and support one another.

I want to hear from you (seriously) It’s been my joy and daily renewal to blog and be your friend through the years. I read every single comment you leave, but we need to re-connect after my month+ bloggy sabbatical. If you take the time to read a post, please let me know how it changes you or inspires you or challenges you. I’ll take the good, bad, and crazy!

Just for you: Have you ever considered sponsoring a child from a third world country? What impact has it made on your family?

{Steady My Heart by Kari Jobe}

Wish it could be easy
Why is life so messy
Why is pain a part of us
There are days I feel like
Nothing ever goes right
Sometimes it just hurts so much

But You’re here
You’re real
I know I can trust You

Even when it hurts
Even when it’s hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart

I’m not gonna worry
I know that You got me
Right inside the palm of your hand
Each and every moment
What’s good and what gets broken
Happens just the way that You plan

And I will run to You
You’re my refuge in Your arms
And I will sing to You
Cause of everything You are

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I’m Taking The Challenge On {Motion of Mercy}

Posted on 01 October 2012 by Kari Gibson

My good friend, challenged me to write 5 stories with each post focusing on one thing God taught me or revealed to me while I was in Ethiopia. He even challenged me to make one of them a video blog. I prayed about his challenge all weekend long (I spent 3 days at a massive women’s conference [DFL] at my home church with over 4,000 crazy gals!) and came to only one conclusion …. ohhh ya, I’m taking you on, Trev!!! But, I’m going to add a special twist, picking 5 song titles that best describe each story.

This week, I’ll tackle a different story each day and hopefully on Friday will have a vlog to share with you, too. If you have any questions for me about our 110 days living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will you leave your question in the comments and I’ll answer them in the video. I know you have prayed and supported our family through the craziness of our mission’s adventure. The best is yet to come!

Today, I wanted to share with you the story, Motion of Mercy. Two years ago, God introduced us to a remarkable 16 year old girl named Mercy who lived in Ethiopia, a little village called Korah. You  have heard her story, and have prayed her to the USA for medical treatment. I can’t believe how this beautiful girl has changed me and started the motion of mercy in my life. It’s beyond understanding why God picked our family to take on this medical challenge with basically no understanding of the world of medical visas, neurologists, cardiologists, and EEG’s. We are so grateful for the family and friends who have helped us along the way with their gifts, talents, and passions. We honestly had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but we give God all the glory. He moved our hearts and called us to action, simply asking our family to do something radical. We knew there would probably be a few challenges like language barriers, facing possible surgeries, or even serious medical conditions. The timing was crazy, we received her medical visa when we were living in Ethiopia, so we needed a host family and a medical appointment champion. God brought us every single thing we needed for Mercy. She has been courageous and has faced every appointment like the Queen of Sheba.

We received the miracle news (today!!) that her last EEG results were normal!!!!!!!! She has a perfect report now and no more medical appointments are scheduled! The doctor’s have assessed her from head to toe and she is a walking miracle! She can enjoy her time now in the USA with peace knowing she is healthy! We even started her on immunizations, so she can live the rest of her life with this protection shield against diseases. This (photo) was her very first shot … ever! Thank YOU for wrapping up Mercy with your love and prayers and support. Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (1 Cor. 13:13)

My favorite part of the song describes perfectly how God gloriously ruined my life in every possible way and how grateful I am for His mercy and grace and compassion. I have learned that nothing is impossible with God. God has taught me when I obey Him, the blessings that flow are endless and extravagant. He has changed the way I want to spend the rest of my life, serving Him with adventure (even at 45) and sharing the gospel to the unreached people groups. I want to love big, but serve even bigger…. No matter what the cost.  “I was empty before now I’m drawn to compassion * And to give myself away * Living for the lost * Loving ‘til it hurts * Like You loved me first * That’s the motion of mercy.”

Motion of Mercy (song by Francesca Battistelli)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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