As for me, I know of nothing else but miracles. - Walt Whitman

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Our Next Big Adventure.....

We have some exciting news to share......we are going back to Africa!

 This summer, we will be going to Ethiopia for about a week and a half on a mission trip. We will be visiting Gambella, the region that Jalen and Jordan were born in, along with their birth town and the first orphanage they lived at. The rehabilitation center in Addis Ababa that we visited on our last trip is also part of our itinerary. As we figure out how many and which kiddos to take with us, purchase our tickets, get all of our travel vaccinations, and once again prepare to travel across the world to serve others, we would appreciate your prayerful support.

And here is the background story:

A couple of months ago, I learned that All God's Children, our adoption agency, was planning a mission trip to Gambella, Ethiopia in April and May. I really wanted to go; ever since we brought the twins home, we have had a desire to travel to the region in which they were born. We prayed about it, but did not feel like God was giving us the go-ahead. It just didn't feel right to Chris, and he pretty much decided that we would not be going. I continued to watch the trip posting, though, which remained open for quite awhile. They still had several spots left on the trip, and I continued to pray for God to reveal if they were to be filled by us. Then one day, I noticed that the trip was full. I was disappointed, but knew it was not meant to be. God had not clearly shown us that we were to go.

Two days later, I received an email from my friend, Ginny - the same friend with whom we traveled to Ethiopia on both of our other trips. She mentioned that her family was planning a mission trip to Ethiopia in July, and wondered if we wanted to join them. Right away, I was excited, and it just felt right. Just two days before, the door had been closed; now, here it was open again. I prayed, and then opened the Bible to the following verses:

"And this I do for the gospel's sake...Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain." 1 Corinthians 9:23-24.

"...Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee...after that they shall come forth, and serve me in this place." Acts 7:3&7.

"And he said unto them, Go." Matthew 8:32

"Wherefore now return, and go in peace..." 1 Samuel 29:7

I then opened to John, chapter 20, where it says "Peace be unto you" three times in red - words that Jesus spoke. This chapter has meant a lot to me over the years, and has given me peace about other decisions in my life as well. And I did have a peace about this.

I called Chris to tell him, and he seemed very excited and on-board. That surprised me a little, since he had not been thrilled about the trip in April/May. He thought this one felt right, too, and wanted to look into it. That same day, we received a paper from World Relief that talked about serving others and sending laborers forth: "...the harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few."

Sunday in church, the morning service was all about helping others and putting their needs ahead of our own. If we serve others, we will always walk away with a blessing. (Luke 22) After the service, I opened the Bible to "Let us pass over unto the other side." (Mark 4)

A few days later, I was doubting and wondering how we were going to come up with the finances for such a trip, especially if we took 2 or 3 of the kids. Then I received an email from my brother-in-law, with a poem entitled "Let Us Go." And one Wednesday night in church, I was questioning God again. After all, it is a big deal to leave 3 or 4 kids home for that length of time; it is a big deal to spend that amount of money on one trip - we could use that money for a lot of different things that we need (verrry selfish of me, I know. We don't need anything). And, were we planning this trip just because we love Ethiopia and want to go back someday, or were we really going to be making a difference in someone's life? What were our motives? I then opened the Bible, and these four verses stood out in red on the page:

"...Arise, and go...and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do." Acts 22:10

"...Make haste, and get thee quickly out..." Acts 22:18

" ...Depart, for I will send thee far hence..." Acts 22:21

"...Be of good cheer...for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome." Acts 23:11

Then, the minister opened the Bible to read in Acts 16. Verse 26 talks about the great earthquake that shook the prison where Paul and Silas were being held. The doors were opened, and everyone's chains were loosed. This reminded me of Isaiah 61:1 - "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." (Which also happens to be part of a group of verses that I sent to the twins' birth mother.) The account also reminded me of Isaiah 45:2-3 - "I will go before thee, and make crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel." And I felt my bands of resistance being loosed. Once again, I felt God was telling us to go. And not to worry about the little things, like money - "I will give thee hidden riches of secret places, the treasures of darkness."

I flipped back to the chapter we were reading and said, "Ok, God, if we're really supposed to go, let the minister read the word 'peace.'" I looked ahead in the chapter, but didn't see the word. All of a sudden, there it was at the end of the reading - and it was not just the word "peace" said, "Go in peace." And I just knew. I was filled with peace. The minister went on to say that we need to follow God and listen to his call. We need to be willing to share the gospel with others that may not have a chance to hear it otherwise.

So.....we are very much looking forward to our journey back to here:

And that's all for now, folks! Have a great day!

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