Monday, December 27, 2010

The Lord is My Helper

This is what I keep reminding myself..."The Lord is My Helper"..

Currently, I am sitting in the manager of Ethiopian Airlines' office here at the Dulles airport. Atleast I will now know him on a first name basis and have his cell phone number for any future teams that go out with VO! ;) Always have to look at the positive side of things and see God's providence in it all.

Basically, our flight which was scheduled at noon tomorrow (12/28) was originally on a 777 aircraft. They had issues with that carrier and had to "downgrade" to a 767, which means that it would take longer to fly to the Addis airport from Dulles, thus missing our 10:30 AM flight out of Addis to either Entebbe or Rwanda (which is where are two teams are headed), so the next flight out would not be until 10:30 PM that night, meaning we would not get in until midnight. So, our teams opted to stay an extra night in D.C. and fly out on the noon flight on the 29th instead. Ethiopian airlines is giving each person $200 cash and they are throwing in some first class tickets, so I think the team is happy.

We will just head straight to ministry on the 30th, jet lagged and all. I always know in situations like this that God has a plan.

Please continue to pray for favor for our team.... We need it! :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Best Gift There Is

Are you looking for peace in the midst of the hustle and bustle? Are you looking for peace in the midst of chaos? These slogans are all too familiar this time of year for different advertising companies as they push their sleep meds or new soft mattresses and the like.

I sit in a home that is quite dirty, compared to my usual attention to it's cleanliness. A home with lots of clutter due to gifts that need to be wrapped, pine needles that have fallen from the tree and many new wonderful Christmas cards we've recently received in the mail. All blessings, for sure! Even a home is a blessing, I know!

But this time of year has been especially chaotic for me. We are in the midst of paper chasing for our adoption and fundraising. Visiting Orphans is being so wonderfully blessed with new partnerships, with has brought changes and additions to our staff. I am also sending out three teams to Africa right after Christmas, the largest team of 25, I'm personally leading and will be gone for 14 days with them. Honestly, Christmas has become more of a duty and obligation lately than a joy to me. I can't imagine I'm the only one who has felt like this.

I am reminded of a wonderful saying that my good friend, Bethany Haley, just tweeted, "Should we learn to live more simply so that others can simply live?" My husband and i recently purchased new Android phones from Verizon. I resisted this for months...finally, with the trip for Uganda coming up, and my old blackberry acting up for the 10th time, we decided to "upgrade". So, I now have this fancy phone that vibrates when you touch it and can do more than I think my computer at work can do. I had this overwhelming feeling. But it was more like a resentment towards it.

I'm not that old. I'm not that young either. So I remember life before cell phones existed. And even a little bit before cable was in everyone's homes. There was so much more time to read, use your imagination and spend face to face, quality time with friends. And the best of it...there was QUIET time. If you had to drive from one place to another and you were alone, you could turn down the radio and just be quiet and reflect. I remember when I used to have to fight rush hour traffic in and out of Atlanta for work each day. I used to call that time "my church". I would listen to worship and sermons and just praise and worship God and just be quiet in prayer and reflection before Him.

There's such little time for this now. And it worries me. I was sick this past weekend. I will spare you the details. :) Sometimes I really love being sick. I honestly feel like God allows the flu and small illnesses to get us to be still. What I hate is that it may take that to make us stop doing so much, ignoring Him, the one we are living for.

Today, I had the day off. I had much "to do". Stocking stuffers to buy, cleaning the house and making up the beds for the guests, running to the bank, coffee with a wonderful friend, and even plans to get a massage. However, every time I tried to leave the home, I had this pull in my soul and spirit to just stay home. To be still. To spend an entire day with the man I love the most....Jesus Christ. I was softly reminded of Isa 48:17-18 and Isa 30: 15-18 and many others..

So, I changed back into my sweats, fixed my favorite cup of coffee and went to my favorite chair next to the fireplace, in the warm sunlight. I have exchanged busyness today for what is best, the richness of time in fellowship with my Heavenly Father and Bridegroom. It's out of this relationship that ministry is birthed anyway. Without Him we are truly nothing and have nothing to give.

Isn't this what Christmas is about anyway? Jesus Christ? I submit that maybe the best gift to give Him this year for his birthday is a relationship with Him. Not a decision, not just an act of faith, but an active and walking relationship with Him. I bet He would love to spend an entire day with each of you. Let's remember, that Jesus is the one who deserves a gift more than anyone else. Give Him your time, adoration and self this year. It's truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

We are Adopting! Let the Fundraising Begin!

So, here's the official announcement finally! Simon and I are excited to announce that we are adopting a little girl from Ethiopia! Let the FUNDRAISING begin!!!

First the details...
Our little girl has a name...she is what they call in the adoption world, "pre-identified". However, we've never met her. Basically, through a friend and former team member of Visiting Orphans, we were easily persuaded to try to start the adoption process for a little five year old girl from Ethiopia. This team member had fallen in love with her on a previous trip to Ethiopia. B_____ is I guess, in some ways, a street kid. I know that sounds awful, but I want you to know the awful truth. Right now, she is abandoned and lives on the street in Ethiopia. Through the kindness of many strangers, she is loved on as much as possible and now, she is in the process of getting her adoption paperwork started. Yet, at this time, she is still on the streets...

Our adoption is what you call "high risk" as she's not even in an orphanage, does not yet have a birth certificate, nor a certificate of abandonment. In a way, she is forgotten and unknown. But soon...she will not only be known, she will have the last name of Lawrence!!

Please keep B____ in your prayers for protection. Prayers that once her paperwork is completed she will be put in the right orphanage and that all the other hurdles that may come up, will be very small and almost obsolete in nature. We have to keep most details protected at this time, but soon, once her adoption papers are complete, we will tell you more!

If you would like to donate to our adoption, feel free to donate through the PayPal Donate button on this blog.

At this time, your donations are not tax deductible, but as soon as we complete our home study, we will work with a not for profit so that all donations are tax deductible at that time. However, if that is not important to you, we would greatly appreciate your donation now, as there are many small payments that we have to make during this "paper chasing" time of creating a dossier. You can send a check to 8669 Burkitt Place Dr., Nolensville, TN 37135. You can make it out to us or America World Adoption, whichever you prefer.

I cannot wait to have her home and we cannot wait to be parents!! We know she is hand picked by God in every way....

Thursday, December 02, 2010

CBS News Covers Project Hopeful

Visiting Orphans is so excited to partner with an amazing agency, Project Hopeful, for an Ethiopia and Uganda trip this coming April. Carolyn Twietmeyer, Founder and Director of this ministry is leading this team. Her family was just in this past week's People magazine and featured last night on CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. You can watch the news clip below.
To join this trip, whose purpose is to bring more awareness to HIV/AIDS orphans, sign up here.