Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Bloggy Give-a-Way: This Little Prayer of Mine

When my girls were little, I loved to read them books that rhymed.And I'm here to tell you why...because I was tired and if the book was a rhyming book there was a good chance that I could memorize it!

It all started with the Medium Nanny and her love for that crazy family called the Berenstain Bears. These books were available at the grocery store and I would let her pick one as a treat. We had a collection of bear books and we read them on most nights. The problem with those pesky bears is they were always getting into predicaments that took them 30 pages and lots of words later to figure out. Sometimes I would occasionally try and skip a page but then we would find the bears in a big mess of boysenberry honey and we wouldn't know why.

When the Lil'Nanny came along, I chose my books wisely. For example, Brown Bear and Good Night Moon were on the reading roster. These were books that I could memorize because they had a nice rhyming pattern. Not exactly life changing literary material but we enjoyed reading them just the same.

But today I get to show you a book that has a nice rhyming pattern and talks about something important...


Here is one of my favorite lines from the book...

I want to help the poor and sick and show them that I care. And if you give me riches, God, that fill a treasure chest, I promise to be generous and share what I possess.

Anthony DeStefano sent me a copy to give away. Leave a comment and I'll announce the winner on Wednesday. If you do not have a blog id, just leave your name and email address.

I would tell you that I'm going to put them in some form of a random generator number thing, but I don't know how to do that. I've only given away a tube of mascara from my bathroom and a Chik-fil-A coupon that I had in my purse so I'll just throw them all in a hat and let Lawnmower Man draw the winner.

If you don't win, you can click on over here to get your own copy of This Little Prayer of Mine

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Africa Trip, Part 11: Love Stinks

If you’re a child of the eighties, I’m sure you can remember that song. And if you are not a child of the eighties then I can only hope that you’ve seen the whatever brand of trash bag commercial so you can play the tune over and over again in your head and it will always remind you of the pictures that I’m about to share.

Honestly, I can tell you that I really didn’t have any desire to go to the dump. By this point in the trip, I was ready to go home. I had already had an episode of what I'll call "mission trip meltdown" the night before and I was done. Anyhoo, what would we be the point of going in there for one day and then walking away from children that have to stay there and are dependent on the local garbage truck for “fresh” food. We would just walk away from them and they wouldn’t be any better for our visit. And I would just walk away with the memory of another hungry child in the most desperate of situations. I was wrong. Many lives were touched on this day through love, prayer, provision of food and salvation. But mostly our lives were changed on this day through His grace, His blessing, His presence and His call.

This is the dump. We thought we were going to a dump. We were wrong. It was a landfill. I would love to tell you how big it was but I never saw the starting and stopping point. It was that big and there are no words to describe the smell. You pray to God and say, really God, really? I can't do this. And He says...My Grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in your weakness.

Meet Blessing. Yes, that's his name.

From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.

His Presence.

How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord.

All I can say about the picture above is that some of us are southern baptist which means...have flannelgraph/will travel. This is Nancy from Alabama. She knows how to tell a Bible story and reminded me of Nikki Witt. (Sidebar for TSC members: Aren't we all glad that Nikki Witt is bringing her flannelgraph back to TSC?)

Our team was able to provide them a traditional meal of "fresh" goat for their Ethiopian Christmas dinner. (When I say "fresh" I mean slaughtered on sight.)

The boy on the right can now claim: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear.

Yes, that's me with the feed 1 shirt on. This is a very special picture that I didn't even pay any attention to until we got home. It's not special because of what we're doing, it's special because of the girl in the green shirt. That's Sumer. We've been working side by side in my ministry for the last two years. And on this day, she clearly heard God's call and now I have a picture of us serving side by side in her ministry. While some people (myself included) were ready for this day to end. She wanted to come back the next day and the day after that and the day after that...She is taking her family back to Africa this summer to work with these children. I'm sure this won't be my last post about Sumer spending her summer at the dump:) Go read Isaiah 61:1-3...that's the plan.

P.S. This is my final big installment about Africa. I have some silly stuff to share like "mission trip meltdown" and some funny pictures of me consuming foreign food that I will share in the future but this is the final big story.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Africa Trip, Part 10: Six Mondays

When I got off the bus to visit the children of the Karamajong Village, I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by what I had only seen on commercials until this day. You know the commercials where kids are standing in line with a dirty bowl waiting their turn to receive their portion and someone on the screen is saying...for just 30 cents a day.

Except I was no longer sitting on my couch with clicker in hand and ready to move on to another channel because really it can't be as bad as they make it out to be in those commercials...surely not.

Six Mondays ago, I was walking in the midst of real poverty...

I was holding some pure religion in my arms.

So here I was in Africa to do what I do...hold babies. And here I was with one on each hip. They were the dirtiest children that I had ever held. They were half naked and they smelled. They fell asleep within minutes. The one in the green shirt first. Then the one in the red shirt. I found a step to sit on and I just sat there. Holding them. I was quick to think they fell asleep fast because they both had snotty noses and didn't feel good. But I really think they fell asleep because they had some arms to hold them.

Pure religion is hard. Everyone makes it out (including my former before Africa self) to just going and loving on some orphans but it turned out to be so much more than that. Normally when I hold babies, I have a mommy to hand them back to. I walked to the food line and handed them to kids who in my world aren't even old enough to hold babies. And then I left.

This wasn't a commercial. It was real life and this time I can't change the channel.

Katie Davis of Amazima Ministries started feeding the Karamajongs last spring. You can read about how God led her to these people here.

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Africa Trip, Part 9: Singing hymns on long bus rides

As some of you know, one of my favorite things to do is sing hymns on long car trips. Some of you know all too well:) I own a travel hymnal. Although, most of the classics are stored in my head.

Anyhoo, we lucked up on this trip because we had us a really cool worship singer songwriter girl named Mandi and she brought her ukulele. Yes, her watermelon ukulele. Mandi led us in some really great worship as we traveled along and she also sang her testimony song that she wrote and it was all kinds of awesome. She told me she didn't really know very many hymns because she had only been saved a couple years. But she knew the song Here I Am To Worship, and I will always think of Africa whenever I hear it.

Jesse led us in some hymns on the way to church. I tried to video our hymn singing but my camera was having issues. And I was thinking...I'm actually singing hymns on long bus rides in Africa.

And then Sunday afternoon, Christian music artist, Britt Nicole hopped on the bus and the singing continued. Yes, I don't just go on mission trips with regular people, I go on mission trips with music artists. I'm not down with what the cool kids are listening to these days, so Britt's music was all new to me but when I told the Lil'Nanny that I was going to Africa with someone named Britt Nicole she immediately said, "She sings: I Wanna Set the World on Fire and they play her on WAY FM." ummm okay...thanks for the 411. Britt is a genuine Christian girl from North Carolina and she knows every word to the hymn What a Day That Will Be and that just makes her good people.

You might want to go on over to iTunes and check out Britt. Here is her latest single (single is music industry talk for latest song) The Lost Get Found...

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