An Unexpected Friend

In October I had the privilege of leading a precious team to love on the Gems at The Gem Foundation. The team was amazing and a joy to work with. Together we ministered and precious memories were made while lives were forever changed.   We dubbed ourselves, “Team-Own-It!” which of course, had a very hysterical story behind it!  But like all GO Team stories, what happens on a GO Team, stays on a GO Team!

Lilly was one of the young girls on Team-Own-It and came with her mom.  Her mom is one of our International Voice of the Orphan board members.   Although Lilly has prayed for the Gems, written to them and loved them from afar she was finally able to love them up close – what a thrill!

One particular afternoon I walked into the family room at the Gem and witnessed a most precious sight that I was completely undone!  It was probably one of the sweetest moments of my life. For those who either have or work with treasures with severe autism you will understand, I’m sure. First though, a little background…..

With almost each visit to Uganda and The Gem Foundation there are new Gems – which is such a blessing for this Mimi. After all, Dw and I firmly believe that they are all our “grandgems”.   Emma and Josh’s staff even call us Mimi and Jaja. No doubt, we spend our days, whether there or stateside praying, advocating and loving them fiercely! The reality is that when Emma was just a little girl we were praying for her future ministry in Africa and the Gems are all our prayers realized! It’s a humble elation for us to see how it all was orchestrated by our astoundingly faithful God.

Anyway, on one of the visits a few years back I met Anita, who was probably about eight at the time. Anita has severe autism among a few other struggles.  Although Anita’s needs are immense, she is a precious gift and is a valuable treasure in God’s eyes, to the Gem family and to us.

Fast forward to Team-Own-It…I walked into the family room and this is what I found…


There is no doubt that Anita had found a friend and her joy was indescribable. I couldn’t believe it!! While marveling through tears I was able to snap a few pictures. I had never seen Anita connect with anyone.

She loved Lilly and definitely knew Lilly was her friend. Anita kept gently rubbing Lilly’s arm while smiling, clearly saying, “You are my friend. I’m so glad you came. I love you.” Seriously, I well with tears as I type.



As the mom to special needs treasures moments like these are extraordinary to behold and reaffirm the incredible power of love in action!! Emotions too deep to comprehend well to the surface – God’s love tangibly demonstrated to beautiful broken treasures.

Perhaps you have considered going on a GO Team….

The next trips:

Summer:  May 21 – May 30th, 2018

Fall:           October 15 – October 22, 2018

Application fee:  $50.  

Team cost:   $1450. plus airfare

For an application or more information:   Subject: GO Team

OR                                Subject: GO Team


Let’s GO love on the Gems together!!  


5 thoughts on “An Unexpected Friend

  1. Oh, one day I hope to go!!! I’m pretty sure that May won’t work for my Mom and me. But maybe sometime in the future!! Praying!

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