Thursday, May 31, 2012

Uprooted

Last night, I had dinner with three precious friends.  They took me out to dinner for my birthday at PF Chang's which has... guess what?  A gluten free menu!  (Ha!  Needed to share that for all my GF friends out there.)

Kristie, Janet and Paige have walked life with our family for years.  They are dear to my heart.  All night long, we talked about their adoptions, our kids, our husbands, and what the Lord was teaching each of us.  Each of our four families are in the midst of change.  We shared our challenges, and our new places of trust.  Over the past six months, our families have endured many unforeseen changes in many areas.  We enjoyed our "friend time" around the table knowing more changes are on the horizon.

However, the one thing we did NOT talk about was the fact that our family is leaving.  We did NOT talk about the fact that this would be our last birthday dinner together.  We did NOT talk about the end of the way things are...now.  

Kristie had to leave early because one of her little ones was sick.  She headed home around 9 pm to hold him while he battled a fever.  :-(  With seven children, she is nearly always holding one of them.  :-)  I love her momma's heart.  (A few hours later, the rest of us were envious of her early departure due to our blubbering in the parking lot.  Sigh.)

Paige, Janet and I closed down the restaurant, but once the remaining servers started clanging glasses, we knew it was time to leave.

We sauntered out to the parking lot, each of us acutely aware and dreading what was to come.  Goodbye.

Paige is a "heart-guarder."  She rarely becomes "emotional."  She is level-headed...steady...sure.  But as we were preparing to get into our cars, she broke down and started crying.  (Hope you don't 'mind me sharing, Paige.)  She said in broken words, "It's...o...ver...  I haven't wanted to face it, but it's over.  What we had is over.  I don't know when I will see each of you again, and this stinks.  I don't like this."

Paige wasn't just referring to our family leaving.  For her family too, has been through an abundance of change.  Ends to things that were precious to her heart.  Uncertainty ahead in other areas.  Mourning for her children because of their own loss.

Life as we have known it, really is over.  O-v-e-r.

Honestly, I resented her stating the truth.  I've wanted to hold on.  I've wanted to cling to the familiar.  I've wanted to hold on to false security instead of allowing my heart to leap ahead to the unknown future.  I love these women in my life and I don't want the ease of relationship to be "over."

However, I must confess, those words were on my mind the whole time we were eating dinner.  This is the end.  We are in the final two weeks of this chapter of our life.

Paige, Janet and I cried in the parking lot for a while.  None of us really able to comfort each other.  We were all hurting.

I asked, "If we weren't going, would all these other painful things be happening?"

Silence was the answer.

I began to pray aloud...asking God for help, asking him to hear our cries, begging him to keep our feet planted firmly on truth without allowing us to be shaken, thanking Him for what HE knit together, thanking Him for what He has done in our lives, professing TRUST in Him for His leading, stating that the cost of this is so high, but HE IS WORTH IT, rejoicing over the sweet sisters standing with me praying in PF Chang's parking lot!  He is our God and HE is sovereign!

Each of us regained our composure enough to step into our vans.  I sobbed more and more... so thankful that our Lord promises He is near to the brokenhearted.

As I started the 45 minute ride to my parent's house, I noticed the gas light was on.  I pulled into a gas station to fill up.  While the gas was draining into the tank, a yellow envelope in my purse purse peeked out at me.   A young friend had given it to me yesterday for our family.

I felt the Lord prompt me to open the envelope.

I gasped as I pulled out this drawing.


As I examined it, I felt overwhelming peace.  "This is a picture of where we are!" I thought.

We have been uprooted and are being transplanted to a new place to grow.  Our roots here are being severed as God desires for us to grow deeply into lives in Africa.  But pieces of our roots remain in the ground here in Knoxville.  We are being dug up out of what we know to be familiar and comfortable transplanted into a new climate of change.  God must be the one to provide the growth - water in gus through His Word, fertilizing us through His promises.

After my own assessment of the drawing, I read these handwritten words beside it:

"As you start to sprout in this new chapter of your all's life, may you never forget God's love is all around you, and that His hands will hold you, guide you, and protect you all."

And that is the TRUTH.  He will.  He has.  He is.

I'm surrounded by friends who are navigating a "new normal."  Friends who are walking on painful paths they never expected.  Friends facing suffering and sorrow yearning for the peace of our Savior.  Friends who have been slapped in the face with the reality that sometimes...life hurts.  My friends are also being "uprooted" and "transplanted."  God is preparing richer soil, for deeper roots in their lives.  He knows best.

A friend prepared this verse on a canvas for our home in Ghana.  It's true.  I can't' wait to hang it up where I can see it daily!   The Lord is planting each person where He wants each of us to be.

"Blessed is the man who trusts int he Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
For He will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But it's leaves will be green, 
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit."
Jeremiah 17:7-8

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Exiles on Earth

Yesterday as I was packing up a few more things, I found this quote from John Piper about our present "world system."

We must cultivate the mindset of exiles. What this does mainly is sober us up and wake us up so that we don't drift with the world and take for granted that the way the world thinks and acts is the best way. We don't assume that what is on TV is helpful to the soul; we don't assume that the priorities of advertisers are helpful to the soul; we don't assume that the strategies and values of business and industry are helpful to the soul. We don't assume that any of this glorifies God. We stop and we think and we consult the Wisdom of our own country, heaven, and we don't assume that the conventional wisdom of this age is God's wisdom. We get our bearings from God in his Word.
When you see yourself as an alien and an exile with your citizenship in heaven, and God as your only Sovereign, you stop drifting with the current of the day. You ponder what is good for the soul and what honors God in everything: food, cars, videos, bathing suits, birth control, driving speeds, bed times, financial savings, education for the children, unreached peoples, famine, refugee camps, sports, death, and everything else. Aliens get their cue from God and not the world.

I realize we are living more and more as exiles on earth.  At times, it feels odd.  At others, it feels isolating.  But it feels right.   Lord, help us to continue drawing from your wisdom for everything.  May every decision be based on what brings You the glory due your name.

With our time...may we bring you glory.
With our resources...may we bring you glory.
With our choices...may we bring you glory.
With the training of our boys...may we bring you glory.
With our words...may we bring you glory.
In every relationship...may we bring you glory.
In every aspect of our life...may we bring you glory.

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
1 Peter 2:11-12



Friday, May 18, 2012

Thoughts from the Boys

The daily emotions of seeing the looming "END" of life here is overwhelming at times.  Frequently, in fact.  Goodbyes are constant.  We walk away from every moment with friends and family wondering, "When will I see them again?"

Our boys are feeling it too.

(The *.....* symbol means, "What does a mother say?  What can this mother say?  Especially when I feel the same way...   *.....*)


Tucking Braden in last night, he asked with uncovered emotion, "Mom, do you think we've said at least half of our goodbyes?  I don't want to keep saying goodbye."

*.....*

AND

For the past few years, our older boys have attended Rivers Edge Christian Academy which is a three day a week homeschooling co-op.  The boys have grown and matured tremendously in this environment.  Yesterday was their last day of classes and the boys were all saddened by this momentous day.  (Who says that about school?  Ummm, this year - our boys say that.)

At the end of the year, one of Weston's teacher's asked him to write an evaluation of the class.  His paper was lying on the counter, so I picked it up and read it.  Weston, who does NOT express sentiments or emotion very often, ended his paper with this sentence to Mrs. Burnette:

"Next year, when we are in Ghana, I will miss my favorite teacher, you."

"*.....*"

Riding in the van with Mason, he said, "Well, I know now why God gave me so many brothers."

"Why is that?"

Solemnly, Mason responded, "'Cause I don't think I could do this without them."

*.....*

We are in the paradox of an unending emotional roller coaster.   Up.  Down.  Up.  Down.


It's hard...but it's good.
It hurts...but it's healing.
We are saying goodbyes...so we can say hellos.
We feel the pain of leaving deeply...but we wouldn't have it any other way.


Thanks for loving us where we are - and going there with us.  Thank you for praying.  We know this is part of the journey.  Our pain is a path to thankfulness because we recognize the strong relationships the Lord has given us.  Thank you for loving us right where we are.


A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. 
Proverbs 18:24


For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look at things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mother's Day

Sunday was Mother's Day and it was one of the best days of my life.  The giftedness of each of our sons was revealed throughout the day, and I rejoiced in all that the Lord has done in our family.   Earlier last week, I posted about a drawing Franklin was working on for me for Mother's Day.  To make a long story short, he spilled Coke on it then crumpled it up because he felt it was ruined.  That crumpled up drawing was such a reflection of where we are these days.  Broken in so many areas, yet on a journey toward the place where God is leading us.  
The first gift I opened on Mother's Day was this sketch by Franklin titled "The Journey."  He had "redone" the entire drawing especially for me!  When he gave it to me, he told me the crumpled up one is behind the new one within the frame.  What a picture of our reality.  God is covering our broken, messy, hurting places with His grace.  Isn't that a reflection of who we are?  All crumpled up on the inside, but God covering us with his beauty?  Thank you for a piece of your heart Franklin.  It means the world to me.  I love it!  It will be beautiful hanging in our home in Ghana.
Braden is also an artist  He painted a box with his own little hands.  It's precious.  I plan to use it to hold some very special things.  I love it!  Thank you for taking the time to make this for me, Braden.  You are so thoughtful!  I love it!
(Friends please note how confident I am by posting pictures of myself with NO make-up.  Beauty comes from the inside.  Ha!)

Weston will not be outdone.  His creativity flows in the computer arena.  Weston sent me on a wild goose chase in the rain to find my present (a.k.a. a scavenger hunt).  Clue after clue directed me around the house.  Finally I found my final clue.  It was a picture of our LIFEGroup that Weston is having made into a 1,000 piece puzzle.  We plan to pack it and work it together as a family once we are in Ghana.  Weston, you are so creative.  You know what I like.  Your gift is such a reminder of all of the people who are pieces of this puzzle!  Thank you, son!  I love it!
I am so blessed to be the mother of these five arrows for the Kingdom.  I pray God will use them in a mighty way for His purposes.  It is such an honor to be their Mom.  Thank you Lord for such a privilege.  I love being the mom to these boys!
My Honey teaches all the boys how to love their wives.  I think they are learning well.  Reid gave me a photo of the two of us with a verse from Proverbs 31 on it.  I love gifts that include thought for me.  Reid, I love you so much.  Thank you for loving me so well!  It's an honor to be your wife walking out the adventure with you here on earth!  What a blessing you are to me!


My morning was complete with a private Mother's Day concert from my favorite band!  Perfect Aim (a.k.a. our sons) gave me the sweet gift of sitting in their presence while listening and watching them play.  Truthfully, they were preparing to sing at Water Angels later in the day, but I took it as an unexpected gift from God.  Weston even sang back-up for the first time!  What a joy to see how God has gifted each son.  Franklin can beat out rhythms for any song, Braden can hang on the bass with all of his older brothers - even though he's only 8, Mason sings, plays, writes music and leads the band well,  Weston handles all the electronics (slides, sound, etc...)  and he plays the keyboard while singing! 

WOW!  Sometimes, I am honestly in awe that these are my sons.  I am amazed by what they are able to do!  God has been so good to me!




(Don't ask me how Godwin became conspicuously absent in the photos.  He is only in the family shot of the boys and me.  I'm thankful he's my son this Mother's Day too!)


After our breakfast on the porch, my present opening, and the early morning concert, we went to church with my mom and dad.  I sat by my 93 year old grandmother and relished her signing beside me.  Into the service, she began nodding off and I held her frail body up so she wouldn't fall over.  It was sweet to  hold her close on this special day.  I know there are few days like this left with my family...

My mom was on the other side of Mamaw holding Godwin during the service.  I loved seeing her love on him.  My mom is so wonderful with kids.  She emulates Jesus's love for children when he said, "Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belong the kingdom of God."  My mom loves to be with kids!  I love that about her!

Right now, the most precious gift I want is time with those I love.  I took my mom out earlier in the week to celebrate Mother's Day.  We enjoyed a special day doing "girly" things.   (Do you know how rare that is for me?)

As I continue to grow older, I realize all that my mom has sacrificed and given up for me.  She is doing more of that now as all seven of us live in her home.  She's graciously allowed us to stay here, and has helped us tremendously through everything she has done.  She gives of herself to others behind the scenes and loves to bless people through her delicious cooking.  She doesn't like to be fussed over (in fact, she wanted to wring my neck for having this picture taken - now she will really have my goozle for posting it on the blog!)  Thank you Mom for giving so much.  I love you and am proud to be your daughter.  Part of you has made me who I am today.  You've never been afraid of chasing your dreams, and I think the Lord gave me some of your courage to do hard things.  I love you!

Our family served at Water Angels later in the day, and I plan to write about that in another post.  However, I do want to share how my day ended.  

Mason wrote me the sweetest letter.   As I read it, I realized our relationship is morphing into a new stage.  Parts of Mason's letter were written to me from a brother in Christ - not my son.  It was beautiful.  His wisdom comes from his father, and I was deeply touched by his words.  I don't feel comfortable posting his words without asking him first, but I want to share one sentence from this precious letter:


"I know this is an especially hard time for you leaving all of our friends and family, but remember there is light at the end of the tunnel, no pain no gain, and most of all, look at the pain as a way of thankfulness..." 


This Mother's Day, I am learning from my sons.  I rejoice over the lives they are living - they are continuing to grow into "strong plants in their youth."  Lord, I thank you for the incredible blessing of motherhood.  

Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.
Proverbs 23:25

Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her.
Proverbs 31:28

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wall of Friends

Can you help us?  We are wanting to cover one wall in our house with reminders of those we love here.  Will you send a photo, bible verse, drawing, quote, etc... for us to hang on our wall in Ghana?  We need it soon, so send it quickly.  Here are a few of the special things that will be decorating our home in Ghana.

 Hand-colored pictures from Lanita.  One of my most precious friends downtown,  She is so talented at coloring, and she did these just for us!  So special!
 A drawing form Rachel Peterson.  She was in Ghana last March when we traveled to bring Godwin home.  She said she would draw anything for anyone in order to raise money for a mission trip she is taking.  So, we commissioned her for this piece of artwork.  Isn't it beautiful?  She drew how Ghana impacted her and the drawing of the hands was her rendition of the photo of Godwin's hand in mine.  Love it!
This collection holds clockwise: a drawing of the Wood family by my student, Sarah; a photo of a special friend who traveled to Ghana with us in 2005 and is now traveling all over the world; a picture of Chris and Neyonce from Water Angels; a Ghana collage created by Franklin; some ARTMail from the Colemans; and a special adoption announcement from Chad and Stephanie Bowling.  
And more special photos of families we love like the Raders, the Ochs, and the Stevensons!  

There are so many more, I can't share them all.  Anything is welcome and appreciated.

We want to cover one wall with things like this because we want to remember YOU!  Help us!

E-mail me for the address to send your special "something."  

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you...
Philippians 1:3

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Amazing 24 Hours

About 24 hours ago, I opened a package from Reilynn.  Do you know God sends the most unexpected gifts to us?  Reilynn sent an early birthday package for me with SILLY, FUN stuff.  She even included noisemakers for the boys and silly string for Reid to cover me squirt all over me!  It was such a sweet treat from God!  Thank you, Reilynn.  You, my friend whom I've spent less than 48 hours with in my entire life, have blessed me tremendously with your thoughtfulness.  Thank you!

In the past 24 hours, some incredible GOD moments have taken place.  I want to share a few, because I am blown away by His hand moving all over the place!

1.)  Here's an email conversation I had yesterday from one of my students:

Dear Mrs. Beebe,

Me and my family have been praying for a while about Braden's friend in Ghana who you told us about at TC, that he could be adopted. We just found out that my grandmother's doctor is adopting a boy named P. from Ghana. Do you know if it is the same boy? He is about nine, his new family's name is McMichael. Know it's a long shot, but it would be neat!

Praying for y'all! Love,
-Caroline 


(Hope you don't mind the photo Caroline!)


Caroline,


Yes!  It is the same child.  God heard your prayer.  His picture is on our blog talking on the phone to Braden.   Yes,yes,yes P. is the child you prayed for!   Now, HE is coming home to a forever family!   Thank you for praying.  God always hears and answers!  I love your heart for these forgotten children because you remember them and pray!   Nothing is more powerful!

For Him,
Mrs. Beebe

Mrs. Beebe,
That's crazy!!! God is so cool! They must be so excited, and Braden too. Can't wait too tell Maymie about it! Isn't it awesome that God connects everybody like that?

Love, 
Caroline

Yes!  it is amazing how God connects everybody like that!!  WOW!  You are praying at least one little boy home!  (P. is in the middle of the photo.)


2.)  Last night, I sat on the couch talking with my friend, Janet.  Two years ago this friend of mine said, "We are not called to adopt.  We will support people who are adopting, but it's not for our family." 


However, God had other plans!  Through two separate trips to Ghana for their family, God changed their hearts.  They are in the process of adopting a little boy from Ghana.  God has changed her (and her husband's) heart so much that last night, she said this,


"I saw R's social welfare report today.  You know, before today he didn't have a past." Janet continues on through tears, "Now I have seen all that he's been through.  He's a child without parents.  He's seen their deaths.  He's left alone.  So, I don't think this is it.  Our house is big enough for more.  I said we could adopt more, and Mark just said, 'We'll see.'  But Robin, I am open to more!"


This child Janet is adopting is number FIVE for their family.  They have been blessed with four of their own the "old-fashioned" way...and she is now open to more!  Amazing!  


God's mercy and love for His children is now reflected even more in this amazing family!

This is a picture of my friend, Paige (left), and my friend, Janet (right).  Both of these families have seen GOD move on the hearts of their husbands toward adoption.  Both families are now adopting little ones!  I've witnessed GOD impact the hearts of these husbands to lead their families into the adoption journey.  Husbands who originally said, "NO WAY!"  


WOW!  More children will have forever families because these two said, "Yes, Lord."




3.)  We received a comment on our blog from a family we have never met.  They are also following the Lord's call to adopt.  These precious strangers sent a gift to World Outreach to help us!  Reid responded to them with this e-mail:


Dear R Family,

Just got your comment on our blog - thank you for your gift. These blessings (encouraging gifts from unexpected places) are the ones that fill our sails with the joy of the Spirit and gratitude to our Father. You have truly blessed us.

We pray for our Father's ongoing favor in your adoption. I know He will bless you for loving the fatherless and providing a home for them - He certainly has blessed us beyond what we could have expected. Maybe we will get to see you when you travel to Ghana! Please keep in touch.

In His Service, 
Reid

Can you believe it?  From Strangers!  What a testimony to the people of God!  Incredible!

4.)  Then I received this FB message:

According to your blog and FB I know you are leaving soon. Not sure the date. But if you find any time at all I (desperately) would love to talk with you about your adoption. Or we can correspond by email if that would be better for times sake. The process, your journey, advice, prayer for our family and our friends walking this journey. After ministering in Rwanda for the past 6 years I know that a country can change its procedures and expectations about anything in a moment. So I'm not looking for a concrete way to move forward but for someone who has pioneered a road in some way. The only thing concrete I'm standing on is Christ. I want to be aware if maybe there are different venues that you may have taken than even the road we are on toward adoption and whom we are working with. I know this request is very selfish on my part asking for you to take time and talk with me. But I'm taking a chance in doing so. Praying for you and your family in this journey. My husband and I have talked about you all and we were ready to move our family to Rwanda 2 years ago, but knew it wasn't time. But God has our hearts moving toward Africa and now the adoption. My husband just got home from Ghana Sunday from a construction trip at an orphanage in Afalo. Thank you so much and blessings today.

So, today I called this woman I've never met.  I found myself blessed connecting with a sister in Christ who has a heart for orphans and for church planting!  While I was standing in WalMart talking with her on the phone, she says, "Can I pray for you?"  Seriously!  She prayed with me on the phone!  God sends encouragement in the most unexpected ways!  The entire conversation was such a blessing!

5.)  AND WONDERFUL NEWS THIS AFTERNOON - I read this wonderful news on Caring Bridge about the little girl, Molly, that we have been praying for.  She has been in the hospital for over 3 weeks enduring two major heart surgeries and many complications, but this is the GOD news for today:

WE ARE GOING HOME TOMORROW!!!! The doctors just made rounds and said the only thing keeping Molly here is her feeds, and we were managing that fine prior to surgery so we are going home tomorrow! Today will be a busy day with training on how to give her the Lovinox injections, learning her new meds (lots of them) and getting my discharge training including how the pacemaker works. I am sooooo excited!! I'm scared too, but so happy that we have made it this far. My iPod is on right now (as always) and it is playing "Mighty to Save" by Hillsong right as I am typing this. I cant tell you how much the music on that ipod has meant to me through this. With tears in my eyes, I am singing in my heart the words to this song. If I wasn't worried about scaring the neighbors, I'd be shouting it from the top of my lungs!!!!

Amanda, I'm shouting praises with you!  I'm so thankful you are all going to be back together as a family!  

6.)  This evening, I received an email from my friend Cheryl Coleman.  She and her husband are missionaries using art as a means to share the gospel.  Their prayer efforts and art ministry have impacted hundreds of youth for Christ.  They have used art to encourage and inspire people around the world.  Cheryl led our boys to help paint a cross which now hangs downtown at Water Angels ministry to the homeless. Cheryl's ARTMail team created personalized cards which we distributed to children in Ghana last year.  And, not only did Cheryl greatly encourage Franklin in his art, but she also gave Franklin the vision to paint a verse on the side of a building in a depressed area of downtown Knoxville.  Our family has been a part of Sun Loft ministry for several years and the Coleman family lives out their walk with Jesus!  This past weekend they participated in an art exhibit sharing with over 100 students the reality that, because of Christ, they CAN change the world.

Here are some of the reflections and questions, Cheryl and David posed to the youth (complete with pictures from our time with them from years ago.).  How would you answer these questions?

Rescued By Our Good Shepherd
Do you believe you can change the world? First, I must ask you– Have you been rescued? Do you have a Savior?

God’s Redeeming Love 
Do you believe in love? To change the world, you need to have the power to proclaim salvation in Jesus’ name—to receive the love of Christ.
Believing in Jesus name
 Do you believe in God’s Word and the power of prayer? To change the world, you need to be rightly connected to the heart of God.

Love Your Family
To change the world, you must love your family.

Serve Your Community
  To change the world, you must learn how to serve Christ in your community

In Christ Alone
To change the world, you must live for an audience of one.

Great Commission
Do you believe you can change the world? Do you really believe you can change the world? Do you?

So are you ready to be an agents of change in this world?

You can change the world by putting your faith in Christ alone. 
Trust Jesus as your Savior and walk in faith today!
Our truth for life verse today— 
“We live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Cor. 5:7



We are all called to be world changers.  There are so many ways to impact this world with Truth.  We can encourage.  We can send a birthday surprise to someone.  We can care for orphans through prayer.  We can fight for them in the spiritual realm.  We can adopt a child - changing one life forever.  We can sit at the bedside of a sick child providing comfort through our presence.  Through the Internet, we can contact people we don't even know and encourage them.  (Tonight I am a huge fan of technology.)  We can pray for others - even if they are standing in WalMart.  We can use art, or any other personal giftings from the Lord, to spread the HOPE and LOVE of Jesus to a lost and dying world.  We can live "on mission" to share the hope of Jesus with everyone.

From young kids to adults, everyone I wrote about above is a world changer.  Will you be one too?

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:14


Whom Shall I SEND?

May 2, 2012 was the first “Sending Off” for our family.  Our LIFEGroup hosted a night in our honor to commission us to GO to Ghana.  They are sending us to do God's work.
This significant ceremony was so special to us.  The friends in this group have walked “life” with us closely for the past four years.  We have grown together, laughed together, served together and cried together.  (Tonight I did a LOT of crying!  In fact, kids were praying that “Mrs. Beebe wouldn’t cry!”  Well, sorry!)
The commissioning ceremony took place in a perfect setting - a backyard.  Being outside in God’s creation seemed so fitting.  Beautifully simple.  
Kids played baseball.  Little ones ziplined.  Our first “gluten-free” potluck was delicious.  (Everyone needs friends who will throw a party and meet special dietary needs!  Even families without gluten limitations created Gluten-free food!  WOW!  Now, that is true friendship!)
I love the pictures from tonight.  (thanks Steph!)  Nothing is posed - our group is not a “posing” kind of group.  These friends are simply striving strongly to follow Christ.  Every family is giving their life away in tangible ways and it’s been AMAZING to see everything Christ has done.  What started with four families really living outwardly focused, quickly added other families already living the same way.  Within the families represented, there are 21 adopted children within 15 families, and we are waiting for 8 more children from 3 different countries!  Incredible!

These families have “spurred us on.”  They have “sharpened us.”  Friends are encouraging friends to really “do” what God says to do, and not just talk about it.  Everyone has stepped into life together to impact this world with the love of Christ.  As we studied scripture, we realized our lives needed to be a reflection of what the Bible teaches and how Jesus lived.  It was wonderful to worship, serve, and grow alongside others following hard after Jesus.  Even our boys have found friends who will stand beside them at all times.  
Every family spoke blessing over us.  They shared words that felt undeserved, yet each thing said could only testify to what God is doing in us.  His work in our lives has been reflected beautifully to those closest to us.  After each person spoke, I wanted to say, “I would say the same to you...I would say the same to you...”  These friends have inspired and challenged us with what it means to really give everything to Jesus.  Everything.
Although tears were heavy for me - Kristie and Janet both stepped into the tears with me.   (Thank you, friends, for expressing the "feeling" of all of this!  And, Sydney, wow!  YOU led the way by sharing your heart for orphans!  Thank you for living out your faith at such a young age!  What an inspiration you are!)


At the end of the evening, everyone signed a covenant committing to pray over eight specific areas for our family.  This body of prayer warriors are willing to intercede on our behalf for the following areas: marriage  (Eph 5:25,33), children (Eph. 6:4), spirituality (Col. 1:27-28), family (1 Cor 4:12), education (Deut 6:7), finances (Mark 25:14), ministry (Luke 12:48), and physical health (1 Cor 6:19-20).


Words are inadequate to express how much we will miss you!    Our lives are forever changed because of the families in this group.  Thank you all for impacting our lives with your rich love for Christ.  It’s evident.  

We carry a piece of each of you with us to Ghana -

 Bales, Bowlings, Brownings, Dempsters, Flores, Millers, Moses (across the miles, you are still a part of us), O'Learys, Roberts, Rogers (still feel like you are with us), Sodonis’s, Tegelaars, Weatherlys, and Von Hagens. No one could have “sent” us better.  Thank you for taking the responsibility of “sending” so seriously.  You have loved us well.  We love you.  Always.


Thank you for sending us in the name of Jesus.



And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 
“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” 
Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”  
Isaiah 6:8

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Slight Gap


We praise god for all He has done to rise up partners in His work for Ghana.  We rejoice because of His provision for our family.  We stand amazed by all of His people who have committed to love orphans and spread the hope of Jesus throughout Ghana.  
We have written very sparingly on this blog about our financial need.  We see this as an avenue for us to share everything the Lord is doing in our lives.  However, this week we learned that our support base is dropping by 5% due to a job change of one of our partners.  We are so thankful for everything this family has done to help us, but need your help to fill in the gap.  This drops our support to 93% and we trust the Lord to provide what is needed.
Our one-way plane tickets are purchased for departure June 12th.  With everything we need to accomplish between now and then, it would be nearly impossible for us to meet with people to ask for support.  Would you pray about helping to fill in the remaining 7%?  We greatly need your help.  We board a plane in 34 days.  
Most mission boards will not allow their missionaries to depart without 100% partnership, and most recommend a 10% cushion for support that drops off.  Friends, we are not at 100%, but we know God is calling us to leave with or without the committed support.  It certainly would be easier to GO knowing we have full support, but we are going either way because we serve a God who says, “Trust me!”  And we do.
Please pray for God to provide this final amount before we depart.  We realize without it, our stress could be much greater.  Additionally, with full support, our efforts will be completely on ministry and not on trying to raise this remaining amount from overseas.  Please pray for God’s perfect provision for our family.  We know, beyond a show of a doubt, He will provide what we need.  He always has.
Friends, if the Lord leads you, we would be grateful for your help to accomplish what God is calling us to do.  Partnering with us is easy.  Click here for more information or click on the Partner With Us button on the right blog sidebar.  Monthly support of any amount would close this gap - even one-time gifts will help.  Please pray about joining in what the Lord is doing in Ghana, West Africa!


Who covers the heavens with clouds, 
Who provides rain for the earth,
Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.
He gives to the beast its food,
And to the young ravens which cry.
The does not delight in the strength of a horse;
He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.
The Lord favors those who fear Him,
Those who wait for His lovingkindness.
Psalm 148:8-11


For those who have asked, our wish list has been updated.  Email me and we can arrange a pick up.  Thanks for helping in this way as well!  We are grateful for YOU!


On May 15, 2012 - God has provided another 1%!  Yeah-Rah!  We are now at 94%
On May 18, 2012 - God has provided another 2%!  Whoo-Hoo!  Thank you Lord for providing through your faithful servants!  Yeah-Rah!