Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's Not Glamorous but please read and watch...

Lately, Shawn and I have been re-calling the path that God took us down to bring us to this point that we are at. The point where our hearts are broken for orphans and where we are encouraging everyone that shows the least bit of concern for orphans to join us by rescuing one..... or two, three or however many they will. The point where we are saying, only God knows where this journey is going and how many of HIS children will be taken in and loved by us. As we have traced back the steps to our hearts we've realized that it wasn't an adorable "gotcha video"; although God has used those as a tool of inspiration for us. It wasn't the precious little Ethiopian boy at our church that plays with our baby in the nursery.... although, God has used his family as an example for us. It wasn't our dear friends who "got it" before we did and began their journey to a little girl in India.... yes, God definitely used them to show us what obedience looks like. I've read a ton of books and they were filled with a wealth of information and conviction but let me share with you what God used to "break us".

It was actually the NOT SO glamorous facts and videos.
(Please don't stop here where the ugly truth begins; KEEP reading)

-There is over 143,000,000 orphans in the world today!
-Every 15 seconds, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa.
-Every day 5,760 more children become orphans.
-Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but...
-Every YEAR 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and AGE OUT of the system.
-Every DAY 38,493 children AGE OUT.
-Every 2.2 SECONDS, another orphan child AGES OUT with no family to belong to and no place to call home.
-Many children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before age 18.
-60% of the girls are lured into prostitution. 70% of the boys become hardened criminals.

Many of these children accept job offers that ultimately result in their being sold as slaves. Millions of girls are sex slaves today, simply because they were unfortunate enough to grow up as orphans.

The disastrous outcomes of most children who age out of institutional care is evidence that these children don't know the meaning of love, and are unable to comprehend God's love. Receiving Jesus Christ makes no sense and too many of them will never have a chance to become adopted children of God.

These numbers make me sick to my stomach but not as sick as this NEXT one.

-If only 6% of the church would break out of their comfort zones and adopt one of these children, every adoptable orphan would have a home.

Okay, so God took those facts and this following video and changed our hearts and lives forever. I don't even know how I came across this video (actually my 9 year old found it) but it would forever change our family. It's not a cutie pie "gotcha video" but it was GOD'S "gotcha video" for our family. It definitely "GOT US". I pray that it "gets YOU".

Please stop my music at the bottom of this page, you definitely want to hear this.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Highlight of My Summer

I told you a few days ago that I couldn't wait to show you who I spent last week with and what we did. Well, here is a picture of myself and my Maggie with some of our new friends. We spent the week with these guys in an inner city church sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray that I was half as much of a blessing to them as they were to me.

Let me share how this began. A very precious lady at our home church had asked me to serve on this team several years in the past. She has served this community for over 10 years with this ministry. We are talking a Saint here (wish I had a picture of her to share). I'm ashamed to say that my answer was always, "I'll think about it and let you know". I then gave it very little thought because I knew I was way too busy and after all, after teaching VBS at my church it's time to enjoy summer. Well, last year "something" started nagging at my heart to do this. Hmm, maybe it was that prayer our family had been praying... LORD, break our hearts for what breaks YOURS. Well, I hesitated but went and let me tell you.... on day one... I was hooked. It was a life changing experience and I knew that I would return. So this year was quite different. I couldn't wait to get there and begin loving on these kids. I was signed up to teach 6th graders and when I walked in the first day, I had one student. I began to pray. LORD, fill this room with kids that need YOU. By snack time, two other boys, a 7th grader and 8th grader had joined us. The four of us rallied and prayed and God began to multiply the numbers. By mid week we had 9 kids grades 6th-9th. Some of these teens had already trusted in Christ as their Savior and simply had the opportunity to grow in their walk and knowledge. Others had heard of Jesus but never believed and trusted in Him. Only by the Grace of God, let me introduce you to my new brothers and sisters in Christ.

These teens walked away on Friday knowing that God has great plans for their lives, plans to prosper them and not harm them, plans to bring them hope and a future. They found "hope" in Jesus and I found "blessing" in loving them. They also walked away knowing that this white girl is crazy about them.

I just might have learned more from these two girls than they learned from me ; ) They will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Here are some younger girls that Maggie got to hang out with everyday at recreation. This little girl of mine has a heart that is beautiful. Her heart knows no difference in race, religion, social or economic back ground. She loves like Christ. If only us adults, could "get it" like she does. Thank you LORD that I get to learn from her.
This little guy was a cousin to one of the boys in my class and I was head over hills from the first day. Do I look "smitten" or what?
Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about our family vacation coming up, but THIS was the highlight of my summer.

"He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our sins, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Enjoy this beautiful video while you wait....

Wait on what? Glad you asked. I have been very busy this week and I can't wait to show you who I've spent my week with and what we've been up to. Hopefully, I will have time to post pictures and details in a day or two. In the meantime, enjoy this video that I came across tonight on a friend's blog. I have to say, it makes me very anxious to board our plan to Ethiopia!

(pause my music before you start the video)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I've Been Waiting to Share This Video!!

Many of you were like me, waiting anxiously to see this video of Lucy Lane's one year home celebration. For those of you who don't know the story..... well, just check it out HERE and let it speak for itself. The Johnson's Gotcha Day video inspired us, as it did many, to pray and ask God what He would like our role to be in caring for orphans. Well, it didn't take HIM long to answer that one..... hopefully, we will be sharing our Gotcha Day video with all of you very soon. : )

Here's the follow up to Lucy Lane's Gotcha Day video. Her family is sharing their journey, her milestones and the faces of many families who are now adopting as a ripple effect of this little girl. Look closely, you just might recognize one family : )

Thursday, June 3, 2010

God Funds What He Favors and He Favors Adoption!!!

As we began to pray about adoption, we thought surely God wasn't calling US to do this and mainly for one reason. We couldn't afford it. We knew we could continue to care for the children we sponsor and even assist a few others in their adoption finances... but come up with $25,000. ..... not likely. Our business had taken a blow as a result of the suffering economy and we were expecting another baby at the time. Surely LORD, not us! It sounded great and we would love to have an adopted son or daughter but financially, we just didn't think it was possible.

Well, we just couldn't shake this..... we knew HE was planning this, He just needed us to trust Him. Thats when we heard someone say, "God funds what He favors and He favors adoption". How profound! Like we thought for a minute HE didn't!!?? Of course He wants these fatherless children to have a home, a family, and the chance to hear about HIS grace. So the question became.... "do we or don't we believe that He will provide the resources to make this happen?". We knew the answer.... of course He would!

With our faith in hand, we set out to do something very expensive, yet we were very broke. Sound outrageous? Of course it does! But don't fret for a minute... let me just share what HE has done so far. Before we even filled out an application, a very precious friend called and offered to do a fund-raiser for us that ended up providing us with about $300. Guess how much our application fee was, yep, $300. Next we put a couple of items up for sale and expected it would take a while to move them, nope, they sold immediately for exactly what we would need for our initial fees. Then, oh no, here come the big fees.... a large portion of our adoption agency fee plus our home study agency fee are about to be due. Guess what, this past week-end, a dear friend shows up at our door with an extremely generous check that covers those fees. Praise the LORD!!!

This is amazing and I can't believe we almost missed this opportunity to see our "Daddy" provide for His children just because we were broke. Yes, we have a long way to go and alot of funds to come up with, but we don't doubt that HE will provide every dime. : )

Brothers and Sisters, if you feel God stirring your heart for adoption, please don't say "No" because you can't afford it. If you want to see how big your God is, say "YES" and watch HIM grow!!! To our friends who have already partnered with us to bring this orphan home, thank you. We know you give all glory to the Father!

"My friends, adoption is redemption. It's costly, exhaustive, expensive and outrageous. Buying back lives cost so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed HIM." -Derek Loux

Praying for more redemption!

P.S. As a side note I feel like I need to say this. Yes, you can adopt domestically or from some countries and spend much less than $25,000. At this time, we just know God is asking us to go "international". I'm certain that's because that's where OUR child is. : )