Monday, April 28, 2014

Life After Ethiopia

Roughly three years ago, we stepped out in faith to prepared for a short term mission trip to Ethiopia-Stephen preparing to man the fort & take care of our kids & myself to travel to the beautiful land.  Never would we have expected nor planned what God would do in our life & through us to reach others. God used our experiences while I was in Ethiopia to ROCK OUR WORLD! Simple things, like cool rainstorms or corn in the produce section of the grocery store, take me back to a beautiful country & land that I long to return to someday. To a people that I grew to love & some of which taught me more than I taught them. While I can never express everything I experienced & just how much God used that trip, to further His kingdom & to change me & my family, I can share some of what has happened in the aftermath. 

When I left for Ethiopia, Stephen & I had already begun serving at our church with the Regenesis Ministry. Per Pantego Bible Church, a little about Regenesis: In 2009, Africa came to our doorstep through a special partnership with refugees from Burundi and other central Africa countries. Resettled in the United States, these immigrants demonstrate great need and a great desire to preserve their African identity. A growing community of about 150 refugees now meet at Pantego Bible Church for weekly worship and a strong partnership has been formed between two congregations.-  

Stephen & I were able to lead a  Sunday morning Bible study with Regenesis  junior high & high school students over the summer. Stephen befriended a particular junior high student named Ahadi. Over the past couple of years, our whole family has grown close to his family. We've gotten to love on them & serve them in so many ways: celebrating birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, shopping for school supplies & back to school clothes- Stephen even got to take Ahadi to driving school. Through it all, we have been so blessed by this family. 

THANK YOU-THANK YOU-THANK YOU! THANK YOU again for your support & prayers! My trip in 2011 to Ethiopia was amazing! We were able to share Jesus with so many people & many professed their faith in Christ! Stephen & I both grew & were stretched by this mission trip. When I returned home from Ethiopia, I wrote the following:

God has been working in our hearts for the past year with the ideas of simplifying, dying to self and focusing on His ways not our own. While in Ethiopia, I was confronted with materialism in my life and how it causes me to turn my back on the Lord. Upon returning from Ethiopia, I was no longer comfortable with my old, everyday living. I felt a stirring to align my thinking & decisions to His plan & purpose & to live even more radical than before. I felt led to downsize our home and land, and use our resources for God's purposes. After much discussion with my husband and prayerful consideration, we're stepping out in faith & in obedience to put our house on the market and are patiently awaiting the Lord's direction for the next step.
SO- After almost 9 months of our house being on the market, we downsized to a house with almost 50% less mortgage, 2/3 less land, & 800 sq. ft smaller. When we moved in to our new house, we just felt at home!  Through our simplifying, we were able to sponsor a little girl named Meti from one of the towns that I visited in Ethiopia, and we were giving the chance to give big! 

My trip to Ethiopia was just the first step in many steps of faith...literally!  A month after returning, I began training for my first half marathon! After months of training, I completed my first half and while running, raised money for a water well in Africa. Since then, I was blessed to have been able to complete my 2nd half marathon & raise even more money for another water well in Ethiopia. Through all those steps-the Lord drew me closer to Him & He carried me through my runs & races. It was uncomfortable at times but amazing! It was wonderful time with the Lord during my countless early morning runs. 

God has been stirring up other changes in our hearts-big life changes! We're excited, a little scared, but honored to be able to play a part in God's story & plans. I long to one day return to the beautiful land & beautiful people of Ethiopia, God willing. Thank you again for what you've done to support, encourage, love & pray for us. It's hard to even put into words how we have been forever changed. I pray that we will continue to follow hard after Jesus & that He will continue to change us so that we will continue to change His world. 

To God be the Glory-
Stephen & Tasha

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ethiopia Bound

Well....It's time! Time to leap- a total leap of faith. For Him to use me to speak His words to His children. Whew! All the amazing, crazy times on my life: birthing 3 children (one without drugs), marrying my love, losing a child, celebrating with friends, grieving with friends, losing loved ones. Not one time in my life have I ever had the flood of so many different emotions at one time. I feel so excited, nervous, such love, a bit wary but then i take a breath & hold on to the Truth....that here is exactly where I am meant to be. I have such peace knowing that I am being obedient. Whatever happens, I am totally confident in knowing that this is God's trip & is in His hands. Please pray for us as we travel, our families that we leave behind, the people that we will love on along the way & most of all that God would receive ALL the glory!

Ethiopia BEyond
PBC Mission Trip
June 30-July 10, 2011

Please partner in prayer with our team of 20 people who are going beyond to make God known and share His love with children and adults in Ethiopia. We will be working with World Orphans and the Kale Heywet Church in Woliso, and e3 Partners in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Thursday, June 30-Friday, July 1
WHERE: Team flies from DFW to Frankfurt, Germany, then on to Addis Ababa, arrving late and staying overnight in Addis.

PRAY: Travel safety and for our luggage and supplies to make it to Ethiopia and through customs.

Saturday, July 2

WHERE: Team departs Addis for Woliso, to arrive by early afternoon. Meeting with Pastor Teshale and church leadership.


PRAY: Safe travel, open hearts, positive reception, catching a vision for what God is doing and how He wants us to participate.

Sunday, July 3

WHERE: Worship at main church, with David Daniels preaching. Afternoon visits and evening worship at one of the church plants.

PRAY: Renewed spirits, the Holy Spirit to direct our worship and David’s words, love for the people, God to be magnified.

Monday, July 4 –Tuesday, July 5

WHERE: Team split in half, with one group helping with a Medical Outreach and the other doing family visits to children in a Home Based Care program. The second day, the groups switch tasks.

PRAY: Courage for us, God’s love to be made evident to the people, help and healing for the medical patients. For God to direct our interactions and change our hearts. For us to see with His eyes and be His hands and feet.

Wednesday, July 6

WHERE: Farewell meeting with Pastor Teshale in Woliso. Team returns to Addis to rendezvous with e3 Partners.


PRAY: Safe travel, rejuvenation, deepened relationships, strength for the next step in the journey.

Thursday, July 7-Friday, July 8

WHERE: Evangelism with e3 Partners in the Jammo Mountains region of Addis Ababa.

PRAY: Reliance on God, words to speak, ears to hear, receptive listeners. For God to turn the hearts of the people to Him.

Saturday, July 9-Sunday, July 10

WHERE: Cultural Day on Saturday. Team departs Addis Saturday evening and arrives back at DFW Sunday afternoon.

PRAY: Safe travel, rest, hearts turned to the nations, readiness to share the vision back home.


Health, safety, protection, blessings to those we partner with and those we serve, good communication and positive relationships within the team and with those we encounter, strength, wisdom, humility, flexibility, provision, opportunities, following God’s lead, leaning on His power, knowing Him better, making Him known. In all, glory and honor to God!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

To Sum it Up

Here we go.....6 months in 600 words or less.....
Halloween was great-Piper was a princess & Skylar was a queen (fitting) & Stella was well...asleep.
We had a blessed Christmas & cut back on gifts hard core. It was so refreshing & easy on the pocketbook & surprise, surprise, the girls didn't even notice. We focused more on the birth of our Savior & it was AWESOME!

Stella's.....asleep! She passed out during all the fun & excitement!
We spent a whole, wonderful week in Durango this winter. The first part of the trip was spent with our precious friends the Browns (between all of our kids all 5 were on antibiotics for strep throat!) Piper loves to mother & love on Karys!
& the last part of our trip was spent with my dear friend Crystal & her family. The girls were so excited to reconnect with their friends Lolo & Pey who they hadn't seen since the summer. The week was jam packed with ski lessons, ski school, tubing, eating, playing in the snow, & plenty of laughs. I love this picture of the 3 big girls walking hand in hand! Makes my heart melt!

After a week in Colorado, we return home bringing the snow with us! After 2 weeks of being in the snow, we looked forward to dry ground! The girls did bundle up for a bit to play in our backyard.

Stella likes being in the snow just not without her snowsuit that we left in Colorado!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fall Sickness = Photos by Tash

This fall, we have been bombarded with germ, bugs, sickness, ickiness, snot, etc. Everyone is currently healthy-Praise the Lord!- & we're trying to stay positive: the girls' immune systems are building up & everyday of yuck now will make them stronger plus less yuck later.

Unfortunately, sickness means staying home means CABIN FEVER for all, especially mommy! During one of these lovely homebound days, I stumbled upon a too cool, free app (thanks kevin!) that allows me to make my everyday jane pictures less mundane & pretty awesome! My picture taking ability is probably the equivalent of one of our girls. I really try, but i lack that natural picture taking ability that some, becca & cindi, have.

Anywho- these are some pictures on this cabin fever week & I kicked it back old school with some. my oh my have the girls grown & changed~ even stella in her short 9 months!
Stella James rubbing her face as she falls asleep.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Birthdays, Back-to-School, & Ball (Football that is)

Well, October 25th where did you come from & what did you do with August & September?
We hosted a Football kickoff party at our house earlier this season, when there was hope, & we had a wonderful time. Stella had lots of friends root on the Cowboys with her.
Sweet Stella is growing as I type and is still the best baby we've had or even known: she is so happy & easy going. What a blessing!

Not only have the months come & gone, but we celebrated Skylar & Piper's birthdays this summer. 5 & 3....Wow! What happened to this baby? Skylar is still a sweetheart & is such a big helper! Breakfast in bed started this year & I'm sure will become a Burks tradition. Piper is little miss independent & loves her sisters!
Both girls love school! We all do actually.... Both started off the school years bringing apples to their teachers-they were so excited!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Our family trip to walt Disney world was wonderful! The girls had a blast & aside from the humidity the trip was great! Sweet Stella made rare appearances for pictures due to her napping, nursing, & being put to bed before our evening trips back to the parks.
Skylar & Piper were so excited to get their faces painted like princess kitties. it was well worth the time & money, even if sweet skylar wiped the whole masterpiece off her face before we had walked away from the face painting booth. Again humidity made faces melt & felt sticky-sky's defense for scrubbing face.

We had breakfast & lunch with the princesses. The girls LOVED it!
Rosie cheek Stella- she was such a trooper! She was able to ride on several rides & slept on the go through out the whole trip. We went to a BBQ & were able to dance with mickey & Co.

Skylar loves the Mad hatter tea cups. This year she wanted us to spin around really fast. Thankfully i didn't vomit!
We went out at night & had a lot of the rides to ourselves. No waiting! the girls did crash in the stroller on the trip home that night :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Month of Milestones

What a whirlwind month it has been! And to think that I was worried that we would get bored this summer! Piper has grown up so much it the past couple of weeks. We kicked off the craziness with staying bye-bye to the pacifier. Stephen & I carefully planned the farewell to coincide with Stella's well check appointment with the pediatrician. Piper proudly walked in with a ziploc baggie filled with pacifiers, and with a grin, she handed them over to the doctor-she was "a big girl now"! She has only asked for a pacifier once since! With that awesome adjustment, we decided to just rip that baby bandaid right off-that weekend we converted her crib to a toddler bed & the following Thursday we had her first haircut.
Skylar (right) ,with cousin Callie, had a wonderful week at Nana & Papa camp! She stayed 3 nights along with a few of her cousins at Stephen's parents' house. We had been apart from her for a week when we've traveled, but this camp was piggybacked with our Chicago trip so we were apart from her for roughly 9 days! Whew! I think it was harder for me than her :) Skylar will be 5 in less than a week & will start kindergarten this fall...sigh!Oh-Stella Bell! The sweetest & most easy going baby I've ever known (We're in for it when she's 15!) Stella went on her first airplane ride to Chicago & would you believe it-didn't make a peep! We were able to truly enjoy our trip to Chi-town to see our much loved friends the Coles.
Stella now can support herself for an exersaucer-she loves it!
We were given the go ahead for solids. Skylar & Piper were SO excited & loved taking turns feeding Stella.
As normal, Stella was pretty happy about this new substance being shoved into her mouth-no complaints from her!