This past weekend we attended such an outstanding event. We joined friends for an auction for Open Doors Orphanage, a new orphanage opening later this year in Guatemala. Please go to paradisebound.org to learn more about the mission of the Paradise Bound team. The ministry was started 13 years ago when a couple began serving the poor and sick people of Guatemala. Now their outreach in Guatemala is far reaching and the tremendous need for an orphanage is an answer to prayer and a dream soon to come true.
It was not just the auction that made the evening so rich but the people. When we arrived I was overwhelmed to see so many people who had come out to support the cause. Our friends, Lisa and Eric attended a mission trip back in February, heading to Guatemala for the first time to serve the needy by building homes and spreading God’s word through Paradise Bound so they knew several others. The family who is soon moving to Guatemala to become the orphanage Directors where there and right away I noticed a sweet little Ethiopian face peaking out from a baby bjorn carrier. Thye very recently returned from Ethiopia with their new son. Now as a family of five they will be giving up all the comforts of their American home to go serve the needy orphans of a country only twice the size of Tennessee. In such a small country there are 370, 00 orphans. Can you imagine living among so many children in need? What an opportunity to love, nurture and raise many children under the new roof of Open Doors Orphanage.
So as we are roaming around checking on all the goods up for bid we run into the family that I met over two and half years ago who helped us in knowing that we were being lead to Ethiopia.
It’s one of the God stories that so many who adopt spend years trying to understand. We knew adoption was placed on our hearts but as we grappled with the when, where and the how God was showing us over and over with examples such as this…
It was a chilly February day and my husband was donating his time at a big event down at our local Children’s Museum. My oldest was in school so I ventured downtown with my two little guys to hang out at the museum. We climbed up the stairs to the second floor and immediately my guys took off for the area where you can do crazy moves with gizmos that spin. I looked over and right away spotted two little fellows standing at the same station. As I walked up to join all the boys a little voice in my head told me, “these boys are from Ethiopia.” Now again that means very little to most people but to me searching to hear what the next step was supposed to be for our family, I perked up. It was Divine Intervention when from out of the blue the Mother and sister of the little boys approached the station. Almost immediately we began talking about why the girls were out of school that afternoon. They were darling smiley and looked like they really needing to tell me something when one bursts out, “Mom should we tell her?” “Sure,” their Mom responded. “Our brothers are from Ethiopia.” I’m telling you this little girl was just busting at the seams to tell me and of course I knew why. OK God now I am really listening. An amazing conversation about adoption ensued and we have been in touch ever since. They are the coolest family with such an open heart for orphans and the needy. Within a short couple of weeks they were visiting my husband in his office and he heard the same little voice. I’ll bet this is the family my wife met at the Children’s museum, Bob thought to himself after seeing the boys.
So we visit with this special family and we learn that they have been connected for many years to the man who is moving with his family to run the orphanage in Guatemala. Do you see a few dots being connected here? It is not by chance that such people have come into our lives. It is just like all the AGCI families we have met, most over email or the phone. They are incredible families all following the journey to adopt. So many of the mommas have been prayer warriors and very encouraging friends through all the waiting, wondering, excitement and even tears. We strive to be the same for them, strong supporters on the long journey of serving others, of reaching and to bringing home an orphan who needs us.
So you might wonder if we won anything in the auction. I am happy to report that we won 20 trees!
They are the sweetest little trees and so far we have planted five. We hope to share a few with neighbors and friends in order to spread the word about paradisebound.org and add trees to our planet. The trees serve as perfect reminders that we are all in constant growing mode each and everyday and that along this winding road of adoption there will be good and bad days. There will be exciting news and trying challenges to making it all happen, but just like the perfect cycle of the tree we are fed and able to grow if we listen to how God speaks. What signs is God using to point you in a specific direction? Many of us blog and jot down all our daily experiences as a way to remember the journey but also to support and encourage others. We want to be that tree trunk, holding up the many branches. We can be that for one another and we can be that for the least, the lost and orphan. Be aware of the little messages, the gut feelings, the signals and signs. I promise you they are there if you are willing to take note and listen. Perhaps like me, you will be very surprised by what you hear.
It was a wonderful Mother’s Day and we seized the last hour of outdoor time to get a few trees in the ground. What do you think?