Saturday, April 30, 2011

Please pray for Uganda!

I just came home from a garage sale to help Leilani and me get to Uganda in August.

And I found out about rioting happening in our beloved Uganda.

The children and staff of one of the ministries we visited have had to hide under their beds to stay safe from bullets flying over their heads.

Please read more about it here and join me in prayer!

Our son Richard also lives in Kampala, where the riots are, and we are concerned for his safety...


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

By popular demand...

... and no, it's not through comments, but emails - hehe -

here's a lil update on our precious grandson Gideon:

He's been home now for almost a week, and doing GREAT!

Nathalie, new mommy, is also doing well.

His health is perfect,

his spirit is probably still recuperating from his traumatic entrance into the world,

but otherwise just a normal newb0rn baby

- keeping his parents on their toes -

- and keeping them up at night -

just the normal stuff, ya know.

What a blessing he is and we're so very grateful for God's protection and healing power

and the prayers of YOU -

so many of YOU!!!

As we've found out now, it seems that the placenta ruptured partially just before Gideon was born and that's how he lost so much of his blood.

Something amazing:

During this part of the birth, there was a particular song playing on Nathalie's ipod.

What I heard (and it's even on video, as Nathalie wanted Leilani to film)

was somebody singing

- again and again -

"It's a miracle - it's a miracle"

Nathalie told me later that these words are NOT part of the song - at all!

Makes you wonder who was in that room at this sacred moment

singing over this critical situation!



And later, when a room full of doctors and nurses were working on him, while he was in a critical condition, our pastor came to visit - and saw a big angel hovering right over Gideon, making sure that no harm came to him!

These photos were taken last night during the first meal we had with Nathalie, Lewis and Gideon at our house -

Happy campers!!

Proud 'Pa" and uncle Shayden

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Need I say more?

With Dad - first photo at home

Can you tell I'm a proud "Ma" (Rich is "Pa")?!
Wanted to be called "Jaja" (Grandma in Ugandan, but it didn't sit very well with the rest of the family)



He looks like he's got my red hair, but he actually doesn't -
for some reason the lighting from the flash makes it look that way
his real color is light brown

Nathalie, Lewis and Gideon did have to stay an extra night at Hamilton hospital and were transferred back to Tauranga hospital today.

Even though they were supposed to stay for at least another night/day there, they REALLY wanted to go home tonight - so the doctor obliged.

They'll have to spend most of tomorrow at the hospital again (blood-tests etc), but when it comes to the night, there's no place like home, and the little guy is doing really well, eating like a champ and sleeping in between.

It's so wonderful to see him snuggling with his parents!!!

All of our hearts are OVERJOYED at what the Lord has done!
HUMONGOUS THANKS to YOU for your prayers!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gideon update

Nathalie just called, asking for prayer, as today is a very special day for them:

Little Gideon has had his body temperature slowly raised to normal overnight and gets to come off his "cold-bed" this morning.

He is also coming off morphine, which helped him "endure" the cold-bed.

Poor little boy - imagine being on morphine for the first 4 days of your life...

Nathalie and Lewis will FiNALLY get to hold him

cuddle him

comfort him

and - FEED him!!!

How exciting!!!

Please pray that Gideon would latch on well, feed well and just BE WELL.

They want to come home badly and will be able to tomorrow, if all goes well today.


Monday, April 18, 2011


I could jump up and down for joy right now -

just found out about a large donation given to Orphans kNOw More in Uganda


Even more blessed, as this gift is from a non-believer.

Guys, we can do it, too!
















Look at beautiful Christine:

While in Uganda, we gave her a pair of school shoes we'd found in our garage that one of our kids had outgrown.

We almost didn't get the shoes to Uganda and had to kind of smuggle them in our hand luggage (along with 2 more pairs), cuz our suitcases were overweight.

BUT - amazingly - we DID get them there and into this precious 15-year-old's hands.

I felt that the 3 pairs of school shoes salvaged from our garage were to be symbolic of the first 3 children finding sponsors so that they could go to school.

Well, so far this hasn't happened - yet.

They've got the shoes but still no opportunity to wear them to school.

Here is Christine last week working a large field to earn money to pay school fees
(the photo was sent by my friend and co-worker Judith)

The amount she earns for the work will never be enough for school fees and YET, she does what she can.

That's just how I found the people of Uganda:

They are very hard-w0rking and resourceful with the little they have available.


Christine doesn't have a father anymore.

We met both her mother and grandmother.

Both have AIDS.

Christine has 7 siblings.

I met one of them, also a teenage girl - who also doesn't have the privilege to go to school.

I visited their home in the evening.

They were sitting in front of their humble hut with a Bible

at dinner-time

Feeding on the Word of God

But no food to be seen anywhere near

So humbling

I would SOOO love for her to find a sponsor that would pay her school fees.

It's not much

Just US$20/month

or NZ$27/month

or 15 Euros/month

Not much, is it?!!!

But, oh, what HOPE this would inspire for Christine!

God has plans for a hope and a future for her!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Beautiful Boy!

We just came home from the hospital in Hamilton and though it is late, I can't help but share some fresh photos of Gideon.

He is doing so well and looks SOOOOOOO much better than 2 days ago!!!

His breathing is calm and regular and he's got some nice colors!

He's SOOOOOOO beautiful and precious and we declare the continued healing power of Jesus over his little life that has been so traumatized already.

May JESUS make up for everything he has been missing since leaving the safety of Nathalie's womb.
It is so hard not to be able to pick him up and cuddle him!
He belongs into loving arms, not a cold bed!

For now, we will just hold on to the fact that GOD'S HANDS are holding him and pray that he would feel it, too!

Nathalie and Lewis are both also doing amazing and I'm sure it has to do with the outpouring of love and prayers of so many!
We can't thank you enough for that!!!

In the photos, you can see him holding on to Lewis' finger - so cute!

Since I couldn't use a flash, the photos aren't very clear and what you see on his head are the leftovers of blood from the birth - as he hasn't had a bath yet.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

More news

Just talked to Nathalie again and Gideon is doing SO well! The doctors are very happy with him!

Hardest thing is the complication of Nathalie and Lewis not staying at the hospital (though close) and needing to go back and forth, while Nathalie is still in some pain, trying to rest and pump her milk every 3 hours.

Please pray for patience, grace, strength and perseverance to make it through until about the middle of next week when Gideon will most likely be discharged.

They will slowly put his temperature back up to normal starting Monday night (he's naked and on ice-packs now to keep his temperature down) and then want to monitor him for another 1-2 days to make sure all is well, which I'm sure it will be!

We serve a mighty God!!!

While I am GREATLY REJOICING about these great news, I am pained by news from Uganda.

Besides concern over the safety of our son Richard there - there are violent riots in Kampala (where he lives) at the moment - we heard more sad news from our African YWAM-friends:

Today, another child from the village next to the base became an orphan, as his father died of AIDS (his mother had already died of AIDS earlier).

The father was the last of several siblings who have ALL died of AIDS.

Unfortunately, this is normal reality in Uganda.

So very sad!

Lord, have mercy, my heart cries out!!!

Update on Gideon Temana

What a MIGHTY GOD we serve!
HE hears our cries and answers our prayers!!!

And what wonderful friends we have - all over the world!

As emails and fb messages were pouring in this morning, reassuring us of many many prayers, I felt totally overcome with gratitude and so loved!

THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!!!

Gideon is doing VERY WELL!

He is off the breathing machine and only has one IV left.
He still cannot be held nor fed, as his body temperature needs to be kept at a very specific lower temperature than normal, in case there has been damage to the brain -
which has a greater possibility to get repaired with this specific body temperature.

It seems that what happened was that during the end of labor, somehow half of Gideon's blood "emptied out" back into Nathalie's womb because of stress.
I don't understand the medical stuff very well???

So when he came out, his breathing problems were related to the fact that he only had half the blood that he should've had circulating through his body.

He should have really had his blood transfusion straight after birth (and not 5 hours later), but the medical personnel were suspecting a heart problem.

We totally acknowledge and recognize GOD's intervention in preserving Gideon's life and are EXTREMELY GRATEFUL!!!

This photo was taken before they realized there was a problem

see how very pale he was?

For now, there have been no signs of brain damage, so hopefully that IS THE CASE!

Nathalie and Lewis would appreciate our ongoing prayers for:

  • complete healing and restoration of Gideon's body

  • grace, comfort and strength for them as they are not allowed to hold or feed him yet and are far from home

  • finances, as Lewis has not been working and will not be able to for a few more days until they're back home.

I can't wait to show you more photos of him - SOON!!!

He's such a precious little darling!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Welcome Grandson Gideon!!!

I am THRILLED to present to you our precious little grandson

Gideon Temana

meaning Mighty Warrior

Temana is tahitian (and Maori? not sure) and means powerful/mighty

He was born this morning at 11:43, weighing in
at 6lb7oz - or 2910g

Active labor only lasted 4 hours and Nathalie was a champion!

Besides Daddy Lewis, Leilani, myself and Lewis' mother all had the privilege of being part of this amazing experience!

NEW LIFE coming forth from the womb!!!! W

What a miracle!!!

We did get a scare though a few minutes after the birth when it became apparent that he had difficulty breathing.

He was taken to the special care unit for newborns and was giv
en oxygen, which didn't help much,




put on meds and
a breathing machine,

with tubes going in and coming out from everywhere

His little body went into shock.

He also got a blood transfusion as his blood count was really low -

half of what it was supposed to be.

~ AND ~

After being put into this

He was flown by helicopter to Waikato Hospital - about 1hour 15 minutes from Tauranga - for further tests to determine what was wrong with him.

They were suspecting trouble with his heart and were talking about the possibility of him being flown to Starship Childrens Hospital in Auckland, should they detect a serious problem with his heart which would necessitate surgery.

Nathalie was taken to Waikato by ambulance and Lewis drove there with a family member, since there was no room for him in either the helicopter or the ambulance.

What a day - full of so many emotions!

And definitely NOT the way we imagined it to be!

We just heard from Nathalie that Gideon - true to his name, this mighty fighter -
is doing much better.

They have excluded a heart problem. That is just FANTASTIC!!!


It seems that the main cause of the problem was that he'd lost a lot of blood during late labor.
Don't ask me where the blood was lost, because it sure wasn't apparent.

There are still a few things not the way they should be and they will continue to monitor him, but it sure is a HUGE relief that it is nothing too serious!

While we all felt the grace of God so tangibly during this difficult time,

I couldn't help but feel incredible gratefulness for our doctors, nurses and other medical personnel and equipment.

If this had happened to a baby in Africa, the outcome may not have been so good...

All I can say tonight,






YOU're the BEST!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The other "Me"

I don't know if this ever happens to you, but occasionally, I find myself dreaming about what I could see myself doing if I wasn't doing what I AM doing ~ ~ ~

Well, the last couple of days, I went to 2 trainings by the Foster Care Federation.
As a foster carer, I have the possibility to attend these kinds of trainings and I try to do them whenever they are in Tauranga and I've got time.

  • Firstly, because I LOVE LEARNING new things and sharpening my people and foster-mom skills.

  • Secondly, because it gets me out of the house and into a different world for a few hours ~ NICE! It actually feels like a day off, I get to dress up a bit and have adult time, sit down and just listen, talk and interact with like-minded people!

With babysitting getting paid, Leilani took the "job" and she did AMAZINGLY!!! When I came home in the evening, the house was peaceful and clean, the kids happy, the table was set, a beautiful meal made, the kitchen cleaned up and even music playing! WOW!!!! Am I blessed or what?!!!

Anyways, if I wasn't doing what I am doing ~ and don't get me wrong ~ I love what I AM doing I could so see myself as a social worker (or counselor)! The last couple of days, I was surrounded by them and I felt right at home.
Somebody even asked me if I was the trainer when she first met me - which of course was before the 1rst session.
I did feel a bit flattered by that comment, I've got to admit... as I was probably one of the least "professionally qualified" people in the room.
Must have looked smart or something - hehehe!

The topics of the trainings were "Team-work" and "Identity and Belonging".
Besides learning good stuff, I really enjoyed myself, had fun and came home refreshed after a full day (plus weekly grocery shopping, plus seeing our lawyer for Shayden's permanency).

I realize that in some ways, working outside the home is more relaxing than being a stay-at-home mom. Of course, it depends on a lot of factors ... but I can see why so many moms want to work outside the home - read between the lines here...

And ~ this also never fails to happen ~ I always come away from these trainings with such a strong desire to take on more foster children. Not that this gets talked about, I just realize HOW MUCH I LOVE KIDS. PERIOD. Especially the hurting ones. I see SO much beauty and potential in them.

So, for the curious ones among you - the other jobs I could see myself doing are:

  • Running an orphanage in Africa - surprise, surprise
  • working in an office, like a post office or similar - where everything is orderly, predictable and non-stressful, you know where everything is and everything has it's place.
  • Being an artist - painting with water-color - or just being very crafty/creative - not that I have done any of this, I just have a feeling it's inside of me and would come out if I fostered it.
Back to fostering, I LOVE it, I LOVE Shayden, I LOVE my kids, I LOVE being a mom, I LOVE being a missionary. I LOVE my life!

But the break was GRRRREAT!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

This is IT!

If you've ever wondered what my heart is breaking for - beating for - (you must be new to this blog)

have a look at this! You may want to keep the tissues handy...

I WILL GO - again!

I CAN NOT stay put in comfortable New Zealand while so many of God's children are suffering in silence!

Rich and I are taking our family on an awareness- and fund-raising trip throughout the USA - for 10 weeks - from June to August.

Planning on traveling West to East - and sharing where-ever we find open hearts.

It is a HUGE faith project!

We don't have the means to do this!

But - we have heard the cries, seen the pain and suffering - and we HAVE to do something about it!

My DREAM is VERY BIG - but starting small is ok with me:

2000 Ugandan orphans finding loving Christian families in their own country in collaboration with "Orphans kNOw More" -

starting with 10 new orphans (whose photos and stories I can send you if you're interested) who recently got taken in by this family - (the one on the bottom) and need sponsors so that their family can provide for them.

How about that for starters???

It is planned that after we get to the East Coast, Leilani and I will fly on to Uganda (and possibly South Africa) - while Rich will drive back West with Kylie and Shayden (anybody up to driving back with him???) and then fly home to NZ with them.

Some YWAMers from the UK are in Uganda right now filming a brand-new promo and documentary that we are hoping to use to communicate.

"Religion that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself uncontaminated from the world."

James 1, 27

LET's DO IT!!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A "new" van!!!

Cars and the Betts-family

Let me tell ya

It's been a fascinating journey

From not having one many times

Including when we first arrived in Tahiti

(Me pregnant with Nathalie)

To giving one away

To lending one out

only to find it "ruined" on our return

To not having one


and again

even with 3 kids in tow

depending on a friend to take us grocery shopping once a week

cuz we lived in the "boonies" and there was no other way

To having one that leaked heavily every time it rained

Having one stolen while on a date
(that was actually funny and we both laughed when we noticed it was gone, because it was so random...
This was in Tahiti and the car was unlock-able)

and everything in between

Maybe one day, I'll tell you some amazing stories about

the Betts-clan car history

and how God ALWAYS intervened

~ eventually ~

oftentimes in the most unexpected ways.

Actually, if at least 2 of you let me know via a comment that you wanna hear those stories, I'll write about some - actually quite amazing stories!

But today, let me introduce you to our new van

It was just given to us

YES, you read right!

Given to us!!!!

What amazing timing, too!

Our van is at it's end and has only 2 weeks left on it!

And there is NO WAY that we could've bought anything to replace it right now.

This van is actually REALLY special

It went through the earthquake in Christchurch

Without as much as a scratch

It was in a parking garage downtown Christchurch

and came out a week ago to it's owners - our friends.

(Remember, the ones who scarcely escaped the earthquake?)




What's funny is that it's the same exact model as our last one

It's just newer (1997) and with only 135 000km