Isaiah’s Story: A Beautiful Rescue

This is the first of many, many posts to come on the subject of adoption. Adoption is easily in my top ten favorite topics to think and talk about. It hasn’t always been that way – in fact, adoption wasn’t even on my radar until I was 23 years old. Until that point, adoption was a foreign concept to me. I have never been close with anyone who was adopted and it wasn’t (and isn’t) something I have heard many people talk about. Growing up, the only time that word ever appeared in my vocabulary was to tease my sisters that they had been adopted into the family.

Then I met Donna.¬†Donna has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever known. She cares for people deeply and has a special heart for those who have been marginalized in society. At the time we met, we were both in a master’s program for social work and we quickly bonded over that. In the process of developing a friendship with her, I soon discovered her heart for adoption and thus began an ongoing dialogue between us on the subject.

As I listened to her perspectives and experienced her passion for adoption, my heart quickly caught fire. I began praying about it, meditating on the subject, researching it (both theologically and practically), and discussing it in great depth with Sean. Sean’s heart caught fire just as quickly as mine, and we readily agreed at age 23/24 (one year after we got married) that the Lord was calling us to adopt children at some point. We are not there yet, but we are very excited for when that time comes and plan to adopt as many children as God allows/gives us capacity for.

I’ll go into the details as to the reasons why we want to adopt in future posts; my goal here is to simply introduce the topic and relay how zealous I am about it. In fact, I can’t hear a single person even mention the word ‘adoption’ without starting to tear up – it’s become that evocative. Speaking of emotional impact, I highly encourage you to watch the short video below about a little boy named Isaiah. I’ve seen this video countless times and I still cry (and then get a huge smile) every time I see it. If this video doesn’t make you weep, tear up, or at least make you manly men have a small allergic reaction to your feelings…there is probably something wrong with you. Lol! Just kidding, but I do hope that it will strike a chord in your heart as well, and no matter what stage of life you’re in, I pray that it might even be the first seed that opens your mind to the idea of being a part of God’s work through the ministry of adoption.

72% and 5 Things We’ve Learned While Raising Support

Since many of you reading this are supporters of our ministry, I am sure you are interested to hear about our progress towards our goal of getting onto campus! We are currently at 72% of our monthly goal…SO close to 3/4 of the way there!!! We are definitely in the tail-end of support raising and are praying and hoping to be finished with our financial support by the summer. Right now our biggest obstacle to finishing is finding additional people to talk to about our ministry.

Many lessons have been learned by us in the process of raising support and here are 5 highlights:

1. God is in control and joining staff with Campus Crusade is clearly what He has called us to. I wish I had the space to tell all the specific stories, but let’s just say we’ve come to expect the unexpected. Although we’ve definitely put in our share of hard work, it is clear that it is God who is ultimately working in people’s hearts to join our ministry team. Every time we’ve been frustrated or discouraged, God does something really cool that really encourages us and lifts our spirits, confirming that we are right where we’re supposed to be. Also the fact that He has raised our support much faster than expected is testimony to His call on our lives.

2. Raising support is like sharing the Gospel. You have to take initiative, confront fears, get comfortable with the uncomfortable, and be willing to constantly meet new people. We once heard it said that “if you can’t ask people to support you financially, how can you ask people to completely surrender their lives to God?” This has certainly been training grounds for where we will go next and is pushing our limits of what comes to us naturally.

3. We took many aspects of “normal” jobs for granted. Where do I even begin on this one? Having steady (better) paychecks, only working 40-50 hours a week, working a set schedule each day, minimal travel, occasional periods of psychological rest…and the list goes on. Honestly, leaving these things behind was one of our biggest obstacles to choosing¬† vocational ministry. The “security” and luxuries we had before, we no longer have.

4. God requires everything…yes, everything. We are learning to let go of the “securities” and comforts I talked about in #3. Nothing can be put as a greater priority than God…when you are stripped of the things you were so heavily relying on, you become painfully aware of the ways you were not depending on God. Halfway into support raising, I did an honest evaluation on my level of trust in God…and found it to be about a 3 on a scale of 1-10. That’s because we had been so “self-sufficient” and independent that I didn’t feel like I desperately needed Him. That’s scary…but I think it’s been changing (maybe slowly…but surely). Mark Gauthier once said that “faith is predicated on insecurity. You should live your life so that if God doesn’t pull through for you – you’re toast!”

5. Happiness is not the same as joy. Happiness is fleeting and depends on your circumstances, but joy is much deeper and transcends circumstances. I think it’s safe to say that support raising does not make us happy. It’s not fun, enjoyable, or easy. Our current circumstances (apart from support raising itself) are less than ideal as well…traveling often, living as a married couple in your parents home, living far away from most of our friends…you get the picture. However, I think it’s also safe to say that we have experienced more joy in the last 9 months than ever before. We’ve learned so much about ourselves and the authentic life (of love and sacrifice) that God calls all Christians to live – there’s no such thing as a “mediocre Christian life”…it’s an oxymoron. We’ve been so close to God during this time and have experienced Him and the awesomeness of being sure we are in His will. Despite the frustrations of support raising and the things we gave up in #3, I don’t think we’d give up this experience for anything.We didn’t choose to do vocational ministry because we lacked other options or because it was going to be an easy path…far, FAR from it. We chose it because we know that God radically transforms lives (I am a testimony to that) and it is so amazing to experience and be a part of that.

We are learning what Paul said in Philippians 3:7-11 – “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”