Monthly Archives: August 2015


A sweet little girl named Sara died Saturday.
The news didn’t cover it.  The Internet didn’t explode in outrage.  Protesters didn’t mobilize to decry a senseless death. 

But she was loved and is grieved.  Individuals with names are crying over her.  Individuals who matter not because I met them but because God made them.

Sara, 9 years old and full of joy and laughter, was one of the kids at the Children’s Nest Orphanage in Zambia, a place our church has partnered with for several years and that Tracy and I have each visited.  Back in 2012, when I went, she must’ve been just 6, and I remember her dancing and twirling with my American teammate Sarah. I have pictures of them smiling together on my computer; I wish I could share one, but I’m working from my phone at camp and won’t have access for days.

It’s amazing what problems result from a simple lack of access.  Sara, HIV positive, died because her body lacked the antibodies that would’ve prevented infection when she got burned by a candle.  She lacked access to the medical care that might have made up that difference had she been in the U.S.

It’s maddening that the light she brought to the world was snuffed out by a candle.

Tragedies like these happen daily around the world.  They break the hearts of the individuals who know them but are largely shrugged off generically by those who don’t, chalked up to inevitability and broad assumptions of people there being at fault.  “Well, that’s what happens there,” people often say, as if those born into situations larger than them are somehow at fault. As if lives there don’t matter (unless, of course, they’re lions with names and fans).

Sara had a name.  She had a personality, and it was beautiful and joyful and innocent and good. She was 9 years old and loved by her friends, by the adults working to care for them, and by her two sisters.  She mattered, because she was a human being made by God in His image, created as a unique expression of His love for the world, a unique combination of gifts.

And many of us will miss her, even as we remember that she is far from pain and danger and sadness, dancing joyfully not with a friend or visitor but with her loving Father. 

I just wanted you to know that.

Rest in peace, Sara.  

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Too much for us but not for Him

Please pray for us.  We’re not doubting our calling or facing disease.  Debts aren’t piling up and collectors aren’t after us.  The kids are fine and enjoying summer.  Karen’s even at sleep-away camp.

But we’re swamped.  We’re in a hectic season that’s very stressful.  There are more tasks to do than we can possibly accomplish in and through ourselves.  In just twelve days, we have to be out of the house that we bought when we thought God wanted us here forever.  The house just across the creek from where I grew up.  The house that had room for a workshop so I could be the kind of Dad who made things for his kids.  The house I saw while walking late one night twenty-some years ago and thought, “what a neat old house,” and that I saw five years ago and noticed was for sale.  The house with stately old trees and a pool, just like I always wanted.

The house that got full of things and that now needs to be emptied.

For weeks, we’ve been sorting everything we own into five categories:  a small amount of things to put into long-term storage here, things we’ll take with us to South Africa, things we’ll need in the temporary home we’ll have until we leave, things we need to sell, and things to just purge.  This last category has filled the 96-gallon recycling and garbage toters almost every week; my old school papers did it twice.

It’s hard.  The books I’ve loved and the ones I’ve never gotten to.  The ornately carved piano my parents restored, a piece I’ve always loved and kept and had hoped to pass down as an heirloom…  The beds I made for the kids… too big to store in our 6×12 cargo trailer.  There are stories to tell here but not the time for them now.  I want to tell them but have to get back to other tasks of sorting, purging and packing.

So I’m asking for prayer.  I’m asking you to join me in consciously connecting with God, in thanking Him for his blessings and guidance and asking for his strength and wisdom and encouragement.  I’m asking you to intercede with Him on our behalf.  He taught us He would always listen and He does, especially when we ask Him together, and we have faith that He does and will.

“Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.”

James 5:14-15, New American Standard Bible

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