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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Only at Auntie Katie's....




We received our verbal ruling....YIPPEEEEEE! Now we are anxiously awaiting the written ruling. It never ceases to amaze me, as soon as we feel we have cleared one hurdle, we are faced with another one. AAAHHHHHH...the road of adoption. If I had not done this before, I think I would just turn and run the other direction. BUT I know what it is like to look into Joshua and Caleb's faces on a daily basis and see Jesus staring back at me! PRICELESS....redemption at it's finest. Those of you that HAVEN'T traveled the road of adoption, you ought to try it! (I just had to put a plug in there....I just can't help it...hahaha) I am getting so much accomplished here for Josie medically. We have seen the doctor that will be caring for her the next few months, started on 3 different meds, and she is bonding with Christine (her caregiver until I can return to bring her home) Life is good!
I MUST tell you guys about our day. After Katie and I took Josie to the doctor, Lori ( a sweet friend that i have met) had us over for the yummiest lunch. She has been such a blessing to our Brentwood circle that is here. After lunch Katie, Mary Pat, Renee, Dana, Asher, and I headed to the Karamajong village. We were greeted with the same yodeling as before, and the children chanting "Auntie Katie, Auntie Katie"....these people are a trip! The women were gathered with their beads that they had made..... we have A LOT of beads to sell people! So, we lined them all up, paid them for their beads and were headed back to the car. An older woman stopped Katie and started talking to her about her (obviously) sick child. She was curled into a fetal position and her eyes were bulging. Katie continued to talk, while the rest of us headed to the van. A few minutes later, Katie (the child whisperer) appears, carrying this convulsing child to Mary Pat's side and set her in her lap! Off to the hospital we go! We walked into the first hospital and they immediately took us to the back, the child was having one seizure after another. She acted as though each touch sent shooting pains through her body. We were all at a loss and had no idea how to respond, so we laid hands on this sweet child and called out to our sweet Saviour to heal her little body and show mercy on her. Her name is Gloria, she is seven years old, and absolutely pitiful. After they had cared for her as much as possible, they sent us to another hospital for the night. OBVIOUSLY the child needed to be admitted. We received the same treatment at the second place. They cleared the way for us and led us straight to the back. We were able to contact her auntie to come sleep with her..thank you Jesus. When she arrived, we went into town and bought them food and drink for the night. (hospitals give medical care, but no food...wow) Renee and I looked to each other several times with anticipation and wondering how do we even process all of this? Gloria seemed as though she might die right before our very eyes. Her Auntie told us that she had been this sick for two weeks. Thankfully, Katie showed up just in the knick of time.I am in awe over and over again at how Katie allows the Lord to use her EVERY moment of EVERY day. She is truly an inspiration. I really do not have enough words to explain all of the REAL details of this day. I have never experienced anything like it. I have watched God show up OVER and OVER again these past few weeks. Today was no exception!
We will go to visit Gloria in the morning to see how she is. Please lift her up tonight.
Thank you Lord for being ALWAYS being here for us...and thank you Katie for showing the rest of us what it is like to be the hands and feet of Jesus on a DAILY basis, NOT just when it is easy....
Sunday, September 27, 2009

Calling ALL Prayer Warriers......



Tomorrow is the big day! We NEED your prayers. Our court time is 2pm (6am Nashville time) We will be leaving Jinja at 8am in the morning. We are taking Judah (Doyle's little cutie pie) to the doctor for his TB test.....pray that it is negative. I am hoping to get some tests results back for Josie that we were suppose to receive LAST week....pray that they have them. We will be going to get Judah and Josie's passport pics made, eating lunch, then court at 2.
We are growing weary. Dana and I miss our families and are ready to come home! we went to church with Katie today and the pastor spoke on finding joy reguardless of your circumstances. It was just what we NEEDED to hear but not necessarily WANTED to hear. I have continued to tell myself "keep the main thing...the main thing" And the "main thing" is not me, Mike, my kids at home, or my body that is COVERED in mosquito bites (rainy season), it is Josie Love Mayernick. It is getting her the medical care that she needs, as soon as possible. It is giving her the love that she deserves and the physical and emotional care that she is lacking. Pray that Dana and I can keep our minds and hearts on the main thing: JOSIE AND ASHER.
Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Day with Auntie Katie




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I think my sweet friend Katie was a little worried about me since Mike was headed home. We decided to go to the Karamajong village and check out the beads that they have been making for 147millionorphans.com. Upon our arrival, kids started jumping up on Katie's car and the women were sitting over in a particular section making this loud yodeling sound....they were SO excited we were there! Those of you that do not know, Gwen and I have pardnered with Katie in trying to help feed the Karamaongs. We started a business that brings orphan awareness, helps people fundraise for their adoption, and feed children in Uganda. A few months ago, Katie went into the village and taught 3 or 4 of the karamajong mamas to make beaded necklaces out of magazines. Their homework for the next week was to go show 1 friend how to make the necklaces. As we walked up, I couldn't believe my eyes! There was a line of probably 100 women waiting (beads in hand) for me to buy them. It was SO EXCITING!! Just to see the expression on their faces was PRICELESS. For the FIRST time, they were able to earn money for something that they had worked for.....WOW! They went from looking hopeLESS to hopeFUL. We lined them all up, Katie counted the beads, and I handed out the money. Gwen and I will sell them to ya'll, then give a percentage back to Katie to feed their children! SO, for ALL of your Christmas shopping go to our website! (147millionorphans.com)

Later that night, She texted me and told me she would pick me up first thing this morning and we would spend the day together just hanging out. Afterall, when she is in the states, that's what we (me, Katie, and Gwen) do....just "hang out". For some reason, I pictured our day "looking" a little different than usual.....hhhmmmmm. I picked Josie up from Amani and got her hair brushed, face cleaned, lotioned up and ready to go....how cute is she?!


She picked Renee, Dana, Josie, and me up at our hotel. We headed out to "the market". As we were getting out of her van, a car rode by and splashed muddy water all over Dana's freshly ironed capris......I looked around for fear that we were being "punked". hahahaha Once we were immersed in the market we realized that there was so much mud, stinky fish, dead ants (yes, it is a yummy snack for these people) and raw meat, the muddy pants didn't seem so bad. Dana headed back to Amani on a piki and the rest of us headed to Katie's.

Some of you have heard me speak of Kristene (Katie's angel straight from the golden gates) We walked in Katie's house and Josie started squealing with delight.......
After we had been at Katie's for awhile, Josie decided to give her Auntie Renee some love......

We heard music playing. I ran to my phone thinking that it was ringing, when I heard Katie's girls screaming from the front yard...THE ICE CREAM MAN! (once again, I thought we were being "punked!") Seriously? There is an ice cream man in Bukaya, Uganda? How on earth does he drive down the road without hitting the goats? With a grin, Katie told me to grab my camera and we ran out the door to buy ice cream. There he was! A Ugandan man, with a cooler tied to the back of his piki (motorcycle).


I am still not sure how he had the music playing. It was that same carnival tune that we hear in the states when the ice cream man is driving through our neighborhoods...HILARIOUS! Of course, he has learned that when he drives by Katie's house, his chances are pretty high of having 15 sales. At first, Josie Love wasn't sure about this really COLD substance that mama kept putting up to her mouth. It didn't take her long to realize that it was a yummy treat! I couldn't help but think If she likes this sherbet....what is she going to think when I take her into Coldstone and buy her a Founders Favorite-pecans+heath bar? (since all of the local coldstones know me by name)


My sweetheart made it home safely, thanks for your prayers. I got an email this morning from Grace saying that they were glad to have Dad home and were anxiously waiting for me and the day when we can bring sweet Josie home. I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sweet Josie Love

I want to say “thanks” again for all your comments and prayers. Late at night, Mike and I read your words and you will never know what a source of encouragement you all have been. Keep praying for us, Mike leaves today for the US. We both feel that we have been away from our other 6 children long enough. So, he will be at home with our kiddos while I finish up all of our paperwork and court dates in Uganda. He has been my pillar of strength and MORE than I could EVER ask for during this time. He is my earthly light, my heart, and my comfort. He has picked me up when I couldn’t lift my head from the heartache I was feeling for this sweet angel that the Lord has called us to care for. We have often looked at each other and asked “what is HE up to?” and through all of this, we have confidence in Mark Button’s words “there is your plan for your life, and God’s plan for your life, and your plan doesn’t really count” So, we have had to laugh through our tears In KNOWING that those words are TRUTH.


Renee Manuel has reminded us over and over that while Mike and I are striving for better medical treatment for Josie Love, the medicine that HE is giving us is the difference that we are seeing DAILY in her little heart and her physical appearance. Upon our arrival, she didn’t lift her head from her caretakers chest. If I tried to take her, she would scream. Slowly, she started reaching for me, but was still face down on my chest. If you spoke to her, you would get a whimper in response. As of yesterday, this is how SHE is doing. If a picture speaks a thousand words…..what does a video do?


video

video

A big shout out to Curry James! She has been a trooper and a big help, traveling with us for medical treatments. For such a quiet, humble servant, she has been a bold example of the Gospel in our lives!
Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jesus Calling

Mike here. First we want to thank you all for your prayers....You dont know how comforting it is to KNOW that we are being prayed for. We are all doing well and we are coming out of the fog....bit by bit. I am thankful for those who are here with us, holding our hands, crying with us, laughing with us, praying with us processing with us....thank you Renee, Dana, Carly, Katie, Mary Pat. Im especially thankful for Mark Button showing up. If you dont know, Mark called me about two weeks ago and said "I think Im gonna come meet you in Uganda." I was excited, but little did I know how much of a God-send he would be. He is being Jesus to me. Thank you brother.

Suzanne here:

Just BEING in Uganda and SEEING the hurt in the peoples eyes all around me I keep asking myself "How can I help? How can I be Jesus to these people? and How do I even BEGIN to process what is REALLY going on around me?" There are SO MANY needs, I feel TOTALLY overwhelmed.....where do I even start?
I opened up my Jesus Calling a few days ago as I was crying out to God trying to figure out what our future holds. This is what I found.....

You will not find MY peace by engaging in excessive planning:attempting to control what will happen to you in the future. That is a commonly practiced form of unbelief. When your mind spins with multiple plans, Peace may sometimes seem to be within your grasp; yet it always eludes you. Just when you think you have prepared for all possibilities, something unexpected pops up and throws things into confusion. I did not design the human mind to figure out the future. That is beyond your capability. I crafted your mind for continual communication with Me. Bring me all your needs, your hopes and fears. Commit everything into my care. Turn from the path of Peace.

Those of you that know me well, KNOW that I take one day at a time. I have learned not to plan excessively because as soon as I do, something happens (illness, football schedule change, volleyball schedule change, Mike has a late appointment, etc...) which leads to disappointment. SO, I go through each day, moment by moment. I probably drive the people closest to me crazy.....humorously, the Lord has surrounded me with "planners" (Mike, Susan, Dana, Gwen, MaMa Gaye....) The past few days, I have been trying to plan( or at the least) figure out what the next few years of my life hold. As Mike and I are processing our time here, the one TRUTH that we KNOW is that he has called us RIGHT here, RIGHT now to walk in what he has called us to do TODAY. So, that is what we are doing. We have gone with Katie to see the Karamajongs (UNBELIEVABLE), we have fed HUNDREDS of children, we have visited doctor after doctor, and we have loved Josie with every inch of our hearts. The Lord has very intricately woven mine and Mikes hearts and minds together so that we can walk this path the HE has chosen for us. We are SLOWLY learning to be TOTALLY dependent upon Him...and we WOW is it a slow process.
Please keep praying for our hearts and our children and their caregivers at home.







A picture says a thousand words.....
Thursday, September 17, 2009

He Will Never Leave You or Forsake You ...




Wow. We are moved by the overwhelming support from you all...the comments youve posted have lifted us up...we feel your prayers! Someone said it well...."terrified and humbled" is one way to describe our state of mind right now. It is Thursday evening and the last three days are somewhat of a blur. Suzanne is better as we are both realizing its not a dream....this is where God has called us to be....right here....right now. We'd be lying if we said there arent moments when we want to tap our ruby slippers together, say "theres no place like home," and poof...be back in Kansas. But we know we're not here by accident.

We have been reminded (by many of you) that God said many times "I will never leave you or forsake you." We know that He has promised us that but He has also promised that to Josephine....that is what keeps ringing in my mind. Because of her medical conditions, she would not be able to come back to the U.S. for some time (we are still learning what that looks like....how long it might be...what treatment will be like here, etc...), but we know we will not leave her or forsake her. God is in it and so are we.

Our main focus now is to do everything in our power to insure that Josie gets the best possible care while the things that are not in our power (International adoption laws, etc) get sorted out. Trying to pack months worth of learning about HIV adoption into a couple of days is pretty tough and tiring (thanks to those of you who have walked this road before us and are willing to walk with us....we will take you up on that).

Thank you all for your prayers!!

Mike
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Pain

"The reward for considering the helpless is not just the end result, but the pain, the heart pain, that accompanies it. It is cleansing to hurt when God Himself hurts; it is a good thing."

A good friend of mine gave me that quote 4 years ago when I was struggling with some tough issues surrounding our first adoption. I keep a copy of it in my office so that i am often reminded of its truth. Today it is more real than ever. I really dont even want to write this because I just dont have a lot of words to describe how we are feeling. I just have a pit in my stomach as I write this.

Josie is sick. During a routine exam yesterday, she tested positive for HIV. She had tested negative before so this was a shock to everyone. At this point we have more questions than answers, so we just ask that you pray for us, for Suzanne whose mother's heart is ripped to shreds right now, for Josie that all the diagnoses and treatments would begin asap and that her little body would begin to heal, for our children at home who are also hurting over this news, for wisdom and clarity for our family as we try to process what this means, and that someday we will see the good part of the pain we are feeling. Thank you all for praying. Thats all Ive got right now.

Mike
Saturday, September 12, 2009

We got her!




What a fabulous day! We awoke at 5 am and headed into Jinja. We pulled into Amani and all of the children were getting ready for breakast. We walked into one of the rooms and Asher caught a glimpse of Dana and one of the "mama's" said "it is your mommy" and he ran into to Dana's arms and without even looking into her face said "i want to go home!" my heart almost jumped out of chest...this child TOTALLY understands...."I am going home to my forever family"....WOW! As i glanced up little Joseph and Daisy (oatsvall's children) were standing at the door, so I was able to kiss and love and kiss and love and kiss and love on them and say your mama is coming soon!....(Gwen, Daisy gave me a warm welcome, smiles, sat in my lap....so I guess Katie's bananas have warmed her heart to the "white skin" hahahaha! ) THEN, I looked around and there sat teeny tiny (with BIG marble brown eyes) little Patrick (Maddux lil one) and I held him, kissed his cheeks and told him that his mama and Daddy were coming soon too.AND then there was litttle Judah with his timid little grin ran into my arms for hugs and I whispered those same words to him "she will be here soon! your mama and daddy are coming!) My heart was totally overwhelmed with joy as I looked into each of these orphans eyes KNOWING that they are no longer orphans, their parents are coming for them. Just as He promises that HE will NOT leave us as orphans.
THEN I made my way to find little Josephine. As I entered her room, they had stripped all of them down to just their nappies,ready for breakast! She did not want much to do with me until her tummy was full and THEN she sat in my lap and didn't leave for the while day! As I sat beside her on the floor while she ate I looked into each of those babies eyes and tears spilled out of my eyes....and then I spotted Nicholas (Maddux's other lil one)and I just started laughing! He is the cutest little thing, cheeks so round, and as he drank his porridge, he grinned from ear to ear at me! He and Josie are in the same room, sleeping, eating, and doing life together..just like they will be once they get home!! and THEN on the playground there was little Bobby who was running, jumping, and playing with every inch of his little body. Full of energy, joy and it made my heart COMPLETE knowing that I will see all of these children DAILY for the rest of my life. (Smallings, I have several in mind for you.....precious!)
As if my heart was not full enough, I packed Josie on my back, and headed to Katie's for praise and worship! WOW! My new name for Katie is "the child whisperer"....I have never seen anything like it. Kids just come out from NOWHERE just to holler "Auntie Kaite!" She sent them all home with big bags of food, as they carried them all atop their heads, Renee and I stood and took pictures.
As we stood and watched almost 400 children walking the red dirt road, going home with food for their families...our hearts were FULL!
I went to the store today and bought a phone....so, I will be calling today and checking in...
Grace, how was the taylor swift concert? and A BIG shout out to Michael who caught a 30 yard pass and carried it back for a touchdown!WHOOP!
I love you and Miss you soooo much! (how is Caleb's breathing?)
Friday, September 11, 2009

We're Here!!

We made it! We are staying in Entebbe for the night because we have to travel through Kampala to get to Jinja, and there is some rioting going on right now in Kampala. We will be leaving at 5am to head into Jinja....we just thought it wasn't safe to travel at night. Our flights went well, we all slept and ate and slept and ate...
Tomorrow is Katie's "praise and worship" day for her sponsored kids. They will start lingering in around 8am and the bongos will start beating around 10:30, then games, singing, and eating! I can't wait to see all of Katie's girls. we should arrive just in time for me to grab Josie Love from Amani, strap her on my back, and head for all of the fun!
A little funny for ya'll.....we pulled up to our hotel for the night. I must say it is the ritz carlton of africa. FANCY! FANCY! It has wifi and all of the "extras"! We start walking to our rooms, and they led us around the FANCY part of the hotel to a smaller building
that is slightly unkept. Our showers had frogs, lizards, roaches, there is no password for the internet....laughing hysteriacally, we are trying to figure out how you are able to stay in the "front part?!?" Oh well, we obnly have a few hours to sleep....I LOVE me SOME Africa!!

Off to bed, will be in touch tomorrow!! Love to all of my kiddos...mama loves you!
Suzanne
Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Grace posting here...


"Once our eyes have been opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and hold us responsible to act."
Proverbs 24: 12

Sometimes life is rough, but through pain, we can gain new good things. Almost a year ago, I joined a Discipleship Group at Christ Pres Church, with several of my friends in it, and we have had it just about every Wednesday. Basically, it's a place to go, learn about God, vent about what's going on in life, and just have a trustworthy group of girls to be able to go and talk to and know that they're always there for support. whether we need prayer for how we are doing in school, or we have a sick relative in the hospital, or we are under alot of pressure in a sport or whatever else it is, we can know that they're there. Anyway, tonight was our first meeting because we have the summer "off". We went around and said what moment this summer was life changing...everyone had a different answer, but the one that really caught my attention was one of my D-Group leaders answers. A couple of weeks before, she had lost someone that she was really close to and depended on ALOT. she was up crying all night long for several nights in a row, and literally felt like she was physically being torn apart. Through this she actually gained something she never would have expected. She experieced self-discovery and found a whole different part of herself that she never knew about. she was always afraid to explore and she depended so much on that person that she was afraid to go on her own. As she told us about this and how she is currently happier than she's ever been, I started thinking about what my parents have been telling me all week. "You really need to "step up" here at home and be a strong sense of security for your siblings, because they're really going to struggle while we're gone."

I know it's going to be rough having my parents leave for several weeks, but we will gain something that is DEFINITELY worth it and I know we'll be happier than ever, and I am BEYOND willing to step up so that we can get our baby HOME! and it may be rough when Josie Love gets home for the first little while, but if you look at the bigger picture, we saved an orphan from living a life without love, which is why God put us on Earth. He didn't put us here so we could have big houses, drive nice cars, have fancy clothes, and care about materialistic things. He put us here to love the orphaned and widowed, and love those around us. If just 8% of those who profess to be believers FOLLOWED what God wants us to do and adopted an orphan OR cared for a child in need, there would be no more orphans. That's 147 MILLION children without homes and love that would be given a family, and people to love them. "I'm too old"...Better an old mom than NO MOM right? :) and "It's too expensive" isn't an excuse because God will provide. I have seen him provide for the Oatsvalls, who started out without ANY money in their adoption fund and are now waiting to travel to go get their TWO children in Uganda. We also have several other friends that have had 2 or 3 "anonymous checks" for hundreds and thousands of dollars set in their mailbox. We serve a mighty God that can move mountains...Anything's possible.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
James 1: 27

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
Mark 12:30-31

OH! an by the way...go check out my mom's new products and feed a child in Africa with each purchase at 147millionorphans.com....they're AWESOME!
Monday, September 7, 2009

We're coming Josie Love! Mama is trying to get her bags packed!












I cannot BELIEVE it! The past few days have seemed SO surreal! Grace and Annabelle have had the swine flu, SO all of my planning and packing has taken a backseat. WOW! I have 2 days to get myself and all of Josie Love's stuff packed! NOW, I have been shopping for awhile, so Josie is SET...it is Mama who might not have any clothes. I am beginning clothes are a little overrated these days anyway. We come into the world without them....?!?
Gwen and I have been working tirelessly on trying to get our ducks in a row with 147Millionorphans.com. OUR SITE SHOULD BE UP AND RUNNING WEDNESDAY...YIPPEE! We just got some AWESOME shirts in....it is BY FAR the softest shirt in my closet. Go check out our new stuff and feed a child in Uganda. While I am there, I will be videoing the Karamajong village so ya'll can get a close up view on who we are feeding with our products. Also, the Mama's in the Karamajong tribe are the ones making our beads, so I am hoping to get them on video also. If you follow Katie's blog, I'm gonna sneak a pic of little Michael also! ssshhhh!
So, I kept spinning my wheels and couldn't get ANYTHING done, solast night we headed to the cabin for a family get away before we leave...here are a few pics....
I'll post again on Wednesday night......pray, pray, pray for my family!

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suzanne
I am a lover of Jesus. I have the most fabulous husband that anyone woman could ask for. The Lord has blessed us with 7 beautiful children. I started this blog so that friends and family could follow our trip to Uganda to visit Katie Davis. I have decided to keep blogging to help bring orphan awareness to the world around me.
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