Thankful and hopeful

We spent over an hour with B yesterday.

There were many tears, but there was also laughter.

He desperately wants to be reunited with his sisters and be a part of our family. We want the same.

“Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families…”          Psalm 68: 4-6

Today is a good day

Today is the day we get the see the young man we consider to be our son.


Fikirte and Konjit’s biological brother.

A boy we began processing to bring home in June of 2012.

A boy that we can visit today but can’t bring home.

Today has the possibility to be sad. Ryan and I know that there are no guarantees at this point that Ethiopia will let us be a family.

But we already know that through God we are a family.

Today we get to speak to our son.

Today we get to pray with our son.

We ask that you join us in prayer.


Will we be with him at 2:00pm here which is 5:00am in Illinois.

Please ask that God will make today encouraging, joyful, informative, restorative, refreshing, hopeful, and anything else that B needs to hear.

We will turn our time over to God and ask Him to direct it. He knows B’s every need. We want to be His voice of truth today to this boy.

God will continue to care for our son in our absence. We have no doubt.

A guest post

Today was our team’s first full day in Ethiopia. I am still processing my thoughts but was blown away by the words of our friend Micah tonight.

The following words are his words.

I’m not sure, but this may be my only post from Ethiopia? I enjoyed sharing all of the pics from Uganda but today was just different. Before today these were just my good old comfy work boots, these boots have walked miles in three countries, been covered in the dirt of an Illinois cornfield, soaked in blood after a successful deer hunt, covered in red Ugandan clay from a day of serving & dancing with beautiful children, covered in silt & sewage after spreading the Word through the village of Lunega, Uganda & finally today, Today they changed my life forever!

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Today the stepped onto a street in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, today they were treated like the finest shoes a man could own. Today a young man about 7 or 8 years old, scrubbed, cleaned, buffed & brushed this old pair of boots like his life depended on it & it does! He would not accept a handout, he didn’t want charity, he wanted to earn my business & earn that 10 Birr (less than 1$)

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I honestly can’t explain the humbling & sickening feeling of standing there letting a child scrub my filthy boots all because he refuses to take charity but knows the value of work & providing for himself & his family. We live in a world of “mine”, “me first” & a “give me something for nothing” society, & this young man scrubbed, brushed & smiled when I told him “good job”! His persistence was incredible, his work ethic was unquestionable & his will to survive was inspirational! I don’t know what this will mean to anybody else & i’m mainly writing to sort my thoughts & gain perspective but i will never see these boots or my world the same again! One child at a time we can all slowly begin to change our world. I will strive everyday to see this happen, whatever it takes to change my world & my family, to everyday see an opportunity to improve the life of one child! What if that had been my Son?

A little bit of home

If you get a chance, please head over to Ashley’s blog and check out her introduction of our team. God weaved together quite a group.

Today was our first full day in Uganda.

Our first opportunity to see what Return Ministries is doing in this community.

And it reminded me of home.

In our home church, we have a program called Big Wednesday. It’s a night for the youth to learn about God and have a little fun at the same time.

Prior to every Big Wednesday we offer a Family Connection dinner. On average we feed 150 people.

I believe we fed the same amount of children today.

A few differences…

At home we have large stovetops and ovens that can easily accommodate large pots and pans. Here they make due with much simpler means.


At home the kids have quite a few options for dinner which change every week. Here it was rice and beans. It is almost always rice and beans.


At home the kids are first come-first served . Here the youngest are fed first and the oldest are last.


At home we clean up in industrial sized sinks with dish clothes and dish soap. Here multiple containers are used to wash and rinse with water that is brought in one bucket at a time. A piece of rice sack and a bar of soap do the cleaning.


With all of these differences you may wonder what made me think of home.

In Mt. Pulaski and here in Uganda, they want the children to know about the love of Jesus.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  Matthew 19:14 NIV



A Day in Dubai

Our adventure began with a somewhat uneventful 14 hour flight to Dubai. And yes, that is a really long time to be in an airplane.

This evening we had a chance to tour the city.

This mosque was our first stop.


I wanted to test the waters of the somewhat cool Persian Gulf.


Every place we visit Ryan and I try to do two things.

#1  We purchase a Christmas ornament. Ryan and I began this tradition on our honeymoon in 1996. We now have an entire tree filled with ornaments from places like the Royal Gorge, the Statue of Liberty, and Edinburgh Scotland. Now we have one from Dubai.

#2  Ryan gets a photo with local law enforcement. Tonight the officer was on duty, working a crash, so Ryan didn’t want to bother him. We just borrowed his SUV for a quick shot.


Couldn’t believe this view with the moon right in the landscape.


And we closed out our evening with a visit to the Spice Souk. It was as beautiful as it smelled.


They may have also had some candy that we thought four special people back home might enjoy.


We leave for Uganda first thing in the morning.

Cannot wait to Go. Be. Love. on behalf of Visiting OrphansMt. Pulaski Christian Church and all of you!