There is an author, Tom Davis, who I have come to treasure. One of his books has completely helped me to define what I feel inside since going through our lengthy adoption process. Fields of the Fatherless encourages us to move beyond words and to act to become the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need. This book has inspired me and might just touch you too. Our airline tickets are booked, plans made and we are connecting daily with the team for our upcoming mission trip with Visiting Orphans where we are headed to Ethiopia. It’s a go and in just 25 days we will be off to the rich land and the charming country I fell in love with just last summer. So now comes the hard part for me… How do I explain it to those who are quick to say, “Wow you are going back so soon.”
Here is my answer. I allowed God in. That is all I can say. To some that may sound funny but that is really the only way I can explain my heart these days. God is doing the leading. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that our two year wait to finally meet and adopt our daughter was the most critical of growth times in my life. I think my deep desire to learn and hear other adoption stories, my constant reading of human justice issues and my eagerness to understand how God wants to use me was prep work. I thought we were preparing for the addition of a little girl who needed her forever family and while that is true, well God had more in mind than I ever could have known.
From the moment I entered the gates at Hannah’s Hope and felt the tug of the beautiful orphaned children who just wanted to be held or the child in the village of Korah who reached for my hand without knowing who I was. It was there in Ethiopia with my eyes wide open that everything changed. Every moment that I play with or stare into the gorgeous dark eyes of my daughter I feel all the orphans of this difficult world staring right back at me. And few places on the planet are in greater need than Ethiopia and its children. It may sound sad to some but for me, I am incredibly grateful for the growth, the awareness, the challenge and most of all for the call to give back to the very country that gave us our daughter. I see Ava in the eyes of the other orphaned children and I know they need me and people like me to step outside of their comfortable lives and enter their vast chasm of need.
So now I prepare myself and my son to fly to Africa, to enter the streets of Ethiopia. To love and minister to the children. To play, laugh, run and sing with those who live wondering who will care for them. We prepare for the joy we will experience in a very poor village where we will help to place shoes on the feet of people who may have never worn shoes before. I will prepare my heart to leave Ava and my family knowing that I am following God’s lead. I am going to serve but beyond that I am going to discover how we can continue to help. I am going back so soon to bring hope to those who need it most and to return with a passion that is contagious. I have this grand vision of showing others in my own circle that we are the answer to the orphan’s cry. I worked at church this week as a playtime volunteer for a program where homeless families live at our church for a week. It is a supportive program where families have the opportunity to remain together in a safe environment while they spend their days working and searching for housing. It allows families to get back on their feet. In the evening volunteers play with the children so that the parents can relax or perhaps take a class. Let’s just say I left our church with a large grin on my face after interacting with eight lovely little ones who needed attention, a person to catch a ball, a friend to create a paper airplane and someone who would provide a bit of structure and boundaries. I left knowing that soon I will be doing hte very same thing in Ethiopia, but in this case many of the child we hope to impact will not have parents returning to snuggle them or even to drag them from church to church for a warm meal and a bed.
There are many out there who may be reading this and thinking I have gone completely nuts. Bare with me. Pray for me. Encourage me. I am truly not sure where all this is headed and as you might imagine I am shakin’ in my boots some days, but since my early days I have been all for a bit of adventure, I love meeting others from various cultures and I enjoy travel and the new challenges I might find. God make me your vessel. Send me. That is my prayer these days.