World AIDS Day 2013

Lily Observes ‘World AIDS Day’

On 1 December 2013, staff and children at Lily of the Valley marked World AIDS Day together. As December 1 fell on Sunday this year, the day began with our church service in which Brendan Stapleton, CEO; delivered the message.


Brendan explained that regardless of our HIV status, we will all die; HIV is just one cause of death. But that in Jesus Christ, God has defeated death.


Therefore, our status as children of God; heirs of life through Christ; is of far greater importance than our HIV status.


At the conclusion of his talk, Brendan took a pair of scissors and transformed the red ribbon he was wearing into a cross, representing how God changes our identity in Jesus Christ.

Ribbon to Cross



Each child had been given a red ribbon and each of their ribbons was then cut with scissors to transform theirs into a cross as well.




In the afternoon, our children celebrated their health and strength with a series of games. Six teams of younger children were lead by pairs of teens through six different race stations where two teams faced off against one another.



Eliana and Eden and the group of teen team leaders

The games involved running various obstacle courses that required climbing, crawling, spinning, tossing, balancing, and a lot of cooperation.





Eliana served with teen team leaders


great face

Eden participating as teen team leader with her team.











Team huddle before relay

Prizes of sweets were awarded after each contest…




….and at the end of the games, each team received a word to add to the banner that summed up the day’s message; “I Am God’s Child In Jesus”


Slogan collage




Jesus gives us the message of life and hope.  What are you holding onto as your identity? Give it to Jesus and let Him transform your identity in His own.




What is World AIDS Day? World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.                   


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Dear Friends,

Hello from South Africa! Sawubona is “hello” in isiZulu. Literally translated it means, “I see you”.

Here’s a quick note about our arrival in South Africa and how we’re getting settled in at Lily of the Valley.

With Elizabeth and Ammi

With Elizabeth and Ammi

We arrived in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning, October 29. Both of our flights went smoothly, and yes, all of our luggage arrived with us. We were met by Ammi and Elizabeth Saayman. Elizabeth is the short term coordinator for the SIM South Africa office. Elizabeth arranged for lodging during our 4 days in Johannesburg, and they hosted us for several meals, plus shared their insights about life in South Africa. On the afternoon of our arrival Ammi took Mike to shop for a suitable vehicle for our work at Lily of the Valley. With his help and knowledge, we found and purchased a 2009 Nissan Livina on Wednesday afternoon. It was ready for us to drive off the lot on Friday, and on Saturday morning we set out on the six hour drive south to our new home; Lily of the Valley Children’s Village.

Squeezed in for the six hour ride

Squeezed in for the six hour ride

The Livina is a small car, but it has a big ‘boot’ and ours has roof rails to which we fitted cross bars to accommodate extra luggage. Amazingly, we managed to get our 8 large pieces of luggage; which were all at the maximum size and weight for airline checked baggage; plus 4 smaller bags, 2 backpacks, 2 purses, and more, into or on top of our little Livina. Eliana and Eden showed their true colors by making the six hour drive without complaint; even though they shared the back seat with two backpacks, a small suitcase and a large duffel bag.

On arrival we were met and warmly welcomed by new friends as well as friends from our visit here in 2011. Even though we’d already been in Africa for four days, we finally felt like our traveling was over and we had reached our destination.

Our first week here at Lily of the Valley was a busy one. We made several shopping trips to get things we needed to set up our household, and to get at least one of our phones working here. We’ve participated in the weekday prayer meetings with the staff each morning, and met with the people that we will be working most closely with. We are still figuring out what our roles and duties will be here at Lily, and trying to find the best ways for us to contribute during our first nine months here.

We are very pleased by the obvious desire of the folks here to serve the Lord and the children in our care faithfully; and to do all of it in a manner that is based on the principles of God’s Word. The challenges here are great, and the needs are many, so complete dependence on our Lord is essential.

Many thanks to all of you who helped bring us to South Africa through your prayers and financial support. We look forward to sharing with you what God is doing here at Lily over the coming months.

You can get more frequent updates on our Facebook ministry page: We try to post something every couple of days, and we’ve recently added photos from our trip. Please join so you’ll get notifications when we post!


Mike, Lori, Eliana and Eden

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Counting the Days…

MikeEileenPaul 2013

Mike together with his sister Eileen and brother Paul in Newark, New York

We are praising God for all that he has done since we last wrote to you! It’s been a busy couple of months; making departure arrangements, sorting, packing, selling our house, filling out paperwork for visas, saying goodbyes, and much more. Here’s a brief summary:

Our house went on the market in August and we had an offer just three days later. We expect to close shortly. We thank God for working it out that our house sold quickly. One wrinkle has delayed the closing for a couple weeks, but we know that it’s just a matter of time. Please pray that we are able to close before our departure to Africa on October 28, so that we can settle the financial matters in person before we leave.

During October we’re visiting family in Maine, Texas and New York. We’re grateful to have had those opportunities to be with loved ones before our departure.

Our yellow lab, Savanna is with a new family in New York. We were glad to hear that she is doing well in her new home.

Mike’s last day as a school bus driver at Portland Schools was September 30. He is thankful for all of his co-workers who have been so supportive of our plans to serve in South Africa. They gave Mike a great send off, and he will certainly miss his friends there.

On October 6, we enjoyed a benefit concert by our friends Mark Farrington and Dave McCalmon; a.k.a. Red Flannel Hash.  Mike had an opportunity to talk about our work at Lily of the Valley during the event, and to share about the ways that God has let us experience the spirit of Jesus through the service of his people. The event allowed us to establish connections with some folks who hadn’t heard about our ministry before; and it raised funds to help with expenses.

AND, we have our plane tickets. We are leaving for South Africa on Monday, October 28. We’ll spend a couple days in Johannesburg for SIM orientation; buy a vehicle there, and then; road trip! It should be an adventure making the 530 kilometer (330 mile) drive to Lily of the Valley through countryside that is completely new to us in a right hand drive car. What a way to see our new home!

We are so excited as we approach the “big move”.  Please keep us in your prayers as we make this transition to a new phase of ministry. And thank you to all of you who are helping to make it possible! Without the generosity of God’s people, we would not be able to serve the vulnerable children of South Africa. You are serving Christ himself as you partner with us to serve “the least of these” (Matthew 25:37-40) at Lily of the Valley Children’s Village.


Mike, Lori, Eliana and Eden

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Send Off Concert at Hollis Center Baptist Church

The excitement is growing as we approach our departure to South Africa. Though we haven’t set a date yet, we are on track to be on our way in Flyer 2October. Shortly before leaving we will have one more opportunity to meet with our friends and partners and to invite others to share in our ministry. And you will have an opportunity to hear a little about that ministry and also to hear some really good live music.

Red Flannel Hash; the musical duo of Mark Farrington and Dave McCalmon; have graciously offered to perform at this event. Red Flannel Hash will be sharing their blend of gospel, bluegrass and folk Americana with us. You may have heard their music at SoulFest last summer, or at one of their performances around our area.  Everyone will have an opportunity to hear them on Sunday, October 6. You are invited to join us at 7:00 pm at Hollis Center Baptist Church, for an evening of music and of celebrating the privilege of serving others in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

First, Red Flannel Hash will be serving all of us as they perform their music. And because of their servant hearts, we can offer this concert to you free of charge. There will be a freewill offering which will give you an opportunity to serve; by joining in our work of serving the orphans of South Africa at Lily of the Valley Children’s Village. We will also invite you to join our mailing list so that you can follow the news as we serve in South Africa.

If you aren’t already familiar with our upcoming ministry in South Africa, take a look at some of the earlier posts on this blog and especially at the short video on the top right of this page. It will explain about our mission and ministry.

Come join the fun, and be part of what God will be doing at Lily of the Valley!

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August 2013

The Rosenbauers Are Headed to

South Africa! 

That was the title of our first prayer letter; from September 2011. We’re happy to report that now our departure is finally drawing near.


Our destination: Lily of the Valley Children’s Village
in the community of Mophela, South Africa

We had hoped to already be serving in South Africa by this time, but our long term support need is not yet fully met. While it might not be our timetable, we thank God for the progress we have seen, and for all the folks whose hearts He has moved to join with us in His work of helping to raise vulnerable children to become servant leaders. We are grateful to God, and to each one of you who has made that commitment. Thank you! 

Ever since our survey trip to South Africa in February 2011, we have been eager to begin working among the displaced children at Lily of the Valley Children’s Village. Eliana and Eden each have a strong desire to minister with us there as well. And since our daughters will graduate from high school next spring, their time with us is drawing to a close. So over the last few months we began to wonder how much longer it would be realistic to plan on them going to South Africa with us; given our current levels of support.

So we are very excited to announce an answer to prayer; that God has opened up a way for the four of us to serve together in South Africa beginning in the fall! We plan to leave as soon as all the arrangements can be made, most likely sometime in October. (Processing the visas is expected to be the biggest factor in setting our final departure date.) Our first term at Lily will be nine or ten months long. At the end of that term we will return to the States with Eliana and Eden and help them get established with their after-graduation plans. Then once Lori and Mike are at 100% support, we will go back to long term ministry at Lily of the Valley.

In the meantime, we have a lot to do! In addition to the matter of visas, there are things that need to be done with the house, pets, lots of sorting and packing, saying goodbyes, and plenty more. We also still have a way to go to reach full support for long term service, so if you’re one of those who have been waiting until we got closer to leaving before making that commitment, the time is right to get on board. We would love to have you share in this ministry with us!

Donate Now


We are so thankful for this answer to prayer that will let us serve together at Lily of the Valley as a family. Praise the LORD!







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A Letter to the North American Church: Because it is Time

This is a link to a blog post by author Ann Voskamp. It is dated June 20, 2013 and is a reflection on her experiences at a Sunday morning worship service in Uganda. We share it here because it moved us, and it expresses our heart to serve Christ in Africa so well. We hope it speaks to you as powerfully as it does to Lori and me. Click the photo to see Ann’s post.



A Letter to the North American Church: Because it is Time



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Happy Fathers Day!

Click here to read our latest prayer letter


Willing to go

Willing to go



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“Unexpected Joy”

For over a year and a half, we have been meeting with friends and sharing our vision of raising vulnerable children to become servant leaders in South Africa. This journey of faith to serve our Father as house parents at Lily of the Valley Childrens Village has brought its share of challenges. But the process of discovering those whom Christ has as partners in ministry has allowed us to experience unexpected joy.

Joy at Lily

King David’s expression of joy at the generous giving of God’s people is recorded in 1 Chronicles 29:17 – “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.  All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent.  And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.”  Like King David, we have found joy as we witness the enthusiasm of people in serving God with us.  Here are just a few examples:

  • Being warmly embraced by the body of Christ on our very first church visit. We were treated to amazing hospitality. And our host even took Mike on a sunny Sunday afternoon hike; what could be better?
  • We enjoyed a quiet visit of sweet fellowship with a friend who launched out of her comfort zone to partner with us.
  • Getting to know new friends over hot tea (Lori’s fave!) and conversation.
  • Three couples crowded around our kitchen table for brownie sundaes and conversation while the kids played games and got along so well in another room.
  • We delighted in baby smiles and enthusiastic 6 year old conversation; and cheered on a father/son hockey shoot-out in the family’s “great room”.
  • We have been blessed as people prayed for us, and have had the privilege of ministering to others in prayer.
  • Over and over, people have touched us with their generosity; as they give joyfully, often sacrificially.
  • People tell us it’s a privilege to give and be part of caring for those abandoned and orphaned by AIDS, while we never cease to feel privileged by their willingness and desire to partner with us.

Because of  blessings like these, we are now funded at 52% of our ongoing monthly support, and have 72% of our “start up” ministry need.

We continue connecting with as many as possible to share the vision and give opportunity to partner with us in various ways.  And we invite you to meet with us for some brownie sundaes, coffee/tea, and Kingdom conversation.

With Joyful gratitude,
Mike, Lori, Eliana, and Eden

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;

I will tell of all your wonderful deeds”
(Psalm 9:1)


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2013 in Motion

As we have made our way into a new year, we have the following updates:

You can read our latest newsletter here at this link 


Financial support UPDATE:

WE ARE CURRENTLY AT  41% OF OUR MONTHLY SUPPORT GOAL. ($2688.00/month pledged).

Total Monthly support still needed: $3860.00

We are grateful for our current 40 monthly support partners!

Support Graph yellow Feb 2013

UPDATE:  MINISTRY FUND (“start up”) -WE ARE CURRENTLY AT 57% OF OUR GOAL ($28,490.00 contributed!).

(Graph updated Feb. 2013)

Map Graph 57 percent ministry

If God is prompting you to join with us, you can click here for online giving


Online giving button



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Lily’s December Newsletter

Here is a link to the latest newsletter from Lily of the Valley

You can click here to read the lastest updates from their Christmas letter.


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