oh happy day, part ten

Dear friends, load number ten is safely in Juarez.
After an entire year of seeing diapers and formula suddenly appear on our front porch, one would think we’d be used to it. This is SO not the case. As Dusty walked by the front door this morning and let out a huge whoop we all knew what had happened. The kids went running to the door to confirm their suspicions only to find a VERY generous drop-off of diapers and formula. Quite frankly, some days I wonder if my heart can handle any more joy.
I may have completely run out of creative ways to say thank you, but thank you I will. In just a few short weeks, this shipment was assembled.

Little by little (and occasionally a lot by a lot) your contributions became an incredible gift to the babies of Juarez. Keeping starving babies fed and clear of infected diaper rash is no small matter. Thank you so much for your part in this project.
This shipment was meaningful to our family in a different way. With this load we got to contribute our own gift! Our extended family does a big stocking gift exchange each year. Since we won’t all be together at Christmas we decided to forego the tradition this December. So our family of five got to spend those stocking funds on diapers and formula! I include a picture of that because I love it so much.

A few short hours after Chris came by to load his truck with shipment number ten, a very lovely person named Jenny (from an area group of moms) dropped off the perfect beginning of shipment eleven. Well I totally lost it emotionally – that was just too much. Only two hours later and the collection was beginning. But oh boy – at the exact same time I was melting over the timing of this beginning, mentally my resolve grew ten-fold. You people inspire me! I cannot wait to see what God has planned to keep these babies alive this winter. What a privilege to be part of this effort.
Life is precious. As a very appropriate reminder, one of the Juarez missionaries sent these pictures on Tuesday.

Meet un-named baby boy who was born on Thanksgiving Day. He is un-named because of the severely high infant mortality rate where he lives. Parents find it even more difficult to bury a child with a name, so most wait until they know the baby will survive past the critical first six months. In the second picture of him he’s surrounded by supplies from load nine and blankets our October team had collected. It just doesn’t get more real than this. These supplies are saving the lives of babies who have no other options and simply wouldn’t live without them.
Stay tuned, folks. I’m already excited to show you pictures of load number eleven…
With great appreciation and anticipation,

oh happy day, part nine

Load Nine in our basement

Load Nine in the bus

Load Nine at the team center


Load number nine. I honestly don’t even know where to begin.
Last Saturday night our family returned from spending three days in Juarez with an incredible group of people. Our team built two homes, staffed the medical clinic, and held a big food outreach in those few short days. My head is still spinning with everything we were privileged to do and see – and words alone will never adequately tell the story.
The attached pictures show the stack of diapers and formula we took with us. The first two with everything stacked in our basement, the second two with just a portion of the supplies stacked on the bus and then at the team center in Juarez. Thank you so much for what you’ve done to bless these people. The pictures don’t do this load justice – it was absolutely overwhelming to see the huge amount of diapers and formula we collected this last go-round. The support you’ve given this project has been incredible.
The missionaries were so dear to me and invited me to be part of handing out the diapers and formula from load number nine to the pastors in the area. They were in such need that three of the five pastors drove to the team center late the night we arrived with the supplies, hoping for something to distribute to the hungry babies in their neighborhoods. For those new to this project, we send the supplies to the Missions Ministries staff and they get the diapers and formula into the hands of the pastors who then distribute everything to the needy families in their communities. The missionaries also distribute them to the local women’s shelter. In the last year we have sent a huge amount of diapers and formula, and it’s making a real difference to the people in Juarez. I met a woman who told me the supplies we sent literally saved her grandbaby’s life. I got to meet a baby who was the recipient of one of the very first cans of formula we sent. He was sick and in terrible shape, but the formula helped sustain him. Now he’s a healthy one-year-old. (And a happy one at that! What a gift to be able to love on baby Saul last week while he just grinned at me.)
We learned from the missionaries that supplies were so desperately needed (they go through the supplies as quickly as we can send them!) that one pastor’s wife took the only can of formula available and divided it up into packets of 2 tablespoons each and distributed them to the families, hoping to keep the babies alive. I will not forget that story as long as I live. Families unbelievably grateful for two tablespoons of formula! If you think I was passionate about this cause before, gracious, you should see me now! I’ll go door-to-door if that’s what it takes to get supplies to these families.
It’s just so hard to explain their situation. These are very hard-working people, but on average they make less than $1.50 a day and live in terrible poverty. You can imagine how difficult it is to buy diapers and formula making that type of money. Many are single moms who must find work and take care of the kids at the same time with no support to be found. And they are grateful people. You wouldn’t believe the outpouring of emotion when the families for whom we built homes received beds. Many don’t have beds at all, and to receive a new mattress was an incredible gift. Food is so scarce that many live day to day not knowing how they’ll feed their families. The government isn’t designed to help them and they desperately need help. The missionaries reminded us we can’t possibly solve every problem or help every person, but we can do what God puts right in front of us. And I promise you what I’m staring at day after day are the babies of Juarez.
In four weeks we’ll be sending load number ten down to Juarez. Will you consider contributing to this collection or spreading the word to make this the largest shipment yet? I just laid eyes on these babies and the mothers who so dearly love them. My heart breaks when I witness the horrible situation they’re in and feel so desperate to help them.
My head is still spinning, but my heart is filled with gratitude.
Until the next one,

oh happy day, parts seven and eight

shipment #7 and …

shipment #8!

Wonderful partners…
The most prevalent theme that comes to mind when I think of you all these days is partnership. Together we’ve sent two shipments to Juarez this summer, the second of which headed south just two weeks ago and made it safely across the border. (The first one went at the beginning of July, thanks to my willing and helpful husband.) Without any organized school programs or church reminders or any requests from me at all, you have fed and clothed the babies of Juarez. I am astonished to see how you have served these people and this cause in such grand display. From Voila Tans in Highlands Ranch holding a diapers and formula drive to our family friend using his lemonade/pizza stand proceeds to buy supplies. I could go on and on with stories like these. My dear friend held a garage sale and gave me ALL the money to buy formula. A Kindergarten class at Cherry Hills auctioned off a quilt and gave me the proceeds to buy supplies. A faithful friend continues to buy formula every time she goes to WalMart and drops it on my porch. My cousin in Ohio just sent a check and coupons. Precious friends continue to buy supplies monthly in honor and memory of a beloved son they lost many years ago now. We get so many anonymous drop-offs that I don’t get to place a face with the gift, but how deep is my gratitude. People, I have tears in my eyes and a major lump in my throat when I recall this partnership and your sweet faithfulness. Thank you for jumping on board and feeding these babies. My heart literally wants to burst with the very best kind of pride when I think of you and what you’re joining together to accomplish.
I’ll take a deep breath and get back to some updates. Whew. Things are going well in Juarez. The missionaries continue to distribute supplies just as quickly as we get them down there. We just heard from two of the missionaries who are in Juarez full-time that these supplies are continuing to make a major impact. They constantly have their eyes open for babies having nothing but water in their bottles for the opportunity to give them nourishment and a chance to live. Without it, many of these babies would simply fade away. The government isn’t set up to help them and many have absolutely no means to buy formula, so the help they’re receiving from our shipments is crucial.
On a very positive note, we have dear friends that run a non-profit organization established to support an orphanage in Brazil. They have graciously offered to take the babies of Juarez project under its wing. I’ve received several quotes for setting up 501(c)(3) status of my own, but the costs were too extraordinary. And to hold up our commitment that every dollar given goes to buy diapers and formula, this just wasn’t feasible for us personally. This doesn’t change the way we do things much and our primary focus is still very much collecting the actual supplies. However, for those who occasionally (or regularly – thank you, mom and Mauri) send money for me to buy diapers and formula on your behalf, you’ll now receive the tax benefit. Simply make your check out to “The Shepherd’s Way” and every nickel will be spent at whatever store has the best deal on diapers and formula at the moment.
Okay, enough with the business side of things. Our family is currently making plans to head down with a team at the end of October and I’ve envisioned an enormous load of diapers and formula going down with us. I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on those babies and return home with wonderful stories for you and an even greater heart for this project. Stay tuned to see what God’s going to do with this next shipment. I am almost breathless with anticipation.
With tremendous gratitude,

oh happy day, parts five and six

shipment #5 and…

shipment #6!

See how good you are?! The fifth load was our largest yet and the sixth was quickly piggy-backed on the fifth with supplies going over the border to Juarez in many different intervals. I continue to be in awe of how God moves in people’s hearts to prompt them to give to these babies. Just when I think we have another lull and maybe people are becoming disinterested with the project, we are flooded with supplies. Cherry Hills Pre-School has gotten involved in a big way. Red Robin and Coca Cola marketing departments contributed heavily this go-round. And my dear friends and family continue to collect and/or buy supplies regularly. I am so humbled by your willingness to partner with me and help these precious babies. We’ve heard incredible things from Juarez about how God is using the supplies. In the mission clinic they have literally witnessed a complete shift in the patients seen. They’ve gone from almost all babies and a few adults, to primarily adults. The missionaries believe this is due to the nutrition provided by the formula and the overall hygiene provided from clean diapers. Honestly, how awe-inspiring is this?

It motivates me mightily to press on. The goal this summer is to reach out to local hospitals and pediatricians to request their expired formula. If you’re the praying kind, I would appreciate you asking God to open the doors wide. Getting their involvement is key to continuing this project for years to come, literally turning what’s headed for the trash into life for the babies in need. If that isn’t a picture of what God does in our own lives, I don’t know what is!

We also plan to have a Web site up and running in the next few months, so people will be able to view my past shipment notes and pictures of each load of supplies. This is also a monumental thing in terms of widening the area we can reach to find people who may be inclined to participate.

The other picture attached is of Pastor Jesus receiving supplies for the needs of the people in his community. After the fourth load went across the border, we received these words from missionary Jeff along with the picture:
“Chris drove down the shipment of diapers and formula yesterday to bring over on the bus last night with the new team. When we arrived at the team center, Pastor Jesus had been waiting for us, praying we would have more diapers and formula. We loaded his truck with his portion of the supplies within minutes, and they were in the field. We thought you would enjoy this photo. Thank you for your continuing work and love for the babies of Juarez.”

a portion of Matthew 25 from “The Message”
“When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

May God bless you for taking care of his babies in Juarez.

oh happy day, part four…

Life is good when God is in it…

Yesterday, the fourth load made its way to the babies of Juarez. When Chris called to let us know he was going down, Dusty and I both kind of thought to ourselves, “Well, we just don’t have a whole lot for him this time.” It was just so recently the third round left our home. And then the flood gates opened. I literally left the house one more morning with an entirely empty car and by 9:00 p.m. that night it was filled to the top. Small loads on our front porch started arriving, adding up to a whole lot of help for the Juarez people. And then Amy, you capped off the abundance with your drop-off a few hours prior to the supplies being handed over to Chris. Our mouths were hanging open in joy and wonder at what had accumulated in such a short amount of time.

To give you some insight into the receiving end…here’s a portion of a note from Jeff, one of the missionaries stationed in Juarez. (He’s our contact for physically getting the supplies to the churches.)
“We have never had such a good supply of diapers and formula here in Juarez. I have turned away many hopeful mothers and babies for formula over the years. It’s some of the very sad times here. I believe that when Jesus speaks in Matthew 25:40 “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” Jesus takes every deed very personal, every soul, every baby, every time. This is not the stuff written in books, it’s in His heart. I live here and I will have to wait to see every baby of Juarez in heaven with you. Infant mortality has been reduced due to your efforts here, don’t wonder.”

I don’t know how many more ways I can say thank you, but I promise I’ll find some! This project has been a gift – to my family and most certainly to the babies of Juarez. Thank you for your above-and-beyond efforts on behalf of these children. It is making a difference. And with the full amount of cheerleader I have in me, which to be honest isn’t much, I say, “Keep it coming!” Chris tells me they’re giving out the supplies as quickly as we can get them down. He and his coworker were laughing the other day thinking they certainly never thought part of their ministry would entail hauling diapers and formula over the border. Kind of makes you wonder what else God has in store for us. More than we can possibly imagine, I’m thinking.

Thank you for your partnership. I am forever grateful…


Just a quick side note — for those of you who started this journey with me may be growing weary of my shipment notes. Hopefully I never lose my enthusiasm for what God is doing in this project, so I can’t promise I’ll stop sending them when supplies are headed south. If you would like to be removed from this list, please just let me know. It’s not my goal to inundate anyone and I promise it won’t hurt my feelings if you’d rather not receive these updates. And for those of you just joining, I’d be happy to send you the past notes if you’re interested in getting an idea of what has been sent to Juarez since January and pictures of the babies being helped. It’s really the most amazing thing!

We collect diapers and formula