The God of Angel Armies

When we sang this song, Whom Shall I Fear yesterday at church I was struck by this verse.  “I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, the God of angel armies is always by my side.”  He has gone before us, He stands behind us, He is BESIDE us! That gives me so much encouragement! We leave for our 3-week visit to Burundi this Saturday.  Here are some of the highlights of the past week in preparing.

* If our life were a musical, every Saturday would sounds like this…”Just a spoon full of Nutella helps the mefloquine go down!”  (that is our anti-malarial medication)

*Our Church prayed over us this past Sunday. We truly felt surrounded by God’s angel armies.  Our children rocked the first service prayer time, but the second service included two children with no shoes on, one 19-month-old screaming during the prayer, and our 3-year-old balanced a bracelet on her head and marched back and forth across the stage the entire time.


* Darrell worked furiously packing on Saturday while I slowly ran errands with the kids. Our current count of sealed and packed containers and bags is 12…only 9 to go! The theme song for this one is “Pleeeease go get your passy, your passy, your passy. Please go get your passy and bring your blankie too!”  (sung to the music of “the more we get together…”)

*Here is the website for the team we will be visiting and hope to join: Word and Deed 

*Here is a website to the hospital Darrell will be working at:  Kibuye Hope Hospital 

We are getting very excited and we can’t wait to see what God has for us there. Thank you for checking in on our progress!

Deut. 31:6 “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid…for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”




Preparations for Burundi

It is officially 5 weeks from our departure date and our “to do” list is only getting longer and longer. We all received yellow fever, typhoid fever, and meningococcal vaccines on Monday.  It took 3 hours. THREE. HOURS! no food, no drinks, no iPads…we were completely unprepared! We did have diapers though! If I have to walk back to that infectious disease clinic any time soon I think I will have PTSD from all of the crying that happened in that last hour.  I will say, I have never been so thankful for the military healthcare system.  I picked up two bags of malaria meds yesterday and paid $0.  And all of those shots? $0.  We feel very blessed.  Oh, another perk of the military? We get 3 free bags per person AND a 70 pound allowance for free on our flights since Darrell has military orders.  We are hoping to use all of that up to bring as much as we can to the missionaries.  Don’t ask how all of this will be transported on either end…we really don’t know, but God knows!

Our excitement for our trip has started to bubble over.  Before Shiloh was born we couldn’t look past “we have to have a baby first.”  We wanted to be sure we had a healthy, full term baby before our brains really allowed the trip to sink in.  Well, it has fully absorbed now and we wax and wane between extreme excitement and extreme terror. The fear mostly hits when infectious disease doctors tell us how dangerous it is for us to be taking an 8 week old, and when we start talking about all of those hours on a plane. Thankfully, the Lord has provided a girl named Nina who is 17 and will be flying with us from Newark to Burundi and back. She is going to be in Burundi the entire time we are there to help with our kids, another visiting family, and the missionary kids.  This was truly a God thing and we are so thankful to have an extra hand to help and an extra set of eyes to count to six over and over and over again while in the airport.

As far as visas and passports. Darrell spent almost the entire day yesterday working toward mailing off our visas applications.  We can’t get a visa for Shiloh until we get her passport, but we expedited that process and will hopefully get her passport next week. Then we will send it off for her visa.

Update on Shiloh: She is doing awesome! Her 3 year old sister consistently wakes us up more than she does, so she’s a winner for that.  We are so in love with her.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.”  We pray that we are walking in His plans every step of this journey.

It’s a Girl!

Dear Family and Friends,

It is with great joy that we are blessed to announce the birth of Shiloh Annesley Baskin!  She was born at 2:59 PM, yesterday, the 7th of February, weighing 6 lbs 11 oz and measuring 19 1/4 inches long.  She and Becky are both doing very well except that they were both up all night…and one of them was crying a lot.
We chose her first name to be Shiloh for two reasons.  The origin of the name dates back to Jacob’s blessing on Judah in the Hebrew book of Genesis, chapter 49.  Shiloh (שִׁיל֔וֹ‎) literally means, “that is his” and refers to the Messiah’s coming in the line of Judah.  It is also translated as “peace” or “final tranquility” by later judaic rabbinical traditions.  
It is with this later meaning that a Methodist meetinghouse was so named that was built two and a half miles from Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, where the Battle of Shiloh took place in 1862.  We went and visited this battleground a few years ago and tried to imagine what it was like for my third-great grandfather who fought and died there.
Shiloh’s middle name, Annesley, comes from Susanna Annesley who was the youngest of 25 children (we are not on that child-bearing track, really!) and passionately loved the Lord and passed on this fervor to her sons John and Charles Wesley who founded the Methodist church; many of you know that my father was the pastor of a Methodist church when I was in high school.
We are so thrilled that Shiloh is finally here!  Now we just have to get her birth certificate, passport and visa so we can visit our friends in Burundi this April.
May God richly bless each of you!
Darrell, Becky, Jack, Hudson, Seattle, Juliet, Locksley and ShilohImageImage

The Walk to Siloam

Just a side note: I wrote this a while ago before Shiloh was born.  

In John chapter 9 Jesus sees a man that has been blind since birth. He spits on the ground to make mud then rubs the mud on the man’s face. He then tells the man to walk to the pool of Siloam to wash.  I can’t help but wonder what that walk to Siloam was like.  The text tells us nothing else of the conversation Jesus had with this man.  I wonder if the man even knew Jesus was going to heal him, or if he suddenly had mud on his eyes.  Maybe the disciples told him to relax because the spitting-mud guy knew what he was doing.  Either way, the walk to Siloam must have been monumental.  

I feel like I am on that walk right now.  3 years ago Darrell and I felt God calling us to Burundi.  For 3 years we have pursued this calling, and finally the time has come for us to visit this far off place.  Our site visit is only 2.5 months away.  I feel so blind.  I have never been to Africa. I have not flown to a 3rd world country in over 12 years. I have not flown with children in 5 years.  I have absolutely no ground to build an expectation on.  Nothing. Nada.  I feel like the mud is caked on heavy.  My emotions are weighed down as well.  Arrows of doubt and fear have overcome much of the excitement.  Wouldn’t the blind man feel the same?  Thinking, “what is this, a joke? Walk to this pool and wash my eyes, maybe I should just go home?” 

Just like that blind man Darrell and I have to walk in obedience to an ending that we aren’t certain about.  Will God meet us in Burundi? Will He tell us to live there or will He reveal another plan?  Will we even agree at the end of the trip as to what to do?  We aren’t really even spiritual enough to be considering this, are we?

Then I look at the blind man. He didn’t even know Jesus, yet Jesus came to him and healed him.  Then used him for God’s glory.  Oh what hope!  God can use us even in the midst of our weak faith.


At the end of John 9 Jesus tells the Pharisees their guilt remains because they are blind to the truth of who He is.  In the end of our journey to Siloam I hope we have a renewed passion to help people around the world remove their guilt by trusting in Jesus Christ.  This trip and our potential move to Burundi has become so much about us and what we need to do and where we need to go that I have almost lost sight of the true reason to go in the first place. To share Christ. To share the Light. To tell people, “your guilt does not need to remain! You can be free!”  When we first decided to pursue missions Darrell said, “It’s better for a man to go to Heaven blind than for him to go to Hell seeing.”  May our hearts return to that call.  To lead people to the true healer of our souls and if they happen to get some eye surgery out of the deal then that’s an awesome bonus!


After we walk to Siloam, I can’t wait to see what remains once the mud is washed away.  I hope we follow the blind man’s example and go back to Jesus rejoicing and worshiping, no matter what the waters reveal….knowing He is faithful in all things and will never leave us nor forsake us. 


“Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt, but since you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.” John 9:41

Shouldn’t we be perfect by now?

When Darrell and I first saw those two beautiful, miraculous, terrifying double blue lines on the pregnancy test we had opposite reactions.  I left the kitchen to cry.  He threw his arms in the air and  said, “thank you Lord, what a blessing!”  It was hard for me.  The previous week the kids had been out of control and I had one of those “SOMETHING has to change or I will die” moments multiple times. I was not ready to face another baby.

If someone had asked what I thought I would look like at six kids I would have said something far from my current reality.  I thought I would be so patient, wise, calm, collected, and basically that I would have it all together.  As Darrell and I laid in bed that fateful night I said, “I thought I would look different from this. I thought I would yell less and be a consistent discipliner and gentle mother.” I was in tears at this point….”why is it that six kids looks a lot different than what I thought it would?”

I have really struggled with this.  I hate that when people offer to help me I usually need it. I have to humble myself and say, “yes, please take this bag or push this stroller.”  It’s hard to admit you need help. To show up to Bible study with your hair unbrushed, missing your actual Bible study book, and forgetting one, two, three, four, or five kid lunches.

In each moment of disfunction that I face I remember character after character in the Bible, the weak ones, the ones who royally screwed up. David the adulterer, Gideon the wimp, the adulterous woman who walks away forgiven, Moses the murderer.  They all failed at some point, but God redeemed.

I know that perfection will never happen. I also know that each child brings a new level of refinement, love, and joy.  More importantly, I know that God can use me despite all of my daily mistakes and mishaps.  I am deeply excited to meet our newest baby in the next 5 weeks and I simply pray that through the difficult days, and there will be many, that I will get on my knees and look to Him for my strength.

2 Corinthians 12:10 “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

How we got here

In the Spring of 2011  Darrell and I were inspired by good friends to read the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  We have been deeply changed since. God began to chip away at our hearts and our ideas of what we wanted in life.  By the end of reading the book, we had mutually decided to pursue serving overseas and preferably in Africa.  In our new enthusiasm we contacted a friend of ours who was working in Kenya at the time.  His name is John Cropsey and he invited us to consider joining their team of doctors in Burundi one day.  We felt in that moment that God was leading us to begin pursuing moving to Burundi.

Over the past two and half years we have taken mentorship classes and Bible study through World Harvest Mission (our hopeful sending agency) and have been in contact with the team throughout their fundraising, language training, and their recent arrival in Burundi.  God has been preparing us in ways that have been painful, but we have come out of it with a stronger marriage, family, and most of all relationship with God.  Our Air Force commitment will end in June of 2015 and that is when we hope to depart for language school for 10 months.  After language school we will then move to Burundi.

We have gone through so many emotions in the last few years but each of them has led us back to this fundamental truth, God uses broken, imperfect people.  So there is some hope for us! We are normal people who struggle every day to honor God in our work and parenting, there is nothing sparkly or missionary like about us.  We cling to the promise in God’s Word that he will use us despite all of our mistakes. Please join us on this adventurous journey!

Titus 3:5

“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 5:8

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Documenting our journey to Burundi.