Sunday, August 29, 2010

Guess What's On Our Minds?

From Tennessee to Africa - We are sending our LOVE to many!

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.

Psalm 2:8
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Undivided Devotion

"The idea had dropped in to my brain one Sunday morning while I sat in church.  The pastor was delivering a powerful sermon about living the Christian life.  The gist of it was, 'Be the Christian you say you are.'

Suddenly, I was shocked to realize that I had just driven twenty minutes past the world that needed me to be the Christian I say I am, in order to hear a sermon entitled, 'Be the Christian you say you are.'  Soon I would drive past the same world to the privilege of my comfortable life on campus at a Christian college. 

Thinking ahead to my next week, I knew several things would happen.  I knew I'd hear more lectures about being a caring Christian or living a godly life.  I'd read more books about who God is and about what the world needs now.  I'd spend more time late at night down at a coffee shop with my friends kicking around ultimate questions and finely delivered opinions about the world.

Then I'd jump into my warm bed and turn out the light.  Another day...gone."

(Excerpt from Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski, p.14-15)

Several years ago, this was me.  It was our family.  We drove to church in our luxury family mini-van with automatic doors and consumed sermons about how we should live as Christians.  We would then leave the church and head out to eat at a local establishment with some friends.  Our weeks would fly by with all our our activities - sports practices, academic competitions, special lessons, etc...  Guess what all of our activities centered on?  Ourselves.  We chose to be blind to the world's need, much less the needs within our own city. 

Just like Mike, our days were continually over before we'd chosen to make any sacrifice for Christ.  The clock continually struck midnight to usher in the next day after the day we had lived had not been focused on living for Jesus but living for our own selfish desires.  Cloaked behind the veil of wanting what's best for our children, we whittled away countless hours driving to numerous activities that really did nothing to prepare our kids to live out their faith, much less help them choose to live sacrificially for others. 

Today, I can honestly say our family is living with a different purpose.  We don't have everything figured out by any means, but we are learning what it means to truly live out our faith.  One intentional day after another.  Hard choices have brought blessing.  Making ministry a top priority instead of when we can "work it in" has brought more encounters with God than I would have imagined.  I suppose this is what it means to live a surrendered life. 

Our family still does all of the things I listed above - sports, academics, etc...  But these things now come behind our commitment to serving.  We've simply found for our family to live out the mission of Christ - to be His hands and feet - we have been forced to make ministry a priority. And the blessings are innumerable.  Our conversations now have more depth, our prayers have more meaning, our lives have more purpose.

Locally, our family serves at Water Angels, a ministry to the homeless of downtown Knoxville.   Each person in our family has a different focus of service here, and mine is to the women.  The ladies have come to mean so much to me.

On Tuesday nights, we hold a Bible Study for these women.  It is called Unidvided Devotion, based on a passage in 1 Corinthians telling single people they have the priviledge of living a life of undivided devotion.  Many of these women are young believers, and some are still on a quest to find their faith.  However, there is one common denominator...God loves each precious, beautiful lady!

This past Tuesday night we held a bridal shower for Lanita.  She is getting married on Saturday.  One of the games we played was to create wedding dresses out of toilet paper.  Here are a few of the creations...
As we were dressing one woman, she said very seriously, "Do you know I've been married three times and this is my first wedding dress?"
I struggled for words, but responded in truth, "Well friend, you certainly look beautiful!"  And, truly, she did!

As we were taking up the toilet paper from the dresses, the women were asking for it.  Toilet paper is hard to come by on the street.  (That night I said a prayer of thanks for my Charmin in the bathroom.)

I asked one of the women where she was living because I'd run into her in a park downtown.  On this day, she was in her work uniform for a local hotel.  I knew she camped out, but wondered if she had a tent.  She informed me she is living between two skids (pallets) outside set up as a shelter.   She told me she hand scrubbs her uniform to get it clean for work.
God has given me a love for these broken women.  Many have come from abusive homes.  Some have mental challenges.  I beleive all have never truly understood the love God has for them because they've never experienced it in real life.  Wouldn't Jesus be visiting with these women?  I've realized it's not my job to "condemn the broken for being broken" (Mike Yankoski), but it is my job to love them as Jesus would.  What an honor!  They are teaching me about my own brokeness and need of my Savior.  They stretch me!

Here was my team: Cindy, Little Bear, Jenny, Me, and Dana -

Lanita is a precious woman who is making the step into marriage with another man from the mission.  What a joy it's been to see love blossom through the love they both have for Jesus.  Lanita was thrilled with the shower and loved every gift.  She is holding gift from me - her wedding invitation framed.  She received some sweet gifts - measuring spoons, notecards, and a hand-drawn piece of artwork from one of the ladies.  None of these women had ever attended a bridal shower.  We celebrated God's goodness! 
Three sinners saved by grace:  Myself, Stephanie (my precious friend who runs the ministry without pay - no one there is compensated), and Amy (my dear friend whose testimony of Jesus in her life would rock your world). 
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?"
But when Jesus heard this, He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.
"But go and learn what this means: 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Matthew 9:11-13

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Overcomer Update

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your prayers for Overcomer.  We received word via e-mail on Friday that he is now out of the hospital and back at the foster home.   He is still extremely weak and did need a blood transfusion while at the hospital.  Overcomer is battling malaria and severe anemia.  Please continue to pray for his recovery.  We are anxious to have him home where we can care for him.  I know people in Ghana are working hard to care for them but I also know they are caring for many children.  I praise God for those who have stood in the gap for us on his behalf.  

With the thought of traveling soon, we desperately need to raise the funds for travel.  Even $10 would help.  We still have lots of t-shirts if you haven't bought one.  If you have any ideas we would be extremely grateful!   If you would be willing to collect your loose change in a jar, skip a meal out, sell lemonade in your front yard, or any small thing to help this child come will forever change his life and ours!  We are praying for God to provide.  Will you please pray alongside us as well?  I've added a few requests our prayer needs on the side of this blog.

One of the most precious things from the past few days is hearing about the homeless men and women downtown praying for Overcomer, S, H, and all of the orphans in Ghana!  They were making special gift bags for the O'Learys to deliver to the orphans in Ghana, and prayed over the bags.  The Holy Spirit moved and we were told they were all crying and thanking God for how much He has blessed them!  Today I saw County (a homeless friend downtown) and he told me that he was still praying.  It moved my heart to know these precious friends are remembering our son across the ocean. 

Special phone calls have come from friends in other states and several have called to pray with us.  Thank you for being the body of Christ to our family!  The fact that you took time to call means so much to us!  Thank you!  You can tell our hearts are full of love for this small child even though we have never met. 

Adoption Update:  We were fingerprinted last Friday, August 20th, in Nashville.   Our I-171H arrived in the mail yesterday so we are now moving toward having our dossier sent to Ghana to get things rolling in country.  Please pray for this process to move in God's perfect timing, and for God to provide for Overcomer's every need until we are able to reach him. 

Over the past few days, we've had a few minor things break here at home...our refrigerator isn't cooling, our front door-knob handle came off in Franklin's hand, our closet light has some wiring issues that need repair so it doesn't turn on most of the time, our bedroom light has issues but it will not turn off, (going to bed has become quite comical), and my van battery has died twice in the last ten days - thankfully someone has always been near to jump it off.  (Thanks Janet and Scott!)  These are some of the reasons I have not posted recently.   These small inconveniences have taken a back-burner to getting papers and other things ready to send to Ghana with the O'Learys. 

Finally, please pray for the O'Learys who are traveling to the country soon and will meet their children for the first time!  Yippee!  They are also planning to see (and hold) our little one.  I know they will love him.  Our hearts are traveling with them as they go!

Our prayer today for Overcomer -
The LORD will guide you always;
       he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
       and will strengthen your frame.
       You will be like a well-watered garden,
       like a spring whose waters never fail. 
Isaiah 58:11

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Please Pray for Overcomer


We just received word that our little one has been admitted to a hospital in Ghana.  He has malaria and is anemic.  He is very sick.  Would you please pray for him?  Our hearts hurt wishing we could be there to hold him, rock him, sing to him, give him a cup of cool water.  Just love him. 

My eyes are tearing right now wondering is anyone even with him?  Oh, I pray so.  Please ask the Lord to send someone to be with him so he is not alone.  Please ask for someone to be the hands and feet of Jesus to him.  Lord, please let him KNOW your presence in the hospital. 

I feel so helpless to help him.  Praying is the only way to tangibly love him in this moment.  Thank you for your prayers.  I'm signing off to do the same...

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Wordless Wednesday

What will our next two year old look like?  What will he look like in four years?

Time passes too quickly!
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shopping for Overcomer

Our friends the O'Learys are preparing for their first trip to Ghana, and they are hoping to see our precious Overcomer while in country.  Today the boys and I took a shopping excursion to find a few "surprises" to send.

The boys chose everything for Overcomer.  They were so excited to get him some "goodies."  We purchased necessities like underwear and a new outfit. 

We also found a bouncy ball to send.  This evening we are working on a photo album to send him.  Our faces will be introduced to him by the O'Learys.  His is already etched in our mind as his adorable smile fills our living room.  I know Kristie will be holding him tight, just as I would.  She is someone with an amazing amount of love to give.  She will be holding her own two children shortly as well!  Praise God!

I did realize a few things while shopping today. 
1.)  There are NO summer clothes anywhere.  We seriously had to go to two stores before I could find an outfit.  If we travel before Spring I'll be hoping for some 2T summer hand-me-downs.  Please!
2.)  I need a refresher course on what 2 year olds play with.  Oh my!  Little legos won't cut it.  Ummm...back to the toys I've given away over the years.
3.)  Seeing tiny baby clothes does strange things to the mind.  Cute booties and soft blankets make me realize I could easily love another one.
4.)  If I had a little girl, she would be in dresses all the time.  The dresses are adorable for little girls!
5.)  I also need a refresher course on potty training.  After purchasing the underwear, I remembered a friend told me Overcomer pooped all over her because the foster home was out of diapers.  Now that I think about it, I think Reid did the potty training because they were all boys.  Oh Honey, we're having another BOY!  Joy for you - one more time!
6.)  Buying Overcomer's outfit made everything seem so REAL!  Yes, it is happening.  He will be in our family soon although he's already in our hearts.   The shorts and shirt were itty-bitty.  So exciting!

One more thing happened today that was too close for comfort.  As we have progressed in the adoption, we've learned more about the state of the orphans in Africa.  Many go without food or are only fed one meal a day.  Many become ill or die because of illnesses that could easily be treated or cured here in America.  Flies are rampant.

Today I was eating a salad for lunch.  After a few bites I spotted something black on a piece of lettuce.  Upon closer inspection, I   (Excuse me while I gag - again.  Ugh!  Remembering this makes my stomach turn.)

Although I was completely disgusted, my first thought was of Overcomer.  He faces this every day.  Children in this poor area of the world would probably eat flies if desperation hit hard enough.  God allowed me to be with Overcomer in his hardship for a moment in time.  It hurts, but this is his life right now.  I'm ready to bring him HOME!  This dead fly made me stop and pray - thanking God for his abundant provision for our family.   He cares so deeply for us!

"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?"   Matthew 6:25-26

Please pray for the O'Learys as they prepare to travel.  Whoo-Hoo!  We are praying for an immediate bond between their entire family!  Thank you all for your prayers for us as well!

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School's Now In Session

Today is Day 7 of this school year.  We've been hitting the books - HARD, but still taking time to enjoy our family!  Today we worked on a special project and wrote our memory cards.  This year we are asking the boys to choose the verses for our family memory work.  (Yes, mom and dad participate also!)  Mason chose our first passage.  Because of some of our recent challenges, these verses seemed quite fitting for our family.

The Beebe family is striving to memorize Romans 5:3-5.  Mealtime will be a perfect time to work on it, because we have each hand-written the verse and strategically placed it where we eat our meals.  (And do our school work, craft activities, play games, and have family conversation.)

2010 marks the year in which the Lord has enlarged our hearts to include the rest of the world.  Therefore our dinner table is covered with a world map.  Countries and Capitals have become frequent dinner conversation.  We've prayed for children and missionaries all around the world.  Did you know the city nearest 0 degrees longitude and 0 degrees latitude is Accra, Ghana West Africa?  Yes, the center of the earth is where our little Overcomer is waiting!  Lord, continue to enlarge our hearts for your wide world!

You know school is in session when Franklin has a semi-built volcano sitting in the middle of the living room!  His creativity amazes me!  No help on this one!

Friends, I've surrendered our home decor.  In our small living space, I've decided there are more important things than having colors that match perfectly.  This is why a neon yellow poster sits on our dining room wall.  For the past week, our family has been listing who God is... and who We are... in HIM.  It's the Beebe's own Graffiti Wall.  (Thanks for the idea, Jacquie!) 

Honestly, this  little activity has caused me to live my days truly amazed that our incredible, infinite, awesome God loves me.  Yes, He does!  As I've watched Braden draw stick men, and heard what God is speaking to the hearts of our sons, I rejoice in the gift of these arrows.  Yes, as Reid says, our God is a relentless God and we are captivated by Him.
Come on over and you'll see a family living and learning.  Things are somewhat out of place, books are scattered, but we are starting the year focused on our Lord.  Stretching our minds to more of who He loves - every person He has created in this world.  I pray we will stay focused on Him, and dive deep into the depths of His heart this year. 

May the Lord continue to teach me as I strive to instruct our children.

God is exalted in his power.  Who is a teacher like him?   Job 36:22
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Passport Central

For Reid and I to find time to meet at the post office to apply for the boys' passports seemed to be impossible.  Therefore, we decided to kill two birds with one stone on our trip to Nashville for our fingerprinting appointment.  Filling out paperwork for two boys can seem daunting, but work divided is doable.  Thanks for helping, Honey!  You are the best!
The boys were...well, boys while waiting for the passport office to open.  The Postmaster offered to let them work the dock for several hours to burn some energy!  Unloading packages would keep them busy!  I suppose they were all excited to have an "official" government document.   Passports, here we come!
Braden made the clerk laugh as he posed for his passport picture.  Who shows off their muscles for a passport photo? of our boys!
Grand total for four passports - $484.40.  Yikes!  We are relieved to have ours already in hand.  Imagine if we had needed six!
By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.
Exodus 13:21

Without the pillar of cloud or the pillar of fire, we know God will go with us as we travel where He is leading us!  Our passports are on the way so we may travel by day or by night.

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Fingerprinting - DONE!

The photo above was taken by Reid on his new Droid.  The rest of us were sound asleep as he drove us to Nashville.  I'm so glad he's a morning person!
August 20, 2010 - Ch-Check! Fingerprinting is finally completed in Nashville.

We loaded the boys up at 5:30 am and headed to middle Tennessee for our 8:00 am appointment time. We gained an hour traveling over because Nashville is one hour behind.

Total time from start to finish - 21 minutes! DONE!

Expected wait time for I-171H two to five weeks.

I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God.  Psalm 38:15

Now, off to apply for the kids' passports!

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010