Goodbye Ordinary

I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us. Isaiah 63:7

Cholera Situation in Haiti November 17, 2010

Filed under: Ministries,World Events — Lori @ 7:22 pm

 

I just had to share as I got a new post from a wonderful ministry in Haiti – Real Hope For Haiti – and what they are facing as cholera has reached their town.  It is very serious and they need donations and they need prayer.

Here is a portion of the recent post:

Things are getting more serious here in Cazale with the Cholera outbreak.  There were 2 children that died in the RC this AM.  We had 17 other children that were very sick with vomiting and diarrhea.  We were slightly overwhelmed.

I wanted to try to explain something to everyone.  We live about a 45 minute drive to the next bigger town.  This town has a center set up for Cholera patients.   Someone asked  “Why don’t you just send them there?”  Well people-we have had several come in that are near death. Over 10 people that we could not even get BP to register on.  One lady was not breathing and we somehow brought her back.  This is a serious illness that does not allow for a lot of time to get to a treatment facility.  So many people live back in the mountains and have to walk hours to get medical treatment.  Many are dying because of this.  They just do not have enough time to get help.

Please do take the time to check out the entire post and donate if you are able.  This family has been in Haiti for a very long time – about fifteen years.   They have an established ministry and the people there trust them and count on them.  This country has been through so much already!

 

Heart For Haiti – Giveaway March 5, 2010

Filed under: World Events — Lori @ 12:12 am

A very talented jewelry designer, Junk Posse, has made a beautiful silver necklace to help raise awareness and money for Habitat for Haiti.  Check out the link and enter to win. 

 

Sometimes I Don’t Think I Can Take It March 4, 2010

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,World Events — Lori @ 3:57 pm

Do you ever get overwhelmed with the problems in the world?  I have had the hardest time with my emotions when I think of Haiti and it’s people (especially orphans) since the earthquake.  I was obsessed for weeks reading news stories and personal blogs of missionaries or orphanages in Haiti.  I cried and prayed for these ministries as they did all they could to help the people devastated by this disaster.  There are times when I just have to turn away, I can’t take it anymore.  (Confession – I still check those blogs on an almost daily basis.)

I was just reading an article about older child adoption.  It was about teens who are about to age out of the system – in most countries turning fourteen is the end of the road.  These kids are in orphanages or foster care and many of them are longing for a family – someone to love them and care about them and encourage them in their futures.  That just makes me want to cry.  Well, I did cry.

There is an article at Rainbow Kids about these older kids.  People have asked why all of a sudden it seems there are all these older kids available to adopt when they weren’t visible in recent years.  Do you want to know the sad answer to that question?  It is because the orphanages did not think anyone would be interested in older kids so they didn’t even submit files on them to make them available for adoption.

Another question people ask about these older kids is do they really want to be adopted?  The article mentions China specifically, but many countries are undoubtedly similar socially, in that these orphans are not afforded the same opportunities in education, encouragement to succeed, jobs, etc.  They are stigmatized as orphans in a culture that celebrates and honors family and ancestry.  Their chances to succeed in life are dramatically diminished because of their orphan status.

I think what is so hard for me is that I see all these things that are wrong in the world and I can’t do much to change them.  I donate money to different organizations in several countries that are working with orphans and I have adopted two children and am working on a third adoption.  Honestly, if I could I would have more than a houseful of kids.  I don’t know if that is particularly prudent, but my heart just wants to do more.

I don’t exactly have a million people who read my blog, but I can still put out a plea.  Please, please, think about adoption or orphan care/support.  (I have many Christian organizations who work with orphans on the right side of my blog if you need ideas.) 

Consider adopting an older child or kid with special needs.  Don’t they deserve the security and love of a family?  If you can’t adopt, help a family who is adopting.  Most of us who adopt aren’t independently wealthy.  We just want to make a difference in the life of a child and are willing to trust God to provide as we step out in faith.

I hear the comment a lot that adoption is really expensive and therefore, families do not look into it.  It is, unfortunately, true that international adoption – even domestic adoption, is rather expensive.  However, there are ways to do it.  There are many organizations that you can apply for a grant to help pay adoption expenses.  There are ways that you can fundraise.  Some employers have adoption assistance programs.  You can take out a home equity loan, rates are low right now.  There is a federal tax credit (The tax credit does expire in 2010 and I don’t know if it will be extended – write your senator and representative about this!) that will return about $11,000 of your expenses, but it isn’t a tax refund, it is getting back taxes you pay and can take several years to get the full amount back.  The fees are often reduced for older children or kids with special needs.

Really, it all comes down to your willingness to stretch outside your comfort zone.  Are you going to live for today and your current comfort or are you willing to think long-term (eternal!) and make a decision that will affect a child’s life forever.  I can attest to the blessings and satisfaction that comes from adopting an older child.  I am NOT saying it is without its issues and adjustments.  Only that the benefits will far outweigh the problems.

If you have questions or want to know where to begin looking into adoption, please ask!  Do remember to pray for the vulnerable children of the world.  They are precious in His sight.

 

Trusting in God’s Sovereignty February 15, 2010

Filed under: Books,Faith,Grief,World Events — Lori @ 4:02 pm

I think that learning to trust in God’s sovereign hand in my life and in all of creation is a lesson that I will be learning my entire life.

I have had several hard “valleys” come along in my life in order to learn this lesson.  I have found that God has been merciful in preparing me ahead of these great times of darkness so that I was able to grope my way through them – knowing that the Lord was walking along beside me and with a knowledge of His love for me and his promise to cause all things to work for good in my life.  Just so you understand where I am coming from, God’s “good” he brings into my life is that He is making me into a more perfect reflection of Christ to the world. (Rom. 8:29  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.)

It might be the earthquake in Haiti, the collapse of a bridge in Minneapolis, 9/11, or a personal trial that stops us in our tracks.  These tragedies leave people hurt and questioning God’s involvement.  We have two choices, don’t we?  We can believe that God is in complete control of His creation – which includes people and nature – OR – we can believe that God isn’t able to stop bad things from happening, but is hoping that He can make something good come out of them after the fact.

Matthew 10:29-31  are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

With a belief in the first choice we may not always “like” what has happened, nor do we understand “why” it has happened, but we can safely and securely rest in the knowledge that God was in complete control of the circumstance and has ordained that it come to pass – either by His allowing or causing. 

In the second choice, we are left to wonder what may hit us next and will we have any idea of any purpose in these tragedies when they come.  There is no comfort, no security in this choice is there?

Thank goodness we do not make a choice!  Whether we choose to believe it or not God IS in control of all things.  He is almighty and sovereign over all his creation.

Daniel 4:35  He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth.  No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?

I was just re-reading an article in Tabletalk magazine by R.C. Sproul, Jr.  He says this about God’s sovereignty:

……….How, though, can we move from simply affirming the sovereignty of God to resting in it?  We will rest in His sovereignty when we remember not just that He is almighty, but that He who is almighty loves us with an everlasting love.  It is because He is with us in the valley of death that we do not fear.  It is because He has prepared a table in the presence of our enemies that we can be assured that goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives……………………Psalm 46:8-11  Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.  He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.  Be still, and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

I think this is an important step – remembering that we are children of God and that He loves us.  We are not making a choice between believing that God is sovereign OR that He is good and loving.  He is both.

Jerry Bridges says in Trusting God, “The one element that should distinguish the suffering of believers from unbelievers is the confidence that our suffering is under the control of an all-powerful and all-loving God; our suffering has meaning and purpose in God’s eternal plan, and He brings or allows to come into our lives only that which is for His glory and our good.”

Psalm 33:10-11  The LORD fails the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.  But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Romans 11:33-34  Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”

Isaiah 55:9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Another quote from “Trusting God“,

“As God’s rule is invincible, so it is incomprehensible.  his ways are higher  than our ways.  His judgments are unsearchable and His paths are beyond tracing out.  The sovereignty of God is often questioned because man does not understand what God is doing.  Because He does not act as we think He should, we conclude He cannot act as we think He would.”

This is not an easy doctrine to grasp.  I am, however, so thankful that God taught me this before Grant died because it would have been SO MUCH HARDER to go through that if He had not.  As I said in the beginning, I am still working on this.  Every day.  The Christian walk is a road of faith in a God Who has revealed Himself to us in His word and we seek to learn more about Him every day.  It is a journey.  How thankful I am for the hope and security we have in eternity because of what Christ accomplished on our behalf!

Augustine said, “Nothing, therefore, happens unless the Omnipotent wills it to happen: he either permits it to happen, or he brings it about Himself.”

 

UNICEF and Haiti Adoptions February 12, 2010

Filed under: Adoption,World Events — Lori @ 5:23 pm

From God’s Littlest Angels blog:

At a time when orphan babies are dying, and the children of Haiti are in the single greatest need in the history of this nation, UNICEF has worked to shut down all international adoptions.
Now in this important field report from Port Au Prince, Doug Phillips examines the present battle to rescue Haiti’s children in the context of UNICEF’s anti-adoption efforts vs. the work of the Christian community to encourage the Haitian government to cut through the red tape and open the door for legitimate, qualified American adoptions.

 

Keep Praying (and giving) for Haiti January 16, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Ministries,World Events — Lori @ 2:13 pm

I don’t know about you, but I can hardly think of anything besides the people of Haiti and those who are there trying to do all they can to help them.

Yes, there are many aid workers on the way to Haiti, but there are people who already live there – people who have lived and helped the people of Haiti for years.  People who have given of their lives and love to meet the needs of these poverty stricken people and in those loving acts have also testified of the love of the Father.

I read about another missionary family who ministers in Haiti today.  I found the link on Noel Piper’s blog for a ministry called Real Hope For Haiti Rescue Center.  They began their work in 1999 with a six year old girl who was a burn victim.  From their website:

We began with our first child, a severely burned 6 year old, that would have had to walk 6 hours each way to get dressing changes. We took her into our care to do daily dressing changes. Two week later we took another burn, and after two more weeks we had four children that were living with us full time.

After that they started to take in malnourished children who would stay with them until they were doing better.  You can see that this ministry is perfectly positioned to offer medical care to the people in this hard hit area.

If you are interested in learning more about this ministry or donating to their work in Haiti, please visit their website.  You can donate online through a link on the right hand side of their blog . They have a lot of photos of the devastation.  Please continue your prayers for these people who are precious in God’s eyes.

 

God Loves Haiti January 14, 2010

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,World Events — Lori @ 11:49 pm

I cringed yesterday when I heard a comment made by Pat Robertson saying that what happened in Haiti was God’s judgment on that country’s people for “making a pact with the devil”.  That was such an unfeeling and uncalled for comment. 

I was pleased today to read a very Biblical and compassionate response to the earthquake in Haiti in an article by Albert Mohler.  I have copied an excerpt below, but please do follow the link and read the whole article – it is worth it!

God does judge the nations — all of them — and God will judge the nations. His judgment is perfect and his justice is sure. He rules over all the nations and his sovereign will is demonstrated in the rising and falling of nations and empires and peoples. Every molecule of matter obeys his command, and the earthquakes reveal his reign — as do the tides of relief and assistance flowing into Haiti right now.

A faithful Christian cannot accept the claim that God is a bystander in world events. The Bible clearly claims the sovereign rule of God over all his creation, all of the time. We have no right to claim that God was surprised by the earthquake in Haiti, or to allow that God could not have prevented it from happening.

God’s rule over creation involves both direct and indirect acts, but his rule is constant. The universe, even after the consequences of the Fall, still demonstrates the character of God in all its dimensions, objects, and occurrences. And yet, we have no right to claim that we know why a disaster like the earthquake in Haiti happened at just that place and at just that moment.

The arrogance of human presumption is a real and present danger. We can trace the effects of a drunk driver to a car accident, but we cannot trace the effects of voodoo to an earthquake — at least not so directly. Will God judge Haiti for its spiritual darkness? Of course. Is the judgment of God something we can claim to understand in this sense — in the present? No, we are not given that knowledge. Jesus himself warned his disciples against this kind of presumption.

Why did no earthquake shake Nazi Germany? Why did no tsunami swallow up the killing fields of Cambodia? Why did Hurricane Katrina destroy far more evangelical churches than casinos? Why do so many murderous dictators live to old age while many missionaries die young?

Does God hate Haiti? God hates sin, and will punish both individual sinners and nations. But that means that every individual and every nation will be found guilty when measured by the standard of God’s perfect righteousness. God does hate sin, but if God merely hated Haiti, there would be no missionaries there; there would be no aid streaming to the nation; there would be no rescue efforts — there would be no hope.

The earthquake in Haiti, like every other earthly disaster, reminds us that creation groans under the weight of sin and the judgment of God. This is true for every cell in our bodies, even as it is for the crust of the earth at every point on the globe. The entire cosmos awaits the revelation of the glory of the coming Lord. Creation cries out for the hope of the New Creation.

In other words, the earthquake reminds us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only real message of hope. The cross of Christ declares that Jesus loves Haiti — and the Haitian people are the objects of his love. Christ would have us show the Haitian nation his love, and share his Gospel. In the midst of this unspeakable tragedy, Christ would have us rush to aid the suffering people of Haiti, and rush to tell the Haitian people of his love, his cross, and salvation in his name alone.

Everything about the tragedy in Haiti points to our need for redemption. This tragedy may lead to a new openness to the Gospel among the Haitian people. That will be to the glory of God. In the meantime, Christ’s people must do everything we can to alleviate the suffering, bind up the wounded, and comfort the grieving. If Christ’s people are called to do this, how can we say that God hates Haiti?

If you have any doubts about this, take your Bible and turn to John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. That is God’s message to Haiti.

There are many relief agencies providing aid and supplies to the people of Haiti.  I have heard that Doctors Without Borders is an organization that has been working in Haiti and will continue to provide the much needed medical care the injured will need.

There is an orphanage called God’s Littlest Angels that operates near Port au Prince, Haiti.  They are not only caring for the children that were already living in their orphanage, but expect to be receiving more children through this disaster.

Please consider giving financially to one of these organizations or another one you have heard of.  These people need to know that there is someone out there who cares about them and wants to reach out and give them a hand.  Please also be in prayer for the men, women, and children of Haiti and those who are traveling there to offer aid.

Another circumstance to keep in prayer are families who are in the process of adopting children from Haiti and this disaster has interrupted the ability to get the cases through court.  There are even children whose famlies had completed court procedures, but just needed a passport to be issued by the Haitian government – which no longer really exists.  Pray that these children will be able to go to their adoptive families.

 

 
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