A New Year + Kieran

abbey and levi Xmas

I pray that everyone’s Christmas season was one of joy and peace. It is my hope that as we reflect upon Christ and what He has done for us in His birth, life, death, and resurrection that we will be strengthened in our faith and inspired to live a life devoted to God.

I do understand that Christmas is often hard for many people. I think of a young man that I have known since I moved to this country seven years ago. He died two nights ago. As I try to process this, my thoughts turn to his family and the sports teams that we were both heavily involved in. This will be a hard time for many. Instead of rejoicing as the New Year rolls in there will be heart break that at 22 he was unable to see another year.

Despite the hardship there is a few things that warm my heart. First, that his long battle and suffering in the grip of cancer is no more. Second, that our university was able to give him an early graduation – he was able to experience this achievement that he had worked towards. Third, and most important of all, he joined the family of Christ and can now see his Savior face to face. Fourth, I know his family was with him in the end. I pray that they may be comforted in this time and that his witness will also bring them into the House of the Lord.

I come now to my greatest hope. That in times of struggle, hardship, and yes, even death, we will have those that love and care for us by our side. It breaks my heart that many children, and adults, do not know the love and support of a family. May we, the Church, those of the family of God, stand alongside these people in 2018 and beyond. May we be family for these people. And for children like Kieran/Wesley who wait for a family. https://reecesrainbow.org/122861/kieran-3

Kieran was born in 2014 with Spinal Meningocele which has resulted in delayed psycho-motor development. He is able to be adopted and has $495 donated to help pay for some of the fees. Would you pray for Kieran with me?

Dear Lord,

Thank you for Kieran. Thank you for his smile. I pray that you will bring him into a family. A family that will care for him and protect him. A family that will help him to grow and reach his greatest potential.

Please prepare his heart and the hearts and minds of the family that you will call forward. May you provide support and care for them so that they may weather the hard times that are sure to come. But also have friends and family around them so that they may rejoice at the blessings and victories that will also come.

Please prepare us and show us how to be the support and care for others. Help us to know what it means to be a family and to be in a family.

For you and for your glory I pray,

Amen

kids on snow horse

May you all have a blessed New Year!

 

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Ever Thankful

Recently my sister wrote a letter to the Central Authority, Children’s Services in her birth country. This is what she wrote….

Dear Sir/Madam,

My name is A_______, I live in Canada. I am twelve years old. I was born in Lithuania. My Lithuanian name was E_______. I was adopted on May 19, 2014 by C_______ and A_______. I would like to thank you for finding me a family.

Sometimes we go out to the beach on family day when we celebrate becoming a family. We take photos there and play in the water. We may go to the movies, or the park where we have fun as a family. At meal time we eat together, and talk, and laugh. When we go to bed Mummy comes up to pray for us!

On Sundays we go to church and we pray. A person teaches us about Jesus. On Holidays like Easter and Christmas we remember Jesus. On Thanksgiving we sit at the table and talk about what we are thankful for. I am always thankful for my family and friends.

Once a week I go to Youth Group where I can spend time with my friends and do Bible study! Sometimes our friends come to our house to play. We play tag, hide-and-go-seek, and other running games. We have lots of fun.

In the summer time we play water fights and take turns on the swing. We climb trees and eat cherries off of the trees in the back yard. We also say hi to our rabbits, chickens, and our barn cats.

We stay at home and do school with Mum. We can do school as fast as we want or as slow as we need. Daddy buys us the supplies we need for schooling and then the delivery truck brings the books. I read history that is about wars and about how we got governments. We read the Bible; it tells us about Jesus Christ, God’s Son, and what miracles he has done! I read science books about how things work and where electricity comes from.

We also do drawing and art for school. I love to learn about different animals from all over the world. And on Fridays our friends come to do science experiments with us.

I love my family very much, I think being in a family is the most glorious thing there is. Thank you for finding me a family.

Sincerely,

A_______

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As we get closer to celebrating the birth of Jesus I am reminded that though the exact date of his birth is unknown we can still celebrate with joy. As my sister grows and learns what it means to be in a family she has shown joy and thankfulness for what she has. I think this is a testament for us this season. To be thankful for those around us that we celebrate with.

Though people we love may be missing this year and despite the hard financial times that many are in there is still a chance to be thankful. My sister has many things sheImage result for christmas could complain about and while she is not in a perpetual state of contentedness and thankfulness (who is?!) she does remind me of all the amazing things that I do have. Such as the great blessing of being able to call her my sister.

May this Christmas season find you ever thankful and looking to the One who given us so much to be thankful for.

Dear Lord,

Thank you that we can anticipate when Christ is coming again by celebrating when you sent your Son to us the first time. As we celebrate Jesus’ birth please helps us to remember why you sent him. So that we could call you Father. So that we can be joined in relationship with you as your children, saved and redeemed from the sin that had held us captive.

In your precious gift we have found life. May we be thankful for the life and for the love that you have shown. You gave Jesus, the eternal Son, so that we could be called children of God. You continually give us the Holy Spirit who cries “Abba, Father” with our spirits, testifying of who we are.

I pray that as we celebrate this year we will not forget those that still wait for families. My we show love and life to them as you have shown it for us.

Thank you,

In Jesus Christ’s holy name,

Amen.

 

We must not forget

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Though I have not posted in a few weeks due to sickness and a heap of coursework that I am slowly making my way through, I don’t want to give the impression that I have forgotten why I do this. Why I write and pray.

Unfortunately, I think forgetting is something that we are all guilty of. The busyness of life catches up and we find ourselves trying to just stay afloat, and that which is close and dear to our hearts gets choked out, pushed to the side, and forgotten. But we must not forget!

amberWhile I may not be posting as much with the busyness of life I am striving not to forget those that have been forgotten by many in the world. In tears and joy there is prayer for those that are still waiting. Not a prayer given in haste once a week or once a month but a heart-felt yearning shared with our Father in heaven for those that wait.

As we approach a time of year that is marked with busyness, whether in school, work, or life, please join me in remembering those that have been forgotten. Pray for them, talk about them, decide how you will remember them.

In the world of orphan care there is many ways in which we can remember. We can advocate, support, sponsor, pray, foster, or adopt. No doubt that there are other ways in which we can remember. So in this season of busyness please remember.

 

Dear Lord,

Thank you for your gifts of grace. Thank you that you are with us wherever we go and whatever we do. Please help us to make a difference in other people’s lives. Thank you for those that you have placed on our path so that we may walk with them.

As we get busy and find ourselves overwhelmed please grant us peace and strength for your name’s sake. Please cause us not to forget those that are downtrodden and forgotten by others of this world. May we be a beacon of light in their lives and within the world.

Please bring children home, bring light into their lives, give them a chance to see that they are loved and have immeasurable worth.

To you be the glory forever,

Amen.

Levi and christmas

 

Layla

The other evening I was eating dinner with the four little kids, and the conversation turned to what they would do if they were in charge of the government. Keep in mind that they range in age from 8 to 13.

lil' kiddosThe answers ranged from caring for the poor, and making sure that everyone had enough food to eat and had a place to live (you can see how their past influenced their thoughts).

But the responses that most struck me were comments like, “everyone has a family”, “everyone gets adopted”, and “no one is abandoned”. I think this shows where their hearts are. They love being able to have a family. This does not mean that they don’t struggle with having been abandoned before or with the years they lived in the orphanage. But it does show how important having a family is for them. parliament-clipart-mp-list-of-LSRS

My youngest sister worries about kids who don’t have somewhere safe to sleep. My youngest brother is sad every time I have to give the answer that the little boy he prays for still isn’t adopted.

It is my greatest hope that my siblings will not only experience the love of God and enter into a new Spiritual family but will also be empowered to make a difference in other people’s lives. They have big hearts, great potential, and I believe that they will make an impact on the world around them. May we all strive to make an impact – whether we have a part in the government or not.

There are many other children awaiting adoption who have the potential to change the layla-sm-154x300world. But may never get the chance if they don’t have a family to support them and to make sure that they get the health care and education they need to succeed.

Layla is one of these kids. Though Reece’s Rainbow has no further information on her other than her HIV diagnosis and the year of her birth (2012) this does not mean that she doesn’t have hopes and dreams, likes and dislikes, and the desire to be loved.

Layla is available to be adopted by large families and older parents. http://reecesrainbow.org/121867/layla Would you please pray for her with me?

Dear Lord,

Thank you for Layla. Thank you for your hand in her life. May you bring a family forward to adopt her. To help her see that she is loved and to help her reach her potential.

May her family teach her to respect others, and love all people and creatures, and to make an impact on the world. Please guide her, and those that care for her now, and those that will care for her in the future. May you be glorified through your work in their lives. May they make a difference to the people around them and to the world.

Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for the gifts that you have given each person. May we use these gifts for your glory, for the protection of others, and so that others may know of your grace.

In your name, I pray,

Amen

Thankful

There is so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! I am thankful for thought provoking classes. I am thankful for amazing professors and mentors. I am thankful to be able to coach an awesome swim team and work with some great students as their TA. I am also thankful for good friends and amazing family (my parents have been married 25 years this month!).

Speaking of my family, there are some challenging circumstances that they are going through at the moment. It has been and will continue to be a hard time in my family but I want to say that I am exceedingly proud of all of them. They have truly shown what it means to be gracious under pressure.

Kiddos

As we continue to walk through this challenging time in life I am exceedingly thankful to our Father who is heaven. Despite our circumstances and those times our actions are less than gracious He continues to love and care for us. In His gracious love and mercy He has given us the gift of salvation through Christ and continues to sustain us through the Spirit.

Truly God is a good God. He is holy and His holiness perfects His love; a love which He chooses to show to us despite the trials we may face. For this I am so very thankful. I choose to rest in His love and strength as I walk with my family through this time and as I work towards the completion of my thesis.

These three are Sophie, Bronson, and Brenna (http://reecesrainbow.org/category/sponsorafamily/newcommitments). They have families that have committed to them and beginning the process of bringing them home. They are embarking on a long hard journey that won’t end when their children come home. Lives will be changed and it will not come easy but that does not mean that it is not worth it.

This year many beautiful children have made it home (http://reecesrainbow.org/category/sponsorafamily/alreadyhome2017). Surely this is a wonderful thing! May God be praised for His provision! Daniel, Mikayla, and Poppy Mae are among these children that are now home. Would you pray with me for God’s continual providence over their lives and their families? Would you also join me in a prayer of praise and thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness?

Dear Lord,

You have done great things this year. You have shown Your love and mighty power in the lives of children like Daniel, Mikayla, and Poppy Mae. Thank You that they now have a family to call their own. May You be glorified through their lives.

Please be with them and their families as they learn what it means to be a member of a family and what it means to love and be loved. Please be with them and strengthen them. May they know that You are with them both through the times of hardship and the times of great joy.

To You be the glory forever!

Amen

I just want to make one more comment – I am extra thankful for my wonderful sister. We are very close and though it has been hard since she got married and moved with her husband (a wonderful man) to the other side of the country she has remained a rock in my life. I am eternally grateful that God has blessed me with her. She is a great encouragement in my life and I do not know what I would do without her.

Tori and Nick

May we always be thankful!

Sibling Group in Latin America

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The picture above is of my four youngest siblings during the time my Mum and Dad were in country to adopt them. I look at this picture from three years ago and I am blown away by how much they have grown. Not only physically but also emotionally. They have adapted to a whole new way of life and a brand new language.

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We have become a family group that is learning to help each other through the hurts of the past and the struggles of the present. To accept our differences and love our ‘weirdness’. It is my hope and desire that children will not be left behind to work through their pains and struggles alone.

We have not been designed to be alone but to be in community. To have family and friends and people that we can rely on. At church this morning the sermon was on the hope that we have in God and how we can rely on His faithfulness. He is faithful through His promises.

As a children of God we can rely on our Father’s faithfulness but we are also called to action. We are to be people of faithfulness, not only faithful towards our God but faithful to other people. In our love of others we are to act as someone who they can rely on.

It is my hope that we can follow God’s example of faithfulness and be a faithful people. A people that children who are hurt and broken and looking for love can rely upon.

5-sibs-LA There is a sibling group in Latin America that is waiting for a family. They need the faithfulness of a family. Of parents who they can rely on to support them through the past hurts and the present struggles. A family that can help them cling to hope and grow into faithful people. http://reecesrainbow.org/121366/5siblings

Would you please pray with me that a family will come forward and bring these children into their home and call them beloved.

Dear Lord,

Thank You for Your love towards us. Thank You for Your faithfulness and for Your grace towards those that You have welcomed into Your family. Please help us to act in the same love, to act with faithfulness towards others in times of great joy and great sorrow.

I thank You for the close relationship that these beautiful children have with each other. I thank You for their love of art and sports. I thank You that they have the opportunity to attend school.

Please bring these children into a family so that they may continue to grow in their relationship with each other and have the support that they need. May You be glorified through their lives and through Your work in bringing them into a family of love and support.

May Your name be praised!

Amen.

 

Marielli

Matt and Amber

I was talking with my youngest sister today and I was struck by how thankful she is. She was drawing a picture of a character she remembered from a book in her orphanage. She told me that the picture that she drew really wasn’t her picture because the book hadn’t been hers. She went on to matter-of-factually say that she didn’t have anything.

I mentioned how she now had her own things and instead of being sad about her past she gave me a huge smile (her smiles light up a room) and nodded. This is her through and through. She is thankful for what she now has and is excited by it.

I love how she is thankful but it hurts my heart that she knew a reality in which she never had anything to call her own. There are other children who are waiting for families and they are the same. They don’t get to experience owning and caring for something that is theirs.

Marielli is one of those kids that are waiting for a family. She has been waiting for years. I remember seeing her face as I looked on Reece’s Rainbow years ago and it saddens me to know that she is Marielli-2still waiting. Her post is also old, the latest update is from 2015!¬†http://reecesrainbow.org/101065/marielli

This beautiful little girl was born in 2011 in the People’s Republic of China with a cleft palate. She was blessedly apart of the cleft exchange in 2012 that was run by Love Without Boundaries. This means that her cleft palate is post-operative. However, in the 2015 update it was stated that she did have a small hole in her palate.

When Marielli was first listed she was described as a social and active little girl who loved to splash in the bath. In the 2015 update she was described as a cooperative introverted little girl. Thankfully as of 2015 she was living in a foster family.

Would you please pray for her with me?

Dear Lord,

Thank you for Marielli. Thank you that she is important and that you have a plan for her. Lord, I pray that you will bring a family forward for her. May they help her to grow in life and in love.

May she get the surgeries she needs for her palate and the help she needs to develop to the best of her ability.

I pray that she is still in a good foster family that will show her love and show her her worth. May you protect the family and help them to live out their roles with wisdom and patience.

May your name be praised for the work that you will do in this little girl’s life. May you show your love and power.

In your name I pray,

Amen.