Any life-changing journey begins with a single step of courage and faith. This morning Bob and I, and our daughter Stacey and son-in-law Vinnie, and Lexi's boyfriend, Diego, watched as Alexia, took that step.
It seemed surreal to watch as my granddaughter juggled her luggage and handed over her passport and ticket to be checked as I have done countless times over the past 19 years. I have always assumed that I would take my children on their first trips to Africa. But she was all by herself as she stepped through the security machine, quickly disappearing in the flow of passengers heading for their departure gates. For Lexi the first stop would be Chicago. As I write this I know she got there safely. She was already in line to board her 8-hour flight to Germany when we had a quick phone conversation. When I asked her if she had any trouble finding her connecting flight she said, "No. It was easy. I just followed the signs." She's a natural!
Once she arrives in Frankfurt, Lexi will have a few hours to wait before she boards her final flight to Nairobi, Kenya. When she steps off the plane, she will be like Alice stepping through the looking glass into another world. It is a world of great beauty and wonderful people who will sweep her up in arms of love and who will patiently begin to water all the potential that God has planted in her heart to make a difference. I am so excited to see what she will learn... not only about this fascinating world... but also about herself, as she is faced with the kind of poverty and suffering few westerners see firsthand. Many of the people Lexi will meet in our World Vision projects depend on the land to grow the food they eat and feed the animals who provide so many of their needs. It is a fragile world, dependent on so many variables. And their courage, faith and resiliency is inspiring and humbling when we compare their world with all the blessings we have.
Kenya is a place that not only delights the senses, but also feeds the soul. At least it feeds mine. And if Alexia is anything like her grandmother, she will fall in love with it...the land, the animals, the purity of God's creation, and the children who will shyly smile up at her, taking her hand to show her their world.
But the best past of this trip will be seeing how God will use her in ways she never imagined. Lexi is one of those extraordinary young people who has honestly raised her hand and said, 'Here I am, Lord. Send me." And there is a reason for that. I couldn't held but weep a bit as I watched her mama and daddy holding her and speaking blessings over her with such love. Lexi knows how to love others because she has been well loved by her family and her God. Now she is going to share some of that love with others.
So her story begins. If you would like to follow her as she shares her story firsthand look on Instagram for "alexiabruzzi". ... See MoreSee Less
Lexi and the Travel Clinic! I have been so blessed by the wonderful financial support our friends and family have provided to help our granddaughter, Alexia, go to Kenya as an intern with World Vision. Thanks to you she will be leaving on August 19 and coming home on October 21. May God bless you for your love and generosity!
In preparation for her trip Lexi needed to visit a local travel clinic to get the necessary shots and medications, but she didn't seem to mind at all. She even made a new friend in the waiting room! Thought these were too cute not to share. ... See MoreSee Less
One of my prayers over my family has always been that my children and grandchildren would have a desire to serve God and bless others. And I am happy to say, they do! Each in their own special way. But you can imagine how excited I was when my granddaughter, Alexia, began asking questions about World Vision and expressing a desire to one day work there.
"I want to "do something" with my life, Nena!" she said with a familiar glint in her big blue eyes. And I knew she was serious because I had watched God working in her life ever since she was a child. Her passion reminded me of the day when I was sitting at my home-office desk and I heard a little voice calling out "Lemonade for poor children! Come buy lemonade to help the poor children!"
I had given Lexi and her neighborhood gang of friends permission to use an old table and some cups and lemonade to set up a lemonade stand on the corner by our house. Lexi was only seven, but she was clearly the heart and vision behind the money-making endeavor. So you can imagine my panic when I heard her voice ringing out with the offer, "Lemonade for poor children". These kids were far from poor!
So I raced outside and confronted her, saying"Sweetheart, you are not poor, and you cannot ask people to buy lemonade for the poor unless you give it to the poor!"
"I know," she replied without a blink. "We are going to buy a cow out of the book". She pointed to one of my World Vision gift catalogs laying on the table. Tears stung my eyes as I saw the tattered book and then looked at her determined little face. It would take a lot of 50 cent lemonade to buy a cow! But Lexi had a plan. She and her friends spent the rest of the summer going around to the neighbors on our double cul-de-sac asking for odd jobs. Everyone got on board and those kids swept yards, emptied trash cans and did things for strangers that they would never do at home without grumbling! By the end of the summer they had enough to buy a goat...with a little help from their friends.
Now our sweet Lexi is twenty years old and her vision has grown from lemonade to a 2-month internship with World Vision in Kenya. As a family we are all supporting her as she takes this enormous step of faith. But just as she needed a little help from her friends to buy that goat, she needs a little help from all of our friends to make this bigger vision a reality. We only have 3 weeks to raise the needed money so any way you could help would be appreciated!
I’m so excited to share with you the opportunity God has given me to spend two months working with World Vision in Kenya. World Vision is an International Christian organization that brings clean wa...
I know I just said I was not going to be writing much while my hand heals, but some things are worth a little pain.
One of my great passions as a World Vision employee is the amazing work we do around the world to help the millions of people driven from their homes because of war or persecution. The Rohingas of Myanmar are one of those groups. "Who?", you might easily ask.
Well, I could answer that question, but my good friends Kari Costanza and John Warren have already told the story. It is appropriately entitled, "Citizens of Nowhere". Read it and weep. And then please do something about it by donating what you can to help people like the ones you will meet.
"I have been young, and now am old..." Psalm 37:25
Truer words have never been written! At least, that is how I am feeling right now. I just learned that the pain I have been feeling in my right wrist and hand since I returned from Africa two months ago is not a simple cyst that will go away in a few weeks. The doctor I saw on Monday pointed to my X-ray and said, "It's not fun getting older, is it? You have a lot of arthritis in that hand. But I think the pain is coming from the tendon that runs down your arm and wrist. We'll need an MRI to see the full story."
In other words, I have tendonitis in the hand I use the most and need to type! (I am wearing a temporary brace to stabilize my thumb.)
Sometimes I wonder just how many things can go wrong with this old body of mine! But this morning I read Psalm 37...one of my absolutely favorite Psalms! I love the fact that David, the writer of the Psalms and a man of action, was so honest about where he was in life when he wrote this psalm. He was old and he was feeling every one of his arthritic bones and creaking joints! He may even have had tendentious from all the writing he did when he wasn't slaying giants and fighting battles. But, he finishes his sentence with these words. "...but I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."
As I wait to have the MRI that will reveal the full extent of the damage to my hand, I am grateful for this wonderful reminder that my God is faithful and still in control.
I am not supposed to type a lot right now, so I may be quiet for a while. But during the next few weeks I would appreciate your prayers. God bless you as you face your giants! ... See MoreSee Less