Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Holding Down the Fort

Next Monday, January 24th, our entire family will board a plane for Africa. We have no idea when we will return. Our court date is up in the air for the adoption, and there are many hurdles, setbacks and delays in the process. But, we're going. You see, our children, Zeke and Elly, are there, and they are waiting for us.

JT recently wrote the following for an upcoming newsletter that explains our hearts:

"Paul speaks in Romans 8 of our waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons! The journey to our adoptive children has typically been more about our eager wait than theirs. How is that used to show us about our own relationship with Him?
One joy that comes in adoption is the excitement of the first time for so many things. The first grape eaten, the first flight on a plane, the first night in a bed of their own, the first meal where they get full! Yet, when we look into the heart of our heavenly Father, we see that the adopted child eagerly anticipates the adoption. I am not sure how much the children we are bringing home really wanted to be adopted because they did not know it was even an option in their lives until we showed up. I believe this is the concept that I have learned that motivates me the most. I know of the possibility of adoption. Therefore, I know the joy that will come and the anticipation is overwhelming at times.
God has known throughout our entire lives what we would do in response to His offer of adoption. He has orchestrated every detail of our journey to draw us to Himself. Now, I am not sure how I would respond if I were in Zeke and Elly’s shoes right now…but I do know how hard it can be to recognize the times when love does not flow from their mouths for me. I do know the days of concern when the glimpses of the past peel through and they do not wrap their little arms around your neck and squeeze!"

In our absence, we are honored and blessed two have two new semester interns from Samford University working with us. Kelly Zimmerman and Meagan Sloan will be working in the office while we are gone. They will answer emails and try to sort through everything that needs to be done for upcoming trips.

Karen Katchuk, one of my best friends in the whole world, will be helping from Kentucky. She is my "go-to" staff member who can help mission trip participants finish their paperwork, encourage people to go on trips and just be the overall OWM spokeswoman!

Rashel Ross, another great friend, who I had the privilege to serve in a local cancer foundation, is also stepping up. She's helping to write the checks, make the deposits and keep OWM financially afloat while we are gone!

I'm so thankful for each of these ladies and their willingness to pinch hit for us while we are gone. Without them, we would not be able to do what we are doing. Thank you all for your love and support during this time!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Africa's Calling....

Since our first trip to Africa in 2007, it's been on our hearts and minds consistently. On that trip JT had prepared the team for not knowing what we would do, what we would eat or where we would sleep. So, we boarded the plane not knowing much but preparing for God to direct our every move...and we were blessed beyond measure. As with all trips there was little to no access to the outside world via technology, and it was refreshing to see how little we missed it. All of the distractions were gone, and we could totally focus on God's plan for us. What an incredible time of total dependence on the Father, late nights discussing His Word, and amazing hours of prayer! Oh, to be in that place here...I LONG for that. I commit to that.

Again Africa is calling to us, but this time for a different reason. We are boarding a plane on January 17th to head to Uganda. JT has been multiple times, but this will be my first trip (Sheryl). I'm eager to see all of our friends and to soak up the culture again. I LOVE Africa...I've prayed that God would send me there for the rest of my life...I adore the culture, the pace of life, and the people.

But, this time we're going to adopt our two youngest children, Zeke and Elly. They are not biologically related to each other and have never met. They are our children already, and we long for them to be here. We are following God's direction to adopt them. We will be the ones who are blessed. We are humbled and excited and scared and honored....

None of the pictures above are our children, but you won't have to wait long. We covet your prayers and thank all of our OWM team for walking this road with us. We are amazed at God's faithfulness and grace...to Him alone be all the praise!!!