Our 2011 In Review….

What a year it was!
From start to finish God’s faithfulness was evident, but it was not without it’s challenges, joys, struggles and painful trials.
The year started with Dw and Emma leading yet another team to Kampala to serve the orphans of Uganda.  {Graham was on the trip too.}  The team was 14 total and many were ministered to.  While they were gone, the Lord met me in a very real way and it will be a time I will never, ever, forget. 
When they returned home, three precious sisters who needed a home were added to ours and 
the number of treasures at home went from 8 to 11 
{Autumn not pictured}. 
February and March 

hundreds of you from around the world mailed ties, shirts, shorts, undies, boutonnieres and some of the sweetest letters and pictures of you and your family to little boys living on the streets of Kampala, Uganda….

brought Emma and I leading a team of 18 women {some who have become some of my closest friends!} to Kampala, carrying the packages of clothing so those precious boys could attend the wedding event of the century!
Boys who have been discarded from life were invited to be the cherished guests at both wedding and reception of a missionary couple who love them, believe in them
 and minister daily to them….

While leading the team in Africa,  I learned that Dw was in the hospital with three of his major arteries in his leg completely blocked with blood clots from an ankle injury.  

With deep sorrow and pain-filled hearts we learned that we would be unable to bring home a little boy we had been in the process of adopting.  Little Elliot Moses had been in our hearts for 3 years.  The loss was real.  
And we grieved {and still grieve}.  
Later we learned that our precious Jubilee has severe hearing loss.  What a day when her audiologist loaned us a BAHA!   She could even hear us whisper to her!
Mother’s Day 2011
{personally speaking, my favorite day of the year,
thank you Lord for the privilege of being a mom of many}


Dw and Emma led another team {this time of 22} back to Uganda where Dw did another Legacy Conference 
{training the pastors who have no resources}. 

 This fourth annual Legacy Conference brought 750 pastors!  What started four years ago to about 30 pastors has grown to 750 as pastors from rural Uganda are invited to attend the solid, Biblical teachings!  Faithful God blessing Dw’s faithfulness.  The pastors and leaders in turn train others with the materials Dw has written to explain scriptures.  
Leaving a Legacy the honors Christ alone!

While on that June trip Dw and Emma met an 11 month old who was dying.  She weighed only 6 pounds.  I had been unable to post the pictures of her, due to orphanage rules, but thousands of you, hearing her story began to pray that God would spare her life.  Many of you fasted with us for her.  
Her name was Baby Daniella.  This is the first picture I saw of her.  I cannot even look at it without tears welling.  She was dying, unable to keep anything down. 
 Dw began to advocate for special care for “Daniella” as people around the world pleaded with Almighty God to spare her.  
Dw took her for medical tests, confirming her hydrocephalus.   Dw went to the director over and over and over, “If there is anything she needs, do not let money stand in the way.  
Linny and I will pay for anything.
We will do anything for her.  

That same trip Dw met a little girl that I had
 met on my trip in April.  
He fell in love, just as I had. 
She is never far from our thoughts and always in our prayers.  
We believe she will come home.  
The rest of the team came home, but Dw and Emma went on for another week to Ghana where Dw was able to do his first Legacy Conference in Ghana.  
While Dw was in Africa, he had a phone call from the States.  A local Christian radio station had chosen him as Father of the Year!
 A well-deserved title for the only man I know who has a boatload of kids, has kids in Uganda who sincerely know he is their dad {although they are not legally adopted}, continually advocates for orphans and passionately pursues bringing any home {and he’s 56}.
Yes, he is the Father of the Year.  
A dad whose oldest son says that he is his hero.   
A dad who has modeled God’s love for the orphans so much so that our oldest daughter {Abigail} and her husband understand the plight of the orphan and have adopted their first son from Uganda! 
{Making us the most tickled Mimi and Jaja probably ever-anywhere!}
It means being a father to former street kids 
now grown and serving Christ.
Our son George.
 Our son Junior. 
Our son LuTaaya
{who is married to Cassandra and have a daughter Neveah Miracle}
And our daughter Moreen.
No, George, Junior, LuTaaya and Moreen are not legally adopted, but they are ours.  The children of our hearts.  Our kids.  And yes, we would do anything for them.  Anything.

And they know it.
And then theirs our daughter-in-love Sarah…
son-in-love Ryan
and our Autumny
A daddy with a whole bunch of princesses:
Emma, Liberty, Jubilee and Elizabeth
and some warriors in training….
Elijah and Isaiah
Tenderly loved and cherished by all who 
gather in our home or outside it.  
All who need a 
father figure in their lives.  

The title Father of the Year well-deserved, no doubt.
As Dw and Emma landed in Chicago, he found an email in his inbox.  The director of the orphanage said, “Pastor Dwight, you said you would do anything.  Would you and Linny be willing to adopt “Daniella” and believe with me that God is going to heal her?”  
Overjoyed, we said, “YES!”  

July began with a beautiful 4th of July celebration.  Days off spent on our porch.  It had been a crazy busy first half of the year, and now was the time for some refreshing.  
Little did we know on the 17th of July when we woke and readied ourselves for church that our world was about to be changed forever.
Heading on to first service, Autumn waited behind for Karl to come and pick her up for church.  He was on his motorcycle heading toward our home when an 87 year old man pulled in front of him throwing Karl 55 feet.  The miraculous story of God’s ministering angels is on the side bar under Special Posts: 
Our Holy Ground: Parts 1-3.  
Med-flighted and fighting for his life, 
many of you hit your knees on his behalf.  
We can never thank you enough.  
Your love, your care and your concern 
is what buoyed us through the next 15 days 
while Karl lay in the coma and 
his subsequent long, long road of recovery.   
I know many of you still pray for Karl.  
Thank you.  
The healing continues and the prayers are still needed.
Before Karl’s accident, we were planning to leave to drive 1254 miles one way 
to spend some precious time 
with our Special Forces hero {and his precious wife} 
who was about to depl*y for the 5th time.   I was so distraught.  Karl had not woke up, and Autumn was so fragile.  
Faithful God allowed Karl to ‘wake’ up out of his coma literally right before we left.  The trip was not without much concern, Karl was still in very, very serious condition.  I will never forget the fears as we pulled away from home.  Desperately wanting to spend time with Ty and Sarah, but so concerned about Karl and Autumn. 

We returned home to Colorado and immediately the girls and I drove to Denver {8 hours} for Jubilee to have some testing over the next few days.  
I was dumbfounded when our pediatrician called us from home to ask if we had heard from the ear specialist.  No, we had just had the testing done yesterday.  Our pediatrician proceeded to tell me that they had found something seriously wrong with Jubilee.  She needed immediate surgery.  
In the mean time, we had heard from immigration that we could get finger-printed, so Dw drove the boys to meet us in Denver and Dw, Emma and I went for fingerprinting.  
We ended up driving back to Durango and waiting to see when Jubilee would have surgery.  Surprisingly, the Lord had another plan and we ended up driving to San Francisco {1,059 miles one way} to have surgery performed by a world-renowned ear surgeon who would have to remove her ear drum.  Faithful God had spared the infection from penetrating the lining of her brain!  How we praise His name.  We had to hang out in SanFrancisco {the upside is that Abi, Ryan and Finley live there!} for awhile and then drove back to Colorado.
{I’m laughing as I type.  Talk about putting some miles on the car!} 
After returning from San Francisco, Emma and I had to drive to Denver to have her passport made as it had just expired and in all the hubbub we had not noticed.  So back to Denver we went.  We were able to see Karl, who had been moved to 
Craig Rehabilitative hospital.  
And a few days later Emma and I left to drive to Phoenix to fly to Uganda to begin the process of bringing home that precious little bundle we had named Ruby Grace.  

Meeting Ruby Grace for the first time….
Taking her to Mbale 
{7 hours from Kampala} 
for her first brain surgery.
Ruby’s hydrocephalus is serious.  Her situation concerning, we could not get her home fast enough!  This was not a ‘normal adoption’.   Her life was on the line!
And Emma and I worked day after day to complete the paperwork to bring her home.

As the days turned into weeks and the weeks passed, Emma and I began to wonder if we would ever get to come home.  I told Emma every single day, “I could not do it without you.  I would be home on the front porch in a heap, if you were not with me.  Thank you Emmy for coming with me.” It was all so overwhelming and in light of what the first 9 months had held!
We would not leave without Ruby  
and there was so much warfare 
{and I don’t say that lightly or flippantly
 and am writing about it in the book} that 
I knew that the only thing 
that would break through it was fasting.  
And so we fasted.  
Thankfully, spending time with one precious girl….
Upon landing in Phoenix and after eating at Chili’s {at the airport} as a family, Dw and I drove Ruby to Phoenix Children’s where she was immediately admitted. 
 Almost three weeks in Intensive Care and
 three more brain surgeries in 10 days 
{the last with life-threatening complications}.   
Oh, the sweet power of prayer.

Thanksgiving in the hospital. 

And then the decision.
This precious 14 pound bundle’s arrival was prompting a 
major life-change for our entire family.  
Dr. Shafron, our neurosurgeon had confirmed what Dr. John {in Uganda} had said.  Ruby Grace needed to live near a major medical health facility.
Daddy, who has senior pastored for 20 years with integrity, perseverance and much fruit 
{never a scandal or even a hint of reproach}
would head back to Colorado to resign.
The Lord had directed and we joyfully knew what we had to do.
We are only His workman. 
Created in His image.
To serve Him.
And this Father of the Year gracefully laid down his life for his daughter.   Dw modeled what Christ did for us.  Laying down his life, job and income for another.  And we followed him.
So here we are.  
Phoenix, Arizona
30 minutes from Phoenix Children’s.
Our home for sale in Colorado.
We left Autumn in Colorado 
{very hard for this mama to do as Autumn and I are so close}.
Many have asked what Dw is going to do now.
The Lord spoke clearly. 
We will share soon what that is.
Our 2011, as I said before, brought many challenges, joys, struggles and painful trials.  But God was always faithful.
As we share our lives publicly, with you our sweet bloggy friends, we thank you for your love, your prayers on our behalf and your kind words, emails and comments.   
God’s hand of grace was evident throughout it all. 
He was faithful.  
He is faithful.  
He will always be faithful. 
We look forward with great anticipation to 2012
as we serve {as a family} Almighty God, 
the maker of heaven and earth.

33 thoughts on “Our 2011 In Review….

  1. What a year! What a year of God's faithfulness and deep abiding love for the orphans and for you and yours. May God bring you an abundance of joy in 2012 and even a few days of boredom! Ha!! Hugs to you friend…how I wish I could give you a big hug in person…..love you all.

  2. It has been wonderful to read about your family and THANK YOU for letting us. Such a busy year, what will 2012 bring? Well more love, hugs (over the internet) and lots of prayers for us. xxxcut

  3. All your travels make me tired just reading about them. May God renew you and grant you rest and peace in this new year as you continue to faithfully serve him. Thank you for sharing your lives with us. Continued love and prayers from NE.

  4. I am overwhelmed. I have been privileged to follow your journey since before Elijah and Elizabeth came home. I am inspired and motivated to do more. To live for Him more. To be more transparent and more radical. Thank you Linny!

  5. What a full and crazy year you have had! So thankful that you choose to be thankful and praise God…what an inspiration! DW certainly deserves the Father of the Year award…but, where is your Mother of the Year award??? You certainly deserve it!!!

  6. What a year of challenges and miracles! Didn't this just wear you out, when you put this post together, to be reminded of all that you've gone through in the past Twelve months? Amazing! It's a good thing we don't walk alone! Blessings for 2012!

  7. Tears streaming! Truly amazing and FAR from SIMPLE! Lol! God Bless your family and Happy New Year! Can't wait to hear what's next! You guys definitely keep life interesting. You are such an inspiration and an amazing woman of God!

  8. what a amazing year of blessings! This is a amazing post and am very excited to see where the Lord is leading you to now. I love reading your blog because even through the rough times you never lose faith and that is so encouraging.

  9. I love your family. Thank you for being willing to live in more of a glass fish bowl than being a Pastor's family already requires. You've had one heck of a year. But through it all, there was SO much fruit. Thank you. Thank you for living radically, obediently, honestly, and for Him. You challenge, you inspire, you love, you serve….I am better just from "knowing" you.

  10. What a year. Thank you for living out your faith for all the world to see… even in a year filled with so many twists and turns, trials and triumphs, joy and tears. 🙂

  11. Wow! Linny, you are my earthly hero. I love the orphan but I don't know if anyone loves them as much as you and your beautiful family. I'm 42 but when I grow up I want to be just like you. God Bless and many prayers. Happy New year!

  12. All I can say is…WOW, what a year! Each of your years seems to top the last one! And that last picture of you and Dw…..Priceless. Thank you for encouraging us all and sharing your lives with us. May God bless you and your family in 2012!! (My parents live in the Phoenix area. Maybe someday I will meet you, bloggy friend!)

  13. You and Dwight look so beautiful together in the last photo 🙂

    What a busy year!!!!!!! I am so glad that He has led you right through and I am so very glad that He has blessed you with your dream home with the prettiest street name!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  14. Simply BEAUTIFUL!
    Thank you for being such an example of a family who is modeling their lives after the One, the only One, who is truly worthy!
    Many blessings to your precious family in 2012 🙂

  15. Wow, Linny, what a year indeed. I know I'm only repeated what hundreds of others have said, but your family is amazing. I know you wouldn't want anyone to say that about you 🙂 but you all are! Thank you so much for your sweet testimony to the faithfulness of God, and your loving, dedicated service to Him that makes me want to love Him and serve Him more. Thank you for being a light on a hill shining for the rest of us to see what it looks like to serve Jesus with all your heart. Love you, friend. Praying God's abundant blessings on your and your precious family in 2012.

  16. What a beautiful year. Yes many struggles but it warms my heart to see how God has worked his miracles.

    We too have had a year of struggles through adoption – ours through the foster care system. Sometimes it's hard to see how God is going to make this work but I have to believe he is. We have two more hurdles to overcome before adopting our two precious children – the first (biggest) is on Jan 17th. I know God has a plan and in the meantime we just pray and wait. Some day I will share our saga too. Unfortunately, there is much I can not share until they are ours.

    Thank you for sharing the reality that you've been through and the faith with which you face the hurdles. It is a great encouragement to me as we face our own hurdles. As I'm sure it is to many others as well.

  17. Dear Linny Love,

    Thank you SO much for allowing us, your bloggy friends, to be a part of your lives. We are blessed knowing you. Praying for Dw as he listens and follows The Lord in what He has in store for him. We are excited to find out what God has planned!
    Blessings to you all,

    In Him,

  18. Oh how I cried and laughed when I read this post! How very special to share this year with Y'all Praying, Rejoicing, and seeing Almighty God move! Am looking forward to read what God has in store for Y'all! Janet

  19. I am so blessed to have seen the hand of God on your families life. I also feel blessed that I could stand with you and bend on my knees with you as we prayed for each and every beautiful moment. So much to pray for and so many miracles. If I could ever get a chance I would love to come meet all of you and to go on a trip to serve the orphan with all of you would be amazing. I really am so glad you share your life with us. My kids and I feel like we know you all and see the overwhelming love all of you have for each other and for the Father. Praising Him for what he will do this year as we al step out and serve Him.

  20. Mercy! You — and we — have had such a year as to be almost unbelievable. But God has been and is and always will be faithful, as you have so rightly said. Thank you for posting about your year! I was blessed and encouraged by "the year in review," and I pray that God blesses and encourages you and your family in this new year, as well.

  21. Glory to God, on my computer screen! What an amazing testimony and it continues.

    Thank you for sharing your life with us! It gives us all a greater resolve to be who God made us.

    What's next? Can't wait to see.

  22. That picture of you two at the end of this post is just beautiful! You are such a beautiful woman (and of course, it's only enhanced by the inner beauty that shines through.)

  23. Oh, Linny, I love the photo of you looking up at DW with such love and admiration. What a blessing both of you are to so many, sharing the love of Christ like no other family I've "never" met.

    I, like you, can't wait to see what our Almighty God has in store for our family in 2012.

    The enemy has fought our family like NEVER before in 2011…NEVER in 28 years of marriage have I felt the attack of Satan like we've had this year.

    But, God is faithful. He is already restoring what the locusts have eaten. He is showing me His mercies new every morning.

    And, with all HOPE, I look forward to bringing home our two baby boys.

    And, God has done such a MIGHTY work in my husband's heart.

    Praising the KING!

  24. What an amazing year. I am so blessed to have been a part of TRC while you and DW were there, and am even more blessed to be ale to follow your blog now! Whenever I am down and need to picked up I know I can come to "A Place Called Simplicity" to be lifted up! You and your family are such an inspiration and are able to accomplish such miraculous things! God bless and have a happy new year!

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