Well it is finally here, the day I leave for Africa. After a 14 hour drive back from Mississippi, I unpacked, only to repack for Africa. I have been up all night and still have a few more things to fit into my bags. Despite my lack of sleep and time crunch (not really I have two more hours before I leave for the airport) I wanted to post something before I leave. 
Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible! Africa has been on my heart for several years and today it is finally a reality! Your thoughts, prays and finical support mean more to me than I could ever express. I will always be so grateful. I know God has big plans for this trip and I can't wait to see those plans unfold and be used for His glory. 
I will be gone the 27th-7th and would appreciate the continuance of pray for myself, my team, the orphanages and the kids that we will be meeting. Below I have listed each of my team members and the orphanages we will going to. Please keep us in your prayers! 

Rachel Trippet
Sydnie Harper
Frank Pass
Scott Reekers
Alison Holcomb
Karlie Smith
Elaina Lawrence
James Lawrence
Cameron Lawrence
Chris Lawrence
Michelle Hall
Amanda Porter
Erik Jorgensen
John Moore
Chandler Clark
Wynne Elder
Rachel Koepp
Judy Washam
Merrill Durham
Michael Durham
Daria Leland
Glen Leland
Baylie Harper
Lacey Harper
Sid Harper
Wendy Harper
Kellyn Springer
Katherine Rowe


Kimisagra (December 29)
10 kids ages 0-5, 65 kids ages 6-16 and 15 kids ages 17-18
The Best Family (December 29)
20-25 kids.
Noel (December 31 and January 1)
105 kids ages 0-2, 65 kids ages 3-5, 98 kids ages 6-12, 116 kids ages 13-17 and 196 kids age 18 and over.
Imbabazi (December 30)
Between 67-95 kids. 
Korah (January 3 and 4)
Probably about 80-100 kids of all ages.
Kidane Mihret (January 5)
90 kids ages 0-17. 

Thank you again for all your support. I can't say it enough! 

The Greatest Gift of All

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

Isaiah 40:1-11
Comfort, comfort my people,says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. A voice of one calling: 
“In the wilderness prepare 
the way for the LORD; 
make straight in the desert 
a highway for our God. 
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 people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”A voice says, “Cry out.” 
And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All people are like grass, 
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. 
The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. 
   Surely the people are grass. 
The grass withers and the flowers fall, 
but the word of our God endures forever.” You who bring good news to Zion, 
go up on a high mountain. 
You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, 
lift it up, do not be afraid; 
say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” 
See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, 
and he rules with a mighty arm. 
See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. 
He tends his flock like a shepherd: 
He gathers the lambs in his arms 
and carries them close to his heart; 
he gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Matthew 1:18-25
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Luke 1:26-55
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
 And Mary said:
   “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me- holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

Luke 1:67-79
 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies 
and from the hand of all who hate us— to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

The Birth of Jesus
Luke 2:1-20
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.). And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Matthew 2:1-12
 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[ from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.“ In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; 
for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

1 John 5:11
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Titus 3:4-7
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

1 Timothy 1:15-17
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Merry Christmas Everyone! 

A Letter and More

Alright avid reader I'm about to drop a bomb. I will no longer be posting my 25 Days of Christmas List. Before you loose it completely let me explain. Back in my Maryland I was still working and completing school for the semester when Day 1 arrived. My 25 Days of Christmas List is what keep me going. Now that I am in Mississippi enjoying my break and family I would much prefer to just enjoy my days than post about them. If you would like to know what the remaining days consisted of you can either A. Ask me B. Look back at my previous blog post that gives the entire list C. Stalk me D. All the above. Choose wisely.

As I stated above I am currently in the glorious state of Mississippi. Why? Well, I'm glad you asked. My Dad's side of the family lives here. That includes: Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle James (Dad's brother), Aunt Missy, Kristen, Kelcey, and Sydney (the cousins). I love spending the holidays with my extended family, but since both families live 14 hours away and a teleportation machine does not exist (yet), that rarely happens. As a result I am really enjoying this Christmas season. Family, movies, food, games, shopping, activties, it doesn't get any better than this in my opinion.

Since I am depriving all of you in reading about my Days of Christmas I will share a new idea concerning Christmas. In a previous blog post I wrote how despite my illusions (Santa) being destroyed (Erin) I would continue to pretend and that included writing letters. I obviously (maybe not that obvious) do not write letters to Santa anymore but I do miss it. This year I have decided to write a letter but to someone different. This year, on Christmas Eve, I will be writing a letter to Christ. Instead of writing what I want and how good I have been this year to Santa, I will write how grateful I am to have everything that I need plus more and recognize that I am merely a sinner saved by His loving gift that is Jesus. I am more excited to write this letter than I ever was to write a letter to Santa. Jesus is why we celebrate this season, not Santa, (or any other commercialism you can think of) lets remember that this year.

And this year Christmas will continue past the 25th for me because the best present of all doesn't even arrive until the 27th. Thats right. On the 27th I will be flying to Africa! I can't even begin!  That's all I'll say for now on that subject, since that's really all I can say.

In all my writing over the years I have always struggled with transitions, so once again I apologize for the lack there of in this post (and all posts).

Merry Celebrating!

Say What?

I just realized I have not posted since November! I am not all that surprised considering December is the busiest month of the year for me (remind you of anyone else) but non the less I should have posted by now and apologize for the delay on my updates. I know everyone has been waiting in anticipation (sarcasm). This will be a semi long post as a result but the majority of it will be pictures. Bare with me.

This category is necessary...well because it's pinterest! Today's categories: Running, Funny (but true at times), and finally Christmas.
Pinned Image
busy day!

In November 2010 I met Ruth's parents. Despite the fact that I knew nothing about babies they were willing to work with me! Truly a blessing from God. In late December Ruth was born. I met her in January and began working with her in February. It didn't take long for me to fall in love with this little girl. So as you can imagine my last day of working with her was a little tough. I will miss her but plan on seeing her as often as I can.

                                                          I went to her dedication
                                                                   She was so tiny!

                                                          She loved to show emotion!

                                                                            Last Day!

                                                           A Christmas with Ruth! (Dec 2nd Activity)

                                                (The other little girl I get to watch, Gigi)


Nov 30th Activity: Decorate the house

 Movie: (First time watching and it was awesome. I used hate old movies. My thought process "Why would I watch something in black and white when I can watch other things in color?" But after watching It's a Wonderful Life I have changed my thought process, and thank heavens. Old movies are awesome!)
 Dec 1st Activity: Ugly Sweater shopping!

 My devotion's this Christmas season. I really have only been digging deep into Simply Wait but once Christmas break officially starts I hope to dig into the other two as well! Simply Wait has been a great read and really has allowed me to remember the true meaning and purpose of this season as well as get into God's word. 
                                             Santa's favorite dessert and coincidently mine as well.
                                                         Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie!
 Dec 2nd Activity: Christmas with Ruth as well as downtown lights.
 Movie: Not really a Christmas movie. Will not be on my list next year, at least not in December.
 Dec 3rd Activity: Christmas Light Search! (I have seen many more houses but didn't take any pictures. I apologize.)

                             Love this house only because it reminds me of a gingerbread house.
 Movie: Amazing! I will be buying this movie when it comes out.
 Dec 4th Activity: Wrapping presents. Took my hours/days!

 Dec 5th Activity: Adventure Park Light Show! This was spectacular (trying to come up with different adjectives other than awesome and amazing)! The lights were timed to music! First time I have ever seen something like this in person. Was a little pricey but well worth it if a light fanatic like myself.

 Movie: "It's called carbo-loading. Best thing you can do before a race like this!" Will always be my favorite part.
 Dec 6th Activity: Miracle on 34th Street

 Favorite house. They said they have been doing it since 1941! I want to live on this street.
                                                              Robot Nativity Scene.
                         Boring side. (In my opinion. Still pretty, just not crazy enough for me)
                                                                   The Party Side!
 Dec 7th Activity: Pictures with Santa!
                                                             We got dressed up.
       Christina asked for a dog, I asked for a polar bear. He told us we wouldn't get either.
Movie: I love this movie! It would be a dream come true to be Eloise for a day. Hence why on my bucket list is have Stay at the Plaze.
                                (There are always more pictures of my activities on facebook!)

I think that is enough for now!
Happy Christmas Countdown Everyone!
12 Days 1 Hour 18 Minutes 20 Seconds