Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WATER - precious WATER

Thought this short student produced, directed, and created film that has won numerous awards since being released, fit well with my recent post with the photo of Praise's children getting water.

Just another ~ creative ~ perspective on the world water crisis.

I would SO love for Praise and her kids to get access to CLEAN WATER!!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

In Memory of you ...


You were abandoned

longing for belonging

from a mother and a father.


you are healed




in the arms of JESUS.

There are many of us who are grieving for you, sweet princess - and we miss you:

Remmie, who took you in

and cared for you since you were 2/3 months old

staying many days/nights/weeks with you in the hospital

even though you were just one of 20+ she was caring for.

She truly loved you

even though she knew you were not hers to keep.

Remmie, the Baby Home director - with the older children just before school

The "aunties" at the Baby Home who loved you and cared for you


The other children at the Baby Home.

Your adoptive parents, who were just waiting for the complicated adoption process to be finished,

so that you could be in their arms forever. 

And there's our family - especially me.

Shayden (and often Kylie) and I prayed for you almost daily since last September.

My heart is in much pain - once again.

I've also loved you - and one day I know, I will see you again!

Until then,  ENJOY heaven - and your NEW LIFE there!


P.S.: I will never EVER forget you!!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

I don't know why...

... I keep writing about Praise and her children...

There are so many other things to write about, too.

I guess, when I first met Praise last year, I felt a strong connection with her and was DEEPLY moved after I left her place.

She's doing exactly what I've felt I was supposed to do since I was a little girl:

taking in abandoned babies and little ones -

I just find my heart so strongly connected and constantly praying.
Praise was really encouraged about the money that has been given to help her with the debt for the house and she 

Here's an excerpt from her email yesterday:

...Since now many people know that i stay with children so i find that 
almost every day i get more than one phone call telling me
about cases of suffering children and even last week they brought  a
baby and left the baby in one of the class rooms  at night and in the
morning we found a child  crying wrapped in rugs and i took it to
police and they the police asked me to keep it... 
God helped and found a pastor who took the baby.
There's much more to say - Praise also goes out and shares about the love of Jesus with the street kids, she tries to find families for the many children that end up at her doorstep.
She cannot possibly take on more at the moment, as she cannot even properly provide for the ones she's got.  But she's got a HUGE heart!


this is where the children get their drinking (and other) water - NOT clean!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Some mighty beautiful school-kids for ya!

While my heart is about to burst with blog-posts,
I'll refrain myself and take it slowly...

For today, just a lil treat with a couple of short video-clips from Praise's school, started just over a month ago..

Explanations are on the vimeo site where the videos are.

AND - an excerpt from an email Praise sent me last week, after I told her I had arrived back home safely but my heart was pained with all that I saw and witnessed in Uganda.

I just LOVE her heart!

"I know my sister, Africa makes me cry too though i live in it but
what people pass through here also make me cry tho i'm an African
too but i know where there is God, there is hope that one day one time
God will hear the cry of His people here and things will change."
THANK YOU if you have prayed for Praise's situation (see last post) or given!
EVERY prayer and EVERY gift counts!
So far, close to NZ$700 (US$500) have been either given or pledged. 
I'm so excited as I know what JOY and RELIEF this will mean for Praise! 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

What I DON'T like about Africa

There is ONE THING that I really don't like about Africa:

It's a certain automatic mathematical equation.

Wanna know which one???


I know this may seem blunt - but it is true.

When people see you as a "Mzungu" - white person - 

they automatically think you've got money.


As much as there is truth in it

It bothers me, because it is NOT ALWAYS true!
{just take me as an example... hehe}

And by the way, not everyone in Africa thinks this.

On our first trip to Uganda, Rich and I were told that

more than anything,

more than money,

what our African FAMILY REALLY want is


our LOVE

us WALKING WITH them -

letting them feel that they're not alone in their intense struggles.

BUT - for the majority, the above equation is what they've got in mind when they spot white skin,

as wrinkly and freckly as it may be - haha!

{of course, with the exception of the children}

Remember Praise?

If you're new to my blog, you can read about my recent visit with her here and here.

Well, after my visit, the team from International Voice for the Orphan that I wrote about also visited her.

They took pictures of the children so that they can find prayer sponsors for them as a part of this beautiful ministry they have recently started.

This was supposed to be a blessing for Praise and the children

And I believe that it WILL BE - some day.

But at the moment, our/their visit is more of a "curse" for Praise


Because she's now got PRESSURE from her debtor to repay the loan she took to get the house into a live-able state before she moved there with the children early February.

some of the children with Irene Kisolo, who is over-seeing Praise together with her husband Sam on the day we visited from Jinja (2 1/2 hours drive one way)

He saw the Mzungus visit - and concluded that they must have left a lot of money for Praise

{which I'm sure we ALL would have LOVED to do!!!}

But unfortunately, this was not the case.

So now she's got the debtor at her heels, demanding a prompt repayment of NZ$2,600 {US$2,200}

This makes me  ~  mad!

All I can do is PRAY - for GOD to intervene.

Will you pray with me, PLEASE?!!!

THANKS for letting me vent!
Boy, this blog is therapeutic for me :)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

IF you want to GIVE towards this need, you can do it through

Orphans Aid International (mark: Orphans Know More, Praise) if you're in New Zealand

YWAM Cimarron (mark: Orphans Know More, Praise) if you're in the USA and

from any other country, just email me.
{and please also let me know with a short email if you give through the above websites - THANKS!}

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


My heart's been SOOO heavy - and my body SOOOO weak.

 I am really struggling to readjust after this trip.

Yesterday was my birthday - spent most of the day laying around - resting, grieving.

What made my day

and caused the biggest laugh I can remember in a long time

was my sweet Kylie's note for my birthday:

 In case you can't read it:

I love you, Mom.
You are the bravest Mom I know.
You go to dangerous places
you have a kind heart
but sometimes you leave the hard jobs to Dad.

Happy birthday!

When I asked her later what she meant by me leaving the hard jobs to Dad
(she was in school when I read the note),
she said, 
"Oh well ~ ~ ~ you know ~ ~ ~ taking care of us kids!"

I KNEW it (that's why I laughed so hard!) !

What does the proverb say:

"A cheerful heart is like medicine!"

Sure was for me yesterday!

Oh, how I love (my) KIDS!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A king, a horse, turtles and apple-pie

... or in other words:


Today was the first day that I felt like myself again - since arriving on Wednesday night.

Pouuaaahhh - it's been a tough few days.

But so much better now!

Kylie's way of spending quality time is role-play.

She's quite the determined little leader-personality

and full of creativity.

I just have to do what she asks me to do

follow her cues

and she's happy!

In case you need an explanation:

Kylie is the royal horse, pulling the carriage with King Shayden.

That was yesterday.

Today we made turtle houses for them and played in the "pretend" pool...

Kylie and Shayden also helped me make an apple-pie with apples from our garden(!!!).

What else can you do on a rainy day, trying to be quiet,
 with Rich catching up on sleep after his busy night-shift.

And of course, my knight was most delighted to wake up to one if his favorites!

Fun times!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

HOPE arising!

“Sometimes I would like to ask God why he allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world, when he could do something about it, 
but I’m afraid He’ll ask me the same question.” 


As I am still struggling to digest my recent heart-breaking Uganda-experiences,
I need to lift up my spirits tonight.

I'm by myself, Rich is working a night-shift at the ambulance,
the kids are gone or asleep.

And my thoughts drift to Lydia...

If you've been following my blog for some time, you'll remember me first meeting this young widow in December of 2010. 

Well, SOMEBODY did decide to DO SOMETHING to be Jesus' outstretched hands to this precious woman - and she is in a COMPLETELY different place today!!!

No, actually, she still lives in the same place, but already during my last visit, there was a huge change.

Please read this blog-post before scrolling further down. 


read it first 


Well, I found out some more bits of information on this last trip that made me even happier about stepping out to help her:

Her late husband came from a Muslim family.
 After his death she was to become her husband's brother's wife, according to Muslim tradition.
But since she was a Christian, she refused this.

As a result, she was ostracized from the whole family.

She really was in a VERY HARD place when I met her!!!

TODAY, she has HOPE for a future as a seamstress with a sewing machine.

God is also restoring the relationships with her husband's family.
They respect her and are starting to be involved in her and her children's lives.

This is SOOO COOOOL and I am in AWE of what GOD has done!!!

She recently gave her testimony to a group of women who are still in great poverty and desperation and her encouragement made them all cry...

Don't get me wrong:

Lydia is still struggling to feed her kids,

I am still committed to {somehow} paying her 3 children's school fees for 2 years,

she'll need some time to develop her skill and build up a business
and she is longing for a decent place to live.

But she has HOPE!!!

Have a look at Lydia last week, as she was sewing bags for me to bring back home.

Her (female) pastor has allowed her to keep the sewing machine at her place and work there, too, 
as she can't work from her tiny rented room without windows.

She is hard-working and very motivated.

Look at the beautiful bags as she was bringing them to me on my last day in the Jinja-area!

I will try to sell them and the profit will help pay off the loan for the sewing machine.

Actually, come to think of it:

If you'd like to buy one, email me and I'll send you one.

Anywhere in the world!

They are light and the postage won't be much.

There is only one model

 - reversible - 

with a pocket for cell-phone/keys

straight from the beautiful continent of AFRICA!

INCLUDING the very special smell of smoke coming from the charcoal fire that food gets prepared on (will go away with washing)!


The cost for one bag:



13 Euro

(plus shipping)

Leilani already snatched the first one from me as soon as I arrived back home.

Only 14 left...

Oh well, if this story {hopefully the first of many more to come!} didn't make your day  -

it sure made mine!

Friday, March 9, 2012


DO NOT even 

THINK about 

asking GOD 

to BREAK your HEART 

with what BREAKS HIS


expose yourself to the ORPHAN/AIDS-crisis in Africa
{especially more than once!}


You are ready

for your heart

to be 





Children desiring to throw themselves in front of cars

to join their parents in death

because NOBODY wants them!

Widows/single moms

throwing themselves

and their children

into the river Nile

because there is no HOPE for a future,

No food to feed the kids except one meal every 3 days

let alone sending them to school...






NOBODY that cares




DESPERATELY trying to feed and care for the children

WITHOUT prospects

of a FUTURE for them...

Those who CARE for the orphans

continuously struggling for survival


to provide for their needs,


continually MORE

knocking at their door...







Thursday, March 8, 2012


just letting you know my facebook update:


Back home! YAY! God is SOOO good! 

Had an incredible divine appointment on first flight. 

After Dubai, I had 3 seats to myself and was able to lay down! 

Shayden, upon seeing me: "Nice to see you, Mum!" 

10 minutes later: "I was worried about you ~ ~ ~ in Uganda." 

10 minutes later: "I'm so proud of you." Me: "What for?" Shayden: "For coming back from Uganda."

Monday, March 5, 2012

What a SURFING trip!

I've never been much of a swimmer.

Let alone a diver.

A surfer? NO WAY!

But having spent 12+ years in the Pacific Islands and now living close to a great surf-spot, I do understand a few things about surfing.

This picture best describes my trip to Uganda:


There are several elements involved in surfing.


You've got to swim out from the beach to where the waves break.
Sometimes this can be quite far and tiresome - swimming against the tide.
But you're in your element (water) and it's enjoyable.


.. .the "wrong" waves.  They're not the right ones - maybe too small or not going in the right direction, so you dive under and don't try to surf them cuz you're on a mission and want to ride the "perfect" wave.


 A big one starts building up, looming up before you and fear may creep in.
If you mess up, it could drown you. You might feel overwhelmed.
It can be scary.


When you DO catch that perfect wave and ride it - 


the exhilaration is INDESCRIBABLE to anything you've ever experienced!!!

Or you can call it - finding yourself in the very center of God's will for you and living out your destiny, which includes who you are - who God made you to me, with the dreams, desires, giftings - 
and in my case, a few decades of "sharpening", too.... haha

This morning, I've arrived back at the beach, so grateful for HIS protection
{cuz people do get hurt in surfing, too.}

It's been a work-out - and I am tired.

Felt sweet FATHER's voice whisper to me:


Was so tickled - just like a little girl with her father.

After laying in bed for a while, communing with him, I felt him 

Oh, HE so so melts my heart with HIS LOVE!

And then, a little later that still small voice came again:


And I will - you betcha!

There are many stories to come and many photos.

In a couple of hours, I will start my trip back,

stopping for one last meeting with a Pastor friend.

Our Ugandan son Richard is planning on coming to the airport to see me off.

Then to Ethiopia, Dubai, Brisbane, Auckland - and HOME!

If you have prayed for me during this time,

I have seen God work out so many details and help me so much at critical times,
There's no 2 ways about it: This was a GOD-ordained, - orchestrated and blessed trip!

Would appreciate prayers - for my journey back home (that I get some sleep)
 and for my re-entry at home.
This can sometimes be the most challenging part of it all.

SO SO looking forward to being with my family again - they've been absolute champions, 
the whole family - working and sacrificing to take care of the little ones and run the household!!


MUCH LOVE to each and every one of you, my beautiful family

and to you who have prayed!

Oh, I've got to share this one more thing that has encouraged me HUGELY as I try to "digest" what I have witnessed, seen, heard, felt, smelled...

The daughter of friends (she and her husband work in Cambodia with YWAM) sent me a facebook message a few days ago, at a perfect time. Even though we hardly have any contact with each other, she felt to pray for me. She told me a bunch of encouraging things and then, very specifically.


"... He put lots of things on my heart to pray over you but I got this one specific picture of strong hands holding someone (didn't actually see who was inside of the hands)... 
I saw the words FATHER's hands and felt like God said: "Tell her that: I know. I am more than aware of the things on your heart, I see it all - even more than what you see, I feel, I LOVE each one that you love and I love you". 

The hands were actually black/brown...not white...thought that was interesting when I found out you were in Africa! They were very strong, trustworthy and hardworking hands. Father's hands."

End of quote


Amazing what God does! Seems so random - but so incredible encouraging!
This picture of FATHER's HANDS has been continually before me and I am comforted to know that 


And his hands are not idle, nor indifferent.

HE is at work ("hard-working") - 
let each of us yield to HIS workings in our lives so that HIS hands can become TANGIBLE hands reaching out to these most desperate precious precious people in such humungous need!!!

Gotta add the photos of these 2 kiddos - orphans taken care of by their grandmother 
(we're trying to find sponsors for them)

The grandmother has recently lost her lively-hood as her hands won't allow to do do weaving anymore (she was making and selling mats) - as a matter of fact, I found out the next day that she really needs to see a doctor. There seems to be an infection. But she has no money for the doctor.

These 2 will only have a chance for a future if SOMEBODY steps up, steps in:

When we did the sponsorship applications this week, the rule was just to take one child per family.

So this grandmother chose Promise. 

Let me present her this beautiful girl with such a promising name:

But when I saw her little brother Ronard, I just couldn't resist and took down his photo and info, too.

Found out later, that just before I spoke out that we'll try and find a sponsor for him, too, his grandmother (see photo below) was just talking with Jane, our amazing YWAMer {in Lugandan} 
and saying, "What's gonna happen to this one?"

Anyways, gotta get ready to go.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The blessed broken tooth

There are already 2 other blog-posts queuing in my mind, but a promise is a promise, and I said I was gonna tell you about how my broken off tooth ended up a huge blessing. 

Ready for this?

Grab a cuppa {as we say in NZ, or a coffee}

It's a bit long...

On Monday, I was planning on driving to a rural area outside of Kampala to visit Praise who had just moved there with her {what I thought} 17 orphaned children.

Obviously, I was not driving myself - are you kidding me?
 I had the privilege of going together with Sam and Irene, the couple who are leading the "Orphans Know More" network and who have also become the "covering" for Praise and her children.

Before I had left NZ, a friend felt in prayer that I was going to gather and minister to a bunch of "sheep" and that there were 2 sheep who were by themselves at quite a distance. 
The Father wanted me to go out of my way to visit and minister to those 2 as well.

While on the way to Praise's, this picture came back to me. 
It was a long drive {2-3 hours} through rural areas and was really "way out there".
I was excited and felt right in the center of God's will. 
{the other sheep were a group of desperate women I had gone out of my way to minister to last week}.

typical side-of-the-road scene
glad I didn't have to travel THAT way!

Before I had left NZ, I had connected via email with the ministry

that was just recently started by a wonderful couple whose journey I have been following for a few years through the wife's blog.

Her husband was going to bring a team to Uganda and he had invited me to have dinner with him and his daughter one evening so that we could connect, as we share the same heart for orphans.

This is where the tooth comes in.

If I'd had all my teeth - {haha} -
 the plan was for me to meet up with DW and the team on Wednesday evening in Jinja.

BUT - since I needed to see a dentist {the good ones are in Kampala}, I had to stay overnight in Kampala after my visit with Praise so that I was close for my 9 o'clock appointment the next day.

I would've normally come back to Jinja with Sam and Irene, as already just the gas to visit Praise was over my budget {gas here is same price as in NZ} and they were driving straight back to Jinja
{= free ride back for me, as the gas for the round-trip was already paid}.

But I felt that I should book myself into the same Guest-House that DW and the team were staying in, so that we could connect over dinner on Monday.
My secret hope was that they could then connect with the "Orphans Know More" leadership during their one night stay in Jinja {which did end up happening - Praise God!}.

When I called DW during our drive to Praise's to tell him that I was going to be at their guest-house that evening, somehow I heard myself saying that I was on the way to visit a single 25-year-old Ugandan who's caring for 17 orphans 
{DW was a total stranger and I was "just" making arrangements for having dinner with him and his daugther}.

His immediate response was:


"What is she doing? Caring for 17 orphans?"

Bring her with you tonight!"

Sooo, that's how Praise ended up going with me to the guest-house.
I was over the moon happy that DW and the team were going to get to hear her story!

Praise going with me was also a blessing for me Sam, since he didn't have to drive through the crazy Kampala traffic at rush hour to take me to the Guest-house, as he still had a long way back home.

So, Praise and I got dropped off at a convenient place and were going to take public transport to the guest house - something I could've never done my myself.


After a ride in the "taxi" {public transport here, see photo},
we got to a busy place, swarming with people, motorcycles and cars everywhere.

What ensued was THE SCARIEST boda-boda (motorcycle) ride EVER!!!
Don't know what I was thinking... but there somehow seemed to be no alternative.
{Rich made me promise later that I will NEVER to this again - happy to oblige!}

Praise had first suggested that we walk, but I had a carry-on and a bag and wasn't sure how far the walk was going to be {it would've been VERY long}. 
As I hesitated, she just took initiative and got two bodas for us.

Before I knew it, I was sitting side-ways {skirt wouldn't allow any other way}, holding on to my heavy bag with one hand,
and with the other hand hold on to the back of the seat - literally, for dear life.
{glad that Praise offered to take my carry-on!!!}

The driver was driving like CRAZY, zooming in and out of traffic.
On several occasions, we were literally - no exaggeration - 2cm (1 inch) away from hitting another vehicle. 

Several times, I had to pull in my feet
{with flip-flops only - wasn't expecting to be on a motorcycle when I got dressed that morning}
so that I wouldn't hit the sidewalk.

I was crying out to God praying, praying, praying! 

My main goal was not to fall off - 
I had to move constantly to balance out the movements of the boda in order to stay on.

Thank God for his protection!!

I was a nervous wreck on arrival at the Guest-house,
shaking inside - and even a bit on the outside.
But didn't want to show Praise ~ ~ ~
so I just filled out the paperwork for the guesthouse and off we went to the room.

And starting now is when the BIG BLESSING occured - bear with me
{if you're still reading at all}:

Praise was really tired.
She was just recuperating from malaria - plus the move with all that it had entailed.

As we had 1 1/2 hours before dinner, I invited her to lay on my bed to rest.
{she was going to stay overnight at a friend's house in Kampala}.

The night before I'd left NZ, Jeremie had kindly put all of our worship CDs onto my laptop iTunes.

So, as I was going to take a much needed shower,

{and oh, what a joy to have a REAL shower, complete with hot water - I took my time! Just washing my flip-flops was a mission - with mud caked on the soles!}

Praise was going to rest with worship music playing in the background.

She loved it!

When I came back, I felt to put on some Kim Walker songs for her to listen to.

The sweet presence of God came and filled that room through the songs.

Holy Spirit was ministering to both of us, but especially to Praise.

Particularly through this song:

Long story short {yeah right - short?!} 

GOD was able to deeply minister to Praise through the songs and prayers he led me to pray over her right there in that simple guest-house room.

And - if that wasn't enough - when Praise got to tell her story to DW and the team after dinner,
 I'm not sure if there was a dry eye in the room...

They also encouraged her greatly and prayed for her so beautifully, gave her some blessings and even paid for her to be able to stay overnight at the guest-house instead of venturing out again at 10pm.

It was sooo special!

And I believe that a DIVINE connection was made that day - that you will yet hear about!

All because of that broken off tooth!


{not my actual tooth - yikes - just taken from google..}

GOD - I stand in awe of YOU and how YOU orchestrate events - 

because YOU love the orphans AND those that care for them!

The dentist "story" is another whole blog-post in itself 
{not even the ones in my queue}
Let's just put it this way:


just saying...

... I would SO love to leave some money here for Praise - 

at least make sure every child has a warm blanket and a mosquito net.

A decent blanket is around  NZ$7 (US$6)

A mosquito net that goes over a bunk bed is about  NZ$8 - (US$7)

This is where you can give if you live in New Zealand.
mark: for "Orphans Know More" - Praise

This is where you can give if you're from the USA.
mark: for "Orphans Know More" - Praise

If you're from any other country, just email me (email address to the right) and I'll figure out a way for you to give!

And - if there's more than what's needed for blankets and mosquito nets, it'll be given 100% (minus bank costs) to repay the loan for the roof and other building materials - or food - or medicine - or a cow - or a water-tank...