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.......she captured our trip on film

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Last 2 slideshows from Ethiopia Email me for link to others-alexander@integrity.com

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

crazy

STOLEN FROM KARI'S BLOG. DOUBT SHE MINDS. INCREDIBLE. HELP PUSH THEM OVER THE TOP!


BIG NEWS FOR MY CRAZY READERS!

As of today, we have sold 589 HopeChest T shirts!! We only need 11 T’s to reach our “new” goal of 600. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know Tom Davis and the children are jumping up and down right now in Africa! Please join me and praying that we hit 600 by Feb. 1st! Together, lets break some crazy T shirt records!

We’ve exceeded the 400 goal and are now opening up to older kids…we have set a new goal for HopeChest Project “Shirts For Shoes” Please pray we can sell an additional 200 T shirts to provide new shoes for OLDER orphans at the Kolfe Orphanage in Ethiopia. Their shoes cost 3x more $. Please donate now-Click Here.

Do you see these orphans….

and these smiles…

and this adorable craziness…

and these 3 miracles…

Can you wrap your hearts around an orphan’s reality?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Esther Grace


Kristin is at it again. I have literally been stalking my friend Rebecca's blog and hanging on every word. She is in Ethiopia with her hubby, one son and Kristin to pick up her daughter. This beautiful child has captured my heart. I am so full as one more orphan has found their place, their home.........are you being called to open your heart and home????


Sunday, January 24, 2010

two big brothers and pants on the ground

Seth Eyasu continues to amaze us as he transitions into our family. His language is progressing so rapidly, it is fascinating to witness. He is a little puppet for the big kids. This is the result of spending some time with Hill and Wick. Only 2 months home and look what they taught him. So proud. :)

It may not make sense if you haven't seen any of this seasons American Idol.

Friday, January 22, 2010

no hole in this gospel

I have referenced the work that Katie is doing in Uganda several times. This girl gets it, she is living it. The following post is such a beautiful picture of living out the gospel. Now if you still haven't picked up "The Hole In Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns.....what are you waiting for?? This is a living, breathing example of what he talks about in the book.


FRIDAY, JANUARY 22, 2010

It is dark. It is quiet. The cold rain drips through her thatched roof soaking through the thin sheet she wraps around her skeletally frail body. Grace is 80 years old, blind, and all alone. Her HIV has progressed into full blown AIDS making it impossible for her tiny body to fight off any type of infection. The merciless cough caused by tuberculosis racks her body. In despair she cries out to God, a God she has not spoken to in twenty years, believing he had forsaken her when the AIDS virus took her precious husband and all 6 of her children from this earth. She wails to Him and asks if He can hear her. She knows that her life is near the end. She desperately wants to believe in something, anything, before she departs from this world. She begs the Lord that if He can hear her, if He is indeed real, He would send her a friend, a visitor, some kind of sign that someone out there cares. She falls asleep shivering, with a plastic trash bag over her head to keep the rain off her face.

The next day I make the familiar trek through the Masese III village, Patricia strapped to my back, bandaging wounds, testing for malaria, kissing foreheads. A woman from our beading group (go buy a beautifully handmade necklace and feed a child!
www.147millionorphans.com) suggests that I go visit a blind old woman that she has heard of who may need some assistance, so I grab my dear friend Tamara and head deep into the village in the direction we have been pointed. I am not prepared for the sight that meets my eyes. Grace is indeed old and blind, but that only scratches the surface of her troubles. I actually spend a few minutes marveling at the fact that she is still alive. Her body is hardly strong enough to sit up, let alone stand or walk. She has not eaten in three days, and she hasn’t seen in 5 years. What gets to me most is the eerie quietness that surrounds her house, in the very back of the village near a trash pile, all the neighbors gone to work, even the wind seems quiet today. I think for a moment that her tiny mud house is exceptionally dark inside, and then I remember that for her, it is already dark anyway. I embrace this sweet woman, patting her back and kissing her cheeks and I tell her that Jesus loves her and I love her. “He does!” She exclaims. “He has sent me visitors as I asked!” Her excitement turns to a whisper, “I had stopped believing. I did not think God cared for me. Lord, I believe in You.” Tears streamed down both of our faces and together we began to pray to our Father who sees and hears and answers even the smallest of our requests.

All this took place about three months ago and was just the beginning of lots and lots of time spent with Grace. I would take her food a few times a week that her neighbors would help her cook every day. We went to many, many doctor’s appointments getting her treatment for her TB, blood transfusions, and lots of vitamins. When I brought the girls to meet her, they instantly fell in love with her sweet heart and immediately adopted her as their Jja Jja (grandmother). Most Sundays the girls and I pack up a picnic lunch and head over to Jja Jja Grace’s house to share a meal with her, read the Bible, sing and dance. The girls love it and Grace loves the house filled with noise and laughter. On Christmas day we ate lunch at her house and God gave all of us the most beautiful Christmas gift (second only to His Son, of course!) Jja Jja Grace, who just months ago had been too weak to stand, began to walk. She walked around the outside of her entire house (about ten square feet), praising the Lord the whole time. As neighbors came to watch and ask, we prayed with them to accept Jesus. Grace’s testimony was changing lives right before our eyes, and how blessed we felt to be a part of it.

Two days ago I went to visit Grace and was surprised to see that the food we had sent her for the week remained uncooked and uneaten. She said the neighbor who had been helping her cook the food had moved away three days ago, and she had not eaten since. I asked her how she had been taking her medicine, and she said that she feels around for each of her five packets of medicine and swallows one pill out of each. This presents a problem as they are all different, some to be taken 3 times a day, some to be taken two at a time, some with food, and some without. This clearly was not going to work. After talking to more of Grace’s neighbors and finding no one that was willing or even able to help, it struck me. We were going to have to move Jja Jja Grace in with us. To say that the idea of this overwhelmed me would be an extreme understatement. The girls helped me cook Grace’s lunch and wash some clothes for her, and we headed home so that I could think and pray about what to do next.

I rolled around in my bed not sleeping that night, “God are you truly asking me to do this?” And God said, “I think you know the answer. You don’t actually wonder if I am truly asking you to do this, you are just afraid of the inconvenience it may be to you to have a blind old woman in your care.” It was true. Somehow, adopting a grandmother seemed a lot more daunting than adopting a child. But it boiled down to this: Do I believe that Jesus was serious? Do I believe what He said was true? And the answer is yes. I believe that he was serious when He said to love my neighbor as myself, and I believe He meant this even when my neighbor was not tiny and cute and cuddly. I believe when He said to love my neighbor as MYSELF. He really meant to care for others as I would care for myself or my family, and I would never let myself or my family live in such conditions. How different it can be to “believe” the word of God and to take it literally.

As I thought of all the different life changes that would need to take place for us to accommodate Jja Jja Grace completely overwhelmed me, but the only reasons I could think of to NOT move her in with us were completely selfish. We have enough room, we have enough food, we have enough love. We have enough. I kept coming back to Matthew 25, a passage etched in my hear that says:

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for the least of these brother’s of mine, you did not do for me.’

Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

I BELIEVE that when Jesus said, “I tell you the TRUTH,” He meant just that, that His words were true and He wasn’t kidding. YES, I believe that I am saved by faith through GRACE. Grace that is freely given and cannot be earned by anything I do. But I also believe that sometimes we rely so heavily on the Grace of God to cover our sins that we blatantly disobey His word and feel ok about it. “Depart from me you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” THAT is what Jesus will say to those of us who do not care for the least of these. I believe this is true because I believe His word is true, EVERY word is true, plain and simple. That is a heavy, heartbreaking thought. How often have we neglected you, Lord?

“I’m sick,” He said, “will you look after me? Will you invite me in?”

Yes.

In the morning I sat the girls down for a family meeting, something that is quite routine at our house. I already knew what their response would be when I asked them what they thought about Jja Jja Grace coming to live with us; I knew that they would be more than willing, excited even. They are SO MUCH better than me at giving without holding anything back. The vote was unanimous, they jumped up and down and squealed and told me thank you for having such a good idea. I laughed to myself; this was SO not my idea.

We went back to Masese that day and after women’s meeting went down to Jja Jja Grace’s house to invite her to move into our home. Tears welled in her eyes and a grin crossed her face, “God has given me a family,” she cried. “All these years with no one, and He has given me a new family!” What happened next threw me for a loop though; she said no! I looked up and wondered. All that thinking and processing and not sleeping, and she said no. She said that she was too old to start a new life and would be too much of a burden on us. She said that Jesus would be the one to take care of her and we could just continue to do what we can at her house. The girls begged and pleaded, but she had made up her mind. I will not pretend that my selfish, human heart didn’t feel some relief.

As we left, all feeling encouraged by the love God has sewn into our relationships with Grace, I wondered if He just wanted to grow me. If He just wanted to see if I would say yes. If in some small way, I was like Abraham and He just wanted to make sure I was willing to sacrifice it all for Him, only to tell me that I didn’t really have to. Jja Jja Grace may still move in; she may not. I am leaving that one in God’s hands. I believe however that the act of Grace moving into our home was not really the point; God just wanted to work in my heart. I am so thankful that He loves me enough to teach and mold me on such a personal level. I am thankful for Jja Jja Grace and all she has taught me and my family about Jesus. I am thankful for the opportunity to look into the eyes of the least of these and know that Jesus is staring back at me. I am thankful for the opportunity to simply say, “Yes.”
Tuesday, January 19, 2010

shirts for shoes


My friend Kari has partnered with Tom Davis and Children's Hope Chest for a Shirts for Shoes project. Click here to check it out and then buy a shirt- they are the coolest shirts!

Simply Love Like Crazy from Kari Gibson on Vimeo.

Monday, January 18, 2010

be an extremist


In honor of Martin Luther King Day, I wanted to share this excerpt from "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns. If you haven't purchased or borrowed the book yet, please do so!

Meanwhile, Martin Luther King Jr. was vilified as an extremist and enemy of decent, God-fearing people because he dared to challenge the social injustice of his day.

(below is a letter that Dr. King penned from a jail cell, it is titled "Letter from Birmingham")

"But...as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you. " Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." Was Paul not an extremist for the Christian gospel: " I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half-free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that men are created equal...." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremist we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime- the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of extreme extremists."

He has told you, O man, what is good;and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8





Wednesday, January 13, 2010

maggie


My dear and faithful friend was kind enough to write the last post. I would greatly appreciate everyone heading over to let her know that you are praying for her Maggie today as she is having surgery. They have attempted this before and it wasn't successful. I know she would love the encouragment!

Gwen is one of a kind, faithful friend, loving mother and passionate advocate for the 147 million orphans in the world. Go give her a hug, will you??? :)

over the top


Kim, a dear and faithful friend, gave me a blog award. Isn't it fun to win stuff??

Well, here you go. My answers to the questions that required one word answers- more difficult than you think. :)

1. Where is your cell phone? Table

2. Your hair? Ponytail

3. Your mother?Wise

4. Your father? Simpatico

5. Your favorite food? Mexican

6. Your dream last night? Healing

7. Your favorite drink? Coffee

8. Your dream / goal? Ethiopia

9. What room are you in? Living

10. Your hobby? what?

11. Your fear? Roaches

12. Where do you want to be in six years? Ethiopia

13. Where were you last night? Praying

14. Something that you aren't? Organized

15. Muffins? Blueberry??

16. Wish list item? endtopoverty (made it one word!)

17. Where did you grow up? Texas

18. Last thing you did? Cookiedough

19. What are you wearing? Pj's

20. Your TV? Off

21. Your pets? Tibbi

22. Friends? Gifts

23. Your life? Blessed

24. Your mood? Humbled

25. Missing someone? Gwen

26. Vehicle? Beast

27. Something your not wearing? Shoes

28. Your favorite store? Target

29. Your favorite color? Blue

30. What was the last time you laughed? Today

31. Last time you cried? Yesterday

32. Your best friend? Moody

33. One place that I could go over and over? Ethiopia

34. One person who emails you regularly? Jamey

35. Favorite place to eat? Anywhere!

I pass this award on to:

Jen- I wouldn't have survived this last adoption without our multiple daily phone calls. Our kids were together in care for a year and still speak of one another constantly. I love that and I love this family.

Lauren- our precious teacher and friend. We miss Lauren and Matt living here, but are thrilled they will be around awhile! :) She has a precious heart.

Jamey- Such a gift of friend, faithful, thoughtful and just waiting for her fingerprint appointment to send her dossier to Ethiopia. Bringing at least 2 kiddos home, I did say at least! :) Oh, and today is her birthday so tomorrow we are headed to a spa for the day! Yes, I am just that kind of friend.

Jess- We go back a ways! She started babysitting the kids when Issy was a wee babe and now she has a wee babe of her own. How can that be? One problem, they moved to Houston----come back, come back.

Katheryn- Some people, ok most, call her Kate. Yet another one that cared for my kiddos, started when Hill was a baby, then all of them. Is there a better compliment to a parent than someone else LOVING your kids?? She now has 2 kids and I'm starting to feel old. She promised to get back to blogging!

Lori- We met early on the adoption process, clicked and have walked through stuff together. Dig her honesty. Maybe this will get a post out of her. Love you sweetpea
Monday, January 11, 2010

FAITH LIKE A CHILD ...WE ALL NEED SOME !!!


Hello Gwen here ... faithful friend to the Alexander family !!

I am going to tell you a story that I hope will encourage you in your prayers for Abe and the Alexander Family ... I had the privilege of meeting Emily over 2 1/2 years ago and it was an instant connection. We were destined to be sisters in the faith and journey together in the blessings of adoption ...

I will never forget the phone call that came from Emily when Abe was diagnosed ... I was broken for my sweet sister, yet I knew the strength with in her and her family ... I could see God shining through them all ... I told my oldest child Jeremiah about Abe and he was instantly captivated by his picture, his story, and his healing ... I could see something in Jeremiah's eyes that said he fully believed in God's healing powers... I told him about Emily's prayers for healing and he jumped right on board with praying for Abe ... Each time I would tell Jeremiah of a milestone Abe had conquered he just smiled as if God was right on track ... Then one day we were on our way to school and there is the fabulously created DEEP RED bush and Jeremiah knowing the love the Alexander family has for Texas Tech just thought this bush could be our reminder to go before the Father daily for Abe ... He stated that we would pray each day on our way to school for Abe and then on our way home ... It was about a month later when the leaves starting falling off the tree that Jeremiah said, "How cool would it be if by the time all the leaves where gone from the tree that Abe was healed !!" ... I paused and had to take check of my own heart ... I had never fully believed in that kind of miracle for Abe, but Jeremiah did ... He did in such a simple way ... He knows the power of the almighty FATHER, because honestly why NOT ... We have all read the bible ... We know of His amazing powers to heal ... We have read about His miracles ... Why do we doubt then today ...

Jeremiah just saw Abe's little Christmas video and was very proud of his little buddy sitting up so straight ... He still prays and stills believes that Abe is destined for greatness... You see Jeremiah sees the strength in Abe and in the Lord ...

Let's all join the Alexander family in prayer over Abe ... Let's go boldly before the throne and spill out our hearts !!!! I want to believe like my 11 year old believes ...

Isaiah 40:4-5 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level; the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed; and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

Blessings sweet Abe ... so many love you and will pray and pray and pray for you !!!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

melkam genna


Today they celebrate Christmas in Ethiopia- wish we were there to celebrate!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

less one

The Thornes have Yanet! I can't express what it does to my heart to see another child be united with their forever family. Isn't she just beautiful??

Mama has her hands on her girl- praising the Lord for this sweet blessing.


The Thorne girls!!


Moody with Yanet in November

Monday, January 4, 2010

book recommendation


Have you read this book?? If not, I HIGHLY recommend it. It is wrecking me much like Crazy Love did over a year ago.

"For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, any you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved." (pg. 59)

This is after the author, Richard Stearns, has done an amazing job going through Matthew 25.

Get the book and let me know so we can discuss it please. I enjoy working through a good, thought-provoking book with others..........especially when the book asks the questions, "what if all followers of Jesus looked beyond the walls of their churches and worked together in reclaiming the world for Chirst's kingdom? What if we actually demonstrated God's love for the world instead of just talking about it? What if we embraced the whole gospel of loving God and loving our neighbors?" (inside front book cover)

What if? my friends.



Saturday, January 2, 2010

Colorado Christmas


Have you met the beast? This is my ride - yes, I drive a church van. It does have 6 wheels, a dually as some say. Still not sure if that makes it better or worse. :) Honestly would have thought you were crazy if years ago you told me that I would have 6 kids and drive a BIG van. Just evidence that the Lord transforms our hearts in many ways. I love it, really I do.
My amazing husband drove the beast with the 4 older kids to Colorado and I got to fly with the 2 little boys. Some may call me a Princess, but really I was simply taking one for the team so no one had to hear sweet Abe fuss for 18 hours. :)
Everyone all packed up and ready to go.
Sweet boy still didn't understand that he wasn't going on this beep beep ride! :(
We had a blast with everyone- 23 in all under one roof and it worked. It was crazy at times, but simply spending time with family was priceless. I only pulled the camera out a few times, so many people are missing. Hope to get more pics from others (hint, hint) soon.
Crazy cousins in the snow!
Half of my crew on a chair lift! So much fun skiing with your kids. :)
Seth doing a little dancing.
Abe loving the entertainment!
Issy and Olivia Christmas morning
Nanny and Abe
My honey and I sporting new robes!
Dea in his awesome hat
Seth with Travis
Avery and one happy boy

Mel and Sadie

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emily
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from becoming polluted by the world." James 1:27
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