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  Ok - for those who know me well, don't get too excited. I'm still single, and have no big plans for Valentine's Day, except to follow the stay at home order and perhaps have a tiny bit of chocolate, so this isn't a mass announcement of a new-found love in my life. I did, however, make up a nice Valentine care package for my 88 year old mom, does that count? But love is in the air... and I thought on Valentine's Day, you could use a short love story to brighten your day amidst the cold of winter and the continued uncertainty of COVID. It happened in Burundi.  Burundi isn't an easy place to live. It's a landlocked country in the African Great Lakes region of East Africa. (Did you know Africa had a Great Lakes region?!) I went to Burundi for the first time in 2010 with World Vision to conduct workshops on child monitoring. I remember going to a new village where we were just starting to work, and was overwhelmed by the poverty. Their main source of income was

2020 was a great year! What?!?!

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  What?! How can I say it was a great year when most of us were happy to see 2020 finally over?! For sure it wasn't easy, and it certainly had many challenges, but if we look hard enough, we can see the good too.   It reminds me of the story of Joshua and Caleb and the 12 spies when they went to explore Canaan. Most of them saw the people who looked like giants, the fortified walls - all the challenges. But Joshua and Caleb saw opportunity. That's how I feel about 2020... despite the challenges and giants we faced both here and in Africa, there were great things too. For example, through our work with Villages of Hope Africa, in 2020: 7,000 children were impacted by our programs 5,027 boys and girls had the chance to go to school 6,225 were part of a daily feeding program 4,537 received medical care 124 youth were engaged in youth empowerment programs  283 children were cared for in children's homes Programs continued, often with creative solutions, like teaching sch

Almost there! ... and a lesson from my friend Tino you won't want to miss!

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Tino and his candy Someone once shared with me the famous quote attributed to St. Augustine who said, "Pray as though everything depended on God.Work as though everything depended on you."   While I carry on with my VOHA responsibilities, I've also spent alot of time in the last few months raising support - following Augustine's advice. In prayer, I've asked God to lead me. He has put names in my heart, many of them yours, to approach about becoming a partner with me in my mission and the good work of Villages of Hope Africa. I've also worked hard, spending many hours preparing and sharing the vision with individuals, businesses and churches. Augustine was right. The combination works. God is faithful and the work is paying off.   I'm excited to report that, as of today, I'm at almost  80% of my goal! Almost there! Yeah! My goal is to reach 100% of my funding by December so I can spend my time in the new year solely focused on my work with Villages of

A special Blessing for you this Thanksgiving

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I love this book. I got it for 10 cents at a gargae sale many years ago. It's just page after page of things to be happy about - from fluffy pillows ... to beautiful sunsets ... to dill pickles (though they don't personally make me happy). Whenever I crack it open, I'm reminded of the thousands of things, experiences and people that make me happy ... and for which I should be thankful. That brings me to Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is one of my favourite times of year - I just think it's so cool that we have a day set aside to be thankful. Not that we shouldn't do that everyday, but it's just nice to know we have this day to be with family and friends (unless there's a global pandemic brewing!), let them know how thankful we are that they are in our lives and to remember all our many blessings. This blog will be short and sweet..... I just want to pause amidst all the unknowns and craziness we are all experiencing to give a short list of what I'm thankful

Back to school week! What about school in Africa?..

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 We ll, COVID continues. Don't know about you, but I'm getting sick of it. I want to go back to "normal" when I could plan things and predict what life will look like in a month, 3 months or a year from now. But, I know that's not reality, so I continue my "Trust" theme and a new "One day at a time" motto. This is a big week - school's back. I'm sure many of you are frazzled, relieved, worried, all of the above... so many nuiances and things to consider. You're not alone. School in Africa has changed too.  For some countries, like Burundi, they basically have kept business as usual, maybe living in a bit of denial that there even is a global pandemic. I'm thankful Villages of Hope Burundi is connected to us and the other villages so they can apply safety precautions and social distancing for the children in their care. All the children are safe. Tanzania opened the schools a couple of months ago and life is almost back to "

What would make you get up at 2 am?

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For me, it was a Webinar on Child Safeguarding. Before I tell you more.. let me share the exciting news that I've been accepted as a Global Worker with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, continuing in my role with Villages of Hope Africa. I have lots to do, and I will certainly give you a fuller update in the weeks ahead, but for today, I wanted to share about this amazing webinar I had in the middle of the night yesterday. Although COVID response and the children's health is still top of mind in the villages, and we are working hard everyday adjusting to the changing conditions, such as some of the schools starting to re-open, we continue to press forward with foundational elements at the core of our mission. That brings me to our 2 am webinar. I got the short end of the stick in regards to timezone.  Though I was the meeting host and facilitator, we had to accomodate the timezone for 25 leaders from 10 villages from 5 countries in Africa - Burundi, Malawi, Tanzania

I've made the decision....

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I had no idea what I'd be doing today when I wrote my first blog just over a year ago and declared I was "jumping off the deep end" into missions. I made a one year commitment. Having no clue what I would do after that. For the first half of the year, I was always worrying about what would happen when the year was over. But, in January, I made the conscious decision to let go, trust God for my future and live in the present. It made a big difference. Enjoying the moment.  Then COVID came along. So now, I'm back in Canada, continuing to support Villages of Hope Africa from here. Since I've been back, one thing has become very clear - I'm not done yet. I feel the call to missions and sense God wants me to continue as part of the ministry of VOHA, using my gifts and skills to help vulnerable children. So, I've made the decision - I'm applying to be a Global Worker with Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (the parent denomination under the whic