In Which It All Makes Sense

I have never been on an overseas trip in my life. And for the last couple of years, even though I’ve been confronted over and over again with the enormity of people’s needs in other parts of the world, my reaction – though I’m not proud of it – has been to cross my arms, shake my head, close my eyes, and say, NOPE, NOT ME, NOT GOING, HAVE A PRESCHOOLER, STAYING HOME, THANK YOU.

Honestly, I have no idea why I wrestled so mightily with the idea of serving overseas or why I felt like it was an issue I needed to address rightthatverysecondplease. I mean, I wasn’t picking apart sections of Proverbs 31 and then stressing that I wasn’t MAKING MY OWN FLAX, for crying out loud. But the “go / make disciples / all nations” stuff confounded me; somehow I had gotten all bound up in some freaky legalism of my own making.

For the record: I do not recommend the freaky legalism. Because it will WEAR YOU SLAP OUT.

But at some point – probably around the beginning of 2007 – some of that resistant worry in my heart began to give way. I started to pray that God would help me to not be so closed off (and dare I say BITTER) about what I was or was not willing to do. And regardless of where He wanted me, I prayed that I would serve out of obedience, not obligation.

And yes. There is a mighty big difference.

On August 7th of last year I checked my email email right before Alex and I headed out for round two of what had turned into an Errand Day Extravaganza, and I found a note from Brian Seay (who is totally one of my heroes now, just in case you were wondering) waiting in my inbox. Brian told me that he worked with Compassion International, was looking to put together a bloggers’ trip to Africa, and wanted to know if I’d be interested in going.

Suffice it to say that I bawled my eyes out.

And to my complete and utter surprise, I knew that I was supposed to go. I knew I had to go. My husband knew it, too.

And I tell you all of that to tell you this: yesterday, at a restaurant in the middle of Kampala, Uganda, all the spiritual wrestling of the last two years suddenly made perfect sense.

Internets, meet Derrick.


He’s 11 years old. My brother and sister-in-law are sponsoring him through Compassion. They will be able to directly impact his life through their sponsorship until he reaches adulthood – and even on through college.

Today he sat beside me at lunch and spent at least 15 minutes looking at their names on a sheet of paper. I showed him pictures of my nephews and told him all about their family. His extended family. Even though they’ve never met.

And this is Sharon, our family’s Compassion child. She’s three. And I absolutely fell apart the second I saw her.


Sharon lives with her mother and three siblings in one room. She is very shy, very reserved; in fact, she was reluctant to even let me hold her when we first met.

But by the end of our lunch? She was asleep in my lap. It was one of the sweetest, most unforgettable moments of my whole life.

And because she’s so young, our family will have the opportunity to invest in her life for many years to come.

Two years of wrestling. Two years of questioning. And God used two precious children I’d never met – in a country I never dreamed I’d visit – to answer every single one of my prayers about what “serving globally” can look like in my life, in my family’s life.

In fact, it looks a little bit like this:


And I think that’s a mighty cool thing indeed.

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  1. What you are doing is such a wonderful inspiration. We are selecting our child this weekend! Thsi has been amazing, Sophie. Just amazing. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  2. Mighty cool! So many children will be blessed and so many families will be impacted by global servitude.
    I thank God for your willing heart.

  3. This is all so wonderful….and I am very proud of you.

    Reading your blog has been a gift to me as well as others. I thank you for this.

  4. Indeed…

  5. Lori Leigh says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I have always had such a burden and desire to help children in this position. I started crying half-way through your post,.. my heart just breaks for these children. I am also praying for your trip.

  6. Oh seriously now…..I’m sorry but you guys CAN’T LEAVE AFRICA! I’m living life through you.

    I race home every day to read the Uganda blogs…I’ve cried, and just felt so much love for those sweet kids.

    Thanks. Keep up the work. Wish you could find my families little Compassion girl we just sponsored!!!!!! I want her to know how much we already love her!

    Kelly S.

  7. You surrendering to the Lord is causing all of us to. I’m so proud of you for allowing God to order your steps and then follow them. I believe there is nothing more satisfying. You’re teaching that precious, Alex how to serve first-hand. Your family will forever be blessed!

  8. That is so very awesome. We are on our second sponsorship of a child through Mission of Mercy. The first child Andre we sponsored from about age 3 or 4 until he was 18 and out of the program. He was from Chili. Now we have a little girl who is 5 and adorable. These programs are just amazing. God Bless you!

  9. Let me just say that between your posts and Shannons I’m needing a kleenex! God bless you for being obedient. Those children are precious and so fortunate to have you, your family and your brother’s family. Not only is God touching your hearts and the hearts of the Compassion children but also those of us readers. The Lord does some mighty works. Amen.

  10. I just keep crying.

    And I have a question–can normal people do what you’re doing? Can a family that has a heart for missions save their money and go to Uganda and just love on some kids for a week and come home? Is that feasible? Do they do stuff like that? Let me just go check their website–I’d imagine they’d have some answers.

    Love you, BooMamaGirl!

  11. i wrote on Carlos’ blog that I’ve never experienced anything quite so holy through my laptop as reading what all of you are writing. thank you so much for being willing to be vulnerable this way.

  12. I have so enjoyed reading your’s, Shannon’s, and the others blogs the last several days. What an impact you are making for the Glory of Christ! I know you have influenced many of your readers to sponsor a child. I’m thankful you chose to obey and I love seeing the pics of Derek and Sharon. I know you will never forget your time with them. I saw the pic of Sharon asleep in your lap…oh my heart smiled. My husband and I have decided that we need to sponsor a child and will be doing so shortly.

  13. speechless.

  14. Every day this week I’ve told myself not to read your blog, or Shannon’s, or Shaun’s, because, frankly, I’m tired of crying. However, wouldn’t you know it, every morning I can’t get anything else done until I read them (um, Hello, Holy Spirit). And I’ve been convicted right to the core of my being. Thank you for letting us live through you this week. There’s about to be a change in my household and how we live. As a result, hopefully one day I’ll get to travel to Uganda and be blessed the way you have this week.

  15. Thank you so much for what you’re doing! My husband and I have been sponsoring two boys through Compassion (in Puru and Guatamala)for 4 years and reading your stories about what a difference this ministry makes in these children’s lives makes me want to sponsor 100 more! We haven’t been able to have children so it means so much to us to be able to share God’s love with our sponsored boys, Pedro & Ginno.

  16. It is so difficult to describe the way my thinking has changed since my overseas mission. It is just what you’ve said. The knowledge that you can love these souls that you would’ve otherwise never known existed makes the world a much smaller place. I love my Honduran children.

  17. Your posts over the last several days have brought tears to my eyes. Additionally, the Lord has used you to bring me to the point of realizing that I need to adopt a Compassion child. Thank you, BooMama, for allowing the Lord to use you through your transparency and willingness to obey His leadership in your life.

  18. You and RocksInMyDryer have inspired me – we signed up to sponsor a little boy almost exactly the same age as my son last night. Thank you!

  19. I’m sitting here, tryng to think of something to say, but I can’t… I’m utterly speechless.

  20. As our very awesome music pastor says: Way to go, God!

    May He bless you mightily for responding to His heart, Sophie. You are touching thousands this week. His light is shining through the cracks in your jar. Never doubt that.

  21. I just went and chose a little girl (Brenga Agutu) who is three years old- the same age as my oldest daughter. Thank you BooMama! Your posts have touched me in such a powerfull way.

  22. Yay God!! (lots of clapping).

    My husband and I have decided to sponsor a child because of these posts (and Shannon’s). It’s so awesome that you got to meet “your girl!” Hopefully one day, we can meet “our boy.”

    We have a daughter through international adoption and another in the works. So our hearts do expand globaly. I’m so touched by the things you’re sharing with us this past week. Thank you for being obedient to God.

    Also, I love the fact that you’re in the “bush” but still are accessorizing! Love the earrings. :)

  23. That is so very awesome, Sophie. Very awesome, indeed. I am so happy you have been able to experience this, that God allowed your heart to be open to the possibility!

  24. Oh my word…You are right there with him!!! How awesome is that?? Oh, I know you gave him lots of hugs from us!! That just makes it even more special!!! I’m so touched!! WOW!

  25. The photo Shaun posted, of Sharon asleep in your lap, speaks volumes, Sophie. What a precious little girl she is. How wonderful that their photos are disappearing from the web site. All of you have made this so real for us, I wouldn’t be surprised if every single child finds a sponsor.

  26. How cute!!! What a memorable Trip!!! I shed tears as I read that!

  27. Thank you for your obedience! Because you followed the Lord’s call I have been blessed. :) my prayers are with you and your entire team daily. I get so excited when one of you has updated your blog! I haven’t signed up to sponsor a child yet, but my husband and I are this weekend.

    And…yay for getting to meet your sweet Sharon! I saw the video of Shannon meeting her “child” on Carlos’ blog and just bawled my eyes out!! How sweet!!

  28. I am loving every single detail you are providing us. I had a chance in 2003 to go to Kenya on a medical mission but God called me in a different direction. This was the season I would walk with a very rare form of cancer. I am not able to go to Africa or any place that would require long flight travel because of the effects cancer had on my leg. I tell you this because I really longed to go on that mission trip. God showed me that I do go in a sense, by praying for those who get to go. He also led me through Life Today to sponser a village with a well so they could have water. For those who can’t personally go to a foreign mission field and minister to others, the best way is through adopting a child through Compassion. Thank you for showing us these wonderful and beautiful children. They are so sweet and what an opportunity to sponser a child even through college! Praise Him!! Praying for you all. I know it will be hard to leave them behind!

  29. I’m enjoying so much reading about your trip. I wish I were there. My husband and I have been sponsoring a sweet girl from Uganda for several years. Her name is Olivia Ankunda. If by chance you see her, please give her a big ole’ hug for us.

  30. Great stories. Thanks for sharing the experiences. What a great trip!

  31. Wow! I just caught up with your blog and I’ve been missing a lot! Thank you for your obedience to God in going to Africa. Your stories are so impacting and beautiful. I will be praying more about what God wants me to do. We sponsor a child through World Vision and God willing, I’d love to sponsor another through Compassion. I’m praying for you and your friends as you are away. What an awesome life changing gift you’ve been given!

  32. Tears in my eyes . . .

  33. Sophie
    I just gave up and sponsored a child today. He’s an adorable 5 year old. After I clicked on your link for children who have been waiting for over 6 months – I guess they were all taken but a list of children were staring at me. The little five-year old is not from Uganda though but from my home country Haiti.
    Thanks for opening our eyes to the world of children in desperately need of help.
    God bless.

  34. Sure hoping you get a chance to attend a worship service while you’re there. It will blow you away. An hour or more of singing and praise. Time in the word. More singing and praise.
    And let me tell you, in Africa even the Anglicans dance! :-)
    Thrilled with what God is doing in and through all of you on this trip.
    Can’t wait to sit down each afternoon and read through all the blogs and watch the short videos that get posted.

  35. I am just overwhelmed! That is just awesome Sophie. Just awesome.

    y’all are changing so many lives left and right. God is so good.

    Blessings friend~

  36. I’m just bawling my eyes out – absolutely so thrilled that we are sisters in Christ and I’ll get to meet all these beautiful people in heaven – you are doing a wonderful thing – for Howard too! You know – Flat Howard that little boy who is related now to that beautiful little girl. Look what you are DOING!? Sister has got to be busting with pride about you – Sophie – you are the best. That legalism thing – it’ll strangle you so leave it alone!

  37. Sophie, your story is great! I only hope to be able to experience something like you are too, maybe this year, God willing. I’ve never done it either.


  38. I have a God-daughter and a new Compassion little boy in Uganda who share the same birthday! He’s 10 and is just northeast of Kampala where you are.
    The photo on Shaun’s site made me melt to the core my sweet friend…..the complete essence of Sophie/Boomama in a photo!
    Love you

  39. Hi Soph!
    The impact you are having is amazing, isn’t it? It just proves that when we are willing to serve, God can use it in mighty ways. You are a GREAT lesson to ME!
    Love you…

  40. Awesome BooMama, it’s so cool when the pieces of it all come together! yeah God!

  41. Leigh Johnson says:

    Girl, I knew God was gonna take what you told me about “missions” and slap you up side the head with it. I am so proud to be your friend and so envious of what you’re doing. When we give up and let Him have His way, look how grand the prize. Love on those chillins’ for me and I’ll have one by next month. We love you.

  42. Amen and AMEN!!! It is SO awesome to see you guys with those children.

  43. I’ve never cried so much while reading BooMama as I have in the past few days!

  44. Just want you to know that I have signed up to sponsor Titus, a six year old from Uganda. Thank you for your obedience that has resulted in my obedience! :)

  45. Love to hear it…and LOVED the picture of you and Sharon on Shaun’s blog. So precious. How cool that you got to meet your brother and sister-in-law’s boy, too. What a special day!

  46. ^Yes, LOVED the pic of you and Sharon! Oh, how heart-jerking is THAT?!

  47. Wow! I’m at a loss for words. Really.

  48. Bless you heart girl!
    I did a trip to San Salvador about two years ago. It does change you life and the way you think.
    Get some sleep! :)

  49. Well, this is my first time back here in weeks and so this is my first knowledge of your blogging trip. I have to say I am thrilled to read what you are writing.

    I don’t know you, but I’m so proud of you, sis((hugs))

  50. Truly amazing! Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I can’t tell you how wonderful it’s been to see it through your eyes. I may not be commenting on every post, but I’m breathlessly reading them.
    The children are just beautiful. I can’t imagine having to leave them. I’d want to bring them all home :)

  51. What a testimony!

  52. I havent commented in awhile, but I have been reading. I have been crying! its such a wonderful thing that you, shannon and others are able to do! its a wonderful thing for these children, to be helped and to meet you guys. I cry when I see the pictures, mostly sad cries, cries to imagine my own children if they were in a situation like that, imaginging these kids, that they are use to this, this is their way of living.. and then some happy tears, happy there are so many compasionate people to help, and happy that you and shannon are meeting the children you sponsor.

  53. Just to say “amen and amen”. I do the very same thing – just pick apart a thing to death. How much sweeter obedience is. Bless you dear heart. What a wonderful, inspirational, fulfilling trip.

  54. Thanks for sharing all week. You have been in my prayers. God bless you

  55. My oh my. I really do not think ,y heart can take much more. I suppose that is exactly where my Heavenly Father wants me to be.

    Also, the picture of you with Sharon asleep on your lap that Shaun has on his blog is so precious. It makes it all real.

    His description is so poetic, you need to post that picture in the corner of your website, and keep it there.

    Praying for your strength to make it through!

  56. Mighty cool!! And mighty Holy at the same time. Interesting how such a Holy God, can be so cool and so real…and work in such cool, real and Holy ways!!!

  57. Just :>). That’s all I can say right now.

  58. Where can I sign up?

    I’m so glad you not only listened to your heart and let God change it, but that He is blessing you with such a full and wonderful, rich time. I’m so proud of you, Sophie!

    Many prayers for you and the team, and those dear children and their families.

  59. You and Shannon are killing me…softly.

  60. Did you get me any pictures of Derrick besides the one with him?

  61. Beautiful photos. Beautiful words. Job well done, Sophie. I don’t know how your heart takes it.

  62. Moved to tears…
    So thankful.
    You are blessed.

  63. So blessed to read this…

  64. Mary Kat's Mom says:

    S., this is so powerful! You have brought me to tears on this one! I want sponsor a child and I want to do missions work now. I know the Lord is using you all for great good for His glory. Thank you so much for sharing. All of this time away from Alex will be worth it in so many ways and our Heavenly Father will bring that time back to you in a very special way. Thanks again and I am praying over the pictures so we can choose our child right now! Love you!

  65. Still just blown away by the picts. Do you show them to Alex? That little girl is so so cute. Praying for ya.

  66. Those 2 children are precious- They are very lucky to be part of your family!

  67. Oh, those children are so sweet. I can imagine you will never forget her sleeping in your lap. So precious.

  68. That little 3-year-old girl touched my heart so much, that I just sponsored a sweet little 3-year-old girl named Guadelupe. Thank you so much!

  69. I am just LOVING reading these posts and looking at your pictures of these gorgeous children! How incredible it must be to meet your sponsored child!

    We sponsor through World Vision, but because the children often move out of the World Vision areas, over the years we have had a number of different children. I would love to have met them. How incredible that must be!

  70. Just beautiful. What more can one say? What a blessing that the world knows someone as giving and loving as you are.
    Many Blessings,

  71. Oh wow…you are so blessed to be able to give back in such an amazing way!!!

  72. you are too cool boo mama!
    you’re a better mama for this experience :)

  73. Dang it.

    Somehow I stumbled upon the Rocks in my Dryer blog last week. And I couldn’t stop reading about her Africa trip, even though it made me feel a little squirmy inside.

    And now, somehow, (ahem, possibly through some divine leading?) I’ve found myself at your blog. I totally relate to the wrestling you described – that is exactly where I am right now. Squirming in my seat, confronted with my selfish nature and the abundance I live in, and realizing that God wants me to do something.

    Thanks for sharing about your trip and for giving me some serious food for thought!