When Mountains are Moved… {saying yes even in our mess}

As we drifted off to sleep we were both recalling the last twenty two months and marveling at just how hard it was. There were hurdles,  decisions, paperwork and heartache.  There were outside influences we never considered and the fitting of a round peg into a square hole. Some days {often} we were weak in our faith and feeling so inadequate to handle everything that came along with saying yes! Yet through all the many challenges God was quietly delivering connections and healing . God was there ever so patient, guiding us with unending love. The months of hard clicked by and then just like that the pieces began to fit together like the most gorgeous puzzle you have ever completed. We just keep witnessing one miracle after another and where I struggled with doubt lately God has blown the doors wide open to increasing my faith in ways I could have never imagined.  I could not be more grateful to be a part of such a bold testament to God’s perfect grace through Tadesse’s story.

We were just ordinary people directed to Ethiopia to adopt a little girl who needed a family.  What we could never have predicted was how one yes would lead to another and another and yet another.

God says to ordinary people like me and you that instead of closing our eyes and bowing our heads, sometimes we need to keep our eyes open for people in need, do something about it and bow our whole lives to Him instead.

-Bob Goff

Nearly four years ago we met a 15 year old child in Ethiopia who needed someone to believe in him and to trust that his needs could be helped through sponsorship.  We helped send him to school through sponsorship, lifting him out of the extreme suffering he had known for years and allowing him basic comforts of food, shelter, meals and an education. He took the opportunity by storm and let me just give a little plug here… Sponsorship changes the world literally one child at a time. Sending a child to school provides a purpose and a hope that is lasting. Sponsoring a child is a simple way to share the great resources we have been given with those living in significant poverty. Sponsoring a child shows God’s mandate to serve the least of these through you.

I’m not sure I’ll ever truly understand the connection to this one specific child as I opened the van doors to a sea of needy children. It is still a feeling I cannot truly describe but was very similar to the feeling of our daughter being placed in our arms and realizing that while she did not come from my body she was being given to us to protect and raise her to become a strong citizen of the world. I would return to Ethiopia and spend time with him only to realize he was very special in his integrity, his grit and his drive to climb out of the circumstances he had been dealt. Our connection was instant and deep.

And then the unthinkable happened. I stood watching him serve in Ethiopia and realized that perhaps he could be educated in the USA.  From there it is a long and sordid story of many questions, opinions and doubts. There was the endless paperchase and yes more questions and doubts. Of course I knew the idea was crazy but I was trusting God that having been broken for the orphan and the vulnerable child had brought me to the place of saying yes in a radicial way. We took him on as a student, coming to America to be educated.  What we could not have known was how deeply God was sowing the seeds in our hearts to care for him as our very own child. We became his and he became ours.

There was excitement and beauty but almost imeediately there was also great hardship.  There were misunderstandings, rules he did not know how to follow, educational challenges, many cultural differences and days we all wanted to give up. We made so many mistakes, overwhelming ourselves to the point of shutdown. We pushed hard in times when perhaps we should have been patiently listening and trusting that God was literally lighting the path in times of darkness. It was a wild ride through his first year here in the USA. We pressed on and I can remember hundreds of times asking God why helping a child needed to be so hard for him and for our family. Had I not heard properly back in Ethiopia when God delivered the idea of the student Visa?  Now there was safety and he was living with the basic needs such as clean water, medical care, clothes, three meals a day, an education and a family, but the days were difficult and we were exhausted through it all.  Looking back I can now see God’s plan was to teach me more than to assume that these things were enough, and after all these months I think we are finally starting to get it. The aha moments are flowing and I now see that coming to America, to all the choices, the consumerism, the me attitudes, the constant next best thing and stimulation can create the perfect storm for one who needs calm, community, their native toungue and of course Jesus as their everything. Two cultures and burdened hearts were colliding and the storm needed to rage in order for us to look upward.

So here we are today watching God transform and move mountains in this boy’s life.  Soon Tadesse will graduate from two years at a fabulous high school where he has touched lives and changed hearts. In fact today is his last day of classes. Yahoo!  Recently he needed to create a senior project sharing his testimony and life story. Not an easy thing to do when you have a harrowing history of pain and loss. We prayed and we talked and we prayed some more and then one day while on vacation we watched the words flow as he put his story on paper and came to us ready to share his words along with pictures of his years spent surviving in Ethiopia.  As you might imagine his project was difficult to share but he did it. He presented in front of a few classmates,  family and friends and has been asked to present on the last day of school to his entire graduating class. And there my freinds is where I find God using this boy to open eyes. Tadesse wanted to decline the offer and move on to the next opportunity of a small Christian college where he was recently accepted but as a family we know this is all part of the journey. He will speak to his entire class during chapel just days before he will become a high school graduate. Then there will be a well deserved summer break complete with his first ever job.  Yes he now has a job, another miracle and another mountain moved through tremendous faith and obedience.

Are you inspired yet by the idea that God will give you what you need after you are called to the radical and the hard? The timing will likely not look like the timing I know we were searching for each day but never give up hope.

Say yes to something or someone that needs you. Start small but dream and pray BIG. Don’t wait for the perfect time or the day when your mess is perfectly tucked away. Frnakly that day might never come. Think about it… is there ever really a perfect time for radical change?  Fortunately we are not all called to serve the same people in the same places so think of the impact we could have as a community who says yes with intention and radical faith. For one boy who had nobody our yes mattered. Yes changed his world and certainly ours.  Who might be waiting for you to say yes?

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I’m eager to see what mountains God moves next… Have a wonderful spring weekend.

Peace and Grace,

Melanie

2 thoughts on “When Mountains are Moved… {saying yes even in our mess}”

  1. Greetings. As I think back to Aug 2010 when I first met you and your sister, I am overwhelmed at how your obedience has blessed SO many. You truly are an inspiration. I often think of an admonition that Almasz had for Doc and I and wonder where we would be had we obeyed. We did not think adoption was for us (we are over 60/70), but God did open other doors in Ethiopia and we are doing everything we can to help our dear ones become independent and improve their lives as much as possible. It is such a good feeling when you hear God say, “Good job, I am blessed by your love and caring for my souls.” Please keep us in your loop. Galen shared with us the other night your request of them. Galen and Kristin are truly God’s servants and we are so honored to be their parents. We love what you’re doing. Keep it up and please pray for us as we use our later years to do everything we can for the “Poorest of the Poor.”

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