Never Growing Up

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I used to be a child who learned from adults. Now, I’m an adult and I find myself learning so much from children.
Most recently I learned a little bit about giving. Before you exit out so you don’t have to be guilt tripped into giving to 61, your church, or anything else – that’s not what this is about (that blog will be out next week).
Twice a year we do vacations. This used to be to keep our team sane and to get away from our 24/7 outpouring to rest. Now, it’s a little of that, but also it’s a time to take the boys to see and experience their beautiful country.
This past week we took the boys to the coast. They’d never seen the ocean and can’t really swim – so I was full of excitement as well as “What am I doing?” thoughts.
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Before we left I emptied out a jar I always put my change in from that day. I had the boys count it, divide it equally among the three of them, and then explained that this was their spending money for the week. They were responsible for keeping track of it, and it had to last the whole week. They were pumped.
It was time to go.
The ten hour drive wasn’t that bad. Besides the one puking incident in which I was prepared for with bags strategically placed within the car and the reoccurring “Are we there yet” question that legitimately started 45 minutes into the trip and was reworded and asked every 15-20 minutes from then on – it was a great drive!
We arrive.
The first day we of course went out to the beach. It was hot, so hot that the boys were getting holes burnt in their pockets. I laughed and shook my head as I watched Martin go and start spending his money within 15 minutes of a weeklong trip.
As I shook my head and told the other boys to be more wise with their money and save it, Martin comes running back with a big smile on his face. I quickly tell him he’s going to spend all of his money and regret it.
He just looked at me and said “I bought this for you (hands me a necklace). Thank you for taking care of us.”
A sandy size 13 foot doesn’t taste so good.
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The week goes on and we had an amazing time. Within a few days the boys were diving for coins in the deep end of the pool and riding the waves. We took a boat out and found shells and starfish (which I made them throw back- don’t hate, they’re alive). They had an absolute blast. My favorite things were ice cold drinks and ice cream.
Fast forward to when we get home.
We get back and the boys quickly show off their prized shells (some of which they bought and the others that we found) and as the onlookers attempt to hand them back the boys simply say “they’re for you”. I started to jump in to tell them to not give all of their stuff away- but why? I was convicted right then and there.
It’s in our nature to give. Trust me, I wish I had taught these boys to live like this. It’s a full-time job for me to make sure they don’t give the shoes they’re wearing and the shirt off their back away to the kids in the neighborhood.
Every time I hand them something, the first thing out of their mouth is “can I share with —–“.
I know. I’m bragging. I love these kids, because of who they are and because of who they challenge me to be.
The world tells us differently and somewhere down the line we are told to give what little we can to make us feel good.
Their most prized possession is who they are with, and everything else is just stuff. Growing up shouldn’t mean losing our nature to give freely and love deeply.
This makes me miss the boys, so I am going to hang out with them now. But I hope they challenge you too!

Instagram Jesus. A Sequel to Bicycle Jesus.

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I wish I could make this an epic blog, but I’m not that good of a writer. There are no words that I can use to describe what I am feeling, but I’ll do my best to share my story and get you to see why I believe Jesus is awesome.

This past Friday I wrote a blog about the goodness of God, and how he desires to give us great things. He doesn’t hold out on us. If you haven’t read it, or need to be refreshed please go read it, before going on.

Like all revelations or lessons there is a journey that came before the blog.

Kenya has been hard on me- really, really hard. My faith has been tested and at times I’ve been in yelling matches with God. I’ve been so down I’ve questioned my calling and His realness.

From constant sickness and broken relationships to empty/negative bank accounts I’ve thrown in the towel more than once… I couldn’t do it anymore.

At the end of last year I told God that the only reason I stayed in Kenya was the boys. I said Your calling can’t keep me here anymore.

Some of you are very surprised right now, because our Instagram lives look so awesome online.

But what’s really awesome about my life isn’t what’s posted on Instagram, it’s the men I have around me praying, encouraging, and even laughing at me when I tell them I’m quitting. They know me and God too well.

When I came back to Kenya this year I made some promises. I no longer would be held down by past relationships, sins against me or mistakes I’ve made. I wouldn’t focus on the short comings of others but instead focus on the power of Christ in our lives.

I choose to see inheritance over brokenness.

I choose to worship when I don’t have time. Regular intentional prayer is a non-negotiable.

When I am down, I’ll focus on God’s goodness, no matter how hard I have to try.

When our bank account is $1700 in the red like it was last week and we feel God calling us to start a new ministry to empower women that is going to cost us around $50k to start – I’ll proclaim His faithfulness and how he gives us good gifts.

I will choose trust.

Why? Because all He does is ask us to have faith. This year I have been happier and healthier than I’ve been since I’ve been to Kenya because of what I’ve chosen to do out of faith, instead of what might come natural.

A couple hours after that blog posted, I got an email that $15,000 was donated to 61project.

Keep faith. Proclaim His goodness. We all hit rock bottom. You know, I don’t think God would care if I left Kenya… but it’d break His heart if I didn’t see how much He cared for me and believed in me.

His heart is for you. He looks past your doubts and sees the ounce of faith if you let Him.

* I’m not leaving Kenya anytime soon guys.
** I’ll keep posting to Instagram, just know that I’m not fooled by how artsy or cool your life is, so please don’t be fooled by mine :)
*** We’ll be sharing more very very soon about the women’s ministry. Please be praying!

(The above pictures are some of what aren’t seen, and yes… that is a cup for a stool sample)

Bicycle Jesus.

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I’m trying to figure this whole parenting thing out…

Some days it’s so easy I forget that God has put me in this role, while other days I’m like what the heck is happening. My boys are good – too good, sometimes. They teach me lessons and God uses them all the time to show me stuff.

Yesterday, I had to go to town… for you country folks, you know what town is. For the rest of you, it’s the slightly bigger town about 30 minutes away that has stuff besides the bare necessities.

Sometimes, I just like to walk around town looking at different things and eating food that we don’t have here. As I was walking around I found myself searching for bicycles, comparing prices and seeing which one was better, “Made in India” or “Made in China”.

Some had baskets or rear carriers. There were red ones and blue ones. Some had pegs or mud fenders. I caught myself getting excited trying to figure out which one the boys would like and completely forgetting the price tag because I just wanted them to be happy.

I realized I was more excited about them getting a bicycle than they were, even though they ask about it everyday.

Then two things hit me.

1. It wasn’t time for them to have a bicycle yet.
– They’re still learning responsibility and how to take care of their things.
– Also, we made some goals for school that we’re waiting to see them reach.

2. This is how God feels about me.
– There are so many things that I desire… and in reality God desires many of those things for me too!
– God has His timing with me just like I have timing with the boys. They may think I am holding back or don’t want to make them happy, but in fact it’s just the opposite. It’s harder for me to hold back!

God has bigger than life plans for you and me. Trust Him. He’s not holding out on you, He’s planning the perfect time. There are things that he’s preparing you for now. You’re being equipped to receive His blessings.

* The above picture are rental bikes… I didn’t give in!

There is Power… just not at my house.

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“There is power, power, wonder working power, in the blood of the lamb… ” Samson quietly sings as we sit by our kerosene lamp waiting for the sun to rise. It’s completely quiet except for that song…

It’s 5 o’clock in the morning and in a few minutes the boys will come break the silence and the day will officially start, but for now, I’ll just listen to Samson.

Samson doesn’t speak a whole lot of English. He tells me that he learned this song singing with missionaries who he joined doing evangelism in the village. I asked him what the song meant to which he responded “You know, Jesus… he has the power.”

Amen, Samson.

There is something sacred about the morning.

My Davion(s).

*If you haven’t read the article on Davion, then you need to read it before you read this. Read it here.

davionMy heart breaks for the church. It crumbles when I read articles like the one on Davion. I can just feel the Father’s heart break.

As you read the article, you hear a boy cry out for a mother and father, someone to love him – anyone. He heard the church would be a good place to go, but it didn’t work out.

As the church we can’t look at this particular group (church body) and have any kind of judgement toward them… because Davion’s story isn’t new. It’s not unique.

There are 123,000 orphans in the United States alone, and over 200 million world wide.

If Davion can’t go to the church, where can he go? If the church isn’t listening to – no, we listen. If the church isn’t acting on and living out the words we hear on Sundays then why go? Why fool ourselves and others into thinking that we follow Jesus?

I used to be ashamed of “the church” like I could somehow put myself above the body of Christ (that was so dumb – and I needed to repent). I can’t put myself above myself.

I am the church. We are the church.

It’s time to walk into our calling. The church is the body of Christ, intended to mimic the man who walked the earth 2,000 years ago. It’s our identity. It’s who WE ARE if we call ourselves Christians. Would Jesus have just walked out that Sunday morning when a young boy asked someone – anyone to love him?

Today there are 123,000 kids asking the church – you, to love them.

… So, five months ago we took in four boys. 

It’s incredibly inconvenient. I live off of support, well below the American poverty line. Waking up at 5:30 AM is not fun. There are 7 of us in a modified 2 bedroom house. I don’t always get to eat what or as much as I want to anymore. My schedule isn’t the priority.

Not a day goes by where I don’t wonder how we’re going to make it, or what this is going to look like….

I would never ever… ever… do it any other way. These boys are loved and I in return get loved back. It’s so good.

The joy of a child that comes home who is so excited that he’s no longer “number last” in his class, or having 4 boys come into your room when your sick in bed asking to pray over you makes it all worth it.

This may come off as harsh, but I’m not going to apologize for it. If you are thinking, “well, this just isn’t for me…” then maybe following Jesus just isn’t for you either.

Church, this is our calling.

Be inconvenienced. Be Jesus. You aren’t in this alone. I couldn’t raise these boys without the love and support of the church – no way. And while some of you guys are called to give and pray, there are some of you that are called to take in a Davion.

Can we do this together? Please.

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(A huge shout out to my parents who birthed, adopted, fostered, raised and loved the crap out of so many children. You continue to challenge me at 8,000 miles away)

The Week That Shook Kenya

This week actually started about eight months ago as I was helping a friend of mine deliver Bibles and devotionals to a friend of his at the hospital in Kijabe. I had no idea that I was about to meet the craziest Woman of God I’ve ever met.

Mercy Ng’ang’a has been serving the patients at Bethany Kids Hospital in Kijabe for over 8  years. In her time there she has made over 400 disciples that she keeps in touch with through regular phone calls and she holds 5 conferences a year to meet with and teach them. Last year she led 400 people to the Lord (which she says “only 400″) while those she discipled led 6,740 people to The Lord last year.

Her job at the hospital isn’t easy. It requires her to meet with children and their parents in times of hardship, many kids often are fighting death. Each week Mercy may be called in 3-5 times to pray with a child that is about to pass away.

After meeting with Mercy and fighting back tears from the stories she has experienced and her own testimony, I just wanted to figure out how we could be a part of her ministry.

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This week we sent 30 crazy Adventures in Missions short term missionaries to partner with Mercy in her day to day ministry. I’m not sure why I was so surprised at what happened, but let’s just say God showed up!

- Jeremiah, a young boy in the children’s ward, was fighting a disease that made his bones brittle and caused them to break. He was a regular in the hospital staying a month at a time each visit. This week he was in his second week of treatments when the team came in to pray with him. Jeremiah’s condition was improved (possibly healed) to where they discharged him. He felt so much better (like he had never experienced) that he wanted to give his life to the God that heals and promised Mercy that he was going to become a pastor so he could tell his story.

- Sophia had been fighting hydrocephalus (water on the brain) for her entire life of 14 years. She came in due to the intense seizures she was experiencing. Our team joined Mercy in prayer over Sophia believing that God could heal her. The seizures stopped. The doctors soon took her in for treatment and couldn’t find anything, so they later took her in again, then performed a CT scan – still nothing. Sophia went home… healed.

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- Mama Precious brought her daughter in because she was unable to see. One of our team members, Jay began to play songs for her on the guitar. As he played the girl began to weep (Mercy knew it was God healing her). Not long after the girl was discharged with her sight back. Mama Precious who had previously denied God came to Mercy wanting to follow this God of healing and power.

- A woman came into the women’s ward of the hospital being carried because she was unable to move her legs, much less walk. As she sat in her chair the  team approached her and began to pray. After they prayed she stood up. After they left, she walked out of the hospital got in a bus and went home.

This isn’t Adventures in Missions’ story, or Mercy’s. This is God’s story. This is who He is and what He does for the children He so desires to see whole and complete.

These aren’t all of the stories this week. Our team prayed over the mens and women’s ward of the hospital and when Mercy went back that afternoon they were cleared. In an ICU of a children’s hospital that sees two children die a week, the ICU was cleared and not one child was lost.

You can be a part of His story…

I’ll be posting even more stories of the week that shook Kenya. Please be praying for Mercy and her ministry and be praising the God that heals.

I am Afraid.

It’s true. I’m afraid.

I’m afraid of a lot of things really, such as spiders and the dark. But that’s not what bothers me.

What I’m really afraid of is turning 30 years old. It’s not the age that gets me but the idea that I’m running out of time. It’s somewhat of a wake up call. Let’s face it, I’ve given up the idea or dream of owning my own house and a nice truck so that’s not it. It’s not even the fact that I’m still single…

It’s so much more than that.

It’s knowing that God has a purpose and a plan and me wanting to make sure that I’m in it. It’s knowing that there are people waiting on me. It’s seeing the Kingdom of God at hand and wanting to advance it and not being able to do it fast enough.

I want to make a difference.

I don’t know if you’ve heard that starfish story where the kid is throwing one starfish at a time back into the ocean out of thousands that were washed onto the shore. Then somebody asked him what he was doing, inferring that he can’t make a difference and he says “it made a difference to that one” as he throws one back.

Cute story, but it doesn’t work for me… I see something bigger. Instead of me trying to do something small on my own, I’d rather bring in countless others to join me in joining Him.

If I am living a life that doesn’t make me hit my knees in prayer the second I wake up, then I’m not truly living…

I have God sized dreams and it scares the mess out of me. God sized dreams require God sized faith, which honestly, I don’t have. But I have a little, and iif I could just borrow some of yours and we can do this thing together we just might be able to change this world.

You in? Because I need your help.