Friday, January 29, 2010


I have always thought of winks as a special way to communicate quickly and personally to someone you love, in a crowd, without gaining anyone else’s notice but the one you intend to. They are also semi-rare events, for those special moments; moments when you see your spouse hanging out with your friends or family and you are overcome with thankfulness or love- or the moment when you hit a big hit in baseball and your dad let’s you know he is proud of you- or when your grandmother catches you doing something just right and keeps it between the two of you. I think that God winks at us as well, with quiet little messages directed right to us, that lets us know He is there with us. I believe shooting stars are a way He winks at us. Perhaps I think this because when I sit below the enormous night sky, I am usually thinking through some sort of problem. This usually leads me to contemplate God’s vastness and my insignificance. At that point He shoots a meteor across the stratosphere as if to say, “I know, and I love you.” In the big enormous sky, a quick event, unnoticed by most to communicate His love- a wink.

Most recently, we received a wink in a totally different way. We love the show Psych, and religiously check our Internet to see if the latest episode has been posted. The new episode for this season premiered Wednesday night. We had been anticipating it for months and were looking forward to a welcome break from the emotion of moving to Africa. The show was a little disappointing, which is good, since we will be leaving it behind in a few days with the rest of things we love. Surprisingly, at the end of the episode, Shawn, the lead character, has a tearful, heart wrenching and unexpected good-bye with his girlfriend. She told him that she was leaving to Uganda to help start an orphanage for children affected by HIV. Uganda? Really? really? How many places could have the writers chosen? I am not sure what specifically led them to write “I am going to Uganda,” but I have a feeling Jesus chuckled when He helped inspire it. For most of the viewers of this TV show, they probably thought nothing of it, rather than some far off land. To us, it was a wink. It was as if Jesus wanted to say, “I know you are finishing packing, closing up your house, saying your goodbyes and questioning why in the world are we doing this. So, incase the other hundred ways I have confirmed this calling in your life have been forgotten, I wanted to remind you it is me who is calling you. I love you and I am going before you and I am going with you.”

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Apparently you can google Aaugh and you get "Charlie Brown Syndrome." Interestingly, I did not learn about this in medical school, but I think I have it. Pray we know what to give, what to store and what to bring. Pray for sanity and peace!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Yes Lilli, there is a Santa Claus.

We were actually “the parents” that told our two year old that there is no Santa Claus. This was not out of religious conviction, but out of necessity. When Lilli was two, she would wake up crying and pleading “Santa Claus not coming tonight!” She was terrified that a big fat man in a red suit was going to invade our house through the chimney. To make matters worse, it was July. So, I told her.

She is now five and the topic of conversation in her little kindergarten class was over the reality of Santa Clause. Lilli, who is very confident in most things, began coming home and asking me on a daily basis if Santa Clause was really not real. I wish I could have heard the conversations with her little friends. Not wanting to confuse her more (since I had already spilled the beans) we talked about St. Nick and the joy of giving in the name of Jesus. She seemed satisfied.

Then, at church, it happened. A large joyful man with a full white beard and a glimmer in his eye approached us by the coffee stand. He even donned a Christmas vest and tiny little spectacles. Lilli tugged at my sleeve and whispered “He is not Santa is he?” The man then reached out, shook my hand, smiled and said, “We are so proud of you and want to help your family go to Uganda.” As he pulled his hand away a noticed several large green bills in my hand. I looked back up and he was gone. I then looked down at Lilli who was grinning ear to ear. I replied, “I am not sure.”

Thanks for supporting us! Thanks for making Christmas so special this year! And thank you St. Nick, wherever you are. tj

Lord, extend your hand!

Well, the week that we have dreaded for months is here. This is the week we pack. I am not sure what or how to pack for our family of 5 to head to rural Africa. So, before we began this part of our journey, Travis and I sat and had coffee with our missionary friends that we meet with each day. In truth, they do all of the talking. We only listen and learn. From all over the world, they share their insights with us each morning. They are the writers of daily devotionals in a book called "Voices of the Faithful."

In yesterday's reading, "G" in South Asia related her prayer that God would extend His hand and give life to her. Reflecting on this part of Psalm 63, we prayed over all our loved ones that needed God's extended hand. And we prayed for ourselves. That God would extend His hand to us as we are saying goodbye to stuff and people.

And He did.

Through His children.

We marveled that my sister and her husband cared for our children, a friend (who once lived in Bundi!) brought us a beautiful meal, a cousin wrote an email with the charge "Go!!!!!!!!", a brother called with a new found partnership in this kingdom work, a phone call to a Boston friend related that she had been praying for us at 5am... and all of this was before 12 noon!

Our hearts were encouraged as God extended His hand through His obedient children.

Now if He would just come here and pack these duffles!