Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Happy Birthday Christianna!

Dear friends,
Tuesday, November 12th is a very surreal day for our family.  This year Christianna would have blown out 11 candles on her cake.  Her brother Joshua will blow out two candles on the same day but without hearing her big sister's voice along with his brother and sisters and parents' voices singing "Happy Birthday".  

We remember the beauty, the joy, the delight of each moment with her here on this earth.  Of her sliding down the hill on a makeshift sled, (once breaking her arm!), of her reading and playing with her brothers and sisters, of her pronouncing her love in bold ways for her Savior and for her family.  

This morning we each shared some memories we give thanks for with Christianna:
Acacia: "How she would invent stuff and we would play together with just ordinary items."  
Katriya: "I like playing games with her and her hugs and kisses."
Isaiah: "How she gave me the last kiss and playing cops and robbers with her."
Shamirah: "I liked when she played with me on the trampoline and let me go on her high bunk bed."
Daddy: " I liked when she called me 'Big Daddy' and whispered "love you" after tuck in
Mommy: "I liked when she would lean her head against my shoulder when I was reading to her."
While we have good reason to be overwhelmed with grief, the truth is that the Lord has been faithful to us as we continue to walk through this long and very dark valley.  We are confident of this, He who began this work in us will be faithful to complete it.  We want her birthday to be a day to thank the Lord for the beautiful memories of her life and the promise that when we see her again it will be at the most amazing party in all eternity, the Wedding Feast of the Lamb!
It is only in Christ that we can have a beautiful collision of soul wrenching sorrow and promising joy filled hope.
One day our faith will be sight and on that day the rider of the white horse will put everything right. 
Broken and Blessed,
Rob for the ZamFam

Celebrating with our family today....

Acacia and Christianna

Mommy and Christianna

Christianna and Oma

Opa and Christianna

Christianna (far left) and Uncle Carl

Christianna and Great Grandma

Opa and fishing girls

Shamirah and Christianna

Daddy and Christianna


Acacia and Christianna

Aunt Rebecca and Christianna

Great Grandpa and Grandma 

Mommy and Christianna

Acacia and Christianna

Christianna and Joshua

Christianna and Terra

Shamirah and Christianna

Christianna and Katriya

Christianna and Isaiah

Grammy and Christianna and Acacia

Auntie Gretchen and Mutali and Christianna

Great Grandma's tea party

Tulip time with Grammy and Bumpa

Thursday, 5 September 2013


Christianna and Aumbi

~ She is not sent away, but only sent before; Like unto a Star, which going out of sight, doth not die and vanish, but shineth in another hemisphere: ye see her not, yet she doth shine in another country.~ Samuel Rutherford


Her face is still seen everywhere I go
In a world so broken and lost
Her sparkle and charm lingers
I fear that time will start to erase from my soul
Clinging tightly to memories
I will never let go
On eternity's rainbow you now play
Thinking of you
True beauty now in perfect peace
Longing for the day
My faith becomes sight
Christianna Joy I love you

--Big Daddy

Thursday, 25 July 2013

there when I need You

LORD you are always there when I need you.
You rule over the heavens.
You are almighty God of me.
You will watch over me
and I will not be afraid to come to you.
Lord I thank you for watching over me
and I thank you for being there when I need you.


--written by Christianna at age 8

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


Hello friends,

We heard this week from the pathologist a final diagnosis for Christianna.  She had "Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy".  Cardio = heart, myo = muscle,  pathy = disease, and hyper = large,  So this is basically a disease of the heart muscle cells that causes them to enlarge, be in disarray and not function properly.  It is caused by a genetic mutation, and often develops in the pre-pubertal stage.  

If you have heard of a young healthy athlete suddenly dying, this is most often what has caused it.  Among people who die suddenly from this disease, most have no or only mild symptoms, and many times it is not related to physical activity at the time of death.  

The cause of sudden death at an early age is usually due to an arrhythmia, or a life threatening heart rhythm, as was the case with Christianna, because the heart cells are not aligned/functioning well, especially around the area of the electrical conduction system in the heart.  

It is usually an inherited, or genetic disease, so although we have no one in either family with known sudden early death, our immediate family will be screened with a heart ultrasound, or echocardiogram.  

By the way, the news had reported she had a thickened heart valve, which was not the case.  Her valves were normal, but her heart in general was enlarged.  

Here is some more information from the Mayo clinic site:

"Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease in which the heart muscle (myocardium) becomes abnormally thick — or hypertrophied. This thickened heart muscle can make it harder for the heart to pump blood. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may also affect the heart's electrical system.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy often goes undiagnosed, because many of those with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy have few, if any, symptoms. In a small number of people with this condition, the thickened heart muscle can cause signs and symptoms, such as shortness of breath and problems in the heart's electrical system resulting in life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is usually caused by gene mutations. It's thought these mutations cause the heart muscle to grow abnormally thick. People with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy also have an abnormal arrangement of heart muscle fibers. The heart muscle cells become jumbled, known as myofiber disarray. This disarray can contribute to an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) in some people."

Thank you for your continued prayers as we seek the Lord, are thankful for His faithfulness to us, and so deeply resonate with Ms. Hawks who wrote: " I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord.  No tender voice like thine, can peace afford."
much love from our family,

Friday, 19 July 2013


On November 6, 2011, Christianna was baptized by her father.  We recently came across her written testimony she gave at the service.  Another time we are so thankful for God's Spirit at work in her heart!

"I came to know Jesus when I was in first grade and my mom read Bible stories and I wanted to read more and more.  As I got older i wanted to start my own devotions.  Now every morning for 15 minutes before breakfast I spend my own time reading the Bible.

One day I accepted Christ and I felt more joyful and happy and it was easier to be loving and kind to others.  Now I share Christ when my family goes to Zambia and even while we're here and I get to share about our mission to help children with HIV.  I often hold the babies and sing "Jesus Loves Me" to calm them down or feed them when no one is able to.

One day after devotions I started asking to be baptized.  It is important because Jesus was baptized, as a symbol of our sins being washed away.

I love Jesus with all my heart and I want to follow Him more each day." --- Christianna Joy Murphy

Monday, 8 July 2013

Another day

It still seems like a dream that she is gone.  My heart seems to want to call out her name so often as if she will come walking into the room and light up my life once again with her charm and beauty.  We continue to hear stories from others who have been very impacted by the life of our Christianna.  Her impact will be on my heart until I see her on that day when my faith becomes reality and I climb the rainbow to meet her on the other side.  Until then, I pray that I will be the man she saw me as.  Forever her "Big Daddy."
Christianna and Spinji