Monday, May 30, 2011

The least of these...

I've spent a lot of time during the past week glued to the news about Joplin. My heart goes out to those who have lost not only their physical possessions, but also loved ones. I can't even imagine what I would do in that situation.

Yesterday I was out in one of the villages for church and we found out that a young woman's reed house burned down on Thursday. She's a mother of five whose husband recently left her. Scott's lesson, from Matthew 25, couldn't have been more appropriate.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’" Matthew 25: 37-40

It struck me again, that no matter where we live, there are people around us hurting. We are called to be lights, to be different, to be radical. This is how we want to live, and this is how we want to teach the Christians here to live.

The coming weeks are going to be very busy. We are planning to go out with the disciples this week to begin building her a new house. We also very excited to have two mission teams coming within the next week. The first group will be here two days from up north and will help us teach and in conjunction with The ECHO Project, we'll give out vitamins and worm medicine in the several villages. The second group arrives Sunday from Texas. They will be teaching through drama and helping us with two outreach projects in the community.

Lastly, I wanted to share photos from Scott's recent trip to the village of Zongéne with several of his disciples where they continue to do monthly teaching and follow up.

Be blessed. Be a blessing.


Friday, May 27, 2011

School uniforms for our orphans

While the main desire of our ministry, African Outreach Ministries, is to make disciples who make disciples, we also strive to help meet the physically needs of those we work with.

For many years, our ministry has worked with dozens of orphans in both Zimbabwe and Zambia. Recently, there was a need with our orphans in Zimbabwe for new school uniforms so that the children would be able to attend school. Last fall, we started The ECHO Project as a way for us to meet the needs we see on a day-to-day basis, primarily in Mozambique, but also in conjunction with our orphan ministry.

Thanks to the generous donations of many of you, we were able to give money to buy uniforms for many of these sweet children so they could attend school.

We have a number things I'll be sharing with you in the coming weeks as we reach out to the community around us along side several summer mission groups that are headed our way from the States and Brazil. We are also in the process of finishing up an exciting ECHO Project fundraising kit we will be unveiling soon that can be used for Sunday school classes, youth groups, ladies classes. Stay tuned for a chance to make a difference!

Be blessed today!,


(Some of the children with their new school uniforms)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

An the winner is...

Thanks so much to all of you who stopped by and left comments on my blog post for my May contest! I wish I could give copies away to each one of you, but with a bit of drumroll, the winner is...

Julie!!! I'll be in contact with you, Julie, for your mailing details.

On another quick note, Scott and Gabe returned last night from a couple days in the village plus a couple more in South Africa to deal with the finalization of Janelle's house. They brought back with them some cool gifts with them from our friend's farm including raw honey, macadamia nuts, and avocados. (The Dr. Pepper wasn't from the farm, but the boys are very excited that Scott found some.)

While we eat a lot of cashews here (they sell them on the side of the road) I've never made anything with macadamia nuts. If you have a favorite recipe using macadamia nuts, I'd love for you to share it in a comment below.

And don't forget that I'll be giving away more copies of my latest three books later next month, so drop by again soon!

Be blessed today!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lost in the bush

I took a wrong turn and got lost in the bush this morning on my way to one of our village churches. It wasn't that I didn't know the way, (at least I thought I knew the way) but in the past few months the crops have grown tremendously and the road that winds through the bush really isn't anything more than a slightly worn path.

I've noticed the same growth in our own garden. In less than two years, it's taken on a completely different look as all the bushes and shrubs have grown, been pruned, and grown some more.

There are so many spiritual parallels that struck me as I stood out in my garden today. Jesus often used farming in his parables. He talked about good soil and bad soil, and how the cares of this world can end up choking us and making us unfruitful.

It's a good reminder me.

None of us know when Jesus will return, but He made clear how we should live until that day. Life is full of ups and downs, but I Cornthians 15:58 reminds us to stand firm and let nothing move us. And of the importance of fixing our eyes on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:2)

Be blessed today as you seek Him,


Friday, May 20, 2011

Summer giveaway!

As we head into winter (Yeah!) most of you are getting ready for summer. So in celebration of graduation, summer vacation, and my Christy Award Nominee for Blood Ransom, I've decided to have a summer giveaway!

But not just one giveaway.

Every month through July, I'll be giving away copies of my three latest books, Blood Ransom, Blood Covenant, and An Ocean Away, to one lucky winner. Three winners in all.

So spread the word and leave a comment, telling me that you'd like to participate in this month's contest. Also, make sure to leave a way for me to get ahold of you. This contest closes at midnight PST May 24 and is limited to US addresses.

Happy Reading!


Contest is limited to the United States and is void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gettin' in the grove..

(Early morning prayer time with the disciples)

I think it's taken me longer than usual to settle back into live here in Mozambique after so many months away, but we've finally got back into our school routine and are making progress there, so that has helped.

While the kids and I are working hard to finish up the school year (we will finish in August) Scott has already started meeting with his key disciples during the week for an intense study of the Word. They are also meeting weekly for prayer and fasting. It's exciting to see their passion and desire to learn and then share what they learn with others. Scott is also working on recording Oral Stories Bible for them that can be played on MP2 players for training of the disciples to go out and teach and for people who can't read.

The ECHO Project

We recently had our first official ECHO project board meeting via Skype and I'm so excited about the plans for the future. A pharmacy in South Africa gave us vitamins at cost. We will be giving them out primarily to pregnant and nursing women in the villages we work in as well as specific children and elderly who need them.

Want to get involved?

In connection with one of our supporting churches in Katy, Texas, we are putting together ten short videos about life in Africa that will be used for their summer mission program as their children's classes raise money for The ECHO Project and those we are ministering to here. We have several ideas we will be putting implementing in the next few months that can be used for children's program, youth groups, women's Bible classes, sororities, or anyone who is looking for a fun yet profound way to make a difference. I'll share with you more about this project in the weeks to come.

(Preparing vitamins to be distributed in the villages)

Summer Giveaway

I'll be hosting a giveaway toward the end of the week. This will be one of three giveaways I'll be doing throughout the summer, so be sure and stop by!

Be blessed,


Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Place of Peace

The kids and I are reading Case for A Creator for Kids and while this version might be for the younger generation, I've found it convicting and a great reminder the One who created life.

It's one of the reasons why I love going to the game park. I can't watch the huge variety of animals and bird life without believing there is a Creator.

The book of Psalm states it perfectly in the beginning of chapter nineteen. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork."

One of the things I enjoy the most in Mozambique is the sea. The vivid blues of the water, the constant crash of the waves against the shore, and the lingering smell of saltwater in the air. For me, sitting on the beach and watching its every changing moods is a place of peace.

While I'd can't live at the sea, we are currently looking the possibilities of building a house near the bay. Rent keeps climbing, but we found land for a good price. The photos (except for the lion) are views near the land. What I love about the water, whether the ocean or the bay, is not just the sense of peace it brings me, but also the reminder of the greatness of the God we serve.

What about you? Where is the place that you find the most peaceful? What place reminds you that God is real?

Be blessed,


Monday, May 09, 2011

Letting go...

I remember clearly the day we brought Gabriel home. I'm positive I didn't sleep that night, because I was so worried that he'd stop breathing. He was so tiny and perfect and a huge answer to prayers.

But even with all the concerns I felt that night and in the coming weeks on being a new mom, there was one thing that never crossed my mind. And that was the idea of one day letting go.

Fourteen years later, I'm certainly not ready to let go of my children, but I realized clearly this past weekend that letting go begins long before they walk out the door for collage, their first apartment, or even down the isle.

My youngest turned ten this past month and for his birthday, he asked if he could learn to dive. Still young enough to snuggle, but now old enough to learn to scuba dive. I wasn't ready. You can't imagine (or maybe you can) the fear that passed through me as I sat on the boat with my three kids beneath me in the sea as the younger two dived for the first time. It didn't matter that there were a number of dive masters below with them, watching their every move. These are my babies. And yet, not so much babies anymore. Thankfully, the scenery was so stunning that I was able to stay distracted. At least a little bit.

I'm slowly learning to let go, with a heart full of prayers that they will continue to learn and grow in the coming years...and never be too old to snuggle and sometimes, to even let me call them my baby.

Enjoy the family and friends around you today.


Friday, May 06, 2011

Life's ups and downs

I’ll be honest. Things have been crazy the past few weeks. I mean really crazy and not always in a good crazy way.

We said good-bye to Janelle along with another family who left South Africa, dealt with unresolved car problems, had a cyst on my arm burst, learned of the unexpected death of two friends, sorted through boarder problems, mourned with my mom over the loss of her dog, found out about a tax audit (can you believe the timing?) endured internet issues (meaning no internet for days), grieved with a friend who’s marriage has fallen apart…

I’ll stop there, but then there’s also the not quite as important things like the Wii went out, the DVD player went out, the TV’s going out…

It’s been a constant barrage of stuff that has to be dealt with beyond the normal ministry issues. You know what I mean, the urgent vs. the important.

God’s good, though, at always helping to put things into perspective. I just finished reading a non-fiction book about a woman who was the only survivor in her family during the holocaust. I’ve also been closely following our friends in Japan who are making a huge impact for the kingdom of God as they minister to hundreds of people who have lost everything.

Somehow, not having a Wii suddenly seems very unimportant. And even the more serious things are still things we’ll get through.

This weekend we’re headed off to the beach thanks to a free weekend given to us by the owners. We need it. Of course, we’ll spend Sunday in the villages and Scott will still be working on taxes while I help him get everything together, but it will be a blessing for our family to spend some real quality time together for the first time in several months.

Along with all of this, I’ve started reading Stormie Omartian’s Power of a Praying Parent. Through it, I’ve been reminded of the power of prayer and how essential it is to make prayer a priority, “…for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but …the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

What about you?

Whether the things you are facing today are simply small and irritating or if your world has just crumbled apart, look to Him remember that our “momentary struggles are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us!” (Romans 8:18)

To end on a positive note, I just received some pretty cool news. Blood Ransom is a finalist in the Christy Award category for Contemporary Romance. This was completely unexpected, though very exciting news for this book. If you don’t know about the Christy Awards, you can check it out here.

Be blessed today!