my story starts a long time ago, and up until these past few weeks, it's been comprised of seemingly unrelated strings -- none of which tied into another. but god, in his all-knowing wisdom and perfect timing, has recently taken all of those loose ends and has begun to show us how he is weaving them together for our good and for his glory.
but i'm getting ahead of myself.
if i go back to the beginning, i guess i would say god first began this tapestry almost three years ago when he put the idea of international adoption on our hearts. in deciding what area of the world god wanted us to go to bring home our newest one, he opened our eyes to issues facing many of the children in africa, and he broke our hearts through what we learned. we quickly decided to go to uganda. but just weeks into the process, the door closed on our ability to adopt from that country. so we regrouped and changed our plans. we then made the decision to adopt a baby from ethiopia.
we were in constant prayer over those early decisions in our adoption journey, and to be honest, we were really confused over why god had opened the door to uganda only to shut it shortly after. it seemed to us that our brief involvement with that beautiful country had been nothing more than a meaningless rabbit trail.
that first thread began in 2007, was made formal through our adoption application in november 2008, and we announced it via our blog in april 2009.
now hold that thought...
in june 2009, i did a photography giveaway in which i randomly drew a name from the commenters to win a free session and print credit. my friend, kerry, won it and she immediately told me that she wanted to give the session to someone else. she spent about a bajillion years going back and forth between different people she knew, but she just kept coming back to this one family in her church. finally, she said she had made up her mind.
she was giving it to scott and jamie laslo.
jamie and i "met" over e-mail and scheduled a time in late august to get together to shoot their daughter's pictures. i won't recap every detail from the post on that special session, but i just have to quote this part:
"Scott and Jamie Laslo operate an American non-profit called Pearl Ministries that exists to help care for orphans in none other than...Uganda!! What, you ask, is our connection with Uganda (when Ethiopia is the country from which we're adopting)? While it's correct that Ethiopia is the country we're adopting from now, that wasn't always the case. For the first portion of our adoption process, we were planning on adopting from Uganda. God made it clear to us that He was closing the door on that country and opening it to Ethiopia, but we certainly have a special concern for children who are sick, hungry, and hurting in Uganda as well."
(make sure you click on the "special session" link above to get the whole story.)
now fast-forward a couple of more months. one day in october, jamie and i scheduled a time for me to go to their office to look through some of the hand-made ugandan crafts and jewelry they sell to raise funds for the ministry. scott was there, and the three of us talked at length about their passion for vulnerable children in uganda and how josh and i had felt such a pull at our hearts for the same.
it was then that we began to see a small glimpse of how this plan of god's might be taking shape. what started with seemingly isolated and unrelated events proved to be perfectly orchestrated steps in god's perfect plan...
because, my sweet bloggy friends, after many meetings and countless prayers, josh officially goes on staff with pearl ministries tomorrow! praise the lord for his divine wisdom and guidance!
with all of that said, let me talk christmas for a minute (this totally relates...i promise). my precious friend, anna, has done a couple of blog posts recently on christmas traditions -- and particularly how they relate to giving. i shared with her that one of our favorite traditions at this time of year is to sponsor a child who is in need of such things as food and clothing somewhere in the world. we wrap up a picture of the child and give it to our own little ones as one of their gifts. it's such a fantastic opportunity to teach them about giving (on a holiday that has become so much more about getting) as well as a time to share with them specifically what the lord says about caring for those who are in need:
"religion that god our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." james 1:27
"suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. if one of you says to him, 'go, i wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?" james 2:15-16
"if a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered." prov. 21:13
"he who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors god." prov. 14:31
"if anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of god be in him? dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 john 3:17-18
these are just a few of the evidences of god's heart as it's written in his word, but they all point to the same clear fact: as his followers, being aware of a need and doing nothing to supply it is not an option. he has blessed us so that we can willingly and joyfully bless others. this takes on countless forms in different people's lives, but one of the opportunities i'm thrilled to share with you about is child sponsorship through pearl ministries.
as i think of what we spend $35 on in a given month, i'm faced with the realization that $35 is nothing more than a drop in the bucket for the average american family. in fact, most of us wouldn't think twice about slapping that amount of money down for a dinner out on a saturday night.
but $35 given from the hands of a family in america can literally change the life of a child in uganda.
but just as wonderful is the relationship that develops between a child and the family who has chosen to support and love him. child sponsorship offers both the child and his or her sponsor family the opportunity to write one another as well as share pictures and stories of each other's lives. and the best part is knowing that each of these children is being taught regularly about christ and his love for them.
for those who aren't able to make a regular monthly commitment, there are many opportunities for giving in other ways outside of pearl ministries' child sponsorship program. since the ministry helps fund both an orphanage and a school, there is an ever-present need for donations to provide basic necessities as well as giving to provide for school supplies and scholarships. you might also want to visit another of pearl's outlets for giving (and stock your christmas tree while you're at it!)
at this time, there are about 6-8 children on the waiting list for sponsors. how awesome would it be if we could, as a body of friends and family, commit to caring for those children through monthly sponsorship? in fact, i'm just going to come right out with it...will you please join with our family in feeding, clothing, loving these children? simply write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know of your interest level (whether regular monthly sponsorship or one-time giving), and i will help you get set up.
i'm trusting god that i can share good news about these children with you soon!!!