1 Year into Forever!

It was one year ago today that Joshua was placed in my arms!


 Or as Emma said today, "No, Mom, you took him...there was no waiting on your part for them to hand him to you!"

Quite true!

I remember anxiously and tearfully waiting for Joshua to arrive and then seeing a van pull up, a door open, and a man place Joshua on the ground next to the van.  

The mama instinct in me wanted to run out and grab him or at least yell at the man to hold his hand so he wouldn't run out into the parking lot and get hit by a car! 

But decorum kept me in line and I waited until he had crossed the threshold...

to scoop him away from his orphan-life into one of forever and always.

Can it really be a year already?

In some ways it does seem like a year...2 surgeries, 5 months of castings, the rough several months of adjusting to life in our home.

But in other ways, I feel like I've barely blinked.

We've watched a transformation happen in this last year.  

The pudgy cheeked angry and confused toddler has blossomed into a smiley, silly, friendly, cuddly tall boy.  He's gone from chucking toys at me or hitting me when he was angry to simply boo-hooing when upset, sad, or angry.  He's gone from being unsure of my touch to being one of our 2 snuggliest kiddos.  He gives the greatest hugs.

Not only has he grown and become more secure, but so has Lily as a result of his presence.  

She has a comrade, a buddy, a "twin" brother.  The two are rarely apart and consider themselves inseparable, I believe.  After two and a half years of not being able to leave Lily with anyone without Kevin, I, or Emma present, Lily (thanks to Joshua's presence) now consistently and joyfully goes to Sunday School (with him, of course)! 

Can I get a Hallelujah?!

We couldn't be more thankful for the transformations we have seen take place in our home and in our boy!

Today we celebrated Joshua's Forever Family Day with waffles for breakfast and lunch at Chick-fil-A!  

Joshua with Lily and Ally

Joshua, we love you...to forever and back!
His first scooter attempt!

Playing on the playground before the 4h of July

In Him,


Haiti Day 7 Update

Yesterday was the final day of VBS and it sounds like it, too, went very well.

However, one, of what I am sure are many heartbreaking accounts, came out of it.  Being the mom of 3 orphans-no-more, it shattered mine.

Emma told me last night that she had been carrying around a little girl that she guessed was around 2 for most of the 3 hours of VBS that morning.  As VBS came to a close, the parents of this precious little girl arrived, noticed Emma loving on their tiny one and began speaking with a translator.

The translator told Emma that the parents were begging Emma to please take, adopt their little girl and raise her in America.  They tried as best they could to communicate that they desperately wanted Emma to take her home, for their daughter to become hers.

Oh, the love and desperation for so much more for their daughter that I imagine was fueling that request! 

And then, I think of Lily and Luke and Joshua's birth parents.  What treasure they gave us...with no ability to know the outcome. 

I can't explain the ache... 

Over the last weeks, we as a family have been saddened by the red tape involved in Haiti adoptions.  No, we are not in the process, but are aware of it.  Last night, Kevin said it is probably a good thing that they can't just book a flight and take these children created in the image of a Great God home.  We'd probably have at least 6 tickets!

On a somewhat funny and what?! note...what may have been the most unexpected ministry opportunity of the trip presented itself yesterday afternoon.  

Kevin and Julio, a Bible Training Center student (I think) at Cross to Light

Pastor Brian came up to Kevin and our best friend John and told them he needed them to leave for the local radio station.  They were to be guests on a world-wide Christian radio call-in program, sharing from the Word and answering caller's questions!  Pastor Brian saw my best buddy Melanie (John's wife) walking by and told her she should go too!  So all 3 of them went to the radio station and, sure enough, went live sharing the Truth, answering calls, praying with callers!  What!!!  How I wish I could have heard it!
I told Kevin that will be one of those moments that, should the Lord tarry this long, when they are all 80 we will be sitting around saying, "Do you remember that time we were in Haiti and were on that radio program? What was that?"

God's adventure stories are truly the best!

They leave Port-Au-Prince today at 5:45pm.  Please pray they make their flights and don't hit local traffic in the middle of the night.  Yes, in our area...there can be major backups in the middle of the night due to highway construction.

Emma and Abby...dressed alike!

In Him,


More Pictures from Haiti

All of these were taken at the Special Needs Orphanage 
the other day...

Kevin and Emma are seated in the background of this one...

In Him,

Haiti Update Day 6

The updates from Thursday are from our church's prayer chain.

Beautiful pictures of some loved on children who have captured Emma's heart are at the bottom.

Crazy incredible day! 
250+ kids at VBS today.  We knew that this 
would be a challenging day, since we were 
going to give the invitation [Kevin was presenting this!].Satan has held this land for over 200 years.  We experienced various attempts to 
derail our efforts.  Our translator, Gary, was not there (more about that later), so young Jefferson, the 13 yr old, again stepped 
up to translate until an adult arrived.  The 
UN helicopters kept overflying our position creating noise, smoke from a nearby fire blew on us, and at times, some older crowd members 
got a little "restless."  The team rallied in prayer. Those not actively engaged in something prayed until it was time to do an activity, then others stepped up to pray. Peace came, 
praise God.  The gospel was shared and 
received.  Our regular translator, Gary, was 
in a motorcycle accident along with his wife, and she is in the hospital, so he was not able to come today. At the last minute, God 
provided a translator who did a great job.  We visited the orphanage again today, taking a 
number of supplies the body provided. I think some folks may be going home with some...names of kids   

Tonight, we invited folks from the tent city, an area that is rarely if ever touched by any relief groups, to Cross to Light to be fed.  
Well over 200 people showed up!  We led them 
in worship and  Pastor Brian shared the 
gospel. Following that,we fed them dinner, 
then gave everyone clothing/personal items to take back..."home."  These are the poorest of the poor.  I don't think one single person 
left who was not touched, physically by team 
members and spiritually by the incredible love of God!  Pastor John wrapped up 1 Timothy and Titus yesterday with the students.  Jim Hall began 2 Timothy today and will finish 
tomorrow.  The time developing relationships 
with these students has been incredible!  

Tomorrow [Friday], last day of VBS and an 
orphanage trip.  We may do another tent city 
visit before we leave.  The entire team has 
sights set on returning to Haiti.  This is a 
work that God is truly anointing.  He 
has blessed the people here, and He has truly challenged the perspectives we have.    

Thanks for praying for us!

This is Crystal.  Here is what Emma messaged me about her:

When I first saw her she was on the steps sitting by herself very expressionless.  So I picked her up and just held her...She broke my heart to pieces.  After a few minutes I pointed to a swing and she nodded. So I took her and as soon as she sat on the swing she smiled the biggest smile you could ever imagine!!!

This is Crystal's older sister, Esta.  They also have a little brother.
Just beautiful!

Emma holding Crystal.

Kevin holding Esta.

Today, after VBS, they will be returning to love on these precious ones, whom God defends...through us.

In Him,

Haiti Day 5 Update

Here are the updates that came for Wednesday.

VBS went fairly well, only one fight (among the kids) while they were tie dyeing the shirts. [To me only one incident like this is miraculous!]  The kids apparently really enjoyed dyeing the shirts.  

In the afternoon they went to a different orphanage to help with a feeding program, but left underwhelmed.  It was very impersonal and assembly line-like and they weren't allowed to love on the children.  Oh, how that makes my heart ache for those children.  And the children they fed?  Not even those in the orphanage...but 'neighborhood' children.  The children living in the orphanage were kept inside away from visitors.   

That evening they fed dinner to people from the Tent City.

Emma and I had a really precious conversation Wednesday night. my girl has a huge heart for the orphan and the Lord is using her in a mighty way to love on those who have rarely felt it.  Many of you have had glimpses of it, but when I FaceTime with her or see pictures of her in Haiti, it takes me right back to China.  I have never seen her happier than when she is holding a little one who needs a mommy.  Light exudes from her.

Just like in China, homes are in compounds (surrounded by concrete walls with large courtyards inside and gates to go in and out of).  At Cross to Light, children congregate around the gate for various reasons (hoping for food, work, affection).  

In the evening, Emma was outside the gate playing with the children gathered there.  When Kevin went to call her in to help wash out tie dye shirts, the gate was closed behind her (solid, not barred) and dark little hands could be seen reaching for her over and under it and a choruses of "Emma! Emma!" heard begging her to come back.  Evidence of children feeling loved!

Although these pictures don't really show this heart, I thought I'd post a picture from lunch on Wednesday 

and where Emma (top bunk) and Kevin have been sleeping.

Yes, he likes sleeping on the roof!

In Him,


Haiti Day 4 Update

They did VBS this morning and had 200 children today!  Yesterday they did not have an official translator (the children speak and understand Creole) and ended up using one of the 12 year old boys in the crowd who understood some English.  Today they had a translator from the Bible Training School which helped a great deal.     They also had enough snacks for all 200 children!  Praise God!

The afternoon was spent at an orphanage for children with special needs.  Many had obvious special needs while others either had no physical need or had one like HIV, heart defects, Hep B, etc. that have little outward manifestations.  Kevin said he hadn't shaved this morning and that all of the children were fascinated with his whiskers!  He had lots of loving hands on his cheeks today!  He said the visit was so much like our visits to orphan homes in China in that the children all responded the same way.  They want hugs and tickles and someone to carry them and play with them.  Cuteness abounded apparently!  Oh, Lord, please bring them families!

Tonight they were working on the tie-dye t-shirts that they will be making with the VBS kids to demonstrate becoming a new creation.  The kids will be dyeing them tomorrow, so pray for that please!

Kevin sent me 2 pictures this afternoon, too!

Emma and our best friends' son, Joel, with a young girl whose mother dropped her at Cross to Light because she could no longer care for her.  She now lives there, is my understanding.  

This is the view from the roof of Cross to Light.  It is where Kevin slept last night and said it was: "wonderful!".  

Translation?  Much cooler.

Keep praying for Haiti where at least 50% of the population is under the age of 18.  And that many would come to Christ.

Here are some more statistics that I found on the web about Haiti:
  • Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere
  • 80% of Haitians live on less than $2 a day
  • 60% of Haitians live on less than $1 a day
  • Haiti is the 3rd hungriest country in the world
  • The average Haitian eats only one meal a day, meaning many do not eat
  • 380,000 orphans before quake ( many thousands more after quake)
  • 225,000 restaveks (child servants often treated as slaves)
  • tens of thousands of children live alone on the streets
  • 20% of children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition
  • 50% of children are able to attend school
  • 20% have a 6th grade education or better
  • 70% of Haitians do not have electricity
  • 90% of Haitians do not have running water
  • 50% of Haitians do not have access to an improved water source
  • 80% of Haitians lack adequate sanitation
 Kevin keeps reporting that the Haitian Christians who literally have nothing, worship and adore Him truly and abundantly.  They have nothing so it is seems easier for Him to be their Everything.  For He truly is.  

We have everything in the US, so we treat Him as Something.  So short of Everything, our All-in-All.  Forgive us, Lord Jesus....

In Him,


Haiti Day 3 Update

I was able to FaceTime with Kevin last night and message with him this afternoon.

Here is the update I sent to our church's prayer chain:

Requests:  Please pray for the weather.  It is raining this afternoon and it has made many roads impassable (pretty  much all dirt roads with some rocks), so it sounds like they may not be able to go to the orphanage to help with the feeding program as planned unless the weather changes.  Please pray that if it is the Lord's will that the weather would cooperate and they would be able to minister there.

Also pray for the Lord to multiply the crafts & food they are distributing to the VBS children.  They were told to expect 30-50 kids for VBS so they planned for 100.  Today 180 children came!  Praise God!  However, they ran out of food and it was very hard on the team to see the desperation in the children's faces and to hear them tell them they were hungry.  They even went back to the base and got more snacks, but still did not have enough.  Kevin said it really brought home Jesus' heart when he looked at the crowd and had compassion on them. Mark 8:1-3 During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”

Pray for rest and physical strength as the ministry requires a lot of walking.

General Update: The team has been quite busy with visiting 2 churches yesterday (one in which Pastor John was called on to teach with no prep!  He taught from Philippians).  They fed 100-200 in the tent city yesterday as well as visiting a hospital in which many were dying.  They had the privilege of praying with many there.  The conditions were terrible: flies, few doctors, no medical machines, many people in each room.  Today VBS began and will continue through the week.  They will be making some adjustments for VBS tomorrow based on their experiences today.

In Him,