Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Big Kahuna!

This week was a total blast! It was the kick off to our summer of Mission Adventures...our summer missions program. We had one team in NYC, one team in Mexico City and the third, here in Monroe, North Carolina! The team that was here was from Discover Church, the church I grew up in, in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.
I cannot explain to you the JOY that I had in having people from "home" here. It was so great. This team spent the week helping with our "Front Porch" children's ministry. They also worked with local ministries that we partner with. It was a fun, full week.

For "Front Porch", the theme was "Animals of The Kingdom." Each day we shared about a different animal that the Lord had created. Tuesday was fish of the sea.

For this particular day, we rented "The Big Kahuna" from a party rental place. It is a water slide of sorts. Todd knew it would be fun for the MA team, but even more of a crazy, fun time for the kids in the neighborhood. They do not get to go to a pool, or the beach. (They usually are just "hanging" until school starts up again. We are running a few weeks of "Front Porch" during the summer providing a fun, safe place to play and hear about Jesus.)

Well, Todd checked things out online. We picked this particular slide because it went with the day's theme (fish) and we thought it would offer something for BIG kids as well. When the guy pulled up with "Big Kahuna" I saw that it needed it's own trailer. Hmmm...
At first I was a bit worried. It did not appear to be very big. Would this be a bust? Then, the air started to fill "Big Kahuna."
It started to get taller and taller. Oh my...I just had this huge smile on my face. This baby was TALL! Chris, the owner, said, "The picture online does not do it justice, right?" I just knew Todd would freak out when he saw it. The kids would go crazy. I was SO right!

I saw where "Big Kahuna" got it's name. (Kahuna is a Hawaiian name for someone of importance, a "Big" person.) We played on this baby for four hours. Ashley and our little friend Avery practically had to be dragged off with me...well, actually, THEY did have to be dragged off. We ALL slept good that night.

I went to bed wondering if our little friends were dreaming of their afternoon's conquest. (They had to start off brave to go down the first time.) I pray that they see how BIG our God is. How awesome He is. How fun He is! I do know that they saw and felt how much God loves them. This team hugged them, played with them, listened to them. It was wonderful.
Discover Church, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota Mission Adventure Team 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008


first date!

Auntie Yvonne, caring for Gabbie


this is nice!


sweet cuddle time

hugging on Daddy's legs

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Where Things Stand

James 5:16
"The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." -NKJ
"The prayer of a person living right with God is something to be reckoned with." -The Message
Todd is back on US soil, but not home just yet. He returns to North Carolina in the morning. Gabbie continues to be in the loving care of her family in Lome, Togo. All are waiting our return. This whole trip is nothing short of a miracle, or series of miracles...

A few days ago, I asked for angels to "escort" our paperwork. When Todd went to the Notary yesterday, he was greeted by a Christian woman who will handle our paperwork. Everyone signed the papers, family, birth father and Todd. Our papers know travel through the system. Please continue to pray for the process.

While at the Notary, she asked Todd how does she know that this is something that I, as Todd's wife, would agree with. Todd pulled out our dossier. He began showing her our papers and profiles. Then, he had to go through the letters of recommendation that have been sent by family and friends. Todd said that after the 15th letter, he just lost it. He just sat there crying in front of this lady. He was so blown away by the love of our family and friends, their words of recommendation and commendation and to think that they took the time to help us see this dream come true. He was so humbled and grateful.

We are told that we will be notified as to a court date. We will then come and appear before a judge. There are no promises of time, we pray it is very soon. Please pray for this as well. All of this is so bathed in prayer.

About the baby's family and our extended YWAM family...Todd was so welcomed and treated so well. He was cared for before he even touched down. I look forward to hugging everyone in person, and thanking them for how they have cared for Gabbie and for Todd.

Tomorrow, I will be posting pictures!!! I can hardly wait to see. I hope we sleep tonight. Thanks for standing with us. The letters and words of encouragement have carried me through some challenging patches here. I am so grateful!

Faithfulness on the Home Front

Certainly, I would find, when I opened the door of the refrigerator, that the temperature was back to a "normal", "recommended" zero reading for the freezer. Slowly, I open my eyes as I open the door. Wow. Maybe I have it too room for cold air to circulate...maybe I have covered a fan...maybe...

...maybe my freezer reading is 18 (!!!) because it is broken! I'm not a repair man, but I felt pretty good about my diagnosis. (To be honest, we had a repair man out 2 months ago who warned us that we were living on borrowed time with our fridge).

So, on Tuesday I found myself heading out, "hunting" for yet another kitchen appliance. (Remember last Tuesday I went "hunting" for a dishwasher). This time I was not alone. Last week Ashley's teacher read our blog and so kindly offered to help me, but I had already purchased the dishwasher.

Tuesday I stopped by Mr. Brown's house to ask a few refrigerator questions. After inviting Ashley and I in, Mr. Brown listened to my questions and then said, "Let's Go!"

This man, who has been teaching my daughter this year, and knows me only as a parent, offered to help me pick out a refrigerator. Is this connecting with you? Even as I write this, I am becoming misty eyed. I did not expect this at all. He was serious! He got in our van and drove to another city with us to pick out this major appliance. He gave us three hours of his evening!

This is the last week of school. He is a busy guy. He is not only finishing a school year, preparing for field day, moving to another grade level next year, he is getting married in less than a month! I was so overwhelmed with his kindness, and the faithfulness of the Lord.

Those who know me, know that I do not always wear the "outfit" in public, but I do think that I have to be Super Woman. I feel that I have a responsibility to be all things to all people. The reality is I am tired. I was just having a conversation with the Lord that morning, and I felt like He said that I do not have to be the best at everything. I do not even have to be good at everything. It is okay to let others be great, to let them help.

At HH Gregg, I was again thanking Mr. Brown for helping me. He said something like this, "It's okay. We can't be good at everything. We need to get some help sometimes." I smiled inside, and said, "That's right."

Once again, I went into the now infamous "scratch room" at HH Gregg and found the appliance that seemed to be hand picked by God for me. Great deal! Right color! Even same brand as my "just delivered" dishwasher.

To the Lord I say, "Thank you for my new friends, James and Anna, and for giving them to me in such an unexpected way!

To James Brown, "Thank you for giving your time and expertise to me. The fridge looks great! You really blessed my heart."

To Todd I will say, "Surprise! This is what our stimulus package looks like."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The King's Way

"The King's Way"
there is a road
that leads to peace
that leads to life
but few will follow
we're at the crossroads
which way will we go
there is not today a more holy way
than the steps that lead me to the cross
where my will can't be the priority
and these crowns I've gained
I count as loss
when I hear the Spirit say
this is the true King's way
-Jason Upton
Great River Road
As Todd's time, in Togo, is coming to a close, we rejoice over all that God has done! I can look and see that this trip was SO of God. I weep with gratitude. I am thankful that God speaks to us, that He leads us. I am so grateful that we listened and moved out in His timing.
The law in Togo has changed! Parents with biological children can adopt. How wonderful. This is a miracle!
Todd goes to the Notary tomorrow. Here he will meet with the biological father and Gabbie's family. Here, they will all sign papers and continue the adoption process. Over the next few weeks, a judge will review our case and we will wait to be appointed a court date. We are told that we will then be contacted to return to Togo to appear before the judge. At that time, a decision will be made.
I am walking very carefully here. We are so close to bringing our sweet baby home. We are not finished yet. Please continue to pray...
*for the meeting to go well tomorrow
*for angels to "escort" our paperwork through the proper channels, quickly and with favor
*for Todd and Gabbie's hearts as they say good-bye tomorrow evening
*for traveling mercies for Todd
*for continued health for Gabbie
Jason Upton's song came to me yesterday. Wow. The way of the cross. His ways are so much higher than mine!
When we started all of this, I really thought it was about a baby, and a family. Slowly, but surely, I have been getting that this is about so much more. To see His ways established on the earth, I need to see that my will is not the priority here...His glory is the priority.
I choose to walk this out His way...the King's way.
One more thing...
My husband is the bravest man I know. Friends have asked if this has been hard for me, knowing that he gets to hold her, love on her, kiss her, and I am at home...waiting. No way!
First of all, with our other kids, he has been the one to meet them first, in person. (Due to both emergency deliveries). Secondly, I am not sure I could leave without my daughter. I just can't imagine a flight full of people putting up with my think I'm This will be hard for Todd, but he can hold it together in a way that I could not. Someone had to go. He knew, what I have always known...he's "The man!"
We look forward to all the pictures and the stories. We wait, with hopeful hearts, to hold Gabbie soon.
Grace, great Grace!

Monday, June 2, 2008

He makes a way...

I am so overwhelmed tonight by God's great love and mercy.

We are so close to bringing our baby home. The events of this day are so holy. Precious. Orchestrated by the very hands of God.

I cannot go into detail at this time. What I can say is that God is the God who hears. He has made a way where there seemed to be no way. I am humbled and oh, so hopeful.

Thank you for your prayers. There are no words. I have seen such grace on our lives. Tonight, please

*thank the Lord for what He has done in our situation
*thank Him for going before us, and making a way
*pray for continued protection for Todd and Gabbie
*pray for a completion of this part of the journey
*pray for details to be wrapped up quickly
*pray for more grace as we wait

There is so much.

Wait with anticipation.

Worship with expectation.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Micah 6:8

In seventh grade, I was sitting in sociology watching a filmstrip. The images before me where of women and children in Africa. We were exploring cultures other than our own. I was so intrigued, captivated. My thoughts went to "What would it be like to live there?" I think that this was the beginning of the stirrings of the call on my life to missions. I never dreamed that years later I would be adopting a precious baby from Africa!

Today, Todd journeys out to a village to preach. This is the village where the baby's grandfather lives. It will be the first time that Todd is meeting this family Patriarch. He loves Gabbie so much, and wants the best for her. He is in agreement for us to adopt her. Please continue to pray for this precious family.

Yesterday, Todd was able to meet with the physician that has been caring for Gabbie. She has been prescribed many medications, vitamins and special formula. Also, she is still not walking at 19 months. We know that many times, babies in other cultures are carried so much, that their walking is delayed. We just wanted a clear understanding. Todd and his new friend (and translator) met Gabbie and her uncles at the doctor's office.

First of all, Todd was very pleased with the doctor. He was so kind, helpful and really seemed to be "on top of his game." (He did not even charge for the appointment!) The doctor explained that Gabbie's mother had a uterine infection while she carried Gabbie. That infection passed on a sort of bacteria, or virus, to Gabbie. It is affecting her muscle strength, and possibly some other areas. This is something that needs immediate attention. Nutrition is a major factor here as well.

We are praying that the Lord would make a way for Gabbie to come home quickly so that we can act on these things. Time really is imperative. We thank God that He is in control. We are not worried. We do have concerns that we want to address.

Jeremiah 1:5 says that even before we were born, we were "consecrated"...destined for a purpose. God has a plan for Gabbie! Please pray with us for miracles.

We are so grateful that Gabbie has been able to be under the care of her family. That is not always the case. We have a responsibility, a mandate from the Lord...
"He has showed you, Oh man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness
and to walk humbly with your God."
-Micah 6:8