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21 hours ago

Marilee Pierce Dunker

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".
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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.
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2 months ago

Marilee Pierce Dunker

"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!
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