Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Starvation

Okay, people....Today is a day to change your life and the lives of many children. I read on the Lucky Hill group that the children in the area surrounding Lucky Hill Orphan Home are STARVING. Stop for a moment and think about you as a child. Think of having no food for days and days. No! REALLY think about it. Think hard. Try and feel how that would feel. Think about how you would feel. If you are a parent reading this, think of watching our children go DAYS without food. DAYS. Lucky Hill is not only an orphan home. Lucky Hill is also a school for children in the surrounding area. I will not post her entire message, but a woman who just returned from Lucky Hill posted that she saw one of the children who attends school there EAT HIS PENCIL for LUNCH! Yes. She said he ate it like a candy bar. I want you to pick up a pencil right now. I want you to put it into your mouth. How hungry would you have to be to eat it? How hungry would you have to be to chew the wood, taste the powdery lead, and swallow it. And then take another bite. How hungry? How do you think that child's mother feels? How would YOU feel if all your child had eaten in days was his school pencil? Think about that. ....By the way...the lunches at Lucky Hill, available to all the children who can pay for it, is 30 cents. Where have YOU spent 30 cents today?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Two Dollars

RIGHT NOW, I want you to go get the two dollars you were going to spend today on soda pop. Go get it RIGHT NOW! And while you are up, grab a stamp, envelope and a pen/pencil. GO NOW...I will wait ;). ..... ..... ..... .... .... Did you get them? If not, I'll keep waiting..... ...... ....... Okay, now, on the envelope write this: Sixteen Small Stones C/O Breclyn Everett 1811 South 1800 East Sugarhouse, Utah 84108 Put the two dollars in the envelope, lick the edge and seal it. Stick the stamp on. Now, walk it to your mail box....Now, don't start thinking of excuses! Your shoes aren't on? That's your best excuse? Grab them and put them on! No, don't stop to wash the dishes, or to brush your teeth...just run the envelope to the mail box and flip the little red flag up. ........ ........ ........ ........ YOU'RE BACK! That two dollars is on it's way to Africa (well, to me first, but then STRAIGHT to Africa). Yup, you did it! You helped someone in Africa! Was that so hard? And I promise you, you will NOT miss your two dollars. That money is going to buy church supplies for a primary in Ghana (read my previous post for more info on that). What a great cause! Helping children learn about God? Bringing them closer to Heaven? I can think of nothing greater in the world. Think of the peace YOU feel because you know of Heavenly Father. Think of the joy you feel because you know of life after death. Think of the comfort you have felt when reading the Scriptures. Now look! You just gave that to someone else! Aren't you so, so happy? So often, we say we want to do this service or that one. But we think we will do it "in a sec" or "later", and really we DO have EVERY intent to do it!!!!! Then, things come up...crying baby, dishes, dirty clothes, boiling water...and before you know it, it is two weeks later and you are thinking, "I really would have liked to have done that service. Darn it!" Well, congratulations, you did this one! I wish I could express how thankful I am. I wish I could tell you how appreciated your two dollars will be. I guess all I can do is say, "THANK YOU" and hope that will suffice. Here is the list of things the primary really needs. (You will probably be surprised with how little they are willing to get by. Our primaries here are so well equipped!) It may also help you see just what is needed and why. THANK YOU! This is a post from a sweet Mom who is adopting a little boy from Luckyhill Orphan Home. She is organizing the donations for the primary. Childrens Songbook ($18.25, hardcover) CDs of hymns and primary songs so teachers learn new ones (Children's hymns CDs: $650, Standard hymns: $11.50) Cd player (no idea how much that costs in Ghana....ballpark $50?) Starter library package. (They already have empty cabinets with locks. I'm waiting to find out if this means that they want, say, a Primary manual for each class for each year of curriculum, or what, so that I can post prices.) Teaching aids like picture kit (simplified Gospel Art Book is $3.25; can't find the Gospel Art Kit listed - anyone have one to donate?) 3 sets scriptures for primary classes to read together. Triple plus bible. (1 regular quad is $35; a triple + Bible is $20 + $25)*All of this is at the Accra temple bookstore if money can be wired or brought by one of the adopting families). I should have plenty of room in my suitcases when I go, so if anyone wants to donate those things, they can - or if anyone wants to donate $ for buying those things at the distribution center at the temple in Accra, that's good as well! :) (And if anyone has gently used items from that list, I'm sure they would be very happy to have them.)At this point my very tentative departure date is November 16th, so donations would need to get to me by then - or I could send them with the next person going over there. :)Isn't it kind of weird and amazing to think of a Primary without any of those things? (Well,maybe it won't be that way for long. :) :) )

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

SERVICE PROJECT FOR LUCKY HILL ORPHANAGE AND THE PRIMARY, GHANA AFRICA

So, we have another GREAT
SERVICE PROJECT OPPORTUNITY!!!!!
Remember Lucky Hill Orphanage, where William was living when we sent him his care package? Well, the man who started that orphanage is the Bishop of the LDS church ward there (Mormon). Their primary has almost NOTHING by way of materials...no Scriptures, no pictures, no song books, NOTHING! This is the primary the orphans of Lucky Hill attend! (Primary is the axillary in the church organized for children to learn the gospel through lessons, music and activity. The children attend primary on Sunday's, going to a one hour of class time and one hour of a group time, where they sing religious music and have a lesson). Sixteen Small Stones is joining Shannon Watson and Lucky Hill Orphanage in providing items for the primary. A list of items is provided below. Sixteen Small Stones is mailing a check to Shannon Watson. She is going to forward any funds collected to the directer of Lucky Hill who is going to purchase the items in Ghana. It will be MUCH easier than finding someone to carry the items to Ghana. We are going to start the donation at $50.00 and are looking for ANYONE and EVERYONE who wants to, to add to that amount! PLEASE help us provide these worthwhile items to children so wanting to learn the Gospel! If you want to donate money, please comment here, or send me an email at smallstonesafricaandchina@yahoo.com. You will be giving the option to either mail the money to me to add to our check, OR to mail your donation directly to Shannon Watson. Please state in your comment or email which you would prefer to do so I can give you the correct mailing address. Also, please make sure to give me YOUR email address so I can get the mailing address to you! Let's take advantage of this service opportunity! THANK YOU, ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sincerely, Breclyn

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Documentary and Jumping

There is so much I want to say, but, as usual, the words betray me. Not because I can't think of the words to write, but because the words are too many. I have met someone fantastic who wants to help me with Sixteen Small Stones. Slowly, one by one, the right people come along. I am so hesitant to reach out to these people, to ask for their help, or to accept their offers to help. However, I am learning to put aside my inhibitions and GRAB onto these people with all the hope I can. I NEED help with Sixteen Small Stones. I NEED Sixteen Small Stones to be a success, and I can NOT do it alone. It is hard for me to ask people to help with something that is no more than a dream...a wish...a vision. You can't instill your ideas and dreams in someone. You just have to hope and pray they have the faith in you that you have in your dream...in your God. My greatest wish is that their efforts come to some great end and they can feel pleased in the work they have done. I wish there were some way to thank the people who are willing (maybe even excited??) to help with Sixteen Small Stones. I guess the important thing to remember is that Sixteen Small Stones is NOT my dream...it is someone else's only chance at life. So, for the sake of someones life, I put aside my inhibitions...and jump.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Short Post That Turned LOOOOOONG. Sorry.

Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed. I have been so sick the past several days. I go to work, I go to school, I take care of Taiger...I am so, so sick. My head pounds. My throat aches. My body is shaking and tired. Today, I was thinking about my idea of doing an internship this summer and then staying for a study abroad this next fall, and I got this overwhelming feeling of, "China? Really? WHY?!?!?!" I think, "I can't do it." I think, "It is too big for me." I think my Chinese isn't good enough. I think I will be worn out. I wonder who will tend Taiger. I wonder how going to China may affect/RUIN his life. I get scared thinking of WORKING for a BUSINESS as an INTERN. And how will I do my homework in Chinese? I can't even read the simple homework I have now, and it is meant to teach me Chinese. What happens when I have a chemistry class in Chinese, huh?! How will I have time to study? How will I study, period? How will I know the words on the homework? Why would a company want me for an intern? What happens if I get sick? Who will take care of Taiger? Who will take care of ME?! What if I get REALLY sick and Taiger is without someone to look after him while I am sick? What about when it is really, really cold in the winter? What if I don't understand my employers? How will I understand them? How will I understand my professors? Who will help me study? How am I doing this? Why am I doing this? And then I remember that little boy's hand pressed to me. That Chinese boy, begging for money, his face down-turned, his hand raised to me, begging for money for food. I remember the man with the bone sticking through his leg, staring at the sky, waiting for God to take him away, and his wife begging for food for them. I remember the woman with her baby in her arms, trying to use the ends of her jacket to shield her baby from the wind and biting cold. I remember giving her my blanket. She grabbed my hand. As a Mother, I now understand even more what that brief moment of holding my hand was expressing. I remember crying as I walked down the street after giving money to a family who was begging for money to pay for their daughter's heart surgery. I remember the tears in the mother's and father's eyes. I remember one of the first beggars I saw in JingMen. A little girl, maybe 7-10 years old. She had written her story on paper and laid it out near her, with pictures of her parents on either side. I remember the yearning I had to bring that girl home with me. Of course, when I asked her to come to my home, she refused...I am sure she was scared out of her mind of the crazy white person saying in a mix of English and "my-first-weeks-in-JingMen-before-I-spoke-Chinese" Chinese saying something about going to her house. I remember the little girl from the countryside, who, on the eve of Thanksgiving, pressed her face to the window of where GaoFei and I sat inside the warm KFC Restaurant eating dinner. I motioned to her to wait a moment. I am sure she was afraid, but maybe a glimmer of the hope of warm food kept her waiting. In the end, as I set the bag of food near her on the sidewalk, she wouldn't take it from me. She was scared and wanted to run away...again, maybe the warmth coming from the sack, maybe the smell of warm food, kept her there. I motioned to her that the food was for her. She didn't believe it. Because she seemed afraid of me, I left the bag and hurried back into KFC, but I watched the girl and the food from the corner of my eye. She went to the food and reached in the bag as a woman and a small boy approached, clearly her Mother and brother. They were no doubt country children, come from their farms to beg in the winter, as their farms lay quiet and fruitless under a skiff of snow. The hot streets of summer held quite a few beggars, but nothing like in the winter, when the farmers were completely without money. The women, the children, dressed in thin clothes, their eyes cast down, their hands reaching up, longing, yes BEGGING. for something, for anything. It is for those people, each life I couldn't save, each mouth I couldn't feed, each hand I couldn't warm. They are why I must return. They are why I must face the fear, the unknown, the risks, the loneliness, the homesickness. They are why I face the anxiety of an internship and study abroad. For them. And for the people waiting for me and Taiger to take them in our arms and to love them. I admit, it is for me and Taiger, too. To save us from the dangerous life we could lead...the life of comfort, of complacency, of apathy. It is too risky to stay here, to be too comfortable, to have too much. I worry about Taiger growing up and never being on a T-Ball team. I worry about him never going to birthday parties. I worry about him never having a large house with a big back-yard and a comfortable bedroom with a big bed and toys. I worry I will never have "that" house...you know, the one you always want, with a big door and eye-ball lights. With soft colored paint and natural wood colored kitchen cupboards. But I worry more that Taiger will never grow close to God through serving His children. I am worried Taiger and I will live rich in the poor things, when it is better to live poor in the rich things. I worry Taiger will never feel that overwhelming joy, that REAL joy, that comes when you truly serve...or when you truly give of yourself. I worry about his spirit. More than anything else in this life, I want Taiger to have a strong Testimony in The Atonement, of The Book Of Mormon, of the Bible. I want him to know and have a testimony of God and Jesus Christ and The Holy Ghost. I want to live a life so full of The Spirit that he grows used to it, and if a day came when he wandered from the Straight and Narrow Path, if he let go of the Iron Rod, even for a moment, he would sense it, he would FEEL it in his heart, and he would MISS it. Serving so fully, living the way I did in China, turns your heart to God. You depend on Him more. You feel closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I believe when you serve people who are hurting for food, for items and for LOVE, you feel The Spirit so much closer. Gosh, I know this is a messy post. I wish I could express myself better. I know if anyone ever reads this post, they will be, like, "WHAT?!?!?!?!" I just...I know that feeling that comes with serving so passionately. I want that for Taiger. T-Ball? Really? In God's Eternal Plan, do you think He would be happy if Taiger stayed in America and played T-Ball? ABSOLUTELY! He would be SO HAPPY that Taiger was in a loving home, with a good family, that he was safe and being raised in the gospel, and that he was healthy and able to play baseball. But don't you think that if it is God's will that we go to China, that he knows Taiger's FULL potential? That He knows all the good Taiger could do in the world? That if we turn our lives over to God, that He has a much richer, more meaningful plan for our lives than maybe we do?

Monday, October 5, 2009

So Many Blessings!

SO EXCITED!!!!!! I met with my professor today. Okay, so she said that I COULD study at the University in JingMen, but advised against it. In the end, I feel inclined to agree with her. The reasons for studying at the schools that have partnered with the U are these: 1) My prof. can PREPARE me for what to expect and what classes will be like 2) It is easier to determine what credits will count toward my graduation when the U knows just what I have learned 3) The classes they offer are GEARED toward Chinese language students, rather than being classes geared toward Chinese students 4) The classes I would be taking would be TEACHING me Chinese, rather than just being IN Chinese, but being topics irrelavant to learning Chinese (such as science, math, history, etc.) So, I was sad I will not be going to JingMen, but all in good time. Why am I not discouraged? Because something really, really wonderful happened durring our conversation! My Prof. ASKED ME about my goals in China, about my food program, AND SHE DID NOT LAUGH, SHE DID NOT THINK I WAS CRAZY, SHE WAS SERIOUS AND REAL about it! She didn't get "fake" excited. She didn't start going crazy with unrealistic ideas. Instead, she was supportive and had good advice about which school in China could help me most, about which classes at the U would help me, and about other things that could help me. She gave me relivant and pertanant information about how I could go about achieving my dream. In the end, she said TWICE that this conversation would continue! Meaning, SHE wants to talk to ME about it! (Rather than what usually happens: me yammering on and on about my dream of going to China.) She also said she would CONTINUE TO THINK about what I can do to get on the right path to my food program!!!!!! SHE is going to think about it! Not me alone! She is going to HELP me!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so thankful to Heavenly Father for guiding me and helping me, and I am so thankful to Heavenly Father for softening her heart towards me and my plans (which is really His plan). I am so thankful to Professor Wan for listening and guiding me. How blessed I am!!!!! Small Stones could be real again!

Da Xue

Um, I just filled out an online application to a university in JingMen! Okay, I'll back up. My professor and I had a good heart-to-heart on Friday. We had just started discussing the possibility of me studying in China when she had to go. However, I am meeting with her this morning to further discuss my options. I THINK I have to study at one of the partner schools in China...but I am going to see if I can find a way around that. Until today, I didn't know there even WAS a university in JingMen. Thanks to Google, I learned there IS one! So what did I do? Filled out an application. I will pray my heart out about if that is where I am supposed to continue my schooling...but in my heart, it just makes sense. I will only be there one semester, but it may give me the experience and connections I need to get my foot in the door for my food program!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am going to pray that the U will allow me to study there, if it be God's will, so I can get the ball rolling for Sixteen Small Stones' Feeding Program in JingMen, China. Wouldn't that be a miracle??!?!!?!?!?!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Stand-Still? I think not

I have not blogged in a while for many reasons. However, tonight (for some unknown reason) I felt like I had better update everyone! :D Sixteen Small Stones is in this interesting place right now. A place that seems in words to be at, what you may call, a "stand still"...nothing seems to be happening. I have been discouraged about this. My heart YEARNS to DO something....SOMETHING! ANYTHING! Right after the last post here, Katie took off of her blog her list of needed items. I was SO THRILLED...and SO disappointed! We hadn't gotten to send a single item. However, I was and am so thankful that so many people acted quickly and got Katie the things needed for she and her girls and all of the children in her care. I find myself working less and less with Luckyhill Orphan Home. My heart still loves the children there, the people working with the orphan home. I follow the forum for parents who have adopted or are adopting from Luckyhill. I am amazed by this group of people!!!! The good they are doing at that orphanage is PHENOMENAL! I am blown completely away with their willingness to serve and to love the people, adults and children alike, in Ghana and at Luckyhill. The time spent serving that orphan home is HUGE, and EVERYONE is so happy and eager to do it! I LOVE reading about the great work being performed at that orphan home. At the same time, I am again a tiny bit sad to not be part of that great and amazing work. So, where does this leave Sixteen Small Stones? I often wonder the same thing! The places I so wanted to serve, seem to be doing just fine without us! So, really...where does that leave us? As I said before...it SEEMS that we are at a "stand still". Let me assure you now that in God's work, there is NO SUCH THING AS A STAND-STILL! GOD has perfect timing, a PERFECT plan...and it is ALWAYS a work in motion. That being said, I want to also say that I have found that GOD calls you to where you are needed. I used to think I would be opening a foster home in JingMen. I kept feeling like I should wait, wait, wait...wait. So, I waited. Eventually, I found online a blog of two mothers who had opened a foster home in JingMen. At first, I felt betrayed! How had GOD allowed SOMEONE ELSE to take MY job?!?!??! Then I remembered, this is NOT about ME...it NEVER was "MY" job! GOD called THOSE women to do that work that it wasn't right for me to do. I have had the same thing happen with an orphanage, adopting, working with Luckyhill AND working with Katie. There is a REASON GOD has planted these interests in my heart, and I truly and FIRMLY believe that it was to learn something! When I wanted to open an orphanage, it inspired me to find out more about orphans and we were able to adopt my sister from China from what I had learned. When I wanted to adopt, I found Luckyhill and have learned much about how serving orphans works. Also through wanting to adopt, I found Katie and that has ENTIRELY changed my plans and made things come together in ways I didn't before see possible. I see now that I am to start NOT an orphanage, NOT a foster home, but a feeding program like Katie's! If I hadn't found out about Katie, I NEVER would have had the knowledge, understanding, or insight about something like that, about how to run a feeding program, about the difference that can make. GOD has HIS perfect plan! I read on a blog tonight of someone who is good friends with Katie and is now in Uganda with Katie, adopting a little girl, "In life there is GOD's plan, and there is YOUR plan...and your plan doesn't really matter". I LOVE it! It isn't that your plan isn't interesting, or even well thought out...but in the end, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you live GOD's plan! When YOUR plan becomes GOD's plan, you know you are on the right path. And that is what I am trying to do. Let go of MY plan, and learn to blindly follow GOD's plan! So, I ask all of my followers, or those who even just once in a while read my blog, to please bear with me as I search for GOD's plan, and find the strength to walk away from the path I have chosen to follow GOD along HIS path, which, by the way, is ALWAYS the better of the two.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A MIRACLE! I have been DYING to know what to do for Katie (kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com) but haven't heard back from Gwen. (That has me really sad, but that's a different story). Tonight, I checked Katie's blog just to make sure nothing had been changed, no new posts, etc., and GUESS WHAT?!?!?!?!? She had a LIST on her sidebar of things they need! Hallelujah! We are sending a box as soon as I can organize a drive...oh yeah, and tell my board! :D ;) I know TONS of others will be sending supplies, but by golly Sixteen Small Stones will be sending their little package right along with everyone else's!!!! SOOOOOO....This is where all of YOU come in! Want to donate MONEY? Want to donate ITEMS? LET US KNOW! Here is a list of what Katie needs! Come on, everyone! This is the moment you have been waiting for! A chance to reach out! Let's do it! The things she is asking for are cheap and EASY to find! Together, we can DO THIS! Let's get Katie EVERYTHING she needs! Okay?! I am so excited! :) If it weren't the middle of the night, and IF my son weren't asleep in the same room, I may be screaming and jumping up and down! Lucky for the neighbors, I am not. :) If you want to donate, comment on here and I will email you my address and phone number, OR you can email us at smallstonesafricaandchina@yahoo.com If you live nearby, you can drop a donation off at my house, too. I can email you the address and directions! Here is Katie's list: colored pencils panties -- size 2T, 4T, 6, 8 underwear -- size 2T, 4T, 6, 8 construction paper wipes fun kid bandaids neosporin children's Tylenol children's benedryl stickers gummie vitamins ringworm cream -- for use on heads adult Tylenol packets of powdered soup deflated soccer balls tennis balls

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Quote

I LOVE this "quote". It is actually from a book of scripture read by many Christians. Anyway, this scripture really tells how I feel about WHY I absolutely HAVE to return to China. "Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

In Humility

We are moving to China next year, Taiger and I, and maybe Jeremy. I am taking my LAST class for my Chinese Minor, and then I am going to pick an "easy" (haha) major and I guess just do classes on-line from China...who really knows! I know I want to graduate, but I am being called to China. And that is it. I must go. I can't NOT go. I have to go. I don't have a definite plan yet. I don't know for sure if I will teach while I am there or not. I don't know for certain how long we will stay (although I imagine at least 2 years). There is much praying and pondering that will go in to finding the answers to these questions. However, I do know I am going to leave next year. I also know that God has called me to this work. Without a doubt, I know it. I know that God loves the children of China as much as he loves anyone else in the world. They are also His dear children. He wants them to be happy, for they, too, are that they might have joy. I know Heavenly Father knows each one of us, no matter where in the world we are. I know that He hears their cries and wants them to be comforted. I want to the an instrument in God's hands. To serve His children...To serve Him by serving His children. To obey when I am called. I also know that God knows my heart. He knows my desire to serve. At the same time, I know that He knows what I have seen, and He knows what I have felt inspired through Him to do, and I know that I will be held responsible and accountable if I fail to accomplish this mission. This is a work of God. This is a great work. A work of wisdom and infinite power because it is a work of God. With God, NOTHING is impossible. I am afraid to go to China. I am worried about moving there with a child. I am concerned about how I will have time and money to raise my son and to help all of the people there who will require my help. Yet, I know that, "Whom the Lord calls, He qualifies." I pray that everyone will join me in prayer as I search for answers, guidance and inspiration. This is the first time I humbly come to you asking for your prayers on behalf of me, Taiger, and Sixteen Small Stones, but I pray that you will offer your prayers for us, and that this will not be the last time I am blessed with being able to call on all of you for support and prayers. My heart is humbled and full of gratitude as I ask for this overwhelmingly HUGE favor. Thank you all.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pictures on our website!!

Picutres from our "Paint-A-Stone" event are now up on our website!! Go check them out and see all the FUN! :D 16smallstones.com Thanks, again, to my sweet board members for your HELP and SUPPORT! Thank you to EVERYONE who helped and also (especially!) to EVERYONE who came! We had a ton of fun! :D Thank you!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fund Raiser

I haven't written about our Paint-A-Stone Event yet because I haven't known what to say. Each time I try and start, there are no words. I don't know what to say. However, I feel like I aught to write SOMETHING for people who are wondering how it went and everything. God is teaching me a valuable lesson. In fact, the more days that pass the more lessons I realize I am learning. How did the event go? Good question. In one instance, I want to say, "OH MY GOODNESS! It was HORRIBLE! Almost NO ONE showed up!" On the other hand, I want to say, "It was great! Only one person came, but I learned SO MUCH from her so that means it was a success!" So, rather than tell you in black and white if it was good or bad, I will tell you about it and tell you the lessons that I have so far learned. I stayed up until about 3:00am Thursday preparing for Friday. I was worried that no one would come, and for some strange reason, I really believed no one would! I had handed out 100 fliers to my friends and neighbors and I had faith at that time that since some of these people knew me, they would want to come support me. I also had faith at that time that EVERYONE wants to help orphans as much as I, they just don't know how to, so given the opportunity, they would come a-runnin'! In retrospect, I see how self-centered and selfish these beliefs were! Who am I that people would want to come support me? Worse yet, why was it ever about who knew ME...it should have been, "Who knows GOD", after all, that is who this whole thing should have been about, right?! Well, the more I prayed for a good turn-out, the more I got the feeling that no one would come, but that I still should do all the work as if they would. I acted as if we would have a good turn-out and planned accordingly. Friday morning, I woke up early early early to get everything ready. I put signs on street corners telling about us and what time and location. I set up our table and it looked SO CUTE! The neighbor girls came over, without even being asked!, to help set up. Bryttan got her computer out and ready. She helped me make everything look cute. We set up the speakers to play the music with the slide-shows, we set out items we are going to send Katie. We were all ready. At nine o'clock everything was set. Paints out on the table, rocks in the box for kids to pick out which they wanted to paint. Go time. No one came. Bryttan said that it was just early and to give it time. No one came. I lead a prayer. No one came.
A woman walked by and said, "You are having a garage sale?" Bryttan said, "No, we are raising money for orphans in Africa and China. For 16 cents you can paint a rock and the money goes to the orphans!" The woman said, "You should put rocks on your table" and walked away.
Our neighbor across the street came home. She got out of her car and asked us, "What are you doing?" I said, "We are raising money to help orphans in Africa and China!" She said, "Ooooookkkkaaayyyyy" like we were crazy, snorted under her breath, and went into her house. Other people who we knew and whose doors we had put fliers came out of their houses and sat on their porches or played with their children. They glanced in our direction but never came. Others drove by. We waved and they drove on.
Jeremy arrived. We ate breakfast and I did my ads for work.
Still, no one came.
More prayers were uttered. That those who had received fliers would feel prompted to come. That people would remember. That we would be able to raise the money to do this work to which we had been called.
Our neighbor girls came and painted a rock. They are sweet girls and they visited with us a while to keep us company. Then, they left. Another boy from down the street walked past with his dog. We know his family pretty well and his little sister plays with Taiger sometimes. We asked if he was going to paint a rock. He took his dog home and came back with a quarter and painted a rock. We asked if he had gotten the flier we left on the door. He had.
Some time later, someone pulled up in a car. Out climbed a sweet looking Mom! She looked in our direction and our hearts jumped! She gathered two tiny children out of the back seat of the car and they came to our yard! They were there to paint rocks!
This was at about 11:30. As her children painted rocks and played with Taiger I visited with the Mother. Come to find out, she is adopting from Luckyhill and had found out about the fundraiser on my blog! I found out she had driven a long way to be to this fund raiser. When I commented on the distance she had come she simply said that she would go to any lengths to support people helping orphans or adopting. My heart broke...she shared my desire to serve orphans! Someone out there cared about these poor children!!!!! I was encouraged and humbled and SO THANKFUL to this mother! Her children we absolute dolls and it was so fun to meet them. As her children painted she pressed some money into my hand. It was MUCH more than the suggested 16 cents and I panicked momentarily that I would need to round-up enough change. I said that I would go find some change and she laughed and insisted I keep the full amount she had given me. The amount of money she had given me surely would have paid her gas money all the way back home, instead, she was giving it to me to pass along to those in need. I thought of the money she had spent driving all the way from her home to Sugarhouse, and how much she would need to spend to get home. I thought of the costs of her pending adoption from Luckyhill. I thought of the money of raising two small toddlers, one of whom is starting pre-school this fall, and that is NOT, as we all know, free! I was completely humbled by this woman. I hugged her and thanked her for the donation.
Before she left, I shook her hand. She grabbed me and embraced me in the most heartfelt hug. It was one of those hugs you would expect from a dear friend or a family member you had not seen in a long time. I realized in the world of people who want to serve the orphaned, there are but a few, and we are like a small family. This woman's embrace made the entire day of no one showing up worth it.
A while after this sweet family left for their long drive home, we packed up, cleaned up and called it a day. Our Event was from 9:00-noon and it was past noon by the time we cleaned up. No one else came. No one.
Today, as I drove to church, I looked at all the houses to whose doors I had taped fliers. I felt a little anger that no one came. I immediately realized that this was one of my lessons. To learn to forgive. I really didn't feel ANGER at those who didn't come. I didn't take it personally, either, so I didn't feel HURT. I thought the rest of the day about how I felt and realized it was sorrow. I was sad that no one cared about orphans enough to come.
At church, our lesson was about, among other things, service. I felt bitter...I guess that is the best word to use, although it seems a bit strong. Anyway, I was sad that most of the women in that room had gotten a flier, but not ONE had come. And here they were having a lesson on service! SLAP ME for being so stiff-necked! Who was I to judge them?! Besides, were they not just having a LESSON on service! The entire class I tried to remember these things...To tell myself I was being SO WICKED to even be at ALL upset that no one came! Then, the last part of our lesson was about not speaking ill of others and I felt so ashamed of how I felt about no one coming on Friday.
(I KNOW that I wasn't doing it to look good or to show off, and I am worried someone reading this will come to that conclusion. It wasn't like that. It was just that I was sad that no one came. But I realize now I need to not be because that is a bad thing to even think! It causes me to harbor some ill feeling for those who didn't show.)
The real humbling moment came when, after class, an older woman came up to me. She asked if I was the one who had hosted the "thing" (as she called it). She said that she wanted to donate some money to us. As I prepared to leave church after that, I almost began to cry. How ungrateful I am. How selfish. I thought of the new lessons I was learning:
1) Not everyone has such a deep desire to serve (and SAVE) orphans as I have
2) Not everyone has the means or time to come to fund raising events
3) Some people are amazingly kind and will drive a LONG distance to help you help others, even while they are struggling.
4) I am hard-hearted
5) I am ungrateful
6) If God has a work to be done, He will make it be done, with or without funds from one fundraiser
7) God's work is just that...WORK...and sometimes it is hard and sometimes you do a TON of work for no results, but that is how work goes some times.
8) I needed to be humbled
9) I need to be more humble
10) I need to not think ill of others
I have NO doubt I will continue to learn lessons from this fund raiser.
Also on my drive home, I began thinking of how much of a help the money that one mother donated would be. I will not say on here how much it was, but the money she gave me would buy about 40 bowls of rice in China. FORTY. It would feed FORTY street children one meal, probably their ONLY meal. Or, it would feed ONE child one meal a day for OVER ONE MONTH. Wow. Or I could donate it to Katie and feed who knows how many. I imagine food is even cheaper there than in China, so maybe it would buy even 100 bowls of rice. Phenomenal, really. That is HUGE. When you are there, touching those children, giving them their only source of sustenance, those 40-100 bowls of rice mean the world. They mean not having to turn away 40 children. They mean not having to see a child dead in the street from hunger. They mean bringing a sick and dying child back to life. They mean for that child hope. They mean taking away that pain of deep, starving hunger. That woman made a HUGE difference in the world. HUGE! She brought LIFE to 40 children! Possibly more.
So...how was the fund raiser? I don't know. God, who knows the future and knows the end of all things, knows what a difference this fund-raiser will make. And if it can make a difference, then I would say this fund-raiser was a success!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Event Post #1

We are 40 mins into our event and nothing. No one has come. But we prayed as a group and I just know God's Will will be done. Whatever He has planned for us will come to pass. Maybe no one will show, but Sixteen Small Stones will still go on. The neighbor girls and Taiger are having fun painting! :D We have been able to spend all morning outside and the weather is WONDERFUL! Not too hot! Nice and cool. It has been very beautiful out. We have also had a chance to visit and listen to the lovely music we have playing on our side shows. This, I think, is a test for me...my heart is not soft enough.

Paint A Stone Event Update 3

Preparing for Paint A Stone Event: Update 3
Do you see the time I am posting this? Yeah, SO CRAZY tonight, preparing for tomorrow's BIG EVENT!
I got off work late and Jeremy and I went and gathered stones (did I mention I procrastinate SO BADLY?!). Then, to the dollar store for table cloth, paint brushes...etc...and then the craft store for paint. By then it was quite late (the craft store worker lady had to come tell us they were closed and we needed to leave...we still had to pay! Oops!)! We went to the neighbors to collect the table she said we could borrow for tomorrow (THANK YOU, JOANN!). Once home, we blew up balloons, made signs, made and cut out "business" cards, made our little sign to put on the table and tell about us...CRAZY BUSY!
In the midst of doing all of that at home, I showered Taiger, tidied my room and made Taiger dinner. Jeremy got Taiger out of the shower and down to bed (THANK YOU, JEREMY!)
Jeremy helped me SO MUCH tonight with making things and cutting things out, blowing up balloons, gathering stones...he drove me ALL around town, even though he was HUNGRY and SICK! SO SWEET! THANK YOU!
Unfortunately (hee hee) our Bryttan had "other" things on her sweet mind (boys, ahem! or should I say, ONE boy in particular) and was a little busy with other things (his birthday is tomorrow and she was planning a surprise, making him a card...she was crazy busy, too!). Still, she found time to help me and be such a sweet heart! I was just sad because I made the signs and I KNOW she would have done MUCH better than I! She is very, very artistic!
My TIRED Mom came and helped us prepare, too, and my other sister offered moral support. :D Thanks, you guys!
I don't know what I would do without everyone's help! I certainly wouldn't be going to bed tonight...that's for sure!
Well, I still have a few things to finish up so I am off! But I will leave you with some pictures of our preparations! Enjoy!
My poor kitchen as I was trying to get everything done
If you ask Jeremy to blow up balloons, you either end up with balloon air being blown all over your face (along with plenty of saliva, thank you, Jeremy), or Jeremy ends up "pregnant"...or both (as in my case).
Jeremy being "athletic" with the balloon.
BeQin and McKenna playing cards...er, being "supportive" (yeah, right! LOL!)
Cutting out "Business card" (Jeremy was nearly asleep!)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Update 2

UPDATE 2 ON 16 SMALL STONES EVENT TOMORROW IS THE BIG DAY!! SWEEEET! I am so excited...and have had a prayer in my mind all day that tomorrow will go well. Please, if you can, pray for us as we take this first step. That things will go well and PEOPLE WILL COME! I have faith that GOD, who planted this seed in my heart and mind years ago, who has walked with me all this way, will not leave us tomorrow, and that He has a plan for the children in China and Africa, and that this small event tomorrow will bless one child's life, if that is all that is needed. Last night, Jeremy and I ran to the grocery store and while we were there I put out some more fliers. Bryttan and BeQin and I put Taiger back in his little stroller and went out at about 10:30 last night when it had finally cooled off some to put the rest of the fliers on people's doors. My sweet sisters and son never complained about how many we put out, or how heavy the stroller was to push or how many (MANY) spider webs we walked through as we approached people's door steps. (I guess at that time of night the spiders are busy spinning webs!) So, all of the fliers are out and now we can move on tonight to getting everything else ready. Bryttan and I have made slide shows and we have the music ready. Some more odds and ends to get ready and we should be good!! In news aside from all of the preparations for tomorrow, I read Katie's blog today and it brought tears to my eyes. Seeing the good work she is doing in Africa motivates me to do more. I am so glad to have Sixteen Small Stones to use as a base to now begin serving others. I am excited to begin working with Amazima, and I am so excited for next year to go to China and begin our own feeding program with the people there. Today, an American mother came in to our warehouse. She, her husband and FIVE children are moving here...FROM CHINA! They have been living there for FOUR YEARS! I was SO excited to talk to them about China, I think I may have almost frightened them! :) When I saw she was a little overwhelmed with my enthusiasms, I backed off and stopped asking her so many questions. She was very, very kind, though, and happy to talk to me about China. I directed her to our website...maybe we will see her or her family again! :D I have to go now. I just realized I haven't bought the paint for tomorrow! God should not have called a PROCRASTINATOR to do His work! :D (That was a joke...I hope God will ALWAYS call on me! I will ALWAYS answer, "I am here, Lord, send me!")

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

UPDATE on preparing for the Sixteen Small Stones "Paint A Stone Event": We copied 100 fliers last night at Kinkos (THANK HEAVEN they are open 24 hours!!!!!) and about 11:00pm Jeremy and I took Taiger in the stroller and we went around the neighborhood putting out fliers. Unfortunately, we didn't get many out before we needed to head in, but I will go out again tonight and do more. THANK YOU, JEREMY, for helping me! I got a list made up last night of everything we need for Friday. There is a lot to do, but I have faith we can get everything done in time!!!!! Please pray for us to get everything ready, AND to have a good turn-out. I am so excited for everything that is taking place! This is a wonderful opportunity to serve so many people! I foresee great things happening with Sixteen Small Stones for years to come, and I am excited that this is our first step on a life-long journey! "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." ~Lao Zi

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Paint A Stone Event!!!!!!.....again ;)

I HAVE to post this announcement again...I want to make sure EVERYONE SEES IT!!!!! I am really excited!!!!!!
Our FIRST EVENT is planned and we are hurrying like CRAZY trying to get everything ready in time! Friday, we will host our first "Paint A Stone Event". This is the COOLEST fund raising idea, EVER, I think. People donate 16 cents (for "SIXTEEN Small Stones"...get it?!) and they get to paint a rock to take home! It will give them a fun little craft AND since it is a stone it will help them remember us and MORE IMPORTANTLY to remember all of the orphaned children in the world! I am really, really excited and praying it goes well. If it does, we hope to do more of this fund raiser. Our vision is that this simple fund raiser will be SO FUN that it will catch on other places, too, and people will either host their own Paint A Stone event, or will themselves just paint a stone. What we hope is they will send us a picture (or even a video!!!!!!) of their event or of them and their painted rock. We will then post the picture to our website! We want our site to be PACKED with pictures of people ALL OVER painting rocks as a symbol of their advocacy for the orphans of the world. It would be such a miracle and a blessing if they felt compelled to send us their 16 cents, but even if they don't, we still want them to paint their rocks and send us their pictures to show they care about orphans. SO....Here are the details for the event we are hosting! EVERYONE is invited, and it would be GREAT if you came! We would love to meet you!!!!!! PAINT A STONE EVENT!!!!!
DATE: August 7, 2009 (THIS FRIDAY!!!!) TIME: 9:30 am - 12:00 noon PLACE: 1811 South 1800 East Sugarhouse, UTAH 84108 (If you need directions, please comment here and let me know! I can email directions to you!) WHAT: For 16 cents you can paint a stone to bring home! We will have slide shows showing pictures of the children we will be helping. ALL of our board members will be there to answer any questions you have about Sixteen Small Stones, orphans, China, Africa...whatever! :D NOTE: WE WILL PROVIDE THE STONES AND PAINT! :) We really hope you will all come! It is going to be so much fun! SEE YOU FRIDAY! WE CAN'T WAIT!!!!!

OUR FIRST EVENT!!!!

PAINT-A-ROCK event!!!! We have our first event planned!! This friday we are hosting our FIRST "PAINT-A-ROCK" event!!!!! For 16 cents, you can paint a rock, and, OF COURSE, ALL the money goes to helping the orphans in Africa and China. It will be REALLY fun! We are providing the rocks and paint. There will be slide shows of the kids we are helping, so you can see where the money is going. ALSO...if you want, we will take your picture of you and your painted rock and PUT IT ON OUR WEBSITE!!!!!! PLEASE, PLEASE COME! It will be SO SUPER FUN!!!!!! Who doesn't like to paint rocks?! Who doesn't like to help orphans?! SO COME! :D It will be THIS FRIDAY from 9:00 am to noon!!!! 1811 South 1800 East, Sugarhouse, Utah 84108 If you live far away but still want to "participate" host your own "Paint-A-Rock" event! Send us your pictures and we will add them to ours and put them on our website! If you want help organizing this event, let me know! It is the most simple fund raiser in the world, I swear! We are just doing it in our front yard. If you want, I can send you a copy of the fliers we are using to send out and you can just use them...TOO EASY! :D !!!!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Miss Hoity-Toity

Today, in Church, we talked a lot about things that seemed to be about Sixteen Small Stones. We talked about personal revelation, and I thought about the revelations I have had about SSS and the work in which we are embarking. We talked about service, and I thought about SSS and serving others. Every day, it seems something happens that touches that part of my heart that years to serve. I want to share a personal and rather embarrassing moment. About a week and a half ago, my Dad was staying at the Marriott Hotel in Salt Lake City. As you know, the rest of my family lives here in SLC, and my Dad could have stayed at our house, but since he was here for business, his work put him up in the hotel. Of course, we all went to "hang out" at the hotel and enjoy the pool, etc. One thing we all really enjoy about my Dad staying at the Marriott is his access to the Concierge Lounge. This is a fancy little area on the top (or near top) floor in most Marriott motels. It is an area only people who stay at the Marriott often can access. Since the Marriott costs a FORTUNE to stay in, staying there enough to have Concierge Lounge privileges speaks VOLUMES about a person's wealth and, there for, status and income. Since my Dad's work ALWAYS puts him up in a Marriott, he has stayed in Marriott's enough to get to use the Concierge lounge. To access the Concierge Lounge in this particular Marriott Hotel, one must take the elevator to the top floor of the motel (the top-floor location ensures optimal view from the many lounge windows overlooking Salt Lake City). To get to the top floor, once must actually use a room key inside the elevator to unlock the keypad in the elevator and even be able to push the button for the top floor. This also means only a select few can stay on the floor with the Concierge Lounge. They must use a key to access that floor to even reach their rooms. The Concierge Lounge not only provides a comfortable room in which to sit and watch the big screen TV in a quiet and fancy setting, they also offer (free) meals (potato skins, tamales, sandwiches, chicken...REAL food!) dessert (raspberry cheesecake, carrot cake, fruit, cookies of many kinds, etc.) and snacks (and I don't mean chips and a drinking fountain! We are talking king size candy bars, packets of trail mix, and cans of pop and bottled water, in ice!) While my Dad was here this last trip, we went to the motel to have some dinner. We stepped in to the elevator and a couple of other people were already in there. Something came over me as I reached into my pocket and pulled out my room key. I slipped it into the allotted slot and pushed the twelfth floor button. It was the most sudden and sickening thing that happened next! In my mind, I was suddenly prideful. "WE are going to the TOP floor" I thought, "WE have THE KEY that can lead get us there...to the TOP FLOOR...the CHOSEN FLOOR" as if that made us special, or something.
And suddenly, I was one of those people in Lehi's vision, wearing costly apparel, and pointing from the large and spacious building, laughing at those clinging to The Iron Rod, finding their way to the Tree Of Life. How had that happened? How had I changed? Had it only happened just then? Or was the way I felt the result of small changes over time that I had not even noticed?
I was shocked! To think, two little objects had that effect on me. One little key made of plastic, the same plastic as any other room key, and an elevator button painted with the number "12", the same paint used on all the other elevator buttons. Somehow, those two seemingly insignificant objects, made significant by the understanding of man, had changed me into an arrogant, haughty snot. And suddenly (again), I wanted to be in China. NOW. RIGHT NOW! To be serving the poor. To be living a life that FORCED me to be humble. I wanted it SO BADLY! I yearned for a dirt floor and no money. I LONGED for a life of humility, where I would never again become that monster I had just seen and felt. I want to be changed FOREVER. I want to give everything I have to the service of Others, and the service of God. I wanted to be SAVED from MYSELF...from the wicked, self-centered, greedy, arrogant person that may be inside of me. I wish I could leave now. I wish I could give it all up right now and start my life where I feel REAL and ALIVE and OVERCOME with the Power of God. Where every second of my life is spent in serving His children and in Service for Him! How did I feel that hoity-toity-ness so strongly and so suddenly?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

To Bring Light Where There Is Darkness

I have been thinking a lot about what Small Stones wants to do. What is our purpose? So far, it has been mostely random goals and mostly a feeling in my heart and gut that I have not yet tried to explain. I have been contacted by the WONDERFUL, AMAZING woman who helps Katie (kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com; amazimaministies.org). I posted on Katie's blog asking if we could use some pictures of her and her children on our website and on our fliers. I also told her how we have chosen she and her girls for our "projects". In response to this comment, Gwen, who helps Katie from the States, emailed me and asked me to call her later this week. I was so excited and overwhelmed! I felt like I had been emailed by a celebrity!!!! To me, anyone who helps with Katie and Amazima is my HERO and rolemodel! So, Gwen asked me to tell her more about Small Stones and what we are all about. How do I describe to someone a "feeling" and random goals? I have been a little nervous about this phone call, but as I have thought about what I will tell her, I have been able to put into words a little bit what I hope for Small Stones...not really my "vision", because that involves this picture of children playing in a safe place, mothers feeding their children daily, healthy food, a warm home where people gather, a home full of laughter and health and strength, where Taiger and I are a family who opens our arms to the world, where Christ's spirit rests softely on all who enter therein...How do I paint this picture for this woman whom I have never met? Who I will be talking to over the phone? Who doesn't know of my time in China, the pain I saw, the people I touched...How? So, I have made a list of what Small Stones is going to do...through Katie in Uganda, and, later, in China through Taiger and me (and anyone else who wants to come!!!!). This is what I came up with: Sixteen Small Stones is to: bring joy where there is sorrow bring love where there is emptiness bring Christ where there is doubt bring peace where there is unrest bring support where there is weakness bring companionship where there is loneliness bring hope where is hopelessness bring comfort where there is fear bring food where there is hunger bring water where there is thirst bring education where there is illiteracy bring music where there is silence bring clothes where there is nakedness bring rest where there is restlesness bring health where there is sickness bring healing where there is woundedness bring warmth where there is coldness BRING LIGHT WHERE THERE IS DARKNESS.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

YOU ARE THE WORLD TO SOMEONE

I read this quote today on the Starfish Foster Home blog. I LOVED it, and it really tells how I feel about the work we are doing and the work EVERYONE can do! You can bet it will appearing on our website. I just LOVE it!
“To the world you may be just one person, but to one person, you just may be the world.”

Friday, June 12, 2009

William Revisited

GREAT NEWS! I am SO THRILLED! William and Patience are being adopted! WOW! A little boy who, only a few months ago, lay on a mat on the dirt floor, miserable with excruciating pain from his burns, is now hopeful and well. I cannot believe the turn-around he has made! I will post the "then" and "now" pictures, because I cannot believe how you can see the difference in his eyes. Remember after he was burned and Kingsley said he just lay in the dirt and cried all day...from pain, perhaps, or hopelessness? Now look at his face! He and patience look so happy. Thank you, all, AGAIN for your prayers on their behalf. Look at the way your prayers have changed this sad little boy into a child of hope and joy!!!!! Thank you!!
THESE TWO ARE HOW WILLIAM LOOKED THEN

AND THIS IS WILLIAM AND PATIENCE NOW!

TRY and tell me the work Sixteen Small Stones is doing is NOT important!

People say, "There are too many people who need your help!"..."You can't save the world!"..."You aren't Mother Theresa!"..."You don't have any money! How can you help anyone?"..."You have to let this dream go. That is all it is. You can't REALLY do this!"..."You are one little Mormon girl (yes, someone really said that!) from Salt Lake City...what could you possibly be able to do?!" When I hear these things from people, I just shrug and smile. Because I know that we have God on our side. And with God, ALL things are possible! I also think of the faces of the people we have helped. I am pretty sure they are dang thankful that we didn't listen to everyone who said we couldn't make a difference. Because, to that person, we made a difference.

So...THANK YOU to everyone who has said to me "YOU CAN!", because I will either way, but hearing encouragement sure gives me the courage to keep on trying. THANK YOU to everyone who is helping with Small Stones! Look at the good you are doing in the world! For one little boy and his sister, you changed the world!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WEBSITE!!

WE HAVE A WEBSITE! WOO HOO! Okay, so it isn't finished yet, but you can check it out at 16smallstones.com. It is so exciting! Check it out and let me know what you think!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Happiness and Happy

I don't know really what to say or how to say it. My heart is broken by Happy! Really! In so many ways, that just sounds so right. That is how God wants it...for us to be broken with happiness. After all, men are that we might have joy. That is one of our reasons for being here. But the "Happy" I am talking about is not happiness, but rather a little girl named Happy. She was only alive for four months, and in that time she suffered greatly. She only weighed four pounds when she died. She had a hole in her heart and I believe she felt and understood great things. When her Mother brought her to Katie (kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com) she was barely clinging to life. Katie did all she could for her in the 72 hours between the time she met her and the time Happy went to Heaven. In those 72 hours, great things were accomplished through this little, TINY girl. Doctors from around the world were contacted about Happy, and they spoke of Happy in a meeting with doctors from every corner of the globe. These doctors were moved to action by this little girl, and they were making plans to improve medical care in Uganda, where Happy was from. Many doctors wrote to Katie to tell her how Happy had changed them, had broken their hearts in some way. So a little girl with a broken heart, was able to break the hearts of others for good. From all over the world, people have been writing to tell Katie how they have been touched by Happy. Because of Happy, there will be great changes in the world. SO much good will come because of this little girl. There is a great cycle. Someone's pain and death can bring thousands of people joy and life. So Happy changed the world. For four months, she was in pain and felt suffering. But she was loved greatly by those around her. Her mother, who wept at her death, I think must have rejoiced in her birth. For four months, there must have been great pain and sorrow. But in the last 72 hours of her life, she brought about greater change in the world than many or most of us will bring about in our 82 years of life. In the last 72 hours of life, she caused changes that will bring much happiness to the world. More happiness than maybe she felt in the four months of her life. So, although her life was full of pain and sorrow, Happy was aptly named.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Board Meeting and Katie/Amazima

My computer has been dysfunctioning, so I haven't been able to post! Thanks to Jeremy, my computer is now working, so I wanted to post about our first board meeting! As I said in my last post, for our meeting we had a barbecue in the park. It was really fun and we accomplished a lot! We decided that our Long Term project should be sponsoring one of the children at Amazima Ministires. (You can read more about that ministry by clicking on the badge on this blog OR reading kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com) Of course, I was really excited by this decision because I have been closely following Katie's blog for some time now, have commented on her blog, and she has commented back on mine. This ministry is really close to my heart for several reasons, but ONE reason is because Katie is doing just what I want to do in China! She is an amazing young woman and a true inspiration to me. We decided our Short Term project should also be with Amazima Ministires and Katie! Imagine my joy and surprise when everyone voted for this Short Term project! So, we are going to send a care package to Katie and her thirteen daughters! I was amazed and surprised that we voted for BOTH of our projects to be Katie and Amazima! I didn't push for her to be our projects, and I just named off all of the places we could use for our projects. It was amazing to watch as everyone on our board voted for us to help Katie and Amazima. I was also humbled with the realization that God knew all along this is what we were going to do, and that is why I have felt so strongly about working with Katie. It is amazing to look back over the past year and realize how God's hand was in all of this, and how He knew almost a year ago that we would be called to help Katie. I am anxious to see what God has planned and how He wants us to help Katie and Amazima.
This is our board...plus one! From left to right:
Me (Breclyn), Jeremy, Ryan (our "OTHER", who is not on our board because he is so busy, but is helping in any and every way he can), Bryttan, and, down in the front, Taiger

Friday, May 29, 2009

Joann and our website!

We had our first board meeting for Sixteen Small Stones!! We had a barbecue at the park and it was really fun! We were able to accomplish quite a bit! I will write more about that later. (I have pictures I will post with it!) Taiger and I live next door to a sweet family. Their son is Taiger's best, best friend, and Taiger plays so well with ALL of their kids. Anyway, the Mom, Joann is SOOOO SWEET! She has become like a sister to our family, and I love her so much! Well, she knows how to make websites!!!!! Out of the pure kindness of her heart she is making a website for Sixteen Small Stones! I cannot believe it! I am SO excited! The one sad thing was that the name "Sixteen Small Stones" was taken, so we are having to use "16 Small Stones" (which I don't like as much), but for that to be "the sad thing", I think is GREAT!!!!! I had found a web layout design that I liked okay, so Joann went ahead and started creating the website using that. As time went on, I realized it just wasn't a very good layout. Joann actually CHANGED the ENTIRE layout, thus losing ALL of her (hard!) work up to that point!!!! We found a REALLY wonderful web layout design to use and she has started creating the new website using that layout, starting all the way back at square ONE!!!!!! I can't believe that she would go through that just so I could have a "prettier" web site. If I were her, I would have said, "TOO BAD!", but not Joann. She acted like it was no big deal and deleted ALL of her work. AND...stayed happy and excited as she did it. Joann is amazing because not only is she making a website for us, she is doing it with all of her heart. She has talked to me A TON about Small Stones and what I want to see happen with it, she has looked at the websites and blogs of our "Friends" (Amazima, Luckyhill, etc.) to see how theirs are so ours looks "appropriate", and also so she can see exactly what kind of things Small Stones will be doing. She did all of this so she could better understand the purpose and feeling behind Small Stones so she can not just "design" a webpage, but actually CREATE something artistic that reflects the spirit of Small Stones!!!! I don't know any other web designer that would have gone to such lengths to make our website PERFECT! I am so thankful to all of the people who have stepped forward to help Sixteen Small Stones!! I am so thankful to Joann for creating a website for Small Stones. She is a blessing to us, and I am so happy to have such a loving and wonderful person creating our website for us!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Taiger

Jeremy (lovingly) mentioned that I should have commented on my FOURTH member of my board, who, really, was my FIRST member. This person's spirit is so, so strong and we are SO blessed to have in on our board for Small Stones. From the beginning, this has been "Taiger's and my" project. For years he has listened to me talk about China. Since before he could speak, I was telling him stories of my old home, and he was being prepared to serve the people in China. From the time he was a new born, I would rock him in my arms and sing Chinese lullabies to him. As a toddler, he would ask how soon we could move to China. Taiger knows there are people there, waiting for us to help them. When the idea came to mind to move to Ghana, I spoke with Taiger about it, making sure it would be okay with him if we moved. He was confused at first about why we were going to Africa and not to China, seeing as how he had been waiting his entire life for that move. I reassured him that we WOULD still be moving to China, just to Africa first. It took him a while to process this other place about which he knew so little at the time. We started having lessons about Africa in our little school we do together. Soon, he was anxious to go to Africa. Before long, on a world map, he could point out Africa and also Ghana...and Madigascar, actually. It was a sad day when I had to tell him we couldn't go to Africa. He is still upset about it. I can tell he felt the loss as deeply as I, if not more. At first he was confused, then angry, then acted like he had had something very special stollen from him. It has been hard to watch him deal with not being able to go to Africa, but I am happy he seems to be less hurt by it. I think that finding ways to serve the children of Ghana has helped him through his sorrow and anger. In some ways, I think he felt connected to Ghana and Africa, as I had talked to him about how he was half from that land and half from America. Taiger is the only child on the Small Stones board. Him being a child brings so many blessings to the board of Small Stones. Because he is a child, he brings to the table child-like love, child-like faith, child-like hope, Child-like joy and child-like acceptance of others. Child-like love is the purest love. It is not selfish, does not have another agenda, and does not bennifit oneself. It loves everyone and never discriminates in who recieves it. Child-like faith is faith unwavaring. It is a beliefe in all things good, pure, wholesome and joyful. It is beliefe without doubt. Child-like hope is the hope for all things good and beautiful. It is a hope for love and joy and it never ceases. Child-like joy is a joy in all things good! It is joy for joy's sake! It needs no coercing, and holds back nothing. It is easily gained and easily expressed. Child-like acceptance of others reaches to EVERYONE! It never judges, it never discriminates. It never wonders what it will gain in return. Can you see the many, many things we can learn from children? Can you see the things Small Stones board members can learn from Taiger? Just think, if each member of our board and each person participating in Small Stones could learn to be child-like in all things, imagine the difference we could make in the world!! I read this story some time ago when I was first considering Small Stones. It touched my heart then, and it still does today. It reminds me of the things I have just mentioned, about child-like faith and hope. This story was written by a doctor who worked in South Africa. One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator).We also had no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts.One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies, and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). And ‘it is our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.'All right,' I said, 'put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts Your job is to keep the baby warm.' The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died. During prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. 'Please, God' she prayed, 'Send us a hot water bottle today. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon. While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?'As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say 'Amen?' I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there?The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator! Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend. Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the.....could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!' Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, 'Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her? 'Of course,' I replied! That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child – five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it 'that afternoon.' I am so thankful to have Taiger on our board! He is such an amazing little boy! He is always happy and so full of LOVE. I love him so much and am so thankful he is my son.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The state of your eyes

Life is like seeing. And sometimes, we blink and miss nothing. Sometimes, we blink, and we miss a lot.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I am SO BLESSED to have Bryttan and Jeremy on my board! AND plans for our first event!!

I am so lucky and so blessed! Already I am seeing the strengths of the people on my board! It is amazing to watch how God works through them. I can see we will accomplish much with these two such amazing, spiritual and Godly people working together with me. I am humbled at their eagerness to grab hold of my ridiculous dream and make it their own. Jeremy's enthusiasm never ceases to amaze me. He asks all the time how soon we can start a project for Small Stones. He has so many ideas and just can't wait to put them into effect. Jeremy has a HUGE heart and loves more people day by day. He is always ready to reach out to someone else, and that is something I admire greatly in him. He would help anyone in any way, at any moment. It is truly amazing to watch him. He understands how to serve better than anyone I know. I have a LOT to learn from him about true, genuine, inconvenient SACRIFICE and SERVICE. I am so blessed to have him on my board. Bryttan is my sister, so I could talk endlessly about her spirit and example. Bryttan loves everyone. Absolutely everyone, and in a bigger, more powerful way than I have ever seen anyone love. She can reach the heart of anyone. People are drawn to her because of the love she emanates. She NEVER is slow to love someone. She will take anyone in her arms and encircle them in such peace I have never seen. People with disabilities, people with trials, people who are absolutely heartless and cruel to Bryttan are completely loved by her. Her endless love makes her a joy to be around as she never bears ill-will or malice for ANYONE, even those who hurt her most. She will love and accept ANYONE without question. Bryttan is passionate about being around the poor and orphaned in the world, and she yearns to show them love by serving them. She is a perfect example of Christ-like love! Her love will bless us all as she serves on the board of Small Stones. Bryttan had a fabulous fund-raising idea!! Near our home is a large outdoor mall. It is hip and cool, and TONS of people LOVE this mall! Not only is there great shopping, they also have a huge movie theatre, an IMAX theatre and planetarium, a space museum AND a children's museum! It is also a fun place to just wander around and soak up the relaxed and exciting atmosphere. Bryttan suggested that this summer, we set up a booth at this outdoor mall. At our booth we will have buckets of paint and rocks. For 16 cents (in accordance with the name of SIXTEEN Small Stones) people can paint a rock! All of the money will go to 16 Small Stones (of course). Her idea gets even more fun! We will take pictures of people painting the stones and put them in an album here on our blog. Later, if others wish to contribute to Small Stones, they can paint a rock and send pictures to us with their donation and we will add their picture to our album!! I thought it was such a fun idea and a way for people who donate to feel part of something by having their picture on the blog. Having all of the people who donate paint a rock and take a picture will, I think, have a sort of unifying effect for everyone who donates. They can see how people from many backgrounds, in many situations in life, who are different ages and races and types, can all join together to make a difference! I will post a date and time here when we know for sure when we will do this, so you can all come and support SSS if you want to! Pretty soon, we are going to have our first "Board Meeting"...I will let you all know how that goes! I am really excited! We may be able to have it tomorrow! WOOHOO!!!!! And remember, Bryttan is "recruiting" people to help, to be board members, or to be otherwise involved with Sixteen Small Stones...so if you want to be recruited, let me know and I will get your info. to Bryttan so she can contact you! (This includes if you want to help at this FUN first fund raising gig of rock painting...so if you want to help or be involved with it, leave me a comment! I think it will be REALLY fun!)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Board for Small Stones

My heart is full of gratitude today...and HOPE! Lots of HOPE! Hope that Small Stones is meant to be and can make a difference in the world. What has given me this gratitude and hope? TWO PEOPLE have said they would sit on the board for Small Stones!!!!! The first was my good friend, Jeremy. The second, my loving, wonderful sister, Bryttan! I am so thankful to them...I cannot even express it! It is a new path for me. I have worked towards Small Stones for a long (LONG) time...just me, reaching for my dream. To find out that my dream was contingent on other people, that to become an "NGO" I had to establish a board of people, was somewhat of a shift in thinking for me. I learned my own strength and desire to have Small Stones. I have been through trials to push me and to really test if this is REALLY what I want to do with my life. I have learned more about myself and my perseverance in things about which I feel strongly. Of myself, I was quite sure. Then, I found out about having to establish a board. That was something new. To have to find people with the same level of passion for helping others...I didn't know where I would find such (crazy!) people. It was hard to think that MY dream could only be accomplished through OTHER people!!!!! I see now how important this step in starting an NGO is. When I heard about having to establish a board of members, I thought it was silly, and I could "get away" with not doing it. Once Renee told me I really did need one, I decided to step up to the challenge, and, most importantly, put my faith in God and bring people to me. I see that helping people CANNOT be done by ONE person. It is good to start early on in an NGO learning that an NGO is about MANY people working together. This is a good lesson for me, and I hope I learned it well, as I am sure as Small Stones grows, more and more I will need other people. So, here are our first three members of Small Stones: Breclyn Everett, Bryttan Everett, Jeremy McNeill. Wow! God is SO GOOD! This is SO AMAZING! .......Anyone else want to "join up"? :D

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Update on William...THANK YOU ALL!!!!!!

WOW! What a miracle! My heart was softened with humility as I read the post on Becky's blog. I didn't know what to expect from Becky's post on her blog. I didn't know if things would go well for William and the other children she has cared for. I didn't know. But I didn't need to. No one needed to know. We just all needed FAITH. Trust in God and Faith that He would care for His children. I copied Becky's post from her blog because she can tell her experience much better than I could (obviously, since all I know came from her post!) Before that, however, I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU! to everyone...EVERY ONE who supported William, Patience and the other children. You cannot guess the blessing you have been to them. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!
Feet have been healed. A child that I worried would never walk again doesn’t need me any more. Mission accomplished. God DID NOT forget. Three pounds each have been added to two children who DESPERATELY needed weight. I don’t show faces, because their struggles are theirs alone to share. But, trust me, these brothers pull at my heart like NO one ever has before (and I have four, soon to be five children). Something about the way they have survived makes me love them in a different way than I have ever experienced. They will not be my children, but they are truly special. God DID NOT forget. Three days after I got here a boy appeared that I recognized vaguely. I realized that I had his picture, but that he was now markedly skinnier. He is 12 and weighed in at 73 lbs. He told me he had “Malaria”, which is the diagnosis for any fever here. Water with re-hydration salts, a portable fan and Tylenol helped. He was up and walking around with the other boys a day later. He went to church this morning and chased the other boys around the yard afterwards. God DID NOT forget. I have bandaged 4-5 wounds per day. Wounds like I have NEVER seen on our tender little American children. A boo-boo half the size would send our children to the ER for a tetanus shot and stitches. Here, they come to me with dirty cloth bandages. I have watched wounds close that I thought would for sure mean my introduction to a Ghanaian hospital. I prayed, and got up every two hours overnight to change bandages and rub them with antibiotic ointment. In the light of day, it looked better already. God DID NOT forget. I have listened to lungs for signs of heart failure, and prayed that the sounds would be normal. What would I do if they weren’t? I have no clue. So far, following the child all day with water, reminding her to stay in the shade and fanning her during the heat of the day worked. A lot of hugs and praying has worked well. And, when it got the better of us, we cried together, and then sent it up to God, because He WILL NOT forget her. I have been blessed enough to have brought everything Lucky Hill will need for their infirmary. It will be stored here in plastic until the building that is currently being constructed for it is completed. I have promised to come back then, and stock it appropriately. I have, and will continue, to work with the staff in a culturally sensitive way to discuss first aid. God WILL NOT forget the children who have yet to come here and will need the medicine that I was lucky enough to have donated to me. God didn’t forget me either. He sent me here. I needed to be reminded that there are miracles every day, all over the world, miracles that I don’t see in my disillusioned middle class, American, subdivision. Miracles that I struggled to find until I got to Ghana and looked into the faces of these children. They are all miracles. Every.single.one has a story that will bring tears to your eyes. They aren’t wasting away in a corner crying. They were all just under the giant shade tree with me, chasing bubbles that you sent them. The biggest miracle of all occurred when I handed out granola bars today and the sassiest child of all turned around to come back to me and said “THANK YOU!” Thank you, for the important respect to my culture. God is good. He is VERY good. --FullPlateMom

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Baby Bird and Small Stones

We went to Idaho this weekend.
As were were getting ready to leave, my nephew came to say good bye. The sky was dark and threatened rain. The wind was sharp and cold. I realized my nephew had something in his hand. When I looked in, I saw he was holding a tiny, baby bird. I was shocked! It was so small! He held his hands open, and I knew the tiny animal must be very, very cold, for it was completely naked, save a few small feathers. I asked him to come in the house to ask what should be done with the bird.
When I was young, we found a bird's nest in a bush in our front yard. For weeks we watched the nest. We tenderly pulled back the branches to see the nest, first empty, then with small eggs, and finally, tiny baby birds, all grey and fluffy. One day, we went to look in on "our" birds only to find the nest upset, the baby birds gone. Surely a neighborhood cat had found them. I was so sad. Still to this day, I think of those tiny birds. I wished at that time that I had seen the cat, that I had heard something and had come outside and had been able to save the birds and their soft nest. I wondered if the mother bird had died or if she was somewhere, mourning the loss of her babies.
Standing in Idaho, looking at the bird my nephew had found, it looked to me that the bird was not supposed to have hatched yet...perhaps a cat or other animal had disturbed the nest and the animal had been prematurely taken from it's protecting shell. Truly, it looked to still be a fetus to me. But I know NOTHING of fowl.Some people in the family felt the bird should be placed outside, under a tree, to die. It broke my heart to think of that. However, I worried the tiny animal would be in pain being touched and handled so much, and would surely die anyway because of it's prematurity. I didn't want all of the small children to see it die...I also didn't know at all what to do with it, or what to do with it once it died! However, I felt SOMETHING could be done to save it! I just didn't know what. I said we should do what we could for it. That we could put it on a rice bag and warm it up. Someone said we should just let it die. I said, "You are taking to the girl who is starting an orphanage. Don't tell me we should let something die!" I couldn't think through what to do. I didn't want to upset anyone by saying to keep it and care for it. I knew I was outnumbered with that idea. I didn't want to cause a fight. So, I dropped it.
Because the hour was so late, we had to leave then. To be honest, I was happy for the reason to leave. To not have to watch the small bird die.My cousin, Shannika, lives next door to us in Idaho. She has had pet birds, and other pets as well. (She recently saved a small mouse from becoming food for her school classroom's pet snake. It is now her pet.) It was decided we should ask Shannika what should be done with the bird. We left after Shannika arrived at our house and saw the bird.
Several years ago, I went to China. I lived there, and every day I saw people starving on the streets. I saw small children, hungry and cold. I saw mothers with babies, grandparents with small toddlers, their faces chapped from the cold wind, their faces drawn with hopelessness. I gave them money, blankets, a loving word, a gentile touch...I even cried for them. But in the end, I always walked away. I didn't know what to do to help them! I knew something must be done...but what? I knew nothing of caring for homeless people. One girl, I stopped and tried to speak to. It was my first month there, and I didn't know more than a few words of Chinese. I tried to ask her if she wanted to come home with me. Soon, a crowd formed around us...the beggar and the foreigner...What a sight! What would the white girl do? What was she trying to say? It was horrible. Finally, the other foreigner I was with told me I was only making things worse for the girl and we better move on before anything happened. I handed the girl the rest of the chicken on which I had been snacking, and the half drunk water bottle I held. Not wanting to cause a stir, or problems, or discomfort, I moved away. Time and time again, this same situation took place. However, sometimes it was worse. A man lay on the street, day after day, his wife at his side. His leg was broken and part of the bone showed through the swollen, red, infected skin. He was in pain and I saw him day after day. Some days his eyes showed pain. I remember one day where his eyes were staring to the sky. It was blue that day...strange for the sky over China, which was usually just grey with smog. I remember thinking the man must be close to death. He was strangely at peace, his eyes calm and thoughtful and almost smiling as he just stared up to the heavens. I cried several times because of this man. I called my parents to ask them if I should take him to the hospital. I wondered how I would pay for the hospital bill. I wondered how I would even get him TO the hospital. Where he would live once the hospital released him. It was all so overwhelming. I didn't know what to do. I was only one person, and I couldn't think through the whole process. So day after day, I hurt for this man...but still, I walked away.
As I drove on toward Utah and away from Idaho, I wondered about the small bird and what had been done with it. Bryttan was in the car with me, and said that surely they had put it outside to die. I said a silent prayer that God would either keep it alive or would let it die quickly. I prayed it would not be cold and wet in the horrible weather.
Finally, despite Bryttan's insisting that it was outside dead, I called my Mom to ask what the fate of the baby bird had been.To my surprise and joy, she said they had kept the bird. The children had made it a nest in a shoe box, had put a lamp over it as a heating lamp. The kids had given it water from a small dropper and a worm to eat. Even my Mom admitted she had gone in to check on the tiny thing (not that this is surprising...my parents are both very compassionate!).
I thought about the bird. I thought about life, and death. I thought about Small Stones. I thought about how I almost let the bird die because I didn't want to cause problems. I thought of the people in China hadn't "saved" because I didn't want to cause a stir. I thought also about all the things I didn't know how to do. I didn't know HOW to save the baby bird. I didn't know HOW to help the people in China. However, I feel that now, after these years of learning and praying and reading and researching I have learned a lot! I thought of the children I will encounter in China, and how I will NOT let them die. I will not turn a blind eye. I will cause a stir. I will cause discomfort for others, if that needs be. I will not leave them to die. This is the mission of Small Stones. To at least TRY. People keep saying, "You can't save EVERYONE!" Well, I will say here...it is the mission of Small Stones to TRY!
At this time, I also think of all the things I still don't know...and that is why I must find board members. I don't know EVERYTHING... in fact, I don't know much at all. I NEED others to help me! I need people who know different things than what I might know so we can all work together to help as many people as possible.