Tag Archive | "Simply Love"

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Our Crazy R & R Beach Getaway

Posted on 10 January 2013 by Kari Gibson

The ocean makes me happy. Ask my family, and they will tell you mom’s dream vacation is basking on the sandy beach, sitting on a beach chair with a good book. I love sand on my toes, and I don’t even mind the sand that magically appears on towels, shoes, floors, kid’s hair (except Zoie) and eventually, every bag we pack… it’s like taking a piece of the beach back home with us. As a child, I would spend every waking moment on our beach trips until the darkness made the water too scary to swim. My brother’s and I would spend hours jumping and riding waves with my dad, as my mom waved at us sitting on the beach with a book. I didn’t understood then how wonderful it was for “mom” to get a few hours break from mommyhood and relax. To me, it looked really boring.

When the Campbell’s announced we were going to the beach for a 2-day getaway, I was the one jumping up and down ecstatic with the kids! The little beach hotel was 40 miles from Pignon, but a rough, bumpy 4.5 hours drive. We were all up for the crazy journey and packed our bags with swimsuits and beach toys. Jennifer gently reminded us we were still in Haiti, and the hotel was a little rough around the edges, but it was right on the ocean. We didn’t care, just the idea of fresh fish and ocean breeze was worth spending 2 nights with 2 full beds and 5 people. After all, we are on an adventure! We were so thrilled our son, Michael joined us for his college winter break, and we were excited to bask in the Haitian sun together as a family.

The hotel was full. Seriously, the manager at the front desk gave us the bad news with a nervous smile, “Sorry, come back in a few days, we are all full. No rooms.” I gulped down my enormous disappointment and tried not to cry in front of the six kids holding on to their buckets and sand shovels. The UN had filled most of the rooms, and a medical team was coming in the next day, so the hotel was stuffed full to the brim. In a last ditch attempt, Bill Campbell asked if there were any rooms for just tonight, and we would pack up and leave the next day before the team arrived for the weekend. The manager, with relief, welcomed us to Hotel “Cormier” with a warm smile and agreed to a 24-hour stay. We all ran to our room (1 King bed only) and ran to the beach. We were not going to miss a single second of beach fun.

It was paradise. A little piece of heaven carved out in Haiti, only a few miles from the dirtiest city I have ever seen in my life, Cap Haitian. The sand was soft and the waves perfect for playing and snorkeling. We ate homemade ice cream mixed with a sprinkle of sand and played until the hotel served dinner at 7pm. Meals were included in our package deal, so we could eat lobster and not worry about the price. I ate Lobster Friccasse, (lobster with butter & garlic) the best vegetable soup, and homemade Haitian bread. Roger and I took a romantic walk and much to our surprise …. basked in the huge orange full moon. We had no idea we just watched a rare lunar eclipse seen from around the world, with front row seats on the beach.

The next day, we all decided to play at the ocean until noon check out. Inside, I was a little sad … not wanting to leave and cut our R & R short. I told all the little girls to hold hands and pray for a beach miracle. We prayed and asked Jesus to let us stay for one more day. I made a big circle in the sand (thanks to my favorite book!) Can you imagine our surprise when a few hours later, the owner himself, came out to greet us and announce we could stay one more day!!!!! We made quite a scene celebrating the good news, even the UN were cheering! I love God-surprises! Later that day, our son went kayaking with “Captain Bill” and when their ship capsized, Michael’s foot slammed into the coral rocks below, and was speared by a black, spiky sea urchin. I know he was in terrible pain. The staff yelled for someone to pee on his foot (I promise!) and later explained that the spears were calcium and would eventually dissolve in his foot, ordering us not to dig them out to cause infection. Finally, the pain eased and he returned back to the beach to soak his foot in saltwater, instead of pee. We enjoyed another 24 hours playing, eating, swimming, snorkeling, and making sand castles on the beach.

Living 6 months on the mission field, has been non-stop action. As a family, we were so grateful for the 48 hours to chill out and relax together, doing absolutely nothing. We are grateful for the family for inviting us to join them at the beach, and also enjoying time for R & R. We all felt renewed and energized and refreshed to go back to real life living and serving at Haiti Home of Hope orphanage. It’s a tremendous amount of work raising 40 children and caring for the community of Pignon. The Campbell’s constantly amaze me. This year, they are celebrating their 10th year anniversary living in Haiti. We are so honored to learn from them what it means to live James 1:27.

The biggest fear of a missionary is passion burn-out. If you don’t take the time as parents to rest and relax … you set yourself up for major burn out no matter where you live in this world. I think one of the greatest gifts you can give a full-time missionary, is the gift of rest. If you support a missionary, prayerfully consider sending them on a R & R retreat and I promise it will be a priceless gift of love and support and restoring passion! Jesus Christ is the ultimate Life-Giver and our source of passion. “He breathes life into us in all its fullness, comprehensively and completely! If we play sports, we should play hard. If we’re musicians, we should create heavenly music. If we love photography, we should search for the perfect moment with perfect lighting. If we’re coffee lovers, we should drink good coffee with gusto. Only a passion-filled person can live dead; a passionless person cannot.” (Live Dead Journal, missionary, Brett Nelson- South Africa, Burundi & Madagascar)

Do you support a missionary? Prayerfully, consider asking God to allow you to financially bless someone, and restore their passion on the mission field.

To learn more about our ministry, Simply Love click here and support our 12-month mission adventure.

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Am I A Good Mom On The Field?

Posted on 08 January 2013 by Kari Gibson

I love being a mom! I can’t believe the adventures being a mom has brought to my life. I’ve had the honor of mommyhood for 19 years and grateful for the hours and days and years I’ve spent with my three beautiful children! The ups and downs and challenging mom days have prepared me in so many ways to have the courage to face the new dreams in my life. I’ve made so many mistakes through the years, I lost count after the first year of my son, Michael’s life. Every day is an opportunity to grow in love, wisdom, forgiveness, prayer, perseverance, and faith. I often tell my friends, I wake up every morning grateful for another day my kids are making good choices, and committed to living a Christ filled life. We all know life is hard, and parenting never gets any easier, no matter where you live in the world.

I think the greatest challenge this year has been mentally, asking myself countless times, am I a good mom on the mission field? It was the scariest decision to bring our two daughters, five year old, Zoie and sixteen year old, Hannah with us on our mission-adventure. Making the choice to home-school was easy, but actually homeschooling scared me to death. The fear rippled through me for months, can I really do this?Will I ruin Hannah’s education? Can I do a good job? The fear kept me up at nights, and even though the theme I rewind over and over … do it afraid played in my mind, like a broken record, I really had no idea if this was going to work out. It’s amazing the people God put in my path to encourage me as a mom on the field. Mom’s came out of every corner helping me pick the best programs and reassuring me, I could do it!! Even though, I doubted, I moved forward with baby steps and a whole lot of prayer. I’m happy to report, homeschooling my girls has been such a joy and privilege this year. They have both had great attitudes (which really helps) and have handed me the gift of grace. The last thing Zoie’s preschool teacher (my best friend) told me before we headed to Haiti was, “make every day count and don’t mess this up!”

Michael and Hannah and Zoie have made big sacrifices going with Roger and I on our 12-month mission adventure. Believe me, I’m reminded every single day sleeping on bunkbeds, and taking cold showers … battling killer mosquitoes and critters when we go outside our little cement house. I’m constantly worried about one of us getting malaria or worse, dengue from the day mosqs. At night, when the voodoo drums are pounding, I wonder really how safe we are in the village of Pignon. This much I can say, Jesus has never failed us. He has been faithful and caring and patient with our family. It’s so hard for me to understand WHY He asked our family to give our stuff up and go. He could never have picked a bigger wimp than me. Seriously, I’ve lived life as safe as I can … just ask my family and friends. They will testify that I am a big chicken, that I like being comfortable, that I have been at times, selfish with my time and money. I’ve lived many years thinking only about me and my needs. It breaks my heart to think of all the time I’ve wasted in my life. I feel embarrassed knowing how many people I’ve hurt in my past, due to un-forgiveness and selfishness. I’m the last person in the world that would have thought God would ask to serve as a missionary. Writing this, I have tears streaming down my face, because I know how many chances God has given me as His adopted daughter. He never gave up on me, and continues to hold my hand as I learn to live in His will. I will be forever humbled and grateful that God gave me grace grace in every area of my life, and decided to take a chance with me serving and loving big on the field. I’ve lived an out-of the box life and I know what a privilege it’s been to have the family I grew up with and the unique opportunities being Gary Smalley’s daughter gave me the past 46 years. I try to call or text my parents often to thank them for being the best parents and believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in me. I’m working on forgiving myself most of all … asking the Lord to allow me for the rest of my life to share the gospel and serve Him through Simply Love ministry anywhere in the world where He needs me the most. Am I willing to go? Yes, I’m willing to continue to be stripped, and used, and molded to do the purpose God called me to do. Am I scared? Oh yeah!! But, I don’t want to waste another second of my life not doing what He has called me to do. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

So, am I a good mom on the mission field? I pray that God works through all my crazy mistakes and failures as a mom, and … I want my three children to have the courage to take risks, try new things, obey God at ALL costs, and never be afraid to live a God-adventure. I hope I have in some crazy way, modeled for my kids to serve big and love big … no matter what you have to give up in life, no matter where you live in this world. God can use us if we are willing to simply love.

What are you willing to give up to live a new God-adventure?

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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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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 www.live-dead.org.

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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The House That Love Built

Posted on 30 November 2012 by Kari Gibson

Last January, our Simply Love Haiti team in Pignon met a family who lived in a mud stick house next door to a witch doctor. To make matters worse, the tiny hut leaned to the right, like it would tip over any second. I don’t know if I’ve ever witnesses a family as poor as this one. They let me come in and see the inside… I was so humbled. At the time, my family lived in a 5000 square foot home, and had every imaginable convenience to make living comfortable. This family of 6, including twins, only had one bed and their chickens lived inside, too. Missionaries, Bill and Jennifer Campbell had witnessed to them and they accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior … that’s when the miracles started. God began showering this family with favor and blessing. A mission team purchased an acre and half of land for $900 and raised the money to build a new house. (another great example of how powerful short term missions teams are!!) The property has 2 large mango trees, 2 massive avocado trees, banana trees, sugar cane, and rich soil for their garden. Their new neighbors are followers of Jesus and there is a church 200 yards down the dusty road. They are covered in love.

10 months later, I headed over with the building team and saw for the first time their new home. It brought tears to my eyes. The team was here to finish the project, put on the roof and build furniture and beds for the family. I have to admit, I was a little giddy … hugging the family, the neighbors, and team building the dream home. God sold our dream house when we said yes to serving in Haiti. Last night, I was wide awake due to drinking a late coffee with my friend, Jennifer … I had time to think about the things I have had to let go of this year. I miss my stuff, but it’s getting easier every day to thank God for the new stuff in my life. The new ministries we serve, the new provisions He has provided, the new friends, and new opportunities to share the gospel to the unreached people groups. Roger and I lived 20 years of comfortable living and now I’m working on thanking God for the supernatural experiences He has faithfully planned for our God-adventure to live 12 months in Ethiopia, Haiti, and Nicaragua! Our big dream is to encourage (loud cheerleaders) missionaries to serve out-of-the box.. build a new generation of missionaries that will man up and go to all the unreached places.

This is the house that love built. Here are a few photos I took of their old house.

Here are photos of their NEW dream house. More pics coming soon …

There is nothing God loves more than keeping promises, answering prayers, performing miracles, and fulfilling dreams. That is who He is. That is what He does. And the bigger the circle we draw, the better, because God gets more glory. (The Circle Maker)

If you have never been on a short term mission trip, I want to encourage you to dig deep and go. It will change your life forever. I had the opportunity to share the gospel with the people waiting for clinic on Wednesday. The Campbells open their blue gate every week and the mother’s and families come for formula and food distribution, as well as medical care for their children. The community of Pignon is very poor and sometimes, you have only one day to save the life of a baby that is malnurished or sick. Pastor Clebert helped me translate Ephesians 4:4-7 , so I could offer comfort for their spirit, as they waited for physical comfort for their children. I love this verse … and I hope it brings you comfort today, too. There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But GRACE was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Prayer Challenge for the weekend: Would you take time for the next 2 days and pray these requests specifically?

  • Will you pray today that the Holy Spirit will give you courage to boldly take the gospel to the unreached?
  • Begin to pray for an unreached people group. You can search online (www.joshuaproject.net) or buy the Live Dead Journal for unreached people group prayer profiles and find great resources.
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit would open your eyes to neighbors who may be from places that have no gospel. You may have never seen them in this way before. Ask the Lord to guide you in connecting with them in love to share the gospel.

(3 Prayer Challenges- Live Dead Journal)


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Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That

Posted on 29 November 2012 by Kari Gibson

I woke up this morning on my bunkbed to a light Haitian breeze and sunshine! I love starting off my day thanking the Lord for the great honor of allowing us to serve in Haiti and asking with anticipation what adventure does He have planned today! We finally came up with a [Creole] name for our little studio cottage, Les Belle Maison (which means beautiful cement house.) It takes about 5 minutes to clean and sweep our concrete floors and make our bunks. Hannah mentioned to me that she feels like she’s at camp, including the bugs and lizards and peeper frogs. The only thing missing is our son, Michael who will arrive in Haiti on December 17th for winter break from college. We are so thrilled he’s joining us on our adventure!

Today, Jennifer and I headed back to Pignon Hospital (photo) on the back of a 4 wheeler to donate blood to the Haiti Home of Hope (HHH) clinic mom who has TB and pregnant. She really needs a transfusion to help her gain strength for her delivery coming soon. We entered the crowded hospital for the 2nd time and I started working on my shallow breathing technique. Jennifer has witnessed so many difficult things in the hospital, women having babies on the floor, maggot invested wounds, puddles of body fluid, TB patients and regular patients sleeping all in the same room. We were turned away again from donating, this time for the lab not open on the weekend. We visited the mom and told her we would come back on Monday. As I looked around, it broke my heart to see the conditions and hardships of the people living in Pignon. Life is hard. “Suffering is never without purpose. God takes it all- the pain, the tears, the fear, the confusion, the questions, the doubts- and uses it to build us up in our faith, to help us see who He is, if we trust Him through it all.” (Live-Dead Journal)

We zipped back home bouncing on the back of the ATV. Hannah and I jumped in the truck with Bill and Roger to take supplies to the new building site for a clinic family. I met this family of six back in January living next door to a witch doctor and surviving in a “leaning” mud hut with their twins (wait till you see the before and after photos!) It was the poorest living conditions I’ve ever witnessed anywhere in the world. A mission team donated the cost of land and a new home for this family. Our family gets to be “happy helpers” starting on Tuesday building their dream home. I’m soooo excited!!

We accomplished all this before lunch!

One of the things I love most about living in Haiti is the fellowship with other missionaries. There are a total of 5 adopted Campbell children, and four other people living with the Campbells and multiple teams that come in and out of HHH. We all sit around a big table for meals – Roger mentioned we look like the Walton Family. Jennifer made a huge pot of creamy turkey soup (Thanksgiving leftovers) and we had just set the table for dinner, when there was an interruption outside. Typically, if it was my home, I would be a little miffed if someone dropped by uninvited just before dinner .. I like to eat a hot meal. Inside, I might think … Ain’t nobody got time for that! Thankfully, God always knows the perfect timing, even when the soup is hot. A distraught husband and his 22 year old daughter walked up to the house with broken hearts. Early this morning, his beloved wife and mother to his 5 children had unexpectedly died. The grieving family came to receive formula for the 2 month old baby and asked for the Campbells to take the child. It broke our hearts to see the aftermath of losing a loved one. We all prayed for them and offered to help in any way we could to bring comfort and help with their needs. Wednesday is clinic day, so we are hoping they will bring the baby for extra TLC.

I’m learning that what might look like, through my eyes, as an inconvenience, .. it’s really an opportunity to love big. I want to always have time to help, even if the task is mundane. Last night, Hannah and I had dish duty for the mission team and families … over 20 people makes a lot of dirty dishes. One sink had soapy bleachy water and the other sink, clear bleach water. We started talking about music and friends and movies coming out … the time standing with her was so precious to me. She has been such an example of faithfulness, obedience, and flexibility, and we are proud of our daughter. I don’t necessarily like doing dishes, but I loved being with Hannah.

Please pray for Haiti Home of Hope ministry and the missionaries that serve in Pignon, Haiti. They serve wholeheartedly and love extravagantly 24/7 the community and face hardships and challenges every single day caring for the fatherless. What an honor to have our family here helping with this amazing ministry. Thank you for investing in our family this year, supporting, praying, and cheering us on the mission field.

Next week, we want to start a special project for the boys living here at the HHH orphanage- they desperately need new mattresses and bed-bug covers for comfort and relief. URGENT NEED: 22 twin mattresses + 10 other sizes. We can order on Amazon Wish List and they will ship directly here to us. More info coming soon …



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Blind Obedience

Posted on 27 November 2012 by Kari Gibson

Our first day at Haiti Home of Hope was slow paced as we unpacked into our wonderful studio cottage on the second floor above the classroom and clinic. Let’s see if I can give you a glimpse of our world – There are five screened windows with wooden shutters and a wrap around porch (completed a few days ago just for Zoie) Our backyard is the mountains and orphanage. There are little green lizards darting across the outside walls begging to come inside. The breezy air gently cools down the cottage all day and night. My favorite thing is hearing the voices of all 40 children waking up in the morning and getting ready for school (6:30am sharp) I can’t believe we’re living here for 2 months … it’s a dream come true. Our girls are relaxed and peaceful here and that makes my mommy heart happy. Zoie jumped right in and started playing with the Campbells two daughters, Lina and Chrissy, as well, as the precious girls that live here in the home. I braided her hair with ribbons to match all her new Haitian princess friends. An added blessing is the 23 year old American, Danielle who lives here full time as a live-in teacher and nanny to many children. Her spirit is compassionate and kind and gentle.. the perfect combination for the mission field and serving at HHH.

Jennifer Campbell invited me to visit the Pignon Hospital and find out what blood type I was to help one of the clinic moms who has TB and 8 months pregnant. She has had to stay at the hospital for 2 months. I had to laugh, jumping right in the cold water and swimming on my first day. I was a little nervous walking inside the crowded hospital, especially when Jen said, “Don’t breath too deep, just take shallow breathes.” What??!! I started to giggle and sucking in too much air! I had no idea how to properly breath shallow so I started puffing lightly and laughing as I prayed for our protection against nasty germs floating around the hospital. Giving blood here is about a 4-5 hour experience, but worth giving life to a mommy who needs extra help giving birth. About 20 minutes waiting in the busy hallway to start the lab work, we were told to come back tomorrow. TIH

I think one of the biggest challenges going on the mission field is constantly battling fears. As a mom, I fear that my kids won’t be safe or exposed to dangers I don’t have any control over. We have had a few people voice their “beef” with us about taking the girls to Haiti. The only thing we can do is thank them for their love and concern, but as parents stand firm in our belief that God has called us for this season to serve as missionaries and share the gospel to the unreached. Matthew 16:25, John 12:24, Matthew 19:29 brings my heart peace, humbleness, and clarity. They ground me with perspective for living well. Yes, there is much to fear living in a 3rd world country. Things that could happen to our family cause me to lose focus and feel afraid. But we made a decision to – do it afraid!!!! I love these words from missionary, Amy Cleveland who lives with her husband and 3 children in Somalia: I know there are costs, some I can see right in front of me, some I don’t see or never will. I am the bride of Christ! What joyful life do I have if not to take my children where my Lord brings me? For me there is no choice or thought of choice. I am His. (Live-Dead Journal) I can’t think of a better place in the world to have our children join us for a God-adventure … this beats any prom, mall outing, or going to the movies. Together we are serving the Lord and sharing the gospel to the lost.

“Jesus says, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or field for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Matt. 19:29

God has proven Himself over and over again in our lives. He has opened up supernatural doors for our family to walk through. I have experience some of the greatest days of my life and some of the most challenging. I will not allow my heart to be manipulated by the fear “feelings” or other people’s negative opinions or the evil one as we walk in obedience. It’s impossible for me to explain why God called our family after 20 years living a very comfortable, safe, convenient, easy life-style to give it all up for missions. But, He did ask, and we said yes.

Do you have the courage for God to move in unpredictable and uncontrollable ways? If you are not open to the unprecedented, you will repeat history. If you are open to the unprecedented, you will change history. The difference is prayer. (The Circle Maker)

If you would like to follow our Gibson family mission-adventure newsletter, please sign up here. Support us with your prayers and cheers as we are His hands and feet in Haiti for the next 2 months. We can’t wait to see what God has planned for our family… living out-of-the-box missions! 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 If you are supporting Simply Love Haiti … I will be blogging and sharing photos as often as I can so you can see where every penny is going to love and serve big!!

If you would like to invest in our mission-adventure and give a one-time gift or monthly contribution to our non-profit ministry, Simply Love: : donations are tax deductible

  1. OPERATION: HAITI (Paypal)

Simply Love

National Christian Foundation
706 North Lindenwood Drive
Olathe, Kansas 66062

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How You Can Support Our Family

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How You Can Support Our Family

Posted on 24 October 2012 by Kari Gibson

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

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

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

Our Top 8 Needs:

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

What will we be doing in Pignon, Haiti?

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

(2 month) Haiti Happy Helpers:

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

Bloggy friends, how can you help?

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

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

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

What we need to raise for support:

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

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

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

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

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

706 North Lindenwood Drive #100
Olathe, Kansas 66062

or make a contribution by credit card here …


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Freedom Reigns {Letting Go}

Posted on 03 October 2012 by Kari Gibson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We. Are. Family.

Posted on 22 August 2012 by Kari Gibson

I honestly thought I would blog every single day in Africa. I promise there has been action packed mission adventure and miracles every day, but not enough free time to write. I spent the first 2 weeks with an incredible Visiting Orphans Simply Love team in Uganda and Ethiopia … the rest of our days have been full of activity in Korah, Fistula Hospital, exploring Addis Ababa’s delicious restaurants, and spending time relaxing at our wonderful guest house (EGH) The other day, one of the staff asked us if we ever sit down. Honestly, we have enjoyed every single second here loving and serving in Ethiopia. I’m sure you want a honest reflection of our time and that is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We. Love. Ethiopia.

We love the ministries who have graciously allowed us to show up every day and be happy helpers. Thank you Ethiopia Guest Home and Mission Ethiopia and Project 61 and Great Hope Ministry and and Fistula Hospital. You have welcomed our family as part of your big family. Can you imagine the joy in my heart when we drive down the streets of Korah and kids scream out my name … “Mama Kiki!!!!!!!!” They have no idea what they do to my heart! They have trusted and loved our family unconditionally. Most of the kids have stopped asking me for, “Kiki Candy?” because I ran out of yummy candy a long time ago. We have the honor of handing out hugs and kisses to the community children and most of all, spending quality time with our “adopted-from-the-heart” P61 kids. Today, I took a van full of 8 teens, Zoie, a new friend, Eric from EGH, and our driver, Dougu to the Fistula Hopsital. I had a meeting with social worker, Hannah about Senait and baby Benaiah… who were former patients at Fistula. One of the staff looked at all the boys and looked back at me with a big question mark in her eyes. I introduced them and told her they had all adopted ME… I was their mom. I loved the big smile and understanding she gave back to us.

One of the sweetest blessings the past 3 months has been the daily fellowship with our dear friend, Wynne Elder. She is an adoptive mom who has been courageous and fearless living here solo in Addis Ababa waiting fervently for their US Embassy appointment… loving and bonding with her babies. She and her hubby, Stephen are adopting 2 beautiful children and due to some paperwork issues, will be leaving us on Tuesday to return back to the states to wait a little longer for a new appointment. She has taught me soooo many amazing things like: photography tips, wonder-woman patience, wearing cool headbands, mission-fashion-layering-hair-nail-southern-talking-magic. She’s 28 and I’m 40 ish … she makes me feel so young just hanging around her. She loved our super-nanny and adopted my 2 daughters … loving us all like family. Tonight when she told me the news that she would be leaving, we both put our heads on poor Sentayehu’s shoulder and bawled. He had to hug 2 really sad friends stuck in the middle, but what a sweetheart. Wynne-Baby, you have been a JOY to our family and we will miss being with you every single day. You have not only grown as a new mommy, but you rocked as a missionary too! (Wynne took the stunning pic of Zoie & me with my best friend)

We have been in Africa for 80 days and leave for the states to take care of Mercy’s medical needs in 11 days. It will be a bittersweet journey until we can come back to our beloved Ethiopia… prayerfully, returning in February, living in Addis Ababa through summer 2013. We are VERY excited about our 2 month mission adventure in Haiti starting in November. But today, I’m holding on to the promise that God will take care of all the family we love in Korah and take care of all their needs… after we are gone. I have to entrust my loved ones to Jesus, releasing them into His protective care. They are much safer with Him than in my clinging hands. (Jesus Calling)

We. Are. Family.

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God Always Keeps His Promises

Posted on 14 August 2012 by Kari Gibson

The best day …

I held Sentayehu’s hand as he helped guide me to the trash dump in Kore (Korah.) As we walked, he pointed shyly where he lived for 6 years before Project 61. I looked at him with tears in my eyes and held his hand tighter. How can I describe in words to you what it would be like to live on a trash dump? It would be an impossible task. How would I explain to you the smell, the unsafe environment, the danger, the nightmare… I don’t want to accept this kind of living for any human being. I wish I could take his pain and wave a wand (like in a Disney movie) and wipe away all the bad memories. Instead, I will fast forward and share with you what God has taught our sons, the Man Up teens, about courage, faith, and prayer.

I want to honor the village of Korah, the birthplace of our daughter, Zoie Senait … who have lived their lives with reckless abandon. Today, we walked to the trash dump with 7 of our boys, and our dear friend, Fekadu who lived 20 years on the dump. The walk through the village winds through the rocky, muddy streets until you reach the bridge. That is the moment you know you are walking into a different world. It is no longer possible to bring teams there, due to government control, but our family of 5 was easy to conceal. The boys walked and they shared their stories. It’s not possible to understand the magnitude of what it means to live, eat, and exist on a trash dump. Living here in Africa long term has allowed us to build deeper relationships with the community.. the real life heroes who wake up every single day and claim victory in Jesus.

I will never be able to wrap my heart around anyone [I love] living in these horrific conditions, but what I focus on is the promise God made each and every child and family He has rescued, each one with a different miracle. God always keeps His promises! The boys were all eager to share their stories. I believe it’s healing to the soul to tell someone your history. My girls have no idea what it means to live without food or shelter, but they honored our friends and walked hand in hand. When we reached the entrance, they didn’t stop but instead helped us “climb” the massive mountain of trash. I was so proud of the girls… they didn’t miss a single step. Roger was at the dump with a few of the Man Up team members a few days ago, so he stayed below with Zoie, but the girls (and mom) climbed until we reached the top.

The view on top is both spectacular and horrific. A few of the workers approached us and asked me to take their photos. It felt strange posing in the trash, but it brought them so much joy. It was the first time I’ve ever witnessed the back side entrance of the dump. There was activity everywhere we looked. In fact, one of our boys ran off to find his mother so he could introduce us. As we held the boys hands, I felt relief knowing they would never have to live here again. But, praying God will continue to pour His mercy and grace and restoring hope to the community … continuing His rescue mission.

For the past 2 ½ months, my husband has been ministering daily to 12 young men (teens) who are part of the Project 61 ministry in Korah. The children formerly living on the trash dump or streets are now fully sponsored with food, shelter and education. Hope. Healing. Restoration. The boys have been adopted by our family this summer (and forever) and we enjoy taking them to church on Sundays, as well as fun activities during the week. They help us throughout the day with our ministry in Korah and never leave our side. They adore their sisters, Zoie, Hannah and Dovie. We love when they call us mom “Enatay” and dad “Abatay” … adoption of the heart. Most of the boys are true orphans or have been abandoned. Roger is teaching the life of Daniel and they are learning what it means to live a life of courage and faith and prayer. In fact, we renamed the “shelter” where the boys sleep to the Man Up Cave. We are grateful for the Visiting Orphans team who helped us paint their door with the new super-cool name.

Isaiah 61:10- “I will sing for joy in God, explode in praise from deep in my soul! He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo and a bride a jeweled tiara. For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers, and as a garden cascades with blossoms, So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom and puts praise on display before the nations.” This verse means so much to me. The people living or working on the trash dump that have been restored by Jesus Christ now wear the garments of salvation and the robes of righteousness… stunning like a bride who adorns herself with jewels and the bridegroom who adorns his head like a priest. He covers our filth and sin with beauty from the ashes.

I want you to trust Me enough to realize your privileged position in My kingdom. Relax in the luxuriant folds of your magnificent robe. (Jesus Calling)


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God’s Big Bold Miracles for Mercy!!!!!!!!

Posted on 28 June 2012 by Kari Gibson

OPERATION: MERCY (update 7/3) You have helped raise $2,012 in the past few days for Mercy’s flights & expenses. We are boldly praying for a total of $5,000 in the next 10 days to be able to purchase her ticket to the USA!! Click on the special donation button (right side column) and help support Mercy!! Please help spread her story to your family and friends.

The alarm went off at 5:30am. I could feel in my heart that today would be different. Long before we woke up this morning, the Spirit of God was circling us with songs of deliverance. We desired to grow spiritually this year praying for Mercy’s medical visa, but was our dream too big for Him? It was the kind of God-sized dreams I read about every time I opened up The Circle Maker! Our dream was overwhelming for so many people involved with the visa. Our plans seemed perplexingly impossible, every day we expanded the radiuses of our prayer circles!! He stretched all of us … everyone who prayed and supported and cheered for OPERATION: MERCY!!!!

I love this quote… “Until you come to the conviction that God’s grace and power know no limits, you will draw small prayer circles. Once you embrace the omnipotence of God, you’ll draw every-enlarging circles around your God-given, God-sized dreams!” (The Circle Maker) Meeting Mercy was God-given. He was the one who told Mulu to find us that day in Korah with our Visiting Orphans team. We missed the encounter the first day, but she showed up the second day. Isn’t that just God. We can so easily miss out, but His mercy gives us a second chance. There is no limit to God’s power.

The morning was cold and rainy. Our dear friend, Sammy Liben picked us up and drove us to the US Embassy. The fog lifted and I could see in the distance the big American flag waving, welcoming us. Why does that sight always make me feel safe? As he pulled up to the front, we couldn’t believe we were first again in line. There was a heavy drizzle, but we were so excited. Then guard came up to us and said directly, “Go to the end of the line?” The end of the line, but we were first, I thought. He pointed to the other side of the street and there were about 100 people standing in a long line. Ohhhh we were so embarrassed. We obviously had cut in line terribly the day before. We crossed the street and headed to the back of the line. This was going to take a lot longer then we planned.

We waited about an hour out in the cold and rain, so Roger dared me to go ask the guard if Mercy could go inside due to being here for a medical visa. Well, she did look really cold, so I decided to try and charm the guard. It worked and we were able to “cut’ in line with our beautiful Mercy. The process went quickly. The same officer who we met up on top of Entoto Mt. Asked us again to approach window #10. I was a little nervous because I knew this particular one had denied two of my Ethiopian friends their visas. We took a deep breath and headed back up with Mercy. She smiled and told us all the documents were in proper order and approved Mercy’s visa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I smiled through tears as we thanked her for her approval. After waiting for a year …. endless amounts of paperwork and many visits to the Black Lion Hospital we had Mercy’s visa!!!!! I felt so honored to be a small part of this BIG miracle!

Is there a limit to my power?

Nothing honors God more than a big dream that is way beyond our ability to accomplish. (The Cirlce Maker) Here’s what’s so awesome, I had an arrow pointing from that quote in the book with Mercy’s name written next to it. Why does God want us to dream so big? Because our biggest dreams knock us to our knees and we have to pray bold and big and without ceasing.

We drove away from the US Embassy with the flag waving in the distance. I was so proud to be an American that day, but more proud that Mercy would now benefit from our medical care in the states that would help make a difference in her life. Our prayer is for her to return to Korah healthy, happy, and healed!!

We raised $1700 in 24 hours before Mercy even heard the words … medical visa approved!! You did this!!!!!! Now, we need your help spreading Mercy’s story and giving big and supporting big! Our goal is to raise $5,000 in the next few weeks to purchase her flight. I will keep you updated here and on my facebook. If you can commit to tweet, blog, and share the links on your facebook … we can all be a part of helping bring Mercy to the United States for medical treatment. We have a blog “button” OPERATION: MERCY on the top right side column – you can click and donate. Every penny we raise for Mercy will be used for Mercy’s needs. Thank you for praying for our family and Mercy!! Continue Reading

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