Monday, December 28, 2009

Out with the Old, In with the New...

I want to share with you my video of my families Christmas this year. A lot was changed, old traditions were broken and New traditions were created. I to share our story about the Joy of the Lord in our hearts this Christmas. This year we decided that it was going to be about Others.

The old traditions were about us and our 6 children. Of course we made Jesus the center, but we spent the day doing presents, eating yummy food and being with our family.

The New Traditions this year: we decided to be with and to serve others instead of just us. We also decided to cut our Christmas spending. We exchange a few small gifts with our kids, and took the rest of the money that we would have spent on family and friends, and donated it to ministries that needed the money instead of us.

We spent until 10:15 am at home, then we were off to a local mission. Each year Valley View Food Bank spends Christmas serving others. We got together with our small group and decided we were going to make New Traditions together this year and join Valley View Food Bank, and a local church to show the Love of Christ to the local community. Our group of about 35 adults and children, headed up the toy section of the project. We arrived at 10:45 am and served until 4:00 pm. As you will see from the video below, we didn't miss out on a thing, rather we were filled beyond full. Thank you Jesus!

Remember to scroll to the bottom of my blog and pause the music before you watch the video.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Drum Roll Please.....

I will love You , O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God , my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised
Psalm 18:1 - 2

WE PASSED COURT TODAY!!! Praise the Lord!!!

We got the verbal confirmation, not the written, but it is on it's way. We are SO excited as you can imagine. So what happens next?? Our kids will be transferred to the Thomas Center immediately, which is a staging area for kids waiting for their families. We then wait for an Embassy date (we should recieve it in a week), which our agency thinks will be February 2nd! We would travel the week before that, so the end of January sometime!!

As soon as we hear back from the Embassy, we book travel...Erica, our prayers may have just been answered!!!

Well, I don't know if I should laugh or cry...I think the emotions are close, so maybe I will do both. It has been such a long wait, but well worth it. Please pray for the kids as they have yet another change...please pray for their older siblings too as they will go through changes.

Today we are legally parents of 9 children so, with permission...I introduce to you our children... Meskerem, Eyob and Samuel (now I will really cry)




Thomas Center, their new home for about a month

Nannies in training at the Thomas Center

Ethiopian Countryside

Thomas Center

Thomas Center Play yard.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Deliver Us...

Dear friends,

Greetings to you this wonderful Christmas Season. Our family is so excited to be celebrating the birth of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

I thought I would take just a moment to update you on the progress of our adoption of Meskerem, Eyob and Samuel. Our court date was rescheduled from November 23 for tomorrow. Please be praying tonight for our paperwork will be processed smoothly and for the older siblings that are releasing parental rights of the children. As we sleep tonight court will be in process, Ethiopia is ahead of us by 10 hours.

Providing everything goes smoothly, we will prepare to travel within 4 – 6 weeks, to bring our babies home.

Bryan and I look forward to keeping you posted tomorrow, as soon as we know any information. We trust in the Lord’s perfect timing. I read a quote from Beth Moore this morning that I would like to share with you. When she prays she says, “Deliver us from everything but your glory, Lord. Deliver us from evil, Lord, and from temptation but do not deliver us from Your prized glory.”

I tell you this only because in my flesh, I tend to pray for things and outcomes that I would like to see. For example, I would like to see my children in 4 – 6 weeks, so I pray for a smooth court date and speedy paperwork processing. There is nothing wrong with praying for those things. But most importantly than my timing, is the Lords timing and His glory. And if bringing Him glory in this situation means to wait even longer, then I gladly wait (notice I didn’t say patiently, although that would be a goal too).

So, I ask you to join Bryan and me in praying for God’s glory to be revealed and to made known through this court date tomorrow, whether or not it goes smoothly or rocky.

Boy, do I want to meet these sweet children that the Lord has so carefully placed in our lives. This wait is so hard. It is like a child at Christmas time. They pick up the packages, shake them a little bit, try to feel it under the pretty wrapping paper….THEN…..they wait. The days go by so slowly, all they can think of is opening that prized package. That is Bryan and I. Our children wait day after day for a family to love them and care for them. We wait day after day to hold them and tell them everything is going to be ok. It is most certainly an ache. BUT, “Lord, deliver me from evil, and from temptation but do not deliver me from Your prized glory.”

Thank you sweet friends for your faithfulness to go before Christ lifting these precious children to Him. He is faithful and we will soon hold them in our arms. Bryan and I pray your Christmas will be a wonderful celebration of life!

Monday, December 14, 2009


The poor will always be with you... Matthew 26:11

All scripture is true and God breathed. However some scripture is misunderstood or misinterpreted. The poor are among us and true they will always be with us. However this scripture could be easily misunderstood. One thing it does not mean is that the poor will always be with us so we don't have to be responsible for playing a part in their lives. Another thing it does not mean is that the poor will always be with us so we will never be able to reach them all and therefore we become apathetic to those in need. It does not mean that the poor are to be considered less than we who are not poor.

In fact it is the quite the contrary. The poor will always be with us BUT we still do have responsibility! We should not have the mentality that we can't save the world rather the attitude of obedience to what ever it is the Lord calls us to. We should guard ourselves from apathy and become sympathetic and have compassion.

When Jesus said the words " The poor will always be with us", it was not to exclude their needs. It was not intended for us to make excuses as to why we are not actively helping the poor. It was to make the point that the lady with the alabaster jar filled with perfume who decided to use it to wipe Jesus feet was not wasting her resources. The Pharisees were condemning her for wasting something that could have been used to sell in order to make money to give to the poor. They were making fun of her in a sense and were saying in fact,"You are wasting your time and money. Don't you know that Jesus would appreciate it more if you sold that perfume and not anoint his feet with it?" It was then that Jesus, said that the poor would always be with make the point that she was doing exactly what she should be doing. Sacrificing something of importance for the Glory of the Christ.

Jesus was always found outside the gate. Outside the gate is where Jesus is today and where we will find Him. Outside the gate is where the diseased, poor, widowed, orphaned, lost and oppressed are. It is where we will find the ones who need Jesus and the life saving salvation He gives and we all need to receive.

All through scripture Old and New Testament God refers to the poor. Poor in spirit and poor financially. This is an important matter to God. All through scripture God tells those of us who are rich to not turn our back on the poor, but rather to give. To what extent do we give is the next question? Well, the Lord is teaching me that we need to give in accordance to Gods word. God has showed our family that obedience is better than sacrifice. That when we really ask God what should we give, He is faithful to show us. We are not always ready to obey. Jesus has shown us that He has not called us to an impossible task, that we have been equipped to live this out.

I wanted to share a few pictures of our trip to Mexico with a ministry called Casa de Amor. This ministry builds houses for those who don't have suitable living quarters. They have a process of inviting a family to Church and then family has the opportunity to apply for a house. Not all applicants receive homes, but with the help of local churches houses are being built, lives are being changed. The house is not the most important thing about the ministry....the Gospel is! With the building of these homes, Christ is exampled and the Gospel is shared, the Kingdom of God is built.

The poor will always be among us...but that doesn't mean we should just accept that and move on. It is a challenge to move into a stance of obedience according to scripture. Jesus exampled a perfect life worth imitating to us. He became poor...he suffered along side with...He gave everything for us. The bible says if we love Jesus we will obey His commandments. If we are His disciples we will obey His commandments. We will love our neighbor as ourselves. If we love Jesus we will be like Him. Yes the poor will always be among us, this is a great opportunity to love our neighbors, to suffer along side of, to give all that the Lord has given to us.
Christina and I crammed into the back of the truck.
Our sleeping quarters...sand as far as the eye could see.Brett and Christina getting ready for the big day.

Reading the Bible with a local neighbor.

Their outdoor kitchen.

My new friend and I...She was so sweet. We just clicked. We also had the same favorite Bible verse...Psalm 83.

The Family we were building for, a single mom of two small children.

Putting the roof on.

Bryan and Brett...holding up the walls of the house.

Jesus is always the center of what we do...

Inside the small little home. No finished walls, no running water or bathroom. No kitchen. Only a 11 x 22 house with two small windows. Their is no heat, or electricity, no carpet on the floor, just cement with four walls.

Bryan trying to stucco the outside walls. It is a lot harder than it looks. Thank God that we had a professional with us to finish the job.

Beautiful girls that we were able to share the Love of Christ with, along with some goodies such as hand me down clothes and treats.

Casa de Amor uses NO power tools or electricity. They want to make sure that one gets hurt for one, but that it is easy to duplicate. The locals learn to help themselves and don't need to go buy fancy tools to do it with. Good sweat and hard work built this house.

We prayed over every part of this project from the laying of the foundation to the key ceremony.

Me and Guadalupe...She was so grateful for her new home. Although in America, it is something that we keep our tools in at best, to her it was a start at a new life...and a mansion.

We were guest of Calvary Chapel Tucson, and were given the great honor of committing the house to God and presenting the keys to the family. We also were able to take an offering of cash to get her started with a few things she needed.

Pastor Brett blessed the home and prayed with Guadalupe and her family. We had an translator to help her and us understand. She kept saying that Jesus truly blessed her and that she knows that this is true love. That we were good servants of the Lord.

With the left over material we built a little porch. We had the kids and Guadalupe put their hands in the wet cement and we wrote their names in it.

There were several houses being built this weekend for other families, but this was our crew!! Everyone including the kids helped. No one really took a break. Lives were changed for the Glory of God. We were Jesus with skin on!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Yesterday was a big day for our daughter Cailee. She has had braces almost as long as she has been in the US, 3 1/2 years...a long time. Yesterday she FINALLY got them off...and boy are they beautiful.

For those of you who don't know, these braces were a huge blessing. Cailee and Cyilea had just come to their forever home with us. My mom had ALS and was living with us too, I was her care giver. Money was tight. Two new children...a really sick mom, a family of 8 plus mom and dad, money was tight. Cadenn was already in braces and Cailee was too. We needed to get her established some where. I took her to our orthodontist to have her teeth checked out.

I had done this braces thing before and know that they would want a start up fee...which was around $400, which might I add, we did not have. I prayed...I gave God all my great ideas. "Lord, if they would let me make payments on the down payment. If they would not charge $400, but maybe $200...that would be great. Lord, I don't know, do what you want, if we can't afford it, we can't afford it, we will save."

Once we got there, it was worse than I thought. The Dr. would have to remove all her old braces because they didn't use the same kind. Then he laid out the plan of action, 2 more years of all of this and she would be done. The Dr. took us to the financial department to work out the money situation.

Of course I was nervous, I was going to have to tell them we will have to wait for awhile, in the mean time the braces will just sit on Cailee's teeth. He thanked us for our business and motioned to the finance lady to follow him. When she returned she printed up all of paper was just as I thought. $400 down, monthly payments for the rest of the two years. BUT THEN....

She said that the Dr. so loved that we were willing to open our home to yet another child in need that he wanted to show his appreciation to us. Because we were willing to step out and love on children he was going to love on them too. He wanted to do Cailee's braces PRO BONO...FREE!

Tears streamed down my face of course, and of course I couldn't contain them. All my great ideas gone, God had GREATER ones.

We are truly thankful for our Dr. he has blessed our lives.


Getting ready...and so excited

Taking them off...

The first braces free smile...


What a beautiful smile...

Her first look in the mirror...

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