not even a sparrow.

Permission to be dramatic?


Y’all. OH. MY. WORD!!!!! If walking out of that orphanage two years ago was one of the hardest days of my life, today was one of THE best!!

I don’t even know where to start. I could start with the absolute THRILL of seeing Baby Carmen again (not as much a baby anymore!) Or – the absolutely awe-inspiring way our Heavenly Father reminded me today: “Carmen, I do see them.”

Baby Carmen’s parents, Jacob and Melody brought Baby Carmen to the hotel where we’re staying in San Pedro Sula. Just before lunch, I was sitting in the lobby with a few of my team members staring – anxiously, giddily, joyfully – at the front doors to see the curly-haired princess who stole my heart a few years ago. Actually I think she stole the hearts of the WHOLE JOY FM family!

I recognized her immediately as they walked through the glass doors! I jumped up and ran to her, reminding myself she didn’t know me from Eve! I certainly didn’t want to scare her, but goodness gracious I was happy to see her!

Her parents are PRECIOUS!! They are two of the most humble people I have ever met. And even though I barely know them, I do know they most likely wouldn’t be comfortable with me even saying this. But know this: They are two people who are simply living out their faith and giving themselves away…..

We visited for quite a while, giving Carmen a chance to warm up to the crazy blonde lady who kept staring at her. She was very tentative for a good long while, not sure what to make of the audience she had commanded. This gave me the chance to hear Jacob and Melody’s story. They’ve been in Honduras for four years and are parents to many Honduran children. They are missionaries. This is their home. And they are here to raise the children the Lord has entrusted to them.

Jacob, Melody, Carmen and their son, Juan stayed and had lunch with us. {Sidenote: Baby Carmen LOVES ravioli! I honestly don’t know where she was putting it!} There were 35 of us gathered around the table….our team, the Buckner in-country staff, the interpreters, and this family we barely knew, but do indeed love so much. There were two things that kept running through my head.

First, if the banqueting table is anything like this in Heaven, I can’t wait to get there! We feasted together, enjoying one another so so much! Our hearts were knitted together, in a way that extended beyond words. Truly a picture of what I believe God has invited, and is inviting us to…..

The second thing was the scripture in Matthew that says:

‘What is the price of two sparrows – one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid, YOU are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”

{Chapter 10}

At the risk of sounding Christian-ese …. Y’all! this truly is HOW big our God is! And the thing I love most about Him? That while at the same time we can pray “be BIG God, we need You to be big!” {And we can all agree that He flat showed out in this story!} We can also know He will be so very personal. Personal enough to orchestrate a reunion of a precious child I met 2 years ago (almost to the day!) for 2 hours!

One last thing I need for you to know is that YOU made a difference in this child’s life. Melody said several times today, that she is “convinced it was the prayers of our community that directly changed the course of this child’s life.” I know most of you might not get to meet Baby Carmen this side of Heaven, but when we all get there one day just look for us at the bangueting table. We’ll be the ones eating the cheese ravioli.

Here are a few pics from today:

Carmen reunited with Baby Carmen








23 Responses to “not even a sparrow.”

  1. Alicia Pantalone September 12, 2013 at 3:45 am #

    This story warmed my heart and brought me tears (joyful of course). I was so hoping and praying for you Carmen that you would get to see sweet baby Carmen this trip. Enjoy every minute there with those beautiful children and the staff etc.

  2. Diane Woodington September 12, 2013 at 3:52 am #

    This is amazing .She is so beautiful. God is so good . You are an amazing person Carmen and I admire all you hard work. God has put you in this place for a reason and baby Carmen is proof

  3. Tina Allen September 12, 2013 at 4:23 am #

    She’s just beautiful. We serve a big God.

  4. Debbie Moore September 12, 2013 at 4:37 am #

    She ABSOLUTLEY BEAUTIFUL , so glad you was able to see her again.. We pray God will meet their needs & keep them & protect them always..

  5. Brenda Bennett September 12, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Such a beautiful story. I just read this early this morning and it set my day to a hopeful start. Thank you Carmen for sharing.

  6. Kathy McKellar September 12, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    What an amazing story of God’s love and faithfulness. I heard this story 2 years ago and I cried…and I cried reading this today. How wonderful that you got to see Baby Carmen again. And to see how God has provided for her is awesome. There s such joy in all of their eyes. I must say, that last picture of you and baby Carmen(with her head on your shoulders) is one of the most precious pictures. I would love to print that out and frame it. There is just something so beautiful about it.

  7. Judy Denniston September 12, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    Carmen – I am so happy for you that you got to see baby Carmen. She is so beautiful… I am so touched by your story and it brings tears to my eyes….. You are all such a blessing to those children! And yes look forward to the day that I also can sit at that table in heaven :) Thank you for all you do!!! Enjoy and May God Bless you ALL! This is the woman with the basket in Ocala and I know my friend is enjoying every minute there with all those children and the team….

  8. Pamela September 12, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    That touched my heart so much,Thank you for sharing your reuion with sweet baby Carmen. I hope you all have a great time, please give seet baby Carmen a big hug and kiss, thank you in advance, PAYING FOR YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!
    . lOVE IN jESUS Name
    Pamela Ivins

  9. Mirielle Gibbs September 12, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    Carmen, I’m going to ask you to be in prayer! We have a big homeless problem in Sarasota County. There is an empty church sitting on commercially zoned property(First Church of God Osprey) It is in an ideal location to help South County. I am a worker bee. I know we can do it! We need this church!

  10. Lin G September 12, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    How wonderful! She is truly precious!! LOVE these pics!!
    I remember hanging onto every word, 2 years ago, as you aired the story of going to the orphanage and seeing her. Though I was at work, I was in tears through the whole thing.
    I rejoiced when you let us know that she had been taken out of there and given a chance at a real life.
    When I knew you were going back this year, I knew you would get to see her again! I couldn’t wait to see pictures!
    When she grows up, I think she will be amazed when she hears her own story and how a community half the world away has been praying for her!
    The Lord can move heaven and earth for even the smallest sparrow.
    Looking forward to hearing the stories when you get back.
    Prayers for you, the others in your group, and all the children there.

  11. Annette September 12, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    So precious! When I read that you met with Baby Carmen almost two years to the day, it reminded me of coming FULL CIRCLE. God completes and restores. What a blessing you are Carmen. Thank you for always sharing your heart and being so transparent.

  12. Debbie September 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    Carmen, thank you for updating us on baby Carmen and the pictures. OMG, she is a beauty! It warms my heart to see her healthy and happy. God bless you all and the love you are bringing to these children.

  13. Dorothy Bowser September 12, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    That super sweet smile could melt the coldest heart and the largest iceberg. She kinda reminds me of my granddaughter when she was that age–so hubable–enjoy the rest of your trip Carmen and to everyone stay safe.

  14. Kathy Gray September 12, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    Such a beautiful story!!! Brought tears of joy to my eyes,as well!!!I so want to go on the mission trip that some of my church family are going on in Nov., but have had back surgery, w/plate and 4 screws and a hip replacement this past June,@ only age 56. So I’ve been praying for a total healing by Nov. or before. The mission trip is The Pavia Project, in Venezuela. Please keep us in your prayers.

  15. Jean Clark September 12, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

    God is soooo good! I love how he arranged you to meet baby Carmen before and now again and see what He has done! May God continue to bless you and use you! Praying for your team :D

  16. Maxine Perry September 13, 2013 at 12:30 am #

    Hi Carmen,
    Our church in Sarasota FL has volunteered at Melody and Jacob’s home. They are truly God’s servants and the children are truly blessed to be part of their large and loving family!

  17. Cathy S. September 13, 2013 at 12:39 am #


  18. Laura Slaback September 13, 2013 at 5:02 am #

    Carmen, perfect and amazing! And so well written! Just perfect!!!

  19. Sclaf September 13, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    She is such a cutie! what a blessing

  20. Wendy Boylen September 14, 2013 at 12:59 am #

    Carmen, thank you so much for sharing your story and updates about baby Carmen. I remember when Paul & I would go to Mexico and he would not, could not forget the children there, and it keeps him awake at night and he prays always about this. He always felt like he did not do enough for them, no matter how much he did. He then was fearful of Guatemala and Honduras because his heart was full of pain. Even though he knew he could help in some small way, the pain did not go away. Our God said “Go”, and he went, trusting. He will be forever changed, but our God is good, and has a plan for us all, especially orphans. God bless everyone on this team, you are awesome and inspiring!

  21. Sheryl Riker September 14, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    Carmen is an adorable little girl. I had the privilege in March to stay in the home of Jacob and Melody in Honduras. They are truly humble parents and have wonderful children in the Miqueas 6:8 mission. The children will steal your heart and change your life forever. So glad you had the opportunity to visit. .

  22. Mary Ann B, September 15, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    Ditto to Lin G’s comments above! I had to stop reading the comments because I’m balling my eyes out and I’m afraid my family will wake up and I’ll scare em! LOL!

    Girl you have blessed my sox off! I guess you can tell by now that like Faith Hill, I’m a Mississippi Girl! Carmen I cried all the way to work 2 years ago and did it all over again when you re-told the story 2 years later! It never gets old to hear how much He loves us and how careful He is with His little “sparrows.”

    Thank you so much for all you and the rest of The Joy FM do for us commuters as we travel to work and listen to you all the way there and all the way back home with Jayr/Michelle in the evenings, and our iphones during the day! (As a CPA, I kinda feel like I’m back on the FARM where I group up in North Mississippi. I primarily make my living in the Spring and Fall like my Daddy did and the 3 generations did before him.) Thank You so much for ministering to me through music and joy each day. Many mornings, it took all I could do to get out of bed and the LORD richly rewarded my effort as soon as I turned on the stereo to get dressed! And many late nights on the way home (as a newbie at an accounting firm straight out of college (Miss State-More cowbell!/Roll Tide!)when we had to work all-nighters cause I started in the dark ages before computers and tax returns had to be hand written! LOL-)Contempory Christian radio in New Orleans would get me home. The Joy FM picked up the banner when we moved here in 1995 and did the soul so much good to help me get to know my new community and realize that God can even care about a place like Tampa!

    This is home now for this little Southern Mama (that’s my nickname from my 2 teenage boys! I still call my Mama the same thing!) And without my children being born here or the Joy FM, I would not feel that way! Cause whether I’m watchin’ Duck Dynasty or listening to the Joy FM in the morning, I feel like I’ve had a great trip home!

    (The men in my family don’t do the beards though!!! Thank goodness! I’m afraid to think about what might live in them! Know what I’m sayin’? I wouldn’t have been able to marry my man 25 years ago if he had had a beard! He grew one my Freshmen year in College during Winter break! Lord have mercy! I told him- OK, Grizzly Adams – you may not have been old enough to watch that show- You a’int gettin’ any sugar til you come back to pick me up with a clean face! and he did!!! Not a beard since! Oops! Pardon my rambling-I have ADHD! Couldn’t tell, could ya’! :)

    Thank you for all you do at home and away. I have been an MMMP for a couple of years and have given at least a 1 time gift every share-athon since we moved to New Tampa (1995!) I can’t wait to hear the new signal. But’s it’s all good! I have ADHD remember! So flippin the channels helps me stay awake to/from work during my Tax Season commute every Spring and Fall (when extensions are due! Rom 8:28 – God can use all things for good if we love HIM and are called according to His purpose! And we get to see all that playout if we pay attention to what He’s doin’)

    God Bless! PS – I’ve given online this year cause this chick wants to go back to NYC during Christmas next time by winnin’ that drawing y’all are doin’! But I will keep on being an MMMP for as long as I live, Lord Willin’!

    God Bless & Take care of each other!

    Love y’all lots- Mary Ann B

  23. Selina September 21, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    Carmen, your story of carrying little Carmen in your heart resonates with my soul. We met a few years back when we participated in the Guatemalan shoe drive–our church helped us collect almost 100 pairs of shoes for the children. Our son, Sammy, was adopted from Guatemala. He is now 13 and has a warm, loving heart and loves the Lord. I know through the years listening to JOY FM and The Morning Cruise Show has helped to bring him close to God. Your story of remembering the children you met years ago in the orphanage in Honduras takes me back to our visit to Sam’s orphanage. I still remember the faces of some older girls who stole my heart. To this day, I see them and wonder where they are and how they are faring in this world. I’ll never forget them–ever. Thank you for your heart for the orphans and the scripture from Matthew about God knowing and caring for every living creature and every head. We are hoping to return to Guatemala soon and take Sam to see his birth country and the place where he spent 22 months of his life. ~Thank you so much! With love, Selina

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