Jen and I have found ourselves walking down a path that is completely foreign to us. The world of adoption and foster care. As many of you know, we have an overwhelming desire to work within the church here in Guatemala to educate and encourage families on adoption. This desire is not a surprise to us, as we have always been passionate about children, and have always had it in our hearts to one day adopt. However, at this moment, we are not adoptive parents. At this point in our lives, God has called us to Guatemala, a country where we can not adopt from at this moment, and to adopt from any other country would require a complete life change away from where God has us at this moment. How then, do we, as non-adoptive parents, do the work that we have such a strong desire to do. How can any adoptive or potential adoptive parents take us seriously? This is a question we have asked ourselves over and over again.
As we grow in our faith, Jen and I are continually learning about who we truly are as individuals. As our understanding of the gospel deepens, and we learn what it means to truly be rescued through Christ, our desire for the orphan grows stronger. Our faith is to be a walk that reflects the true work that has been done in us through Christ. We are to reflect His sacrifice by sacrificing ourselves in order to bring Him glory. For many this looks different, but for all who have been redeemed by the Savior, we should strive to redeem and lead to even more redemption through Christ.
We are limited in the level of redemption that we can provide. The soul of another is completely out of our hands. We can do our best to lead someone to the One who can save, but ultimately, we can not save any soul with the redemptive power of Christ. How then, can we reflect the saviors love for us, if we can truly never do what He did on the cross? We do this by doing what we can in our human form.
What a blessing it has been to be parents. We have learned what it is like to truly give ourselves up completely when we would rather be sleeping or watching our favorite TV show. It's been a humbling and growing experience. It is just the surface of what Christ has done for us. In the physical, my daughters have never been without a loving parent. Since the moment they entered the world, they have been smothered with hugs and kisses. As a rescued individual in Christ, can you imagine being without a father or mother in not just the spiritual sense, but also in the physical?
For many, adoption is just something that takes place when more children are desired, or when we are faced with an adoptive opportunity based on an already existing relationship. This is good! This is not the only time we should act, however. The orphan statistics throughout the world are mind-boggling. When you compare those numbers to the number or churches throughout the world, it will not just be mind-boggling, but mind-exploding. We as Christians, have allowed this issue to get far out of hand, simply by not allowing our lives to be a reflective image of what Christ has done for us.
The truth is, we have all been lost and fatherless in this world. If you live in Christ, you have been rescued and adopted by God, the heavenly father.
Galatians 4:3-6 (ESV)
In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Adopted is who we are.
As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.
Adoption is hard, and not always possible to everyone due to various circumstances in life. However, as adopted individuals by God, we should all be loud advocates for the redemption of children throughout the world.
This year we have transitioned into a way of life that has proved more difficult than we could have imagined. I am not talking about the recent growth to our family, rather the ministry that we are here to pursue. We have been blessed with local friendships and ministry opportunities through those friendships. However our full time ministry focus of working with children and restoring healthy families had brought to a place where we were forced to learn a lot about ourselves.
As we transitioned out of teaching and into full time ministry work, we were excited! Excited to see what God does through the vision that He had placed in our hearts. We took this excitement and began trying to run with it. We established goals and plans to make this happen. Then we hit a road block. Everything we had set to do in our hearts, could not be done at this time due to government regulations and restrictions. Rather than engaging ourselves in new creative ideas, we hit a stand still. This led to somewhat of a depression, something that I truly believe so many of us deal with when life begins looking like it makes no sense. Kind of like that moment when the hopes and desires that God placed on your heart look impossible. This is what we began dealing with. Only stronger than we had ever felt because this time we had sold everything we owned and moved to a third world country.
We spent many late nights in prayer. Many tears and frustrations shared between the two of us. Here we were with two young daughters and no idea what to do next. Suddenly, it hit me. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Our purpose for being here was no longer for the Guatemalan people, it was for me. It became about what we could do, rather than how we can help. We had put so much pressure on ourselves to start something big and great rather than believing God, in His perfect timing would work things out according to His perfect plan. From that moment on, everything changed.
It was time for us to serve, learn, and equip ourselves for the work that God had called us to do. Not for us, but for them! We woke up the next morning and began emailing and calling every potential opportunity within this country that we could think of. The truth is, there are over 150 homes in this country that are working with orphaned children. There is so much help that is needed, and so many resources available for us to learn from. We have reached the next step, and we are so excited about it.
We are devoting all of our time to finding a perfect place for us to serve Guatemalan children in an established environment, and also learn from the leadership so we can be as equipped as possible for when God gives us the opportunity to pioneer the work we believe He has placed in our hearts. We could not be more excited not just for our family, but also for the investment that will be made for the Guatemalan people.
I will be the first to admit that marriage is one of the hardest things I have ever committed to. If you say this isn't the case with your marriage, I envy you, along with probably 99% of all other married couples. I am deeply in love with my wife, and would do absolutely anything for her to make her happy and to keep her safe. Things just become difficult when you add two kids to the mix and are living in a culture that will always be somewhat foreign to you.