Sunday, February 12, 2017

Straining Towards What's Ahead

I want to post an update with fun pictures of Christmas and birthdays and our first snow, and I will, but I have so many heavy thoughts running through my head and weighing on my heart, that I want to start there.

We left an amazing community when we moved last summer.  It was one of the biggest reasons I did not want to leave.

I can honestly say our lives would look so very different if it weren't for Summit Church in Orlando and the work that God did in our hearts there. 

Many of you have heard about our God ordained second visit to Summit Church on Africa Sunday 2008 that literally changed the course of our lives forever. It was in that service that I clearly heard God say that our children were in Africa (which was a little surprising seeing as we had just decided to adopt from Korea the night before and we had only planned on adopting one child).  Eight years and five kids later and I couldn't be more thankful for that word from the Lord and the support that we experienced at Summit and through our friends and family.

Which is why it is so confusing that the Lord would move us away from it all.

We are starting to find community, but it is not the same (please do not take offense if you are our new community, we are thankful for the many ways God has provided relationships here).  

Soldiers speak of a brotherhood with other soldiers that is unmatched in civilian life and that is how I can relate what we are experiencing here.  With our Florida friends and family we've been through some stuff.  We've walked the highest, happiest days and the lowest, darkest days together.  

There is an unspoken bond and understanding and we miss that.

The culture at Summit Church in Orlando lends itself to being a place where taking your next, often wild and crazy next step for the Lord is embraced and encouraged.  

It is a place where we could walk into the doors and our family looked "normal" and it didn't matter that we had eight kids from all different backgrounds and places.  We knew they would be loved and welcomed and treasured.

This is the the Church.  

This is Jesus.

We experienced a little bit of heaven each week in that place.

So this morning as I laid in bed praying for God to show us just why exactly we are here now and not there, God showed up, like he always does.

We've been praying and thinking of a name for our little farm.  We wanted it to be something significant.

We dream of the day we can make a little profit from our ventures and be able to pour into the ministries that God has laid before us, particularly in Ethiopia. 

As I continued to struggle through this moving process, I decided that this year, I would focus on joy.  Finding joy in the little things, seeking joy in the Lord and returning quickly to joy.  

I want to be joy-filled and I want to trust Him.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

So we settled on the name Desta Farms 
because Desta means "joy" in Amharic (the working Ethiopian language).

and we're claiming Pslam 126:3
The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

Our friends' church here sponsors a care point in Holeta Ethiopia with Children's HopeChest and they still have 30 kids that need sponsors.  As I scrolled down the list of kids this morning I thought to myself, "how do you even pick one."

They are all precious and they all need someone to step out on their behalf.

I got to the very last picture and this sad little face was starring back at me:

She captured me and once I read her name, I knew why.

Meet Desta

Our newest sponsor child.  We love her already and pray that through our sponsorship she will find the joy of the Lord and that it will be her strength.

Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10

Don't miss this verse:  "send some to those who have nothing prepared"

Desta has nothing prepared, but through sponsorship she will now receive food, basic medical care, schooling and discipleship.

I am praising the Lord that he still speaks to his children and that he has chosen our family to partner with Children's HopeChest and the Holeta community to sponsor Desta.

We had decided to stay home this Sunday and listen to a sermon from Summit Church Orlando on podcast.  Wouldn't you know that the very first sermon on the list was this year's Africa Sunday message and that this annual message would once again directly affect our family.

I invite you to listen to the message from lead pastor John Parker.

And when you are done, if you are looking for a way to plug in, there are still 30 children waiting for their sponsor families.

click on the link and then select "unsponsored" on the "status" tab

I still do not know exactly why we are here or why this transition has been so hard for me, but I do know that God is faithful, his promises are true and I can trust him.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philipeans 3:12-14