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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Happy Double Digit Birthday Makiah!

Sweet Makiah,

Mommy remembers when I turned ten.  We had just moved to Cairo (yes, where you lived!) a few weeks before my birthday.  I invited two girls that I had just met at school over for a spend the night party.  I still played with cabbage patches and dress up clothes, but this year we added makeup and pretended to be teenagers.  I started a puff paint business with grand plans of selling t-shirts designed by yours truly.  Your Uncle Will and I practiced limbo tirelessly in the driveway with two yard chairs and a measuring stick in great hopes of being the Saturday afternoon limbo champs at the local skating rink.  Uncle John was only four, and I recall he was a whiz at playing Super Mario Brothers with me already on our nintendo.

Tonight the girls and I made brownies together for your 10th birthday.  Abby suggested we put a candle in one, tie balloons to it, and float it up to heaven so you could have a piece.  Maddie Grace sang to you, and Alena requested a candle to blow out for you.  I read a devotional from their book, "God's Little Princesses," tonight at bedtime and would you believe it was about heaven and imagining what kind of "jobs" we might have there?  We talked about you.  Maddie Grace wondered if you paint sunsets or rainbows there.  Abby is sure we won't work there at all, but we will just play with Jesus!

Last week Abby told us about a dream she had of heaven.  Cameron was tucking her in, and she said she wanted to be a kid in heaven.  When he asked her why, she said because it's fun to be a kid and play with Jesus.  He asked her how she knew, and she told him this... She said she dreamed she played in a field with a lamb and that she sat on Jesus shoulders.  She said there was a river there that was soooo clean and trees with big flowers and apples that were shiny all around them.  She said the streets were gold and there were golden cars, too.  She said the church there was so so big.

We wonder, Makiah.  We dream.  We hope.  We focus on what scripture tells us... that it has not even entered the mind of man the wonderful things that God has in store for those who love Him.  But you know!  You see!  Clearly now and not dimly as through a glass.  Abby's dream brings joy to this heart because although I don't know what you are like or what you do as a ten year old in heaven, I know you have gotten to play with Jesus as a kid.  To climb up on his shoulders.  To be covered over in such love and filled up with adventures and wonder without danger or sadness.

Your Daddy used to pray for you, that you would be an ambassador for Christ all over the earth and that you would touch many nations.  And so you have.  God has answered that prayer, though not the way we expected.   I added up all the individuals that now have clean drinking water because of the Makiah Well Project, because you gave the money in your piggy bank just before you went home to heaven, and it comes to a total of 6, 375 people!!  Suffering from lack of water has been alleviated for 6, 375 people, Makiah!  And better yet, sweet princess, 265 people made a profession of faith in Jesus... and 106 of those are children, which is dear to my heart.  Can God use those little children to do big things for the kingdom? Yes!  And your short life here on earth is proof of it.

I love you sweet princess, more than you can know!  Abby always includes you when she draws our family, and when we went to Disney, the first thing the girls told Cinderella was that it wasn't just four sisters.  They told her that the fifth sister is in heaven.  They haven't met you, but you aren't forgotten.  I pray Jesus will give you extra special hugs today and whisper that Mommy loves you.  I will always hold dear the day you made me a mommy.  Happy 10th birthday, Makiah!

Love you past Peter Pan Land sweet baby!
Your Mommy

*iDisciple made a video in conjunction with Compelling Creations, the jewelry company that designs the well charms,  about Makiah's Well Project.  We are thankful for the opportunity to share her story.  Please help us share this!

The video is out and can be viewed here...

Only $1800 builds a well.  Donations to the Makiah Well Project can be made by mailing a check to:

Operation Blessing International
Attn: Christine Coughlin, CSB 322
977 Centerville Turnpike
Virginia Beach, VA 23463

*Mark your gift clearly on the check for Makiah King and it will be credited to her account.

OR if you are interested in purchasing a well charm from Compelling Creations, 10% of the purchase of the well charm will be sent to Operation Blessing for the well project also.  
Check out the article and video on iDisciple for a coupon code.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Makiah's Gift- The Well Project

Sometimes I rush through bed time with my kids and get in a huff when they call me back ten thousand times for an endless litany of things.  Other days I stay with them longer and stroke their hair and remind myself to savor the moment.  It was one of those nights when Abby popped out with, “Mom, I don’t know how the Holy Spirit helps me.  When there are too many toys and you tell me to clean up, I don’t see Him moving ANY blocks!”  I tried not to giggle out loud.  But really, I think she is onto something.  A deeper question of humanity right from the mouth of a babe.  We often look at things around us and we don’t SEE God doing anything.

The truth is it is hard for us to acknowledge what we don’t see with our eyes.  We want God to be like us.  To fit in our box, and well, let’s be honest, it would be great if He would just do our work for us!  Sometimes when He doesn’t “move the blocks” we pout and wonder if He is really helping us at all.  But that’s just the thing.  He isn’t us.  He won’t do our job for us, but He will partner with us in our work.  He will give us the strength to continue.  He will help us to work with thankfulness in our hearts and a good attitude on our faces.  And He will whisper to our hearts words of wisdom about what to do next.  

When we look at people who are doing that- walking in God’s call to help others, doing it in love, and not giving up- then our eyes can SEE that God is real and that the Holy Spirit is helping us.  And that is exactly what I saw when I got a text from the mom of one of Makiah’s preschool classmates.  She contacted me last fall to let me know that her son, Cort, had been raising money for two years with his RA’s at First Baptist Church in Cairo to build a well in Makiah’s memory.  They had almost reached their goal, and this fourth grader was getting ready to stand up in front of his church and do a presentation to raise the rest. 

I was floored.  Floored because her preschool friend had not forgotten her.  After all, they were only four when she died.  Floored that Cort and his friends had the tenacity to take on raising the money for an entire well and stick it out for two years.  Floored at the courage of a child to stand up and challenge adults to such generosity.   And then floored when one of my high school friends, Charisha, contacted me to say that the Pine Level Baptist Girls in Action group has also raised money for Makiah’s Wells again this year!  They painted their toes rainbow colors and raised well money on her heaven day the last two years.

And for some crazy reason, I continue to be surprised when God dumps gifts of love like this on my heart!  I was also surprised in March when we were contacted by, Jill Felts, the owner of Compelling Creations, who designed the well charm necklaces that were sold in Makiah’s memory to raise money for building real wells in impoverished nations.  She had shared Makiah’s story with a group called iDisciple, and they became excited about helping us tell it. They came a few weeks ago to our house to film, and I will be posting that link here shortly!

In the last five and a half years, Cameron and I have buried a daughter, given birth to four more, moved to a new town, taken a new church, and started new jobs.  AND there have been 15 wells completed in Makiah’s memory during that time with Cort’s well being in process as number 16!!  There are so many things in life that we strive to accomplish and it feels like  the wheels are stuck in the mud.  The Well Project is not one of those things!  Cameron and I feel like we have hardly done anything and this has just taken off.  We offer our deepest thanks to all of you who have given over the years towards Makiah’s Well Project!  So many have purchased well charms or made direct donations that have affected the lives of those less fortunate!  In all the  craziness of the last few years I have gotten behind with blogging so here are the latest wells….

WELL #12  
San Isidro, Jaro, Iloilo City, Philippines
(Built by many of you!)

21 families with about 121 individuals benefit from this well

Their previous source of water was an old well 250 meters away that tasted of rust and was deemed unsuitable for drinking.  People live in concrete or bamboo homes and often suffer from diarrhea and typhoid fever. 

At the well dedication, 20 bibles were distributed, the gospel was shared by national pastors, education on health and sanitation was provided and 24 individuals came to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior!

WELL #13
Barangay Pagnamitan, Guiuan, Philippines
(Built by a preschool class in Oak Crest Baptist Church, Greenville, SC)

10 families with 53 individuals benefit from this well.

Previous water sources were a few shallow wells that depended on the high and low tide and rusty water pumps that smelled and were discolored.  After hurricane Yolanda these shallow wells were filled with mud, and villagers were forced to buy expensive, clean water from a mineral water refilling station.

The Barangay Chariman, Therisita O. Edin opened the well dedication ceremony where many people attended.  Philippino pastors preached on John 4:13-14 about the Living Water, and 40 adults and 35 children made a profession of faith!

WELL #14
Napakhedra, Madhya Pradesh, India
(Also built by Oak Crest Baptist Church)

350 people benefit directly from this well

The previous water source in this village was a government tap which was not easily accessible to the villagers and was only supplied during specified timings.  The villages here have many tribal groups and they live in structures made of mud walls with tin or asbestos roofing.

At the well dedication, the team from Operation Blessing taught about health and hygiene,  and a national pastor shared from Isaiah 55:1, “Come, all who are thirsty. Come to the waters.”  According to the report, “The villagers heard the message with much interest.”

WELL #15
Prey Kdouch (78km west of Phnom Pen), Cambodia
(Built by many of you!)
The previous water source was an open well and pond.  The primary occupation is rice or vegetable farming.  The local pastor presented the gospel using John 4:13-14 to those who attended the dedication of the well.  One lady said “Now that this new well is in my village, I will no longer have to walk the long distance to get water from the open well.  It was located in the forest, so it was a struggle to get there.  I had to make at least three trips a day to bring home enough water for our basic needs.  I always worried about my family’s health because the water was not clean and there were lots of chemicals around the stream.  Thank you for bringing hope to our village.  You have relieved us of much burden.”

Who knew a little girl’s gift in Sunday School, just before her death, could bring such change to the other side of the world.  Thank you for multiplying Makiah’s gift!  You have given practical relief through clean drinking water and planted many seeds in hearts who have heard about this water…

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

Only $1800 builds a well.  Donations to the Well Project can be made by mailing a check to:

Operation Blessing International
Attn: Christine Coughlin, CSB 322
977 Centerville Turnpike
Virginia Beach, VA 23463

*Mark your gift clearly on the check for Makiah King and it will be credited to her account.

OR if you are interested in purchasing a well charm from Compelling Creations, 10% of the purchase of the well charm will be sent to Operation Blessing for the well project also.  
Check out the article and video on iDisciple for a coupon code.