Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Alex, the answers are:

"Not off the face of the earth."
"Unpacking and repacking for Zambia."
"Getting 'summer chores' caught up and researching:
A. What in the world is going on with all the political unrest in Malawi. (Where Becca, Luke and Lyzee are.)
B. The broad scope of "Doing Missions" and doing it in the most effective and God honoring way possible."

The questions have been:
"There are no updates since you left Ethiopia, where have you been?"
"What have you been doing?"
"What have you been dwelling on since you returned?"

Bob and I leave for Zambia tomorrow. I have an additional blog for Cornerstone people HERE,   specifically for that trip. When I get back, I'll continue writing Go Where He Sends You and hope to 'meld' everything I've been doing , thinking, feeling and seeing this summer into some cohesive thoughts.

See you then.

Friday, July 15, 2011


So finally as we wait at the Addis airport for the flight home, we again have Internet.

One of the main things that will stay in my mind after this trip will be roads.

In Ethiopia, there are so very many and walking, riding, biking, wheeling, playing, standing, a people. Teams and teams of people. Shopkeepers, peddlers selling everything from gum to videos to livestock. Little old women bent in two carrying 70# worth of limbs across their backs.

Yesterday we drove about three hours south to Hope Ethiopia to visit children there, over an hour on a dirt road through beautiful African countryside. Once there we played with and clothed over 100 children. I was the "pantie queen" and handed out scores of underwear, most of which were not wearing any, so I held it up to them to show them where it would go. They just smiled and smiled. I won't forget one little guy who was wearing the most ragged tee shirt ever and the filthy bottoms of someone's old snowsuit. He droppedmit right there and jumped into his underwear and we helped him get into a new shirt and pants, probably the first new clothes he has ever had! It was so great.

As we traveled these roads we smiled and waved at hundreds of people who must have thought those three white vans topped with bags, was the circus coming to town! We were able to slow down and hand out everything from more underwear to shoes to food and candy. Except for the days my girls got married, I don't think I have ever smiled as much in my life!

As I return home, I am praying that many of the families I know will choose to go down the road to adopting or sponsoring one of these little ones. Each one is someone's child, someone's grandchild, and only by the grace od God, they were not mine- or yours. I found two little girls one one of those roads to help to go to school and get a hot meal everyday. I will share more on them later.

Well, we will board soon, so my road leads home. Back to 'America,' but I think, never the same.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

So it's all true

So it's all true.

All the pictures that you see in magazines and TV sponsorship ad's. They're real.

Children with sores and eye drainage, flies landing on every body surface. Skeleton thin little bodies wrapped in rags.  Babies hanging from they're Mama's that you know will not be there in a few days.

It's all true.

Bright mischievous eyes. Smiles so big they go from east to west. Little hands gripping yours so tight you feel they might be glued there permanently.

That's all I have for Monday.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sensory Overload

Sunday morning began as I woke up with David Platt in my ear (iPod) admonishing me to tell others the good news of God's eternal adoption. I then held my three CBC roommates audio "hostage" and played his "Share the Word" sermon while we dressed for the day. It was perfect for why we were here.

Went to an international, english speaking Church service. The euthusiaism in which they praised and worshiped was beautiful. The energy and decibel levels made sure no one was going sleep during this service! Again the message used some of the same Matthew verses to go and make disciples.... the Lord was making sure we got the message.

The afternoon was spent at a marketplace where the sites and sounds and smells totally totally took over! The little guys wanting so much to shine your shoes or sell you a map or a belt. The crippled begging, the hungry children, the ragged teens.. The hardest was the young mothers carrying tiny babies in there shawl, telling you there babies were hungry.....and there was't anything you could do. We were warned that even giving a small piece of candy would cause such a stampede, someone would get hurt. After watching the guys play a wild game of soccer in a parking lot, we attempted to leave and the vans were surrounded by people wanting to be given something. I was really hoping that this might be a place for our audio system and Bible stories to shown, but was told it could be dangerous at this stop. 

Sunday evening included watching traditional Ethiopians dancers and food. Again sensory overload, can 't describe it all in print.--I'll try to write more later as I have to go.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Travel, Trials & Times

What an interesting couple of days. Our flights were long but good. 

I had a front row seat to some custom issues with our donations. Most of the 28 in our group were able to get out to the waiting vans, but 3 of the CBC ladies, along with 4-5 others spent about 5 hours watching the Lord work. Had you seen the attitudes of the customs officials from the beginning with there tempers flying as we silently prayed our little hearts out, til the end when they were laughing and cutting up with some of the guys with our group, you would have known that only God could have produced that kind of change!

Trip from the airport to the guest house was fascinating. Three large vans stuffed with donation bags several feet off the roofs. the only thing I have to compare it to was Beriut. Some of the building and construction methods were similar but then there would be homeless lean-tos and neighborhoods made out of pieces of corrugated metal and plastics with odd pieces of wood stacked here or there.

Because of the extended time at the airport, we weren't able to visit the orphanage planned for today so we'll visit two tomorrow. Neighborhood children played ball with some of the team this afternoon, while many of us tried to organize the mountains of items brought to be given out. 

will close for now but I'll try to talk about our visits tomorrow, later on.

Keep praying that the Lord will direct our steps. for our good and His glory.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

To Obey is Better than Sacrifice

We settled into our hotel at Ohare and will try for a couple hours of sleep before our 3:00am wake up call.

Today I have been been thinking about the verse in 1 Samuel after Saul had disobeyed the Lord by not totally destroying the nation he had conquered. He had held back some choice sheep and cattle to sacrifice to Samuel's God. Samuel let him have it for his disobedience and told him "to obey is better than sacrifice.

For most of us It is so much easier to 'sacrifice' some cash to meet someone's need rather than personally go and see what you can do to help. I pray that after the next ten days I will continue in my quest to obey.

For my good and His glory.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ready to Go

I crave organization. I own more bins, drawers, dividers and Rubbermaid, than anyone I know. The Container Store is my idea of heaven! I also 'need' everything to 'make sense.' I want a slot for all the information that comes into my mind each day and when I pull it out, I want it to make sense. The older I get, the more I desire this. I know part of it is just a coping mechanism to help with all that I forget on a daily basis!

This doesn't mean I can maintain my organizational dream.Ask anyone who's seen my office.  It seems the more that's on my plate, the more that gets left on the counter!

I think some might call this 'being a control freak. ' I call it 'Being Prepared.'

My bags are packed. I think I have prepared for many possible scenarios. Clothing needs, photography needs, medical needs, recreational needs..... I am physically ready. 

Can my craving for organization, for planning things out, coexist with the fact that He ultimately in charge? Only He knows the true itinerary for this trip.

I am physically ready. Is my spirit ready? Am I open to whatever way God wants to lead my heart?  Is my starting and ending point, God's glory? I know that with many of the contributions the team has neatly organized in their bags, some needs for some of the children of Ethiopia will be met. Temporarily. But there will be thousand of needs seen that we cannot meet. The main goal of my heart must be sharing the love of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. With the news, we will be introducing someone who can meet every one's needs. For eternity.

So tonight I am emptying my heart. What God wants to put there might not make sense to me right now. I want the Lord to fill me with what HE knows I need to take with me, halfway around the world. What I will need in order to come home a different person than when I left. For my good and for His Glory.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Crazy Blessed

Crazy Blessed.
     That's the only way I can describe the whirlwind that is my life right now. I knew there would be gaps in this blog, so I'll try to fill in some spaces.
     Three weeks ago my youngest, Becca, her husband and toddler, Lyzee came from California to visit and finish up arrangements for their move to Malawi, Africa. Luke and Becca met in 2004 on a mission trip to Gambia with Royal Servants. After returning to their respective states, they started 'dating' long distance then 'close-up' as they attended Moody Bible College. Their hearts continued to return to the African people and they made several trips back to Gambia as well as spending a summer in Uganda. After marrying and graduating with degrees in International Ministries (Luke) and Evangelism/Discipleship (Bec) they joined with SIM to be part of a sports & discipleship program in Malawi.  blog
     Monday, Bob & I left Luke and our baby and her baby at O'Hare to travel 8,612 miles to follow God's will for their lives. For His Glory.
     Ever since they started making plans, I have been prepping myself for what could be the heartbreak of 'losing a child,' but God had other plans. He has been using so many things to show me what is truly important in this life and that Jesus Christ is worth losing everything for.... whether it's our dream of a little 'Reed Family Compound' in the country with all our grandchildren living in a circle around us.... or that 'once in a lifetime' two week scenic cruise to Alaska...or being able to wake up to a chubby little blondie who loves books, giggles over oatmeal and who constantly asks, "Who's that? and "What's that?"
     God calls us to be willing to abandon everything for the cause of Christ.
Phil 3:7-12
 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
     Yesterday, we helped our second daughter, Laura and her husband pack up all their belongings to move to Milwaukee, where Jon will begin a three year fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. Now 184 miles is not across an ocean, but compared to 'just down the road,' it's a lot. We see them several times a week and keep the boys most Friday evenings. We are so proud that even though Jonathan had offers to join local pediatric practices, he is choosing what God laid on his heart since he was in jr. high, even if it means another move and 3 more years until they can return and settle into the life they imagine.
     We have learned that becoming passionate about God's will for your life is worth giving up Friday night Wii marathons between a 6 y/o old boy and his 66 y/o grandpa. Worth losing Sunday afternoons full of half a dozen squealing grandchildren, diving into the pool yelling, "Look at me!!" Worth the sacrifice of a young mother whose husband spends countless nights on-call at the hospital, as she struggles with the demands of being a 'single' parent.
      He's worth it.
Phil 3:13b-14
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
     And then there is one. Our oldest, Jennifer and her family are currently undergoing their own 'life change.' A couple of months ago, Jen and Michael told us God was leading them to begin the process of adoption. blog  It's crazy to think that some blessed, little Ethiopian boy, half way around the world is someday going to come home to the cutest and sweetest sisters any boy ever had... that in the cornfields of IL there are friends and family praying for him at this very minute.
     We've learned that following the Lord is worth mountains of paperwork.... social workers poking their way through not only your home and your finances, but every personal detail of your life. We believe by faith, that He knows not only what is good, but what is BEST for our family. Worth taking a total stranger into your heart and your into your home and surrounding him with love.
James 1:27
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 being polluted by the world.
     So all I can say is:
We are crazy blessed.
     Life changes that at one time would have caused me heartbreak, bring joy and peace. Perfect Peace. For my good and for His Glory.
Jeremiah 29:11-13
 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Saying Yes

Some time ago, after a major birthday, I had one of those 'woodshed' times with God. For 50 years I had been very busy with undeniably very good things. My goal was not to waste a minute of the time I had been given in this life. What I seldom considered was, what were the best things to do with the time and talent He had given me.  Not enough time had been spent listening to what He deemed best for my good and for His gloryI made the decisions about my life's goals and aspirations. The busier the better, right?

After a series of lessons and sermons from varying sources, I was at a crossroad. "Now what?" Do I continue making my own plans for what He 'expected' from me or was I obedient to what He told me to do and if so, what do I do?

What I heard in the 'woodshed' was "Just say yes." Anytime I knew the Lord was leading me to do something, would I say "Yes." Not more, not less. I promised if He would make it clear it was from Him, I would.

Last year, saying yes required that I would open my home to my elderly mother. Time had taken its tole on both her mind and her body. Dementia had taken her once sharp mind. She would require total care. He had provided me with the home and skills for the job. It was time to say yes.

Saying yes is not the easy path but teaches us life lessons. In the middle of an very emotionally and physically taxing 'mom' day, I was at my wits end.  "I can't do this, Lord. You don't understand, this is just too hard, day after day. You wouldn't ask me to do this. I can't do this any more."

"So" He said to me. "You promised me you would say yes. You promised that no matter what I asked, you would do it.  If I asked  those you love the most to leave and serve me, you'd give them to me. You laid everything on the table and said if I asked you to give up every worldly possession and move across the world, you would. Right now, I'm asking you to stay in your fancy, schamancy air-conditioned house with all its fancy stuff and take care of your own parent and you're saying "No?"

What a wake up call.

Eight months later, He was calling her home. For several days, I did very little but sit at her bedside as she lingered. While there, I received a text from Rachel telling me she was returning to Ethiopia this summer and did I want to go? Say yes.

Yes. By summer Mom would be home and He was calling me to the next thing.

So here I am, soon to be Ethiopia bound.  Mom even left me the money to be able to go, which probably wouldn't have been there if it she'd had to give it for nursing home care.

For my good and for His glory.