Friday, November 8, 2013

A Dream Defered, or rather, Continued...

I've had a lot of hesitation about posting this week. Maybe I'm just scared of rejection, or that I haven't prayed enough before I set my thoughts out into the world. But here goes. For several years now, I've been dreaming of opening my own bookstore. Originally, I wanted it to be only a bookstore- then it turned into a bookstore with music, arts and crafts, and body care- things that make people happy and have a higher quality of life. I've also been getting to know several people in the area who are passionate about adoption ministry as I am. This week, God merged the two passions together. My goal is to run a business where people feel free to donate gently used items, and the profits would be given to families seeking to adopt. I prayed about which area to specifically serve. God reminded me of the Christian family unit in the US. The truth I have seen on several occasions is that more families would be open to adoption if they knew finances were not a stumbling block. At this point in my life, I am six months from graduation and I am moving back to my parents house. I have numerous loans to pay off and the idea of getting this up and running is both exciting and overwhelming. But just as God has slowly revealed his dreams with mine through the years, I know it will require time, patience, and prayer. I pray that this will be blessed by God and that I would find supporters who value this vision despite my inabilities.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I could say that one reason why I haven't written about my other trip days is because I was working, but the real reason is that the days I didn't write about were either too difficult or too life-changing to simply type. I've had a few months to think about the things that stood out to me the most on this trip. One moment stands out.

"We're going to a special needs orphanage tomorrow, so let's pray for emotional strength and guidance." our team leader said the night before our last day at CRAN and our trip to this orphanage. Knowing me, I was going to be a wreck. I loved kids, but seeing so many with disabilities and no homes would be rough. I initially backed out, thinking that staying home would be better than being dragged across the city and having my heart ripped out and stomped on.

The drive took a long time. Our three taxis all were lost and we panicked as we watched ourselves get deeper into the worst parts of Bogota. No one seemed to have ever heard of this place, like it never existed. One person would point left, while another pointed right. We got all the way to the mountain top before mentioning giving up. We made it after and hour and a half, only to find our group still hadn't arrived yet. The director begged us to come inside, despite us wanting to catch the others if they drove by. When we all got inside, we were led down a dungeon like hallway, around corners, and upstairs.

And there they were. Just sitting, some staggering to walk with walkers and braces, some on their backs on simple blankets. Feeding tubes, head gear, facial impairments, and misshaped heads and legs were only a few troubles we saw.

I spotted a little boy and girl on their backs and said hello. The boy smiled, I asked to hold him. At three, his head was flat on one side and he could scoot himself with his legs, but he couldn't walk. I held him and made funny faces with him that he copied back to me. He giggled, a sound I thought I'd never hear from this hidden place. I could have held him all day. My arms were getting tired, or I wanted to say hi to the others, whatever the reason, I placed him back on his back. Since then, I've thought, "How easy is it to look past this imperfection and see the joy that is this child? If I could be his mother, I would never stop holding him. yet, a sickness was also brewing in me. I could take care of and love this boy, but I couldn't see myself constantly loving the wheelchair bound child, the child with the missing eye. or the one on a constant feeding tube. Why do I have these thoughts? Am I too human? This question still bothers me today...

Since then, I have been thinking of that orphanage hidden on the top of the mountain. Surely there are people with more love than me who can take these children and bring them out of hiding. Let the world know they are here, they are loved, and they are His children.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wilmer goes Home!

From Project Hope Ministries Facebook Page:

Today is a very special day for Project Hope. Today Wilmer, a little boy from CRAN, will be joining his forever family. Many of you have joined us in praying for him over the past year, and we hope you will continue to pray for a smooth transition for this family. We praise God for His ability to unite a special family with an amazing little boy!"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a HOPE and a FUTURE." ~Jeremiah 29:11


Congratulations on finding your forever family. May you find joy in the good times, and peace in the hard times. Stay close to your family, and closer to God. Enjoy childhood, because it fades too quickly. Make mistakes, create dreams, and go after them. Most of all, use your story to help others.

Happy homecoming!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Day 3: Walk on the Water, Too.

"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' that would not make it any less a part of the body..." 
 I Corinthians 12: 12-16

Day 3 started with a visit to Tierra Linda, a local church in Bogota. Going in,we recognized some of the tunes of songs we have sang back in the US in our churches. Our missionary friend Gere talked to us about the church before the service. He told us that family life in Colombia is falling apart and the church is overworked trying to meet many people's needs.

We were expecting to sit in church and listen despite language barriers. Thankfully, Glenda volunteered to translate the sermon for us- which turned out to be about Communion. We met so many wonderful people at the church, who hugged us, gave us their contact info, and shared their stories.

I knew today would be a day of firsts for me and I was nervous. I sang myself Britt Nicole's Walk on the Water throughout the day. We took four siblings from the church with us as we headed downtown to hand out blessing bags. These are such great kids- they are silly, kind, and respectful. On the bus ride I talked to Laurena through broken Spanish. She asked about my "I am Second bracelet." I told her, "Jesus es uno, mi es dos" and I gave it to her. The smile on her face was something I will never forget! "Caren!" she called to her sister. "Regalo para Deanna!" These are the moments when I know following Jesus is the best way I could live my life.

Downtown we saw many homeless individuals. The goal was to hand out two for each team member. It was raining- people were under bags on benches, a woman fell crossing the street, and people got word we were handing out bags and came up to us asking for a bag. I didn't know how much it affected me seeing all this until I had a real breakdown that night. Despite the struggles we saw, God provided not only safety, but friendship and opportunities all week.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day 2 in Bogota

The overall day went okay. We visited Castle de Marroquin, which was beautiful! God's nature is so amazing! We spent time at Guatavita- a lagoon where an Indian Chief was painted with resin and gold and jumped into the lagoon as a sacrifice. This was an interesting location, but my attitude was awful. The higher up in the mountain we walked, the harder it was to breathe and the colder it got. We stayed at the Lagoon for the afternoon and went to eat at a mountainside restaurant. We ate black sausage (tastes like cornbeef), cheese pockets, coca-cola, and salted potatoes. It was so delicious! At night we walked to the local grocery store. There was a family outside asking for money. The youngest was a girl about two years old. Colombians thought it was colder (mid 50's) so they all had on winter coats and scarves. This was an new experience for me- what can I do? We couldn't do much, but it stuck with me nonetheless.

I am loving it here- I can't really explain why-it's different and beautiful but like home in a few ways.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Tomorrow's post will be focused on Day 2, but I wanted to share a post from my friend Becca about someone special we met at the orphanage.

If you follow Project Hope Ministries you have already heard his name. Ferley (Fare-lay) is an 11 year old boy at CRAN orphanage, and as with all Colombian orphans (and orphans around the world), being this age means that his days at the orphanage are numbered. If a family does not step forward to adopt Ferley in the coming months, he will be transferred to a different orphanage and will no longer be available for adoption. He will spend the next few years learning how to survive in a cold, cruel world, and when he is 18, he will be released into that world with no family to fall back on, and no government programs to assist him. No food stamps, no free health care, no government housing.

While in Bogota, we saw so many adults living this terrible life - hungry, cold, and hopeless. That's why meeting and spending time with Ferley this week was such an emotional wakeup call to me. All of those people were Ferley at one time. They were children. However they came into their circumstance, they were once an innocent child desperate for someone to give them hope. 

This is not a generic call for awareness, although advocating for these orphans is one of my missions. I'm telling you about Ferley because I want Ferley to find a family. Did you know that there are 3500 families on the waiting list for a healthy Colombian baby (which is a wonderful thing), but that it is rare for any of these families to even consider adopting an older child? Meanwhile a loving, servant-minded, smart young boy waits out his years in an orphanage as his "expiration date" draws nearer and nearer every day. I have seen many "Ferleys" join forever families, including my own nieces and nephew, my sister, and children of my friends. Zack and I will join that list when God opens the door. Have YOU ever considered walking through that door? Has someone you know ever discussed the idea of adopting? Tell them about Ferley. Tell them that organizations like Bethany Christian Services and Project Hope Ministries are there to walk them through the process, step by step. It is NOT out of reach. It is a long, tough process, but you CAN do it.

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed." - Psalm 31:8

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A HUGE Thank-you and Day One

First things first, let me say so many thanks to everyone who prayed for our trip over the past few months, sent donations, and read our updates. We were able to genuinely love people for who they were during our time in Bogota. We shared meals, laughter, and tears as brothers and sisters of Christ. We were also fortunate to have little to no major issues with travel or sickness, and weather cooperated to our advantage. Without your support, we would probably have had a difficult time, but we did not.

(I will share some of what I wrote in my journal)

Wow, what a day! I'm still on the plane flying over Panama. There's been a lot of patience required to get here- long trips, delays and many nerves. (Thank-you Shauna for being my travel mom for my first out of country experience and first plane ride!) I not only saw that I enjoy flying, but that God has been with me this entire time, and not just in the airport. There will be many joyful tears (and maybe some sad ones) Show me your path for me regarding children and adoption- give me a heart that exceeds myself and travels beyond my safe home in the US. help me be a friend, not a complainer, open my heart for Your love. I am so excited for this journey You have brought me on- 6 years of prayer and study and I'm going to the orphanages! I thought my life was going the opposite direction from everything I had planned- yet Your plans are so much bigger than mine will ever be! Thank your for giving me this heart that cries!