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!


  1. Such a very sweet post. I can certainly imagine the thoughts running through your head, and your heart, as you leave Emma there as an adult missionary, and head for home.

  2. How heartachingly sweet and sorrowful - the promise and the parting! God is so very faithful. Praying a hedge of protection around her, strong mighty angels guiding her footfalls, the Lord Almighty as her rear guard.

    And the holy spirit leading her to each and every need and blessing.

    Thank you Emmy - for teaching us to love your children.

  3. Okay, you are breaking the hearts of parents everywhere...and here Joel and I sit ...him with tears and me sobbing. Beautiful ! You are in our prayers, and Emma will be on a daily basis along with many others. Hugs and love....

  4. as you should be... God bless all of you.

  5. John 14 v 27 comes to my mind for you DW on your trip home. Thinking of you all, in South Africa.

  6. WHAT? She got to visit Joanne and Watson? No way. I love it. And Watson looks beyond adorable in his glasses!

  7. I sit with tears streaming down my face as I understand how you feel. I have one daughter planning to go to Africa, another to China and I am planning to go to Central America - each of us fulfilling God's call to GO. God is so good. He is faithful to watch over each of us (even though I think I am the one protecting them when we are together). May God protect Emma as she carries out His work in Uganda. Who knows? She and my Emily's path may cross one day in the not-too-far-off future :) Lisa

  8. DW - As the time pasees you will learn to accept the fact that your precious daughter is doing her calling. i will take time, a loNG time - but it will happen. You are more than Blessed to be able to travel to Africa a few times a year. My daughter has been in Taiwan (for 8 years) and now in Korea (4 years). I only see her once every two years. Please count your Blessings that she is with people you know and an area that you are very familiar with. I do not have that advantage. God has Emma in his hands and will take care of her all the days of her life. She is a treasure. Mary McGinnis - met you in Knoxville last year.

  9. Tears and prayers sent your way. My daughter (15) already has plans to return, she's been there 2 times this past year and is praying for her future.....yes we love Sarah and Shawn and Jethro too...

  10. So precious to have a daddy who loves his daughter so much and to have such a connection. You will always have that to share together.

  11. Dw -
    no words...
    just tears (a mama's heart feeling your emotions)...
    how proud to have such a sweet spirit in Emma to serve Him...
    praying for you and Linny and the family as you pray through this time of having her so far away...
    (I bet you're already counting down the weeks to the next GO team!)

  12. What a priceless testament to the love of a daddy to his daughter. Pride for sure...sadness that the years went by so quickly. Pride for what she is doing with her life...sadness that this can't be accomplished 5 miles from home. Similar to my son being in the marines...pride for all he has accomplished and will accomplish...sad and scared for what he might have to endure and without his mommy to protect him. These are God's children, for us to care for and raise to follow His words and do His work. So thankful we have God to watch over our children and know even if we are not right there, they are in good hands for they are in His hands...always have been and always will be. Take care and grieve this change and loss of Emma being so close.

  13. Tears pour down my face as I read your post. Wow! Tears for you.. tears for Emma.. tears for my "Emma" (known to us as Alecia). She is 14 and sees visions of little African American faces and dreams of loving on them. Her dream vehicle? A huge bus for all her children.

    My heart is with you, weeping and rejoicing. For our girls belong to Him. We are just blessed to get to borrow them and call them daughters.

    I am with you, Dad.

  14. thank you for sharing your heart with all of us...watching to see the rest of her journey unfold
    blessings..and peace

  15. Praying for you and your family. This is all so hard, so beautiful, so messy with emotions. He is good with that and I know He will pour His grace upon all of you as you walk these days out. Thank you for allowing us to come along on this journey. I have a daughter who is already speaking of these things as well. She has the same birthday as your Emma. We are committed to praying for her. Blessings on a sweet daddy and his beautiful daughter.

  16. precious...praying for your emma!

  17. As a dad - I feel both your pain and your joy - your fear and your pride - thanks for sharing it - but there is "a time for everything"!

    hugs - aus and co.

  18. Amen and Amen! What a precious gift you have given Emma raising her in the Lord and encouraging her in her God given dreams.
    Keep up the God work.

  19. This is such a beautiful story!! It brings tears to my eyes, the love for orphans and the love between a father and daughter. "There is no greater love than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 1:4 May God bless your whole family all the days of their lives!!

  20. Beautiful post, wonderful love of a daddy for his daughter. What a sweet blessing Emma is to so many. You and your wife raised her for God. To God be the glory.

  21. I am Nicole, adopted from the Philippines. I just read this post. Emma is a great helper. The kids will really appreciate her. I hope you are safe there like your daddy said.

    To the daddy:

    I know you are missing your little Emma. Are you proud of her? We will pray for Emma every time when you write about her. You are a good dad.

    I am 7 years old. I live with my mom and dad and my dog. Do you have a dog?

  22. So beautiful words Dw wrote about his Emma and my eyes are filled with tears when he wrote..."that I board a plane to leave Africa without Emma..." Praying that the Lord's angels guard her and be with her all the time.

  23. So beautiful and my heart cries with you as you return home without your Emma. Tears and prayers that God will ease this missing, this letting go, that you, Linny, and all the brothers and sisters back home are going through. And prayers of course, for Emma, who is most likely homesick even though she's following the call of Uganda.

  24. What a sweet tribute to such an amazing girl - a true servant of the Lord and such a gift to Uganda. Sending you a big hug, Dwight and Linny! Love you both.

  25. God bless you as you follow the Lord's calling on your life, Emma! Hugs to you both!