Nineteen Years Ago today…..

Today, July 13, 2015, marks nineteen years since Jesus rescued me from the bondage of death and sin.  I truly experienced 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. (NLT) 

By the grace of God, nineteen years later I’m still proclaiming and showing others the goodness of God which is Jesus Christ.  Even with ALL my sin before Christ and the sin since July 13, 1996 nothing shall separate me from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:35-39). 

So today I want to thank God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) for rescuing me from the eternal damnation I deserved, justifying me through His perfect Righteousness and adopting me into His eternal and glorious family.  I would also like to thank God for all the men and women who have encouraged me along the way.  I was a total mess (huge understatement) before I was rescued and needed a lot of teaching, training, correction, love, grace and mercy…..etc.  Even today, I know I can’t do this by myself and God has not left me without faithful brothers and sisters in Christ to disciple me along this journey.

With the Lord’s help I hope to continue to point people to Jesus and share with them the greatness of His goodness.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 ESV)

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19 years ago, during my rookie season with the Yakima Bears, God rescued me, gave me His righteousness, and adopted me into His family.
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A family shot from July 4th, 2015 (don’t be fooled by the 2014 shirts)

Short Term Mission Trip to the NW of Cameroon

Last week we had the opportunity to take 10 students from RFIS (Rain Forest International School) to a city in the Northwest Region of Cameroon called Bamenda. During the week our kids worked at a Children’s Home by doing one-on-one tutoring, afternoon VBS, and moving large amounts of dirt at the home’s new construction site.  The family that hosted our team also runs the children’s home and has chosen not to call it an orphanage or refer to the children as orphans.  It makes since because the ‘Home’ has Ma’s and Pa’s, Aunties and Uncles and a lot of children who have been rescued from terrible situations.  It looked like a home and it felt like a home and we were so blessed to serve there. We were also proud of our students and the way they worked and persevered through some long days.  The VBS was led by our students and involved the regular lesson, games, music, crafts, scripture memory.   They also tutored the children 2 mornings and worked really hard at the children’s home new construction site. We moved at least 2 truck loads of dirt using shovels, picks, 10 buckets and 2 wheel-barrels.  It is so cool to watch MKs (missionary kids) serve and be missional (sans parents!) They were so open to serving and building relationships with the kids at the home. We did have some free time and were able to go hiking! Wow, the scenery was breathtaking. I am so happy that our whole family got to go.  The Mayo kids were able to see first hand the aspects of the children’s home and the way that our students jumped in and worked.  This, of course, made it a little more busy for me but I am so thankful to God that He provided the means for all of us to go. Jake and Holly Schilinski are the founders of the Helping Hands Children’s Home.  They are making a huge impact on the lives of the 31 children at the home (and generations to come.)  They also impacted and encouraged our family.  We left with some new friends and hopes to return soon to visit the Schilinski’s and the children at Helping Hands. Below is some information about the Helping Hands Children’s Home.

Win Our Nation’s Helping Hands Orphanage was established in Cameroon in April 2009. It’s located in the beautiful town of Bamenda. In a country with many orphans that are neglected and overlooked, there is a huge need for a compassionate, safe, and Christian environment for them. Of the thousands of orphans in Cameroon, many live in extreme poverty, never having a hope of going to school or to be cared for. Many are forced into child labor and with no hope or a future. Helping Hands Children’s Home is a loving place where orphans are raised with the knowledge of Jesus. Our goal is to equip them with all they need to become a successful adult and a contributing member of the society and the Body of Christ. This is done through schooling, Bible classes, hygiene and nutritional classes, tutoring, sports, an unlimited amount of love and allowing them to just “be a kid”. You can see pictures and updates on their Facebook page Helping Hands Page…or go to http://www.winournations.com to learn more.

and here are some photos from our week there… IMG_3944

Libby hiking to the highest point in Bamenda (9000ft).
Libby hiking to the highest point in Bamenda (9000ft).
Our group and the group from the Children's Home.
Our group and the group from the Children’s Home.
Free Labor.
Free Labor.
Old School Assembly Line.  We loved working along side the teenagers from the Home.
Old School Assembly Line. We loved working along side the teenagers from the Home.
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Willy
Ben playing with his new friends.
Ben playing with his new friends.
VBS Craft time and Laura is loving it.
VBS Craft time and Laura is loving it.
Sandrine, who has CP, was once called
Sandrine, who has CP, was once called “Worthless” in her village. Praise God for the Schilinski Family who rescued her. When they found her she couldn’t walk. Now she walks and runs!
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Onella…So strong and beautiful, and although she has disabilities she overcomes by smiling and encouraging others.
Ben and his new friend (Farawah) enjoy lunch and a fruit drink.
Ben and his new friend (Farawah) enjoy lunch and a fruit drink.
Libby and Jordan (daugher of Jake and Holly)
Libby and Jordan (daugher of Jake and Holly)
Hannah and Bless.  He is FULL of energy!
Hannah and Bless. He is FULL of energy!
Hannah and her Fulani cattle friends.
Hannah and her Fulani cattle friends.
Our family at 9000ft.
Our family at 9000ft.
Laura and Cool Dude Ben.
Laura and Cool Dude Ben.
Yes, my hike was a little more difficult at times but it was worth it.
Yes, my hike was a little more difficult at times but it was worth it.
The whole group at Crater lake which is around 7000ft in elevation.
The whole group at Crater lake which is around 7000ft in elevation.
Blake teaching at VBS about creation.
Blake teaching at VBS about creation.
Ben playing on the walking aid bars.
Ben playing on the walking aid bars.
One bucket of dirt at a time.
One bucket of dirt at a time.

Saying Good-bye….

It’s that time of year again…the time to say good-bye.  Since we work with teenagers, we get the privilege of getting to know (and love) them.  Therefore, when graduation comes around it is bitter-sweet.  These seniors do not just leave for the semester and return for Christmas break like our former students have…many leave the country never to return again.  This is hard on us, but much harder on the students themselves who have made dear friendships and will be indefinitely saying good-bye to their lifelong best friends. It ain’t easy.

So, you can pray for us that God would help us to encourage the students and faithfully keep pointing them to Jesus…who is constant, compassionate, and capable to do exceedingly, abundantly above all they could ever ask or think.

As always…we thank God for friends like you who stand beside our family regardless of the distance or time apart.

We miss you.

Enjoy these recent photos.

 

the kids love Mandy!
…the kids love Mandy (headed to the States to begin her pursuit of a degree in music!)

 

Blake and another senior (Ruth) who is headed to England to study.
Blake and another senior (Ruth) who is headed to England to study.

 

Noelle, who is from Cameroon, will soon be studying in the U.S.
Noelle, who is from Cameroon, will soon be studying in the U.S.

 

Blake and the Senior Boys.
Blake and the Senior Boys.

 

This cool graduate, Martine, will be attending  University in the Netherlands...her passport country.
This cool graduate, Martine, will be attending University in the Netherlands…her passport country.

 

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Senior Banquet

 

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Blake sharing about forgiveness at one of our favorite churches.

 

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At the hanger.

 

Our friend, Humble
Our friend, Humble

He is Able

Just the other day I had a friend remind me of this song.

He is able, more than able
To accomplish what concerns me today
He is able, more than able
To handle anything that comes my way.
He is able, more than able
To do much more than I could ever dream,
He is able, more than able
To make me what He wants me to be

Do you remember this song?  I have been singing it over and over all day today.  I hope the words encourage you like they have me.

Here are a few photos to walk you through what we have been doing over the last month.

As always thank you for keeping up with us!  We are so grateful for your prayers.

Love,

Laura

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We met Emile in Gadsden (over 4 years ago) when he was studying at GSCC. Little did we know, that a few years later we would be living in his country (and city) and getting to know his beautiful wife and new baby girl . This couple is a huge encouragement to us!
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Such a little cutie
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We even got to attend her baby dedication!
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Blake has had more and more opportunities to speak, share his testimony, or lead weeknight Bible studies. This is him and his pastor friend, Prospert, who is helping with translation.
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Blake participated in the Labor Day march with our organization…and Gabrielle and Hermann.
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My dear friend Sara, that I met in France came to Yaoundé for a visit! She brought her two girls (who were best buddies with Hannah and Libby in France). Sara’s friendship is a real testimony to God’s faithfulness. When I arrived in France I asked God to help me find a friend…Sara was (and still is) the answer to that prayer. We had such a great time catching up.
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Sunday night youth group…
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Sunday School for the kids
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We were honored to participate in sending off a young Cameroonian family to an unreached area of Northern Cameroon. Pray that more Cameroonians will become passionate about reaching the unreached of Cameroon.
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A cool group of Cameroonian young people that we met. These kids are supported monthly by both Cameroonians and Europeans. The kids who attend this Club Biblique receive funds for school, clothes, and books.

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This kingfisher hangs out at the soccer field near our home. I am amazed by all the beautiful birds here.
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Every Saturday there is a Club Biblique in our neighborhood.
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These are Sara’s girls and they got to go to school with our girls during their visit…and Sara brought matching outfits for the first day!

 

Beautiful Cameroon

Here are a few photos from our normal everyday life here in Yaoundé.  Thank you for keeping up with us!

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This is a very typical Cameroonian meal. Le Poisson Braisé (braised fish) with plantains and pepper sauce. Our neighbor brought this to us and it was delicious!
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It is mango season! Yum!
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During Hannah’s soccer practice
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a beautiful plant in our backyard
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during church
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precious kids from church

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Photos from our Trip to the States

We thought we would post some photos from our time in the U.S. of A.  Hope you enjoy.

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Ben enjoyed being with PaPa.
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Blake smiling at his cheeseburger from Five Guys Burgers and Fries.
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We enjoyed a quick visit to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
One highlight was visiting our family in Cookeville, TN. F.U.N.
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More family time.
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Libby turned 6 years old while we were in the States!
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It was nice to visit with Blake’s “Pop.”
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It was so fun to reconnect with dear fiends…
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Christmas Morning Awe.
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Libby asked for an umberella….She carries it everywhere – rain or shine.
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I think she was happy with this gift.
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We enjoyed hosting an afternoon for sharing news and snacks with our partners. So thankful for the Williams family.
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Nannie is a great cook, and a great friend.
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We even ran into Santa!
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Fun times with Gran.
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Ben helps Gump with puzzles. They are a great team.

When There’s Not Much News… (with photos)

Sometimes it feels like there is no news to share.  This is one of those times.  We are busy with life and ministry and trust that the seeds we are planting will eventually result in a beautiful harvest.  One phrase/verse that has been circling around in my heart lately has been…”Jesus, YOU are the desire of nations.”  I know this is true…even though many nations still don’t know it yet. I guess this is part of the plan…We are all called to show the nations that what they really desire is Jesus.

I guess no news is good news, right? However, I have been thinking of some things that are now a regular part of my life… things I did not do before living in Cameroon. So here are a few that came to mind…

  • cooking, eating, and cleaning up by candlelight (on those evenings when the power is out)
  • hanging up our laundry to dry
  • having new clothes custom-made by a seamstress
  • getting water from the well for a bath (when our water is cut)
  • wearing flip-flops most of the time (year round)
  • washing my feet before bed
  • praying in French with my Cameroonian friend (but…let’s just be glad that God knows my heart)
  • waking up to a rooster’s call
  • making homemade: bread, granola, and ant poison
  • walking my kids to and from school

Here’s some photos from the past few weeks. Thank you for keeping up with our family.  We hold you in our hearts and thank God for you. Laura

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We have two new bunnies….Hope and Hazel.
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There are always things for sale on the side of the road.
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So many beautiful creatures.
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On our way to get the girls from school.
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Hope and Hazel…yep they do like carrots and green beans and banana leaves and…
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Hannah wearing her beautiful hand-made Cameroonian dress.
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Libby likes to play market…and she has good balance!