My life occurred exactly as I always planned it. I married my best friend and high school sweetheart, Bill. We bought our first home and settled in for a long and happy life together. I held a wonderful job in my field of study, accounting. I felt I lived “the American dream.” Over the next few years, I birthed two beautiful daughters, Kathrine and Kristine. We found a great church home, which provided us with many great friendships and activities for our growing family. Everything continued to move along perfectly for me. I felt in control of my life and my future. I allowed God to come along for the ride but I did all the driving.
Everything changed with the birth of my third child in 1993, William Charles. William came into my world with severe birth defects. We soon learned he had Tetrasomy 9P, an extremely rare chromosome condition. The list of problems in his little body kept growing each day. We lost our only son nine days later as he died in my arms. My world shattered and I grappled with the loss. I questioned God on why He allowed this to happen to me. Nothing felt like it would ever be perfect again. For the next couple of years I wandered through the days, weeks and months in a dense fog, it appeared never ending. I fell into a depression, which made me think I would never laugh or be happy again. However, God stood ready to use this experience in my life to turn my world upside down in a positive way.
In January 1997, I attended our church’s annual parish meeting. I still felt like I moved through life in a fog of grief but I could see the edges of the fog slowly lifting. During the time since William’s death, I learned to trust God more and more and I allowed Him to direct my life. God’s plans were always perfect. During the meeting, I listened to a presentation about a mission trip to Haiti. I experienced a strange sensation as they talked. I felt God whisper to my heart “go to Haiti.” I wrestled with the idea of a mission trip. I hated camping because of the bugs and lack of creature comforts. How could I go on missions? Working in missions or ministries never occurred to me. I felt ill equipped for any kind of Christian work. What was God thinking in asking me such a thing?
In July of 1997, I landed in Haiti for a weeklong mission trip working with impoverished children. The impact on my life was enormous. The children I saw on the trip were filthy and wore rags. Their stomachs distended from constant hunger. They dug through trash piles for scrapes of food to stave off the emptiness in their bellies. Slowly, I discovered a purpose in the trip as we handed out rations to these poor little ones each day. God showed me how I could help poor and neglected children in His world. I could be God’s hands and feet.
Almost 20 years have passed since that first mission trip. I watched God accomplish miracles on the mission field and in my life. I started a charity organization and through it, God allowed me to operate three orphanages. They were located in Nepal, Myanmar and Sierra Leone. The homes cared for about 60 precious orphans who called me mom. They were more than orphans to me. They became my children. I also adopted two teenagers from Kenya. My family circle continued to expand and I loved every minute of it. I wished my son had not died. His death still brought tears to my eyes occasionally. However, God provided me with something more than just death and depression. He gave me hope and a purpose in the midst of my pain. He blessed me beyond my wildest dreams. I thank God for my son William and I thank God for all my children around the world. I could not imagine my life if I had remained in the fog of depression. I said yes to a much better option in Christ’s perfect world.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)
I am a wife, a mom of two grown daughters and one son who lives with Jesus. I recently became a grandmother for the first time. I am passionate about missions and sharing the amazing stories of seeing Christ in action on my mission journeys. God led me to setup a charity, which cares for orphans in Nepal, Myanmar and Sierra Leone. When I am not on the mission field, I work full time. I hope my stories inspire you to reach out and be the hands and feet of Christ to someone.