Thursday, March 31, 2011

You Are Invited!!

To all you locals to Metro Atlanta, you are cordially invited to join us for a Spaghetti Dinner and presentation at our church.  Spread the word to everyone and anyone.  We would love to see you there.  And to those of you who are not local, you still have time to buy a ticket to make it here, too!  We will even provide free lodging!  :) 
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When the Going Gets Tough

A friend from our church shared this story with me recently, and it is so fitting right now, I thought I would share it with you here. 

The Ant and the Contact Lens:  A TRUE STORY
Brenda was almost halfway to the top of the tremendous granite cliff.  She was standing on a ledge where she was taking a breather during this, her first rock climb.  As she rested there, the safety rope snapped against her eye and knocked out her contact lens.

'Great', she thought.  'Here I am on a rock ledge, hundreds of feet from the bottom and hundreds of feet to the top of this cliff, and now my sight is blurry.'  She looked and looked, hoping that somehow it had landed on the ledge.  But it just wasn't there. 

She felt the panic rising in her, so she began praying.  She prayed for calm, and she prayed that she might find her contact lens.  When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but it was not to be found.  Although she was calm now that she was at the top, she was saddened because she could not clearly see across the range of mountains.  She thought of the bible verse 'The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth.'

She thought, 'Lord, You can see all these mountains.  You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is.  Please help me.'

Later, when they had hiked down the trail to the bottom of the cliff they met another party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff.  One of them shouted out, 'Hey, you guys!  Anybody lose a contact lens?'

Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it?  An ant was moving slowly across a twig on the face of the rock, carrying it!'

The story doesn't end there.  Brenda's father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a cartoon of an ant lugging that contact lens with the caption, 'Lord, I don't know why You want me to carry this thing.  I can't eat it, and it's awfully heavy.  But if this is what You want me to do, I'll carry it for You.' 

I think it would do all of us some good to say, 'God, I don't know why You want me to carry this load.  I can see no good in it and it's awfully heavy.  But, if You want me to carry it, I will.' 

God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)

If God leads you to it, He'll see you through it!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's Finally Our Turn

I know I have left all of you hanging for a long time.  I am sorry!  We have had a fun, but busy few weeks.  My friend from Germany had to bear with the constant ups and downs of this adoption, but we also tried to do some fun things.  We enjoyed beautiful weather at the beach and saw a lot of dolphins.  We went shopping all over Metro Atlanta.  We got to enjoy the beauty of God's creation all around us. 
We even went to the circus-although you can "enjoy" the circus at our house at any time for free.  :)  But it was a fun, almost free event, so how could I resist?
Now that Ulla has returned home and our dossier is officially in Vika's country being translated and waiting to be submitted, she expects me to at least keep her updated here.  I promise I will update more frequently so you guys can follow along and pray with us through each new milestone.  Yes, we finally received our final approval (aka Golden Ticket) from the Department of Homeland Security.  YIPPEE!!!!  It was a rollercoaster ride to get it here, but through it all, God was so faithful.  Thanks to the Reynolds family, we got our dossier to Vika's country overnight, literally!  THANK YOU!!!
Speaking of the Reynolds family, please help lift them up in prayer as they are officially in country right now to adopt their two precious girls, Leigha and Aurora.  For anyone, who would like to make a commitment to be a prayer warrior for them as they are in country and completing their adoption and beyond, I will add a piece in your honor to their quilt in memory of their baby Dasha.  Please leave me a comment if you would like to have a part in this very important ministry. 
Vika-Legs in Full Casts
So, what can you expect from us over the next few weeks?  Well, right now all of our paperwork is being translated and will be submitted to the State Department of Adoption probably April 21 (since there is a two week shut-down in April).  Approximately one month after that we should be traveling to bring home Vika-Lord-willing.  After months of preparing, praying, and waiting, it feels so good to be here.  At the same time, it is very overwhelming at times to think of the reality of traveling in less than two months from now - having to raise the remaining of our funds, packing, making preparations for our house and our girls (yes, sadly, we have to leave them here), etc. 
But God has done so much for us since we first went on this journey.  I was reminded on Sunday in church, how great a price He had to pay for my salvation, my adoption into His family.  I deserved the cross, and yet Jesus died on the cross for ME, in my place!  All of the heartaches, all of the time spent, all of the hardships, all of the money spent, all of the sacrifices we have experienced through this adoption journey to Vika, don't even begin to come close to what Jesus did for us so we could be adopted into His family! 

Feels Like Pulling Teeth
Over the next few days, I will be posting some opportunities where you can get involved to help us raise the remaining funds to bring home Vika.  Our church is hosting a Spaghetti Fundraising Dinner for us (THANK YOU!!!), there will be a vote for a matching grant we applied for next Monday, we will have a special giveaway, hold a yard sale, a bake sale, and some other little fundraising efforts.  God has done great things for us, and I know He will continue to do so!  Thank you for your faithful support and prayers for us!  We need them now more than ever!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fundraiser in Memory of Dasha (aka Marlena)

Last week this precious baby girl, Dasha, died without ever knowing the love of a family.  Dasha was left in a hospital in Eastern Europe after birth when her parents were unable to care for her.  God sent a wonderful missionary to the hospital where she was left, who got to hold her and love her and pray with her in September 2010, when she was only 6 weeks old.  This was probably the first time in her life that Dasha was held simply to be loved.  Dasha had a Mama and a Papa committed to her, working very hard to get all the paperwork completed to be able to bring her home.  The day before their paperwork was successfully submitted, Dasha died during heart surgery.  The Reynolds also lost the second child they were committed to adopting because his family, although they could not take care of him, could not bear the thought of letting him go to a far away country. 
In many ways, the adoption process is like pregnancy.  We make a commitment, prepare, plan, tell our family and friends, pray without ceasing over, raise funds for, and wait to bring these precious children into our family.   The difference is that we already have a picture of this precious child, we already know some of her/his needs, and in some ways, we feel that their fate is in our hands to bring them home as quickly as possible.  However, during the adoption process, we come to the realization that NOTHING about it is in our hands.  Sure, we can do everything possible to get everything done that is within our power, but all along this process we become completely dependent on other people to do their part.  I have never been so thankful before that we are NOT dependent on anyone but the Lord.  He is our Provider, our Protector, our Good Shepherd, and most importantly our Father, who loves us and holds everything in His hands.  He is also the One that carries us through those times where we feel completely broken and unable to go on.  He is the only one that can bring us through losing a child we just spent months preparing for.  Because of His infinite love, we know that Dasha finally knows how much she is loved.  She is no longer suffering, she has no more pain, no more sorrow, and no more "imperfect" body.  She is in Jesus' arms, who told his disciples to bring the little children to Him because they are who make up His kingdom.  Pray for the Reynolds as they heal and find strength to move on. 

A Rag Quilt in Memory of Dasha
Their story does not end here.  They are still actively pursuing adoption of special needs children from Eastern Europe.  They also need help to raise the necessary funds to bring those children home.  I have been trying to do something that would be a memory to them of Dasha, but would also bring about the adoption of other children.  This is what I came up with:  
One of the pieces on this quilt will have Dasha's picture printed on it, and another will have a Bible verse and her name embroidered on it.  The remaining pieces are for YOU to add to the quilt.  The more people contribute, the bigger the quilt will become.  I have picked out these fabrics to be part of the quilt:
It's lined with a white ultra cuddle material.  Each square will be 5 inches wide.  For a baby cuddle blanket, the quilt will need to be at least 45 inches square, so 81 pieces times 2 (front and back).  That's 162 pieces.  I have set up a chip-in that will go directly to the Reynolds' adoption fund set up through Reece's Rainbow and all donations are tax deductible.  For every $10 donated through the Chip-In, I will add a piece in your honor to Dasha's quilt.  It would be such an encouragement to see how God used this great loss to bring about something wonderful in the life/lives of another precious child/children.  Thank you for remembering and praying for these precious children that have little time to find their families! 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

NOT lost!!!

I thought I would let everyone know that we did not fall off the universe somehow.  As you can see, we are alive and well, just very busy right now.  We are also enjoying some company from Germany right now! Thank to all those that gave to our dollhouse fundraiser for Vika.  There are still pieces for her dollhouse that need names on them!  We would love to have a name on each piece. 

I will be posting a new fundraiser for a special family who lost both of their children they were committed to the day that they submitted their paperwork to Eastern Europe.  It was a sad day for us, but a heartbreaking day for them.  YES, we must have a sense of urgency when it comes to these children that are in desperate need of medical care and a family to love them.  More on this story coming tomorrow.  Please remember the Reynolds family in prayer!