Sunday, January 29, 2012

Some Favorite Moments

Some favorite moments... in no particular order...

the bus arrives with the first load of kids!
the dream becoming a reality!

i got the jump on one of these and ride into town packed in with all the graduates!

the trade school graduates march through the streets of Pader...
an amazing gift for these kids that would likely have never finished school!

watching a traditional dance from the kids.

the first morning i was out spending time with the Lord and saw this boy walking home with water.
it broke my heart to see his hand and arm that was shriveled.
little did i know he would be at camp and capture my heart with his sweet, sweet smile!

we weren't sure how the drama would translate.
but such a sweet joy to see the kids get it and get involved in the story!

huge highlight was introducing fiona (our amazing cook) to grilled cheese sandwiches :)

watching these kids laugh and play on the same land that was once full of death and destruction.

taking pics of all the groups... the fun ones are my personal favs!

theme of camp... a heart that's his!

seeing jane again!  i met her on my first trip and i was so excited that she came to camp!

when kyle turned around and told me that dominique, his sponosored kid, was put in his small group!

watching kyle thompson get so excited about helping the kids put the verse in the right order.

laughter of these sweet little ones.

all kids fired up over the crafts (i mean fine arts!)

our team carrying water to serve the women.
this water was carried every day to fill the tanks that allowed us to take showers.  very humbling.

and will washington.  he was the crazy ref that started each drama.  there really aren't words!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

An. Amazing. Team.

It's been hard to decide what pics to share next.  And I continue to be in shock that it's over.  We were on the plane headed to London and I said... "It is so surreal to me.  We were just in Uganda for 8 days, right?"  David pipes up from the seat behind me and says... "It happened! AND it was AWESOME!"  This keeps ringing in my head every time I doubt!

So the next three words...

This group of people could not have been more phenomenal! Some of them said yes the moment we asked, and some needed some time to really process and be convinced it was what the Lord had next for them.  But...

they all dove in and didn't look back!  They loved and played and laughed and jumped and sang and crafted and ran their hearts out.  They served without a single complaint. And most importantly they shared the love of Jesus with each and every kiddo they came in contact with.

I'm so thankful for them.  And feel extremely blessed that I got to experience this amazing week with each of them.  Even if I sometimes wonder if it really happened! At least I have pictures to prove that it happened!  

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Provision, Joy, & Family

It is very hard for me to believe that HIS Camp 2012 is over!  It flew by and felt so surreal the whole time.  It was amazing and hard to choose words to share.  I have a ton of photos to go through and want to get the rest of the teams as well.  But as I downloaded mine tonight, these 3 stuck out to me.

This pic doesn't look like it says much, but in reality it screams PROVISION!  When we started planning for this trip we had NO IDEA how kids would get to camp, how they would sleep or be fed.  We left Dallas not really knowing how it would all come together.  But as we arrived at camp we saw these layed out on the field.  Mattresses for all the kids.  AMAZING!  And that is exactly how the entire week went.  God provided everything we would need for all the kids that He brought to us.  Another side of His PROVISION was how I felt all week.  I was nervous heading into camp not knowing exactly what it would be like.  But He provided in supernatural ways.  I slept, I woke up early, I had energy, and made it through each day pretty well.  So thankful for His PROVISION!

This one represents JOY.  As we prepped and wrote the curriculum and created the crafts for all these kids we had hope that young and old kids alike would have fun with all the different crafts and activities and that they would experience the JOY and fun of learning about God's love!  Boy did they.  We watched the little ones have a blast the first couple of days and then the older kids jumped in and loved every minute of it.  What a gift to see their JOY!

And this one... FAMILY.  Watermark sponsors over 600 kids and we get to be a part of that by individually jumping in and sponsoring individual kids.  Many of our team members kiddos were there and it was such sweet moments seeing them connect.  They got to hang out with their extended family and experience love and fun times together.  Love seeing these kids who have lost so much feel the love and acceptance of our team and to be reminded of God's love for us and how He adopts us into his family.

It's going to take a while to process all that was this past week.  And I will update as I do.  Lots of pics to share... and I promise there will be lots of smiling faces!!!

Thanks so much to all of you who supported and prayed for us on this trip... your prayers were answered! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Video Thursday... David & Goliath

Here We Go!

It is so hard for me to believe that in 5 hours I will be sitting on a plane headed to Uganda to experience months and month of dreaming, planning and praying come to be a reality.  I can't even remember how we all got into a room the first time but I do know why!  Each of us has a heart for orphans and for them to know the love of Christ and to experience the joy and FUN of following Him.
I absolutely love the women that make up the team and the hearts they service with and the gifts they have.  And then we went and built the most amazing team to go and make it happen.  We will laugh a ton and we will labor hard together... I can't wait to see what God is going to do.  I can't wait to see the kids faces as they sing the song that Chris wrote.  I can't wait to see the leaders and mentors bond with their small groups.  I can't wait to watch kids play games and laugh at crazy white people being goofy.
And it's here... today... we leave!
God is in control, we've listened and worked every detail and packed a crazy amount of stuff.  We've trained, we've planned, we've reminded ourselves we will have to be flexible. And now... we get to watch God work.  We get to go along for this amazing ride and see Him capture hearts to Himself.
AHHHHHHHHH... I am so excited... can you tell???
We covet your prayers... for bags to arrive, for health of our team, for logistics of kids getting there...
but most of all... for the kids hearts to be captured by His love and that we wouldn't miss one moment of what God is up to!
Here we go!

Go here to see our prayer calendar and to keep up with us over the next 10 days!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Costa Rica!

In September I had the blessing of going to Costa Rica with some staff friends.  Each year crazy antics and bargaining go on for the 3 staff spots on the trip.  Robbi and I began memorizing scripture together 2 years ago.  She memorized the Sermon on the Mount and quoted her part perfectly to win a spot.  She graciously invited me to go with her.  The trip was amazing!
The pics are not in order... but a pretty good pic of how the trip was!  We got to stay at an amazing place and LAUGHED until I cried multiple times.  Enjoy...

We zip-lined and had a ball!

Brandy & Wes Butler, Robbi Russell, Mike & Holly Shelton

Our place even provided umbrellas!

On night for dinner we went to an all you can eat buffet... it was UNBELIEVABLE!
And my favorite part was these mango popsicles.  I literally ate my weight in these things!

During the zipline day, we went off a tarzan swing.  Listening to Mike scream like a girl was priceless!

And a little mud bath for our complexions! 

Love, love, love me some nature.

This is a virgin mint pina colada... maybe had a couple of these!

And yes, they came around and sprayed our face with mist!

This guy was funny!  He was just chillin' at the pool!

A very cool waterfall that we rode horses to get to.

And the final touch on one of our amazing days!  I laughed because our guide stops the car so we can get out to see them.  And I thought to myself... "he totally set these guys up for a better tip!"

There was an outdoor shower... this was the view.  Maybe I stepped out of my comfort zone :)

We saw these guys on a golf cart tour around the amazing golf course.
The guy below got a little irritated with all the pictures!

Robbi and I's hot date the last night... after an amazing afternoon at the spa!

We went kayaking and these fish started to go crazy!!!
We decided it was time for P.E. at the school!

Also went snorkeling and go to take some cool underwater pictures.

Ans this is the breakfast from the last morning... oh my goodness... melt in your mouth!

It was such a blessing to get to go to such a gorgeous place and rest!  Thank you Robbi for taking me with you!