Masthead header


There are 143 million orphans in the world today.

It would take thousands of words and blog posts to explain all that has been happening in my heart this year with regard to that one sentence. I have felt like an observer at my own operation: watching God-the-surgeon peel back layers of my heart and cut away the calluses so that I can feel what He feels for the fatherless and mom-less children of the world. I appreciate the surgery, but it’s been painful in ways I didn’t anticipate because those things that God removed? They weren’t bad, they were just in the way. I’m left now with a heart I don’t know as well as I knew the old one. I can say that I love His house more than ever, but I’m less passionate in my opinion about “how church should run” than ever. Volume of music? Don’t care. Contemporary or traditional? Both are great. Seeker-sensitive or believer-focused? Fantastic. I’m finding that on the issues that the American Church keeps hashing and re-hashing, I just don’t have a dog in the fight .

Having said all that, I ran into a scripture this morning that did me in. I’ve never read Hosea in the Message before and – wow – it’s pretty explicit. But Hosea 2, one of the most beautiful chapters in the Bible, is especially breathtaking in this translation as it details the process of God calling back the lost and broken one. Read it and weep:

“I’ll plant her in the good earth. I’ll have mercy on No-Mercy. I’ll say to Nobody, ‘You’re My dear Somebody,’ and he’ll say, ‘You’re my God!'”

I’ve been to Africa and I’ve seen how orphans live. In terms of rescue, I can’t imagine a better plan than this verse. To be planted, to have mercy and to be noticed and known by God Himself…that’s big stuff. And I wonder, if God was going to say to a child, “You’re My dear Somebody,” who’s voice would He use? I bet it would sound a lot like yours. And mine.

For His dear Somebody’s,


P.S. Here are a few of the Somebody’s living at Kings Kids Village in Nairobi, Kenya. They will get to stay at KKV until they’re ready to make homes of their own. Isn’t God just so fantastic?

July 6, 2008 - 2:06 am

Ann Dunagan - hmmm….

And how does one go about having the Lord expand our heart for these precious little ones . . . without worrying or coming out of God’s joy or getting overwhelmed?

Just yesterday, my college-age daughter and I returned from Uganda where we were checking up on an orphanage we started a bit over 2 years ago (with 160 kiddos and 33 adults). And then we were assesing a second orphan situation . . . that is so huge. It’s really totally beyond us. Hundreds of orphan children, no outside support, so many buildings needed, and on and on . . . and precious children we met and held in our arms (currently being fed and taughr by some of our dearest long-time minstry coworkers). We’re trying to seek God’s will for us. To stay in faith. To be obedient. To be unity as a husband and wife . . . and to hear God’s voice.

These somebody’s are really pulling on my heart.

I love you Bo.

July 6, 2008 - 4:56 am

bolovesjoe - I know exactly what you mean, Ann…I’ve been thinking many of those same thoughts myself. I guess what I’ve been feeling is that the way you tackle anything with overwhelming odds is the same way David tackled Goliath: pick five good weapons and let at least one of them fly. I keep going back to the bottom line that I can only do the specific thing He’s asking me to do – and that causes me to better recognize and appreciate those around me who can do the MILLION things I cannot. I’m thankful for purpose that’s over my head, though…and I’m praying and believing for miracles for your orphans.

July 6, 2008 - 5:57 am

Ann Dunagan - Thanks Bo.

When you talk about purpose that’s “over my head” . . . it reminds me of that older Steven Curtis Chapman song, Dive, and the phrase, “I’m diving in, I’m going deep . . . in over my head I wanna be.”

Diving in the deep end is fun, as long as a person doesn’t drown or fall on the rocks (second-guessing like Cassie did last summer cliff jumping at the pocket.)

I seriously value your friendship so much, Bo! Your praying and believing for us means a lot. The idea of taking on more orphan kiddos could be so exciting, but Jon and I need to know if we’re supposed to radically “dive” in, or not.

Did David ever hear an audible “word” from God to go against Goliath, or did he just know that God’s anointing was with him, God’s people were being attacked by the enemy, and SOMEONE needed to stand up for God. He’s just known as the little guy that God was able to be BIG through. And maybe our little “rocks” don’t have to be anything special. Someone has to glorify God and RUN to that giant.


May God show us.

July 6, 2008 - 1:15 pm

Jenna - Bo, I can relate to that unusual peeling back that the great surgeon does. He has birthed something in me in the last year that literally took labour and about 10 months and it is all wrapped in His love for those orphans. I felt like in the midst of that painful peeling back and stripping away of so much He revealed His heart in me. That’s what’s left-His raw,compassionate, merciful, loving heart beating so deep in me that sometimes I can hardly breathe. I feel exactly the same as you said once, these dreams HAVE ME, not the other way around. It is so amazing to sense the sliver of God’s value and hope that He aches to convey to these countless orphans. I am so thankful my Spirit has been awakened in this way that it leads me to that “pure religion” that the Word talks about. I would love to chat with you more sometime, for your heart blows on the already burning coals in me.

July 6, 2008 - 11:35 pm

bolovesjoe - Ann & Jenna – I can hear in both of your hearts, the heart of the Father who loves His own. I wish the answers were easier or more apparent…I wish more people were willing to tackle the impossible…but I know that what is happening in each of you will be beautiful and powerful and life-changing for many. Exciting days ahead…I just know it!

September 16, 2008 - 1:20 pm

Tuesday’s Child - Volume 7 « Bo Stern - […] she’s become dear to my heart over the past few months.  Her name is Judy and she is one of “God’s Dear Somebody’s” at Kings Kids Village in Nairobi.  Judy came to KKV two years ago and she has quite a story.  Her […]

October 11, 2008 - 12:48 am

More than you ever wanted to know about…ME. « Bo Stern - […] I LOVE Costco! Your summer? Filled with vision. Love someone? Yep.  My family, friends and 143 millions others.  With all my heart. Your favorite color? Red (but currently kind of an orange-y red)! When is the […]

Twenty Years Later

Today – July 2 – is the anniversary of the day that we loaded our suitcase, our baby and a bag of Salsa Kettle Chips into our car for a quick trip to Black Butte to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday with my family. Whitney was 13 months old and REALLY fussy from a lingering cold she’d been fighting and she spent exactly 100% of the minutes in her car seat wanting NOT to be in her car seat. I considered taking her out. I had done it before on long trips, though not often…we just really wanted to do something to make her feel better. I can’t really explain it – all I can say is that every time I reached for her, I just felt a giant NO. About 45 minutes into the trip, we rounded a corner on the curvy mountain pass and came face-to-face with a car being driven by a guy who’d been celebrating the holiday early. (Um…who drinks a bunch of beer and then throws the empty cans and TWO LITTLE GIRLS in the car for a road trip? Turns out, it wasn’t his first time driving in that condition.)

I don’t remember the impact, but I awoke to an eerily quiet world, wrapped in a jumbled mass of metal. A doctor who happened to be a few cars behind us was helping Whitney. His wife – a nurse – was helping me. Steve was wandering up and down the road in a shocked stupor, trying to figure out who and where he was.

Though it was a really tough day and a long recovery, I can’t think of a time that was filled with more destiny or hope or peace. I’m so grateful for God’s mercy and protection in the middle of a road on an ordinary trip on an extraordinary day. I’m thankful for His grace in taking us through it and not around it. I’m thankful that my baby lived to tell the story – and shares the scars on her beautiful face with the world without shame or regret. I’m just really thankful for it all. And I’m also reminded that God can do the greatest things with the hardest times.  He blessed us then…

He blesses us now…

Twenty years later.

Amazed by grace,


July 3, 2008 - 6:11 am

Kristin Bryan - Freaking A Bo! That one made me cry too. You need to stop it with these cry-worthy posts

July 3, 2008 - 6:12 am

Katie - I cry every time you tell that story (especially when Steve tells it – yikes!)…and now is no exception. It’s insane how a moment of such terror and tragedy can become so beautiful and purposeful when seen through the eyes of someone looking for Jesus.

P.S. I love the way you write and speak and communicate and I think you need to manufacture a pill that can get me to sound as good and wonderful as you. 🙂

July 3, 2008 - 6:17 am

Katie - Re-read it…crying again.

July 3, 2008 - 1:20 pm

bolovesjoe - Kristin – sorry. I’ll try to lighten things up around here! Also, btw, not to get too heavy or deep or meaningful, but I saw you on worship with Luke tonight and I…hmmm…I know it sounds silly but I was just really…in a word? Happy. Really happy about who you are and all that you guys are becoming. Nicely done. Actually – there was more than that – look me up because I’d love to share it with you.

Katie…um…wow. You don’t need to ever ask me for any help with communication and I hope that preaching the Word tonight made you certain of that. I couldn’t be more proud of you if you were my very own. 🙂

And Whit & Corey: I didn’t mean to make you cry in Mexico, but this day – this big anniversary day – just does it to me. Every year – no,every DAY – I’m so thankful for your life, Whit. And every day I’m so grateful for your presence in our family, Corey. I love you guys and am excited for you to be home.

July 3, 2008 - 2:11 pm

cass-a-rooh - This post makes me really excited for 15 years from now… the stories and scars my little bro Elijah will share with the world. He already shares them… but i’m sure it will be even better when he’s a little bit older.

there are few things that delight me more than to see someone living in God’s purpose and in victory over the enemies attacks!!! Way to Go Whit.. and Corey =)

July 3, 2008 - 10:39 pm

Kristin Bryan - I even teared up just reading your response to Whitney on here..
and I would love to hear what you have to say.
I quit my job.. so I’ll be 50% more available in about a week and a half. So we should get together – I’ll buy you coffee, you give me eternal wisdom.. sounds like a good trade to me???

July 3, 2008 - 10:56 pm

Kristin Bryan - On a different note (and a shameless plug)
I started a new blog (new job = new blog)
and you should visit it.. and tell your friends about it (and maybe they’ll click on my real estate blog while they’re there.. and they’ll let me help them find a house.. and we will be able to eat this month)
anyway.. I’m working at Perry Jones Interior Designs. and my new blog is

July 4, 2008 - 5:26 am

Jennifer - I just have to say, your whole family is so inspirational. I don’t get to talk to you much, but I love you, and love how you freely offer so much wisdom. You’ve had such an impact on my life Bo!

July 4, 2008 - 5:38 am

bolovesjoe - Thanks Jennifer and Cassie…you ladies are amazing.

Kristin…shameless plugs are what the worldwide web is all about! I like you’re new blog (wow, I wrote “bog” like 17 times before I got it right)…I totally LOVE design sites and really need a lot more ways to spend my free time. 🙂 Coffee…yes! I have a fabulously open couple of weeks before I leave on vacation. Shoot me an email with a couple of options!

July 4, 2008 - 5:39 am

bolovesjoe - Oh, I just HATE that I wrote “you’re” instead of “your”. That’s one of my grammar peeves. Tori got home from Mexico at 3:00 a.m. and I clearly haven’t recovered from the sleep interruption.

July 5, 2008 - 5:17 am

Whitney - All of you are all so gushy on this blog! But I must admit that I cried, and soon after me Corey was crying after reading this, so way to go. To add to the crying mess of things, the sunburn on my forehead makes my scars stand out even more, but I really like it that way. I consider myself lucky to have these scars – and how many people do you know that want their scars to be MORE visible than they are? Anyway, we’re having a blast in Mexico, but we’re both so terribly excited to be home. We’re sad we’re missing you on the 4th of July, but maybe we can have a late celebration when we get back since it’s the holiday with all of my favorite food! Thanks, Mom, for the beautiful blog. I feel so fortunate to have the wonderful family that I do. Don’t miss us too much today. Love you lots, talk to you soon! -Whitney
PS Congrats on the new job, Kristin!

The Wonderful Katie

Today is the birthday of my beloved Katie.  She has been my assistant for two years and my friend for way longer.  While I’m sure being my assistant looks like a job loaded with glitz and glamor around every turn…it’s actually…um…not so much.  And she is great, great at keeping me sane, settled and in attendance at meetings I would otherwise miss because Outlook remains pretty much a mystery to me.  I appreciate her for a million reasons, here are a few of them:

  • She makes excellent faces in meetings.
  • She is clever and witty in ways that most of us can only dream of becoming someday.
  • She is overqualifed for her job, but does it with passion and skill out of love for God’s house.
  • She has walked with her high school small group so faithfully through up’s and down’s…and MORE down’s…and many would have bailed.  Because my daughter is in her group, I appreciate her steady, wise pastoring more than I can say.
  • She keeps me clued in to cool, new music and then I pretend I discovered it myself.
  • She is my only friend who also loves Parilla and it’s there that she introduced me to the Red Headed Step Child which is quite a lovely little wrap.
  • She is patient.
  • She loves the Word and knows it well.
  • She is prophetic.
  • She will be a great, great mom someday.
  • She brings coffee to the office when she knows stressful meetings are going on.  Not that there are ever stressful meetings in a church…but you know, if there were…she’d bring coffee.
  • She is a great speaker, though she’s not convinced about that fact herself just yet.  Soon.

I just love Katie, and I’m so thankful for the way she puts up with the good and bad of her job inside a high-velocity megachurch and her job with an unorganized, emotional half-boss (Jay is the other half of her boss collection).

You are wonderful, Katie, and I’m believing that 26 is going to be the very best ever.

I love you!


P.S.  My gift to you?  I didn’t put a picture in this post.  Kidding!  I’ll get you a real gift.

July 1, 2008 - 12:56 pm

tessabigail - Yes, Indeed Katie is amazing. And yes she has been your faithful assistant, I can only imagine how hard that must be… Just kidding {:)

Love ya! (both of you) 🙂

♥♥♥ Tess

P.S. I found your cute little smiley face in the bottom left corner 🙂

July 2, 2008 - 6:14 am

Jezi - YAY! we get to celebrate another year of Katie. i too love her dearly !


Blog confessional #427: I LOVE Egg McMuffins. Love ’em! Recently my friend, Debbie, told me a wonderful thing. In fact, it’s so fantastic that I don’t know how it escaped my attention all these years and I’m totally excited to pass it on to you. Ready? Here it is: she told me that you can order your eggs “folded”. This is brilliant news because I don’t like the hard-yolk thing going on in the original. I was thrilled, but it sounded too good to be true.

So, this morning I finally tried it. And I was worried that they would laugh or be all What are You Talking About? Pushing fear aside, I bravely ordered “One Egg McMuffin, folded eggs…please?” And they didn’t say anything at all except “That will be $2.49 at the second window.” Sure enough, the eggs were totally scrambled and beautifully folded between layers of cheese and bacon and English muffin.

Brilliant idea, my friends. Brilliant.

Passing the egg love on to you,


P.S. I wonder what time it is in Mexico.

June 29, 2008 - 1:44 am

Katie - Dangit, I left you a comment but it didn’t save it, so here it is again:

One word: igoogle.

Because of igoogle, I know that it is currently 1:30pm in Mexico, 9:30pm in Uganda, it’s 75 degrees here, Obama has a big lead in New Jersey, and ignominy is another word for disgrace.

July 1, 2008 - 10:47 am

becky sipe - thank the lord for mcmuffins!

Talk is cheap…or not.

And oh, my dear Timothy, guard the treasure you were given! Guard it with your life. Avoid the talk show religion and the practiced confusion of the so-called experts. People caught up in a lot of talk can miss the whole point of faith. 2 Timothy 6:20

I’ve journaled on this scripture – not once – but several times in the last few months. I also printed it out on bright white paper, cut it into a crooked rectangle, and thumbtacked it up in front of my desk in my office where I can always see it when I study. It’s a verse that really, really matters to me.

Last year, I was in a season of wondering what was next in life and work and ministry, and a lot of questions were stirring about who I am and where I fit. I mulled and measured and considered and prayed, and one day…this scripture. It might not mean the same thing to everyone, but I know exactly what it meant for me. It was a clear and concise answer to a big and complicated question. The message of the gospel cannot be bargained, bartered, bought or sold. It’s free for all and freeing TO all who make it their only hope.

I’m deeply in love with this verse because it threw itself in front of the speeding-freight-train of my confusion and stopped me from what would have been either a bloody wreck at the bottom of the cliff or a narrow miss at the target of my destiny. Either one is equally devastating in terms of end result and eternal reward.

Powerful stuff, the Word of God. Has it ever jumped in the path of peril in your life?

Thankful for guard rails,