Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, it's only a day away!

Wow! Only one day! Tomorrow we will be getting ready to board a plane for Atlanta and then for Johannesburg! Wow! It seems so sureal and a bit scary! It's hard especially today to put into words how I am feeling. I am definitely feeling overwhelmed, scared, and also a bit excited. :) I feel like we have so much to do in just one day, but I know we'll get it all done.
It seems like time has just flown by! We have been planning for this trip for a year, yet it doesn't feel like the trip should be here yet. Please be praying for our safe travels.
We were able to go and spend the day with the kids on Sunday. We had such a great family day, which was nice! :) We had a picnic in Frankenmuth and then went putt-putt golfing. After that we went to a friends to go swimming in their pond. It was a nice relaxing day and much needed right before we leave. We had a wonderful day on the fourth as well, just celebrating with friends. It has been nice to have this time with friends and family. Now we will be making new friends and how special and awesome that will be! I am looking forward to that and know that I will be so blessed!
Please be praying for Jeavon and me as we found out a couple days ago that we will be speaking to the youth in Swaziland about sexual purity. This is a bit scary for me. I don't feel comfortable talking in front of people. I also feel very overwhelmed as talking about sexual purity to teens here and talking about it to teens there is two completely different things! It's hard when I don't know what to expect. I know the culture is so much different there, so trying to speak to them about this subject in a way that is relevant to them is difficult. I am trusting God to speak through me and Jeavon as we speak to the teens. I know God will tell them what they need to hear. How exciting to be used this way, though! To be able to speak to teens half way around the world about this subject that I'm so passionate about! Wow! I am so blessed! But still scared as well. :) I will be getting things prepared for this today as well.
This will be my last post for a while. Thank you all for your support and prayers! We appreciate them so much! If you would like to know what we are doing while we are there you can visit our team blog which is: www.james127.org/content.cfm?id=151 Please continue praying for us, especially for safe travels as we leave tomorrow. Thanks again so much! May God bless you all!


Thursday, June 30, 2011


Wow! We are now only six days away from leaving for Swaziland! I have so much on my mind. It's hard sometimes to put all my thoughts down here, because I can feel so overwhelmed.
Today has been a very busy day and none of it has had to do with preparing for Swaziland. Let me start with I feel like Satan is working hard on both Jeavon and me right now. That should not be surprising as I know God has big plans for all of us while we are in Swaziland. Please be praying for us and our whole team as Satan will try to bring us all down and distract us from what we need to be focusing on. It has been so hard to focus on our trip lately because I have let myself get distracted in so many ways. I have realized this and am trying to spend more time with God and get my focus right. So many things can be a distraction, even good things. So, I am needing to leave everything at God's feet and just focus on Him! That is what matters! So, please be praying with me as I strive to keep my focus on God and not on the circumstances around me.
One main distraction today was that I had to take Eleazar to the doctor's office. It was a good thing I went now and not even closer to the time we leave. However, I was gone all afternoon and that was a distraction. However, I was also able to spend so much wonderful time with my Heavenly Father! I loved it and was able to just focus on Him and listen to what He had to say to me. To be honest it was a wonderful afternoon in spite of the circumstances. I couldn't help but notice some of the awesome songs playing on the radio while I drove all over the place. Forgive me as I am not good at remembering names of songs. But this one song stuck out to me. I think it may be called Beautiful things (or something like that). Anyway, the chorus goes like this:

You make Beautiful things
You make Beautiful things
Out of the dust
You make Beautiful things
You make Beautiful things
Out of Us

I couldn't help but think about Africa when I heard this song. I know we will see and experience many difficult things, but I want to remember in the midst of it all that God makes BEAUTIFUL things! He has made the wonderful African children and they are BEAUTIFUL! I can't wait to hug on them and just show God's love! I'm sure this song will come to mind often while experiencing things over there. I also know this song will be hard at times to think of or sing, as it won't always seem that way when I see some of the heart breaking things over there. But I pray that I will see the BEAUTIFUL in spite of the awful, heart breaking circumstances. God makes Beautiful things and I have heard that in spite of circumstances, these people are BEAUTIFUL! I look forward to sharing more with you about their BEAUTY when I am back.
So I am thankful for this time I was able to have with God this afternoon. It was good and gave me much needed time with God. I am so thankful for this opportunity! I can't believe we are only 6 days away! And I am getting SO excited! :) God bless you all!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Single digits!

We are now in the single digits for our count down! Wow! I can't believe we only have nine days until we leave! Today, the overwhelming feeling left for a bit and I got extremely excited! I can't wait for all the things I will get to experience. It will be such a blessing!:)
I packed a little today and that made me a little more excited! Before we know it we'll be on a plane to Africa! Continue praying for us, our team, and our children. Also, pray for Tom and Linda Mulanix as they are on their way there now. They are going to prepare for us to come! How awesome!
There is not much else on my mind right now! Just very excited for this trip and the memories that will be made! I know this will change my life forever! Thanks again for all you all have done for us through financial support and prayer! God bless you all! We couldn't have done this trip without all of you!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Last double digit

We are on our last double digit for the count down until we leave for Swaziland! Wow! Only ten days until we get on a plane and head for Swaziland. We have some who are leaving tomorrow and some who are leaving next Sunday. The rest of the team will be leaving a week from Wednesday. Wow! Time flies by. It seems like we should still be waiting for funding for the trip. But we are fully funded and just a short time away from leaving for Africa. Here is a little bit about what will be going on during our trip and even before we get there......

Note: There is a time difference - South African (SA) and Swaziland (SD) are ahead of USA by 6 hours.
Monday June 27th – Tom and Linda Depart USA (Atlanta 7:10pm)
Please pray that all travel arrangements and connections are made. Also lift them up for strength and
watch over their business as they are away from it for 3 weeks. Exodus15:18 The Lord will reign for ever
and ever.
Tuesday June 28th – Tom and Linda Arrive in Johannesburg SA (5pm - Overnight)
Pray for a good nights rest as they prepare for the teams arrival. Galatians 6:9 Let’s not get tired of doing
what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Wednesday June 29th – Tom and Linda Arrive in Swaziland (1:25pm)
Pray that Tom and Linda will get checked in @ Emafini guest center. Hebrews 10:36 Patient endurance
is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all he has promised.
Thursday June 30th – Tom and Linda Visit El Shaddai Ministry (ESM) and ESM Primary School
Pray for all the children, teachers and workers of El Shaddai as they await the arrival of Compassionate
Life Foundation delegates. Pray that all will be united as they prepare for the work ahead.
Hebrews 12: 1-2 Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our
eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Friday July 1st – Tom and Linda Visit Guava School and Manzini Church (CLF Care Center)
Please pray for the community of Manzini, students, teachers, and church family. May friendships be
bound together in unity for Gods purpose. Prepare the community for the team’s arrival in one week.
Jeremiah 17:7 Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and
Saturday July 2nd – Tom and Linda Visit the Manzini Church (CLF Care Center)
Pray for families who will be blessed by the supplies that will be passed out and the work that will be
done. Continue to prepare the teams hearts for service. They will be blessed beyond measure from they
acts of service out of Love. Galatians 5:13 You my brothers were called to be free. Do not use your
freedom to indulge in the sinful nature; rather serve one another in Love.
Sunday July 3rd – Mark and Sue Depart USA (Atlanta 7:10) / Tom and Linda Attend ESM Church
Please pray for Mark and Sue as they leave today for Swaziland; please pray for Gods Holy Spirit to be
present at the El Shaddai church service. Psalm 95:6 Come let us bow down in worship; let us kneel
before the Lord our maker.
Monday July 4th – Mark and Sue Arrive Johannesburg SA (5pm Overnight) / Tom and Linda ESM
Pray for a goods nights rest for Mark and Sue as they arrive in South Africa. They have many details that
still need to come to fruition. As we celebrate our Independence and Freedoms here in the United States
please pray for that we will be sensitive to those we are about to serve, for they do not have the
independence or freedom that we do. Isaiah 61:1 The Sprit of the lord is on me, because the Lord has
anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me up to bind the brokenhearted to proclaim
freedom to the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
Tuesday July 5th – Mark and Sue Arrive in Swaziland (10:50am) / Trip Directors Manzini Church
Pray today that all the finishing plans are in place and ready for the team as they arrive in two days. Pray
for the health of the leaders and the safety of the group. Ephesians 3:20 All glory to God who is able,
through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Wednesday July 6th – Team Departs USA (Atlanta 7:20pm) / Trip Directors Visit El Shaddai
Please remember the team members in your prayers today as they depart for Swaziland. For many in this
group this will be their first time out of the country and away from their loved ones. Pray for peace for
them and their families. Also pray for the people of Swaziland for whom we are going to minister to.
Hebrews12: 1-3 Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes
on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Thursday July 7th – Team Arrives in Johannesburg SA (5:10pm Overnight) / Trip Directors Guava
Pray for a restful night for the team in Johannesburg. Pray for the health of the group and for the stamina
that they will need for the next 10 days. Remember the Leadership of this team in your prayers today and
for the rest of the trip. Satan will try to sabotage this trip at every stage of every day. Pray that God will to
protect us from him. Psalms 138: 8 The Lord will work out the plans for my life.
Friday July 8th – Team Arrives in Swaziland (10:50am) / Visit Manzini Church (CLF Care Center)
Let this be a day of joyful celebration. Many friendships will be rekindled and new ones will be cemented
in the Love of Christ. Pray that we will be energized by the Swazi people and that they will be open to the
gifts and messages that we have prepared for them. Romans 12:1 Love each other in genuine affection,
and take delight in honoring each other.
Saturday July 9th – El Shaddai Ministry (ESM) and ESM Primary School Projects
Today the team starts the projects that the leadership has planned. Let us show our Love to the Swazi’s by
the work we do happily. Pray for unity amongst the team. Pray that the team will continue to be flexible.
Many times plans that are put in place can change very easily. Pray that the Leadership would be able to
work out a secondary plan if need be. Proverbs 19:21 You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose
will prevail.
Sunday July 10th – El Shaddai Church Worship and Dinner / Community Home Visits
Pray today that God’s Holy Spirit will be present at our worship service. Pray that the message delivered
will be lived out in all of our daily life. Pray for the families who we will be delivering food and care
packages today. Pray that we will be able to minister to these people first hand and show them God’s
Love. As they welcome us into their home, huts and shacks may we remember this day and be able to
share it with our friends and families back home. Philippians 4:1 I have learned to be content with
whatever I have.
Monday July 11th – Team Travels to Cultural Village and Hlane Game Park
Praise God for his People and his marvelous Creation. This will be a day that we will not soon forget.
Tuesday July 12th – El Shaddai Ministry (ESM) Children’s Home and ESM School Work Projects
Please continue to pray for continuity amongst the team, health and safety. As we work around the
community help us remember that this is their home, house and community. We are not here to do work
to our standards but to their standards. May we not loose sight that this is about the people and not us.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient
with everyone.
Wednesday July 13th – Mbabane Government Hospital Visit
For many this will be the hardest day of the trip. We will be serving the sick and dying children of
Swaziland. Pray that the Leaders around the world would put more effort into finding a cure for
HIV/AIDS. That the Swaziland Government would educate their people on this disease and how it can be
prevented. Pray that our team is able to minister not only to the children but to their families who also will
be in the rooms with the children. John 16:33 Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But
take heart, because I will overcome the world.
Thursday July 14th – Manzini Primary School (Guava) Welcoming and Work Projects
Pray for the community of Manzini. We will be spending the next three days here serving the community
and the families of our Church. As we work with the children let them see God’s love for them through
our work. Pray that as we are hitting the end of our trip that we stay healthy and accident free. Let us
share our hope for their Salvation in Christ. 1 Timothy 4:12 Be an example to all believers in what you
say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith and your purity.
Friday July 15th – Manzini Church (CLF Care Center) Projects and Community Home Visits
Pray that the families who we visit will be blessed by our gifts of food and care packages. Pray that as
they now have seen us for several years that they will see Christ’s presence through our actions. Pray that
the food that we deliver nourish them that our prayers encourage and heal them. Help us remember that
our Hope is in Christ. Psalm 40:3 He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.
Saturday July 16th – Worship, Dinner and Playtime at Manzini Church (CLF Care Center)
Pray for God’s Holy Spirit to be present at our church service today. We have seen many signs of Gods
plan for the Kingdom of Swaziland. Pray that His hand of protection be with them as we get ready to
depart for home. Pray for the many Awesome Christians who we have met and served with during this
trip. Pray to keep them safe and may they continue to be motivated by Christ Love. Hebrews 12:1-2 Let
us run the race of endurance that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the
champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Sunday July 17th – Team Departs Swaziland (11:10am) / Team Departs Johannesburg SA (8:20pm)
Pray that as we depart for home that this is not to be a sorrowful event, but a joyous one. This is not the
ending of the trip but the beginning of a lifelong passion for others. Pray for safety on our way home and
some rest before we meet up with our families. Romans 8:28 We know that God causes everything to
work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.
Monday July 18th – Team Arrives Home (Flint 5:13pm) / Tom and Linda Depart SA (8:20pm)
Let today be a day to celebrate our arrival home to our family and friends. Pray that this trip will live in
our hearts forever. May it change our outlook on life to be more about serving others and less about being
focused on ourselves. Pray that we are able to share the plight of the Swazi people and help organizations
like Compassionate Life Foundation helping the Orphans and Widows. Mathew 22:39 Love your
neighbor as yourself.
Tuesday July 19th – Tom and Linda Arrive Home (Flint 11:36am) Praise God for all He has done!

This gives you a little idea of what we and others will be doing while there in Swaziland. This also gives you more you can pray about for us! Thanks so much for the prayers! They are appreciated!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Just a quick note

Twelve days! Jeavon mentioned to me today that we have twelve days until we leave for Swaziland and we will be gone for twelve days! Crazy! So as fast as these twelve days will fly by, so will the time we are in Swaziland! Wow!
Today I feel so blessed! We are so blessed to be able to go to Africa and minister to other people. We are blessed to have everything we need to live and for our trip. God is so good!
I am in charge of a crochet project for the ladies in Swaziland. We have decided on a crochet necklace. So..... today I have been working on trying different patterns of necklaces so I can teach them the quickest and easiest one. I look forward to doing this and I've enjoyed working on the necklaces and coming up with some neat pieces! The one I am working on right now is a pattern of my own. I am writing it down as I make it. We will see how it turns out. :)
Thank you again for your prayers! I will try to post again soon! :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

So blessed

Thirteen days! Wow! It's hard to put down hear what I am feeling right now. I feel overwhelmed with everything I still need to get done. I know it will all get done in time and we'll be fine. I just get stressed and overwhelmed a bit easily. :) I also am feeling very excited! I can't wait to go on this trip and experience all God has for me there! What an amazing privilege! It will also be very cool to be half way around the world and go to the same places my sister-in-law has been. Wow! How awesome!
I am also feeling scared! I don't know what to expect. There is fear of leaving my kids, but also fear of the unknown. Prayers would be appreciated! :)
Last weekend we had a garage sale to help with the expenses of this trip. God is so good! Because of the sale, we were able to get our shots and buy all the items we needed for the trip! We are so blessed! And we also were able to get rid of some stuff in the mean time. :) I can see God's hand in this all the way. It is just so awesome!
So, this past Monday we were able to get our last round of shots. What a blessing to have those done and paid for! God not only paid for our trip but all the extras as well! We are so blessed and I look forward to all the blessings while in Swaziland!
I feel so unprepared for this trip. I keep praying that God will prepare me and I am sure He is. I just don't feel prepared at all and I don't think you could ever really be completely prepared for a trip like this. I look forward to being able to share so many stories on here when we get back!
Please continue praying for us and our team. We did get awesome news today from our team leader. Everyone is now paid in full!!!! Praise the Lord for that! There are 30 people going, so that was about $114,000 that was needed for the trip! Wow! And God provided it all!!! What an awesome blessing! What is awesome is that everyone is able to go. No one had to back out! Awesome! God is good! He definitely has huge plans for this team! Thank you for praying with us and for us as we prepare for this trip. God bless you all!

Friday, June 17, 2011

In the teens now!

Wow! I can't believe we are down to the teens in counting down to when we leave for our trip! So crazy! We are now down to 19 days! We had our last meeting last Sunday and we also handed in the rest of the money due for this trip! So we are all set. We are now just waiting and praying. We have many things that we need to get to bring to the people in Swaziland. What a blessing this trip will be! God is so good! It has been so awesome to see His provision in all of this! God has definitely supplied all that we need!
Later this month Jeavon and I will be going to get our last shots for this trip. Will be so glad to have those finished! :)
This has been an amazing journey for us. God has been working in us so much! This is not only changing our lives, but it's also making a difference in our children. Last week at our meeting, we had to bring our children with us as we didn't have a babysitter. The kids were very good and quiet the whole meeting. At the end of the meeting our team came together in a circle to pray. Our children wanted to be a part of this, so we let them. During prayer, Kaedon (our oldest) prayed out loud for Swaziland and our team. What a sweet prayer! God has been working in him through this as well. This really spoke to me as I always am very nervous to speak or pray out loud in a group. If my six year old can do it, why is it so hard for me to do it? I am learning so much from him. It is such a privilege.
I have been going through our house this week, because we are doing a garage sale this weekend. I can't help but think of Swaziland when I go through all of this stuff. We have so much stuff and why? Because we just had to have it? So crazy! We have so many things that we think we need, but could definitely live without. I cannot imagine how I will feel and the emotions I will go through after being to Swaziland. I am praying that I will not feel guilty, but will be a better steward of the things I have.
Please continue praying for Jeavon, me, and the rest of our team as we go to Swaziland, Africa in just 19 days! There are some who will be going in about a week, so please be praying for them as well. Please be praying for all the family members being left in the states as there are many. We appreciate the prayers and are so thankful for this opportunity! What a blessing!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A New Look

I have had lots to think about lately..... I can't believe we are so close to leaving. Before we know it we will be boarding a plane for Africa! Wow! It's hard to put in words how I am feeling right now. I feel scared, overwhelmed, excited, and so many other feelings! It's really happening?!? Wow! I am so blessed to have this opportunity to be able to go and minister to others in another country. The thing is, I think I will be ministered to so much more than I will be ministering to them. I know I have so much to learn and this will be a huge learning lesson for me.
I have found myself grumbling and complaining a lot lately. It can become a bit stressful when you need a lot more money to go on this trip and you don't have it all. Because of this and many other things I have found myself complaining. Jeavon is self-employed with a brand new business and I work part time. Things have been tight, but God has provided. I have found myself complaining because I can't get all the food I think we need. I have complained because God isn't bringing in the money we need for Africa. So sad, I know. But God has put me in check this week. And like I said I have so much to learn that I will learn in Africa. When I was complaining (to myself) earlier this week, the children in Africa came to my mind. They would be so grateful for a quarter of what I have! And I complain because I don't have the "right" food in the house. I guess even before going I am learning to be a little more grateful for what I have. We have plenty of food in the house, nice comfy beds, a warm house, all our bills are paid and we have so much more than we even need! We are blessed! The thing about me complaining about God not providing the money we need for this trip....... God has shown me that He is. It just may not be the way I would have done it. :) So, I am trying to change my heart and focus right now and just be more thankful.
Please continue praying for us as I know this will be difficult for us. This won't be an easy trip, but such a rewarding one! It will be so worth it and I am so thankful that I am able to go! What a blessing to be able to go half way around the world to make a difference, but also for others to make a difference in my life. I will be such a different person when I come back. I pray that my focus is changed even more. Thank you for your prayers and support! God is so great and we are so blessed! I look forward to sharing with you more later.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Just over a month

Wow! It has been a while since I have been on here! I can't believe we are a little more than a month away from leaving for Swaziland! Wow! How scary, but yet such a blessing and a privilege! Please continue prayers for us and the rest of the team. Jeavon and I are still about $2,000.00 short of the amount we need for the final payment, which is due June 1. I know God will provide as He has this whole time! We are so blessed! I am so thankful we have this opportunity. At times I feel so excited about the trip and then there are others times I can feel very anxious, especially when I think about all that needs to be done and all the unknowns.
It's amazing looking back and just seeing God's hand in all of this. There were so many times we thought we would not be able to go, but God has been providing every step of the way and I know He won't stop now. :)
I am on the craft team for this mission trip. I will be working with a few others to do some crafts for the kids and to teach the women a new craft. How exciting! I love doing crafts! :) Looks like we will be doing beading for the kids and we will be teaching the women either how to crochet a bag or a necklace. How fun!
It's hard right now for me to share my thoughts as I have no idea what to expect. I'm sure there will be plenty to say when I get back, though. :) I just know this is such an awesome opportunity and I feel so blessed to be able to be a part of this! Thank you to all of you who have been such a support for us (in prayers or financially)! We are very blessed! We look forward to sharing pictures and stories with you all when we get back! What a blessing! :)


Monday, April 18, 2011

The Heart of a Child

There are days that our oldest son, Kaedon, just blows me away! On our way home from small group today he asked if we had enough money for our trip to Swaziland. He said, "Because if you don't, I will give you my money because your trip is more important than anything I could want." Wow! His heart just amazes me! It can be so hard for us sometimes to give just a little of what we have, yet my son was willing to give all he has! It excites me to see my son having a passion for others. This is my goal! I want my children to grow up serving others.
We told him thank you and we appreciated it very much. We decided instead that we would have him go shopping for some special things for the children in Swaziland. So, he is now trying to get more money to buy things for the children. Wow!
This incident just reminds me of the lesson Linda Mulanix did for the teens Sunday night. We are brought up in a society that tells us it's all about us and getting ourselves ahead. Yet, God wants us to live as servants. God wants us to have a heart that is willing to give all we have, no matter what.
There were many parts of Linda's talk last night that really broke my heart. I know that this trip will change me. The thing I didn't know was how much it would change my kids as well. How awesome to see my children wanting to serve and help others and think more about others than themselves.
I can't believe we are about 2 and a half months away from our trip. What a blessing this will be! Thank you all for your prayers and support! We truly appreciate it!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Three Months and counting

Can't believe we have just about 3 months until we leave for Swaziland! Wow! There have been so many emotions I have dealt with. I have had fear. So scared of leaving our kids behind. So scared of what could happen. I have also had fear of what I will see when I am in Africa. I know that this trip is going to break me a lot and it scares me when I think about it. But I know it's for the good. So, that brings me to another feeling I've been having - excitement. I am so excited to see what God is going to teach us while we are down there. So excited about all I will learn. I am also excited to be broken, because that will just show me more ways I can serve God. What a blessing! I cannot wait for this trip and feel so blessed to be able to do this! What a blessing that Jeavon and I can do it together as well! We have never been out of the country so this will be interesting, but what an awesome experience it will be!
We have to have over half our money paid by April 1. There have been times where we have wondered if we will even be able to go. This has definitely been a walk of faith for us. We have really had to trust God to bring in all the money we need and on time. :) We will have the amount we need by April 1. Praise the Lord! This makes the trip even more real, as we know for sure we will be going. I thank God for all the ways He has provided for us and made this trip possible! Wow! We are so blessed! Thank you to those of you who have helped make it possible for us to go on this mission trip! We are also VERY thankful for all the prayers as we know we need it! Please continue to pray for us. Pray for our team - that everyone will be able to get the funds they need. Also, please pray that God will prepare our hearts for this trip. Pray that we will be able to minister in the way needed while we are there. And also please pray for our safety there and back. Our children also need prayer as they will be without mom and dad for 2 weeks.
Thank you so much for your support! We really appreciate it!

Kerri Back