Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
During the week of November 17-21, 2008, tune in to Focus on the Family and FamilyLife’s radio broadcasts. We’ll cover issues related to orphan care and adoption. Here is an overview of what will be discussed:
- The plight of the orphan in today’s world.
- God’s heart for the orphan – the most vulnerable of the least of these.
- Practical ways to follow God’s call to care for orphans
As part of our misssions conference that year our church was hosting a "Day of Discovery" which was touted as Perspectives in a day. For anyone not familiar with those events it was a day long class on missions. Kyle really wanted to go and I'm pretty sure my first response was no way, I am NOT going to spend an entire Saturday bored out of my mind learning about missions. Besides if there was one thing I was sure of it was this, I was not now not ever going on a missions trip, frankly I wasn't interested in leaving this country for fun, I definitely was going to live in Africa and eat bugs (unfortunately that is probably a quote, no exageration here). But the Holy Spirit moved in me just enough that I chose to try and be a godly wife and go if it was so important to Kyle.
So we get there and I am not happy but I'm going to be there for 9 hours so I might as well listen. The speaker stands up there and just begins to read from the Bible, showing us God's heart for the lost, His desire that none should perish, His love for all people. Then he reads from the Bible the scary stuff (for me at the time) the commandments (yes commandments) to go, to make disciples, to send, to teach, to serve. We learned a lot more about the world, the people in this world who have never heard about the fact that Jesus died for their sins and if they just believe that they will spend eternity with Him in heaven. We learned how many people there are who have never heard and how few workers are there sharing with them and how even less money is given to help those missionaries. We learned how 98% of all international people who come to live in America for a period of time, never set foot in an American's home, that one made me cry. So I sat there all day and the man just read from the Bible and shared facts about missions around the world no gimmicks just truth, but it was all one needs to hear, and I left there sad and scared to death.
I have never experienced the fear of the Lord (a respect and understanding of my need to obey) as strongly as I did when we left that class. At the end we had a chance to pray and this is about what I said, "Lord I do NOT want to go on a missions trip, but I'll go if you make me. Lord, I am scared out of my mind as to what this might mean...I don't want to live in Africa and eat bugs and not get all the comforts of America, but I am more scared of not walking in obedience to You. Please tell me exactly what to do and give me everything I need to do it, because all I can contribute is saying okay." We got in the car and Kyle said I'm so excited I think we should go on a short term trip and I literally shaking with fear said if God wants us to I'll go. Kyle was shocked, I'm sure.
So after that day I committed to all I could at that moment, to pray everyday for God to send workers to the field, and I did. Then God told me clear as day to go on a short term trip, we signed up for one and 8 months from that class we went. But the awesome thing and what I hope encourages you, is God took care of everything. I mean not just all the physical things (the money, the doctor appointments, the plane tickets, the details), He took care of the biggest challenge of all, my heart. God used those months of prayer and Bible study to take away my fear, to trust Him with my life fully, to give me a love for the lost and for all nations, and to fall deeper in love with Him than I had ever been before. Oh, and I didn't have to go to Africa or eat bugs, my view of the world was so small and so wrong.
So I encourage you, pray. Ask God what do You want me to do with what You said,
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."Matthew 28:19
"Then he said to his disciples,
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Acts1:8.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
This is my personal favorite on fun ideas to help support orphans, I just haven't figured out where I could put the bucket:
*Change begins with you. Here's what you do!
Choose a group of people, like your family, friends, church or small group, and tell them why you want to collect change for orphans. Use the DVD, Bible verses and facts in the Show Hope Change for Orphans packet to help inspire and encourage people to donate.
| Set out the Change for Orphans bucket and regularly dump out the change in your pocket, empty that jar in the closet, or forego a coffee or meal out that week and throw in a couple bucks. Consider working through the 30-day booklet, Seeds of Change, exploring God’s heart for orphans and adoption|
| After 30 days, convert to a check the money you collected, and send it to Shaohannah’s Hope using the envelope in your packet, or Donate Online Now. Together, these small amounts become a world of change for an orphan. Include a short story of what you did, why, and what you accomplished.|
| Don’t let it end there! Prayerfully consider what other steps God might have for you, whether they are continuing to collect change, starting an adoption fund at your church, or stepping out in your neighborhood to mentor a foster kid. Read through the Act Now booklet for more ideas, and change YOUR world for ORPHANS!|
*This text in it's entirety was copied from Shaohannah's Hope.org
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I especially want to thank my dad who's 26 years of service helped formed me into the person I am today. I know your sacrifice was not as big as some but it was significant and I learned how to love this country by watching you do the same.
Monday, November 10, 2008
For the next couple of days I will post some ideas that Shaohannah's Hope gives. Today's idea is start an "Orphan Sunday" at your church. This is what the organization suggests:
One of the most important parts of a successful church ministry is winning the church community to adoption. If you haven’t already, be sure to meet with your church leadership. Before you can formally introduce any ministry in your church it is critical to respectfully and prayerfully seek the counsel, advice, and guidance of your pastoral leadership for purposes of accountability, ministry growth, and access to the church body. Once leadership in your church has caught this vision, it is time to go to members of the congregation to raise corporate awareness.
If your church has established small group Bible Studies, you might consider preparing an inspirational and informative presentation to share on adoption and orphan care with these groups.
Sharing with the Congregation: Orphan/Adoption Sunday
An ideal way to raise awareness and resources in your church is to dedicate a specific day to orphans and adoption. If your church leadership is willing to allot time in one of the main worship services (Sunday service) to teach on God’s call to care for orphans and to celebrate adoption, we have laid out for you a few suggestions for a “Spirit of Adoption” Service or a “Build a Bridge of Hope Sunday” to celebrate adoption in your church. Here is a sample “Build a Bridge of Hope Sunday” outline.
- Establish a date convenient for your fellowship. Preferably around other adoption related events/celebration. Historically, National Adoption Day is celebrated the Saturday before Thanksgiving during National Adoption Awareness month (November). Although any time is appropriate there are a few important dates to note that might help in encouraging your leadership to participate. Possible dates: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the Sunday after National Adoption Day, or a Sunday in November, National Adoption Awareness Month, or May, National Foster Care Month.
- Advertise around the church on bulletin boards or where appropriate using “Adoption Sunday” posters.
- Encourage your senior pastor to preach about God’s heart for orphans, using resources from Inspirational Materials or the Show Hope Store.
- Play Build a Bridge of Hope video narrated by Steven Curtis Chapman , the Family Testimony video, the Hidden Treasure video, or the Facts video available on the Show Hope DVD.
- Allow an adoptive family to give their testimony.
- Dedicate a percentage of offering to your own adoption/orphan care ministry.
- Bring ALL adoptive families on stage for closing worship/prayer.
- Have a time of “Special Music” using one of the adoption songs mentioned in the Inspirational Materials, or show the “When Love Takes You In” music video.
- Provide bulletin inserts using the H.O.P.E. guidelines with information on http://www.howtoadopt.org/ for those who may be interested in adopting.
- Announce the first Adoption Ministry small group meeting. You may want to consider organizing an adoption workshop in your church as well.
- Consider providing a departing gift or some materials for your church members.
Friday, November 7, 2008
One of my spiritual heroes is Kim Schams. Kim came to speak to our Sunday School class one week on adoption and she told the story of how her non-profit agency came to exist. A number of years ago she was reading an editorial in the paper in regards to abortion. The writer said that Christians in fact are not as "pro-life" as they would like everyone to believe. The writer pointed out if you were able to put a stop to abortions there would be many things to suddenly deal with. She posed the question of, who would take these women to the OB appointments, who would purchase maternity clothes for them, who would teach them how to be a mother, who would counsel them if they chose adoption and had to live with the pain of that decision, and ultimately who would raise all those children? She ended it by saying that Christians in fact talk the talk but don't walk the walk and they are not willing to take care of all that needs to be done for a woman who chooses life over abortion. Well Kim became mad and determined, and she answered that writer's question with, Yes I will! And so, Aggieland Pregnany Outreach was born.
Unfortunately many more Christians do not become mad or determined when reading that writer's points, many more in fact realize that the writer is correct and are not willing to do anything to change that. You see one determined lady can only do so much. Every woman who chooses life needs a multitude of help, not just for nine months, but for 18 years as most of the women Aggieland Pregnancy counsels choose to parent their children by themselves. So you call yourself pro-life, so what are you going to do about it? Will you give financially to help others adopt or adopt a baby of your own? Will you spend time and resources to support agencies out their fighting for life like, Aggieland Pregnancy? Will you pray? Because the truth is the world is watching and they judge our Lord by our actions not by our picket signs.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
1. God would care for the orphans all over the world, providing for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
2. Every orphan would someday have a family of his very own.
3. God would speak into the hearts of families he would like to adopt waiting children and they would be bold to obey.
4. God would provide the financial assistance to families involved in the adoption process.
5. Processes would be put in place that are easier, quicker, and yet still safe for future adoptions.
6. God would comfort and draw near to Himself those mothers and fathers who are grieving after placing their child with an adoptive family.
7. People involved in adoption (children, birth parents, adoptive parents, agencies) will see God in this miracle and be drawn into a relationship with Him.
8. God would provide the strength and patience needed for those who work in orphanages around the world.
9. Children in orphanages would be cared for well, somebody will pick them up to hold them out of love at least once a day.
10. God would bless waiting parents with peace, patience, and a good support network.
I you would like to pray for adoption in relation to my family you can pray for:
1. Jack would be home by Christmas.
2. God would provide/work out details for a cleft team to perform needed surgeries on Jack.
3. God would be preparing our hearts, Kylynn's heart, Jack's heart for us all to bond together as a family, to know and love each other well.
4. For details of travel, care of Kylynn to be taken care of and to go well.
5. For continued guidance in our role in caring for orphans and the possibility of future adoption(s).
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Some very sweet friends threw me a shower for Jack today. Even though I didn't need much this time around, it meant so much to me to have this same experience for Jack that I did for Kylynn. I love that this is one more thing that will make him the same and not different, that I can tell Kylynn the story of her shower and do the same for Jack.
So thank you my sweet friends for taking the time to throw me a wonderful shower. Everything was beautiful. My most talented friend, C, made me the sweetest cake (and yummiest!) that even said "A Chosen Child" on it...I absolutely loved it and it was so perfect. It was fun to get to talk about our journey some and open neat gifts that are just for Jack.
Thank all of you who came and sent gifts, I loved the gifts for Jack, they will be a great help to Kyle and I, most of all I loved hearing you pray over me and Jack. God has and is doing some wonderful miracles in this adoption and your prayers are powerful and are accomplishing much. This celebration of Jack and how special it is that he gets to join our family through the beauty of adoption meant the world to me. Thank you.
Here's some pictures of our fun Halloween. We went to a trick or treat event at Kyle's work, a party at some friends of ours, and trick or treated around the street, it was a lot of fun and this year she totally understood what was going on and is still trying to find her candy...I wonder where it could be :)