Monday, November 25, 2013


I relocated! Go to to follow me and my husband!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Love Never Fails :: Wedding

A month and a half ago I boarded the airplane and started my journey from Uganda to Pennsylvania. Although only an ocean apart, these countries feel like worlds apart. And yet my God is equally present in both. It's a good thing that He is present, because I surely wasn't for a couple days - jet lag can be a beast! I'm thankful for the 40+ hours it took for me to travel from Uganda to Pennsylvania - it gave me a chance to breathe and retreat before my feet hit the ground running. That's what wedding planning can feel like. I don't mean that in a bad way; I enjoy running, and I enjoyed preparing for the climactic day when I became one with Daniel Iya. But let's be honest - running is tiring, and sometimes gasping for the grace of God is the only form of sustenance. 

I came back from Uganda to get married to Daniel, and get married we did! On August 15th, we committed our lives to each other before the presence of our families, closest friends, and of course our Lord and Savior. With a mere 40 guests, our wedding day was intimate and exactly what we yearned for after being in Uganda: a time of reunion with our families. Daniel's parents came from Nigeria, and the rest of our family came from various states throughout America to celebrate our marriage. It truly was a sweet time overflowing with fellowship and blessing that can only be found in the Spirit. 

My brother, Caleb, and Daniel's brother, Paul, read scripture

My dad prayed in English and Daniel's dad prayed in Hausa

My brother in law, David Canche, sang Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath at the ceremony

This picture (and only this one) was taken by our photographer, Heather Green
Some of our wonderful guests who traveled from all over (Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Arizona) to come to the wedding!

Daniel's parents (left) and their friends, the Buges (right)

First dance

One of my sisters, Katelyn, and her wonderful family!
Daniel's long time friend and best man, Rabo, and his family

It's not a party without some dancing!

This is my beloved, this is my friend..

Following a wonderful honeymoon in the Bahamas, Daniel and I moved to Terre Hill, PA where we will live until January. Come January, we will return to Good Shepherd's Fold Babies & Children's Home. What will we be doing until then? Daniel and I will attend Westminster Theological Seminary (Daniel as a full-time student and me as an auditor), and I will continue my ministry as the sponsorship coordinator for GSF. Keep an eye out for updates!

A video from our wedding day, shot and edited by Kent Mast. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Bags Are Packed

My bags are packed and I'm tucked into my bed for my last night here in Uganda. My mind is spinning as I think back to nearly a year ago when I said goodbyes on the other side of the ocean. There's great sadness and happiness that comes with goodbyes and hellos, from leaving one place and entering a new one. More than anything it feels like a whole lot of transitions that require a whole lot of faith. I left America not knowing how long I would be in Uganda. I said goodbye to my family, friends, and Daniel, hoping to see them sooner rather than later but knowing that timing was truly indefinite. I packed my bags and traveled into a land of unknowns. But it was only unknown to me. God knew it would be 357 days until I packed to return to America. He knew exactly what each day would entail here in Uganda, things that I could never have imagined. God knew He would bring Daniel to Uganda, filling his heart with a passion and calling to serve Jesus Christ here. He knew all things then, and He knows all things now. So although my bags are packed and I've said too many goodbyes for my heart to handle, God knows when I'll be returning. I hope that my hellos are sooner rather than later, but it's time for me to take another journey into a land of transitions and unknowns, knowing that He will fill each day and moment with His grace.

17 hours until I take off for America! I would appreciate all of your prayers as I transition back into my other home =) I am so excited to see my new nieces!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Bride (no, I'm not referring to myself)

I spent three nights in the nearby village of Kikube. I stayed in the home of Prossy, one of the teachers here at GSF. My mind floods when I think about what I saw during my experience there, but there is one thing that blew me away more than anything. No, it's not the cockroaches that patrolled the latrines at night or the surprise of waking up to Miley Cyrus' song "Party In The USA" playing in the next-door hut one morning (although that is certainly unforgettable as well). I was struck by the powerful presence of God's Holy Spirit working in that village. Kikube is known for many things, and I'd venture to say that the born again Christian church is not one of them. And yet the local church is alive. In fact, it is vibrant. There is a community of Christians that meets for prayer on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. They meet for 2 hours from 8-10pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I can only imagine that they meet for even longer on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings. I had the pleasure of attending the Thursday evening service. There were about 15 of us gather in a church member's home for this candle-lit service (no, not for "effect" - it was just because this house had no power). A man spoke for some time and then we had a time of praise and worship (singing, dancing, get the picture). Following worship, we moved immediately into a time of prayer. When I think of prayer time, I think of a nicely arranged circle where we all share some requests and then take turns praying for each other. That is not the kind of prayer time we had. This prayer time was animated and unrestrained. Everybody stood and talked with God simultaneously. No, they did nto speak in their hushed "respectful" tones - they pleaded with God, calling out to Him and pouring their hearts out to the Lord Almighty. I was touched at the way that God takes care of His bride, His body, His beloved ones, even those in this little village of Kikube. The light of Christ is dim in that village, but let me testify that it is alive. The local church is there and it will grow there because THAT is His bride. 

Just as I was heading out to church this morning, I received the news that Light Of The World church was not allowed to use its rented building (ok, its more like a room). Light Of The World is a church planted in the village of Buundo, just a 15-minute walk from Good Shepherd's Fold. Although it is not a GSF church, it was started by one of the GSF security guards and GSF has taken a great part in encouraging the planting of this church. You may remember the church opening in December - I wrote about it HERE. After being told multiple times to "leave the building," the church opted to set up their benches outside and hold the service right next to the building. It was unexpected. Why wouldn't the landlord open the room to us; what would become of the church? And it was then that I saw the bride of Christ, His body, and the real church - not the building church. Pastor Sam spoke with conviction: "A church is not a building; it is a body of believers. Turn to your neighbor and tell him, 'We are the church.'" We opened to 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5. Pastor Sam talked of the trials that we go through, whether at home, at work, or at church. Trials grow us and make us depend on God. Trials bring testimonies of God's working hand. And this trial that Light Of The World church is experiencing is no exception. No matter how or why the church is persecuted, we will prevail knowing that "we were destined for them" (vs. 3). This trial will grow the church, because that's what trials do; trials make us grow in faith. The service was powerful and convicting. And it ended with 20 minutes of prayer for provision and direction. The entire congregation stood up, made a circle, and joined hands to pray together. Pastor Sam closed, "Where will we go next, God? Whether you give us a tree or just some rocks to sit on, we are leaving it on Your almighty hands." 

Pastor Sam leading the worship time
Pastor Sam (left) with his two interpreters, Jasper and Esther
God has opened my eyes to His true bride - the church. He cares for His children; he loves them and guards them. He knows that they need and when. He knows what His bride needs to bring her closer to Him, whether it means bringing a prayer community together or stripping a building away from a congregation. I praise God for His almighty hand and His wonderful work in both Kikube and Buundo villages. 

Please pray with me for Kikube and Buundo. Pray that God's Spirit would continue to move in Kikube in a way that would expand His kingdom. Pray that Light Of The World church would grow from this trial, both in numbers and in faith. Pray that God would provide a location for His body to meet together.

The congregation

The following is a clip from Pastor Sam's sermon on Sunday. I hope it speaks to you and gives you a glimpse of what the preaching is like here. You will notice that as Pastor Sam preaches, two others interpret for him. The man is interpreting the sermon into Luo and the woman is interpreting the sermon into Luganda. I know the quality is not top-notch - I was trying to record discretely with my cell phone!

"Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one." 2 Thess. 3:1-3

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Week In Pictures

Samaritan's Purse came to Good Shepherd's Fold to hand out some Operation Christmas Child boxes! I don't know how many of you have participated in this ministry from stateside, but it sure was neat to be on the "receiving end" and watch the children excitedly open their gifts. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Katie and I took a handful of our boys from GSF to Hope Children's Home, a Ugandan-run neighboring orphanage. The boys served the children of Hope Children's Home by digging in the gardens and playing with the other kids. The GSF boys experienced the joy of serving others! 

Good Shepherd's Fold welcomed two new little children this week - Eseza and Brian. They are so sweet and have transitioned well into the toddler house. Click here to see more pictures of the loving siblings! Please pray for Eseza and Brian as they continue to transition into the toddler house here at GSF.

I got to celebrate my birthday! Daniel took me out for wonderful dinner in Kampala the weekend before my birthday. 

Katie and Dayna continued the celebration of my 23rd year in various ways. They rallied all of the GSF child to "water" me (it is what it sounds like), spoiled me with a day of pampering, and finished the day off with a surprise overnight stay at King Fisher, a local resort! (I use the word "resort" loosely, but it really was so much fun). 

The kids soaking me in water! 

The little rascals 
Dinner in town with Dayna!
A late swim with Katie =)

Of course every week includes church! Here is a picture of the outside of Light of the World church. It's packed out each Sunday; last week was standing room only! It is neat to watch God's hand at work in the body of Christ. Please pray that God's Spirit would continue to transform lives through and in Light of the World church! 

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Saved from the Pit

I wrap my arms around his frail body. He is marked with wounds that testify to the mistreatment that he once faced. His wounds are healing, but they aren't disappearing; they're leaving scars. To me, it reflects the emotional wounds that he has, and I pray that those are also healing.

As I hold this little boy, 4 years old and just 17 pounds, I think of all that he's experienced. Just one week ago he was trapped in a pit. How did he survive? Did he even cry? My heart breaks and cries out to God - how could He allow something like this to happen? Why didn't God bring this little boy to GSF months ago. But He did - why did we ever give him back to the family? This could've been avoided. It was ALMOST avoided.

And yet God didn't work things out that way. In His sovereignty, he allowed this little boy to go through this horrifying experience that nearly led to death. But it didn't lead to death; God rescued this little life. He loves this little boy more than any of us do. God could've brought him to GSF months and even weeks ago, but He had other plans. God protected his life because He wasn't done with it. I believe God sent an angel to sit with this little boy during each hour and day in the pit. The angel kept him from being crushed or drowned in the muck he was sitting in. God brought a villager to the pit to rescue him, and it was God that brought him to safety here at GSF. I praise God who heard this boy's cry and rescued him from the pit.

"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord." Psalm 40:1-3

It doesn't make sense that this little boy is alive, but he is. It's a miracle that testifies to God's redemption, grace, and love. But in reality, each of our lives are a miracle that testifies to God's redemption, grace, and love. Spiritually, we are all in a pit before God's saving hand reaches down and saves us. It is a pit of sin that we could never climb out ourselves. But God knows we are there, and He sent His son to rescue us and make us new again. Maybe we have scars in our life, but let them remind us of God's saving grace.

And I cry out to God, begging Him to heal this little boy. Although he will probably always remain with scars, both physical and emotional, may they be used as a reminder of God's saving grace.

God isn't done with this child's story; let's all pray for this little boy as God continues His story of redemption.

"Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption." Psalm 130:7

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What's In A Day?

Sometimes I'm asked what I do... and it really is a great question. But it's also a really tough question. No, not because I don't do anything, it's because what I do is so sporadic and unpredictable that it's hard to give a real job description of my responsibilities. I'm the sponsorship coordinator by title, but I also have other responsibilities as I live this life of service to God. It is my responsibility to make sure I respond to an email from a child sponsor, but it is also my responsibility to counsel two children who are fighting over a swing. I have plenty of the "job" type of responsibilities, but I also get amazing opportunities to disciple the children here at GSF. But when it comes down to it, why AM I here? Is it to create a seamless sponsorship program, or is it to share the love of Christ and story of the Gospel at every opportunity? I try my best to do both.  
But for your sanity, let me focus on my sponsorship coordinating responsibilities exclusively. One of my favorite parts of being the sponsorship coordinator is writing letters with the children. I love watching as they carefully craft each word (or in some cases, carefully craft each scribble). For the most part, the children have never met their sponsors, and yet they are filled with love for these people that help provide for them. Do they even get what a sponsor really is? I'm not sure, but they definitely understand enough to know that there are people from other parts of the world that are dedicated to them. And that dedication gives them a strong sense of belonging, which turns into a strong dedication returned back to the sponsors. The children here pray for their sponsors, cherish gifts and cards sent from their sponsors, and pour effort into their return letters. It's an amazing relationship; it's a two-way street. Although the children here don't necessarily have anything they can give their sponsors materially (except the other day when I intercepted a boy trying to give his sponsor his baby picture..),  they give everything they can - love and prayer.

Love it.
Hard at work

Besides managing communication between sponsors and the children, I also match sponsors with children, track sponsorship finances, keep a sponsorship blog ( - I know, it's time for an update!), send out a monthly sponsorship e-newsletter, communicate with sponsors, and....send lots of emails. Quite honestly, it's a great deal of computer "desk work." But God gives me amazing opportunities with both the sponsors and the children to watch His name be glorified and love be exemplified.

Truly, I'm so thankful that God brought me to GSF to serve Him through whatever responsibilities He brings me on a given day. Each day looks so different, but that's all part of the adventure of being led by the Holy Spirit =)

Praises/Prayer Requests:
 - Praise God! Daniel and I have set a wedding date. On August 15 we will become Mr. & Mrs. Iya =)
 - Praise that the time with Heather continues to be fruitful and wonderful! Click here to see her latest video:
 - Pray that God would give me grace and wisdom as I continue to work on expanding and improving the sponsorship program.
 - Pray for our children at GSF. The school holiday is soon, which means that many of them will go to their relatives and spend some time in the village. Pray for God's emotional, physical, and spiritual protection over them during the holiday.
 - Pray for the missionaries at GSF. The opportunities that God gives us to reach the poor and needy can be overwhelming. Pray that God would continue to grant strength as we serve Him in this community.

Sisters writing their sponsors letters