Friday, November 9, 2018

The Gift that Keeps on Giving.....

Do you enjoy Christmas shopping?  Do you dread it?  For me it's a combination of both :)  I love getting gifts for people I love.  I received really great advice as a young adult that there are appropriate times for lavish gift giving as a way to reflect God's lavish and generous love to us.  Sometimes it's good for gifts to be practical and sometimes it's good for gifts to be an over-the-top expression of love. 

What we can probably all agree doesn't ever feel great, is the obligatory "I'm buying something that you probably don't need or want just because I feel the need to get you something and/or for you to have something to open at a certain time."

So where you are enjoying getting those practical or fun gifts you know people are going to love.....wonderful.  Happy shopping and enjoy celebrating together!

However, if you are struggling with what to get people, feeling overwhelmed, not excited about the prospect of obligatory shopping, I'd like to suggest an alternative.....

(Note, there are a plethora of options you could donate to, this is one that is near and dear to my heart so I offer this specifically.....)

World Orphans partners to operate a school for refugee children in Northern Iraq.  Educating 215 students, we provide the only Arabic curriculum school in the region.  Due to an unexpected loss in funding, we need to raise around $20,000 to finish the semester.  Consistent education is truly vital to these children.   Would you consider this.....
  • Make a list of everyone you want to get gifts for but may struggle to find something meaningful that adequately expresses your love for them.
  • Approximate what you would spend on the gifts.
  • Donate HERE to help the children in our refugee school finish the semester.
  • Make or buy ornaments to give as a small token of your love for the person with a note about the donation you made in their honor.
  • OR (lots of options) make or buy simple jewelry to give as a small token of your love for the person with a note about the donation you made in their honor.
  • OR simply print lots of copies of this picture and put it in a card with a note expressing your love for the person and explaining the donation you made in their honor in lieu of buying a gift.

I have a list of a few different personalized gifts that I'm buying from local businesses that will be fun to give and will include a note that the gifts are simple because we made a donation in their honor.    Want to join me?

Any interest in my thoughts in general about gift giving around Christmas and how we think about celebrating Christ and honoring those we love in the mist of a consumer driven culture?  
Let me know if you're interested...

And if you like the idea, PLEASE feel free to pass this on to others!

Monday, December 19, 2016

2016 Christmas Contemplations

I realize this blog is fairly dormant, but I'll at least use it to host an online version of our end of year update and some family pictures....and maybe get back to blogging some day.  And if you're just here for the pictures, scroll down :)

1.  The word "advent" means the arrival (coming) of a notable person or event.  As Christians we have a season of Advent each year before Christmas, a season to really prepare our hearts to celebrate the coming of Christ.  An advent devotional I read this year said something along the lines of...because Christ came into the world and into our lives, we can come into the lives of others reflecting His love, grace, hope, truth and peace.  That is my prayer and deep hope for our family as we go into a new year.  The birth of Christ, and then His perfect life, death and resurrection made a way for us to know God!  I pray that in new and deeper ways we will love knowing, walking with and serving others in ways that reflect Christ.

2.  One dictionary definition of "mobilization" or "to mobilize" is to bring people together for action.  At World Orphans we're in the process of expanding our understanding and definition of Mobilization to be more than just short-term trips.  We desire to see people mobilized, brought together for action, on behalf of orphaned and vulnerable children.  While trips will continue to be a very important and integral part of our church partnership model, I am so excited to cast vision for the church in the US to be moved to action on behalf of vulnerable children as a way of life.  There are many, many vulnerable children in the US and many ways for the church (and individuals) to do really practical things to see those children cared for in families.  And for the even greater number of vulnerable children around the world, it is very possible to take action right where you are and make a global impact.  May you find great joy in taking action on behalf of the vulnerable both at home and around the world....I would love to chat with about what that looks like.  See below for things you can do today!
As there is obvious overlap between what is on my heart personally and at World Orphans, I am continually grateful for my position with World Orphans that allows me to work hard for a cause I'm passionate about.

Another topic for gratitude that is always on my heart and mind but I don't always write about is the funding for my role at World Orphans.  In addition to the love, prayers and encouragement that are invaluable to our lives, I am so humbled by the sacrificial financial giving to World Orphans on my behalf that allows me to do my job.  Thankfully my support is currently in a healthy place.  I had a few monthly partners who had to stop giving in 2016.  Any one time gifts at the end of the year would help make up that difference, and if you feel lead to consider monthly giving in 2017 I would love to chat and or you can click HERE.  

Thanksgiving 2016

Next 3...December 2016

And from earlier this year.....

Porch picnic

Jazmine's 5th Birthday, July 2016.

First day of preschool, Aug 2016.  
They are at the same place this year, 2 days a week.  
Jazmine will start Kindergarden in July 2017.

Jazmine discovered a love for ballet this year (and Nadra just always wants to do what Jazmine does), looking forward to seeing where that goes.

Our 12th anniversary, Sept, 2016.

Nadra's 2nd birthday, Sept 2016.

If you're reading this, we pray this finds you well - hope we can connect in 2017!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

End 2015 Update

Dear Friends and Family,

As we wrap up yet another year I find myself grateful....grateful for my healthy and delightful family (details below), for the privilege of continued service with World Orphans (details also below), and mostly for Jesus.

As we prepare to celebrate His birth my heart is freshly encouraged by the fact that He came, ultimately gave His life for us all, and that He ever lives to intercede for us all.

And I've been thinking about the fact that scripture does not call us to celebrate His birth. Jesus said, "the work of God is this, to believe in the one He sent." (John 6) Before he was crucified he broke bread with his disciples and said to do that in remembrance of Him (Luke 22). But he doesn't mention celebrating His birth.

Historically Christians started celebrating the birth of Christ about 300 years after he died, and what a rich tradition! I'm so thankful for a yearly opportunity to stop and remember the magnitude of the fact that Jesus fulfilled God's promises to send a savior.

But what has struck me most in all this is that we celebrate His birth because it was the beginning of Him being Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). We celebrate His birth, remember His death, and celebrate the resurrection because He is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1) and because it is our joy to reflect His love as we wait on Him to make all things new.

That's a bit of my heart these days. Quick updates below. I pray this finds you resting and hoping in Christ.

Know that we miss you, think of you, and would love to hear how you are.

Until They All Have Homes,

Ministry Highlights:

Curious about what keeps me busy? I oversee our Mobilization department, which means....

  • In 2014 we sent 300 people (almost 30 teams) to nine countries.
  • I have lots of help! At the moment my team consists of two other (amazing) people and that may (hopefully and prayerfully) be three or four other people in 2016.
  • World Orphans ministry of equipping the church to care for orphaned and vulnerable children is very relational, which means our trips have a lot of variety. In general my team and I are oversee the details and logistics as well as the relational/heart aspect....I'd love to tell you more if you're interested!
  • One of my co-workers represents our department on the World Orphans blog, you can read all her posts HERE.
  • I was in Colorado for meetings twice in 2015 and was in Nashville and Raleigh leading breakout sessions on Mobilization at the yearly CAFO and T4A conferences. My hiatus from international travel to stay close to my girls may be over one of these years, we'll see. Although I am about to renew my passport....see below.
  • I'm really looking forward to being with the rest of our leadership team at our home office in Colorado at the beginning of January as we plan for 2016.
Want more about World Orphans? Read our most recent (2014) annual report HERE (2015 report will be out probably the 2nd quarter of 2016).

Family Highlights:

  • Jazmine is four years old. She is very excited about learning to read and her current phase is constant questions about how to spell words - it's so fun. She breaks into song all throughout the day about whatever is running through her little mind. She goes to pre-school two days a week and loves it - she was very distressed about the occurrence of fall break. She loves spending time with her friends and can generally be found reading, making crafts, playing outside, or on literally any adventure her imagination takes her on.
  • Nadra is one year old. Her clearest word these days is "boo" while playing peek-a-boo. She's been walking for a few months and can be found doing pretty much whatever Jazmine is doing, or at least trying to. She has very firm opinions and loves trying to communicate them even though she can't speak yet.
  • Chris still enjoys his job as a PA at a walk-in clinic. When he's not there he can be found playing with the girls or working on a project, for us or a friend. The definition of project includes vehicles, house, yard...pretty much anything. He just built us an incredible screened-in porch - come visit and we'll enjoy a meal out there, it will be delightful.
  • Chris and I will renew our passports and the girls will get theirs so we can travel to Senegal to visit Chris's sister and her family who live there - we're very excited to spend the time with them. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

but we see Him...

If you happen to read this, you'll know that I don't do a lot of writing these days.  The privilege of directing the World Orphans Mobilization Department and the honor and delight of being a wife and mothers to two little girls...keeps me pretty busy and doesn't leave a lot of time for blogging :)  

But I digress...  I have these words floating around in my head, "...but we see Him".

Our church is embarking on teaching through the book of Hebrews (which I'm super excited about - all the sermons can be found HERE.  We're only on Chapter 2, so you can catch up and listen along :)

The sermon this morning was on Chapter 2:5-9

For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,

“What is man, that you are mindful of him,

or the son of man, that you care for him?

You made him for a little while lower than the angels;

you have crowned him with glory and honor,
putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

My paraphrase... The writer is quoting from Psalms, and when he talks about Jesus being made a little lower than the angels, he's referring to Jesus becoming a man. But even though Jesus became a man, he was still fully God, so everything was in subjection to Him, AND His perfect life allowed for His death to serve as the final sacrifice, making us right with The Father.

Our pastor spent a while talking about the verse that says, "At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him." It only takes a glance around our lives and/or around the world to see the evidence of sin and brokenness. It may be on the tip of our tongue to ask, "Where was God when...." You fill in that blank. That person got sick. That child died. I lost my job. The wars rage on. The earthquakes and floods destroy lives. Those children are suffering....


But we see him. In the midst of the pain and suffering, by the grace of God, we see him, namely Jesus, who tasted death for everyone. That is the hope of the Gospel, that Jesus made a way for us to know the Father. We can know Him now, in the midst of this life and for eternity.

And as I think about my heart and my life, I find myself thinking about my co-workers and all our church partners. But we see him. That is why we do what we do, because we see him. Raising support to be in ministry is hard. Cross cultural partnership and long-distance relationships, are hard. Spending your life pouring into hurting families, is hard. Caring for children who have been orphaned, is hard. BUT, we see him. It is the hope of Christ that compels and brings joy.

In the peaceful moments where we get a glimpse of how He intended for things to be...we see Him and praise Him. And in the hard moments where we only feel the brokenness, we see Him. He was broken for us, to meet us in our brokenness and make us whole.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Wrapping up 2014...

Dearest Friends and Family,

Merry Christmas! I'm sure I say this every year, but I really can't believe it's the end of 2014. We found out I was pregnant with Nadra back in January, so it's hard to believe that the whole year has past, yet can't imagine life without her.

We traveled to South Carolina for Thanksgiving, where Nadra got to meet Chris's parents (who had just arrived for a visit in the US) for the first time, which was wonderful. In mid-December we traveled to New Jersey for an early Christmas celebration with my family - my parents and grandma had met Nadra, but she was able to meet more extended family and we had a lovely visit with many of you.

As we prepare to celebrate I keep reminding myself that Christmas is a special time to celebrate Christ, to celebrate what it means that God sent Him to be a perfect man, to dwell on earth, to die as a sacrifice once and for all. Yet that's a reality that affects every moment of every day. So as we go into 2015 I pray that your moments and your days are captivated by the reality that Christ came to make the way for us to know Him.

With much love,


  • My World Orphans Role: My role as Senior Mobilization Director means I oversee all the short-term trips World Orphans sends. In 2014 we sent 34 trips, which mobilized 302 people. I'm so grateful for my amazing co-workers and our church partners who made the trips happen and made them fruitful.
  • As we look to 2015 I'm excited to continue pursuing the depth of what it means for our short-term trips to help our church partners care for orphans...until they all have homes. I'm reading a book called Helping Without Hurting in Short Term Missions, I highly recommend it if you're at all involved in short-term trips! 
  • Chris: He's been working at a walk-in clinic associated with a family practice for 2.5 years now and continues to really enjoys it...check it out here
  • The girls: We love having two girls! Nadra (3 months) is smiling and cooing all the time and starting to really laugh - it's so fun to watch her grow and develop. Jazmine (almost 3.5) is an amazing big sister. She loves to play with, read to, and sing to Nadra. And just today I realized that she knows the words "indigo and violet"! She's a sharp little girl and continues to delight us. Certainly working from home and caring for the girls has its challenges (although they are very content children!), but I feel really grateful to continue my work with World Orphans and also be home with my daughters.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans day, orphan care and Christmas....

Finding out just last week that I was off from work today in honor of Veteran's Day, I started thinking  about how to make the most of a precious day off in the midst of a busy season, and about why Veteran's Day is a holiday...

Having traveled to well over 20 countries, I'm always grateful to be family and my own bed, but I'm not always glad to be back in America.  Spending time in other places, especially poorer places, can shine a spotlight on the consumerism and sense of entitlement we struggle with as Americans.  Seeing people in other cultures who physically have so little yet are so joyful and so generous can make the abundance of America overwhelming.

However, as I listened to an Army veteran on Sunday, with tears in his eyes, remind our church body about how amazing it is that we could freely gather to worship Jesus, I was freshly overwhelmed with gratefulness for the peace and freedom we experience in America.

Our military and government certainly provide plenty of topics to debate and disagree over, but I don't ever want to take for granted the great sacrifices that countless men and women have made over the years that allow us to live and worship in peace and freedom.

So as I spend today trying to prepare for a thoughtful, intentional and worshipful Advent season for my family and gift giving that will honor those we love, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

As I think of my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are spending themselves to care for those in need, and who are suffering because they choose Christ, I am humbled to count them as family, and longing to honor them in prayer and in the choices that I make this season.

So whether or not we find ourselves in peace and freedom, may we be consumed with the peace of Christ that transcends circumstances and passes understanding.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Prayer Update - Iraq

During this season of Lent I'm desiring to meditate on the reality of Christ's death and resurrection, and the glorious truth that when we trust in the sacrifice of Christ, the Father sees His perfection and not our sin.  And at the same time desiring to think about what it means that out of that trust, flows love and obedience....not to earn His favor (if we could earn it, Christ didn't need to die) but as an outpouring, a reflection of His love and grace.

This is a portion of a newsletter written by my co-worker living in northern Iraq.  It struck me as an excellent summary of what the Christian life calls us to, and I'm praying Lent is a time to focus my heart and have a fresh understanding of a life that is about seeking Him, finding Him, walking closer with Him...

My prayer for you is that this Lent season finds you with a renewed sense of passion and awe at God's love for us.

And I'd ask that you'd join me in prayer that the Lord would encourage this family as they walk with Him....

Jesus is drawing all of us into the limits of our own abilities and beyond. The life of faith seems hardly worth living if He's not, and so, the stretching, stretching, and more stretching continues... unabated.

But, aren't we so glad it does. When we finally get to the end, we'll be able to look back and see a life that was SPENT, not hoarded, a life that was consumed by God's grace and presence, not just kept safe and secure in the mires of our own personal goals and dreams.

It's a life of sacrifice that God has called us to, and if we're not on that road then, our spirits' should be crying out for it. For it is upon that road that we find Christ.

I want to find Him... closer today than yesterday, more ever present than I could imagine, truly one with Him, doing together what the Father is doing in our world.

Hurdles are ever-present just like with everyone else, so please keep us close to your hearts and in your prayers, and step by step we'll climb the mountain together.

To read more about their ministry, click HERE.

Friday, March 14, 2014

One of the many reasons we need our family....

If you've read this blog for any length of time, it won't surprise you to hear me say how honored and grateful I am to be in relationship with my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, how much I have learned from them, how they challenge me, and how they inspire me.

Recently I read this article, "What we say when we don't mention the Gospel" an honest and well written reminder of our desperate need for a Savior....and for me another reminder of of our need for relationship.  (Highly recommend reading the article - definitely worth the time.)

Being in relationship, in true partnership, with Christ followers in other cultures, reminds me in deep ways that what really matters is Jesus, trust in the hope and truth of His Gospel.

Being in real cross-cultural relationship has a way of showing you that you don't have all the answers and you don't have everything figured out.  The food, the dress, the music, the style of worship, the approach to's all gloriously different.

A reminder that God is calling to Himself people from every tribe, tongue and nation.

A reminder that there are a lot of things that are important, but only one is necessary....Jesus.

I pray this season of Lent finds you being reminded of the sufficiency, centrality, beauty, joy and amazement of Jesus.  (Really great thoughts and recommended readings, here.)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Vision for the year...prayer update

A few months ago I did a little survey to get a sense of what kind of updates people (my friends, family, financial and prayer supporters) want about the overall ministry of World Orphans, my role in the ministry, our personal life, etc.  Your feedback was super helpful (and the random winner turned out to be a woman who has been faithfully volunteering for us in Mobilization for years, so I was thrilled to send her a gift!)

There was a consensus that quarterly newsletter updates are good, that people do want to hear a combo of the overall ministry, my specific role, and how my family is doing.  And EVERYONE wants more pictures of Jazmine :)

One thing I heard from a number of people was a request for more prayer updates.  So hear is my goal...

I'm committed to actually sending out quarterly newsletter updates (not just drafting them) that are hopefully interesting to read, and have plenty of pictures of Jazmine.

But in between the newsletters, I'd like to do a once a month blog post with ways you can pray for the ministry and/or my family.

So....It's not the end of January yet and here's a prayer update!  Thankful to be off to a decent start :)

We would covet your prayers for the ministry as we cast vision and set goals for the year.  

As part of the World Orphans Management Team, I was in Colorado the first week of January with other World Orphans leaders - it was a wonderfully encouraging time as we each shared our assessment of our department and our vision and goals for the year.  We all came way encouraged and excited to share with our co-workers.  The coming weeks and months will be filled with hard work as we each lead our departments to do our part in supporting our church partners around the world.

I am honored to be part of a ministry that exists to empower the church to care for orphans....until they all have homes.

Please pray that the Lord will grant the entire World Orphans team joy in working hard in our roles, unity in working as a team spread out all over the US and around the world, and that in the midst of the details (which are really important) that we'll keep our eyes on the eternal purpose of what God has called us to as we equip, inspire, and mobilize the church to care for orphans and vulnerable see churches engaged, children restored, and communities transformed by the Gospel of Christ.

Friday, December 6, 2013

St. Nicholas....

As the years go by I find myself more and more interested in the history behind our traditions and celebrations.  I think of God's commands to His people in the Old Testament to remember and celebrate on a yearly basis and see the God-ordained value in regularly reminding ourselves of who God is and what He has done for us.

On and off through the years I have heard bits and pieces of the history of St. Nicholas.  I am sure that differing sources will lead to different versions of the story, but I believe it's agreed upon that the third century St. Nicholas is the original person that the stories, traditions, and legends of Santa Claus are based on.

Regardless of whether or not you incorporate Santa Claus into your Christmas celebrations, I think it is very note-worthy that St. Nicholas was known as a defender of children.

Contrary to the popular notion of him giving gifts to "good boys and girls", he was about helping and defending those in need!

One source says:

His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young.  Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering.  He dedicated his life to serving God and was made a bishop while he was still a young man.  Bishop Nicholas because known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.  Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned....  Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas' life and deeds.  These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as a protector and helper of those in need.

Santa Claus is based on a man who loved Jesus, suffered for his faith, and spent his life assisting the needy, the sick and especially children!

Just recently I listened to one of my co-workers share of the beautiful, sacrificial faith of our World Orphans church partners around the world who give even out of their own physical poverty and physical need.  They give, trusting the One who supplies all things, knowing that ultimate hope is in Him.  They give and love sacrificially to see that children cared for and hear of His love for them.

This Christmas I find myself praying that my family will learn from our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world and enjoy giving sacrificially to reflect the most sacrificial love ever of The Baby who was born in Bethlehem.  May we boldly look to Jesus and remember the cloud of witnesses, like St. Nicholas, and let our lives, including our Christmases, be about spending ourselves for the least of these.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Approaching Thanksgiving...

I wish I was in the mood to reflect and be thoughtful about Thanksgiving....because I love setting aside time to remember the history of our home and to focus on being grateful.

BUT....I'm in the process of finalizing a draft of a chapter that World Orphans is contributing to a book project, which I'm super excited about.  But at the moment, fried on writing.

So bullet points it is :)  These are the significant days we have approaching:

  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday
  • Giving Tuesday!
What is Giving Tuesday, you ask?  Read HERE
Want to give to World Orphans?  Click HERE.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Win a gift!

As the end of the year rapidly approaches, I realize what a poor job I've done about communicating with my friends and family about my ministry with World Orphans.  My summary thoughts about that are:

On a heart level I enjoy keeping in touch with people because I love staying connected.

On a professional level, I know that being in a support-raised position, it's important for me to communicate what I'm doing.

I know I need to find a better system (just something that personally works better for me so I don't put it off) so I can send pictures and updates more regularly (via email and blog, with links on Facebook, of course).

As I thought about it I realized that I want to hear from YOU, my friends and family who actually read what I write :)  What do you want to hear about?

So....fill out this short survey and be in a drawing for a free gift from the World Orphans store!

I'll take submissions until the end of November, and don't worry, it's only a few questions :)  It will only take a minute  - thanks!!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Family Visits...thoughts on short-term missions and church partnership

My husband, daughter and I are in the middle of a summer filled with family visits.  Neither of our families are local, so visits are always special and we are loving our time together.   And the truth is, they spoil us.  They take us out to eat, buy things for Jazmine, pay for our groceries, and buy us Starbucks....just to mention a few.

BUT...that is not why we enjoy the time.  What we enjoy and ache for when we say goodbye....the conversations had over coffee, walks to the park, books read to Jazmine, cooking together, eating together, laughing together, crying together.  I know we are where God has us to be and we love our community here in Tennessee, but I just wish Jazmine had more time with her grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousins.

So that is the backdrop for my thoughts.

Our home church just got back from visiting our World Orphans church partner in Kenya.  It was a sweet time filled with the churches spending time together and ministering alongside one another.  Were there gifts and treats given?  Sure.  By now there are  deep friendships and thoughtful gifts are given both ways.  Are there finances involved in the relationship?  Yes.  The US church helps fund some of the ministries of their church partner.  BUT...this is why I love the World Orphans model of church partnership...the money is a part of it, but not what the relationship is about.  The yearly (or bi-yearly, quarterly...however it goes) short-term trips are part of a much bigger context of relationship.

So just as we are grateful for the gifts our families give, the churches are grateful for the gifts from their church partner.  But, because of the long-term commitment and real relationship, I believe that like with my family, that what I love, miss, and long for is the time together, that is what is at the heart of a true church partnership.

So I don't think we need to be afraid of the gift-giving aspect of church partnership and short-term trips.  We have to be wise and thoughtful, just as we do within our families.  But just as our families love to give gifts as an expression of their love, I believe there is a healthy place for gift-giving within short-term trips and church partnerships.  The key is the context of relationship.

I am so thankful for the way our families care for us physically....but what I'm longing for and waiting for is that next visit when we can spend time together.  And it's beautiful to watch those types of relationships grow among our World Orphans church hear accounts and read trip reports that speak of growing, deep, and abiding friendships.  There is gratitude for the gifts and the funds, but the longing is for the next time of fellowship.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

I miss knowing she's praying...

Over the past few years I had the privilege of getting to know a woman I had heard about for a long time.  She was the mother-in-law of one of my mom's cousins, so I would hear family members mention her and I had been introduced to her, but never spent any time with her...until we moved to New Jersey in 2009.  She was a member of the church we attended while living in Rutherford and I was in bible study with her, so had the opportunity to spend time with her weekly.

She was one of those people who makes you think, "Lord, I want to be like that.  I want to walk with You like she walks with You."  

She loved praying for people, she loved serving people, and most of all she loved sharing Jesus with people.  She had a story for everything and it always ended up being about God's goodness and His faithfulness.

In 2011 she committed to be part of my financial support team with World Orphans.  The $15 dollars a month that she gave was like a million dollars to me...because I knew she was praying.  I know she spent hours a day praying, and it was an honor to know she was praying for me, my family, World Orphans...

She went home to be with the Lord last year.  She had lived a long, full life and was certainly ready to be with her Savior who she had walked so closely with in this life.  Her funeral was a celebration of her life, feelings of thanks that she wasn't suffering, yet full of grief for all those so sad to say goodbye.

As I get settled into this new year I find myself missing her.  We don't live in New Jersey anymore so I wouldn't be seeing her regularly, but I miss knowing she's praying.  I feel so very honored to have known her and I desire to serve, love, and pray for others like she did.

Particularly as I think of the children being cared for through the ministries of our church partners, children who know deep loss, pain and suffering.... I long for those children to know the touch of someone to faithfully love and pray.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Wrapping up 2012

Sorry this is's the LINK to our end of 2012 HERE.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Preparing To Celebrate The Light Of The World

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” – Isaiah 7:14

‘All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).’ – Matthew 1:22-23

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it….  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” - John 1:1-4,14

I enjoy getting excited about Christmas, yet my heart is heavy for all those who won’t have the opportunity for joyful celebrations; the struggles of life don’t take a break for the holidays. How do I, as a North-American follower of Christ, celebrate Christmas in a way the honors Christ and also honors my brothers and sisters around the world who are spending themselves to care for children in need?

I remember when I was 18 years old, a freshman at Wheaton College, and the Lord was starting to open my eyes to what life is like around the world, and particularly how many children are suffering. That year when I tried to shop for Christmas, the crowds overwhelmed me, a mother yelling at her children devastated me, and I ended up back home at my parents’ house sobbing, because I felt like the masses of people at the mall were completely missing the point. No one was thinking about Christ. They were stressed rather than excited about getting gifts for their loved ones, and they were not thankful for the fact that they were safe and had the means to shop.

For years, although I enjoyed the time with my family, I really struggled with how to balance the commercialism and consumerism of Christmas in America with the reality of all the people who are suffering and not able to enjoy Christmas. As a follower of Christ, how should I think about that? How should I approach Christmas?

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but after almost 15 years of wrestling with the questions and thinking about how I’ll approach Christmas with my own daughter, these are my thoughts:
  • Gift giving is biblical. All throughout scripture, the old and new testament, God is pleased when people honor one another and honor Him with lavish gift giving. Do we have to be careful? Sure. It’s easy to get carried away and have our focus be cultural rather than biblical. But it can also be a wonderful thing to have a special time each year to intentionally honor those we love by giving them gifts.
  • Scripture is clear that as humans we need to remember and be reminded. In the Old Testament, God told His people to have stones and places of remembrance, and He commanded them to celebrate things year after year. Why? Because He knows our tendency to stray and to forget. So yes, the commercialism and consumerism of Christmas in America is a challenge for Christians, and we have to be intentional about celebrating in a way that honors Christ. But, it is a wonderful thing to have a time each year where we stop and remember, to remind ourselves of what it means that the Father sent the Son, that He was born as a baby…
  • And why do we need to be reminded that Christ was born? Because it changes everything. Immanuel, God is with us! “The Word was with God, and the Word was God….and He came to be with us! Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind….” Because Christ came, we have life. He made the way for us to be acceptable to The Father, for us to be sons and daughters of The Most High God.  That truth affects every moment of every day. May Christmas be a time to celebrate that and to remind us of the awesomeness of the Gospel.
As I think about our World Orphans partners around the world, likely weary from the struggles of caring in the midst of suffering, and likely without the means for the festive celebrations many of us in the US will enjoy, I pray they are overjoyed by the reminder that Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. I pray they are encouraged as they remember that in Him is life, and that His life is the light of all mankind. And I pray they will know immeasurable blessing because they are reflecting that light as they care for those in need.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Merry Christmas, from World Orphans

So That He May Be Known

(From the World Orphans December E-Newsletter)
The Christmas season is upon us – a season when we reflect and celebrate the birth of our Savior. We reflect on what it meant for God to become man, to come and dwell with his people, to enter this world as a child. We reflect on what it meant for us then, and what it means for us today.

As I reflect on these things, I am reminded that I am part of a much larger story than my own. A story of redemption and reconciliation, a story of our God calling His people to Himself. It is a story of God building His family – one child at a time. And it is a story of a child that changed the world.

I am also reminded of how important this story of God, this story of Jesus entering our world as a child, is to the ministry of World Orphans. It is the basis for all we do. Our ministry is rooted in the Gospel; it is our foundation. Whether providing food or shelter, medical care, or access to education, we offer care and support to orphans for tangible needs through the church SO THAT the Gospel is central, SO THAT the church has opportunity to live out their faith, SO THAT the community sees the church in a different light, SO THAT He may be known. The Gospel is where it begins and ends.

As a World Orphans partner, you are a partner in the Gospel, a partner in rescuing children in need. You are a partner in ministry to the least of these. You are a partner in serving the international church, and in helping them grow and pursue ministry in their communities. You are a partner in changing lives.

As you consider year end giving, we hope you will continue your partnership with us. We realize there are many ways to give and many worthy organizations doing good work around the world. We understand the significance and the trust involved in a decision to give, and we would be pleased and honored this Christmas season if you would again place that trust in us.

We value your friendship, your partnership, and your support, and we extend our thanks.

Merry Christmas from our World Orphans family to yours.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Exciting Stuff...

So very thankful to be a part of this amazing ministry that encourages, supports, equips and strengthens the church around the world to care for orphaned and vulnerable children in their community.

Click HERE to read our 2011 annual report.
And follow along with all that goes on throughout the year:
Email updates (sign up at the bottom right hand corner)

Thinking about the number of children in need overwhelms me, and I feel more passionately each day that equipping the local church around the world is the most biblical and most feasible way to rescue and care for them.

Monday, July 30, 2012

This Night...

Written at 3am on July 30, 2010 right after I returned from Haiti

This night as I sink tired, yet comfortably into bed I am overwhelmed by all those whose place of rest is so uncomfortable.

This night some sleep too hot, so hot it takes your breath away...others are too cold. Some too dry, their bodies and land parched for clean refreshing water.  Others are too wet.  The rain soaks their roof and walls and floors and bed, it takes away their comfort and threatens their safety.  Yet their exhaustion drives them to sleep, but I imagine it's a fitful sleep.  Sound sleep interrupted by questions of safety and what will fill the children's empty bellies.

So this night, overwhelmed with gratefulness for my safe and comfortable bed, I am reminded of my need for mercy.  Why I enjoy the safety and comfort I do not know.

I am also overwhelmed with gratefulness that my acceptance with Creator God is based not on my work or my righteousness, but on the perfect righteousness of Christ and His perfect, saving, redeeming sacrifice.

So while I rest in being a child of the Most Hight God by faith in Jesus Christ, I am reminded of His words that to whom much is given, much will be required.

So this night I find myself sinking into my safe comfortable bed begging that He will allow me to be spent that those who are hurting may know His redemption, not only in their hearts but in their lives.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.

My reflections on July 30, 2011
Having a newborn to care for, I was so grateful that we had a safe place to call home where we could care for her, that I had enough food and water and was able to nurse her, that Chris had the summer off from school and we were able to enjoy time together as a family, and that we were surrounded by friends and family who loved us and Jazmine in amazing ways.

And being a new mom, I was grieved in deep ways that there are parents all over the world who desperately want to care for their children and are not able to because of poverty, war, sickness, and so many other evils.  And also grieved that there are so many children around the world who don't have someone to love, care for, and protect them.

July 30, 2012
Today I find myself on the brink of a new season in life as we have recently moved, Chris is done with school and has started a new job.  I continue to find myself overwhelmed with gratefulness for the Lord's sustaining us and providing for us.  We continue to ask what it looks like that we would joyfully spend ourselves so that others may see a tangible reflection of His love, care and provision...

Monday, April 2, 2012

T4A Partnership

Working for an orphan care ministry, people often ask for resources and recommendations on any number of issues related to orphan care.  World Orphans is committed to church-partnership, supporting and equipping local churches to help them care for orphans and vulnerable children in their community... and we are committed to doing that well.

Thankfully, there are other ministries focused on other aspects of orphan care.  One of those ministries that we often refer people to and we are so thankful to be in partnership with, is Together for Adoption.

There's a lot of exciting stuff happening at T4A, but we are particularly excited that their director, Dan Cruver, is partnering with us to provide training and equipping for some of our international partners...specifically this May in Nicaragua.

My gifted co-worker, Kathy Davis takes the lead on facilitating these trainings, that we are finding to be super effective and fruitful for our partners.  Read her posts about the last time we partnered with Dan, in Haiti, May 2011 HERE.  And our last training was in Ethiopia in November, 2011, that you can read about HERE.

Happy reading!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Work with me at World Orphans!

I was going to mention two opportunities to work with me, but thanks to the amazing volunteer that the Lord provided who is doing an excellent job helping with mobilization admin work, I now just have one opportunity to tell you about!

Are you passionate about short-term missions?

Do you enjoy training and equipping team leaders and members to help make their short-term mission trip a positive, Kingdom-building experience for everyone involved?

Are you organized, like details, have good communication skills?

Is God calling you to be involved in orphan care ministry?

If you answered yes to those questions (or know someone who would)....let's talk about the job opening World Orphans has for our Mobilization Director.

(The reason you'd be working with me is because it's currently a role that I am filling, but we are looking for someone to fill the position who can give it their undivided attention and allow me to fill other roles within the ministry....we would work together closely.)

We sent over 30 international short-term mission teams in 2011 and will send more in 2012.  Our busy and growing Mobilization Department needs an energetic and passionate leader who will invest themselves in seeing that World Orphans does an excellent job preparing, facilitating, sending and debriefing our teams.

Interested or know someone who would be?  Call or email me and we'll talk!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The size of her clothes...

With tears in my eyes and a knot in my throat I folded my daughters clothes tonight.  Not because I mind, I actually really enjoy folding her clothes.  The tiny size reminds me how dependent she is on us, the awesome responsibility of being a parent and caring for her.

And as I fold her sweet little clothes I find myself thinking of all the children around the world who don't have a mom to lovingly fold their clothes.

So it's with a heavy heart that I crawl into bed...grateful for my little girl and grieving for all the little ones who don't have a safe place to sleep tonight.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2011 Borders Year-in-Review

So is January too late to write a year-in-review of last year?  I don't think so...I think any time this month would be acceptable.  And speaking of January, I hope to do a better job of posting here this year...check back for info about working with me at World Orphans! family's 2011 year-in-review...

New and beautiful - Jazmine Eliza:  Born on the 4th of July, Jazmine filled the second half of 2011 with wonder and delight.  We love getting to know her and have enjoyed watching her grow from a tiny newborn into a little girl full of life and personality.  We look with awe and anticipation to future years as we parent Jazmine and watch her grow.

Challenging - Chris's work as a graduate student:  Chris continues to work and study very hard as he prepares to be a Physician Assistant.  Currently in his third and final year of his masters degree, Chris has spent countless hours in a dozen hospitals around the state of New Jersey.  He loves what he is learning and looks forward to completing his degree in May 2012.  At this point Chris anticipates practicing in the area of primary care.  The location of where our family will settle is still up in the air...we’re thinking somewhere on the eastern seaboard....stay tuned for our 2012 year end letter to find out!  We look forward to seeing how the Lord leads us.

Growing and changing - Kate's role at World Orphans:  I am continually grateful to be involved in supporting churches around the world that are caring for orphans.  With help from my family, I hosted a few “Home for the Holidays” parties this December....thinking of how grateful we are for family and homes to gather in at this time of year and praying for all the children around the world who don’t have homes or families.  While the situation is daunting, the work God is doing through his people, His church around the world is awesome.  This year saw my role grow into being a senior director in our Projects department which allows me to help keep an eye on how different aspects of our ministry and organization fit together - I oversee all the teams we send overseas, as well as our holistic care emphasis which focuses on training and equipping our partners around the world.  The work is challenging and keeps me busy, but I am honored to serve alongside my hard-working, gifted, passionate co-workers and our church partners.

Chris and I would love to hear what 2011 held for you and what 2012 has in store.  We pray this finds you growing in the presence and knowledge of Christ.  Immanuel - God is with us!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
With love and best wishes for 2012,
Kate (on behalf of all of us)

Partner with Us!  I am responsible for raising funds on behalf of World Orphans to cover the costs associated with my work for them.  I need to raise about $8000 between now and next summer.  We would be honored and thankful if you would consider partnering with us by giving a one time or monthly gift.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Don't Worry...

I nurse my four month old daughter and she gets into a comfortable state somewhere between awake and asleep while she contentedly eats. After awhile I pick her up to burp her. With her head on my shoulder she realizes that she is no longer comfortably eating and lets out a quiet cry of protest. I pat her back and gently tell her, "don't worry, there's more". She quickly quiets down, burps and then settles in to finish eating.

Each time I say, "don't worry, there's more" I find myself overwhelmed with gratefulness that I can say that to her, humbled by and thankful for God's provision. Recognizing all provision is from God's hand, at the moment I'm able to say, "don't worry, there's more" because I have enough to eat and drink so my body is producing the nourishment that she needs. Lord willing, as she gets older I'll be able to say that because my husband and I will work hard to provide for her.

For over 10 years now my heart has been breaking for children who don't have enough food to eat. But now as a new parent I find myself thinking of parents who struggle to provide for their children. My heart breaks for the moms and dads who desperately want to care and provide for their children yet poverty, drought, sickness and other challenges prevent them from being able to.

I have to admit I don't understand why. I trust God's goodness and His sovereignty, but don't understand why I find myself in a position to be able to provide warmth, shelter, protection, and food for my baby girl, while so many parents would give anything to be able to do the same and aren't able.

As I wrestle with these questions that don't have answers I find myself yet again thankful to be part of the ministry of World Orphans as we work through local churches around the world to strengthen communities, so families can be supported and encouraged, so parents are able to work and provide for their children.

One very specific way we go about this is through our Home-Based Care Programs. The objective is to assist the church in their desire to provide much needed spiritual, emotional, physical and mental care for households in their community with orphaned, abandoned, or vulnerable children who are being cared for by single mothers, extended relatives, neighbors, friends, or church members.

The program is designed to ensure that the children receive: spiritual care - through discipleship during home visitations and participation in a weekly children’s program at the church; emotional care – by providing ongoing counseling, group activities, and home visitations; physical care – in the form of food, access to clean drinking water, and access to medical care; and mental care – by ensuring access and support of education.

As I feed my daughter and lay her down to sleep, faces of dear brothers and sisters I have ment through World Orphans partnerships flash through my mind. My heart aches knowing there are grieving parents putting their children to be hungry. At the same time I am very humbled by how hard parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, community members and church bodies are working to care and provide for those children.

As we seek to care for children, whether it be children under our roof or children around the world, may we never lose sight of the greatest need we all have, for our relationship with God to be restored. Praise God that He has met that need, through the Gospel of Christ. As we meet physical needs, may we never cease to point one another to the Gospel.

Currently World Orphans has Home-Based Care programs in Haiti and Ethiopia. Click HERE to read more about Home-Based Care and click HERE to start a campaign to raise money to support orphan care ministry around the world.

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing... - Psalm 68:5-6

Monday, August 22, 2011

Our baby girl...

My husband Chris and I welcomed Jazmine Eliza on July 4th at 3:58pm

1 day old

I had a delightful 6 weeks of maternity leave - it was so nice to just focus on getting to know Jazmine and begin to learn how to care for her.

2 days old

I'm now back to work, so grateful to be involved in the ministry of World Orphans where my work is something I'm passionate about.

3 weeks

So often as I look at Jazmine I'm overwhelmed with gratefulness for her health and that the Lord has given her to us. And my heart just breaks for all the children who don't have a family.

6 weeks (no, she didn't ride on the motorcycle...we'll let her get a little bigger :)

I am so thankful that World Orphans is about mobilizing, supporting and encouraging churches around the world to care for children in need of a family. And I pray that the Lord would continue to stir hearts all around the world, that followers of Christ would be known as people who care for the fatherless.

7 weeks

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The other here and abroad

Our northern New Jersey newspaper reported that a 4-year old girl was found dead in her Brooklyn, New York home. Her mother was arrested on charges of assault and endangering the welfare of a child. The mother called 911 herself after finding her daughter unconscious, but the medical examiner said the child was under-nourished and that marks on her ankles indicated she had been tied up...probably to a small bed in the corner of the mother's room. The mother was also charged with the possession of crack cocaine and marijuana. The little girl had two brothers, 5 years old and nine months. The last sentence of the small article that reported on this tragedy reads: "The other children were placed in foster care."

My heart is broken for the little girl whose life just slipped away. In a city of such affluence, she simply wasn't well-cared for and she died. And my heart breaks for her brothers. Their young lives, lives that will never be the same again as their world was just shattered, their lives were summed up in one sentence. "The other children were placed in foster care."

One sentence, a paragraph all by itself. Grammatically it reads like an afterthought. The words haunt me and I can't stop thinking about those little boys.

One of the (many) reasons the words are haunting... in theory I could do something to directly care for those boys.

One of the things that I most appreciate learning through my work with World Orphans, and that I find most challenging, is that you don't need to have a lot and you don't need to have all your ducks in a row to care for children in need. I am humbled, challenged, and inspired by my brothers and sisters I have met around the world through World Orphans partnerships who are spending themselves to care for orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children. And I want to follow their example.

Some of our partners are young parents giving up the privacy of their own home and time alone with their biological children in order to raise orphans in a church-based children's home. Others are families who are living very sacrificially to bring children into their already full home. Then there are the pastors who have grown children, work full-time jobs, and spend the rest of their time shepherding small churches and caring for orphans. And those are just a few examples of people living lives of servant leadership so that children are cared for and their communities are impacted by the love of Christ.

These individuals seem to be some of the most sacrificial and at the same time most joyful people I have ever met. And I believe they are setting an example for us.

I know there are differences between America and the developing world. I know there is a lot of red tape and paperwork involved with caring for children who are not your own in America...but I don't think that should stop us.

Often times when I tell people about World Orphans the response is something like, "it's great that you are concerned about children around the world, but what about the children here in America?" And to that I say, "amen!" Through my work with World Orphans I feel increasingly passionate that it's a both/and situation. I believe God desires for us to have a heart for the nations, to be a part of what He is doing around the world. AND...I believe He desires for us to reflect His love and the truth of the Gospel right where we live. We can do both.

And for those of us who live in America, the reality is that children die because people neglect them or because people beat them. There are children who need homes and we can do something about that. I know the foster care system is messy, I know it's hard...but I find myself drawn to it. I want my home to be the home those little boys go to when their sister dies and their mom goes to jail and their dad is not around.

I know it will be hard. I know they will have issues. I know I don't know what I'm getting myself into and that my life will never be the same. And yet I am so excited. I write this as we are just a few weeks away from welcoming our first child. We are so thankful that the Lord has given us a baby and we can't wait to meet her. And as excited as we are to be having this little girl, our hearts continue to break for children in foster care and we feel so drawn to caring for them.

So I'm writing this for all of you to see. And whether a hundred people read this or it's just my few wonderfully loving and faithful family members who always read my blog...we want to be held to this:

When we have a home that would pass a home study, because let's face it...we love living with my grandmother and it's all we can afford at the moment...but I don't know that we would pass a home study and I'm pretty sure we couldn't handle it at the moment....but in a few years - we will do foster care. Most likely that will be when Chris is done with school. And I'm not saying we're going to do it indefinitely...(if it works out and we adopt a bunch of them we'd have to take a break at some point)...but we're going to do it.

And I'm asking you to consider it. Consider what it looks like to be aware of and involved in what God is doing around the world, and right in your community. It won't be glamorous, it will be hard. It won't be easy, it will be risky. But as a Christian living in America I can't think of anything I would rather do than be in relationship with brothers and sisters around the world - supporting and encouraging them, and take care of children who don't have a family.

So just consider it. I know God calls people to different things, so I know it's not what EVERYONE is called to, but I think more of us are called to foster care and/or adoption than dare to consider it. And if you don't bring children into your home you can still be supportive and encouraging to those who are. What does it look like for you as an individual and your church as a community?

So as you are drawn to be a part of the work God is doing around the world to care for orphaned and abandoned children...let us know. I can tell you that the World Orphans Church-to-Church model is an awesome and exciting way to be involved and would love to tell you stories of how the Gospel is transforming lives. And I hope in a few years we are doing foster care and I can tell you about the ups and downs of caring for orphaned and abandoned children in America and tell you more stories of God’s great love and faithfulness.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Will you please...pray

A co-worker posted this on her blog:

I wish there was something I could say, "please do THIS" to help stop the sex trafficking at the Super Bowl...but I don't know what tangible things there are to do, so I would beg you to pray.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Let it be said...

Yesterday marked a year that a man from our church died suddenly...he left behind a wife and 4 children (high school through young adults...) It was devastating, but it's been remarkable to watch the church grieve with them and care for them. And remarkable to see the affect that one man had on so many people, the affect he had of the Kingdom of God.

The worship team played this song and I couldn't help thinking about in the very brief time I knew him, how I could see how he blessed and serve others in the name of was amazing.

And I found myself being reminded as we work to care for children around the world, how important it is that we be intentional about reflecting the Gospel and the love of Christ in everything. Whether we're doing something that seems exciting like taking a trip to another country...or we're just doing the routine things of life... In the grand scheme of things I believe it's not that some things matter more than others, it's that we depend on Christ to honor Him and reflect Him in whatever we are doing...and I'm thankful to know people who live like that.

The Blessing

By John Waller, Troy Denning

Let it be said of us while we walked among the living
Let it be said of us by the ones we leave behind
Let it be said of us that we lived to be a blessing for life

And let it be said of us that we gave to reach the dying
Let it be said of us by the fruit we leave behind
Let it be said of us that our legacy is blessing for life

Let it be said of us that our hearts belong to Jesus
Let it be said of us that we spoke the words of life
Let is be said of us that our heritage is blessing for life

This day, You set life, You set death right before us

This day, every blessing and curse is a choice now

And we will choose to be a blessing for life

'Cause blessings and curses are choices
Will we build up, tear down? The moment of truth is now

For your kingdom, for our children
For the sake of every nation
For your kingdom, for our children
For the sake of every nation
We will choose to be a blessing for life