Here We Come with Smiles and Shopping Magic...

You won’t believe it…we are leaving to Ghana in 10 days (from today).  I can’t believe it!  We leave August 27th and will return in the states September 9th.  Please pray for our travel, the time we are there and the work the Lord has for us to do, while we are in Ghana.  It is our desire to begin the necessary in establishing our NGO (basically nonprofit status) in Ghana.  It is a huge step in our journey to work with the children and families in Ghana.  We do believe it is only a step in the process, there will be so much more, but we need this to move onto the next level.  Last year we left to Ghana for the first time as One Step In Faith, and returned with our first supported child.  Today we have 6 One Step In Faith children, of all different phases of support and help.  We have been praying - we are ready to continue to push forward -  into the next season God has for us in Ghana.  Please join us in these prayers.  Please cover us as we push forward.  Thank you…

A few more updates...
As you are aware, we are fundraising still to support Eddie our new Executive Director.  We have not received any support funds towards 2015.  If the Lord is calling you to support Eddie and his family, please click one of the below links (One Time or Monthly).  We know and trust God has called us to bring Eddie onto the team as a full-time employee and therefore He will provide.

There are a few ways you can help us support the One Step In Faith children. 
Shop AmazonSmile to raise support for One Step In Faith
AmazonSmile will donate .05% from every eligible purchase. It's easy to sign up and choose One Step In Faith as your charity. Simply click on the "Get started" button below, sign in with your normal Amazon account information, then search "One Step In Faith." When you see One Step In Faith in Acworth, GA, click select and start shopping! Then make sure to bookmark use it each time you shop.
AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service. Not all items are eligible for %-age of discount, however there are tens of thousands of items that are. The item will be marked as "Eligible for AmazonSmile donation". If you shop Amazon, or know others who shop Amazon, please pass along this information. I have added the below banner to website and on navigation on this blog.

Macy's 9th Annual Shop For A Cause is August 23, 2014
On Saturday, August 23, 2014, Macy’s will host its 9th annual Shop For A Cause benefiting charities nationwide. Since 2006, Macy’s Shop For A Cause Event has partnered with non-profit organizations nationwide to raise more than $48 million for their ongoing charitable efforts. This is your chance to be part of this monumental event on Saturday, August 23, 2014. Shop For A Cause gives you the opportunity to give back to your community and to help our organization. Purchase a $5 Shopping Pass* for exclusive savings in every Macy’s store on Saturday, August 23, and we keep 100% of the proceeds. Plus, you can enter to win a $500 Macy’s Gift Card. Find the magic of giving back, as Macy’s celebrates a national day of support for our community.
If you are interested in purchasing a Macy’s Shop For A Cause $5 Shopping Pass*, contact us through   

*SHOP FOR A CAUSE discount applies to sale, clearance and regular prices, with exceptions listed. EXTRA 10% off applies to electrics, electronics, watches, furniture, mattresses and rugs/floor coverings. EXCLUDES: Everyday Values (EDV), Specials, Superbuys, Doorbusters, Deals of the Day, cosmetics/fragrances, athletic shoes for him, her & kids, Dallas Cowboys merchandise, gift cards, jewelry trunk shows, New Era, Nike on Field, previous purchases, special orders, selected licensed depts., special purchases, services. Excludes Cannot be combined with any savings pass/coupon, extra discount or credit offer except opening a new Macy’s account. EXTRA SAVINGS % APPLIED TO REDUCED PRICES. Present this pass at register. Discount valid 8/23/14 only.


Smyrna First United Methodist Church-wide Yard Sale - Saturday, September 6:
The church-wide yard sale sponsored by United Methodist Women's circle will be September 6, 2014 from 9am to 6pm. If you are interested in renting a space to sell you items, the cost for each space is $25. The concession stand will be sponsored by
One Step in Faith! We will have breakfast and BBQ items along with many other snacks. Come shop the vendors, as well as pickup some breakfast or lunch while you are there! Come help us raise funds for our children in Ghana!! While you are there...say hi to our board and let them know you heard about our fundraiser through facebook! Troy, Meme and I will be in Ghana with Ellenand Dave Bartlett.

Big hugs to you all…




Just a quick update, more to come as the days and weeks pass. 

In the days that followed my last blog post, petitioning for help to provide full-time employment to our dear Eddie, we donors come through to cover the total 2014 need.  I want to thank all of those who were led by the Lord to give, and gave.  I realize many of you are already financially involved with God's work in other areas, yet faithfully lifted this need up to Christ in prayer, and we are so thankful to you too.  God showed up and it was GOOD! 

Last night we called Eddie, with our entire board on the phone (no one wanted to miss the opportunity to hear his voice when we were able to offer him a full-time position that provide enough funds for his family to live, children to go to school, and know he can maintain working in the ministry.  He was so overwhelmed.  He sounded tired when we called, was waiting up to talk to us, because Troy told him we would talk to him Saturday or Sunday.  The night was wearing on, and he was tired.  I didn't know he was waiting up, but he sure sounded tired.  But, after the time sunk in, as he was on the call he became giddy, laughing and making jokes.  The burdens of his life were beginning to lift.  After we released the board for the evening, we called Eddie back to ensure he understood some of the details of the job offer, and to answer some questions.  He was a trip; listing all his friends he would call to tell how Jesus answered his prayers.  How he had been praying for SOOOOOOO long, and now he would be living out a miracle of Jesus' work.  I can't tell you how grateful we are to all those who made this happen for Eddie.  He is beyond excited.  I am sure he barely slept last night.

We are still in need of funds to cover next year's support for his family, but I have no doubt the Lord will provide.  (2015 REMAINING NEED:  $8,100)  I am thankful to our board of directors for living in faith, and allowing us to offer Eddie the full-time position after having raised the 2014 funds.  Believing and knowing God will provide 2015 needs.  If you feel called to support Eddie's family, and this opportunity for him to work with One Step In Faith, Inc. - working with at-risk, trafficked, and spirit children (spirit children are children no longer deemed human, but an evil spirit because they are typically mentally/physically disabled.  Once deemed a spirit child, the child is at risk for being murdered.) 

Thank you to you all!
Eddie shared, "please tell everyone who loves Eddie and Eddie's family, thank you sooooo much.  May God richly bless you!"  He said, "I will not ever be able to repay you.  All I can say to you is, MAY GOD RICHLY BLESS YOU!  Thank you for all you have done!  GOD IS GOOD!" 
left to right
Dave/Ellen Bartlett (Missionaries in Bolga), Eddie/Regina Nsafoa,
Ellie Williams (Meme, Troy's mom), Troy, Casie

So, I'll leave you with that!  Much love to you all...I'll keep you updated...


HELP US raise YLOVE funds to hire Eddie full-time!  
Make a difference today!!!
Eddie with Baby GN and caretaker (isn't he getting big!!)
Since our initial trip to Ghana, Troy and I have maintained and cultivated a relationship with Eddie Nsafoa, like so many others. Eddie is truly a man after God's heart. He carries an authority and gentleness very rare or seen in this world. His love for his country and his people make him an amazingly, beautiful soul. In the last decade, Eddie and his family have dedicated their lives to saving souls, planting churches, helping mission teams from the states, and more recently helping YOne Step InFaith with necessary details and care related to supported children. Eddie has become a part of our team, our family.
You may be aware; the Ghana Cedi has been plummeting in value, causing significant inflation issues. Yet, the citizens are not receiving increases in wages. And, local missionaries, like Eddie and his family, who live by faith, are significantly impacted. Eddie has not had any mission teams or sources of income for quite some time. Because of this, he has been faced with the reality of returning to the regular workforce as a driver to try and earn some wages. By doing this, he will no longer be able to help commit to helping YOne Step InFaith, as he had in the past.  He will no longer be able to help other mission teams when they return to Ghana, as he had in the past, and most importantly he will no longer be able to consistently continue God's work of ministry in rural unreached villages. His family is in extreme financial need. Sharing these details is not meant to dishonor Eddie or his family, but to share a real need for someone we love so much and desperately need to continue the work God is doing through YOne Step InFaith.
Coincidentally, YOne Step In Faith is in the process of establishing NGO (nonprofit) status in Ghana. We will be required to employ or appoint an Executive Director, and establishing this position with a National would be very beneficial. Although this is much earlier than YOne Step In Faith had anticipated, we are prepared to offer Eddie a full-time employment opportunity with us, if we are able to raise enough funds to cover his salary...
Click the link below to learn more about how you can help  YOne Step InFaith and make a difference in Eddie & his family's life.





Let me first tell you, thank you so much for your prayers lifting up the mother, the family, the community, and the missionaries – Ben, Rachel, Dave, Ellen, David & Ursula.  Thank you for the comments and emails of encouragement and prayers.  Thank you for standing in the gap with them and us.  Thank you for showing me God is REALLY at work.  Please do not stop praying.  Please do not stop lifting all of those involved up in prayer, covering, guiding, and comforting!

You know, I had been behind on updates, but I have to be honest…I wasn’t really sure much more than handful of people were reading them.  I was thinking, the email I sent to ask you to read these blog updates were “bothering you”.  Shows how much I didn’t trust how God uses even these simple acts.  I was seeing this as if it was about us.  What I mean is I was thinking no one has time to read what I am writing about.   Thank you for reminding me, that is true, no one has time to read about what I am writing about…they have time to read about what God is doing.  And, this is about God after all, not me, not us.  Don’t misunderstand, or misread my tone.  We are excited in this reminder!  This takes the burden and weight off of us to get the work done.  It takes the burden off Ben, Rachel, Dave, Ellen, David & Ursula.  They are the hands and feet, we are the hands and feet, going and doing what God is calling – the way He is calling, and how He is calling.  So, it IS what He is doing.  Thank you for reminding me of that.

I spoke to Ellen and wanted to share a little more information to help with how to pray.  Please, this is not shared in a gossip, “can you believe those people” kind of way.  It is super important to all of us…that you understand.  These people are NOT evil.  I couldn’t have said it any better than Ellen did…”These people, this community have all been deceived.”  Satan is EVIL.  Satan has deceived these people.  The prayer here (among many other obvious prayers here) is “What is God doing here?  How does He want those involved to step next into this journey?”  It is hard because the flesh wants to rage against the EVIL.  To step in and SAVE the world…from the EVIL.  Comic book style…Batman and Robin.  But, God wants us to love, and right now that is going to be a struggle for all involved.  That’s just the facts of how our flesh battles against the wrong doings in this world.

Let me share a little history lesson taught to me by a friend who shares a love for Ghana, who although we see rarely, her and her husband mean the world to us, and we know regardless of time-availability-and even lack of history together…God has placed an awesome love for her and her husband in our hearts.  She saw the work God was doing, using us, and wanted to ensure we understood the historical components and obstacles we would encounter.  Because I desire for you to not hate these people, I’m gonna share a tidbit that will come in handy later in the update.  In Ghana there are two different traditions of authority, for lack of a better way to introduce.  Patrilineal and Matrilineal.  For those history buffs, Google it for more info.  To get to the point…Bolga is Patrilineal.  Inheritance, property, titles, etc all are through the male line.  Children are considered much like property, and are owned and controlled by the father side of the family.  Keep this in mind.

Here is the update:  Felix had been taken to the Soothsayer, for certain reasons we are not sure of, but I’m sure include the physical health reason they were able to “see”.  Something just wasn’t quite physically right with him.  He couldn’t hold his head up correctly, etc.  The Soothsayer calls upon the gods and the gods told him, yes he is spirit child, and yes he is evil.  At some point, Ben and Rachel were engaged and they began to help Felix and Edna (mom).  One of the first things among many we have done with our children, and what they did, was to find out what is medically wrong with him.  He had mild case of Cerebral Palsy.  Since then, not sure of the timing, he had become ill.  He was in the hospital with diarrhea, etc.  He was in the hospital about a week, or so.  When he was well and ready to leave the hospital, his mother returned to the family home, with him.  Now, many people have asked, why would she do this?  I am not sure the temperature of the family and community when she came to Ben and Rachel for help.  So, I can’t answer that part of the equation, the part that says it is assumed the mother knew Felix was in danger.  I don’t know if she did or not.  I will tell you, we have one of our supported spirit children who lives with his mother, ostracized from her husband for the choice of keeping him alive, but still in the family community.  Edna does have another child, a 6-year old daughter.  She returned home, Monday night, because she has another child.  She began cooking dinner, and had to step outside to “relieve” herself.  When finished going to the bathroom, she stepped back into the family home to find a room full of men of community.  They took her, locked her up, took the child and he was gone.  Her sister said they put his body in a termite mound.  Not sure if you are familiar with the size of these in Ghana, but they are pretty large.  Feel free to Google that as well.  She hasn’t seen Felix since, as it is important to them to ensure the “evil spirit” has gone and will not return in a future pregnancy, he was put away. 

Evidently, since Felix’s spirit child diagnosis, two people in the family or community have fallen ill, one to include the husband’s mother.  Being sick, in one of the poorest areas of the world is not like being sick in America – in the Western World.  Being sick has life threatening possibilities.  Being sick affects livelihoods of all those involved – family & community.  Sickness invokes fear.  There are 5 or so adults in their family house.  There are several family houses in their community.  ALL of the family units came together for a meeting, with the elders in whatever fashion and process typical for that community.  They ALL agreed the child was putting them at risk, they all agreed they were afraid of him and what he evil he could bring to their lives.  They all agreed he must die.  Again, it is hard to understand, fathom that people would be capable of believing such things.  Yet, I’ve shared, poverty is real in Africa.  In these communities, all they have is what they farm – in some areas fish, etc.  If someone is unable to work the land, it reduces what they can bring home to support the family in food.  Right now, there already is an issue in Ghana with shortages in these villages, not enough.  To fear sickness coming into the families, as a result of what they are deceived to believe – an evil spirit child, it is REAL to them.  My prayer for our family is to feel LOVE for them, see them the way Jesus sees them, even as they killed this child.  My prayer is for Ben and Rachel who have poured LOVE, SWEAT, TEARS, TIME, FINANCES, and so much of themselves into this mother and child to find comfort and guidance in how God will use this for good.  I am reminded of the story End of the Spear.  Google that too.  The woman who lost her family at the hands of those people, LOVED those people and through that brought them Jesus.  And, that truly has to be the prayer here.  ONLY Jesus is going to be able to make change in these villages where the deception is so strong. 

To answer a lot of questions we have received, here is some information.  If Edna chose to leave – to flee - with Felix, she would have had to LEAVE her daughter behind.  She would have to choose between her children.  Let me ask, how many of you could do that?  It seems a no brainer, return home and live continuing to push forward.  Believing there is hope…the hope Ben and Rachel were hands and feet providing.  If she were to have returned home, snatched her daughter and fled, the husband and his family would have hunted her down until they found her.  The daughter was the father’s property.  Remember, they are patrilineal.  To the mom, the answer was to return home, to live life and push forward…hoping for a solution for her son. 

Some asked was it the involvement of Ben and Rachel that caused this or was their involvement somehow expediting his death.  NO!  It is just cultural - a tradition and believe built on deception led by fear.  Seems heartless said that way.  But, that is the truth.  If anything, their involvement gave the mother more time with Felix.  We pray it is much more than just more time, but at the very least as it relates to his life – Edna had more time with him – hopefully saw him the way Ben and Rachel did…as a child of God.  Not an evil spirit.  And, today, we believe Felix doesn't have Cerebral Palsy or any other problems - he is healed today.  I’m sure Troy and I will learn more on this.  For now, God called us all to do His work and we can’t allow this to harden our hearts.  They can't allow this to harden their hearts.  We can’t allow this to stop what He is doing through us.  We need to live, continue to have hope, and listen for the next steps, pushing forward - doing what He asks, how He asks, when He asks.   

I will share, it is believed, EVEN if Edna had chosen to flee with Felix, leaving her daughter behind…the community/her husband would have likely hunted for them to ensure he was put to death.  Edna is not locked up now, and she is not in harm’s way (from what we understand).  The family and community have all continued to tell her, you will have more children, move on.  There is no mourning a spirit child. 

I think you can see there are a lot of areas of prayer.  I’ve shared some, and I hope God leads your heart on what to pray and how to pray…

Don’t hesitate to respond, comment, email or however you feel led - actually - PLEASE do!  It is encouraging to know we are all covered by your prayers and we are all on this journey together – each doing our part…you praying with us.  I’ll be sending the comments, etc to Dave & Ellen to share with those there as encouragement.  So, please…if you can…send some encouragement & prayers!!!


Emergency Prayer Request...a spirit child has been killed...

I feel pushed by the Lord to send this as a blog update. I come to you heavy-hearted.  Please join all of us in prayer.  Last week, Baby Y was in the hospital with malaria.  His bedmate was a rescued spirit child.  Missionary friends who also live in Bolga, near Dave and Ellen (Ben & Rachel) had been helping this baby.  There is much of the story we here in the states do not know yet, but what we know enough that I feel compelled to share with people who will stop what they are doing right now and pray!

If you have read my other entries, following Baby GN, Baby Y, or read the update on Baby J…you know what it means to be defined as a spirit child.  This baby boy was released from the hospital, and returned home with his mother yesterday.  The community (not sure who exactly involved), locked the mother up while they killed the baby.  She is likely still locked up. 

There is much about this world and area in Africa, regardless of what we have read and have told, we will truly every really understand.  Our hearts and minds still battle with the hurt of how a child could be taken so heartlessly, and how such terror against the mother could be justified.  I know this community and others like it are scared and will do anything to survive, even if it means or they are told to fear a sick child as the cause of their misfortunes.  I know this is because of lack of education, witch doctors preying on the weak, traditions & cultures years and years old, and fear of poverty and so much else.  I know this and much more, but yet still find myself angry for her loss.  But, I know Jesus uses all for good, ALL.  So, Troy and I are praying – our kids are praying – for comfort, for opportunity for those on the ground to bring Jesus to this situation.  We are praying for God’s will to come out of this poor child’s death.  We are praying regardless of how Ben, Rachel, Dave, Ellen, David & Ursula (Ghanaian friends also helping in the work with spirit children) feel in their flesh, the love of Jesus Christ is poured out into this community.  We pray the Lord begins to reveal how to STOP this. 

Typically I change the names or just abbreviate their names to the first initial, to protect the children.  I have received permission to give you the real names…

Will you please join me in praying for the loss of baby Felix, specifically his mother Edna and their community through this tragic event?  I am coming humbling to you…begging you to lift up this tragic event, Edna and those on the ground – hands and feet of Jesus.  Thank you in advance. 

2 Corinthians 1 (The Message):  The Rescue

3-5 All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

6-7 When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you’re just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you’re going to make it, no doubt about it.

Jolia, Baby Y & Brother A Update: Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

Jolia, Baby Y & Brother A:

First and foremost – Jolia and Brother A know Jesus LOVES them!!  If you remember, Jolia was a devout Muslim.  Through just going and doing what God calls us all to do, Jolia felt and experienced the LOVE of Jesus and sought after him.  Today, she is attending an underground church for Muslim converts.  It is difficult, as “coming out” can cause isolation and many other issues.  But, when asked, Jolia – Do you know Jesus loves you?  She answered, “YES!”.  When asked, “Jolia, does Brother A know Jesus loves him?”  She answered, “YES!”.  Can you imagine being Dave & Ellen, sitting with her that day she professed out loud to them…Jesus is her savior!  Praise Jesus!!! More souls! 

Baby Y. Baby Y is another spirit child.  Unfortunately, medically it was discovered he was born without a frontal lobe.  Although there is nothing that can be done for him medically, Jesus says he was given life, so we are to stand in the gap and give him the opportunity for life.  And, as the earlier update on the new baby, Baby J tells you…his story is his purpose!  Right now, he is in the hospital, with malaria.  He started a new medicine today, so hopefully he will be improving soon.

Brother A.  Brother A, has been officially diagnosed with chronic Hepatitis B.  The medicine he requires is very expensive, about $450/month, which he requires for 6 months.  In addition to the medicine need, he needs a doctor willing to administer and monitor his condition.  Strangely enough, that is easier said than found.  Ideally, it would be better for a local doctor, to allow Jolia and Brother A to go to the doctor on their own for periodic appointments.  However, no doctors in reasonable distance have been willing to take on his case.  Much prayer needed here!  In addition to his medicine concerns, his current physical condition is important.  Brother A travels VERY far back/forth by bicycle to school/home each day. The doctor was concerned that although exercise is good, strenuous stress on the liver is NOT good for him. Dave & Ellen have researched alternative transportation and school options.  What appears to be the better option is to allow him to finish school this year at his current school (in his last term of P6), paying for a taxi to transport him to/from school each day (about $40/mo).  Then, next year have him start JSS (Junior High School) at a private school that has a school bus pickup close by his home (about $250/year).  We are praying for God’s direction & guidance, provision.  Jolia has her hands full with two sick children right now.  The burden of a single mom, converted Muslim, in Northern Ghana with a spirit child without a frontal lobe with malaria and an almost 12 year old with chronic Hep B.  But, it’s the times of Acts – everything is possible through Jesus Christ and we are all in this together!  We are all praying and we are all standing in the gap for them. 

Thank you Dave & Ellen for being there, sharing your life and hearts!

Thank you for keeping us updated when we can’t be there!

Thank you…for saying YES and going!  Thank you to your families who miss you while you are gone!  I know it is a sacrifice, but they should know how thankful we are for it is because you are there – because you said YES – these children are a part of OSIF.

Thank you to all the supporters and sponsors of the children and families.  You have no idea what a difference you are making the lives of these children. 

And, if you made it through all the updates…you deserve a medal!  Let me know and I’ll see what I can do to get you one!!  LOL!  I know, little Miss Wordy here!  But, hey…it’s been awhile and there is a lot to share.  Our kids have a lot to share about their lives!  Hugs and thank you!!!


Baby J Update: People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. “Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”Luke 18:16

Baby J: 

Gloria & Cletus (pronounced Clay-toos) arrived with their son to the doorsteps of our missionaries, Dave & Ellen Bartlett, this past December.  The head of their community had gone to the Soothsayer about their son, who deemed him a “spirit” child.  The head of the community asked them to leave the child, go away for a few days, and when they return they will have done away with him.  Christians, who love their son and knew this was wrong, went seeking help and advice.  Someone in their town had heard about the two rescued children – Baby GN and Baby Y.  They heard about the older white couple in Bolgatanga helping these children.  They traveled quite a distance, until they arrived at their doorstep.  The smile here is (besides the fact that – THESE TWO Baby GN and Baby Y already showed purpose by having their story save Baby J’s life) but OSIF had said we are not actively seeking more children to help, we need more sponsors.  But, if a child comes knocking at the door, of course we won’t turn them away – God has a plan!  Well, the smile…they were literally KNOCKING at their door!  J  God is AWESOME!  I love it! 
Baby J is almost 2 years old, has two clubbed feet, and an associated disorder of his thumbs folded in.  I’ll tell you, Eric started calling him a little bird and it has stuck with all of us here.  He is ABSOLUTELY precious!!!  His deformity does not allow for him to walk.  Although he is cognitively not like the other two babies, he still needs to be assessed to know what other issues he may have with learning.  But, walking, that is the priority.  Dave & Ellen helped to setup an official OSIF safe house, where the family is now living (although the idea is for them to have a safe place temporarily, while looking for work or means themselves). 
Baby J has met with a surgeon in a town almost 2 hours away, and was scheduled for surgery last week, unfortunately no surgery. The doctor was scheduled to travel and be out of town as of Sunday. There were many emergencies prioritized before the non-emergency case, like Jordan's. The doctor was even performing emergency surgeries on Saturday, which is not common. Also, Dave/Ellen had learned, Gloria’s father had passed away a little while ago, and the family postponed the funeral until enough money was raised to have one, which is common in Ghana. The funeral was while they were at the hospital. So, after discussion with charge nurse, it was decided to leave the hospital and go to the funeral.  Dave & Ellen traveled the couple hours to Bawku (hospital) to pick them up from the hospital and then traveled from there to their village for the funeral.  The surgeon won't return until 24th, so the charge nurse at requested Baby J return the week prior to ensure he is in queue and prioritized for when the surgeon returns and begins non-emergency cases (after the emergency cases). Pray for speedy prioritization!! Pray for his surgery, his healing, and all that is to come.  
There is a lot also going on with the family, and the isolation they feel being away from their home.  Ghanaians are all about community.  In America, it is normal to hold up in your home alone for several days and not communicate with family, neighbors, friends for days.  But, in Ghana, they do everything together.  They communicate, follow-up, fellowship, etc etc etc – together.  Right now, they are living in a community with others, but they are not family.  It is very lonely, and while Gloria and Baby J were at the hospital, Cletus was really missing his community!  More info to come!

Isaac & Ama Update: “They’re mine, all mine. They’ll get special treatment when I go into action. I treat them with the same consideration and kindness that parents give the child who honors them. Once more you’ll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn’t, between serving God and not serving him.”Malachi 3:17

Isaac & Ama:

We’ve learned the level of education in their village is MUCH lower than we originally understood.  Although they have all As & Bs and they are currently ranked #1 & #3 in their JSS1 class (would be like 7th grade in USA), their academic level is more like slightly below P6 (6th grade).  In Ghana, unlike the USA, students finishing up JSS (we refer to as Junior High School) take an entrance exam to enter into Senior High School.  Not all students pass, not all are accepted into Senior High School, and those who are accepted are not all necessarily are able to go.  Those who pass are sent to the public school they are assigned, and this school may be in a totally different city in their country.  Basically, Senior High Schools are mostly boarding schools.  Through prayer and discernment, we have all agreed, these two children need to be in a private boarding school NOW, to ensure they are receiving a better education to ensure their performance is more in line with their actual grade level.  By doing this NOW, it will ensure they pass the Senior High exam. 


Isaac dreams of being a doctor and Ama a nurse or teacher.  We know God plants seeds and dreams and we want to follow His lead.  Just as he brought these new details to light on their education, He provided through sponsors and donations the necessary funding to transfer them to a Christian boarding school.  This week was their first week in the new school.  We will get an official update later tonight, but we were able to hear they were SOOOOO HAPPY!!  They love their new school and the excitement of their new life.  Troy and I were sharing with our children at dinner the update on all the kids, and as we talked about Isaac and Ama, we talked about how they must feel and how their families must feel.  By doing this, it helps to know what to pray for.  The kids were comparing their village life to the new life at a boarding school.  Toilets.  They shared now they have toilets.  A bed.  They now have a bed, not a mat on the hard, dirt ground.  Time to learn.  They now have time to do their homework, with teachers pushing them to study, study, study.  Peace.  Our little Isabella shared, now Ama has peace to know she can learn more and not always taking care of everyone else first.  How about that!  Our oldest Taylor said they are probably happy and sad.  Their families are probably happy and sad.  They are happy and excited for the opportunity, but sad to leave be away from family, home, and the life they know.  He said it is probably hard at night.  So, he and our middle child prayed for sleep and rest even though they were away from home.  I am sure they are all right.  I know a different culture makes a big difference.  In a country where boarding school and/or being raised by people besides your parents, for a better opportunity - is common.  Yet, children are children…so I will join my children in praying for them and their families. 

The school is 10 minutes from Eddie & Regina’s home.  Right now, the school is in 3rd term of the school year.  They will enter in P6 (6th grade) and they will be required to repeat 7th grade, yet they understand it is better to start fresh, than to struggle later.  The children, their village, parents, headmaster of current school…are all SOOOOO excited for this opportunity!  They told us, their dreams have come true, for Isaac and Ama to get a BETTER education.  Let me share, it takes a lot of supplies (clothing, personal items, etc) for the children to attend the boarding school.  As Eddie and his wife Regina took the children from vendor to vendor to obtain the necessary supplies, they had shared their story and how they came to have this opportunity.  So many of the vendors stopped the children in their tracks and told them - DON'T WASTE THIS - STUDY HARD! This is gift that is rare and they should take it very serious. Eddie kept saying they were told - it is VERY SERIOUS. Eddie shared, these vendors don't even know me, but even they know this is a huge miracle and opportunity. I am sharing with you, so you can see the culture and how much this touches even those who are selling their supply needs.  Please be in prayer for the children as they enter into this new journey.  Snip-it of day-in-the-life of boarding school:  Children get up, do their chores (cook/clean, etc), school work, then go to school...return home and repeat chores/school work, then bed. Now, of course they are getting baths and eating in there as well. I'm just sharing they are kept pretty busy, not much idle time and very structured. They learn to work together, and everyone is working - not just girls! They love the opportunity to have a GREAT education!! Praise God for all He is doing!!

Baby GN Update: ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:40

Baby GN:

As you might remember, Baby GN was our first introduction into the world of “spirit child”.  What is a spirit child?  Areas throughout Ghana, especially Northern Ghana, still practice some of the more traditional beliefs.  This part of the world, poverty is VERY real, and life is VERY hard.  Most farm land and so children can be a blessing and a curse.  As they grow older and stronger, they are able to help farm the land, however while they are small OR if they are ill and/or disabled, it takes a family member away from the work needed to be done to care for them.  In a part of the world where there is NEVER enough food, where there can be days without food, this is a hardship difficult to sustain.  Shaped through the poverty and ignorance in some of the more rural areas, the practice of ancient traditions and customs still occurs.  When there is a child with a deformity or disability, or if a new child is born in the community during a time of great hardship in the family or farm, the community will seek a local witch doctor (Soothsayer) for guidance.  The Soothsayer will communicate with the “gods” to see if the child in question is an “evil spirit”.  And, the child almost always is.  Once the child is deemed an “evil spirit” or “spirit child”, they are no longer considered human.  The community, family, and others around are able to separate themselves and feel justified in murdering this child.  It is at this time, the custom is to seek another witch doctor (Concoction Man) for a concoction to take care of the “evil spirit”.  The child drinks the concoction and if they die, then the child was evil.  (The concoction is made from known poisonous root.) 
Baby GN is a child that was deemed an “evil spirit”.  His parents abandoned him, and left him with his mother’s parents.  His community did not want him there and although they had attempted to starve him, he sustained – he survived.  In February 2013, God brought us and the Riverstone Mission team to meet God where He was already at work. 

Since his rescue, GN was diagnosed with Hydrocephaly (water on the brain).  He had surgery in June.  After his recovery from surgery, the missionaries began to see a love flourish in the grandmother.  So, through their guidance and ongoing supervision Baby GN was reintegrated back with the family (grandparents).  It was a scary time, as days prior to Baby GN’s surgery the grandfather had come to kill him.  You see, they (Grandmother & Grandfather) had minor children still at home as well to care for, which he had been left to care for himself while she was away to take care of Baby GN (a spirit child).  But, God began to work in the family and they were able to see him differently.  Our missionaries, Dave & Ellen Bartlett were able to meet with the head of the family/community to share HE IS NOT A SPIRIT child.  Baby GN stayed in the family home for a couple months, but soon we learned, unfortunately…once a child is classified as a “spirit child”, they really remain a “spirit child”.  It wasn’t that they tried to kill him again, however in a pseudo caste-like system Baby GN was not a priority compared to the other children or people in the family.  He had started to decline in some of the positive milestones he had accomplished since surgery.  He was battling malaria, where the other children’s malaria treatment was a priority to his.  There were many other concerns.  It is important to understand, it is important for me to explain – they are NOT BAD PEOPLE – but to them – in their culture – it was reasonable, but to us and as advocates for Baby GN’s life, we couldn’t just sit and watch.  So, in September it was decided to request custody of Baby GN be transferred from family, and allow us to take him closer to Kumasi where he could be closely monitored and he could begin receiving additional medical care.  The family & community were very supportive, and relieved, as the burden was great to care for him.  I have no doubt it was hard, regardless of his status in the family…Grandmother LOVED this small boy.  But, giving him a better opportunity and allowing their family the opportunity to get their family back to normal, was best.  I know it was VERY, VERY difficult for our missionaries to go through the whole process!  They saw and knew the love in the heart and soul of the grandmother for Baby GN, yet they also know she was NOT caring for him the way he needed.  When you begin to love the people, it is hard.  But, the important thing to remember…even a reminder for them…God is in everything, even in the hard times – and He has a plan for this little boy’s life.  We are just praying the steps we take are His not our own. 

It has been a long wait of getting medical records transferred, caretaker setup, and so it is ONLY now…Baby GN will begin his medical appointments to assess where he is.  We all feel, he is now very “healthy”…he eats PLENTY since his transfer to Kumasi!!  But, he still is struggling to hold up his head, to move and communicate like a typical 2 year old.  He is cognitively not a typical 2 year old child.  He has bouts of thrashing around and screaming (not even just crying, but really screaming/crying).  He requires 24/7 care, and truth is it is difficult for the caretakers.  Today, we are still awaiting next steps medically.  We are hoping to have an update in coming weeks of what options are available, if future surgeries are necessary (if so what), and how the shunt inserted into his brain is doing (is the fluid draining like it should).  There are still many unanswered questions; he and his caretakers could really use a lot of prayers!!!  We are also seeking God’s direction, the caretakers need a break every week.  They need at least one day to themselves – without the 24/7 care of Baby GN.  Please pray a caretaker option will be revealed.  (Current full-time caretakers:  Charles & Julianna)