Friday, May 28, 2010

My journey to Africa - part 4

Ok, here we go, last part (for now):

As I was starting to spend extended times in God's presence with no other agenda than just to fellowship with my beloved Savior, it didn't take long until he started speaking to me one thing after the next concerning this new ministry with the orphans in Africa. It was really thrilling and I SOOOO enjoyed these special times - still do!

Since this story, it was clear that Rich and I would take a first trip together, which was a real surprise to me (as you can read in the link). YAY - this is getting VERY EXCITING - LOVE it!!!!

And, guess what?

In the meantime, God has put in on a young girl's (19) heart in far away Germany to come and serve us in any way needed - starting the 1rst of September of this year - for a year!

She will cover her own cost and will be able to pretty much run the household and take care of Shayden and Kylie while Rich and I will be in Africa! Of course, with the help of some other people, including our older kids (wouldn't DARE putting it on her by herself... are you kiddin'?!).

AND - we also have the most amazing boarder with us (she's Fijian and uses Nathalie's former room).
She is absolutely incredible with Shayden particularly - and Kylie - like family - we couldn't ask for better people to stay back with the kids during our trip!

Fast-forward to February 2010:

I feel from the Lord to take care of myself better, after a VERY intense few months, with Nathalie's wedding and tons of other stuff happenin...

I need to look after myself if I want to last the distance, and Africa is not for the faint-hearted - nor the faint-bodied (does that exist?) - ya gotta be in shape, at least a little bit!

So, vitamins/minerals and healthy food, here I come, and off to the gym I go (thanks to some very generous friends who are paying for it all!!! Am I blessed or what?!!)

More and more, I find myself thinking, breathing, praying, travailing, crying, dreaming and talking about the passion that God's put in my heart - cuz it's in HIS!
The abandoned babies and orphans of Africa - - - 3.5 million in little Uganda alone!!!
Watch out when you ask the Lord to break your heart with what breaks HIS!

He'll do it - and it hurts - and HIS LOVE will GREATLY MOTIVATE you to do something about it!!!

Rich and I feel that we should go for a little over 2 weeks and the only possible date left in our calendars for the year is the second half of October.

So that's all good and clear - but we still don't know WHICH COUNTRY in Africa we are supposed to start out with. Soooo - pray pray pray some more - and relax about it - waiting...

From every possible side, we are getting bombarded with UGANDA - - - could it be Uganda?

Not necessarily, we really want to go exactly where God wants us to go - and preferably where the need is the greatest ...

Long story short, during a ministry-time at an incredible Heidi Baker meeting in Hamilton that we get to go to miraculously (another loooong story!) it is confirmed that UGANDA IS the country we are to visit this year. A total stranger comes up to me, wanting to pray for me, "hears" the word

- drumroll please ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


UGANDA... - BINGO!

GRRRREAT!!! So - now that the country was settled, I couldn't believe HOW MANY different ministries I came across (thank you God for the internet!) that are working with the orphans in Uganda.
There are way more ministries than we could possibly visit in 2 weeks.

For now, we feel to mostly concentrate on a wonderful ministry of YWAM (after all, that's our tribe and we LOVE the concept!!! look at the video on the website!), but we're still in the process of praying about the details of our trip.

My heart and head are buzzing with ideas of how we can be a support to existing ministries in Uganda/Africa, but ~ one thing at at time ~

for now, the vaccinations have started -

the contacts are happening -

the malaria pills and pretty much one suitcase is already packed (can you tell I'm excited? Even my kids are mocking me for starting to pack so much in advance) -

even the first financial gift towards our plane tickets has come in - YAY JESUS!!!

We serve such an awe-inspiring, mountain-moving, compassionate, loving and JUST God and all we want to be is HIS OUTSTRETCHED HANDS, FEET and SMILES to the hurting, the needy, the lonely, the hungry, the thirsty, the sad, the sick and dying children - HIS kids!!!


These ones are rescued orphan babies in Uganda - well taken care of now - because SOMEBODY decided to DO SOMETHING!!!

The adventure continues ... you bet!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shayden rascal

Shayden is in that stage where he's outgrowing his afternoon naps.

Some days he still sleeps, other days not (and if he doesn't, he's cranky all afternoon and goes to sleep at the dinner table).

Today was one of those days.

I was sure that he was tired after lunch and put him down. and down. and down. and down.

And he kept coming out of his room. and out. and out... and out

You get the scene - - - I calmly put him back in his bed (without saying anything) every time.

I didn't count but it must have been close to 30, I thought I'd win - WRONG - argghhhh.

When it was clear in the end that he wasn't gonna sleep, I took/kept him out.

Then he proceeded to tell me in the cutest way of a little 3-year-old rascal that hardly talks:

"garble garble - LONELY - garble garble - ROON (bedroom) -

in other words "I was lonely in the bedroom" - it was very clear, no doubt about it!

Sometimes he blows my mind with the understanding of the words he does come up with!

He is also able to point to a number of countries/continents on our world map, after Leilani taught him one afternoon. Every chance he gets, he is eager to show off where New Zealand is, and Australia, and Tahiti, and America, and Africa and Brazil (those just happen to be the countries Leilani taught him)

AMAZInG kid!

God seems to be answering those prayers for healing for his brain (from the effect of alcohol in the womb)

He started getting horse back riding therapy a couple of weeks ago - it is absolutely fantastic and I can't get over how privileged special needs children (and healthy kids, of course) are in New Zealand!!!! WOW!!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Journey to Africa - part 3

After leaving Tahiti and spending 6 months in Auckland, NZ, helping with Impact World Tour, AFRICA and the ORPHAN CRISIS kept on bombarding us from all sides, wherever we turned. Our hearts were majorly challenged by the enormous needs!

Even though I had ministered to orphans in Mexico during my "Discipleship Training School" ,
to orphans/street kids in the Philippines during my "School of Evangelism" and to street kids in Brazil during outreach for the "Impact Evangelism School", my burden and love for the orphans just grew and got more intense. I KNEW that God had MORE for me/us to do...

We didn't sense that we were to move our family to Africa, but just about decided to stay in Germany (when we were there for a 6-month furlough) and go from there back and fort
h into Africa. But when we put out a fleece before God for confirmation and it didn't happen, we felt that it was his will for us to continue in our plans to move to New Zealand and continue ministering into the Pacific Region (and beyond).

This didn't make sense in regards to Africa (cuz it's so much further away than Germany), but God's leadings sometimes don't make sense at first...
And so - once again - the vision for the African orphans was put on the shelf.

We arrived in Tauranga, NZ, in Jan 2005.

After home schooling the older 3 kids for 5 years we felt to put them into school.
So all I had was little 1 1/2 yr old Kylie to take care of during the days - which I totally enjoyed!

The Lord spoke to me to take 2 years off ministry outside the family (how cool was that?!! I had been so stressed and tired by the time we arrived in NZ and really needed that break!)

As I was taking walks with her (just about) every day in the beautiful countryside, my passion for orphans and the yearning in my heart to do something to help them came up again - and got stronger and STRONGER and STRONGER. I started praying and praying, then begging God to allow me to do SOMETHING to make a difference in orphans' lives - be it here in New Zealand (if there was a need) or in Africa.

After a year of that, God very clearly led us to become foster parents, and to make a VERY long story short, we ended up with little 6-month-old Shayden in our home (July of 2007). He was to stay for 2-3 months ~~~~~ He's been with us for close to 3 years now and will stay permanently - YAY!!! You can read up about some of his journey with us here and here and here
and here.
Deciding to keep Shayden permanently also settled that we would not be able to move away from New Zealand (shorter trips are ok) - which confirmed what we had already felt anyways. New Zealand was to become our permanent "home-base" from where ministry was gonna happen.

While we were visiting Rich's home church in California in January 2009, the children of the church prayed for us while we ministered in the adult service. Afterwards, they handed us a bunch of notes. They had written down what they felt God told them concerning us. There was mention of "new beginnings" and other interesting "stuff" that we could only make sense of several months later - - -

Fast-forward to July of 2009 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ the stirring in my heart for the orphans in Africa is getting ever stronger and the Lord whispers to my heart that NOW is the time to pursue my passion for orphans in Africa. I also feel him "say" that I was going to visit Africa in 2010 and that I/we should put NZ$20 aside every week towards the costs...

Shortly after that, I remember one Sunday evening at our church, during a ministry-time, our Pastor said: "... and God is birthing new ministries in people's hearts - even now."
As he said those words, I felt "struck" by God and just KNEW that this word was for me. I knelt at the altar of our church and just sobbed and sobbed, my heart broken for the orphans.

I was thrilled beyond words when God's "GO-AHEAD" came!!!!!!!!! After waiting for over 40 years - you can imagine my excitement!!!!!!!

The first thing I felt to do, was to "marinate" this new ministry in God's presence by spending regular uninterrupted time before God in the Tauranga House of Prayer.

Rich graciously offered to watch Shayden 2 mornings a week so that I could do this.
AWESOME TIMES - God answering my prayer to break my heart for what breaks HIS !!!!!!!

By the way, watch out for part 4 - - - Rich will get in on this, too :)

My Journey to Africa - part 2

Since I still can't figure out the problem with the font, I'll post little by little - - - So, here's part 2:

I tucked that experience away - or put it on the shelf - until it became clear about a year later that indeed, we were to leave Tahiti.


The unexpected - yet anticipated (see below) - arrival of Kylie was the last in a series of clear indicators from the Lord that our time in Tahiti had come to an end and we left Tahiti when she was 2 months old.

Here's her story:


I/we (stronger for me than for Rich) always knew that we would one day adopt a baby, but felt not to pursue it actively. The Lord was going to bring a baby to us one day and we were to wait.
Waiting wasn't easy, especially for our 2 girls who kept begging
us to have another baby or adopt and we just kept telling them to talk to God about it and ask him.
Truth told, I was so overwhelmed with our current life at the time - and exhausted most of the time - that I didn't think I/we could even cope wit
h another child.

Until ~~~~~~ we found out that we were pregnant with Kylie
(Leilani was 7).

The morning I did the pregnancy test and it came out positive, Leilani woke up and told me all excited that she'd had a dream that God had FINALLY given us our baby!
When asking her what colour skin it had (I always thought we'd adopt a dark-skinned baby) s
he said that it was white and it was a girl. And so "it" was...

When Jeremie joined us in the living-room, still half-asleep - Leilani also told him about her dream in great excitement. His answer:
"I already know. Dad told me last night."
Well, it definitely hadn't been Rich that told him ~ ~ ~

When Nathalie found out later that day, she "just" ran around our house
(on the outside) about 3 times, shouting for joy at the top of her lungs!


our little princess, 3 days old

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

frustrated

My Journey to Africa - Part 2 - is ready to be posted - but there's something wrong with the font - some of it appears tiny and unreadable when posted, although it's all the same normal writing...
Soooo strange - - - help anybody???

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My journey to Africa - Part 1

My most vivid memory from my childhood is playing in our playroom (yes, we were spoiled to have a play-room for us 6 kiddos!) with my older sister Heidrun. My favourite play was with dolls and teddies - picking up abandoned babies off the streets. Again and again and again... I LOVED it!


I was one of those "baby-crazy" girls, early on.

Started baby-sitting when I was 8, then doing it almost daily from age 12 onwards...

When I became a teenager, I remember asking my mom if there was an orphanage in our city. I would have LOVED to volunteer there, but there was no such thing in Germany ( at that time).

I would spend the money I earned with babysitting to buy (and knit/sew) baby-clothes for needy families with babies. I would buy parenting magazines and other books about baby-care.

Fast-forward to Rich's and my wedding (I know, the photo is kind of embarrassing, but we didn't have a professional photographer and our photos were a bit of a disaster). During the ceremony, one of our YWAM-leaders had a "picture" - he saw us surrounded with many children of different colours, way too many to be our own. YAY! We both wanted lots of kids (12 or so ~~~ it changed after we had the first - hihi) and had a sense that one day, we were going to minister in Africa, although we knew our first "assignment" from the Lord was to French Polynesia.

While we were in French Polynesia, a couple from the USA came to speak at one of our "King's Kids" camps and prophesied over everybody. I don't remember the details of what was said to us but I do remember that it had something to do with us ministering in Africa at some point. From that point on, everybody there knew that ONE DAY, we'd be ministering in Africa in some way.
This photo - sorry for the bad quality - all these pics are scanned - was at the airport in Tahiti as we were embarking on an adventure to the USA and Canada with 40+ Polynesian King's Kids (Target World in Atlanta prior to the Olympic Games and outreach in Canada) - see our 3 little ones in tow?? Rich waving in the background - oh, funny funny...

Several years later, still in Tahiti, I woke up one morning with a dream. It was one of those VERY vivid ones that you just KNOW mean something: in it, several spiritual leaders told us that NOW was the time to head to Africa. This was totally out of the blue as we were just getting back into ministry after being gone from Tahiti for a while.

Half-asleep, I went to the toilet (sorry, but this is my morning routine and part of the story...) and as I was sitting there and finally really opening my eyes, looking at the floor, what did my little eyes spy?

Nothing else but the words, in bold letters - - - AFRICA ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ I was blown away and just knew that I knew that I knew that this was from God.
By the way, the letters were written on the front cover of a YWAM-Magazine that must have ended up in that strange place for some unknown reason... hmmmmm

End of part 1 - enough for today






Friday, May 14, 2010

some Mother's Day photos





Crazy family - whatcanIsay?
Like one of my kids wrote me: "... at least we know where we get our weirdness from..." HAHAAA!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Besides being spoiled today by Rich doing my housework - and receiving special cards from (some of) the kids, I had the whole family oblige to going to a local park this afternoon to take family photos - together with another family - we took photos of each others' families.

I LOOOOOVVVEEEEE all the fall colours!



God's creation is absolutely magnificent!!!!

Especially here in New Zealand!!

The family photos will have to wait for another day. They're on our friends' camera for now.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sooo precious!

Yesterday, I got my first ever Mother's Day present from Shayden!
We were at preschool together (I still stay with him at the moment) and the teachers helped the kids decorate cup-cakes and boxes to put them into. It was soooo sweet - although Shayden had absolutely NO CLUE what it was for - hihi!He could hardly wait for us to get home so that he could enjoy eating the cupcake!

Happy boy = happy momma

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Seriously divine

Yesterday, I made the most scrumptious shake I think I ever had! It was as close to heavenly as it gets (according to MY tastebuds!)

At the moment, it is FEIJOA [Fee-Joe-Ahs] season in New Zealand. They are also called pineapple guavas and are from South America originally (I've never had them in any other country before NZ).

Anyways, feijoas taste DELICIOUS - almost like candy! (not that I really LOVE candy or anything sweet...)

We only have one small plant in our yard, but we keep getting them through some unknown donor.

So yesterday, I asked Kylie to scoop out a few (after she had devoured about 20 of them).

Then, I put them into the blender with a banana, frozen berries, natural yoghurt and honey.

I melted away at the taste! OHHHHHHHH - soooooooooooooooooooo good!!!