Tuesday, June 6, 2017

In Ugandan Hospitals

It was a normal day.  The kids were all out playing and having a good time when I heard crying.  I knew right away that it was Jonah.  I wasn't super worried, even when I got to him and saw that his leg was definitely broken, I wasn't worried.  These things happen and I figured we'd go get it set, casted and be home before dinner!  

Well that wasn't the case.  He developed Compartment Syndrome which is massive swelling that often requires surgery as well as plastic surgery.  There was even a portion of time that he was at risk for amputation!  Praise the Lord that didn't have to happen and he is recovering well now.  

After the break, everyone was running here and there for different things, some stayed with Moses, got Eva ready to go, splinted his leg with one of my mingling sticks (a long kitchen spoon here), grabbed some pain meds, stopped for prayer and went out the door.  He was in great pain with every bump of the African roads for the 1 hour it took to get to the hospital.  Upon arrival, they pretty much got us right in and xrayed... but not without laughing and photographing our handy splint first!  haha

Immediately they knew it was compartment syndrome and that he'd have to be admitted for surgery the following Monday... 3 days away.  So some people drove the full hour home and back to get Moses and supplies to stay the weekend in the hospital.  Katelyn came to help take care of the babies when I had to tend to Jonah and Shalom came as interpreter/friend for moral support.  We made a pretty good team and had a lot of fun despite the sad reason we were there!

Our first "guests" came in right away.  This should have been an indication of what was to come.  Even though this particular hospital is only one hour away, it's a different language altogether and none of us had any idea what they were saying.  I assumed the first "guests" were nurses or staff of some sort, but when they just stood in our room talking with each other, staring at us and laughing, I finally guessed what was going on and tried to get them out a quickly and politely as I possibly could!  

We enjoyed quiet times of coloring by the fresh air in the hallway, having coffee on the balcony at 9:00PM, watching all the many different lizards, rats, beetles and a giant, red-eyed pigeon, eating brownies and watching movies on Katelyn's computer, having wheel chair/IV pole "races" (think snail pace) down the abandoned hallways and eating delicious Ugandan dinners brought in from a restaurant nearby!

We didn't have consistent water, but there were 2 spigots outside where people collected water and did washing.  The first time we did washing we apparently used the wrong spigot!  One was for filling jerry cans and one was for washing... they both look exactly the same and there were no signs, but everyone just knew this somehow!  Oops!

We also got quite a few more "visitors" (aka- people who come to stare and laugh at the muzungus unashamedly).  One evening it was so bad that we went to extreme measures.  3 women had walked in and stood there talking and laughing.  Used to this routine by now, I greeted them while trying to bar any further entrance to the room and say goodbye.  Which they did... although not without a bit of a hard time.  But it didn't stop there!  They went to the window proceeding to talk, point and laugh!  So we, as politely as we could given the situation, lifted the mattresses to rest against part of the window.  You'd think they'd get the hint, right?  Wrong!  They then climbed the stairs outside to peek OVER the mattresses through the small opening on the top!!  So I raised one of the mattresses to cover it until we couldn't hear them anymore... and went and got a room key!

Did I mention the beetles are HUGE and sound like mice scratching at the door?  Well, they do!
His first surgery went very well and was performed by a great and well known surgeon here, but we soon realized the level of nursing care wasn't quite cutting it.  In fact, it was so bad we were worried about being able to save his leg.  They never once checked his vitals, left his massive open wound for hours with flies etc, hardly checked on him and couldn't care less about the massive pain he was in.  Even if I could find a nurse, they often wouldn't do anything.
    We were able to transfer to Corsu Hospital near the capitol and received INCREDIBLE care!!!
It was THE LOOOONGEST ride to Kampala ever!  It usually takes 5 hours, but it took a whopping 11 hours!  Needless to say, the driver didn't get a tip.  Because he drove so slow, we arrived late at night and missed our chance by far to get Jonah to see a doctor.  Without my even having to ask, the nurses took his vitals, weighed and measured and brought him pain meds!  Thankfully the plastic surgeon was understanding and kind and made a special trip in on a Saturday to see Jonah!  Such vastly different treatment from the first hospital!  He was thoroughly cleaned and re-bandaged every single day, kept tabs on his vitals, they kept a proper pain/antibiotics routine and even fed the patients!  We were SO beyond thrilled with the incredible care Corsu gives!
It was a hopping place and I was able to meet a friend I had only met on our Ugandan Missionary Community FaceBook group.  She has a special needs orphanage I've long desired to see.  We got to be friends with the other people in the wards including a very discouraged and worried Mama Elizabeth who I had met when they were at Cure Hospital here in Mbale!  In Uganda it's a bit unusual to see those with special needs being loved and well cared for.  Parents are often ashamed or embarrassed and keep their kids more hidden and in their houses.  It was wonderful to see SO many children getting the help they need!  It's tough in any culture to care for a child with special needs - as I know because of all that my parents do for my sister Abbie!  These parents need encouragement and prayer for sure.  What a blessing they are to these little ones of God's!
Another blessing was the visitors we were able to have!  Katelyn's family came, bringing Jonah's other brothers and since we were near the airport, some friends who had just returned to Uganda stopped in on their way back to Mbale, as did one of my friends from the US as she was there for a week's visit!  She came bearing pepperoni, American cereal and cinnamon gum!  Such a fun (but sadly, quick) time with her!
After Jonah's plastic surgery, it was just a quiet time of recovery and having to be so gentle to make sure the skin graft took.  I sent Shalom home with Katelyn's family and kept one of Jonah's brothers.  The family has been broken, but are being reunified.  The brothers haven't known each other until recently, so it was a blessing to see them truly start to become brothers!
So!  After 2 1/2 weeks of hospitals the time came to allow Jonah his freedom ticket to go back home!!!
He was slightly happy about this (even though Corsu really is quite awesome).
He had to miss the first week of school due to the skin graft still being so fragile, developed an infection that is now gone, got his pins removed and his stitches taken out!  He is still on crutches, but is expected to make a full recovery!!! 
 We praise the Lord for His strength and patience and protection while in the hospital.  I am thankful for all those who kept the home side of things so well and even took in 3 of my kids!  There were so many blessings that came out of this time and I am, in a strange way, very thankful to the Lord that Jonah broke his leg!  I know that sounds funny, but it's true.  God shows His power in the gazillion gifts and blessings He showers even in the harder times!

Pray that Jonah will see this time as a gift, that he will come to know the Lord and that his heart will continue to soften, that his leg continues to heal, for his stamina to increase and also for the funds to come in to cover the cost of his surgeries and hospital stay.  If you feel led to help in that way, we'd be so grateful!

This boy's laugh and smile are back and he's only sad that he doesn't get to sit and watch Spiderman anymore!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Priceless Treasures

I have a Bible study group with the girls in our church on Sunday afternoons.  It’s a time I really enjoy with them!  I try to do one topic for a few weeks to help it sink in and be able to talk in depth about things.  We’ve talked about gossip, loving others well, temptations, working for the Lord and not for men, we’ve done the armor of God and most recently, seeing ourselves as God sees us… His priceless daughters!  The girls each have a notebook to write the verse in and if they recite it the following week they get a sweet.  We also have time of prayer and singing.  It’s been interesting to see the cultural differences between American and Ugandan girls.  American girls are typically quick to open up about their feelings and ask questions about life or even be vulnerable and share what’s on their hearts and minds.  But here, to cry or show emotion, shows weakness.  How you feel is never talked about and I think these girls have no idea what to think about many things or have many unanswered questions because it’s taboo or too “weak” to discuss some things.  

The latest topic, as you might have guessed by the title of this post has been about seeing ourselves as God sees us.  We made a poster  with many different verses in the Bible that God says of us… beloved, chosen, protected, HIS, etc!  It’s my prayer that these words help the girls to see that their worth is in who they are in Christ and not how much dowry they’re worth, what a boy thinks of them, where their marks are in school or how pretty they are.  

If she knows she is God’s child and bought by the price of His one and only Son, she may be less likely to do damage to herself by going to nightclubs drinking etc.  

If she knows she is beautifully created by God’s very own hands, she may be less likely to give her body to a boy who tells her she’s pretty.

If she knows she was created for a very specific purpose, then she may be more likely to work hard in school to be able to do her best at whatever the Lord has for her.

If she knows there is no amount of money, diamonds or cows that could ever measure her worth, she wouldn’t sell herself for school fees, clothes, phones or favors.  

I want these girls to know that nothing but the blood of Jesus himself can buy them!  With dowry still a very much practiced thing here in Uganda, I fear they look at that to see how much they are worth.  I want them to know that their Heavenly Father knows they are worth far and waaaaaay beyond all that!

Another problem is the incredible absence of fathers here.  In many cases, men have multiple families.  The massive majority of these girls are raised by a single mother, their father having moved on to another woman and raising another family.  There are some who will feed, discipline and clothe their children, but not much of a relationship beyond that.  So many of these girls are left searching for attention and validation from men.

The Lord’s timing in all this is so amazing!  A friend of mine contacted me asking for ways she could help and let me know about a group in America called, “Days For Girls”.  https://www.daysforgirls.org/ This is an entirely volunteer group from New York (there are chapters all over the US) who donate their time, money and resources to bring these girls something they really need… pads.  These are reusable pads and DFG literally thought of EVERYTHING!  Every possible issue was addressed and they came up with creative ways to manage them.  For washing the pads, they put into each kit a heavy duty ziplock bag to put soiled cloths in and it also works to do the actual washing in!  In this culture menstruation is totally and completely taboo.  So they are able to wash inside the house without anyone seeing and then when they hang them up outside to dry they are in the shape of a washcloth so no one would know!  They also put soap, underwear, a “how to” instruction sheet into each beautiful drawstring bag!  

Jeanette ,the sweet woman whose group sent these girls the box, even put in kits for the mothers of the girls!  Because of trouble with taxes on the package, I wasn’t able to get it for quite some time.  And in that time, the Girls Bible Study group was growing!  That is a wonderful thing, but then meant that there wasn’t enough to send home for the mamas.  The reason Jeanette offered to send some for the mamas was because I shared with her about how the mamas might take things from their daughters to use for themselves.  This has happened SO many times.  If I give some hand-me-down clothes to a girl in the church who is in rags, I often see the mother wearing those clothes.  She needs them too, I’m sure.  I keep a stock of pads on hand because if a problem occurs at school the girls usually come here for help washing their uniform and getting cleaned up.  Having these kits has drastically cut down on those “visits”!  Since half of the kits were for the mamas, that meant larger sizes than the girls needed.  So to avoid the kits getting taken by their mothers I sewed up the sides of some of the underwear to fit the girls better.  I have since learned that for many of those girls, the mothers removed my stitches and are using them themselves.  They need them obviously in order to work, but the girls do too in order to go to school.

As I mentioned above, the post office put a giant tax on the package and I wasn’t able to get it out while I disputed the cost.  As God’s timing would have it though, my Ugandan nurse friend Teddy was able to be here for it when it finally was released!  Since it’s such a taboo topic, these girls hardly know what’s going on or how to manage things.  Coming from a nurse was a perfect scenario!  She was able to thoroughly explain how our bodies work, cultural issues, hygiene etc in ways that wouldn’t have been very impactful coming from me.  I learned a lot about how the culture deals with this too, so I am in awe at how the Lord used a high tax to make me wait until the right person was here for the task!  The girls were SO thrilled with their bags with the kits tucked inside them.  Even some mothers came just to thank us for teaching their daughters and for giving them the kits!  It was a beautiful thing to see so many mothers so happy for their daughters!

To end the Bible study series, I got the new movie “Priceless” for us to all watch together!  We started with lunch and then enjoyed the movie projected in my living room.  I had prepared for 30 girls and was surprised when I had to pull out leftovers from the fridge to find enough food to feed the 42 girls who came!  It was so awesome to have my living room literally stuffed with God’s priceless girls!  The song we’ve been learning is the theme song to the movie and the movie itself is a powerful visual to all we’d been talking about.  It is about sex trafficking.  The movie is done is a very tasteful way, but leaves you no doubt about what is happening and how easy and prevalent it is today!  Sadly a woman all the girls know has most likely fallen prey to a sex trafficking sceme.  Despite all our warnings and even a friend’s help to get a local job, she took a “job” in Saudi Arabia and we’ll probably never see her again.  As horrible and sad as this is, it’s a slap-in-the-face wake up call to these girls to have it happen to someone they all knew.  We had a bit of discussion after the movie and girls have come to me in these weeks following to ask some different questions here and there.  So I know they are thinking about it, their eyes are now opened to some of the ways evil men might try to snare them and they are also praying for women who are trapped in it now.

Please pray for these girls and SO many countless others!  Pray for their hearts to turn towards God, for them to realize the amazing sacrifice He made for THEM, for their protection and that they will flee from pressures and temptations.  Pray that they will know who they are in their Heavenly Father’s eyes and not how the culture/world views them!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Letter to My Son

Many people have asked to hear Moses's amazing story.  It really is an incredible one that clearly portrays God's power and greatness and shouldn't be kept to ourselves!  I want him to grow up never knowing a day of not knowing his story.  I want him to grow up knowing how loved he is by his Savior!  I have written him a letter that I will read to him at every birthday and whenever he asks.  It is not a secret, but it is his and I want it to be special for him.  So on this blog I am leaving some parts out, but sharing most of it so you can read about the great God who loves all of His children and of the amazing way He showed that from the very start of my son's life!


My sweet little Moses Man.  I am writing this just after your very first birthday.  I hope and pray that the events surrounding your birth and what amazing things God did will be good reminders to you of the amazing love God has for you!  Every Christian’s purpose on earth is to glorify the Creator, and your birth story certainly does that.  But I pray you will continue to live a life fully and completely sold-out and surrendered to the Lord!  
He is the reason we live!  
He is the reason we move!  
And He is the reason we have being!
Your life started long before any of us got to know you.  Even your birth mother was second to know of your existence.  It was God who saw you first.  He is the One who loved you first.  He had a plan for your life even before He formed you in your mother’s womb!
Unfortunately (as of this writing) I have never been able to meet your birth mother.  But I know one thing for sure!  She loved you very, very much.  And you will see how much as you continue reading.
Your mother delivered you through great pain… probably a few weeks earlier than she ever expected to.  I don’t know if she was at home, in a clinic or alone, but you were properly taken care of and your cord was tied well.  She wrapped you in a beautiful bright colored lesu and probably snuggled you for a bit while she rested from the painful hours of labor she had just experienced.  You were so tiny!  Looking back, you probably should have been in the neonatal ward at the hospital, but the Great Physician took greater care of you than any human doctor could!  I’m not sure how long your mama held you, but I’m sure some of her tears dropped onto your tiny body as she held you in her arms.  At some point she got up and carried you to a beautiful garden right next to a police post.  She carefully chose a beautiful spot under a tree to lay you down.
Mama A at the spot she found him
 I can only imagine that the act of laying you down had to be infinitely more painful than the hours of labor and delivery itself.  My heart breaks for both of you as I think of the separation that should never be.  
I wish you could remember her, your first mother.  The love between a mother and her child cannot be explained and I am positive yours loved you with everything in her!  She chose not only a beautiful spot, but also a well traveled area with easy access to police.  She wanted desperately for you to be found, loved and cared for.  Many may say it is an act of cruelty, but they are only speaking out of ignorance, my sweet boy.  Never let people steal the love and compassion you should have for this woman who carried you for all those months!  You will never be erased from her heart and mind and I’m sure she continues to love you even now.  That first step away from you I’m sure was so hard for her, with each step following not getting any easier.  I am sure that even now, you are not far from her mind.  She left you there in the garden, under that beautiful tree, seemingly alone.  But you were not alone!  God and his armies of angels were there protecting you!  You were in safer hands than even your mother’s.  You were, still are, and will never be able to leave God’s powerful and loving hands!  He saw you.  He saw your mother.  And He had a plan!  A perfect plan that demonstrates His tender mercy and care towards us!  

Just a few hours later, He sent "Mama A" selling greens as she always does.  She walks up and down the roads selling greens from a basket on her head.  She saw that the sweet potatoes were ready to eat, so she decided to see if she could make a little extra money that day.  So for the only time ever, the very day you were born and laid under the tree, she decided to go to the fence to call the woman on the other side for permission to sell the sweet potatoes for her.  As they stood talking and making a deal, Mama A spied your blanket under the tree.  She noticed you not because you cried, but because God caused her to look your way.  The beautiful colors of your wrap caught her eye and she went near to see what was there.  The woman with the sweet potatoes warned her not to get near you because she thought that inside the blanket could be a bomb or something for witchcraft.  But God gave Mama A bravery.  As a Christian she knew witchcraft didn’t stand a fighting chance next to God’s power and protection and she went over and lifted a corner of your blanket.  She was shocked to find that it was you!

Both women immediately sprang into action and one went for the police next door while the other called Pastor Eric who then sent his wife, Dianna.  Mama Dianna is thankfully a runner and she got there very quickly as did the police in their truck.  All of a sudden you were surrounded by the people God had sent to be your rescue party!

The rescue crew!

Officer B was first on the scene and was the one who pulled you out.  He said he was afraid to pull your blanket aside because he feared you were already dead.  You still hadn’t made a sound or moved a muscle!  They all hopped onto the big police truck with you and went into town to the police station.  It was then that I first heard of your existence.  Mama Dianna called me asking for formula, bottles and clothes for you.  So Denise (Mama Dianna’s oldest daughter) and I got into town as fast as we could, gathering supplies to take to you.  I remember driving the van and feeling numb.  I couldn’t wait to meet you, but I knew you needed these things to survive.  Meanwhile, you were at the police station, the talk of the town as they brought in news cameras and filed reports.  Everyone wanted to see you and hold you, but you were too tiny.  Too cold and lethargic.  It was during this time that the police officer decided to give you the name of Moses, because your story reminded him so much of the man of the Bible.  He, as well as countless others, see that your life was spared for a reason.  God has a purpose and plan for you here on earth before your time on earth is done!

First photo at the police station

I remember that first glimpse of you, my boy!  I walked into that crowded room at the police department, files stacked to the roof, tables, chairs, tin huts in the courtyard behind where prisoners were temporarily kept and people wandering everywhere.  But there you were, so small in Mama Dianna’s arms.  You didn’t move or make a sound.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think you would one day become my son, but I knew that I loved you already and that I wanted to do everything in my power to help you.  
A heavy rain/hail storm came in as we were leaving the police station.  It’s so amazing to me how God planned all these things!  The rain could have drowned you or made you too cold to survive or the hail stones could have harmed your tiny frame.  But God had it planned to hold off the rain until after you were found.
The missionary community brought a bassinet and clothes and rejoiced over your life!  Since I worked for and lived next to Mama Dianna’s family, I was able to see you at any time.  I actually spent your first night of life sleeping on the couch caring for you until I got very sick during the night.  I was sick for the following couple of days and had to keep my germs away from your tiny self.  It was the hardest thing ever!  All I wanted to do was snuggle you tight!  Once I was well though, I was back to sleeping on their couch until I completed the proper foster care requirements to take you home myself.  It seemed like forever and a thousand days before I was finally allowed to carry you across the yard to my home, but it was really only 15 days.  I remember that walk.  I was so overjoyed to be able to care for you, but scared too.  I had to keep reminding myself that this was only for a short time as we were looking for a godly Ugandan home and family for you.  We asked many people and many showed interest, but for one reason or another each one wasn’t able to.  If I am honest, hope rose up within me each time... even though I knew a single woman was not allowed to adopt a boy.  So I just kept caring for and loving you as if you were my own son, even though I knew you could be taken from me at any moment.  The thought made my heart break and I cried many times at the thought of losing you, but I wanted the very best for you and I knew it was entirely in God’s hands just as everything else is.  

You already know how you came to be named Moses, but your second name took time.  I wanted a local name for you, something with meaning. I asked many people for ideas but nothing felt right for you.  One day we were talking about it and Tonny said that you needed to be named after your father.  That’s when it all clicked!  Your father on earth is not known, you may never even have an adoptive father, BUT your heavenly Father has always been with you, even when you were seemingly alone there in the garden.  That is why I named you Moses Emmanuel because Emmanuel means, “God with us”.  He is and always will be with you, my son.  You will see that there is nowhere you can run from His presence.  He is ALWAYS there.

During that first year, you grew so fast!  Your quiet and weak self turned into a strong, active and talkative boy with so much personality.  Each milestone you hit early… except for the arrival of your teeth.  God showed His power as the Great Physician by causing you to grow into a healthy and intelligent little man!  At the time of this writing, you have 5 teeth, can say many words (including ‘halleluiah’, ‘thank you’ and ‘Mama’ - much to my great joy!) and have taken your first few steps!  You LOVE to eat and play with balls, bugs and the onions in the bottom shelf of the pantry.  Your laugh and sense of humor bring so much joy!  Everywhere we go people greet you by name or ask where you are if you aren’t with me.  You love music and dancing and this brings me joy because I can only guess your birth mother enjoyed them as well.  I consider it one of her many gifts to you.  Whenever you go to sleep I sing you a song and you press your ear to my chest to hear the vibrations.  I imagine that it’s a similar sound as hearing singing from the womb.  You also love to put your ear to my mouth as I sing in church and you clap and sway and raise your hands.  I imagine you someday as a music pastor or something similar.

As I write this, we are in the beginning stages of your adoption process.  To me, this won’t change anything about my love for you.  In my heart, you have always been my son and this legal process isn’t changing anything other than adding a name and allowing you to come with me wherever I go!  I am humbly aware of the weight of responsibility this gives me.  God’s command for me to teach you and train you in His ways is both a heavy one and a joyful one.  I want to protect you and keep you safe.  I want you to have the best education and for you to never lack anything you need.  I want you to have good friends and learn to show love and compassion to all.  
I am humbled to have been chosen to be your Mama who has such a high calling of raising up a child of God's!  But I know you are first and foremost, His son!  I promise you that I will do everything I am able.  I want you to never know a day that you didn’t know the Lord.  I want to raise you up for His service and never cause you to stumble.  But unfortunately I am very aware of my shortcomings.  And I know I won't always be a good example of Christ. I will let you down, fail you, forget to tell you how much I love you, I'll have times of impatience and frustration and no matter how much I try to be otherwise...
I will still be an imperfect mother. But! Praise the Lord, you have a perfect Father! Look to Him for everything! Praise Him for what He has done in your life! Follow Him all your days! Seek His will for your life!
God will never leave you.  
Never fail you.  
He will always guide you and give you perfect wisdom.
I pray that you will seek after Him for all your days and proclaim His greatness in surrendering to Him!

Thursday, April 27, 2017


What is HOPE?

"I hope it doesn't rain today."
"We hope to go to the beach next month."
"I hope it works!"

We use the word too casually. These are wishes only.  The word "hope" can be interchanged with the word "wish" in any one of these sentences.

But what is "hope" for the Believer?  
I believe it is a feeling of expectation for certain things you KNOW will happen.
"Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" Heb 11:1

I have the honor, joy and privilege of caring for yet another little baby.
A child of my Heavenly Father's

She is created in His image
...for a purpose.

He has a future all planned for her.
And she has a HOPE!

The following is an excerpt from the letter I wrote to her so she can read it when she is older.
Your name may be changed by the time you read this, but as the one who had the honor of being your mother while you were a newborn, I got to give you your first names.  I called you ‘Eva Hope’.  Eva means “life” and I thought that was very fitting because God gave you life and kept you alive even in such circumstances.  I pray that one day you will have new life in Christ when you surrender yourself into His powerful hands and serve Him with all of that life He has given you!  "Life" will take on a whole new meaning!  ‘Hope’ was a name that many people found fitting for you.  God has given you a future and a hope!  “Hope” is an eager expectation of things you know will come and there are great things to come in your life, little one!!  Great things if you put your faith and trust in Him and Him alone!  He is the One who created you, He is the One who chose the womb of your mother for you to grow in, He is the One who kept you alive until you could be rescued, He is the One who brought me to Uganda so I could be here when you needed me, He is the One who kept you out of an orphanage and He is the One who has raised up your forever family who will love you to death.

Please pray with me for this little one and so many others who need loving homes!  Pray that God will open hearts, bring provision and godly families to be the church in this way as He has instructed us to. 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

By Faith

Moses of the Bible is a man who I look up to as a great hero of the faith.  He has an amazing story so obviously designed and created by God alone.  It's too amazing to have been designed by any other means!  It couldn't just happen, there are too many incredible pieces to the puzzle.  But each event (good and hard) were planned out by the Creator of the universe to be in the right place, at the right time, and to do the task He called him to do for the glory of God!

There is another Moses I know.

This one was found in the bushes by a mother in our church when he was just a few hours old.  His mama wrapped him in a green cloth and gently laid him in the grass under a tree.  I am convinced that this woman wanted her child to be found, loved and cared for.  God put Mama Allen  in that garden at just the time to hear his tiny cry.  He was cold, premature and sickly, but his little life was so precious and beautiful to the One who created him.  The same God who led and used the Moses of the Bible is the One who is leading, protecting and using this little Moses too!  He has a plan and purpose and calling for this little man.  I am overwhelmed at God's blessing and goodness to me that I can be "mama" to this child of His.  I never expected to be a single mom.  My life is not the way I "planned' or thought it would be.  But it is so much more beautiful, hard, stretching and amazing than anything I could have dreamed up!  God's way is so much more beautiful!!

Being Moses's mother makes me think of his birth mother quite often.  So many can be angry with her for what she did.  It certainly wasn't right, but I also think of how desperate she must have been.  What made her desperate enough to leave him in the garden can only be speculated and we might never know.  It could have been to protect him from an abusive father, or she was a woman who hid her pregnancy and therefore didn't want to show up at home with a baby, or she knew she didn't have the resources to care for him?  Her act, however wrong it was, may have been done out of immense love for him.  Did she cry as she walked away from him?  Did she hide in the bushes until someone came for him, like Moses of the Bible's sister did?  Maybe she prays for him every day?  I pray for her.  I pray for this mother of my son who took care of him for the first months of his developing life, nestled right in there next to her heart.  He heard her voice, danced right along with her, felt pain when she was sad and was soothed when she sang.  This woman delivered him through excruciating pain, but I think the worst pain of all must have been when she last looked at his handsome face, stroked his cheek, released his tiny hand and walked away.

This difficult beginning shows that God has big plans for his life!  He could have easily died in that garden.  Dogs could have come, he could have died of hunger or the hail storm we had just hours after he was found.  He could have died even after we took him in, since he was so small and should have been in the NICU.  God has some big task he needs Moses here on earth for.  Something only he can do!  God chose one baby Moses from infancy to prepare and grow him for an important task and I believe He is growing this Moses for a purpose as well!

There are so many people who pour into each of our lives!  They shape and mold who we are.  I am thrilled and scared to death to have the honor of raising Moses.  I couldn't love him more if I had given birth to him!  Loving him doesn't mean I have all the answers and I know I will fail over and over again.  I know I will need help and encouragement from others.  I know Moses will need godly men to be examples and mentors.  I know many of the hurdles I have to face in the next few months through the adoption process... mountains will need to be moved!

~~~I also know Moses isn't mine... he is God's. ~~~
 He is God's precious child and nothing is too big for Him or out of His control!  I rest in knowing that.  He goes before us and will prepare the way if it is His will for Moses to be legally and forever my son!

Please join me in praying!!  The adoption process will be tiring, stressful and expensive, but completely worth it!!  Pray specifically that I will find a good and honest lawyer to walk me through the whole process, that the law against a single woman adopting a boy will be waived, that finances won't be an issue, that things will move swiftly and we will gain favor in the eyes of the court.  Pray that I won't get stressed out, but that Moses and I will treasure this process!
I am excited and intimidated all at the same time!  THRILLED that the life-long dream of adopting is coming true and so thrilled that this boy I love so much, will be my forever son!!!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dropped the Ball... but trying to catch it again!

I have totally dropped the ball on this blogging thing!  I honestly have every intention to write, but with the busyness of life, the lack of faithful internet/power, the hard things as well as the beautiful things God is doing, it gets to be overwhelming to figure out how to put things into words and get caught up and wrapped up into a single blog post!

It's been a year and a half now since I first (and FINALLY) stepped foot and the beautiful, red Ugandan dirt!  http://bythisiknowlove.blogspot.ug/2015/09/pinch-me.html
I don't really know what my expectations were, but I know my heart was in a good place and was a completely open and empty page for God to write the story as He chose to.  Sadly, I can't always say I am surrendered to His plan for me.  Surrender continues to be a daily exercise as He is always leading and bringing new opportunities as well as drawing me away from others.  His plans are far better than my own!  He has done so much more than I ever dared to dream or pray for!

As before, my ministry here will take priority over blogging, but I do intend to keep it up and not allow it to become an overwhelming task.  As a teen I remember searching, reading and eating up any blog or information about Uganda.  I remember trying to imagine what life must be like here and I believe God used those blogs to further my desire to come to Uganda.  If God can use this one to grow that in someone else's heart, then I want to share!

While it is beautiful and amazing here, it is also tough and painful.  But that is also what life is like in America or Europe or anywhere else!  We are all learning and growing and serving where God has us.  This is just my life.  This is just one simple blog among millions.  But I want to be faithful to use the lessons and opportunities God brings my way, to bless and encourage others.

Friday, October 28, 2016

He Knows

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You discern my thoughts from afar
You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways

Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from Your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there Your hand shall lead me,
and Your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,"
even the darkness is not dark to You;
the night as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to You.

For You formed my inward parts;
You knitted me together in my mother's womb,
I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are Your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in Your book were written every one of them
the days that were formed for me
when as yet there were none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts O God!
How vast the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand
I awake and I am still with You!

Psalm 139
It's amazing, unfathomable and humbling to try and understand how much we matter to God!
Why He chooses to love us imperfect, sinful, wandering, helpless and needy humans, but He does!  
He does SO much!

He knows what we'll do before we do it.
He knows what we'll think before we think it.
He knows what we'll say before we say it.
He takes care of us.
He protects us.
Even if we run, we cannot get away from Him and His love for us!
He knew us even BEFORE we were born!
He knew us BEFORE our mothers knew we were there!
He knows the number of our days.
And He knows what will fill each and every one of them!

I have 9 children who I love and care for and even more who I work with weekly.  But they each have stories I have not been a part of.  Wounds and hurts, joys and triumphs that I will never know or get to be a part of.  God has seen each and every one of their days... even before they were born and breathed their first breath of air!  
This is just one small area, of one small town, in one small country, on one continent in the world.  
There are SO many children, with different hurts and struggles and stories and yet God knows each-and-every-human who ever has, is and ever will be on this planet.  
He knows us individually and intricately.

My precious little Moses, whom I love so, so very much already has a past and future that I don't know.

I don't know who gave birth to him.  
I don't know the circumstances she found herself in.  
I don't know why she chose that particular garden to place the child she had just delivered. 
I don't know if she was hoping he'd be picked up or die there. 
I don't know for sure that he was premature.  
I don't know if the man who fathered him knows of his existence.  
I don't know if she watches us from afar.  
I don't know if I will be able to adopt him. 
I don't know what friends he will make. 
I don't know what he will be when he grows up. 
I don't know if he'll be right handed or left handed or need braces or break an arm or...  
 I don't know if he will come to know the Lord as his Savior, even though I pray he will!!

 Of only one thing I do know...

PC: Christopher Mullen

I know that God knows!  
And that's enough for me.  
Because I know that God's way is perfect and He has everything under His control in the palm of His powerful hand!  And I praise the Lord for that comfort!

PC: Christopher Mullen