25 April 2015

Family Missions is Messy

For almost 3 weeks now, our family has been in Turkana.  Next week we head back home to Kitale.  

When coming here, we loaded up in our land cruiser, and I mean LOADED up.

But I was thankful for a stronger working vehicle (insert heart of thanks to those that have given to vehicle funds so far). In Turkana, the people are mostly nomadic. When water dries up or there's no where left for goats and camels to eat from, they move. They have these woven baskets and stretcher like things that go on donkeys and camels to carry everything. Including the sticks for their houses. And they will walk for days. So you could say I was thankful to have an upgraded version with suitcases, a land cruiser and tents bolted on top.

Every mission up here usually looks different but always has the same purpose of continuing to build relationships and share Jesus wherever we go. Last trip that meant giving out food. This trip has been a lot of going low and slow (as Mama Heidi would say). Praying, listening and learning. We are basing out of the main town in Turkana and travel into the reserve for some days. Last week we went for a three day outreach. We loaded up the whole fam and ventured into the middle of the desert where we make our own roads and it feels like the end of the earth.

We are very much about missions as a family. Sure there are times just Bud or just myself goes to do ministry when its best we go without kids.But we realize that doing missions and ministry as a family adds something to it that opens doors and brings the Kingdom like nothing else.  But it's messy. And it's hard. And it takes more time. It takes pulling over on the side of the road several times because your five year old daughter has a small bladder. It takes several packs of wet wipes because your two year old keeps eating sand which causes poop to flow all down his legs.  Often. It takes staying up at 4am praying over your kid with a fever because the devil isn't happy with what we are doing. But Jesus heals. And we see him heal our kids over and over again. It takes time to pull your seven year old to the side to talk again about how to respond best when kids crowd around him to touch his hair and pull on his shirt.  It takes time at night to talk with our teenage boys about what's going on in their lives.

But what comes of this family on a mission is only God. It means when we go into a village, there's no warming up to us, our kids break the silence and bring smiles and laughter to us all.  It builds trust for people to see us come in with the whole family. One of the best examples is when one day we went around a village prayer walking. We went into one home to talk to a young man and walls went up. He said he was fine and didn't want prayer. We kept walking and our son Ian stayed behind. Eventually this young man opened up and shared a lot with Ian and Ian was able to encourage the guy and share Jesus. So powerful!  Then there are many times Bud comes in and is able to talk as a father to many.  Im SO thankful for the way he takes care of our family. He has become quite the handy man and i continually see some Mcgever characteristics come out of him. Especially in the middle of the desert. There was a day one of our boys birth mom was very sick. Turns out she had just had a baby the week before. I got to pray and love the sweet little newborn while the mama rested. I knew from experience exactly what the mama was going through. Well I say exactly. Ha. I can't even imagine birthing a baby on dirt floors and recovering in such hard conditions. So scratch that, i had no idea. But I could come in as a mama to help with the sweet little. I mean, he was definitely one of the sweetest squishy newborns ever so it didn't take much to love him!

Because it takes more time and effort as a family, there are definitely times we wonder what on earth are we doing.  And times when our children act crazy and disciplining them becomes tiresome. But that's when you have to stay the course and keep the focus. Trusting. Just when we were having one of these low moments, our sons speaks out a prophetic word and says "hey I have a verse I can't stop thinking about". We were driving through crazy roads and barely making it through dry river beds when he speaks this out from the back seat. We were hot, tired and hungry.  And our vehicle was making a bit of a strange noise and my husband was starting to wonder if it could be something serious. But we all tune in to hear what he was saying. "Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight". It was a verse I've grown up hearing but wow was it ever a timely word and took on a whole new meaning for this season.

The first day we set out to travel up here, I pulled up Facebook to find an article that spoke volumes. It talks of a movement. A movement of families on a mission. Through the crazy bumps, I managed to read it out loud to Bud. And bam, spot on.  Because sometimes people can put words to what we feel. Here it is:  http://www.burn24-7.com/articles/the-pursuit-of-family-traveling-europe#.VTspCX8ayK0

And i cant figure out how to move pics to flow in with what i shared above. Power out (again) and on an app on phone...

Loaded up

10 April 2015

Rift Valley Marathon

Soooo... my phone crashed without reason.... then my computer keyboard is not working fully (which might be from an unexpected 2 year old banging on it.... who has the nickname "baby hulk" for a reason) and Bud's computer screen going out due to some damage done when he took it to Turkana to show the Jesus Film annnd.... life happens.  But I have good intentions of finding a way to get updates on here more.  Turns out, there's no running to the local at&t or apple store here, so i'm not making promises :).

I've been eager to share about our recent race though!  So here it is...

A few weeks ago, our first running team here at Mattaw Children's Village went and ran our first half marathon.  We started with a large group but eventually narrowed it down to a smaller team of 10.  Everyone is considered on the team still, they just run shorter distances.  We are looking for some cross country meets to be a part of.  We found a Kenyan coach who has ran several half and full marathons and because of the crazy intense competition in this country, he hasn't made it big.  But his times are unbelievable.  So we were thankful to bring in a well trained coach.  Bud and I also ran it.  It was an incredibly hard course.  I realized how nuts we were once I hit mile 6.  And I began to wonder why I chose to run on the training ground of olympic athletes.  Then we spent several miles going up hill on what felt like a mountain.  Several parts of it felt like I was climbing, not running.

It was t-o-u-g-h.

But the best part of the whole thing was having trained with our children for several months and then getting to get out there and run with them and see them finish something they started.  It reminded me  of a part in the bible that says:

"I have no greater joy than to see my children walking in truth" 3John 4:3.

It's like that parent/father/mother heart bursting with joy to see their children doing right, thriving and in this case; finishing what they start.  God always brings so much symbolism to each run I train and do.  And this one, the focus was our children.  Seeing them accomplish this race was like in their spiritual walk how we see them lay hold of truth and run with it and endure through the hard times.  The times they feel they're climbing a mountain but hang on to the truths of God's word to push them through.

One of our girls, Mary, was one I have to highlight.  They all did amazing but this girl.  She rocked it.  She wasn't the fastest, and we knew that from training.  But the best part is, she finished and she did her best.  Even when she didn't feel like it, she would get out and run during training.  She was one of my biggest motivations in this race.  There's a part at mile 9 on the race course where you have to turn down a road and run to the end of it for a few miles, then people write down your race number confirming you made it to that point.  Then you turn around and run back down that road and turn down another path and run like 1/2 a mile to the finish line.  So back to that mountain we climbed at mile 6.... I walked.  And everyone that was behind me on our mattaw team passed me.  You bet I was cheering them on in between gasping for air and then eating their dust.  But I kept my eye on several of our girls and would manage to slowly start running again each time I felt I would stop seeing them up ahead.  Mary was one of them.  So when I got to the point of turning down the road and passing a lot of our team that had already turned around to run up to the finish line, I was able to high five them and keep cheering.  And I realized at that point that I really wanted to finish with them.  By the time we were 1/2 a mile from the finish line, I made it back up to Mary.  It was some crazy endurance that came out of nowhere that got me back to her.

And together.... we finished.

Rebecca was there to help with our kids and cheer on the team.  She also has taken on photography so was able to snap some shots at the finish for us.  She snapped a picture of Mary and I and it speaks volumes to my heart.  It also made me super hesitant to post it because I'm looking ROUGH in this picture.  It slightly shows how I was feelin, ha.  But we are keepin it real here.  To me it symbolizes how the ministry we do here isn't always easy and attractive when you are in it for the long run.  Like when we are enduring the parts that feel like we're climbing a mountain :).  On the inside though, I was full of great joy as we joined the rest of the team that had finished and enjoyed talking of how tough it was but we all finished.  Mary, of course, is glowing and beautiful as always.  

Completing the race.
Finishing well.

It's all mentioned in the bible and refers to this life we are on.

So since I've brought up Mary, I want to also share that we have our full length documentary completed!  It has three kid's stories featured in it and one of them is Mary.  We didn't prepare her for what to say, but she spoke her heart.  She gave her testimony and was very real in it.  When we watched it with our Mattaw Leaders, we were all left speachless.  In a good way.  Her story is one that comes from much brokenness.  But how God picked up all the pieces and has made her whole.  She knows she's a daughter.  And knows what it means to endure and finish well.  Our prayer is that every child that comes into Mattaw would grasp this revelation.  We are full of joy to know she will be an example and leader for years to come.

Bud is hoping to travel back to the states the end of May for his sisters wedding.  During that time he will go around speaking in places and sharing this documentary.  If you would like to have him come speak to a church, business, sunday school class, or any group interested in hearing more about Mattaw, please let us know!  Email: bud@mattawchildren.com.  We also have some short films about Mattaw and some of its branches that we will be posting OH SO SOON!

We are also SUUUUPER excited to share that the Race2Rescue is also officially launched!

You can click on this link below for more information and how to sign up!!!  More to come on this but just wanted to get it out to those that don't know yet!  Maybe you aren't a runner, but you could walk.  Either way, these children can also be your motivation!

(you can also take note of the shirts our team is wearing in the first picture posted above and how this year, the shirts you get for signing up will match them!)

28 March 2015

It's in the Wind

The week before last we ventured back up to northern Kenya to a region called Turkana. This is where the Turkana tribe lives.  It's always quite the journey every time God sends us there. For those that don't know, we have quite the history of working up there and is it ever increasing as we just keep praying and going when lead to. Here's the short of it.  (Which probably won't seem short but there's so much to it.)

In 2006 we moved to Kitale after working in an orphanage closer to Eldoret. We knew we were to start a new model and open a children's village. We began sitting on the streets in Kitale and got to know many of the kids living on the streets. It didn't take long to find that most kids on the streets in Kitale are from Turkana. The main reasons they leave their families in Turkana is due to hunger and wanting an education.  Some are chased off. Some orphans. The majority have families though. A recent statistic stated that 96% of Turkana is in poverty. I can believe it. Kitale is known for growing over 80% of the maize in kenya. It's green, lush, rains a lot during raining season and produces a lot of food.  Quite the opposite of Turkana. It's also the first big town to come to after you leave Turkana. Some kids can end up in Eldoret, Kisumu and Nairobi, but the majority land in Kitale. You can kinda get the picture why. 

So in 2006 we started planning, praying and dreaming big with God. Bud and I had both been to Turkana on short trips and instantly fell in love with the place and people. I still remember sitting in another missionary house with a piece of white paper and pencil, sketching plans for Turkana.  We thought Kitale had enough children's homes so we'd go where there's greater need.  We were wrong, the needs were very much there in Kitale. Then we clearly heard God say "Now is not the time for Turkana. Wait." Oh how those words are hard!  We clearly heard that we were to create a new model for a children's home in the Kitale area. This would be our main base. Our first baby. We knew we were to commit to at least 5 years of investing the majority of our time on the ground, overseeing and establishing. And out came Mattaw Children's Village.  (ha, sounds so easy.  but it has happened all through Papa God's incredible love, mighty power, grace and through many of our tears, heartaches and endurance)

In 2007 when we were waiting, waiting and waiting to buy the land and start building, we met two incredible little boys living on the street at separate times. Both standing out to us that we needed to do more than feed and meet with them. Long story short, they became part of our family and we now call them our sons. Then in 2012, the craziest reunion happened between them and their families in Turkana. You can read more about their story here: http://huffmansinkenya.blogspot.com/2012/05/turkana.html?m=1

Over the past 3 years we've continued to go and be with who we now consider our Turkana family. In the beginning it was all about just getting to know them and meeting some basic needs like food and clothing. Because that's what family does :). In January 2014, we ended up planting a church in one of the remote villages we often go to after showing the Jesus film and many coming to know Jesus. From then on, it was opened up to us to do more ministry. Last year we started taking some of our leaders from mattaw as well as older mattaw kids with a heart for missions.  This too has been a beautiful part of the big picture of what we do here because we started a two year ministry equipping school on site at Mattaw in 2012 and then out comes a great need to take equipped leaders into this region.  So as doors open, we've continued to move to minister in new areas within Turkana and have seen incredible works of the Holy Spirit. Many saved, healed and delivered. 

This year we were able to take trips to physically feed hundreds, maybe thousands, with food donated from America and shipped over on containers as well as food bought with funds sent from some of you. This recent trip, we were able to deliver food to the areas needing it the most. We traveled ALL over the entire region of Turkana.  That's no joke!  it was crazy y'all!  

We went up to Lodwar (the capital of Turkana) which took 10 hours.  We camped two nights there then on a Monday, spent 5 hours to get to a very remote village with a little church.  It was one of the most precious times I've ever spent worshipping Jesus with a group of believers.  And all they had was a church made of sticks, brush and leaves on the roof, big rocks to sit on, a simple drum and their voices to exalt King Jesus!  

We then moved on for around 3 more hours to another remote village where people were dying last year in a drought.  It started out a bit chaotic but thankfully we had some amazing people who are experienced in aid work, to help organize people into groups in order to distribute the food.  Otherwise, well, not sure what could of happen.  But Papa always knows our needs and provides the laborers!  

We then continued and went up to the furthest northern point where we could wave to Ethiopia. This took around 3 more hours from the previous place.  We were welcomed with arms wide open by the entire village including the chief.  They opened up their main storage building that was built to bring in supplies for the area so that we could use it to distribute from.

(The food bought by those of you that gave to feed the hungry in Turkana. Massive thank you for every dollar given!!)

Right now there's another drought happening and people are in great need. We saw from the tiniest of babes to the oldest widows, fed abundantly. 

(One of the mass crowds gathered in an area. Hearing why we came and receiving the Gospel. Everywhere we went, they would gather under the largest tree)

But the wind. The wind was crazy!  One day we were driving and the wind so wild that it flipped off the hood on the rover and cracked the windshield bad. Thankfully it was still driveable and nothing was stopping us from getting to our destinations. In some areas our kids couldn't walk outside because the sand and rocks were blowing so hard. It was hard to see on coming vehicles on parts of the road as well.  

(Our littles helping hand out food)

One night, when we were in the most northern part, the wind was so bad in the night that we ended up having to shift the kids and ourselves from the tents to inside the land cruiser at 3am. But we really saw how God kept us so safe and protected through the whole trip. It was one of those trips where I realized after getting back home how crazy that was!  And with our three littles! But they loved it. Everywhere we went, Elisha found boys to wrestle with, Claire would make another little friend and find a baby to help care for, and Ezra was just happy as can be to be in a massive sand box. We're so thankful sickness stayed far from our camp!  Although on the way home, some stomach issues tried to come against Claire but there's a powerful testimony that came from that.  I'll have to share sometime soon :).  Basically its about how the simple faith of a child to trust Jesus to heal them is incredibly powerful!    

One of Claire's little friends at a school we distributed food. She kept making sure her dress was pulled up :). 

On Tuesday we traveled back down but this time along a road that ran by Lake Turkana.  Talk about a massive lake.  We drove 5 hours that day to the southern part of the lake where we camped again.  The next morning we spent a few hours to get back to Lodwar where we had to get some parts on the vehicle repaired before we continued back down to southern turkana.  That took most of the day, then we headed out a few hours south to get to the place where our main family is.  We spent a few nights there sharing more teachings from the bible as they're always hungry to know more. We also had a crazy awesome prayer and worship session at night.  This too is a story of its own!  

The roads to Turkana are some of the most brutal roads to any vehicle. We're thankful that we already have strong vehicles that can go, but they still end up getting broke on the trips and needing a lot of repairs.  

This trip, we had five flats, one of the shocks break, several electrical issues and cracks in the chassis. Our greatest need to keep going there is funds to make our vehicles stronger to help prevent these issues. If you are led to help, please email us!  bud@mattawchildren.com. 

The wind may have been crazy, but it spoke volumes to my heart.  The physical wind was strong but the wind of the Holy Spirit was even more powerful.  We saw the wind of Holy Spirit blow through entire villages, bringing life and hope through the simple act of giving food.

"The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”. John 3:8

We will be spending some weeks up there in April as we continue to establish relationships and share Jesus.  Will update as we go!  

Currently, I'm typing this as I look out our balcony to the Indian Ocean.  We are taking our yearly family beach vacation.  And as much as I LOVE the Turkana desert with all its sand, I really love the sand with the ocean too :).  It's been a much needed time to get rest and family time away.  

More updates to come! As always, thankful for your prayers.

05 March 2015

It's desert time!

<<<<<<<<Quick update here>>>>>>>

We are Turkana bound tomorrow!  With the whole Huffman troop. We are all jumping up and down excited, especially Elisha. He sat outside with a hoodie on and tears rolling down his cheek as he watched his dad leave for Turkana a few weeks ago. So I'm thrilled my kids get excited about the desert, sleeping in tents, the hot sun, cooking over fire, playing with kids that don't know English or Swahili, driving on some of the craziest roads in the world and going potty behind small twig bushes.  God gives grace where needed!  

THANK YOU to those that gave towards food we get to take up there. There's still a drought in many areas going on and many in dire need. It's a huge opportunity to pour out Papa Gods massive love for all people and every tribe. Half the truck is loaded with food from California. We had some incredible folks connect us with people that were coming in the country to deliver containers of food from California. Most if it is buckets and buckets of dried peaches, organic baby food, organic brown rice cakes and pouches of chia seed mixed with fruit GMO free.  Haha. How cool is that?!  They have no idea how people in America pay a lot to eat healthy like this and here we are getting to hand it out for free. Such an honor to be part of Jesus' big plans. We weren't sure if they'd like all of it but the mamas were loving the rice cakes and the littles were licking clean the baby food jars.  The other half is food bought by some of you!  It's mostly beans and maize bought locally. Pretty amazing to see their thankfulness and how those that are Christians worship Jesus as a response. 

And next Saturday is the half marathon our new Mattaw running team and I have been training for!!  It'll be in Eldoret. We have 35 on the team but just 5 girls and 5 boys will participate this this particular race. We are coordinating with organizations and schools in the area to do some cross country competitions soon. ANNNND.... We have Race2Rescue event coming up!  The details are being finalized now and tshirt design for this year is almost finished. It'll be in June and it'll be super simple for all to participate in!  So stay tuned :). 

Closing this post with my running jam and theme song this week....

Whether it's in running, missions or whatever Jesus has in front of you to do... "Hear him callin.... give it all away, no more hiding, no more stallin, Give In!"  Let love win :). 

26 February 2015

My Sparkle. And more on life.

Ready for a long post?  Grab your coffee or tea and read on!  

In our family we have six boys and one girl. Our oldest son, Caleb, attends college in America.

The next three sons, Ian, Dan and Joseph, are teenagers living in our home. They attend school on site at Mattaw Children's village. 

Next is Elisha, who is now a first grader. I've fully submerged myself into the homeschool world with him. He is now keepin up with the footballers his age out on the Mattaw soccer field. 

Then there's Claire who adds all things pink and sparkly to our family. She attends the school of motherhood. Some days she's helping feed and play with our Sprouts babies. Other days she's leading the littles who live in Mattaw houses, those that aren't yet in the school at mattaw. She usually leads them around Mattaw to play barbies, make mud pies, swing, sing songs she's made up, color pretty princess pictures and scout out which house they can drink chai in. 

Then of course, there's the baby, Ezra. He is usually eating their mud pies, cutting the hair off the barbies, pushing them off the swing, dancing to their songs, eating crayons and crashing in on their tea parties. I recently wrote about Ezra on the post "Ezra and life". I also shared about life here and what sometimes being a mama looks like. More on this but I first have to share about yesterday to satisfy the grandparents and those that massively love our one and only girl of the family. 

Yesterday that girly girl turned 5!  She is indeed the sparkle in our life. 

We went with our family and Rebecca (who Claire considers her as Auntie Rebecca) to Eldoret for our son's orthodontist appointment. (Yep, you can get braces here and yep, we too are going through this phase of teenage life). So we ended up at a pool in Eldoret, then went for french fries and milkshakes. As everyone on the American side of the world is enduring what seems to be an eternal blizzard, we are in the middle of summer here. It's swimming pools and  ice cream instead of snowmen and hot chocolate.  (Oh but just you wait, you'll be enjoying the pool during your summertime while we are in what feels like eternal cold monsoon season and everything is covered in mud.) But it was the perfect day for the princess!  Thank you grandparents for the gifts sent. She felt so loved.   

So back to motherhood and mission life. I shared last time about some life lessons around here. Mainly focusing on how the simplest acts of love in our family is what raises our children into world changers. And sometimes that means focusing on our children at home more than "going out" for ministry. My whole point was that being a mama is a high honor and we don't want to forget our children as we chase our God given dreams, whether that's in foreign missions, business or whatever God might lead it to be. Being consistent with our littles is important whether that's homeschooling, bedtime bible stories and prayers, eating meals together as a family no matter how hectic life gets and just fully being present in their life.  Like this last week for me... my husband went to Turkana for an incredible week of ministry by feeding the hungry and getting to pour out love and hope everywhere they went. I was on edge to get an update everyday, my heart longing to be there!  More on this SOON. But I knew for that trip, the best thing I could do for my kids (and husband) was stay home, do school and love them in little ways. 

Then there are other times we've run out on adventure together as a family.  I mean obviously we live as a family on mission now but there's also the going out. But Holy Spirit must be our guide in every step. For us, there's not a set of rules on how we live as a mission focused family. We have to hear where the Spirit is leading and obey with fearless love. So there's one side of this whole parenthood thing where we need to focus on the family.  Then there's another BIG side of it where we need to be a family with a focus. And take our kids with us into the mission and place of ministry. 

What has God called your family to? 

It's a good question to often ask. And I would highly recommend having some goals and visions written out that you feel Jesus has given your family. We sat and did this as a family the week of New Years and it really helped us all know where we are going. I've known people to even paint their family mission on pallets and hang on the wall (http://wearethatfamily.com/2012/11/why-every-family-needs-a-mission-statement-project/). 

In a little over a week we are about to go back to Turkana. This time as a family.  Some mamas are called to go out more. Some aren't.  Where we begin to lose purpose and feel defeated as a mom is when we start to compare our lives to others.  Comparison will kill the joy in your life!  There's a great story (in the bible) about a man that kept his eyes on Jesus and walked on water but when he took his eyes off him, he sank. So be the best you. And keep your focus on Jesus.   

Last year I had the incredible opportunity to go to Congo. It was a long time dream fulfilled. We are still praying what's next in going there and what our part is in helping and loving that nation. There are very few days the children and people I met aren't on my mind, heart and prayers. If you haven't already, visit Justice Risings website and read how they're bringing massive change to that nation. 

I bring up Congo because when I went, there was this incredible prophecy given by Stacey Campbell that was for anyone going on missions that year through the organization (Burn 24\7) that I went with. IT ROCKED THIS MAMAS WORLD. I wrote it all out as quickly as I could on two papers and tucked it away in my bible. I still have it tucked away and often go back and read it to get lit up by the love of the Father and His call He gives His children to be abassadors to the nations. So on the next blog post I'll share all about it :).  One part of it, I was not expecting, was when she went into being a mama and taking your kids with you into the mission and mandate God has given.  I about lost it as it nailed me to my core on what God created us for as a family.  "We have permission to go after God with radical obedience. We don't have to decelerate because of our family. We can actually do more!  What they can add to it is powerful". 

More soon :). 

Love you all.

18 February 2015

Steady Heart

(This post a continuation if previous post titled "Keep on keepin on")

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit". Romans 15:13

My goodness, how The Lord will teach me something so deep and I'll hear it everywhere I turn. 

I so love the new album by Steffany Grerzinger. Every song so beautifully written and anointed. One song especially has spoken volumes to my heart. It's called "Steady Heart". I could quote the whole song or you could do yourself a favor and go buy the cd!  It's called The Undoing. 

But the song starts out:
"I can't see what's in front of me....
still I will trust you"

And then the chorus goes

"Steady heart that keeps on going,
Steady love that keeps on hoping, 
Lead me on. 
Steady grace that keep forgiving,
Steady faith that keeps forgiving,
lead me on"

It's so simple but exactly where my heart has been. A place where when things are good, bad or normal, to keep my heart steady in Jesus. And my mind focused on Him. It's a choosing. There has been amazing encounters with Papa in this season of life. Then there has been heartbreaks.  Also disappointments.  And then there's been the mundane.  Mostly it's been an incredible season of dreams fulfilled that were birthed by God years ago. And it hasn't always been easy. Birth can be painful!  (Can I get an AMEN?!)  And for sure we've felt some of the pain and stretching spiritually. But the pain so worth it to see the miracles happen in the midst of difficulty. We've seen orphans become sons and daughters. We've seen the Kenyans led to us to be house parents, becoming mothers and fathers to children once orphaned.  

And then we had one of the mattaw children recently run away back to the streets after being part of the Mattaw fam for over four years. Thankfully he came back home after a month.  Not easy though.  That's just one small example of challenges faced. They're there alright though!  

Then there have been times my seven year old keeps mixing up letters B and D. And then that time he couldn't tell us the sounds for G and J. After we have practiced the alphabet and all letter sounds a million times. But I knew my heart had to stay steady and not go cray cray. Because Elisha would end up a stress ball. And I was determined to have a reader. Steady.  Wait for it.... Wait.... And now he's reading. Thank you Jesus!

In our family, we've seen incredible fruit come from us moving on site at the children's village.  For sure though there's been rough times. Times where, for reals,  I felt like this:

But then I get saturated in the presence of Jesus and given a completely renewed mind. Strength comes. Life happens. And Papa gently whispers "you need to stand up. Will you keep saying yes and believing me to be who I say I am?" And his goodness leads me to my feet. God is love. And His love just wrecks me to the point of saying yes again and again. And he reminds me to keep a steady heart.

His presence really is everything. When you get to where you realize just how weak you are on your own and how Jesus is everything. He really does just fill you with all hope and joy. It's like you're a tree, bending and not breaking in a storm. Like you're standing in the sea and the waves come crashing in but your heart isn't moved. It's so anchored in the One who laid down His life for you that you would be made WHOLE. We aren't called to hang on for dear life, eaten up with fear and worry. We also aren't called to lay out on the shores while a few "spiritual elitist" go out.  We are all called to brave the storms that come and be hope to a dying world.  It doesn't take long to see on the news or Facebook that the dark is getting darker. But that just means the light of Him IN us is getting brighter. He just wants our whole being surrendered to Him and He sure uses anyone that says yes!

My constant prayer is to finish this race well. Check out this incredible passage: 

1 Corinthians 1:4-9
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Did you catch some of those incredible promises?!  There's no lack. When walking out our destiny in Christ, we are not lacking any gift needed to accomplish it!  And then it states that He will sustain us until Jesus comes back. As in we can finish well. Be sustained. Heart steady. Not tossed here and there by the waves. No sinking in the sand. We are anchored in Jesus. Rooted in Him.  He's is faithful!

And you know how the song ends?  She sings 
"And as the dawn breaks. 
and the clouds clear. 
In an open space. 
Together we will run."

If in a fog, He will clear it up. Breakthrough comes.  Sure, times come where we feel we are hanging on, but if we will LOOK to Jesus, He sustains us and empowers us by His Spirit to live life abundantly. And to thrive not just survive. And then we keep pressing on and running with Jesus!  The dawn is breaking in. Hope is on the horizon. 

26 January 2015

Ezra and Life

Oh Ezra. This child of mine. Who is now fully into being a two year old. You'd think I'd have the hang of age two by now with it being the third child to endure this phase of life with. Don't get me wrong, I love love love each phase my children go through and I don't want to miss a thing. (Enter Aerosmith song. Ha). But some days with this child of mine. Whew. They seem long but yet these years go by oh so fast. Which brings me to why I had good intentions to start the year off blogging more. Intentions were good but I'm pretty sure I blinked my eyes and January was gone!  

So, now I'm turning those intentions into actions. 

And so this is a blog about my baby. 

Two is such a fun and um, interesting age.  As I'm in the middle of typing this I had to pause so I could snap the following picture. Like for reals. 

He was given chai this morning and refused to say thank you. So we took it away until he would say thank you or asante to which he spent 30 minutes throwing an all out fit. And I mean all out fit. Ok, maybe it was 10 minutes but it felt like 30. He finally said "Asante", was given chai, downed the chai, then was in a great mood and ran around the house making little boy grunting noises. I'm thinking to myself "sweet, I have a break, a blog is well overdue". And a few sentences in and he comes running in with hands full of raw spaghetti. How do they sniff these things out?!  

Then there's the moments that have you rolling laughing. Last night I thought I was hiding out for a moment in a dark room on our bed when a certain two year old bust in from escaping his bath and proceeds to crawl in bed. Wet. With no clothes. And I think to myself I'll just pretend I'm asleep until the dad comes to get him. But what does this certain cute two year old do?  He snuggles up and starts singing "hakuna matata" in my ear to me. To which all I could do was laugh. Oh Ezra. Thankfully his sweetness far exceeds those two year old fits. 
Ezra officially turned two the end of December. And because it's dry season here (as opposed to cold, rainy season), we were able to have a pool party. 

He was livin the dream. 

Water, cake, friends and a place to swing and slide.  

(Ignore the 3 on the cake, he's definitely 2)

Thanks friends and fam that made it out to celebrate Ezra's life!

So wild to think two years ago we were sitting in a hospital about to endure a crazy journey with this little miracle baby. It's so easy to forget about it until we do things like swim and I see the scar on his back from heart surgery. So thankful it's becoming a distant memory but what is still so fresh in my heart and mind is the power and love God demonstrated. We serve a God of great miracles. And it's out of His incredible love for us.  As much as I know it was not God's will for Ezra to go through what he did, that scar on his back was a bad thing that God turned for good. The scar is a great reminder that Jesus is alive and still doing miracles on the earth.  That scar reminds me of when Jesus paid the ultimate price with many scars so that we would could be saved, healed, delivered and set free in every area of life.  It's a scar that rushes in many memories. Memories of playing Kim walker songs from her cd that had just come out during that time, Still Believe, in the ICU room.  And then seeing the truths in those songs come to life. 

Living here we get to see miracle after miracle in lives. From babies such as our little Moses, all the way up to our widows.  

But there are days where I'm a mom of a two year old (4 year old and 7 year old). And the days seem long but in reality are going so fast. As much as I love to get out in ministry and see miracles, salvations and lives transformed, one of the greatest callings is to be a mom. To be home in what sometimes seems mundane. There are days I know I need to choose to make butterflies out of tissue paper and glitter with my daughter instead of going out to do ministry.  

At the same time, there are days we are called to go out and have to trust that our children are loved and kept by Papa God. And then other days where we take our kids with us to go pray for the sick, teach the lost and love the abandoned.  It's a journey that MUST be Holy Spirit led every step of the way. And it's one that isn't always easy but oh so worth it. Radical obedience to Jesus, who so graciously laid down his life for us is worth it.  But just an encouragement to some of you mamas is that some days, radical obedience means making tissue butterflies at home, reading one more book at bedtime, wiping snotty noses, and snuggles in the morning instead of running out the door first thing to save the world.  It's the small acts of love in our families that are shaping future world changers. (Preaching to myself here)

Love y'all, 
More soon,


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