Sunday, January 27, 2013

Emma & Daddy - I Remember

We are missionary buddies for sure. 

Joined together in our hearts mission to make a difference in the orphans we meet.

Since 2008 we were always together on our mission trips 
to our beloved country of Uganda and their precious children.  

We love the times we've spent together watching God do miracles.

We are mission junkies!

We love the adventure!

We love the the highs and the lows of being with the children of Uganda.

We love the brokenness that always comes in our hearts 
when we see, touch, hold, and simply love the children.

It's been a long time coming but "that day" if finally here.  

"That day" that I board a plane to leave Africa without Emma.  

That day that she stays behind to begin her life-long calling to the children of Africa. 

I've always known the day would come.  

Since she was little she has prayed to come to Africa to care for orphans.

In 2008 her calling and pleas could no longer be ignored.
Almost every day I would open my roll-top desk and find a note with a picture of children
from Africa quoting Isaiah, "Who will go, send me!" 


"If we don't go and care for the children Daddy, who will?"   

So in 2008 we began our journey and now 5 years later & 10 mission trips

"That day is here!"

We took our first mission trip in 2008 to Uganda.  

We did not know what to expect and there was not just a little bit of
caution and concern 
in this Daddy's heart.  

I was not letting my precious girl go to Africa without me.

I remember the objections.

I also remember the set up by Linny and Emma with Steve and Celesta Tracey
and their missionary daughter, Abby
 serving in Uganda, coming over for pizza.  

I lost every argument that day of "why not"!

A total set-up!

I was adamant..."if she goes - I go"!   

The next Sunday Steve Tracey, a professor at Phoenix Seminary
 approaches me to
teach a Pastor's Conference.

The rest is history!

So off we went to explore, to investigate and to understand
 the culture and country of "Uganda"!

Ten mission trips later and our love for Uganda is a tight bond.  

Together we have grown to love the people, the place & the culture.  

 I remember discovering Elijah and Elizabeth at Sanyu babies home.... together!

I remember celebrating our African sons/brothers wedding... together!

I remember falling in love with child after child.... together!

I remember watching her grow each time from a young girl to the beautiful young lady she is today!

I remember building dorms, kitchens, and bricks at African Hearts... together!

I remember leading songs, laughing, playing &  hugging children.... together!

I remember painting Ssenge, API and Sanyu.... together!

I remember working with teams..... together!

I remember throwing birthday parties together!

I remember discovering crazy people like Shawn and Sarah....
now missionaries with Emma together!
 I remember leading teams again and again.... together.

I remember her posing for pictures with that gorgeous smile.... together!

I remember discovering Ruby... together!

I remember this current trip so well as every time I would look at her,
 I would take a snap shot of her in my mind!

Believe me when I say I have thousands of snapshots in my mind!

I remember her laughing and giggling as I chased boys with water after BB camp!

I remember her love for our SJ and every child she see's ---
(ok, now the snot is dripping down my face...
I will remember that too Emma - it's your fault!)

I remember all the wonderful times as Daddy & Daughter!

I will remember your tender heart for all the children with special needs!

I remember first meeting each one of your
African brothers and sisters and the laughs... together!

I will remember your love for Watson and Joanna...
 your babies and your reunion with them just days ago!

I remember our last team we led together!

I will remember our last day together as a fun day on lake Victoria!

Even now....

I'm not ready to leave her alone...

as tears fill my eyes and run down my cheek as I write --

the concern returns.  

How will she be? 

 Will she be safe?

Who will protect her if she needs her Daddy?

To paraphrase a psalm:  "Except the Lord watch the house {my daughter}
this Daddy watches her in vain!"

I know that she is the Lord's and that I can't really protect her,
but the 'want to' still remains!

She's been the Lord's since the day Linny rescued her from a SIDS incident!

And tonight as I leave for home...

This time I will remember that we did not go home together.

I left and my Emma remained to follow the call of Jesus Christ on her life to the
orphans and vulnerable children of Uganda.

I am so proud - so happy - so filled with joy for you my precious daughter!

 You are a gift to everyone who knows you.

Now the gift is for the children of Uganda!

Never Forget your Daddy Loves You,


PS:  We often hear or read stories of the missionaries... as well we should, but what do I do to cope with being the parent of a missionary?  Proud - more than I can say... scared for my little girl --- very much!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

VBS: We Get To... Love the Children!

Bare walls - dirt floors 

no special effects 

no power point 

no video or costumes

but lives were changed as they always are at Vacation Bible School.

 We held the VBS at the "Home of Praise" with almost 90 in attendance. 

I'll let the pictures tell the story!

Emma leads VBS - she is a kid magnet!

Sarah Hintz did a remarkable job telling the story of the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly!                                     Much like God changing our lives.  12 children made a decision to follow Christ!

The beautiful children had their faces painted!

Their nails painted!

And plenty of treats thanks to the Hintz and their church!

Faces filled with joy!

Duck - Duck - Goose...ummm chicken in this case!

Their faces tell the story!

The young brought younger!

This one came up to Praise and said, "today I asked Jesus into my heart"!

After all is said and done.... that's what it is all about!  Introducing children to the love of God! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

How Do We Spell L.O.V.E.?

The Team

Changing lives - One by One!

It took the whole team!

Michelle serving with joy!

We spell love by building a Gazebo for the children of API to have a safe place
to receive Christian counseling and healing from their past!

Cindy loved stripping bark!

First we dug the holes!  Colton supervises!

Who's afraid of heights?

Jodi stripping bark with her new friend!

A few days earlier there was nothing here, now it's taking shape!

Fishing anyone?

We spell love by teaching the children of API basketball!

Gotta say,   Coach Dwight is having a blast!

Might have to work on that one handed dribble!

Coach Dwight teaches the chest pass!

Every child of API gets a new ball - these community kids got to enjoy the gifts.

The boys and the coaches!

We spell love by building an expansion for the children of Praise's school!

The expansion almost complete!

Colton on our home made ladder!

George up top... Pastor Harley holding up the wall!

 We spell love training 600 plus leaders!

 We spell love digging jiggers out of feet to relieve the pain and bring healing.

The team worked tirelessly!

Someone has donated money to Ruby's friends to have every child go to the hospital to finish the job!  YEA GOD!

We spell love starting Ruby's Friends to bring medical care
 to vulnerable children and orphans.

We spell love spending time with someone very special

We spell love taking care of the widow and her children.

This woman has 14 children and no way to support!  The team bought food!  But look at the joy anyway!

We spell love by getting sneakers for all the kids to help their feet heal!

Yep, that's how we spell love!

Team 1 - Well done thou good and faithful servants!