Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Unclaimed treasures....

There are  now four unclaimed treasures from the land of B* that I want to share with you.  Three precious little faces - three little souls worth any price.  Please pray for these little ones...pray for their family to see them and race to rescue them!

Little Kristina
I am not going to stop shouting for her until her family finds her.  This precious little one needs tender care so badly.  Please contact Myriam@AgapeAdoptions.org for more information or leave me a comment with you email address (I will not publish it) and I will send you what I can.
Little Zoey
Little Zoey was just listed.  She is 6 years old and weighs less than 10lbs.  She is suffering from SEVERE malnutrition.  Click here to find out more.
Tiny Nellie is blind, but has no other health issues.  Her file has been sent back but could be requested again.  Contact Shelley Bedford <shele337@gmail.com> for more information.
After I wrote this original post, a friend told me that little Sadie's file has been returned to B* as well.  Precious little Sadie is incredibly smart and sweet ~  she has OI.  This condition effects her body, not her little mind.  She needs a family to love her and help her to thrive!  For more information on this precious little one contact Shelley Bedford <shele337@gmail.com>
Please lift these little ones in prayer - their Father is strong and will defend them!
To Him be the glory!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

So thankful, sweet Jesus...

How can I not be thankful when God has given me this...

And has caused my heart and home to overflow with these....
And has led us on an amazing journey to another precious treasure...how can I not sing His praises when  I see this little face.....
But even with all these precious blessings, I am most thankful for this....
I have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.
I praise you my faithful, glorious Savior!  I thank you for showing me what love means by laying down Your life for mine.
To You be all glory, honor, and praise - forever and ever.  AMEN!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Few More Treasures

Here are a couple more precious ones to add to your prayer lists.  Please pray for these two - they are older which immediately puts them at a huge disadvantage.  They are precious and loved by our Savior - treasured by Him. 

  1. A family to step forward to redeem them.
  2. For that family's needs to be met -financial, emotional, physical - as they pursue the adoption.  The adoption road is long, tiring, and lonely.  It is always worth it in the end, but getting there can be an extreme test of faith.
  3. Pray for their health.  An orphanage is not a home - it is not warm, welcoming, or necessarily clean.  There is not nourishing food, adequate sleep, and good clothing.  All of these things makes it challenging for their little bodies, even in the "best" of circumstances.
  4. Pray for their hearts.  Pray there would be someone who loves them and treasures them, even if it is only a little time (or pray for a lot of time!).  Pray that they would know their Savior is with them in an extraordinary way - nothing is impossible for God!
  5. Pray for their caretakers - that they would be loving and gentle, patient and compassionate. Pray specifically that Christians in their country would be moved to start staffing or volunteering at the orphanages.
  6. Pray for the spread of the true Gospel of Christ.  Mankind can always abuse, neglect, hurt faster than we humans could ever save - but lives transformed by Christ will care for the least of these, not cast them aside..

Precious Emma is 8 years old.  She has been in an orphanage since shortly after birth.  She has been diagnosed with epilepsy and is currently on medication for it.  She is delayed developmentally. Emma is described as  a " very charming and emotional child, and likes to perform for an audience."  But she is also described as quickly shifting emotions and at times rebellious.  She is described as able to bond.  Her birth mother had syphilis.
Handsome Valentin is also 8 years old.  He was with his birth parents until he was five years old, and then was placed in a family type home. He is sad to have "normal" emotions, but they are not strongly felt and he has difficulty expressing them.  He appears to be completely healthly and developmentally on target, but is said to have behavioral issues.  He is in dance class and performs on stage for others.  His birth parents are reported to have personality disorders, epilepsy, and possible developmental delays.
There is more information available for both children by contacting Myriam@AgapeAdoptions.org.  Agape Adoptions is waiting on photos and more information on three more children.  A seven year old boy, a five year old boy, and a three year old girl with DS.  I will post this information as soon as it is passed to me.  I am not a part of Agape Adoptions - either paid or volunteer - but I have asked if I could advocate for the children that they receive files for.
Here are the general requirements to adopt from this country:
  1. Applicants must be at least age 25 - The age of the parent may determine the age of the child matched, as the parents need to be at least 15 years older than the child they want to adopt. The applicants cannot have had their parental rights terminated for any of their children.
  2. Heterosexual married couples – there is no specific requirement to the length of the marriage or whether or not there has been any divorces; instead the emphasis is on the state of the current marriage and history of the relationship.
  3. Heterosexual single applicants (both men and women) can adopt only one child – no sibling groups.
  4. Applicants with a criminal history of child abuse, violence or domestic violence are not eligible to adopt.
  5. No serious chronic transmissible venereal diseases, HIV+, tuberculosis (TB) or other life threatening illnesses
  6. Minimum annual income of $30,000. Family needs to meet the income requirements provided by the USCIS in order for the adopted child to immigration
Here are the travel requirements:  Two trips are required for B*. The first trip is for the adoption process in the country and is about 5-7 days. This trip is intended for the adoptive family to meet the child and both parents must travel. The second trip is for the US processing, and the visa process which takes about 7 days. Only one parent is required to travel for this second trip. There is about 2 months between trips, with the first occurring 2-6 months after receiving a child referral.
Please pray for these children - even if you are not called to save them, please pray for their forever families to find them!
Our God is mighty to save!

Monday, November 12, 2012



Friday, November 9, 2012

How do you walk?

"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,  redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:15-17
One of my best buddies in high school died unexpectedly this week.  He was healthy, strong, and active - only 38 years old.  But on Sunday night, he died of a heart attack.  No warnings, no time...he didn't probably even realize that it was his last heartbeat.  His days on earth were done - and he didn't even know it the moment before.
When we adopted our twins, Romeo & the Professor, from Guatemala, I feel deeply in love with the Guatemalan people.  Oh, how I wanted to adopt another from that country!  To save another pair of chocolate brown eyes and black hair with gorgeous brown skin and smiles as big as the horizon.  I always assumed we would be going back.  I assumed we would be starting on the next adoption immediately after getting home. But we had a very difficult couple of years after the boys came home.  I was overwhelmed and wanted time.  I assumed that I had time......and then the doors to Guatemalan adoptions slammed shut....and they have stayed shut.  All those babies....all those precious lives....we are unable to rescue them regardless of how much they need it. 
How many real life experiences are there like that?  Shocking stories, where someone is just going about living their life, making plans, enjoying the days....and then those days are just gone.....in a heartbeat....in a stroke of a pen....in one political decision.  Gone....the days are gone.
Jesus tells the story of a certain rich man in Luke 12:16-21
"16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 

 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’

21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” 

His days were gone....in a heartbeat...with no warning...with no chance to go back and do it differently.

It is easy to pass by this story or read something more into the rich man's actions then is actually said in the story.   We have to look at what Jesus Himself says is the point, "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."  Riches are not spoken against in the Bible - it is not that this man was rich.  It was that he was using his treasures for himself, not seeking what God would have him do with it. 

The funny thing is, this is what most of us American Christians are working towards.  We are abundantly blessed - even those on the lower end of the pay scale!  We have abundantly more than over 90% of the world.  But our goal is to gather enough of those treasures and store them up in bigger and bigger barns (i.e. houses and bank accounts) so that we can take our ease and be merry.  Once we have accomplished that, then maybe we can give more to others.

We read of the warnings against "riches" in the Bible and think, "Yeah, those bad rich guys.  If I was rich, I would not keep it to myself.  I would help others.  I wouldn't spend it foolishly.  Then I could give more to missionaries.  Then I could tithe.  Then I could adopt.  Then I could....(fill in the blank with a "good" thing)."  I used to think the same thing.  When I would read about how it was harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven than it was for a camel to go through the eye of a needle."  (Matthew 19:24)  I would think, "Wow, am I glad I am not rich!" 

Then I read a book by Randy Alcorn (Money, Possessions, and Eternity) and he shook my world.  He said (in my paraphrase), "YOU!  You are the rich man.  If you live in America - even on the lower levels, you are richer than 90-95% of the world."  We are the rich man that is so busy with our own worlds that we cannot share with others.  We convince ourselves that we have needs that must be met...when really, with God's grace, we could go without.

Back to the orginal verse....although I hope you followed my bunny trail there. ;-)  We are not here to live for ourselves.  And the point isn't to just meander aimlessly (or semi-aimlessly) through life, pursing our own plans.  Paul is reminding us to think about what we are here for....to think about what we are doing.  God did not just save believers and then step back and say, "Enjoy your life...I will see you when you get to heaven."  He tells us that He saved us with a purpose.  He says that He saved us for specific purposes for each of us -

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."  Ephesians 2:10
In Eph 5:15, Paul is urging believers, in light of all that God has done for us, to live wisely.  There is a strong emphasis in the Greek words.  The word "be"("Therefore be careful") is translated "look or observe".  "Careful" has the basic meaning of accurate and exact, and carries the associated idea of looking, examining, and investigating something  with great care.  It also carries the idea of alertness.  (courtesy of The MacArthur New Testament Commentary on Ephesians, Dr. John MacArthur)
The point is to be examining our lives in view of salvation and God's purposes for us individually.  This isn't just a quick inventory so we can say, "Yep, I do some good things.  And definitely more good things than my neighbor.  I'm good."  To live wisely, not carelessly and without aim. 
Why are we to do that?  Because the days are evil.  This has several meanings...one is that they are limited.  We don't know when our last heartbeat will be....we are all one heartbeat away from eternity.  We don't know when a opportunity to serve, to speak, to save a life....will be gone.  Suddenly and without warning.  We may have "meant" to get to it eventually - maybe when it was a little more convenient or we felt a little more prepared - but in a blink of an eye the opportunity was gone....
Dr. John MacArthur also says "....the days are evil.  We are to make the most of our opportunities not only because our days are numbered but because the world [system] continually opposes us and seeks to hinder our work for the Lord. We have little time and much opposition.  Because the days are evil, our opportunities for freely doing righteousness are often limited. When we have opportunity to do something for His name's sake and for His glory, we should do so with tall that we have.  How God's heart must be broken to see His children ignore or halfheartedly take up opportunity after opportunity that He sends to them. Every moment of every day should be filled with things good, things righteous, things glorifying to God." 
We are told what not to do - live as unwise - but we are also told what to do - "understand what the will of the Lord is".   This would be both His general will for everyone (as laid out in Scripture) but also His specific will for our lives.  This specific will is found through knowing His Word, praying, and being willing to do whatever He asks us to do. His Word show us His heart.  It shows us what is good, acceptable, and pleasing to Him.  It shows us what is right and worth pouring our lives into.   He will never ask us to do something individually that contradicts His Word. 
We are to redeem the time.  You already know how much I love that word.  We are to "deliver or rescue" the time from being evil.  We are to purchase, through our actions, the time that was sold to corruption and sin when all of creation fell.  This will not automatically happen.  It is an action word.  We must do it - not hope  that it will, or think that it will, or assume that it will.  We are to be in active motion to redeem the days, just as Christ has redeemed us.  What an amazing opportunity to reflect Him.
If you do not know His Word - how will you ever know what His Will is?  We are told throughout Scripture that only by following His words, commands, and directions in Scripture will we do what is right.  You are not the only person in the whole of eternity that is the exception to thisYou need to know His Word.  His Word is very clear in general details why we are here, what we are to spend our lives doing, how we are to spend our money, even what we are to think and pray about!
We, as believers, claim that we live for Him - that we want to obey Him.  Is that true of your life?  Do you want to live for Him and obey Him?  Okay, let me ask you a couple of questions (ones that heartily convicted me).  You say that you want to live for Him - what are some important issues in life?  Marriage?  What we eat?  What we wear?  How we raise our children?  What we spend our time and money on?  List out your 2 or 3 most important....
Now, how many of those topics have your spent time pouring over all of Scripture to know what God says about it?  What does God say about marriage and how you are to treat your spouse?  Now, no cheating - this is not just pulling up as many random Scriptures that you can remember pertaining to the topic- have you actually purposely and specifically searched Scripture for what God's Will is on this topic?  If you are like me, the answer is "No."  I had not done this.  I claimed to want to obey and serve Him - but I couldn't even tell you what He had already said about it!  Other than a few measly thoughts and sermon notes here and there.
How does God want you to spend your time?  If you are continually in Scripture, learning His heart and His ways; praying for His guidance and repenting when you sin; and asking for the grace to be willing to do whatever He asks.  He WILL lead you.  He will "open and close" doors to keep you on His path.  He will sovereignty direct your days and the people and things that you come in contact with.  He will give you a passion to obey, whatever it is He is asking.  He will give you the delights of you heart - because your delights will be His.
But at the risk of sounding like a broken record, you must know His Word.  This is the safeguard that keeps us from just following our own desires...which the Bible tells us are selfish, given to foolishness, and easily swayed.  If you are just following whatever your feelings and thoughts tell you to do, you will go astray every time.
Because this is a blog having to do with orphans and adoption, I have to (because of my passion) focus on that for a moment.  Many say that they are not "called" to this area.  Okay, have you searched Scripture specifically and fully to KNOW - not just guess or assume or go by your own feelings - what God says about this?  What does God say about orphans and widows?  What does He say He will do to people or nations that either care for their widows and orphans or those that neglect or oppress them?  Do you know that He says when you are caring for the poor (which would be 99.99999% of widows & orphans) that you are lending to Him and that He will pay you back abundantly?  Do you know what He says shows pure and undefiled religion? 
No, He does not say that everyone should adopt.  I have never said that and never will.  But we are all commanded to care for them.  His Word is full of the blessings that He will pour down on those that do.  He also says that this brings great glory and joy to Him.  This is not a suggestion, it is a command. 
I am commanded not to lie in Scripture.  I do not get to say, "Well, God has not called me to that.  I just don't feel a passion or desire not to lie."  If I said that to you, you would probably fall over.  Then you would assume (and rightly so) that I might not be saved.  Yet, we feel we can do that when it comes to caring for widows and orphans. 
Now, let me swiftly remind you that this applies to all things God commands us to do.  This would apply to sharing the Gospel.  We are called to share the good news of salvation to all the world.  This does not mean that we all go overseas.  This does not mean that we all share the precious Gospel in the same way (although the truth and the message never changes).  Some may pass our tracts, some may stand on street corners, some may become pastors, some may share over a cup of coffee, some may share with a $5 bill given to a homeless person while telling them the good news....the possibilities are endless.  We must all be open and ready to share wherever God prompts us - in season and out of season.  It will look different with each person - though I emphasize again that the message never changes, only the delivery.
So with caring for widows and orphans, I agree God may not be calling you to adopt.  You should be perfectly content with that answer IF you have truly become knowledgeable about what God has said in His Word, you have sought Him and His guidance through prayer, and you have made your heart willing (by His grace) to do whatever He asks.  If you have sought His will on this and are not called to adopt, then the next question is, "Then what did He ask you to do?"  For He has commanded us all to do something.  To pray for specific widows and orphans?  To give to a family adopting or an orphanage, or to a ministry like Compassion International?  To give of your time?  What has He asked you to do?  You will only be held accountable for what He has asked you to do....He will not ask you for your opinion on what some else should or should not do. 
We are all one heartbeat away from eternity....what will you use the next heartbeat for?  And the next?  You never know when your time will be gone - or a precious child's time will be gone....Do not waste precious time and opportunities by getting distracted or just simply not knowing what God is asking you to do.  What if He is asking you to save a little life?  The time you spent distracted with other things may be critical to that little person.  Let me give you an example..
This is Sonny.
What a precious face.  What a dolly.  It seems sad that he is in an orphanage.  But nothing seems urgent.  It is okay for a family to wait until they feel totally prepared and comfortable - all their needs met first, right?  If they don't feel a passion, they really don't need to pray about it - because God will always make us immediately passionate about something He asks us to do right?  Hmm, if that was true, then Abraham must have been passionate and excited to sacrifice his son, Issac, right? ....
Little Sonny -Sad, but definately not urgent.
Here is Sonny now -
Sonny was not adopted before his time in the baby house ran out.  At not even six years old, he was transferred to a mental institution.  This boy is neglected and abused.  This boy needs help NOW...he needed help a long time before that.
The same goes for little Ksenia..
It may not have been you that was called to save either of these little ones....but what might the consequences be if you are not doing His Will?  If you are His, He has already designed the good and wonderful things He has for you to do.  They may be very, very hard things...but they also may be things that will delight your soul once you finally leap.  They will most definately be things that bring glory to Him.
Redeem the time....don't let the subtle distractions and lies of this world's corrupt system draw you in to wasting that gift - or not valuing it for the gift it is.  How will you spend your hours this evening?  On the things that will last into eternity - or the things that are here today and gone tomorrow because they have no value?....Until He comes, choose to glorify Him in all we do.
To Him be all honor, glory, and power.

After I wrote this post, I was introduced to a new blog....She said perfectly, eloquently, and beautifully what I was trying to say...Please read her post...here.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Deep down hurts....

Sometimes the hurts are so deep, I feel like my soul must have no bottom.  How can it hurt down so far?

I found out about a little man in the US that desperately needs a home.  I am not sure what information is public and what is not, so all I can say is that my soul hurts way down deep.  How I wish I could be his mama.  Without knowing any details, could you pray for a little boy that I am calling "Justice" ~ because that is what he needs.  Justice and a family to love him - amazing gift that he is.....I have dreamed about him at night and am asking his Father to redeem him here on earth with a family that will teach him what love is....that we lay down our lives for others, just as Christ did for us.....Oh, little man, I am so sorry.  How I wish I could rescue you...

There is another little man that also causes that hurt too deep for words.  His name on Reese's Rainbow is Sonny.  He is turning 6 in December.  He is in a big country that starts with the letter "R".
This is a picture of him in his baby house:
Look at his precious little face!  Those big eyes and that red hair!  I love red hair.  He is described as "active, social, independent" - that sounds like a perfect little boy to me.....full of wiggles and mischief.  Too much energy to be still and too many adventures to have!  Our boys need to be full of energy and adventure and courage!  They need to be the ones to stand firm for their Savior in faith, protect their families, and be the justice for the widows and orphans as God call us to in His Word.  Yes, he does have an extra-special blessing with his extra chromosome.  What a treasure for a family.
Little Sonny, you need to be running and playing - singing and dancing - pretending to be a cowboy, or a baseball player, or just like your daddy!  Trying on his shoes to see if they fit yet....watching for him to come home from work so that he can wrestle and slay dragons with you.
My precious Sonny, you need someone to slay your real life dragons....Oh, sweet Jesus, rescue and redeem this little one from the evil he is in....
This is little Sonny now that he has been transferred to a mental institution - with adults and bigger boys and caretakers that give little care and may be the very ones who are the dragons....
Do you see his bruises and cuts?  Do you see his pale face?  Where is his sparkle?  If my hurts are deep, his are indescribable....Who did this to you, little one?  Your Redeemer is mighty.  He has promised that those who do these things will be held accountable by a righteous Father.  I cry out to Him for justice for you now!  I pray that He will stir a daddy's heart with righteous anger - anger that burns deep enough to make all the roadblocks to get to you as if they were nothing.....A daddy that will hold you in his fierce, yet loving grip, and promise you that those dragons will never touch you again.  Little one, my tears cannot save you, but my prayers to your Heavenly Father will not stop - because He is mighty when I am incapable of stopping the horror in your life.  He can see you even now....He will see justice done.  I promise to lift you up to Him as I would one of my own...
Would you please pray for Justice and Sonny with me?  I will probably never know this side of heaven what happens to Justice, but I will beg God for a family for him regardless.  For little Sonny, he is listed on Reese's Rainbow.  Would you please print off his picture and pray for him?  Would you pray about donating to his account?  Even $5?  The more money available to his future family, the easier it will be for them to race to save him....
Father in Heaven - You are mighty to save - please save them.  To You be all glory, honor, and praise!