Monday, February 27, 2012


The other day I took one of the children to the pediatrician for a check-up.  The nurse is doing her thing- blood pressure, height, weight; and then she asks me, "has she been exposed to a nursing home, homeless shelter, or anyone living in a correctional facility?".

The presumed and hoped for answer here, is "NO!".  Any good mother knows that these types of settings are at best unhealthy environments, and at worst, downright dangerous.

But aren't these the very places Jesus calls us to go?

Jesus tells us that when we host a dinner party, to run out to the streets and alleys; invite the poor, crippled, blind and lame (Luke 14:21).  Jesus came to release prisoners from darkness (Isaiah 61:1).  Jesus invites us to care for the widow countless times throughout the scriptures.

Jesus scandalized his contemporaries by hanging out with prostitutes and the demon-possessed.

When questioned by the Pharisees why He ate with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus replied, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick."

Jesus' compassion extends to the despised and neglected.  We are his hands and feet in the world today.
Do you think Jesus cringed before he took the hand of the homeless beggar?  Did He keep hand sanitizer in his cloak pocket? Or, could He look past the grime, the lice, and the tattoos, seeing right to the heart?

If we let germs and bad smells keep us away from the people Jesus loves, we can't do His work.

Friday, February 17, 2012

LAPS of Love Update

So excited to partner with the Sheltering Wings school in Yako, Burkina Faso!  We don't have the grand total yet and more donations are coming in, but it looks like we have raised over $3000!

Such a great learning experience for our children here to learn what it is like to go to school in Africa.  Evelea and Therese gave speeches to kick-off the event.  Therese gave a first hand account of her previous school experience and how it compares to school in America.  Evelea spoke about Burkina Faso.  So proud of my girls.  They both want to be missionaries and this is great practice.  Actually, it is not practice, they are already doing it!

The kids did fun laps like a disco lap, marching to Patriotic songs, and my favorite, the butt scoot.

Can't wait for the love of these kids to reach these kids...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thanks a lot, Francis Chan!

Yesterday, I had the sweet experience of taking my Safe Families child to visit her newborn brother in the hospital.  It was fun watching her two-year old self interacting with her new brother for the first time and seeing her reunite with her mother for a precious visit.

I wondered if she would have a very difficult time coming back home with me after seeing her mom today, but everything went really well.  I could just really feel God's presence.  Except not so much when I got lost driving out of the city...

Ended up having a REALLY long night with the little one though.  She spiked a fever in the night and refused Tylenol- even when I resorted to telling her it was Cinderella candy!

Last night I was supposed go to see Francis Chan at Moody Bible Institute.  When I realized I wouldn't be able to leave all the kiddos with a sitter (Casey had to work), I was really disappointed to have to cancel my plans.  I LOVE Francis Chan!  Plus we celebrating this amazing friend's birthday.  Plus, we were "pre-kicking off" our 7 adventure.

My disappointment was quelled when I heard God whisper, "but Erika, you are living Crazy Love tonight".  Then I KNEW I was right where I was supposed to be.

If you haven't read either of the books I mentioned, and you are ready to have your safe, tidy, Christian world ROCKED, check them out.

Crazy Love, by Francis Chan
7, by Jen Hatmaker

Thursday, February 2, 2012

L.A.P.S. of Love

Some of you may remember last Valentine's Day when Therese and Evelea's fourth grade class raised money for Therese's former school.

This year we are very excited because it will be the fourth and fifth graders working together.  LAPS stands for "Let's All Provide Supplies".  The students get sponsors to support them as they walk laps around the school gym on Valentine's Day.

Here is the breakdown of how much various supplies would cost in Burkina:

School Uniforms:  $7.50 per child
School Supplies:  $8 per child
Textbooks:  $28 per student
School desk: $75
Equip and run a classroom for one year, including teacher salary and lunch for the children:  $5000

Did you know that the literacy rate in Burkina Faso is approximately 12%?  or that only 10% of girls can be found in the secondary education (6th-8th grade) programs?

If you'd like to see a video that depicts life in Burkina, and specifically at Therese's school, watch this:

If you are interested in helping the Sheltering Wings orphanage school, in Yako, Burkina Faso, please email me at

So excited to see what our kids can do!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Amazing Grace

Ugh, I've never liked that song.  I know this statement just made some of you doubt my salvation, but it's true.  But let me explain...

When I was little, a lot of my relatives died.  I attended quite a few funerals.  Three of my grandparents died before I was ten.  A common thread to these funerals?  That's right, Amazing Grace.  So I grew up associating Amazing Grace with death and funeral homes.

I did change my tune about this song when I learned of its origin and the great William Wilberforce and the incredible conversion of John Newton, a former slave trader.

But this blog post was never intended to be about the song.

It's about a book.

I can't tell you how my heart broke when Sitota came home from school today.  She told me that kids were telling her that she "won't get picked to be Rapunzel (in the 2nd grade musical) because she is black and that would be too ugly".

Yuck.  I could barely type those words.

I immediately called to mind a great book we've checked out from the library quite a few times, though not recently.  It's called Amazing Grace, by Mary Hoffman.

It tells the story of a girl named Grace, who wants to play Peter Pan in the school play, and is told she can't, by her classmates.  Praise God for her strong grandmother who takes her to see a ballet featuring a African-American woman and, of course, encourages her to go for the role.

You better believe Casey brought it home from the library tonight!   And rest assured, it is already checked out of my Amazon cart!

I want Sitota to know that skin color DOES NOT preclude her from doing ANYTHING.  Now if the rest of society would just cooperate...

And between you and me, I think we all know the real amazing grace here, is that I haven't beat up those kids up yet.