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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Normal, illinois



I vowed that I was not going to post this pic. I mean, who in the world wants to stand near these two BEAUTIES?!? Lisa Kindred volunteered her sweet daughters to run the 147 booth. Who wouldn't buy from these girls? absolutely beautiful inside and out!
Scott telling the masses....."God funds what He favors"

This is the AWESOME group of women that worked their fingers to the bone to make this day happen. We saw many tears and visible hearts moved....which makes all of the work worthwhile.


Last weekend, Gwen and Scott, and Mike and I drove to Normal, Illinois for an adoption conference. We had the most fabulous time. It took us about 6 hours to get there. It was the perfect time to look back over the past six months with 147 Million Orphans and think about what the next six months MIGHT hold. It was so nice for us to have time away and be able to talk without interruptions from little people. Gwen and I are together all of the time, so it was so good for Mike and Scott to be together just to confirm to each other that their wives REALLY HAVE lost their minds! We talked, LAUGHED, ate chocolate, hot tamales, and laughed some more.
Gwen and I opened up the conference with a challenge to everyone to find their individual place in the orphan crisis. We told our adoption stories and encouraged everyone to walk the road that Christ has laid before them in caring for orphans. They had some great break-out sessions and we finished it off with a panel. Mike and Scott joined us on stage and answered many questions that most men have about adoption. It was so neat for Gwen and I to see our sweethearts take a BOLD stand for the little angels that we work so diligently for daily....the least of these. It was truly a blessing!
I had the chance to share Josie Love's story and explain that in the case of an HIV+ child , literally to be "chosen" means to live and to choose to be their parents means that we have "chosen" an amazing and miraculous life for ourselves. My experience with Josie Love has changed my perspective. My heart feels an URGENCY now that I did not feel before. Before, there was a need for every child to have someone to call "Mommy" or "Daddy". For HIV+ children it is a life or DEATH situation. If they are not adopted, they will DIE. We had an abundance of questions regarding the "practical" day to day care of a child with HIV. It was really encouraging.
So, we are packed up again. Gwen and I are headed to Louisville bright and early in the morning. This time, we are leaving our husbands to hold down the fort. Yes, My husband will be keeping all 7 of my children...and YES! HE IS SUPER DAD!!! (and super husband!) We will not be speaking this time, just selling gear. I absolutely LOVE what we do. We feel the Lord's presence consistently. He gives us the warm fuzzies the whole time that we are explaining to people what each purchase is doing. From Haiti to Uganda to Project Hopeful, we have a LOT of orphans to care for. It gives my heart such a significant purpose. Pray for safe travels and that our armor will stand strong against the enemy.
Sunday, February 21, 2010

Guest post ;-)



Grace posting here! :-) My mom asked me to post about life since Josie's been home, so here it goes....

It's been almost a year since we went to Africa and first met J-Lovey, and since then it has been a looong journey...from having mom and dad leave for 2-4 weeks, to getting the call telling Michael and I that she was diagnosed with HIV (while standing in the middle of the school hallway...thank the Lord for the teachers who were there for comfort!), I think its safe to say its been a little emotional. But when she and my mom got to the airport and walked through the gate to see our family and friends, every minute was worth it. At first i didn't understand what all it meant for her to be home. We didn't have many details on how severe her sickness was, if she was ever going to be able to walk, etc etc etc. Since she's been home, her eyes have opened wider, shes NOT ONLY walking, but RUNNING, smiling, loving the warm(er) weather, playing in her barbie car, and enjoying being with her new fam. :-) It's been amazing to see her transform into a different person. Its like a caterpillar, first starting off as a worm type creature, changing into a graceful, beautiful butterfly. AND what's even better is that she's not even finished! pretty soon she'll be having eye surgery to fix her eyes, and her MANY medicines will continue to work their magic. It's been amazing to see how much she's changed since we saw her last March in Uganda. Her breathing was so raspy and choppy it sounded like something was stuck in her throat, her eyes were so bad they were almost completely closed, her tummy was huuuuge compared to what it is now...you get the picture. I didn't know what all it meant at first for us to adopt her, but I felt God telling me that her name was going to be JosieLove Mayernick and she was supposed to be a part of our family. I didn't know what that meant as far as medical/transportation/financial wise, i just knew she was meant for us. Everytime I brought it up though, i got the same reply: "WE ALREADY HAVE 6 KIDS! We have no idea what her needs are, do you know what it would take to care for a child that can't walk, can hardly see, and who the doctor said is mentally retarded?" *side note: josielove is the FARTHEST thing from mentally retarded, she's one of the smartest kids i know...shows you what foreign doctors know, haha.* Even though I heard this numerous times, I continued to push and...well, obviously that worked out pretty well. It's amazing how God can work in the hearts of people. If you've met JosieLove, you'll know she's one of the funniest, most charismatic, charming kids on this planet. She LOVES to be LOVED and loves to give kisses. She'll curl up in my lap, grab my face with both hands, slobber all over my face and say MMMMWAAH. It's those moments that make everyday worth it. It may be stressful sometimes, but we learn what to do and what NOT to do everyday. We've all had to make sacrifices, whether it be me staying home to babysit instead of going with friends, my mom missing church to stay home with Josie, the boys having to share their toys, etc, There's so many things that have changed since we adopted, some good and some bad. For instance, people stare at our family ALL THE TIME. I've been tempted a few times to turn around and say, "how boutcha just take a picture, IT'LL LAST LONGER." I find it strange how people are perfectly fine with being stared at for having a ritzy, over the top car that probably cost more than some people's houses, but the thought of being stared at for living out God's word and caring for the orphaned (with different colored skin) terrifies them. Did you know that if 8 percent of people who profess to be Christians adopted, there would be no more orphans? People always comment on the blog and say how "awesome it is that our family is doing this and adopting" and how "they wish they could do what my mom does", and they can. There are 147 MILLION kids that wake up every morning with NOBODY there to love on them. Sure, some of them have caretakers in their orphanage, but those caretakers also have tens, sometimes hundreds of other babies to care for too. Some sleep on a dirt ground, starving. Others sleep 3-5 kids packed into one crib, like my cousin Mia (see blog here) in India. WE,(Americans) on the other hand, go to bed everynight on our fluffy king size matresses, after having 3 meals that day, even throwing 1/2 the uneaten food away. Every day, almost 16,000 children die of hunger, 12 million every year. A child dies from malaria, a completely preventable disease, every 30 seconds. 1 in every 20 children in Africa alone will die just from this disease. Okay, so you get the picture. I hear people tell me mom they "get it" all the time...wellll...if you get it, why are you not acting upon it? James 2: 26 says "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." I'm not saying everyone has to go out and live in a 3rd world country, feed thousands of kids everyday, and adopt 15 kids. But, next time you spend 300 dollars on a pair of designer shoes/purse/etc, think about what your COULD be doing with that money. 300 dollars is enough to send a child in Uganda to school for a whole YEAR, which includes 2 hot meals a day, uniforms, school supplies, AND medical care for them AND their family. We spend more than 300 dollars each trip to the grocery just to feed our family. If you look at things through THAT perspective, it'll give you a new outlook on things. If you haven't seen this video, it speaks for itself. And think, these are just TWO out of the 147 million out there living like this.

SAM AND ESTHER:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"How's it going...How are you doing?....How is Josie?"






Let me start off by saying thanks for all of the prayers concerning Sampson. (my last post) His big brown eyes just spoke "help" when you looked at them. My sweet Saviour decided that it was time for Sampson to be out of pain and that it was time for his fight here on earth to be over. He passed away on Saturday (malaria) and is now feeling "complete" in the arms of Jesus. While I find GREAT comfort in that, I also can't help to think of all of the times that Josie had malaria and survived. On two different occasions Katie was holding her and felt sure that she would draw her last breath. How many more children are out there JUST like Sampson and Josie? Hhhmmmm.... I guess I'll never REALLY know.

The question that I am asked continuously these days. Eyebrows down, sincere facial expressions, "How are you doing? How are things going? How is Josie Love?"

On my plane ride home from Uganda I would look at Josie's little frame sleeping in the seat next to me. She had a fever of 103 and all she did was sleep and when awake she would smile. It was as though she knew " I am going home with my Mommy." Just the sight of her made my heart ache like never before. There is an unusual feeling in my heart when I think of her life. The word that comes to mind is HELPLESS. She was helpless and I was helpless. There was nothing that I could do to make her better. So, I held her in my arms and kissed her forehead over and over in my helplessness.

After 20 hours on the plane with her I came home ON A MISSION. I might be helpless but I was going to do everything in my power to get her little heart and body on the mends.

We have run every test imaginable. After looking at her charts the other day I had a doctor say " whatever medical care that Josie lacked in Africa, you have made up for it here! Everything possible has been checked." I sat back in my chair feeling comforted that my mission was being accomplished. We will be doing an MRI on her within the next few weeks to check the puffiness over her eyelids and her sinus cavities. We will also be lifting her eyelids sometime within the next few months. The doctor said that the puffiness over her eyes is like a set of little weights. It is taking every bit of strength that she can muster up just to blink. It takes her lifting her eyebrows each time she blinks to actually get her eyes open. The doctor said "all I can say is this little one must really feel like she has a lot in life to see because most children would just give up and close their eyes." Yes! she has a LOT to look for.....a mommy, daddy, and 6 siblings that love her with every inch of their heart. Now THAT is worth holding your eyes open! Please start praying for her now. She will have to be put to sleep for both procedures.

She has been on her ARV's (meds for the HIV) for about a month now. Every month we will go visit our infectious disease doctor for them to draw blood and check her viral loads. (Her viral loads are the amount of HIV virus that is in her blood) Last week we had a HUGE praise.
Her viral loads had gone from over 700,000 to 1,800!!!! How is that possible? We serve a BIG God. My doctor seems to think that as well as she is responding to the meds that her HIV should be UNDETECTABLE by next month. SERIOUSLY? There are THOUSANDS of children JUST LIKE HER all over the world that would respond to treatment just like her given the chance!

I have the best analogy for her.I told Mike the other day that I am watching her her grow from a little caterpillar in the dark corner (with no legs and eyes closed) to a beautiful butterfly sprouting her wings. I can't wait to see all of the colors in her wings. SOON, she will be WIDE eyed, flittering and fluttering all over the place.

Her eyes have gone from being dull and expressionless to joyful, full of life and love. Ask anybody that knows her. Just to look at her puts a smile on your face. She lights up and offers hugs to every person that knocks on our front door. She makes me laugh OUT LOUD each and every day. To know her is to love her.

So, the answer to "How's it going? How are you doing? How is Josie..........HOPEFUL. EACH day, step by step, moment by moment I am HOPEFUL.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sampson


I have been notified about a little boy that is 2 1/2 years old that is waiting for a family. His name is Sampson and is PRECIOUS!! He is in Ghana, his birthparents have died and he has been sent to an orphanage. He is HIV+ and is a little TREASURE (just like JLovie) and ALL he wants is a mommy and a daddy! they are looking for a family that is international adoption paper ready. Please pray and ask the Lord if this is your child. Go to gillispiefam.blogspot.com for more information on this sweet little one! He deserves to have a smile like this one....


Thursday, February 4, 2010

A few thoughts....

Many of you have heard me poke fun at Gwen and Katie about being "bloggers." And HERE I AM blogging right alongside them. I am not even really sure WHY I have continued to post with the exception that I feel very strongly that Mike and I are called to speak on behalf of the fatherless. Now, that I have a little angel with HIV, I feel that we are to be VERY intentional on educating and encouraging people to love and care for people that have been infected with this treatable disease.
Honestly, tonight I think I will just vent a little bit....
I have passed the sponsorship matching for Amazima Ministries to a dear friend so that I can help Gwen with the PR department of Katie's ministry. The emails and comments for Katie just flood in daily. Because her hands are full and internet is so undependable at Katie's house we answer all of her emails and when we talk to her tell her about the issues where we need her help. It has worked out great because she can focus on her children, medical treatment, schooling and all of the other "to do's" that she has daily. MOST of her emails are questions. MOST of her comments (on her blog) are encouragements. Some are NOT. For the life of me, I cannot figure out WHY ON EARTH people feel like they need to criticize some of the decisions that she makes. Or better yet, tell her how she SHOULD do this, or SHOULDN'T say that.....REALLY?!?! Can any of us over here in "the land of comfort" say ANYTHING to her about the decisions that she might make that we do not agree with? If you do not agree with what she is doing or saying, save yourself some time and quit reading her blog.

I have been watching Fox News and the uproar that surrounds Tim Tebow in his BOLD stance against abortion. Planned Parenthood has now made a commercial with NFL players on it and Gold Medalists parents saying how "proud" they are to be of such sound mind to be able to make their own decisions..blah, blah, blah.....If you do not want to hear what Tim Tebow has to say about His mom "choosing life" when she was carrying him...then turn your TV off when the commercial comes on. I am so proud of him for taking a BOLD stance publicly.

Which leads me to some of the comments that I receive on my blog. The anonymous ones are always my favorites. (because there is no way to respond to them) But just to clear a few things up.....For "Mr. I wrote a book to prove that there is no heaven"...obviously, you do not read the same bible that I do OR serve the same Savior or you would KNOW without doubt that He is SITTING ON HIS THRONE right this very moment. For the man who wants to "dialogue" about the Christmas decor that I have that has black skin...."No, I do not want to dialogue, because on a blog there is NO discussion, it is just my thoughts and yours (IF I decide to post them). For the lady that criticized me for buying Josie a car for her birthday and said that by the looks of my pics that I gave A LOT of gifts for Christmas.....I totally get your point about Americans living extravagantly. But, before you write me several paragraphs about how I should steward my money....you might want to research my life a little deeper. As far as all of the ideas that you gave me on putting my "thoughts" to actions go to 147millionorphans.com and see what my business does. To be honest, I am doing well just to love my family in the capacity that Christ desires (since they are truly the only thing that we can take with us to heaven) in between all of Josie's doctors visits. If you do not agree with my post just click the little red X at the top corner of your computer.

For those of you that leave comments for people trying to get them to ponder what they have written....don't bother, just quit reading the blog if it ruffles your feathers that much.

At the end of each day my heart is so full with joy that only can be given through Christ. I strive daily to be more and more like Jesus. But Jesus also went stomping into the temple and turned tables over when He saw the people turning the temple into a marketplace. He was angry. I think probably that He had just reached his point of having grace with people......totally understandable.

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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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