Adopt-a-tot in Prayer

Well, some of you, most of you, know that I’m trying to start a prayer program for my tots in the BH, Bercario (nursery), and Tracey’s House.  I’m inviting those of you who are interested to join me.  Here’s what it looks like.  You adopt a child to pray for as a individual, a couple, a family, a class.  You commit to praying for him or her daily or at least weekly.  You will get updates and pictures on your child and receive special prayer requests.  I would love pictures of their adopter as well to show them.  I would like to make a folder for each kid with their adoptive parent, and prayers you send me from time to time  that you have prayed for them.  I want to be able to read them to them, show them who’s caring for them and loving them, and give them the folder when they are a little older.  I really believe that prayer makes a difference.  It can and will make a difference in these children’s lives.  How amazing would it be to have the experience of praying for a child as a family and then hearing of the positive impact it has made?  Each of these children are very  special and have different stories and needs.  Please considering joining me in ministering to these kids.  My goal is to have each and every kid I am caring for covered in prayer.  There are 35 at the moment, as the one’s currently in Tracey’s House will be moving to a camarata (dorm) very soon, and the oldest tots in the BH will be moving to her place.  We are, however, expecting up to 10 more admits to the BH in another month or so.  There is a center near us closing down and we would be receiving all their children.  We are looking forward to carrying for these children soon!


Please let me know if this is something God is laying on your heart.  If it is, please leave a comment with your name or email me (my email is under contacts on the right sidebar) and I will email you the packet of information that gives more details on the program and features each of the kids, including their picture, their story, and a little about them.  This is something I have been working on for months and am really excited about it.  I have 5 adopted already……who’s next?


New Christmas video posted!

I’ve just posted a video from all the Christmas day festas (parties) on my video website.  You know you wanna see all those cute, smiling, Mozambican faces opening presents and eating chicken!  They’re adorable.  So go to the sidebar on the right and click on my video album link….then watch the Christmas Day in Mozambique video.  You won’t be disappointed.  Many pictures, and personal messages from the kids will follow.


PS.  I’m wearing reindeer ears.  And so are a few carefully chosen tots.  You can’t say no now, huh?


Oh and in the posting picture department…..I’m a little slow in posting.  There are a few on my picture website, but I’ve still got about a month’s worth to upload.  Sorry, it’s been a little crazy around here lately!  Thanks for forgiving me.  J  Have a safe and happy new year!


Feliz Natal!!!

Merry Christmas!!!!
Here's a little Christmas video for you-from Mozambique to wherever you are reading this.....

May God truly bless you this day and all throughout this next year. Thank you to each and every person that has shared this journey over the past 2 or more years as I prepared to come here and over the past 6 months I have been living here. I appreciate the phone calls, skype calls, emails, ecards, packages, and messages. Your prayers have helped me make it this far. You are truly my spiritual cheerleaders. This is your story as well. Our God is so good!
Feliz Natal!


Quick updates and prayer requests

Just wanted to update ya’ll on a few tots:


Antonio, 20 months with chronic ear infections, is having surgery today (Monday) at 7am my time…..most of you will still be asleep.  AND he’s been sick all the week.  Please pray for his protection during the surgery; steady hands of the surgeon; wisdom for the medical team caring for him; a successful surgery; a quick and painfree recovery; strength and patience for the tia staying with him in the hospital to care for him (hopefully if they allow him to stay overnight); a very merry CHRISTMAS for him-yucky surgery so close to the big day; healing!


Lucia, the new baby in the bercario (nursery), has tested TB NEGATIVE!!!  Hooray!  She is doing amazingly.  She has gained a little over 3 lbs in exactly 3 weeks (we are now weighing in a little over 12 lbs).  Her skin is healing but very, very slowly.  She is showing us her very spunky personality.  She’s quite a spit-fire little girl and oh so sweet.  She’s a fighter.    We have tested her for HIV and she’s testing positive for the moment.  They use rapid tests here that only test for the presence of antibodies which means she’s been exposed…..given her family situation and her present health status, we don’t have much hope of her only producing antibodies….she probably actually has the virus.  At 18 months they will test her again and if she’s positive again it will be declared that she is HIV+.    All this being said….Praise the Lord for provisions.  Until very recently, the rules were a child had to wait until they were 18 months, or very close to it, before they were started on ARVs (antiretrovirals for hiv management) as they wanted to only treat those who actually had it.  They have now changed it and when a baby at 9 months tests positive they draw blood and  check cell counts.  If she’s low enough, she’ll start on treatment IMMEDIATELY and then they’ll retest her at 18 months and stop therapy if she somehow tested negative.  We would love to believe she is negative, but her health status is so poor…….We are thankful that she might be able to start therapy soon though.  We are praying and waiting for her counts to come back at the moment.  So we’re giving her some preventative antibiotics in the meantime, treating her skin issues, beefing her up, and giving her lots of love.  She’s now eating yogurt once a day, real rice with toppings pureed into baby food once a day, a yummy breakfast cereal (papino) with peanut butter twice a day, and lots of milk with a sippy cup since she’s a “big girl” at 9 months.  Also she loves to say the words olah and aqua. 


Dionisio, chefe of the bercario, is eating big kid food….well sort of.  He’s got it down to 3 bottles a day (from a sippy cup as he detests the bottle), cereal for brkst, yogurt twice a day, and lunch and dinner of baby food (vegetables and fruits only), and drinking lots and lots of aqua from a sippy cup-he screams and reaches for the cup when he wants more.  He’s sleeping 10 hrs through the night as well.  We are transitioning him to center food, but there’s only ONE problem. He hates any and ALL food that doesn’t have a very consistent smooth texture…..stinker stinker spoiled stinker.  I’m just thankful he’s eating.  So with donations, I have gone in with another missionary that has a girl in her dorm needing help with food to purchase an amazing food processor.  I am now making baby food….ok, well, the kitchen is making rice and toppings, the tias are collecting the food for me, and I’m pureeing it like there’s no tomorrow.  Today was the first trial run.  Lucia LOVED it.  Dionisio….well, being the eyeore that he was…..LIKED it, but couldn’t stand to admit it.  So he screamed his pretty little head off in absolute protest all the while eating it like the big boy he is (he’s 11 months in 2 days).  Stinker.  Round two is tomorrow.  I’m going to win this one.  Developmental battle is up next.  But THIS….I will win NOW!




stuff happens.....e outras coisas (and other things)

Here’s a little update from the past 2 weeks as always in word and picture fashion:

We have a saying here-“TIA” or “This is Africa” although most recently, I like TIM for This is Mozambique. That being said…..sometimes…..stuff happens. Notice the sign on the side of the truck…..

Yes that does say interwaste….it’s the sewage truck that pumps the sewage from our containers buried underneath the ground….they backed up a little too much, the truck was a little too heavy, and down went the ground. They had to pump out all the sewage in the truck into the giant swimming pool of stuff and then dig out the truck.
Two tow trucks later……

My birthday was the 10th! Hooray! I had 2 cakes; about 80 cards, ecards, phonecalls, and messages; lots of singing of the birthday song; and a few presents. The clinic medical staff surprised me with a bday party complete with balloons, cokes, cake and a present.

The next night some of us girls went out to a nice restaurant for dinner (yes we do have a few in the city for tourists, the rich foreigners, embassy peeps, or non-mozambican-mozambicans.)

And just a little of why I’m here in an old hymn that I love (yup all the verses):

All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
Oh, the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

Glory, Glory, to His Name!

Merry Christmas to everyone!


Anamais (animals)

Here's a photo journal of all the different animals (well, there were also a lot of bugs and even tons of birds i don't remember the names of any more) we saw on our safari expedition. I have tons (think in the range of 500 pictures) to sort through and a bunch of short video clips from the last 6 days but hopefully by next week or so i'll have them uploaded unto my photo and video site under "December". I also got some amazing snapshots of the community and life in Mozambique as we drove back from SA to the center on Sunday. I want to sort through those as well and will upload some as time allows to my photo site and place in a folder labeled "Life in Mozambique". I know many of you wonder what it's like outside the center and honestly, words can't do it justice. Look foward to those in the future, but for now, enjoy these:



Dung Beatle (he's cool, admit it....look at the size of that thing)

baby Elephant (aka dumbo)

pair of Giraffes




Impalas (aka African Bambies, but they call them fries since there are so many and they make a nice side addition to any meal in consumed in Kruger; also we named the very newly born babes-small fries)

2 bachelor Lions (aka Mufasa and Scar)

family of Monkeys

a pair of lovebirds (aka Ostriches)

Rhino mommy and baby
Vultures sitting high above in a tree waiting for their next meal
Warthog (aka Puma)
Wildabeast (aka attempted murderers of mufasa)


Yes, eventhing relates to kids movies...I can't help it. It's how I think-in movies, books, and music. Also, I've seen Lion King 2x in the last 2 weeks.

I was almost eaten by a lion

And an ENTIRE pride of lionesses.

I’m going to leave you in a tad bit of suspense as it relates to the title of this entry. I’m first going to tell you what an amazing respite I had. Don’t worry, I’ll give you the gory details in a little story time later in this blog entry.

I am so blessed. God is so good. Some of you will know how tired I was before this break. Tired and exhaustion aren’t the right words. I was on the verge of burning out. These last 2 or so months have been jammed packed and have left me stressed out, overworked, overwhelmed, sleep deprived, emotionally and spiritually fried. I knew I needed a break but it was slightly impossible and I knew the girls were coming so I just decided to stick it out another 2 weeks. Bad mistake. It just got worse. But I prayed lots and tried to rest in Him when I could. He was merciful and daily supplied me with bread, energy, wisdom, and patience. I had strength I never thought I could display. It was all from Him. I prayed this respite would do the trick cause it is possible to get so far behind that it doesn’t really help, but He has been the provider. I have seen His grace yet again. As a little early birthday and Christmas present to me from my parents I went on a 5 night/6 day respite with the girls. Here’s a little itinerary and then I’ll share stories and details:

Day 1: Leave the center at 8am and head to Lisi’s resort (10 minutes from our center), have breakfast, and then head out to Macaneta Beach and 4 wheel a little. Return for a late lunch/dinner.

Day 2: Wake up late, eat breakfast, and then head to South Africa with Chestnut lodge around 1200. Check in and then do a little sunset game drive on their game reserve. Eat 4 course dinner, and turn in early.

Day 3: Wake up, have coffee and biscotti and leave at 5:30am to head to Kruger Park for an all day safari excursion. Have brunch in the park and then have a night safari with the rangers. Eat 4 course dinner back at the lodge and crash into bed late.

Day 4: 3 course breakfast and then head to Swaziland to see some amazing scenery. Lunch at the Swazi cultural park and then be shown around a real functioning Swazi village including traditional dances and songs. Back to the lodge for another sunset game drive on their reserve, 4 course dinner and relaxation.

Day 5: Eat 3 course breakfast and then head back to Mozambique having a little city tour of Maputo on the way. Arrive back at Lisi’s for late lunch/early dinner and relax.

Day 6: Sleep in late, late breakfast, relax by the pool and then head back to the center around 3pm.

Four-wheeling at Macaneta was amazing. We spent about 2 hours at the beach, then we headed back to ferry, 4-wheeling the entire way back, and taking in some amazing scenery. I have never 4 wheeled and was slightly nervous at first, but it was such fun on back dirt roads with tons of puddles and potholes. It was very fun!

Jan picked us up on Thursday and we travelled to SA to check in at the lodge. They live in a game reserve on the Crocodile River at the border of Kruger Park. They have all of the big game except elephants. There are no fences anywhere in the reserve and the animals can walk right up to their house. They do. The first night we saw a heard of kudu just come on up to their feeders and munch away. We then headed out to the river to see what we could see….well, we didn’t have much luck, but it was an amazing view all the same. Back at the lodge, Liz had fixed a dinner to die for. This woman can cook. Seriously. No exaggeration. I’m in awe. I haven’t eaten this much food since, well….I don’t remember the last time. I probably gained 5 lbs just in the 3 nights we spent there. Anyway, we slept in blissful air-conditioning for the night and awoke bright and early before the sun on Friday. Before 10am when we stopped for breakfast in Kruger, we had seen 4 of the big 5 animals. Breakfast was at an overlook over a watering hole. We had amazing weather as it was the coolest it has been in weeks with even a little rain early in the morning before we set out to cool everything down. The middle part of the day didn’t lend itself to the best viewing of wildlife, but we did see gorgeous scenerary so it was ok. I even took a little nature break in the middle of the African bush…..sometimes, there are just no bathrooms….gotta do what you gotta do, right? Just for you who haven’t heard of Kruger or don’t know much about it. It’s huge. It’s bigger than some states in the US. There are no gates except the borders. All the animals are free to roam and feed just as they do in nature. They do not interfere at all except to keep up the few roads and trails they have as well as rid the park of illegal poachers. They do not help sick animals and they do not feed them. All animals, vegetation, ect., live as nature was intended. This being said, the animals can and do come up to vehicles, cross the roads, and hunt each other. Sometimes you need the binoculars. Sometimes you gotta get out of the way. There are some animals you shouldn’t piss off…especially if they have babies with them. Sometimes, you could (in theory) pet them cause they are so close. We saw everything but a leopard and cheetah….darn it. Oh well, they are hard to spot as they aren’t pack animals and it did get a little hot and all. The animals are used to cars and humans and won’t attack you unless threatened but they are certainly very very wild. Bottom line, it’s a super cool experience. See the next post for all the animals we saw.

On to the night excursion. Ok, so I’m just a tad cautious about things and while I’ve heard this is a cool experience I have thought things like…..being in an open air vehicle in the middle of the bush with one gun, one guide/driver, 3 hand spotlights, headlights, and 2 side lights on the truck doesn’t sound like the best idea when the cats like to hunt at night. I mean I know I’m not really part of their food chain….but it just seems a little unwise is all. I had to sign one of those casualty forms. Yeah, it’s like that. So I crawl into the truck and say a silent prayer of protection. We head off. At first we saw all the big animals-buffalo, lots of rhinos up close, elephants, giraffes, zebras, impalas, kudus, and hippos. It was cool cause it was at night, the sun was setting, and they were just finishing up their day. Then it got dark. Real dark. It was hard to see a lot since you have to SEARCH for animals with just a few lights. The animals hate the lights. Well, it got a little boring as we weren’t seeing much. After awhile, I was just cold, tired (the safari was 3 hrs and started at 5:30p…I had already been up for over 12 hrs at that point), and ready to head in for the night (knowing there was an amazing dinner for me back at the lodge and all). We were almost back to the gate when in the distance we saw this large group of animals laying on the road. As we got closer I realized it was an ENTIRE pride of lions. 18 lions including one male and a few cubs. Let me review. I have seen lions up close in zoos. I have seen them on safari. I have even seen them hunt in the wild on my last safari last year. They have been as close as about 20 feet from me. I’ve watched a lot of Discovery Channel shows. Lions don’t like to be surprised at night with cubs in their “den.” Lions eat meat. There are 18 lions laying on our path to freedom. We are in an open air truck. With 1 gun for protection and a few people I wouldn’t mind tossing overboard as an appetizer as I hightail it out of there. Well the guide gets all excited and a hush comes over the truck with a small buzz of excitement. We’re all rubbing our eyes as if this couldn’t be happening. The guide pulls up to the pride and turns the vehicle side ways about 20 feet from them and then kills the engine. I’m know looking at him like he’s crazy. Amazing. A few lift their heads up, acknowledge us, yawn, and then go back to sleep. A cub or two got up and went closer to their mommies. We sit there in utter amazement for about 20 minutes. I mean, I could have just walked out of the vehicle and into the pack. Insane. Then we all start questioning, how are we getting through them as they don’t seem too concerned with our presence and we’d all like to (eventually) get home tonight. He calmly and simply replies, we’re driving through. Now I know he’s crazy. They are covering the ENTIRE road. There are 18 of them. There are ditches on both sides of the road. There is nowhere else to go, but they aren’t moving. He responds to my thoughts….they’ll move. They’re scared of us. I’m thinking….I’m scared of them. And you should be. So he turns on the engine and just charges in to the pack around a big lioness lying on the edge of the road to our right. None of them blink. I’m not kidding, they just look up, yawn and lay back down. Then we’re stuck. Big lioness to the right, entire pride around us, male lion right in front of the truck. He hits the break and kills the engine again. I’m now cussing in my head and stopped breathing about 5 seconds ago. I’m feeling a little dizzy. The lioness on the right that is laying 1 foot from the edge of the truck now is squarely beside the couple behind me. She’s raising her head up and starting to look anxious. I’m beyond frightened. She could just stand up and claw my face off. I’m thinking over and over again….this is NOT a good idea, bad idea, stupid idea, our guide has gone mad, I need a gun for myself….what am I doing in the middle of the pitch black bush sitting amongst a lion pride? I’m going to die. Something like that was streaming through my head. I was sitting second row. The big door to the truck was to my left (no other people) with 17 lions now 5 feet from it. So recap….lioness 1 foot from my right side…I could reach out and pet it, 17 lions about 7 feet in front of me. Surrounding the truck. Now all their heads are perked up and staring at us. I’m beyond freaked out. Where’s the cages when you need them. I’m contemplating grabbing the gun from the front of the truck and quickly learning how to use it myself. Should I start writing my last will and testaments? All good thoughts. So I say a pray out loud, take a deep breath to replenish the very scarce air supply I’ve created as I still haven’t breathed yet and my heart is racing, and then I take out my camera and try to capture some pics so you would believe me when I retold this story…and maybe just a little, so I would believe it later too. It kinda seemed like a dream, but the kind I might DIE in. Did I mention the cats still aren’t moving? Oh yeah, I mean, they are but not in the friendly out of the way kinda way, they checking us out. At one point, even the male lion kinda perked up. Two of the lionesses starting pacing and even moved off into the bush…..another tidbit for you when lions hunt they surround their victim and some act as decoys while other go off way out into the bush and sneak around behind you. This is the point that I really wondered why we were still sitting there. I was anxious to say the least. About 30 minutes after we had sat in the lion’s den, our wonderful and trustworthy guide says, time to go…..He flips on every light he could find, revs the engine and starts toward the male lion laying 1 foot in front of the truck….at that he gets us, stares us down and then very slowly starts walking across the road and off into the bush. The rest timidly follow him. We high tail it out of there and arrive safely back at the gate 5 minutes later. I was still hyperventilating. I’m still scared recounting it. Our guide swears we weren’t in any real danger. I don’t believe him. I was almost eaten by an entire pride of lions.

Saturday, we headed to Swaziland and had amazing views the entire drive. This is a country I wanna visit again. It borders Mozambique and SA to I’m looking for respite places asap. It was beautiful. We drove up to pig’s peak and looked out over the valley. Gorgeous. Then we went back to the border and went into the Swazi cultural village and ate lunch. This is a place between the 2 borders (in no man’s land) that is occupied by a small family of 25 that lives very traditionally as the Swazi people have for years. They allow you to come in and see how they live, explain their culture and some of their beliefs and then dance and sing for you. It was really cool. See pics in next blog. They even got us to dance with them. We headed back to the lodge to meet two other guests. A famous drummer of the top jazz band in the US for the last 20 years and his wife (ps he also played drums on the lion king soundtrack which i find amusing as it's about africa and animals and i'm in africa and he's in africa and we're sitting around a table). That’s right. Weird but cool. They were down to earth and fun to chat with. His wife even went to Vanderbilt and has a nephew at Meharry med school doing rounds at Vandy in OB at the moment. Weird connections huh. We ate lots of good food and headed off to bed.

Sunday, I had just woken up and thrown my clothes on. I had 5 more minutes to get ready before breakfast was to be served when I heard Jan screaming, girls, girls come quck to see the Zebras. Well, I love zebras and zebras in their yard is great. I run my hands through my hair, wipe the snot out of my eyes and run out my door to their porch. What do I see, a whole herd of zebras on their porch. WHAT?? I run back for my camera and when I return…there is Courtney and Katie FEEDING them out of their hands. I’m amazed…they are just standing there eating out of their hands. I want in on this action. So I slammed my camera down on the table and grab a handful of corn and dog food pellets and tentatively hold out my hand for one of the zebras. He immediately started munching away. I was in total bliss and all. First lions, now this. They are WILD animals. CRAZY. We fed them for like 10 minutes and then Jan shooed them away so we could eat breakfast ourselves and get on the road back to Mozambique. The pictures speak for themselves. I had so much fun. I didn’t wanna leave. This was an amazing experience and Jan and Liz went so much out of their way to serve and bless us. It worked. Now I’m back at lisi’s for the night to rest tonight and tomorrow before reentering the hectic life of the center tomorrow afternoon. I pray the rest and peace will follow me and last me for another month. God is so good. I am truly in awe of His creations at this moment! This is something I’ll never forget. Well, I’ll extend that to the entire last 6 months.

Reflections at the 6 month mark

You’re the God of this city

You’re the King of these people

You’re the Lord of this nation

You are

You’re the light in this darkness

You’re the hope to the hopeless

You’re the peace to the restless

You are

There is no one like our God

There is no one like our God

Greater things have yet to come

And greater things are still to be done in this city

Greater things have yet to come

And greater things are still to be done in this city

There is no one like our God

There is no one like our God

We believe

Greater things have yet to come

And greater things are still to be done in this city

We believe

Greater things have yet to come

And greater things are still to be done in this city

We believe, we believe greater things

Greater things, greater things

Greater things, greater things

-Chris Tomlin

December 2nd was officially my 6 month mark. Sometimes it feels like so much longer when I consider all those I haven’t seen in such a long time or the conveniences of a first world country I don’t have access to, or even simple things like driving (I haven’t been behind the wheel in over 6 months). It feels like yesterday most of the time though. Guess that’s a good thing, huh? I have 2 friends in town, received my first package and letter the other day, have finally taken my first big break out of the center for respite (5 nights and 6 days off the center), and am starting to plan my respite back to the States in Feburary. All this started me to reflect on these last 6 months and look to the future. I found a few similarities that I find sorta comical….to learn from my mistakes see below (of course this is if you don’t wanna live life to the fullest or spend every minute of your life worshiping God for the amazing supplier, protector, Father, and Lord he is).

List of the things I said I never wanted to do or would be caught alive doing so close to my 28th bday:

  1. Work 5 days a week (I loved 3 12 hour shifts a week).

2. Be a missionary.

3. Live in a 3rd world country.

4. Be a nurse practioner or leave the bedside/hospital nursing (I loved hands-on care of the patients and working with their families).

5. Go back to school.

6. Be single and without children.

7. Leave the night shift (7p-7a). I hate early mornings (before 9am) and simply thrive off the night hours.

8. Be bilingual.

Now, compare that to my reality:

1. I work 24 hours a day 7 days a week essentially….all holidays, early mornings, weekends, nights, ect.

2. I am a missionary with Iris Ministries in Zimpeto (suburb of Maputo), Mozambique.

3. I live in Mozambique (and 3rd world might not be an accurate enough description for most African countries)

4. I hardly do regular, normal “nursing” as most would see it from the bedside/lots of patient contact aspect. I’m doctor/nurse practitioner, lab tech, pharmacist, nurse, dietician, physical/occupational therapist, pathologist, and a bazillion other things.

5. I’ve been taking 4 hours a week of Portuguese language for the last 6 months and just finally cut down to 2 hours last week. I constantly am reading books, searching the internet, and finding resources to help me figure out how to diagnose, treat, ect these kids with things I’ve never experienced

6. I’m single and worshiping the Lord without any clue where He’s leading me or what’s in store for the future. I have 40 children that love me and that I’m head over heels with. Literally.

7. Somedays I get up before the sun rises (around 4:30 am) for consults. I’ve down around the clock feeds every 4 hours with a sick baby in my room. I’ve gone to the BH at 2am for respiratory treatments of nebulizers for a sick toddler. I mostly work all day from 7:30am to 7p. I still HATE the mornings.

8. I get by pretty well and still can’t get over it. I’m in awe. It’s all from Him.

I have a lot of decisions I have to make in the near future. Am I going to stay longer than June? Is God calling me to stay just a little longer, another year, or much, much longer? If I’m staying longer, is this what He wants me to be focused on or do I need to shift priorities, focuses, ect. How can I focus more so I can truly center my life around Him and be living all for Him? If I’m staying there are lots more details I’ll need to sort as I had originally come into this for a year and somethings were just put on “hold” for my life back home. Why am I here and what does He want to do in and through me? I know some of the questions seem obvious to most of you but some are much deeper than the normal answer I could give. We all find that mostly God brings us out here not just for His children that need help, love, and to be served, but simply as He wants to do something in us, our hearts, our lives, a big change…..maybe I’m ignoring what that is…..or maybe I haven’t listened well enough….or I just don’t wanna face it, but I’m kinda clueless. He has changed me so much in even the last 5 years of my life without me realizing it…in preparation for the work I’m doing here. I am truly thankful and in awe of this amazing life excursion I am on. The truth is….we’re all on our own life excursions and it doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, where you live, or what skills you think you have. He can and does use you. He wants to use you and your life…..but first you have to offer yourself wholly for His worship. You must trust that all the details of your life will be sorted by Him. He is the great author of this life and just as he knew your name and the number of hairs on your head before you were even conceived…..He will make provisions for even the tiniest things in your life that most of the time we think he doesn’t care about or take time to orchestrate. He cares, he does. You are his son or daughter. He created you. You have a purpose in this life on earth. Live your life as a constant worship to him. Find the passion He has placed in your life. Use it to do good in your community, your church, your workplace, your circle of friends. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or on another continent or physically life saving. There are more important things in life than life or death matters. They are matters of the heart. I trust that He has the answers to all my questions. I will not worry. I pray for discernment in these matters and that I would not let my own flesh get in the way of what He wants to do. His timing is much better than anything I can coordinate. He knows just what I need, without me asking for it, and often times, before I even know it. Why would I doubt His goodness? Why would you? It does us all good to look back on the last month, last year, last 5 or 10 and all the amazing things He has brought you through; things He has done through and in you; His provisions and attention to details; all the things He has brought you through, at times, truly carrying you. Today, it has done my heart good to see how much different, but better my life is than I ever could have imagined; how much better He knows me than I know myself; and how much He has taken care of me in the times I thought He was leading me into the valley (oh and He was, but only so He could carry me to the most beautiful summit). I challenge you to sit and reflect a little.

I’m giving you my heart, and all that is within

I’d lay it all down for the sake of you my King

I’m giving you my dream, I’m laying down my rights

I’m giving up my pride for the promise of new life

And I surrender all to You, all to You

And I surrender all to You, all to You

I’m singing You this song, I’m waiting at the cross

And all the world holds dear, I count it all as loss

For the sake of knowing You for the glory of your name

To know the lasting joy, even sharing in your pain

And I surrender all to You, all to You

And I surrender all to You, all to You

-Marc James


Highlights from this week.

Here’s a few highlights of the week in story and picture form….it’s going to be a long one…..lots has happened: I have 2 friends visiting, we played with the toddlers in the pool, THANKSGIVING in Mozambique, we have a new baby for the bercario, it’s HOTT here, snack time with the tots, and we had a little Auburn pregame party with the kids.

Courtney and Katie are here! Woohoo. We’re having so much fun. I wish had a little more time to spend with them as I’ve been working like crazy, but that time will come as we’re leaving Wed am for 5 nights/6 days of bliss!

I don’t need to say anything…this pic is self explanatory. It’s hot. There’s no air-conditioning. Normally, we get a cool day or two thrown in, some rain…something. Nope everyday including last Sunday for this entire week it has been over 100….today was the worst. 110. Just be thankful. We have been using the baby pools A LOT…….

guess who thinks it is fun…and who’s being traumatized and will need therapy later. I mean…it’s just WATER! I should have just worn my bathing suit….oh well….next time!

Thanksgiving in Mozambique. We (all the Americans and a few other nationalities that we felt the need to enlighten) got together for Thanksgiving dinner…..mmmmm……can you tell it had been a long hot day?

This is our first real admit to the Bercario since it’s been open!!!! HORRAY!

Meet Lucia. She’ll be 8 months on the 9th…..that’s right, now typo here….She’s almost 8 months and she’s almost 10 pounds. Why yes, there are newborns that weigh more than this. She’s slightly malnourished as you can see….Her mother, father (deceased), and 3 year old brother all have HIV. She looks as though she’s in full blown AIDS though. Her skin is horrible, she’s been itching it like crazy to the point of bleeding and scabbing from head to toe, she’s weak, tiny, has a horrible cough (probably has tuberculosis which is next on the list of things to test for) and maybe an infection or two. On Friday when she was admitted, all she did was scream for 24 hours…no tears, just screaming. Today, she’s playing, laughing, cooing, and acting like a perfectly normal 8 month old (well, she can’t sit up for long and doesn’t know what to do on her tummy, but she’s in good company with D in the house). She’s refusing milk of any sort, so we’re tricking her. She’s getting milk and rice cereal mixed together every 3 hours in small amounts so she gets food and the milk she needs. She is LOVING it. She already looks better. Please pray for her as she’s settling in, gaining weight, and getting stronger; the tias as they care for such a demanding, sick baby girl; and me as I figure out everything that is wrong with her, how to treat it, and help her back onto the road of recovery. The plan is to keep her for a year or so, get her healthy, happy, and fat, and return her to her family. Her mother and brother look very healthy despite their positive status, so it’s clear there are means for her, but right now she is one sick puppy!

We decided with everything she’d need, she’d be a good candidate for the Bercario with low baby-tia ratios and a smaller, quiet environment. It has been amazing for Dionisio who is now only taking 3 bottles a day, sleeping through the night for 6 hours, eating a normal 6 month old portion of cereal for breakfast, eating lunch and dinner and 2 snacks of food throughout the day. He is laughing, giggling, stealing pacifiers from Lucilia, learning to suck his thumb, rolling over onto his belly (and surprising himself since he hates this position), doing a lot better in the sitting department, trying to physically PLAY WITH lucilia, and just in general being a happy healthy baby! Oh, and he’s gaining weight too! Woo HOO! Go D! He even waved goodbye to the tias today when I took him to church.

This is snack time with toddlers. I physically made applesauce with cinnamon for them. Dino is weird about textures. He didn’t want any, but he REALLY wanted me to eat it. All of a sudden he (is 2 yrs old) started yelling mana erin, and shoving his fork full of apples toward me and declaring MMMMMMM with a big mischevious grin. Well, if you can’t beat them, join them. He literally fed me half his bowel in this fashion. It was hysterical. He is so funny.

War Eagle! Now, I know I’m writing this post game and all, but we celebrated African style…or Auburn style with a little African flare. We taught the kids about Auburn, gave them stickers, shakers, temporary tattoos, and had a good ole time! They thought it was a lot of fun! Really…..I mean, if you have to be away and not being able to see the game, it’s the least Court and I could do to help cheer on the team…who clearly needs a LOT of support at the moment.