Viaje de Amor en Ingles

(A Journey of Love)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Home Depot gives Support

As we continue to plan for our Both Hands project, we have a small list of jobs to do at Sandie's home - painting, a ceiling fan, renovating a powder room...  As we considered the costs of supplies, we decided to write a brief letter and go to the Home Depot near Sandie's house.  I spoke with one of the managers of the store, while Alicia and Ariana were on a completely different mission - selecting paint for the nursery.  After I explained the project to the store manager and sheepishly asked if Home Depot would be willing to help, she said that they thought it was a great idea and wanted to help us out.  Home Depot provided us with $100 towards supplies and she gave me her card saying that when/if we need more support, give her a call.  This was such an encouragement to us as we continue organizing this project.  Our team is coming together - we have over 20 people committed to helping with the work on Sandie's home.  We have a team "foreman" who met with Sandie and went through her home to figure out a list of projects.  We sent out our personal letter to friends and family.  We have our "Kick-off" meeting scheduled for this Tuesday evening to meet with our team and pray together.  We are really looking forward to working hard to help and encourage Sandie.  Thank you for your prayers and support.

By the way - the color for the nursery will be a light pink!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

One Step Closer

It is so awesome to see God's hand at work.  In the past 24 hours we received our loan check for our Dossier to be able to be sent to Honduras & moved one step closer for our approval!  I was more excited to get that than I ever thought I could be.  Again, it is like God is saying "see, all you have to do is trust me...I will provide!"

Our Biometrics(fingerprints) were completed today and now we just wait again!  We are praying that these results come as fast as the other results came and yet I continue to trust in God's timing.

This week, we hosted two team members from Life Action (a conference that we had at our church) and had such a wonderful time with Sarah & Rachel.   A vision of what our life will be like in about 10 years.  Rachel is so much like Alexa & Sarah, much like Ariana.  What a blessing it was for our family.  To be able to share this brief time with two wonderful Godly young women, I truly believe was such a gift for our girls as well as both Andy & I.  We will miss having them around and yet gave us a glimpse of what our life is yet to come.

It amazes me to have this feeling of love for this little girl that we can only imagine in our hearts and minds.  We can't wait to get the news of who she is and what her little personality is like.  I know that God is wrapping His loving arms around her even at this moment and trust that the time will come in His time that we will be able to wrap our loving arms around her.

Lifesong for Orphans

As mentioned in previous posts, we are working under the Both Hands Foundation in cooperation with Lifesong for Orphans.  We will be partnering with Lifesong through the use of our blog to be advocates for orphans.  Now and then, we will post a blog from Lifesong which will be a reminder to us of the need for us to reach out in love to those who need a home and a family.

OCA Mission Moments from Lifesong for Orphans on Vimeo.
They sat in the studio with an expectant glow as they spoke about their children they had yet to meet, but who they claimed as their very own...

Josh: "As unbelievers, we are aliens.  We are strangers.  We are separated from God.  But God has come in and adopted us, through Christ, to be in His family."
Jenn: "And we're just so thrilled that our family can be a picture of that to the world!  And just like we would never question our true son-ship to God the Father, it's been an encouragement to us to think about, we really don't have to question whether these kids are our true children... cause they are!"
When Josh and Jenn Philpot felt God's nudging toward adoption they weren't sure where they would get the money.  They received a matching grant through the Orphan Care Alliance (OCA), turning the $6,000 they had raised into $10,000, and making it possible for them to bring home not just one child but two!

OCA is a multi-church alliance in the Louisville/Southern Indiana area.  Adoption funding is just one part of their ministry.  Their many outreaches include recruiting and training foster parents, mentoring local foster children, assistance for local churches in launching orphan ministries, international orphan care, and more!  They are also a part of Lifesong's Outside the Walls Network, which connects churches to serve orphans more powerfully together than they could on their own.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Orphan and the Widow

There has not been a lot happening in the process of the adoption - we are still waiting for the preliminary approval from USCIS.  At the same time, we have been working on the Both Hands project, which we mentioned in a previous post.  We are building a team to work on a widow's home, and each team member will send out sponsor letters to raise funds that will go toward our adoption.  We have written a letter that explains our project.  You can find our letter on our donation page on the Both Hands site.

Please pray for us, Sandie (the widow we will be serving) and our team as we prepare for our project date on June 25th.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Great Yard Sale

What a day!  I am exhausted!

I woke up around 5am and tried to will myself back to sleep for another 30 minutes.As I lay there contemplating the fact that our friends and family had been very generous with offering items for the yard sale.  We had a basement, living room and dining room full, there were items in our sitting room and a few in the barn.  Needless to say, this fact moved me to get out of bed.  It wasn't long until Alicia was up and we began the process of setting up for the yard sale.  My brother, Mike, and my nephew, Zachary arrived around 6am to help carry everything out.  It was one trip after one point Zachary commented that there seemed to be no end to all of the stuff.  Our friend, Kim showed up shortly after that and Alexa also joined us.  We ended up with twelve tables filled with items and much more. 

Our first shopper showed up at 6:30, only an hour and a half before the sale actually was scheduled to begin.  It was about this time that the first light mist arrived, so we ran and grabbed towels and sheets and covered what we could.  The good thing was the shoppers were consistent and continued non-stop until 12:30.  The rain was light, it came and went and ended by mid-morning.  There were times that traffic in the driveway looked like the Schuykill Expressway during rush hour. 

Things we expected to sell are back in the basement, and other items went quickly.  One of my favorite moments of the day was allowing the kids to sell some video games.  We were given two televisions, and we had a handful of old atari video games programed into joysticks.  These were sitting on a table and no one was even looking at them.  I ran an extension cord to the table and allowed Alexa and my nephews to play the games.  Within minutes we sold the games and one of the televisions.  At one points it seems the kids would start playing a game and someone would buy it before they could finish the game.  We started breaking down the yard sale around 2pm.  Once everything was packed up and the yard was was empty once again, we sat down to total up the sales of the day...when all was totaled, the yard sale brought in almost $900.  We thank the Lord for such a great provision, and we thank our very generous family and friends for donations of items, money and time.

Here are some more pictures from the day:
Joseph Enjoying Breakfast!

What else do you do with ski poles!

Time to clean up!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ready for the Yard Sale

Last Sunday was Mother's Day.  After church, the girls and I made dinner for Alicia and then did all of the clean up which allowed Alicia to enjoy a restful afternoon.  She found herself making a dress for Ariana for school and then she was able to enjoy a gift that Marcos and Maria Luisa brought for us.

As we look forward to the yard sale this Saturday, I do not think we are going to have much opportunity to use the hammock.  We have received many donations from friends and family towards the yard sale - clothing, books, bikes, collectables, children's toys and games, furniture, etc.  Everything that has come so far has collected in our basement, and has moved into the dining room and living room.

It looks like the Lord is going to give us great weather on Saturday, so we are hoping that all of the items that have been donated find a new home.  I am looking forward to a good day on Saturday and gaining back our living space. 

Thank you to all who have donated items - Please pray for a great day on Saturday and many opportunities to share about our adoption and how God brought us to this decision.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Approved for Both Hands Project

Once our Home Study was completed, we completed the application process for two adoption grants.  One was with Show Hope (Shaohannah's Hope) and the other was with Lifesong for Orphans.  We received an email from Show Hope yesterday letting us know that they received our application and will review it by the end of June.  We should hear back from them the first week of July.  We also heard from Lifesong yesterday...they called to let us know that we have been approved to be part of the Both Hands project.  There is a great video on their site which explains the Both Hands project.  In James 1:27 we read, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."  In the full context of Scripture, we can understand this passage.  The Bible tells us, and from our own experience we know, that we are sinners.  In other words, we have turned away from God and rebelled against God.  In His holiness, God is unable to have a relationship with sinners, and in His justice He must deal appropriately with our sin.  Therefore, in our sin, we face an eternity separated from God under His judgment.  In His love and mercy, God sent His Son Jesus Christ who lived a pure life, and died in our place on the cross.  God chose to place our sin upon Jesus Christ, so that the penalty of our sin was taken care of in Christ.  Jesus died and was buried, but on the third day, he was raised from the dead.  Through His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus conquered sin and death.  Everyone who places their faith in Jesus Christ alone receive the forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life.  Through Christ we are free to know God, love God and love forever in God's awesome presence.  Faith in Christ is the only way to have a right relationship with God.  The outflow of a right relationship with God is a desire to do that which brings Him glory and live according to His word.  James rights that we bring glory by caring for orphans and widows.  This is where the Both Hands project comes into play.

We are seeking to care for orphans through adoption and working with Living Hope Adoption Agency, which works to care for orphans in the countries of China and Honduras.  This is "one hand", with the "other hand" we are planning to care for a widow.  We will select a widow that needs work on her home, and we will set up a day that a number of us will work on her home.  We will gather a number of our friends to work on her home as well.  All of the participants working on the widows home will send out sponsor letters to their friends and family.  Those who want to sponsor the team members, will send their financial support to Lifesong for Orphans.  This will fund our adoption account and be a big help for us through this process.

We will share more details as they come together.  Please pray for us, for the widow that we will serve, and for our daughter in Honduras.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cochinitas and Cheesesteaks

Last year, when we traveled with a team from our church to visit the Bible Fellowship Church (La Roca) in Merida, Mexico, we were introduced to cochinitas.  These were sandwiches of a shredded pork flavored with a Mayan seasoning, served on a roll with onions.  Quickly, this became a favorite for me.  We left Merida, traveled to Cancun and had a meal at the Cancun airport before flying home...I found Cochinitas on the menu at one of the fast food restaurants.  I was sorely disappointed...sort of like getting a cheesesteak anywhere but Phila.  This weekend, we had the privilege of hosting Pastor Marcos (the pastor of La Roca de Merida) and his family.  Marcos and I are about the same age (some say forty...I am going with thirty-ten), and our daughters are the same ages.  Ariana and Sofia are 13, Alexa and Frida are 11.  We had a great time together, eating, visiting with others from our church, Marcos preached at our church on Sunday, and of course with teenage daughters, we went shopping.  We introduced them to Rita's water ice, Shoo-fly pie, and the cheesesteak.  Marcos had eaten a cheesesteak on a previous visit, and as he tried to explain the cheesesteak to his wife and daughters, he likened it to the cochinita.  Though one is beef and the other is pork, there is a lot of similarity between the two.  We had a great weekend, and said 'adios' today.  I look forward to seeing how our families will continue to grow closer through the years to come.  Here is a picture we took of the two families with two of our cats...the dog wasn't as agreeable to get his picture taken.

As we drove back to Reading, Marcos asked about the process for adoption and what the next step would be.  I shared that we are simply waiting for the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration to give us preliminary approval to adopt a child from Honduras.  We are waiting for our appointment to get our "biometrics" identification done.  As I was traveling home from Reading, Alicia called me to let me know that we received our appointments, so before the end of May, we will have to travel to Phila. to get this taken care of.  The process keeps moving along, and we continue to trust in the Lord as He directs our steps.  Thank you for your prayers, and for the many who have donated items for the yard sale on May 14.