Monday, July 20, 2009

Coming Soon...COTW '09-'10

Well, since the kids went home, I haven't been blogging. We had a great trip to Nepal. It was wonderful to see the kids from previous tours and get to know them. We also had the privilege of visiting 3 children's homes that World Help partners with. The kids are adjusting back into school and Nepali life well. 

Steven and I have enjoyed being home in Alabama for a few weeks. July is flying by and we leave Sunday to head to Uganda to pick up the new children. We can't wait to be there (although we wish there was a faster way than 15 hour plane rides)! 

We will be directing the West Coast tour this year, and we are excited about all God has in store. One huge answer to prayer is that all the children and chaperones for this tour have gotten their visas! We just found out last week that the Ugandans were approved! 

You can be in prayer for everyone as this tour are some specifics:
  • TRAVEL: for safety and health as all the kids fly to the US. Also, that everything will go smoothly bringing the kids through customs.
  • TRAINING CAMP: this is one of the hardest parts of the year. Pray that the kids will adjust well to America (English, food, bonding with the kids from other countries, using silverware, different toilets, etc). There are so many changes for them all at once, and on top of that, they have to learn the program. I will be training the kids, so please pray for endurance and energy as well as for my voice to stay strong. Pray that our new staff as well as the East team staff will bond and work well together. 
  • SCHEDULING: that the Lord will show very clearly what churches we need to be in for this coming tour, and that He will begin preparing the hearts of the people who will see us this year.
  • HEARTS: that these children will grow spiritually this year and understand what it means to worship and follow Jesus with their whole heart. Pray for us as leaders as we disciple these kids that we will be filled up with Jesus so he will spill out on the children and people we meet.
We look forward to getting to know our 15 new can be sure that cute pictures are to come!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

ok, so May was obviously busy...

Wow...I can't believe I haven't posted anything since April! Things get so busy towards the end of tour. Right now, we are in Nashville recording a new album. Things are going well...the kids are definitely sleeping good tonight. It was a busy day. 

It's so hard to believe that this Sunday is our last concert. I was looking back over our calendar, and we will have sung in 151 different locations this tour. It goes by so fast! The kids have come so far over the past 10 months. They have all grown in so many ways. God has been so faithful, and it has been a blessing to see the difference He makes in the lives of these kids. The goodbyes never get any easier, and we're almost to that point. We'll be flying to Nepal on the 14th to take all the kids from there back home.

Please pray for us as we wrap up this tour. To God be the glory, great things He has done!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Don't even think about it...

So we're sitting at a restaurant with a few of the kids. We had just gotten our food when this conversation takes place:

Matia: "Auntie Tiffany, can we get ice cream?"

Me: "Matia, you can't even think about ice cream until you finish all your pizza."

10 minutes later, with just some crust on his plate...

Matia: "Auntie, can I think about ice cream now?"

Needless to say, we ended up at Dairy Queen!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter pictures

We had a wonderful day celebrating the resurrection of Jesus!

Gotta love the new boat shoes!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The disciples have no manners...lesson from the Lord's Supper

We are in Black Mountain, North Carolina. It is a small, quaint little town, and I had some girl time downtown with Ashley and Jennifer (our chaperones). We saw all two blocks of it.

Anyways, I ended up going with Jennifer to her host home for dinner. Afterward, we headed to a local church for an easter passion play with Juliet and Esther. They really enjoyed it and had a lot to say about it afterwards. 

One thing that Juliet couldn't get over was the scene of the Lord's Supper. She said, "Jesus gave them all bread and juice, and they didn't even say thank you." Jenn and I were flattered that our manner lessons must be sticking.

Seriously though, it made me think about how often I take Jesus' sacrifice for granted. He gave His body and blood for me, and I should just take time to stop and say thank You. I don't think I'll ever look at a painting or reenactment of the Lord's Supper without thinking about Juliet's comment. As we celebrate Easter and the glorious resurrection of Jesus, I hope we'll all take time to stop and reflect on the sacrifice that came before that, whether we take communion or not, and just say thank You. Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Goodbye teeth...a tooth-throwing tradition

A while back I wrote about what we do when kids lose their teeth. Rather than a visit from the tooth fairy, we have a ceremony. Ericka lost 2 teeth from her lower jaw, so she decided to throw them under water at the lake at Camp Sparta. This was probably the most "official" ceremony we have had.

Getting ready to say goodbye to the teeth...
Proof that they were Ericka's and from the lower jaw
There goes tooth #1...
Followed by tooth #2
You can see how everyone is watching to see the teeth disappear into the depths below. So dramatic!! 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Our biggest little fan!

We were at a church in Concord, NC this morning. I kept seeing the kids smiling during the concert...almost to the point of laughing. Now I know why. This is what they saw in the center aisle. (Sorry it's sideways...anyone know how to rotate a video?)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Florida Fun Music Video...I think I got it now!

Ok, so I think you can watch this video without going to YouTube now. It was my first time trying to upload a video, so thanks for your patience. I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Florida Fun video

We just had our last Florida concert in Tallahassee tonight, so it is fitting that Steven finished a video he has been working on. Tomorrow morning we head to the Atlanta area. We're gonna miss the beach and all the fun things about Florida, but it's fun looking back at some of our favorite moments. I know there's a way to put the actual video on the blog, but I don't think it's in the right format and it's getting late, so the YouTube link will have to do for now (although I wish the quality was better...just imagine how great it looks on our monitor!) Anyways, here you go...ENJOY!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The brutal truth...oh the things they say- part 2

So we were in the church lobby getting some things done while waiting for the host family meeting yesterday. Since we had some extra time, I decided to get all the kids together for a "manner meeting" before they headed out for the weekend. One thing we were reviewing was what to say when a host family asks the kids what they would like to do. Jonathan quickly spoke up and explained, "last time the host family asked me what I wanted to do and I just said, 'anything,' and then the host family said, 'ok, we will wash the car'." Without missing a beat, Francis looks over to Jonathan and says, "That's what we call a joke!"

Before I share another story I must say up front that our chaperone, Jennifer, gave me permission to share this. Sooo...

Not long after the "manner meeting," Blanca (our youngest little Guatemalan girl) was sitting with Auntie Jennifer. She was looking at her face and suddenly blurts out, "Auntie, you have only one booger!" She announced it as if it was some kind of great accomplishment. You know it's always the worst when you look in the mirror only to find that nobody told you that you had a booger. I think Blanca's approach was great. Next time I see somebody with a biv (booger in view), I think I am just going to politely say, "excuse me, you have only one booger."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oh, the things they say...

We constantly have "blog moments" out on the road, and I wish I had time to document all of them. There were two that happened this Sunday that I just couldn't pass up though. As I've shared before, the kids say things or sometimes hear things in a different way since their first language isn't keeps us laughing.

Let me set the stage for the first story. We always have concerts at 2 churches on Sundays, which means meals from 2 different churches. We usually eat a late lunch and then an early dinner. This past Sunday, our morning church served ziti and ravioli, which everyone enjoyed. Then we get to our evening church and they are serving spaghetti (also good, just a lot of pasta for one afternoon). Without any complaining, the kids take their spaghetti and start eating.

About 10 minutes into the meal, Wilber comes up to me and one of our chaperones looking very concerned. Holding out his plate of about half-eaten spaghetti, he looks up with an almost tearful voice and simply says, "The end?"

We lost it! Normally he would have had to eat a little more, but because of that priceless comment, he didn't have to eat another bite!

The second blog worthy moment came later that night after the service. Now keep in mind that the kids had done 4 services that day, so they were tired. Plus, we had lost an hour of sleep the night before thanks to the time change. The youth group invited the kids to hang out with them in the gym while our guys tore down the sound. It was pretty chaotic, but everything was going well...until Suzan took Matia's ball. She should have known who she was messing with. He had no choice in his tired state, and he did the only thing he knew to do...he hauled off and hit her! After a thorough examination, we knew Suzan was going to be fine, so I called Matia over to have a talk. This was our conversation:

me: "Matia, you know we don't hit, especially girls!"
(I'm really getting through to him)

Matia, feeling awful for what he had done: "What about boys?"

me: "No Matia, we don't hit ANYONE, but ESPECIALLY girls"
(because emphasizing it will help him understand and feel a little bit of remorse)

Matia: "They are NOT special!"

Like I said, it had been a long day! (Good thing his head was down, because I was laughing by that point.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Give the poor tooth fairy a break!

It seems like I've been reading a lot of posts about the "Tooth Fairy" lately. I guess a lot of my friends have kids at that age, and the question has been raised, "what is the going rate for a tooth?" Well, the "Tooth Fairy" doesn't visit us out here on the road. We just move around too much and the poor fairy would go broke trying to pay market value for 13 children, all of whom are of "tooth-shedding" age. Not to mention that some lose teeth in their host homes, while I personally pull others. The fairy just can't handle the pressure of keeping up with that.

The question that has not been raised is, "what do you do with all the lost teeth?" Now I know there are some that may put them in a special box, or maybe in a scrapbook, but the thought of saving and keeping up with 13 kids' teeth is just plain gross (to put it bluntly), and I can just imagine little teeth falling out of the kids' suitcases in random places if they kept them.

Now I can't take credit for this brilliant idea. Our kids from India taught us about this tradition of what to do with lost teeth during our first year on the road, and I think the idea has spread to several other countries by now! It is an outdoor ceremony of sorts, and the key is to gather everyone around and make a big deal about it. If the tooth was lost from the upper jaw, then the "tooth loser" throws the tooth up on something (a stranger's roof, a tree, or in our case a church...). If the tooth was from the bottom jaw, then it's thrown under something. It's fun, it's quick, it's easy and it saves the child from having to face the traumatic question of "what do I do with all these nasty teeth?" when they go off to college. After all, we do call them "lost" teeth!

While we use this as an alternative to the "Tooth Fairy," I'm sure all of you could figure out a way to incorporate it with the fairy if you wanted! So anyways, if you should someday find yourself on a roof and you find a little tooth, you'll know either the Children of the World choir was there, or this great idea caught on!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Disney Frenzy

Our team was very blessed by churches and host families that worked it out for us to spend 2 days at Disneyworld. We hit the Magic Kingdom for a full day, and then did Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Epcot on the second day. We had a blast!! All the kids rode anything and everything. We started off slow on "It's a Small World" and ended up doing Space Mountain twice...and that was just the Magic Kingdom. At the end of the day, we all watched a million bucks literally go up in flames (give or take). The "Wishes" fireworks show was amazing. As it ended, we were staring at Cinderella's castle when Catherine looked over and said, "I just want to be a princess...if I could just have one wish, I would be a princess." It was pretty stinkin' cute!

Day 2 brought even more thrilling rides like the Tower of Terror and Everest Expedition. If you've never been on that one, I'd say it's the best ride at Disney! Anyways, we can't thank everyone enough who helped make this such an amazing time for us!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"You have arrived"...I don't think so!!

So we had to drive from Saint Petersburg, FL to Savannah, GA today...Al Henderson Boulevard to be exact. Our calendar said it was Al Henderson Avenue, so Steven punched it into the GPS, which only brought up Henderson Avenue in Savannah. So he figured that was it and went with it. We were looking for a big church. One of the worst feelings has got to be when the GPS says, "You have arrived" and what you are looking for is nowhere in sight! We had arrived alright, just not where we wanted to. A quick call to the church confirmed that there is indeed a difference between Henderson Avenue and Al Henderson Boulevard. We were 13 miles out of the way (which is a long way when you've been driving all day). To top it all off, that 13 miles took 45 minutes because we were now in rush hour traffic! I think there needs to be a law that says no town can have 2 roads with remotely the same name. Second, come on GPS!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

You have got to be kidding me!

So I thought since we are in Florida, I should ditch the snowflake background. The site I usually get backgrounds from has been down, so I tried a new one. I got a new background alright, but I lost tons of stuff...links to my friends' blogs, our tour schedule, headshots of all the kids...hours of work! Anyways, if anyone has any clue how to recover it, I will love you forever. I can't figure out anything, and I don't even really like the new background. Anyways, I'm getting off the computer before I cry.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

WARNING: if you look at this you're gonna be jealous!

We ended up having a few hours to kill on our way to Deltona. The weather was perfect, so we made a short side-trip to Daytona Beach. The kids had sack lunches, so we planned to have a picnic and then take a walk along the beach, just getting our feet wet. For most of our kids, it was their first time to see the ocean. Once Wilber "tripped" and got soaked, the rest of the kids gave that look..."can we 'trip and fall in' too?" We obviously gave in. The kids were thanking us profusely after we left. They had a blast...and we're in Florida all month!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

We're ready for the Winter Olympics!

An early attempt at a train...

Ritah takes a lap with Uncle Rick

I think this was taken right before they fell...
you should see Ashley's knee!

Uncle Josh & Esther practice for their pairs routine!

Auntie Jennifer & Catherine holding each other up

Juliet loves ice skating!

Everyone knows those toe picks don't work...just find a wall!

Look at that form! We had so much fun making trains 
that lots of other people hopped on.

We snapped this shot right before the zamboni came out. Notice Juliet (the girl farthest left and the one sleeping in the picture above) already has her shoes on by this point!! Oh well, 12 out of 13 ain't bad!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

13 reasons why I'm just now posting Christmas!

And here they are!

We had all the kids at my parents' house in Wilsonville, AL. Out of 13 nights over the weeks of Christmas and New Years, we spent 10 nights under 1 roof (they spent 3 nights with families from our home church...words cannot express how grateful we are to them for those 3 nights). We had a great time and there were lots of highlights. Of course I was planning on keeping everyone up to date with what we were doing...oh well! To get the full scoop of all we did at Christmas, you'll have to see the blogs below!

My mom and dad worked really hard to get the house ready for Christmas. They were worn out by the time we left, but the kids had a Christmas they'll never forget.

Stuffed with Love!

The first Christmas gift came on Christmas Eve...a trip to Build-a-Bear. Centenary United Methodist in Shelbyville, KY sponsored the trip. The kids had a blast through the whole process, and they love their bears!

First you have to warm up the heart!

Then you make a wish...

Once your bear is stuffed, you have to give it a shower and a brushing...

Then you pick the outfit!

After about an hour and a half, we had successfully stuffed, brushed, dressed (and in some cases re-dressed), and named 13 new friends. Thanks for a special memory Centenary!

They all have a story...

This year's children came to us all the way from Nepal, Uganda and the Philippines. Most of them come from children's homes, but they all have a story of trials that God has brought them through. Some of them have faced things in their young lives that most of us won't face in a lifetime. We praise the Lord for the ministries that love and care for these kids, and most importantly, are teaching them what it means to live for Christ. These children are the future Christian leaders to some of the most unreached areas of our world. We are so blessed to be able to disciple them and have them here as missionaries to the U.S. this year.

give hope

Everywhere we tour, people have the opportunity to give HOPE by sponsoring a child. Just $30 a month provides a little boy or girl with food, clothing, medicine and an education, but it also gives that child the opportunity to hear about Jesus...the only HOPE for eternity! Maybe this is something you've always wanted to do, but you just wanted to make sure it was a trustworthy organization. Maybe you came to a concert and are still thinking about it. Whatever the case, we hope that you will prayerfully consider sponsoring a child. There's no better time to invest in eternity! 

Tour Schedule

'09-'10 tour schedule to come...we'll be heading west this year!