Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Fear Not..."

I sit here tonight amazed at the road I have been on!  I cannot believe where I have come from!  If you have known me or read my blog for very long, you know that I have battled fear.  The kind that cripples.  The kind that influenced most of my decisions in my life.  Sadly to say, in a not so great way!  From the time my head hits the pillow at night to the time I lift it up in the morning, fear always surrounded me.  I have suffered many losses in my life in the past, maybe that is why.  But for whatever reason, I lived in it.  Worried of fires in the middle of night and that I would not be able to save my children, to my husband dying on the way to work!  And ALL the in betweens!  So for me to send my two oldest children to Africa was a miracle in itself!  God started small.  First it took faith to even think of them going.  Then it took more faith to continue to watch them buy the tickets, to getting all of the rest of the money to go then sending them away on the plane in Chicago!   I was really strong!  Until...

...I said goodbye to them as they left me at the security gate at the airport!  2 kids who had never even been IN an airport to now flying by themselves half-way around the world!  How do I give up control in that way?  How do I rest in the reality that I cannot take care of them?  How do I REALLY give it up and let God take care of them?  Is it really possible!  For days, not so much!  I had the fear that did not allow me to sleep at nights.  The fear that had me pull over in a parking lot to cry for a bit just because I had to let it out somehow!  I really felt like sometimes, I was in a dream!  A night-mare really!  So, at some point I knew that I had to let go!  They were thousands of miles and an ocean away so what really was it doing for me to fear?  AHHH, maybe just maybe, this is the point God was trying to show me my entire life!  Whether it is a fire I fear, my husband being killed in a car accident, or my children half a world away, I CANNOT control it anyway, so why do I even try!  It hit me hard!  Then I got it!  I can trust God!  Not that anything bad will never happen, but even if it does, I am in His hands!  I obey and have faith and He takes care of the facts!  A spiritual light bulb moment!  It took this long for me to get to where He has wanted me to be for years!  He is God and I am not!  So I no longer need to fear!  I have such peace!  A faith and rest that I have never known before!  I said to my mom today, "I feel like I have grown up!"  I used to feel like a small child scared of the dark, everyday of my life!  Now, I am walking in His light and feel like with Him, ALL things are possible because HE is in charge, not me! 

I talked to my daughter today and they are doing so well!  They have climbed a mountain, and gone horseback riding on the African terrain.  They are studying the word of God like never before and feeding others His word because of it!  They will be in the villages all week this week!  No comforts!  A tent, no electricity, plumbing, showers, or "normal" food!  They are preaching and teaching 3 times a day to people who have no bibles because they do not have any in their language yet.  People who are SO hungry for the word of God that they don't care about blessings or heaven!  People who are just SO desperate to hear the words of God because they KNOW that it casts out all fear and if they can just hear it, they find comfort!  My daughter said that the holy spirit is SO thick in the villages because there are no hindrances!  No clocks, TV's, meal-times, toys, malls or ANYTHING that gets in the way!  Villagers who are so HUNGRY to hear the word of God that they sit for as long as they can at my children's feet just to get a taste of JESUS!  My children have given up all their comforts to tell other's of Him, and God in His grace, has allowed me to "give up" my children so they can reach those who need Him!  No glory in it for us, just proof of how God works in you if you allow Him to!  Obedience is not easy, but ALWAYS worth it!

I am for the first time in my life, free of fear!  If I can send my most valued thing on earth, to Africa and leave them in God's hands, I know I can leave EVERYTHING in God's hands!  Even my husband driving to work in the mornings!  (Now if he would just get a job!)  Oh yeah, I can EVEN leave that in His hands and no longer worry about that either!  What freedom there is when we choose obedience over our ways! 

My children's journey to Africa is almost half-way through now and this week, I will have very little contact with them, if any.  So I may catch up a bit on the other things that have happened around our home!  Stay with me and stay tuned!  Oh and remember, do not fear anything!  God has His hand over every one of our situations He is in charge!  Rest in that! 


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Do you?

Do you ever feel like this...

Some days, this is how I feel!
And then I remember who is in charge of my life!
It is not me!
God is the one who I can trust for everything!
That just makes it all okay!

Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Two weeks out...

Well, we are two weeks out since my kids left for Africa!  It really feels like a lifetime ago in many ways!  This week was better because I have had communication with them almost daily.  There is 7 hours difference so we can at least talk while the other is still awake!  I actually have been doing REALLY well!  Many tinges of missing them but SO much better than last week when we had no contact!  They were in the bush so there was no way to get a signal.  That was HARD!  I was doing really well UNTIL today...

Today was hard!  INCREDIBLY hard!  My daughter is SO VERY homesick!  It broke my heart!  There is NOTHING I can do to help her!  The hard part is, as she said, "There is nothing to do to even help me feel like I am home!  I am in a 3rd world country mom!  Not even a mall or a Walmart to go to!"  AND to make it worse, she said it is not like America where you can FIND something to do!  After their classes are over at around 3pm, they really just go to their host-home and read or something quiet!  Which is not all bad, just different!  She misses her brothers and sisters, making meals for everyone and all the things she does at home!  EVEN chores!  :)  With that being said, she said today was the worst day she has had so far with being homesick but she knows she will make it through and she is really enjoying the school and the villages and her time with the people!  I told her to enjoy her time there because in a few months, she will regret not taking it all in!  (EASY for me to say!)  I just feel like she is having to grow up so fast!  I also know that God is there with her and He will hold her up! 

They will return to the villages on Monday and will be out for an ENTIRE week!  No electricity, plumbing, "normal" food or home!  A tent and blankets!   The last village they were in, my son killed a goat with a knife, (because the villagers insisted!  It was an honor to be selected!)  and then they ate the stomach, intestines, eye-balls, and everything in between!  My daughter, who HATES bugs, noodles and looking at raw meat, ate it also!  I was so amazed!  They are my heroes!  I don't think I could do all the things they are doing!  They are so brave!  They said that the interpreters that are with them, are amazed that they STAY in the villages!  Most missionaries that come, just stay for a few hours and then choose to go back to their hotels to sleep and eat!  They were shocked!  My daughter said that she can't imagine really REACHING these people without being there to live their life even for for a short time!  She said we in America, are just so used to comforts that we just don't get anything about life!  She was not angry about that, it was just  a realization!  My son is taking everything all in and even chased a giraffe the other day! 

 (He is very adventurous! :)  The people in Malawi are so amazed at "white skinned" people that the native kids will yell with fun and point at them as they walk by.  He said that is VERY strange!  The other thing that is very strange, is their bus they commute to school in.  It is a 12 passenger bus but has at LEAST 18 people in it every morning and double that in chickens!  Pictures of that coming soon!

I am going to close much I could write!  The sleepless nights are endless, the ache in my heart to hold them and see there faces is SO deep!  God has still been showing me how His heart longs for us in that way!  I know God is holding them but I want to hold them SO bad!  I can't imagine what it will be like at the airport when they step off that plane!  Maybe a touch of what it will feel like when Jesus sees my face in heaven some day!  Just as my daughter is longing for her home in America, we should be longing for heaven!  This earth is NOT our home!  Someday, I won't send my kids to Africa or out into the big world!  

We will all be sitting at Jesus feet and hopefully with these people they are witnessing to in Malawi!  That is our focus!  This time on earth is only a vapor in the wind and what we do with our time on earth DOES matter in eternity!  What an awesome thought! 

Love your kids today as if they are leaving for Africa tomorrow!  Oh how I wish I could hold mine

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pictures from Africa

I heard from the kids and even got pictures!  OH YEAH!  They are doing really well and they have already been changed in the past 10 days, from the inside out!!  I can't imagine what they will be like in 4 weeks!  They left me as teenagers and will come home adults!  They said they feel as if they are in a movie!  The surroundings are so "unreal" and the people are INCREDIBLE!!  The people in the villages have so much respect for "white man".  A reverence like they are king and queen or something of the kind!  My daughter cannot get over it.  She said it is very uncomfortable to be so honored just because of her skin color! 

She was preaching in one of villages over the weekend, and she tried to sit down on a rock and they would not let her!  They hurried over with a chair for her because they think of "white man" as such much higher than them and they cannot sit on the ground!!  She said it was so sad!  Her sermon was on being the same in God's eyes because He looks at the heart, not skin color or anything else we look at as humans.  The women of the villages are also treated so much more inferior.  Do you see how all the men are in front on chairs, and the women and babes are in the back on the floor?  It is so very poor there.  Most of the pastors do not even have bibles!  When she reads from her bible, they have a hunger in their eyes like she has never seen before!  They anticipate and savor every word she reads because they cling to every word from God because they can't read it for themselves!

This is a little girl named Naomi that got very attached to my daughter.  As she was holding her, the mother was scurrying around and the interpreter told her that she was feeling terrible because she was holding her little girl and she was not worthy to have a "white man" hold her child!  My daughter was so shocked at how they feel and was just heart-broke that they feel that way!  They need to know the love of Jesus and it would set them free! 

This was the village they were in over the weekend!  They said they hunger for God so much.  They don't desire money, or even heaven!  They only want to hear the Word of God and learn about Him.  The only blessing they seek is the Holy Spirit!  We in America just don't get it!  The comforts get in our way of true surrender and holiness! 

I am so blessed to have been able to talk to them today!  My son has come down with something and hoping it is not Malaria!  Right now, treating it as food poisoning but he came down with a fever now.  (That means another restless night of sleep for all of us!)  :(  Prayers for him would be appreciated!

 I will report back soon!

Remember~  Love your kids today, like you are sending them to Africa tomorrow!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Foto Friday

A day on the farm,
or the fair if you are a city dweller!

picking veggies,
Gathering corn,
filling the tractor with fuel,
Off to work!
  In a little boys world anyway!

P.S. I will have an update from Malawi next week!  I sat down to write yesterday, and after I finished my post and was in the process of editing it, and I somehow deleted the ENTIRE thing!  So just to get back at my computer, I decided not to use it the rest of the day!  :)  To make a long story short, my kids called the day I was at the fair and my husband was home and got to talk to them for a LONG time!  I did not even get to hear them for a moment!  I was very sad to say the least!  I know that as of Thursday, they were headed to the bush to tell other's of Jesus in the villages!  No plumbing or electricity for many days and sleeping in a tent with who knows what kind of animals lurking around!  Ok, that's enough for this mama's heart to take right now! 

More to come!  Blessings to you this weekend!

Remember~  Love your kids today as if they are leaving for Africa tomorrow!

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Monday, August 15, 2011


I think of another little taste of how God feels when we come to Him first thing in the morning!  He waits for us and longs to hear from us!  I get up every morning and check my messages just to see if my kids have left somthing for me to read!  I long for it and smile and cry when it is there and I have  evidence that they are thinking of me!  It has been such a sweet discovery while missing my earthy children, how God has shown me His desire to be with me! 

Here is the latest from my kids: ( I do not include their names for privacy reasons)

Hi mom!!!! This is A...!! I'm having a great time! I LOVE Malawi!! I'm having so much fun, and experiencing soo much!! Today we went to an amazing church service. Probably the best I"ve ever been to in my life!! It was GREAT!! Last night I slept for about 6 hours, and it feels sooo good!! My allergies are bad here :P:P I'm so glad that we took the allergy medication for A......'s poison ivy, because it's really coming in handy!! Well I don't have any more time left on here, so here's A......!! I love you!!!!!!!!! I miss you!!! (my son): Im out of time :(:( its prepaid internet. I love you and miss you!!

It is such a JOY to hear from them!  They seem to be doing wonderful!  That does a mama's heart good!  I still have SO many questions for them!  I want to know what they are eating, where they are sleeping and what they are doing.  Maybe as my husband told me, it is better that their contact is limited because God can maybe accomplish more in their hearts if He is their main source of dependancy!  And maybe even better for me!  I have only had my faith in Jesus to take care of them and rest in His ability even when I don't have any facts.  To watch over them, feed them, protect them is HIS job!  I cannot, but He can!  I have realized He does a better job than I could ever do anyway!  So although I miss them terribly and everytime the phone rings, I am like a girl in love dashing to the phone just to hear their voices, usually to feel that pit in stomach sort of feel, when I find out it is not them calling!  It has been 5 days since I have heard their sweet voices!  I wonder how much longer it will be!  God knows and in His timing, they will call!  Until then, I will wait! And you can be sure you will know when that is!  You may even hear me answer the phone from where you live from all the excitement!  :) 

Remember~  Love your kids today, like they are leaving for Africa tomorrow!

More to come...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Facts about Malawi, Africa

Here are some facts about the country in Africa my children are
 in, Malawi:

Malawi Flag
~This is what the flag looks like
~Just over 13 million people live in Malawi
~ Life expectancy is around 36 years
~ Birth rate is on average 5.9 per woman
~ 14% of the population is believed to have HIV/AIDS
~ Literacy rate is just over 62%
~ The official language is Chichewa but there is no written way to learn or teach it unless you are there to study it
~The economy is predominately agricultural, with about 90% of the population living in rural areas

~It is the 7th poorest country in the world
~It is the poorest country in Africa
~750,000 are orphans

~48% of children in Malawi are chronically malnourished
~One in four children die before the age of five
~7% of the population have electricity
~It is called the "Warm Heart of Africa" because of the gentleness and kindness of the people
~It is slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
~The capitol is Lilongwe

~Lake Malawi is known to be the most beautiful lake in the world
~My kids will be visiting there some point in their trip
~Here is just a taste of the beauty:

My kids better be taking pictures of all they are doing and seeing!   

Stay tuned...


Saturday, August 13, 2011

In Malawi...

I got the phone call yesterday I had been waiting for! The call informing me that my children arrived in Malawi, Africa safe and sound! The sound of my son's voice as he said, "mom!" has never sounded so sweet!   I wonder if that is how God feels when I call out to Him?

They arrived in Africa about 8:00 am central time, 3:00 pm Malawi time. My son said their stay in Johannesburg was great. The lady they stayed with was very nice and they had comfortable beds and great showers! He slept very well! My daughter, not as well. She informed me there were dogs barking and running around all night! And some kind of strange sound like a weird bird cawing all night long! Fun listening to the different perspectives! I am sure that will be the norm for the next reports I recieve from them! :) We only had about 2 minutes to talk but it comforted me just to hear their voices!

My heart is still sad.  I just miss them so much!  (I told my husband I need to start a support group for parents whose children are traveling out of the country!)   :)  I am so glad for their ability to go and tell other's about Jesus and I pray for an annointing over them and also that they will be surrounded by protection from God. I can't wait to hear from them again! It is amazing how I wait and cling to any kind of communication from them! I really am understanding more, how God desires me to communicate with Him! I am His child and He longs to hear from me daily! And the joy that it brings Him just because I take the time to be with him. Yes, God is using this time away from my children to draw me closer to Him.

More to come when I hear from them again or when I just need to "unload" my heart!  Soon!

Remember~ Love your kids today, like they are leaving for Africa tomorrow!

                                                                                     A close up view of Malawi.  They are in Blantyre:
This is the view of Africa with Malawi north of Tanzania. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This is the websight that you can go to so that you can see where our kids are ministering at.  I will be updating soon!

They are on a jet plane!

Well, the day finally came.  Yesterday, we said "good-bye" for 6 weeks to my oldest 2 kids.  They are now as I type this over the Atlantic Ocean.  I was very strong when we left them at the security gate.  (Thankful for that!)  But once we got to the car and it was empty, the tears started flowing...and flowing...and flowing.  I really cannot explain how I was feeling.  I cried the ENTIRE way home from Chicago!  It was like the reverse of being homesick.  I can honestly say, that it has been the hardest thing I have EVER had to do in my life!  I was beginning to feel better and kept asking God over and over.  "God, please give me peace, PLEASE give me peace, because I am not feeling it right now!"  I got on my phone a few minutes later and the family they will be staying with, messaged me and said he was excited for their arrival.  That helped me so much!  Just knowing that he was looking for them.  God knew exactly how to calm me!

My spirit understands that they are going to be doing God's work and bring other's the light of Him, but right now, my heart aches with an intensity that is so foreign to me!  I just want one more glance and one more hug.  However, I know that even with one more, it would never be enough! 

My daughter and I had an INCREDIBLE talk the night before they left and stayed up talking, crying, and praying.  We told each other of our regrets, God's provision in our lives, and then our fears.  We shared scripture with each other and just took it all in!  It was beautiful!  We gave each other our word that when she returned, we would continue to do that!  We waste so much time on things that don't really matter.  So much wasted energy in our lives that are used for things that have no eternal value!  We had an awareness that God was already in the process of changing us before she even left! 

They will be arriving in South Africa today around 11 am central time zone.  I can't wait to hear from them!  God worked out such an amazing thing.  They were going to have to stay in a hotel tonight by THEMSELVES before they catch their plane for their final destination.  That was the hardest part for all of us.  We made hotel reservations and my husband called the American Embassy to let them know there would be 2 teens staying there just to cover all of our bases!  Well, Monday with still an unsettled feeling of them being there all alone, A friend of ours from America told us they knew of a family that would host them overnight in South Africa!  We were so very relieved!  All that we were fearing, God took care of!  Imagine that!  It was such a confirmation that we don't need to know all the facts from the beginning, we just need faith to make the first step and God will take care of the rest!  Obedience is the key! 

These next few weeks will be a mother's heart as her children are in Africa.  I will be sharing MY heart.  Some days will be uplifting and some may be sad but I am going to pour my heart out on this blog!    I will also post when I hear from my kids and use that also.  I have so much emotion that it overwhelming.  Writing will help me and I would love to have you along on our journey!  Any uplifting things you could comment, would be welcomed as this mama's heart is going to miss them and the encouragement of other's will be wonderful!! 

Please remember to love your kids today, as if you are sending them to Africa tomorrow!

More to come...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

In between Africa...

I said earlier today to my husband that I really wish I would learn to live each day as if my kids were leaving for Africa!  I am more sensitive to being with them, spending time with them and leaving the other cares of the day for another day!   I realize that soon,(WAY to soon!), they will be thousands of miles away and I will LONG to see their faces. So I have been staring at them more, hugging them more and taking TONS of pictures of them with their siblings!  Do I fear them dying?  Maybe...  It is a thought sometimes!  But it does not take going to Africa to think of that! :)  However, the real reason behind it is that I realize all of our lives are about to change DRAMATICALLY!  They will "grow" up in ways that I will not totally understand until they return, and me?!  Well, I will be "growing" up also!  The mommy way kind!  It happens to every mom so I know I am not alone with some of the feelings I have been feeling but it is not easy!  This is where my faith in God comes in!  I cannot be there for them in the next 6 weeks!  I can't just pick up the phone when I want to hear their voices or when I panic for a moment and fear the worst!  Nope!  I have to turn to Jesus!  Nights when I am wondering if they are warm, homesick, scared or anxious?  I can't do anything about it!  I can't GIVE them my reassurance that it will be okay!  They will be in a tent in the bush in Africa! That is hard for me to swallow!  I want so much to take it all away and comfort them!  That is what a mommy is supposed to do!   The great thing is, that I know God will be there with them!  And He is better then I ever could be anyway!  I said today through my tears, "God, you must think I am LOTS stronger than I think I am!  I can't do this!  It is just tooooo hard!"  And I'm right!  I can't do this...without HIM!  But He says I CAN do this if I depend on Him! 

Today, we dedicated our newest little one back to God.  (I will have pictures soon! ) We wanted to do it before the trip to Africa so we could experience one last memorable thing as a family for a while!  I did this years ago with my oldest two.  I realized at that time, that were His!  And I meant it!  I told God that whatever He had for them, I would, through His guiding hand, allow Him to have His way in their lives!  Easy when they are a baby laying in your arms dependent on you for their every need!  Not so easy, when you are watching them leave to a country thousands miles away without YOU!   I still am amazed that I have had the strength to even come this far and because of Him walking with me,  I will not go back on my commitment to Him!  I am allowing them to leave me for a time, so God can use them on the other side of the world to show other's His love!  Abraham was willing to allow God to do whatever He choose with Isaac!  Even death!  WOW!  That is obedience!  I bet Abraham took the long way around to the alter that day!  I bet he stared at Isaac, hugged him and just took every moment he had appreciating and loving his son as he walked to that alter!  Now, I am not saying my children will die, but 6 weeks seems like a long time to us!  And God spared Isaac and it was a test to see how obedient Abraham was.  So maybe this is a test!  And whoever God chooses to put in my children's path in the coming weeks, will get a glimpse of who God is and they will be forever changed!  Maybe the test is to see how willing we are to allow others to see who He is!  Will we just live in the comfort of what we are used to or will we be willing to stretch and sacrifice?  Time is getting closer and God has MANY people He desires to have in heaven with Him.  Are we willing to lay it all down for His name?  This life on earth is temporary.  A vapor in the wind!  But eternity is well...eternal! 

So for the next couple of days, I will laugh more, cry more, and savor more.  But the reality is, that whatever happens and wherever my children are, God is with them AND with me! So how could I worry or fear!  He loves them more than I do! 

Today, please give more hugs, look into your loved ones eyes, stare at them and just take it all in!

 Live today like you are sending them to Africa!  :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Africa update...kind of

They are not leaving until Wednesday.  I have been, shall we say very BUSY!   Our biggest challenge right now is packing a teenage girl for 6 weeks with ONE suitcase (that can only weigh 44lbs!)  and ONE carry on!  Oh MY!   I am going to update soon but first things first!  That would be getting them prepared to leave!  Please stay tuned!  I will have pics from the day of take-off and the rest of the story! 

Our baby is being dedicated tomorrow morning so we are busy with that also!   The last thing we will be doing as a family for 6 weeks!  When you homeschool, that is a rude awakening when you are used to being together, for the most part, 24/7!  Please continue to pray for us as we prepare for this new adventure in our lives!



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