Thursday, March 27, 2008


As many of you know, Russ and I are getting to meet Frank, our child that we sponsor through Compassion International. We have had Frank a little over a year and are so excited to get to meet him in person. I am a little nervous though. I have thoughts of "what if he doesn't care to meet us, or "what if he doesn't even realize who we are." But, I know that it will be such a blessing to put a face with all of the emails we send, birthday and Christmas presents, and the letters that he sends to us. He sends the most beautiful drawings for a 6 year old. (or maybe I am just a little biased!!) Overall, its about sharing Christ's love in an area that we normally wouldn't be able to go to. The ironic thing is that for some reason, God has worked out the opportunity for us to go see him and visit the region where he lives. I am sure that I will have more to say about this when I come back from visiting him, but if any of you are interested in learning about Compassion--please check out their website. If you are interested in sponsoring a child specifically from Ghana--just type Ghana in the country search. So far, it has been a wonderful experience and I know it will be so much sweeter after we get to meet him and his sweet family.

Ways to help the Ghana mission

I just want to say thank you for everything that you have done for this mission!! BUT, here is another way some of you might could help. We love you!!!

Computers for Ghana

The Ghana Team is preparing for their next trip, April 7-April 18! Part of the mission this trip will be a Bible Club/Literacy Project. Computers will be used for a simple typing program and teaching aspects of Microsoft Office to the children in Bole, Ghana, West Africa.

We need laptop computers with Microsoft Office installed, in working condition with a chargeable battery. We need the laptops as soon as possible to load the "typing" program on each and set them up for the trip. You may bring your laptop to the church office before April 1 or contact Joel @ 401-9480 for pick-up!

The value of the laptop is a tax-deductible contribution to the Orchard. Let us know the value of your laptop and we will give you a receipt letter.

Teachers for Ghana
The Ghana Team is preparing for their next trip, April 7-April 18! Part of the mission this trip will be to develop peer relationships with teachers in elementary, middle and high school. Jackie Hawkins is coordinating this effort and has already met with some of the teachers in Bole, Ghana, West Africa.

This project will be a "correspondence" effort to begin. In the future teachers will have the opportunity to travel on teams to meet and work with the teachers in the Bole region. To be a part of Teachers for Ghana, you simply need to purchase a book for the grade level you teach, write a note to the Ghanaian teacher who will receive your book along with your mailing and email addresses and a picture of your self. Bring these by the church office before April 1 so we can pack them for the trip. When you receive correspondence from a teacher in Ghana, simply write back.

By purchasing a book and becoming part of this project, you will be added to the Teachers for Ghana team list and we will be contacting you for orientation during April and May! For more information contact Jackie @ 871-5340!

If any of you have books or computers, you can email me at and I can help you!

Again, we love you very much and are so thankful.

anna p


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

12 days

12 days until we leave!!! Please continue to pray for us as we try to get everything together. Russ and I were just talking tonight about how this doesn't seem real...that we will be on a 20 hour plane ride in just 12 days. That we will be seeing first-hand what God has been doing in Ghana. Pray for what He is going to show us while we are there!!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Good Friday usually passes without me ever thinking about the significance. It was just another day that we got out of school. Two years ago some friends and I climbed a hill that overlooked Tupelo. We sat and prayed and thought of what Jesus must have felt as He was preparing to face His death. As He went to The Mount of Olives, He prayed and was so filled with agony that His "sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood." He went on to say, "Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine."

But it was God's glorious plan to send Jesus to live on Earth as a man, but then to have Him die for us. Jesus endured all of the pain and agony to set us free. Free from sin and death's grip. Today, I am in mourning but on Sunday, I will rejoice and thank God for His precious gift to us. If you get a chance, read Luke 22-24.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Yellow Fever! Catch It!

Or maybe not. Anna and I got our vaccination for yellow fever today. The experience was much more expedient than our earlier round of shots. The lady seemed to be genuinely interested in our trip, and she was actually helpful. We can safely say that if you put some malaria medicine in our mouths, we should be as prepared health wise as you can get.

Not a single day goes by that we don't think about the incredible opportunity that we are about to take. Not only is it an opportunity, but a responsibility. It's important for us to continue a partnership that hopefully will last for years to come. Knowing that carries a huge weight, but one that we feel God has equipped us for. The temptation will be for us to go and act like we have it all together, but honestly, we feel like the biggest thing we can do is become learners, listeners. It's hard for me to do that.

On a purely recreational note, we have quite the long layover in Amsterdam on the way back. I've never wanted to go to Europe. At all. It'll be nice to see what it's like, though.

Thanks for the prayers. Thanks for the support. Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Frank Donkor

There are many words and phrases that come to mind when I think of my husband Russ. Caring, thoughtful, inability to sit still, Star Wars, child-like, provider, good relationally, guitar player, sweet-natured, LOST, camping, Camp Lake Stephens, Camp Ozark, Tennessee Vols, good music, heart for adoption. I never thought that I would have a mate that exhibited all of these qualities yet loved me with a big and mighty love. He just knows me so well. You see, I have prayed since we met that as we grew to know more about our wonderful Savior, we would also grow in our knowledge and love for each other. On February 14, 2007, I thanked God for Russ and his ability to truly know me.

It was Valentine's Day and so I expected flowers, a book, or a nice meal. But Russ' gift truly reflected his heart for me. He gave us Frank. Frank is a child living in Ghana. He has a mom and a dad that love him very much. He is in kindergarten and loves soccer. But, God has called us to show him HIS love through monthly contributions, letters, and most of all prayers. We do all of this through Compassion International. "Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults."

It has been a dream to visit Africa and Frank but now that dream is becoming a reality. We have submitted the papers to be able to visit with Frank and his family towards the end of our trip. Pray that all of the necessary paperwork goes through so that we can love on Frank in person. I try to create this day in my head, the day that we meet him. I try to think of the way that we will feel and what will be going through our heads, what we will say...but, I come up empty because I have no idea what this experience will entail. All of this is so new, exciting, and a bit scary. But this time, unlike the nurse that gave us our shots, scary is good. It is good to be opened up, examined by our Father, and changed forever.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

We are Leaving!

Hey Everyone!

It's Russ, and normally I don't get to post very much on here, but I am honored to tell everyone that we have set the dates for Ghana, and we will be leaving April 7th, and returning on the 19th. Although that makes us a little nervous, we are more than excited. Now we are officially on our way.

It seemed much easier when we were just telling people "we're going to Ghana", but now that tickets are being bought it's a little more concrete, a little scarier.

All the talk has been centered around strengthening our partnership with the communities in Northern Ghana, and that has been so exciting. The only thing that kinda bums me out is that it's going to be sweltering hot and I have to wear pants every day because of "cultural courtesy". No shorts for Russ, but alas, I will make due.

Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A Faithful God

Wow--Russ and I have had an excited weekend. We had a Ghana meeting on Saturday night to discuss the trip, learn some language and hang out with our team. We debated when we should buy our plane tickets and when the trip should take place. Basically, we had enough money to buy the tickets but then each person would be responsible for their own money once we got in country. We had $6,000 left to raise for the entire team. Now, I know that I lack in the faith area, as many of us feel that we do, but our team decided that we really needed to travel in April. SO, we decided to wait one week to buy the tickets and hopefully God would provide the remaining money. As we held hands in our circle, we told God that we believe He is faithful and good but we needed some direction on this trip.

Here is the exciting part!!! Russ went into his office on Sunday (one day after we prayed) and there was a check that had come in the mail on Friday for half the amount we needed!!! The money was there the entire time...God just wanted us to trust in Him.

We are so excited to see how God provides the rest of the money. We praise Him for his faithfulness.