And Her Answer Was?

Over the years of sharing my heart here,
there is no doubt that those who’ve been hanging around have 
gotten to know our family.  
You’ve walked along with us through joyous seasons,
days of sweet triumph and victory 
but also some very painful seasons.  
We’ve welcomed you into our lives and freely most have had 
a sampling of the personalities, wit, 
charm and even “stinkheadedness” of many of our treasures. 
Usually, on any given day there are dozens of 
things I think of sharing.  
But time these days is slimmer than ever
and so I don’t ever get to write as much as I wish to.
But clearly, when the day is done, 
with a dozen treasures, 
there is so much “blank space” 
between the posts.
Today I write one of those “blank spaces”
that must be shared.
Because it is a true glimpse into 
one of ours. 
Recently I shared how thrilled our family was that our Emma had
finally been gifted the joy of bringing 11 Gems into 
her home:
Emma had heard God whispering His plans 14.5 years ago and not once
had she deviated from the plan,
even when there could have been a tempting alternative.  
Her heart and mind steadfast on serving the God she loves so very much!!
Passionate about special needs treasures 
who desperately matter to God,
she worked diligently to complete every paper, dot every “i” and cross every “t”
as she opened the only home like it in the entire city of Kampala.
Those in authority over her home are thrilled with 
The Gem Foundation 
and she has had incredible favor.
But serving the Lord is not without a price.
It’s been over 18 months since Emma left for her new home
and she has not been home for a visit yet.
We miss her dreadfully,
but her eye is sharply focused on “the prize”!!
 {I press on toward the goal for the prize of the
 upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Phil. 3:14}!!

I remember when she was preparing to move to Uganda and
you may recall Dw ended up in the hospital with an unknown
heart issue and a gamut of tests being run.
It was days till they were to leave, leading a team and
the plan had been that  
dad would help her settle and he would return home,
yet now, suddenly, he was in the hospital.
After a couple of days in the hospital and no closer to getting
out, I remember standing in the kitchen and asking 
Emma, “What will you do if Dad can’t go?”

Her quick reply:  
“Mom, I don’t want to end up in the belly 
of a big fish.  I’m going even if Daddy can’t.”  
That’s our girl!!
Doggedly determined to serve the Lord.

And the Lord worked and Daddy was able to be released
and they left together to lead the team and
Daddy helped her settle and returned home a few weeks later.
Well something happened the other day that 
I knew had to be included in this post.
First off, 
see, 
today is Emma’s birthday!!

And although we had dreamed and hoped and prayed 
that she would be home for it, 
the Lord’s plans supersede ours!!

With just welcoming her precious Gems home
there is no way that Emma 
would even want to leave now!
In fact last night as we were heading to bed
we phoned her to wish her a Happy Birthday.
Daddy said, “Emma why don’t you go 
get something fun to eat today to celebrate?”
Her response?
“No way Dad!! I’ll make something here.
I have to run an errand, 
but I want to celebrate my birthday by 
playing with all our Gems!”

True enough, 
those who’ve had the privilege of being close-up
with this girl know what her heart is like…

And so this next story will not come as any surprise…

When Dw returned from Uganda the other day
he discovered that he had accidentally forgotten to give
Emma her bank card back.  
We had to mail it to her and fast!!

I was secretly kind of tickled because with her
birthday coming I had wanted to send her a little
something but been unable to get it together in time.
But now we would have to Fed Ex her her bank card.

*giggle* 

Sweet joy!

So I went to the Fed Ex office and asked
how much could I put in the smallest package
since I was going to have to send the card anyway…
They told me that it would be able to weigh this much
and be this small to fit in the package for the same
price as sending the bank card with nothing at all.
Perfect!!
So I thought about it and decided to ask Emma
what would she really, really, really like for her birthday?
I mean after 18+ months of not being home,
there are definitely needs that would minister 
to her soul and perhaps be just really perfect??
I questioned,
“Emma, I am able to stick something in the package
cause I went to the Fed Ex office and asked
what could fit without adding cost to the bank card package?
I want you to have something you really would love – 
after all, this is a very special birthday for you!! 
What Emmy would you like me to find and put in it
for your birthday?”
And in true Emma fashion…
Do you know what her answer was?
“Oh mama!! Put something in for Arthur!!
We do not have any premie clothes and
I want him to have something that fits him!
Please get something for Arthur!”
Arthur, the tiniest of the Gems,
probably doesn’t even weigh 6 lbs.
has stolen the hearts of everyone at The 
Gem Foundation.
And if Emma can have something put in her birthday package,
what does she want?
Something for Arthur!

And so today, I wonder if you would be willing to wish 
our favorite missionary
 a 
Happy Birthday?
She truly serves selflessly, sacrificially and joyfully.
And I’m pretty sure Emmy 
would definitely get a kick out of you honoring her!
If you haven’t “liked” 


on Facebook yet today would be an amazingly great day to do that!
Thank you for loving our favorite missionary!!
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, 
but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, 
in love, in faith and in purity.
I Timothy 4:12

45 thoughts on “And Her Answer Was?

  1. Happy birthday dear Emma!!! You are a true inspiration. My eleven year old daughter Lilly is called to be a missionary and you inspire both of us. Have a wonderful wonderful birthday! Know there are people in Oklahoma who love and pray for you even though we've never met you.

    1. Oh Justine!! I love that your Lilly is called to be a missionary!! I was so grateful that the Lord whispered it to Emmy many years ago…my heart had time to prepare for all that that entailed. Of course we all miss her so much {words can't explain} BUT we get a front row seat to all that God is doing – and we are so very, very, very grateful for that privilege and joy! And thank you for praying for her. You might want to be added to her prayer team…if you aren't already…she sends personal requests often!! If you are interested… Emma@internationalVoiceoftheOrphan.com

  2. Oh happy, happy Birthday! Emma, I fell in love with my new country the first time I came here. and next month I am going to celebrate living here longer than I lived where I was born! So, I know what it is like for God to give you a heart and a home for a place and a people.
    So, for your birthday, I pray God will give you the privilege of seeing more years in Uganda than you lived in America! and more than that too!
    God Bless you, and through you, the Gems He puts in your path.
    With love in Him,
    Sandy in the UK

  3. Oh Emma! Happy Birthday! I pray for you and your precious gems daily. I have a daughter who is studying to be a nurse on the mission field and a thirteen year old that just came and shared with me she feels she's supposed to visit Uganda. My mommy heart looks at you and is proud of your passion for our Savior and through Him, beautiful gems. Thank you for sharing the beauty of your mission….wait, God's mission with us.

    1. I love that your daughter is in nursing school to be on the mission field one day!! Yippee Jesus!! And I love that your 13 year old would like to visit Uganda. Perhaps a GO Team with us?? Either way, Thank you Kat so much for praying for our Emmy!! We are so grateful for all the ones who pray regularly for her and her Little Man.

  4. Emma, Happy Birthday! Thank you for sharing your life with His treasures and with those of us peering in at home with our treasures! Prayers for you and each of the Gems!

    1. Awwww Melissa…I love how you worded the "peering in at home with our treasures". The blog world has given us so many opportunities – how blessed we are!! Thank you for wishing our Emma a happy birthday!! xo

  5. Wonderful verse for Emma..wonderful story of her love for the gems in her care. Happy Birthday sweet Emma! We pray for you continued blessings and joy as God delights in you and rejoices over you with singing!

    1. The verse *is* perfect Renee, isn't it? She has certainly had more than her share of people ask her about her age and another favorite: "Do you have a degree in *that*?" But truly Renee, God equips the called – if they but answer!! And she has hired so many Ugandans who have the degrees and each Gem will receive the care they deserve!! Amazingly, the head of the baby homes of Watoto said to her: "We have been praying for years for you!" Favor! Favor! Favor!! No doubt, the favor of God working through a yielded heart trumps any degree and any "age" anytime!! How we praise His name!!

    1. Oh I would love to meet her!!! My daughter will turn 9 in Feb and has asked to go to "Uganda to feed the orphans". Maybe not at nine but definitely soon I hope to join you all on a missions trip! Thank God for putting people like you on this earth:)

  6. Happy Birthday to 'Emma in Uganda'!! We pray for you by name daily on our missionary prayer board! Thank you for showing Christ's love! You are loved!! God bless you richly…

    1. Awww Laine, how my eyes well with tears that you and your treasures pray for our Emma by name daily. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! You are a true friend and we are so blessed by your love! xo

  7. Emma, God is doing great things through you. It is amazing to see a heart that is so willing to serve God. Happy birthday! I hope your day is special and wonderful in many ways. Praying for blessings for you, your boys and all the staff at The Gem Foundation. We are excited to support you all with our VBS. I am looking forward to sharing your story with the children and adults who participate in our VBS. More people will hear of your needs and be able to support you financially and through prayer.

  8. Happy birthday Emma!! I pray for God's continued favor in your work. I also pray that He allows me to visit Uganda and spend time with your treasures one day, overcoming the limitations of my disabilities! God Bless you and those precious gems!

  9. Happy Birthday from Maine Emma! I have so enjoyed meeting all your gems so far. They remind me of the children I took care of in a long term care pediatric unit in FL for six months. That was about 17 years ago and I still remember their names, faces, personalities, and life stories. Those gems had a profound effect on me and are probably one of the reasons why I have adopted children with special needs. Some day I would love to come on a Go Team and visit your gems when my kids are a bit older. Wishing you a wonderful birthday!

    1. No doubt Amy, God used that experience with those treasures to mold your heart for the most vulnerable!! I love how He does that!! I would love for you to join a GO Team one day!!

  10. ~*Happy Birthday*~ Emma! So glad you listened to that still small voice! The Lord grew a desire in my heart from a young age to have a large, adoptive, multiracial family…and I am living that dream! Now I need to listen to that voice, again, as I work toward starting our own ministry! Its a scary step for me bu I know the Lord will lead and bless!

    1. Happy Birthday Emma!!! What a priviledge and honor to serve with Emma on 2 go Team trips… not one of your words about her surprised me… I have prayed so often for her, especially recently with the opening of the Gem Foundation and when I prayed recently I was so struck by all the sacrifices she is making to be there… but yet I know she wouldn't have it any other way… that is her heart to the core… Praying for the Lord to continue to carry you and work through you Emma to do the amazing work you do there, each and every day:)

  11. Happy Birthday to you…Happy Birthday to you…Happy Birthday to Emma…Happy Birthday to you…la,la,la. Happy Birthday to a sweet, devoted, persistent, joyful, loving young lady. May you have lots of cake to share with all of your children today! :)

  12. Happy Birthday, Emma! The joy of the Lord is richly upon you…it exudes from you in every picture your sweet momma posts! It is pure joy and privilege to lay hands on those pictures and pray His Will, blessings, joy, love, safety and more precious gems for you! You are a beautiful example of selfless giving and immeasurable love (apple doesn't fall far from the tree! :)) When God calls you, He equips you….how He is beautifully equipping!! The miracles, great and small and in between, are constant! Such Joy! When i think of you…when i pray for you…i just have to smile…you bring such joy! Such humility and gentleness…and there are so many verses for you but i think Psalm 35:27 is yours today…we celebrate you! He takes great delight in you, sweet Emma! <3cindy

    "Let them shout for joy and be glad,
    Who favor My righteous cause;
    And let them say continually,
    “Let the Lord be magnified,
    Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.” <3

  13. Emma…Happy B'day! You have no idea how much you inspire my lil girl and me! She is looking at the pictures of you and your lil gems right now :). As you give to so many around you and love on them so crazily, may your deepest desires come true in ways that only our amazing God is capable of doing!

    1. Thank you to you and your lil girl for Emmy's birthday wishes! And please pray for those deepest desires – that God would grant them!! They are not too big for God!!

  14. Sweet Emma. Thank you for being a wonderful example of listening to the Lord! Praying continued blessings for you and your Gems on your special day! Tara in Texas

    1. Didn't forget you sweet, beautiful Emma. Remember my precious girl shares your birthday so I was off the computer loving and celebrating her. We pray for you all the time. I pray my daughter follows after the Lord as you are with such focus. Thank you truly for your example and the footprints you are leaving in Uganda and on a little girl and my boys in Florida.
      xoxo Lori

      i

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