A World Changer

I went back through the archives of our Place Called Simplicity to check and found that it had been years since I wrote a post to celebrate our favorite missionary’s birthday so I knew it was time -after all, today she turns 25!!  Twenty-five!  Oh how fast the years have flown by! It  seems like just yesterday that I was cradling her in my arms and marveling at this beautiful, 7 pound 1 ounce miracle. I truly just couldn’t take my eyes off of her – God had graciously given us such a precious gift.

Although I don’t talk about it often,when I finally carried Emma to term it had been ten years since I had held a live baby from my womb.  Over those ten years I had only conceived four times and each had resulted in a heartbreaking loss.  We named them all and one I held in my arms.

So when I carried Emma to term she was our oh-s0-very-long-awaited miracle baby girl!


Over the years her spunk would keep us laughing.  She was the climber of climbers and usually had some crazy antics she would coerce Graham to try with her.  (Of course there were times he dreamed up the trouble for them too!)

One time I was doing dishes and Graham and Emma were playing in the kitchen right behind me.  My thoughts were not on them as they were literally right behind me.  I mean, how much trouble could they get into right behind me?   But suddenly my elsewhere-thoughts were interrupted by three-year-old Graham’s always-deeper-than-any-kid-we-have ever-known voice saying, “Okay!  Go ahead!  You can jump!”


My mom brain instantly was awake at that! Wait!! Did he say, “Jump!”?  Jump??  They were right behind me.  Literally.

I whirled my head around to find Graham’s gaze fixed high and his outstretched arms waiting four-year-old Emma, who was perched on top of our refridgerator ready to jump into his waiting arms!  She was ON TOP OF IT!  I laughed incredulously as I helped her climb down!  What was she thinking?  And really, what was he thinking?? They were my dynamic-duo doing things that I couldn’t have dreamed up in a million years and to this day they are still best buds.


As I am typing this I realize that within about 2 years of her jumping off the fridge God was whispering to her determined little heart and drawing her to missions!  At just six-and-a-half-years-old she was asking Jesus nightly to “please pick me to be the one to go take care of the orphans in Africa”. Then by eight years old, with deep resolve, she was declaring that she was moving to Uganda to care for the orphans.



Tony loved Emma so much and she was the only one he would smile for. He knew she had rescued him that day when God blew the curtain open.  He had lived daily with horrific abuse and she came in boldness and rescued him. Although Tony lives with Jesus now we are so thankful he knew sweet love at The Gem for the last years of his life.


Emma’s passion for the broken-bodied orphans compelled her at just 19 years old and single to move to Uganda to found The Gem Foundation There’s no other way to say it, but she’s a world changer.  We’ve had front row seats since her birth and we stand in awe of her love for God which drives her to defend, protect and love so fiercely.


Yet the reality is that the days far from family can be lonely at times…and some days I’m sure her heart aches for home and if she could she would FAX herself over (with her family) to snuggle with Ruby and Birdie and eat Chick-Fil-A, and sip coffee grabbed from Liberty’s Dutch Bros stand. She’d see Nehemiah’s robotics creations, look at Elizabeth’s paintings, watch Elijah’s football game, hear Isaiah play the piano, talk with John, laugh with Jubilee have lunch with Graham, and marvel at Savannah’s ever-growing belly.  Yet in the last 5-1/2 years of living in Uganda she’s only been home twice for two brief visits.  Oh how we miss her!



So today, on her 25th birthday, would you help wish our favorite missionary a happy 25th  birthday?  Remind Emma how loved she is and that, no doubt the world is a better place because she exists!!   


11 thoughts on “A World Changer

  1. Happy, HAPPY birthday, Emma! Hope your day is fabulous. 😊
    So excited to see how our awesome God is using you to change the world. You are blessing – to the Gems, your family, and the rest of us watching in awe. 💕

  2. Happiest of Birthdays Emma! 🎉🎊❤️🎊🎉 I hope you have a fantastic day celebrating you!


  3. Hi Emma,
    Happy day after your birthday! It was such a pleasure spending time with you during the May 2017 mission trip. You and Josh most definitely had a huge impact on Chris and I. We think about you often and pray for you regularly. May God continue to impart His grace and love upon you so that you can continue to change and impact the beautiful lives that you get to be a part of. You are a such a sweet, beautiful soul!! God bless you and your family!!

  4. Happy, Happy Belated Birthday!! What a blessing you and your hubby are to so many…especially the precious orphans!! The joy you experience now, is just a small glimpse of what you’ll experience in our Sovereign God’s presence for eternity!!

  5. Happy Birthday beautiful woman of God! You Emma, have blessed my life as I have watched your story unfold and your gracious love for children. I wish you a happy birthday and many blessed years filled with the strength and joy of the Lord. May the Lord bless and keep you and may His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. You shine so bright!
    Joyce Johnson

  6. Happy Belated Blessed Birthday Year!!! Praying for God’s Favor, Wisdom, Joy, and Peace to surround and fill you to overflowing! God has used you mightily as a sweet tool in His Hands, and we thank you for always pointing to Jesus! <3!

  7. Happy birthday Emma! You and your Mom (ok, really your whole family!) are such bright lights for Him. We pray for you and the Gems every night. Thanks for the inspiration over the years. I am older than you, but I think when I grow up (haha) I’d like to be like you. Always pointing to the love of Jesus!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>