Formula Shipment and Bibles Sent

I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who generously donated towards formula for Venezuela. I never expected to have such a great response and have been blown away by people giving so abundantly and generously! To date I’ve collected 503 cans of formula as well as financial donations towards shipping and formula.

It’s taken me a few weeks to figure out how to move forward. I will be sharing updates on this blog and have created a Facebook page to provide updates on the formula sent. I’d like to be as transparent as possible (I’m also shipping bibles and a few other baby needs) to how this is distributed. I hope this will be a simpler way to provide updates on Venezuela, let you know of needs that come up, and share what I hear back from the pastor who is receiving all of this. A sincere thank you, and excited to be able to send help to where its most needed.

First shipment of formula was sent on October 12th! We shipped 95 formula cans and 50 new testament bibles, which will take around 4 weeks to get there. Here are some pictures of our kids and friends helping tape Spanish bible verses to the formula cans. I would love to ship even more boxes at a time, but because the boxes are valuable and are target to be stolen, the pastor has asked me that I only ship 2 boxes at a time.

Will share an update once I hear that the boxes have made it safely over there!

Update on Venezuela Formula Boxes

Earlier this year our family collected cans of formula to send to Venezuela. It was something that had been running through my mind for a few months, until I finally had the courage to organize a drive and send to a church connection we had over there.

Unfortunately, after receiving the first box of formula cans (which had about 35 cans) we did not hear back much from our church connection in Venezuela. They did not give us any updates. When we asked for pictures of moms or families who had received the formula, they replied with ‘no that it would be too embarrassing’. Their lack of transparency made them untrustworthy, and I did not have a peace to continue to send them anything else.

I was so disappointed. I wondered if I had heard God right all along and if he had really asked me to do this? I had another large box of formula in our living room, that friends had so generously donated and nowhere to send.

That box sat in our living room for 4 months. During those four months I asked God would to open up a door for us to give out of the abundance we have here. A place to give consistently and that it would get to the hands of the right people. But for four months there seemed to be silence and I certainly wrestled with all of it.

Then in July of this year God very unexpectedly showed up. I was on the phone with Patrick Carberry, the founder and director of Joshua Cord which you can read about here. This is an incredible non-profit we support which focuses on supporting persecuted Christians in the Middle East and Africa. Patrick is former FBI agent, and through his line of work has made connections in all kinds of countries, including Venezuela! Long story short, I was able to find a connection through him and thought I would give it a shot.

On July 14th (I remember because it would’ve been Andrew’s 12th birthday) I mailed the box with about 50 cans of formula. We sent it to a pastor Pedro Pablo, a catholic priest in Caracas who said he would distribute to a local maternity center (over 80% of hospitals operate without formula) and malnourished children.

He has been wonderful to work with and incredibly transparent. Not just because he’s sent pictures, but all through the process he has kept a detailed log of the kids who have received the formula, has kept us up to date, answered any questions we had, and has even come up with his own ideas to make sure the formula is not resold (which happens over there). He has come up with some great ideas to ensure the boxes gets into the hands of the people that most need it. I am so incredibly grateful God opened up this door in his own time!

Here are some pictures from the last box sent:

I would like to ship more boxes and will be collecting formula- any kind, any size from sample sizes to large. All is very much needed over there as the infant mortality rate last published had increased by 30% in just one year. (You can read further into children's malnutrition in Venezuela in these articles from The Guardian and Reuters).

I'm also collecting bibles in Spanish. The pastor said preferably New Testament only, light bibles that can be handed out and will not weigh the box down too much, so more quantity of bibles can be sent. 

A very sincere thank you to all who helped and contributed to the boxes that have been sent! 

Summer 2020

We have been enjoying lots of family time this summer. Lots of memories made in our pool, front porch, and time at the beach with grandparents. I have been off social media for a few weeks but wanted to share some of my favorite pictures from this summer!

On Andrew's 12th Birthday

Tomorrow would’ve been Andrew’s 12th birthday. While the grief and weight of the first few years has gone away, we still like to take the time to remember our sweet Andrew. He is never forgotten and will forever be a part of our family.

Andrew was a wonderful gift, just as all three of our other children have been. He was a special gift that was taken away unexpectedly and much sooner than I ever imagined. But in that brokenness and place of wrestling, God used all of it to draw me closer to him. I hope to never walk through something like that again, and yet I know deep down that if have to walk down that road again one day- God will be right there by our side. It is a special joy to know that God is present in the most unthinkable of circumstances. To know that he cares deeply for us in the midst of our pain and has a purpose for it.

Yesterday I was re-reading the book 'Daring to Hope' by Katie Davis Majors, and she put beautifully into words what I could not.

I was walking blindly into a new season, a place that didn't line up with my plans for the coming year. A place I never would have chosen, never wished or asked for. But God's promise to Abraham spoke to me. God wasn't promising me ease. He wasn't promising that things would go as planned. He wasn't promising a world without trouble, without heartbreak along the way. He was promising me Himself. 

God's blessing isn't always what we think- the happy ending we wanted and the desires of our hearts fulfilled. Blessed is she who believes His promises. This blessing is different from blessing as the world sees it. It isn't an easy life or one of success. Blessing is that we find ourselves in a place that God has yet to explain, may never explain, a place or a life that doesn't line up with what we had in mind. He gives us a promise... He will be here with us, our great reward. 

That is a beautiful thing. To see God at work even life doesn't take us down the road we had hoped for. To be thankful simply for God's presence no matter what the circumstances.

As our kids have grown up we've always encouraged them to talk about Andrew. As the boys have gotten older they don’t seem to talk about him as much, but for some reason Lilly talks about him all the time. She often asks what he looked like as a baby and what he would look like today. She reminds people with a firm and sassy voice that she doesn’t have two older brother, but she has THREE older brothers and one of them is in heaven. We will lay down in her bed and sometimes imagine what it will be like in heaven. It is wonderful to have a small little side kick to think about all these things together. 

I am grateful for the good years and the hard years. I know it is only a matter of time before I'm back in a place again when I will wrestle with God the way I did when we lost Andrew. I will question him, I will doubt, and I will struggle with my faith. But I will remember my sweet Andrew and have hope that He will yet again come through. That His presence will be enough. That He will be my very great reward.

Truth be told, there has been plenty I've wrestled with God since Andrew passed away: frustrations, broken relationships, circumstances that haven't changed despite my prayers, wondering why God seems so silent sometimes. But none of these struggles have compared to the loss of a child. None have left me as broken and dependent on God as that season did back then. And for that gift of seeing God's provision in the most difficult of circumstances I will always be grateful.