The Difference You Make

This personal story has been tumbling around in my heart for many years.  I’ve probably delayed because of the tears I knew it would produce!!

As a mom through adoption eleven times over – nine of which were international adoptions – I think often of the days each of mine waited, completely alone, until we found them.  The wait that each of them had ranged from 3 years to fourteen years. As their mom, 2 minutes is too long for me!  And I’m sure they would agree.  Any amount of time spent in an orphanage (even the best ones!) is long.

I can’t really even begin to imagine the wait in an orphanage. The feelings of helplessness and life so out-of-control, because really there is not a thing any orphan can do about it. The days slowly ticking by. The ache of loneliness.  The sadness.

Thankfully a couple of my kids can remember volunteers coming to visit.  They can even remember a few activities with them!!  They are fond memories in their long days.

Did you know that the Bible actually has something to say about going and serving others?  It does!! It’s really quite clear:  Go! Be the hands and feet of Jesus!  Go! Love the least! Go! Tell others how much Jesus loves them!  Go!  Treat others as you wish to be treated!

In Ruby’s situation, it was those who came to serve the orphans that our powerful God actually and literally used to spare her life. We will never be able to know each person who came, ministered to her, loved on her, fed her, whispered prayers over her and reminded her how precious she was.

Dw and Emma had actually begged other young people doing missions at her orphanage to please, please, please feed her tiny amounts of bottle, hold her, love on her, tell her how beautiful she was, sing to her and remind her that God loves her oh-so-much.  Even just typing that makes me so emotional.  She was dying friends.  She was dying!  They also told them to pass the word along to others who were there serving!!  Through these precious people who gave of their valuable time, their resources to go and their comforts of home…she is alive today!!  Her miraculous little self loves to worship, is joyful and is thoroughly thriving!  Each volunteer who loved on her is a hero to me!

On our trip east we had the joy of meeting one of the young men who lived in Uganda for awhile. He was actually one of the young missionaries who Dw begged to go to Ruby first because her needs were so desperate.  We had not yet even been asked to adopt her.  Dw didn’t know the young man or the others he begged.   As the Lord would have it, this young man’s mom had actually been hanging around our Place Called Simplicity and part of The Knee Team for years!! Jon told his mom and Sherri put two and two together five years ago and she wrote to tell me that Jon was actually helping to care for Ruby!!

So it was a total thrill to personally thank Jon and it was very emotional for us.  Jon represented many who went to Uganda to serve the weak, helpless and broken orphans…and we cannot ever thank him (and the others) enough for their sacrifice.  Without Jon and others like him, we are certain Ruby’s outcome would have been very different.

Jon is a treasure of a young man (now married to Jordan who is precious).  He willingly went five years ago and we love him to pieces for his part in helping to heal our beautiful Ruby-girl! IMG_5695Doesn’t Jon’s face just ooze kindness? Miss Ruby was being so shy!  Jon is such a hero to us!  He really couldn’t believe how big Ruby was!! It is hard to imagine that she is the same so-very-sick and dying 13 month old little girl that Jon was ministering to back then!


Yet our Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God has been moving in her life….and Jon was able to see first hand what the power of God accomplishes through each precious volunteer missionary who gave of themselves to make a difference!! 


I’m still in awe that we got to hug the neck and spend time with this precious guy. Such a dream come true for us!!


Jon’s parents, Sherri and Phil have now become sweet real life friends!!

Anyway, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of short-term missions.  You just might be ministering to someone just like Jon did!  If you have been feeling a tug to GO! and are looking for a place to serve the orphans….our ministry, International Voice of the Orphan (IVO) has three trips to Uganda this year!

  • Dw is leading two teams:      May 16th – May 25th, 2017  OR May 27th – June 6th, 2017
  • I am leading a team as well:  October 5th – October 15th, 2017

Lord willing, we will be working on (the just about to be purchased and closed on) Gem Foundation land, as well as serving the 28 beautiful Gems and likely ministering at one of the orphanages where IVO has feeding programs.

Whether you are loving on these two best buds (Collins and Caleb) …. IMG_9542

Or holding Nehemiah and Caleb…IMG_2194

You will be making an enormous difference!

The details:

  • Non-refundable application fee:  $50.
  • Team fee: (includes meals, lodging, special projects, transportation inside Uganda):  $1400.+airfare
  • The team fee does not include flights, but currently flights are running about $1200.

For more information or an application:

Lastly, we have never known anyone who said “Yes!” to serving the orphan and couldn’t raise the money to GO!! God is kinda’ like that…He wants us to GO! love on the orphans and always, always, always He provides the resources to make it happen!! He is so faithful!! 

One thought on “The Difference You Make

  1. The changes have already been striking, says Joyce Hill, who with her husband founded New Hope Foundation in 2002. Their children come from the orphanage system, where in years past dying boys and girls might be “hidden in some dark room, three or four to a crib.” The new buildings have “palliative care units, and they’re open and they have glass windows. It’s a really bright place for the children to be,” she said. Those children may suffer such serious ailments that they will still die from, she said, but they are “loved and fed and warm.” – I just read this snipet from an article about orphans in China as I was doing a little research – my eyes misted up as I thought about Ruby girl! She is an inspiration – speaking of inspiration because her chubby little self and smile can cheer me up on a bad day – just have to log into your blog and see those great faces of all your kids !

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