Thursday, September 18, 2008

God's Plan of Adoption ... Presented by Lifeline

God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit set up shop in the Fellowship Hall at Isom's Chapel on Wednesday night. And that we would be so fortunate and blessed to be there and witness His power and His grace, as His Word was so beautifully shared is hardly imaginable. For weeks, we had worried about this night (I know, I know, worry is opposite of faith). We had done all we could, and then some, to get the word out about an Adoption Information Meeting at our church. Lifeline Children's Services was coming to Isom's Chapel and we really wanted very badly for everyone to see why we chose Lifeline. We hoped and prayed for families to come and for God to be glorified and for the blessing that is adoption to be shared with families called by God to attend, learn, and possibly adopt one of His children.

We planned and coordinated with Lifeline - Crissy is truly one of God's own angels! Crissy and I worked out an agenda and Lifeline planned their part (God was planning His part too!). We wrote an article and got it published in the Huntsville Times Faith and Values section - thank you Kay Campbell for your kindness and help. We mailed posters and brochures to over 60 churches and asked them to make an announcement to their congregations, with a goal of finding those with whom God was speaking ever so gently about His plan of adoption. We told our friends and asked them to tell their friends. We wrote articles for the church bulletin and had the meeting announced on our company websites. We asked our friends from Athens Families with Children from China for help and they responded by bringing food and supportive smiles! We wanted everything to be perfect and so we worked very hard. And we prayed. And the devil got mad! But there was simply nothing he could do. Because on this night, as with every other, he was defeated, banished to the sidelines to watch as God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit did a victory dance in his end zone!

After all our preparations, the day finally came for the meeting. We thought we might have a few families, but they were a bit iffy on whether they'd be there or not. We certainly didn't want Lifeline to travel all the way from Birmingham and have no one to speak to. "Oh ye of little faith," God said. "Have I not shown you many times over My power and My majesty? Why do you worry? The starting lineup is here now! Go, sit over there and watch!"

I spent the last 30 minutes or so trying to pray in the sanctuary where it would be quiet. But the devil kept trying break up our little huddle. Little did I know that only a few words were needed. "God, let it be Your will that is done tonight and let us not get in the way of Your plans." The rest was extraneous. I can imagine God, amused at my ramblings when He had everything all worked out, saying to Jesus and the Holy Spirit "Well, we'll keep working on this one. But for now, let's get to work."

So when Lifeline showed up, we discussed the order of service (we'd already coordinated that once, but a second time would be good, right?) The pastor would pray, then I would give a short testimony of our experiences with Lifeline and introduce Dave, the international director. Dave would talk about 5 minutes and then turn things over to Karla and Allison for 20 minutes each to discuss each country we work in. Ready, break! They asked how much time we'd have and I said to take as much time to say what the Lord would have them say.

Then I decided to show Lifeline a video of their adoptive families, while we waited for guests. Austin and I had taken pictures at Lifeline's Reunion on Saturday and built a short video using those pictures. We intended to show the video at the meeting and wanted their blessing first. I completely underestimated the emotions this video would evoke. Pure, raw, unfiltered emotions that brought tears to the Lifeline staff's faces as they saw each child, once an orphan, smiling and happy with their forever families. Orphans they themselves had helped to bring home. If you've adopted, you know what I'm talking about. If you've been to an orphanage, you know what I'm talking about. If you've seen children anywhere in need, you know what I'm talking about.

By the time the meeting began, God had put 7 to 10 families (not including Isom's Chapel or Athens FCC) in our midst and said "See, the harvest is plentiful, now let's get to work." We had 57 chairs in the fellowship hall and nearly all of them were filled. I followed the script as planned, but took a few minutes longer than we'd agreed on and then it was Dave's turn. But first, I showed the video. And that's where God said "I'll take it from here."

Over the next 55 minutes, Dave gave the most passionate, unashamed, plea for God's people, present in the fellowship hall this night, to be "doers" of the Word and not hearers only, quoting James, Chapter 2. Karla and Allison never even got to speak. But that's OK, because by now, they were both a real mess! Dave completely put Lifeline and Isom's Chapel aside and focused on the Word, borrowing from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, quoting Paul, and describing Jesus and His disciples' interaction where children were concerned (Let the little children come unto me). All for the sake of bringing God's plan of adoption to the center of the room. And there weren't many dry eyes in our group as Dave related how 148 million orphans in the world simply want a daddy or a mommy, like our own children. And how several of them had crawled into his lap and asked "Are you my daddy?"

Dave quoted Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith ... it is the gift of God," a verse we carry on Lia Faith's web journal. And he gave us a plan with four options. 1) Adopt. Bring home a child who simply wants to belong. 2) Give. Adoption may not be for everyone, but you may be able to help a family gifted by God to be adoptive parents, but in need of financial resources. 3) Volunteer. Lifeline and other agencies need volunteers to reduce the costs for adoptive families. And to quote Dave, they promise not to call you more than once a week! or 4) Support. Pray for someone adopting, call them and simply tell them you love them for following God's will. Write them a letter - or comment on their blog.

Dave made it clear that it is God's gift to us to be able to do one of these four things. Each of us has something in our hands that we can give for God's purpose. No matter how much or how little. Sometimes I tend to hold on to what I have in mine for fear I might not get it back. And I miss out on the blessing of what God would trade me for what's in my hand. Please don't miss that blessing yourself. Choose one of the four options and give God what's in your hand. And accept the blessing that's in His.

Wow, I wish everyone could have been at God's table with us last night. When the meeting was over, I thought Karla and Allison were going to be overrun by the families wanting to get more information and ask their questions. I even got to talk to two families myself and both of them seem to be leaning heavily now toward adopting. I met a man with a funny name that I recognized and we determined that I had taught his little sister guitar lessons over 20 years ago. Another family came up and we found out that we work for the same company, so we'll be able to keep in touch. And as icing on the cake (BTW, we did have cake thanks to Connie!), we had two families join Athens FCC this week.

Thanks so much to our friends at Lifeline for all they did on this special night!!! And thanks to our 'family' at Athens FCC for the food and support (see number 4 above!).

Sorry for the dissertation, but when God comes to town, you can't quit talking about it!

Love,
Jerry, Connie, Austin, Lily Grace, and Lia Faith
Green, Party of Five

4 comments:

Aaron and Erica said...

Amen!

Anna's Adventures said...

i´m so glad to hear the meeting went well! i miss my Lifeline family!

The Ferrill's said...

I miss my Lifeline family too! ;)
It sounds like a slice of heaven...praise God! I love it when God shows up HUGE, and orphans are His heart, so why wouldn't He?
Thanks so much to your family for your love and service to these children...you truly are ambassadors for Christ!

Anonymous said...

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Thanks