Follow Our Eternal Treasures on WordPress.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 138 other followers

RSS Our Eternal Treasures

  • World Vision Compromises, Abandons Teachings of Bible
    March 25, 2014 Christianity Today reported yesterday (Monday) that the American branch of World Vision has announced it now will permit employment of “gay” Christians in legal same-sex marriages.” This decision by World Vision to equate homosexual “marriage” to natural marriage between a man and a woman is in direct conflict with the Holy Scriptures. … Conti […]
  • Adopting a Child With Burns
    This was such a neat story from RainbowKids.com… “Brian and I are a couple that met in our mid 30′s, married a bit later and started the parenting journey with our biological son Mac just as we were dancing around the rim of our 40′s. And yes, our 40′s have proven to be a strong … Continue reading →
  • Visiting My Son’s Orphange
    Lacy, a dear mom I’ve gotten to know in the online adoption community, is in China right now.  Her story is very special to me because when we traveled last August, I held her son.  While he waited for his family to come, I got to take pictures, video, ask questions, and snuggle with him … Continue reading →
  • Slavik and Daphne Update
    So many of you have asked about Slavik, the boy I posted about a while back.  Well, No Greater Joy Mom posted some fantastic news about so many children, including him!  Here’s her post… “Praise the Lord. Praise the name of the Lord; praise him, you servants of the Lord.” ~~ Psalm 135:1 I don’t … Continue reading →
  • Support Precious Emil!!
    Updated pic of EMIL! He is running out of time to be adopted, please help raise funds for Voice of Hope and he will earn a $2100 grant! http://reecesrainbow.org/21daysofhope Filed under: Advocacy
  • Thank You, Kind Sir
    Grocery store trips with four children in a store can be challenging.  While I’m trying to concentrate on price per ounce and what aisle I need to head to next, my children are trying to keep themselves occupied with something…anything.  They are not out-of-hand, they are pretty well-behaved in stores.  But they still get bored!  … Continue reading → […]
  • Forgotten God by Francis Chan
    The following are excerpts from the book Forgotten God by Francis Chan.  We talk a lot of Jesus and we talk a lot of God the Father, but what about that third Person of God?  I wasn’t sure where the title was leading when I picked up the book, but wow, I quickly realized how … Continue reading →
  • Today an Orphan Died in China
    I’m reposting this from Crazy Life of the Wilk’s Family.  Very sad reality for so many children.  Their reality.  Just because we don’t “see” the orphan most definitely does not mean that they are not suffering. You have to choose to see… “This is a hard post for me to write, but its a post … Continue reading →
  • Slavik is Running Out of Time!!
    I’m re-posting this from Adeye at No Greater Joy Mom in hopes that this boy will find a family.  If you’re not his forever family, you can at least pray intensely for him.  Here’s Adeye’s post: “Honestly? My heart absolutely aches for the older children who so desperately want families of their own.  They know … Continue reading →
  • 6 Month Update and the Birthday Boy
    Cole had his first American birthday!  He’s now 3 years old! He’s also been home from China with us for 6 months now. When he woke up for his birthday, he was ECSTATIC to see decorations and balloons everywhere and gifts laid out for him.  Guess he learned the American way at Christmas because boy … Continue reading →

World Vision Compromises, Abandons Teachings of Bible

March 25, 2014

Christianity Today reported yesterday (Monday) that the American branch of World Vision has announced it now will permit employment of “gay” Christians in legal same-sex marriages.”

This symbol no longer represents the gospel on which it was foundedThis decision by World Vision to equate homosexual “marriage” to natural marriage between a man and a woman is in direct conflict with the Holy Scriptures.

The first chapter of Romans is very clear. World Vision has abandoned the warning of Paul and compromised the integrity of a ministry financially supported by Christians who regard Scripture as the final authority on the issue.

Christians who support World Vision should stop as should all of the artists and authors who raise money for them. There are many other organizations (see below) that sponsor children around the world who remain true to the gospel.

If you would like to express your thoughts or cancel your financial support to World Vision, you can contact them here:

World Vision, Inc.
34834 Weyerhaeuser Way South
Federal Way, WA 98001
1-888-511.6443
1-253-815-1000
info@worldvision.org

Sincerely,

Tim

Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association

**You can see organizations that I, Beka, personally support by clicking here.

**By the way, if you don’t subscribe to AFA’s FREE Magazines or their AFA Action Alerts, I HIGHLY recommend them!!!  AFA does an excellent job of keeping businesses and organizations in check on the kind of advertising they do and for the stances their companies take.  If you want to change our nation, teaming up with AFA is a great start!  Be involved by reading their alerts and notifying companies of your opinions!

Adopting a Child With Burns

This was such a neat story from RainbowKids.com

“Brian and I are a couple that met in our mid 30′s, married a bit later and started the parenting journey with our biological son Mac just as we were dancing around the rim of our 40′s. And yes, our 40′s have proven to be a strong cup of coffee that we gulped down, having no idea of the temperature or knowing the jolt that it would bring!

Mac had just turned one and sleep was still an unfamiliar luxury in our house so the smart phone came in handy for nightly insomnia.  One night as I was thinking about our family’s future, feeling that little tug that has always been in my heart to adopt, I started snooping around on Rainbowkids.com, a website that is kind of an umbrella that catches pretty much all things adoption, the waiting kids, the country programs, the special needs info, everything in one place.  I was on the website, messing around with the photo-listing criteria and before you do the “search” you are supposed to pick what special needs your family could best handle. Being a burn survivor myself and having had the past experience of working with kids that were burn survivors, I wondered if there were any burn survivors children availalbe for adoption.  I unchecked every box except “Burns” and hit the SEARCH button.

In exactly 2 seconds I had a set of black eyes staring back at me and a very strong voice in my heart that said: “There is your answer, she is your WHY.”

Let me back up a bit and explain. I’m one of those people that believe in finding a purpose in the twists and turns of life.  If something great happens, I want to translate it into a future purpose.  If something bad happens in my life, I can usually keep a pretty good attitude about it if I can manage to find a positive direction or up-side as a result. I know this strategy doesn’t always work and some tragedies never reveal a purpose or up-side. Good or bad, it is the way my brain processes life. And because my life held a serious and unresolved “tragedy”, there remained, until that moment when I first saw my future-daughter’s eyes, a inner-conflict that kept me from finding true peace in my life.

As a 34 year old single woman, I found myself looking in the mirror and seeing a person whose neck, torso and arms literally looked like red, brown, black and bloody, half-cooked, half-raw ground beef. I wasn’t able to find much purpose or up-side in that state of being. I had cadaver skin stapled to my back and covering half my face and neck. My torso and lower arms were one giant open wound. I found it hard to even look at myself, changed forever, without getting woozy.

Months after my accident, searching to find the golden lining, I comically joked with my doctor at a bandage change appointment that I was really lucky since the accident could have taken my eyesight. He guffawed and replied, “Lucky! You may be the unluckiest person I know. You were on a beach with over 10,000 people and you were the only one that got blown up. I would say that you are remarkably unlucky!”

After my recovery I spent a few years working with a camp in Georgia for children who were burn survivors.  I fell in love with these little soldiers, they were so brave and resilient! They taught me how to move past a random accident and get on with life and most importantly: do it with a smile on my face! Those little angels turned me around and got me back in stride and I will treasure them forever for that gift.  I was able to move forward and see the good in my world at every turn but I still had restlessness inside of me about the WHY.  I know God must find me exhausting at times and surely wants to just shake me and scream “GIRL JUST LET IT GO and MOVE ON!”

I frequently had conversations with God, asking the same questions over and over: Why did I get burned? and What do YOU want me to do with this? and Did you really just want me to stop wearing a bikini?  Oh please let there be a purpose, a reason for me sitting here in my car and scratching my insanely itchy scars until blood runs through my shirt, wondering if I will ever be able to date again, ever get married, or ever have a family.

And as you know, I did get married and start a family and we had a life that gave me a thousand things to be thankful for every single day.  I didn’t have my WHY yet and sometimes I thought it was just one of those things that happen for no reason and I would have to stop picking at it; let it heal and move on.

Those years of struggle and frustration, trying to find the WHY were important. They prepared me for the moment when those dark brown eyes would meet mine, if only through that first photo. So that I would have perfect clarity. In truth, I also felt relief. As if my soul exhaled and with great calm I finally knew WHY.

She was the answer, she was the WHY. Her eyes were not begging (though her heart might have been), they were strong, they were certain; it was as if she was staring back at us saying, “Okay, so what are you waiting for?  I need a family that can love me the way I need to be loved: are you in or are you out? Yes or No?”

Holy WOW! My husband was going to die of a heart attack at age 41, I was 100% sure of it! I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was asking our family to step forward for this little girl. He put her front and center because he knew that our life experience would be what she needed to conquer life in spite of her burns.

I emailed the adoption agency, just an innocent  inquiry and BAM!, her whole file was there the next morning with instructions for moving ahead with the adoption. HA!! The adoption that was 100% non-existent in the mind of my husband.

I knew from my own recent experience that it would be hard for a child to overcome significant physical differences in our society saturated with perfect looking Disney princesses perched on every corner. Then doubt started flooding in like a tidal wave. We were 40-something new parents; a little late to this game!  Were we even capable of this type of parenting?  This isn’t patty-cake parenting we are talking about here. How would we help her navigate those really hard times that were guaranteed to come her way as she tried to grow up in a world surrounded by all things superficial. Maybe we would be horrible at meeting her needs and she would be better off with someone else, someone else that had parented a child with physical differences.  Heck, someone that had parented a child period!  We were total rookies.

Then I read her whole file. She was amazing, she was perfect, she had personality and charm and was loved by all! And then I came to one line in her file that made this a “no turning back” situation. The file was very detailed about her great progress in the orphanage school. She was the child that hit all her developmental milestones without a worry. She never got sick, she memorized poems and songs, she was very loved by all of her caretakers, they nicknamed her “Little Sweetie”.

And then this one little comment leapt from the paper. Put there during a developmental evaluation in her country of birth, someone thought that it was important to point out:

“She is a smart girl although she is not pretty.”

Excuse me? Did someone honestly feel that it was necessary to put that in writing on a permanent medical record? Who does that!?

That was it, I was done. I gathered the information and gave it to my husband, this train needed to leave the station and soon!

After his head stopped spinning from trying to find out where exactly this freight train came from, he took the file I had printed out and read it and deliberated for about a week. Then finally one night he walked out of the bedroom and slapped the folder down on the table and said, “I think this is insane but I know it is what we are supposed to do. Let’s get going.”

We started the paper chase and met many great new friends in the adoption world that helped us navigate the steps. We sent about 6 care packages over to Luci during that year-long wait and we usually received pictures back of her surviving well in the only world she had ever known: the life of an orphan. A life where you share clothes, share food, share care-takers, share attention, share beds. Nothing belongs to you, and you belong to no one.   A child would have to really fight to develop their own personal identity when every aspect of their life is a generalized group endeavor from eating to sleeping to basic acknowledgement from an adult.

The first thing I learned about my little girl: She’s a fighter. When my mother and I arrived to meet Luci for the first time it was obvious that she was her own person.  That little 4-year-old girl, dressed in pink from head to toe, stood there and sang us a song, did a dance, flashed her dimples: she was no shrinking violet!  There was of course some crying when this little brave one realized that her orphanage caretakers of 4 years were actually speaking the truth when they told her that I was her mommy and she was going to the USA.  She tried to put on a brave face but I think she realized that this day wasn’t a song and dance, it wasn’t a performance to get someone to smile at her. It was very real, and it scared her.

After some consoling she decided that the funny sounding ladies that gave her candy and a much loved pink cupcake purse were at least tolerable and we all walked out of that room and went on with our lives.

She got a crash course in what it means to be a daughter in a real family that loves her and I got a crash course in being a 40 year old mom to a very creative and smart daughter. This was a new gig for both of us.

Luci has been a part of our family for a little over two years now and you may wonder why my recollections of our history include very little about her burns.  That is her “Special Need” after all. But honestly, that is only just the label that her country chose to use to identify her.  Burned Orphan.

That’s not who Luci is!  Not even close.  Luci is bright and vibrant, she is filled with joy!  She is colorful and funny and strong.  When her life got hard she didn’t crumble, turn to dust and blow away in the wind. She found her resolve and put on a brave face and moved forward, scars and all.

No her special need is not her burn scars that cover her head and face.

Her special need is that she is a funny, artistic, drama queen, that had the misfortune of being stuck with a mamma that is unsympathetic to drama, lacks creativity, and is a very bad artist.  Her special need is a dad that is incapable of saying “no” when he sees her dimples and a little brother that wants to play with her non-stop and always puts a big dent in her sticker collection. Her special need is that she is always quick to share candy with her brother and he hasn’t quite grasped the concept fully.

I will always be partial to kids that are burn survivors because they seem to have a strength and resilience that I don’t see in most adults.  They are the skills that we all really need in order to do this life well.  Traits that they were forced to develop at a very young age as a result of a tragedy that was no fault of their own.

Unfortunately without a family that loves them and gives them the support and strength they need, these little warriors will never reach their potential and that is the real tragedy.

A horrible accident early in Luci’s life resulted in her being an orphan and ultimately becoming a part of our family.  I wish I could make her burns go away, I wish she could have grown up in her birth family and shared with them her joy, her love, her sparkling eyes and sweet dimples.  That is the way her life was supposed to be.  The truth is, life doesn’t happen for anyone the way it is “supposed” to happen. We are all carrying scars, hurts, and painful experiences in our hearts. For Luci and I, our scars also appear on the outside.

Adoption is a life lesson in moving forward, scars and all.

Our family can’t give Luci back the family and life she lost as a result of that horrible accident.  We can decide to move forward with her and try every day to give her the love and patience she needs to move forward herself. To help her have the strength and confidence in who she is and not see her scars as the attributes that define her.

Our whole family is so thankful that we were able to see clearly and truly see LUCI in that photo listing picture and say YES when she needed us to step in and be there! Every day she goes about the business of being a happy little girl with no idea how much she is teaching everyone around her valuable lessons in strength, confidence, and patience. We needed her in our family as much as she needed us.

I think I need to drop my burn doctor a little note telling him how very wrong he was about me being the unluckiest person he knew. I am the luckiest woman in the world! I am Luci’s mom!

This story was written by Luci’s loving mom, Tara and contributed by the Gladney Asia Program. Thank you for inspiring others to consider a Waiting Child!

View Children Waiting For Their Family Now!

Visiting My Son’s Orphange

Lacy, a dear mom I’ve gotten to know in the online adoption community, is in China right now.  Her story is very special to me because when we traveled last August, I held her son.  While he waited for his family to come, I got to take pictures, video, ask questions, and snuggle with him for just a few moments.

They have him now!!  He has a Dada!!  He has a Mama!!  An orphan no more!!  One less!!

This is him last August with me…
207
Oliver Chu is 3 years old now and probably about 13 pounds.  Please pray for healthy weight gain for him.  He’s in his Mama’s arms now…

My heart is broken though, they just visited his orphanage, our son’s former home.  Please click on over to read about all she saw while there.

I’m heartbroken over their visit and the state of that orphanage and most all orphanages.  Unfathomable.  We need to get children out of there. So badly.  I’m so sad all those children have to stay there another day longer, most going to be there until they age out.

So many of you have huge hearts for the orphan.  But there are TONS of Christians who have absolutely no burden for the fatherless.  How can this be?  God’s army, you need to rise up!  These children need YOU! 

“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”  Hebrews 13:3

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  Matthew 25:40

——————————————————————————————————–

Lest we forget what we often don’t see…
Cole in July 2013 at the orphanage…
1438076301
Cole with us, after 6 months, throwing rocks in a river!…
DSCN7284

Slavik and Daphne Update

So many of you have asked about Slavik, the boy I posted about a while back.  Well, No Greater Joy Mom posted some fantastic news about so many children, including him!  Here’s her post

“Praise the Lord. Praise the name of the Lord; praise him, you servants of the Lord.” ~~ Psalm 135:1

I don’t know about you, but I really struggle to watch the news.  Anthony will often hear something on the radio while he’s driving and later ask me, “Honey, did you hear about what happened today?” My answer is always no.  There is just so much heartache and bad news, and I must admit that my heart struggles to deal with it all sometimes.  So much loss, pain, and tragedy.

Over the last few weeks, God has been reminding me so often to put on a garment of praise (Isaiah 61:3)…to always have a heart that is thankful for the things that He is doing in and through His people.  So often, I forget.

God is alive and well and more than able to carry every burden on our hearts.  Too often I lose sight of the fact that He is indeed a faithful God…

Jehovah Jireh (our provider).

The Great I Am.

He truly has done great things!

“Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!” ~~ Psalm 147:1

How good it is to sing praises to our God!

Through tears and a very thankful heart I have watched the journey of the Long family unfold.  Last year they saw a precious little girl here on my blog and they knew with all their heart that she was their daughter.  They have walked one of the most challenging adoption journeys I have ever known.  Through every trial the enemy threw at them, they never gave up.

The One whom we call Faithful and True kept His promises.

“Daphne” is no longer an orphan.

She is now Eden.

Chosen and dearly loved.  Adopted mere days before her fourteenth birthday (when she would have aged out and would never have known the joy, the blessing, and the love of a family).

My God in heaven…

…never too early.  Never too late.  Always right on time!

She belongs…

Faithful God!

I know that so many of you will join me in rejoicing that this precious little girl now has every opportunity to blossom and grow and become all who God has created her to be.  God is writing such a beautiful story for her life. I can hardly wait to see how she does in her family.

You can follow the Long’s unfolding story HERE.  Thank you, Long family, for teaching me what it means to have ridiculous faith in the fire.

And then, do you all remember THIS DARLING LITTLE LOVIE?

So many of you stood in faith with us…trusting, believing, and storming heaven on her behalf.  We all saw her adorable video and we just knew that there was something so very special about this one.

Today she is CHOSEN!  Loved.  A blessing beyond description for her new family.

No longer labeled “orphan”, God has moved heaven and earth and she has a new name.

Beautiful Ava.

Home.  Forever.

It is with a heart overflowing with gratitude that I can also share with you all that two very special and amazing young men will also know the love of families very soon.  Two boys who have begged for someone to come for them will know what it means to be loved and treasured unconditionally…

…and they will know the faithfulness of their God in heaven to hear the cry of their hearts.

Holden is coming home.

And so is Slavik.

Also, I am just so ridiculously grateful for the outpouring of love and provision so many of you were part of for Village of Hope–Guatemala.  In just one month, over $100K was raised to enable the Block and Twietmeyer families (who are missionaries there) to expand the Kingdom of God in that place by building another duplex–a safe place for the many precious children who so desperately need a place to heal and grow.
A place to belong.
Building the new duplex is well underway.

Please continue to pray for the work of Village of Hope in Guatemala.  God is doing an incredible thing through His servants there.

From feeding the local people…

To bringing in teams to assist wherever there is great need.

THIS is the love of God coming on the earth.

Heaven coming down.

To sow precious and lasting seed into the work at Village of Hope you can GO HERE FOR INFORMATION!  

And finally, I know you will all remember sweet little Joshua–the darling little guy who so many of us prayed for as he fought for his life a couple of months ago.  Joshua is still in the hospital but will be GOING HOME very soon!  The Father heard every prayer and every cry for this little boy. Please continue to pray for his family as they learn how to care for their boy (who is now tube fed and on a respirator).  Heal him COMPLETELY, Lord Jesus!  We believe!

GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE!


“Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.” ~~ Psalm 105:2

He is indeed a FAITHFUL GOD!

Support Precious Emil!!

Updated pic of EMIL! He is running out of time to be adopted, please help raise funds for Voice of Hope and he will earn a $2100 grant!
http://reecesrainbow.org/21daysofhope

Updated pic of EMIL!  He is running out of time to be adopted, please help us raise funds for VOH and he will earn a $2100 grant!  http://reecesrainbow.org/21daysofhope

21daysfbheader

Thank You, Kind Sir

Grocery store trips with four children in a store can be challenging.  While I’m trying to concentrate on price per ounce and what aisle I need to head to next, my children are trying to keep themselves occupied with something…anything.  They are not out-of-hand, they are pretty well-behaved in stores.  But they still get bored!  They pass groceries back and forth to each other, swirl the little one’s cart around, play peek-a-boo with a sibling around the other side of the cart, etc.  But as a Mom, all I hear and see is noise and I sometimes miss their smiling faces, their joy, and how they are being so nice and playful to each other.

But other people notice.

While looking at coconut milk, one man said, very enthusiastically, “Beautiful family!”

I always love it when people encourage us like that and I said, “Aww, thank you.”

He said he has seven children!  From age 30 down to 18.  “Oh, so you’re out of the diaper stage, huh?”  ;-)

He reminded me that these are the best years.

Sometimes when I’m up to my elbows in that mom-thing called work, I forget that I’ll miss these days, that these are wonderful days!  That I need to treasure this time I have with my young ones.  Even Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar (parents of 19 children) admitted that the time in their marriage when they had 4-5 young ones (with no older ones to help) were the hardest days of parenting.  Those of us couples that are outnumbered by little people need encouraged!

So kind sir, thank you SO much for your encouragement!  It means more than you know!

Forgotten God by Francis Chan

The following are excerpts from the book Forgotten God by Francis Chan.  We talk a lot of Jesus and we talk a lot of God the Father, but what about that third Person of God?  I wasn’t sure where the title was leading when I picked up the book, but wow, I quickly realized how much we the Church, and me individually, do forget about the Holy Spirit…

Has today's Church forgotten the Holy Spirit?

“God put His Spirit in us so we could be known for our power. Sadly, most believers and churches are known for talent and intellect rather than supernatural power. What’s worse is that we’re okay with it. In Forgotten God, breakthrough author Francis Chan returns us to the Holy Spirit as the Bible describes Him and invites us to understand, embrace and follow the Holy Spirit’s direction in our lives.”

“The benchmark of success in church services has become more about attendance than the movement of the Holy Spirit.  The “entertainment” model of church was largely adopted in the 1980s and ‘90s, and while it alleviated some of our boredom for a couple of hours a week, it filled our churches with self-focused consumers rather than self-sacrificing servants attuned to the Holy Spirit.”

“The light of the American church is flickering and nearly extinguished, having largely sold out to the kingdoms and values of this world.”

“It was then that I began reading the Scriptures as though I had never read them before.  I asked the Spirit to make them “living and active” to me, though I’d been reading them for years.  I asked God to penetrate the wrong and ill-conceived notions I’d collected along the way (Heb 4:12).  It’s a great exercise for those of us who have been immersed in church culture for years.”

“Given our talent set, experience, and education, many of us are fairly capable of living rather successfully (according to the world’s standards) without any strength from the Holy Spirit.  Even our church growth can happen without Him.  Let’s be honest:  If you combine a charismatic speaker, a talented worship band, and some hip, creative events, people will attend your church.  Yet this does not mean that the Holy Spirit of God is actively working and moving in the lives of the people who are coming.  It simply means that you have created a space that is appealing enough to draw people in for an hour or two on Sunday.”

“The Spirit is not just a flighty, whimsical spirit who comes and goes like the wind.  He is an eternal being and is holy.  Because the Spirit is holy and dwells in us, our bodies are holy sanctuaries from God’s vantage point.  Too often we disdain our bodies as the source of sin and our fallenness; yet they are precisely where God the Spirit chooses to dwell!”

“What would your church (and the worldwide church) look like if everyone was as committed as you are?  If everyone gave and served and prayed exactly like you, would the church be healthy and empowered?  Or would it be weak and listless?”

“Even though Jesus was going to be leaving His disciples, He told them that another counselor would actually enter their human bodies (John 14:17).  You’ve probably heard this truth a hundred times, but have you marveled at it?  Would you be willing to take thirty seconds right now just to dwell on the fact that God is in you?”

“You are a temple of the Holy Spirit.  You are not just a person living your life by human power.  The Spirit of God is in you; that is why Jesus said it was better for Him to go and the Spirit to come.”

“What if you could hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and He asked you to literally give everything you owned?  What if He asked you to sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor?  Could you do it?  Before you start explaining why He would never ask that of you, take a moment and answer the question honestly.  It’s not out of His character to ask for everything.”

“God wants us to walk in step with His Spirit rather than depend solely on the raw talent and knowledge He’s given us.  But instead of living this way, we’ve created a whole brand of churches that do not depend on the Spirit, a whole culture of Christians who are not disciples, a new group of “followers” who do not follow.  Simply having a good speaker, a service that is short and engaging, a good venue, and whatever else we add to the mix does not make a “good” or “successful” church.  God intended for His bride, those who claim His name, to be much more than this.  God is not interested in numbers.  He cares most about the faithfulness, not the size, of His bride.  He cares about whether people are lovers of Him.  And while I might be able to get people in the doors of a church or auditorium if I tell enough jokes or use enough visuals, the fact remains that I cannot convince people to be obsessed with Jesus.  Perhaps I can talk people into praying a prayer, but I cannot talk anyone into falling in love with Christ.  I cannot make someone understand and accept the gift of grace.  Only the Holy Spirit can do that.  So by every measure that actually counts, I need the Holy Spirit.  Desperately.”

“When was the last time you experienced the hand of God?  Ask yourself.  Think about the times in your life when you have been touched by God in a way that no one could convince you was a coincidence.”

“My hope and prayer for you, the reader, is that church people don’t try to normalize you.  What I mean is that we often try to calm people down who are just too passionate or too sacrificial and radical.  I know at times I have done this to other people.  And I’ve had it done to me.  Things like this happen all the time.  As a church, we tend to do this to people who are passionate and bold.  We mellow them out.  Institutionalize them.  Deaden them to the work that the Spirit is doing in them.”

“My wife and I decided to give all of the royalties from my previous book, Crazy Love, to the Isaiah 58 fund.  All of the money goes to the needy in the world- the starving, sick, impoverished, and to those in the sex-slave trade.  People told us we were being foolish and irresponsible, that we should have at least put some away in case of an emergency.  Is it not an emergency that children in Cambodia and Thailand and even the United States are being raped every single day of their lives?  Why is that not an emergency?  Does the church think that the sex-slave trade is not an emergency?  Is an emergency only an emergency if it affects me and my immediate family?”

Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit  -     By: Francis Chan

Today an Orphan Died in China

I’m reposting this from Crazy Life of the Wilk’s Family.  Very sad reality for so many children.  Their reality.  Just because we don’t “see” the orphan most definitely does not mean that they are not suffering.

You have to choose to see…

“This is a hard post for me to write, but its a post that must be written.

Today an orphan died in China.

He was a beautiful, precious little boy who had his whole life ahead of him.  He was living with a foster family.  He was receiving monthly transfusions thanks to the amazing group of thal moms I call friends here in the states.  His paperwork was being prepared for adoption.  Unfortunately, any illness can have a significant effect on the severity of his thalassemia.  When an illness that caused diarrhea swept through the orphanage the last week, it was too much for his little body to handle. He passed from this life into the arms of Jesus.

My heart is heavy again today.  I will never be able to hear of an orphan dying without being overcome by sadness.  This isn’t the first thal child who has died…

This sweet girl mattered too.  She deserved a family.  She deserved to get the best doctors coming to her aid.  But she lost her fight and passed into the arms of Jesus too.

I’ve often been asked “Why not adopt from foster care?”  I’ve been told that there are so many kids here in the US and we should “take care of our own” before we help the world.  I’m not going to argue these questions or points at all.

I simply believe that children matter.  ALL children matter.  ALL children deserve to have the love of a family.  Someone to kiss their boo boos.  Someone to hug them and tell them they can do anything.  ALL children deserve to have food on the table.  ALL children should have the opportunity to get an education.  ALL children deserve to get the medical care they need to get better.

Today an orphan died in Yulin, Guangxi, China.

And so did others… In China.  In Russia.  In Ukraine.  In Ethiopia.  In India.  In Uganda.  In Honduras.  In so many orphanages around the world these precious children, who have already experienced unimaginable loss, continue the fight of their lives.

An estimated 143 million orphans can be found in countries worldwide.

I believe that all of us have a responsibility to these children.  God calls ALL of us to help. 

Pray for ONE.  If you need a picture, a story, and a name.  I know plenty of them.  Make one child your priority to pray for every day while they wait for a forever family to take over those prayers.

Sponsor ONE.  Amazing agencies are doing amazing work in countries worldwide.  They are making a difference everyday in the lives of children throughout the world.  I would be happy to point you in the direction of some that I know. (Project Hopeful, Morning Star, New Day Foster Home, Lifesong for Orphans, Child’s Hope Int’l, SOS Ministries, Reece’s Rainbow, Cambodia Baptist Orphanage)  (I, Beka, personally have supported or currently support these linked ministries, very trusted sources!  Instead of giving your donations to organizations here in America that have revenues in the billions, why not give to orphans in absolute desperate poverty?  Make your money count!  The rich don’t need your money, the poor does).

Foster ONE.  If you are one of those who has a heart for America’s children, I encourage you to reach out to your local social services and find out what it takes to become a foster parent.

Support ONE.  At this moment, I know of at least twenty families who felt God’s call to adopt a child, even though they didn’t have enough in their bank accounts to cover an adoption, and took that step out to help care for ONE.  I’d be happy to show you families that you could support.  (I really like to use Reece’s Rainbow for this).

Adopt ONE.  If you think you might be willing to bring a precious orphan into their forever, please email me. MEPSCOASTIE@YAHOO.COM.  I will be happy to lead you to the agency and program that’s right for you.

I pray that this message reaches you all.  I pray that a precious little boy’s death will be the catalyst for something good to happen.  Today an orphan died in China, but I pray with all my heart that others won’t have to.”

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves”
“Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” Prov 31: 9

“And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”  Matt 18:5

Slavik is Running Out of Time!!

I’m re-posting this from Adeye at No Greater Joy Mom in hopes that this boy will find a family.  If you’re not his forever family, you can at least pray intensely for him.  Here’s Adeye’s post:

“Honestly? My heart absolutely aches for the older children who so desperately want families of their own.  They know that time is ticking and that very soon they will “age out” of the adoption system in their country.  They know that every day that passes gets them closer to a life they cannot bear to even think about.

The statistics are staggering.  Suicide, trafficking, helplessness.

Turning sixteen is a huge milestone for most teenagers.  But sadly, not for many orphans around the world. Soon after the day of their sixteenth birthday they will be given the “gift” of freedom.  Together with a small bag which contains all of their earthly possessions and about $30 in cash, they will be set free–no longer to be taken care of by a state orphanage.

Freedom?

Unfortunately, not!

It’s a devastating reality that most of the children who “age out” of the system literally have nowhere to go.  They are left on the streets to fend for themselves. With nowhere to turn, and no one to turn to, many end up in the trafficking industry. The majority never make it past their teen years. It is the sobering reality for most orphans who are forced to leave the only place of safety they know.  The statistics are hard to wrap our heads around.  It is one of the many reasons why adoption advocates fight so very hard to get children out of orphanages before it is too late. They know.

It’s a humanitarian catastrophe that foreign orphanages are filled to overflowing with precious teenagers who are longing to be loved by someone.  Anyone.

A couple of weeks ago, PROJECT HOPEFUL advocated for one of these beautiful children.  It was sobering for me to see his photo and read his story.  I could not help but feel that we, the Church of the Living God, have failed this boy.  We’ve been silent when we should have been begging at the top of our lungs for someone to go and take a chance on a young man who is aching for someone to believe in him.

Like many, he has been crying out for a family…

…and no one has listened.

No one has been willing to give him an opportunity to belong and become all who God has created him to be.

Like many others just like him, time is running out.  Slavik was hosted by an American family last summer and expressed many times his desire to have a family of his own.  He is longing…desperate to be a part of family who will love him.

The sweet boy writes to his host family regularly…

“Have you found a family for me yet?”

Unfortunately, time is not on Slavik’s side.  He turns sixteen on March 3 and MUST have a committed family before then.

From his host family:

Slavik is a kind, quiet & unassuming boy.  He loves animals & even enjoyed taking care of our dogs last Summer.  He made certain they had food, water, walks & treats daily with no reminders!  He is a very intelligent boy, quick to pick up English words, and very attentive in the English class he attended with other children in the host program.  He enjoyed water sports after a bit of coaxing and really opened up to new experiences once he knew he was safe. He would do well in a family with younger children as well as preteens.  He would also thrive with empty nesters.  He enjoys soccer,computers and video games.

From the PROJECT HOPEFUL website:

Slavik is a 15 year old boy from Ukraine. He has been in an orphanage for several years. He was brought there after extreme neglect by his mother. He is slightly built and shy, but very kind. People who know Slavik have noted that the other kids, boys & girls, all liked and trusted Slavik. He was hosted just once, last summer, by a host-only family. He is very eager to be adopted, and writes his host family and other friends regularly, asking them to find him a “family forever.” Slavik has been reading the Bible he got in America and says he prays God will bring him a family. He turns 16 on March 3. A family who wanted to have the option to adopt him would need to file (or already have) an I-600a to “freeze” him and keep him available.

Cara Helberg at Angel’s Haven (adopt@angelshaven.org) can help families who would like to know more about Slavik.

This one matters too, friends.  His life matters.  His heart matters.  His desires matter.  He may be just one life caught up in the middle of a massive crisis…

…but oh, how precious and valuable his life is!

Please will you help us to spread Slavik’s story far and wide?  This is his last chance at finding a family. Please, please let’s ensure that he comes home and that this too will be a glorious story of redemption.

NOW…show us your glory, Lord.”

6 Month Update and the Birthday Boy

Cole had his first American birthday!  He’s now 3 years old!

He’s also been home from China with us for 6 months now.

When he woke up for his birthday, he was ECSTATIC to see decorations and balloons everywhere and gifts laid out for him.  Guess he learned the American way at Christmas because boy did he know those presents were for HIM.  As soon as he’d open something, he would say “more.”  He didn’t care what the gift actually was nearly as much as he did getting to open it up!  He was running back and forth, grabbing a gift, taking it to his ‘spot,’ opening it up with delight, and then back to the gift pile for another one.  It was sweet to see his big smiles.

We got him a little shopping cart he can push around the house and he has hardly stopped playing with it.  He likes to neatly put all his special things inside.  It’s amazing to me that he went from having nothing of his own to a life of absolute abundance.  I try to balance abundance in my own life, desiring to give more and more away to those who lack.  But I am so happy that Cole can have unlimited food, toys of his own, special outfits that he likes, his own chair at the table, etc.  Sometimes he’ll just randomly look up at us, bear hug our leg, and just give us the biggest smile ever.  We still have our struggles, but he is genuinely happy and content, and that melts my heart.

We went to an aquarium and got to see lots of sea creatures and even got to pet stingrays!  Ones that don’t sting.  :-)
DSCN7403 DSCN7409 DSCN7416 DSCN7422 DSCN7433 DSCN7446 DSCN7457 DSCN7458 DSCN7462 DSCN7475I now have two 3-year-olds!  Only for 13 days though, then Caden will turn 4.  We think it’s neat that every year Cole and Caden will be the same “age” for 13 days!

We also had our 6-month visit with our social worker so that we can send our required follow-up report to China.  We’ll also have these at the 1-year mark, 2-year, 3-year, and 5-year mark.  We have an independent social worker who pretty much does international adoption only.  So she’s very different than a Foster Care/ CPS social worker.  She is so loving and willing to answer any and all questions, nothing is off-limits for her.  I love that I don’t feel like I have to impress her or make her think we’re living a fairy tale.  She knows the truth behind the transitional times adoptive families go through.  She completely understands every aspect and I was able to be very open with her and she was such a help and encouragement.  You know you have an awesome social worker when you greet each other with a hug, depart with a hug, and follow-up with thank-you emails for the wonderful visit!

She was really impressed with Cole.  She could NOT believe how good he looked.  She reminded me what he looked like when we got him, she thought I had forgotten.  She said she didn’t even recognize him as the same child she saw when we had only been home for two weeks.

Here are some pictures from the past several months…
DSCN7019DSCN7036DSCN7286 DSCN7287 DSCN7309 DSCN7256 DSCN7255 DSCN7284 DSCN7285 My sweet Great Aunt Patty stopped by for a short visit while on her way home from vacation!  My sister and her two little ones are in the picture as well!  Aunt Patty IMG_2513

Follow Me by David Platt

I recently finished reading Follow Me by David Platt.  Although I don’t agree with everything in the book, I do highly recommend the book.  Hope you can pick up a copy and read it!

This really impacted me…

Imagine Your Church (an excerpt from Follow Me by David Platt)

“Don’t picture the building or parking lot, and don’t envision the activities and programs.  Just the people.  Whether there are fifty, one hundred, five hundred, or five thousand of them, simply imagine the people who comprise your church.”

“People living in a world of sin and rebellion, suffering and pain.  A world where over three billion men, women, and children survive on less than two dollars a day, and a billion of those people live in absolute poverty- in remote villages and city slums where hundreds of millions are starving and dying of preventable diseases.  A world where billions of people are engrossed in false religions, and around two billion of them have never even heard the gospel.  They are all (literally billions of people) on a road that leads to an eternal hell- suffering that will never, ever, ever end.”

“But you and the people in your church have been transformed by the gospel of Christ.  In your minds, you know that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save people from their sins.  In your hearts, you have tasted and seen that He alone can satisfy people’s souls.  Your wills are now abandoned to His ways, and you long to be His witnesses throughout the world.  God has banded you together as brothers and sisters in a local church with a global commission:  make disciples of all nations.  God has filled every single one of you with the power of His own Spirit to enable each of you individually and all of you collectively to reach the world with the gospel.”

“So if you had nothing but people- no buildings, no programs, no staff, and no activities- and you were charged with spreading the gospel to the whole world, where would you begin?  Would you start by pooling together your money so that you could spend millions of dollars on a building to meet in?  Would you get the best speakers, the greatest musicians, and the most talented staff in order to organize presentations and programs that appeal to your families and your children?  Would you devote your resources to what is most comfortable, most entertaining, and most pleasing to you?”

“I don’t think your church would do these things- and neither would mine.  Not if we really believed God’s Word and were honestly looking at God’s world.”

“If we recognized that there are billions of people without the gospel, many of whom have never even heard it, and if we realized that there are hundreds of millions of people starving without food and water, we would probably not say, “Let’s spend millions of dollars building a house of worship.”

“As we’ve seen, the Bible never tells us to construct a house for worship.  Instead, the Bible says that we as God’s people are the house of worship.  The New Testament never tells us to build a place for people to come to us; instead, the New Testament commands us to give our lives going to people.”

Will you NOT have lunch with me on Monday?

familyphotosquish
Do you remember when I told you about the Block family (pictured above)?  They are an adoptive family that left the comforts of the cushy American life and started a children’s home in Guatemala.  I personally support them and hope you will too!  Here’s a really neat opportunity that I’ll be participating in!  Want to join me?  Or should I say, NOT join me?!

One day – One lunch

Monday, February 3 — Give up your lunch for Village of Hope!

For the 4th year in a row, join with us and give up your lunch in support of Village of Hope.  It’s easy.  Just invite a friend to NOT have lunch with you and donate your lunch money instead to Village of Hope!  Let’s provide some of these beautiful faces with hope and a future by supporting our operations in Guatemala at the Village of Hope.

You can partner with us and donate your lunch here:  https://www.egsnetwork.com/gift2/?giftid=AEF1206E91774B4

To read more about the One day – One lunch program, visit Addisyn Block’s blog here:  http://lifeasamissionarykid.blogspot.com/

Will you NOT have lunch with me today?

Precious Little Zoey

This little girl, Zoey, age seven, met her new Dad and Mom for the first time in December.  They were saddened to see she was in a very fragile state.

Adoption in her country requires two trips several months apart.

The family had to come back home even though Zoey desperately needed help right away.

Fraglie Zoey couldn’t wait any more.  On January 6th this sweet little girl went to be with Jesus.

Zoey got to experience the love of a mother and father for just a few days.  You must watch this video of them kissing her and singing “Jesus Loves Me” to her… you will cry.

She’s home with Jesus now.  No more suffering for her.

This story leaves me in tears, so so many children live in absolute desperation while Americans spend more, more, more on themselves, turning a blind eye to the needs of their neighbors that they can’t see.  That they won’t see.  Go out and love big, people.  The clock is ticking.

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode!

This is somewhat off-topic, but then again… many adoptive mom’s do live in “survival mode” for a while, so this might be perfectly on-topic!

You’ve all heard me talk about MoneySavingMom before, Crystal Paine.  Her new book hit the shelves yesterday!  I got the chance to read it before it was released!  By the way, she’s offering freebies and giveaways this week if you go purchase her book!

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode
Although I don’t necessarily live in “survival mode,” (although don’t we all at times?!) I thoroughly enjoyed her book!  It was very practical and I walked away with many new ideas and lots of motivation and encouragement to help me live life even fuller!  Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book…

“You don’t have to stay perpetually overwhelmed and exhausted, barely existing in survival mode anymore.  You can start living with direction and passion.”

“I didn’t stop the insanity… I wore a plastic smile and continued to say yes  to everything.”

“Yes, there are moments when I want to dig out my Superwoman cape to impress others…  But when I remember how empty and exhausted it felt… it’s okay never to wear the cape again.”

“Living with intention means saying no to the things that aren’t important to us so we can say yes to what matters most.”

In the book, Crystal gives a list of things she does NOT do!  How awesome to admit and show proof that you are not Supewoman.  That is so genuine and sweet and lowers the bar for all of us out there that constantly want to raise the bar.  Psst… She doesn’t pack her husband’s lunches every day!

“For us, it’s not about saving money so we can continuously upgrade our lifestyle and always be buying bigger and better things.  We want to live beneath our means so that we are able to give generously to others.”  “There’s a world of need around us.  The more we steward our money well, the more abundance we will have to meet those needs.  The more we save, the more we have to give.”

In the book, Crystal shared a story about how her mom used to have her clean their house plants with cotton balls when she was little!  Hilarious!  But she draws such a sweet lesson out of it!  I really enjoyed reading this story!

“Something happens when you have children.  Toys are everywhere.  Your home can quickly get hijacked by colorful blocks, plastic figures, puzzle pieces, chewed-on books, and game pieces… Even though before you had your little ones, you promised yourself your home would not become a toy jungle, it happened.”  “The fact is, having children means your home will be filled with playthings.  It comes with the territory.”

You’ll have to get the book to read her section on “Focus on Contentment versus Consumerism!”  Good stuff!!

“Failure isn’t proof that you’re a loser, a mess-up, or someone who will never get it together.  On the contrary, failure is evidence that you’re trying.”

“The problem… was trying to cram 32 hours’ worth of projects into a 24 hour day.”

“I used to think that burning the midnight oil and getting by on only a fistful of sleep would make me more productive.”

“So many of us try to find fulfillment and self-worth in piling our plates too high.”

“All of a sudden, sticking with a budget wasn’t just about us; it was about others.  Through this humbling experience, we found the ultimate heartbeat for our finances- living simply so we can give generously.  The more we save, the more we have to give.  I came home with so much more passion, purpose, and motivation for clipping coupons, shopping sales, buying used goods, saving more, and spending less.”

Awww… you’ll have to read Crystal’s story of how she was washing the dishes and all of a sudden got the idea to give away ALL the proceeds from her first book, amazing!

“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.”

She shared a story from another family in her book that really hit home with me personally (since we just adopted!)… “A few years ago, our family… adopted… and had three children in less than two years… Although I am accustomed to living a high-octane life… this time I did not spring back like normal.”   I love the advice/ lesson Crystal gave this mother.

Taking care of yourself is not “about being selfish or self-absorbed.  In fact, many times when you direct your attention toward yourself and practice self-care, you become a better person all around.  You transform into a more energetic mom, a more attentive spouse, a more tuned-in friend… instead of a stressed-out, frazzled mess.”

“Taking care of your health should be a top priority.  Just ask anyone who suffers from chronic pain or a debilitating disease.  They know how important good health is because they battle with pain and sickness every day.  When you go through a health setback, everything else falls to the wayside.  All the things you thought were once important seem meaningless and you would give anything to be healthy again.”

In the book, she shares about the importance and practical tips you can do to get reenergized and become more productive and passionate about life.  Get the book to get all her tips!

Her lesson behind “Are you actually doing something or just moving furniture around?” really hit home with me!

“You are never going to be exactly where you want to be.  There will always be another project, another chore, another task, or another idea to get started… So don’t beat yourself up that you’re not as far as you’d like to be.  Instead, be kind to yourself and give yourself grace.”

-”Remember you are not superwoman…”

-”Get hold of your finances for the right reasons and manage your money purposefully.”

-”Take care of your home and day-to-day responsibilities in a simple way so you have time to do things that matter most.”

-”Start taking care of you.  If you don’t put a priority on your health and mental sanity, you will pay for it now and later.”

Parade Pics!

We had a blast walking in our downtown parade this past Saturday night!  We had to really bundle up but it was worth it.  We walked with three other amazing families which made it so much fun!  We wrapped our children as Christmas presents, because children ARE a gift!  Throughout the parade route we kept hearing:  “Awwww”  “Look, those children are presents.”  “Awww, cute children.”  “Awww, adoption.”  “Awww.”  :-)

Let me tell you about our signs.  Sometimes it’s hard to find tangible ways you can help others.  But my friend Candace hit the spot!  She emailed me a few weeks before the parade and asked if she could make us our signs we’d need.  Seeing how my plate is full and I really didn’t know if I could pull this whole parade thing off, I was THRILLED that I wouldn’t have to have the burden of making our signs!  It may not have seemed like much to her, but let me tell ya, this was such a sweet blessing!!  What a way to help!  This really relieved work and stress for me!  Thank you so much Candace!  I thought her signs were awesome; so visible, so cute, and said the message perfectly!!

I didn’t get any pics while we were there but these were snapped on other families’ phones…

These sweet girls and their Daddy walked!  That sweet little Anna in the middle is “1 Less”!!!  (I think she was a little cold in the picture!)
Parade the girls
These two boys were such champs, passing out flyers for us along the parade route.  They worked hard!  Such sweet boys with hearts of gold!  Their parents also walked with their little girl who has been home from China for almost two yearsParde boys2imageParade boys imageHere are our children.  Thank you Candace and Kaylee for loaning us your wagons! We mounted Candace’s signs up above the wagons.  Well… not “we.”  My sweet hubby spent hours just to get these signs mounted up, get lights and garland wrapped around them and make them so they wouldn’t blow over.  Harder than it looks!wagons paradeparade wagonAnd once I got home, I took pics of the other side of the signs so you can see what people saw on the other side of the wagons…
DSCN7145DSCN7146Cole definitely enjoyed the parade most out of my four children.  He thought the marching band and music and lights were all so great!  He was amazed and excited and thoroughly enjoyed it!  So cute to watch him.  And the next morning I asked him if he liked the parade and the music and the lights.  He put his hand near his lips like he was blowing a trumpet and pretended to make trumpet noises.  He remembered how much fun it was to see the marching band!  :-)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 138 other followers