It Actually Was to Prepare Us….

I’ve told her dozens of times over the years.  And I’ve meant it with all my heart.  Because if He hadn’t done it that way, I don’t know how we could stand it.

For truly, when God called Emma at just 6.5 years-old to serve the orphans of Africa, He actually gave us the next 12.5 years to prepare.    


About 1995/1996…Pastoring in Charlotte, NC….Emmy found Mommy’s “Lick-Smick”.


Four years ago today our precious then 19-year-old Emma moved permanently to Africa to serve the special needs orphans she so desperately loves!  She had prepared her entire life for that very moment in history.

As it was, days before she and Dw were to leave on January 6th, 2013, Dw ended up in the ER (which turned into a several day hospital stay) because he appeared to be having problems with his heart.

Late one night, having just returned from the hospital where Dw was hospitalized having tests run, Emma and I stood in our kitchen and turning to her I spoke,  “Emma, if Daddy’s still in the hospital on January 6th, what will you do?”   Without hesitation she softly responded, “Mom, I don’t want to end up in the belly of a fish.”

Yes, Emma was moving in courageous, joyful obedience, no matter what, because she had been called 12.5 years earlier by her precious Savior.

And I’m not gonna’ kid you.  Some days have been really hard for all of us.  Joyful events, like Graham and Savannah’s wedding, Emma’s absence left a huge hole as she was unable to attend, having literally days before welcomed her first Gems into the home.

Besides Emma’s a family girl.  She loves being with us. She loves her sibs.  She loves all her nieces and nephews.  She loves holidays!  She loves celebrating everything and anything!  So to be on the opposite side of the world during family get togethers, Thanksgivings, Christmases, Birthdays has been rough.  We can Skype her in, but you know, it’s just not quite the same for any of us.

Then, of course, there have been very private family situations that have rallied us all together, yet, she’s not here.  And we feel the empty space where she physically would be even when she is so far away at times like that.


             Saying good-bye….Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, January 6th, 2013




In the last four years, Emma was able to come home for (only) 2 weeks in October 2015 while her husband, Josh, cared for the Gems.  All the family (except Tyler, Sarah and treasures) were able to converge on home where we savored every drop those two delightful weeks!!

We realize that Emma is just one of many around the world serving others and we pray with deep emotions for other missionaries and their families.  It’s a beautiful, very hard thing to be so far from all those who know you best and love you most.

img055Now, after four years, what would I tell other parents if their son or daughter talked of being called to serve on the other side of the world?  “Fan the flame!”  (The above picture is about the very age (6.5 years old) that God called Emma to the orphans of Africa.)

When I went in September of 2014, not long after the official opening of The Gem Foundation, I was able to meet her first 13 Gems and I literally choked back sobs telling Emma, “I am okay with you being here.  They need you.  We love them so much too!  I’m so glad they have you loving, protecting and caring for them.”

And I meant every word.

But there is, no doubt, very difficult {at times) aspects of her being so far away. However, there is no greater joy than knowing she and (now) Josh are serving the precious, very broken-bodied Gems.

This morning the kids and I called Emma to tell her how much we love her, how much we miss her and how very proud we are of her.

I’m forever grateful God gave us 12.5 years to prepare for January 6th, 2013.

He is so faithful, He is always good and He is completely worthy of all our praise!

3 thoughts on “It Actually Was to Prepare Us….

  1. Emma’s servant heart and willingness to follow God’s call from such a young age is incredible, especially going somewhere SO far away, and SETTING UP her own charity. I’m seriously impressed. I’m reading this from a town in rural Zambia where I’m working in a hospital for 6 months. Also a calling from God, but considerably less permanent!

  2. Thanks, Linny for this beautiful post. I am not a missionary, but teaching in Ch*na is difficult. I am not even close with many family members like your family, but being away is hard. I am close with my 91 year old grandma and two of my nieces. I would just like to go home for 6 months to spend time with them! But I haven’t gotten the word from God that my time in Ch*na is done. ANd I really don’t even like ch*na. Sorry Ch*na! Change is coming for me this year – I am not sure what yet, but I know the change will be here, not going home. I also do not have the funds to travel home this summer so I have to wait another 11 months to go home but my plan is to be home for Christmas – miss those Minnesota winters – HAHAHAHA!

    1. Alicia, thank you for serving in Ch*na even when t means being far from your grandma and nieces. I am sure they miss you so very much – just like you miss them! I pray God gives you clear direction as to your next step and that He makes your paths straight. As for those Minnesota winters??? BRRR, I literally had a shiver run down my arms! ha! Bless you friend!! xo

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