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147 Million Orphans Blog
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We are in Orlando for vacation/basketball tournament. We are having a great time at the amusement parks/basketball games. It has taken me the past few weeks to "gather my chickens back under my wings." Caleb regressed in potty training while I was gone, "sassiness" crept in to some of my kids attitudes and I needed a few "date nights" with my sweets to catch back up on life!
My internet is hit or miss where we are staying. I just wanted to pop in and say that I am still alive. One of my sweet friends is in China bringing home their little girl if you want to follow: Carissa's blog. have a good week!
i THINK that i am SLOWLY coming out of the "jet lag fog." My children and husband were SO happy for things to be back to "normal" again. I must admit, THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME!
One of my favorite days was one that we spent with our friends that make the recycled paper bead necklaces. We have watched these women go from eyes and hearts full of despair to smiles, laughter, and joy. Katie has taught these women the love of Christ by helping them serve others in their community. She has SHOWN them what it means to serve, therefore they are taking her torch and running with it. It is the NEATEST thing to watch. While we were there, one woman purchased the land and house that she had been renting. As we were leaving, there was another woman gathering her savings to do the same. IT WAS SOOOOO EXCITING!!! You can tell by the way that they look at Katie that they have SO MUCH admiration and love for her. We interviewed one of the ladies, and while she was speaking about Katie she fell apart. Her eyes just flooded with tears while she shared how thankful she is that Katie came along and helped her and her friends learn how to provide for their families. It just filled my heart to play a TINY part in helping Katie love these ladies SO well. The more these beads sell, the more these ladies have to share. It is awesome to watch how they care for each other rather than keeping it all for themselves. I walked away thinking "how in the world does she know HOW to be the feet of Jesus SO WELL?!?!"
Another "heart moment" that I had was with the family that lives behind Katie's house. This sweet friend has four children. When Katie found them, the youngest two were so malnourished and dehydrated she had to give them IV's. They live in one of the rooms of this house behind Katie's house. When I say that this family pulled my heart out of my chest and crushed it, is an understatement. The father lives somewhere else and comes to visit every six months or so. You can tell that the family LOVES living near Katie and her girls.
I am on the plane, headed home. I am so anxious to see Mike and my six children that I left at home. As I think back over the week, I am completely overwhelmed. I keep trying to gather my thoughts. We saw SO MUCH NEED, that I really do not even have a place in my brain to file it away. I have busied myself with reading my novel and watching movies. I am 22 hours into the travel and decided to open my laptop and try to figure out exactly what it is that I am feeling in my heart. There is no way to ever feel like I can heal all of the pain. There is also no way to help everyone in need. There are so many mommy’s that have dull eyes. No brightness to their face at all. They seem so defeated. There are some that smile continuously. Joy oozes from every pore of their body. Some are ill, others are healthy. Some Ugandans seem to detest Americans. Others seem to enjoy us visiting.
We visited one of the children’s homes at nap time. As we walked through each room there were bunks against every wall. Every bed was full. Each room was full of bunks, full of children. There was room after room after room after room…full of bunks, full of children. I was walking aside the man that was leading the “tour.” I asked him how many of the children were actually “orphaned.” He replied “about 75% the other 25% have family that cannot keep them, but haven’t terminated their rights.” I asked him how many were HIV positive. He answered “four…a 1 year old, a 2 year old, a 3 year old, and a 4 year old.” I couldn’t help but think, “then why is it SOOOO hard to adopt?! Why does the process take SO long? Every day that goes by, is another day that a little boy/girl is lonely. “
Stats show that if a child hasn’t accepted Christ by the time they are ten years old, there is only a 24% chance that they ever will. Satan knows this. If he can keep these children without families then he has a better chance of owning them. THAT is why adoption is so difficult. THAT is what he uses to dissuade us from helping these children.
THE WAIT…..THE WAIT…. THE WAIT, we are SO impatient!! All week long I thought about how spoiled we are as Americans. We typically get what we want, when we want it. We have “drive thru” reataurants, we have “drive thru” banks, we have “drive thru” grocery stores (I LOVE this one…it makes my life SO much easier!!) We do everything online…click of a button, and POOF! It is ours! Heaven forbid us have to wait!! There are so many families that are going through “private adoptions” to get it done faster. While MOST “private adoptions” are legit, there are some that are not. A mom hands her malnourished child over to an American in hopes that they can help her nurse them back to health and then give her back…she never sees her baby again. It happens all of the time. Because of our IMPATIENCE, foreigners can make money. There are RED flags everywhere in Uganda right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if the embassy didn’t shut down again because of it…..same in Ethiopia. … Agencies under investigation. Satan is LOVING this!!! He is using our “I want it now” attitudes to work against us. AND IT IS WORKING!!!
I have been there…the wait IS awful!!! But doesn’t God know us? Doesn’t HE know the timing that is best for us. It’s funny how we feel the Lord call us to adopt, bring a child home, even a “special needs” child…(the wait isn’t as long for them…aren’t we all special needs?) give a child a family…yet, after that calling…WE’LL DO THE REST! We’ll make it happen! In our time!! Not HIS. Because that’s what we do! We are in control, so we’ll make it happen. Those of you that are in process and in the WAIT….please be encouraged!! He is in control. He has your child picked out for you. HE loves that child more than you can even fathom. He’s got YOU in the palm of HIS hand!!
THAT is what I am clinging to right now. That HE has those women with the dull eyes and no joy in the palm of HIS hand. He loves them. He will care for them, and at the end of the day, they will spend eternity with HIM. That is HOPE.
Meanwhile, I will love my husband well. I will love my children well. I will teach them about HIM. The only ONE that can ever make them feel WHOLE and have joy. The true joy that only HIS love can bring.
I always enjoy riding with Katie. She never plays her radio because of all of the chatter that happens amongst her girls. IT NEVER FAILS, they always break out into song...they have the most beautiful voices. I always take a video because it is such a sweet, sweet memory from my trip each time (not to mention that Josie Love will watch it OVER and OVER for hours!) here's a little glimpse:
we started off the day with breakfast in town...we picked up our last few souvenirs before we head home tomorrow. Katie picked us up in town and we headed out to Buzica. I havent had pictures for the past few days because Gwen and I have had a videographer/photographer filming for 147 Million Orphans. Today, however, I kept my phone with me and snapped a few pictures for myself! When we arrived, the music and bible study was just getting started. I cannot believe what was once an open field now holds daily "get togethers" to share the love of Christ with this community. The last time that I saw Auntie Joanne she had a 2 year old strapped to her back while cooking the food for Amazima. She practically tackled me when our eyes met. We gained our balance and shared what was going on in each of our lives. She grabbed my hand and led me to the corner, lifted a blanket and showed me her child "Innocent" who is 3 weeks old. PRECIOUS! I held him for the next hour. He grunted like a little pig. I really wanted to stick him in my pocket and bring him home!!
Gwen, Grace and I served the children their lunch (one our favorite things to do) It is such a blessing to look each and every child in the eyes. Their smiles are so thankful. Their faces light up like a beam of sunshine. I am so proud of Katie for pushing forward and continuing to serve this community in such a mighty way. This country is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to get things done in a timely manner. The Lord has given her a group of support here. They work so hard and GET IT DONE! The Amazima team is UNBELIEVABLE.
(and I can't forget Franko! He got out of his cage, so we took the opportunity to give him some love!!)
We came home to put the little ones down for naps and a friend met us at the door saying that a lady had a baby, but she was still bleeding. SO, we all jumped back in the car and headed to a guest house where the lady had just delivered a little girl. Katie went in and talked to the lady and she was still in a lot of pain. WHile Katie treated the sweet woman, Gwen, Grace and I go tto hold her bundle of joy...just a few hours old!! The lady had two sisters with her. They had their other children with them...quite a crowd welcoming this new little bitty to the family! WHen we finally made it back to Katie's there was a man waiting in her yard that had an absessed hole in his stomach and wanted Katie to treat him. I MEAN WHAT IN THE WORLD!?!?!
I absolutely love to watch Katie minister to these people. She comes alive. SHe was MADE for this. He has gifted her. I am so proud of my sweet friend who lives the craziest life that is so full of love, joy, heartache, and pain. Her dependency on Christ encourages my faith walk each and every day.
This little boy is named Moses. I know him from when I came to get Josie Love. He was very sick. He had a high fever and wimpered a lot. After we found out that Josie was positive, I remember thinking, I wonder if Moses will ever have a family? My heart has always been broken for him. As people were coming to Uganda to visit, I would tell them to check on him for me. One day, someone came home and told me that he had been moved to an orphanage for HIV. I figured I might not ever see him again. As i looked the room over and saw his sweet face, my heart skipped a beat. He has spots on his skin and I am not sure what they are from. He is PRECIOUS! He has grown some and seems to be doing alright. I couldn't believe how this home was so organized and clean. They do a great job of making sure the children get their meds and care for them so well. They will even keep the children until they are 18. My new friend Morgan was going to show us around. I set Moses down, thinking that he might want to go play. He stood close to my leg and grabbed my hand. SO, I just couldn't resist, I picked him back up.
As I looked around my heart began to ache. I looked at each room, I envisioned Josie putting on her little pajamas and climbing into one of the beds. When I looked in the kitchen, I thought about her sitting on the floor eating her dinner. The children were playing outside....would she have been with them? or still sitting in the grass just watching? The tears started flowing and I could not stop them.
I looked the word hope up in the dictionary:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
the little girl on the left is deaf and positive. her name is Jane. Elijah is on the right.....Grace was a champ. Her mom was a big weepy mess and she looked at me with affirmation as if to say " I get it mom! my heart is broken also, and I will stand RIGHT beside you on behalf of these children that I am surrounded by." I am so thankful that her heart is tender to the things of Christ. AND that she hears the Holy Spirit whisper in her ears to speak up and ACT on behalf of these sweet children. I am so blessed.
to read bout the other two childrens homes that we visited today...go to: Gwen's blog
I received several reports today: 1) from Anna Bliss (who is one of four that are keeping the home fires burning)
|"naptime is the best invention you ever had!!! washed your car today, baked cupcakes, played outside aaaall morning, going to the pool after naptime (with life jackets of course :), caleb ate ALL of his lunch, house is clean, grace's new room is in the works with sweet mrs. kim, michael is a champ and playing bball at the Y with a friend, MA and AB call me every couple hours to tell me about the weather, their lunch, etc and AB's teeth are feeling better! everyone is doing just splendid but we sure do miss you!!!"|
DO I have the best helpers or what?! God is SOOOO good!
|2) "Hallooooo Suzon!!!" I said "who is this?!?" the response: "who do you think it is? It's me john jigo! I am so fine!! i just wanted to tell you that I have JOY, JOY, JOY in my heart today being with my family!! Suzon, my family is SOOO big! you wouldn't believe it!! I have many nieces and nephews!!" |
He went on to tell me that he spent the entire first day at his mom's grave praying over her I held the phone out so that Gwen could hear him. We both smiled from ear to ear. He makes me so happy!
We started the day by heading to the pool with Katie and her girls. (homeschooling was put on hold because the "vistas" are here.) The girls love to swim. We laid in our chairs and relaxed and talked about relationships, Amazima "work stuff", life at home, life in Uganda. It was turning out to be a great day.
Awhile later, we went into town and while Gwen, Grace, and I were standing on the corner, a big dump truck ran over a motorcycle with two men on it. The truck's tires hit the front wheel and the handle bars and crunched it. The men were able to kinda hop off...it was a MIRACLE that the men were not killed. Another inch and the entire motorcycle and both men would have been under the wheel. THE BIG TRUCK KEPT GOING!!!! never paused or stopped. I instantly looked at Grace and her face was white as a sheet. I could tell that her mind was reeling with disbelief of what her eyes had just seen. I whispered a prayer of thanksgiving that the men were okay, and we had not seen something that would have forever been imprinted in our minds.
A bit later, we stopped at the hospital for a visit. The rooms reminded me of jail cells. There were a few that were separate from the main building. All of the others were large rooms with cots stacked all around the walls with people sleeping on the floors. The thought of being in pain and staying there made my heart hurt for these people. I looked at Gwen and said "we will NEVER complain about going to Vanderbilt again!!"
We have so much to be thankful for. Each day, the Lord is easing us into a little more heartache. We seem to be seeing a little more each and every day....things that HE longs for us to be tender towards. He LONGS for us to reach out, step out of our comfortable little lives and be THANKFUL for the blessings that HE has given us.
Tomorrow we will go into the village. This is always hard for my heart. These people have NOTHING...no food for their next meal, maybe two changes of clothes. Gwen and I are going to see the women who make our beads. One of the ladies that has been in the bead program had saved enough money and Kristene was taking her to buy land today!! How exciting is that? We are hoping to get some video footage of their testimonies on what the Lord has done in their lives through being able to provide for themselves and their children. Now, that makes me smile.
And then it just got better and better! We went out to Katie's land. Two years ago Katie and I stood on the land and it was completely empty and we dreamed of where everything would go. Last year when I came to get Josie Love, Patrick's house was being built. Today I when I got there it was FULL. Full of children, full of food, there is the most fabulous playground EVER. There is a covered pavilion for the raining season. Our dream is alive...it is up and running...and it is giving love, food , and shelter to the children here. We rode down the rode all cram packed in Katie's van and Katie looked at us and said "we are all here together!! just riding down the road here in Uganda...TOGETHER!" After loving on the Karamajong children for a bit, we headed to Katie's to rest. We laid around on the couches and talked and watched Katie clean and wrap a mans leg that was burned. His house caught on fire and his calf muscle is literally raw flesh. The smell that escaped while she unwrapped the old bandage was almost too much to bear. I was amazed the way he sat quietly while she cleaned it. I am beginning to think that we are a bunch of wimps in America...hahaa!After a small rest,we loaded up the van to head to Auntie Renee's house.
I am so thankful for Renee. She is such a sweet friend to Katie. They support each other and their hearts are made from the same mold. She is doing an awesome work over here in rehabilitating children from malnourishment. She brings these children in, along with their mom/auntie/jaja and nurses them back to health while their guardian learns how to care for them. Her home is FULL of children right now. To read about what Renee is doing go to:servinghischildreninuganda.blogspot.com
this little one has an IV in his head to receive fluids because he was so dehydrated...
Many of you were a HUGE support in helping raise funds for my friend Tosha's adoption. For my 40th birthday, we raised $11,000 towards their adoption process. The highlight of the day was getting to love on Abigail!!! Tosha is anxiously awaiting a court date. I guess if she can't travel here to love on that sweet baby...I'm the next best thing! haha
SHE IS PRECIOUS!!! I cannot wait until she is home with us for good! Between Gwen, Grace and I she is "loved up" for awhile!
- 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.