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Friday, March 28, 2014

Good news!

Good news here!

God provides, that's a fact, and here's an example:


Last year, we decided to host Z from China for Christmastime. Then, China closed hosting indefinitely. So, we decided to host Davids from Latvia this summer. We started the application process and paid a lot of the fees, and then we learned that China had opened hosting for this summer and Z was still available! AHH!

So we prayed and God led us to host Zi, and that He has a good (currently unknown to us) plan for Davids' host family this summer.

One of our faith-stretchers in this situation is that we already paid $1250.00 in fees for Davids, and that money stays with the child as a scholarship.

But, good news, someone has offered to do a matching grant to make up that money. So, all donations this week, up to $625.00 will be matched!

Please consider donating this week to help us catch up on our fees for Zi.

And, please pray that the family God has in mind for Davids will open the ears of their heart and take the leap of faith to commit to hosting this awesome guy this summer.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Anne with an E and ice cream

I guess if I look back at my life, God was shaping me for orphan advocacy from way back. And let me tell you, Anne with an E is my girl. And Lucy Maude is my hero. And somewhere over the years I've become more like Marilla (about whom Joe always remarks, "man is she your mom") than I ever intended, but I digress. (I'm still a lot like, Anne, too. Don't worry, my scope for imagination keeps me close to Anne.)

You see that pic? It was shared on facebook by the (sorry I'm a nerd) Anne of Green Gables fan thingy. Not by New Horizons or P143. And yet, what could more accurately portray the truth about caring for an orphan? I know they are fictional characters, but come along for the ride, won't you?

I doubt Marilla and Matthew considered themselves a good choice to care for a child. Brother and sister, old, busy, introverts, etc. They didn't even willingly choose to have Anne. They were looking for a big boy who they could feed and care for and teach him to help on the farm. But they got Anne. Anne who had never had ice cream. Those of you who know me well are probably laughing a little; my love of ice cream is epic. But that's not the part that hit me hardest. It's that Marilla never would have dreamed that Anne hadn't had ice cream before. And the Sunday School picnic they are about to attend? No one there would realize that someone in their midst was having ice cream for the first time. Marilla and all those good people of Avonlea never realizing that what they had was AMAZING. SPECIAL. BLESSED. And EXCLUSIVE. To them it was normal life, and pretty bland at that, but to Anne it was a dream come true.

I could go on and on here. Seriously, Anne, ice cream, and hosting. Anne's not adopted at this point in the story. She was just 'on trial' at Green Gables. Marilla began to see how real Anne was, and full of hope, and full of life. She came to see that Anne was not just another sad case of lost humanity with no chance for a full life of opportunity. Anne was a real, unique, funny, silly, creative, imaginative, distractible child in need of raising. And she began to see that she, Marilla, was the difference. She stood in the gap of Anne remaining "a perfect heathen" or becoming Anne the friend, Anne the devoted daughter, Anne the wife of a good doctor, Anne the mother of 6 children, Anne the light of all who knew her.

I like this story for orphan care because Marilla and Matthew didn't get a vision from God that they should go 'rescue the poor orphans.' They didn't want Anne. She just showed up by 'mistake.' They weren't qualified for the job. Old maid, old bachelor. No experience. No desire. And yet when God sent them a child, and they saw the need, and they saw the person, and they said 'yes.'

Every single orphan has the need of love and family. Every single orphan is a person.

Marilla saw it. And she said yes. Will you see it? And will you give that kid some ice cream?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

An accidental Matthew Bible study on Hospitality and Orphan Hosting

Today I saw a picture post on facebook by P143 that stirred my heart.
There's no place like home... but for over 100 unchosen orphans on our photolisting, there is no such place. You can change that! HOST an orphan in your home this summer. ADVOCATE by sharing our post. SUPPORT with a donation for a child of your choosing. To see all the orphans available for summer hosting, complete our pre-registration form for the link!


(An accidental Matthew Bible study on Hospitality and Orphan Hosting)

A few years ago I read a great book; Open Heart, Open Home by Karen Mains.

I blogged about it back then, I'm pretty sure...let me check....nope. Can't find it. Well, it's been too long for me to be able to recap it accurately, so I'll just say, it changed me. For the good. It opened my eyes to the fact that my home is not mine. It's God's. I'm the steward and there will be a day when I stand before the Owner and give account for how I invested what has been entrusted to me. I began to think of the great blessing it is to have a home. For all it's imperfections, it is absolutely a blessing beyond compare. And yet, sadly, the norm is to hoard it. Keep it clean, keep it warm, decorate it, bake cookies, serve supper, ALL FOR ME AND MINE.

To the faraway hungry-for-love orphan, elderly person, poor person, "NO SOUP FOR YOU!"

The excuses are innumerable:
"My table is too small" (Mine is, too. We have seven people and 4 chairs and1  bench, which we fill with just us.)
 "My house is not necessarily clean." (Yeah, me too.)
 "My family doesn't always shine with love." (You mean like how Cade just tried to smother Jessup with couch pillows?)
"People might not like my food." (Honestly, serve pizza if you're really actually a bad cook. Or Oreos.)
"We don't have enough bedrooms." (We have three bedrooms; parents', boys', and girls'. And when we have a whole other family stay with us? We cut down to a kids' and a kids'/parents' and the other family can have a room to themselves. "It's just like Little House on the Prairie, isn't this fun?")

I give these examples with their short responses simply to illustrate that those thoughts are just excuses that can be solved...or ignored completely (and they go away). My solutions might not work for you, but that's not the point. I just wanted to share them to show that a willing heart finds a way.

And let's be straight- I am not in need of any more kids in my house. I don't need extras at meals. We are quite full. I'm often heard to say, "It's always a party with the Rebisz's." But I know that my home is my greatest blessing. It is invaluable to me, and an unattainable, heart-wrenching dream for the lonely.

Home and family- I have it, they need it, so I offer it. And Christ blesses it.

Matthew 25
34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Orphan Hosting

So back to the beginning. There are over 100 kiddos from P143 who have not been hosted yet.
And it makes my heart feel, what, sad? Disappointed? Frustrated? Discouraged? I don't know exactly, but heavy for sure. Heavy that there are ANY kids left at P143 or New Horizons. We should be leaping at the chance to engage our entire family in world missions so easily. There should seriously be a stampede to view the photolistings and the chance to choose a child to bring to our home. We should be honored and joyful and grateful that there such a simple and convenient way to share Christ with those who need Him most. Instead my brothers and sisters in Christ say, "No," over and over and over a hundred times and more.What does that say about our hearts? Stone or flesh?

Ezekiel 11
19 Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.

What a rich promise! What a happy thought! Let's ask anew for this heart of flesh. He'll be our God, and we'll be His people and walk in His statues. What are those statutes?  You're not the first one to ask, actually.

Matthew 19

Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler

16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother, and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Most of us have heard this story lots of times. What does it mean for us? On the most basic level it means that we must loosen our hold on our stuff and use our possessions as God would have us use them. I think it's easy to figure it out how to do that, but we don't always want it to be so clear, so we say it's hard. I mean, right in verse 21 Christ says use your stuff for poor people. So there's one way to use your stuff. And just before, He says “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”  So there's kids,  another group we can be sure is important to God. And James reminds us that pure and undefiled religion is to care for orphans and widows. So there's orphans and widows. We can use our stuff for them, then, without having to worry about whether its God's will or not. We can just go ahead and use our stuff for them and follow Jesus.

So now what? Well, I'm pretty sure you're thinking, "Oh, yes. That's all true, but it's just not the time for us right now." Well, I was 7 months pregnant when we hosted Anastasija. And my house was a mess. And we live on one income. And my kids were naughty. And I yell at them sometimes. My family is so far from perfect. The only thing we've got going for us is trying to follow Jesus and obey His commands. Seriously, we are nothing great over here.

 And no family is perfect and no time is perfect, and I'm going with a cliché here:
It's not about you.

Christ laid it out in no uncertain terms:
Matthew 10:

37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

A Cup of Cold Water

40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”

Ask yourself the hard question:
Do you love your home-life just the way it is more than you love your neighbor the orphan? (Or lonely neighbor, or foster kid down the street- there are lots of people to love, I just happen to be thinking about orphans.)

God is the Father to the fatherless. The Help of the Helpless. And we are His hands, His feet, His heart here on Earth. If we don't spread the love, the world stays loveless. If we don't spread the hope, the orphan stays hopeless. If we don't shine the light, we remain in darkness.

I don't know what else to say. How can I get you to break free of the doubts and fears that hold you back from offering what you have to those who need it? What lonely child would not want to be in your home this summer? Honestly, picture your normal life and compare it to the normal life a child in an orphanage and tell me that these children with hopes and dreams and real little bodies that ache for a hug and someone to tuck them in at night don't need your home this summer. This summer. Not some nebulous some-day-in-the-cloudy-future, but now.
A real child. The child who was interviewed and knows that her face and story are out there and wonders if anyone will choose her. Wondering if she's really as worthless as she thinks? 

Anyway, the answer to the above question is that I can't help you break free of the things that hinder you. Only God can do that. So I'll pray. I'll pray that my desperate plea from the depths of my heart will fall on ears that hear.

Believers Are Salt and Light

Matthew 5
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Shine your light. Let it shine. Set it on the table in your dining room and invite someone in out of the dark. You'll be glad you did, and so will they.


Friday, March 07, 2014

Future and hope

Prayer request, action item....usually one and the same, right?

So, I don't want to make the story drag, but there are some details you need to know as you pray.

Last fall, we signed up to host Z. from China. He is a little guy, around 7, with mild CP. China got a new minister of orphanages, or something like that, and he put a hiatus on hosting. I never felt released from my obligation to Z. I love that little man and did not move on. I have continued to pray for him, and my heart squeezes every time I see his picture.

Since then, the summer hosting opened up and we chose D, a 13 year old boy from Latvia. He likes to fish and play basketball. He speaks English pretty well and is a really nice kid. His mom died 2 years ago and he is now in foster care. We didn't want to let another hosting opportunity go by without ministering to a child, so we signed up! We are moving through our paperwork and making payments to host this awesome kid.



And then I get an email that Z is now available to host for the summer! So now I am invested in both these boys, and I have a decision to make. For various reasons, including recently finding out that my almost 13 year old daughter is cra-cra about boys, I think our dream for this situation would be for our family to host Z and another local family to host D. If that local family was willing, Joe would still happily pour into D's life with lots of fishing trips and basketball trips to the park.

And Z could live with us and play with our boys and get my hugs and cookies. And we could take him to Chinese buffet a lot. Even if he doesn't really recognize the food...I bet we'd still enjoy ourselves.

So, please pray for us as we seek God's face on this. We know He has a great plan for hosting for both Z and D. And He has a great plan for our family and whom we will host this summer. He has plans to prosper, and to give a future and a hope to D and Z. Pray, and listen. :)

About Me

About Me
I love Jesus, my hubby, my 6 kiddos, my farm, good books and good food.