Friday, November 8, 2013

A Dream Defered, or rather, Continued...

I've had a lot of hesitation about posting this week. Maybe I'm just scared of rejection, or that I haven't prayed enough before I set my thoughts out into the world. But here goes. For several years now, I've been dreaming of opening my own bookstore. Originally, I wanted it to be only a bookstore- then it turned into a bookstore with music, arts and crafts, and body care- things that make people happy and have a higher quality of life. I've also been getting to know several people in the area who are passionate about adoption ministry as I am. This week, God merged the two passions together. My goal is to run a business where people feel free to donate gently used items, and the profits would be given to families seeking to adopt. I prayed about which area to specifically serve. God reminded me of the Christian family unit in the US. The truth I have seen on several occasions is that more families would be open to adoption if they knew finances were not a stumbling block. At this point in my life, I am six months from graduation and I am moving back to my parents house. I have numerous loans to pay off and the idea of getting this up and running is both exciting and overwhelming. But just as God has slowly revealed his dreams with mine through the years, I know it will require time, patience, and prayer. I pray that this will be blessed by God and that I would find supporters who value this vision despite my inabilities.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I could say that one reason why I haven't written about my other trip days is because I was working, but the real reason is that the days I didn't write about were either too difficult or too life-changing to simply type. I've had a few months to think about the things that stood out to me the most on this trip. One moment stands out.

"We're going to a special needs orphanage tomorrow, so let's pray for emotional strength and guidance." our team leader said the night before our last day at CRAN and our trip to this orphanage. Knowing me, I was going to be a wreck. I loved kids, but seeing so many with disabilities and no homes would be rough. I initially backed out, thinking that staying home would be better than being dragged across the city and having my heart ripped out and stomped on.

The drive took a long time. Our three taxis all were lost and we panicked as we watched ourselves get deeper into the worst parts of Bogota. No one seemed to have ever heard of this place, like it never existed. One person would point left, while another pointed right. We got all the way to the mountain top before mentioning giving up. We made it after and hour and a half, only to find our group still hadn't arrived yet. The director begged us to come inside, despite us wanting to catch the others if they drove by. When we all got inside, we were led down a dungeon like hallway, around corners, and upstairs.

And there they were. Just sitting, some staggering to walk with walkers and braces, some on their backs on simple blankets. Feeding tubes, head gear, facial impairments, and misshaped heads and legs were only a few troubles we saw.

I spotted a little boy and girl on their backs and said hello. The boy smiled, I asked to hold him. At three, his head was flat on one side and he could scoot himself with his legs, but he couldn't walk. I held him and made funny faces with him that he copied back to me. He giggled, a sound I thought I'd never hear from this hidden place. I could have held him all day. My arms were getting tired, or I wanted to say hi to the others, whatever the reason, I placed him back on his back. Since then, I've thought, "How easy is it to look past this imperfection and see the joy that is this child? If I could be his mother, I would never stop holding him. yet, a sickness was also brewing in me. I could take care of and love this boy, but I couldn't see myself constantly loving the wheelchair bound child, the child with the missing eye. or the one on a constant feeding tube. Why do I have these thoughts? Am I too human? This question still bothers me today...

Since then, I have been thinking of that orphanage hidden on the top of the mountain. Surely there are people with more love than me who can take these children and bring them out of hiding. Let the world know they are here, they are loved, and they are His children.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wilmer goes Home!

From Project Hope Ministries Facebook Page:

Today is a very special day for Project Hope. Today Wilmer, a little boy from CRAN, will be joining his forever family. Many of you have joined us in praying for him over the past year, and we hope you will continue to pray for a smooth transition for this family. We praise God for His ability to unite a special family with an amazing little boy!"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a HOPE and a FUTURE." ~Jeremiah 29:11


Congratulations on finding your forever family. May you find joy in the good times, and peace in the hard times. Stay close to your family, and closer to God. Enjoy childhood, because it fades too quickly. Make mistakes, create dreams, and go after them. Most of all, use your story to help others.

Happy homecoming!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Day 3: Walk on the Water, Too.

"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' that would not make it any less a part of the body..." 
 I Corinthians 12: 12-16

Day 3 started with a visit to Tierra Linda, a local church in Bogota. Going in,we recognized some of the tunes of songs we have sang back in the US in our churches. Our missionary friend Gere talked to us about the church before the service. He told us that family life in Colombia is falling apart and the church is overworked trying to meet many people's needs.

We were expecting to sit in church and listen despite language barriers. Thankfully, Glenda volunteered to translate the sermon for us- which turned out to be about Communion. We met so many wonderful people at the church, who hugged us, gave us their contact info, and shared their stories.

I knew today would be a day of firsts for me and I was nervous. I sang myself Britt Nicole's Walk on the Water throughout the day. We took four siblings from the church with us as we headed downtown to hand out blessing bags. These are such great kids- they are silly, kind, and respectful. On the bus ride I talked to Laurena through broken Spanish. She asked about my "I am Second bracelet." I told her, "Jesus es uno, mi es dos" and I gave it to her. The smile on her face was something I will never forget! "Caren!" she called to her sister. "Regalo para Deanna!" These are the moments when I know following Jesus is the best way I could live my life.

Downtown we saw many homeless individuals. The goal was to hand out two for each team member. It was raining- people were under bags on benches, a woman fell crossing the street, and people got word we were handing out bags and came up to us asking for a bag. I didn't know how much it affected me seeing all this until I had a real breakdown that night. Despite the struggles we saw, God provided not only safety, but friendship and opportunities all week.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day 2 in Bogota

The overall day went okay. We visited Castle de Marroquin, which was beautiful! God's nature is so amazing! We spent time at Guatavita- a lagoon where an Indian Chief was painted with resin and gold and jumped into the lagoon as a sacrifice. This was an interesting location, but my attitude was awful. The higher up in the mountain we walked, the harder it was to breathe and the colder it got. We stayed at the Lagoon for the afternoon and went to eat at a mountainside restaurant. We ate black sausage (tastes like cornbeef), cheese pockets, coca-cola, and salted potatoes. It was so delicious! At night we walked to the local grocery store. There was a family outside asking for money. The youngest was a girl about two years old. Colombians thought it was colder (mid 50's) so they all had on winter coats and scarves. This was an new experience for me- what can I do? We couldn't do much, but it stuck with me nonetheless.

I am loving it here- I can't really explain why-it's different and beautiful but like home in a few ways.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Tomorrow's post will be focused on Day 2, but I wanted to share a post from my friend Becca about someone special we met at the orphanage.

If you follow Project Hope Ministries you have already heard his name. Ferley (Fare-lay) is an 11 year old boy at CRAN orphanage, and as with all Colombian orphans (and orphans around the world), being this age means that his days at the orphanage are numbered. If a family does not step forward to adopt Ferley in the coming months, he will be transferred to a different orphanage and will no longer be available for adoption. He will spend the next few years learning how to survive in a cold, cruel world, and when he is 18, he will be released into that world with no family to fall back on, and no government programs to assist him. No food stamps, no free health care, no government housing.

While in Bogota, we saw so many adults living this terrible life - hungry, cold, and hopeless. That's why meeting and spending time with Ferley this week was such an emotional wakeup call to me. All of those people were Ferley at one time. They were children. However they came into their circumstance, they were once an innocent child desperate for someone to give them hope. 

This is not a generic call for awareness, although advocating for these orphans is one of my missions. I'm telling you about Ferley because I want Ferley to find a family. Did you know that there are 3500 families on the waiting list for a healthy Colombian baby (which is a wonderful thing), but that it is rare for any of these families to even consider adopting an older child? Meanwhile a loving, servant-minded, smart young boy waits out his years in an orphanage as his "expiration date" draws nearer and nearer every day. I have seen many "Ferleys" join forever families, including my own nieces and nephew, my sister, and children of my friends. Zack and I will join that list when God opens the door. Have YOU ever considered walking through that door? Has someone you know ever discussed the idea of adopting? Tell them about Ferley. Tell them that organizations like Bethany Christian Services and Project Hope Ministries are there to walk them through the process, step by step. It is NOT out of reach. It is a long, tough process, but you CAN do it.

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed." - Psalm 31:8

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A HUGE Thank-you and Day One

First things first, let me say so many thanks to everyone who prayed for our trip over the past few months, sent donations, and read our updates. We were able to genuinely love people for who they were during our time in Bogota. We shared meals, laughter, and tears as brothers and sisters of Christ. We were also fortunate to have little to no major issues with travel or sickness, and weather cooperated to our advantage. Without your support, we would probably have had a difficult time, but we did not.

(I will share some of what I wrote in my journal)

Wow, what a day! I'm still on the plane flying over Panama. There's been a lot of patience required to get here- long trips, delays and many nerves. (Thank-you Shauna for being my travel mom for my first out of country experience and first plane ride!) I not only saw that I enjoy flying, but that God has been with me this entire time, and not just in the airport. There will be many joyful tears (and maybe some sad ones) Show me your path for me regarding children and adoption- give me a heart that exceeds myself and travels beyond my safe home in the US. help me be a friend, not a complainer, open my heart for Your love. I am so excited for this journey You have brought me on- 6 years of prayer and study and I'm going to the orphanages! I thought my life was going the opposite direction from everything I had planned- yet Your plans are so much bigger than mine will ever be! Thank your for giving me this heart that cries!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Leaving soon!

21 hours and I will be on my way to Colombia! It's so crazy to think that God had all of this planned for me. When I was sixteen, my heart was led to visit orphanages around the world. Three years into college, I pray for a trip to open up, change my major, and this one came suddenly-yet the dream is still happening. I can't describe what it feels like to have this door being open for me right now. It's like I tried to plan out my life, God turned me around, but still read my heart. And while I'm not yet finished packing, am still a 2, 10, and 2 3 hour car rides, a plane to Texas, and a plane to Bogota, I feel full. I hope I will come back changed with a servant's attitude, a lot of memories, and a passion for God's love.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tierra Linda Church

From Sara:

This week we are asking you to pray for the local church we will be visiting while in Colombia. It’s name is Tierra Linda, and we absolutely love this group of people! Tierra Linda is a smaller church that is very welcoming and friendly to visitors. They are doing great things in their community. One specific ministry is an outreach to a group of low-income families that live in a recycling community nearby. This ministry has gone on for the past 5 years or so, and slowly they are beginning to see results and changed lives in this community. Tierra Linda is also home to many North American missionaries that you will have the opportunity to meet on the trip. They church has faced some financial struggles in the past several years, as the neighborhood they are in is fighting to remove them from their building. Please pray for the church to continue to move forward in its ministry to those in poverty, for Pastor Santiago to be encouraged, and for the surrounding community to have a change of heart.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Yard Sale-ing!

Today we hosted a yard sale at our house and raised $72 for the trip! I'm so glad my brothers helped out by carrying tables and working the table. We didn't sell the things we thought we would, but we still made a good profit to put towards the trip. God is so good in providing money- even if it means selling things we don't find great, but that others might. Here's hoping the next sale is as good as this one, or more!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Well, I'm back at home after my third year of college! Because I haven't found a job yet (which is frustrating beyond comprehension) I've been working on redoing the house and finding items for the yard sale next Monday. I'm hoping some of our "unwantable" items taking space in our house will be treasures for others so I can raise some money for the trip. :)

My Mom, brother, and sister have ben really helpful in finding things to sell and I'm really thankful they are being generous to donate and help clean up. (Let me tell you, it is not easy for teenagers to "give" away things without compensation!)

In the past few years Z has become a really awesome person to hang out with. I actually like hanging out with my brother-imagine that! We were talking about summer goals- 1) get fit (courtesy in part of the Wii) 2) clean and redo the house 3) become world travelers (he's going to Guatemala!)

Through my fundraising and talking to people about the trip, I've come across a lot of worry and criticism about going to Colombia in regards to the drug wars. The truth is that I wouldn't go if  didn't feel safe, but if God called me so strongly to go, I would. God commands us to go to the ends of the world and share His love, and when we accept the call to serve Him our lives are offered as a total  sacrifice. If our lives in America are a sacrifice why stay comfortable? Life is as short as a blink, and the tornado in Oklahoma is a reminder of that. The first picture I saw was of a school where children were being rescued. That could have easily been me and my students! Praise God for survival!

I want to fall in love with Colombia the way I have fallen in love with Romania. God has give me  a heart for orphans and as I become stronger in my faith, why not be open to new and exciting opportunities to share and grow my faith?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Endings and Beginnings

Yesterday I sat in a coffee shop watching a five year old building be torn apart for no reason other than the fact that the land it was on was bought by someone else. I browsed my computer and marveled at how slow a building can be created, but how quickly it can be torn down. It was nearing 4:00 and I sighed. "Life just keeps changing" I told myself. It's a shame such a new building couldn't have found a new purpose. Was land just land? Did the building mean nothing?  I refreshed Facebook again.


I didn't even know what to think. I hadn't even thought about this race until this hour. I kept refreshing my news page. Hundreds hurt. Casualties. 2 dead. 3 dead. Was this for real? Such a happy event- one thousands trained months for, the one moment of success, the dream of a lifetime simply- gone.

But there is the aspect of hurt- when many people share it at one time and one event, we turn to help each other. I can hear the stories of success come out of this tragedy.




(to paraphrase) Lemony Snicket, "these are the words I so desperately wish I could type"

We can do this America. Stay strong and have faith.

Monday, April 15, 2013

So everyone has a celebration picture

Ironically I took this picture yesterday, but I had an idea. In the wake of this tragedy, I feel everyone who did not get to take a celebratory picture should have one-I challenge you to take a photo of yourself running with a smile on your face in memory of those who will forever remember this day as a day of sadness.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Alba's prayers

From Sara:

This week please pray for Alba, a woman who runs a ministry to prostitutes in Bogota called "New Life for Women." This is a house that women live in for a period of time, with the goal of beginning a new life away from prostitution. Alba is a former prostitute who became saved as a young woman. She now devotes her life to working with these women. As you can probably imagine this can be a very discouraging ministry! Alba runs the program almost entirely on her own. This summer we will have the privilege of spending an afternoon with Alba and helping out in any way we can. Please pray that God will give Alba the strength and passion required to continue on with such difficult work. Pray that she would be encouraged this week.

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Thursday, April 4, 2013

McConn, Missions, and Meat (off the bone)

Out of the 12 members going on our trip, three of us live out of state, so it was great being able to meet our team leaders over coffee. We were able to talk trip details, get to know each other, and share some laughs (for me it was over personal food choices I may have to sacrifice). This is sure to be an interesting trip, as I have never been on a plane or in another country. We hope to be able to meet up again as team in the next month to talk more details, and get to know each other some more.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Home to You

Here's a prayer request from our team leader, Sara.

This week, please pray for the children of CRAN. We know that tomorrow (April 2), three of these children will be joining their forever family. This will be a huge transition for them, and they are probably feeling a mixture of many different emotions. Pray for them as they say good-bye to their home for the past several years, and pray for them to bond with their new family. We also want to remember the other children that will remain at the orphanage. We pray that God will comfort them as they say good-bye (probably for forever) to these 3 friends, and that they will remember God's promise to them that they have a hope and a future. Waiting, as we all know, can be so difficult! It is a miracle that these 3 now have a new family, but also heart-breaking to think about the many, many more that still need homes.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Requirements. I hate that word. Lately all I've been trying to do is meet them. Everyone tells me not to give up, so I spend hours of time, money I wish I could use on something else, and numerous people sacrificing their time to drive me to this test, all for me to just fail it. Over and over and over. This one test that determines I'm smart enough to be a teacher. I think about the fact that I wrote "teaching" as one of my skills on my trip application, and all I'm doing now is the opposite of that.

Tonight, God put an old song in my head. It comes from Micah 6:8. It simply states, "act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God." God never said I had to be a good teacher to have love in my heart. He wants me to be fair, love as He does, and have a relationship with Him that is stronger than anything else.

I put the song here- yes, it's Veggietales, but it's sweet and the lyrics really stuck to my heart.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Joyful Tears

I've always called myself "sensitive". As a baby, I wouldn't get into any trouble because a stern threat from my mom or dad would make me burst into tears. I hate making people upset, and I get sick when I find myself in an argument. I told myself for years that everyone was right- I needed to toughen up, grow a backbone, etc. etc. I always felt ashamed- why am I like this?

When I was sixteen, I had a dream I will never forget. My family decided to make a quick move to Romania. I remember in this dream asking my dad how things would be the same- Could I still learn to drive? I remember being handed a burlap dress. It was ugly and scratchy and I hated our new life there.

The dream ended, and like others, I forgot about it- but God didn't. I had never even heard of Romania, but God put it in front of my face everyday- a sentence in a book, a show on tv, an article in a newspaper. Somehow I found myself falling in love with an unfamiliar country, and grieving for the overwhelming problems orphans there were experincing. Yet, I was sixteen- right in between starting high school and college, and I wondered why God would give me this burden that no one else at my age would understand. Even my family seemed to act like it wasn't serious- I've always had my head in the clouds coming up with big dreams.

It wasn't until I got to college that God started to show me who I was and what He wanted to do with me using the heart He created in me. I realized that I was a nurterer, and that's what makes my heart happy. I want to work with children, orphans, and babies. I cry a lot- both good and sad tears. God has given me compassion and a gentleness that I have been able to use for His glory. I cry when I'm in God's presence because He has made me so happy. I let the joyful tears run down my face because I wouldn't want to be any other way. As prepare to go to Colombia on my first missions trip this summer, I am asking God to use this fragile heart to bring others life. Let my tears have purpose in Bogota, Bucharest, and Indiana.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hello and Welcome!

I created this blog as a way for my friends and family to keep up with me as I prepare to go to Colombia this August. After that, it will be used as a regular blog (although my life is anything but normal- which is why I write!) Thanks for visiting me and feel free to leave a comment. My next few posts will explain more about me and my trip.