For the fatherless

Almost 10 years ago, we were eating out with some family friends when they told us they were going to adopt. It’s one of my strangely crystal clear memories. I remember my initial reaction and how surprised I was. Let’s be honest: I thought they were a little crazy. At the time, I didn’t understand why they would want to adopt, but in that moment God began to reveal His heart for adoption to me.

I’m blown away by how God has worked in my life since then. I now have 2 beautiful sisters from China and have worked in orphanages in Mexico and China. God has made it painfully obvious that I have a passion for orphan care.

Since November is adoption awareness month, I’ve been reflecting on all God has taught me about orphan care and adoption (including my adoption into His family!) and thinking about what the next step is for me. When I went to China this summer to work in Maria’s Big House of Hope, I expected God to make it clear what my specific role is in orphan care. When that didn’t happen, it was hard to come back and focus on classes and work.

I have a heart for orphan care, but over the past 4 years I’ve also discovered a love for speech pathology. I didn’t understand how I could reconcile these 2 passions! Then this semester God has shown me that these things can go hand in hand. I’ve found myself applying what I’m learning in class to some of the kids I met in China.

It’s like God has this all planned out or something. 🙂

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Of course I still don’t know exactly what He has planned for my future (I’m hoping getting into grad school is part of it!), but I’m excited as I continue on this journey. I’m so thankful that God gives us certain passions and desires for a reason. He interweaves different aspects of our lives together in such a beautiful way!

All that to say, I’m excited to see how God works in peoples hearts this month as He calls people to care for orphans, whether that’s through prayer, financial support, missions trips, foster care, or adoption. Please join me in praying for orphans around the world and considering our role in caring for the fatherless. Also, I’d like to challenge you to take some time out of your busy schedules to read one book about adoption or orphan care. I did this last year (because reading is another one of my passions!), and it’s a great way to learn more about these children’s needs. For book suggestions, click here. Or if you’ve read a good book on this topic, I’d love to hear about it!

It can be overwhelming to hear statistics, like how there are an estimated 153 million orphans around the world, but there are also statistics that say if every Christian family cared for one orphan, there wouldn’t be any more orphans. For me, getting involved and putting faces to the numbers changed my perspective. We can’t change this broken world, but through God’s power we can change the world of a child.

What a blessing to share in God’s love for the fatherless!

john1418_blog2image from showhope.org

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When Helping Hurts & Finish the Mission

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I’m currently reading When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert and Finish the Mission by John Piper. They’re both great books! They cover similar topics (why/how to help others and share the gospel with them) so it’s been good to read them together and see how they compliment each other. I expected to feel guilty and convicted about missions work after reading Piper’s book, but instead it has been very encouraging. Corbett & Fikkert’s book looks at poverty and how there are right and wrong ways to help the poor. I highly recommend this book! So much great stuff in it, and I’m not even halfway through it. Both books explore Christ’s life and God’s sovereignty and encourage the reader to respond to God’s love and Christ’s example. Christ not only spoke the gospel to the people while he was on earth, he helped them by giving them physical healing. Learning more about the significance of Jesus’ ministry has been amazing. What a beautiful example for us to follow!

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Daniel and Room 101

While looking through an old journal, I was reminded that God works in mysterious ways. A couple years ago, I took an English class where we were required to read George Orwell’s famous 1984. I can count the number of books I’ve read and hated on one hand. 1984 is definitely one of them. Yet, thanks to God’s irony, it is also one of the most memorable books I’ve read.

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image found at images.google.com

“Good afternoon.” My English teacher strode primly into the classroom and set his copy of 1984 on the front desk.

I was so ready to be done with that wretched book. That week we were finishing the readings and discussions. That afternoon we were discussing the part with Room 101 where Winston is tortured with his greatest fear. I couldn’t think of anything cheerier than discussing rats trying to eat your face off.

Our teacher started class with a large group discussion. “Alright, I want you to think about Room 101. What makes it so terrifying to everyone? Why doesn’t anyone want to be sent there?”

Sitting in silence, everyone looked like they were about to be sent to Room 101. Or maybe we were already there.

“It’s a torture room, right?” he asked, answering his own question. “What method do they use to torture people?”

After another moment of silence, someone mumbled, “Fear.”

“Correct! They use each person’s own, possibly illogical fear to get a conversion out of them. What is Winston’s greatest fear?”

“Rats.”

“Rats! And in Room 101, these aren’t just any rats. These are giant, ugly, mean, carnivorous rats. They put this cage up to Winston’s face, and these rats are just fighting to attack him! Now, I want you to think for a minute and figure out what your Room 101 would be.”

I inwardly groaned. Did we have to have this discussion?

“What have you got?” Our teacher sat on the front of his desk and folded his arms expectantly.

“Spiders,” grinned one of the girls.

“Spiders! So for you, they’d put you in a room with huge, hairy-legged spiders.”

The girl shivered at the thought.

“Snakes!” declared another girl.

“Anyone else?” asked our teacher.

“Birds,” answered one girl.

“Birds! Why birds?”

“I’m terrified of birds,” she explained, shuddering while also laughing at herself. “I’m scared of having them fly at my head or something.”

“Like that movie, The Birds?”

“Yes! So creepy.”

I noticed the guys were staying out of this discussion.

Shifting on the desk, our teacher grinned. “This is actually fun! What other things are you afraid of? What things would cause you to betray someone?”

He was enjoying himself far too much. Thankfully for me, enough of the class was warming to the discussion so I didn’t feel the need to answer.

What would I say if he decided to call on me? I wasn’t sure what my greatest fear was, but I was hoping it was something deeper than spiders or birds.

While the rest of the class described their ridiculous fears that–according to our teacher–they would do anything to avoid, I tried to figure out my fear in case he called on me.

I glanced anxiously at my watch. Was he really going to drag this discussion out for one and a half hours? Oh how I despised this class.

Suddenly, I had a bizarre thought: Room 101 was similar to Daniel and the lions’ den.

This thought took me by surprise since I didn’t normally draw comparisons between my least favorite book and favorite Bible story. Yet somehow it made sense. In fact, I thought, the lions’ den could have been Daniel’s Room 101–his greatest fear. It was possible that Daniel had a fear of lions beyond the normal fear of powerful, sharp-teethed beasts. Daniel might have had an illogical fear of lions, but he was still willing to face them! My English teacher was wrong! A person’s Room 101 could be successfully endured. Through the strength of God, it was possible!

Once I figured out my Room 101, would I be willing to face it, knowing I had God at my side?

Horrified, I realized God had just used English class for my benefit. How was that possible? I had learned something because of 1984! How mortifying.

 

Not long after that, God did reveal my fears to me. I was forced to face those fears, but in my weakness I saw God’s strength at work. During that time I had the reminder of Daniel and his Room 101. God works all things–even annoying English classes and George Orwell–for good.

*Random side note: Do not do a google images search for “1984 and Room 101” late at night. Or any time actually. Oh my stars there are some creepy pictures out there!

 

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China Bound!

Ever since my family adopted my two sisters from China, I have had a passion for orphans. This summer, God has provided me with the opportunity to go back to China on a missions trip. This is something I prayed about for over a year, so I’m very excited to see how God continues to work in amazing ways as I go on this trip!

Along with 20 other young adults (who I am very excited to meet!), I will be going to Maria’s Big House of Hope, which is an orphanage and medical care center started by Show Hope (www.showhope.org). While I’m on this trip from August 1-10, I’m hoping to post updates on this blog.

I would really appreciate your prayers! Please pray for our team as we plan for the trip. Pray that we will be able to build strong relationships with each other and the people in China and that God will use this trip to help us grow spiritually. Pray for the people we’ll meet in China and that they would see Christ’s love through us. Also, pray especially for the children who are waiting and hoping for a forever family.

Thanks to my amazing family and friends, I have already come close to raising all the money I need for this trip. It has truly been a humbling experience for me to see how eager everyone is to support me prayerfully and financially. Thank you all so much!

Orphans

 

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Christmas

I’m so thankful that our all-powerful Creator was willing to become our Savior! He humbled himself by being born a human so he could grow up and die a horrific death in my place. That is incredible love!

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The Great I Am

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Defying the Rules

“And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13 NIV)

Lately I’ve been reading and rereading Deuteronomy 10:12-22! It’s such a powerful call for Israel to live recklessly for God and a beautiful reminder of what a great God we have!

Often I want everything in life to make sense; I want a logical schedule of what’s going to happen in my life. But God has been reminding me that He isn’t bound by the rules of logic. The Creator of the laws of nature isn’t constrained by those laws! Just glance through the Bible and you’ll realize it’s full of unexpected events.

The entire earth was flooded.
A 90 year old woman had a son.
A bush was on fire, but didn’t burn up!
A man defeated 1,000 men with a donkey’s jawbone.
The sun stood still in the sky.
Dreams came true.
A city fell and became ruins after people marched around it.
A donkey spoke!
The sea divided.
A young woman “just happened” to glean in the field of her kinsman redeemer.
Hungry lions didn’t harm a man.
Three men went through fire and didn’t even smell like smoke.
A virgin had a child.
The lame walked.
The Creator chose to become the created.
The dead came back to life.
One of the greatest persecutors of the church become an apostle.

And those are only a few examples! Throughout history, God has done endless incredible things! I’m amazed when I read the stories of missionaries who witnessed the impossible. I’m in awe because I have seen God do the unbelievable in my own life! “He is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.” (Deut. 10:21)

So how can I expect to live a predictable life when I have a God like that? In Mark 5, a desperate father pleads with Jesus for the life of his dying daughter. When men come to tell the father to stop bothering Jesus because his daughter is dead, I love how Jesus responds! He tell the father:

“Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

While people were wailing and mourning, Jesus raised that little girl from the dead! When everything seems hopeless, God reminds us that no obstacle–not even death–is too big for Him to overcome.

God wants to do great and incredible things in our lives. We serve the great I AM who isn’t restricted by rules or expectations. Are we willing to have faith and expect the impossible? If God asks us to do something as illogical and bizarre as spending years building an ark, are we ready to follow His plan? Are we willing to risk being called crazy by society to serve our Savior? My desire is to be willing and ready to give up the sensible plans I have for the impossible, unimaginable plans God has for me!

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” ~Corrie ten Boom

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Genuine Love

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