Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Could there be an easier way? Pretty please?

Here I am on my laptop, after laying awake since the early hours of the morning ...

Not sure if I'll actually ever publish this post,
but writing it anyways as I have a feeling it will be therapeutic for me.

In one month, I will board that plane once again - and then the second one - that will take me back to my beloved Uganda.

This time, with Kylie.

The first of my children to come with me, after God spoke to her a year ago that she needed to come with me to Uganda as a first step to her calling into missions.

Exciting and daunting at the same time.

This week, our tickets will need to be purchased.

With (harmless yet annoying) mosquitoes buzzing around my ears in the night, I make a mental note to buy LOTS of mosquito repellant - the strongest kind - for the 2 of us - to lather our bodies with every waking hour for our 3 weeks in Uganda.
Cuz in Uganda, mozzies aren't harmless.
(Nights should be fine under the mosquito net.)

And I need to make that appointment with the travel doctor for Kylie's vaccination.
And get malaria medicine - and and and....

From experience I know that the next 3 months will be intense, like every time I travel.
There are all the preparations, then the trip itself and the readjustment when I come back home.

3 months.

This coming month will be filled with preparations of all kinds - on top of normal life - not the least organizing every hour of every day for the care and schooling of Shayden.
Hundreds of details.

When I sat in the plane that took me to Germany less than 3 months ago, utterly exhausted from the preparations, I promised myself that I wouldn't dare leave again for another trip for at least 6 months. And here I am again. This seems to be God's appointed time.

It's complicated.

It's hard.

It's draining.

Thoughts keep flooding me - about how I am not the right person for the job.

Couldn't God have chosen somebody more fitting?

Surely I must have been His plan B - or C....

I am fragile.

My health is - just recuperating from a flu at the moment.

My (our) finances are - how are we going to pay for all the expenses of this trip for the two of us?

My heart is - when something is occupying my heart, I don't sleep well.
I am not anxious or worried, but it just affects me.

I don't travel well.

Have terrible jet-lag and need to take sleeping pills every single night for about 6 weeks surrounding each trip. And nowadays, they only knock me out for a few hours.

My heart gets so messed up.

Living in two worlds is hard in the best of times.

Though my heart and thoughts are in Uganda many times daily and much of my work is centered around the ministry there, I find a certain 'normal' in between trips.

Then I travel there again - my heart gets ripped open again.

The raw emotions are inexplainable.

The physical distance makes for a degree of emotional distance.

But then I am there again:

I experience the sights, sounds, smells,

the life, the children, the family, the love, the laughter, the fellowship,

the needs and some hard things to 'digest' - happens every time.

I am apprehensive - tremble in my inmost being - about going again.

Loving again.

Seeing again.

Enjoying again.

Getting challenged and inspired again.

And then leaving again.

Experiencing the pain again.

Missing everybody and everything again.

And I hesitate

I am not sure I am up for this.

My life could be so comfortable here in beautiful New Zealand:

Home-schooling, living life, being a grandma, involved in church and the neighbourhood, enjoying the beautiful creation around us - and why not taking up a paying part-time job...

Why am I doing this to myself - and to my family - who also pay a price for my state-of-being?

Is there an easier way to follow the call of God on my life?

Any way out?

I already know the answer.

No, there isn't.

There's pain and there's going to be pain.

My life isn't mine.

I have surrendered it to the lover of my soul a long time ago.

And He has chosen this life for me.

He has never promised that it would be easy.

But He is worthy.

Every time my heart gets pierced, I am broken-hearted and pained,
he is sharing a glimpse of His own heart with me.

I have never learned so much about my Jesus than through my involvement with Uganda.


Amongst many other things,

He also didn't choose the easy route.

He also could have stayed ever so comfortably in heaven.

And yet he chose the hard road.

WAY harder than mine!

Jesus, this morning, I am just crying out to you.

Take me by your hand.

Help me.

Strengthen me.

Give me courage to walk this road.

Provide for all the needs.

My heart is steadfast, entrusting myself into your loving and capable hands.

And here I go - courageously pushing that button

If for no other reason than for myself - as a reminder :-)

Monday, January 1, 2018

Picking myself up off the floor

Exactly 6 years ago today was the first time I posted on here about a dire need in Uganda regarding Praise and her children and through this post, money was released. 

(Praise was going to find herself and her then 17 children on the street for lack of money for rent.)

Here I am sitting in my quiet house that's still recuperating from New Year's Eve late night,
trying to pick myself off the floor.

6 years!

So much has happened since that day!!! Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what was going to develop from that first blog post - and Praise's and my relationship 
(in those days she called me sister - hehehe!)

Actually, allow me to back up yet another year:

7 years ago!

There was no blog post, 

but I remember as vividly as if it was today:

Rich and I had just returned from our first exploratory trip to Uganda.

All I wanted to do was lay on the dirt floor,

face down

and stay there for one month.


What I had witnessed about the needs - especially of children - there

as well as the Ugandan people I met making a difference

had me floored.


An emotional mess.

(Of course, I wasn't able to do that, as family duties were calling,
 but a mess I was alright... just ask my children)

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon:

I once again felt floored.


An emotional mess.

For very different reasons, however.

In the past few months, God has been accelerating the growth of Maisha Africa in ways that I can hardly keep up with. Even though the monthly running costs for the ministry are a constant challenge,

just in the past month 

(not speaking of the previous months where God also released other properties etc), the property-purchase for our preschool was funded and construction of the permanent preschool building started just before Christmas.

A few days ago, money was released for 2 acres of property for agriculture.

Children working in another property we were gifted with this year  - growing food for now
(dreaming of a playground and soccer field on that property that's adjoining the school)

And yesterday afternoon, I got an email from a couple

(I had connected with the wife, an acquaintance, at the swimming pool some time back!)

who informed me that they wanted to invest


into the construction of a 

Place called Home

for Praise, Moses and their children!


Did I read that right???

I put on my reading glasses to make sure that I had counted up the zeros properly.


Sure enough!


I started balling

like I used to ball when I first came back from Uganda

Fell on the floor


this time for joy

in worship to GOD!


at what ONLY HE could be doing on behalf of the precious children in Uganda!

We'd been praying and trying to fund-raise for a permanent home for Praise, Moses and the children.

For the past few years, Praise, Moses, and 12 of their kids (the others staying in the village in the boarding school) have been living in a rented home.

But the owner wanted the home back already a couple months ago. No other rental could be found anywhere near where it was needed and so she graciously allowed us to stay another 6 months.

Long story short, we had a property and a few thousand dollars.

Not nearly enough to build that home.

Yet time was pressing, as the owner REALLY wants her rental back by the end of April.

Through this gift, we can soon start building, as we 'only' need another $15,000.

And we trust that


the father of the fatherless

will provide that as well!

On a side note:

I have traveled to Uganda every single year for the past 7 years

sometimes even twice.

2017 was the first year that I didn't set foot on that beloved land.

(had family commitments this year that kept me from traveling there)


But wait!

I didn't need to go this year.

The ministry is going so well without me needing to be there in person.

Thank you, internet!

And co-workers and others went instead of me.

In 2017,

23 people (YWAMers) went to Uganda to minister in different capacities.

God is moving




And that's what thrills me and encourages me to push forward.

I do HAVE TO add one more thing:

What I SO love about what God is doing is the PEOPLE he is raising up here and there around the world in different capacities to work with me/us! 

It is definitely a team-effort of many

and it 


I am exceedingly grateful for each one!

You know who you are.


If it takes a village to raise a child, what about many children?

It takes the world! Hahahaha!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Emotional as I remember....

I am remembering with much emotion how deeply my heart was touched and challenged 

exactly 5 years ago today 

by the plight of Praise and her then 20 children in a very miserable condition


freezing at night due to lacking blankets

no mosquito nets to protect them from malaria

only sporadic food

disgusting drinking water that they had to get from far twice daily

in a village where she had moved with the children and also started a school with then 90 children.

"I had no choice. The children HAVE TO go to school"

she explained to me when I questioned her about starting a school in their deplorable condition, 
even living in an unfinished house.

"Our amazing God has turned our suffering into JOY!",

she told me yesterday as she also remembered....

If you want to read up on my blog post from that day, have a look here.

Together with her husband Moses, we are now privileged to 

provide family for 40+ orphans

strengthen families at risk of abandoning their children

educate 340 vulnerable children in our Pre-and Primary-Schools through

and impact many more people and 2 communities through the 2 churches that Praise and Moses have started. 

The churches are to become the vehicle through which lasting community transformation will be happening (working on that).

Buildings don't even come close to reflecting what God has done,

but here are 3 photos that do tell at least part of the story.

The second storey of our Primary School is just receiving its finishing touches before getting painted. The financing of it was an absolute mind-boggling miracle of God Almighty!

And - if you want a taste of the exuberance and confidence of Praise and Moses' children in particular, that thrilled me to bits during the 

BIG 5-YEAR CELEBRATION of the school

knowing where they have come from....


5-Year-Celebration of Young Achievers Christian School, Uganda from Isabel Betts on Vimeo.

Monday, May 23, 2016


I am thrilled to share with you the website of

Have a look HERE

check out the wonderful story 

all the cool happenings

and sign up for our e-news on the website

or straight here!


If you are German-speaking

click HERE!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Leilani Joy

Today, a VERY SPECIAL, AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL and MUCH beloved treasure of ours is turning



Leilani, you are an exceptional mixture of

pure delight






and quiet strength!

What a GIFT and JOY you have been to us as parents since the moment we laid our eyes on you!

You have always known what you wanted
  (let's not talk about your tiger-fits)
and pursued it,
even speaking your first word in English as you just HAD TO find a way to get that cookie
(and I wasn't responding to your German request)!

Now that determination has taken you across the ocean
 - far away from us -
to the place where you felt called to.

Your tender nurturing heart (that was easily broken)
 has been a trademark of yours from your early days as you were caring for multiple dolls and then soon children, becoming a most cherished and fun baby-sitter for many!

How special that you have found the man of your dreams and are now a Momma already!!!!

Your servant heart stood out to us.
You were always wanting to help, serve,
and even cleaning the shower regularly
(taking the hair out of the drain - yuck!)
without being asked
when you were still very young!

"Herculena" was your nick-name as you would insist to carry the heaviest bags and do the hardest jobs - all just because you wanted to be helpful. 

"As I rainbow, I will be a good helper, pleasing Jesus every day." 
That lil phrase learned at a program at church when you were 5 became your motto.

You knew when somebody was having a bad day and you would find a way to cheer them up with some sweetness that only you could come up with.

You showed great courage and gutsiness when you walked out of a movie while at the theatres with your teenage friends because it wasn't appropriate - even at the risk of loosing their friendship!

You are kind, fun, loving, intelligent and a lover of Jesus!
You have many talents and abilities that will take you far in life and I know that you will be a FANTASTIC mother!!!

Sweet Leilani, heavenly flower, you are my sweet-heart and 

I love you SOOOO MUCH and wish you

Miss you like crazy and wish I could celebrate with you today
and give a big cuddle to your lil angel...

I am very proud of the radiant young woman you have become, 


and celebrate beautiful YOU (inside and out!)!!!

ENJOY this little re-collection of some special moments of your childhood!

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Well, since pictures speak thousands of words, 

I figured I'd save you the pain of reading thousands of words.

Have a look at what 






To HIM be ALL the GLORY!!!

Story to be continued, as 




have been happening!


My - oh - my - the VERY VERY EXCITING news announced in my last blog post is now already a bit old, and has been followed by a lot of other EXCITING happenings, but for the sake of keeping some sort of record on this blog, here I go.

It IS coming

 in the next blog post,

as there is some other VERY EXCITING news I would like to share first!

By the way, I really DO enjoy writing on here, it's like a hobby. 
As you may have guessed by now, hobby-time is rare these days, but hey, how glad I am that I have written what I HAVE written over the years! 

Kylie and I have recently spent some fun moments reminiscing and laughing as we read stories from long ago, including this very first blog I started 10 years ago. 
Such a neat way to record things I would otherwise forget.
Though these news coming I for sure won't forget - EVAAH- hahahaha!

So - the first EXCITING news is that

has been renamed, as our ministry is now reaching beyond giving orphaned children
a home, to also encompass

  • a school and a soon-to-start boarding school to give impoverished children a chance for an education 

  • wholistic community development and strengthening of vulnerable families in order to prevent orphans

  • and hopefully sometime in the not-so-distant future a medical clinic in the community that does not have easy access to health-care.


Are you ready for the new name - and logo?




Maisha means LIFE - and that's what we're all about - YEAH!!!

And here is our motto:

Walking alongside children and youth to achieve their full potential by impacting their lives, families and communities

Read on for the next news - which IS the VERY SPECIAL NEWS I promised to share with y'all.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Redeemed life!

As promised, here's the back-ground story of why Jesus used Erina in such a powerful way last Friday. 

A few months ago, she told Praise:

"Jesus came and sat on my bed.

He smiled at me and asked me what I wanted.

When I told him that I wanted to sing really well, 

he went and got a guitar and started singing with me. 

I then went on to do all kinds of things that really made Jesus very happy."

Soon afterwards

before she knew about it

Praise felt to give the microphone to Erina during a Sunday morning worship time at church

and this little girl started SINGING

in the most beautiful way

astounding everyone.

She sang song after song

not missing a beat

People were amazed

even at how well she knew all the words to the songs!

This photo was taken on that very day:

And if you missed reading about what happened last Friday night

When God used her to touch hundreds

(an estimated 1,000 -2,000 people were there)

Go and read it here.

Isn't God AWESOME?!!

Redeeming a life that was destined towards destruction
(she had been initiated into witchcraft before Praise rescued her)

and bringing out SUCH BEAUTY!

Here's one more photo of her - taken just this week

Erina on the right, together with her 'sisters' Shivan and Yvonne

sporting the new school sweaters we are hoping to get for all the children soon.

And speaking of school, there is some 





'To those who have sorrow in Zion 
I will give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.
I will give them the oil of joy instead of sorrow,
and a spirit of praise instead of a spirit of no hope.
Then they will be called oaks that are right with God,
planted by the Lord,
that He may be honoured.
Isaiah 61,3

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


We had decided not to take in any more children as we were at capacity and just barely able to care for the 40 children we had.

And then Praise was asked yet again to rescue a little girl from a horrific situation. 

This time, we felt to make an exception and take her in.
An aunty was supposed to pick her up soon and care for her. 
(never happened)

Fast-forward to one year later - almost exactly to the day:

Last Friday, Praise led a big all-night open-air worship and God-encounter in Eastern Uganda.

She had organised it together with Moses, who works there.

They were almost going to cancel it due to lack of funds.

Pushing through, borrowing money, they went into the night.

And things were hard.


The wind was howling,

thunder kept going off,

dark rain-clouds were threatening with rain.

And yet, surprisingly, it was clear everywhere else except at the event scene.

The sound-system was only working off and on.

Praise and the 15 children/teenagers she had brought with her, 
(they are powerful worshippers, prayer warriors and ministers!)
supported by others, 
were not able to break through into the presence of God as they usually do

in spite of praying and worshipping.

A group of young men were arrested after their plan of ambushing a local pastor next to the toilet to beat him up was thwarted through a girl over-hearing their scheming.

Then, when the presence of God finally started to be manifest, 

a man came onto the stage and started to verbally and physically create havoc, trying to stop everything.
He was very obviously an agent of the devil and after an intense struggle, 
even 4 strong men were barely able to carry him off the stage.

By that time, it was 3am.

Praise started praying again.

They heard a car drive off with great commotion.
In it was the man and a whole group who had obviously been the source of all the battles.

Then Praise felt to pass the microphone to the little girl I told you about.

photo taken at another time during the evening

Erina started worshipping.

She is only 4 or 5
(we don't know her exact age)





We are talking hundreds of people!

GOD had taken over! WOHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

And what followed was nothing short of a




display of God's SPLENDOR!

While Erina continued in deep worship

SCORES of people got delivered from demonic oppression

COUNTLESS People got healed

MANY gave their lives to Jesus! 

It was indescribable!

Praise had never seen such a battle

nor such a victory!



When everybody left the venue in the morning,

they noticed that it had been raining everywhere all around

EXCEPT where they had been!

There had not been a drop of rain!

I know I don't write much on this blog these days,

but this HAD TO BE documented

for the GLORY OF GOD!

There IS a story behind Erina's supernatural anointing.

That will be for another post.
Stay tuned...

"Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger."
Psalm 8:2

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Farewell 2014 - bring on 2015!

Here's a little sneak-peak into our year 2014!

Click on the pause-button on the bottom right when the first page comes up and then advance at your own pace. Each photo enlarges when clicked on.

REJOICE with us over the GOODNESS of GOD!

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