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40 Crazy Things To Do On A Snowy Day

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40 Crazy Things To Do On A Snowy Day

Posted on 14 January 2012 by Kari Gibson

Welcome to My Crazy Adoption Blog!!  The blog reads just like a magazine.  I blog daily for moms and advocating for adoption and orphan care in a crazy way!  I’d love for you to check out posts, videos, and articles from top to bottom- it’s my passion to blog with a purpose and have fun making new bloggy friends along the adventure.  The best way for me to meet you is by becoming a regular commenter.  I read every comment and respond to as many of you as I can.  You can also email me if you want to chat privately.  Thank you for stopping by and joining the craziness!

I leave for Haiti in a few days, so stop by and read all the new posts from incredible guest bloggers.

Moms, I found this super cool blogger Frugal Upstate that had a great article on snowy day activities to do when school is closed and your kids are starring at you to be fun!  I came up with snow ice cream, but Jenn came up with 40+ things to do outside & inside.

40 Things to do on a School Snow Day- click here for list!


“When I was a kid having a school snow day was like an unexpected gift-suddenly, for no reason you get a WHOLE DAY, right smack in the middle of the week.  No school!! The thrill! The joy!

Every time there was so much as a flake in the sky we’d scramble for the radio and listen anxiously hoping against hope that in the regular mix of morning show banter and songs we’d get that magical list of schools that were closed.  And oh the anxiety if we caught the list half way through. . . we’d have to wait another 10 minutes until they ran through it again!

As an adult with 2 primary school aged children to entertain I have to admit that snow days don’t fill me with quite the same joy they once did.  I work on letting go of my anxiety about all the things I’m “supposed” to be getting done and use it as a special day to connect with my kids.  With a little thought and inspiration you can use snow days to build special memories with your kids-even teens!”

To get you started on your own snow day fun, here are 40 fun things to do on a school snow day.


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MarytheKay – Aisle 1 at Walmart

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MarytheKay – Aisle 1 at Walmart

Posted on 16 February 2011 by Kari Gibson

I want to thank Kari for allowing me to guest post again.  What an honor to help “hold down the fort” while she’s in Ethiopia loving on precious orphans, and spreading her contagious smile across Africa!

The last time I guest-posted here, I chatted away about food…and my lack of New Year’s exercise motivation.  Here I go again, talking about the same old things.  Huh.  I don’t see a problem here, do you???   If ever you find yourself wanting some *wink wink* good old-fashioned snacks and conversation, feel free to stop on by my blog anytime!  My blog door’s always open, cold Cokes in the fridge!!  www.marythekay.com

Dear Aisle 1 at Walmart,

You really make me mad.  I try so hard to walk past you—right there at the front of the store.  Tricking all the people who have just filled their carts with healthy fruits and vegetables.  Oh, but I’m on to you, don’t you worry.  I know your little trick.  Putting the daily necessities like bread and coffee right next to the middle-aged forbidden fruit.  You know exactly what kind of forbidden fruit I’m talking about.  Things with such sweet and helpful sounding names–like “Hostess” and “Little Debbie.”

Well, I’ve got news for you, Walmart.  Debbie was not little.

No woman can create beautiful snacks that pack 785 calories into 4 small bites, and still shop at Petite Sophisticate.

Oh.  Do I sound bitter?

It’s just that I try so hard.  I really do.  I make a list beforehand, I try to find the most healthy choices in the fruit and vegetable aisles…I take a deep breath, and determined turn down the bread aisle—you know, the dreaded Aisle 1—and already I am assaulted with the choice of wheat vs. white.  My brain says “wheat,” but my heart cries out, “White, please!  Think of the jelly toast, the grilled cheese, and oh my wheatberry—the peanut butter and jelly!”  Some things in life are just meant to be smooth, you know?

Then, after my brain and my heart have battled out the (lame-o) sandwich bread choice, what assails me next?  Well, the bright lights, the flashing neon, and the catcalls hollering at me from the shelves.  It’s kind of like leaving Mayberry, and running smack into Vegas, baby.

You think I’m exaggerating?

Have you SEEN that aisle?  I had to wait 5 ½ minutes just to take a picture without the mom and too-old-to-still-be living at home daughter.  That poor duo could not decide between the Donut Sticks and the Honey Buns.  And frankly, I don’t know which they chose.  I had to look away.  It was just too painful to watch.  Because that decision is easy.  Put them BOTH into your cart and move on.

I mean, am I the only one who feels violated by the colorful packaging and names of snacks that sound like your best friends?  Who doesn’t want a Nutty Buddy?  Doesn’t everyone want to feel like a celebrity eating a Star Crunch?  We all could use a little fancy in our lives with the Fancy Cakes.  And dangit, if that’s not enough, guess what Little Debbie’s motto is?  “Unwrap a smile.”  Who knew a smile was as easy as that?  I’ll take a Nutty Buddy smile with a side grin of Donut Stick.  And heck, while we’re at it, I’d like at least a month’s worth of smiles—how about you?

And, therein lies the problem.

My hips and waistline cannot support a month of Little Debbies.  Smiley, or no smiley.  Heck, my hips and waistline cannot even support a 4-day workweek of smiles.  Already my belt is one smile short of disaster.

I don’t really remember the day I stopped shopping the Vegas part of Aisle 1.  I’m kinda sad there was no farewell party or Bon Voyage.  I know my formerly skinny self “smiled” a lot in high school and college…and partying with no remorse, eating those seasonal Valentine hearts and Christmas tree snack cakes.  I even remember occasionally splurging on a Donut Stick or two in our early days of marriage.

Somewhere between my aerobics days of the 90s and the what the heck happened to my metabolism of my 30s, I started avoiding that part of Aisle 1.

And now.  Now I give people the angry eyes as they grab boxes of smiley Ding Dongs and Cosmic brownies.  Oh, they laugh now, throwing their heads back as they carelessly toss the Oatmeal Cream Pies into their carts. Oh, but just you wait.  Give it another 5-10 years, and they’ll be shopping the Activia and plain almonds soon enough.

How do I cope?  Well, let’s just say I feel like a downright rebel with my processed white sandwich bread.  Yep, I’m eating my smooth jelly toast and grilled cheese sandwiches with abandon.  Toss in a side of Activia and some almonds for dessert—and I am partying like it’s 1999!

So, Aisle 1 at Walmart, go on with your tricks and manipulation.  I’ve got your number.  And it is 1-800-Forget Jenny, It’s the Twinkie Diet 4 Me!!!

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Mommy DIY + Snow Ice Cream

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Mommy DIY + Snow Ice Cream

Posted on 14 December 2010 by Kari Gibson

This was my very first Mommy DIY post last winter.  A blast from the past- watch the video and start making snow memories today!  I realize many of you already knew I was a crazy mom, but this video proves my craziness.  I thought it would be fun to make this activity out in the elements- it was freezzzing!  My adorable son, Michael helped make it so fun!

What is your favorite snow memory?  Share with me in the comments.

If you don’t live near snow, you can still make snow ice cream- find a way to make or buy shaved ice- we have a snow cone maker that spits out the best fake snow!  Be creative & have fun!

Snow Ice Cream:

  • 1/2 cups half & half or whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups of clean snow or shaved ice

Blend the milk, sugar and vanilla together until the sugar dissolves.  Mix 4 cups of snow & stir until you get the same consistency of ice cream.  Add toppings or chocolate syrup to make a Snowy Sundae!

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Pirates Dig A Well

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Pirates Dig A Well

Posted on 07 December 2010 by Kari Gibson

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

I’m one proud mom of one of those crazy Pirates who arrrrrr digging a well in Ethiopia- please leave me a comment if you have any questions about how you can jump on board!!

The Pirates have teamed up with Julie and Rob Neal’s Dig Deep Project and A Glimmer of Hope and are working hard to raise $10,000 or more as a school to bring fresh, clean water to Chuko Weyama.  In fact, at the time of print, their total booty earnings $4,700!!!

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

The Pirates Dig a Well team has 2 big events scheduled and needs civilians to help them spread the word:

  • January 22, 2011- Pirate Auction at Payne Stewart Golf Course
  • March 24, 2011- Pirates Run 4 Water (Dogwood Canyon)

You can participate simply by donating to the well project at www.piratesdigawell.com!!  A generous ex-pirate has pledged to match all earnings from December 1-31st 2010. (capped at $2,000)

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

We are the pirates we don’t do anything

We just stay at home and lie around

And if you ask us to do anything

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

JUST FOR COUPLES… win a trip to a castle!!

Here’s the deal, buy a Dig Deep t-shirt, sweatshirt, hat, or coffee mug (proceeds benefit the Pirates/Dig Deep campaign to dig a well for Chuko Weyama, Ethiopia) and get entered to win a trip for two (husband and wife) to Gary Smalley’s incredible retreat for couples, “Guarding Your Child’s Heart” at the beautiful Glen Eyrie Castle!

Click here to enter to win!!

Come to beautiful Glen Eyrie Castle for the Guarding Your Child’s Heart Conference. Gary Smalley will present an action plan of memorizing and meditating for parents that will help parents turn everyday situations into moments where their child’s heart and mind can be engaged with Scripture and shaped to follow God. You’ll hear real life stories and be challenged to implement this simple yet powerful method for children of all ages.

Click here for more details about the retreat.


Click the image to purchase

Click on the image to purchase

Click on the image to purchase

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It Began With Bale

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It Began With Bale

Posted on 02 December 2010 by Kari Gibson

I watched this video- It Began with Bale and I knew I had to know more about the family who adopted this precious little miracle girl, Bale.  The Wahlberg family’s adoption story is truly remarkable and miraculous- a story only God could write.

Introductions from Bale’s new daddy:

Wahlberg Blog here.

“In February 2007, while flying home from Uganda I (Kenny) asked God to position our family to be better givers. The answer came in the form of bankruptcy. We lost everything except for one vehicle, learned humbleness, and how to rely on God in the process.
During this time, we became pregnant with our third child. We transitioned into a rental home and learned to re-prioritize family and finances.
After two years of maintaining a consistent, healthy pattern with our family and stewardship of our finances, we were blessed with our fourth child. In July 2009, immediately after the delivery, I (Stephanie) heard God speak to my heart to trust Him with our future children and to give Him control of how many children to add to our family whether it be natural children or by adoption. This was a paradigm shift for us, which took faith and obedience. This was not an easy pill to swallow.
In October 2009, during a Rock Seed Offering service, our church family was presented with the possibility of adopting from the Drawn From Water Orphanage in Ethiopia, an organization that rescues children deemed “mingi” by their tribe. Mingi means the children are cursed; the most common reason is because the top teeth grow in first. The children are tossed into the river or left in the wilderness to die. Drawn From Water has set up an orphanage for these children rescued from sure death.
By November, we were fully committed to adopt one of these beautiful children and begin to complete the necessary adoption paperwork.
In March 2010, we received an adoption referral for Bale, the first child rescued by Drawn From Water.
In May 2010, the Ethiopian Government deemed Bale our daughter, but because the U.S. Government requested more research and paperwork, it would be over three months before we could pick her up.
I (Kenny) flew to Ethiopia and met Bale on 9/11 – our gotcha date in adoption terms. In Ethiopia this date signifies Ethiopia’s New Year and there is celebrating in the streets as people wear traditional attire and put long grass in the streets and their homes. This is a time of expressing hopes and dreams for the future. This is indeed what we felt as we embraced Bale as our daughter.
During our early years of marriage Stephanie was diagnosed by doctors of having very little chance of getting pregnant. It was not until our 6th year of marriage and after 1 ½  years of trying that we finally had our first child. We are now expanding our family to number six – Stephanie is now pregnant again!
Children are a heritage and a reward from The Lord. In our scenario, 2.5 kids would be ideal, but we are so thankful that God has bigger plans and ideas then our mere ones. Our quiver is very full and we are beyond blessed. Choosing to obey, give sacrificially, and trust God with our lives is a much more satisfying and exciting life. We are not missing out with that combination!
As we are getting to know Bale we are discovering how much she really fits into our family.  She is full of energy, loves to meet new people and make them feel special, and is showing lots of leadership qualities. Each of our family is learning to become a new an improved member of the Wahlberg clan as we discover the world of adoption.

God heard our cry to be givers and to make a difference in this world with our family; He has graciously provided. May God do the same for you as you trust Him for the cry of your own heart.”  Bless you,  Kenneth Wahlberg

New video to watch of the Wahlberg family

Update on Bale from her new mommy:

(pronounced Ball-A in case you were wondering)  “Bale has adjusted very well like she never missed a beat. The major transition was the first 6 weeks when she would go to any mommy for comfort because they all represented nannies to her. (She lived in 3 places before she came to us….that is a lot of change for a 3 year old!) After 6 weeks that stopped and she knew I was her mommy and only came to me for love and comfort. That melted my heart! The practical side of things: She stayed in our bed the first month and then transitioned to a toddler bed in our room. My son who is the exact same age moved his toddler bed in with her so this was great! Then the following month, we placed both of them and our older daughter in their own room! And the toilet was her favorite thing for the first two months…..always going to the bathroom and twice I was not with her and she flooded the toilet. At church, they had a plunger in the bathroom and I found her plunging it and making a mess. Oh the joys! Having two toddlers means double the trouble too! I am always on the alert! One time I found teething gel all over their faces! Her English is coming along. She can put 2 or 3 words together to make sentences and she has almost from the beginning understood me. That was a surprise….she is a smart girl! And one last thing, I must say her favorite thing are flowers. She just loves flowers!”

Drawn from Water Website- Follow the blog!!

Drawn from Water Store- click here.

Mission Statement

The mission of DRAWN FROM WATER is to rescue and provide the best possible future for children who have been deemed “mingi” and sentenced to death by their tribes.


In rural Africa there are three tribes that practice what is called “mingi”, which loosely translates to mean dirty or unclean. There are many ways in which a child may become “mingi”, but once the label has been placed all children suffer the same fate, they must be killed.  But now there is another way, in January of 2009 Lale Labuko an educated man from one of the tribes who practices “mingi” and Yabibal Abebaw worked together with a group of visiting missionaries to start Drawn From Water, an orphanage who’s mission is to take in the children who have been deemed “mingi” and to educate the tribes that these children are a blessing and not a curse. In the three tribes, which practice “mingi”, there are a total of roughly 130,000 people living in hundreds of villages spanning an area totaling hundreds of square miles. It is estimated that more than 1000 children are killed each year because they were “mingi”. Drawn From Water is working to save as many of these children as possible. In the first 12 months 21 children were saved. Our hope is that with God’s help we will be able to reach the tribes with the gospel and ultimately help them see that these children are a blessing and not a curse.

The Children’s Homes

Drawn From Water provides two children’s homes exclusively for the care of children deemed “mingi” by their tribes, with a capacity of about 35 children total. Both homes are clean, cheerful and have within their compounds areas for outdoor play. To ensure personal attention for the children there is a high ratio of staff to children. We have staff for cleaning, cooking, and guarding the compounds.

Children of kindergarten age attend a local private school and are taught both the customs of their tribes and the country at large.

Although we see the children’s home as a way to meet an immediate need in these children’s lives, we understand that there needs to be a plan for each individual child’s future. For some of these children we see that its possible that their families may change their belief system in the future and that the family may one day be reunited, for others its clear that the family is not willing to accept the child back into their home and adoption may the only viable way to provide a nurturing home for the child to grow up in.  We take extra care with each child to workout a plan that is specific to their situation, and constantly strive to give them the best possible future. Our first priority is always reunification of family and child when possible.

Sources of Funding

Drawn From Water is in the early stages of developing a funding base that includes individual, group, foundation and corporate donors, and sponsors.

Drawn From Water has an ongoing program that seeks grants and donations from individuals and organizations to support the orphanage and tribal outreach efforts. All donations to Drawn From Water are tax deductible as provided through the Rock of Roseville a non-denominational church under section 501(c) 3 of the United States Internal Revenue Code and receipts are provided for tax purposes. 

Drawn From Water is also seeking grants and funding partners. The need to grow and accept more children from these tribes is an urgent challenge and all sources of funding are being explored.

Future Plans

Drawn From Water is presently leasing 2 compounds to provide facilities for the program. None of the compounds is designed for its present use, and all improvements necessary to make the buildings and grounds suitable for the children are to the benefit of the landlord. Plans are currently being drawn up for a Drawn From Water Children’s Village and Tribal Training Center, a facility that will provide home-like care for the children and a school where people from the tribes can come and be taught basic life training skills and learn from the bible in hopes that they will go back to their villages and teach about the word of God. Ultimately helping to stop the practice of “mingi” and improve the lives of those who live in these remote tribes. A special building fund is being set up to pay for this project, which may include intermediate and/or incremental steps as we move toward the ultimate goal of creating the village.

You can purchase Drawn From Water products at their store- http://drawnfromwaterstore.blogspot.com/

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Crazy Twietmeyer Family

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Crazy Twietmeyer Family

Posted on 25 November 2010 by Kari Gibson

I raced to Target this morning to buy hot off the press People Magazine!!!! I ripped through the pages and found what I was looking for… a 5 PAGE SPREAD about the Twietmeyer family (Kiel & Carolyn and their 13 amazing children) It was a little embarrassing blubbering through the check out line, but I’m just soooo proud of this crazy family!!! I asked Carolyn to share a little about why they decided to tell their adoption story to the world.

Hi Kari!

We were shocked when we first got the call from People. While we have been very open about our adoptions and verbal about the HIV related issues because of Project HOPEFUL, this was scary. We stepped back and realized if we believe what we have been preaching for the last four years that we HAD to consider it. If ALL of our kids were on board, especially understanding that, although never secretive about their HIV status that MILLIONS of people would have access to that information if we moved forward. They thought it was a NO BRAINER. So here we are, 10 months later in the BIGGEST publication in the world, exposed……..and it is BEAUTIFUL. I pray MANY will open their hearts and homes to adoption as well as caring for orphans infected with HIV….AND VISIT THEM!!

We prayed…and PRAYED……..and prayed……God has been clear from the beginning. There’s NO SHAME in His game and there are MILLIONS of children that wait….and suffer stigma all over the world.
I pray it brings comfort to the people hiding in shame and brings knowledge to the people that shame them into hiding. What a PRIVILEGE for our family to speak on behalf of these kids and speak God’s heart for the orphan.
This qualifies for ALL that is “CRAZY” for sure!!!!! Leaves me wondering how much “CRAZIER” it can get!

PLEASE go to www.projecthopeful.org and watch the TRUTH PANDEMIC VIDEO…PLEASE share it with FIVE friends….NO child should perish for OUR lack of knowledge!

ALL for ONE!
Carolyn Twietmeyer
Founder/Executive Director
Educating, Encouraging and Enabling families and individuals to advocate for and adopt children with HIV/AIDS.

“A FATHER of the FATHERLESS and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation. God places the lonely IN FAMILIES and gives the desolate A HOME in which to dwell;” Ps 68:5-6 Any questions?

You can purchase any of the stunning jewelry at Project Hopeful Website!!

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4 Reasons I Co-Wash Zoie’s Curls

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4 Reasons I Co-Wash Zoie’s Curls

Posted on 18 November 2010 by Kari Gibson

Help… the winter has caused Zoie’s curly hair to be extra dry.  What is your favorite leave in conditioner or creme to keep things soft all day?  Leave your suggestions in the comments.  Thank you moms!

I’m sooo not a hair care professional, but I learn a lot about Zoie’s curls and coils reading Happy Girl Hair Blog.   This crazy hair guru blogger mentions co-washing in many posts, but I had no idea what she meant, so Mr. Awesome googled it last week.  I was surprised to learn I had been doing it all along and it’s really good for Zoie’s hair.  I thought it would be fun to have a little hair competition and find out what your favorite products are for curls, swirls, straight, thick, frizzy or wavy hair.  God gave all our darlings a unique crown of beauty!  I love mom’s advice about hair care.  I want to always be open to stretch and grow… just like sweet Zoie’s curly hair!

Zoie’s hair in the morning- dry, mushed up curls.

It’s a good Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Day.

Here’s what I found out about co-washing… I do this weekly on Zoie’s hair.

What is Co-washing? Co-washing hair means to “use conditioner instead of shampoo to wash hair. One would think that skipping the shampoo step when washing hair would leave it dirty, but the truth is that there is a small amount of detergent in hair conditioner.”

How do You Co-Wash Hair: To co-wash hair, you would “wet your hair in the same way as you do before you wash it with shampoo. Then you need to massage a liberal amount of conditioner into the scalp. Massage the scalp for several minutes. Next, you would put a plastic cap on your hair and take your shower while you let the conditioner sit. Finally, rinse out the conditioner thoroughly.”

What kind of conditioner do you use?

I juggle these 3 conditioners on Zoie’s hair- co-washing weekly, that make her curls soft and bouncy and smell beautiful.  You can purchase the products right here on My Crazy Adoption Boutique (right side bar column) or click here-




Here are four reason why I love co-washing Zoie’s hair:

  • Keeps Princess Z’s hair moisturized.
  • Keeps her scalp clean.
  • I can clean her hair all week without drying out her curls.
  • Helps retain her growth by keeping hair moisturized.

I never brush Zoie’s curly hair when it’s dry- always moisturize with products before brushing or detangling.

I keep a wonderful supply of different hair products that I simply love.  Breeze through My Crazy Adoption Boutique and purchase a few of my favorite things.

I simply love these Jojoba oils:

Zoie’s curls freshly co-washed and adorable in box braids & poofy pigtails!!  I rinsed out all the conditioner thoroughly and put jojoba oil and organic shea butter leave-in conditioner (I am just learning how to braid Zoie’s hair) but went a little crazy and put too much in for the photo… oops!

I have bloggy friends that have adopted all over the world… what hair products do you love & why and what country did you adopt from ? I have soooo much to learn- a life long student of Zoie’s beautiful hair.

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My Big Crazy Missions Dream

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My Big Crazy Missions Dream

Posted on 15 October 2010 by Kari Gibson

I dreamed a big dream.

I was in Florida in August with my two awesome girls spending time with them after my mission trip to Uganda and Ethiopia.  I fell asleep on the couch with Lion King blasting in the background and had a sweet, wild, crazy dream. I woke up literally smiling saying, “OK, Lord… I will do this if if if you help me!!” I dreamed vividly of a CRAZY project on my blog from start to finish. I didn’t actually see the “winner’s” face, but the prize was something so incredible and dear to my heart!! I dreamed hundreds of bloggers participated and the anticipation of the drawing was massive in blog land. Everyone wanted to be a part of a movement to simply love.

I will be completely honest with you. I have resisted for weeks launching this project on my blog due to fear of failure, rejection, craziness, and loss.  I attended a three day mega women’s conference “Dare To Dream” at my church this weekend and celebrated with over 3,000 women why we need to dream big God dreams.  God wants to launch us in the darkness and go and share His Love to the lost.  I was starting to feel VERY inspired to jump in faith and follow (literally) my dream.

I drove home the first night of the conference and was singing, praying out loud, thanking the Lord for the inspiring night. I was praying for you!!!!!!!! I was praying for the blog giveaway and asking for God’s special blessings on the project! All of a sudden, I noticed flashing lights behind me. I pulled over and a state trooper came around to my side of the car with a blinding flashlight pointed in my face.  I was really scared… what did I do?? He calmly asked me if I had been drinking. (my mouth dropped open) He told me that he noticed my car weaving in the lane.  I looked at him bewildered and said, “Noooo Sir, I have been partying with 3,000 women at my church, but definitely NO drinking!! I did have 2 cupcakes, though.”  I smiled and he laughed, reminding me to make it home safely.  As I started driving home, straighter this time, that’s when it hit me… God would equip me with everything I needed for my blog project.  Why in the world was I afraid?  The next day, God sent me a “prayer mama” to support my dream.  She gave me a beautiful necklace with the Chinese symbol DREAM on it and committed praying for me and the project. During the conference lunch break, I sat with some of my close friends and cautiously shared my crazy dream with them.  They went crazy!!  Not only were they excited to be a part of my dream, but they wanted to help spread the word.  They have been sworn to secrecy until the big day.  I’m going to trust in the Lord with all my heart and launch the BIGGEST PARTY EVER!!!

Please stop by here tomorrow at My Crazy Adoption blog and lets get this party started!!

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14 MSG)

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Do You Love Justin Bieber?

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Do You Love Justin Bieber?

Posted on 05 October 2010 by Kari Gibson

I confess… I really do like Justin Bieber.  My freshly new 14 year old daughter is madly in love with the JB, so to survive the Bieber craziness, music, videos, magazines, posters, YouTubes and LIVE concerts, I had to join the club.  At first, I had no idea that the boy could sing, but after hearing “Down to Earth” blaring endlessly from my daughter’s room, I soon realized that Justin really could sing.  The song actually chokes me up since reading in Hannah’s Teen Beat magazine that when his parents divorced, the pain was so deep in his heart that singing helped him survive.  I love bragging that I know over 1000 facts about the teen idol… I have played the “ask me anything about Justin Bieber” game with Hannah and her friends the past year.  They all swoon over this kid and bat their eyes wildly when a song comes on XM radio.  Heck, I swoon too.  We all have Bieber fever!!

The best part, my hubby taught Zoie how to say… I don’t like Justin Bieber, so now the girls fight back and forth.  I have permission to show proof of my two daughter’s Bieber rivalry over loving the super star.  This video of the girls is sooooo funny!!

Bloggy readers… who was your crazy teen crush?

This is for you baby:))

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Why Korah Project 61?

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Why Korah Project 61?

Posted on 03 October 2010 by Kari Gibson

Crazy Bloggy readers… I’m so excited to share a real life testimony from my hero in Ethiopia, Sumer Yates.  The next 2 weeks, I will be sharing stories and miracles from the 7 days we spent in Addis Ababa with Visiting Orphans.  My team had the honor of meeting Super Woman Sumer and her brand new Project 61 live in action.  The experience changed my life is so many ways and I can’t wait to tell you the incredible miracle that happened to me in Korah.  My family received an adoption gift from God!!

Please open up your heart and listen to the story of an ordinary mom who jumped in crazy faith to do something extraordinary.  I pray that her story inspires all of us to listen carefully to the heart of Christ and go anywhere He calls us to go!!  You can leave her a “shout out” right here in the comments and commit to praying for Sumer and Project 61 at Korah Dump.

Sumer’s Story:

I stood on my balcony last night, and smelled the African air. Since moving to Ethiopia in June, life has been very busy. I had grown used to the smell and forgotten how very much I love it. The smell reminded of what brought me here in the first place.

Looking back, I realize that my journey really began over 20 years ago. In 1989 my parents were both killed in a plane crash, leaving my brother and I as orphans. Although we were never wanting for food and shelter like so many orphans in the world, I do understand the inner hurt that comes along with losing the two people in the world who love you best.

This inner hurt is like a wound that never completely heals, and the major events of life rip away the scab. For me, having my own children made me miss my mother in a way that I never had before. I was so angry with God for taking her away from me, He knew that I would need her help, that I would have questions only she could answer. He is a Father to the fatherless, but I needed a mother. It was during this time that God began to speak plainly to me, not in the audible sense, but more in a straightforward manner. It was a time of maturing where He no longer coddled, but gently started to shove me along. “My Grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in weakness.” That was the only answer I ever got, until one day He opened my eyes to His provision. I realized that not all churches are like mine, and not all new moms are literally surrounded by so many people in the same life phase. I did not have a mother to ask questions, but I had more friends with answers than I could ever need. God met my need, not in the way I wanted or expected, but He met it just the same and I am humbled and grateful for His provision.

Three healthy kids later, a great marriage, a large circle of great friends, a job I love, a nice house, and a husband with job security, I was content. I was enjoying my abundant life. Until one night at a Beth Moore Bible study, she began to talk about Esther and about the fact that Esther was an orphan. Beth was relentless on the gravity of her circumstances, saying repeatedly “can you imagine what it would be like to lose not one but both of your parents?” I was a mess by the end, and once again angry with God. “Why would You beat me over the head with that hurt in a room full of people, some who know my story and some who do not? What was that all about?” That was my reminder that God is more concerned with my character than my comfort, and He was about to call me from contentment to a Holy discontent with the plight of orphans around the world.

A few months later I was sitting in my quiet time chair feeling discontented and knowing that I was supposed to do something, but not sure what that something was supposed to be. I was frustrated, and said “God, I have put my yes on the table, I have told You that we are ready to do whatever You want us to do, but You have not given me any directions.” He replied, “Really? Because you are sitting in something really big and in the way.” We had always discounted the idea of selling our house, because we had such a great mortgage. We bought at a good time and had a low interest rate, we could not rent anything cheaper…at least not in this country. We began to make plans to put our house on the market, with really no idea why.

Around that same time, I began to read Katie Davis’s blog about her life in Uganda, and a friend found us a trip to Africa to visit Amazima Ministries. The trip was through Visiting Orphans and it was set for Uganda and Ethiopia. For me, I had absolutely no desire to go to Ethiopia, but it was the only trip offered that included meeting Katie. Corey and I both knew that I would come home with some direction for us about our next step, and I was sure it would be found in Uganda.

I loved Uganda. It is a beautiful country with beautiful children who have dark chocolate skin that fit with my idea of Africa. I wanted God to call us to Uganda, but while I was there I did not feel the way I expected to feel. I did not have any strong pulls or any overwhelming sense of purpose. I felt heartbroken, and sad for all of the children we visited. I was also worried that I had someone completely missed God’s leading in my life and the life of my family. I cried when I got on the plane to head to Ethiopia, I wanted to stay in Uganda, but really had no idea what type of ministry I would even do there.

Surprisingly though, on Christmas Day in Ethiopia I fell in love. I had not wanted to go to Ethiopia, and of all the stops on our itinerary, the trash dump was the one I dreaded most. And yet, standing in the trash dump, I knew I was right where God wanted me to be. I knew that I had found our place. I did not feel heartbroken or sad, I felt hopeful, and I knew that God was telling me “this is it.” Together, we can help them. Together, we can change their lives. In Ethiopia I saw God’s vision for this people so clearly, and I immediately thought of so many ways to minister to these people. I saw immeasurable needs while in Africa, but only one calling for my life.

In the trash dump, there are fires burning and ash covers everything including the children. After leaving, God reminded me that in Isaiah 61 he says that he will bring beauty from the ashes. Those verses go on to say “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord, for the display of His splendor.” That is my vision for these children who spend most of their time in the trash dump, and for the 100,000 plus people living in the adjacent community, that their lives would glorify God. That they would be a testament to his promise that He will not leave us as orphans, and that this generation would be a planting of the Lord.

Since visiting the trash dump that day, my life has been a whirlwind of activity and preparation. It has been God relentlessly calling us to go all the way. When I try to pull back, He pushes harder. God has been very plain with me that this was our crossroads. This is where as a family we decide what our story will be. We can choose to lay it all down, put it all on the line, and follow where He has called; or we could stay and choose what is easier, and what seemed to make more sense. I knew that God would never stop loving me, no matter what I chose; but I also knew that my time on this earth is short and opportunities like this do not come around very often. I pray that it is all for the display of His splendor- Sumer Yates 9/10/10

Learn more about Project 61 at Korah Dump.  I want to know what you think about Sumer’s extraordinary vision and her radical adventure in Ethiopia.  Would YOU go all the way…  drop and leave everything behind to serve a community that has been thrown way, lost, and forgotten?

Join me and my hubby to Ethiopia for 10 days February 17-26, 2011 with Visiting Orphans working with Sumer Yates and Project 61.

Sign up today.

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3 Crazy Reasons To Visit Orphans!!

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3 Crazy Reasons To Visit Orphans!!

Posted on 28 September 2010 by Kari Gibson

BIG CRAZY NEWS- We have limited spots left for my February trip to Ethiopia & June trip to Uganda... don’t miss out!!  Bloggy friends, if you are feeling a passion about joining me on a trip, please continue to pray and fill out the application when the time is right!!! Spots are filling up fast!!

Please share with me in the comments your personal journey that God is leading you on.

My personal journey to missions-

I want to challenge you to come with me on the upcoming mission trips to Africa!  I waited 42 years before I went on my first missions trip.  I had yearned, and dreamed, and prayed for years, but never had the courage to really go!  I LOVE kids and love traveling… why did it take me so long to go on a missions trip.  I hate to admit this, but I was intimidated and it was never convenient for me to go.  I’m a stay at home mom and the timing just never seemed right for me.
My hubby was supportive, but not in a “do it now” kind of way.  I always had an excuse.  The money was usually my down fall.  I had no idea you could fundraise for a mission trip.  I assumed I needed to do it all on my own.  I felt responsible to raise the money or not go.  Why would anyone want to help me go on a “vacation.”  I never dreamed my family and friends would rally together and help me make my mission trip dreams come true.  Last summer, I was asked to go to Haiti with my church family.  I begged asked Roger to let me go.  This was it… I was determined to make it work.  Zoie was only 1 years old and my kids were starting school several days after the trip started.  I could feel the guilt seeping up in my heart, but I moved forward.  I knew I needed to go, but I had to raise $1,500 in two weeks.  I prayed and prayed that God would give me a creative idea.  I pushed my old fears down and moved forward with a plan.
Family and friends embraced my project and I raised $2,200 for Haiti!  I was able to purchase donations with the overflow and hand deliver the items personally.  It was a lot of work organizing the fundraiser, but once things got rolling, it was so much fun!  Please don’t make the same excuses I made for so many years…. pray, move forward and allow God to do the rest.  If the door is slammed shut in your face, well that’s OK.  Stand in line again, and move forward in a different direction.  I challenge you to call or email Visiting Orphans today and request an application. If your heart is stirring, don’t wait – start the ball rolling, especially if you feel excitement and joy and yearning when you read our itinerary.
Here’s 3 Crazy Reasons why you should come with me to Ethiopia & Uganda:
  1. Orphans desperately need you to come and simply love them- BASICALLY Haiti is happening to children all over this world….the media is just not covering it.  They lose their parents suddenly to HIV, malaria, malnutrition, starvation and other horrific ends to a life.  Or, they are traumatized as they are just abandoned and left with a feeling of worthlessness, feeling forgotten and not knowing the consistent love of a parent or anyone else.  Some orphans never even get to see outside of the building of their orphanage.  Orphans in this world, unless visited by God’s people, will not know their Savior as their Abba Daddy.  He is their Father and He is the only one who in our absence can give them the consistent love they were created to receive.  If we don’t go…who will go for us?  (thank you Amanda)
  2. Lose some weight with me- Are you loaded down with the weight of mommyhood?  The busyness of your life as a mom- the comfortable, conveniences of structure, playdates, Target runs, carpools, sports events… well, mission trips do a great job at shaking things up and forcing you to let go and serve out of your comfort zone.  Traveling to a foreign country can be really scary, but being immersed in a different culture allows you to see and smell and touch and taste and hear things that will literally change your life.  Leave your busyness at home (it will be there when you return) and open your hearts wide to crazy love orphans.
  3. Be part of a God-Inspired Adventure- this means doing something radical, out of the normal, daily routine we get stuck in as moms.  You get to see God work in others lives and in your own life on a mission trip.  Plan on something going really crazy- this is all part of the adventure.  I encourage you to super-size your joy and patience and understanding and compassion and affection on a mission trip.  If you have set expectations, I guarantee you will be turned upside down.  Leave your expectations at home and allow God to guide your steps through Uganda and Ethiopia.

Here’s what one mom shared- “as an adopting Mom I first thought, I’m already doing my part, I’m adopting an orphan! While talking to my husband, I couldn’t stop crying because I was thinking about our baby. I kept asking, what if an American Mom was able to be in the orphanages everyday? What if we knew there were always volunteers through Visiting Orphans there to hold, feed and love our baby E? I know that my 14 days in Uganda and Ethiopia isn’t going to change the world BUT if Mom’s across our country would go and be present 365 days a year, it would change the lives of all the orphaned children.
July 19th isn’t really a “good time” for me to go on a Mission Trip. Who knows where we will be in the adoption, if we will have the money, or if I can emotionally handle it.  However, we pray, someone is there right now, regardless of the “right time” to hold our baby.” (Ashlie, mom to be)

If you are on the fence, trying to make every mommy detail perfect before you make the decision to go, I challenge you to jump down and pray forward.  Most of my readers are crazy moms, life will never be perfect for us to go on a mission trip, but I promise you that this trip will change your life.  Your family will benefit from you doing something soooo radical… you’ll be a crazier mom!

UPDATE- If you are sending out donation letters or asking for donations, please have all donations be written: Paid to the order of “Visiting Orphans”. In the memo section you may have the sponsor put your name. You will then turn in the these checks and Visiting Orphans will send the tax write off to the individual at the end of the year. If you have any questions please email me.  Also, I have created two new trip blogs full with missions information.
My Crazy Africa Trip Blogs:
More Crazy Talk…

Sisters, I want to know what you’re thinking?  Does anyone else have a story to encourage each other to go on a mission trip… please share in comments.  Next week, I’ll share some crazy ideas to help you fundraise for a mission trip.


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Mom VS. Princess TNT

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Mom VS. Princess TNT

Posted on 23 September 2010 by Kari Gibson

Zoie turns 29 months old today!  She is almost officially a 2.5 year old.  It’s hard to imagine how tiny she was when we first met her in Ethiopia.  Her spirit radiates spunk and life and joy!  We are so honored to be her family and fall in love with her more each day.  She loves to sing, dance, swim, skip, color, take baths, and cuddle.  She hates naps, vegetables, meat, the word no, and sticky hands.  Hubby and I feel like we’re seasoned parents with 2 teenagers who managed to stay alive during the terrible terrific twos.  At times, we rack our brain trying to remember the tips we received from family and friends as they helped us maneuver through the toddler years.  A few blasts from the past surface, but nothing seems to compare with Princess TNT!!

Princess TNT (aka Zoie) can throw a temper tantrum like a keg of dynomite with a pink bow.  It can be startling, when the fuse blows and we missed the vital warning signs.  The other day, daddy told her she needed to eat her grapes before she could have her crackers.  The shrilling screams made him duck for cover, but I dragged him out and convinced him he was safe.  The thing that works well with Zoie right now are “Time In’s.”  We learned this technique in one of my adoption books, but it really works.  When the explosion of emotion is at a max, we put her on her chair and stand quietly next to her.  I put my hand on her head or back and just remind her how much I love her even when she is throwing a fit.  I time her 2.5 minutes and then say outloud- “OK, time-in is over.  If she has quieted down and things are back in control… I let her get up and back to playing.

Parenting is a journey and each child is unique, amazing, and miraculous.  I want to hear your stories and advice-  If you have any tips you want to share or a crazy post about taming a toddler TNT please add in comments for all of us to read.

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A Real Princess Story

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A Real Princess Story

Posted on 13 September 2010 by Kari Gibson

I’m so excited to introduce you to my new friend, Rebecca Sorensen. I had no idea there was a real life princess living in Kampala, Uganda in a house full of love. God called her to serve and minister to orphans, so she is working full time making a mighty impact in her tiny village. She has a home for children who are orphaned and a school and church ministry. I think what I fell in love with instantly was her spirit and personality. She is bubbly and warm and inviting. She greeted our group at her home and invited us in for a much needed break with fresh squeezed juice and pineapple chunks. It was the best snack I have ever had in my life. She sat down on the floor and just chatted with us life family about her life. We were all so impressed, but we knew that deep inside this petite beauty was something extraordinary. She would probably cringe if she knew we called her a hero, but that is exactly what she is. A hero to a village and hundreds of children that are being cared, nurtured, taught, and loved by Rebecca. The only negative of our time with her was it was too short. I cant wait to go back in June and spend a few days watching this super hero in action and ministering to her children.

Rebecca knows how to throw a party, too! She greeted our team with something truly magical. The celebration was humbling to us at so many levels. The children made us feel like VIP visitors, but in the end, we knew exactly who the celebrities were… each and every child in the tiny village school. They taught us what worshipping God means with every fiber in their bodies. I felt like I witnessed, literally witnessed a peek into heaven. The children sang like angels and worshipped God like their life depended on it. I know many of the children have gone through horrific atrocities, so their love for God is their only source for healing and eternity.

Rebecca’s Own Words:

I asked Rebecca to share a short testimony about her ministry…

Before Visiting Orphans started visiting us with their teams, we were literally hidden in Christ.  We had very few visitors to our ministry before them and were praying for God to send us teams and resources.  God in His miraculous beautiful way, led Amanda and Visiting Orphans directly to us!  The two teams we have had so far have been such an incredible blessing to us. Though their times with us have been short, they have blessed us in every way possible.  They have given of their hearts, time, love, and prayers.  Some team members have even helped us to transport our collection of school and medical supplies which is a huge need for us as it is almost impossible to reliably ship things to Uganda.  The teams have brought with them incredible waves of joy and excitement to our 200 children who look forward to and anticipate their visits, games, and activities!  I believe that these visits impact our children all the way down to an identity level.  They are impacted by seeing that someone from America, who they look up to automatically, has come all the way across the world just to see THEM, to love THEM, and to be with THEM.  It sends them a deep message that they are special and worthy of love.  Another way Visiting Orphans has helped us tremendously is the team members giving of their resources.  These teams came during difficult financial times for our ministry and blessed us beyond expectation or imagination.  Some team members even invited me to come and share at their home churches or to help host a small fundraiser.  For me personally, Visiting Orphans brought me to a new level of HOPE and VISION after a very challenging year of ministry.  Their visits have reminded me WHY I’m doing what I’m doing and I have been SO ENCOURAGED, very deeply encouraged through their partnership and visits.  We have been blessed in every way by this ministry and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a way to touch God’s children of the nations. (Rebecca)

My Crazy Journal (I wrote this at night with a flashlight)

We loaded up the bus and headed the short distance to My Father’s House. We were giddy… so full of life. Funny- poor Vit Steiger jumped on the truck for a phone moment with me and ripped the front bumper off the truck. It was hilarious, but he felt soooo bad!!!

The next visit has changed my life in such a special way. We pulled into My Father’s House (about a mile down the road) and met the Mother Teresa of Kampala.  Rebecca Sorensen is adorable from head to toe. She is strong and alive and passionate about teaching her children the good news of Jesus. She has come to this beautiful place and is making a difference in a major way. Her home has 16 children (orphans) she cares for with a staff of about 6. She has them come home from school to meet us. She wanted us to know the children personally who is her family. They served us fresh juice and fresh cut pineapple and greeted us with such respect. They were simply THRILLED we were there and told us over and over. Maria I spent some one on one time in the girls room and talked to them about their beauty inside and out. I shared that they were princesses and the 5 girls swarmed me with hugs and kisses. Oh what a special moment.

We walked about 1.5 miles to the school. The team was ecstatic getting to walk in the real Uganda… right down the street we paraded waving and taking photos (with permission:) The Ugandans are so beautiful and have such a spirit of love that just pours out of them. The hospitality they show is remarkable.

I was the last one around the corner, but I could hear the children singing loudly as I approached. All of a sudden I turned and walked straight into heaven. The children were in 2 lines and singing with every ounce of spirit they had in their precious bodies!!!! Each team member walked down the row as they sang and danced us into their church building. There are no words to describe the love and respect and honor I felt walking thru the sea of children on side to side. It was magical and miraculous all wrapped up in love. We entered the church and I literally lost my breath. It was decorated for US!!! There was a huge sign in the front- Welcome Visiting Orphans! The children never stopped singing and dancing for at least 30 min. We sat in front in special chairs they set up for us. I was weeping. I was overwelmed. I witnessed something I will NEVER see again for as long as I live. They were praising Jesus in a way I have never had the honor of seeing. The dancing and singing were like a Broadway play. It was just that good and more. A young girl led the singing and dancing and she was on fire with the Holy Spirit. There is no other way to describe the spirits. I could feel Jesus in that tiny church. A precious 2 year old names Vivian came up to me and I picked her up. This was my gift from the Lord. I held her as she slept in my arms for hours.

The singing never stopped. The rain came hard. It was indescribable. Rebecca told me that they have not had rain in months. The precious teacher Ruth, told me that in Uganda if you have a visitor and it rains it means only one thing…. the visit is very blessed by God. The visit is something extra special. The rain came in torrents and that meant to the people and children… our time with them was a blessing. WOWWW

I was literally weeping the entire time. They had our team dance a traditional dance. We found out later from Rebecca a few days ago, 3 of the girls there had been raped. The songs they sung were about pain and trails, but the hope they have in Jesus gives them a reason to live. When they sang Yes, Lord song… my heart was transferred to a place of real love for the people of Uganda. I have been changed being with the people… the real people of Uganda. I’m not feeling like a tourist, but a missionary coming to simply love the gifts of humanity… the hand of God is here. He has not abandoned the people. He gives them hope, and dreams and purpose and meaning and worth. It’s my honor to show them the love of a mother.

At the end, the team was surrounded by over 200 children saying goodbye. How do you describe that kind of scene? I couldn’t give Vivian away, so Rebecca told me I could carry her with me to the bus. Vivian never said one word to me the entire time, never a sound… she never smiled, but she clung to me like a mother and child. When I gave her back to Rebecca she was crying. I told her I loved her and kissed her like Zoie. Rebecca and I both started crying.

We drove away changed. The massive display of honor we felt that day was something I will cherish in my heart forever. You might think we would have gone direcly to a hotel and crashed. We were feeling spiritually, physically, emotionally exhausted, but wonderful too!!!  However, we jumped on the bus ready for our next crazy adventure… wait till you hear about Pastor Rebel and his family at Canaan’s Children Home.

Rebecca Sorensen’s blog (please follow her daily journey)

Sneek Peek-

How I Found a Home in Africa.

A few people who have newly entered my life have been asking me how in the world did I end up in Africa running a school and a children’s home for the precious children of Uganda. So I’ve decided to write it out for the world to read. I think it’s a pretty good story…of redemption, adoption, hope, and healing. My prayer these days is that God would make my life a SPECTACLE of His LOVE!


I remember standing on his chest as a little girl. My age 3 memories are vague but still have an emotional energy attached to them. I remember feeling so small and my Daddy feeling so big. I remember feeling so loved and safe as his great big arms held me up to stand up tall on his chest…balancing against his arms. Suddenly my world came crashing down and I have a vague memory of my Daddy asking me if I wanted to stand on his chest …one…last…time. I didn’t understand. What was happening? Why did we have to leave? Was it my fault? My mom and I left heading from Texas to Arkansas to go and stay with my grandparents. I wouldn’t see my Father again until I was 14 years old. Even then, it was only for a few days. Even today, my earthly Dad is not active in my life.

During those eleven years without my Dad, he would call me every Sunday night to talk on the phone…for about a year then one Sunday night he would stop calling and wouldn’t call again for another year or so…then the calls would start again and end again, start again and end again. I was repeatedly hit with bullets of rejection and abandonment during these years often crying myself to sleep at night. I had friends tease me that I didn’t have a father. As an only child, with a very busy working single mom, I remember feeling very alone and isolated. God became one of my best friends…but I was wounded…with an orphan heart. It would be years later before I would receive healing, freedom, peace.

One night at college church group I heard this girl singing a spontaneous song to God…she kept singing over and over…Daddy, Daddy, Daddy. I couldn’t connect with it. I thought maybe she was just trying to look spiritual. Could she honestly call GOD…Daddy? Though I didn’t understand…I desperately wanted that. That night I went back to my campus apartment and lied awake for hours in my bed. Around 3am, I had a powerful encounter with God. Father God visited me and revealed Himself to me as my Father. As a loving God who created me, who knit me together, who knew every part of me, who understood every pain I had, who dreamed me to life, who wanted the best for me, who chose me to be a part of His family, who was beginning to transform me …from an orphan heart to the heart of a princess. It was the beginning of a journey of healing and discovery. The wounds and lies of rejection and abandonment were gradually replaced with acceptance, safety, and a deep love and confidence in who I was and whose I was…my Daddy’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I learned that I was not a reject or unworthy of love but in fact, I was a royal princess with a royal Father, the King of Kings and NOTHING was impossible for us together! I longed to give this away….to every child who had ever cried themselves to sleep at night…because they were alone or lonely or longing for those who were supposed to be there…to father and mother them.


I’ve ALWAYS loved other cultures especially the tropical ones! Their bright colors, their wild rhythms, their dancing and singing, their language, their understanding of one another. When I was little I would even have Africa parties with my friends where we would dress up using big pieces of material to create African dresses and go out and take pictures in the forest! I also have always dreamed of using music as a tool to bring change to the world, to bring awareness to the world’s suffering, and to inspire a movement of compassion. During high school, I began to read the writings of Mother Teresa and Ghandi and was drawn to the colors and stories of India. I told my family I was moving there after high school to serve with Mother Teresa’s ministry. They refused and told me I needed to go to college. While studying and singing and writing music, I encountered God in a whole new way and desperately longed to serve the poor even more. I worked twice a week at a homeless shelter where I made many unusual friends and I worked in the projects with a church ministry on saturdays playing and bringing hope and food to some sweet kids. But I wanted more….I wanted to give my whole life to compassion and mercy and change and hope and to the suffering of this world. I would lay in my college apartment and cry out to God to send me somewhere …anywhere. though I really began to long for AFRICA once I heard of this little woman named Mama Heidi from Mozambique who was a little like Mother Teresa meets Peter whose shadow healed the sick. I watched Blood Diamond where I saw child soldiers from Sierra Leone, the Invisible children documentary where I learned of modern day child soldiers in Uganda, and Hotel Rwanda where I saw the evil genocide of Rwanda. I had a justice heart and a mercy heart burning inside me. I wanted to take on the world …with JESUS!

I applied for Heidi’s mission school in Mozambique which was a 3 month program and got accepted. During the process God’s voice whispered to me that there was going to be another opportunity come up. Sure enough, a professor I had at my high school who was from Kenya, invited me to go with him and his wife to visit his family in Africa and serve the people of Kenya. I had little desire to go to Kenya…but I felt a nudge from the Lord in that direction. I told God…”if I could go anywhere in the world, I’d want to go to nothern Uganda”. This was the home of child soldiers and a 22 year long evil civil war. But I listened to the Lord and began walking towards the Kenya trip (after a lot of struggle between me and God). A week before that trip my kenyan friends let me know they were not able to go due to some issues getting their visas! I didn’t know what to do! I had raised all the funds, set out letters, and was desperately finally looking forward to going. Some friends of mine were working in Uganda and had planned to meet me during my time in Kenya. I let them know of the change of plans and they immediately invited me to go ahead and come to Africa…to UGANDA!!! I was very excited and of course jumped on the opportunity. I thought the northern area of UGanda was too dangerous for us to go but we ended up traveling there and I was able to serve the very people of the area I had told God I really wanted to go to. Obedience…always leads us to our heart’s desire…even when we can’t see it at all. God’s eyes are much bigger than ours.

During my time in Uganda, I fell madly in love with Africa…with the children and their sweet voices and faces, with the dirt, the adventure, the sunshine, the rhythms, everything. I felt like I was at HOME. I made some significant friendships with Ugandans there too as I spent a few weeks there completely immersed with no Americans or whites around. I learned a little bit of the language and dived in to the culture. I came back to America with a burden…a big burden for the children I met who had NOTHING and NO ONE. Children who were digging in trash dumps while across the street other children were looking smart in their school uniforms and looking forward to a hopeful future. Children who were dressed in rags and had no clothes. Children who were alone, being abused as child workers, unable to see any sign of love or hope in their lives…and I remembered. I remembered all the times of my childhood when I felt alone…and God gave me HOPE. Why not these kids too? I often asked Him after that trip where are you for these people, for these kids? and He would reply to me, “where are you?..you are my hands, my feet, my heart, my bride. where are you?” I spent the next 6 months collecting supplies and filled up a garage full of school supplies, clothes, and toys. I took a few of my friends back and we distributed these things in slums, refugee camps, hospitals, villages, churches, and schools.

Afterwards, I traveled from Uganda to Mozambique where I served under Heidi Baker and Iris Ministries for 3 months…learning about what it really means to serve the poor and to become a missionary with Jesus as our model…He came as a humble dependent baby who had to learn a trade, a culture, a language. He gave His whole life for those He came to serve. He was a real missionary…a true missionary. I learned what it means to have compassion and during my time there, I had a a vision and encounter with God where He asked me…to “please bring my lost children home” as tears ran down His cheeks… I was called, commissioned, and was burning with fire to see this happen…that every orphaned (physical or spiritual) child could find a home in His heart…in His love…in Daddy God!

Through a series of wild events, some Ugandan friends and I formed a school in an area of town where I had always stayed when I went to Uganda. We started it with just a few hundred dollars and some wooden timbers. We built a small structure and some desks….painted the building, named the school Royal Hope Academy, and started with 3 teachers and about 35 children. Only a few months later, we had 9 teachers and 100 children. Another year later, we had 200 children, 10 teachers, plus 5 staff members. We also decided to really bring some of these desperate kids HOME…and started our first family style children’s home where 10 of our kids were adopted. We hope to have more of these homes in the future for more of these children who are in great need of home and family! All of the kids at our school, with the exception of about 5% who are simply very needy, are orphaned. These children are either full orphans or half orphans but in Africa if you have lost only one parent, you are considered an orphan. We began the school with no blue print, little experience, no fundraising plans, no money, in the middle of a recession in America…and with an awesome great big faithful and rich Father! Every month, I would pray for God to supply the needs to pay the staff and feed the children and He never never failed us.

Since February 2009 when we first started the school, at least 100 children have come out of polygamist islam, witchcraft or Rhasta into the marvelous light and love of Jesus Christ, really knowing what it means to give Him their hearts and lives. They have learned that they are loved by their heavenly Father, the King of Kings, and that they have been adopted as princes and princesses into His Royal family. Many have been delivered of demonic oppression, healed from diseases and conditions, and certainly saved by the marvelous love of our Faithful Father. They have developed a compassion and a generosity for others as well through a weekly offering they give to help someone in the community who is in need.

We have also seen great healing in our children who are within our home. They have also been delivered and received such a beautiful inner healing as Holy Spirit ministers to them through us about forgiveness of those who have abused them, killed their parents, or abandoned them. They are our dearly loved treasures we would give everything for, and certainly the treasures of their Father.

As I have lived and served these children in Africa, I have an overflowing joy and delight to be a part of what my Daddy is doing for His kids. It’s a big part of God’s redemption in my own life and certainly Jesus is on the move in Uganda spreading His love and glory among the villagers of Busega, Kampala, Uganda. My joy and delight has been in being blessed to be a blessing. Our ministry is humbled that God has allowed us to help needy single mothers and caretakers feed their children,begin businesses to break the cycle of poverty, bring hope to their families through education, receive medical care and treatment for many different kinds of conditions, and to be given a gift of mercy for their struggle and be loved on by Father God. We are humbled as God has moved through us dissolving tumors, setting children free from demonic oppression, and healing the hearts of young precious lives. These are the treasures hidden in darkness, the true diamonds of Africa… I am honored and blessed to serve the true royalty of God’s kingdom…and there is SO MUCH MORE to be done!

To all who have prayed given served gone over the past two years, you are the hands and feet and light and love of Jesus to the world. Thank you! :-)

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We Live In Haiti {Real Craziness}

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We Live In Haiti {Real Craziness}

Posted on 18 July 2010 by Kari Gibson

My husband and I live in Pignon, Haiti, and run an orphanage, Haiti Home of Hope. We have a biological son who just graduated high school. We have two Haitian daughters who we are in the process of adopting. And we have 22 boys and 23 girls in the orphanage. We also direct a feeding center for children suffering from malnutrition.

10 years ago, my husband and I were just your average American couple. Bill was working, I was a stay at home mom homeschooling our son. We as a family that year had committed to ministering wherever God led us. We had no clue that God was going to call us to Haiti, and in a short time we would be there serving orphan children. We had not been to Bible school, and were not looking or desiring to be on the mission field.

We arrived in Haiti January 21, 2003. We proceeded to get the building and property ready to start accepting children. Our plan was to open an all boys orphanage, with no babies. In May we had a 4 pound, 4 day old baby girl, brought to us. Our very first orphan! She was sick with typhoid, the doctors here said not to even try and save her, that she probably wouldn’t make it. I worked with her anyway. We fed her around the clock with an eyedropper, she could only take a couple of drops at a time. And we prayed so much, that God would save her.  God was gracious and saved her life. She is now 7 years old and the picture of health. She tells me that she wants to grow up and help sick babies, just like her mommy!! She has such a sensitive heart, we thank God everyday for her We now have 47 children here, and life gets crazy sometimes.

I would like to share some of my everyday craziness with you. I like to get out into the countryside and visit children that are on our feeding program. I just never know what I am going to find when I go out. The physical and spiritual needs are so great. Last Saturday I had gone to visit a really poor family. There are 5 children, all suffering malnutrition. When I arrived at the hut, there were no adults around. The door was hanging open, and the 1 year old twins were laying on the floor. They are only 8 pounds each, and can’t sit up or crawl around. They were both covered in dried feces and crying pitifully. I found an old rag to wipe them off with, and a couple of blankets, and wrapped them up. We gave them what little water we had, and some cream cheese in my bag, that I let them suck off of my finger. When I asked the older kids, they said they had not eaten in 2 days. I passed out all of our crackers and cheese, and water. We were anxiously awaiting the mom’s return, but after an hour when no one came, we had no choice but to lay the babies down and walk away. I felt so defeated, I was in tears that there was nothing more I could do. There was no food for them to cook in the house. I prayed that I could come back soon and bring some food.

It was Monday before I had another another opportunity to go out that way. When we got within a mile, the road was impassable, because of deep mud. So we made the decision to walk in. Just as we arrived at the hut, we were hit with a huge thunderstorm. The mom was gone again, door left open, babies on the dirt floor, and the other 3 kids running around naked. We gave them all cheese and crackers, and water, again. The mom finally showed up, so we were able to leave rice packets, specially formulated for malnourished children.

Mission accomplished, we then started the walk back in the thunderstorm. The water in the road was rushing, about a foot deep. In some places, the mud was a foot deep. I fell twice, and was covered in mud, head to toe when I got home. But I was so happy, because I knew those kids would have a meal that day. But more important than that, I hope and pray that the mom saw the love of Christ thru us, as we ministered to her and her babies.  I pray that she will see the harm that voodoo does to her children. I pray that  one day she will come to accept Christ in her heart.

Please pray for these families that are so caught up in voodoo, that they don’t see the damage being done to their children. Pray for the poor children of Haiti. The only hope for them is Jesus. Pray that we will continue to have love and compassion, so that they will see Jesus shining thru us.

{wife, mom to 48- Jennifer Campbell}

A note from Kari:  I met Jennifer on my 2nd trip to Haiti.  She is my hero (even though she would hate me saying that!)  She and her hubby serve God with all their hearts and are making a huge difference with the families in the village of Pignon.  She explained to me that when a family is practicing voodoo, their children are born with red tipped hair.  It is NOT hair dye… she has witnessed a family that after accepting Jesus in their lives, shaved their children’s hair, despite the witch doctor’s evil warnings of death.  When their hair grew back, it was black.  God healed this family from the inside out.  Roger will travel to Pignon, Haiti to work with the Campbells in August.

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