Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wedding photos - the real thing!

Here's a slideshow of the wedding photos. The cover photo is not the one I wanted on top, just couldn't figure out how to put another one :).


Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Wedding NathalieLewis
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Saturday, December 12, 2009

...and a few more photos...

saying them vows...

wrapped in a "tifaifai" - according to tahitian custom

on the bridal table - lillies and lobster
watch this space for more - and better - photos :)


first wedding photos

These are not the best quality, but while we are waiting for the professional photos, here are a few.

Rich was speechless for the first 5 minutes after he saw his beloved first-born daughter in her wedding dress and made quite a few of us cry when he walked her down the aisle, visibly struggling to hold himself together.

It was beautiful and moving. And then he was the one performing the actual wedding, with Lewis' father doing the message (and our pastor the welcome and intro).

Lewis' father's comment afterwards: "I'm definitely NOT going to be the one marrying my daughters."

It was pretty emotional, but Rich did well nonetheless.

radiant flower girl Kylie

here comes the beautiful bride

Look at this young man!

Monday, December 7, 2009


... WITH GRATITUDE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Whew - - - if you have prayed for Nathalie and Lewis' wedding - and us - THAnk YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

It was an absolutely fabulous day and I can't keep my tears back for feeling SOOOOO blessed!!!!

The ceremony did take place at the chapel instead of the beach, because of the weather, but it didn't matter at bit - not even to Nathalie, she said! She said it was the perfect day and there's nothing she would have wanted any other way (and she is easily disappointed). The weather was perfect for the photos, too.

It was very intense all the way - with me not being able to sleep for almost a week - just too much excitement for me all at once - and Nathalie coming down sick.

In the end, all worked out marvelously, I did get a good night's sleep on the last night (should have gotten those sleeping pills earlier - duh..) and Nathalie did, too, and she was feeling all better and looked radiant!

All I can say is - THANK YOU JESUS!!!!

There is no better way to plan and have a wedding than with Holy Spirit!

He's the BEST - reminding, prompting, inspiring, helping, strengthening, enabling...

And the blessing didn't end with the day.

Yesterday is still like a dream - sitting in our sunny garden (first time since winter) with my brother from Australia with his wife and 4 boys, my other brother from Germany, my niece from Germany, and close friends from Tahiti - - - enjoying a brunch and catching up!
Rich's parents had already left in the night.

We hadn't seen my brother from Aussie and family for 8 years!!!

In the afternoon, we all went to the beach and the kids had a blast in the waves.

Kylie discovered her new "best friend" - cousin Gabriel. It's too precious to see the 2 of them hand in hand, playing in the waves, eating at our little table...


AND - God provided for all our financial needs, too!

How else could it have turned out...


Photos to follow sometime...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

still alive...and well

For anybody out there that's still checking my blog - - -
We're all well and just about ready for THE WEDDING on Saturday. Yaaaheeeee!!!
It's been really intense and an incredible amount of work, but I know it'll all be worth it when the day rolls around!

Nathalie's just about packed up all her belongings and is emptying out her room - - - moving it to her new house on the farm - 25 minutes from here.

It's all pretty emotional - leaving home - getting married - us letting go of our first child - 12 visitors arriving from overseas... including one brother with family that we haven't seen in 8 years!

God's been so good along the way, sending help - and finances - just when and where needed.
We feel so blessed already!

We would appreciate your prayers for the next few days - and the weather, too!
At the moment, strong winds are forecast for Saturday, in which case we'd need to move the wedding from the beach to our planB venue...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Samoa Update

Just want to pass on this update on what's happening in Samoa through YWAM. Make sure to read to the end of the article - there's an amazing testimony!

And once again - THANK YOU, IF YOU HAVE GIVEN FOR SAMOA!! We did send off exactly NZ$2,000 this week. Praise God!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Catching up

WOW - it's been awhile... SOOOO much to say, so little time...
Since Rich came home from Samoa, things have been a whirlwind.
He brought home some bug he and his team-members got in Samoa as a going-away "gift"... and was quite miserable the first week home.
LOTS of things to catch up on - on all fronts...

We celebrated Jeremie's 18th birthday this week!!! So proud of this kid who's become such a fine young man!!!

EXACTLY 5 weeks from now will be Nathalie and Lewis' wedding and the preparations are consuming every possible free moment in my days (and sometimes nights...).
It's all good though, and I am so excited that we'll have family coming for the wedding from Germany, USA, Australia and Tahiti - we'll also have other islander-friends that live in NZ at the wedding (Samoa, Fiji and Tonga)!!! How very special!!!

Leilani is SUPER busy with a very competitive volleyball-team and has barely got time to breathe in between school, practices, games, tournaments, homework, church commitments (not many these days cuz of being so busy), fundraising for volleyball-related-activities, friends and chores...

I am kind of grateful that Rich has been prevented from traveling again because of lack of finances... He was supposed to be in the South Island at the moment, but it's good to have him around (tonight he's doing a shift at St.Johns).

WONDERFUL NEWS: remember how Rich wanted to leave a gift of NZ$2,000 in Samoa?
Well, amazingly enough, through the generosity of many people (from Germany, USA, Tahiti and New Zealand), we have reached this goal almost exactly to the dollar and will be sending it off next week! IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE! (Jesus)
I feel soo blessed!

Oh yeah, MORE WONDERFUL NEWS: remember my purse that was stolen? Our contents insurance (that we need for our rental home) covered the theft!!! So, besides having my wallet replaced already with most cards, drivers licence etc, and my sunglasses, I will get a brand new cell-phone next week (better than the old one) and a brand new camera (better than the old one).

I am blown away - several people had prayed for me (myself included) that the stolen goods would be restored, and have they ever!

Something that just tickled my heart: the purse that was stolen was about 30 years old and would not have matched the dress that I'm going to be wearing at the wedding. Neither would my only other purse. Through the reimbursement of the lost purse, I was able to buy a new purse that matches perfectly - YAY!!!
All I can say is, THANK YOU, JESUS!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Watch this!

A video slideshow set to Bono's speech at the presidential prayer breakfast.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mission accomplished!

Today, we welcomed our "HERO" Rich back home after a little over 2 weeks in Samoa!

The emercency relief mission is finished and clearly, Samoa is now in the new stage of rebuilding.

We are so proud of what Rich and his team were able to accomplish - with God's help - bringing physical, emotional and spiritual healing to so many in the initial stage of the aftermath of the tsunami.

THANK YOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH if you have prayed - for Rich, for Samoa, for us at home!!!
And THANK YOU, if you have given towards Rich's travel costs - or for Samoa!

Monetary donations are still trickling in towards the goal of NZ$2,000 that Rich felt to leave in Samoa. It is pretty exciting!
We will wait until the end of this week and then send off the total of what will have come in.

So - there's still time to give, if you want to just bless the Samoans in the rebuilding of their lives - channeled through YWAM-Samoa - every dollar counts!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Let's keep praying for Samoa!

It's been raining in Samoa - no, not raining - POURING!
The poor people that still have no houses and are under primitive shelters with tarpaulins must be so miserable!
No medical teams were able to go out today because of the weather.
It's not real easy to treat people in the back of a pick-up truck in pouring rain...

Also, the roads are pure mud and remember - the people are in the hills/mountains now...
So, even with a 4-wheel-drive, Rich and the team were slipping and sliding all over the place.

No fun for the people (Rich probably DID have some fun slipping/sliding)!

Let's pray for the rain to stop and the weather to stabilize until better shelters are built!
We are racing against time, cuz the rainy season, often with cyclones, is just around the corner.

Some of our team went back to the island off the main island where Rich and the team had been last week.(I think it's Mananoa or something like that)
They found that the people had not received ANY help since last week - no clean drinking water.
Quite a few children have come down with dysentery...

And with the rain, more and more respiratory sicknesses are plaguing the people.

Lord, have mercy!

One more day for Rich.

It's been really full-on.

He's tired - and happy.

Even though he lost most of his sleep last night.

Ya gotta know that the local YWAM-base where he's staying, is built local style. There was a leak in the thatched roof and he got a free cold shower all night...

Thanks for your prayers - and - it's not too late to give - see last post!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

YOU can make a difference, too!

When Rich was on the plane to Samoa, he met a couple of guys from the Salvation Army.
They wanted to go and help - somehow -
They had some money they wanted to invest.

A couple of days after their arrival, Rich and the team met them walking on the road and picked them up.

Guess what??

The guys ended up buying the local YWAM-team a flat-bed truck (!!!) - to help with transportation of materials for the rebuilding of people's homes. What a HUGE blessing!!!

Fono, the YWAM-leader, and his team - has been out ever since from 5am, going into the newly establishing villages in the mountains, helping people clear land of coconut trees and building homes.

As mentioned, Rich would LOVE to leave a gift of NZ$2,000+ (about 1,000Euro, US$1,500) with Fono to help with buying building materials for homes.

You can give here by credit card from any nation in the world!
Even a small donation of $5 or $10 will make a difference and will bless the people of Samoa that have lost everything!

Your gift will be processed through our local Impact World Tour (YWAM) account and then go straight to Samoa. Just make sure to put SAMOA in the details section.

THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH - for your prayers, for your interest and for your gifts!

Call2All Next Generation

Call2All Next Generation EXCITES me - You've GOT TO watch this promo!!!

Filmed here in our city Tauranga.

Featuring our amazing friends and co-workers:

Josh Cole, representing the Missions Movement.(he's with YWAM)

Dalton Lifsey, representing the Prayer Movement.(with the Tauranga House of Prayer)

The promo is produced by our local church - Changepoint.

And our local church is 100% behind this project!

When you get this unity between those 3 - local church, missions and prayer movements - it's POWERFUL!
What a privilege to be part of what GOD is doing locally and in the earth in our life-time!!!

And - why don't YOU consider COMING?!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Lots of donations are coming in for the Samoa-container. What a wonderful outpouring of love from local Christians and non-Christians!!!

Rich REALLY REALLY REALLY would like to leave a gift of at least NZ$2,000 with the Samoan YWAM-leaders when he leaves this week-end to help with their on-going efforts to help rebuild the part of their island that got wiped out by the tsunami.

I don't know how to put a "Donate" button on my blog - in case any of you readers would like to participate - even with a very small amount. Will try to look into that tomorrow...

Full day today with "Messy Eating"-class for Shayden to help him eat better, a meeting, family, household and wedding preparations tonight - first baking, YAY!!!
Invitations went out today, too.

Haven't heard from Rich today, but it seems that all is going well and little by little, at least in the area of primary health care, the tsunami victims are being helped. Everything else will take a LOOOOONG time to heal... hearts especially, as people are traumatized! According to Rich, the Samoans are very courageous, though, and are picking up the challenges of clean-up and starting to rebuild! Bless their hearts!!!

Something to watch

This is a very old song - but still touching me - Lord, may our lives be a part of YOU taking YOUR healing to the nations!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lesson #1 learned today:

....NEVER EVER leave your purse out of sight for even a minute - even in a Missions Exhibit in "safe" New Zealand!

A little while ago I shared with you about this project that Rich and I have been involved with.
Well, today was the official "Send-Off" of the ship "Pacific Link" for the YWAM NZ Ship Tour to 8 port cities. Number 1 goal: raise awareness of missions needs and opportunities and challenge a new generation of young Kiwis into missions.

I committed to (wo)manning a part of the exhibit before we knew that Rich was going to Samoa.
So, off I went to set up, hang up posters, photos, lots of creative and informative stuff - and share with people walking through about the needs etc.

I left the Kylie and Shayden in the loving and capable hands of church staff (kids programs at church) in the morning and Jeremie and Leilani until they were going to join me after Shayden's nap - cuz there was also all kinds of other exciting stuff happening at the send-off, like a huge inflatable slide, sausage sizzle, live music and tours on the ship.

So far, so good - except I had only had 4 hours of sleep in the night - not to mention the whole crazy week - single mom, container, housework, guest.

My brain was obviously not at its best and I left my purse in a place that was - hmm - accessible to people walking through. I usually kept my eye on it at all times, but not THAT time.

I was off in the next "booth" talking with someone for just a minute, came back - and it was GONE!!!! I couldn't believe it!

Anyway, it's been a fascinating day - - - to say the least.
What I regret the most is the loss of our camera - a nice camera, that I had just taken a bunch of photos with - some of which I was going to share here with YOU - - - ! BUMMER!!!

In the bag was also my cell phone, my wallet with ALL KINDS OF CARDS - - - and some cash.
I hardly ever carry any cash (my kids could tell you). But just last night, some amazing co-worker came by our house and gave me NZ$100, so that I could surprise Rich next Sunday when I pick him up from the airport - and take him for an over-nighter to a hotel in Auckland instead of straight home to the "crazy" family... And that money was in my wallet today! Bummer #2!!!

I could tell you lots more, like how I miss my sunglasses and reading glasses - or how we got back into the car - with keys stolen - - - but I won't bore you with details and Ireally should go to bed now.

When I called Rich on his cell phone about the cancellation of one of our cards, he was still walking in the bush in Samoa (at 6pm) - things seem to be going well.

I won't hide that this day has not been easy - but tomorrow's another day!

Even though I know that the theft of my purse was my own negligence, this quote comforts me.
I have found that EVERY TIME our family does something significant in the kingdom, there is some kind of "cost" involved.

"A faith that costs nothing and demands nothing is worth nothing."

A thought that came to me soon after the theft: Rich is helping people that have lost everything.
I was just advocating for the orphans who also have nothing.
I could relate just this little bit better to them this afternoon - - - - - - - -
And I am grateful, because though I have lost a lot, I still have a lot left!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thank you, JESUS!

Just a quick update:


THE letter from YWAM Samoa did come through today - YAY!!!

So, all we're now waiting for is a written confirmation from Samoa that all the taxes/duty will be waved for the shipment.

It has been officiall announced that they would, but the shipping company wants it black on white.

So just one more hurdle to go.

GREAT NEWS: This morning, a local company donated 1 container full of bottled water!

I wish it could be flown to Samoa - - - but hopefully it'll still be a blessing a couple of weeks from now...

No news from Rich today - i'm off to bed now - it's been a day!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

I was gonna have an early night tonight...

... but that doesn't seem to happen these days...

I'd like to ask you for your prayers.

Some friends and I are trying to get a container with supplies ready to be shipped from Tauranga to Samoa.
The biggest problem is the paperwork that needs to be provided from Samoa for the shipping company - bureaucracy, politics, island-time - call it whatchawant... it's a challenge!

We are trying to get the container (and possibly even a second one) to the YWAM leaders in Samoa - excellent people and friends of mine for 25 years. We would love for the container to go to them, since we would be reassured of the contents REALLY going to the neediest people.
They would be working on the distribution in collaboration with the local churches.

So - it would be GREAT if you could pray for a breakthrough with the paperwork ASAP!!!

Just got a call from Rich. He and the team were on a neigbouring island today - 30 minute boat-ride from Western Samoa. -

They hadn't received any visits or help yet since the tsunami.

800 people.

They're out of water...

Within 10 minutes of arrival, 30 people show up for medical treatment.

After treating 10 people or so, a tsunami alert goes off and it is PANIC among the people (of course, Rich keeps his "cool" head, packs up some bags with medical gear so they can keep treating people and then leaves)!

Everybody rushing to higher grounds...
Old people panting and staggering...
a boy tripping and hurting his head on a rock...

Quite the adventure - and I'm so grateful that it was called off about an hour or so later!
(You DID hear about the earthquake in Vanuatu and the tsunami alert, didn't you?!)

There are so many needs in that island that they'll probably go back there for the rest of the week - along with other medical teams. They left the 25l water container full of water that they had received from the Red Cross this morning.(unfortunately weren't able to get another container with water from the Red Cross for tomorrow - seems they are really stretched...)

Seems like the Samoa Health Board really likes what our team is doing - holistic work - talking to the people, counselling (I don't know if they are aware of the prayer part) and treating wounds, helping build new homes, bringing food and water. They say nobody else does this - and they've got favour. YAY!

The Samoa Health Board sent a Samoan doctor with the team today. She normally lives in the USA, but came to help - happens to be a full-on Christian! Neat!

We have 4 more people (3 medical) from Marine Reach leaving tomorrow night to join the team.

Now let's just PRAY and hope for a breakthrough with the container tomorrow!!!

By the way, Rich said that several team members are taking photos - so hopefully we'll get to see some - when, I don't know...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Samoa Footage

If you click on this link, it will take you to a news-clip that was shown on TV last night about Samoa. The medical worker that was speaking in the beginning is one of Rich's team - a Samoan girl that lives in Australia and came with RescueNet. The footage was of Rich's team - can't see him, though...


Rich and the RescueNet team in Samoa treated people's wounds and infections all day yesterday in the mountain area and will probably continue to do so every day.

There are so many needs and sad stories...

He treated one 13-year-old, sad, boy who lost his mother in the tsunami.

Also a 70+-year-old grandmother who is very ill and should really be in hospital (but doesn't want to go). While Rich was treating her, her 2-year-old twin grand-daughters were buried next to her. She was devastated that they got swept away by the tsunami while family members rushed to help her (after she tripped).

Rich said the people they ministered to hadn't received ANY help yet - no food, nothing...

There are LOTS of children and they are starting to come down with coughs as they are sleeping without any blankets and the nights are quite cold.

Rich LOVES what he's doing (he always wanted to be a doctor), only regrets they can't do more. Unfortunately, they have to spend 4 hours/day just for travel to and from the affected sites...

My heart aches for the people - - -

Sunday, October 4, 2009

How sweet!

Kylie made a picture for Rich just before she went to bed the night that he left. On the back, she wrote this. I just had to capture it and share it with you :)In case you can't read her writing - this is what she meant to write:

I am going to miss you, Dad, when you go away.

I hope you are going to be safe.

Love from Kylie

Since Rich's left, Kylie has started sleeping UNDERNEATH Shayden's cot/crib - again - it's sooo funny! She did this on one of Rich's last trips away, too.

She camps out in Shayden's room - brings her clothes and toys (as much as I let her) and then sleeps in the squished space between the floor and the bottom of the cot/crib. It cracks me up!

She really seems to enjoy sleeping there - and the bonus is that when both of them wake up in the morning, they entertain each other for a while before they come and see me. Works quite well - especially since we're on school vacation at the moment.

You can't see Kylie on this photo - I took it in the dark while they were sleeping. She IS under there somewhere...

She ENJOYS "roughing it" (she sleeps on the floor with thin carpet - no mattress, no blanket underneath) - who knows, she may end up a missionary some day, sleeping on the floor somewhere... - and won't even mind it - hihi

Saturday, October 3, 2009

New record

We've had our share of "crazy" situations in our 2o+ years as missionaries.

Flexibility has definitely been part of most of our lives.

But yesterday saw us set a new record: preparing for a 2-week-overseas-trip in less than 24 hours!

With God's help - and quite a few praying - we made it - AMAZING!

Rich has safely arrived in Samoa where he and the team will be staying at the YWAM base.

They will even be fed there, it seems - both lodging and food being a luxury we weren't counting on (of course, everybody pays for their share)!

Rich brought dehydrated food for the 2 weeks at 1 meal a day, water purifying tablets and a little plate-set that food can be heated up in over a fire. So, who knows - he may not even need them... not sure.

So that's a good start. They will head out into the affected areas tomorrow.

If you're interested, here's how the "story" unfolded:

Wednesday morning: We find out about the earthquake and tsunami in Samoa and are very affected by it - pray - pray - pray

Wednesday evening: We hear that RescueNet is sending a team to both Samoa and Indonesia

Thursday: We both feel that Rich is meant to be part of the RescueNet team going to Samoa, but he was never able to finish the last part of his training (since they haven't held one yet) and so he thinks he's not eligible to be deployed.

Thursday night @ 9pm: We receive an email stating that Rich IS able to get deployed to Samoa after all (may I add that my man is REALLY great when it comes to emergencies and stressful situations and he's been having quite a bit of experience in the basic medical field as of late, too!)

Rich calls his leader/boss and clears with him if it's ok to go for the 2 weeks. He says yes, as long as he covers all areas of responsibilities with co-workers.

Rich and I pray about the situation, asking God to make it clear if he is meant to go.

Then (kind-of) off to sleep we go.

Friday morning:

Rich calls his co-workers and they release him with their blessing.

Then starts that mad-rush with booking a ticket, getting all kinds of paperwork done, buying all kinds of necessary gear, picking up a suitcase full of medical supplies, trying to get insurance, giving over areas of responsibility to co-workers, shopping, phone call after phone call - email after email - - - packing - - - did I mention emails and phone-calls?!

Friday night - actually Saturday morning at 1:45am:

Rich is still writing emails when he realizes he's forgotten about the time. (I had gone to sleep shortly after 1am, too exhausted to stay awake anymore)

He's just getting changed when the driver of the airport-shuttle van calls from the top of the driveway, asking Rich to come up, since he can't drive down the steep driveway with his trailer.

Big rush - almost 50kg of luggage needs to get to the top of the driveway.

Luggage in the car - drive up - unload luggage into van - drive back down - run back up...

... of course, all that takes place while all the other passengers of the shuttle are waiting...

Rich crashes as soon as he gets on that van and pretty much sleeps the whole way to Auckland airport (2 1/2hours) - except for a few bumps in the road that wake him up.

And I am surprised to find all lights, plus the heater on when I get up later - doesn't normally happen with Rich.

In the morning, I get an email that Rich wrote at the airport - probably one last email for a while - one last quick phone-call - and off he flies at 8am!

OUFF! Made it! And that's just the beginning...


Friday, October 2, 2009

Relief in Samoa for Tsunami victims

Ouff - breathe, Isabel, breathe -

It has become clear a few hours ago that Rich will join a Rescue-Net deployment for Samoa - leaving in a few hours...

Rich and I are both buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzing with super-crazy preparations.
More later - got to run...

Please be in prayer - for the Samoan people - for Rich - for us at home.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I found out today that I won a NZ$50 voucher for food in our supermarket!
I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This money will go to feed some hungry children in Africa that would otherwise not eat.

I am always looking for ways to squeeze some money so that we can help.
As a family, we have started "only" eating rice and beans on Sundays - to help us identify a little bit with the African orphans for whom this would be a treat - and to save some money that can then feed some of them.

Remember that for US$0.14, Children's Hopechest can (and WILL, if you designate your gift) feed someone a meal of posho and beans. (posho is cornmeal, which is filling and beans are protein).

I immediately started doing the math - that food voucher will feed 215 children a meal! YAY!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Every 3.6 seconds someone dies of starvation.

15 million people a year die from starvation.

To satisfy a year's sanitation and food requirements for the world would take about 13 billion US dollars - what the US and European Union spend on perfume in a year.

Does something stink?

Monday, September 21, 2009


Here are some of the little darlings (under 2s) I get to take care of on Sunday mornings at church - too precious!

Kylie's new creations - decorated hat and a sock-puppet (eating a muffin) - made at school

funny girl

Thursday, September 17, 2009

When it rains, it pours

First, I don't update my blog for ages, then 3 shots in one day - or is it four?

Well, here ya go - with all this orphan/Africa passion spilling over, I haven't even told you about the "Discipleship Training School" that started on August 31st. Rich is only involved part-time with it this year. It seems to be a great group of 11 students!

We had them over at our house last Saturday. Here is more about our hang-out time and a photo from Josh and Misty Cole who are leading the school.

I just can't sh...t up

"If only 7% of the professed Christians in the world would open their lives and homes to an orphan, there would be no orphaned children, crying out for a place to call home."

How many orphans? 147 MILLION

More, Lord, more!

Break my heart with what breaks YOURS!

I think I know which book I'm gonna read next - also written by Tom Davis:

Have a look at this website!

What I'm thinking about...

2.2 million people die every year from contaminated water

= 20 JUMBO JETS crashing E.V.E.R.Y. D.A.Y!!!

How come we don't hear about THAT in the news???

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On another note...

... since I've known that AFRICA and ORPHANS are on my horizon, it feels like I've been breathing, thinking, praying, dreaming, reading and whatever else you can imagine about Africa and the situation with the orphans there! What a journey - and it's just begun!

I just finished reading another book - all I can say is W-O-W!!!!

Here is a trailer for SCARED - a novel on the edge of the world - written by Tom Davis, and based on true facts about the situation of orphans in Africa.
Heart-wrenching and VERY challenging - not for the faint-hearted.
But if you want to get a realistic picture of what is happening RIGHT NOW for millions of children in Africa, get a hold of this book and read it!
It is worth every penny and minute!!!!!!!!
But watch out - it may CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

Shayden's a champ!

This morning, I took Shayden to the hospital straight from bed (at 6:30am). We were supposed to be there at 7am and he was the first on the list of operations.

He needed grommets (tubes) put in his ears, since he has had chronic "glue ear" a condition that makes hearing hard. He also needed to get his tongue-tie cut. (he'd been on the waiting list for this for over a year!)
Everything went REALLY well.

I was definitely the ONLY ONE that was - let's say - anxious/nervous.
Obviously, he didn't know what was gonna happen...

They started operating at 8:30am and we were back home before 11am. He only cried a tiny bit when he woke up and I wasn't quite there yet and then just cuddled on me for a while.

No whining, nothing! What a champ!

How grateful I am that we live in this day and age - and in this country - where these types of operations are performed at all - and in such a non-traumatic way (I held him until he was put to sleep). PLUS, totally free for us!

THANK YOU, JESUS!!! (I was going to write last night asking for prayer, but the computer was occupied by another family member...)

Now we're hoping and praying that all will heal well and that the little guy will start taking off in his speech - and hopefully - eating!!!

In the recovery room

Dressed and ready to go home!

Kylie's recovering from a bad flu - once again - after she was just healed from a cold - and before that the chicken pox. Seriously, we've HAD ENOUGH of sicknesses in this house - but somehow aren't able to shake them... YET! But we will - with God's help! (I am also taking antibiotics for a recurring sinus infection...)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Back in New Zealand...

After all this sharing about AFRICA, here's a short presentation of what we're involved with here in New Zealand - EXCITING stuff!!!

Rich has been working on this project for a while now.
I am helping in the setting up of a walk-through exhibit about needs (and involvement opportunities) around the world.

Can you guess what needs I'm working on presenting - in a (hopefully) creative way?

You guessed it:

The needs of orphans and street-children worldwide - particularly in Africa.

An estimated 8-10,000 people around New Zealand will be confronted with the needs - and given ideas of possible involvement. YAY!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Aching heart(s)...

I have just read another post on my favourite blog and it M E S S E D me up... BIG time!!!

Here it is - Katie (the 20-year-old American in Uganda that has adopted 13 children and is caring for 100s more), your word is getting out (I've got her permission for this):

"*be warned: I always re-read things before I post them. I didn't re-read this one, it is liable to be messy...

I am processing so many emotions right now; I'm just going to go ahead and let you know that this post will not be eloquent or well written. It will not be a beautifully worded story, but just the ramblings of a mom who is tired today.
It will just be, and it will be good enough.

On Thursday of last week,I went to check on Michael, a sweet little boy from the Karamajong village that we took care of a few weeks ago. I found him with open sores all over his body. As a result of severe malnutrition, Michael weighs just ten kilos at 6 years old. He is no taller than Jane (my two and a half year old). His skin is breaking and unable to repair itself because his immune system is so weak. His hair is white as snow and his skin is yellow and splotchy and his smile and little bug out eyes can melt your heart and light up the room. Michael is fearfully and wonderfully made, created in the image of my Savior.I have warned myself over and over that I must NOT start bring home children from the Karamajong village. We feed them lunch and supper every day and twice a week I drive my van, the trunk loaded with a mini pharmacy, into the middle of their village and treat anything I can.

And I told myself and told myself that I would not bring them home for treatment, that twice a week visits were all I could handle right now. I wanted so badly to guard my heart because here's the thing: once you take one, you may end up with 13.

I knew that once I had taken one sick child from this village home for rehab, there would be not stopping point because these children are ALL ALWAYS sick. But as I looked at Michael, I saw no alternative. He needed to be bathed in warm water every day. He needed milk and eggs and ORS and multivitamins and fresh fruits and vegetables and there was no way I could get him all those things regularly where he was. Even if I did, there was no guarantee that his parents would not sell these things and continue only feeding him posho (corn flour). So he came home.

He tested negative for HIV, TB and typhoid and we began a pretty rigid deworming routine as well as a highly caloric, protein packed diet. In the last 5 days he has gained 2.5 pounds (that's a lot if you only weigh 20!) but he has gained more than that. I have watched him transform from a lifeless, expressionless little boy who slept all day and was unresponsive to a over-the-top cheerful, sometimes down right ornery little boy who hardly ever stops smiling and loves playing games with other children. The transformation has been remarkable.I will keep him for about another week as I begin counseling his father and step mother (this is the biggest issue, often second wives do not want to care for their husband's other children and sometimes even write them off as cursed or not worthy of food and provision...) about the most nutritious foods for him, frequent meals, bathing, ect. My heart will break to take him back and yet I will know that it is what is best for him and his family.

Wednesday as I met with the Karamjong children for Bible study a woman walked up to me and handed me a baby that I presumed to be dead. And then she breathed.The mother told me that she was quite positive that she (the mother) had HIV and therefore was not breastfeeding her 10 pound, 9 month old little girl. I asked, quite obviously, what she had been feeding her then? And this was the response that awaited me, "Nothing. We have no food." Um. NO wonder the baby looked dead. She almost was. I pleaded the mother to let me take her with me, to be tested for HIV and be fed. The mother instanly agreed but fist wanted to show me her house.

I think I have seen it all. And then this happens. Their house was made of cardboard and was smaller than the bed I sleep in at night. On the floor lay filthy old rags on which they slept and a pile of charcoal which they cooked on (when they did have food, I guess). I almost dropped on my knees right there. It was one of those I-just-don't-have-a-clue-what-to-do-next moments. So I did the only thing that comes naturally to me. I scooped her up. I prayed for her mother and the 6 other children living in the house/box and promised to return. I drove as fast as I safely could to the nearest semi-good hospital and then to get some high energy formula.

For the first 24 hours, I could hardly stand to look at sweet baby Patricia (her parents had not named her for fear she would die, and I could think of no one better to name her after than my precious Mommy). The hurt and the hunger in her lifeless little eyes was simply unbearable. Every time I changed her diaper, more big fat worms (we are talking really large, earth worm sized) had come out. I cried for the things this child has had to endue for so long. And I cried to know that though I deworm her now, the minute I take her back to her mother, the worms will return. Her HIV test came back negative and I am praising Jesus for that. She was diagnosed with severe pnemonia and malnutrition. She can hardly sleep at night for coughing so much.

Friends, I ask for prayer. For these children and for my heart. I have fallen in love with Michael and Patricia. Their sweet faces that are Jesus. The tears stream down as I write this and have to think about taking them back to their parents, who I will try to help as much as possible, but still have such fear in my heart about. I look at their surroundings and simply wonder how children survive in this harsh world.

I am sad and I am angry. Between no sleep and a million doctors appointments (imagine that in Uganda you wait even LONGER in the hospital than you do in the US...) and Bible club on Thursday and Saturday program tomorrow and trying to raise 13 children and spend enough time with each of them, maybe you will right my saddess and anger of as the rantings of an exhausted mother and maybe they are, but this is my blog and I am going to say what I feel like. I am MAD. I have been sad and broken for these children for so long and it has finally turned into a hardened anger. I am angry that this culture so lies to women that Michael's stepmother believes that she does not have to care for this child who is not biologically hers, though she has ample means to. I am angry that in the "Pearl of Africa" and the most fertile region of it at that, a mother has litteraly NO food to feed her baby, not to mention herself or 6 other kids. I am angry that the result of this is that these sweet ones suffer in their innocence.

I have said it before and it still holds true: I DO NOT BELIEVE that the God of the universe created too many children in His image and not enough love or food or care to go around. In fact I believe that He created the Body of Christ for just that, to help these little ones, the least of these. And I believe that except for a handful, the Body of Christ is failing. And its not just me who thinks this. When I'm angry, I like to research so that I can at least feel a bit justified in my rage ;) According to several differnt resources, there are an average of 147 million orphaned children in the world today (this statistic includes children who have lost only one parent as well), 11 million children starve to death each year or die from preventable, treatable illness. 8.5 million children work as child slaves, prostitutes, or in other horrific conditions (making things like that cute baby Gap dress Jane wore today...) 2.3 million children world wide are living with HIV.

That is 168.8 million needy children like Michael and Patricia. Seems like a big number, huh? It shouldn't, because there are 2.1 BILLION people on this earth who profess to be Christians. Jesus followers. Servants. Gospel live-ers. And if only 8 percent of those Christians would care for just ONE of these needy children, they would all be taken care of.

And now I'm just sad again. And I want to take care of all 169 million. But as I look into Patricia's eyes, that since just 48 hours ago have turned bright and smiley, as I smell her hair freshly washed with baby shampoo and snuggle her into her new footie pajamas (side note: is their ANYTHING cuter than a baby in soft cotton footie pajamas?!) God tells me that this one is enough. That He will hold the others while they wait for someone to come along and hold them tight and give them their milk and their medicine. That He doesn't ask me to take them all but to stop for the ONE because that one is Jesus, His son. Stop for the little boy with white haid and scabs covering his body, stop for the baby with feces covering her dress, so weak she can't hold up her hear. Stop and take the ones right in front of me any trust Him with the rest. He whispers that it will be ok and that I can smile because tonight 2 less children are hungry and that is good for today.

My anger is gone and I am just a mom who is tired and going to make another bottle and tuck her children into bed and love them the best that I can, as we as a family love the ones God has entrusted us with. Tomorrow I will brainstorm and pray and come up with the best way to take Michael and Patricia back to their homes, possibly find their parents jobs, or supply them with food and medicine. Tomorrow I will remember that they were never mine to begin with, that they are HIS and He will go with them where I cannot. But tonight I will just be. I will just sit with my Father in my sadness and brokeness and anger and ask Him why His innocent children must suffer and beg Him to move people to action and let Him hold me as I hold the baby He has blessed me with for today."
posted by auntie katie at
11:15 AM on Aug 26, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Can we allow God to break our hearts...

... with what breaks his?

An estimated 150 million children live on the streets of the world today.
Taking each other by the hand, the chain they would build could wrap around the equator three times.
If I was to speak their names one every second, it would take me three and a half years.

Children who have not had a chance!

Children who have been robbed of their childhood.

Children sold by their parents.

Children who have no choice but to work, beg or steal in order to survive.

Children who have never known a loving, caring and protected environment.

Each one of these 150 million kid’s was someones child, with their own name and a story.

Each one of these DEEPLY and PASSIONATELY LOVED by the Father!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


A little while ago, I felt I should read the book "Visions Beyond The Veil" by H.A. Baker (Heidi Baker's father-in-law).

I ordered it and when it arrived, I read it within one day - - - not because I've got so much time to read - but because it was absolutely AMAZING (somehow you find the time to do the things you really want to do, right?!)!!!!

It describes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on an orphanage in China in the 1930s or so.
The orphans that just before had been beggars, outcasts and homeless, were caught up into the invisible (yet VERY real) world and experienced exactly all the things the Bible talks about as REALITIES - visions of heaven, angels, satan, hell and the end of the age.

It is DEEPLY compelling - I can only HIGHLY recommend it!!! If nothing else, it will boost your love for God and passion to see people that don't know God come to know him!!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A short message from Kylie

I've got the chicken-pops - - - and it itches - - - and I get to stay at home for a few days.
Mom says that Shayden will most likely get it too...
We had a HUGE thunderstorm last night in the middle of the night - I thought it was pretty awesome.
Bye for now and good night!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Zealand pure!

Guess what we get to enjoy these days ???

Right behind our backyard, our neighbours have some sheep. NICE!!!

And here is a little greeting from Shayden - love to all of you lovely readers out there!

qb y7y7uttdaqdcccc ccctfggffcxxxxxxxx v b

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Guess what?

When I first thought about taking a trip to Africa, I always thought that I would go with some other ladies but without Rich, since I figured that he needed to stay back with the kids.

After I felt the Lord indicate to me that I would be taking a first trip next year, I also felt - surprisingly - that Rich and I were to go together. I was SOOOOOO excited!!!

But I didn't want to just tell Rich, I wanted him to hear it for himself. So I waited - and waited - until he told me last night that he felt he should go with me. Youppieeeee!!! This will be so much fun! It's been a looooong time since we were doing ministry together...

In the meantime, Kylie woke up one day last week and did a drawing.
She told me it was her "diary".

She had divided the page into different segments, and this is what she had put on one of them:

While she was doing her picture, she had asked me how to spell Auckland. I didn't think anything of it - and - no - this is not what I told her to spell - LOL.

When she showed me the finished page, I asked her what everything meant.

When we came to the part you can see above, she said, "This means that Dad and you are going from Auckland to Africa."

To say I was dumbfounded is an understatement!

WOW!!! Talk about a confirmation!!!

Africa has not exactly been a common word in our household (not until now at least), and I can't remember the last time I even mentioned it to Kylie except for wayyyyy back last year...

I am so amazed at how God is orchestrating this venture - - - and how he spoke to/through Kylie - without her knowing - to confirm what he had put in my heart already, that Rich and I would go TOGETHER - - YAY!!!
Even though the trip will be everything BUT a vacation, I am looking forward to it MORE than I would for a vacation - - -

The beginnings of what's been in my and our hearts for sooooooooooooooooooooooo long...
And no, we have no idea yet WHO is going to look after our children for the 2-3 weeks, especially Kylie and Shayden, but I'm sure HE's already got a plan... :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

AMAZIMA - Rita's story

Now that it's official - that I am taking a trip to Africa next year - let me tell ya, if you're a regular reader of my blog you will get to "hear" a lot about the plight of the orphan in the next little while - besides of course, our own continuing family saga.

Since I'm not sure if most people actually read the stories in the links, I thought of posting one here. Remember, this was written by a (then) 19-year-old American girl (without medical training) living in Uganda.
She now has 13 girls living in her little house and caring/feeding another 400 orphans through a sponsorship program.

Have a look at the sidebar website AMAZIMA!

Yesterday a sweet little girl named Rita came to my house with two teeth that had been completely eaten through by a cavity and were almost completely rotted away. The holes looked like they were starting to get infected and the nerve was exposed; I cant imagine how much pain she was in.

I took her to the dentist, and they said they were closed. The dentist was in a hurry to leave and wouldn't help me, but he said I could use his things and do it myself.

Of course I was terrified, but I was more scared to think about the teeth not being removed immediately; they looked so painful.

I gave her a shot to numb her mouth, waited about ten minutes, tried to sterilize these tweezer things with a match and dug out what was remaining of her poor little teeth. I don't think she could feel it, but my heart hurt for her.

I took her back home, made her a hot bath and some soup. Then she had ice cream and slept in my bed under a big blanket. As i tucked the covers in around her and kissed her head she looked up at me with these big, wondering eyes.
Unbelievable as it is, she was SOOO happy. She told me that this was the best day of her life, even though her mouth hurt. She said that she would get her teeth pulled every day if she could stay with someone like me. And that made my heart hurt even more.

There are so many children out there that don't feel loved on a daily basis. So many children that don't have a person to hold their hand or rub their back when they are scared and in pain. So many children who don't have the simple pleasures of taking a warm bath or sleeping under a blanket. I would move all of them, ALL of them into my house if I could.

I wish I could love them all. I wish more people cared enough that they also wanted to love them all.

Sometimes I just can't even believe how blessed I am. I have always been loved, always been cared for, always been warm and well-fed. Its frustrating sometimes, but mostly its just motivating. Sometimes I feel so tired, and then something like this happens and I am reminded that I can give a child the best night of her life simply by naking her soup and kissing her forehead. Simply by love her.

Sometimes I feel so tired that I think if I give away any more of myself I may actually be empty. And then I remember, It is only in giving away the love given to me by the Father that I am ever actually full. And so I keep going because of Rita. Because kissing her forehead and saying 'I love you" actually did change the world for that little girl. Because maybe through my hands she can get just a glimpse of a fraction of the love her Maker has for her. There is nothing better.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

C-O-M-P-E-L-L-I-N-G !!!!!!!!

After pouring out the lovin' on Kylie these last few days, I came across this post in my FAVOURITE blog last night.

What a contrast - the life of our Kylie (and other children) and the children you will be reading about.

I BEG you to take 10-15 minutes to read not only this post, but also Grace's story, or Rita's story, or the Scabies Family, part 1, the Scabies Family, part 2, or Sarah's story, or Sumini's story and Amazima, the Truth.

These are written by a now 20-year-old American girl. POWERFUL!!!

To say that I have been deeply compelled is an understatement.

I have been balling my eyes out over the misery of these children.

And I will do something about it.

I have been begging God for years now to allow me to do SOMETHING for the orphans.
Besides taking Shayden into our family, I have been feeling quite strongly from God that NOW is the time to pursue my life-long dream of ministering to the orphans - in Africa, to begin with.

I am still in prayer about the details, but I know that I will be taking a trip to Africa next year. YAY!!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Unbelievable as it sounds, I've come down with yet another bad cold that has had me miserable now for 2 days (today was the worst).

AND - we had Kylie's birthday party today!

It went absolutely superbly well and the girls had a lot of fun! I AM SOOOOO GRATEFUL!!!

And thanks to an amazing husband and older children, we were able to pull it off. THANKS GUYS - YOU're the BEST!!!

Leilani made a Barbie-cake for Kylie.

Since we couldn't put candles on that one, I prepared a half an orange with 6 candles in it so that we could sing the HAPPY BIRTHDAY song and she could blow out her candles.

I had everybody close their eyes while we sang the song and brought "the cake" right in front of Kylie. When the song was finished, everybody could open their eyes - and what did they see???

The expression on their faces was priceless - - - an orange??? No cake???!!!

And then, Leilani came down the stairs with the "real deal" - the day was saved - hihi!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A little princess turned 6 today!

Kylie had a fabulous day and LOVED her gifts! Her party with 4 little friends will be on Saturday.

For the sake of family overseas, from whom most of her gifts came from, here are some photos for you to have a little glimpse. THANk YOU SO MUCH for all your love!!!

Miss you and wish we could celebrate WITH you!!!

WOW WOW WOW!!! Amazing doll house!!! THank YOU SOOO much!!!

And in the background you can see a part of a slide that Shayden has recently received from an overseas family member - THANk YOU!!!

Das ist die Puppenfamilie, Mutter - nur ein Teil deines Geschenks

And here she's talking on the phone with her Grandma from Germany
She's wanted one of those for so long - THAnk YOU!!!

more gifts from Germany - what a spoiled little girl!

...and Shayden LOVED the special card Kylie received from an aunt in Germany - it went down the slide more than once :)

After dinner, we went around the table with each family member affirming Kylie, telling her what we like about her, what qualities they see in her etc. You should have seen the expressions on her face - from growing about 2 inches with pride to tears running down her cheeks cuz she was so touched - - - she sure was devouring all the love poured out on her - oh, the power of words!

We love you sooooooooooo much, Kylie!!!!!!!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fun with messy play

Here's a great recipe for "puff paint" that I picked up at playgroup this week:

Mix equal parts of self-raising flour and salt
Add water until you have a pasty, not too thick consistency
Divide into different small containers and add food colouring.

The kids - or you - can (finger-) paint onto cardboard - and then pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds or more, depending on thickness of "puff paint" = GREAT FUN!

Jeremie's slideshow

Here's the promised slide-show that Jeremie put together of the Fiji trip - quite a few more/new photos, music and HIS perspective:) - ENJOY (gotta turn off the music on the bottom of my blog first)

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow:
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Marine Reach Fiji Photos

Here they are - finally some photos of Rich's and Jeremie's outreach to Fiji - too many to put on the blog, so I put them on facebook and you can look at them (about 30 I think) by clicking on the link.

Jeremie made a slideshow with mostly different photos - and music - I'll post that, too, when I get to it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Spring, glorious spring!

Oh - I am sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo thrilled that winter seems to be on the way out and spring on the way in!

When I discovered the first cherry blossoms while out-and-about yesterday, I got all emotional- I was overjoyed at that amazing sight!

I LOVE spring - and I LOVE cherry trees in blossom - it's just starting, too, so I'll be able to savour it for a bit - AND - summer won't be too long either!

Spring is my FAVOURITE season - the first signs of life after "seeming" death...

It is starting to be a bit lighter at 7 in the morning, trees and flowers blossoming here and there, warmer, sunnier days.

I can hardly contain my excitement!

I accompanied Kylie's class today on an outing to a local park.

It was SUCH a gorgeous day - just makes me love THE CREATOR more and more and more!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

This blessed Momma...

... gets to help one daughter plan her 6th birthday party (next week!) and another daughter her wedding (exactly 4 months from today!) - - - (and sandwiched in-between is the 18th birthday of a son, but he doesn't want any planning for now)

Funny thing is that I can just imagine the almost 6-year-old plan her wedding - she sure knows what she wants, just give her a few years - - - her whole party has actually already been planned out for weeks now, games, guests and food.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Catching up...

While I am super-excited at the very first, hesitant signs of spring (like the first blossoms on our apricot-tree) - YAY!!! - I'm still typing this with my winter-coat (and freezing hands!)...

After catching up with Rich and Jeremie, celebrating Rich's birthday, going to a training for foster parents last week-end and another bout of croup for Shayden, we had some co-workers over yesterday afternoon for a time of fellowship and catching up with each other. How fun!

We feel very privileged to work with amazing people who have all given up everything to follow God's call on their lives to reach the lost and minister to the needy - wherever he would call.

Among the 6 couples/families (3 older, 3 younger), all except for me have traveled overseas in the last couple of months - 3 are gone at the moment.

The nations that were/are ministered in were the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Fiji, USA, France, Australia and Myanmar.

I can't resist posting this photo - I took it last night while our (little) kiddos watched "Winnie the Poo" on DVD after a full-on afternoon of lots of playing.

In keeping with true YWAM-international-culture - these are the nationalities of these kids, all of them a mix :)

New Zealand (white),





Amazing, huh?! The new generation of emerging leaders - right in our living-room - love it!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Whew - - - where did the last 10 days go?!
There is too much to write - - - maybe I'll have a chance to fill you in sometime - soon? -
Don't be fooled - no activity on this blog doesn't mean nothin' happenin'... naaahhh!
Quite the contrary :)

We are all well - again - and everything is great.
Thanks for checking in - hopefully more soon...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Just letting you know...

... that Rich and Jeremie are back home since last night!

It's WONDERFUL to all be together again as a family!

And interestingly enough - nobody sick for the first time since they left - hmmmm

They had an AMAZING time - - -

and I am not going to spend my time blogging, there's lots to catch up with hubby while the 2 little ones are off to sleep and the 3 older ones at youthgroup.

I'm one happy camper - even found some amazing-smelling spring-flowers in our yard today, can you believe it?!
Only in NZ do you find spring-flowers in the dead of winter (tells you how "dead" winter is here - hihi) - but still freezing enough for me...

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Rich and Jeremie are back in the capital of Fiji, Suva.
Their outreach went GREAT and they LOVED it both!!!
Thank you for your prayers!!!

They could be coming home tonight, but will only be coming late Tuesday night.
They saved $800 in airfare for staying the extra time (on the ship).
As much as they would love to come home today - and as much as I would like them to BE home, the savings are worth it!

And they may even be able to stop by the orphanage that I visited a couple of years ago and talk with the director about some fundraising I'd like to do - - - suspense :)

Anyways, as awesome as their time was, so was my time at home difficult. I'll spare you the details, but there has been constant sickness (the kids and me) and it's not been fun.

As I was sitting at the clinic with Shayden last week, force-feeding him Pedialite every minute for a couple of hours to prevent him having to go to the hospital due to dehydration (when he had croup), I was overcome with GRATEFULNESS.

When my little one is sick, I can go to the doctor (for free) at any time and all the help I need is at my fingertips. How amazing is that?!!!

The people that Rich and Jeremie were serving these last couple of weeks don't have that luxury.

And neither do the majority of the world population.

If we were living where they are and it was NOT the week where the boat was there, the outcome of Shayden being sick could have been bleak.

What an honour and small sacrifice to allow my men to be gone from home to help the needy islanders - just for a SHORT time!

I AM BLESSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


You've heard me write a fair bit about the Call2All that we're involved in. Rich was at the recent on in HongKong. This is exciting stuff! Listen to Mark Anderson, who is also the director for Impact World Tour International.

On the home front, I don't even really want to say it - but - I've been sick again - and Kylie, too.
It's absolutely crazy... and I don't understand.
I guess we couldn't really get away from Shayden coughing all over us (especially me) last week; and he was contagious - there you go. I'm very tired but ok; I've had some help with household and kids. God is taking good care of me/us!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Home alone - almost

Nathalie and Leilani left this morning for a youth camp for 4 days.
It will be strange being at home - just about alone - with only Kylie and Shayden.
Quieter for sure. A bit lonely maybe?
Don't worry, I've made some plans. I'm expecting these days to be GOOD!

Rich and Jeremie made it well to the second island where they are now ministering.
All is well with them and they LOVE what they're doing.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shayden's GOTCHA day!

In adoptions, you consider the baby/child's first day in his adoptive family the GOTCHA day.
Even though we can't adopt Shayden, we still celebrate his Gotcha day - he has been with us for exactly 2 years TODAY!!! WOW!!!

This past week, he has been the sickest ever. He actually had croup, almost ended up at the hospital... but thank God, he is much better now, almost healed!

Here's a letter I wrote him today. I don't think he minds you reading it :)
It's a bit long...

My most precious little boy, Shayden,

Exactly 2 years ago today was when you became part of our family.
Those of us here today (Daddy and Jeremie are in Fiji) celebrated the special event with ice-cream, yeah!

I can still remember it as if it was yesterday:
I was EXTREMELY excited to meet you and could hardly contain myself in the hours leading up to the early afternoon of July, 12th, 2007!

Rich, Nathalie and Jeremie were all overseas, so the welcome committee was small with just Leilani, Kylie and me, but that was perfect.
If everybody had been home, we would have probably overwhelmed you with the decibel of noise that is “normal” in the Betts-house.

The first question the social worker asked me was if I could handle a crying baby.
She meant a baby that cries a lot, like non-stop, as you seemed to have been doing most of the day and particularly all the way from your former caregiver to our house.

Even though you did cry a fair bit (off and on for 1 ½ hours), meeting you was magical!

I had been dreaming and strongly desiring to take care of a baby for a LOOOONG time, and here, you were, Shayden!

You looked so handsome in the beautiful clothes that you were wearing, strapped in your car-seat that was put on our dining room table!

And yes, you were a bit distressed, but lots of cuddles and distractions had you calmed down soon, especially after your bath, which you loved (still do now).

While I was feeding you the evening-bottle, we gazed into each other’s eyes and you even started smiling and laughed straight into my face – WOW!!!
I was smitten with you right away, and so were Leilani and Kylie.
We were all in wonder and amazement of this precious little boy that was entrusted into our care – for what we thought was going to be 2-3 months.

You slept through the night that first night, which I was most impressed by!
I had absolutely no idea how this transition was going to be for you and had every reason to believe that you were completely traumatised. I was, after all, your 5th caregiver in your short 6 months of being on this earth!

As I listened to your regular breathing as you were peacefully sleeping in the portacot next to me, I was SOOO thrilled and in awe that FINALLY “the baby” had arrived – YOU!!! I could hardly sleep all night, I was so stirred up, and I loved you already!

You were so small, Shayden, and fragile. You couldn’t hold up your head or hold a toy in your hands, you barely moved, couldn’t turn around, just lay wherever you were put. But this didn’t hinder the smiles from breaking through.
We could see very soon that you had a very happy disposition and you conquered our hearts in no time at all!
Today, you are still beautiful, inside and out! I LOVE you more than words can express, just the same way I love the children that were born from me!

When your body is resting on mine with your head snuggling on my shoulder, when you look at me with those trusting, adoring eyes and when you give me those wet kisses (all those things you did today), my heart just melts away…

When I look at you, asleep, just before I go to bed at night, my heart always does an extra-beat of joy and happiness.

You have enriched our family in ways that we had no idea 2 years ago.
And who would have thought that you would still be with us – and not just that – but that you would become a part of our family FOREVER!!! We are so privileged!!!

The first time I even considered that you might be able to stay with us (I had just talked to somebody that was pretty sure that that would be a possibility), I almost had a car accident because I was beside myself, I was so excited!

You are a precious treasure, as I tell you every day.
You are a happy, confident, cheeky, active, curious toddler, walking and starting to talk, full of mischief, getting into everything and always ready to smile or make a face, with a strong love for books, nature and animals.
You are easy-going (except for when you throw a tantrum, which is necessary, too!).
Both Daddy and I never hesitate taking you with us to the supermarket or the mall. You are ALWAYS happy and content when we’re out and about, we can count on that! Amazing!

You have been through so much and we are overjoyed that we were able to embrace you into our family 2 years ago. You are loved by every person in this family and always will be!!! And it is our prayer that you would come to know the one who IS LOVE and has loved you from the very moment you were conceived!

Your loving, grateful mummy

If you want to see photos from back then, check this out

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sailing again...

As I am typing, Rich, Jeremie and the others are sailing from the first island they ministered in to the second one. It is normally a 8hour sail. Rich said that they had strong winds yesterday, not such good conditions...

Lord, I pray that you would calm the winds and give them a smooth trip!

They had a VERY good week. They treated about 50-60 patients daily in the villages and performed 10 eye-operations a day, as well as providing countless people with prescription and reading glasses.

Jeremie and the construction team were able to make 4 water containers with local materials. That's GOOD, since many health issues stem from polluted drinking water because of the dirty plastic containers that are holding the water.
Not only do the islanders now have the new containers, but they know how to make more themselves whenever needed (the team left a mold), instead of waiting for a boat to come by with a new plastic one.

I think that's WONDERFUL!!!!

They will be doing the same thing in the next island. Go boys, GO!!!

Jeremie is well again - it was only a 24hour bug. Praise God!

No more news from this 2nd phone call, since we have to keep it short and Rich also wanted to know how things were going at home; which took a while to explain, because it's been quite a week. Maybe more on that another time. Got to go...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Anybody else out there that feels like they need to go to bed every night at 8pm?! (only happens when I act as solo mom)

I'm exhausted every night and since I don't want to wake up at 3am, force myself to stay up a lil longer.

Blogging is good for that :)

I don't know what it is - I'm not sick, just had a full day - once again - and battling an unbelievable back ache - once again - last one happened during Rich's last trip.

I hope and pray my back holds out - I can barely carry Shayden, let alone bring in the firewood...
Anyways, just a short update;

Rich called this morning from his cell phone - just for a couple of minutes, since it's very expensive. They had their first day of ministry yesterday.

Rich is part of the primary health care team.

They went into a village and treated 60-70 people.

If he is doing what was planned, he welcomes the patients and prepares them to see a nurse/doctor, takes blood pressure, pulse, ministers the love of God, all that good stuff...

He's lovin' it - I bet he is!

He would have made a good doctor :)

At the boat, they are having eye surgeries.

The only news he gave about Jeremie is that we should pray for him as he seems to have stayed up in the night with the big D - let the reader understand :)

Here is a short video presentation of Marine Reach Ministries (YWAM).
Before you watch it, you need to turn off the music at the bottom of the blog.

Monday, July 6, 2009

More sickness...

My poor little darling Shayden is miserable.

He had been so healthy during the last 3 months and I was already confident that he'd be able to make it through the winter without being sick.


He woke up yesterday morning crying and breathing heavily - with a temperature.

I took him to the doctor today because his breathing was worrying me.

He's got bronchitis.

As much as I dislike him being so sick, I am glad that I am able to comfort him.

When he came to our family almost 2 years ago (!), he also had several bouts of being sick.

It is the worst feeling as a mother when you're NOT in tune with your little one and able to figure out what he needs and how to comfort him - just because you haven't known him and don't know his cues...

And I'm sure for him it was lots worse - having a "stranger" take care of you when you most need somebody that really knows what you need...

I felt so bad for him then - - - and am grateful for the attachment and bonding that's happened in the meantime!

I just knew holding him for a while, singing quietly, and then laying him down again (on his subtle cue) and gently massaging his face would calm him down (just a few minutes ago) when he woke up crying.

Nathalie was also sick in bed today - what is it with this sickness stuff?! Enough already!!!!!!

I realize sooooooo many people all around us are battling the same stuff, but I'd really like to the see the HEALING POWER of JESUS manifest in our family's bodies! Would you please pray with me?

Got a text from Rich. They arrived safely at the first of 2 islands they are going to be ministering in. Seems like they had smooth sailing with great weather. NICE!!!

By the way, there won't be any photos until the men are back - they took the camera:)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Amazing to think...

... that while I am putting wood on the fire to warm up the house and am typing with a hot water bottle in my lap (which, by the way, will also follow me to bed - VERY soon!), Rich and Jeremie are probably hot as can be...
... and that's just 3 hours flying north :)

Friday, July 3, 2009


While I'm just about ready to "hit the pillow" after what seemed like a long day, Rich and Jeremie still have a few hours to go.
Kylie woke Rich and me up this morning just after 5am...
Rich and Jeremie left the house at 7am, took a bus to Auckland airport - actually 2 and it took 4 and 1/2 hours! - I guess that's when you wanna save money:)

They should have landed in Nadi, Fiji about an hour ago and should be taking a van to Suva pretty soon. If all goes smoothly, they should be on board the boat sometime around midnight... The boat is scheduled to leave tomorrow afternoon.

Lots of shoulds - - - I'm just thinking of them...

Jeremie was so excited to go! He still has vivid memories of a King's Kids outreach we did in a very remote island in French Polynesia - and he was only 5! He apparently LOVED it - in spite of being sick like a dog on the boat.

Tomorrow's boat trip is a day and a half... pretty similar to the one we're talking about:)
I feel sea-sickness coming on just by the thought of it... haha!

Today was Leilani's and Kylie's last day of school - before a 2-week-break!
They made it half-way through the school year - well done, girls!!!
Starting out with a soccer game for Leilani first thing in the morning.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


While I'm procastinating mending Jeremie's shorts , just a few thoughts - - -

Rich and Jeremie are leaving tomorrow morning early for almost 3 weeks on an outreach to the outer islands of Fiji. I don't normally feel great just before Rich leaves. I miss him when he's gone and there seems to be a regular occurence of "stuff" that happens which makes his absence even harder.
A couple of days ago, my heart was starting to feel heavy again, even more so as I know there will most likely be no chance of regular emails or phone calls ...

Today, it hit me - or maybe it was God speaking to me? - that instead of being sad that they are leaving, I should be CELEBRATING as I release them to go.

We are truly blessed! Why?
  • We get the privilege to invest our lives into people's eternal destinies! I can't imagine anything I'd rather invest myself into!!!
  • We are both healthy and fit - how many others struggle in their health majorly and would not be able to either go (like Rich) or stay back by themselves with 4 kids (like me)
  • We are being supported by friends and family so that we can extend our lives to the poor, needy and lost in Jesus' place - in other words, God is providing so that they can go (some of the expenses still need to be covered)

I have way more reasons to CELEBRATE than to feel sorry for myself, and that's what I've been choosing to do all day - feels great - and helps Rich, too, when he sees me celebrating the chance for him to go rather than see me down. So, it's a win-win! YAY!!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shayden photos

Here are the promised photos of our little star - who- by the way - just turned 2 1/2!

Before the haircut:


This one was on Sunday. He doesn't normally go to sleep while eating his lunch (pumpkin soup), but I was so busy getting ready for guests that I sat him down just a bit later than usual - and this is what happened...

This was after his nap - trying to impress the guests with funny faces

...and when you're a little Maori boy, sticking out the tongue is part of the protocol...

(I don't have any photos looking from the side at his new haircut, just wanted to post these few photos now)

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Today, I went to a wedding, prayed and prayed for a friend who was having a baby (baby born just over an hour ago! YAY!!!) - - - and in the midst of this I realized how much NZ really has become home to me.

Once you get to be part of those special events in people's lives (have been at a funeral already, too) - you're making your HOME in that place - even though you've still got family all over the world! SO SPECIAL!!!

I feel soooooooo blessed and GRATEFUL for all the wonderful people in my life!!!

Oh yes, Shayden reached a milestone today: he got his first hair cut!!!! He was so good, holding nice and still for most of the time and looks sooooo cute! (photos to follow)

Even though it was exciting, I do feel a tinge of sadness, as he has now definitely left behind the "baby-stage" - he looks like a little boy now!

He's also come into that new stage this week in other respects: he is getting into EVERYTHING!
He's been emptying the kitchen cupboards for a long time now; he's just picking up the speed with which he throws everything on the floor (I'm talking about all the plastic stuff) - about 5 times a day - and let's not mention the tantrums he throws as well...

Since this week, he's constantly been at/on the table, pouring milk over my Bible, the table and floor, making himself a jam sandwich, rolling the toiletpaper off the roll, you name it...

I know I've had it really easy with him until now - he's been so cruisy - and still is - he's just being a good 'ole toddler, that's all! FUN FUN FUN!!!