my heart was stolen…& i don’t want it back

Africa.

It was  never a dream of mine to visit this country.  Honestly, I never really planned on going.  That was before last summer, when I read War Child.  My heart broke into a million pieces as I read that book.  About this same time, my church was planning a few trips to Sudan and Uganda.  We partner with a local church in Sudan and help them run two orphanages.  So….I went.  This was August 2009.

I’m sitting here now, trying to remember what changed me so much in the two 1/2 weeks I spent in Uganda and Sudan.  Almost 8 months later, here are the moments I remember most. 

My home away from home (in Sudan) – and that blasted mosquito net!  See that fan in the top of the pic?  We had electricity for about 2 hours every day.  It would shut off riiiiiiight about the time I was falling asleep.  Then…boom.  Hot, hot, sweat myself to sleep….and deathly quiet.  (plus the blackest nights I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.)

We trained hard for this moment, the moment we faced the African roads.  Ohmygoodness.  Never in my life have I experienced a road so horrible.

This was Day-o (I have NO clue how to really spell it, but that’s how we pronounced it.  He gave us water every day, and he was always dressed like a gentlemen.  I ::adore:: him.  Plus, he had the highest voice…ever.  Ugh, slay me with that cuteness.  His cheerful, “Hello, how are you?” made the sleepiest morning better. 
The first child I made contact with at the orphanage.  Their red and yellow uniforms were ahhh-mazing.  Until I learned they were the only clothes they had, the uniform on their backs.  *sigh*

So, from that moment on,  I hugged and kissed every child I saw…ringworms and all.  Told you.  Photo below taken by Daniel Davis.

Sad moments – like looking into the eyes of a child, sick with maleria.

Awkward moments – like peeing in a corn field, trying to ‘miss’ anything that looked edible. (While every African in the area watched my every move.  I mean, I was going in their garden…whoops.)

and being um…welcomed(?) into the community?  I guess the cook didn’t understand the concept of private property and personal space.  Poor Paul, he almost lost it taking the picture.  Can you blame him? 

Learning how quickly a smile can leap across any language barrier.

Spending time laughing and working with the mothers at the orphanage.  Very few of them had children of their own in the orphanages, but they each looked after 8+ children that were practically their own.  (photo taken by Daniel Davis)

And that dancing is also a language.  Steal my heart away, you sweet children, with your drums and your chants and your precious harmonies.


Sneaking out to explore our compound, and running into some local children…and quickly getting my camera taken away by one of the older girls. Click, click, click…

which led to one of my favorite moments, captured by Daniel.

There were times of joy, higher than I thought were ever possible…
Like giving away deodorant to the mothers who were working at the orphanage.  They called it ‘pit perfume.’

and hanging out with the orphanage pastor – before he tried to steal me away. When he couldn’t take me, he stole my hat instead.  Yep, my Fossil girl’s hat is being worn by an African pastor….hopefully, at this very moment.

There was also a time when my stupidity almost led to my death.  Never go into the streets of Sudan alone with a huge bag of free Dum Dum suckers and think you can get out without starting a riot.  This led to me chunking a bag full of hundreds of Dum Dums into a ditch and running, as fast as I could, the other direction before the riot got any more out of control.  The best part was driving away, seeing people lining the streets with white sucker sticks hanging from their mouths.  Ha! At least they were happy.

These faces – oh, those faces.  This is George….he has a piece of me.  I wanted to SQUEEZE him and bring him home with me. 

The happiness a camera can bring…once they see themselves. Silly faces will never get old.


(this photo was taken by Paul – Thank you!)

Falling in love with these two beautiful little girls and having it confirmed even more that I will adopt one day.  One of these lovely ladies was crippled, but that never kept her from smiling…or dancing.

There were many, many, many happy times.  But there were also hard and heart wrenching times that caused me to pull my chair into the garden, in the pitch black, alone, underneath the most incredible display of stars, crying my eyes out and pleading for the Lord to save these people from any more tragedy.  They were too young to be orphaned, widowed, fatherless, to lose limbs… Like these two babies, left helpless and alone because their parents had been taken by HIV but not before passing the sickness on to them.  We saw the virus already taking control of their tiny bodies. 

We witnessed an African funeral.  The second week we were there, a preacher in the community had a motorcylce accident and died two days later because he didn’t have transportation to the hospital for a tetanus shot.  At the funeral, I heard the mother sobbing and saw the newly fatherless children in the corner.  They clinged to each other and cried the saddest little tears.  I’ve never, in my entire life, witnessed something that heartbreaking.  We were so helpless, just feet away from this family who had unexpectedly  lost so much in such a short time.

But then, the pastor and his wife from the church we were working with brought the fatherless children back to our camp.  And, with the help of bubbles and a few jump ropes, we saw them smile.  In no way were these huge smiles and fits of laughter, but they were grins and enough to take their mind off the tragedy that was so fresh.  We heard their story and our team pooled enough money together to completely pay for the eldest sons higher education.  He’s going to be an architect.  And a great one.



My team from The Village Church consisted of nurses, photographers, and teachers, and me -ha.  We were joined by the Sudanese team of pastors, widows, church members, orphanage workers, and doctors.  The African people were the most loving and thoughtful people I’ve ever been in contact with.  Not to mention SO full of life.  I’m so thankful to have met them.  Seriously.  They changed me.  The Lord has changed them and in that, they changed me.

But I will never forget that sky. (photo taken by Daniel Davis)

Or those faces. (another incredible shot by Daniel)

Isaiah 61:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has appointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.

So, one day – one amazing, glorious, magical, awe inspiring day…..

there will be no more sickness, no more hunger,
no more sad faces of little children who watched their parents get murdered by genocide,
no more tattered school uniforms (one per child, that’s all they get…ever), no more orphanages without toys or pencils or enough clean water to go around,
no more maleria, worms, HIV, fleas, mosquitos, dirty water,
no more hurt.

No more.

But until then….He uses us to bring good news and to bind up those broken hearts and to put beautiful smiles on perfectly loveable African children.

and so I will.  And one day I will bring one home with me….to stay.
(photo taken by Paul Go Images// in Uganda at the Mosque)

PS – I’m no photographer, BUT we did have some fabulous ones with us!! To see their images (they are breath taking) go to:
www.danieldavisphoto.com
and
www.paulgoimages.com

AMAZING work those boys do…..simply amazing.

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174 Responses to “my heart was stolen…& i don’t want it back”

  1. D McDade Says:

    Awww! Looking at all your pictures reminded me of my own trip to Nigeria in 2001. I tell everyone that if you ever get the chance to visit Africa, go! I absolutely fell in love with the people and their infectiously joyous outlook on life, I mean how could you not!! Need to go back ASAP!!

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Hi, new friend!! 🙂 Thanks for your sweet words and for checking out my little blog. They really are the most wonderful people. Oh, be still my heart. I cannot even handle it.

      Happy packing!!! Have so much fun on your upcoming road trip!!

  2. Paul G Says:

    Revelations 21:4-5

    Thanks for remembering all this, Stephens. We’ll make it back there. Sudan 2011!!!…Pending a peaceful election and secession vote, of course.

  3. Amanda Says:

    Sobbing as I read this post. At the beginning you said “trying to remember what changed me so much in the two 1/2 weeks I spent in Uganda and Sudan”. It is called the ‘magic of Africa’. I should have warned you. Once you go, it captures your heart….or as I have written many times- ‘Africa asks you to dance and never lets you out of it’s embrace.’ You will never be whole until you feel the wheels of the plane touch down again on that continent. As you touch down you will physically feel your heart lost, rejoin your heart left….it is powerful and real.
    I could see you there – your heart, your beauty, your love – you have much to give to that continent. ❤

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      You have the most beautiful heart. Let’s go back one day!!! Africa misses you. I LOVE that quote you wrote!! You described it perfectly, in such a gorgeous way.

      When are we going? Sign me up, dear.

  4. Richard Muske Says:

    Of all the blogs and all the posts I have ever read, this one is by far the most beautiful, the most vulnerable, the most hopeful, the most gut wrenching, the most eloquent, the most sincere…

    …the best.

  5. Promotional Pens Says:

    Wow these pictures are gorgeous. My parents were both born in Uganda in the 50s and the pictures they show me of the country and its people are just gorgeous. I have always wanted to travel there, and so I applied to do some relief work there and am waiting to see if I was accepted. This blog definitely has me pumped to go though! JAMBO!

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Jambo, indeed. Thank you for reading my post and for your kind words. I say Go!!! It will change you. The people are unbelievable! 🙂 and let me know when you go!! I’d love to read about your experience!

  6. joymaez Says:

    What a beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing with those of us who are not able to visit such places so far away.

  7. bookjunkie Says:

    The children are so beautiful and so are you! From your words I can see your beautiful heart and soul shining through 🙂

  8. Tom Gilbert Says:

    Hi Sunshine and Starlight, A friend of mine blogs on WordPress and I check out the blogs from time to time and decided to read your blog. I just want to say thank you for bringing more awareness to those who have so much and most times don’t appreciate even the little things that they do have. Our poorest are so much more fortunate then the average person in Africa. Your pictures were wonderful and the descriptions great. I enjoyed your blog. I may never make it to Africa, so I thank you for giving me a little bit from your experience. God bless your ministry.

  9. Breland Kent Says:

    What a spectacular blog and I really like all of the photos 🙂

  10. samuel philip Says:

    hi lightening

  11. freemasonry Says:

    wow! your article is really awesome. plus! the photos are really fantastic. like you are really happy (sincere).

    Two thumbs up for you!

    Greetings from the Philippines!

    Count Clement II

    http://www.bestspotsinthephilippines.blogspot.com/

  12. eviejane Says:

    Simply beautiful

  13. Sketch Says:

    We’ve been reading Isaiah 61 at my church for about two months now, almost at every service. It’s been on our hearts. I’m glad God brought you into the world and sent you there. I’m glad you said “I’m here, send me.” You’re a gift. ❤
    Love in Christ,
    -TiA

  14. melanirae Says:

    Lovely post and photos. I had a chance to go to Botswana with my university, and I didn’t take it. I regret it all the time 😦 Glad to see you love it so much!

  15. sjwhipp Says:

    Amazing. Beautiful pictures, beautiful story! Thanks for sharing! This makes me want to volunteer in Africa.

  16. Eric Says:

    Very moving! God bless you!

  17. Chrissy Says:

    This is beautiful, Laura. You inspire me.

  18. AL Borozon Says:

    Buenos Dias,

    An amazing report and photo journey.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us.

  19. Douja Says:

    It’s simply beautiful the way you put smiles on these children’s faces.. your amazing!

  20. april Says:

    beautiful post.

  21. Sarah Says:

    This was beautifully written!!! I’m inspired to see you over there spreading the word!

  22. ~ calista ~ Says:

    I just clicked on your blog from the recently posted list. Thank you so much for this story! God bless you!!!

  23. Kimi Says:

    I was reading a book called, “Honeymoon with my Brother,” and one of their trips was to Africa–highly recommend reading. The lesson learned was that despite the devastation, diseased and war torn countries, the people they came across kept smiling and showed such admirable resiliance. To think we in America have SO much and yet we sulk and complain every time we don’t get hot water, or the t.v. is out, or the steak we get is not cooked properly, we lost our iPhone or iPad or iPod and think the world is coming to an end, but the third world countries have SO little and yet they smile and are content. Your story is truly another testament of life outside of what First World citizens are used to and how we should not take life for granted. The Bible, too, is an excellent book (above all books to read and be reminded of who our neighbor is). I hope your church makes it an annual program (not just to help those outside of America but in America as well). Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      I heard that’s an excellent book!! I will add it to my list. I LOVE reading, so know I’ll pick up a copy of it soon. The Bible is a beautifully magical book, isn’t it? So, so true.

      Yes, we have much to be thankful for. Thank you for stopping by my blog and for sharing your heart. I really appreciate it.

      Have a lovely evening. 🙂

  24. Jewaira Says:

    It’s always a pleasure to read such inspirational posts. Thank you

  25. Dev Says:

    Amazing!!

  26. moviesaccordingtodes Says:

    Your blog was beautiful. So inspiring.
    I teared up many times. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  27. Just Me Says:

    Beautiful, inspiring and heartbreaking all at the same time! A very touching post. Thank you for that.

  28. magicbeanbuyer123 Says:

    Thank you for this blog and these pictures. I was flipping through the blogs as a distraction from what I thought was a horrible day, only to have you show me how incredibly lucky I am. God bless you and these beautiful children.

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Oh goodness, I hope it made your day a little brighter. I have a picture of these sweet kids on my phone b/c sometimes I just need to see their faces when I’m having a rough time. It helps. We are lucky. It’s true. Thanks for your kind words.

  29. humanitasremedium Says:

    amazing pictures! looks like you are doing great things!

  30. middleagedplague Says:

    What beautiful photos, wrapped around by sensitive and thoughtful prose. The photo of the baby with malaria was especially haunting — how sad that someone so small and helpless would battle with something so insidious and cruel.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences.
    God Bless.

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Thank you for your kind words and for taking time out of your day to read then post them. That sweet baby broke my heart. His sweet eyes. You’re right, they were haunting. I’m thankful to have gotten a chance to help. Have a lovely week!

  31. sanchovi Says:

    Wow! Such an inspiring post! It makes me want to head straight over there and help out!

  32. Joyce Dean-Wolf Says:

    I cannot even find the words to eloquently write what I am feeling. I am so grateful for you. I whole heartedly love you. It’s one thing to see the children with yellow eyes & bloated bellys from a distance but to experince it so close from a view point of a friend….is a rude awakening. I have SO much to be thankful for. Thank you, do jeh, dêkuji, toda, merci, gracias, spasibo, dankie, wado, mahalo

  33. Michele Says:

    Wow. I’m so touched by your experience and the wonderful way you exhibited for us to see. I feel it in my plan to one day go to Africa to help put smiles on faces, too. I’m glad I stumbled on your blog.

  34. ratsindear Says:

    I think you work is so inspiring…its not just your heart that was stolen…you have stolen readers hearts too with this inspiring blog post..each picture told a story…thank you for sharing your experiences with us…

  35. Vanessa McKellar Says:

    Wow, looks really amazing and obviously life-changing. Thanks for sharing.

  36. Marco Says:

    Beautiful post..

    Right now I’m overwhelmed, speechless an certainly in doubt with you and this people for leaving a beautiful warm feeling in my heart, part sadness, part impotence but mainly HOPE.

    If they can transmit so much on photos.. imagine the effect in person.

    Beautiful post
    THANKS

  37. pancakebliss Says:

    This experience must’ve been extraordinary. I want to do something like this one day.

  38. Henry Says:

    Did I ever tell you that you’re a great girl ?
    Really…

  39. fondutv Says:

    Sounds like an adventure!

  40. sweetgurlang Says:

    I stumbled upon this blog from the wordpress freshly pressed page and I want to tell you I am in awe of your experience there and moved by your story. I praise you for bringing happiness and faith to those you met and being so selfless in going. I loved the pictures, as they took me to a place I have never been, and may never get the chance to go. You and those who went with you are amazing, kind hearted people. God Bless!!

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad you stumbled on by! It’s so fun to ‘meet’ people in the blog world. I appreciate you taking the time to read and share your thoughts. Have a lovely week, sweetgurlang!

  41. Club Dine In! Says:

    wow, very inspiring. I hope to go to Africa one day. Just amazing.

  42. lreh Says:

    Awww… If I were you I dun want my heart back too. Because you really want to go back there again and again. A simple kindness really goes a longggg way. Glad to know that there is still selfless people like you in this dog-eat-dog world ! =)

  43. Gilbert wilkerson Says:

    Wow, I came across this while blogging. This was the most inspiring thing I have seen in a long time. This girl is one of a kind. Her smile while ministering to these children is so Christ Like. If I ever go to Africa I want to go with her. She is so sweet. Her pictures of her journey is full of love for these destitue people. I know she brought a lot of hope. Whoever you are little girl, God bless you for sharing your story.

  44. courtneykane Says:

    What a lovely post. I spent a year and a half working in orphanages in Central America and the Caribbean so I can relate to everything you say. There is something so beautiful and heartwrenching in the openness of orphaned children. You ask yourself, how can they love me so willingly when they have been hurt so bad? How can they laugh and love so freely? Children have a lot to teach us about love, forgiveness, optimism, and courage.
    I admire your courage in following your heart (I see it paid off for you as it paid off for me, and that it changed your life just as it changed mine) and I applaud you for sharing your experience with the world. I am sure it will inspire others to follow in your footsteps.

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Oh, I would LOVE to hear about your experiences. It’s my dream to work in an orphanage one day. Everything you said is so true. Thanks for your kind words and for taking the time to comment. Have a lovely day, Courtney!

  45. Ayo Says:

    Thank you for your story . You have captured so many stories all with your camera and pen. Inspiring. God Bless you.

  46. Amy Says:

    LOVED this post…I’m an Assimilation Director at a “mega church” and have never really been moved to go to Africa on a missions trip…until this.

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Oh wow, what an encouraging thing to say. Thank you so much. I never wanted to go to Africa either, then something clicked in my heart. If you decide to go, please let me know. I’d love to hear about it. Have a great day Amy!!

  47. theanonymousblog00 Says:

    Simply amazing, and you make me feel like a world class jerk for not doing anything with my life.

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Ha!! I laughed out loud after reading this. (In a totally non rude way, of course.) Thanks for your kind words and for reading this little blog of mine. I’m sure you aren’t a jerk at all – just find something that stirs your heart and go for it. 🙂 Have a nice evening!

  48. cMac Says:

    This is so great!

    Thankyou so much for sharing. You are beautiful and all of the people you met are beautiful. Such a life changing experience!!!

    (coming from a photographer, i love the last photo)

    *subscribe

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Thanks, CMac!! I’m thankful you stopped by the blog and shared your thoughts. I do appreciate that very much. Aren’t they so lovely? And to think those teeth were so perfect b/c they brushed with tree branches. Hehe. That was always a funny thing to see. Thanks again for stopping by. I’ll be sure to check out your work!

  49. Babs Says:

    I stumbuled upon your blog completely by accident and I am greatful that I did.

    Beautiful photographs and your words well written.

    I want to thank you, keep sharing your love and experiences with everyone, soon may your kind-heart and love spread like wild-fire across the entire nation as we truly are one~

    Peace & Love~

  50. Rohit Says:

    I am happy for you for the fact that you atleast know what is happening outside your country and continent. You are one of the privileged few. My father used to work in Nigeria and your blog did take me back in time. We led a comfortable but at times scary life. Imagine the plight of those who have nothing to fall back upon.

    I am pasting an e-mail I recd. a few weeks back.

    A World wide survey was conducted by the UN. The only question asked was:

    “Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food
    shortage in the rest of the world?”

    The survey was a huge failure,

    In Africa they didn’t know what ‘food’ meant,
    In India they didn’t know what ‘honest’ meant,
    In Europe they didn’t know what ‘shortage’ meant,
    In China they didn’t know what ‘opinion’ meant,
    In the Middle East they didn’t know what ‘solution’ meant,
    In South America they didn’t know what ‘please’ meant,
    And in the USA they didn’t know what ‘the rest of the world’ meant!

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Hi, Rohit. We all have a lot to learn about the world and what is going on. I have a lot more learning to do. 🙂 I appreciate your thoughts. I’m sure there were many difficult and also some great times in Nigeria. Thanks for sharing and thank you for stopping by my blog.

  51. Rohit Says:

    This girl in the video below was able to open a few eyes. Your blog is like one of these videos which can ignite a few minds and hearts. I hope you dont mind if I promote this blog of yours.

  52. dollykrash Says:

    Awesome blog, awesome pictures, awesome trip! It warms my heart to hear stories like this. You have a great sense of compassion and that is very admirable.

  53. mangoseeker Says:

    I don’t know whether to say your words complemented the pictures or the pictures complemented your words but this was beautiful and thank you for sharing.

    PS by no means does it surpass the significance or the beauty of the rest of the blog, but I have a personal fascination with skies and clouds and that one picture was breath-taking.

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Thanks, mangoseeker! By the way, your name makes me really really want a mango. 🙂 I love skies and clouds too. They stir something within me – to know something much bigger is going on around me. My friend Daniel took the one in the Africa post and my friend Brandon took the one in my header. I have some mighty talented friends. Thanks for stopping by and leaving kind words. I appreciate it!

  54. Dee Says:

    You have such a great experience by visiting them, and you left your heart there? You are such a great person with a warm heart. Great… 😉

  55. cMac Says:

    It’s great that you respond to everyone. Feel free to email me directly. I’d love to hear more about your trip.

    Ciao

  56. nemurichan Says:

    Hi. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    I live in Norway and it’s so hard to get an impression of how people live in countries like Sudan. The media doesn’t focuse that much on powerty. Ony if there’s a war/conflict or an earthqauke.

    The pictures are very strong, and it helped me understand a bit more. Thank you!

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Hello to you in Norway!! Wow, that’s quite far from here. It’s beautiful there! Thank you for your kind words. It’s so neat that the internet can really show a true picture of what’s happening halfway across the world. Have a wonderful week!! And thanks again for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.

  57. Gayatri Ilan Says:

    I don’t call everything that comes in my way beautiful because the word has such a different caliber to it. But this post is truly beautiful.

    Remarkable trip. I also agree with every comment above mine and those that are going to be below mine. =]

    I could’nt leave without saying – magnificient photographs.

    Nice title too.

    Oh! looks like I could go on. =)
    have a nice day.

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Hi, Gayatri!! Your name is fantastic. I appreciate your thoughts and that you took time from your world to read a piece of mine. Thank you. You’re super swell! 🙂 Have a perfectly wonderful week. I appreciate your kindness.

  58. Abhineet Says:

    Hallo how Are you.. a very good morning word to you.
    Y really have nice heart..but I dont have dare to see all these..

    aal is well…….

  59. Young Yi Says:

    Your post is so inspiring.
    It makes me want to take a trip to Africa and lend helping hands to them.
    The world needs more people like you, not only just going there, but bringing back the experience with simple, but amazing things like photos.

    God Bless you and the churches that helped.
    And remember, even though they may be in times of trouble and need, they can simply turn to the Lord and He will provide.

    Philippians 4:13.
    🙂

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Hello, Young Yi! Thank you for taking the time to read and to comment. That blows me away when people are so kind. You should go and let me know how your experience is. I really would love to hear about it. Thanks for the encouragement. God bless you!

  60. The Late Stork Says:

    Lovely post, and you are right, the people find happiness in the most miserable of circumstances. They can certainly teach us lots about being happy with our lives, finding joy each day.

  61. Songbird Says:

    You must have had an amazing journey- in so many ways. Thank you for sharing it with us. I loved the photos… made the whole experience come to life for me. Such beautiful children. The school I work at does a lof charity work for a school in Rwanda, and even though I have never had the opportunity to visit myself, I can appreciate the work that volunteers like yourself do.

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Hi, songbird! That name makes me happy. 🙂 Thank you for your kind comment. The children really are SO beautiful!! Don’t you want to give them everything you own? Oh, they totally broke my heart. I love that you’re helping with Rwanda. We can always find some way to help – we don’t even have to leave our home. Have a great week!

  62. lunaleska Says:

    Wow… This post is amazing…
    I live in South Africa and every now and then we decide to go on holiday in Zimbabwe or Mozambique, but mostly Moz. They have the most amazing beaches and also A LOT of orphans running around yelling “ma’sweetie” if they spot a car. We kept a bag of toffees in the car, and it was finished before the first leg of our trip to the beach.
    But it was amazing. Seeing them survive, hearing the tragic [yet uplifting] stories. It’s marvelous. I plan on putting up our Moz pictures soon…
    Thanx for an amazing post, reminding me on what a beautiful continent I live!

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Whoa – I didn’t realize you lived in South Africa!! I’m totally coming to visit one day. 🙂 I went and saw your pics from Moz. So beautiful. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. You’re such a sweetheart.

  63. Cathiiiie Says:

    You write so candidly about your experience and the photos show a unique joyfulness from you and from the beautiful children that you met. Thank you for your honesty! Cath

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Thanks, Cath! I started to worry that I might have been too candid – but it’s what I thought and experienced so I went with my gut. Thanks for your kind words. It does mean a lot to me. Have a lovely week!

  64. Riem Says:

    that was beautiful.. i enjoyed everything about your post.. from the photos to the description….
    congratulations on your blessed experience…
    Maybe this is the best kind of heartbreak…
    thank you for sharing

  65. Everyday and Everyone. « Lifewidcookies's Blog Says:

    […] And as if to motivate or inspire me, when I checked Freshly Pressed today I saw this one interesting title, ‘my heart was stole…& I don’t want it back’. At first, I thought it must be another blog post about some broken-love sort of thing. Only it wasn’t. It was about ‘making a difference’ to our life and at the same time to others’ life. Read the post for any further detail.  https://sunshineandstarlight.wordpress.com/2010/05/08/my-heart-was-stolen-i-dont-want-it-back/ […]

  66. Eve's reflections Says:

    I’ve heard so many people say that once you go to Africa, you’re changed and you just have to go back. It’s not the landscape, which is obviously amazing. It’s not just the people. I think it’s that despite all the tragedies that people here have gone through, they’re still able to find it in their hearts to be truly joyful, thankful and hopeful. And then share it with everyone else. When I look at these pictures that you’ve so kindly shared, that is what I see.

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Hi, Eva! It does change you. I can’t really explain how that happens but something in your spirit comes alive. I totally agree with you. They are such joyful people. Thanks for your insight. I do appreciate it. Have a beautiful week.

  67. patissonne Says:

    Beautifullll :)))

  68. limenlemons Says:

    what an impactful post! those pictures are fab….not just the quality of the pics but the content 🙂 it just brought so much pleasure to see someone wanting to help kids halfway across the world!

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Thank you!! (by the way, I love lemons) 🙂
      I think it’s impossible to take a bad picture in Africa. You’re surrounded by uniqe and beautiful things! I appreciate you taking the time from your busy day to experience a piece of mine. Thanks again!

  69. Ashley Says:

    It truly saddens me, to see that our America has become quite the pitfall of propoganda. There are other places that need things, and here we sit, tossing “garbage” into landfills while other places could be using them. Thank you for this blog entry. It was as amazing as it’s photos. 🙂

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Yea – that is so true. I’m trying to downsize and not spend just to spend. It’s really difficult here but we can do it. Thanks for reading. I do appreciate it. Have a lovely day and come back sometime! 🙂

  70. Honey Says:

    your article is amazing. and so are you. 🙂 God Bless!

  71. Dr. Archana Jhawar Says:

    Felt a wrench when I read you post, and could not resist myself reading review of autobiography by Emmanuel Jal “war child”, just added to my ‘to be read’ book-list.
    I really appreciate your work and sharing it with others. I am sure there are so many who will be wishing their heart to be stolen the same way but don’t know where to start, hope your story motivated them and made their heart stronger to pursue the dreams.
    God bless you…

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      I’m so glad you’re reading it!!! That book really messed me up – in a good way. It’s so powerful. Thank you so much for your kind words. It means a lot to me that you would take time from your day to stop by here, read this post, and leave your thoughts. Have a lovely week.

  72. Africa « Chad59's Blog Says:

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    […] this blog was about a lady and her friends who traveled to africa to help out in this community ….. ummm she tells alot about wat she did and what went on and who she met. she says that she learned to appreciate every person and love them all. she said she had times of great joy higher than she would ever had expected. she also said that after this she will definitely adopt…. if you want to read more about her story….MY HEART WAS STOLEN ND I DONT WANT IT BACK […]

  75. ::Africa:: « Anna's Blog Says:

    […] This article was about a girl that went with her church to Sudan in Africa. She starts out by saying she never thought about going there but she decided she would go since some people from her church was going. She said that this trip changed her and there where so many great moments. On her bed was a net that she had to sleep under and above the bed was a fan but it only worked for two hours and once it went off she started to sweat. The roads were awful and the little kids at the orphanage only had one outfit and that was the yellow and red uniforms that they wore. The kids loved the camera. It made them so happy seeing themselves in a picture after they made a funny face. Even though some kids where sick or injuried they still smiled.They sky there was beautiful. This is what the whole article talked about and a lot more details. To visit this article click HERE!! […]

  76. varun Says:

    it feels gr8 2 knw dat pepl lik u exist. readin ur story was a real treat. it inspires me to do smthin 4 dese pepl. i salute ur spirit.
    keep on the good wrk. wish u luck 4 evrythin dat u do in ur lyf.

  77. PartTimeVegan Says:

    Beautiful post and thank you for sharing your experience. People are people all over the world and it makes you think a bit more deeply about each of our own daily actions. Thank you, again, for sharing your story and incredible photos.

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  80. bookjunkie Says:

    I had to look at these pictures again….you have the most magnetic smile and I think the kids immediately knew your heart was as pure as theirs 🙂

  81. Henry Says:

    Happiness arrives from unexpected places

  82. GraceKay Says:

    Your pictures are wonderful, thanks for sharing your experience. I keep wanting to go on a short term missions trip, but have yet to start making the arrangements for one.

    I would love to take my son, maybe he would appreciate all that he has and can try and make a difference for others. Sometimes seeing through different eyes helps open our own.

    Thanks for a wonderful post.

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Hi Grace! Or is it Grace Kay? Thanks for your sweet and thoughtful words. It would be such a learning/humbling/life changing/beautiful experience if you took your son on a mission trip. How awesome. Let me know if you guys decide to do it!! I’d love to hear all about it! 🙂

  83. Rebecca Says:

    Oh my. I’m going to Africa in July and am concerned that the same thing is going to happen to me. Afraid I will fall in love with the people as well.

    This is wonderfully written, moving and brilliant. Your writing has quite obviously stirred a lot of emotion in everyone given the number of comments you’ve received. The piece makes me feel like I was there with you, sharing all those moments. Photos are beautiful.

    Keep up the writing.

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Hi, Rebecca! Where are you going in July? I know the same thing will happen to you. Please share your experience/pictures with me. I’d absolutely love it! Thanks for your kind words. It means a lot to me. Have a fantastic week.

  84. Things you should read | Rebecca and the World Says:

    […] my heart was stolen…& i don’t want it back This entry was posted in South Africa, Uncategorized and tagged Africa, courage, South Africa, writing. Bookmark the permalink. ← More to come… […]

  85. unforgiven Says:

    This blog is very good. Thanks for this. I will bookmark this page…

  86. This is it! Says:

    Dearest sunshineandstarlight,

    Bless your precious heart, your precious soul..your precious existence!! Words are not enough to tell you how beautiful your blog is and what you have done to touch these beautiful precious little lambs! I was moved to tears while I was reading your blog and looking at your pictures. Thank you so so much, for sharing this beautiful heartfelt personal expierence with us, the rest of the world. You have left a part of yourself with all these people..I see it in your words,.. loving foot prints of sunshineandstarlight left in these African childrens hearts…what a beautiful place to leave your gracious loving foot prints!! I want to thank you personally as another human being, for helping and loving these precious children, bless you always & forever. I myself have always had this need and craving to go to Africa, it is in my veins, I can’t deny it, it is a flame that heats my soul and warms my aching heart!! One day beautiful one, I will share that lovely journey that you had..God willing! I pray it is sooner than later, because I want to cheerish every second of that memory…I want it forever! Thank you once again for your share, it sits on my mind with love..with a fresh warm breeze of hope!! =)

    A whisper of love,
    guides our souls,
    A journey of passion,
    creates and consoles,
    A memory of fulfilment,
    longing to achieve,
    A blessing of glory,
    spiritually I believe,
    A gratitude of life,
    gracious to share,
    A moment of Africa,
    calling me there.

    Bless You Always~

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Thank you SO MUCH for your thoughtful comment. It made me smile so much. I pray you get to Africa as soon as possible. Your heart and positivity would be so welcomed there. Thanks again for stopping by to read about my trip and to leave such nice thoughts. I appreciate that very much. Have a wonderful week!!

  87. Alberto Lacey Says:

    Very awesome writing! Honestly.

  88. Beverly Says:

    A good friend directed me to your blog and I am so glad that they did.
    You obviously had such a wonderful experience in Africa and your description of your trip is greatly inspiring. I have wanted to go to Africa for a very long time. I love Africa and I really pray that I will get there eventually, but reading your blog has inspired me even more. It is apparent that you have positively touched the hearts and souls of the people you have met on your trip.

    May God bless you for all you do! You are very special.

    • sunshineandstarlight Says:

      Hi, Beverly!! Thank you so much for dropping by and for leaving such thoughtful words. I hope you get a chance to visit soon. You’ll leave a different person. Thanks again and I hope you have a lovely week!

  89. Sabi Says:

    I was researching stuff about children in Africa, and accidently found this blog. I’ve read it, and honestly couldnt keep my tears. It is really a breath taking one. And I love these adorable pictures from your blog, every single one carries so much meaning. I’ve volonteered myself, and I know how it feels like to be helpful. Im glad there are people in the world who help the ones who are in need.
    God Bless You!

  90. Lors (Allo) Says:

    Reading this has truely touched my heart. Bless you!
    sending LOVE huggles and rainbow ricochets your way my dear.

    Always

    Allo (Lors)

    Ps – Pop over to my humble home (blog – daisy chain days) I would love to help spread the word and help in anyway that I can.

    PEACE

  91. hbnathan Says:

    It took some bad luck, losses, depression, to lose some of my arrogance. That, I won’t forget. Observing how even the most wonderful people lose their kindness, their understanding, their altruism, as soon as they start accumulating wealth or power, I remember how arrogant I have been when I felt safe, secure, and commanding.
    And I can’t but perceive how all that we possess could vanish in less than a second: life, health, family, friend, wealth. How small we are in our swagger and how immense we can be with compassion and love.

  92. hbnathan Says:

    Pop over to my website. I work in South Florida.
    Watching how people are being dragged to poverty by unemployment and bad economic times.
    We’re still in much better shape than our fellow African friends.

  93. Susan Ketner Says:

    You have some amazing thoughts and photos here 🙂 I’ve spent some time in west and east africa, and am grateful to “get it”, and I can tell you get it too. I went to volunteer and felt that I received so much more than I gave, just by having the experience of meeting s many beautiful people who were happy with what they had, eventhough it wasn’t much. Juxtaposed to, more ‘developed’ nations, full of folks who will be forever dissatisfied with what we have, though it’s more than we’ll ever need….there’s a huge lesson in there. Thanks for posting!

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