I've sat in church for years. I've listened to missionaries describe their work and ask for contributions. I've listened to various pastors and preachers ask for contributions to building campaigns. I've attended school functions and been challenged to contribute more than I thought I could give to aid the work of the ministry. But until our second son entered our world, I never believed I'd be the one asking - asking for more help than I could ever imagine receiving.
Believe me, sitting here, in the receiving spot, changed me!
Since May of this year our family has prayed, waited, wondered, cried, rejoiced, doubted, and celebrated our journey up this financial mountain. We've tried to update you on the process but have kept some of the beautiful stories of provision to ourselves. As we close out this year, we wanted to share with you the stories of people - of people nudged by God - to care for the orphan. We are so humbled that they have chosen to respond through our family. It has grown us, challenged us and shaped us in ways we never anticipated. But, before we go there, journey alongside us to experience what it felt like to receive these incredible blessings.
- You'll remember our first loan, the loan we needed to begin, given by a friend. This loan gave us the faith we needed to plunge in beyond the "maybe" stage. The loan became a gift last month. And debt erased. The circumstances are unfathomable but God is in the givers and we.are.humbled.
- There were children, a young family, who wanted to gift together, so the created a homemade lemonade stand with delicious treats as well and their neighborhood supported our son, led by children. And we.are.humbled.
- A friend, a friend I haven't seen in years, from high school, sent us a message that they too hoped to adopt some day. That finances had always been their fall back to say - it couldn't happen. But she drew hope from our story and wanted to be a part of our supporters. And we.are.humbled.
- Tennis girls from my past - the ones I coached before children and after children - came back into our lives to contribute and donate. And we.are.humbled.
- Several adoptive moms who have walked this journey - on their own and with help from others - have turned back and contributed to our process (in finances AND with advice that has been worth its weight in gold). I want to be like them someday. And we.are.humbled.
- Colleagues from both our work environments have chosen to help us financially. People we see daily and share our lives with have chosen to walk alongside us in powerful ways as partners. And we.are.humbled.
- At another critical turning point in our story, when we felt as though we were at a wall, a church + school + we see them everywhere in our lives friend quietly approached me, slipped a check for an amount I never could have fathomed into my hand and disappeared. And we.are.humbled.
- A Maranatha friend who we see only in the summers but have nevertheless grown close to by countless hours at the pool has shared, prayed, and gifted. And we.are.humbled.
- Our parents and siblings have given - sacrificially - and let us know how deeply they are behind us. And we.are.humbled.
- A brilliant artist gave of her time, her talents (and ultimately her treasure) to support our auction, to bring home Joshua and to make this possible. And we.are.humbled.
- A friend of our parents, at church, a friend I don't even know, felt called and compelled and gifted. And we.are.humbled.
- Friends who found us online ... total strangers. People we can never look up or meet or find an address to say thank you felt led by God to contribute to our fund.
- Our children have heard each of your names, been moved to tears by how many people care about their brother, and in turn, are filling a jar with every penny they find, each quarter they earn, and giving it all back to their brother's fund.
- Most recently, since our PureCharity site has opened, we have a new way to be humbled. anonymous. Anonymous on PureCharity means we really never get to know. We never get to see who gifted us from $40 to $5,000. But to those 7 anonymous people who felt God's call to the orphan and chose to support our journey, WE.ARE.HUMBLED.
I repeat the phrase not make beautiful writing. But because with each gift we receive we are constantly reminded that God's provision is carrying us through. We are living in the faith community who hears His call and responds - and through them, we are able to do the hard things ahead. But beyond that, we are inspired. We've felt the beauty and hope of taking $5 in pennies from a child, and we've felt the utter shock of a large check donated to this call. And our response each time is, we need to do this for someone else. We need to find a way, during our saving, to still give to others. And we have. We need to find a way, when JinHua is home to continue supporting others in their call for adoption. And we will.
We look forward to reading, hearing, seeing and learning about ways that God continues to move in the hearts of our community - and continues to make the care for the orphan close to all of our hearts. We make a plea that if you find yourself, standing at the base of a mountain this next year, please call us, include us, share with us your journey. We might not be able to sidle up and pass you a check, but we promise to hold you in prayer, pinch our pennies and work to show you the beauty of being humbled by a pile of loose change.
We know that 2017 will hold massive changes for our family, new challenges in almost every aspect of our lives, but we pray that it also holds great change, inspiring challenges, and beautiful truths for each and everyone of you.