Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Today, pray for street children. These children live under bushes and in dumps and sewage pipes. They may eat meals out of trash cans. Many people walk by them without seeing them or view them as pests. Ask God to open the churches' eyes to help them see the orphans all around them. Ask the Lord to provide food and shelter for the street children.
Today, pray for the health of orphans around the world. Ask the Lord to provide medications and treatment for the simple things that are unnecessarily killing children like unclean drinking water, malaria, dysentery, AIDS, and malnutrition.
Today, thank the Lord for the past 40 days of prayer for orphans. Ask Him to bring more prayer warriors into the battle. Ask Him to help you to continue praying diligently, Ask Him to continue to give you His love for the orphans. Ask Him to continue to challenge the hearts of your congregation that "He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and He will reward him for what he has done." Proverbs 19:17
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
We had a lovely Thanksgiving. I have been blessed with a wonderful family.
I wanted to hurry and get this post from Reece's Rainbow on here before the stroke of midnight. Oops! I see that it doesn't totally fit. Sorry about that. Hopefully you can still get the gist of it. Please visit www.reecesrainbow.org for more information about this wonderful ministry started by a MOM of a little boy with Down syndrome, Andrea Roberts, who was named an Angel in Adoption for 2010 and People Magazine's Hero of the Year. As most of you know, through this ministry our family has been blessed with Caleb, Steven and Abby.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
On the adoption front, the lady carrying our dossier documents has made it safely to a certain eastern European country. Her flight was delayed one day due to weather.
Speaking of weather, we have had SNOW and very cold weather here. The schools were closed yesterday as well as some roads. Kevin has not gone in to work yet (it is noon) because the UPS Freight main terminal in Salt Lake City closed down around noon yesterday -- meaning no freight was moved to the local terminal for takeout and delivery. I don't know whether he'll get called in later or not. Right now, he is very concerned about the possibility of water lines freezing over in Murtaugh since he does the water and waste water there. He spent several very chilly hours over there last night, part of them down in a man-hole. The snowplows had inadvertently scooped the cover off the man-hole and when the operator tried to replace it, the cover fell down in the hole. Good grief, the only time I spent outside was driving the car around the block so our neighbor on his snow plow could scoop into our driveway. I do NOT do cold weather.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Another month set aside for the church to show orphan related videos, hear testimonies relevant to adoption and orphan care, and an opportunity to listen to sermons where orphans are [possibly] mentioned.
I must confess. Many times I ask myself, “What’s the point of it?” “Is having another time set aside to create an awareness of the orphan crisis even worth the effort?” Is it? Will it make a profound difference?
Perhaps I have become somewhat cynical, or weary of the battle that rages for the lives of millions of children, or frustrated that help seems so slow to come, or desperate to see more and more who are willing to go. I don’t know. I only know the sinking feeling that I feel each time I look into the faces of our four adopted children and remember the millions that are left behind. The ones who are literally without hope, without life.
We’re the Christians, for goodness sake! We’re God’s beloved church. His beautiful bride. We’re the ones He has already commanded to take care of the orphans.
Yet sadly, we wait.
We wait for God to speak to us in an audible voice, telling us to “GO!”—sometimes He does that audible voice thing, you know.
We wait for the perfect job to come along—orphan care demands a whole lot of money.
We wait for the bills to be paid—can’t be taking on more than we can handle.
We wait for the larger house—because adding children requires a large house.
We wait for a few kids to leave the nest before we add more—can’t be having too many children in the home.
We wait for confirmation with the perfect scripture to drop into our spirits as a sign that we need to act now.
We wait...for someone else to go.
We wait, we wait, we wait.
And while we wait—they perish. The statistics are staggering. I can’t even look anymore.
This is the horrendous reality...
Why do we find every reason under heaven and earth why we should not go? The Bible is as clear as daylight—“care for the widows and the orphans.”
It’s a lot like missions. My heart aches when I see how many churches don’t have a fabulous missions program. God’s Word says to “Go into ALL the world and make disciples of all men.” It’s a command! It’s non- negotiable. Taking care of the orphans is a command too. We’re commanded in His word to care for them—however that may look.
But still we wait for “the call” to come. Kind of like, “I am SO glad Mrs. Jenkins is called to lead children’s church, because that is DEFINITELY NOT my calling.
God hardly ever calls us to do things for Him when everything in our lives is just grand. He never calls us to walk on the water when our circumstances are sweet. When I look in the Bible, I see people doing things for the Lord in the midst of impossible circumstances. Tougher than what my circumstances have ever been in my entire life. Yet, they did it. In obedience. The Lord commanded them--and they went. They accepted the tough task that lay before them—come what may. They never asked the Lord for a re-commission.
So why in the world do we? What makes us so different to the people God gave us to learn from in the Bible?
Why are there so many uncared for orphans in the world when we’re commanded to care for them?
We would be wealthy if someone paid us every time we have been told that we were “called by God” to adopt our four children who have special needs. Or for the many people who have told us that “There is no way we could do what you do.”
You know what that does? It diminishes God’s sovereign power to do the impossible through each one of us, His people. Comments like that tell the Father, “Sorry God, but you don’t have enough power to give me the ability to parent a child who struggles in life.” “So sorry, God. Just go and call someone else.” “Oh God, and that mission field thing? There is no way I could ever do that!”
That’s perilous ground to walk on.
God’s power is absolutely made perfect in our weakness. When He commands us to do something, He equips us with everything we need to fulfill the calling with excellence. Even people like us--ordinary sinners saved by grace who are just average Joes. He does it for His glory! To make Himself famous in the earth. It has absolutely nothing to do with us. Everything God does is for His glory, not ours.
I believe with all my heart that God is raising up an army of crazy people to do the ridiculous. Many believe we are living in the end times. We agree! We sense that more than ever God is looking for those who are willing to do the impossible. Just WILLING! God is seeking out those who will serve Him with reckless abandonment, no matter where that takes them or what He tells them to do in this life.
Reckless abandon for the sake of His orphans...simply because they so desperately need US. Come what may.
Written by my friend Adeye on her blog. Copied with her permission. http://www.nogreaterjoymom.com/2010/11/reckless-abandon.html
aren't typical developing children diagnosed like this?
How to give parents a pre-natal diagnosis:
I'm very sorry, I have the results of the genetic tests and they have confirmed
our suspicions that your fetus is what we call ... Normal. Some people prefer
the terms "Ordinarily Challenged" or "Normal Syndrome". The syndrome can be
easily identified by a complete lack of any interesting genetic
characteristics. I know this will come as a shock to you, but you should be
aware of what this is likely to mean.
If your fetus manages to survive the rest of the pregnancy and the birth, which
is becoming more common these days, he or she will face some daunting
challenges. Children who suffer from normalcy are prone to health and
psychological problems. It is almost certain that the growing child will suffer
a seemingly endless stream of viruses. They will frequently damage themselves,
and sometimes others, from their excessive energy.
Their relentless demands will put a strain on your existing family and, of
course, your relationship with your partner will suffer, and possibly end in a
painful and acrimonious separation. Any children you already have, even if they
also suffer from normalcy, will be jealous of the newcomer and all their extra
attention. Many siblings are liable to be psychologically scarred by the new
I need hardly mention the financial consequences, although disastrous, they will
be nothing compared to the emotional turmoil your life will suffer.
After a while, you may be lucky and find they can be kind and loving young
children. They may find some temporary happiness in things such as music,
dancing, food or playing with toys.
But if they survive early childhood, a Normal child is almost certain to grow
into a Normal adolescent. Your years of sacrifice will be thrown back in your
face as they become disobedient, wild and reckless. Unable to find happiness and
contentment, they will treat you with contempt until they manage to leave home.
Even then the suffering will continue as they will often return to try and
extract money. They will blame you for their own faults and leave you bitter and
They may well become criminals, over a quarter of Normals will have trouble with
the law, many will spend time in jail. Many will have problems with alcohol or
drug abuse. Normal marriages are often
unhappy and short and over half end in divorce.
Even if they become successful this is likely to be because of the often
observed tendency of Normals towards excessive greed. The chances of them
sharing their success with you are remote and they will tend to see you as an
Finally, Normal people are likely to die before their time. 23% will die of
cancer, 33% of heart disease. Hundreds every year in this country alone are so
distressed by their condition that they take their own life. I'm sorry to say
that many will have had a lonely, painful and pointless existence.
I am afraid that Normal Syndrome is a genetic condition that affects every cell
of the body, and so is impossible to cure.
Termination is an option.
Shall I book an appointment?
..... from a parent who received a diagnosis rather like this.
Bob Lincoln, author
Today, pray for yourself and the other prayer team members. Ask the Lord for strength. Ask Him to help you not grow weary in battling for the orphans on your knees.
Hopefully today our adoption documents will/have already reached their overseas destination :):)
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Today, ask the Lord to help your church be an example of the Lord's love for orphans as written in Psalm 10:17-18: "The helpless put their trust in You. You are the defender of orphans Lord, You know the hopes of the helpless. Surely You will listen to their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so people can no longer terrify them."
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
First an explanation--you can skip this part if you want to and just skip to the article below.
A few months ago I wrote an article that I hoped would be published in our denominational weekly magazine. (didn't happen--bummer) The Assemblies of God as a movement has been incredibly missions-minded since its inception in 1914. Our emphasis has been on winning people to Jesus and then building Bible schools and training national leaders to lead and pastor their own congregations in a biblically-sound manner. I have no problem with that at all. God has blessed these efforts in phenomenal ways. We as a denomination are also involved in a variety of childcare ministries around the globe and have a children's home and home for women in crisis pregnancy here in the U.S. as well. So please don't think that we as a denomination are uninvolved in caring for orphans or other vulnerable children. But when it comes to adopting one of those orphans . . . well, I would love for our people to see that Christian adoption IS missions and therefore is worthy of supporting with encouragement, prayer and even finances.
I clung desperately to my husband Kevin's hand as our plane began its initial descent into Kyiv, Ukraine on January 24, 2008. Feelings of sheer terror and utter exhilaration jostled for the upper hand. There was no turning back now.
As a kid, I'd been called to the mission field at a Wednesday night Bible study; as a young adult I had gone to Northwest College in Kirkland to pursue a major in missions. When at the close of my junior year it became time for my required practicum I had told the MAPS representative I wanted to "work in an orphanage and hug babies." There'd been no ministry openings fitting that description but I had participated in several other short-term missions projects both before and after graduation in 1984. All those years, all those dreams, all that preparation and paperwork were finally reaching a wonderful but different-than-expected culmination as that jumbo jet dropped in altitude. You see, I was not entering foreign soil as a conventional career missionary but as a mom.
I was following the call of an out-dated picture—an adorable blond-headed, blue-eyed toddler nicknamed Sasha. As far as my heart was concerned, that little boy already belonged to me. He was now 3 ½ and resided in a Baby House near Ukraine's capital. As most kids with Down syndrome, he would be transferred from the Baby House to a mental institution at approximately age 4. I was told that many children did not survive their first year after making that move. I could not get away from Proverbs 24:11 (NIV) “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter” and verse 12 (Message) “If you say, ‘that’s none of my business,’ will that get you off the hook? Someone is watching you closely, you know--Someone not impressed with weak excuses.”
I was following my passion. According to UNICEF there are an estimated 163 million orphans.(1) It's nearly impossible for me to comprehend such a huge number but this helps me: if a person were to read the names of each of these precious children at the rate of one per second, it would take over 5 years to read them all. Yet each of these children is uniquely created in the image of Almighty God; each is dearly loved and valiantly defended by our Abba Father; and each is personally included in the "world" that Jesus Christ died to save. James 1:27 (NIV) says "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after widows and orphans in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
What better way to "look after orphans" than to adopt? It's not that Kevin and I were childless—we already had two sons and two daughters at home. Nor were we wealthy—Kevin was a City Driver for a major freight carrier and I was a stay-at-home Mom. We were simply striving to be obedient to God's call and example. Think about what God has done for us as Christians. "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son . . . that we might receive the adoption of sons (emphasis added), and because ye are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." Galatians 4: 4-7 KJV. God could have remained aloof and sterile up in Heaven and just dropped money and food and clothes on our miserable heads from time to time. He could even have gathered those necessities into a beautiful gift box, tied a fancy bow on top and had angels personally deliver the package to our doorsteps. But instead God sent his Son so that through the cross we might receive forgiveness of our sins and be brought into his family.
A bazillion fears knotted in my stomach as the tarmac approached. "What if our son doesn't like me?" "What if no one shows up to meet us?" "Can we really do this?" After clearing customs and piled down with luggage, I was so relieved to see a gentleman dressed in a black coat and matching hat holding up a sign with our misspelled last name in big letters. Trustingly we followed him to his dark gray Audi. Though communication was decidedly limited, he was hired by our adoption facilitator and I knew we were in good hands.
As we sped from the airport across the Dniepro River and into the city of Kyiv I swiveled my head from side to side trying to take in all the sights. I was enthralled with trying to decipher the road signs printed in the Cyrillic alphabet as well as viewing the gorgeous and varied architecture of historic buildings that flashed by my back seat window. I was amazed at cars driving and parking on the sidewalks and by young ladies traipsing along in their brief skirts and stiletto boots on the treacherous ice and snow. The predominance of dark clothing for both men and women blended well with the gray wintry skies.
Eventually we arrived at the furnished apartment we'd booked over the internet. The security entrance was at the rear of the multi-storied building and first impressions were none too inviting: the outside steps were crumbling, the inside stairwell was unlit except for whatever muted light could make its way through a single cloudy window, and the rickety elevator was very tiny. However, the apartment itself was quite spacious and bright with lots of windows, an enclosed balcony, an adorable miniature washing machine (with fabric types written in Cyrillic, water levels in cc's and temperatures in Celsius), a fantastic pot that could heat water to boiling in about a minute, rectangular bottom sheets for the bed that were exactly the same size as the top of the mattress (we never could figure out how to tuck them in) and a strong security door which we were reminded over and over again to keep locked and dead-bolted at all times. For me, the main selling point of the whole place was that it had a computer connected to high-speed internet. That one feature far offset the fact that the stench of much of the building's sewer system seemed to vent in our bathroom.
Two needs that surfaced rather quickly were food and water. Our bottled water and sodas—still sealed and purchased inside an airport security area had been confiscated at the last border crossing. Granola bars I'd purchased for the trip had inadvertently been left at home because Kevin thought they were for our other children to snack on in our absence. Thankfully there was a market right across the street. It's funny that as I'm writing this two years later my heart begins to pound faster and I feel panic rising up inside my chest. That market, though handy, scared the daylights out of me.
OK, at first the market was interesting. On the outside were rows and rows of shops shaped very similarly to storage units with overhead doors that could be pulled down at the close of business. This cubicle had luxurious fur coats, that one had men's dress shirts and ties, this one featured a variety of children's toys while another had pots and pans. Thankfully one shop had plain bottled water and soda pop and another had household necessities such as laundry detergent, deodorant and toilet paper. At the end of the maze was a very large enclosed area which housed the groceries. Over to the left was an enclosed booth with many types of fresh bread. There were cases of cheeses and others of sausages and fish. The fresh meat section was to the right. I saw a long row of plucked, gutted chickens, with heads hanging down and feet sticking up. There were several counters where each vendor was apparently singing the praises of the particular chunk of raw meat held out in his un-gloved hand. Was it pork? Beef? I had no idea and wasn't quite secure enough to try mooing or oinking to find out. Tails and tongues were available for sale as well. Around the edges were colorful displays of fresh fruits and vegetables and pyramids of fresh honey jars. At first the unusualness was very interesting.
But after awhile the unfamiliar became uncomfortable and then actually frightening to me. With almost no knowledge of the language we were reduced to pointing and holding up fingers to indicate what and how many we wanted of a particular item. There were no shopping carts and no central checkout. Each vendor at each counter collected her own money in an unfamiliar currency. Most of the sellers placed our purchases in a small cellophane bag which we then added to the larger bags already in-hand. The load was getting heavier. I was having trouble finding basic items because they were packaged differently. Yogurt was in small jugs; milk came in thick plastic bags; I couldn't find butter and I couldn't ask for help. Finally I couldn't stand the stress or the strangeness anymore. I begged Kevin to let me go back to the haven of our apartment.
The next day (Friday) we were driven across the city through the swarming, blaring traffic to the government office where we were given the official referral for our son. We were shown a tiny photograph of him as an infant, told a few sentences about his family history, and given a document granting permission to go to the Baby House to meet him. It was hard to wait until Monday but I will always treasure the moment when a white-coated worker stepped into the orphanage doctor's office where Kevin and I were anxiously seated--accompanied by a bright-eyed, smiley bundle of shaggy-haired cheer. Sasha was no longer just a picture on our fridge or a .jpg file on the computer. He was real. He was beautiful. And I was in love. After about 15 minutes of interaction, we were asked if we wanted to proceed with the adoption. Oh yes!
Over the next few hours and weeks, Sasha's whole world changed. We gave him a new name: Caleb Alexander. He gained a new status—from outcast orphan to treasured son. He attained new citizenship. And of course, he began to hear about Jesus' love. All this sounds so dramatic and parallels so closely what God does for each of us through faith in His Son. But for our son the change did not come easily—well, not for any of us really. Several subsequent visits at the orphanage were filled with the tears of a frightened little boy left alone in a tiny room with two strangers. There were complicated legal issues that had to be resolved. Kevin had to return to the USA and resume work. I ached for my children at home. I had to go to that scary market all by myself and, after I had custody of Caleb, I was worried he wouldn't survive on yogurt, fruit loops, bread, bananas and tea (the only foods I could get him to eat) long enough to get home.
Finally on February 26, I was on a plane taking off from Kyiv, a city I had grown to love, this time joyously holding the hand of our new son. I hadn't gone to live and work in an orphanage but was certainly bringing one former-orphan home to love for the rest of his life in obedience to a heavenly call. Adoption was a different kind of missions—but true missions, nevertheless.
(1) http://www.childinfo.org/hiv_aids_orphanestimates.php accessed on August 7, 2010. Of these 18,520,000 had lost both parents; the fathers of 126,000,000 had died.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Our dossier should arrive in Iowa on Friday. A fellow adoptive mom from Iowa is traveling to Abby's country on Monday and has so nicely offered to take the documents with her. This saves us not only money but time and worry as well. It's cool because another adoptive mom is also sending her dossier with the same person. I am glad to see so many people in process to rescue these kiddos--some from desperate conditions, some even from death.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Oh, I forgot that this morning I went to Twin Falls and Faxed the rest of our documents to Carla. Immediately afterward, I climbed into the Suburban and "happened" to double-check the phone number on the form. YIPES!! The guy helping me Fax had accidentally punched a 9 instead of a 6--we had just transmitted all the info to the wrong recipient. Hopefully that person is an honest soul because I sure sent him/her a lot of personal information about us. Thankfully the 2nd time was a charm.
Today, please ask God to protect children affected by war and violent conflicts. Pray that the Lord will protect their vulnerable hearts and keep them safe. Pray that a church will reach out to them.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I'd received the updated local police clearances on Wednesday. THAT part was easy--smile.
Kevin and I had tentatively planned to get everything notarized at a bank Friday afternoon but we both ran out of time. But today a lady Kevin knows from work agreed to help us out. So I took the pile of papers over to Murtaugh, got my frozen husband off the tractor/mower he was driving and we headed to the school where the notary so sweetly met us. I think it took about an hour to do all the signatures, cover sheets, etc. (We had to re-do all documents that mentioned Kevin's passport info since he got it renewed, re-do the medical documents that we'd just had updated, do for the first time the I-800A form--YAY--some cover sheets and the actual Adoption Contract that couldn't be completed until all the other documents were gathered. While in her office, I checked my list twice to make sure we had completed EVERYTHING. I drove home, got all the papers organized, picked up 3 boys and headed to Twin--first to Office Max to make copies of all the new documents. It was 3:57 when I got back in the Suburban and I thought pkg pickup was at 4:00. Thankfully the post office was only about a block away. I buzzed over there and instructed Billy to get the little boys out of the car while I ran on in. I had to weigh the pkg first so I'd know how much postage to put on. I was relieved to see that on Saturdays packages weren't picked up until 5:30. I got all the documents stuffed neatly into the envelope; made sure my letter indicating which East European country we were adopting from, my SASE and my check were enclosed; licked and clasped the opening; took a picture; and let Billy put the envelope in the drop. Our paper baby is en route to Boise Secretary of State for apostilles.
Day 29: Today, pray for mothers or fathers who might be having trouble caring for their children and feel they need to give them up or abandon them. Ask God to help them find support. Ask the Lord to meet their needs and give them the resources to be able to take care of their children.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
It feels like this road has already been so very long. There are several people on Reece's Rainbow who committed to their children AFTER we committed to Abby and have long since submitted their dossiers. Some may already have their children (from another Eastern European country) home . I don't know why it always seems to take us so much time to compile our paperwork. I have to remind myself that adoption is not a competition to see who can get it done in the least amount of time. We each have our unique set of circumstances and snags. We all just need to faithfully "keep going"--we keep running on the course that is set before US. We will receive the prize if we don't get discouraged and if we don't give up.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Rather than being overwhelmed by the numbers, or merely convicted, we want to be moved to specific, practical action. My niece shared about a ministry to Mexico with which she is involved that is need of money, clothes, blankets, socks, gloves,etc. for children of all ages; Kevin talked about our experience with foster care, Linda recalled her trip to Romania in 1998 where she spent time painting among other things; Carol spoke about her trip as a nurse to an orphanage in Guatemala (she has previously shared about the need for more buildings to be constructed on that site); and I represented the practical response of adoption by reading an article I wrote entitled "Another Kind of Missions."
I honestly am pretty discouraged about the poor attendance but hopefully the workshop will help spark a fire in the hearts of those who came.
Day 28--Prayer Guide for Orphan Care (yes, I know I'm way behind but let's just keep praying together . . . OK?) Today, pray for families who are taking care of their grandchildren or nieces or nephews in addition to their own children. Ask the Lord to bless them for their sacrifice and to provide enough food, clothes, education, and shelter for all of their children.