Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lifesong for Orphans

I'm so excited to be a part of the Lifesong for Orphans blogger network. Even before this adoption process, I began praying for how I could advocate on behalf of orphans around the world, and I am honored to be a part of this network. We are not all called to adopt, but we are all called to do something to help care for orphans. By being a part of the Lifesong blogger network, I can help spread the word on specific needs that we, the church, can help meet. So, without further is the first entry I am sharing from Lifesong:

Faith. Family. Home.In caring for orphans, our hope is to instil faith, family and a sense of home deep into the hearts of every child we are blessed to serve. Please enjoy this month's Mission Moment highlighting the fruit of God's work through us.

Baptized in the Name of the ONE True God...

In a country where the worship of many gods is commonplace, lives of children are being changed and transformed by the working of Jesus Christ, the ONE true God. Lifesong India provides homes for almost 600 children who are all being exposed to the gospel of our loving, merciful and kind Father God.
Baptism has always been a powerful symbol of Christianity. This symbol is especially notable in this culture because through this outward testimony of faith, children are publicly turning away from false gods to rely only on Jesus! Witness the baptism of the girls from one of our homes below. Learn more about Lifesong India >>
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38 

Building Children's Home in Guatemala

It's exciting to see the progress of our new orphan care initiative in Guatemala. Construction has started on the family homes that will one day invite orphans with special needs into their doors to give faith, family and a future to children in need. Thanks to many of you for your support in this exciting new project!

GUAT Progress
Please continue to pray for safety and wisdom as construction continues. Learn more about Lifesong Guatemala: Village of Hope >>

Read more about Faith, Family & Home...

Orphans in Ukraine Find Forever Families -- Through Adoption with Borders, like-minded families and churches in the USA connect with Christian families in Ukraine who are seeking to adopt.  Read Full Story

Planting Spiritual Seeds in Liberia -- Our aim is to help children develop a personal relationship with the Lord and to keep that relationship growing.  Read Full Story

Mehesh, A Life Changed -- "I don't want to think about what my life would be like if I didn't have the opportunity to live at that home (Chitty Memorial Home in Lifesong India)..." Read full story

Monday, February 25, 2013

God cares for orphans & so should the church!

Our house is not huge...

But our home has loving parents...a family...

Even if our home is getting full...(plus one on the way!)

We are not perfect parents or a perfect family, but we have Christ...

We have so much we can share and we have a desire to be obedient to God's call:

In Psalm 82:3, God has commanded us:

 Defend the weak and the fatherless;
    uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

For us, God has called us to the beautiful journey of adoption.  We are so grateful that God has entrusted us with some of His precious treasures.

I fully recognize that we not all called to adopt, but as Christians we are all called to do SOMETHING (the verse does not say "some of you should defend...).  
The need is great
--147 million orphans-- 
our God is big. 

And He expects and equips His church to be His hands and feet.  

Ever since God has opened my eyes to the plight and needs of orphans, I have not been the same.   I have asked God what I can do to advocate for the needs of orphans, and I have found a perfect outlet!  I'm going to be part of Lifesong for Orphans Blogger Network.  That means that I will get to let you know about the church's work among orphans and ways that you can be a part!  So excited for this opportunity!!  First post is coming soon :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Do you hear rumbling?

The LORD answered Moses, "Is the LORD's arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you." Numbers 11:23

The mountains are beginning to move...We continue to see God work in amazing ways, and we are so grateful.  Against the odds, we continue to pray that we can travel over Savanna's spring break.  We have been praying for this date for a long time.  We believe God has told us to continue to pray for this date, so until we get another word, we will continue to pray for travel the week of March 17.

We got word yesterday that our Article 5 will be picked up on March 5.  Then we will be waiting on Travel Approval.  Then we wait on a Consulate, we are making progress, but there is more to be made.

But we know that God is faithful.  His timing is perfect.  We are excited to wait to see how God continues to reveal Himself on this journey.   

PS.  The mountain in the picture is in Medellin, Colombia...a place where we saw God move in amazing ways in our first adoption. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Blessing!!

This has been the week of Chinese New Year.  That means that on the adoption front, nothing much can happen for those of us who are adopting from China.  So, we decided instead of moping, we would celebrate!

We celebrated with Chinese food...some homemade (won ton soup) and some purchased.  I also made some really good spring rolls.  Proud of myself!  :)

But, during this week that we expected to hear no news, God had a surprise for us!  So, although most aspects of our adoption are at a standstill, we still got some great news :)

We have been approved for a $2000 matching grant from the James Fund and Lifesong for Orphans!!  This is a huge blessing as we are on the homestretch for bringing Hope home.  When you donate to Lifesong for Orphans, an awesome ministry, you can express a preference for your funds to go toward our adoption. Lifesong sends funds directly to our agency to help with our expenses.  For up to $2000 in donations, Lifesong will match the donations!  You can check out Lifesong here...

For those of you who are reading this who have or are adopting, you know that adoption is expensive.  For those of you who are not aware of the cost of adoption...our agency estimates that our total expenses for this adoption will be around $30,000.  God has provided for us in wonderful ways along this journey and we are up to date on our payments to this point; however, some help during this home stretch would be very greatly appreciated!!

To donate, send a check to Lifesong for Orphans.  In the memo line of the check put "preference Johnson/#3341 adoption"  Per IRS guidelines, your donation is to Lifesong which retains full discretion and control over its us
Send your check to
Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40/202 N. Ford St.
Gridley, IL 61744

And always, we covet your prayers...especially as we are in the final days of waiting. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Change of Heart

During this wait, God has continued to work on my heart.  To shape and mold it to be a little more like His.  It is a slow process.  I'm so grateful that He is patient and merciful toward me as I stumble and fall in my attempts to follow Him in obedience.

From the beginning, this was the surprise (to me) adoption.  I wasn't looking, thinking, or dreaming about adoption.  The idea to adopt seemed to come from nowhere...and everywhere.  I've been able to see God placing people and events in our lives to lead us down this path.

And we have gone obediently and with confidence that we were following God.  And for the most part, we have been excited about the adventure, but as I shared previously, I have had a lot of apprehensions about the initial days home.

I know that it is important to prepare spiritually and mentally for the tasks ahead.  I believe that it is important to walk through the process well-armed with prayer and information.  At the same time, it is impossible to plan and anticipate exactly for what is coming.  And that made me anxious.

Gently, repeatedly, God has reminded me that His grace is sufficient.  Whatever the challenges are.

And with the change of heart, new thoughts about the first days come.

Mostly, I am thinking about firsts.  I am sad that I missed a lot of Yuly's firsts...and that I have missed a lot of Hope's firsts.  But I'm looking forward with joyful anticipation for other firsts...

The first time she calls us Mom and Dad...

The first time she rides on an airplane...

Her first time meeting her sisters...

Her first time meeting her grandparents...

Her first birthday with us...

The first time she sees the ocean...

That last one...I don't know when that will be, but there is something about seeing the ocean is so awesome, so fun, so exciting.  I remember Yuly's first time in February 2010.

Its February again and we just returned from a camping trip to the ocean.  Not sure why we seem to end up at the beach in February.  But, like before, watched Yuly and Riza play in the (freezing cold) water.  So fun to see them laugh and play!!  Even as I stood on the shore completely bundled up.

Can't look at the ocean without thinking of these verses with gratitude:

Psalm 139:17-18 
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them, 
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. 
When I am awake, I am still with you. 

God is good.