So by the time you read this we will either be headed to the airport, boarding, or in the middle of our 18 hour flight to South Africa. I’m going with Crystal Paine, her friend Joy and my nine-year-old son, Jackson, who was born in South Africa. And we’re going to be your eyes and ears to update you all in PERSON about the community center, veggie garden, playground and laundry center we all helped build in Maubane!!


You guys, I’ve been doing this trip for 2 decades and I still had butterflies in my stomach the other night; I was up well after 1am working on packing. This is always tricky for us kids who live between countries because more than half my suitcase is stuffed full of gifts before I even get to the part where I add my own clothes.

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I think we’re all equal parts excited and nervous.

There’s something so sacred about inviting people to come to your home country and meet your family and eat your food and sleep at your house and blog the story of what’s happening there in the local orphan and vulnerable kids community.

It can make you feel small. Which is pretty much just the right size, isn’t it, when it comes to remembering the God we partner with and His plans. Yes, these are His plans and we’re so grateful that He’s invited us along for this stretch of the journey.

So as we fly today, we wanted to share some prayer requests from our little team.

We’re going in partnership with Help One Now to learn and report on and share the work of their local South African partner, Take Action. They have the years of experience in sustainable development. And have exciting plans for the future. We are merely the story tellers.

But we’re so honored that we get to tell the story. Who ever could have dreamed that a blog half way across the world could connect moms and kids across an ocean? Only the Jesus who knows exactly what it means to move into the neighborhood and make your home with the ones you love.

Thank you, friends, for going to South Africa with us all last year – going with your prayers and support and donations and blog posts and love and encouragement. Will you travel with us now in prayer?

Here are some of the specific prayer requests from each of the four members of our team who will be spending 18 hours together in row 58 seats D, E, F, & G:


Been doing this trip between continents for two decades now
Will be staying at her parents’ house
Her brother and sister-in-law in South Africa are expecting their first baby the same week

You can follow me here on Instagram this week.

Bakers at home

  1. That I would be a generous host, conscious of the needs of my fellow travelers and quick to encourage them.
  2. That even though we have so few days in country it would be enough time for South Africa to burrow deep into the hearts of our team
  3. For safety and for courage and for hope in the midst of what others might see as poverty and despair. That we would find the joy and be faithful tellers of those stories for each of you.
  4. For special times of bonding with my first born, my South African son, Jackson
  5. For peace and health and hopefully managing just fine without us for my husband Peter and precious Micah and Zoe.


Been doing this trip since he was born
On his second passport
Seasoned traveler who is most excited about watching movies for 18 hours straight.

(this is him hugging my little brother good-bye last time we were home –a year ago).


You can follow me and my mom here on Instagram this week.

  1. That we would be safe on the long flight.
  2. That I have lots of time to catch up with my big brother, Karabo.
  3. That me and my mom have fun.
  4. That my brother and little sister are OK without me.


First time flying longer than a 5 hour trip
Her 3 kids and husband will spend the week doing historical trips in DC while she’s away
Nervous but excited to get another stamp in her passport!

You can follow her here on Instagram this week.

Crystal's family

  1. A calm spirit during both flights and the ability to sleep on both flights so that I can arrive in South Africa and then back home to my family feeling rested, cheerful, and energetic instead of exhausted and drained.
  2. An open heart to whatever God wants to teach me through this trip — that my heart would never be the same as a result of this trip.
  3. That I would be a blessing and an encouragement to each person I am with on the trip.


Fly by the seat of her pants extrovert
Helps Crystal manage her blog and business
Mom to 4 kiddos
Bringing her Go-Pro camera with her so we can document the trip for you all!

You can follow her here on Instagram this week.


  1. Pray for my husband and four kiddos at home. Eight nights is a long time for mama to be gone and Africa is a long way away.
  2. Pray for my mind to settle and for any anxiousness to be gone, so that I can focus on this experience and soak up every bit of it without being distracted.
  3. Pray for the Holy Spirit to be unleashed to do a mighty mighty work through this team and in my own heart. God is up to something and it’s a HUGE blessing to get to be a small part of it.


OK friends, that’s our little team in a nutshell. I’m off to finalize the last of the lists and the packing. And if you have a prayer request you’d like to share in the comments, we’d love to be praying for you all too.

Next time you hear from me we’ll be in South Africa under the southern cross skies. Can NOT WAIT to share it all with you all!