Tuesday, September 30, 2014


My very first childhood memory was from when I was 2 years old. I vaguely remember peeking out from around a corner as a 9 year old boy flashed me a huge smile, laughed excitedly, and eagerly started very shakily coming towards me. I quickly hid on the other side of the wall, terrified he would get to me. I walked up the stairs, clinging to my mom and as we entered his bedroom, I saw a huge metal crib. My little mind was racing and I couldn't quite understand exactly what was happening, but it all seemed frightening and "unordinary".

That was the day I met my big brother. My parents had become "skilled care providers" through the state of NJ. Cameron, a 9 year old boy with severe cerebral palsy, was our first placement. That day began a whole new life for my family and it has helped shape my perspectives, opinions, reactions, and my goals.

My initial fears of Cameron, quickly disappeared once he came to live with us. There was not a thing to fear about that incredible boy. He taught me within days that "different" is not a bad thing, and that disabled only means differently abled. We became fast friends and shared an incredible bond. Oh how I miss you big brother.

I can not even begin to tell you the impact of being raised with siblings with special needs. I adored Cameron with everything that I had. Though he never spoke a word, he listened, he watched, he loved. He didn't need to say a word. Despite any "disabilities" that he had, his soul was beautiful. He was almost ALWAYS happy and smiling and just being in the room with him could make a bad day, better.

Cameron lived with our family for over 10 years and the day we said goodbye is still one of the hardest to relive. It has been around 15 years since I last saw him. Last saw his huge smile, last was embraced in his bear hug, and last kissed him goodbye.

I miss him tremendously, and pray that wherever he is, he is still smiling and spreading joy and love.

Happy Birthday Cammie. Thank you for all of the joy you brought to my life. I love you buddy, and I always will.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mission Generation

It is coming up on our two year anniversary of our move to Panama and it has been quite a journey. It has been emotional to say the least, but God is good and we have had an wonderful ride.

One extremely difficult part of living in Panama has been the overwhelming feeling of not being able to "do it all" and meet every need. It is so emotionally difficult when you live in one town, but know that you have no impact on children in the next town over, or children 2 hours away. The burden on my heart for so many of the children here is strong. We can tell them about Jesus, but seeing many of them from farther towns on such a limited basis is hard. How can we ensure that their relationship with Christ continues to grow? How can we be most effective in reaching them for Christ? This is something that Nathan and I have mourned over and prayed extensively about. How can we have the greatest impact? How can we best glorify God? The answer came to us unexpectedly several months ago when we met a couple that was currently serving as missionaries in Chile, Rocky and Joske Malloy. In 1999 they started an organization called "Mission Generation" in Bolivia and have since launched a program in Paraguay and Chile as well.

So what does Mission Generation do?

"Mission Generation has developed an accredited curriculum that teaches biblical principles for life, and the good news of Jesus Christ. We operate inside one of the largest networks on earth, the public and private school system, throughout Latin America. This is a massive, effective and efficient means of reaching entire nations with the Gospel. Why are the nations so willing to use our curriculum? Because the Word of God is powerful.When students learn of God's purpose for their lives, that is only found through Jesus Christ, they transform into highly productive citizens in society. The results have been so profound that secular governments are subsidizing a Jesus program as a required school subject. By keeping the focus on Jesus and the Truth of His Word, we have gained the support of Catholics and Protestants alike."

The program has been so successful in reducing teen pregnancy, gang participation, and drug and alcohol abuse, that many other Latin American governments have begun showing an interest in the program. After interest from the Panamanian government, Mission Generation has decided to launch a pilot program here in Panama,with the help of Nathan and I. This is SO EXCITING for us and we are so thrilled for this opportunity to be able to impact an entire generation with Biblical truths and values. Children that may otherwise never learn about Jesus will now be able to hear about His word and His principles on a daily basis.

Can I just tell you what an answer to prayer this is? We are so thrilled to be able to maximize the amount of children that we are able to reach. We see the despair that many of these children live in. Being able to share with them this hope for a future, as well as being able to reach their hearts for Jesus while they are young is so important to us.

Would you please be in prayer for us as we begin this exciting journey? This will be a very busy season for our family as we work to ensure that the pilot program here in Panama is successful. As we are working in the public school system we pray that God allows us to be effective for His kingdom while speaking and interacting with the children, their parents, and the school faculty.

If you are interested in learning more about Mission Generation, be sure to check out their website--- WWW.MissionGeneration.Org

Thank you all for your prayers and support!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What's new?!?!

As it turns out, I am not the best at keeping up with this blog. I get so caught up in our day to day life and while I desire to blog, I go to bed each night once again having neglected to for one reason or another. So to the 3 of you who read this blog, I apologize.

August was a very exciting month for us as we welcomed our first "short-term" mission group from Maranatha Baptist Church. It was such a blessing to be able to share Panama with them and introduce them to many of the children that we work with. Being able to watch our sweet friends from the States (and some family!) interacting with these children that we so dearly love was truly an amazing experience.

Thanks to MBC we got to see a LOT of little faces light up as they received some awesome gifts! Soccer balls, nail polish and jewelry, coloring books, cars, dolls, and even practical things like shoes as well as toothbrushes and toothpaste (donated by some very generous dentists in NJ) were amongst some of the goodies that were shared with hundreds of little ones in Chiriqui, Panama.

The group contained 9 adults and 4 teenagers and watching their lives being transformed and their hearts softened by the experience was one very exciting highlight for Nathan and I. We are truly grateful to those who came and who gave of themselves to the people of Panama. We also truly appreciated the kindness they showed to our family and our sons. Moving away from their friends and family has been hard on some of our boys, and having 13 people come and love on them and make time for each of them, brought me to tears. As a mama, I often worry about my boys and what they may be "missing out" on, so it is a huge blessing to me to have people take time for my children as well. My boys were on cloud 9 all week long and were of course sad to say goodbye. We truly had a wonderful week and were so encouraged by the friendships and fellowship that we shared.

While it is not practical or possible for every Christian to go "overseas" to serve, we feel passionately that it IS possible as well as commanded of us, to be serving the orphans, widows, and the "least of these" in our own communities. We hope that the trip has encouraged those who came to Panama to continue to serve others for Christ in their own community.

THANK YOU MARANATHA BAPTIST CHURCH--- for your gifts, your time, your prayers, and your LOVE that you shared with us here in Panama.