NOW WE SEE

NOW WE SEE
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Next Step, Freetown

Well what else would be on my mind today, but "next step, Freetown". I am convinced that the only way to recover from the pain of leaving the children I love so much in the orphanage so many miles away from me is to plan my next trip. I am so blessed to be part of a team of people (The Raining Season) who not only feel my hurts with me, but support me in my times of stress, sorrow, happiness, and excitement! We will be heading back to Sierra Leone the first week of September and I have been asked to lead a medical/educational team to continue God's amazing work there. Please join us as we pray that God will put together the EXACT team He wants there. I believe we are all called to save the orphan and I know that God is speaking to hearts right now, so I just pray that those in which he calls will actually answer with that same simple "yes" that changed my life FOREVER. If you are being called, I cannot wait to hear from you. I got great news today that a very dear friend of mine is joining this journey with me on our next trip. I am so excited to see what God is going to do next.
Blessings,
Lori

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Church

I had the opportunity to speak to our church today about our trip and what I realized is that I think I could speak from my heart about Africa for hours. I didn't, but I could have. I was thinking back to just a few short weeks ago on a Sunday when I watched these precious children having church within the orphanage. I watched them enter into the presence of God and I was so blessed. I want to share with you some video from that Sunday morning, because I cannot possible describe such a sweet moment the way you can experience it with your own eyes.

video

This is Sam reading Bible passages.


video

This is Fallah giving his testimony.


video

This is Betty giving her testimony.

Isn't it interesting how the spirit of God can cover the language differences. In case you were wondering, nope I could not understand their words either, but I fully understood their heart and felt the power of God working through them. I feel so blessed that God chose me to be a part of the lives of these amazing children. Sometimes I wonder who is truly being more richly blessed because in spite of what life throws at me I know that God is moving and doing great things...I see it in my six children. Lastly, I want to share two moments, one of the praise and worship and one of the children praying. I loved hearing their voices lifted up to God and praising Him. I will forever remember that Sunday morning.


video



video

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Kroo Bay

I would like to dedicate this post to Kroo Bay, a place that I have visited before, but reveals a new depth of compassion each time it is seen. Jordan's class donated soccer balls to be passed out at Kroo Bay and Malachi was allowed to participate in that event. It was initiated by a welcome ceremony from leaders of the community and a statement provided by TRS. This is the beginning of a great relationship between Kroo Bay and TRS as the people and this area continue to capture our hearts.







I want to encourage any of you who just happen upon my blog or who are followers of my blog to really allow yourselves to "feel" and be stirred. I believe God is opening the eyes of many (who allow it) to the orphan crisis and once your eyes are opened you will never be the same. I stand in amazement of the number of people who have allowed our journey to have a forever impact on their lives. I would like to share with you an email I got from a friend of ours regarding their 10-year-old son:

"Lori,
Found this in Jackson's backpack as I was unloading it today, and I quote:
My Lucky Charm
"My lucky charm is my boy in Africa. He is my lucky charm because he is really important to me. He is my lucky charm because he is special and makes me feel good inside. He is my favorite person in the world. His name is Sulaiman!!"
Thank you for making us look beyond our own little corner of the world. You have blessed us in a special way!
Love and prayers,
Becky

Once again thank you for allowing me to share my heart and my journey with each of you!
Lori


video

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Video of the beach day...

I tried to get this video posted with the last blog...

video

Please see below for the most recent blog post from our trip!

Glimpse of Glory

Each day that we were in Sierra Leone we were faced with a multitude of emotions, but as I look back on each encounter I can see those small glimpses of glory in the middle of a whirlwind. The one I would like to share first is Fallah's birthday. He was the only one of the three kids that we were unsure of his birth date. Mckenna was really anxious to know because she wanted to know who was older and she just turned eight on April 29th. I asked Fallah on our first day when his birthday was and he told me on May 21st he was going to turn eight! Not only did I learn of my son's birth date, but I was going to be with him on his birthday! For those who know me well, you understand that I really enjoy my children's birthday celebrations so to have the chance to provide Fallah with his FIRST birthday party/cake was amazing to me. The 21st was our beach day so I arranged for Osseh to pick up a cake (to feed 100 people) on our way. After we enjoyed fresh lobster and mango from the mango tree on the beach (which was another great moment) we celebrated Fallah's life and sang to him the "Birthday Song". Malachi was included in this celebration as his birthday was the following Friday and I must say that I was a happy mama. Fallah was unsure of how to respond, but I thought Betty and Sam were going to come out of their skin with excitement for him. I know Fallah was super excited though because the next day I met their sister Olive and the first thing he told her was that he had his first birthday cake.

I believe the smile says it all...on both of our faces!




This is the cake which fed all of the children and staff.

This is the lobster and mango...Erica says that she doesn't eat things that look like it could eat her first. She is not afraid to open a children's center across the world, but she is afraid of this lobster and a few lizards in our room. I just ate my lobster! :)



This is the mango tree...




This beach day turned out to be one of my favorite days for sure. Typically I would be so disappointed if it rained on a day I was planning a beach outing, but in Africa it was very much a blessing! The kids didn't care so neither did I. My last experience in Sierra Leone, when I first met Sam, Betty and Fallah, they were not able to have any kind of childhood so compared to this day when I watched them be kids and play was a wonderful experience. I saw Sam, who was so serious last time just trying to find survival for he and his siblings, play soccer and play in the water with all of the other kids. I watched as he laughed and pretended with Malachi and Jordan. I taught Betty how to do cartwheels and we introduced American football. I played soccer with the girls and it was such a happy day.



The boys playing soccer...


Victoria

The children when they first arrived at the beach...

Courteney...





I cannot speak of "glimpses of glory" and not mention little Lucy! For those of you who followed my last trip, you will recall that Lucy was the little girl that actually sealed the deal for me to travel. I was going to help transport the blankets that McKenna and her group had made for The Covering and I was going to provide some communication support for Lucy who exhibits some disabilities. Given the nature of our last trip I really was never able to make much of a difference with Lucy other than provide love and attention to a little girl who otherwise sat on a carpet unattended. On one day this trip we were able to see Lucy! There is no reason why this little girl should even be alive much less interacting and remembering who I was. No reason other than the grace of God that is! The condition we left her in last time was so desperate and I was sure that I would never see her again. Lucy has a wonderful family here in the United States that loves and supports her, but I know must also pray for her continually. I got to see Lucy stand and clap with the other kids, reach out to hug my neck and even vocalize as we played together.






Thank you Lord...for ALL of your blessings!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Only You God Part 2

The joy we all experienced by just being with all of the kids at The Covering quickly turned to grief as we entered the children's hospital. This hospital holds a very tender place in the heart of TRS as it was where the team in December 08 brought many of the kids they found from the other orphanage for treatment including Festus and Adama. I posted a few pictures in a earlier blog from the hospital, but as I recount that day I am once again saddened by what we saw. I work with children with special needs in the areas of speech/language/feeding in one of our local hospitals, but I have never felt as inadequate as I did that day. What could I have possible offered to the mom's of these dying children. Not from incurable disease, but from starvation and unintentional neglect. I tried to work with the caregivers on ways to best facilitate feeding, but really did it matter at this point...the baby's mom had abandoned him at the hospital over 3 weeks ago. I was devastated at this reality. I was remembering back to how excited the generous kids in Malachi's class were as they brought in jar after jar of peanut butter to put into the care packages we passed out on this day. How can I share with them that our efforts were not enough to bring joy to every person in this hospital? Please understand that our work does not go unnoticed. I watched as women paid very close attention when Malachi, Jordan and the team passed out bread, water, and these care packages just wondering if they would be overlooked. The smile that followed the presentation (even if for a short time) expresses a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this outreach.



After a long day at the hospital, we could not wait to get back to The Covering for a dose of joy from all of these thriving children who could have at any given point in their life traded places with the children we just saw. It's only by God's grace that any of us are spared from the suffering we saw today. I continue to question why I am so lucky that it's not me they are serving instead of the other way around. What did I do to deserve my life? God help me to process this information with understanding of your grace and gratitude for my life. I have heard people say "they are used to this life"...you cannot do what we did today and EVER really believe that!


One of the best things for me to watch was Malachi and Jordan finding their way in a culture very far away from their own. They both jumped right in there to play soccer/football with these children whose blood flows everything "football". It shows me that kids just want the opportunity to be kids and really "playing" can cross many cultural boundaries. Many of these kids could not speak English, but put a ball down and it's a game.


video
Malachi shared with me that each time we passed out suckers to the kids, they would save the sticks. One day our team provided a workshop for the caregivers at the center and our boys just played in the bedrooms with the other kids and got to experience what they do when they are bored. He said they had probably 100 sucker sticks and they played a game opposite of "pick up sticks". Now anytime my kids say "I'm bored" I will say "go have a sucker and play with the stick".

I will continue to post over the next few days highlights from our trip including: the boys passing out soccer balls at Kroo Bay, a day at the beach, finding Lucy (the little girl I went to help in September), pictures of our friends sponsor kids, and a final farewell with the kids...not one I am looking forward to.

Much love and thank you for joining me on this journey with your thoughts and prayers.
Lori

Only You God

Only you God can show your grace in the middle of such devastation. I am going to attempt to share our trip in an effort to express and process the love, joy, pain, heartache, excitement, and yes devastation we have felt over the past two weeks. Only you God can change my life so drastically over the course of less than a year that when I look back to last May, my life is hardly recognizable as compared to today. Only you God can share in our pain as we watch starving babies dying as their mothers sit by and watch. Only you God can can bring hope to Sam, Betty and Fallah as they look deep into my eyes to see if what I am saying is real and true. Only you God can reveal characteristics of strength, courage and compassion within my son, Malachi that the realities of a third world country could bring out of him. Only you God can make it so evident for me to see that this place in my life you have brought me to of traveling to Africa and knowing I have 3 more kids there was perfectly designed by YOU. Only you God can fill these three holes in my heart that were created upon leaving my children across the world from me. Only you God can bring all of these pieces together that look like chaos and devastation and strategically place them to create our beautiful life. Please take a look back now at our journey on my second trip to Sierra Leone.



Oh, the airport...We had 18 bags of luggage to be checked from Springfield all the way to Freetown. We were only over 9 bags and over the weight limit on everyone of them. I was so stressed out before we ever left, but we made it and of course I got stopped by security.

















It is such a long journey, but so worth it. I had prayed very hard that Malachi would be able to handle the long, long flights because anyone who knows him would realize that he doesn't sit still EVER so to expect him to sit still for 24 hours of travel seemed impossible. We had not even left the runway from the Chicago airport and he is beginning a melt down. He says his throat hurts and guess what he is running a fever...WHAT...no, we are going to be on this plane for the next 8 hours. His sister had strep throat just prior to our leaving and so after much prayer and a handy extra antibiotic I packed, he slept the entire first leg and I never heard another word about it. The above picture is on the helicopter after leaving the Freetown airport. He was a great little traveler and I'm a little scared of how much like me he is...he kept us entertained to say the least.


video
I believe this might have been one of the most joyful experiences I have ever had. Betty held a sign greeting "mom Lori" and Fallah held a greeting for "brother Malachi". I would have traveled another 24 hours just to feel that again.

The kids were so happy to see us, but I could tell they were not 100% sure if it was ok to let their love pour out. They didn't smile for every picture and didn't wrap their arms around tightly...yet! The reason Betty is smiling in the above picture is because I caught her hiding and watching me...I'm sure she was just trying to figure out how this "mom from America thing works".
My first impression of Sam, Betty and Fallah was WOW! I was totally amazed and speechless at how charismatic their personalities are and what leaders they are. I want to share some very special video that demonstrates what I am referring to.

video
Yes, I realize you are crying as you watch that, too! Only you God!


video
This is of course Sam playing and singing for Fallah to dance. Fallah does not say much, but he is so expressive...reminds me a lot of Fran! (once again, only you God)



Sunday, May 23, 2010

Children's Hospital




I wanted to post some pictures of our day at the children's hospital. That was such a hard day emotionally for our team. For those of you who don't know, I feed babies with swallowing difficulties in my job as a speech therapist. I have not, however, ever fed a child who would probably not live for more than a few more days. It was a very humbling experience as I worked with the mothers who just waited for their children to die.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

More pictures






I wanted to post more pictures of the kids. I had the amazing opportunity to meet their mother, Matilda, sister, Olive and brother, Victor. I feel so blessed to be a part of these people's lives.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We Have Arrived

We have made it to Freetown. We should be leaving in the next hour to go see the kids at The Covering. I will blog whenever I get a chance, but our internet is not consistent. Malachi is doing great! He had one meltdown when we started out from Chicago as he was trying to imagine being on the plane for the next 8 hours, but after a nap and dinner he was fine. The next 8 hour flight was a breeze for him. He and his cousin Jordan are hanging out with Quami running around the hotel. He stated to me last night "Mom, I am already falling in love with this country". He had some new adventures as soon as we stepped on ground...I will have so much to write about. I hope we keep a good connection. Keep praying for us.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

5 days and counting

Malachi and I leave in 5 days for Sierra Leone! On one hand it feels like it has been forever since I have seen our beautiful children over there, but on the other I can't believe it's already here. We are a bundle of emotions right now. I have so much to write about. We did a huge fundraiser last month called the 163 Formal Affair (to note 163,000,000 orphans in the world). I will post pictures as soon as I get them, but I cannot express how God's hand and favor was all over that event. From the donations...to the turn out...to the final amount earned. We raised almost $30,000 for adoption, travel, and sponsorship for The Covering. Awareness of the orphan crisis is spreading through the Springfield area and I could not be more thrilled. We have so many close friends who are now sponsoring kids and chomping at the bit to have a relationship with them. We will be able to initiate that bond starting next week. Several of Malachi's friends are investing their hearts and their own money. I hear it when they talk. One mom shared with me that two of Malachi's friends Cole and Jackson were talking about the orphanage and the kids that they now sponsor on the way to baseball practice. Jackson personally emailed TRS to sponsor a child. His plan is to work on the farm with his dad to make money to support his child at The Covering. I am amazed to say the least. Malachi's class is doing a peanut butter, shoe, and sock drive for us and his teacher continues to be a blessing to us. We have so many donations that we are having to pay overage fees to ship it on the plane...crisis...no, we had $250 donated within 45 minutes of posting the need on facebook. What can I say but, wow...God is moving!
During such exciting times when God is moving we can also see the forces of darkness trying to work against us so please be in continued prayer for us. We feel tired at times and scared at others. We sometimes feel like we don't understand how we will ever accomplish all we are called to do, but you know the answer...He is never surprised by what the enemy throws at us!

Special request: Please pray for a dear friend of mine who was just diagnosed with melanoma. God cares for these sweet people across the waters, but he also cares for His people right here in the great USA. I am praying for a complete healing...please join me.

I will be blogging while we are in Africa...so stay tuned!!
Much love to all of you,
Lori

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Urgent Needs at The Covering

www.savetheorphan.blogspot.com
Today was going to be the day that I shared our new video footage of our kids in The Covering, but I cannot celebrate just the joy of my 3 kids and how well they are thriving at The Covering while there are such urgent needs. I am so pleased to see my kids "fatten up" and light up the room with their smiles, but I also want other kids who were in the same shape as mine (or worse) to have the same chance as Sam, Betty and Fallah have had. I am asking you to please look at the current situation at the covering as it is described in the above link and please tell everyone you know that we need your help. Please pray for the children being brought in, for the staff that is going to care for them, and for the dear people who founded and run The Raining Season...what a big job God has given them!

Love to all, AND stay tuned for the video footage of our sweet kids...you will now believe how well they are doing.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Kids doing great things!

This week has proven to be one that speaks to my heart. Since the beginning of Warm Hearts Warm Bodies by McKenna, I have come to realize that young kids can do some amazing things. McKenna has inspired so many people (young and old) to consider what they can do to make a difference in the world of someone else. This week I have had 3 children allow their hearts to be moved and act on that feeling. One was an 8-year-old named Garrett. I work with his mom, Angie, and she has supported our cause from the first day she heard about us making blankets. She was quick to involve her kids by buying material and they made blankets for us to give to our local homeless. This past week, Angie had an opportunity to share our adoption story with her kids. Without hesitation, Garret went to his room and got $10 and handed it to his mom and said "Give this to Lori. She needs to get those kids home." Garret, you have no idea how that touched me. God can use everyone if only we listen with the heart of a child. The next child gives me an opportunity to brag on my own. As a previous post indicated, Malachi was doing a fund raiser today called "Shoot for Africa". This is to raise money for him to travel to The Covering with me in May. Can I just say my little boy WORKED HIS TAIL OFF! I am so proud of him. He shot 121 times in 15 minutes and raised over $1200 to go toward his trip. When you see his RED face you will see that he gave everything he had to give. He is so excited to go on this trip and today was his first attempt at making it a reality. Way to go, Malachi! I was so excited to talk about Malachi, but I don't want to forget Jack! Jack is one of Malachi's friends from school. He is a very shy kid (at least around us according to Malachi)and he showed up today to support Malachi while he was shooting. He sat very quietly in the back and watched my son shoot his heart out. As Malachi collapsed after his exhausting experience I saw Jack walk up to Malachi and put his hand on his shoulder with such encouragement and that touch penetrated through Malachi to the point that I overheard Malachi on the phone with Jack later expressing to him how much it meant for him to be there. Jack's parents had already pledged money for Malachi for this particular fund raiser, but Jack showed up at our house tonight with his own agenda. He handed Malachi $10 of his own money...JUST FROM HIM!!! Kids...they truly are amazing! I will post video of this fun event very soon, so stay tuned!



video