Looks like we'll be waiting until at least next week. Just received the below email from AWAA. I appreciate the update and the information about the extra step the Rwandan government is requiring... but wonder if our two children are the ones with unexpected medical results?!?
Dear Waiting Rwanda Families,
Over the last few months we have learned that there are two others families that are also adopting from Rwanda through AWAA and they are in the EXACT same place we are waiting on our referrals! I'd like to introduce them to you and point you to their blogs:
Justin & Heidi Limmer - they have two children and are in the process of adopting a little boy from Rwanda. They found out last week that their referral will be for a 10 month old boy! http://www.limmerfamilyadventure.blogspot.com/
Ryan & Kara Higgins - they have two biological children and are in the process of adopting two children between the ages of birth and three years old (just like us!) http://www.higginsadoption.blogspot.com/
The good news is we could be traveling with both the families above to Rwanda at the same time! Courtney has already been in contact with Heidi and Kara via email and Facebook. The women will soon have everything planned out! :)
Where does vision for our personal life and organization come from?
Some wrong places:
1) Because it’s there—if there’s a mountain to climb we should climb it
2) Duplicating success—it’s worked in the past
3) Vanity—what will bring me as the leader the most personal success or praise
4) Need—if there’s a need we should meet it
5) Available resources—if resources are available to us we should use them
6) Leader-driven—leader generated—leader’s best thinking
7) God’s revelation—what has God revealed and promised about the future? Our role is to seek the Father’s will and adjust our lives to Him. God reveals his plans in His way, on His time schedule and to whom He wills. The leader’s job is to communicate God’s promise to the people, not to create the vision and then strive to enlist people to buy in to it.
Where have you received vision for your life in the past?
Moses—He was not naturally gifted as a leader. However, his accomplishments as a spiritual leader came from the depth of his relationship with God.
There is a significant difference between a personal determination to try harder and a complete abandonment of one’s self to God’s purposes.
One of the biggest challenges young leaders face is garnering respect among their followers when they do not yet have previous successes to their credit. … young leaders need to first have small accomplishments before moving on to bigger ones. The first place to demonstrate small triumphs is in the leader’s self-mastery.
In your own life how is your spiritual walk? Handling of finances? Health habits? Relationships with your family? Attitude? Discipline?
Proverbs 18:16 “A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.”
At Life Church we have been slow to hire new people. Our desire is to raise people up from the inside, or if they come from the outside to build relationship with them first. This avoids the 'hireling' syndrome... we want people that are passionate and excited about what God's doing at Life Church, not just people that want a job.
It's been a very uneventful 7 weeks since we received our approval from Rwanda in early May. At approval they told us to expect a referral in 4-6 weeks. That time came and went with no news. The last few weeks have been very difficult for my wife Courtney as she gets more excited every day to learn more about the children God is matching up with our family!
Today some encouraging news came through unofficial channels. By the way of an email from a volunteer at the Home of Hope Orphanage we found out that they do have children selected for our referral but are waiting on some paperwork before passing along the information. I guess the Sisters at the orphanage were on a two week retreat in mid-May so that was part of the delay. Anyways we should be hearing something very soon!
I also found this video of a new playground the orphanage installed. I don't think this is at the actual orphanage but another place they do outreach to. A lot different then playgrounds here in the US eh?
We are in the process of designing / redesigning new brochures that we give to people looking for more information about Life Church. The first two done are a Welcome Brochure and LifeKids Brochure. I thought I'd share them in case they could be of help to any other churches that are doing something similiar. Click on each one below to be taken to a PDF version of it.
Over the last several years Life Church has been working with the LeGore Boys & Girls Club on the west side of Indianapolis. Next week is our summer camp there which we've done each of the last three summers. However God has put it on the heart of one of a Life Group at Life Church to expand our focus to the people in the community right around the club. Today their group along with a few others went out to serve the neighbors, help with a variety of yard work and outside maintenance, show that someone cares and there is a God who loves them. I had the privilege of serving along side them... I'm really proud of these men and women. They are an example of what it means to join God in His story and the work He is doing in this community.
“The key to growing an organization is to grow its leaders… Leadership development is synonymous with personal development. As leaders grow personally, they increase their capacity to lead... The best thing leaders can do for their organization is to grow personally.”
Our past has a great affect on us today: failures, crises, personal struggles, hardships. “The key to leadership development lies not in the experiences, but in peoples responses to those experiences.”
Failure is a powerful tool that God can use to build certain qualities deep within one’s character that could not be fully developed any other way. However, many people have a fear of failure. This leads to:
· Perfectionism / obsession
· “play it safe” attitude / avoid risk / stick to what’s known
· A culture where other’s are on edge / no innovation happens
“God seldom intervenes when people are about to make mistakes, rather, He allows them to fail, but stands ready to redeem them.”
Abraham is a great example of how God develops a leader:
· Abraham was an ordinary person
· Abraham built on his heritage
· Abraham grew through failure
· Abraham built spiritual landmarks
· Abraham experienced God’s redemption
· Abraham learned by experience
· Abraham was not allowed to take shortcuts
· Abraham demonstrated his faith
· Abraham obeyed God and became a friend of God
Two Key Ideas - Leaders develop as God matures people in their character as well as in their relationship with Him.
1) Character includes wisdom, integrity, honesty and moral purity. Character flaws left unchecked can reappear in subsequent generations. God’s assignments are based on character. The greater the character, the greater the assignment. (Luke 16:10)
2) Relationship with God involves trust in God, obedience to Him and love for Him. The length required to develop as a leader for an assignment is based on our trust in God and obedience to God.
Here are some questions I've been thinking about over the last week:
These are just a few of the questions I've been asking myself since I learned about Safe Families for Children last week.
I had the privilege of meeting with Krista Davis and Aaron Elliot form Grace Community Church. Krista is the Assistant Director for Safe Families in Indianapolis. Safe Families for Children is a program which allows God's people to give meaningful, life-changing support to families in crisis. It started in Chicago where it's been hugely successful and has been the recipient of grant money even from Oprah! It's now expanded to several other cities across the country, Indianapolis being one of those.
Safe Families is a way for the church to mobilize, intervene and care for children and parents who are about to go through a crisis. Unlike government programs where kids go once abused, neglect or trauma has happened, host families in the Safe Families program are connected with children before any of this happens. Referrals come from government agencies, hospitals, women shelters and a variety of other methods. Being a host family where these children are placed for any period from a day to several months is a great opportunity to serve and minister to both the children and their parent(s).
God's view on caring for children and orphans is very clear (see James 1:27, Psalm 82:3, Psalm 68:5-6, Isaiah 1:17). The early church was even recognized for going above and beyond in this area. The Christian writer Tertullian (AD 200) wrote, "It is our care for the helpless, our practice of loving kindness that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents." The early Christians were known for their acts of kindness and service, caring for babies who were deformed or discarded because of their sex. It's time the church retake it's rightful place in caring for the 'least of these' in our society, a role that we long ago abdicated to the government!
As with any amusement park, you pay a lot of money and stand in line for a long time to go on rides that last only a few minutes. What is it about these parks that make them so attractive and keep people coming back? I think there is something about the feeling and idea of losing complete control, even if just for a few minutes, that is appealing. The thrill of not being in charge, or trusting these rides and the people that run them, and the adrenaline rush of being taken places and in directions that seem to defy logic and bring you near death.
What amazes me is that people will do this for an amusement park ride, but when it comes to our life we want to have complete and total control. We are unwilling to release the tight grip we feel we have over our life, our situations and our future. However, I've learned that the greatest thrill ride in the world is not found at an amusement park, it is found in fully surrendering and following Jesus Christ.
Jesus said it this way,
" 23Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?" (Luke 9:23-25)
Just like we give our life over to the roller coaster operator for a few minutes while we're on that ride, the only way we can fully live life is by giving our life to Christ. There is no greater adventure, adrenaline rush or fulfillment in life then discovering the purposes God created you for.
Are you still holding on tightly to your life, or have you given it to Christ so you can live the great adventure you were created for?