Monday, December 22, 2014

Operation Christmas Child (OCC) - in Kimini!

So much excitement!
We had a wonderful visit from a team of 5 people from Ouagadougou this month. They came with about 750 Samaratan's Purse Christmas boxes to distribute in the region of Kimini. We started in our neighboring village of Wangolo, where over 200 shoeboxes were distributed. The team captivated the children for over an hour with a puppet show teaching the value of bathing, brushing teeth, and wearing clean clothes to school.

Then in the evening the team held an outdoor evangelism meeting specifically geared towards children and youth with lots of fun songs, a movie, and a presentation of the Gospel. Twenty young people responded to an invitation to accept Christ that evening in Wangolo. Pastor Paul will follow up on these children and youth.

Each child received a gift!
The next day we held OCC distributions for the children of the Kimini primary school and the Koranic school. For these two locations, about 450 shoeboxes were distributed. Afterwards the children were warmly invited to return in the evening where they also heard a 'child focused' presentation of the Gospel and where a puppet show grabbed their attention and their hearts. Five teens responded to the invitation saying that they wanted to invite Jesus into their hearts. Pastor Joel from Niangoloko will follow up on these new converts.

Pastor Joel received 40 shoeboxes to distribute to the children in his church and Pastor Paul received 60 boxes for his church.

Presentation of the Gospel
If you have ever wondered about the validity or impact of Operation Christmas Child Gift Boxes, I hope that this answers all of your questions! We tried but we could not begin to capture all of the joy and excitement that these gifts brought to our children. Many thanks to the Ouagadougou OCC team. God greatly used you in Kimini! May God get all of the glory!   

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Forever Family for Guelil

It seems that each adoptive family that I meet is the MOST amazing family that I have ever met!

Of course, every family who opens their hearts to taking 'one of the least of these' into their home is a special family. But, it seems that God is drawing the hearts of the very best of the best of families to adopt from Burkina Faso!

We recently had the privilege of introducing a special little boy named Guelil to his new mama and grandmother. From the first minute it was love at first sight for this family. Guelil had waited for two years for his family to come for him. He was super ready and he was in his mother's arms within minutes of meeting her.

Burkina Faso suffered a coup d'etat last week. The family arrived on a Friday and civil unrest and turmoil started the following Monday. Now this is not normal and certainly is not an ideal time for an adoptive family to come for their child. But, who can predict a military and civil uprising?

Our family were seasoned travelers and also experienced in adoptions and they accepted each surprise and uncertainty with a calm heart that was full of faith. And, the good news is that the air borders were only closed for a couple of days and they were able to make their return flight home as planned.

The rest of Guelil's family were at the airport to meet them. And, the reports are that everyone is doing wonderfully well.

With the Thanksgiving season right around the corner, we are thanking God for giving Guelil a mama and a papa and two new siblings, as well as grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. God is so good!

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Back to School--

School started this year on October 1st. For days in our little village of Kimini, the children were talking, talking, talking about going back to school. The little girls were getting their hair done. Everyone had their backpacks with a notebook or two, a pen, and a small chalkboard in their pack. There was much excitement in the air!

Village life is really hard sometimes in that the organization and infrastructure needed to make things work are just not in place. Then, in a developing nation where the education system is broken. . . . . well, for the first day of school, there were only two of our four teachers in the village. There were no preparations made in advance. The classrooms were dirty and unorganized. So very far from what a sparkling clean, welcoming classroom is like in the West. Sigh!

Never-the-less, Linda and I were busy with visiting each of our sponsored children in the area. We visited schools, paid school fees, and bought school supplies for each child.
School WILL start in Kimini! It may take a couple more weeks before our teachers are here and they are ready to actually start class. But, with the help of the Lord, Kimini will be running 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 6th grades this year.

This is Reine and she is so excited to be starting first grade this year.

                                                                                                                                                              Drissa is unable to walk because of polio yet so happy to be in the 5th grade this year.

This little girl used to be timid and shy.  Her teacher said that she often cried in class.  But today, Awa is shining with confidence because she knows that she is sponsored and that she will be able to stay in school because her school fees have been paid by her sponsor.  Awa is entering the 4th grade this year.

Ousseni and Lassane, twins who are entering the 3rd grade this year.

Some of our children writing letters to their sponsors.  This is Pastor Paul who helps us with the children in Wangolo.

Please send me a note if you would like to sponsor a child. Sponsorship changes lives!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Forever Family for Arouna

God lovingly forms each child to be special and unique. He made Arouna to be a little boy with special needs, with a sweet little disposition, and a little heart made to praise his Maker.

Through adoption, God hand picks special and unique parents to care for His children who do not have parents.

What a wonderful God we serve and what a wonderful plan He has for adopting us into His family and calling us His sons and daughters.

This week we have had the privilege of introducing another little one to his new mommy and daddy. We have witnessed another miracle of life, one of rescuing a very special little boy from growing up in an institution and placing him in a loving family!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Kimini - A week at a glance--

Jackie, hard at work
Benjamin and Jackie Hodson left on a jet plane last night returning to their home and their children. What a great week we had together in Kimini! There was lots of time for renewing of relationships and building new ones, time for working in the field, time for gathering firewood, and even time for painting our living room, hall, and bathroom! Thanks so much for visiting, Ben and Jackie, and for all of the encouragement that you brought to us!

Benjamin, making our house beautiful!

Monday morning we took little Siaka to a clinic in
Siaka and his grandmother
a neighboring village. Siaka'a mouth was red and swollen with many sores and he has lost 4 of his front teeth. The diagnosis for his mouth is a severe fungal infection and in addition, he has a mild case of malaria.

We are treating 15 to 20 cases of malaria each week and treating 35+ wounds each week. The new medical clinic for Kimini is much needed and will be much appreciated by the community.

Wound care 

This past week we received an unexpected visit from the chief of Kimini and several of our village
Sand, gravel, and rock
fathers who came to tell us that the village was giving us an additional 2 acres of land specifically for the medical facility. 

This picture may not look like a lot, but the village made a commitment to provide the sand, gravel, and rock for the construction of the first building of our medical clinic.  This past week, the village hired a 10 ton truck and delivered 7 loads of sand, 3 loads of gravel, and 3 loads of rock to the construction site. 

Our kitchen

Our external kitchen and guesthouse were completed this week. Moving our gas refrigerator and stove out of our living room and into the kitchen will reduce the heat in our house and also reduce the risk of inviting little unwanted critters into our house.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ibra -- 11 yrs old. . . .

Waiting is such a huge part of life in Burkina Faso!  But, waiting in lines, waiting at the traffic light, or waiting for a strike to be over does not compare to the waiting for the heart-felt need of a child to have a family.

Ibrahim is an 11 year old boy who has been waiting for many years now for a family.  He is a boy who got lost in a broken social system that for many years did not even think that he was adoptable.  He has been passed from home to home and then from center to center by well-meaning people just trying to find something that would work for him.

But still, Ibra is waiting for his Forever Family!  Do you have room in your heart for a young boy?  As you can see in the picture, Ibra likes to dabble in art.  He loves to play the drums.  He is bright and engaging yet has struggled greatly in school because of the instability in his life.  He used to run away a lot but this past year he has settled down and is reported to be  cooperative and responsive to his care-takers.

Ibra is waiting for his family to come and take him home.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Going home--

Initial moments
These past two weeks have flown by as we met the Dorseys, introduced them to their sweet little son, Sylvain, finished up paperwork at the US Consulate and at Social Action, and saw a little bit of Burkina through their eyes.
Kellen meeting Sylvain

After paperwork was finished we made a trip to Yako where they met their child, Waogba, who they sponsor through Sheltering Wings. They brought a backpack and some clothes for Waogba, spent some time with him, and met some of the children from the Yako orphanage.

Wendinda, Cris, and Sylvain
Waogba and the Dorsey Family

We also made a trip to Koudougou to visit the orphanage where Sylvain spent the first 3 years of his life before being transferred to an orphanage in Ouagadougou. On the return of this trip, we stopped by a lake which contains sacred crocodiles where everyone had a chance to sit on a croc. . . if they so desired.

Sylvain and his family are doing wonderfully well. Sylvain is a very gentle and tender-hearted little boy who gets so excited sometimes that he can just hardly contain himself! He is already understanding many English phrases and is repeating many, many words.

The Dorsey family are a gift from God. They came to Burkina with open hearts and with deep love for this little son/brother whom they had not yet met. It was love at first sight for each one of them. Sylvain was ready for his family to come for him. And, after a long wait, the Dorseys were ready to meet their son. Sylvain has some special needs and his family is ready for the challenge.

Tomorrow will be a bitter-sweet day of saying goodby to new friends while knowing that another child has been rescued by his Forever Family!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Waiting. . . .

So many precious little children who have been waiting a long time now for their families!  Do you have room in your heart for one more child?   These children have no voice.  Would you please help me to find families for them by sharing this post within your circle of friends?

This little boy is 7 years old. He was found on the streets of a major city alone and afraid when he was about 4 years old. Already he has spent 3 years waiting for his FOREVER FAMILY to come for him.

When Issa was found he was malnourished and could not see. He has been diagnosed with congenital cataracts. Surgery was performed and his vision has improved but still he does not see well. He can see light and dark, colors, and large objects.
Issa is an adorable child who is very social. He plays well with the other children and is attending a pre-school for the blind.
Issa rez


This little 17 month old was abandoned shortly after his birth. No trace of his family has been found. Gelles is a very sweet baby but suffers from cerebral palsy, possibly blindness, and possibly torticollis.

Gelles has been in an orphanage since his birth where his basic needs are met but where he is receiving very little stimulation or physical therapy. Gelles is waiting for his FOREVER FAMILY to come and rescue him.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fanta could not run away--

In returning to Burkina, Linda and I took care of some business in Ouagadougou and then headed down to our new little village of Kimini. Just before leaving the paved road for the last leg of our trip, we stopped in Niangoloko to talk with the social worker that we have been working with there.

We had a list of the children from that region that we are trying to help and one by one we went through the list to see how they were doing in school, whether paperwork had moved forward, etc.

But when we reached little Fanta, the social worker stopped and quietly said 'Fanta died'. I thought that I had not understood what he has said and asked him to repeat it and then we learned this sad story.
Fanta was handicapped, probably from polio when she was very young. There were three handicapped children in the family and the mother took the children to school in the morning but because she had no means of transportation, she left them there during the lunch/recess time and then went back to pick them up at 5 PM in the evening.

One day last month some of Fanta's friends had carried her out under a tree where there was shade while they waited for class to resume at 3:00. While out under the tree some of the children started throwing rocks at a bee hive way up in the tree. The hive fell to the ground and the angry bees swarmed out of the hive and started attacking and stinging the children. To get away from the bees, the children all ran away. Fanta could not run away. Her legs do not work.

Things do not move very quickly here but within a few hours, Fanta's mother was found, someone with a car was found, and she was taken to a hospital about 2 hours away.

Fanta died that same evening having never recovered consciousness.

Sometimes the harshness of life here is overwhelming. So many times I find myself second guessing whether we have done all that we could to help a child. This was one of those times.

Friday, March 28, 2014

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.  Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:4-6

Each time that I am involved in an adoption I come away with a deeper understanding of our Heavenly Father's love for us and a deeper understanding of what it means for us to be adopted into the Family of God.

Once again God has united a family with a child desperately in need of a family. In Burkina and in the US we are rejoicing in the goodness of our God!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Is there room in your family for one more?

Introducing Raoul!

Raoul was born on July 7, 2009. Although he is under treatment he suffers from epileptic seizures and wears the helmet to protect his head in case he falls.

Raoul was found by the police outside of a bank in July, 2011. Investigations were held but there was no trace found of his parents or extended family.

Although he has not had the opportunity to attend pre-school, his care-takers say that he is very bright and that he plays well with the other children.

Raoul needs a family to provide the love and affection that every child needs and also consistent medical care for the epilepsy.