"...great joy which will be to all people."

Luke 2:10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people."

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Joseph's Team

There is a thank you letter from a mom to a stranger who befriended her autistic child on an airplane ride floating around the internet.  It really had me thinking about all the people who have influenced our lives since Joseph came home in June.  I thought I would share the gratitude I have for a few people:

Thank you Ms. Melissa, for setting us up with the finest school and therapies, when we were too overwhelmed to even think about what would be best for Joseph.

Thank you 12 year old boy, who we happen to run into every few months around town.  Your open curiosity about Joseph's blindness is refreshing.  You are a smart boy and I am so glad you are comfortable asking questions and not shying away.

Thank you my virtual friends who have children with special needs.  You have helped me work through so many details Mr. Google didn't tell me about before we brought Joseph home.

Thank you Mrs. April, for joyfully greeting Joseph at school each day.  You watch him walk down to his classroom and encourage him along the way.

Thank you Mr. Rich, for allowing Joseph to lick your watch every single time he arrives at school.  I know this is gross and certainly you know it, too, but you allow him to use his mouth to learn who you are and that is pure kindness.

Thank you nurse who asked me "why on earth would you adopt him" because now I am prepared for this question when someone asks again.

Thank you Mrs. Laurel, Joseph's Occupational Therapist, for genuinely loving our son.  When he hugs you, I see you close your eyes and bask in the love he is offering.

Thank you Ms. Blair, for allowing our other 5 children to sit in your waiting room so I can observe and soak in everything Mrs. Laurel is teaching Joseph.

Thank you receptionist at the pediatricians office for taking the blame when my daughter ran ahead of me and knocked you over.  You fell to the floor and I was mortified.  My hands were full with Joseph and you shouldered the responsibility, not making my daughter feel ashamed.

Thank you to my father-in-law for calling us on the phone after our short visit to let us know how you regretted not being able to hold Joseph while he slept.  It reminded us how fleeting moments can be and to embrace each one!

Thank you colleague of Jack's for making a point to ask how we are doing, even while dealing with your own grief.

Thank you to the class who walks down the hallway the same time Joseph treks to his classroom.  You are so kind to cheer his name and say, "hi," and treat Joseph like he's a rock star.  It brings me such joy to see you young boys and girls encouraging a little boy with special needs.

Thank you Mrs. Cindi, for making a point to rock Joseph at the end of each school day.  I know you have your hands full with other students, in addition to the other million tasks teachers have to fulfill in a school day.  Thank you for taking this time and building a precious bond with our son.

Thank you Mrs. Barbara, for taking pictures and videos of Joseph.  Sending him to school was not easy for this mama but those special moments you are capturing sure helps me adjust to not being with him while he's at school.

Thank you to the friends who came to the airport and stayed for 8 hours because our flight was delayed when we brought Joseph home.

Thank you mom and dad.  Really, thank you.  We know you must think we are crazy and you love us anyway.  You have gladly traveled alongside us on our life journey and encouraged us even when we have said things like, "we are moving to Guatemala!" and "doesn't this little boy look like a Townsend? We are adopting him!"

Thank you Michele and family for spending a month visiting us this summer.  This was a crucial time for our family as Joseph just came home and you loved him from the minute you met him.

Thank you Ricky and family for coming up at Christmas for a week of full chaos when you could have spent a quiet Christmas at home!

Thank you lady at McAllister's Deli in Raleigh, for continuing to talk to Joseph even after you realized he was non-verbal and unable to make eye contact.

Thank you my special friends who understand how impossible it is for me to make a phone call but allow me to text you a hundred times a day.  You know who you are and I love you for listening to me, praying for us and doing life together.

Thank you to my private chat group for allowing me to babble often, for giving me advice and traveling this journey with me!  You make me laugh daily!

Thank you Mrs. Kelly, Joseph's Visually Impaired Specialist, for teaching me so much about Joseph's visual needs and telling me so often how much potential he has!

Thank you to Ms. Shelly for jumping from school to school just to fit in the occupational needs of so many children, Joseph included.

Thank you Mrs. Jan, Joseph's Orientation and Mobility Specialist, for reminding me I cannot coddle this adorable boy.  He needs to take wings and fly.

There are so many other people who have impacted our family over the past 7 months.  We have been overwhelmed by the support and thoughtfulness of so many people, strangers included.

Surely there will be a sequel to this post...

*these are in no particular order of preference, timeline, etc.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Take a Look!

Have you seen our thermometers?  Look to the right side of the screen!  Our one time fees are completely raised!

Praise God!

What does that mean?

We are currently funded to serve one year in Guatemala.  This is so exciting!  We are looking forward to leaving in July to work with local Guatemalans and Iglesia Del Camino's building ministry!  If you haven't had a chance to see what we will be doing, please click here.  IDC is an amazing church, which is serving so many people in Guatemala and showing them the love of Christ through action.

Though we are still in need of monthly support, we are grateful for one time donations, which will now go towards our monthly needs when we arrive in Guatemala.

Do you have questions?  Please contact us at:  townsendguat@gmail.com.  It would be an honor to share the vision of IDC building ministry with you!

As always, we thank you for following this journey.  We are so thankful for your support over the past few years!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

December Newsletter

Here is our December Newsletter for those that may not have received it via email.   As always, thank you for your support and encouragement.

Guatemala Update

We are so excited to work with two great ministries when we arrive in Guatemala in July 2013.  Iglesia del Camino and Campos de Suenos both seek to show the love of Christ by meeting the physical needs of the people. 


Our main role will be working with Iglesia del Camino’s building ministry.   We will help Guatemalans work to build stronger, stable homes.  Many village homes are made of bamboo, cornstalks, sugarcane, mud and any refuse they have been able to find.  These homes do not fare well in the weather elements and they provide little sanitation, which can cause severe health problems.  They lack safety and security from animals and crime, as well.  This ministry is building new homes constructed on concrete slabs with galvanized steel walls and secure doors.  A water filtration system is then added and a solar power unit for lighting.  To us, a 12’ x 16’ structure would be a room, to them it is a home which provides them with exceeding opportunities.


The second ministry we will be assisting with is Campos de Suenos.  This is a new center that is currently able to feed 200 children at one time.  They are providing nutritional meals, in hopes of eliminating the elements that have stunted generations of growth in the indigenous folks in Guatemala.  Campos de Suenos is working toward good health, education, and economic stimulus and showing the love of God to this wonderful community.  It is our strong belief that we show the love of Christ by meeting the physical needs as well as the spiritual.

Current Fundraisers

            Susie's parents, Barb and Rich DeVictor, have organized an amazing fundraiser.  They have a beautiful wall of envelopes making a tree and the word “JOY.”  There are 200 envelopes all labeled with a number from 1-200.  Friends, family, small groups, and churches choose an envelope and donate or raise the money.  It is amazing to us that people we do not even know have taken an envelope.  We are so blessed!

Example: If Great Aunt Lily is turning 91, you may want to ask for Envelope #91.  You choose any number you want from 1-200!

You would have the blessing of donating or raising the number of your choice for Guatemala!  All donations are tax deductible. 

Over $3000 has been raised through this fundraiser so far.  These are the numbers still available:  28-29, 33, 37-39, 41-43, 46-49, 51-52, 54, 56-59, 61-63, 65-68, 70-74, 76, 78-79, 81-85, 87, 89-92, 94-95, 97, 104-114, 116-127, 129-143, 145-198

How Can You Help?

1.  Email us at townsendguat@gmail.com and let us know which envelope (s) you would like.  We will send a self -addressed envelope (with your number) to send your tax deductible contribution back.  We will include a NEW Townsend Family magnet, too!  ;)

2.  Join us at: https://www.facebook.com/ToGuatemalaWithJoy to keep up with this exciting fundraiser.  

3.  Share, share, share!  Please share this great opportunity to raise money with your friends.

If all 200 envelopes are filled, this will raise over $20,000 for the mission.

Financial Report

Praise God!  Our one time fees should be fully funded by January!  This is a HUGE expense which will pay for our airfare, residency fees and other one time expenses.

            We have generous folks donating $10, $20, $25, $35 $50, $75, $200 a month.  It is an honor to have so many people on this journey to help Guatemalans live safer, healthier lives.  Our monthly need is $4120 for our living expenses.  This will sustain our family of 8 in Guatemala for two years.  Currently we are at $1430 and need financial help in this area.

            When a young boy of 11 years old comes forward with his birthday money and gives us a check for $55, it strengthens our faith.  When a couple living on a limited income, who need financial help themselves, tell us they want to be a part of changing Guatemalans lives and honor God with their income by pledging $50 a month, it humbles us.  When our children hand us a $1 they received from a lost tooth and tell us it is for Guatemala, we give thanks to God.

Occasionally, raising support can be overwhelming and stressful.  We have made the choice to find JOY in this part of the faith journey.  Every time someone makes a pledge or one time donation, our hearts rejoice, no matter the amount. 

Would you consider giving a monthly donation?  Contact us if this is something you would be interested in doing as a family, small group or church. 

What do we need to be funded?

108 pledges of $25 a month

54 pledges of $50 a month

27 pledges of $100 a month

130 one time donations of $500

Family Update

We recently celebrated Joseph’s six month anniversary since arriving home!  He has grown leaps and bounds and we are extremely blessed to have him in our family!  He is walking more and learning how to maneuver in a sighted world.  The other kids have adapted so well to his homecoming.  The time has flown by…but it also seems like we’ve always been a family of eight.

All of the kids have been so open and honest about moving to Guatemala.  Some of the girls will become teenagers while we are away and the boys will be changing from babies to school age boys!  They share their hopes and dreams and most of all, can’t wait to spend time getting to know the people and culture.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Jack, Susie, Sophie, Annabelle, Ava Mae, Pearl, Joseph, and Jude Townsend

Friday, January 3, 2014

I Believe

By now some of you may have heard Audio Adrenaline's song, Believer.  Please watch the video if you have not seen it.  Powerful.

It is about a young boy who seems to be having difficulty learning to surf when he witnesses a blind man surfing.  It's a true story and a documentary is being made about this visually impaired man.   Incredibly inspirational.

Of course I was originally drawn to the video because I have a child who is 100% blind.  He does not see light, he sees nothing but complete darkness.  And yet, I know and believe God has a great, huge plan for his life.   Just like he does for the blind man in the video, just like he does for the sighted boy who had little faith he would ever surf.

We can do so much through Him.  We can go places we never thought we would go, we can grow in ways we never anticipated.  The song begins with, "I want to live this life unsafe, unsure, but not afraid" and that's what I want.  I want this for each of my children, for my husband and for myself.  I want us to rely on Him because we believe.  I want us to lose our lives and watch Him move.  Way less of me and way more of Him.

The words to the song, Believer:

I want to live this life unsafe, unsure, but not afraid
What I want is to give all I got somehow
Giving up letting go of control right now

'Cause I'm already out here, blind but I can see
I see the way You're moving
God how I believe that

I can push back the mountains, can stand on the waves
I can see through the darkness, I'll hold up the flame
Take me to the ocean I want to go deeper
I'm not afraid no, I'm a believer

And so I lose this life to find my way and come alive
They can try to deny what's inside of me
But there is more, can't ignore all the things unseen

Oh I believe I can walk on water with You alone

When I walk through the valley of the shadows
When I'm trapped in the middle of the battle
I will trust in You
'Cause trouble comes, but You never let it take me
I hold fast 'cause I know that You will save me
I will trust in You, I will trust in You

Oh here I stand all alone waiting on You, Lord
Waiting on You