Archive | December, 2012

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The Very Best (Craziest) Year of 2012

Posted on 31 December 2012 by Kari Gibson

I’ve had so much fun this week reading my favorite blogs and their best of 2012 posts! It’s hard to believe we are celebrating the end of another year. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought we would be living in Haiti bringing in the New Year serving and loving and living out our mission-adventure! The next two days will be crazy here in Pignon. January 1st is Haiti’s independence day and the entire country is ready for a party. The voodoo drums get louder, pounding through the night. It’s a reminder of why God sent us to this 4th world country to share the gospel and love big the kids living at Haiti Home of Hope orphanage.

I wanted to wrap up this year of blogging with my top 10 best of 2012.

  1. You!!!! You, dear friends have been the best cheerleaders, prayer warriors, supporters, encouragers, and dream launchers!! Without you, my family would not be living out our mission’s adventure on the mission field in Ethiopia, Haiti, or Nicaragua. You helped make the impossible possible. (I wish I could hug and thank each and everyone of you in person) Thank you for donating and giving big to our ministry, Simply Love and crazy projects. This year, we have had the honor of being your hands and feet sharing the gospel and serving the fatherless as missionaries.
  2. Operation: Mercy- Thank you for helping pave the way for Mercy to come to the states and receive the best medical care provided with Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Missouri. Mercy’s final medical reports were truly miraculous, every single test result was normal. We continue to pray for Mercy that God will capture her heart and bless her family with health and abundance. We were able to use the above and beyond funds raised to pour back into our Simply Love projects in 2012… Man Up discipleship, feeding programs for orphans, and paying rent for widows.
  3. Officially launching our ministry, Simply Love. Roger and I prayed for the best opportunity to start our non-profit ministry to love and protect orphans around the world. For years, we loved doing humanitarian projects and spreading our message to Simply Love and Man Up on tee shirts, but we knew God was calling us to do sooo much more. We are grateful to the ministries who have partnered with us over the years with our mission trip giveaways, feeding projects, and short term mission trips. We both fell in love with missions making the simple decision to GO and love big with our church and can’t believe what doors God has opened the past 5 years for our family.
  4. God sold our home!!!! Every time I think about what God has provided for our family, it wipes away any fears or discouragement as newbie missionaries. We resigned from our job, and jumped in faith to live out-of-the-box on the mission field. Nothing honors God more than a big dream that is way beyond our ability to accomplish. Quote from the best book of the year, The Circle Maker.
  5. We led three mission trips with Visiting Orphans and our church, James River. Simply Love Haiti in January and Simply Love Ethiopia & Uganda with my best friend, Julie, and two Man Up trips. Over 65 mission-hearted people gave their best to love and protect the fatherless… living James 1:27.
  6. Started Man Up Discipleship in Ethiopia & Haiti. Roger had the privilege of leading the best of 48 young men in leaning how to become men of faith, courage, and prayer.
  7. Our son, Michael turned 18 and graduated from High School and also did his best at the Missouri’s HS golf state championship. We celebrated Hannah’s sweet 16 on the way home from Africa in Paris… she said it was the best birthday ever!
  8. Roger was featured in a full length documentary movie called, Man Up & Go. This was my favorite, best film of the year.
  9. Hannah and Zoie started off the school year “ home schooling” by joining us on our crazy mission adventure. It’s been so much fun watching the girls going to the best school – class without walls. They are learning more than we could dream and gaining life long lessons of the heart.
  10. Best of all, Roger and I celebrated our 20th year Anniversary. I can’t imagine spending my life without my very BEST friend in the world and living out God-given promises, God-sized dreams, and God-ordained opportunities together.

The best is yet to come! Dream big, pray hard, and think long.

I want to know your best of 2012 – leave your best moments of 2012 in the comments. Is your dream too big for you? Anything could happen. Anyplace. Anytime. (TCM)

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Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Love, The Gibsons)

Posted on 24 December 2012 by Kari Gibson

Merry Christmas!!! Roger and I want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for loving, supporting, praying, and donating to our crazy mission’s adventure this year in Ethiopia, Haiti, and Nicaragua. 2012 has been full of so many amazing miracles … it’s been the best of days, and some of the most challenging days of my life. You kicked-off the start of our new ministry, Simply Love with an explosion of support … helping us jump in faith straight to the mission field. Nothing honors God more than a big dream that is way beyond our ability to accomplish. The Circle Maker. God has used our faithful mission-hearted friends to support our dreams living and serving for 12 months to share the gospel to the unreached people groups … the best is yet to come!

I hope you will take the time, this holiday, to go back and read the amazing blog stories on My Crazy Adoption from our family to yours. Our lives have been changed forever, and hearing what God is doing in your life is such an encouragement to me. I LOVE reading your comments and emails .. it keeps me in fellowship and feeling encouraged. Let me know what you are learning about serving and how I can pray for you, too.

(Jesus Calling 12/24) I speak to you from the depths of eternity. Before the world was formed, I am! You hear Me in the depths of your being, where I have taken up residence. I am Christ in you, the hope of Glory. I, your Lord and Savior, am alive within you. Learn to tune in to My living Presence by seeking Me in silence.

As you celebrate the wonder of My birth in Bethlehem, celebrate also your rebirth into eternal life. This everlasting gift was the sole purpose of My entering your sin-stained world. Receive My gift with awe and humility. Take time to explore the vast dimensions of My Love. Allow thankfulness to flow freely from your heart in response to My glorious gift. Let My Peace rule in your heart, and be thankful.

Before the mountains were brought forth or ever You had formed and given birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting You are God.
—Psalm 90:2 amp

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
—Colossians 1:27

Recipes From the Field:

Cinnamon Griddle Cakes (We made these this morning in Haiti!)

recipe image
Rated: rating
Submitted By: Emily C.
Photo By: Cookies
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Ready In: 25 Minutes
Servings: 8
“A yummy and simple breakfast food, and a simple substitute to making cinnamon rolls. Delicious cinnamon biscuits that are baked on the griddle! “
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.
2. In a separate large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, corn syrup, butter and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture.
3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium low heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
4. While pancakes are cooking, mix the icing. Combine confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and enough milk to make a liquid frosting. Drizzle frosting on hot pancakes before serving.



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My Date With A Witch Doctor (And Two Blind Boys)

Posted on 20 December 2012 by Kari Gibson

I’m so excited to share a special post written by my husband, . You can follow along on our mission adventure from a man’s point of view on his facebook page

Roger shares: I’ve heard voodoo is the national religion of Haiti, but I never really believed it. Within the first four days of being in Haiti, I came face to face with a “real” witch doctor. I was with our missionary friend, Bill Campbell and their Pastor at the home of a family that we were building a new home. While we were there, the witch doctor that lived next door came over to say, “Bonjour.” Pastor Clebert whispered in my ear that he was a witch doctor, but when I looked at him, he didn’t actually look like a witch doctor. He was dressed very simple. Wearing tattered jeans, Hawaiian t-shirt, and a baseball cap. I was expecting a witch doctor to be dressed more like a … witch doctor. Wearing a grass hula skirt, chicken bones necklace, long dreadlocks, face paint and blood shot eyes. After I got past my disappointment of his wardrobe I wanted to learn more about him.

As Pastor Clebert walked toward the witch doctor, I quickly join him as he made his way over to him. As we walked up to the witch doctor, Pastor quietly said to me, “One of his girlfriends goes to my church.” As we approached the witch doctor, he instantly greets Pastor with a smile. Again, I wasn’t expecting a smile or a warm greeting. This was a meeting of good vs. evil. This was Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker. I wanted to see the light sabers drawn and a battle of good prevailing over darkness. Instead, I got small talk and laughter. Pastor in between sentences would translate as the witch doctor was said, “bonjour” to me and welcomed me to the community. I didn’t want to hear “how are you” and “good to see you” shallow type of conversation. I wanted a showdown!

In the hype of coming face to face with evil I wanted to fight, but in my heart I could hear the Spirit very loudly say, “Be quiet. Just pray.” I was promptly reminded to pray for the witch doctor’s heart, for Pastor Clebert, and the unseen forces at war for his very soul. As I started to praying silently, Pastor changed gears and began sharing the gospel with the witch doctor. After much talk between the two, pastor turned to me to share with me that the witch doctor said, “His time is not now.” I blurt out to pastor, “How will he know when ‘now’ is? He could die tonight and miss the ‘now’ .” Pastor asked him that question and they went back and forth in Creole with me just standing there between the two trying to decipher by their hand gestures how the conversation was progressing. Finally, pastor tuned to me and said to me that he said he will know when the “now” is, but the “now” is not today. In my mind, I wanted so bad to witness the witch doctor fall down to his knees in repentance just like at the end of movie with the bad guy begging for his life and the good guy gives him a second chance. Instead, he would remain in darkness.

Special note: The photo of the little boy with red dreadlocks, is actually a child who has been dedicated to voodoo religion. When Haitian children are sacrificed as babies to witchcraft and voodoo, their hair grows in red. This is NOT a made-up story, it’s the real deal. Please pray for this precious boy to come to know Jesus as his personal Savior. We will continue to witness to his family in Pignon.

Arriving at Haiti Home of Hope orphanage I’m immediately swarmed and surrounding by kids. I have boys jumping into my arms, onto my back, and hugging my legs. The kids don’t let go they are holding on for dear life. As I try and make my way to the house I notice two boys quietly sitting on a bench. Instantly, I’m captured by the smile on their faces. This wasn’t just a smile, but a smile captivated by joy, happiness, and gratefulness. I changed my direction and headed over to the bench.

They are brothers, both blind, and have been living at the orphanage for about two months. Later, once we got settled and the other boys ran off, I learned that the boys were found naked on a dirt floor in their home that was made out of sticks and mud. Lemonez is 14 years old and weighed in at 38 lbs. and Cozo is 11 years old at 29 lbs.

Their family of nine was originally in the Haiti Home of Hope feeding program, but due to the lack of funds they had to cut the program for a short time. Once they got the program up and going again they noticed that a few of there families were missing. So, Bill and Jennifer Campbell went out to look for their “missing” families to check on how they were doing. Upon arriving at Lemonez and Cozo’s home, they immediately saw the circumstances … it wasn’t good. Picking up the boys, their father begged Bill and Jennifer to take them into the orphanage. He was an older man who was a widower. He just didn’t have the resources or the strength to take care of the boys. Without hesitation the Campbell’s took the boys up into their arms and put them in the back seat of their big 4×4 pick up truck and headed home.

The boys now have comfortable beds to sleep in, three meals a day, and a lot of fun. (I’m holding Cozo in the photo with Lemonez hanging on my shirt on the 4-wheeler.) Plus, they have Jesus in their hearts. They are so excited about what Jesus has done in their life that the first thing they want to do when they first meet you is sing. And, they sing really loud! That is what I want to see for the witch doctor, for the hopeless, for the fatherless. To be excited for Jesus! To be grateful. … thankful … happy … joyful for all he has done for us. Regardless, of the hardship we are facing right now or how many presents we have underneath the tree we can find love wherever we are.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalms 118:1

Year End Giving

We are currently raising support for the year 2012-1213 as missionaries with Simply Love. We have raised 30% of our support goal and thankful for our mission-hearted friends giving, praying, loving, and supporting our family’s mission adventures!

We ask that you prayerfully consider giving to our ministry, Simply Love as we serve on the mission field in Haiti, Nicaragua, and Ethiopia. We have our TOP 8 financial needs listed here for fundraising on the field.

You can subscribe to our Simply Love e-newsletter here or click on the icon email news on the home page.

Year End Giving: All checks must be postmarked by December 31st for 2012

tax credit. Contributions can be mailed to:
Simply Love Ministry
706 North Lindenwood Drive
Olathe, Kansas 66062

My Crazy Adoption bloggers “save the stamp” and donate online by clicking the following link:

  • OPERATION:HAITI is our paypal donation link.


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A Day (Or Four) Without Power

Posted on 19 December 2012 by Kari Gibson

I had no idea how important an “inverter” is to run power to Haiti Home of Hope. I never really thought about how they pump water or how they get electricity here 24/7. I hear the generator running during the day and night, but honestly, it makes a great sound machine at night to drown out the noises. Four nights ago, that sound stopped. The inverter was toast, causing the ripple affect to happen immediately… no water, no lights, and no power. We all cranked up our lanterns and flashlights and hoped the generator would magically start back up again. Instead, the two husbands planned a quick trip to Port-au-Prince to purchase a new inverter. The Campbells had someone donate a week ago, the money ($3,000) to cover the cost of the inverter, most likely not expecting it to actually break a few days later. What a special miracle and I’m thankful and grateful for the person who made such a generous gift to the orphanage.

The first night without Roger here sleeping in our La Belle Maison was a little scary, I hate to admit. We live across the soccer field from the main house, but close enough to the boy’s dorm. We are on the 2nd floor, so I can hear and see everything from this height. I woke up at 5:00am to the sounds of roosters crowing, dogs barking, voodoo drums pounding, and a terrible crashing sound coming from the Campbell’s home. I realized at once that it sounded like someone was trying to break into their garage door. The banging and crashing of metal bars made my heart pound. I ran to the window and couldn’t see a thing in the darkness. I could hear one of the guard dogs whimpering and that made me nervous, too. They had been barking ferociously a few minutes before, but now silence. I had an important decision to make … run out in the darkness to find help at the boys dorm or run to the gate to find the guard. I didn’t particularly like any of my choices, but I had to make sure the girls were OK in the main house. I woke up Hannah to let her know as soon as the sun breaks over the mountain, I was going to make a run for it. She was sleepy, but brave and watched me scramble outside. I was soooo scared, but ran over to the dorm and called for Wisley, a wonderful young man who lives at HHH, immediately came to the rescue. We saw the guard with his lantern and dashed to the house. The crashing noise had stopped … hoping whoever had tried to break in had already run away. Jennifer’s window was open, so we called out to wake her up. The garage is located at the opposite side of the house, so it’s hard for her to hear any noise. We all took off to check out the damage to the garage door, and saw big holes pierced in the structure. It looked like someone had poked a stick or sharp objects in the hard plastic. We could hear Freddy (the family guard dog) whimpering and realized he was inside the garage. The closer we looked we realized the dog was the culprit who had panicked and tried to get out. Freddy had chewed several holes and tooth punctures showed the evidence. Freddy was the one who was trying to break OUT of the garage. Their crazy dog scared us and all he wanted was his potty break. We laughed so hard when we realized it was the dog, Freddy who caused all the damage to the door and our fear buttons.

The next four days we lived without power, and every night I had to face my fears about the dark. It’s creepy waking up hearing the voodoo drums and ritual wailing in the distance. As my family peacefully sleeps inside, the lost are outside worshiping evil. For some reason, living in Haiti magnifies that fear in my mind imagining things in an unfamiliar place. God has been so faithful. We all have times in our life that forces us to depend on Jesus for His power. I’m reminded in 1 John 4:4 as I pray for strength every day. As a follower of Jesus, I have power over darkness, “… for He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world.” I’m learning so much about spiritual warfare missionaries face every day, and night in Haiti.

You may not be coming face to face with witch doctors or working with people involved in voodoo, but you are in a battle today. What is your battlefield? Depression, a marriage that is one argument away from asking for a divorce, or an adoption that is stuck because of a stubborn government. Yes, we are all in a battle of some kind. But, as believers we get to keep moving forward having confidence that our God is greater. He is able. He is faithful. He can move mountain. He can heals broken hearts.

Father, let me walk today with the confidence that a child of the King should walk. Take my fears and give me your peace in knowing that you have already gone before me to pave the road for me. I acknowledge your power over darkness and anything that is trying to get in the way of (insert your battlefield here). I thank you now for the miracle, for the victory over (battlefield). In Jesus Name. Amen.

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Adoption Story: Adoption Completed Our Family

Posted on 14 December 2012 by Kari Gibson

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.Today’s crazy guest is Mandy Campbell. Mandy is a freelance writer, editor and adoptive mother. Recognized as one of the youngest adoptive mothers in the US, Mandy provides support throughout the adoption community via blogging and other means of social networking.

On May 10, 2001 my boyfriend of almost one year got down on one knee and ask me to marry him. I was a junior in high school he had graduated the May before and was already out in the work field. We started planning our wedding which would happen 7 days after I graduated high school the next May. With plans of a wedding came dreams of our life together which included babies. We wanted to start a family pretty fast even though everyone warned us we should wait and enjoy life with just the two of us for awhile. We knew every since the day we meet that we wanted nothing more than to be parents. Fast forward one year and on May 31, 2002 we were married in a beautiful outdoor ceremony with all our family and friends. As soon as we were married I had visions of what our nursery would look like, what we would name our unborn children and how I would tell my husband that I was pregnant. As we were getting ready to celebrate our one year Anniversary we were both surprised that I wasn’t pregnant yet. All the doctors told us to give it awhile longer after all we were at the young age of twenty-one. The whole month of May I researched infertility and was starting to fear the worse when I decided that we should pursue adoption. I meet my husband at the door one night as he walked in from a day at work and told him “we have to adopt!” Of course he thought I was crazy but I had a fire down deep in me that was telling me we had to do this and we had to do it now. I had never been impacted by adoption or ever really knew anything about it. I knew that I wasn’t getting pregnant but yet I felt like I needed to turn to adoption now and not later. After talking to my husband I did some research and found out that we weren’t even legal to adopt in our home state. At the time you had to be twenty one and married for at least 3 years. Instead of getting upset or down about this I just said that’s okay we will just go to another state. I knew that we had to do this now and not later. I decided to do a little research at the local library and online and I came across a dear birthmother letter and went ahead and typed one up for us that included family pictures, how important holidays are to us and how much we couldn’t wait to become parents. A couple weeks later we decided to tell our families that we were hoping to adopt. We got mixed responses and mostly the “you guys are to young just enjoy life and babies will come.” As we chugged along with research I also emailed everyone we knew and told them we were hoping to adopt. This was before social media had exploded so email and phone calls was the only way to go. Much to our surprise one month later we received a call about a birthmother that wanted to place with us. That call would make us parents to a beautiful baby girl that would be born in less than 30 days. Talk about a crash course in adoption. We had a rushed home study, made numerous calls to find out what the quickest way to get our fingerprints and FBI background checks done and back to us was. Our dreams of becoming parents was coming true and with that came chaos of getting ready for a baby in 30 days. As we were getting the nursery ready it was surreal, I packed the diaper bag and repacked it at least 25 times. I had no idea what all we would need to take care of a newborn in a hotel so I just took everything. I researched adoption in any spare time I had and prayed for the best. After all I was 21 years old and getting ready to drive half way across the USA to meet my daughter. In the midst of all the rushing we had mixed reactions from family and friends. We even had one friend tell us they knew a couple in their church that had been trying to adopt for over 2 years and we should pass the birthmother information on to them because they were older and deserved the baby more than us. We knew this was our baby girl and continued with everything we needed to do before her birthmother called and said it was time. On August 6th, 2003 just three months after we celebrated our one year anniversary we packed our car down and headed on our journey. We were in New Mexico when we got the call that she had been born. I remember the nurse telling us how she had beautiful skin and hair. We heard that her birthmother was doing great and all we wanted to do was drive faster to get to the hospital. The most beautiful baby girl was born the next day and her amazing birthmother placed her in our arms when she was 18 hours old. We fell in love with her at first sight and she has been the center of our world since. I will never forget the moment the nurse handed her to me, I sunk down in the chair and time stood still, and I was a mother. I was everything I ever wanted to be. As we spent our first week as a family of three in the local holiday inn express we were in awe at this beautiful child that was placed with us. We spent our days waiting for the ICPC to clear by loving on a newborn baby girl, getting many questions as to why in the world we were staying in a hotel with a 3 day old infant and emailing pictures back to our family in Oklahoma. Once we got the call that we were cleared to leave we packed up and couldn’t wait to get home. As we turned on our road for the first time as a family of three I seen balloons and signs and people were standing outside just waiting to get their hands on the baby girl they had all prayed for. We settled into life back home and waited for the call to tell us when we would return to finalize her adoption. On the day she turned 9 months old she became officially our child. I walked into that court room with so much love in my heart for her that I couldn’t hold the tears back as we made it official. Standing next to the judge with our lawyer to take pictures was one of my favorite memories! Watching her grow up is the most beautiful experience in my life and I am blessed by not only her but her birthmother who choose us. Over the last 9 years we have became adoption advocates, meet several lifelong friends through adoption and continue to share our story. We love to give people hope that it’s okay to adopt as a young couple we are proof that it happens. We celebrate our daughter’s gotcha day every year with a dinner in her honor and at 9 years old she is a lover of adoption and has several friends she has made due to adoption. Last year she decided to raise money for her adoption day and donate the money to family that was hoping to adopt to help out with expenses. She raised 300.00 selling candy bars and had the time of her life explaining to people why adoption was so near and dear to her heart. In the end we became a family just the way we were supposed to and when we supposed to. Adoption completed our family!

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What’s It Like Living In An Orphanage?

Posted on 13 December 2012 by Kari Gibson

I have loved reading your comments this week and especially love receiving your questions. We are newbie missionaries and overwhelmed with the truth that God uses the people you would least expect to serve and love big on the mission field. I’m sure many of our friends from our hometown think … what was God thinking sending THIS crazy family to live in Haiti, Nicaragua, and Ethiopia? We are humbled and thankful we were willing to say yes and live this incredible God-adventure.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…
—Ephesians 3:20

Sarah asked: What is it like living in an orphanage? Well, it’s a lot like living with your entire extended family in one house for the Christmas holidays. Kids (40 in all) wake up very early and are running all over the house and yard, playing like crazy before school starts. We have two dorms, one for the girls and one for the boys to live. They have bunkbeds, (like we do) bathrooms with showers, and eat their meals in a new, beautiful dining room. We get to interact with the kids all day long and enjoy doing out-of-the-box things with them like, bible study, exercise sessions, playing, encouraging them when they study on the front porch, and 4-wheeler dates for soda. Living in an orphanage is busy from the time we get up, until bedtime. There are chores, and home visits, and projects, and weekly clinic for the community of Pignon and surrounding areas. Some families walk over 20 miles to bring their children to mother’s milk day. I love watching Roger work out with the boys … I don’t think they do that here in Haiti, so when he invites them to join him (literally hanging in the tree) they are thrilled. He did sprint work today, and had 10 boys racing him in the soccer field. He beat them every time and I had to laugh, only my hubby would show off his wheels and not let the older boys win! He was definitely re-living his high school days in track. He’s having an incredible time with his Man Up teens studying the Bible and teaching what it means to live a life of courage, faith, and prayer. As I’m writing this in the main house, I can hear the mongoose chasing after the critters in the attic. Ha! Welcome to my new life! Our little cement haven is mouse-free (whew!!)

I love the fact that the large rooster, who is king of the hens, crows all night long .. I just thought they did that to wake up the sleepy heads in the morning. It’s not a true fact. Some nights we hear voodoo drums and chanting off in the distant. I have to admit, that’s a creepy sound to hear, but it gives us another opportunity to pray for the community and witch doctors to accept Jesus as their Savior.

There are daily discipline issues in the orphanage, just like every family deals with, but times that by 40. The ages living here are from 6 months through 20 years old. I’m so impressed how Bill and Jennifer lovingly and respectfully and honorably deal with every new situation with grace and love and courage.

We have lived here almost 3 weeks, and every day has been a new adventure. We are so excited to have our son, Michael join us next week for college winter break. If you have any specific questions, please leave a comment. Thank you for investing in our family, as we are your hands and feet in Haiti.

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
—Psalm 27:4



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Mission Story: How to Burn Off Grass…Very, Very Quickly

Posted on 12 December 2012 by Kari Gibson

Post edited by writer, Kathi Woodall. You can check out her blog Grow Barefoot here.

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. Today’s crazy guest is You can follow Jennifer on Facebook .

In 2004, Bill and I had been in Haiti just over a year and were starting to feel some confidence. We had half a dozen boys in the orphanage and two baby girls living with us. Political unrest plagued Haiti that year as rebels caused trouble for different people. Despite the rebel groups, the day of our story began as a quiet day for us; the girls played in their playpen and Wisley rested in the sickroom as he recovered from strep throat.

Although it was spring, the landscape was very brown. Our grass had been so long and beautiful the summer before; now it was a brown, dry mess. Everyone waited on the rains to start.

Bill had seen the Haitian farmers do controlled burns during our time there. He decided he needed to burn the grass before the rains came. He and Jesse would get the job done that afternoon.

While talking on the satellite phone to one of our committee members, I looked out the window. I saw Bill and Jesse head toward the northwest corner of the property with matches and a bucket of water. They took some dried grass, lit it, and started a small, controlled fire.

Just then, a small breeze started up and blew the smoke toward the windows. Still talking on the phone, I shut the windows to keep out the smoke. The wind started blowing harder; I watched as the small fire started growing. Not only growing, but also moving toward the house. I hung up the telephone and started to go shut the rest of the windows in our home.

Before I knew it, the flames were at the house, reaching as high as the roof. As I looked out a window, all I saw were flames and smoke. Moving quickly, I grabbed both babies and called for Wisley. Knowing they would be safe with the cinder-block walls and concrete floor, I put them in the only room that had all its windows shut. I told Wisley to stay with the girls and not leave that room.

Running to the front porch, I saw Bill move the new Toyota down the drive – away from the flames. By then, our gardener and other employees had seen what was happening; they came running to help. Every one scrambled for buckets and anything else that could carry water as they tried to put out the flames. Men took turns pumping the hand pump, trying to get enough water from the cisterns to fight the fire. I was in the kitchen, filling any containers I could find with water from our tank. The fire now surrounded the house and headed down the driveway.

Bill, realizing he needed more help, came in to call Pastor Francois on the radio. Out of breath, Bill yelled into the radio, “Pastor Francois, come quickly! I need help, the yard is on fire!” Pastor Francois said he was coming immediately. A few minutes later, his truck raced up the driveway, loaded with half a dozen men in the back, all carrying machetes and big sticks.

“Where are the rebels?” Pastor shouted to be heard as he looked around through the chaos of smoke, flames, and people running with buckets.

Pastor Francois had misheard Bill’s radio call. He thought Bill said rebels were setting our house and yard on fire. With only a second’s notice, he had gathered some men. Armed with what they could find, they came ready to battle!

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Spidy And The Creepers That Live In Haiti

Posted on 11 December 2012 by Kari Gibson

Every single time I step into our outdoor bathroom, a beautiful facility with charming shutters, 3 showers, and 3 potty stalls. It feels just like camping, but sadly there is no hot water. We signed up for adventure, so we are taking cold showers in the late afternoon when the sun warms up the water tanks by the Haitian sun… the water turns mildly cool. The Campbell family we are serving at Haiti Home of Hope are gracious and generous to allow us to come inside their home and take hot showers anytime we want, but taking the oath as family adventurers, only Zoie has chosen warm, soapy luxury. I can’t believe Hannah told us she loves the showers, it’s like taking a dip in the swimming pool (un-heated of course.) I did sneak inside the house one time, without Roger seeing me and took a hot shower, but had to laugh when the water tank ran out of water. I got a half-baked warm, really short shower. You have no idea how adventurous it is for me to take a cold shower and enter the lair of the spiders.

Yes, we have spiders of all sizes living in the bathroom. I’m not a fan of spiders, and will only tolerate watching Charlotte’s Web with Zoie without getting chills. I will never forget the time, Jennifer Campbell showed me a photo of Frita the massive tarantula that lives in our facility to tease me … that the best was yet to come. Well, we haven’t witnessed Frita in person, but we have a few large wood spiders that don’t bite humans, but look really scary. I was told THIS spider is a mommy that has hundreds of babies on her back, so if we try to kill her, all her babies will avenge her death and fly at us like a horror movie! I have warned everyone who enters our bathroom to leave Miss Spidy alone!! She likes to come near my cosmetic bag every night and I’m finally not screaming out when I see her … in fact, I’m talking to her saying things like, “OK, mommy spider, let’s make a deal, you stay where you are and I won’t squash you like a bug!” I guess bugs and adventures are all part of the deal, but it’s the beauty of watching Zoie and Hannah squeal in wonder when they see all kinds of new bugs and critters buzzing around our new home in Haiti that makes me smile. Even as I type, I can hear hundreds of different bugs croaking, tweeting, buzzing, and chirping in the night air. We love the lizards that sit on our walls (outside) and eat the mosquitoes when we sleep. God has made so many creative, beautiful creatures for us to enjoy and watch in wonder … as long as they keep off of my body, we’ll get along just great!

Bug Update: As soon as I wrote this post, I headed to the “potty” to take out my contacts for bed. I braved it alone, but much to my horror, when I reached down inside my cosmetic bag, my hand brushed against something prickly. When I peeked inside, I saw my nightmare come to life … a tarantula was wrapped around my contact case!! Have you ever seen a grown woman completely FREEK out?! I ran outside and screamed for Roger to save me! He wrestled the creature out of my bag and it was already dead. How long had he been dead in my bag? How many times did I reach in there and not see this hideous spider lurking in my personal items? We bagged the tarantula in a Ziploc to show him off to everyone the next day. Everyone looked surprised for a few seconds, then started laughing … a little too giddy. I found out instantly, that it was a staged scare. The spider “carcass” had been dead for months and was the bunt of many pranks! Well, they all got me good! The good news, the spider didn’t climb into my bag and die, the bad news, Danielle (the prankster) will pay dearly for her joke!! Can you help me come up with something really good to get her back? Hee hee

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Adoption Guest Blogger: The Wonder of God’s Plan

Posted on 06 December 2012 by Kari Gibson

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. Today’s crazy guest is Katie Daniels. Her blog is private for family and friends.

The “Wonder of God.”  What exactly does wonder mean?  According to Google, wonder is:

  • a feeling of surprise
  • mingled with admiration
  • caused by something beautiful,
  • unexpected,
  • unfamiliar
  • or inexplicable

That definition has some very strong words and it fits with our adoption story perfectly.  The wonder of God’s plan for our family.If you would have talked with me four years ago I would have told you that we were done having kids. . . well, I was done.  We had three beautiful children and I felt that we were good.  Three was enough, right? Then in the wonder of God’s plan, inexplicably, I began to have feelings well up inside me from seeds that were planted years ago.

See, when I was around eight, I saw this baby doll at a craft show and I just had to have her.  Not because of some childish want. . . no, it was as if she were mine already.

Unexpectedly, hundreds of miles away a little boy, also about eight, happened to be on a family vacation with cousins from out of town who had recently adopted.  During this time God planted seeds in his heart as well.  Of course this little boy was my now husband, Dave.  If you were to ask him today, he would tell you that at this young age he knew without a doubt that he would adopt one day.

Isn’t it beautiful how God lays things on the hearts of children and they have the faith to not question? Now, jump ahead to middle school and high school where research projects and opinion papers gave voice to those seeds that God planted.  I would have told you then that I wanted to adopt from EVERY country.  My own little United Nations as my mom recalls it.

Dave and I met some years later on the campus of GVSU both very much certain that God was calling us to adopt one day. As our relationship grew we talked of adopting as well as having biological children of our own.  Well, we were married and did have children. . . 3 beautiful biological children.

What many don’t know about my story is that after our first child, Korah Beth, was born I questioned God’s plan to grow our family through adoption.  I tried to bury the desires I once had.  Why, I’m not entirely sure, but I know it had a lot to do with fear. Those of you who have had children know the love a mother has for a child.  It is unlike any other.  I feared that I could not love a child that I did not carry in my womb for nine months as much as I loved the child I had.  I voiced that concern to Dave.  Talk of adoption ceased.

We had Nathan Ezra twenty months later, then Silas a few years after that.  With each child I was amazed at how one  person can love so much, so deeply.

After we had Silas I felt as if we should be done.  I was able to tell myself this for a while but soon I was overwhelmed with the feeling  that we needed one more….after all our house wasn’t full, something. . someone, was missing.  So, we went about trying to conceive another child.  But, to be honest, something just wasn’t right.  I didn’t know why and I felt somewhat guilty but I realized that I did NOT want to carry or birth another baby.  We took a break from it all and tried to determine if indeed, our family was complete after all.

Time passed.  Then, one Sunday morning, some families who had fostered and adopted spoke at church.  I had feelings of admiration for these families and it was as if those seeds, planted years ago, were bursting up desiring the sun. I couldn’t deny that they were there.  I pondered these thoughts and feelings privately and began doing some “secret” research on adoption. . agencies, countries. . Although this world of adoption was unfamiliar to me, I knew I belonged in it.

Finally, after a few weeks of research and prayer I posed the question to  Dave.  We had gone to bed late but I could no longer hold inside what I felt God was whispering in my ear.  I quietly asked, “Do you ever still think about adopting?”  His response, “I’ve never stopped.”

There was a long pause and I replied, “I think I might be kinda ready.”

You might have expected Dave to be caught off guard – not prepared for what I had asked.  It had been about six years since the two of us had seriously discussed adoption. However, just the opposite was true.  While I had tried, and partially succeeded  in burying what I knew was God’s plan for our family. . . He simply couldn’t.  His daily prayer had been for God to take the desire of adoption from him or to bring the desire back to me.

From that moment until now our adoption journey has contained many moments and feelings of surprise mingled with admiration caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar or inexplicable…. wonder.
And yes, I did find that I could deeply love a child that didn’t grow under my heart . . .  for she grew in it.

I could go on and on about God’s presence throughout our  adoption.  I guess that as they say is another story.

So, my question for you, as children who were adopted into God’s family is. . . What seeds are you carrying that need the light of the SON, God’s Wonder, to shine on?

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Missionary Guest Blogger: The Desires Of Your Heart

Posted on 05 December 2012 by Kari Gibson

Post edited by writer, Kathi Woodall. You can check out her blog Grow Barefoot here.

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. Today’s crazy guest is You can follow Jennifer on Facebook .

I should have known that I would never have what others would consider a ‘normal’ life. I was always a little different from those around me. Okay, my siblings would say weird! I never worried about being popular, which worked out well, because I never was popular. I had my group of friends, and did the things I wanted to, wore the clothes I liked.

One desire I had as long as I can remember, was to live in a foreign country. Not just to visit, but really live. I also wanted to go and care for the poor, feed the hungry, nurture the sick. This was always a desire of my heart, even before I was a Christian. My grandma used to tease me, and say I was part gypsy, so I just chalked up all those strange desires to that strange part of me.

When I was 17, I enlisted in the Army National Guard, and spent 8 years in it. I loved it. I spent the first part of those years moving around the country, Texas and North Carolina, doing those things I wanted to do. I knew in my heart that there was a God, who was calling me to Him, but I was not ready. I was aware that once I submitted my life to God that it, my life, would no longer be my own. I just wanted to do things my way for a while longer.

Although I would never admit it to anyone, living life my way was losing its shine. There was a deep desire in me to serve God. I caught myself at times singing some of the old hymns. I would stop, because I felt it was not right to sing hymns, living the way I was. I also had a longing to be in a church. I didn’t understand these feelings, so I continued to push them down, and ignore the gentle tugging from God. I dug my heels in, insisting on my way for a little while longer. There was time for God later.

In the fall of 1989, I was in a very serious car accident. On my way home from working the night shift, I apparently fell asleep, and hit a semi truck head on. I was life flighted to Duke University Hospital, where they literally saved my life, and put me back together.

Suddenly, I was unable to do anything I wanted to. I had broken bones and internal injuries. Because of a severally broken leg and arm, I was in a wheelchair for 2 months. My jaw was wired shut. My life was no longer mine. I had to be waited on and helped with the simplest tasks. I couldn’t even eat.

After I was able to walk again, I decided to fly home to KC, to spend time with my family. I planned to be gone for a few weeks, at the most. That was my plan, but I had no idea what God had planned for me!

Within weeks of arriving in KC, my life was completely changed. I found that I really did not want to go back, that I wanted to stay for a while, and go to college. I signed up for some classes, found a job, and moved in with my aunt. I started attending church with her and my uncle. It was at this point that I recognized my need for a Savior.

Another great thing that happened then, I met the love of my life, Bill. We met at church, and fell in love almost immediately. We were married in just under a year. Our son, Jesse, came along, we bought a house, and acquired a dog.

For once, I was leading a pretty normal life, going to church, homeschooling Jesse, teaching Sunday School. I am sure my family was glad to see me settle down! But I would still, on occasion, have the feeling that there was still something more out there waiting for me. But that was silly, right? I was sure that was my old nature trying to assert itself again. Was I in for a surprise!

God was about to grant me the desires of my heart.

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La Belle Maison (The Beautiful Cement House)

Posted on 04 December 2012 by Kari Gibson

We are living in a beautiful cement house in Pignon, Haiti at Haiti Home of Hope orphanage for two months. We are grateful to the Campbell family for opening up their home and studio cottage for our family. The cement keeps everything cool during the day and night. We have 5 huge windows that wrap around the house with charming, natural shutters (not the fake kind we used to have at our home) and a big porch that looks out over the mountains in the back yard. We have an outside bathroom with American toilets and showers (cold water only!) and two sinks. It reminds us of our favorite campground, except the landscape is lush, tropical, exotic, and rural. It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around that we are in a 3rd world country, tucked safely inside the orphanage walls (cactus trees cut like a privacy fence) We wake up every morning, early to the sounds of 40 beautiful children getting ready for school or playing hard on the weekend. It’s never quite here.

Yesterday, Hannah and I were in the bathroom and she laughed in hysterics when I realized I was sharing the toilet with a big frog who was swimming in the porcelain. I screamed and the frog jumped out to safety. We have a new saying …. This is Haiti. (TIH)

We do lots of chores that are the same in America, but look very different. We can wash our clothes in a washing machine, but no dryer, so we hang the clothes on lines. I always remember my Aunti Marianne telling me the smell of clean clothes drying in the wind is her favorite smell. She was right. I love the fresh smell of our sheets, and towels, and clothes. It takes a long time to hang clothes to dry, but I’m getting it down with helpful tips from the staff. I think I made them giggle at my first attempt, but now I have it down. It takes about fifteen minuets for me to sweep and mop the floors and make the bunks. I love power cleaning in Haiti.

We started decorating our home for Christmas and the bunkbeds make perfect furniture for our trees, tinsel, lights, and stockings. I was so excited to hang icicle lights for the kids. It was important for me to make Christmas special for our family. I think I’m the 1st one to bring icicles to Haiti … I love that!

Our typical day starts off with home school lessons for the girls. I’m finally in the groove and love helping the girls tackle their lessons. Thankfully, Roger helps with Hannah’s algebra and I enjoy the grammar, literature, and her extra curricular “class without walls” helping on clinic day and taking care of baby Lavi. Hannah is doing wonderful and enjoying her out of the box classes. The best part, the girls are done with school before lunch. We eat a simple breakfast of eggs or oatmeal, a large lunch usually with chicken, goat, or beef, and a light dinner of sandwiches. The biggest temptation is all the homemade baking that goes on here. We have some amazing cooks in the house and they love making desserts and cakes and to-die-for meals!

During the week, we work on projects for Haiti Home of Hope and the community. Today, the windows are going up in the “house that love built” and we dedicate their home to the family on Wednesday. I can’t wait to celebrate with the new homeowners!! We will start sharing the gospel with Pastor Clebert Monday through Wednesdays in the evening in Pignon. He’s a wonderful friend, and translator. We started our new Man Up Haiti bible study for the teen boys (10 total) and I’m going to start disciplining the teen girls with Gold theme (they are the queens of Haiti!!) we developed in Uganda and Ethiopia to empower girls to guard their hearts and value their bodies like royalty! Our son joins us in Haiti for Christmas on Dec. 17th .. we can’t wait for him to get here! One of my favorite things about serving at HHH is the fellowship with the missionaries, Bill and Jennifer Campbell … who are celebrating their 10 year anniversary living in Haiti. I pray we can continue to be the best “happy helpers” and energize our friends with fun and friendship!

If you have any questions you want me to answer during our time in Haiti, please leave me a comment and I’ll share. Thank you for supporting, cheering, praying, and loving our family through our 12 month mission-adventure! We are all in this together!


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Don’t Judge Me

Posted on 03 December 2012 by Kari Gibson

I NEED guest bloggers: We all have a story to tell. As followers of Jesus, we are called to boldly share the gospel and what better way than to share your life with other readers. If you have an adoption, missions, or parenting story you want to share on My Crazy Adoption blog please email me at . It’s simple, please submit your story, edited, ready-to-print including photos and your blog URL … I will share guest posts weekly on My Life Is Crazy Too series. If you don’t blog, no worries, you can still share your story. We are living in Haiti, so the internet sometimes acts a little crazy, but I will preview your story and let you know when your guest post will be published.

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. Psalm 89:1

Every day is an adventure when you serve the Lord. Our family has the incredible opportunity to live and love crazy here in Haiti the next 2 months. Did you know that 40% of our world does not have access to Jesus. As we ride through town (sometimes in the back of Bill’s truck) we have the perfect view of the unreached people groups in the village of Pignon and the surrounding rural villages. If you spot a house with a tall wood flag pole with colorful flags, that’s a witch doctor. They are everywhere. I have heard the national religion in Haiti is voodoo. The flags symbolize the spirits they worship. The suffering and poverty at every single house we pass, reminds me of the importance of keeping my heart and opinions pure. I don’t want to look through western eyes. It would ultimately cause me to judge and that’s the last thing I want to do here. God sent us to simply love. Instead, I want to humble my heart and wrap my arms around the heartache and make a difference with my gifts, talents, and passions God gave me. I always encourage mission teams to pack light, so they can pack heavy the important things that will bring encouragement and compassion to the lost or suffering. When you have the opportunity to serve and share God’s love to the fatherless and valuing others above yourself…. it will change your life and make an impact for the kingdom. Nothing makes a follower of Jesus feel more exalted than to lead someone to Christ, to disciple a new believer, to see a church launched, or, in short, to see the unreached reached. (Robert Houghtalen, Live-Dead missionary in Sudan)

You can be a part of a mission-hearted team to reach the unreached people groups by praying, giving, and going. Find out how at

Please continue to pray for our family in Haiti. We have raised 30% of our 12 month support goals. We need to make 100% before January 2013. That is a big, bold, audacious prayer request.

Gibson family prayer requests:

  1. Pray for the miracle gift of 31 new mattresses and bed-bug covers for the boys dorm at Haiti Home of Hope.
  2. Opportunities to share the gospel to the unreached in Pignon.
  3. Creativity as I home school the girls (preschool & 10th grade)
  4. Discipleship with teen boys (Man Up-Roger) and teen girls (Gold-Kari)

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