Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Move out of the way

Someone commented to me the other day that I was “brave”.
And I had to laugh.

Because you see, I am not at all brave…
I have simply chosen to get out of the way.

To others I may seem brave to adopt a child of a different color.
I may appear brave to adopt a child with HIV.
I may look brave to move to a foreign country with 7 of our 9 children.
I may seem brave to have to raise and live on support.
I may appear brave to start a ministry from the ground up without a single extra dollar in our pockets.
I may seem brave to work with prostitutes and children with various special needs I often know nothing about.
I may seem brave to open our homes to a 16-year-old deaf boy who was living on the streets.

Because after all,
we could get hurt.
We could fail.
We could fall.

And yet still,
we have chosen to get out of the way,
And let God have His way.

Because the truth is,
most days I don’t know what I am doing.
I don’t have the answers.
I don’t have the qualifications.
I don’t have the skills.
I don’t have the time.
I don’t have the knowledge.
I don’t have the experience.
I don’t have the resources.
I don’t have what it takes.
But He does.

And so, “I” get out of the way-
And let God have His way in me.

And I have found that when I do-
God sized things happen.

Ministries are built.
Prostitutes are made new.
Children find families.
Truth is spread.
Disease loses it’s power.
People find forgiveness.
Lives are changed.
Broken hearts are healed.
Faith grows.
And people come to know the Lord...

When “I” get out of the way.

And so today,
I move.

I move out of His way.
I let Him work in me and through me.

I move where He wants me to go.
And there,
I find Him waiting to do more than I could have ever dreamed.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Matthew 25:40 Challenge!!

If Jesus Christ himself stood in front of you today-was sick and needed medication, was hungry and needed food, was thirsty and needed clean water, was cold and needed shelter, was lonely and needed to be loved- how would you respond?

Matthew 25:40 says that whatever we do for the least of these we do for HIM. It's so easy yet so hard for the human mind to comprehend. When you give to those who are sick, hungry, thirsty, cold and lonely, you are in essence REALLY giving to Our Lord. There is no difference.

As Village of Hope continues to grow at a rapid rate so does our need for additional monthly support. In a very short period of time, 11 precious lives have been placed in our care, with many more to follow on any given day. Plain and simple-OUR NEED IS IMMEDIATE AND WE CAN'T DO THIS WITHOUT YOU.

We humbly ask that join us in caring for these precious souls entrusted to us. By following the link below you can sign up to be a monthly supporter of Village of Hope. It is our prayer that individuals, just like you, would entrust The Lord with all He's blessed each of us with, and sow $25.40 of that back into His Kingdom each month via Village of Hope-Guatemala.

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Sunday, October 27, 2013


Most of the time, we don't get to see the fruits of our labor. Often times we are given the chance to plant the seed but never see it come to fruition.

Being on the mission field is often that way too. Many times when we pour ourselves into a person sharing the love of Christ, feeding them spiritually and physically, holding their hands, sharing His word-and yet never know what happens in the end. And that is okay.

Yet sometimes there are the precious glimpses that God does allow us to see~

And it completely blows you away...

(Rose being read a letter that someone on a team wrote to her)

Many of you have followed Rosa's story and many of you have told me time and time again how much you have been praying for her. I cannot tell you how much that means to us- and to her. To know that a complete stranger is going to the Lord on your behalf is priceless. To know that someone out there cares, someone who you may never meet on this side of heaven cares enough about you to bring it to the Lord is a beautiful thing.

(Rose outside her home)

While there are parts of Rosas story will never be shared on this blog there are some things that she is comfortable with me sharing.  While I believe with all of my heart that our partners deserve to be informed of the work that is being done here through their partnership- our main priority is to protect those we serve-and not exploit them. That is a very fine line we walk and I pray that we do it well.

 (Rose eating a meal at Village of Hope)

What I can tell you though is that in Rosa's story I see many of us. I see humans who are starving-for the love of Christ. Humans who are hurting, desperate, running, scared, alone, abused, seeking, sick, lost and hopeless.

Humans who are just waiting for someone to stop and care, to stop judging, to stop looking down on them and to try to just understand.

They are waiting- for someone to stop and BE Jesus.

And yet often times we are too busy with our own life, our own fears, our own hurt, our own desires, our own wants... that we miss the opportunity to be Jesus to another.

I praise God that He allowed us and our partners to be a part of her story. And even in the times when I confess I didn't always feel like I had the extra time, the extra resources- He still made a way.

I thank God for allowing us to plant the seed, to hold the hand, to feed her spiritually and physically. I thank God He allowed us to simply love.

I thank God for those of you who prayed. For those of you who gave, those of you who came and served, for those of you who cared.

I thank God for children's home like Village of Hope and Casa Shalom who came together for HIS glory to do the work He calls us to do.

(Rosa being baptized at church)

What I want you to know is that this isn't just another Cinderella story.

This is a GOD STORY.

These pictures are not just about cleaning someone up and putting them in a pretty dress. And they are not necessarily about happily ever after... because often times we will carry our scars for the rest of our lives here on earth.

They are about HEART, they are about HOPE and they are about HIM.


(Rosa before being rescued and Rosa at her quincieƱera)

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mr. & Mrs. :)

For years I had been praying for this day...

Praying and for the person my son would chose as his soul mate for life. The one he would do life with, laugh with, cry with, raise children with, celebrate milestones, holidays and the ups and down that come. The one he would dream with, pray with, confide in and give his life to.

 We are so thankful that God answered our prayers and placed this amazing girl in our family.

We love you Travis and Martina and we could not be more proud of you. Congratulations and may the Lord bless you always.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Father's gifts

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8)

We step over the sleeping dog that is blocking the narrow path to her house. The chickens scramble around our feet at the sight of visitors.She is waiting, as she always is- sitting at a small wooden desk that appears crooked due to the uneven dirt floors.

Her books are open and she studies them intently. Her smile is contagious - you cannot help but to feel wanted as she ushers you into her home. It’s small and damp and every inch of space is filled to the brim, careful to make use of all they have.

What instantly comes to my mind is her precious gift of hospitality.

 I remember back to my life in the states, times when I would scurry around the house making sure everything was in perfect order before our company arrived. I would get frustrate and snap at my children if they left fingerprints on the sliding glass doors when company was on their way. Everything had to be exact.

Because if everything was perfect surely they would think we were too.

I didn’t want people to think less of us. I needed to appear to have it all together, appear to have given Martha Stewart a little competition-appear to be something I was not.

Did anyone truly fall for that?

Because the truth is, that was my disease. I never truly cared about my company feeling welcomed, I wasn’t thinking about them- I was worried about what they thought about ME. I was trapped in my own little world revolving around ME. And here before me stood a young girl of 14 who didn’t have the privilege of searching Pinterest to put together a spread to impress. She had to depend on someone else to bring a bag of groceries each week so they could ‘get by’- and yet her heart, and therefore her home, was more beautiful than anything I had ever seen in my life. She was full of JOY and her eyes literally sparkled as she welcomed her visitors into her home. She had this way of making you feel like you were the most important person in the world.

I want to be like that.

I want to use what little I have and make it count. I want to make people know they are welcomed, know they are important, and know they are loved.

I have so much to learn from this precious child.

Jessica and her family live in a small village not far from Village of Hope. We have the privilege of visiting her weekly to deliver a bag of groceries, pray for her and her family and be a small part of their lives. This sweet girl carries the weight of the world on her shoulders as she helps care for her younger sisters and often steps into the role of mother now. Jessica’s family was doing ‘ok’ up until about two years ago. They had a roof over their heads, food in their bellies and her father had steady work. Steady enough that her father was able to one day surprised her mom by bringing home a Singer sewing machine.

Little did he know that gift would one day sustain his family.

It was a beautiful day out- the perfect day for a game of soccer. Oh how Guatemalans love the game of soccer. Jessica’s dad was no different. He and a group of friends decided to grab a ball and have a little fun. The game had gone on for a little while when someone accidentally kicked the ball out of bounds, down the hill, and into the street. The hill was steep- it was hard to stop once you caught momentum. Jessica’s dad chased after the ball….

 Life changed drastically that day for Jessica, her 3 siblings and her mother.

 Her father was struck by a car that didn’t see him coming. He lived for 4 days after that, in the hospital over Christmas. He never woke up again.

Life is so fragile. So often we fool ourselves into pretending that if we play all our cards right, if we are careful enough, wise enough, protective enough- somehow our lives will always be okay. But the truth is- none of us know when our last breath will be.

 But what we do know is that we have right now- this minute- and it is a gift. It’s an opportunity to be Jesus on earth,  it's an opportunity to make Him known- so that others can have security in their eternity as well.

 Unfortunately, I am usually pretty good at wasting those minutes. I am usually pretty good at letting the little things get in the way of the things that really do matter. I am usually pretty good at worrying if my house is nice enough for my guest to be impressed, when all that I should care about is if they see Christ’s love in me.

 Lord forgive me.

When we met Jessica’s family we knew they needed help- and hope. They had used up any extra they had since her father’s passing and barely had enough food to get through the week. Jessica’s older brother, now age 18, quit school to find work so that he could help provide for his family. He was able to find a job collecting garbage. Then, there was also talk of selling their greatest possession- the last gift her father had given her mother- the Singer sewing machine.

But God works in ways that we can’t even begin to dream.

Jessica’s brother would begin to collect items that people would throw in the trash and bring them home. Torn sweaters, tattered jeans. And Jessica’s mom would learn how to sew by practicing on them. She would then be able to use her talent of sewing and find a job to help support her family.

 I sometimes imagine the day Jessica’s father brought home that special gift for his wife. I imagine the excitement, the laughter. I imagine them hugging and smiling that secret smile a husband and wife share. I know he had no idea that day just how important that Singer sewing machine would become.

Today, the gift he gave sits in the middle of his home reminding all who see it  about the greatness of a Father’s love.

The other gift he gave, Jessica, sits at her desk studying, hoping for a better future.

(Jessica and her younger sister in their home)
Father God, I thank you Lord for the many, many gifts you have given us. I pray Lord that you help us to use them up- all of them- so that one day we can stand before you, empty handed and bankrupt, and rejoice at the work you have done through us. Amen.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sharing the Fathers love this Father's Day....

(Photo credit:

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person,
he believed in me. - Jim Valvano

In just a few short days fathers all around the world will be celebrated.  Neck ties, homemade cards colored with bright crayons, and hugs and kisses will be given to show the love.

These fathers are to be commended because by investing into the life of a child- they will make a profound effect on that child's life~ and therefore a profound effect on His kingdom.

In our homes here on earth we are taught through the love of a father- and through that love we see a reflection of our heavenly Father’s love. Through that love we learn confidence, compassion, strength, trust, faith and who we are in Christ.

Yet unfortunately not every child has this opportunity.

But our God had a plan... He himself was more than willing to help make up for absent fathers. That is why He promised to become a 'father to the fatherless' (Psalms 68:5)... and we should see what a blessing it is to join Him and do the same. 

Here at Village of Hope we strive to teach the fatherless who God truly is by providing Faith, Family and a Future but we can't do this on our own. We need you to join us and share your fathers love.

So this Father’s Day, in honor of your earthly father- or better yet, in honor of your God- would you be willing to join us by reaching out to a child and providing them with an opportunity to experience the love of a family? The love of a mom and dad? And the love of The Father?

To give hope in honor of your father this year please go here:
 and donate to Village of Hope.

If you would like an electronic card emailed to them letting know you made a donation their name please email

Thank you for bring hope to the least of these in His name.

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom”. –Luke 12:32

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Monday, June 10, 2013

When the Lord called us to start Villageof Hope, we all knew that it was way bigger than ourselves! We are so blessed by the leadership of Lifesong for Orphans and Project Hopeful and continue to be amazed at their experience and wisdom.  

The other thing that the Lord continues to make clear to us day after day is that we are NOT in this alone… that this is the work of the Spirit and that He will call believers all over the world to be a part of the Village of Hope ministry.

It’s the stories that the Lord continues to write that break our hearts for the lost, the lonely, and the hurting in Guatemala. 
Stories like Brenda... 

stories like Mario...

stories like Rosa... 

and stories like Yessica...

But that’s not where the work ends… the Lord has so clearly called us to provide family to those without… to provide hope to those with none… and to give faith to those who don’t yet know Jesus. That’s what we are committed to and we trust that the Lord will finish the good work that HE has started!

If you’re like many other Christians today, the Lord is breaking your heart and stirring within you to defend the cause of the orphan…. To do something about the plight of the orphan… we ask you to prayerfully consider bring HOPE to the hurting in Guatemala. The Lord can use your skills in so many ways… and in order to further our ministry, our work on the ground in Guatemala, we need the body of Christ to continue to work together… some the hands, some the feet, some the arms, some the heart… what is the Lord calling YOU to do?

Explore ways that you and your church can partner with Village of Hope-Guatemala here.

Would you share about Village of Hope with 5 other people? Would you make a donation to help us finish the required railings and other projects around the property? Would you talk with your pastor or missions director about your church partnering with Village of Hope? Ask the Lord… HE alone will direct your path!

Consider helping us further the work the Lord has called us to by making a monetary donation:

Photos courtesy of Lora Ann Photography image signature

Friday, May 17, 2013

Missions and Missionaries

Something that's been weighing heavily on my heart lately is all of the posts floating around the Internet lately slamming missions, missionaries and short term mission trips. There have been blog posts written, books written, as well as articles and editorials. I will admit, some of these writings have had some valid points and some have brought up some areas of concern that I believe are wise to examine. But at the same time I think we have to be very careful to not let a few peoples thoughts or opinions influence us more than the word of God does. 

While I am sure there quite possibly are those out there who go on mission trips for the wrong reason, and while I am sure there could be a few missionaries out there who sit around and do nothing - I am even more sure that the Lord realized we humans wouldn't get it right every time. And yet, He still commanded us to go and make disciples in all nations. And not only does he command us to go-these are among the last recorded words of Jesus.
My biggest concern with slamming mission trips and missionaries in general is that many people will read these articles and then simply use it as an excuse to do nothing- which is exactly what Satan wants.
We have all heard it before "Don't give money to the homeless guy on the side of the road because he will use it on alcohol. " And you know what- He just might.
 But what if, just what if, He really was in need and you turned your back on Jesus in disguise?
 And, what if we stand before God one day guilty of clinging to safe and clinging to the almighty dollar-over clinging to the word of God?
 Because you see, God doesn't hold YOU accountable for what the homeless guy chooses to do with the help you gave him, just as he doesn't hold YOU accountable for the missionary that doesn't save the world. But, He does hold you accountable for your response to His commands.

Being on the mission field first hand, one thing I can tell you is that I know a lot of missionaries who do work long hours in often times dangerous situations. Missionaries who have hearts of gold and who serve the Lord with everything they have. Missionaries who give and give and give and expect nothing in return.
Furthermore, I have served along side many short term mission teams who labor from sun up to sun down. They sacrifice and fund raise to come and serve. They open doors of opportunity and get things done in a weeks time that would have taken a single missionary months to do by themselves. They bring their gifts and talents and use them freely. They choose to come and love on people who can give nothing in return- while investing in the lives of the people in the time they are given. They show them the love of Christ first hand by showing them that someone cares. These teams choose to spent money working to improve someone else's quality of life instead of choosing to spend money on a luxurious vacation. They dig ditches and get dirty. They get blisters, sunburns and backaches and smile all the way through it out of their love for the Lord.
I have heard people ask "couldn't the money they spent going been better used by just sending a check instead?" The problem with this is- I think we often miss the point and limit God when we do. God doesn't need our money. God is about relationship and He is about our hearts. My life was changed on a short term mission trip. Maybe the first trip I went on was a little more about me than it should have been... but God knows what we need even before we do. He is so much bigger than we give him credit for. Through that trip if even one person felt the love of God through me and knew that they mattered through a single smile, a pair of shoes or a hug- then it wasn't a waste. My eyes were opened in ways that wouldn't have happened otherwise.  Through that growth, we went on to adopt more children and eventually go onto the field full time.
Because of that, today God used us by connecting us with another awesome missionary coupled with the combined efforts of a short term mission team. Through this- a family experienced the love of God when their precious daughter received her new wheelchair. (And what you couldn't know just by looking at this picture is that the guy in the green shirt grew up in an orphanage himself. How cool is our God?)

I wish you could have heard her belly laugh, seen her joy first hand, and experienced JESUS the way we did.

I wish you could have been there to see people from different backgrounds and cultures come together....
because I know without a doubt those little faces watching- saw HIM.

And the mother who has been carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders in trying to care for a daughter with special needs had tears streaming down her face- not only because someone cared about her precious daughter for the first time-but because she realized that HER life was VALUABLE to HIM.

 And when we bowed our heads and praised His work- HE WAS GLORIFIED.
In a small dirty village full of garbage and poverty- Jesus was at work.

Maybe we didn't solve the worlds problems- and maybe we weren't meant to. But we did show one beautiful little girl who has spent her entire life in a tiny tin home with dirt floors and little else that SHE IS WORTH more than she will ever know to the King of Kings.
So much so that He was willing to die-
for her-
 regardless of the imperfect missionary who came to let her know.

And I know if you had seen what I saw today-
if you had been there,
you would understand just why God is all about missions.

Because even if I am only able to bring ONE person to Christ as a missionary, I know, without a doubt, that the Lord was gloried when that one lost sheep was found.

Because the best part is...God can use that one person to influence another and another and another... and the ripple effect continues on...

Missions is the heart of God.

 It is His plan.

And regardless of what opinions man has- regardless of how we mess things up and get it wrong-
 He is on His thrown.
I don't claim to have all the answers and maybe I am not supposed to. Who would want to serve a God who is only as smart as I am anyway? Maybe God just wants to know if out of our love for Him we are willing-

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Long overdue...

For those of you who wondered- yes we are still alive. :)

I knew it had been awhile since I updated... I just didn't realize it had been 2 whole months. Kind of embarssing. :(  I apologize- this post is long overdue.

The days here in Guatemala seem to go faster than any time in my life. Raising a large family, starting a ministry, hosting teams and homeschooling doesn't leave much time for anything else. It's not that I don't have things to share- it's that I can't seem to find the time to share as I drop into bed each night completely exhausted. It's a good kind of exhausted though I promise. :)

So today I am going to do my best to play catch up.

A lot of construction is happening at Village of Hope and we are so grateful! The first homes are going up and soon (please Lord) the children will start to arrive. We ae so, SO THANKFUL for all of you who have contributed to the work the Lord has done. Giving a child a place to belong and a family to call their own is priceless.

We have a play area started and we are ready to go!

We've had lots and lots of awesome teams coming to serve along side of us here at Village of Hope lately-  and more headed this way this summer! What a blessing it has been- we couldn't do it without their help!

We've built some amazing relationships in the community and been blessed by the outreach we have done.

Feet washing, shoes sizing and distribution for those little feet that have gone uncared for too long...

Food delivery...
feeding them physically as well as spiritually

And sharing the gospel every chance we get.

On the home front...
Our oldest son Travis was recentally hired on as a police officer in Seattle. We are so proud of him. I wish I had a picture to share. :( Not seeing him for many months has been hard but we know he is doing what God had planned for him all along. He started the academy next week and then gets married on September 1st. We are blessed beyond words to welcome his amazing fiance Martina into our family.
Our second oldest son Keegan finishes his Sophomore year at Olivet Nazarine University and gets to come serve with us for the entire summer! God is so good and we could not be more excited.
Homeschool is going strong. The kids love the Abeka Academy. :)

Our sweet Carson turns 6 years old... where has the time gone? He is such an amazing kid and such a HUGE, HUGE blessing in our lives.


Our family is so grateful for your love and support. Thank you for joining us on this journey!!!   
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