Monday, August 31, 2009

Noah's Ark

 Our last mural was Noah's Ark on the front of the new classroom wall.  We finished it just in time for the rain, which was so funny..we were painting the last few details of Noah's Ark as the rain came gently down...listening to the thunder as it approached.  So God.  
My time this week really was heart breaking and good. I had more time to rest than normal...time to hear from God and to speak to Him.  Sickness can be a good interruption in our lives.  It makes us take inventory of our lives.  What is really important?  

But my small one day of sickness paled in comparison to the babies I met who were struggling to stay alive from severe malnutrition or fighting against sepsis as it set in. We laid hands on these babies and fought for them spiritually as much as could and we cried with them.  I still cry with them.  Their high fevers and swollen bodies.  Their lifeless questioning, pleading eyes.  The children who loved us and we left.  The therapy my heart received as I sat with children who were kissing my hands and noticing every small detail on my body, from the hair on my arms (they do not have hair on their body), to the color of the blood vessels through my skin, my painted toe nails and freckels... They tried on each piece of jewelry I had, ran their hands through my hair over and over again.  

Many times we just sat together...I was therapy to them as their hearts yearned for a mother and they were therapy to me as my mother's heart needed them.  I felt so much love from them and I pray they felt this love in return.  I was only a substitute for that one day until their true adoptive moms could be there to finally hold them forever.  
I feel revived, hurt, upset, confused, happy to be home and scared to not return.  
As I close, I realize we never painted the rainbow that went over Noah's Ark. The promise...the promise that is so important to these children - that God has heard their prayers and He has shown up and promised them a family.  That will be my goal the next time I add the rainbow and bible verses to the walls of the home. 
Thank you for your encouragement and prayers as we traveled and reveled in God's love for these children.  It was a holy and precious time.  Remember adoptive parents, it is a HOLY moment when you meet your adopted child for the first time.  You are bringing heaven to earth in that moment in a glorious example of what Christ did on the cross for us.  

I just remembered this poem called The Invitation and feel I am to share it with you:

It doesn't interest me what kind of job you've got, where you eat or where you shop or the make of car you drive

It doesn't interest me how big a house you own, what I really want to know is what makes you feel alive.
I don't want to talk about how your future is all planned out; that isn't what it's all about to me.

Tell me what you ache for,
tell me what you wait for,
tell me what you long for, 
what your holding on for, 
tell me what your dreamin, 
what will give your live real meaning, 
what you've been afraid to pray for,
 tell me what you ache for....

It doesn't interest me if your planets align, your signs are well defined and your career is right on track. 
It doesn't interest me if your faithful and your true, if you're not true to you, then where's the truth in that.
So I don't want to waste our time comparing all our stars and signs; that's not what I think makes you shine, you see.

Tell me what you ache for, 
tell me what you wait for, 
what you long for, 
what your holding on for, 
tell me what your wishin, 
if you feel like something is missing, 
that somehow you've been saved for...tell me what you ache for..

Tell me what you are dreamin, 
what will bring your life real meaning, 
what deep down your heart breaks for...tell me what you ache for....

Here are more pics from our time in Ethiopia:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What an Adventure so far!!

So far we have painted 3 out 4 murals in the America World Ethiopia Transitional Home. The one featured is in the main lobby and older babies room. Then we have them in the toddler room and baby infant room. We are getting the wood floors refinished and moving out the front wall of the classroom, giving the kids more space and light. I had the unique experience today of being admitted into an Ethiopian hospital. I was suffering from dehydration and stomach flu symptoms. I have to tell you this hospital (the Korean hospital in Addis) was faster than an American hospital and they took great care of me. SO many people in the hospitals in Addis though. They are every where...I hated thinking of the people who couldn't afford to go to the emergency room when they felt like I did. The bill for the whole day in the ER was only $30 as opposed to thousands of dollars in the U.S., yet still, so many street kids and families would never be able to afford this.

 There's a sweet lifeless little baby in the transitional home who hasn't been referred who has pneumonia. Please lift this baby up for healing. The kids are the most amazing children. There's one little 5 year old boy who just stands quietly and watches us as we paint. He loves to be held and to hold hands when I walk somewhere. I'm glad he's been referred or I'd be a goner to adopt him ASAP. I'm telling you, the babies are amazing, but those little children capture your heart. They always look so sad when we leave for the day even when I assure them that their mommies and daddies are coming very soon and they can't wait to take them home. 

We are ordering new bunk beds that are 3 beds in height so that the boys and girls have room in their bedroom and baby beds that aren't metal for the home. If you'd like to help us, you can do so here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Work Begins!

The prepatory work for decorating the America World Ethiopia Transitional Home has begun for the us. We (me, my sister Robin and a friend named Lacrecia) are traveling to Addis Ababa tomorrow. As you can see a primer base is being painted. They moved the babies into another room so we can paint their room with gorgeous murals that an adoptive mom out of Utah is greating for us! God has really given her creative ideas and a joy for this work. We also hope to change some of the light fixtures in the home (unless you like this disco ball light fixture! :)) and buy material to sew window treatments.

We'd still like to raise about $5K more to be able to refinish the wood floors and purchase the lighting fixtures needed. You can donate to this endeavor here. Please be sure to note that your donation is for "Decorating the Ethiopia Transtitional Home".

Also, Visiting Orhans, a mission sending agency that I now work for is sending another team to Addis in November. This team will help with any work on the Ethiopia Transitional Home that this current team is unable to complete. If you'd like to go and help, you can apply online here. Craftsmen, electricians and anyone with creative ideas is welcome!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Nashville Orphan's Ticket Home Gala

Last Saturday was amazing. The Gala was beautiful in every way...gorgeous black and white decor with red rose bouquets atop tall clear glass of adopted children all over. The music was so perfect and Britt Nicole loved on our guests in every way. By the music she chose, the stories she told and the way she loved her Father.
Each guest received a airline "ticket" when they arrived that directed them to a country. They found their table by finding their country as each table was assigned a different country. Their name tags were pilot wings.
I opened up with a story about Nicolas Winton. It is the first story I can find in history that details international adoption, except it wasn't called adoption, it was called rescuing children. Nicholas saved almost 700 children from the Nazi death camps in 1939 as a 29 year old single man. I shared his story with the crowd and showed a clip of him meeting a room full of the orphans he saved as now adults. It's a very powerful story of how we can all have an inheritance like this if we help orphans.
Tom Davis shared his story of adopting his daughter from Russia and what life is like for an orphan in an orphanage and how if everyone in the church would adopt a child, there would be no more orphans!
Then, Aster, the Founder of Kids Care orphanage shared her vision for the primary school she is trying to build for the children in poverty in her community.
Dan Coley closed with an extremely touching message about having passion and being completely surrendered to God in life.
The night ended after Aster auctioned off her personal gold bracelet bringing in over $700 for it!
I will miss my time with America World and the opportunity to share about orphans and adoption in this way. I love giving worship and glory to God by setting up amazing events like these. In the end, no matter how much money we made, I KNOW it was a sweet aroma to Him and an offering that pleased His heart. May his heartbeat for the orphan now resonate in the attendees that gathered that night. Lord, do not let the enemy steal the seed that was sown this night..I pray it fell on good ground and not rocky ground. Ground that you prepared and are now watering through future messages.
Thank you for the last five years at America World. I loved the walk with you I had...traveling all over the U.S. each weekend to share your heart for the orphans with new prospective families. Meeting new children as they are recently adopted and witnessing the joy in the families. May this time in my life never be stolen and may I be a good steward of all you shared through it with me. I offer it back to you..may I be a beautiful instrument in your hand for Visiting Orphans.