mission opportunities

Rewarding my Bigs

Since the end of June I've been doing a point system for my girls. I think I've blogged about it some. Well this last 2 week period we announced that any girl with a point for their correct clothes and shoes everyday and no debits would receive something really cool. 11 out of the 65-70 that earn points earned this really cool thing. The list ended Sunday and Monday we announced the names. Then as the Morning went bye I told them the prize. They would get to go out to eat at a restaurant in town one day. One of the high schoolers found and said "are you for REAL!? They get to go to La Chiquita!?!" Yep. I suddenly got their attention.
Someone gave me money for it and Lydia drove us today. The money covered almost everyone and the kids had a great time. There were 4 inside the truck and they hardly said a word. Just about to bust with joy. The others piled in the back of the Truck and smiled all through town.
We ate at a buffet place and all chose fried chicken but one and they ate more than I thought they could. Cleanest bones I've ever seen left behind.
This is what your support does. Provides opportunities to show kids doing the right things sometimes gets rewarded. And to have an opportunity to get out of Emmanuel for a minute on top! It's so frustrating to always be focusing on the kids who are continually getting in trouble and pushing the limits. It's so nice to encourage them to do well and see some step up. I told the whole group that I couldn't believe Coco made it! If she could anyone could. Coco seems to always be with the wrong folks in the wrong places and sometimes not caring. She's caring now! Ha
The others who received 12 points or more will get other prizes tomorrow and some brownies. In addition to those who went today. I've posted that list and they've already gotten excited about it. And they don't even know what they are going to get!
So thank you for those of you who financially support me. You are a part of changing and encouraging lives here! And for some of you guys sending prize things for the girls- thank you!!

If you wish to send financial support you can do so at:

Or send a check with a note with my name to:
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411

If you wish to send things for prizes please let me know and I can tell you what I need!
Thank you for being a part of the body to me and my kids!

Be His.

Rewarding my Bigs

Andi Longest Day

Can I just share for a minute about how ridiculous God is? I can? Thanks.

There is a team here this week from Opelika.  First United Methodist to be exact.  I have been there once.  For a youth event.  I believe that it was after the youth minister came here for the first time.  I didn't realize that until I just started thinking about the one time I have been there.  Anyway...So it seems that there is an event this week that someone (Queenie) wanted to make sure to celebrate...so she tried to get in touch with one of the team members.  Turns out that the team member- Trincha got the email after she was here.  I didn't know about this. Til tonight.

I was invited to eat with the team tonight.  I thought it was since I work with the teams and help them with some details excetera.  One of my volunteers who is a church member said that they wanted me to come on my Wednesday but we are having a house dinner that night with the volunteers so I went tonight.  After dinner there was an announcement made and sweet people with a rice krispie treat on a plate with a fire out the top came with the 55 people in the room singing.  Happy Birthday.  Yes.  My birthday is this week.

I was blessed and embarrassed.  Then Gary Fuller (yes. the MAYOR of Opelika who is here this week with them) asked me to come up.  He had a declaration to make.



Then I got the key to the city.  Amazing. 


Then Trincha called me back up and presented me with a purple baggie of stuff.  Turns out said bag was full of love- notes and little scriptures and crosses and general Agape love.  I was feeling blessed and love by a room full of people I didn't know.  And as I sat there and talked with folks people would come by and throw things in my bag.  I had no clue what was in there.

Then we went down to the gym to have team meeting.  Sarah Jane the team leader asked me to share my testimony.  I did.  Only cried 3 times (I have a tendancy to have God well up in my heart and come out my eyeballs...just can't help it when my heart is full).

Then when I got done they presented me a cute bag made out of bandanas...and you know I love a bandana...full of goodies.  Muffin mix, oreos, granola bars, socks, soap, lotions, toothbrushes and who knows what else.  And then she asked two of the men to come up and pray over me.  (Killing me...so blessed already just by their presence and bags of goodies).  And let me tell you those two men stood over me and I could feel his tears fall on my head as he prayed over me.  Done.  I am undone.  By God's people- my family in Christ and just their kindness. 

I came home and went through my bags of goodness and just were so blessed by their prayers, scripture, kindness and blessings.  Tangible and untangible gifts. 

I am not here for what I get out of any of this deal, other to be more like Him.  But I am thankful for days that make me feel loved and blessed and want to be more like Jesus because of it.

Good day.  Turns out that the key to the city just so happens to open the greenhouse here at Emmanuel.  I had to give it back.  Indian givers.  Oh wait...Opelika is the indian name for Big Swamp.  It all makes sense now.

Blessed.  So blessed. Jesus. that's all

my head is a rock

Thanks for the shout outs. Although my brother compared me to Mother Teresa- I am far from it. Just for the record.

My duties are helping in the office.  Right now the head lady is out of the country and the other girl just left to return to the US.  So it's just Emilie (Amelia). In the morning at 6 i help in the Big Girls Yard with the 4 houses down there.  Making sure their homes are clean, Circle time- morning devotion, and then breakfast.  Walk to school then the reverse at lunch.  And in the evening (3:30) dinner and then cleaning the dining room.  Tuesday nights I am supposed to supervise the "yard" til the night lady comes at 6.

I have only been assigned to the big girls for a week today.  And I have struggled with getting up and walking down to the yard with excitement/joy/optimism.  It is so hard to remember their names- there are like 80+ although not all of them eat with us during the week because they help with other kids and stuff. But thankfully each day I obediently walk down to the yard God shows up.  (Of COURSE He does! Duh).  But in a "Hey.  I do love you.  Why dontcha remember that for about 5 minutes? Gimme a little credit"  Today I was reminded of how God just loves on me special- a call from a friend.  Texts.  Your comments and emails.  I would love to say that I can do this with just the Lord and I don't need to rely on other things...but they sure do help.  Time and again people and situations remind me of His sureity.  (I probably made that word up.  And I know I misspelled it)

I love Jeremiah 23:39- God's word is like a fire.  A hammer to a rock.  Yes.  some days my head and possibly my heart is like a rock.  Grateful for God's word that is a hammer. (reminds me of that line in a Bugs Life- "this is a seed".  no it looks like a rock.  "no it's a seed".....my head is a rock)

Please don't be worried about me if this sounds a little pessimistic.  I think it is just the hump.  Typically I am about on my way home from a trip at this point.  Ready for the trappings of America that are the good. haha  But I feel continually I am here for purposes I cannot fully understand.  But I don't for a second think that I should return home.  Returning home seems very foreign to me just thinking about it. 

So.  In summary.  God is good.  He is great.  Faithful.  True.  Trustworthy. Gracefull. And a lot of other things that I cannot put into words. 

And just so you know...there are a lot of ants here.  And I continually feel like at least one of them has crept into my shorts/pants at any point in time.  Yes.  Ants in my pants.  Like right now.  Bout to drive me bazonkers.

Love yall.  Keep the prayers coming.

My kid got a pig

I love getting snail mail. I love getting what I call heart email. You know like snail mail via email. The unexpected typed out letter just to you. With or without accompanying photos of random things. Kinda like when Sister Girl tortured me in Uganda with emails of Dipnation. Loved her for it though. Made me appreciate cheese all the more.
I digress.
I sponsor two kids in Uganda. After I went last October and spent considerable time in the ARM office I realized a couple of things...
Our kids write the same thing every six months because for the most part that IS what's going on. The same thing.
They rarely leave their community.
They don't go on vacations.
Holidays are breaks from school but life is the same as every other day. Except when they get mail from their sponsor. Or it's birthday celebration at project day. Or a team comes from the US to visit. Or it's Sunday. But even then Sundays look a lot like Monday. Same chores. Same water hauling. Same cooking. Cleaning. Same.

And I realized there were a few sponsors who send extra money each month for their kid(s). And get a family gift. Or additional gifts for the child. Well I decided to start doing that. So I sent a few extra dollars.
And my kid got a pig. So cute. (The kid. Not the pig). I'd write Resty and ask her the pigs name. But I know what happens to pigs. Especially In Uganda.

So. In summary, write your kids. Tell em you love them. Tell them what God is doing in your lives. But don't be surprised if they write back thank you and that they carried water yesterday.
Thankful for heaven coming to one day gather round the throne and do the same thing with my little Resty and Rahman I pray. And not let language get in the way!

My kid got a pig

so I am moving to Honduras...

I know some of you have been waiting for this.  Sorry.  I shouldn’t have teased you not knowing that I would have to wait almost 24 hours to post the details.  My bad.  But after the last two weeks of busy I just couldn’t get it done.  And trust me- after 5 bags of trash and 4 hours of cleaning just so I could let the heater guy come to fix my broken for almost 5 days heater…it was a mess. So settle in.  This could take a minute.


You guys know I am stubborn.  And sometimes hard headed.  I own that.  And now I kind of see how those two things might apply to this situation.  But honestly I just think it is God’s timing.


So you know I am moving to Honduras.  Here is the story.


When I worked at EAMC I heard about the super cheap and don’t have to take time off to go trips to Honduras.  I never made it.  One thing or another and then trips I was leading as missions coordinator…just didn’t’ work. 


When I bought and then later sold my house my sweet realtor Sherri McCollum told me all about Honduras.  About the Orphanage there and how great it was.  Ok.  By that time I was taking teams to Ecuador and Uganda.  Honduras wasn’t on my radar.


My brother lived in Honduras for awhile- He’s a Blackhawk mechanic/trainer in the Army.  He even married a sweet Honduran named Karen. 


My parents went to Honduras last summer on a medical mission trip.  When asked why Dad didn’t invite me his reply to my ex sister in law was “Well, I figured if I asked her to go I’d have to pay for it” 


Meanwhile I go to Uganda and was invited to return after raising support and such to teach at the college.  It just didn’t seem right.  I decided not to pursue it.  It was hard.  I struggled.  I am still at CFA over a year later.  Not really “doing” anything.  Praying and begging to know what is next. 


Then last month David Platt came to preach on Monday night at our church.  I ran into Sherri and her husband Ron and of course they said yet again that I needed to go to Honduras.  Then Sherri mentioned a possible volunteer position opening.  And I stopped and said “Lets’ talk”  So we met for dinner and talked.  Next thing you know I am sending my application to volunteer there in. 

And getting excited.   

About somewhere I have never been.


I was trying to figure out how to make this work.  I have to have somewhere folks can send their money to get a charity benefit and someone to help manage my folks support.  That gets tricky.  So I emailed a pastor at my church.  His reply was copied to John West our missions pastor.  He emailed me back on Valentines day about a missions organization called Missions Clearinghouse in Houston.  I found out that night I could go. 


So I am in process to apply with the Clearinghouse so I can officially raise support through them.  Hopefully this will be done by next week at the latest. 

I plan to have a yard sale on the 23rd and sell my car.  I would like to retire part of the debt I have before I go.  I plan to be there until November and then come home for a break and decide to return long term.  This could be a stepping off point to something else or the beginning of a long term situation.  I don’t know.


The Lord knows. 


I will be at Orphanage Emmanuel.  An orphanage with over 600 children.  An orphanage based on God’s love.  An orphanage that has the national government of Honduras’ attention.  To love on some children and possibly work in the office on coordinating teams that come and or some sponsorship things.  I could end up working in the chicken house and who knows what.  I just know at this time I plan to go.  And do what God wants. 


Since I found out all that info on Thursday the 14th our Missions Pastor fell and has bleeding on the brain and is in a critical situation in Atlanta.  I am grateful he took the time to send that information to me.  Eternally grateful.  Without that knowledge I don’t know that I would have a vehicle for dealing with some of the details this entails.  Please pray for him.  His wife.  His family.  Our church.  He dealt with many critical area missionaries overseas and had a lot of plans for teams going on right now.  For the missionaries to continue to go and serve during this time.  For folks to be able to fill in the gaps his absence leaves as much as they can. 


So when am I leaving?  Maybe April.  Hopefully by May.  As soon as my necessary money marks have been reached.  I will let you all know that in a more formal arena as soon as I am official with the Clearinghouse. 


If you want to hear more please let me know.  And regardless I covet your prayers. 


Sorry this sounds very black and white but I am trying to convey the story with the details but not all of the heart of it right now.  I don’t want any more texts from impatient folks  hahahaha.


Seriously.  God is all up in this I believe.  I am trusting and hopeful.  And following Him.  No better place to be than where I am right now. 


Grace and Peace, thanks for being excited and curious.  I can’t wait to share more!

reality check

I have a little time so let me take a minute to give you a little reality check on being in Africa.  Things don’t always go as planned.  As I have previously shared I have been pretty unprepared.  Today I was ready.  Granola Bar in case I got hungry.  Tennis shoes to stay out of the mud because it looks like rain.  Camera batteries charged. Toilet paper roll in my bag just in case the toilet was toilet paperless.  Going to the baby house.  Headed out at 9:15ish.


Went to the Loving Hearts Baby home which is here in Gaba.  It is run by the Gaba church with several partners.  They keep orphaned children newborn to 3 years old.  In the past 2 years they have had all the children adopted out thus far but if they make it to 3 years old they go to Bethany Village to start schooling and live in a “family” home there.   I met the office staff and Miriam the director (She was the director of the school right down the street from Gaba-kids in yellow we visited one time while we waited for the women’s ministry booth to open.).  I anticipated holding and playing with babies all morning. Well…..


I got the tour with Dorah-one of the workers then met the director and chatted with her.  I told her I would do whatever.  I am willing to assist as needed.  So she said “Maybe you see the babies and do some ironing and washing.” Ok.  Sounds like a plan. 


So we walked inside and got the tour.  And she took me outside to iron.  And I ironed baby clothes, towels, washcloths and everything in between.  For 2 ½ hours. 

At first I was just sitting and ironing away.  Contemplating why I was there “Was my reaction not strong enough when I went inside?  I should have said “BABIES. OH MY WORD I WANT TO HOLD THEM ALL. Maybe then I would be inside holding babies. But no….i play it chill and here I am ironing.”  It reminded me of when we went to Mexico and built homes.  The troublemakers, the ones who wouldn’t keep working had to go and “paint the trim” to keep them busy and out of trouble.  So I am thinking….i guess maybe I am painting the trim.  Goofy white person.  She doesn’t seem interested in babies. So we will put her out doing the ironing.


On the way here and yesterday I finished up the first section of “Sons of Encouragement”  it is by Francine Rivers and it is a narrative based on different biblical men.  She has some similar books I have read also.  I read about Aaron-as in Aaron and Moses.  And after you read it you always have to go back to the original Bible text and read the story again.  So I have been working on that.  And as much as we think Moses was amazing and things were probably just awe inspiring from leaving Egypt, the ten commandments, burning bushes etc…Francine does a wonderful job pointing out how it really might have been- the days in between. 


Those mundane days.  When God told them they would have to wait at the foot of the mountain while Moses went up to met God.  And the days of tedious waiting.  Of the people grumbling and complaining to Aaron.  The day to day rituals for Aaron as they wandered.  To set up the tabernacle and possibly the next day pack it up to move and then have to do it all over again.  And have to mind every detail as God told you or there would be trouble.  Aaron the high priest having to take the sacrifices of his people every day and slaughter them. Animal after animal after animal.


And while I am sitting there ironing I’m thinking this is what it is like.  Ministry-a life of service is ironing when needed.  Washing baby clothes.  I said “Whatever would be helpful” and they decided helpful was ironing baby clothes.  Life.


A girl named Karen came over to help.  Turns out my big blue tub had a partner.  If I had known that I would have ironed faster.  So I joked with her that maybe I was too slow.  She assured me that wasn’t the case.  So we talked and we ironed.  And I made it through my tub and part of hers.  She got done and I had a few more things and the rain came.  Aww man. I had 2 more things to iron! Job undone.  Guess I will have to go back and make up the difference.  I did learn a lot from Karen-she is from Kenya and is at Kampala International University studying sociology and child development or something along those lines.  She wants to work for a project with children somewhere.  Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda.  She is open to what God calls her to.  She said she’s worked at the baby home for 6 months.  Victor came over an picked fabric balls off some clothes and we all talked.  He is Ugandan and usually does the ironing and washing (mostly in the washing machine- thank goodness). And he does outside cleaning and a bunch of other things. Ironing

They did bring the older ones out for bathtime.  Totally cracked me up.  Christine- the worker who continually sings was bathing them.  She would put a baby in the swimming pool splash and splash and laugh.  One of the babies thought it was hilarious.  One of them wasn't too thrilled with bath time in general.  one of them tried to crawl away after his bath.  Cutest things ever.  Baby bath
Baby get away


It rained and rained.  I ate lunch with Mariam.  Rice, Matooke, and sort of a beef stew.  It was good but a little rich.  I had a big ol glass of juice and worried that the food was going to circle back around.  (after my gallbladder surgery sometimes it happens.  I think it is mostly because I don’t each much greasy food…not that this was greasy but it was rich).  I sat and talked with Mariam about life in the US and in Africa and it slowly started circling back around.  Rainy day


Here’s the funny thing- I went to the bathroom earlier in the morning- but it was DARK in there.  When I shut the door there wasn’t much light from the holes at the top of the door. And of course-no flashlight so I had to stand there a minute to adjust to the dark to find the porcelain hole in the floor.  Well…it just stopped raining and I HAD to go.  So they took me to a regular toilet inside a store room in the house.  Thank you Lord for small favors.  But a little problem….the toilet won’t flush.  The tank has no water in it. Soooo no where to turn the water on going in the toilet…so what to do…. Hmm. Bucket over here.  Fill it up in the sink that is working.  Manual flush type thing- pour it in the bowl and it will go down.  Thank you previous Mexico trips to know this is how it goes when the pump goes out and the water is off.


Why am I telling you this? I don’t know.  Maybe to just say TIA-This is Africa.  Maybe to say that this trip hasn’t been all fabulous.  I knew it wouldn’t be.  But I think like when we read the Bible “stories” we think of the amazing parts and forget they were people just like us.  In the not “amazing” days it’s mundane. It’s the little things.  It is work.  There is no “easy” road to true discipleship.  The body is called to serve. And while many days it is joyful and crazy and fun…somedays it is joyful in the normal, everyday, mundane things. And sometimes we do things and don't fully understand why..but we are called to obedience.  I found out after Patrick picked me up the reason they iron everything (including underwear and socks) is to disinfect the clothes.  Ohhhh. My 6th trip here and first time anyone has ever told me that.  I was just thinking everyone was being OCD or something.






I have no clue what tomorrow looks like.  I guess it will be a day o surprise.  I do know that tomorrow night I have to pack up… boo.


Oh.  the grasshoppers- I only ate one last night. tasted a lot like a little shrimp.  Pretty good. But it was bed time so I didn't eat more.  Maybe tonight after dinner.  And as Sarah mentioned in her comment yesterday-she gave me a pea lookin thing the other night and warned me that I wouldn't like it.  She said it was a good antioxidant and brings down your cholesterol.  Well...it was terrible.  Tasted like chewing and eating an aspirin or something.  i told her she can keep her pea and I would go with blueberries or something... Grasshopper snack

was today Tuesday? I slept through it

Today the plan was to go to the hospital for an appt. Sarah had.  We left around 9 and got there around 930.  By 10am I was fighting the worst sleepiness i have had in awhile.  As I read the paper Patrick bought I kept nodding off.  Come to realize this morning when i grabbed my medicine bottle to take my thyroid medicine I grabbed the muscle relaxers I brought.  I have a bad neck and brought them just in case-I have an incredible ability to pull a muscle doing absolutely nothing.  Typically i take a half unless i am planning to go to bed or stay on the couch.  Needless to say-i took a whole one.  The rest of the day was a complete loss. I do remember sitting until 1:30 going to the museum to eat traditional ugandan lunch then back to sit for another hour...TIA.

I did get some street shots as we travelled from Muynuno-the neighborhood in Kampala to the north east side where the hospital is.  I tried to get a picture of the newspaper guy that jogged or chased our van for almost 3.10ths of a mile.  Patrick didn't have his money ready.  So they guy had to catch up because Patrick couldn't stop.  Patrick tipped him as he should have.

Tonight we ate by LED lamplight-power went out again (it was out earlier at the house while we were gone).  And as I reported earlier- word of the week seems to be unprepared.  Forgot my flashlight (first rule of coming to Africa-toilet paper for when there is none, and a flashlight).

Tomorrow I am heading to Buloba.  As much as i cannot wait to be there I kind of dread it.  I feel like a celebrity there-I am treated as such.  And while it can make my head swell up, I often wish I wasn't so highly regarded.  I have simply been a servant to the Lord Almighty and sought to do what He would have me do here in AFrica.  And the honor and praise belongs to Him...not me.

But I cannot wait to see my friends. And my prayer is that the Holy Spirit would remind me of so many names I have forgotten. I cannot wait to give out some sponsor kid gifts and I will go to the Bible College that Gaba has started down the street.  It's going to be a good day. Please pray for me especially tomorrow and Thursday as they will be Buloba days.

And rest assured-the muscle relaxer bottle has been far removed from my bedside table...

Newspaper guy
Student driver
Patrick honked relentlessly at this poor guy because he was too slow. ha

For the rich ugandans or the muzungus-golf course downtown.  Regular folks don't play-it just doesnt make sense to spend the money on it

overwhelmed, amazed, frustrated, hopeful, expectant

Had to share from the Oastvalls web page.  The video story of Gwen getting Joseph and Daisy in Jinja.  So sweet so amazing.  But part 2 is what floored me.  Yep, heart overwhelmed out my eyeballs. 

All the kids there in the community.  Unfed and in need.  Makes my heart break that the body of Christ get together to serve those in need in the world.  More than what we are currently doing today. 

I think of a CS Lewis quote I saw on FB via Twitter today from my friend Sarah-

"If we live at the same level of affluence as others who have our level of income, we are probably giving away too little."

And dont send me hate mail.... but I love that Alabama fans can unite for Toomers and so far raised over 11000 dollars last time I checked. To get over the at times ridiculous rivalry. And I understand the significance of the tradition. But for trees.  Part of me smiles.  Part of me wonders- really? Only in America.  It's what makes it great.  It's what makes me frustrated when I think about it too hard.

I just stop to think about how MANYkids that money could feed for how LOOONG in this Ugandan community and other communities across the world....it staggers the mind. 

God's heart for the orphans.  It should speak to our hearts. And stir us to do something...I am hopeful. At the work His people ARE doing.  How we ARE getting on board with God's heart...expectant for more.

Blessings.  Take the time.  Watch. Laugh, smile and probably like me, let it overflow out your eyeballs.

Part 2 shows Katie who I have mentioned. The 20something "girl" with 13 children who now lives in Africa. Amazing.  You'll see their home and all her sweet kids.  Her blog is at the bottom.  Read the most recent post.  You won't be sorry.  See Jesus.  If nothing else, read Katie's blog post I put at the bottom of this post.

And did I mention I am plannin to go to Uganda soon? You wanna come with? Just holla. :)


joseph and daisy part 1  


coming home part 2


Katie's Blog- the journey


the best birthday ever

I follow along on quite a few blogs (it's easier with Google Reader- it shows up when they have updated and you don't have to actually GO to the page and see that there has been NOTHING updated in forever!) Anyway.  I wanted to share this- because it made my heart well up and overflow out my eyeballs.

Suzanne has 7 kids- 4 of her own.  3 adopted.  I think I have mentioned or linked to her littlest from Uganda Josie Love.  Her friend Gwen has a bunch of kids too.  And they are all about HIV awareness for these kids living with HIV (Josie Love is) and Adoption.  So Gwen hijacked Suzanne's blog and asked people to donate to help a friend of theirs in Nashville bring home a sweet baby from Uganda.  They needed $9000.  And completely unaware this is what Suzanne got for her birthday.  It is ABSOLUTELY worth the watch. 

the birthday gift

And if you want to add their blogs to your fun please do:

Gwen's Oatsvall Team

Suzanne's- Joining the Journey