Sunday, May 25, 2014

Kingdom Cares International Mission Center

Jake is just finishing out a trip to Ghana right now and I wanted to share these photo updates he has taken of our Kingdom Cares International Mission Center! Since 2009 it had been our vision to build a home in Ghana where vulnerable, neglected, voiceless, orphaned children could be cared for, educated, and given opportunities they otherwise would not receive. Last year our church, Cornerstone Church of Ames, helped to initiate our vision by gifting us $40,000 to begin construction on the home. From there God has kept the donations coming in jaw-dropping style as He is becoming rather famous for doing! The full vision of the project is to develop five acres of land into an entire youth complex that will include the children’s center, a school, and a recreational area that will have a soccer field, basketball court, and playground. For now, we are focusing on Phase I – the children’s home aka mission center - which will also house our long-term missionaries on staff. There is also a little section of the home reserved for short-term missionaries and for when our family visits. :) The mission center is on track to open this August! Many of you have asked me about individual child sponsorship. We did try out a sponsorship program for a 1 year trial period, but decided it was not the most effective strategy for how our organization can best impact the community. It has since been replaced with the 1200 Club which you can find more information about here:  Donations from the 1200 Club fund projects just like this one. Pretty goosebumpy to see this vision coming to fruition…

Exterior view

Zoomed in view of front porch

Living room looking out to front entrance

Hallway to children's rooms

House Mother's room


One of the eleven bedrooms

They left a palm tree for me in the landscape :)

View from front porch looking out to the rest of the land God has allowed us to purchase

Water bole hole has been drilled!  Electricity goes in this coming week and then we will have running water in the entire mission center!

Our God-fearing full-time staff member, Wisdom, helping to prepare the land surrounding the mission center for farming.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

When you feel a sting of pain this Mother's Day...

Our bedtime talks. "So did anything make you sad today?" The floodgates opened. Sobs so deep her shoulders shook. "I miss my Mommy in Ghana." Thankful that I have been graced for this moment right here. I knew what to say. Words that the Lord has whispered to my own heart time and again. Our every longing, every ache in this life is really just our hearts crying out for heaven. For the day when broken families won't exist. And we won't ever have to feel this kind of pain again. This day is a blessing for many. But sometimes life breaks you, and sometimes Jesus takes you DEEPER when all along you had expected to go higher, and for some, this day brings a sting of pain. For the sons and daughters who are growing up without the mothers who carried them in their womb and birthed them. Because families are broken. And adoption is only a bandaid. And sometimes days like this re-expose the wound. For the woman who has grieved through the turbulent waves of infertility, and this is a dreaded day that suffocates her and sends daggers through her heart. For the day I complained about the piles of laundry and God flashed Dawn Grooters in my mind and whispered "she would love to be doing Kael's laundry again"...for the mothers who have experienced the loss of a child and will never again feel the same on this day. For the single moms who've been abandoned by their husbands and never expected to be doing this parenting thing on their own. For the woman chained to the regret of her abortion. For the birthmothers who have given up their children in love and will never get to see them again. For those whose mothers have passed away and this day just brings more heaviness and more grieving. For the Momma who feels like she's messed up just one too many times and feels unworthy of receiving honor on this day. Yes. Stingers. This Mommyhood thing is the highest of callings. And sometimes I think that's why it can hurt so much. Learning myself that OUR BROKENNESS DOES NOT DEFINE US. God does. Let Him remind you who you are today. ❤️

For the Momma who is feeling just a little too imperfect today read this:

For the Momma who needs to be reminded of her worth today watch this....with some kleenex nearby:

For the Momma who needs a change in perspective today watch this:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Proof of Heaven

Sometimes you need a change in perspective. I received the picture and info for this little boy, on resurrection Sunday. Tingoya was born with limb deformities and given in love to an orphanage in Sierra Leone by his teenage birthmother - in the hopes that someone could give him a better life. When I look at this child my heart churns with questions for my God who could take his suffering away. If I didn't know of God's ways, this picture would HAUNT me the rest of my life. But instead of a HAUNTING I have HOPE. Where are you in this God?  "I'm preparing a place for you (John 14:1-4)."  Why would this child be born for such suffering?  "A place where there is no more suffering or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4)."  What hope does he have in his life, with a deformed body like this?  "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21)."  You see, Tingoya is proof of the ressurection. The suffering in his life testifies that this world, full of brokenness and pain is not our ultimate home. May Tingoya inflict a confidence in your soul today that this life of sorrows and tragedy CANNOT be all that there is. May his broken body provoke a longing in your heart for everything to be made right, and for the Day when it will be. Today, may you be encouraged by the Savior's words, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33)." A resurrection life, one without tear stains, and grave stones, wounds or scars, broken bodies or broken minds, is God's promise to us by way of His Son, the Risen One, Jesus. He leaves His proof, His arrows pointing to heaven all around us, though sometimes they come in unexpected, upside-down ways. Will we have eyes and hearts to see them?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Grace Abounds.

The question churned in me for days. For an entire season in fact. I gazed around my church, watching them raise their hands high, singing and claiming those lyrics, "Oh how He loves us." And I couldn't myself sing. Because I doubted those lyrics. How can God look at me - He who sees ALL that's inside of me that I can hide from others, and He who sees EVERYthing that I have ever done - and yet, still love me? Yes I'll loudly claim the popular, the cool sins. The drunkenness and the rebelliousness of the past. But what about the vicious, the hidden, the shocking sins of now? The anger which births rage held secret. The murderous attitudes of the heart. Is there still grace for the already Christian? And He whispers what King David discovered. King David, the already Christian, found knee deep in adultery, murder and tangling of lies kept secret. His whisper comes and I am freed. "My grace knows no boundaries." So THIS. Could THIS be how King David earned the most glorious of titles 'a man after God's own heart'? Because there, in the horror of his sin, he saw how far God's heart reached. And so I have don't really understand grace, you can't really sing confidently of God's love, until you realize just how much you need it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

15 Keys to Parenting: What No One Tells You

Oh mommas.  This post by Ann Voskamp is SO beautiful and SO real.  I can't even take it.  I've read it four times today and am still digesting it.  One of my favorite lines:

I didn’t know that you kids would birth me deeper into God and I didn’t know that you’d drive me crazy and I didn’t know how you’d drive me to the Cross.

Here it is:

Monday, March 31, 2014

Jacoby ~ 2 Months!

Jacoby is 2 months old today! He is such a good baby...the best so far out of all 3. Can I say that? :) I am also way more relaxed this time around - I have learned how to release my mommy worries/anxieties to God - so I think that has also made a big difference. With JJ I was paranoid about everything, and Jayla was colicky so I spent most of my time trying to figure out how to soothe her cries. But Mr. Jacoby is content, laid back, predictable, and rocking his 3 hour eat-awake-sleep routine throughout the day. He's just starting to coo/talk a wee bit, and when he's really alert he is off to the races - literally running with his arms and legs while sitting in his infant chair or laying flat if you can picture that. His only high maintenance time of day is from about 6-8pm where he needs to be held/swayed/bounced most of that time chunk. He eats again around 8pm and then goes to bed in his own room that he shares with JJ. Right now he's waking up once in the night to eat...then he wakes up for the day usually between 6:30-7am. He is still Mr. Big Guy as I just switched him to size 3 month clothes and he won't be in them for long as far as length goes! Jacoby also has crazy long arms in proportion to the rest of his body (and matched with chicken legs) that get noticed by many! I guess he's going to have quite the wingspan! We all are loving this stage of luring out his smiles using our silly high-pitched voices. Jennifer by far is the most interested in Jacoby and is quite a natural little mother. She always wants to hold him (and will do so for lengthy chunks of time), give him his pacifier, and will never lose the opportunity to lay next to him on his blanket and interact with him. When she holds him she almost always sings to him. So thankful God blessed our desire to have another baby...enjoying it SO much this time around! Took these pics yesterday...

I also recently did a little look-alike collage of when Jayla and JJ were Jacoby's age.  That's Jayla on the left, JJ in the middle, and Jacoby on the right. :)  So fun!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

For Everything A Season

In case you’ve missed us on Instagram….well….we’ve had A LOT going on over the past months….like this…

And this!!!!!

Yes, that’s right….a sweet little blessing joined our crew on February 3, 2014. Jacoby Jeremiah Sullivan. And you can be sure that he is receiving no shortage of attention around here!

I cannot possibly recap in one blog post the rich moments and fullness of hearts that Jacoby’s little life has given us. The days with him are bright and warm…like unwrapping a gift from the Lord each and every day. We cannot stop kissing him and snuggling him and talking to him in our silly high-pitched baby voices that lure out his smiles. In fact, I am having to discipline myself right now because I want to post so many more pictures and write so much more….but…..

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. |Ecclesiastes 3:1| 

I am at peace in discerning that there will be a season for writing again….and now is not that season. Now is a season for feedings by night and staring into baby blues by day. A time for an intense study of my 6 children…for the revealings of who they are. Dropping everything just to be with them. This is the season for learning that. A season for being chisled-changed-molded-sifted, and trusting deeply the Lord’s word to me that, “It will turn out beautiful. You’ll see.” Even when I can’t see. A season of in-depth lessons and inward reflections that WILL burst forth into written words. But now is not the time.

I must say, I do miss writing. I mean really writing. The kind of writing that takes days and long hours and investments of prayer and the fervent waiting and hoping to hear that still, small voice whispering my hand along. The kind of writing that takes piercing quiet to unravel the meaning of thoughts and happenings and lessons and events. I came across the perfect words that explain why I love writing:
“Writing is a way of opening our eyes to see what we otherwise do not see. This thought struck me so forcefully one day that I paused and wrote: 
I know not how the light is shed,
nor understand this lens.
I only know that there are eyes
in pencils and in pens.” ~John Piper~ 
Yes. I feel it too. Writing is the way I come to see. There is no shortage of material. In fact, I have more beautiful and messy things to write about now than I ever did before.  The notes tab on my phone is jam packed with loads of unfinished, unprocessed thoughts…just waiting for their time to come to life. And I believe they will. I feel that the Lord will give me a season of writing again, which is why this blog stays up. But for now, perhaps amidst a post or update here or there, I will be thankfully…..FULLY……savoring the precious gifts within this season….one of which is the sweet little baby in my arms. This is a time to rejoice and keep and heal and build up and intensely EMBRACE….so I will.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Follow Current Team in Ghana on Instagram

You have likely noticed that I am in a season of not blogging regularly! :) Yet, there is still so much going on, and I don't want you to miss out!  Jake is currently in Ghana with a team and you can follow them via Jake's account on Instagram.  He is uploading needs and updates throughout the day by way of pictures.  Instagram is a free app that you can get on your is the website for more info:   

Once you have created an account you can follow Jake at @kingdomhoops.

You can also keep track of our family's shenanigans by following me @janelsullivan.