Friday, September 6, 2013

Only God. Seriously.

Last spring, maybe some of you remember that a 2nd grade class from my old home in Lodi, California decided to help the abandoned orphans of Pleven. They baked cookies, made the most beautiful signs, and raised a thousand dollars to help pay for nurses to care for the least of these on that orphanage's 6th floor. 

But this class also did so much more than sell cookies. They prayed. Every day they prayed for Sam and others who were stuck on that dreaded 6th floor. And as they prayed hearts were broken. And God's Spirit began to move.

Sometime after their cookie sale, I received a phone call from Sarah (who, it's important for you to know, I've never met!), the mother of one very precious student from my friend's 2nd grade class. Her daughter had been sharing the great need of these orphans with her family, and upon hearing, they knew God was calling. Here's an excerpt from an email Sarah sent me only days later.
"We've been praying and praying and researching and reading about adoption non-stop...we feel God may be calling us to adopt a child from China. God used you and Samantha and the children at her orphanage to open our eyes to the tremendous need of the children who have been orphaned around the world.  And we want to answer God's call, for whatever child He has in mind for us."
Only God. Right?

Well it gets even better!

A few months ago, Sarah sent me an update. (Sarah, no matter how I tried, I just can't tell the story as well as you can! So I'm using your own beautiful words.)
"Hi Grace, 

Last spring I talked and emailed with you about the possibility of adoption.  After hearing about your sweet Samantha Love in Mrs. Steiner's 2nd grade class, our daughter, Emily, became passionate about helping the orphans.  A fire was lit in her by the Lord, and before long that same fire was lit in her 2 sisters and in me, and very shortly after, in Steve (my husband).  We hadn't thought about adoption before this, but your journey with Sam opened our eyes to the needs of the orphaned around the world.  We of course baked a ton of cookies for Mrs. Steiner's class cookie sale and gave money toward Sam's adoption and for the babas at Pleven.  But we knew God was calling us to do more.  After much prayer, it was clear that He wanted us to adopt a special needs child from China.  So we eagerly jumped into action and were soon matched with our sweet little Peter.  He was 15 mths. and had a cleft lip and palate.  We met him for the first time on January 27 and arrived home with him Feb. 6.  He has flooded our family with joy and we are so honored that God chose us to be his family... 

Although in the end God led us to adopt from China rather than Bulgaria, our hearts are deeply attached to Bulgaria and especially the children in Sam's orphanage.  These children and the country in which they live will always have a special place in our hearts because they are the ones God used to open our eyes to the plight of His children around the world.  God used them to lead us to our sweet Peter.   

So here's another little story of God's goodness... 

Peter's 2nd birthday was last Friday. As his birthday approached, we were debating whether or not to have a party. We just couldn't decide.  But in the end we decided that we would have a party, because all those who prayed with us and labored with us on our journey to Peter really wanted to be a part of his birthday too.  Once we decided to have the party, I really wanted to do something other than presents for him.  I felt like God wanted us to ask people to bring something for someone else, rather than presents for Peter. But I just didn't know what. I prayed and asked God how He wanted to use Peter's birthday for His glory. I asked Him what He wanted us to do.  But no direction came. As our girls were making the invitations for the party, I got a text from Pam Steiner saying "Read Grace's blog NOW!" I did, and as soon as I read it, I knew THIS was what God wanted for Peter's party. He wanted us to raise money for Anthony. And His timing was absolutely perfect. The girls and Steve jumped on the idea and we quickly typed up an invitation for everyone to join us in a special project to help bring Anthony home, rather than bring gifts to the party.   

Everyone loved the idea, and we are so excited that God used Peter's birthday in such a special way.  Some people donated online, but we have a number of cards and checks that we would like to send you, if you'll email me your address.   

Also, Emily, our middle daughter who was in Mrs. Steiner's class last year, wrote a song for you.  She loves to write songs for Jesus, and she wrote this one for you...She is also selling duct tape bags to earn money for Anthony. She's made $7 so far..."   

Is your jaw on the floor like mind was? Need a kleenex? Yeah. I did too.

Here's Peter, meeting his family for the first time!
And here he Home!! I remember seeing this picture for the first
time and the tears that flowed freely down my face. Praise Jesus!
Invitations to Peter's Hungry Caterpillar Birthday! 

And here is beautiful Emily, singing her very own song for Tony.

Sometimes, at just the right time, God sends encouragement. Someone to tell you, "we're behind you," or "you're not crazy". (Or maybe more like, "You actually are crazy. But we're behind you.") This family has been God's encouragement to me. An immeasurable support and encouragement on this crazy journey. 

Eby family and friends, please know that this beautiful gesture, and your VERY GENEROUS gifts, mean more to us than you can ever know. You've given so much more than just money. We thank the Lord for you. His glory shines so brightly through your love and obedience. 

Now, why it took me so long to share this incredible story...well, we may never know :) But, I figure maybe the timing is actually perfect. Because now... it's my boy's birthday month!! In a few short weeks I will be the proud future-mommy of a FOURTEEN year old!! 

And in celebration of his life, I'm putting together a little something...stay tuned!

Love to all of you.