Author Archives: jens6kids5b1g

It’s Just the Beginning…


We are so excited to be able to have internet and have been able to work through the glitches of getting into accounts when it notices you are not in your home country. Thank you Tracy McKim. So this is our first official update…outside of Facebook. If you would like daily updates friend us on Facebook through jennifer herrricks.

We had planned, prayed and watched so many people come around us to support our call to be in Uganda. We flew out the afternoon of the 25th of January and landed in Uganda on the 26th, two weeks ago today. God was so faithful to accomplish every thing that needed to be accomplished, (even finding us new flights 4 hours before we flew out because our original flights had been canceled at 2:30 am the morning we were to fly out). Good byes that day were so very hard. Saying goodbye to those we love throughout the last week was definitely one of the harder things we have had to do. Saying goodbye to our siblings and parents was so emotional but we made it through. We have learned what it means to leave behind all things. I am thankful God didn’t show us all that would happen and all we would feel at one time..we have learned that God truly does supply for all of our DAILY needs.

The first two weeks have been a roller coaster to say the least. We have had many highs and many lows along with feelings of settling in and also being homesick. We spent our first week in Kampala Uganda, with Carl and Julie, heads of Tutapona. They helped us just get our feet on the ground by taking us shopping for food, showing us around and praying with us. It was great to have them right there as we had very many questions. I really had to be humble that first week. The first day on the ground we went shopping, everything was in schillings and the grocery store was overwhelming. I went home and cried because something as simple as grocery shopping seemed complicated and overwhelming. I would learn to pray before going shopping because when they see a white person, they think money, and therefore prices are very inflated for us, so we have negotiate everything we buy. Once you get prices your good to go, buying something new, we don’t do it unless we have a local with us that we trust. But some people are kind and fair which is a beautiful treat.

We find here that we miss the simple things from home like syrup, ice cream, yogurt,cheese, cereal, yellow yoked eggs, someones smile or hugs. We have learned here that we take so many little things for granted. Like the feel of our beds, softness of our pillows, all things are different here. It takes seeing a picture of someone, or talking to them on the phone and tears start to flow. A certain smell reminds someone of home and the sadness hits. We have walked through this many times but each time God faithfully brings us through and we find our strength again.

We are grateful to be able to call our families through Facebook messenger, hearing their voices is such good heart medicine. Wish we could call all of you! We miss you all so much.

The kids have starteScreen Shot 2016-02-10 at 12.51.40 AMd to settle in. The boys ran their remote control cars outside our gate and the village kids thought that it was so great, some were afraid, but most enjoyed this grately. They also played lots of futball with the village kids. I love that the local people who live around us are starting to open up to us. Brianna and I jumped rope with the kids too. They are all so great


Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 12.51.28 AM


Todd is adjusting well. He is doing awesome with driving, even thought it is crazy here and everything is opposite. Love that he is so good at it. WE also take the boda boda’s. They are small motor bikes, which are much easier to maneuver traffic on, but grately more dangerous.

Overall things have been good.  We are excited to see what God will do in this next year.  Thanks for coming with us on this journey.  We love you



Twas the night before Christmas Eve..


Twas the night before Christmas Eve and we sat together reading the true story of what Christmas is all about….oh how little reminders there a any more of the true meaning of Christmas as you go out and about.   But here, here in our home we remember why we are celebrating Christmas.  This year perhaps more than any other year before.

Just as people anticipated the coming of the Savior for thousands of years, we too await our Saviors return.  Oh how wonderful that news was to those who were watching and waiting and what wonderful news that will one day be to us when He comes to reign.  As we read the story, we are reminded that Jesus chose a barren woman named Elizabeth to give birth to the man who would prepare the way for the Lord.  God picked a carpenter and a teenage girl to parent the Savior of the world, His perfect son.  He chose Bethlehem, the smallest city to be the birth place for a King.  He chose for him to be born in a peasant home, His bed a manger, not a palace where he rightfully should have been born.  He chose to tell the shepherds first, the lowly and despised shepherds.  It makes my heart sing with hope as I too am the least of these, and He came to me, to our little family in a small town in Wisconsin.

When I think of the fact that he holds creation in his hands how small I must be in comparison to how great He is.  I would be but a speck on the tip of His finger and the bible says our life is but a breath.  I breath in and breath out and I am reminded how fleeting my life is in the eyes of God my Father.  Then I find myself asking, Why? Why would God send His only son, to come to this earth, be confined in human flesh, separated from His Father for 30 some years for me, little insignificant me.  It overwhelms me to think of how much our God loves us, that he would go through such great depths to save us.  Even though our life is but a breath here, our souls are eternal, and He came to rescue the eternal part of us.  I cannot ever begin to even grasp His love, the bible says His love is unsearchable.  I couldn’t agree more.  I think often we think of ourselves in light of how great we are and how much we have accomplished..but really when God holds the world in His hands, and we get the right picture of who He is and who we are in comparison, I think the only response could be to worship our God and Saviour King.

I leave you with this song as a reminder who it was who came to save us, and where He had been for all eternity, waiting for the moment, to become like us, to save us.

May we all be humbled this year as we truly see the greatness of our God!

Twas the night before Christmas Eve…


The Herricks Family

5..4..3..2..1..Take Off!


This past month we have been busy packing suitcases, spending time with family and friends and trying to get everything  organized for our departure.  We still have no idea how to really pack for one year, for eight people.  Todd and I never dreamed as we said, “I do”, that in our future would be six kids, to through adoption, moving many times throughout the state, youth ministry, women’s bible studies, a local house church, a church plant and then Africa. Each time we have moved, started something new or left something behind, we were moving towards this moment.  Every step helped prepare us for this journey.   We’ve learned so much along the way but still have so much to learn.

We have learned that life can be changed in a moment.  Jen was diagnosed with a tumor, almost two years ago now.  We sat with the kids to explain that mom may have cancer, wrenching our hearts like never before.  It reminded us what was truly important and we committed to try to make  the most of every moment.

Life has been good but challenging as we care for boys who’s lives where shattered by no fault of their own.  We have been taught, and continue to be taught patience, grace and what it means to truly lay your life down for someone else.  We have grown in the understanding of what it is to give of yourself when you feel like you have nothing left to give and we try celebrate little things that can so easily be overlooked, but at other times we are so nit picking that we cannot seem to enjoy anything.  We laugh together, we cry together, we rejoice and we pray together.

In our journey we have said goodbye to many friends as we have moved and have greeted new ones as we have restarted, always taking with us the memories of the times we have shared.  We have been near to family and other times not so close.  We know what it is to miss those you love and we have known the joy of being close, able to spend time with them and yet we realize now how much you take for granted.

We now take all these life moments and lessons learned with us as we ready to leave for Africa.  We are not a special family, professionally trained, completely functional and always together.  We have ups and downs, good moments and challenging ones.  We love each other more than life and are determined to always be there for one another.  We challenge our kids to dream God sized dreams, to not settle for an ordinary life when God wants to give them an extraordinary life, to dare to go to distant places and do crazy things. To let God dream great things for them.

We are so excited to see what is ahead for our family.  Every place God has ever taken us has been extraordinary.  We have learned great things and grown in great ways.  We know that this journey will be no different.  We are having to leave everything behind that is familiar, all our family and friends and most of our belongings. That part is harder than we dreamed it would be.  We cannot put into words our sadness as we leave those we love.  Yet, we are going with open hearts, to lay down our hopes and dreams and to ask God, “What are your hopes and dreams for us?”  We want to see why He has asked us to go, to see what He wants to teach us, what he wants to show us. We don’t want to miss a thing.  It is hard to leave everything we know but He knows what that is like.  This time of year we are reminded that Jesus left everything He knew, HIs father, the gold paved streets of heaven, the constant praise and worship of angels, to save us.  What a great reason to be joyful this Christmas season.   Remember, dream big, go for the extrodindary.  God wants to show you great things, things bigger than you can even dream or imagine. Let Him dream for you.

With all our love,

The Herricks Family

Merry CHRISTmas



I am sitting here in my living room, my entire family is nestled in their beds all cozy and warm.  Hopefully they are dreaming sweet dreams.  The tree has its lights shimmering in the night and most of our stalkings are hung around the ceiling.  (We decorate new stalkings every year and hang up the past years around the ceiling..we are almost at 100).  I have just finished writing the Birchwood News article for December.  There is only one more to write before we leave.  I have pandora Christmas music playing softly in the back ground reminding me of what this season is truly all about.  This year seems to be a little more emotional for me and for our family.

I think of all it meant for Jesus to come here, to save us.  He knows, He knows what it is to prepare to leave everything you know, everything that is familiar for a foreign land.  He knows the anticipation, the joy, the sadness, He knows it all.  This year, being that we are only a little under six weeks away from leaving, what He gave up seems to be a little more real.  He was leaving for 33 years after having been by His daddy’s side for all eternity prior. I cannot imagine how hard that day may have been and how much he must have longed for His home while here.  We are only going for a year, but it is hard none the less.

I have a new appreciation for what He did for us, what He left behind and set aside for us.  I wonder how He could love us so much.  I look at how much I struggle each day, to love, to forgive, to praise Him in the storms and to know He loved me so much in spite of this, that not only was He willing to leave His home but He left knowing He would be murdered in the most horrific way so that my wrongs could be made right.  All I can do tonight is cry out thank you in my heart as tears roll down my cheeks.

My heart is so overwhelmed with the goodbyes that are soon to come.  I know great things lay ahead but tonight I am sad but oh so thankful that I have a God and Saviour who have walked this road before me and can comfort me in my sorrow.  They can also understand that mixed with my sorrow is great anticipation of what is to come and a joy of the great things that we know He will do.

The joy in my heart that I have when I think of what His coming here, to lay down His life for me has given me.  My cup overflows.  Life is good, life is hard, God is good!  I am grateful for this season of Christmas and everything that it accomplished, through the birth of Jesus.  I am set free, redeemed, and made righteous, able to love and serve God with my life…thank you Jesus.  Thank you!




and He Walked on Water…


After being apart of an amazing miracle, feeding over ten thousand people with just five loaves of bread and two fish (sardines), the  bible says that , “Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and  sent to the other side of the sea to wait for Him”.  Why did Jesus have to make them get into the boat? Maybe because the wind and waves were raging in the sea.

While they are straining to get to the other side, through the gusty winds and bashing waves, Jesus is on the mountain praying to His Father.  Maybe He was praying for His disciples as they gave everything they had to try to stay the course that He had set before them as they strived against those waves and wind that seemed as though they were trying to keep them from finishing the task ahead of them.  Exhausted, hopeless, doubtful…they had been rowing all night, it is almost morning and they still have one fourth of the way to go across just a 4 to 5 mile width sea. How will they make it if the waves and wind don’t cease?

..then they see Jesus.  He comes to them on the water, walking on top of the very thing that is working against them, keeping them from finishing what He has asked them to do.  What hope, courage and confidence comes from seeing Jesus?  Peter says, “Command me to comeScreen Shot 2015-12-09 at 10.28.47 AM to You on the water”.  Jesus says, “come” and he gets out of the boat and walks to Jesus. What a few minutes ago seemed daunting, exhausting, and even impossible to do now was a storm to be conquered, raised up against and tread on.  What conquered him just minutes ago, He now had the power to conquer.

As I remembered this story this morning I was thinking of my faith.  My faith in God and how much I really do trust Him.  When He asks me to do little things, things that don’t stretch me much, things that don’t really challenge me, I do with a glad, faith filled heart.  Sure! I say.  I love to serve you and obey you! Row across that calm lake with your friends and wait for me! Okay, no problem..I got worries…I say.

Then there is the time where He says, I want you to go through the storm. I want you to do something bigger than what you are capable of.  I want to stretch you, take you beyond your power, your will, your ability, I want to empty you so that I can fill you with my power.  Do I still have the same faith, courage and confidence I had before?  Not usually.  Why? Because I am finding out that my faith, courage and confidence is in myself when I am asked to do things that “I” can handle.  But when God pushes me past what “I” can handle it is a whole new ball game.

I have great faith and trust in God when I can handle what He has put before me.  Is my faith and trust in Him really that great though.  I remember being so excited to go to Africa and serve God, that is until my husband got on board and said “lets go!”.  I cried for two days when he committed.  I had been praying for 4 months for God to move Todds heart if it was His plan for us to go.  I had gotten frustrated, angry and resentful that my husband hadn’t gotten the message that we were being called to be missionaries in Africa.  I was ready and excited, so I thought.  Then, all of the sudden, we were going to go and it all of the sudden didn’t look so exciting.  It was overwhelming, scary and way uncomfortable.  Why the change in my heart?  Well, in my mind I was a great missionary, serving the Lord in great ways. I didn’t have to leave the comforts of anything to be on that amazing journey.  I was excited and living it in my mind, telling God how awesome it would be to serve Him this way.  But when it became the moment of committing to actually go and follow my husbands lead I got cold feet.  Jesus would now have to do the same thing for me that He did for the disciples, He would have to make me get in the boat.

Here we are, just a little over 6 weeks from our departure date for Africa, I am still in the boat rowing across that sea.  Some days the water is more rough than others and there is more confidence on the days where the water is calm.  What I am learning on my journey in the boat is that faith is challenged and grown  when you are being sent out on a journey that will rock your boat.

I love that Peter, who was exhausted and afraid one minute, asked Jesus to call Him out of the boat and onto the crashing waves the next.  How was he able to have such a change of heart? He saw Jesus in it with Him. He knew that he was with the One who controlled the winds and waves.  Jesus wasn’t shaken by the wind and waves, He walked on top of them.  Peter didn’t want to necessarily get out of the storm. He wanted to walk with Jesus through it.  He wanted to walk atop of it instead of being tossed around by it.

The Bible says, “Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came towards Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”.

This looks a lot like our journey right now.  We too were sent to the other side of the sea in a sense.  We strive to stay on the course that the Lord has put before us, just like the disciples, even though we are exhausted some days like they were.  The disciples fought against the wind and waves in the sea that tried to keep them from reaching their destiny.   Our wind in waves, is spiritual warfare.  We know that we have forces working against us to keep us from going to where God has called us but we strive ahead.  Like the disciples we strive sometimes in our flesh and get exhausted, then we see Jesus because He draws near to us so we know that He is with us, reminding us that He controls it all and we can take courage and not be afraid. Then we walk with Him through the storm instead of getting tossed to and fro by the waves and wind.

But sometimes as we go our focus again becomes the wind and waves around us.  It says that Peter saw the wind.  You can’t see wind, you see what the wind does.  He was seeing the waves created by the wind.  We too see the spiritual waves, created by the enemy, doubt, fear, anxiety, discouragement….and we, like Peter, start to sink.  Then we cry out to God, and say, “Help us, we can’t do this without you, Jesus please show us you are here with us, in this with us, beside us!”

Just like in Peters weak moment, where he takes his eyes off Jesus, and starts to sink, the bible tells us that, “immediately  Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him,’you of little faith, why did you doubt?'”  He raises Peter up and sets him back atop the waves and reminds him that he has no need to doubt because of who Jesus is.  Peter, again on top of the storm, is reminded, as Jesus pulls him up, of the power  in the one He serves.  See, when we take our eyes off Jesus and are walking on the water in our own strength, we start to doubt whether or not we can handle it? Are we capable? strong enough? brave enough? equipped enough? Then we start to sink in our doubts.  But God in His goodness waits for us to cry out to Him, to save us and He sets us right and reminds us who He is.  He reminds us that we can only do this in His power and His might.  That without Him it is too big for us to do.  He grows our faith not in who we are but in who He is.

God is growing our faith so much everyday.  He has seen us trusting in Him fully as we walk atop the wind and waves and He has seen us trusting in ourselves, coming to the end of ourselves which causes us to start sinking.  He has been there every time as we cry, ‘Jesus, save us!’ and He has lifted us back up once again to walk in His strength and power on top of the crashing waves.  We are learning every day more and more what it is to let the trust in ourselves go and to trust wholly in the One who saves and has all power and might.  It is a messy and beautiful journey.

So our challenge is to get out of the boat and onto the crashing waves. Let God take you somewhere where you cannot go on your own.  Let him stretch you beyond what you can even dare to dream.  Let Him lead you to where your abilities end and His begin.  Where you run dry and He can fill you to overflowing.  Every day I wake up and think, ‘God you have to show up huge today, because we can’t do this without you’.  It is beyond what we are capable of.  Then I say, ‘this is Your story being written for Your Glory, so I know you have this!’. It isn’t about us, its about Him.  Its not a story about us, its about His story.  Its not for our Glory but for His.  So He will not let it fail nor fall. He will finish all He has purposed and He has just asked us to be a part of the journey and we have said yes..Won’t you say yes too?

God, thank you for taking us to big places, places where we come to the end of ourselves and are challenged to call on you.  In these moments we have tasted Your  goodness, seen Your power and walked in Your strength.  Amen