Give Forward


Meet the Hansen Family. Steve and Tonya with their children Samuel, Rachel, Hannah and Daniel. Tonya and I crossed paths in Nepal, when she was serving an internship for her Bible College and I was serving with Operation Mobilization. Even then, her faith and strength in the Lord inspired and encouraged me. She was living with the nationals, dealing with far more immersion into the Nepali culture than I was. Now and then, she and I and another American friend would sneak away to the tourist district of Kathmandu for a brownie fudge sundae. Somehow those brownie fudge sundaes would sooth the ache of homesickness enough to face to crowded, jostling, smelly city for yet another few weeks.

I wouldn’t have imagined what God might call Tonya to do. She is the mother of four beautiful children, two of whom have cystic fybrosis. Their lives have taked a dramatic turn as she and Steve minister to their children. We are asking God for miracles for this family. For a supernatural healing. And for a financial miracle. The medical expenses are staggering. A fund has been started for the Hansen family. If we can all donate $20, even $10 to this family, it WILL make a difference. Read their story here.

I would like to humbly ask you to prayerfully consider helping get the word out about this fund. We know that you have your own facebook network of people, churches, etc. Would you please consider sharing the link and the need to your networks, churches, prayer groups etc to give if they feel led too? It doesn’t matter the amount, as you know every penny counts and is greatly appreciated.

Again, here is the link. You can copy and paste this link into any FB post or email that you would share with your friends so people would go to their fund website.




The week of Evangeline.

Tuesday, January 22nd, we went in for a prenatal check-up, two days before my due date, only to learn our baby did a complete turn and was now sitting in a breech presentation. We were surprised and not exactly happy. As soon as the doctor mentioned ‘external aversion’ my heart sank even further. We tried this with our 3rd child, our son, and it was painful and unsuccessful. He later turned on his own, and we avoided a C-section.

Then an amazing thing happened. Our doctor started to speak words of faith that he believed God would enable him to turn our baby. He prayed with us. Other people prayed for the procedure to work. And it did! I came home from the hospital determined to keep the baby in the proper presentation for birth.

Friday came around, and it was time for another prenatal check-up. Unbelievably, baby was now transverse, and I was post-due. The lovely Velcro brace I wore all week wasn’t enough to keep baby in position. Our doctor was not comfortable letting us go home with baby in an unstable position, and recommended doing the aversion again and then immediately inducing labor. This time the aversion wasn’t as bad, since he didn’t have as far to turn her. But he held tightly onto her head as he broke the membranes so she wouldn’t bounce around again!

I really laughed when the nurse (coincidentally named Hope) asked me what my birth plan was. I had one of these typed out with our firstborn, gung-ho and ready to do everything naturally and on my own terms. Whoever came up with the idea of a ‘birth-plan’ must not have experienced actual child-birth. It doesn’t often go as planned. Being induced has never been part of my plan, yet three out of five babies were. Childbirth is like anything else in life, its walking by faith. The one thing I did differently this time around was prepare myself by meditating on these passages of scripture the week of my due date. Then I had them ready for my ‘Coach’ to read them to me for strengthening and focus during labor. This was the best part of my labor and birth experience. God’s presence was very real to me that night.

The labor was long, hard, and lasted all night and into the next day. About 19 hours total. It was the most beautiful and exciting thing to finally hear the doctor say “it’s a…..girl!” Evangeline Noël was born on my birthday, January 26, at 11:57am. What a beautiful, sweet, and rewarding birthday gift. Her name means ‘bearer of good news’ which we found to be both appropriate and prophetic in the season our family is now walking into. Noël because I often called her my ‘peace child’ through this very tumultuous year of transition, change, and uncertainty. And here she is:

DSCN0949 DSCN0946 DSCN0943 DSCN0942 DSCN0940 DSCN0937 DSCN0935

The Ranch

The Ranch


Deserted  falling apart

Our dilapidated ranch house awaited our arrival for years

Aging ungracefully  with broken windows

And cupboards hanging loosely by a single hinge

Our mother’s death  had called us home

To see to our last work of corporal of mercy

The look on my brother’s face spoke of an  absence  in our lives

Did these ghostly structures keeping vigil over the Missouri River

Also need a work of mercy

In the kitchen a box of pancake mix still awaiting a call to breakfast from Grandfather  –

Dusty, cobwebbed  and ignored  even by the mice

A slightly crooked icon of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Watching over this slow decay

By the door a holy water font  yearns for a drop from the great river below the badlands

A sign of the cross

A  lifetime of prayer :  rain for the crops, health for the cattle

Safety for all of us who toiled here

“Look. There’s one  of Mom’s  checkered blouses  in the closet.”

Its only companion  the high-pitched whistle of the North  Dakota wind

Moving the window curtain like a boy shrugging his shoulders

Finally stepping off the porch a rabbit startled us and soundlessly ran off alone in the tall weeds

On the way home we dodged oil patch rigs on the road –  service trucks

Massive pot holes

“We’ll get through this,”  he offers back in town

Deserted  and falling apart  I confidently mumble “I know”

Then  signal left and turn right


-Eddy Grim


A tribute to Mary Francis Grim Kuschel, beloved mother and grandmother.


Do things sometimes happen to you, grabbing your attention in such a dramatic way, that you know God is speaking?

Today I filled my husband in, word for word, on this dramatic story of freedom from slavery in the 21st century.

I had to look Mauritania up on the map. Northern Africa, edge of the Sahara desert. Slavery was abolished in … 1981?!

The Freedom Project: Ending Modern Day Slavery

Tonight at home group we popped in the Graham Cooke video series on prophetic thinking we’ve been watching. Only instead of Graham Cooke, a Bruce Willis look alike came on explaining how God led him to start a ministry called Not For Sale. Directed at ending… Slavery. His real name is David Batstone, and he is currently helping victims of human trafficking overseas in Thailand, Uganda, Peru, Cambodia, and Romania. Not For Sale also has projects running in the United States.

My wheels were turning, I was on full alert. What is going on, Lord?

Justice. Orphans and widows. Fatherless. Victims. Oppressed. 1700 new slaves every day brought into America. 120,000 right now. 10-20% of Mauritania in slavery. Sex slaves, child slaves, slavery of the mind.

So here’s where I’m coming from. Forever ago, when I was a zealous, idealistic 18 yr I set out to Nepal to end human trafficking. Inspired by my hero Amy Carmichael, I thought I’d do some mighty work for God in Asia. Like uncover underground trafficking operations or something. I walked up and down the dirty streets of Kathmandu for 6 months before finally finding one NGO where I could volunteer to teach English to women trying to rehabilitate from prostitution. Most were sold by their families into prostitution. Village life is a dead end street, so traffickers target them. Most of these women were HIV positive.

I dreamed of sting operations in Mumbai where we’d raid a brothel and bring Nepali girls back home. I met amazing missionary women who were giving the better part of their years to this work. I was in awe, aware of my youth, naively green.

I never even made it across the Indian border.

God ordered my steps in another direction. I felt vision slowly die as I was deported and blacklisted from Nepal. My gut still churns with anxiety inside immigration offices! But that’s another blog 🙂

Does God sometimes allow death of a vision in order to birth a vision?

What would he have me do now, as a mom of 4 kids living in the USA… Land of the Free? What can I do?

David Batstone said we should take one small step. So here’s my plan. God has given this blog as an outlet of expression. We need to become aware. We can influence our culture. My first step is to learn the brands who use child labor and slave labor to manufacture and intentionally purchase elsewhere. There’s even an app to help you with that, its called Free2Work. You can scan in your item and get a “grade” based on slave labor stats.

My second step is to allow my heart to be broken for the injustice and to pray.

Third step? Don’t yet know! Take a look at Not For Sale’s website for inspiring ways to get involved in a cause bigger than yourself.  Find out what to look for in places that might be facilitating human trafficking, right here in the USA.

Defying Windmills

The order of knight-errantry

Because the world is no longer in such a state, however, “the order of knight-errantry was instituted to defend maidens, to protect widows, and to rescue orphans and distressed persons,” the knight continues.

Each of the ten quotes below is worthy of its own essay. Yet when my eyes fell upon this one, I couldn’t help but see the stunning correlation between the quest of Don Quixote and the compelling character and heart of God. I began to search the scriptures regarding injustice, true religion, and justice. The world never ceases to give birth to new cases of injustice, unimaginable horrors being repeated time and time again. It is nauseating, and should cause us to cry out for the return of Christ. Yet here we are, as the salt and light of the earth, during this time of war, famine, and pain. As Don Quixote took it upon himself to ride out into the world to defend maidens, to protect widows, and to rescue orphans and distressed  persons, so must we practice what the bible calls true religion…’religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.’

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free

and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food

with the hungry

and to provide the poor

wanderer with shelter-

when you see the naked, to clothe him,

and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousness will go before you,

and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;

you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

–Isaiah 58:6-9

The Lord works righteousness and justice for the oppressed. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne, love an faithfulness go before him. Let those who love the Lord hate evil.

This is the character and heart of God to which I was drawn, reflected in the story of Man of la Mancha. The world did not recognize or understand Jesus Christ, yet he embodies what we all long for: to see justice served. I know I’m not the only one whose heart breaks reading the reports of what is happening in Syria, South Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia. Many stories are not even reported, only witnessed by the victims, the humanitarian workers and missionaries in close proximity.

Jesus Christ came once to save the world. He will come again, but he will come as a judge. He came once as the sacrificial Lamb, but he will come again as the Lion. Be forewarned, the Lord will take up the case of the poor and exploited. He will plunder those who plunder them. He will punish as our sins deserve. God can not be mocked, a man reaps what he sows. I love the Word of God. It is not polite, or gentle, or politically correct. Sin cannot be tolerated by a holy God.

He is patient with us, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. The Lord’s patience means salvation. He will have mercy on anyone who cries out to him. Let’s pray for the oppressed nations, the orphans, the widows, the aliens. Let’s also pray for their oppressors.

I want to share with you an inspiring story of a group of women who have just completed an awesome journey together!

Global Campaign to Combat Injustices Affecting Women and Children

ATLANTA, Nov. 15, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ — In an effort to raise awareness and funds to combat oppression, slavery, exploitation and global trafficking, The Freedom Climb will unite 47 women from around the world who have volunteered to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.  The event was chosen as a symbol for the challenging climb that marginalized women face while climbing out of oppression and into freedom.

Great Expectations

A wise friend recently offered counsel to me saying frustrations are the result of expectations. We have great expectations which are not met, causing us to become discontent or unhappy.

Christmas is a season of great expectation. Part of it is the magic and wonder of the holiday, filled with sentimental memories and traditions. As our family entered this season, I found myself considering how we could choose wisely the activities, gifts, even desserts (you know how important THIS is!) that would bring peace, and not chaos, to our lives.

First, we decorated super-early. Before Thanksgiving was even on the menu. Second, I have all but given up on keeping our family traditions unadulterated. Enter my (current) least favorite character-building term: Flexibility. My husband has two jobs. One, which I love and find joy and fulfillment in, is pastoring. The other, where he is gone for long stretches of time and has to work most holidays, is a constant test of patience and endurance.

As I felt the wind of holiday-enduced emotion come upon me, my least favorite word came to visit. I have to be flexible. We can still celebrate Thanksgiving, even if its not the 4th Thursday of the month (I hate doing that). And Christmas, well, we’ll just change the tradition and routine each year according to that dang schedule (still working on my attitude).

But a new activity made its way to the calendar this year. Initiated by my 8-yr old, we are celebrating Amy Carmichael’s birthday. A hero who gave up all the warm traditions of her culture to serve the least in an over-populated, filthy, and hostile environment. She opposed the practice of temple prostitution, and rescued many young girls who were dedicated to the Hindu gods to be used as prostitutes. India remains a dangerous place for women. Gender-selection abortions are taking the lives of little girls. Social-economic pressure drives mothers to abandon their female children on the streets or leave them in piles of trash. Villages exist where nearly the entire population consists of men as the female population has been aborted.

We will honor this great woman of faith, and plant seeds of Great Expectation in our kids for what God can do with a surrendered (read: flexible) life.

Ooooh… and I have to share this. The Menu: Spiced Eggplant Dip with Garlic Naan, Green Coriander Chicken, and Fresh Lime Ice Cream. Yum! Forget the sugar cookies and fudge. Onward New Traditions!

God continues to rebuke my demanding flesh. I want to wholeheartedly submit to his will. Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Letting go of my expectations, for Christmas or other, is an opportunity to surrender to his will and thank him in all circumstances.

While serving in India, Amy received a letter from a young lady who was considering life as a missionary. She asked Amy, ‘What is missionary life like?’ Amy wrote back saying simply,

‘Missionary life is simply a chance to die.’

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Coming to Life Again

I told my husband last night I needed his help. Coming to life again. What is the basis for enjoying life?

For me, it is intangible things. Like having a quiet heart.

Its enjoying the people you love and the simple pleasures throughout the day. Its having a mind equipped for the task at hand and strength of heart to face the challenges. It is about clear and focused vision for the future.

God is speaking to me about rest. I admit, I am a poor study at it. To borrow the words of another pastor’s wife, instead of ‘cleanliness being next to godliness,’ I tend to think ‘exhaustion is next to godliness.’

How did my husband pull off 90 hour weeks this summer? Is that something to boast about, or something to repent of. Why on earth do I feel a twinge of guilt when we have a day off??

I did make an honest effort to rest this month. We cleared our calendar of one evening a week. And my husband isn’t going to class or doing clinicals. But not being as busy just isn’t enough.

Its HARD to get away when you have jobs, ministry, 4 wild children. But I am desperate.

True rest involves the spirit. It is a time to draw away, reflect, and meditate on the Word. It engages the mind. Allows for repentance and restoration. A Psalm 23 time.

I think its time for another 5 year letter. Ever written one of these? Imagine yourself five years from now. Write to a friend as if you were reflecting on the past 5 years. What have you accomplished? What things matter? Where is your character and your walk with God? Who is in your life? What victories have you celebrated, what challenges have you persevered through?

Just as the Lover of our Souls wants us to draw away with him, so must we draw away with our covenant partner. Marriage isn’t something that takes care of itself. The last time I wrote a 5-yr Letter, I spent the day in solitude, fully aware marriage was the next step. This time, I need to go spend time at the Fountain of Life, watering a sacred covenant. I believe He will bring me back to life.