Sunday, August 19, 2012

My Mississippi Family

So I have wanted to write this for awhile now, and I was waiting for a few pictures, but I can't wait any longer and I want to tell you about my Mississippi family!

While I was in Africa I met a group from Mississippi, they were all family and amazing!! I technically was by myself while getting to Africa. I teamed up with the Abilene/Corsicana group while traveling but while in Kenya I was kinda solo... Everybody included me and all 16 of those crazies became my family, but today I'd like to share about my Mississippi family.

We met them in Amsterdam and boy did they look tired. I spotted them from creeping on Facebook haha. We didn't get to talk to them much. When we arrived in Kenya, they got left at the airport and due to some baggage issues, Bo didn't get his suitcase and found out about a week ago, it was finally delivered to Mattaw! HA!.

So there was Bo (the dad), Alison (the mom), Cason (the oldest son), Abbey (daughter)

Holly (Aunt, sister to Alison) and Macy (the cousin).

When we missed our flight to Eldoret and had to ride a bus for 8 hours, we were given two buses. One that fit ten and the other that fit 7. I knew that Roger had a lot of teens and their group needed to stick together, so I asked Bo and Alison, if they minded if I tagged along with their group....

 But let's back up... we had to wait three hours for our bus....during this time Bo and I talked a lot about church and life back in the states. I got to know Cason and I thought "geez, these people are friendly".

So on the bus (for 8 hours)... I got to know them very well. Alison and Holly "made pictures" the majority of the way. Bo and Cason slept....actually Bo almost had a heart attack during the entire ride, due to traffic. Abbey, Macy, and myself were in the back and we talked a lot about what the week was going to hold for us.

This family = amazing. bottom line. no ifs and or buts and it! They welcomed me into their family and I honestly couldn't the trip without them...
Check out Bo's awesome outfit!!

Baba(dad) Bo: This guy! He likes to talk and I was totally okay with that! He had so much to say and I needed to hear the majority of it! He called me out a lot about my calling and made me think a lot! He was wise and had a big ole heart. He lost his suitcase, so he had to go shopping in a Kenyan market for clothes.... Bo + Kenyan clothes = funniest thing ever!! ((his shirt said PHAT farm!)).

Alison taught awesome bible stories!
Mama(mom) Alison: We didn't talk a whole lot on the bus because she was in the front with Aunt Holly, but when we got to Mattaw.... We didn't talk much but gave each other a look, it was a comforting look but still a look of hopelessness. I knew she and I were on the same page in our thought process. Alison has a HUGE heart for those kids and for missions! She and Bo have done a marvelous job raising their children (but I'll get to them in a minute). Alison, was a mother figure but also a friend. Love that lady to pieces!!

His children!
Kaka(brother) Cason: My redheaded brother! Cason in a senior in high school and boy you wouldn't know it by talking to him....very mature! He loved those children (i wish you could hear the way he said children). At one point on the bus ride, we saw some children who most likely are orphaned (David said). He and I were the biggest cry babies the whole ride. We realized we had a similar minded heart when in came to missions, and he became a great friend of mine, actually he became the little brother I never had! He is going to do BIG things in his life,so look out world!

Abbey and Blessing
Dada(sister) Abbey: This girl! She just started her freshman year of high school. She is a total sweetheart. She reminds me a lot of myself at her age. She and I realized early in the trip that we both had our eyes on a particular child at Mattaw. Hers was Georgie and mine Blessing. She and I would just sit and love on babies! She is very talented and I hope to keep up with her and watch her do BIG things like her brother. She is a picky my little sister, but boy did she like her chapati! We text a lot and keep in touch. She is a blessing, it's almost like when I get depressed and sad that I'm not in Kenya, I almost always get a text from her!

Holly at the school we went to!
Mama(mom) Holly: This lady is amazing!!! Her heart is HUGE! She loves kids and just people in general. She is fair.... she saved stuff for the children outside the village. She loved on those kids a lot! I loved watching her play games with the children. So much energy and excitement. She was kind of the peace maker.... I call her that because in any stressful moment she'd try to think of the positives... however she did get a little nervous at the attack of 600 kids ;)

Macy helping with activities!

Dada(sister) Macy: Oh Macy! She kept me laughing! She also started her freshman year of high school and she's a hoot! She is very laid back kid and she also became my little sister. She is one of those kids that isn't startled by much. She was SO go with those kids and loved on them! She'll be one of those kids you get excited to see who they become in four years! She has a heart for the needy and isn't afraid to do something about it!

So that sums up my Mississippi family, if I can ever find some of the pics I'm looking for, I'll put them on the blog at a later time.... I think there is one of Cason and I, Abbey and I, and some others of the family! Thank you Bo, Alison, Cason, Abbey, Holly, and Macy for including me in your family and for great memories! I love yall!! Hope to make a trip to the big ole state ;) of Mississippi soon! :)
Bus ride with the kids!
Abbey with Georgie and me with Blessing.
My sisters!

My redheaded brother...
Seriously, we could
pull it off! :P

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Hey guys!

Update from me,

School starts in a couple weeks, I can honestly say I'm excited, because this is my last year!!! WOOPIE!!

I have decided to do my student teaching here in San Angelo, which means I get another 6 months with my awesome roommate, so as much as I'd like to go home, it will be nice to stay with her here.

I start Upward Cheerleading next week. I am the Cheer Commissioner. I have 9 squads and about 18 coaches with about 70 something girls! I'm excited!! RA RA RA!

I am working a lot, it's been a tad stressful lately, but it's still good. I love people coming in and being able to tell about my adventure in Africa! AND we finally have TOMS shoes and sunglasses (why it's been stressful, those suckers make us super busy)

My sister started volleyball up again, she rocking and a rolling! Love that little girl (not so little anymore, she'll be 17 in January!!! 0: haha)

I haven't been that into baseball, don't shoot! I just have used my time in other ways lately... it's sad, I miss watching my boys, but i cheer them on through my ESPN app on my phone.

I found out earlier this week that Caleb is coming to San Angelo to go to school. Caleb is a friend from Kenya... I don't know if I will see him much, but it will be nice to know there's a little bit of Kenya in town!

My team from Kenya and I are selling t-shirts to raise money to buy clothes for the children of Birunda.... YOU SHOULD BUY ONE! shoot me a comment if you want one! They're twenty bucks!

I had to buy a new pair of tennis shoes, I had some weird attachment to my old ones and refuse to wash off the Kenyan dirt, so I got a new pair. I just can't get myself to clean the others.... I know it's ridiculous.

That's about it for right now!! I'll post more laters! :)

Love to all!

Kenyan Bug..... incurable disease

I made it back to the states, I have almost finished my 40 day supply of malaria pills, I am healthy, I didn't get typhoid, malaria, travelers bug, or any other infection.... except one! I got one! It's incurable, but so I've heard it is a bug that gets spread easily, and many have this bug...

You see this bug can be BIG or small. This bug doesn't hit everybody, but it from what I have seen is it bites anyone who steps in the country... The  Kenyan bug is for some very small and the side effects last a few weeks.... For others it's medium and lasts awhile.... and for some it's deadly. changing your life forever. rapidly changing your life. It's extremely scary and wonderful.

How the bug works:

I believe as soon as you walk into the country and smell the air of Kenya, the bug bites. The bug bites your heart. It doesn't stop biting till you get back to the states, and even then sometimes it never releases.

So let me tell you about my bug....

I think this bug has been waiting for me for eleven years. I knew at age 10 I was called to missions, and later found out Africa.... This bug I think was waiting for me as soon as I stepped out of the airport and into Kenyan air. I believe it took hold, and it wasn't till Sunday at church that I realized that this bug was NEVER going away.... The moment I stepped into church at Mattaw, I realized how much this bug had attacked my heart. I cried the whole time during church. The Holy Spirit was definitely stirring my heart and that pesky little Kenyan bug was biting down hard! Through out the week, I felt the bug biting down harder... I watched  my team members get bit and watching the bug take hold of their lives. It was awesome. I believe while I was at Birunda Rescue Center I finally realized I was at the mercy of the bug.... I was one of the many cases of incurable bites of the bug.

You see, this bug, is not really a bug (if you couldn't guess already). This bug is God breaking my heart and showing me my purpose for my life. I have been back almost a month, and I'll be real honest it has SUCKED being back. I look at spending money differently, I look at meals differently, I still reach for a bottle of water to brush my teeth. I have yet to wear full out make up or really care about how I look.... I guess this trip showed me how fortunate I really am in this world of mine.

Lately, I can't imagine my life without Africa (Kenya) in it. I thought  maybe this would be like a youth come back on FIRE and a few weeks you get back into life and you go back to "normal", but my "normal" isn't my normal anymore.... heck I don't know what my normal is.... My heart longs to be in Kenya, if someone gave me the money right now, no lie, I'd be on a plane tomorrow.

There's a song by Building 429. I'm gonna post it for you,

This song really describes my life right now... I think when you hear a song, God speaks to you in different ways.... for me I took it a little different than maybe some would. I'd like to share it with you and then I'll end.

Sometimes it feels like I'm watching from the outside (Here in the states)
Sometimes it feels like I'm breathing but am I alive (What am I doing)
I will keep searching for answers that aren't here to find (How can I help)

All I know is I'm not home yet  (not Kenya yet)
This is not where I belong (this is not where I belong)
Take this world and give me Jesus  (I just want to serve you)
This is not where I belong (I want to love those sweet babies)

So when the walls come falling down on me (hard days in life)
And when I'm lost in the current of a raging sea (attacks from the enemy)
I have this blessed assurance holding me. (it's all for Jesus)

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

When the earth shakes I wanna be found in You (When you call me, I want others to see you)
When the lights fade I wanna be found in You (When there's no hope I want them to see you)

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

Where I belong, where I belong
Where I belong, where I belong

I am learning every day that God has called me to Kenya... He has yet to reveal if it's full time, part time, summer time, or what. Here is what I do know... God called me to love EVERYWHERE. So while I am here in San Angelo, I will love on people here, children here, coworkers here, family here, friends here. When he reveals more of his plan I will react and follow. Right now, I'm raising money for Birunda Rescue Center. I'm  telling people about the needs of Kenya and what God is doing, and I'm showing the love of Jesus to people here in the states....

Please continue to pray for clarity and patience! (I know that is dangerous thing to pray for heehee). I have an incurable disease called the Kenyan bug, my heart is longing to be back in the country.... it's a bug that I love to talk about, but beware... it's contagious! ;)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Thank you Aunt Willie

My Aunt Willie teaches a class at church on Wednesday night. I don't know much about it, but it's a class of kids. I wasn't aware that my aunt had told people about my trip to Kenya or even her class, but her class got excited about it. They sent me cards they made and I'd like to share them!

From my cousin

From my Aunt Willie

After reading those sweet cards. I realized that people all over, supported my trip and continue praying for my next journey. God is good!! Thank you Aunt Willie for all the prayers and support. I love you lots!!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Kenya in my Future... Prayers for Discernment.

To be honest I have kind of been a bit depressed lately. I am trying so hard to back in the swing of my lifestyle here and get back to “normal”, but the problem is; my normal isn’t mine anymore…

When I left Kenya, I was forever changed. Part of me was by seeing poverty to an extreme, seeing starving children on the side of the road, seeing living conditions, and being around glue boys…. But I believe the majority of my changed life is because of the amount of work God is doing in that country.

The moment I got back, I was trying to find any way possible to get back, and I still am, but I had to stop and be still. I had to listen and stop talking. I emailed one of the missionaries in Kenya about getting back next summer…. And she told me to do a lot of praying and really listening to God. Then she told me that when she was still here in the states her mission field was right across the street. I have always known that, but my heart was so invested in getting back to Kenya, I didn’t listen to God about  my mission field here in the states.

I’ve been back two weeks today, and my heart still longs for Kenya. I have yet to fully unpack, my chacos will never be washed because they still have Kenya’s red dirt on them as do my tennis shoes, I am always checking facebook for any Mattaw or Kenya updates, and I am always praying for God to equip me and guide me.

I really thought I’d graduate in May and head to Kenya for at least three months maybe more… I know that some of my family members aren’t all about that. I also realize I am going to have student loans and no way of paying those off if I move to Kenya after graduation…. I kept reliving all the possibilities… but then it hit me….. GOD is in control. If he wants me in Kenya, he will take care of everything in the states.

 I’ve been to Peru twice and I thought I’d live there, but that was my desire… It always faded… I truly believe that my desire of Kenya was placed there by God himself. I am now not sure what the plan is… Do I move there after graduation? Do I wait a year? Do I wait till I find Mr. right? Do I take a mini trip this summer and take some of my family to see the country?

So many unknowns. My heart longs to be back in Kenya. Last night I had a dream and I was in Kenya. I saw the whole gang there… all the children, all my new friends, and boy oh boy was it fabulous! I smelt Kenya again, I heard Kenya again, I could feel the people and hear their voices. I felt the bumps on the road and the mud in my toes… It was beautiful. It was a dream L I know that in time, that won’t be a dream but a reality… In my dream, God showed me Mama Grace again, and she told me "Welcome Home". I can't remember much about the dream, but I did promise a little boy on the streets I'd be back tomorrow to play. I remember laughing, crying, and working.

Almost a year ago I had a dream that I believe was from the Lord. I was in a house with my husband (not sure who) and our house sat on a hill, looking over the village of children. I remember hearing screams and smelling smoke. I look outside to see war over the village and I remember grabbing as many babies as I could and running. I was in Kenya…

A day after I had this dream, a missionary friend in Kenya posted of tough times in her village, food was limited, babies were being left rapidly, and it was war (spiritually) as well as the high risk of terrorist attacks, I knew after that dream, God was telling me something. Then last night’s dream, there were some things that were just fun, but I feel again God was telling me I have a plan for you and Kenya to be reunited for the rest of your life.

 I honestly don’t know what in the world my future holds, but I do know it has to do with Kenya in some way or form… As of now, I am thinking about taking a two week trip to Kenya with some family and close friends, to show them the awesomeness of God in that country.

I am filled with lots of spiritual turmoil, I know I have got to keep moving on in my life here in the states, and be a light for the Lord. I can’t keep wanting to go back in time to Kenya. I know Kenya is in my future and I will be back… it really is a tough concept to grasp. When God decides to break your heart and he does it in a big way, it’s so hard to see past that sometimes, but he is helping me and guiding me to see his glory and his use for me right here in the states. God has always used others to help me with discernment in life... but I really think with these two dreams on Kenya, he's speaking to me there also. Both dreams were so very similar and I woke up with a desperate need to help and get there.... The Lord is speaking, it just takes discernment and to silent my own life.

Please be in prayer with me about the future of my life, especially when it comes to Kenya. I’d really appreciate it! Love to all!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Heart Strings: Kenya

So when it comes to children you aren’t suppose to have favorites, and many times people assume I have favorites, but in all reality I don’t…. Instead I like to call them heart strings. I believe I have thousands and thousands of heart strings, and who decides to pull harder on their assigned string is up to God… As you know I have been to Kenya recently and I had so many heart strings pulled and pulled hard. I want to tell you about some of my heart strings, but we need to travel back to my very first heart string and hit some major heart strings along the way….

My first heart string goes out to my beautiful baby sister, who is now a beautiful young woman!

I wanted a little sister SO bad and when I got her, gosh I was elated. She is my best friend and the best sister a girl could ask for. EK started off my life of heart strings. I remember wanting to be involved with every little thing when she was a baby… EK had wet burps and so one night I put on every t-shirt I owned and had this brilliant plan, that when she would spit up on me, I’d just take off that t-shirt and I’d be ready to go! Haha! Now Erin is a junior in high school, gorgeous, funny, smart, athletic, and an amazing lady of God!! I’m one lucky girl to have her pull one of my heart strings

So in between age 5 and 19 I had hundreds of heart strings, but I want to skip ahead to 19. I'll show some pics at the end of this blog of some other heart strings....

Blanca and Alfredo on second visit to Peru.
Two heart strings that hit me while in an orphanage in Peru. There was a language barrier and with my broken spanish, we managed to create a sweet friendship. Blanca and Alfredo never left my side that hour we were allowed in the orphanage. I cried when I left them, but I made a promise you aren't suppose to make. I told them "I'll be back", sure enough a year and a half later I came back, and they remembered me. They were older but still amazingly beautiful. Through my broken spanish we made our friendship a little stronger. :)

Blanca on first visit to Peru.
Alfredo on first visit to Peru.
Blanca on first visit to Peru.

Blanca on second visit to Peru.

Blanca on second visit to Peru.

Picture credit goes to Mattaw Children,
This is House three family
Now this next heart string is divided 70+ different ways, don't worry, I'm not going to talk about 70 different children, but I am going to talk about a few.... While I was in Kenya, I was immediately drawn to the doors of house three. I am not sure why that house, but I felt like I was to go inside. Little did I know at the time, but the little girl I had been praying for lived there, and her house mama now plays a huge part of my life. Between Joseph and Grace pouring love and words of wisdom in my life, those children puled hard on those strings of mine. I could talk about all fifteen children, but I'll spare you. :) I do want to show you pictures of a few and give a brief story on them.

I am going to talk about this little one. If you read any of my earlier blogs, you've read a lot about this angel. Blessing is a blessing. She is so beautiful and so amazing. If you want to read her story, check out this blog .

Through her nonverbal, tiny body, she showed me so much Jesus and changed my life little does she know.

Meet Emmanuel. :) Sweet boy!
House Three Kiddos

This is Chumba (left) and Claire (right). I tried to get Chumba to come to me a million times that day, but he refused.
When Claire and I were taking a picture, he leaned in for the picture and we started a friendship! love that little boy.

Now I am going to take the time to tell you about Mama Grace, if you read previous blogs, I'm sorry.
When I met Mama Grace she and her husband Joseph and I sat down at the kitchen table and talked about baby blessing, but then Joseph wanted to know about me. So I began telling them about me, and there was a look in Grace's eye, I can't explain....After our chores, Grace laidout a blanket outside the house. I had Blessing and she had Chumba and we began talking. Her words will never leave me, "Don't miss God's calling on your life." "I do not think he brought you here for a one time trip, I believe God had big plans for you." Every day, Grace and Blessing were my first stop at Mattaw. Grace would welcome me with a big hug and give me words of wisdom for the day. It was the very last day that got me. As I was bawling my eyes out and the children were escorting us to the vans, Grace caught me. She embraced me and began to pray over me. She told me again, "to not miss God's calling in my life" Then thanked me for a friendship and for loving the children. I was only there a few days, but the friendship came about with Grace was lasting and so life changing. That lady is an amazing woman of God and has more love for her children. I miss her so much!

Now I am going to tell you about a few of the older girls from House Three. Christin, Mercy, and Mary. Oh my lanta! These girls are fabulous. One day, the sun was beaming down on the village, and I was hot, so with Chumba and Blessing I found shade under the little porch of the house. I saw the girls peeping over the corner of the house, and I invited them to sit with me. We laughed and talked for a good hour before starting VBS activities. Gosh they were amazing! Mary, I'd like to brag about. This girl has a voice! She can sing sing sing! She is an amazing little singer, and she uses her talent for the Lord. She reminded me of when I use to sing. I was no where near as good as she is, but I remember singing every day, and loving it. When I got to college, I let my gift that the Lord had given me fall into the shadows. I miss singing SOOO much. So i sat down Mary and shared that with her, and told her to never stop singing. She blesses people every time she sings and is glorifying God when she sings!

So I'll let that be all of house three heart strings, all though I could go on for a good page more or so ;) I'd like to now just show you pictures of some other heart strings throughout the years.

 This is Darius. One of my first mission trips to Arlington. He lived under a bridge. 
  Liliana Grace! We've been together since she was 6 weeks old and she's almost 5! Love her!

  Liliana Grace and Jacelyn Faith! Two girls from back home who are sweeties!! :)

 Emmalynn! This sweet girl is my cousin. She had a rough life the first few years of her life, but my uncle David and aunt Nikki adopted her, and now she is one of the most amazing little girls. She has a bright future! :)

 JJ! My other little cousin! He's a mess, but the moment he was born he took hold of his heart string and pulled. He's a sweet little boy! :)

 Major Houston! My cousin. He was a surprise baby. My aunt had had twins about seven years earlier and was done. It was me then five years later my sister, one year later the twins.... Erin (my sis) and the twins were so close, they always played together, but I was "too old". So I like to believe God gave me Major, so I could have a little buddy too! :) 
 This is all the cousins on my moms side. We're really close and  I love them too pieces! :)

 This is Jailynne. Her mom and grandma have taken me in while in San Angelo, and welcomed me into their family. I call her my niece and as I have watched her grow up, I am so proud of the little lady she is becoming! She is one heck of a blessing! :)

 This past spring semester we went to work in Arlington, and these are the girls I got to hang out with! Gosh they are awesome!

Orphanage in Peru
Orphanage in Peru
My awesome helpers! Daniel and David!
God has big plans for these boys!
At Birunda Rescue Center in Kenya

Baby Blessing

This is Noah! Noah was the first
Mattaw Child I met!

Mattaw Child

Mattaw Choir

Birunda Rescue Center Child

House three children
The whole Mattaw Gang!

The cool thing is this is such a small portion of my heart strings. I probably could tell stories about all my Peruvian heart strings and Kenyan heart strings....not to mention all the American ones. I have had thousands of heart strings and know there are thousands more still to come! I like to think about all my future heart strings. The ones by my own children. The one of my future husband, and thinking about that heart string adds thousands because when we meet our heart strings will twist and turn and multiply! I just wanted to share with you some of my heart strings as of now! God has blessed me with some beautiful heart strings! :)