Remembering Stories

I’ll never forget March 2015. After turning thirteen, one of the first things I got to do was fly with my dad and members of our community to Uganda to serve with  Sixty Feet, a ministry that works with children in Uganda’s child prisons or “remand homes,” for a week. One week. That’s all it took to turn my world upside down.
In Uganda, I met a lot of different people with lots of different stories. Stories that coaxed tears from eyes. Stories that made me want to hold those who had those stories close and never let anything hurt them again…
There was Daniel’s story.
He and his little sister went biking one day in the big city of Kampala. Nothing bad was supposed to happen… But then he got lost. He tried to find his way home, but to no avail. Soon, the police found him and took him to a remand home.
Daniel was never reunited with his family before he passed away because of HIV.
There was Annie’s story.
I didn’t know all of her story, but I saw her joy. I saw her radiant smile. I saw her curiosity and what I could call a tendency for mischief blossoming. In the midst of the ugly… She was a spark of joy.
There was Eli’s story.
His Hard Rock Café t-shirt hung loosely on his gaunt frame, but I can recall seeing more than a physical hunger. He had wishes and dreams-one of which included going to America and meeting the famed American President. I got to teach him tic-tac-toe and chat with him for awhile.
I could tell multitudes of these stories. I could tell you about a little boy whose cries moved me to tears and about a young mother on the streets who begged for a single drink of water. I could tell you about a group of little girls who found joy in simply stroking my hair and a two-year old boy who stuck stickers all over his sweet face.
So many stories. So little space.  
Today, those stories still impact me. Because of those stories and that trip, a little boy named Matthias is playing with his trains as I type this. Because of those stories, God has challenged me to see the world through his eyes and not my own. Because of these stories, I have a deeper desire to be the hands and feet of Christ no matter where I am. 
I hope these stories will change your life like they did mine and that you will join me in praying for the imprisoned children of Uganda.  
If you’d like to learn more about Sixty Feet and their mission, plus more ways to help, click here. Do you want to help children like Eli, Annie, Carrie, and Daniel? To make a donation, click here. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them. =) 
 
What are some stories that have impacted you? Have you been on a missions trip before? If so, what did you learn? If you haven’t, where is a place you’d like to serve? 
 

Matthias

Once upon a time, I went to Uganda with the ministry of Sixty Feet
In Uganda, I saw things. I saw kids without parents and homes. I felt God chipping away at my heart and I saw Him work on my parents’ hearts. He laid on my family a call to adopt. We then began the adoption process with AWAA
Nearly two years later, we have little Matthias home. Today, I want to share the video I made about my family’s adoption story. It’s a happy story, full of waiting and excitement, prayer and tears, with the best ending I could ever imagine. God is good. 
Thank you to everyone who supported us and prayed for us during this journey. You mean so much to us! 

2017

Can anyone else believe that it’s 2017? I mean, it feels like it was 2016 just yesterday…

Wait a second, it was 2016 yesterday.

A lot happened in 2016. I moved twice, once from Europe to South Carolina and then again from South Carolina to Washington. I started high school. Matthias came home. I wrote the first draft of my novel. It was a pretty epic year, full of ups and downs and a ton of blessings. And guess what? There’s a new year ahead of us to do some crazy awesome stuff! I know a lot of us have some goals for the next year, so I thought I’d share five of my writing and reading related goals…

This year, I want to be more diligent about studying the Bible. One of the resources I plan on using is She Read Truth. I used their plan to study the Bible during the Advent season, and I plan on using their Esther and Timothy studies in January.

I really didn’t read as much as I wanted to in 2016, and 100 seems like a reasonable number… Don’t you think? =)

I’ve always wanted to do this, but I’ve always had some excuse. This is the year, guys. *silently screams at self for insanity*

I would love to blog once a week in 2017! I think I can make this work… I think.

*hides the fact that I’m not even done with the second one* Right now, I’m strengthening the plot and developing my characters even more. And then there’s the whole I-wrote-the-first-draft-in-a-notebook-so-I’m-turning-it-into-a-Word-doc fiasco… I’d love for this to be ready for beta readers by the summer, way far away, I know.

This new year, let’s remember that 2017 isn’t just a year to check stuff off our bucket lists or stick to our resolutions. It’s a time to grow. A time to follow. A time to do.

I can’t wait to see what God has planned for us in this new year, can’t you?

What did you guys do to ring in the new year? How are liking the new blog? =) What are some of your goals for 2017?
Happy New Year!