Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The story so far...

Adam and I began thinking about missions in Africa after reading an article in Relevant Magazine about femocide in the Congo. It moved us and really got our minds racing about “someday” becoming missionaries and moving somewhere in Africa. (This was January 2009) As we were discussing all of it we thought that when the kids grew up that we could do it. Never imaging any time in the near future.

As a few months passed we went to a Chris Tomlin concert and saw a video about orphans in Africa. Previously discussing how someday we would like to adopt we started talking that night about how we should adopt later, like years down the road. We left it at that after that night and didn’t discuss it again until a few weeks later while sitting down for coffee one night after our girls went to bed. We both individually had been feeling God's pull toward adopting right now and from Africa. I had been doing some research online about adoptions and really felt God showing us that this was something we need to do now not later. So we did. We started our adoption from Ethiopia with AGCI in April 2009. We did our homestudy and dossier and got on the waiting list with AGCI June 2009.

On Octobter 7th, 2009 we received our referral for our son who was 3 weeks old at the time. God showed us through these months of waiting that his was right for us, but during that referral phone call he proved to us that this what His will for us. Our son was given the name Adam by his birthmother. This was unknowing who we were or that we were even going to adopt him. He shared the name with his daddy. Super awesome!!! We decided to keep his first name Adam and give him the middle name Ezekial and call him “Zek”. A few weeks after our referral Zek became extremely ill. He was only 6 weeks old and very frail. He was hospitalized in Addis Ababa at the Black Lion Hospital. Just google that name and see the pictures that come up. I did. We were feeling so terrible that our son (whom we had never met) was so sick and so far away. Our hearts ached, our minds raced. Then I go looking up the hospital name and the pictures that popped up made me sick to my stomache. My son is at a hospital like that? We prayed and prayed and prayed. They said that he was going to need surgery and get a tracheotomy (because in an X-ray they saw something blocking his airway). Ugh!!! So, we pray some more… he is transferred to a private hospital, but that process wasn't easy. It took an entire day for the hospital to find an oxygen tank to transfer with him to this new hospital. (Why oxygen? He was having extreme troubles breathing.) So, he arrives at the new hospital, but the doctors do not have the equipment to perform the surgery. Later that day another doctor sees him and doesn’t see any reason for him to have the surgery. Really? What is going on? Well, we just continue to pray, pray, pray and after a few weeks in the hospital he returns to health and is able to go back to Hannahs Hope (AGCIs transition home)! He had been healed!

As if the stress of having a child halfway around the world so sick that we were told a tracheotomy was necessary... we found out that we were pregnant! Then we thought that we were miscarrying and that the pregnancy was not a "viable" pregnancy. After a few weeks we were given an ultrasound to check things out and to make sure things were ok. What was found you ask? They saw a tiny little heartbeat! This 3-4 week period was a roller coaster of a time for our family! My emotions were everywhere!!! We passed court November 12th and traveled to Ethiopia December 12th and met him on December 13th. What an incredible day! It was an experience like no other. We met our son who we had been praying and waiting for. Our visit to Addis was ok. I was so sick and missing my girls so much I just wanted to get home. I told Adam, while standing on the side of the street just outside our hotel “I would never want to become a missionary and move here!” I had made up my mind about that!

The next several months were the hardest time in my life... I was so sick from the pregnancy when we brought Zek home. Not to mention that Zek being the fussiest baby I had every met. It was hard to say the least. Bonding took a lot longer than expected. Not just from Zek but from me as well. 6 ½ months after bringing Zek home we brought Emery into the world. Still not bonded as much as I would have liked to have been now I had a new baby. It all rocked my world and it was super hard.

During the 7 or 8 months after bringing Zek home I felt almost fist to fist with God. I wondered where he was when I feel was so low. I did feel Him tell me the whole time "I have big plans for you" "please trust me"...

Over the next few months after Emery was born we got into the swing of things, if you want to say that! Adam and I really started talking more about missions in Ethiopia early September 2010. We began praying about it and God was pulling us towards it. In October 2010 opportunity presented itself for Adam to go on a missions trip to Ethiopia in February 2011. We felt that this would be a good time for him to go and really see if God was indeed leading us there for full-time missions.

Between the time he decided to go and his departure I started collecting cloth diapers for him to take. I wanted him to be able to take enough to diaper twenty or so babies. I began contacting people and got floored by God. Donations started pouring in. Not only was Adam able to take 200 lbs of cloth diapers with him on his trip but I have sent another 800 lbs with other people traveling to Ethiopia! God is absolutely amazing! When He puts something on your heart you better do it and He is going to bless it. We called the project Bottom Blessings. It’s an ongoing project and will continue.

Adam's trip was amazing. We prayed before and during it that God would show him if this is what He wants us to do with our family and when we should do it. He got back and we knew it was the right time. We started really looking into sending agencies for missionaries and prayed about it. I was looking one night and came across CMF. I really loved what they were doing in Ethiopia as I searched their website. I knew that this was going to be at the top of our list of places we wanted to contact. As I searched further I realized that they were in Indianapolis! We contacted them and met with them and really felt pulled there. We officially applied in May 2011. We went through our assessment center in August 2011 and became officially affiliated with CMF (and their Urban Poor ministry in Addis Ababa). We began taking the Perspectives course ( the day after our assessment center and let me say that this class has rocked our world. It has opened our minds so much more to missions and God's call for it. It has been amazing! We will be doing Launch at the beginning of 2012, which is our support raising training. We will then begin raising support. We will begin talking and speaking with churches, family and friends to raise the financial support we will need to serve in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

There are so many God things that have happened between these times and so many times where we know that Satan is trying to take away His glory. He has caused frustration and confusion a lot. But we have to stand firm and know that this is His will. This is what our lives are supposed to look like.

We are excited to be on this adventure and cannot wait to see all that God has in store for our family!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

two years...

Two years really flies least this past two years has.

This week two years ago (Oct 7th) we saw the face of a sweet 3 week old baby boy named Adam (the same name as daddy) for the first time. Today 2 years ago I was feeling so anxious to receive the call about our son. Now that baby boy is 2 and such a joy. He has been an awesome blessing to this family in so many ways.

A lot has changed in two years. We went from having two little girls to having two little girls and 2 little boys in a mere 6 months. God has really shown us how much He is in control and that He always knows what is best for us. We feel so blessed that Emery and Zek are so close in age (a little less than 10 months apart). If you would've told me two years ago that I would become pregnant during the last of our adoption of Zek I would've thought you were crazy :) and If you would've told me how much I would enjoy having two baby boys so close in age I would've thought you were even crazier. Because I always thought when people had kids really close in age that they were crazy. My boys are awesome. They are best buds already and love to make each other laugh. I tell Adam how much they were meant for each other. All of our kids are amazing and I love how much joy each and every one of them bring to our family.

Zek has changed us in so many ways. He has opened our minds to so much more. If someone would've told me two years ago that in two years we would be working our way to moving our family to Ethiopia and becoming missionaries I really would've thought you were even crazier. My mind has been opened and the need has been revealed. Our hearts are in Ethiopia.

We are taking this Perspectives course for missions and it is so amazing and has been opening our minds to so much. There is so much in the bible about missions and how if we are Christians that we are called to take His word to the ends of the Earth. Does that mean the ends of the United States???? No the ends of the ENTIRE Earth. In an article we read in class the author said "missions exists because worship doesn't" In other words, the reason God gives us our mission is to bring about obedient, love-filled and life-giving worship among peoples in places where there is none. We are to take His words to those places where people need to hear it. That is why missions exists and why it's God call for people to move to places where people need to hear it. We are all called to do it. Either by supporting missionaries financially and with prayer, moving and becoming the missionary, helping to mobilize missionaries, etc. There's so much to learn in the course and we highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in learning more about missions. I thank God for giving us the passion for Ethiopia and opening our hearts to taking our family there.

We are taking the course until the end of November so we still have so much to take in. It's so overwhelming learning so much and hard to really say all that we have learned. Once the class is over we have a few months to prepare for our Launch with CMF (support raising training) in January and then we are off to start support raising. We will be meeting with friends and family, churches, small groups, etc. We will be busy, but we are so excited to start sharing about our ministry and all of the things that we have learned with everyone we meet with. We hope to be moving in the summer of 2013 to Addis. Right now it seems so far off, but I know that it will be here before we know it.

Maggie and I will be taking our trip to Addis in March. We aren't going with an organization. We are going on our own. It will be a vision/mission trip for us. I plan on spending time with the team (Urban Poor Team) that we will be working with and also spending some time with some other organizations and some people that we know. I know that God is going to show us a lot while we are there. I feel like it is really important for us to go on this trip. When it didn't work out for us to go in October this year I thought for a moment that maybe we just wouldn't go at all until we move. But, I know that it's so important for Maggie to spend some time there and to help me to get a vision for what Adam and I will be doing while living there. It will be important as we share with our supporters. We are fundraising for this trip and have set up an online store with things for sale. We have awesome t-shirts that my amazing husband designed for sale. We have to raise every penny for this trip and will not be able to purchase tickets for the trip until $3000 has been raised. the total cost for the trip will be around $4000. I can't wait to see God work out the details for this trip and for how much He is going to show me on the trip. You can visit our store here. Or you can click on the image on the upper right of the blog page. We are receiving our order of t-shirts this week. 100% of the purchase price of everything goes towards our trip. The holiday season is quickly approaching and the t-shirts and things would be great gifts!!! Make sure you take a look at the store. :)

Please continue to pray for our family as we prepare ourselves and God prepares us to serve in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.