Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In Less Than One Week...

In less than one week I hope to be seeing many of you at the Loves Ransom Event!!

I cannot even believe all that God has done just in the preparation of this event. If He has been this faithful even now, I can only imagine what He might have in store for us on March 4th!

Check out this post for more information on the "what" and "where".  And feel free to leave me a comment if you have ANY questions. I'd be so happy to respond.

I'm also continuing to hope and pray that Samantha's ransom will be PAID IN FULL by March 4th. I realize that, humanly speaking, this is a lot to ask. But this is nothing to our God who can do ANYTHING.Will you please join me in praying and spreading the word about this goal? Then, when we gather on March 4th, we will be able to celebrate what God has done and direct our attention and resources to other adopting families and the needs of precious orphans around the world. We can do this!! We're only $4,753 away from the goal!

And friends, I know I don't even have to say it, but...

Will you continue to pray for my sweet girl? Pray for her health and wellbeing. For her little heart, that it would know way down deep that LOVE is on the way. Pray that her most basic needs will be cared for, even against all odds. Pray that her paperwork would be approved quickly and that I would be able to travel to meet her within the month. And pray for her mama as she waits.

You all are THE best friends. Thanks for loving me and Sam. We love you, too.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Favorite 7-Year-Old!

What a bittersweet day this is. Although I am thousands of miles away from Samantha, and unable to hold her or care for her today, this birthday still gives me cause to celebrate. I'm thankful today for Sam's life; that her birth mom chose to carry her to full term. I'm thankful that Sam's premature birth and low birthweight necessitated spending her first 3 months in the hospital (this is most likely the reason she is as healthy as she is). I'm thankful that God has moved many mountains on her behalf. I'm thankful that the day is approaching when I will be able to meet her, and hold her, and sing to her.

I'm thankful that Samantha is bringing light to what has been a difficult time of year for my family. (Check out my sister, Katie's, blog post today)

And I am thankful that this is the LAST birthday this sweet little girl will spend in an orphanage, in a crib, without love. Please pray for my little girl today, and every time you think of her. Your prayers are carrying her home! 

And pray also for all of the kiddos who wait for families to come and rescue them.  On the wall, behind my 7-year-old's birthday balloons, are the photo's of 17 children from Sam's orphanage. One beautiful little girl has made it home so far, and we pray each of these little ones will be following soon. Please pray especially for these children's health as many are very small and suffering from the effects of long-term malnutrition. 

Thank you all for your continued prayers and generosity. I've been excitedly watching that fundraising meter go up each day, and am so happy and confident that God is going to raise Sam's ransom. You all amaze me.

Keep telling people about March 4th! You all will not even believe everything God is doing on behalf of this event. It is so evident that He has a message He wants us to hear, and that this topic is close to His heart. Please come! And invite a friend. I know we will all be blessed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thanks Be To God!!!

Check out that thermometer!!!

God is doing it, y'all! I think we really might make our goal before March 4th!

Please continue to share Sam's story, and come Calvary on March 4th to celebrate!  Thank you to everyone who has given. You are paying the ransom for a little girl who will soon be released to start LIVING!

Love to you.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's Go Time! AND, Love's Ransom (The Event)

Friends and Family,

I am so happy to announce to all of you that it is now, officially, GO TIME!

Samantha's dossier is in Eastern Europe, just waiting to be translated and approved. And just as soon as that approval is written in ink, I'll be permitted to travel to meet her!

This means we may have only a matter of weeks left to raise Samantha's ransom. Possible? Yes! Absolutely, yes. 

God has been so faithful already in this matter (and in everything!) that I have no doubt He will do this.

If you are so led, here's how you can help...Please spread the word about this date: 

March 4th has significance for 2 very important reasons. (1) This is the goal I have set to be fully funded. This means, we need to raise $7,950 in the next 22 days. (2) My church and I will be hosting a celebration, to which I am so excited to invite all of you (and your moms, brothers, friends, cousins, dogs)!

Love's Ransom (The Event)will include a telling of Samantha's story-so-far, a time of worship led by guests from the Lincoln Berean College ministry, information from various agencies on how to help orphans around the world (including those right in our backyard), and of course, there will be lots of food and a birthday cake to celebrate sweet Samantha's 7th birthday! 

I anticipate that God is going to do GREAT THINGS through this event. Please consider joining us, and inviting anyone whose heart might benefit from hearing about the goodness of God, or who might be interested in learning more about the miracle of adoption. 

*If you know of anyone who is currently in the process of adoption, and who could use prayer/support, please email me with their story in 1-2 paragraphs and a photo of their family. I will make these profiles available to guests so we can help spread the word and help more precious children come home! 

**Click on the "Love's Ransom (The Event)" link for an address and map of the event.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Growing Pains

In my Bible study this past week, we read a quote that compared the growth of our Christian faith with the growth of an old Oak Tree. The author explained that, contrary to what I would have thought, Oak Trees do not reach their great size by way of slow and constant growth. Rather, they experience 3 or 4 weeks of rapid growth each year, followed by a time of solidification.

Without exaggeration, this adoption journey over the last several weeks has taken me through some of the highest highs and lowest lows I've ever experienced.  I've witnessed miracles first hand, the likes of which I'd previously only dreamt of seeing. And I've felt a true and deep sadness over the depth of sin in the world, and over arms that will remain yet empty for several months to come.

As hard as it is to step back and get some perspective, I'm choosing to look at myself from the outside in tonight. And what I'm able to see (at least in this moment!) is that this pain; the tears that flow unexpectedly, the heavy heart, the empty arms, the anxious feeling in my gut...its all necessary. It's growing pains. God is preparing me for the biggest, grandest challenge of my life so far. This period of rapid growth, I expect, will leave me leaning more and more heavily on my Heavenly Father. It will make me more and more wise to the devil's schemes. It will increase the love and appreciation I have for my sweet daughter and all that she has suffered and all that she will overcome.

They don't call them growing pains for nothing.

And of course, I must update you all on my progress toward Sam! Please let these bullets also serve as prayer requests. We need to continue to cover every aspect of this journey with prayer!

  • After more than a week's worth of glitches, Samantha's dossier is finally COMPLETE! In fact, I mailed it to Iowa last week, to a mother who will be hand delivering it to my attorney this week. Praise the Lord that she, and two other parents have arrived safely in Sam's country and will be meeting their little ones tomorrow for the very first time.
  • Please pray that God will mightily use these three parents this week in the orphanage and that they would have the opportunity to visit, pray over, hug, and take pictures of any or all of the 16 children who have families waiting to bring them home. Selfishly, I would love to have some updated pictures of my Sam. And even better than a photo would be the news that one of these parents was able to hold her and tell me how she is doing...or anything about her at all! I so long to to know her...any little tidbit would be a sweet comfort to me during this time of waiting.
  • Pray for my heart and my emotional health. God has been incredibly good to me, and I know this. But need His refreshing.
  • Pray that I would not lose focus, that I would remain faithful in prayer and in quiet times with the Lord, and that God would give me wisdom in how best to prepare for Samantha's arrival. 
Thank you all again, so much, for your prayers.

Stay tuned for an update later this week on a fundraiser, and an opportunity to raise awareness about adoption. There is something in the works!

AND, if you haven't already...I recommend you read this.  Be sure to read the whole post. I cannot get enough of this story! 

Love to you all.