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Our good friends at Show Hope are offering “Empowered to Connect” conferences in two locations this spring. Dr. Karyn Purvis, author of The Connected Child and a dear friend of Hope for Orphans, will be speaking on hope and healing for adopted children.

Show Hope’s Empowered to Connect conferences will take place in Dallas, February 17-18th at Irving Bible Church and in Denver, April 20-21 at Mission Hills Church.

If you have the chance, I encourage attending either of these events. More information is online at showhope.org/connect

Press on,

Paul

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Hey friends!

Here’s a list of San Antonio area Chick-fil-A’s participating in the fundraiser for Hope for Orphans this Wednesday. As I mentioned before, these restaurants have committed to donate all brownie sales on Wednesday, December 14th, to Hope for Orphans! Please tell any friends in the San Antonio area!

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Hope for Orphans is kick-starting a promotion with Chick-fil-A restaurants in the San Antonio, Texas area and we need your help! This fundraiser will significantly help Hope for Orphans continue to serve the Church and orphans in 2012. Please help us spread the word by passing on this information to family, friends, and those serving in the military who live in the San Antonio, Texas area:

On Wednesday, December 14th, every San Antonio area Chick-fil-A restaurant will donate all proceeds from their brownie sales to Hope for Orphans!

Stop by any San Antonio Chick-fil-A restaurant and pick up a delicious, moist, gooey, fudge nut brownie or two – or even a whole tray! And, don’t forget to pick up some extra brownies for your friends and let them know that a brownie can help Hope for Orphans this Wednesday.

Let’s help every participating Chick-fil-A in San Antonio sell out of its brownies by the end of the day on Wednesday!

Please thank our friends at Chick-fil-A for their generosity and your purchase will help us reach more churches to reach more orphans. And, feel free to forward this message, or post it on Twitter or Facebook. Call ahead to order your brownies or stop your local Chick-fil-A restaurant on December 14!

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Leaving Blissful

Until very recently, I lived in a place called Blissful. Just as the name would imply, it was a terrific place to grow up.

So nice in fact, that you may find it hard to believe that since I left it, I’ve never wanted to return.

Seems strange, I know. Why would anyone ever want to leave? Peaceful, prosperous…not perfect maybe, but what place is, this side of heaven? The people of Blissful care deeply for each other, and spend time together in fellowship (awesome potlucks), meaningful worship, and inspiring bible studies, youth group activities, & baby showers.

If you come from a place like Blissful, I probably don’t need to say much more.  You already know what it’s like.  A welcoming place where everyone is loved and cared for, warm and fed. Why would anyone want to leave Blissful?

Certainly not me.

No one has ever really wanted to leave this comfortable place. Well, Grace being the exception. Grace has always wanted the best for me, even though we don’t always see eye to eye.  For as long as I can remember, Grace took up residence in Blissful.

But you can count on Grace to always be on the move.

It should have been no surprise when one day Grace gently led me beyond the skies of Blissful to a place on the outskirts of the city. We climbed a hill so high that, from the summit, I could see farther than I’d ever seen before.

The view was not what I expected. I’d always known that other people didn’t live in places like Blissful, but I have to admit, I wasn’t prepared for the reality.

I saw was misery…everywhere. Destruction. Disaster. Death. Lost and despairing people. Ruined lives. From the top of the hill, to this place where Grace led me, I could also see how close the ugliness came right up to the grassy borders of Blissful, even up to the very edge of the city. So close…

How had I not seen this before?

Read the rest here.

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Fall leaves at Holt Korea

Molly Holt is a second generation fighter. Her parents, Harry and Bertha, were farming in Oregon when they heard about children across the ocean orphaned by the Korean War. They wondered how to adopt children internationally. They pushed and prayed. And prayed and pushed, til Congress and the House of Representatives moved, passing a bill, giving them the right to adopt. The Holt Bill of 1955 led to the formalization of international adoption in the United States.

Fast forward sixty-some odd years. I’m sitting a bus, leaning forward in my seat to hear Molly Holt speak above the traffic outside Seoul. She reminds me of my grandmother, but in a hanbok.*

We chat about Korean grammar. She tells me about her extended family back in the States. She misses them, but fits comfortably here, in her traditional clothes and fluent Korean. I’d seen that for myself.

I’d walked through the campus of Holt Korea, a huge complex of buildings and dormitories which is one still-budding fruit of Harry and Bertha Holt’s prayers. (In fact, they’re buried on top of the mountain where the campus is built.) I’d been hugged by some of the people who Molly serves—smiling faces with Downs’ Syndrome, or cerebral palsy, twisted joints and lists of disabilities I could not begin to name.

My heart hurt because that morning I’d held a baby whose complicated medical condition Molly summarized as being born with only part of his brain. I’d had my hands held, too, in the days before by perfectly healthy little children whose hope for forever-families was growing dim.

And I was impatient…am impatient…because God has not moved on their behalf yet. They are still waiting. As adoption in Korea is attacked by church and government leaders who oppose international adoption for nationalistic reasons, and as the orphanages continue to fill—“How long, O Lord?” is a prayer Korean social workers understand.

I ask Molly, “What is the biggest overarching lesson God has taught you in your years of serving?”

“Trust Him,” she says simply. Then she lists off times of God’s faithfulness.

She warns me against placing limitations on people. She warns against viewing them in terms of their mental powers instead as beloved people who carry the image of God. Molly tells me about her father–explaining that his Christian background wasn’t always devout; that God doesn’t necessarily pick people among the strong-and-perfect to show how great is His name.

But she comes back to the exhortation to trust, like the chorus to her song: “There were many times we nearly lost our ministry,” she says. “But God provided.” Trust.

It hit me while sitting on that bus, speaking loud over the hum of traffic, the life of the lady next to me is a living testimony. Holt Korea lives on the trust that God will continue to make a way.

Molly carries on a long legacy of hearts that have hurt with the weight of compassion, and yet have trusted. As a token of that confidence, she’s spent her life in the Lord’s service, serving alongside American and Korean co-laborers, watching and waiting for Him to move. In spite of the temptation to be discouraged, Molly realizes its an endurance race. Orphan ministry isn’t a place for sprinters.

Some sixty-odd years after an Oregon farmer and his wife began to pray, the obstacles to adoption in Korea have not yet collapsed. But with patience born of trust, orphan care workers still serve; social workers still campaign, and churches are arising to appeal on the side of children. The Holts are still there.

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Hope for Orphans founders, Paul and Robin Pennington, will be interviewed today and tomorrow on the FamilyLife Today radio show. We covet your prayers that the interview will be helpful to individuals hoping to start an adoption/orphan ministry in their local church.

Paul and Robin will be discussing…

  •  How the church can support adoptive families
  • How the church can get involved in orphan ministry

Find a radio station near you.//Listen online.

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Africa Bound

Shane and Mitzi McBride have been with Hope for Orphans for about a year & half, and during that time they have served with enthusiasm and unending energy. Their gifts and hearts have been a true blessing. So it with sadness for HFO but excitement for God’s plans for the McBrides, that we wanted to let you know of a new chapter in their lives.

Later this summer the McBrides will be leaving HFO to join our long time friends at LifeSong as Country leaders in Zambia. Shane and Mitzi have had a heart for Africa for a long time and the opportunity to be involved in the field with orphans is where they believe God has called them. We are grateful for all their contributions to the work of Hope for Orphans and we look forward to working with them now as partners in Africa.

Please join our team as we pray for and thank the McBrides for their service at Hope for Orphans.

Paul Pennington

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