….I give you these hands….

Today, I sat at a table with one of the most precious people God has ever allowed me to meet. It was after school and of course I had a million things to do since grades are due and spring break is coming. SO NATURALLY…..I sat doing none of it and instead googled “Best Planners”. Because having something to write down all the things I need to do would help me get them done right?? LOL. I ended up on Erin Condren’s Life Planner website….designing my own planner. There are A TON of totally cute and precious covers for the planners, but being the picture obsessed human that I am, I choose one that allowed me to put like 24 pictures on the front and back. (Again……I chose the planner that would take the longest time to order….instead of doing all the things I needed to be doing….pray for me yall). Anyways, I started trying to think of the pictures I would want on the front. I knew without a doubt that I wanted some pictures from Africa. I opened the folder that contains THOUSANDS (literally) of pictures from Africa. I clicked on a random one. It was a picture of me and Isaac.

Tears immediately welled up in my eyes. I had to put my hands up to my face to stop them from beginning to race down my face like they were competing in the Indy 500. I looked at a few more and then I had to stop because I knew it would lead to just a total meltdown. But my mind was already gone. It was already there. Missing and thinking of my family and home on the other side of this big sphere we call Earth.

My whole drive home, Africa kept popping back up to the forefront of my thoughts. So once I got home to the safety of my little trailer and more specifically the confines of a warm bath, I scrolled through the beautiful pictures from Africa. And it hurts. Hurts bad. But that’s just because I have been incredibly blessed to meet brothers and sisters so far away.

I kept looking through pictures and noticed there was something that kept standing out to me for some reason. My hands. Pictures of my hands on babies bellies. Pictures of my hands locked in other hands. Pictures of my hands tickling children. Pictures of my hands washing dishes. Pictures of my hands sorting beans. Pictures of my hands making porridge and posho. Pictures of my hands in the air from celebrating gaining a new sister in Christ. Pictures of my hands washing feet. Pictures of my hands doing peace signs for goofy pictures. And pictures of my hands holding the Bible.

Hands. Ten fingers and a palm. Simple…yet powerful. The very thing that we use to get things DONE. The very thing I’m using to type this silly post.

I hear sermons and messages about our feet, our minds, and our hearts all the time.

But Lord…..let my hands forever be for you.

I began praying that my hands would never stop reaching to hug the necks of the “nobodys”. They would never stop interlocking with the “forgottens”. That they would always clap with, celebrate with, and be used to create silly pictures with the “less thans”. That I would never keep them for my own good, but that they would grow callused and worn from being used to meet new people, greet people, and love the heck out of people. 

That whatever I do….whether in the nicest neighborhood in the States, the slums of Africa, the dirt roads of Central America, the classroom, the grocery store, the church pew.  That wherever I am….whether typing a blogpost, teaching a child how to multiply, cooking food, giving a hug, hopefully one day writing a full book (just a girl dreamin’ okay), sorting beans, washing feet, holding a Bible and teaching from it, holding Mac’s leash, driving down the road, putting a Band-aid on a booboo, or typing a text. That whoever I’m around….whether around my Acholi brothers and sisters, my American friends, my precious class, my coworkers, the lady at McDonalds who takes my money (and literally probably knows my order because….ya know your girl loves her some McDonalds.NO SHAME)….wherever I am…whatever I’m doing…no matter who I am around…That my hands would always keep reaching…they would always keep holding….they would always keep working….they would always keep touching…they would always radiate love until my Jesus calls me home.


My hands. They are yours. Would you never let them close. Would you always keep them reaching for the hurt, the lost, the broken, the forgotten, the famous, the rich, the poor, the excited, the sad, the black, the white, the happy, the angry, the old, and the young. Would they hold tighter than they think they can hold, longer than they think they can hold, and more than they think they can hold. Would they always and forever cherish the people they get to cling to. My Baba, they are yours. I give you these hands.



This post. This post is not nice and tidy. It’s not going to be wrapped up into something beautiful. In fact, I don’t even know where God wants this to go.

This post. It’s going to be real. It’s going to be raw. And it’s going to be all the cries from the depths of my shattered heart.

So here is my heart….unfiltered and broken…..

Teachers are suppose to give out hugs and high fives. They are suppose to give grades and homework. They are suppose to watch a child grow physically, mentally, and emotionally. They are suppose to get exciting stories of their student’s weekend trips. They are suppose to get invitations to ball games and dance recitals. They are even suppose (or expectant rather ha) of emails from parents that aren’t too happy with us. What we aren’t suppose to get….what we aren’t expectant of…is a final goodbye, a journal left not complete, a name in a gradebook that won’t receive another grade by it, an empty seat, a child left without a reading partner, friends left without their recess buddy, a name that can no longer be called while taking roll, and a call that one of their students..no, one of their babies…has left this earth.

But here I am, here my co workers are, facing just that. Not once, but twice for me. In a matter of weeks.

It’s not okay. It’s not okay that a baby was taken. So I’m not okay. And I’m not afraid to say that. In moments I have told myself that I “have to be” because I am a “Christian”. But no, being Christian just means that in the pain there is still hope. It doesn’t mean I have to be okay. It doesn’t make me a robot. And so…

I’m not okay. My heart can’t even feel anymore. There is nothing left. It’s just like surgery. The pain is inflicted and there is a scar that is numb. That’s my whole heart. One big numb scar right now. My mind can’t stop. It won’t stop. I replay over and over the horrid stories of my two sweet girl’s last moments, and it makes me sick to my stomach. It makes me cringe. It makes me nauseous. I can’t sleep. It takes me forever to fall asleep, and when I do, I’m awaken to what feels like an elephant standing on my chest and fear and panic ripping through my veins like lightening on a hot summer night. I’m so panicked that something in general is just wrong that I feel each one of my furbabies bodies to feel the up and down of their lungs to make sure they are breathing. And then I lose it….I fall apart because the panic stops and the reality of the realness of what is really going on in my life sets in. And it hurts. Over and over and over. And I cry. Hard. And I just sit up or crumble to a ball because I know that going back to sleep won’t happen. I fall apart and say Jesus because that’s all I even know to say.

Which is another part of my pain. I love words. Words can be chosen and strung together so beautifully and precisely. And usually that is how I function. It’s how I vent and outlet myself. But I haven’t written hardly any words about anything in three weeks. Because there are no words. There is no amount of thought and effort put into words that can string together and explain the pain and feelings. There are no words I can write, say, or type that make things better…that make things okay. So I have been so frustrated within myself.

I’m also not okay because my kids, my babies, are hurting. I’m not okay because my best friends, the people I get to go to work with everyday, my coworkers, aren’t okay. I’m not okay because when I close my eyes I see mother’s, father’s, sibling’s, and other family member’s faces drenched in tears and filled with such great sorrow. Nothing in me is okay. My heart is not only torn, but shattered.

I have found that so many painful memories of losing Megan and TJ have flooded back into my mind and heart. So many “scars” have been ripped open again. So many feelings that I suppress without realizing it have surfaced in an overwhelming way. With Tj’s birthday and the anniversary of Megan’s death approaching in the next week, my heart is drowning. And I don’t say that to get sympathy, or “Poor Ander”. I say it so that you can see that my heart, my mind, my everything is beaten to a pulp. So that you can see that there is nothing left of me. That I am on empty….That I get through the day with my babies, but then I get home and I fall apart. I call my mom, or dad, or GanGan and I fall apart. The pain engulfs me and that wave of fear, tears, and panic crashes down on top of me…slinging my tired and weary heart every which way it wants.

I’m not okay.

So there is where I am today. And where I will most likely be for the next days. Because it hurts. But today, I have been reminded of a story in the Bible. A pretty common story.

Daniel 3. The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. (paraphrased)

They were three guys who loved the Lord. Who served him and only him. But there was another ruler…King Nebuchadnezzar. The one who required his subjects to bow down to his image. This was a problem for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They refused. Because they would not bow down to anyone other than the one true God, our God. And so King Nebuchadnezzar told them he was going to throw them into the fiery furnace if they refused. And their response was “throw us in if you must, but we won’t bow down to you. Our God can save us from the flames, but if he doesn’t, HE IS STILL THE ONLY GOD WE WILL SERVE. HE IS STILL GOOD”. (whoa). But in they went. And when the king and his soldiers looked in, they saw four men…not three.

There are three reasons why I think God has continually brought this Bible story to my mind today. 1. God is good. Even when the flames are hot and the fire is overwhelming. 2. Yes, God could have prevented all of this pain from happening just like he could have prevented the three boys from ever having to go into the fire. Which is sometimes hard to even say. We don’t like to think of God like that. But he isn’t caught off guard. 3. Sometimes the fires will come. Sometimes we will be thrown into the fiery furnace. Sometimes we will go into the fire. But we aren’t going in alone. In the fire, God is right there. Through the tears…through the pain…through the cuss words we scream at him..He is there…collecting our tears in bottles because he cares for us.

Today I sat with my head bowed and my eyes closed beside the faculty and staff of PRS as we start our 21 days of prayer for Pike Road School. We are in the fire. Thrown right into the furnace. With pain and flames around us. But not alone. We have the fourth man with us. The fourth man walking through the flames with us.

It would be an honor to have you join us in praying for our students, our school, the community, and the families of the three sweet students who are sitting at the feet of Jesus right now. Satan WILL NOT have foot in our pain. We will hurt, but we will hurt and seek the help of our Jesus. Satan does not win. He will not win.

If you want to join us, please search 21 Days of Prayer for Pike Road Schools on Facebook and ask to be a member. It would mean the world to us. Every day you will receive a prayer and verse to pray over our school and community.

No, I am not okay…my heart is overwhelmed…..but I will shout my ‘why’s’, I will cry my tears, I will crumble inside, but I will keep my eyes on my Jesus.

**Praying for PRS** ALL IN

hamster wheel

Have you ever felt like you were on a hamster wheel, running and running and running, and feeling like you are doing so much only to get off the wheel for a second and realize you haven’t moved at all…..

“Hamster wheel-ing it” has become my new saying.

I’m swamped right now. I love my job, but it’s never ending. Working at a PBL school that is creating change in education isn’t a simple 8-5 job. In fact, if I didn’t totally believe in everything it stands for and work with the greatest people in the country who support and love me, there’s no way I could do it. I’m also going to grad school online to get my masters. Which pretty much equates to two papers and a discussion board a week plus reading two chapters of a textbook that I need an open dictionary beside me to comprehend. All of that is hard. I know I sound like a brat. I’m so thankful for the opportunities that I have to do both of these, but it’s hard.

Most days I get home and I finish plans for the next day and do grad school only to fall into bed because I’ll wake up at 4:30 the next morning to go run and get to work. It’s a constant. And sometimes it can feel incredibly lonely. Even being surrounded by people.

I feel like the hamster on the wheel running and running as fast as my legs can possibly go….working and doing things yet all the while more things are piling up infront of me to do. Never feeling like I can “catch up”. Because I just feel like I’m spinning my wheels.

I feel like I’m running and doing so much each day and yet at the end of the day when I fall into bed, I feel like I’ve done nothing to advance his kingdom because I was so busy trying to just keep my legs going.

I’m thankful for these blessings….but it’s also hard.

Today, as I was crying my eyes out because test scores aren’t what I wanted, because friendships aren’t working how I wanted, because I’m exhausted from writing two papers from grad school today, and because I’m sick and trying to push through, I told a friend I was tired of being the hamster. Tired of going nowhere fast.

And as I tapped the send button, Jesus whispered to my soul….”but you’re training for something. That’s why you have to stay on the wheel right now.” “you’re going no where fast because you aren’t ready to run until I say run.”

**soul exhales**

As hard as it is, as impatient as I am, Jesus has me on this wheel for a reason. He has me in this season for a reason. And I can breath in knowing there’s a reason for it all. I can breath knowing “he uses all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose”

If you feel like you’re “hamster wheel-ing it”, breath and know that you’re training for a reason. If you feel like you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off and you can’t even catch your breath…that everything around you is hustle and bustle and do this and do that while feeling like you are lacking any true work for the kingdom, keep pushing….keep training…and keep your eyes on him….He’s training you for something HUGE.

heart hurt

I’m about to be really honest…totally transparent. So I hope you’re ready.

I’m not okay. And my mouth can’t find the words that my heart feels.


I’ve been back in the States for a little less than two weeks. And while I’m so happy to have run into the arms of my sweet family and laugh with my precious friends on this side, I’m not okay. My heart is not okay. It hurts in ways that I can’t explain and that might make me seem crazy if I could.

I currently feel like my Iphone charger that wanted so badly to fit into the African outlets but couldn’t without an adapter. I’m trying to force myself right back into the life I lived for so long before this summer, and I can’t. I can’t because I have just lived two totally different lives. Two lives that both became normal…two places that both have become home. It’s as if someone I loved greatly has died and I’m trying to figure out how to move forward without them while still carrying everything they taught me and I loved about them with me.

Most people spend their college years going through the “figuring out who I am” stage of life. Well I’m at mine now. Not in the “I’m going crazy to push the limits” kinda way. But in the way of living two different ways and trying to figure out what that leaves me with in the middle. How to mesh the two together. How to be “me”, how to be “God’s Ander” in both places. And so I’m trying to find me again.

I’ve struggled and felt so awkward in conversations. I have embraced friends that know everything about me and yet not been able to find any words to say. I missed their lives for a summer and they missed mine and the two lives we were living were vastly different and I don’t know what to say to fill the gap. There are movies and songs that I missed. There are mountains and valleys in their lives that I was away from and so I’m behind on the now. I feel as though there is no common ground. And all the same goes with them, they don’t know that side of life that I just lived either. And it’s nobodies fault….it’s just a cost (a cost I’ll always pay) of missions.

There’s the frustrations of coming from a place of porridge and now having a million and one choices of cereal to eat every day. The frustrations of having so much and knowing I would be perfectly find without much of it. There’s the frustration of living on “Acholi time” where “you get there when you get there” because you’ve stopped to have conversations with everyone on the way and now going and going and going and at the end of the day not feeling like you had one meaningful conversation.

I want so badly to share my life this summer so that everyone around me knows the people I now call family, and yet I can’t. I haven’t even wrapped my head around the stories and culture I just experienced. I haven’t fully cried my eyes out over the things I know both in the pain and the thankfulness. The pain that my family has experienced through the war in Uganda and in the complete gratitude and thankfulness I have that my Jesus has restored so many of their broken stories all because he is so merciful and kind. I haven’t even figured it out. I haven’t been able to even let myself think or hurt over it…I haven’t been able to even let myself try. But thank you, thank you so much to the ones who have asked me about my people and my home in Africa…thank you because it helps. Even if I can’t get it out. Thank you for asking…it means the world to me.

I told you I would be totally transparent and so I am. I have sat down and spent maybe two quiet times with my Baba since I have been back. I know….crazy right. I just went from being fully immersed in sharing his love and Gospel to hardly spending time with him. But that’s it. This is me being honest. My prayers have been simple…because I don’t have words…because my heart hurts. I just say help me. I just say show me. I just say I need you because I can’t. As strange as it sounds, when I pull my Bible out, my heart breaks. My heart shatters. Because my Bible was just held by dark brown hands, it has pages stained with red dirt fingerprints. It has notes and writings and dates of when scripture was shared. It’s hard. So I’m begging for your prayers for me. I know he is the only one that gets it. I need him.

It is all hard. It all hurts. Pictures of the sweet faces of my precious family across the ocean are constantly running through my head no matter what I’m doing like a slideshow that has no end.  Wondering what they are doing, wondering how they are, wondering if they are okay. And I know they are because I know that it was nothing of me that created those special bonds…it was all my Baba and my Baba still holds them. But it’s hard. It’s hard not to greet them, hold their strong hands, and hug their necks. It’s hard not to ask them “how is home” and not to have them laugh at my attempt to speak their language. It’s hard not to spend the early morning singing in the kitchen with Rose and the afternoons watching my guys kick butt at football. It’s hard.

I’ve decided one thing….If you want your heart to be completely whole inside of you, if you want to avoid hurt….don’t do missions. Don’t go meet people who might look, live, and sound different from you. If you want your heart to never break, don’t do it.

But….if you want your heart to be filled so much that it breaks because it explodes with love…go. If you want to fall on your knees in awe at the vastness of our Father in heaven and his amazing creating skills…go.

If you don’t want to pass a football (soccer) field filled with children trying to score and defend goals only to burst into tears because watching football was a daily activity…don’t go. If you don’t want to lose it because a lizard is on your door when you get home and it reminds you of the many small friends that you shared a house with on the other side of the world…don’t go.

But if you want to live knowing you are loved deeply by people who speak a different language and live a different culture…go. If you want to realize the only thing in this world that matters at all is finding a way to love people even when the odds are stacked against you…go.

If you want to see just how amazing our Father in heaven is…..go….



My Baba.

I’m over halfway done with my time in Africa and that blows my mind. Sometimes it seems like life on the other side of the world just isn’t there. It’s like even though I’ve spent my life in it, I can’t even imagine it anymore. It’s kinda a strange feeling.

God is good. God is active. God is so caring. Glory to God.

The testimony of God’s power I am about to give is something I have wanted to scream from the rooftops because it has blown my mind, yet one that in no way can I even begin to wrap my mind around. It’s something God is still revealing things through and using to teach me…but I am going to share it this far…..

I can’t remember when exactly it first slipped out of my mouth or really why, but I just know it was a while before hoping on the long flight to Africa. Before my heart and eyes could ever imagine this place. But in my prayers, instead of praying “Dear Heavenly Father” as I have for years to begin my conversation with him…I simply said “Baba”. I wrote it in my journal. And then as if someone else had written in my journal, I said “what???” What in the world is Baba. Seriously, I remember just staring at it. It was W.E.I.R.D.

I decided although it was weird, it was special and just something between me and God. I love a good nickname, especially one that is personal, so being the sentimental person that I am…Baba became the beginning of every prayer. To me, it was just that…just a nickname. A nickname that made him more personal to me.

I had no idea just how special this “nickname” would become. I had no idea the weight and the lessons and the mind blowing power that would send chills all over my body and shock in my face that was waiting in store for me.

So for a month or two or more, “Baba” is sloppily stained on the top of my notebooks.

Fast forward to two Thursdays ago…..June 22…

I have found “my place” here in at Abaana’s Hope in the middle of the bush of Uganda, Africa. & it happens to be the LAST place me or anyone I know or anyone who was preparing for me to come thought I would serve. I have fallen in love with the people who serve relentlessly in the kitchen. Who serve two meals every day to every worker at Abaana’s Hope and to all the school kids. A team of seven who are the hardest working people I have ever met. I could go on for days about my love for those seven, but I’ll save that for another day.

So everyday, this girl who a few months ago almost burnt down her parent’s kitchen just trying to make a simple breakfast casserole, spends her time in and around the kitchen. There are three workers at the kitchen who can speak a little English. (We spend most of our time laughing and dancing because being silly has no language barrier.) I was sorting beans with one of the guys who knows some English. His two year old little girl was close by singing a little song. He was talking and teasing back with her as we worked. A few minutes of silence passed and he said “Do you know what she is saying?” *To which the inside of me laughed because ABSOLUTELY NOT THE ACHOLI LANGUAGE IS TOO MUCH FOR MY NOGGIN* I simply responded with, “no. I don’t”. He said, “she is saying ‘Daddy, what are you doing? What are you doing?” To which I said “Awe, Simon, you’re such a good daddy.”

The next words have forever changed my heart. He said “Her Baba.”

My fingers, which have become strong and quick at sorting the good from the bad beans, froze, my eyes snapped to meet his eyes. “What did you say?” was all I could make my mouth say. He said “Her Baba.” Yall….my mind and heart were racing in a way that I can’t even describe. I still had not fully accepted that this was all truly happening so I said “Write that. Write that in the dirt.”

I watched as his fingers, dirty from the beans, wrote out the letters “B A B A”.

Was this really happening????? That’s all I remember thinking.

I remember him looking at me as if I was crazy. And I probably looked it because I couldn’t logically explain what was taking place. After a few seconds of silence, I finally muttered the words “what does that mean”

Simon, still looking at me like I had twelve eyes, said “It means daddy. It’s the Acholi word for daddy.”

Y’all…….I don’t think I moved for like three minutes. I totally freaked Simon out and he finally just kinda decided to let me sit there and he went to make the posho. I remember thinking….God….what in the world? How did you? How did I know that? WHAT????!

I clearly couldn’t function anymore at the kitchen because I was completely rattled. So I told them I would be back in a little while and I came back to the compound.

“God, what are you saying? God, how?” Those were the thoughts racing through my mind with every step on the red dirt trail back home.

And as I was walking, the most precious words and voice told me “I am your Baba. I not only walk with you each day, but I have your future in my hands and I am standing in your future waiting on you. I stand here now, and I stand there. Trust in me. Your future is perfectly planned. I have every step. I’m there every step. It’s all planned by me.”

I wish I you could see in my heart just what this MIRACLE has taught me. I think about how I rebelled against coming to Africa for months because I was terrified. I think about how I laid in a hospital bed not knowing if I’d make it. Not knowing if with every pain there was a blood clot or a brain aneurisms because those words became all too familiar. I think about laying on the couch with my feet in my daddy’s lap not knowing if my legs would ever work again. I think about all that fear. All those what if’s. All the tears. And I think about how I wrote Baba so many days ago. And how in each of those things, God already had the plans and the works that I just needed to trust and walk into. That I couldn’t see and didn’t know existed ahead. That I was so unaware of what would happen and why things happened the way they did and yet LOOK….God was already preparing and standing in my future.

I know that God did this to tell me to just trust in his plan. Just trust in his goodness. Just trust.

Just put one foot infront of the other even when things don’t add up…even when words like Baba appear in your journal…God is working them for your good…for your future. He stands in your future. Walk to Him.
“Be still and know that I am God”

KNOW that He is God…standing in complete control!!

My Warrior

I’ve been in Africa for almost a month now. And I’m sure everyone here is tired of hearing me say “I have GOT to blog.” (lol) I have been meaning to, but oh my goodness at the struggle of where to even begin.

I know I will find frustration in typing these words because they just will not do it justice. Words fail when the heart is the one dying to talk.

Life is different here. Very different. Life is hard here. Very hard. But life here is also beautiful. In the most unexplainable way.

In preparing for missions, you kinda think that God is sending you somewhere so that He can speak through you to encourage others. (Let me make it clear that going on missions is nothing of me….it’s all of Him). But oh my, oh my heart has been strengthened incredibly more by these people. I feel as though I have done nothing for them, and they are the ones pouring into me. I needed them.

Like I said, there are a million and one things that have happened that I would love to tell you. And please, let’s get coffee (AND SOME MCDONALDS) when I get back and I will tell you EVERYTHING. I just hope you have a full day to sit with me and hear of all the amazing things. But my heart just has to tell you of one lady. One lady who has come into my life so gently, but turned it upside down. Upside down in the best way possible.

Meet Evalyn.


Evalyn is a 39 year old woman who helps keep our house clean. That’s what her “job” is. But what…who…she really is…is my Evalyn. She is a warrior for God. A woman who prays like I have never seen anyone pray before. A woman of faith. A woman that God constanly smiles down on and is proud of because of her complete trust in Him. This I know to be true.

Since about last Thanksgiving, right around the time I got sick, God started convicting me of my prayer life. Yes, I prayed, but to say it plainly…my prayer life sucked. Honestly I didn’ t really get it. I didn’t see the power in it. I didn’t find the joy and the strength in it. Yes, I prayed….but not with faith. The next words I am about to say are hard. Because they are embarrassing but….I didn’ t really know how to pray. *INSERT GASP* Here I am, a girl raised in the church saying I didn’t truly know how to pray. My words were lifeless. Because I didn’t have the faith in them. What’s even crazier is that despite my brokenness, God heard them. But really, I prayed because I knew it was what I was suppose to do….not because it was something I desperatley needed…not because it was my dependency…not because it gave me life.

So again, God started convicting me last Thanksgiving….here I am in June finally surrendering and learning how to pray with faith. So….in walks Evalyn.

The first days Evalyn came she was sick. She had malaria. I was both way out of my comfort zone and overwhelmed by the vast difference of the African world I now lived in. Still, even on those first couple days, God kept laying Evalyn on my heart. I was drawn to her. And I now know that God was pressing us together “for such a time as this”.

Evalyn is new to Abaana’s Hope. She just began working not too long ago and so she was very shy when she started. For some reason, a reason I am so thankful for, God continued to lay her on my heart.

On June 6, just 9 days after landing in Africa, I have this written in my journal…

“I found one of God’s places He wants me to serve. That’s ministering to Evalyn.” (Little did I know that she would be the one ministering so much to me.) That journal entry ends with “Father, allow a relationship to blosssom. Father, please open doors. Please create relationships. Please, Please, Please.” AND OH MY HOW HE DID.

On June 8, eleven days after landing in Africa, God broke down a wall that created the most beautiful friendship.

At lunch, I was making a sandwich and Evalyn was cleaning. God was pressing on me to ask her what her favorite scripture was. I fought it for probably thirty minutes. It seemed like such a random question to ask her. *Let me pause right here and tell you that Evalyn understands and can speak English fairly decent. It’s just the south Alabama slang that sometimes gets her :)* FINALLY, I realized that God was not going to let this go. So I asked…..and oh how thankful I am that God pressed so hard to get me to. She told me about how she loved all the Psalm. I asked her why and she told me they are a battle cry. They got her through some difficult times. Times when she lost both her parents and her brother to the war. Times of loneliness and fear. She told me that the words of the Psalm, of the whole Bible, are active. They are alive and she can hold onto them. That Satan can’t get her when she speaks Jesus’ name.

I had never seen someone talk about the scripture, cling to and cherish the scripture like I did when I saw Evalyn talk about it. & this was only the beginning.

Evalyn and I began to talk every day. Sometimes deep and long conversations and sometimes just short convos. Until last Thursday. Last Thursday is a day I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Evalyn was in our room doing some cleaning and I went in to talk to her. We just began talking and when Evalyn talks about God…it’s as if the whole world stops. She speaks with such faith and realness. With such boldness. I love hearing her words. I told her about Bailey and asked her to pray for her surgery. She told me she would…and when she tells me, I know she will. In fact, she not only prayed that day…she fasted that day and the next so she could pray for Bailey and her family…for a girl she has never met. She told me, “I want God to heal your friend in America so that she can tell everyone about how good our God is.”

Our conversation went through many things. About how life is hard and painful sometimes. I asked her if she ever got angry at God for taking her parents and brother. For allowing her husband to mistreat her. It covered many topics. Than I began telling her about how I ended up coming to Africa. And I told her I know God led me here to meet her. About how he ordained us meeting. That’s when things changed. When tears filled both of our eyes as we realized how soverign our God is. We just both knew it was all because of him. And then Evalyn said words that I will never forget. She looked me in the eyes and told me she use to fear the white people. She was scared of all of us. She liked it when the house was lonely. And then she held our her arms and said “I couldn’t figure out why a young white girl like you would talk to an old black person like me” She rubbed her dark arms continuing and saying “A person who can’t speak much English and who doesn’t have much schooling.” And then she said with tears running down her face…”but you love me. You love me.”

And I do. More than I ever thought possible. I love her more than words can say. And I know I love her because Christ loves me. A love that can only be possible because of Christ. Because Christ’s love conquers all things. All cultural differences, all age differences, and all language differences. And so we hugged and we wept tears of overwhelming joy and I told her that God brought me hundreds of kilometers from my home because I needed her. And as I held her and she held me, my warrior praised Jesus. She gave Jesus all the glory.

And all the glory He deserves. Psalm 8 says “What is man that you are mindful of them?”…I’ve said it over and over. Father, who am I that you care so much to have me on the other side of the world to meet my Evalyn. To learn and grow from my Evalyn.

In these past days, I have learned how to pray with faith by Evalyn’s example. Evalyn approaches his throne and lays her requests down at the King’s feet and then KNOWS that they will be answered. She walks away with full trust that Jesus has them. She doesn’t wonder when or if they will be answered. She KNOWS they will. She presents her requests to the Father and leaves them there. She doesn’t try to pick them back up. She lays it down to the only one who can make it all work out. She tells me all the time that God has created a path and a way for us…we just have to walk in it. He hears us. I’ve never met a woman who has faith in her praying like Evalyn. In Matthew, it says people all brought the sick, the hurting, the lame, and the blind to the feet of Jesus KNOWING that Jesus would heal them. That is what my Evalyn does. She lays it down and KNOWS. “Be still and KNOW that I am God.” I have missed that for so long. I have presented my request to God but still carried them with me. I have carried them instead of fully releasing and trusting that He will come through. I read in a book earlier this week that we should have so much faith and be so real in our prayers that we would be in such trouble if God didn’t come through. That’s the faith Evalyn has in the one whose feet she lays her requests at. She lays them knowing they aren’t for her to pick back up. They are his to work through.

Oh my Father, how thankful I am for my Evalyn. Thankful for her example and sweet, yet strong spirit and faith. Thank you for a friendship so divine and beautiful that can only be because of you. Be with my sweet Evalyn. Keep her safe. Keep her kids safe. And hold her…hold her like you have for all these years.

Please join me in praying that one day God will allow Evalyn to purchase land so she can build a house and have her children all together again!

Evalyn wanted to meet my parents 🙂
Evalyn can rock the duck face!!