Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Faith Like a Child

Some of Samantha's most faithful prayer warriors and biggest fans are kids.

All throughout this journey, I've been amazed and impressed with this youngest generation in God's church. They have loved me and Samantha with a love that is pure and genuine. And they LOVE the Lord. I hope these stories from a few precious, young Christ-followers will be as much of an encouragement to you has they have been for me:
  • I've heard from several Christian school teachers that their classes pray for Samantha every day and that they ask regularly how she is doing. There are children praying in California, Indiana, Colorado, and Kentucky, to name a few!
  • An 11-year-old from my youth group puts her arms around me during worship as our pastor prays for me and Samantha.
  • Several students (in high school and in college), touched by what God is doing through Samantha, have written reports and given speeches in their public schools on Down Syndrome, Reece's Rainbow, and Samantha's adoption. One student proudly shared Samantha's picture with her classmates and reported back to me that everyone thought she was beautiful and could understand why I chose her.
    11-year-old Ajok is pictured here with a silly grin and her hands in the air.  To her right are Christina and Alut, who both did reports on Samantha/Down Syndrome/Adoption at their high school.
  • A 2nd grade class in California, after hearing about the children in Samantha's orphanage, is raising funds so that these children may be seen by doctors from the Tokuda hospital in Bulgaria. 
  • A friend of mine and her three little girls printed out pictures of Samantha that are now hung all around their home, reminding them to pray for Sam all throughout each day.
  • My 8-year-old neice prays every night, "Please help Samantha to gain a whole lot of weight and be put in a room with other people and please let Grace get the signature she needs to travel."
My beautiful niece, Madeleine.
  • Two sweet little four-year-old friends from church pray regularly for Samantha, and talk about how they are going to be friends when she get here. I LOVE picturing Samantha with her new buddies!
  • The kids in my apartment complex regularly ask if Samantha is here yet. My two-year-old next-door neighbor affectionately calls Samantha "Baby" at the sight of her picture.
My 2-year-old neighbor, Abbi, with Samatha's future pal, Trevor, and his mommy, Ashlee
  • In a hand-written letter from a sweet 11-year-old friend: "Grace, I love you! ...I have been praying for you and Samantha every time I think of you and I think of you all the time. I pray the government will let you take Samantha home soon so she can be with her mommy forever and get out of that room where she sees no one all day long. I pray she will be fed right and gain weight soon and that is only possible if she is with you. You will give her the love and comfort that you have given to me ever since we met you! I pray Samantha will be able to see your face in person and feel your love you have for her... I pray over all that Samantha will soon be in your arms forever. I love you, Grace! P.S. I love the bracelets you mailed to us to give to the people at church. I gave some to my friends so they are praying for you and Samantha too. When more than one are praying, the power of God is greater.
  • 4 young sisters gave money from their own piggy banks for Samantha's care fund. (I know this family would really appreciate your prayers as they are awaiting the adoption of a sister by from India.)

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Two New Children Listed!!!

Oh you guys, I am so excited I have butterflies in my belly!!! Two little girls from Sam's orphanage were listed on Reece's Rainbow today!!!!! That's two more eternal souls who will soon be FREE to live, experience love and family, and hear about JESUS!!

Meet Carissa!!!

Meet Sarah!!!
To learn more about these precious little ones, visit reecesrainbow.org. You can either use this link to go directly to their profiles, OR, type #11 in the search bar.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Orphanage Update. Sam update.

One of the staff from my adoption agency is in Bulgaria RIGHT THIS MINUTE working on behalf of all of the children in Samantha's orphanage: talking to government officials, meeting with doctors, holding children who are desperately ill and whispering to them about Jesus. Today, again, we're seeing the Lord move in extraordinary ways on behalf of these children.  If you are willing to pray, want to help, or are interested in knowing the latest news about the orphanage, please read this.

Since my last blog post, Samantha was examined by Prof. Lilova from the Tokuda Hospital. Results show that she is not sick. This is good news! But I've also learned from recent photos that Sam has lost some weight in the last several months. For a little girl that was already half the size of the average 7-year-old, this is significant. However, considering the "care" she has been given throughout her life, and the condition of many other children living in that place, I'd say that Sam is a miracle. A spunky, strong, alert, beautiful miracle. My prayer is that God would sustain her, as He has been, until she's home and her healing can begin.

In your prayers for Samantha, please continue to ask the Lord to give her comfort and peace. Pray that even though she is alone, that she would not be lonely. Pray that she would feel the presence of Jesus in the room with her. Pray that I will receive my written approval as soon as possible so I can travel to meet her!

Thank you for your generous, continued support. Love to you.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

One Step Away From An Airplane

Its been an emotionally charged week, to say the least! But through it all, God remains good. And constant. Even when all else fails.

When people fail.

When I fail.

When circumstances are out of my control.

When loving arms can only reach so far.

When waiting any longer seems impossible.

When life is generally hard. And it hurts.

God is good. His is Love. And Love NEVER fails.

Today (although undeniably a bit overwhelming) brought some good news. I am one step closer to bringing Samantha home!!! Today I received my verbal referral!! Now my paperwork sits on a desk waiting for a signature, and as soon as that signature happens I will be permitted to travel to meet Samantha! Other families in my situations have waited weeks for this signature, but I am going to ask my loving friends and family to pray with all trust and boldness that I will have that written approval as soon as possible.

Samantha needs this process to move along quickly so she can start living. Let's pray and trust that God also wants this for her. Because I know He does!

Thank you all for your loving support. God has set me in an incredible family (blood and otherwise). I'm so thankful to Him for being mindful of me in this way. It is because of all of you that I am able to bring this sweet baby home. May God bless you for loving us the way you do.

The Kingdom

Praying for God's Kingdom to Prevail.

He can still do ANYTHING.

It tapped me on the shoulder today when I got home
I saw everything collecting dust
It made me hope there was something more
I pour over pages, desperate to find out why
The cripple at your table has what I'm longing to find

Teach me how to hum it
Because I don't know the words yet

Help me see the light
I'm reaching through the fight
Yahweh, show me the Kingdom
Arms open wide
Death swallowed up by life
Yahweh, show me the Kingdom

Why are some women barren
While the wicked's house is full

The stories never seem to end
Give me evidence I'm not alone
You said the weak would be lifted up
But maybe just not yet
So while I wait in this flesh and blood
I'll learn to lean in

Help me see the light
I'm reaching through the fight
Yahweh, show me the Kingdom
Arms open wide
Death swallowed up by life
Yahweh, show me the Kingdom

Monday, March 5, 2012

Battle Lines Are Drawn!! And a God-Blessed Event

First things first.

I can hardly even keep up with all God had been doing! You all just HAVE to read this post. As Susanna says, the battle lines have been drawn! Its time to go public about that orphanage. Please read and pray, pray, PRAY!! This is the long-awaited moment in time that all these tiny, powerless children have been waiting for. Satan will surely fight back. He doesn't want these children to be released from His grip. He doesn't want the LORD to be glorified. But armies of angels are battling mercilessly on behalf of all 240 children and the enemy WILL NOT WIN!! Please consider joining with families adopting from Samantha's orphanage as we fast and pray tomorrow. THIS IS IT!!!

And what perfect timing...again! Right when this battle was reaching epic proportions, Susanna was writing the blog you just read, and I was sharing the story of that orphanage to hundreds of faithful, tenderhearted Christians who gathered together to worship and to celebrate the LORD's impending VICTORY! What a blessed night it was. 

Here are a few highlights:

A schnazzy display made by friend, Tenise.

My beautiful nieces, pictured for the first time with their cousin, Samantha!

People pouring in to hear the story!!

The altar area, decorated and ready to go!

Richard, a dear friend, came all the way from Ord, Nebraska to talk about God's heart for the orphan. Please keep Richard and his wife Tenise, and their girls in your prayers as they are now in the beginning of the adoption process themselves! Love you, Bogus family!
I hadn't seen my friend, Ben, for a few years, but ran into him a just weeks before the event. After hearing about he and his wife, Renee's recent adoption of two little girls from foster care, I just knew they needed to be included in the Love's Ransom Event. Thank you so much for sharing!

And then it was my turn to share what God has been doing for me and Samantha.  I love that He is receiving glory for the miracles He is doing over and over again to bring Samantha home.
After the event we had a reception downstairs with booths where people could talk to experts about foster care and adoption. Thank you Katie for coming and representing Lutheran Family Services.

This is part of the foster care table, picturing my friends (and neighbors) who have adopted 5 special needs kiddos from the Nebraska foster care system. Shout out to Daniel for the lolly pop tree!

Another beautiful display by Tenise featuring the stories of many adopting families, and calling for prayer and support for them. 

Reece's Rainbow table!!! Featuring the faces of many beautiful children waiting for families. Who can resist these precious children of God!

My mom, dad, and sisters all worked together to create a BEAUTIFUL display of these pink cupcakes in honor of Samantha's 7th birthday.

One of the highlights of my evening was when 4 little girls (sisters) donated money from their own piggy banks for Samantha's care fund. SUCH a beautifully touching moment. And 4 beautiful little hearts. Please keep this family in your prayers as they are in the process of adopting a little girl from India. They are praying that they will receive good news THIS Wednesday. Please pray along with them. Their little girl has been waiting a long time and needs to come home to her family!
I also need to say thank you to friends Esther and Jared for leading us in worship. Boy were people singing along with you! What a sweet sound. I know this was a foretaste of the feast to come.

Thank you also to friend, Bethany, who gathered volunteers and worked hard and long to decorate, set up, and generally keep things running smoothly.

AND, last but not least (and I'm sure I'm missing people!!!) a BIG THANK YOU to the people of Jacob's Well. You were the hands and feet of Jesus yesterday. Thank you for serving us. I feel so incredibly blessed by you. 

Ok, one last thing...and this really is the last one! THANK YOU friends and family! You have been such a tremendous part of the miraculous story that God is weaving together. Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for loving me and Samantha.

Love to all of you.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Make that FULLY FUNDED!!!!

Praise the Lord with me, friends!!!!

Samantha Love's adoption is fully funded!!!

Wow!! Wow!!! and WOW!!!!

Thank you all so much!!!!

Almost there!!!!!!

Because of a very generous gift from friends today, Samantha's ransom is VERY. NEARLY. PAID!!!!!

Friends, we are definitely going to make that goal!! Just $633 away!!!

Thank you so much for your continued generosity. I know we will be celebrating a full grant fund this Sunday night.

Love to you all.