Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:66

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Reflecting on the most precious gift ever given. God's own son (Jesus). My prayer is that we might each unwrap the gift, through faith, and receive everlasting life. God bless you all this Christmas.

2007 Swaziland Work Team Christmas Tree :-)

Friday, November 2, 2007


My friend Jennifer is in the battle of her life. She was diagnosed with breast cancer just over 6 years ago. She is a loving wife and the mother of two young children (age 7 and 6). Now, after rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and time spent in the hospital...the cancer is back. Because of some damage a tumor has done to her spine, she is also dealing with some paralysis from the waist down. She’s home now and she and her husband are in the midst of prayerfully deciding which treatment direction is best. Over these past six years, she and her family have often asked the question: Why? Why would God allow suffering like this? To quote another friend's daughter Laura: "This is one of those situations that automatically gets added to my already long list of Things I Would Do Differently If I Was In Charge of the Universe". ( We can relate. Just yesterday I was blessed to spend some precious time with Jennifer. An amazing time witnessing her, in the midst of her suffering, praising God for who He is. Continuing to ask & believe Him for healing ('He owns my cells') in the midst of some serious odds. Reciting Scripture passages she memorized long ago that speak of God’s greatness, goodness, faithfulness and love. Passages that give her peace and hope in the midst of this raging storm.

Again quoting my friend's daughter: "We often tend to ask WHY these things happen, but maybe a more realistic question is, HOW will we react WHEN they do? Here in America, I think we’ve been lulled by our relatively cushy lifestyles into believing that suffering is something best avoided. Certainly, it hurts -- and no one likes pain! But we seem to regard suffering as strange and unnatural. We think we're somehow entitled to a pain-free, trouble-free life. We assume that, if something deeply uncomfortable comes our way, God must be picking on us. We lash out at Him or at the people who are closest to us, and we feel sorry for ourselves. We try to find a way out of our misery. But what happens when there is no way out? At least, not at a price we’re willing to pay. What then?" Well, according to my friend Jennifer, we have two choices; we can either choose to dwell on WHAT God does for us or on WHO He is. She has chosen the later. Circumstances constantly change, life often turns out very differently than we had expected or imagined and many are left discouraged and disillusioned. But praise God He never changes. He's always the same. His word is eternally true.

None of us want to suffer...but it’s comforting to know that when I do, God has promised to be there with me every step of the way. May we all learn to focus on Him, trust in Him, rest fully in Him so that we too might my dear friend Jen...the peace that passes all understanding. (Phillipians 4:7). May God pour out His love, mercy, grace and healing on you Jen. I love you.

God has said;

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13: 5b, 8 NIV)

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4 NIV)

"The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights." (Habakkuk 3:19 NIV)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Swaziland - Be Thou My Vision

What matters most in life

"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord...." Philippians 3:7-8

Life can be so crazy. Lots of things pressing in on us all at once. Vying for our attention, our time, our energies, our days. Forces that attempt to get us so frazzled...that we miss what's most important in life. I've been reminded this week that each of us have only one lifetime here on this earth...and it's fleeting. Don't waste it! My prayer is that God and His Son Jesus Christ would become "first in our hearts", so we would begin to zero in on what's most important in this life. Grace and peace to you.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Desire of Our Heart

"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:44

In the Johannesburg airport, as we were about to walk down the jetway to get on the plane and head home to the States, we saw this mural. The message caught our attention but also stirred an ache in our hearts. We were faced with the reality of our leaving, and at the same time realized that a piece of our heart was being left behind for good with the people of Swaziland. People we prayed with, cried with, laughed with, played with, planted with, hammered with, painted with, sang with, danced with. People to whom God had knit our hearts together with. People we had come to love dearly. It's been just over a month since we left and my prayer is that God in His grace would one day lead us back again. That God in His grace would one day give us the privilege and opportunity to 'taste Africa' again. That God in His grace would continue the work He has begun, in us and through us, all to His glory. Again God, again!......that's the desire of my heart.

Monday, August 27, 2007

God's Animals

"And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so." Genesis 1:24

During one of the afternoons, we had the chance as a group to go on Safari. An amazing opportunity to be able to experience some of the wild animals that are native to Africa. Prior to this day many of us had only seen these animals in zoos...safely separated by several feet of fencing and moats. But not this time. We were up close and personal. In their environment....on their turf! As we spent the afternoon traveling in our Land Rover viewing these amazing creatures (and even being charged by a somewhat irritated elephant) I was reminded of something I'd heard a native Swazi once say; "Praise God for how He decorates the earth with His animals". Yes, these were His animals and our time there was truly a time of praise and worship to our awesome God and creator!

Warthog (pumba).................................White Rhinosaurus

African Elephant..................................King of the jungle


Nyala................................................Megan, Kathleen & Lauren

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Godly detour

"Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia." Acts 16:66

By now some of you've heard the story of our interesting beginning to our July mission trip. For those of you who haven't, here's the scoop. Our Delta flight from Flint was cancelled early morning July 11th (our departure day). That cancellation set off a series of events with us trying to get our group of 19 to Atlanta in time to connect with our scheduled flight later on that day to Johannesburg South Africa. The airline informed us that due to the size of our group our only option was to divide up; with 5 going to Detroit (myself, my 2 daughters, their college friend and another gal) and the other 14 heading to Lansing (since my husband and I were designated 'travel leaders' we went in different directions to assure that everyone was accounted for). Sounds like a plan, right? But as we'd soon discover....God had his own agenda. Well to make a long story shorter, what began that morning with a cancelled flight soon developed into a series of events/delays that resulted in our tiny group of 5 missing our connection in Atlanta. We had somewhat of a 'home alone' we literally stood at the window watching the plane that was carrying our other 14 teammates back away from the gate without us! Now what? We had no way of communicating with them as we wondered how and when we'd be reunited.

We stood in line that night for hours at the Delta reservation desk trying every possible attempt to get on a flight to anywhere...that could eventually get us to Johannesburg. But despite our persistent efforts we were informed that we'd be spending the night in Atlanta. They booked us on a flight for the next night to Frankfurt Germany and after a 12 hour layover there, we'd board another plane for an 11 hour flight to Jo-burg. The phrase 'be flexible' kept resounding in our heads (a phrase drilled into us during several of our team training sessions in the spring...ok, ok...we get it!). So here we were for the next 3 days...with just the clothes on our backs and our backpacks. I must admit there were times we were frustrated and tired, but we tried our best to make the most of it; verbally expressing things for which we were thankful to God, taking the Marta (subway) into downtown Atlanta to see the city, as well as catching the train into downtown Frankfurt for some sightseeing (an unexpected blessing). Exhausted, we even slept on some park benches along the Mein river (hey, it was peaceful:-). Eventually and by the grace of God we made it safely to Swaziland via Jo-burg where days later, we were joyously reunited with the rest of our group.

After taking some time to reflect on our little 'detour', all five of us soon began realizing that every step of the way God was not only with us...He was in it. God had a reason for keeping us off that flight. He was not only teaching us total dependance on Him right from the start, but He was providing multiple opportunities for many different people (in Atlanta and Frankfurt Germany) to hear of our mission for Jesus Christ. How exciting! You see...even though there's times when things don't go as we've planned...and even though there's times when we're frustrated and can't see what the outcome will be... and even though there's 'detours' in's comforting to know that God is in control and He knows what He's doing. It's true! For those of you who prayed for us...thank you very much. God answered. Here's some of the pictures taken during our 'detour':

5 'lost sheep' on the Marta in Atlanta........Lauren and Megan in the Frankfurt airport

Frankfurt train station............beautiful downtown Frankfurt

me & my girls along the Mein river........Yes!...souvenir T-shirts!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Love is the answer

"Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 13:10

Heard a song on the radio today on my way to work that really spoke to my heart. It's by a group called Building 429 and the song is titled "I Believe". The lyics go like this:

Walk blindly to the light and reach out for His hand
Don't ask any questions and don't try to understand
Open up your mind and then open up your heart
You will see that you and me aren't very far apart
'Cause I believe that love is the answer
I believe love will find a way
I believe that love is the answer
I believe love will find a way
Violence has spread worldwide and there's families on the streets
We sell drugs to children now, well why can't we just see
that all we do is eliminate our future with the things we do today
Money is our incentive now so that makes it ok
But I believe that love is the answer
I believe love will find a way
I believe that love is the answer
I believe love will find a way
Walk blindly to the light and reach out for His hand
Don't ask any questions and don't try to understand
I believe that love is the answer
I believe love will find a way
I believe that love is the answer
I believe love will find a way
Jesus is the Answer for the World Today
Above Him there's no other
Jesus is the Way
Jesus is the Answer for the World Today
Above Him there's no other
Jesus is the Way
Since our trip to Africa, we've come to realize more than ever how much we have in common with those we ministered to. We sleep, we eat, we laugh, we cry. Our need to know we're loved and that someone cares is the same. It's the same. As we were returning home, we met a South African man in the gift shop at the Johannesburg airport. When he saw our t-shirts he proceeded to ask us about our trip. After hearing a little bit about it, I'll never forget what he had to say next. He said "You have given the people hope. They now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that someone loves them and cares enough to come and help them. Their lives have been changed forever." You is the answer. My prayer is that we'll all, wholeheartedly, embrace that truth.......soon.
More pictures:

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Let the children come!

"But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Luke 18:16

People keep asking us; "What would you say has impacted you the most from your trip?". Well we've thought about that question alot and realized that it's not really 'what'....but 'who'. Without question I think we'd all say it's 'the children'. Their smiles. Their hugs. Their laughter. Their love. Their resiliance. Their hope. We cannot stop thinking about them. With the HIV-AIDS virus affecting over 60% of the population in this tiny kingdom of Swaziland, many of them are already orphans. A 15yr old today is given just a 6% chance of living to be 29! What staggering statistics! We cannot stop praying for them. These children are the future....and by God's grace they will become the godly leaders of tomorrow. Nothing is impossible with God! Yes Jesus, call them to yourself......and may they all, every last one of them, come to you!

Some of those faces:

Monday, July 30, 2007

The poor & needy

"The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want." Mark 14:77

Everywhere we went, everywhere we looked...the need was so great. Jesus was right. The poor and needy are all around us. The question is: Do we see them? Do we take the time to notice them? Not just in Swaziland or in some remote part of the world. But right here...right where we live. As I thought about this's not the part about the poor always being with us that bothered me....but the part about helping them 'any time we want'.'s an issue of the heart isn't it? How we live our lives....where we place our priorities. My prayer is that God in His great mercy will give us all 'the want to' that others' lives and ours, will be enriched & changed for good.

Here are more pictures:

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sick kids

"Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them." Matthew 15:30

On one of our days in Swaziland we had the chance to visit some sick kids in the government hospital in Mbabane (the capital city). Unbelievable conditions for these poor little ones. Many moms have stayed there night and day with their sick child for weeks sleeping in chairs or on the floor. During our visit we prayed with them, gave them coloring books & crayons, sang songs with them, took Polaroid pictures that they could keep for their very own, brought some much needed supplies for the nursing stations and just hung out for a while...trying to bring even a little joy into the midst of their dire situation. Our hearts were broken, but also enlarged. Truly we were the ones that were blessed. So when you think of it...please join us in bringing them in prayer to Jehovah Rapha (The Lord is our healer).
Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.
red and yellow, black and white
they are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Here's some pictures: