Friday, February 20, 2015

Does she know???


Does she know how much her big sister longed for a little sister to call her own???   


Does she know how much The Lord healed my heart the day we finally knew we would really be keeping you and you would officially become a forever Hintz???

Does she know God used her to start a small fire burning in my heart to love those little ones who have no one, and need a family to call their own ??


Does she know that her spunk and sass sometimes take things to a whole new level and yet have driven me down to my knees so many more times than I can count... 


Does she know that God used that cold December day we met to crack open and explode my knowledge of the character of God??? Just as we would welcome her home and into the family, so He loved and adopted me as His child...


Does she know that when I think of all of my greatest treasures in this life, my heart is amazed and blown away that we can call her our own??? 

Happy 6th birthday Hopie girl!  That cold December day changed me and the make up of our family... 

We woke up not even knowing you existed and went to bed with you sleeping soundly right next to my bed...

You are a gift from God, lovingly created by Him for a great purpose... May you grow to know Him and His love for you more each day!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I was in stitches... Precious moments!!

Personally I can't really deal with selfies:):)
Find the whole idea rather odd...

Only really liked taking them when we had our international selfie day each month after our first Uganda trip... 

Hilarious selfies from around the world:):). A way to stay connected to fellow missiontrips team members:)

But a few nights ago this happened...


Honestly, that hair really does look like it could be Jo's:)  We were cracking up:)  

Our week has been crazy... I think that is life with 7 kids....
And it probably won't slow down anytime soon... 

Last week I spent Sunday passing a LARGE kidney stone... ouch!! That was really fun!  NOT!  Then I cooked a batch of chili and headed over to the chili cookoff:)  Nothing like tying all of that into a morning while getting all the littles ready for church!

And all week I have felt like  I have another one on the move... so off to the kidney doctor I will go:)  

Greg and I have been doing loads and loads of paperwork... the mountain is almost complete... Thank you Jesus for that!  It was a huge job, but really not too bad when you look back at what you got completed!  Thankful to have it behind us!:)

We have been amazed by God's goodness this week... We had precious friends get scammed by a birth mom whose baby was to be due any day now... She ended up delivering that baby a few weeks ago and didn't place it with either of the 2 families that she had chosen and received money from... Big Bummer!

Well, miraculously, our friends flew home from out of state yesterday with 2 kids in tow, a 1 year old and a 6 week old... siblings... Yay for God moving mountains to get his children in a forever family!  

They are precious and we are so thankful and excited for our friends who just grew by 2 kids in a matter of a few days... What a sweet and wild surprise:)  I love how God can just knock our socks off especially when we are sort of in the dark and not at all understanding His will or plan and then BOOM He goes and does above or beyond anything we could have imagined or thought possible!  He is a God of second chances that is for sure!  

Now to Him who is able to do immeasureably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.   To Him be the glory in the church throughout all generations forever and ever )  Ephesians 3:20-21

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Let the snow play begin....



We have been waiting for a dumping of snow like this all winter... The  Chicago Super Bowl blizzard delivered it BIG Time!!!

We bundled up and explored the church property... Who knew playgrounds in the deep snow is so much fun???

Being launched off the slide into the powder was so great!

Caleb finally had a break to play in it versus just shovel it... Over 18 inches of snow fell from Saturday evening to Monday morning...

He and louis are so blessed to work on campus... But when the snow falls... Especially for 30+hours that means you are blessed with an able body to shovel it and get it cleared:)

And when it keeps falling and falling and falling some more and the church has 3 services plus other groups that use the campus... 
You keep shoveling... Go back out a few hours later and keep shoveling again...

It was like a winter wonderland on campus with tons of great hills for playing king of the mountain.
There was also loads of snow ice cream to be eaten by all:)



I am so very thankful for the gentle reminder that just like this lily white snowfall blankets the park earth...  Jesus' grace and forgiveness covers all of our sin... making us freely forgiven,.. again and again

The BIG boys stand in for dad at the daddy daughter dance...

With Greg being gone in Haiti still, the boys said that they would be happy to take Anna and Hope to the daddy daugther dance up at our churches school.

The boys  were really sweet about it... They even expressed that they had wanted to bring them flowers ahead of time if they get to go again next year... And as you can tell from Hope's facial she was pretty jazzed about it as well!

This is TOTALLY a typical expression for our Hopie girl... Apparently, she really had the moves on the dance floor! I don't doubt that for one second:)

Can not believe out grown up my Anna is looking... My years with them are passing by far too quickly!


I am so thankful for big brothers who are willing to put their little sisters first...
I am so thankful for big brothers who really didn't mind being their sister's dates...
I am so thankful for little sisters who look up to their big brothers...
I am so thankful for the love of family...
I am so thankful to Jesus who makes this all possible...


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Life...

This is how we have been spending our days... 
Loving on babies...


Keeping the littles busy while we work hard on school!! 
What fun... But what a mess!! :)

Being silly together!!
 

Loads if time sledding and playing in the snow!!  I don't think any other child I know loves the snow as much as Levi!
He has been over the moon this week!

What a joy filled little man!

The daddy of the house is off to Haiti tomorrow for a week...

We are totally praying for protection and that The Lord leads the team to the exact places and people that St. Peter can connect and serve in the future!  Exciting stuff!

What a blessing and gift it will be for both pastors to go and solidify part of the mission vision for our church together!  

God has blessed us with a wonderful head pastor that is real, mission minded (here and abroad), loves people, loves God more, works hard, has great integrity, and one that we deeply respect!  What a blessing!  I am excited for What God will show them in the coming week!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Have you ever felt invisible? Do they?

Have you ever felt invisible?

Can you relate to being in a room full of people and yet feeling all alone?

I have been there... 
Many times in life... I have been there...

I especially remember after Samuel died being in church and feeling totally unnoticed...
Let me rephrase that...
I felt like I was being watched.  I knew I was being watched... I was the lady whose baby had died... I felt the eyes on me... yet even with tears overflowing out of my eyes...Most days there wasn't a response... I felt totally unnoticed... 

I felt almost invisible... 
Then I didn't just feel totally broken hearted... but I felt brokenhearted and worthless...

Sad, but true...
(Praise God for His amazing healing and faithfulness to restore what was once broken and rebuild a shattered life into something beautiful again... He is soooooo good!)

Have you ever felt that way... 
Invisible...
Unnoticed...
Maybe even that you life might be lacking worth???  I would guess that most of us have at one point or another...

What about Tony?  How did he feel as his life reached a near life or death point severely malnourished and abused?

Or precious Jackson... How does he feel being deaf and having CP?



Or this sweet sweet baby Joshua with severe burns from a house fire... Will he feel invisible as he grows and watches how people may stare?  

(I love how every time I looked at him, he just got cuter and cuter... I noticed those burns less and less with each passing moment... Oh how I miss this baby so much... my heart is aching to hold him again and hear his amazing laugh...  He is such a precious gift!)


While in Uganda I was  talking with our leader about how I was feeling embarrassed and convicted that  I knew people at our current church that had special needs children... Some of them similar to the kids we had been working with daily at The Gem Foundation, and I had yet to approach those kids... I had spoken with their parents... but sadly not taken the time to reach out directly to the children... and speak directly with them....

Our leader right away said, "They must feel so invisible..."  

In that moment... My heart broke... 

Lord forgive me for the times I have made any of your precious children, young or old, perfectly healthy or not, in their right mind or not... feel invisible... 

I mention about my feelings after Samuel died, not with any ill intent... but  only because I get it... 
In people's own uncomfortableness with me and my baby dying they found it difficult to reach out to me...

And I have done the same thing... in a different situation... but ultimately, a very similar thing... probably having the same exact result... Because many times things have been outside my comfort zone, I haven't reached out... I haven't made an effort... I've stepped away... and...

The end  result has probably been me hurting those people many times over... ouch!

My heart breaks over that... is embarrassed by it... And thankfully recognizes it and wants to change. it... 

Does Bethany look invisible?


What a beautiful smile and and wonderful JOY that radiates from her... 

Does Jerome look invisible?

What tender love and Care Liz shows him each day... showing him... You are worth it!

What about this precious new little guy?  Does he look invisible?

Day after Day I watched Albert tickle, feed, and push the older boys in cars... all these young boys beaming in delight at the experience of knowing that someone loves them...

What about Shafik?  Living with Autism, does He look invisible to you?


Cradled in the arms of his caregiver... He knows he is home!

What about Tony... severely malnourished and abused... does he appear invisible?


This Tony, with eyes that captured my heart... continually with Rita by his side (and Maciej never far away while we were there:) tenderly being shown... he matters... His life is precious... His life is of unbelievable worth to God and us....


Each and everyday, we may not know fully what those around us are feeling...

Each and everyday... we can make someone feel special, loved, cared for and precious...
We can cast away our judging human eyes...
And see them how God sees them...

Oh the lessons that God impressed upon my heart while in Uganda...

I am excited... I have been in conversation with one of the moms from our church who has a child like some of the kids we cared for in Uganda... first I apologized... Then I asked to hear more about this precious boys story...

I can't wait to get connected with them...

I am so thankful for God's goodness to me...
I am so thankful that He continually teaches me...
And I am so thankful for all the different, unique, amazing precious people He uses in my life to teach me...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Safe at home...



The beast that flew us home...
We did hAve a slight delay... 
(Caused by the three of us!!) 

Well, when you think your window might have a crack in it, you mention it...
1st stewardess looks at it... 2nd stewardess takes a peek,  photos taken, co-pilot leaving cockpit to check it out for himself... Lots of getting up and moving to the back to let them "check it out"... And... We finally got the a-ok... 

Just water between the two panes of glass...

We only caused a 15 minute delay... Better safe than sorry right??:)



Brothers... Together again!

So thankful to be home with this sweetie pie... All the others too!


One last team photo before the last of us left Uganda!

I tell you, my heart is a torn...
I am SOOOOOO THANKFUL to be home with my crew all under the same roof!

But the adjustment is hard... Life here is so different from there... 

I immediately was overwhelmed by all of our stuff... Ergggg!  Lord, help me to simplify...

And I miss those precious kids... My heart was changed by the gems, the care givers, the babies, the team... And it is NOT easy to adjust back to life here...

I don't EVER want to return the same as when I left for Uganda... EVER!  I am so thankful for the work The Lord did in my heart!  Now comes the difficult part of decifering what that means for me/ us back here in the states!

Please being praying for little T, the gem I posted about...
He has been admitted to the hospital with pneumonia...
I remember sitting by him, holding his hand, and thinking... He is not much more than skin and bones, how would he ever survive a serious illness... He has a high fever.... Please be praying with is for quick healing...

More updates and lessons learned soon... Thanks for praying...