Friday, July 12, 2013

Great News!

The number one predictor of a child’s success is their attachment to a parent or primary caregiver. That is what the research shows. As a social worker and a therapist I knew this, but it didn’t necessarily break my heart until November 2005 when I sat in the dirt in a Zimbabwean parking lot with a group of 12 boys, each of which had no connection to a primary caregiver.

Most of you reading this know the story; it became impossible for me to walk away. I could quote dismal statistics of what happens to kids in Zimbabwe when they are orphaned or as they age out of orphanages, but I won’t do that today. Mainly because I know that no matter what the numbers say, there is a solution. It is not an easy one; it is costly—almost beyond measure. But it is totally worth it.

If a child is orphaned, abandoned, or neglected, exposed to alcohol or drugs, their mother had a stressful pregnancy or was malnourished, or they have experienced prolonged dehydration or starvation, they are considered children from hard places. Zimbabwe has 1.6 million orphans and an immeasurable amount of children from hard places.

Many of these children are available for adoption locally. Few were being adopted, but we are seeing that change! With a team of Zimbabweans from The Michael Project, I have spent the past couple of years advocating and raising awareness in local churches and communities and we are seeing the fruit of that. Families are starting to adopt and churches are encouraging family based interventions as opposed to building another orphanage. This is great news!

However, in order to best equip these families to parent children from hard places we need to be able to help them overcome the trauma that results from the grief of losing their first family. This is where you come in.

There is so much that can be done. First of all you can pray, for the children and for their families. Secondly, you can help us provide the resources many of these families need –it is inexpensive to adopt in Zimbabwe, but it is expensive to raise a child. Thirdly, you can help me attend an invaluable training in the States. I am being certified in TBRI, an extremely successful therapeutic intervention for children from hard places. It will cost $9,600 for me to attend this and a couple other trainings in the States, including my travel.

 If you would like to make a tax deductible donation towards these expenses, please see I appreciate your prayers and support so much.

Without you these last 7 years would have been very different indeed! Every child that I have been able to counsel here is because of the amazing generosity of you, my friends and family.

Love from Zimbabwe,


"Adoption is a redemptive response to tragedy that takes place in this broken world" Katie Davis

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

World War Win- The Power of Vulneralbility

A few weeks ago in church a very brave husband and wife stood up and shared their deepest hurts.  He had battled an addiction to pornography.  He had been unfaithful.  She had been blindsided and devastated.  They were brave, they walked through a time of healing.  It took years, but they stood there side by side, hearts strongly connected in a way that can only happen when you have been in the deepest, darkest pit and found your way out together.   

Their story, shared with us in church has brought forth an amazing response.  Others standing up and saying "Me too! I need help."  

I love what happens when we share our experience, strength and hope.  It is scary, it is like standing naked in harsh light--and yet it brings freedom- to the one sharing and to the one sitting there who can relate.

I shared this on facebook a while ago:

The two most powerful words when you are in the midst of a struggle are, "me too."

Never underestimate the power of vulnerability. It is not weakness, it is brave, it is strong. When we share our struggle we give other people hope. We lose shame that is attached to secrecy, judgement and silence. We are neurologically wired to be connected and when we share those two words, "me too" a connection is made that allows for healing, comfort and the space to be unashamed!

We each have a story and there is power in sharing it! Someone out there might be waiting for you today, so that they can finally utter those words, "me too."

Tomorrow this brave couple begins a journey, like nothing they could have expected.  They will celebrate their anniversary (14 years of marriage I believe) in a room full of over 100 people who are battling issues ranging from lust to pornography addiction to adultery.  They will share their hearts over the next 4 weeks in the hope that others may find the same freedom that they have.

Will you join me in praying for this amazing couple and every person who is brave enough to walk through the door tomorrow?

God loves to take our deepest wounds and heal them and then give us the opportunity to help others heal as well, and I absolutely LOVE watching redemption in action.

If you are in Harare and you need help in one of these areas, please join us at River of Life Eastlea tomorrow (Wednesday) evening! 

This song is such an encouragement to me, I hope you will enjoy it!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Exciting News!

Hello friends and family,

I am embarking on something new that is both frightening and exciting for me: I am going back to school!  For the past 7 years, I have been living and working in Zimbabwe as a missionary.  The world has changed so much in the past decade that few people are fortunate enough to be utilizing the degrees they earned;  I am proud to say that both my bachelor and master degrees in Social Work, coupled with my experience with children and youth have equipped me for the work I started out doing here.  I am grateful every day for the education I received prior to coming to Zimbabwe. 

However, as time has passed, I have found that much of my work now centers around equipping and empowering the local church to care for the 1.6 million orphans in Zimbabwe, as the church is truly the only entity big enough to manage the orphan crisis we are facing.

I have been greatly inspired by the work Saddleback Church has been involved with in Rwanda.  Orphanages are closing as indigenous families in Rwanda adopt and foster orphaned children!  There is a great shift in the global movement of orphan care from orphanages and institutions to foster care and adoption.

Zimbabwe too is in an orphan crisis and the church must follow its command to care for the orphans in their distress. Knowing that the world is now moving away from building orphanages, and whenever possible, finding families for these special children -  it has been on my heart for the past couple of years to better equip myself regarding this shift in philosophy, which really now resembles a more healthy outlook on care taking for abandoned children.   For the past few years I have been counseling children in orphanages in order to help them connect with their caregivers. I have been part of a team equipping pastors with resources to teach about indigenous adoption and I have been providing support and counseling to Zimbabwean families who are adopting.   

With that in mind, after a lot of searching, I have found a program at a college in Michigan that offers a fabulous Masters Degree in Missional Leadership.  I will be studying with a small cohort of students doing amazing things.  The majority of our work will be done online, and once a semester, I will fly back to the States for a week-long intensive course - each time in a different location so that we can learn from people who are implementing skills we are learning, in their ministry. 

What I love about this program is that my coursework will be able to involve things that I am currently doing in ministry and the program is created in such a way that you don’t stop working to go to school, but rather you are required to be in working in some capacity in a ministry before you can even start the program.  Throughout the two year program, I will become increasingly more prepared to help the church in Zimbabwe to better care for our orphans. 

I believe that this is an imperative next step in the commitment I have made to God to serve the children of Zimbabwe.  However, I need your help.  I haven’t spent one day serving in Zimbabwe alone.  I have had a dedicated team of people around praying, encouraging and financially supporting work here.  I have been overwhelmed by the love that you all have shown me over these past 7 years and never have I needed you more. I am working with an amazing group of people in Zimbabwe that all have a heart for God and are committed to seeing children without homes placed with a family.

I will travel to the States Mid-August for school orientation and my first one week intensive course in September.  I will stay on to complete a training for adoptive parents as well as a course on TBRI, a therapeutic intervention that is highly successful with children that have experienced trauma.

I have received a 100% scholarship for the cost of the TBRI training, and a 30% scholarship for my masters program, however, I need to raise $9,600 to cover the cost of my first semester of school, my travel and the other trainings I will be participating in while I am in the States. If you would like to make a tax deductible contribution to cover these expenses, I would be so grateful! I cannot emphasize enough how even the smallest donations can help! You can do so online at:

With love from Zimbabwe,

P.S.If you would like to set up a meeting or a time for me to speak at your church or school, please email me soon!