NOW WE SEE

NOW WE SEE
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Sunday, December 30, 2012

News report about our story on WDRB

Here is the news report about our story from WDRB.

Oldham family struggles to adopt three African orphans - WDRB 41 Louisville - News, Weather, Sports Community#.UOBLwSrjVhk.gmail

Putting the Pieces Together


It has been over 2 years since I have put pen to paper so to speak, on this blog. The reason: fear! Fear that bearing my soul the way I had the year before would leave others with the question “when will she ever think about something else?”. Fear that telling our story could complicate our efforts as we continued to work in the country that held the keys of freedom for our children. Fear that I had run out of anything to say that could ease the pain of this path our family had taken. Before I started this entry, I took a good, long look at all of my previous posts and what a roll of emotions had been captured, but I was mostly struck by the intensity of love God has for his children. He has carried me through, by far, the hardest years of my life and is bringing my family and me to a whole new chapter! One of the posts I was reading about was called “Scattered” and it’s hard to believe now, but at that time, Fran had moved to Texas and the kids and I were still in Missouri waiting for our house to sell so we could all be together in Texas. We had put our house on the market just weeks after we decided to adopt and so at that time it had been for sell for over a year. So here we are, IN LOUISVILLE KY….what??? Yes, Louisville KY and the incredible news is our house just sold a few weeks ago (more than 3 years after putting in on the market…three years is becoming a theme)! Oh God’s timing! Fran and I have said several times, “Why Louisville? We had never considered living here and I don’t think I had ever even been to Louisville before we decided to move here.” Just so you know as you are reading this, there were 2 very important things we learned quickly once we got here and number one was to decide right away if we are “blue” or “red” (UK or U of L) and the other is to learn how to say "Looavull” as if we had lived here our entire life. As of 3:00pm yesterday (December 29th, 2012), I looked at Fran and said “I think I know why we moved to Louisville” and without my explanation he responded “I think you’re right”. We have lived here a year and ½ and just as I haven’t blogged much about our story, I haven’t talked about it much either. With our whole story beginning in Springfield Mo., we had friends and family who had walked this road with us from the very beginning and when they saw me out in public, they knew what questions to ask because they knew the whole story. Here, we sat at our kid’s soccer games, Lacrosse games, football games, wrestling tournaments and no one around us knew the heavy burden we carried. The days when we got incredible news about the adoption ban lifting or scary news about our immigration paperwork getting ready to expire were some of the hardest days because as we sat at those games we didn’t have a clue how to talk about what was really going on in our lives. Unfortunately, we totally underestimated the people of Louisville. Malachi started a new adventure this year in wrestling and has opened the door for us to start this dialogue about our lives. Anissa and Kyle Goldsmith are two people who will forever hold a very special place in our hearts. Anissa has been like my personal cheerleader as well as the organizer of a fundraiser to buy the plane tickets to get our kids home and Kyle is a strong presence of “this is how you get things done”. Kyle and Anissa not only believe in us and our cause, but they believe in the community we live in to step up and walk along side us from this day forward. With our adoption being full and final as of August 2, 2012, our greatest need-to-date is purchasing plane tickets( $8,000-$10,000) once the visas are issued. Anissa’s words were “we have to do something about this”. My first thoughts were “YES” we do, but then I quickly remembered “wait, why is this her responsibility, she just learned about this”. Again I have underestimated and failed to remember that this entire story is not just about me. I am reminded that from the very beginning, we have been blown away by people stepping up to help us. Thinking back to years ago when we had Todd Arbeitman (from the FM stores) basically donating material for the blankets and tons of people in the community of Springfield to help us make the blankets. There are people who have taken a more silent role in this process, but please don’t think we have forgotten my parents or Dr. McCauley. Remember the “163 Event” where we were able to help several people raise money for travel to The Covering? There was another need at that event where again the people in the community rose up to sponsor around 50 new children who had come into The Covering after the horrifying Shenge ferry accident in Sierra Leone. The Raining Season had no idea how they would feed or clothe all of these new children who had just lost everything, but the community of people in Springfield MO bridged a gap to start sponsoring them and to walk along with TRS in caring for the orphan. To the most recent events where one of my very favorite people in the world (Chrissie Woodruff) put out a plea on our behalf asking for donations to buy items for a raffle we were having and again people giving enough money to purchase an iPad mini and a 32” LCD TV along with a dear family (the Clarks) who donated the Blackberry playbook for this raffle. Wow…I am truly humbled by God’s way of showing me this is not at all about me, but about His children being given the opportunity to do great things so that He can get the glory deserved. Remember what it feels like when your kids do something great, whether it is pinning a kid on the wrestling mat or making 86 blankets for orphans in Africa, it makes us proud as a parent. Our Heavenly Father is proud! On December 19th, 28th and 29th, North Oldham Middle School wrestling team hosted a tournament for area teams. Prior to the tournament, Anissa had contacted the local newspaper and WDRB news to cover the story. Well it didn’t take long for our quiet story to be on the hearts of many people in Oldham County. After 3 days of sharing our story to crowds of people, an article in the paper, and a TV news report, we have raised $5,400 for the purchase of plane tickets for Sam, Betty, and Fallah with more people asking how to make donations after seeing the news report last night! Overwhelmed by that number….YES! More overwhelmed by a community of people who are standing beside us, behind us, and all around us as we go through the final stages of the visa process AND prepare for these children to live here in Oldham County…ABSOLUTELY! The past few days, people have verbalized their willingness to be there for us as we open this next chapter…to pray for us…to support us. WOW! Some of my memories of the past few days: -An anonymous donation of $220 for 1 ticket per child who lost their young life in the Sandy Hook tragedy. -Julie with a $50 donation stating with tears: “Today is my birthday and this is how I want to spend my birthday money”. -Logan about age 9 “Can I ask you a question?” “Can I just give you money because I don’t have $10 for a ticket.” -A student from OC Middle school who was on the way to the concession stand to buy a drink, but instead turned around to our table and threw the dollar on the table when he thought I wasn’t looking. He didn’t get his drink, but I pray he will be rewarded far greater. -A generous donation from a family who knew us when we first moved here and just remembered us when they saw the article in the paper. You never know what impact you have on people, but they may never know the true impact they just had on us far beyond the money! -Another generous donation from a dad who wrote a check, and knowing I wasn’t expecting the amount, stated as he walked away “I don’t need a raffle ticket, you are doing a great thing”. -An Oldham County Mom who couldn’t even speak because of the tears as she handed me $100 and didn’t even want a raffle ticket. I know there were more moments just like these, but this is just a small glimpse of our last few days, but a large view of why we moved to Louisville. As I am typing these last few lines, I can barely see the computer screen through the tears. We are the Pyle family (all 8 of us). We live in Oldham County. We are truly blessed! If you feel called and would like to donate to help get our kids home, we would be honored for you to walk beside us: you can email me at loripyleslp@gmail.com Much Love -

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Upon my return

I have been home for one week from my third trip to Sierra Leone in the past year. It is so great to return home to so many people who sincerely ask the questions "how was your trip?" and "how are you since being home?". I feel like I always give such an inadequate answer and I truly wish I had a more to offer, but the truth is I am fine, but to quote Kay Warren, I am gloriously ruined forever. Each time I go over, I become more and more invested with every part of my being and so returning becomes more and more difficult. My children over there have learned that they can trust my love and they share more about their life and how they are truly feeling and that leads simply to my understanding that they need a forever family. This trip provided opportunities for me to truly "parent" many of the orphans that live at The Covering. It is such a blessing to be able to pour God's love into their lives and to speak truths over them. I have said this before, but what did I do to deserve such blessings in my life? If I can only give back 1/10 of what those children have done for me that will be an accomplishment!


The weeks leading up to our trip, we were busy raising funds to move to the new building. It was crazy to think we could raise $18,000 in one month, but yes we did it!! We got to see our kids living in the new center with so much more space and we were able to stay at the guest house which was only a short walk to the center. The close proximity allowed us to spend more time with the kids. The children could even see us from their third floor window. We were without electricity for much of the trip so we all put our make up on outside on the balcony. One morning we heard lots of little voices from across the way screaming "aunty, aunty". I won't lie, I would do about anything to hear that right now! We were also able to enjoy their bedtime prayer almost every night. I cannot describe what it feels like to have a child lead you into the presence of the Lord and to hear them pray for me and my life is a very humbling experience, but one that I hope all of my readers experience someday.

I continued to build my relationship with Sam, Betty and Fallah but I also developed some close relationships with other kids as well. All of these kids are amazing and I love how God can make more room in your heart for a child that might need attention that day or for the short week I was there. I can say with all honesty that I miss them and I am sad to not be with them. Thankfully, I have a family here that shares in my desire to love on these kids and the people of Sierra Leone. It would be my desire to take my entire family over to share in this experience together. Fran is ready. Malachi is more than ready since his last visit in May. McKenna says she is ready (but she is afraid of the shot). Mackaden is great as long as mom and dad are there! God willing...


This was such a special time talking with Sam. We talked about some of his dreams and things that I will remember forever. Also, some things that I will remind him of in the future!


Loved the beach with my kids!



This is Foday Kamara. Some of our very dear friends sponsor him and I LOVED getting to know him better this week. He and his brother, Suwaju, were always very close to my side. I love them both!




This is probably my favorite picture of my sweet Betty and her mother, Matilda. I can still feel the love that was in that room between all of us.



She enjoyed trying on her new clothes and I enjoyed watching her model them like every other almost 12-year-old little girl.




I just love her and I am so thankful for who she is in my life. For those of you who don't know, this is Erica and she and her husband, Jason, are the founders of The Raining Season. Oh, and she is also my cousin. (Fran would argue it's his cousin, but whatever...ask her :)


Would you look at this handsome boy. He was completing his VBS class on this day.



Seriously, this is such my happy place!


Betty and Fallah



Thank you for joining me once again on another trip to what we like to call "our second home". Please continue to pray for our family...

Love always,

Lori

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Story


I am coming up on my 1-year anniversary of when my heart was broken for the orphan. This time last year I was helping Mckenna make 86 blankets, raising funds to travel to Africa to help open an orphanage and to help a little girl named Lucy better communicate. Today I went back to the same post office to send off for another visa into Sierra Leone and I had to wonder had I known then what I know now...would I have still gone? I live broken hearted for the people I have come to love in Sierra Leone. I feel so conflicted about my possessions here in America. I get frustrated when others don't share my passion. Would I do it again...YEP!!! I have no idea what the future holds for me and my family (including Sam, Betty and Fallah), but I do know that I am a better person because of what I have lived over the past 12 months. I trust God with it all because as the Bible is sure to say "no eye has seen and no ear has heard of the great things God has in store for those who love Him and want His will". I could have never seen or imagined such blessings in my life. This is a recap of "My Story"...

DON'T FORGET TO TURN OFF THE BACKGROUND MUSIC ON THE PLAYLIST AT THE BOTTOM.

video

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Scattered

Thankfully God knows I am sitting on this couch all alone today! Usually, I am thrilled to have a moment to blog all by myself, but today it is a reminder of my current circumstances. Never in my life have I felt so scattered. We are going on our third week of Fran living in Texas, while the kids and I patiently wait for our house to sell here in Missouri. I am so grateful that he found a job and in a location that we have desired to be in for several years now, but really I can't believe our family is only together for a day and a half each week. To make matters even more convincing, Mackaden (our youngest) went with him this week. As I have tried to sort through my emotions today it is clear that a momma's heart "feels" into the depths and it is probably the closest to that which the heavenly Father feels for us. I take absolutely nothing away from the daddy's heart, because I know my husband loves his children beyond measure. I, however, can only speak on what I know about...so...in addition to part of my family living out their Tuesday night 500 miles away in Texas I also have 3 more children that live more than 5000 miles away. I don't usually allow myself to feel what I have entertained today, but as I was feeling sad about Fran and Mackaden being away, I cannot deny that everyday my heart aches because I have 3 kids that live in an orphanage in Africa. I miss them so much and I would give anything to spend a day and a half each week with them. I realize that I am blessed and surely this too shall pass, but I am asking that my faithful blog readers would please join me in praying for our house to sell AND that the country of Sierra Leone will cooperate in allowing me to bring our kids home. Today I feel scattered, but I will rest knowing that the Lord is my Shepard...
Ezekiel 34:11-13 (New International Version) 11 " 'For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Leaving Africa

We just had a team return to the States yesterday from a visit to Sierra Leone and as I read their posts and look at their pictures I know what a terribly hard time they are having adjusting back into their lives. This team in particular had some rough situations to deal with from missing 3 days on ground due to an airline mess up to the roads being flooded out causing them to miss the beloved beach day with the kids, but even more troubling was the little baby that stole their heart at the children's hospital. TRS was trying so hard to get this little 5 pound 2-month-old named Allie to our center, but they got the news that she passed away just hours after they left the last day. My heart is broken for them and to add that news to the already difficult transition is horrible. I truly pray that the Lord's peace will be with them as they process this trip. I want to leave everyone with the feelings I was able to capture on paper when I returned from Sierra Leone just a few short weeks ago. Maybe someone will be able to relate...

Leaving Africa

It doesn’t take long after the chaos from the Freetown Airport settles for that lump in my chest to slowly move to my throat. Just 15 minutes ago my mind was racing with standing in long lines wondering if I can get my bags on the belt back to the United States…and oh where did I pack my bug repellant because it is not even air conditioned in here as we wait for the man to process all 14 pass ports…and really who knows if I even took my Malaria pills anyway? I say all of that because there is a mosquito and that bite on my leg might the one thing that triggers this flood gate of emotion I have been holding since I left the center. NOPE, I keep holding because I have time to run upstairs and grab one last glass bottle of Fanta before our plane leaves. Now, I am sitting on the plane and it is really happening. I am leaving Africa. I begin to panic as I realize all of the anticipation of this trip from planning, to fundraising, to being here is over. I miss my family, but where do I put the new emotion of overwhelming love for this country and the people who reside in it? I did not know that part of my heart existed. I don’t want to leave and in the same breath I’m so sorry for saying that out loud that my children or husband may think I don’t want to see them. As I look out the window I see the last glimpse of tin houses with dirt floors and realize that their life will continue with or without me here, but the children…how God can I leave the children that you placed right in the middle of my heart? They know that I left because the demonstration of sadness and grief was evident, but do they know I’m coming back? Am I coming back? God, you brought me here. What are you going to do with me now? Do the children know that my heart aches too? Do they know that my tears are not just for them and their pain but for mine, too? Do they realize the impact they have had on me? What will I do without them? Who will greet me with a parade of smiles upon my return? God’s grace is always sufficient because of course I had several beautiful smiling faces very ready to see me once I got on American soil. I am now faced with the balance of pre-Africa and post-Africa. This will not be easy as I recall my first experience of opening my bags at my house to unload the gifts I purchased from all of my “friends” at the Freetown market and I was knocked down by the wave of “the scent of Africa”. I find myself nestling my nose into the suitcase just trying to place myself back in time to two days ago. Do I really think I will forget everything I just felt or saw last week? I feel so desperate to reconnect. I can only wonder what the kids at the center are doing now. I guess they have figured out by now that we really have gone. I wonder if they still sing and dance when we are not there to record and take pictures of their every move. Ah yes, that is what I will do is watch my videos and pictures for the 83rd time today. I wonder who has posted something on their blog, maybe something I have forgotten about. Okay, that is it! I haven’t scheduled this break down, but here it comes. The tears start to roll down my face and I silently whisper “I just miss them” and before long I locked my door because no one will understand, especially my kids, but I am in a full blown sob. I would love to talk to someone about this, but I don’t have an answer to the question “well don’t you feel like you did a wonderful thing while you were there?” and I definitely cannot respond to “you really need to pull yourself together because this can’t be healthy.” Don’t you think I know that? Healthy is not how I feel. I feel very unhealthy. So unhealthy that I cannot process the very simple things of my pre-Africa life like enjoying my son’s baseball games, going to the grocery store, and just forget planning that birthday party that is supposed to take place next week. How is any of this relevant when I just spent quality time caring for the mothers of starving babies and holding children who do not have a mommy or daddy. Children who just want you to touch them. Children who don’t even complain when they are sick or scared because they don’t have anyone to complain to. If a human ever wants to know their purpose in life it only takes one day in Africa to know you can make a difference for someone. Please don’t misunderstand, my pre-Africa life is important, but it lacks substance and I just found my platform. I did that. I made a difference in someone’s life last week, but what about this week? I know I am making a difference in the lives of my children, but now I know that they too can make a difference for someone else. Although it will take time I have to try and figure out a way to express this that is within me because on top of everything else, I feel extreme responsibility to share what I saw. These kids at the very least deserve that. They might be considered forgotten by most of the world but not by me. How could I forget all of the naked or ½ naked bodies that so quietly yearn for someone to just notice them. Then there are those brave soles who speak out and make the request for help as their handicapped mother urges them forward. The image of the children who run behind the car with the sucker stick hanging out of their mouth wondering if I will return or forget them is forever etched in my mind. The mother who won’t give her listless child water, not because she doesn’t care or that she is inhumane, but because she realizes that each drink only prolongs the suffering of the child she cannot save. A place where there is so much suffering and so much sadness…why do I love it so much? It because of what the people have taught me. I go there to share my resources and to be the hands and feet of God, but these people have shared with me a hope that could have or maybe should have been gone a long time ago. When I recall the people I have met Quami, Osseh, Foday, Daniel and all of the other staff members. I see a hope and a love for God that is immeasurable. I watched women doing laundry for 80 children by hand with a smile on their faces. These people work 6 long days a week and are nothing but grateful for what the Lord provides. All of these memories factor into the daze I find myself in, but none like the overflowing emotion that comes when I remember the faces of those children I have developed a deep connection with. These children who are in the process of developing that same inner strength that comes with living and enduring the conditions of Sierra Leone are beginning to understand that hope comes from God, but for 1 week they saw that hope of God in me. They received my love openly and returned theirs to me. The truth is they have become a part of me and the depth of this connection cannot be described only felt. That is why it is so hard to talk about, but I will find a way because I know that once God starts and stirs something within his people He is faithful to complete it. Until then I will stand faithful in knowing that I did leave Africa, but it did not leave me.


Blessings always,

Lori