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Posts Tagged ‘Jason Weber’

Two years ago, when I sat down at the Cry of the Orphan concert event in Nashville, the guy in the row behind me introduced himself. Jeromy explained that he had attended an adoption workshop we had done in Baltimore a couple of years before.  He went on to explain that after that workshop, he and his wife adopted a little boy and little girl from Kenya.  It had been an unusually difficult and long process.  In fact, they had been forced to live in Kenya for a year in order to be able to bring their children home.  At the time, I’m sure it was difficult to understand why God had extended the process for so long

However, during the months they lived there, God gave them favor with church leaders and government officials and they built relationships that are proving to be incredibly important in God’s plan for Kenya.  As a result of all God has done in Jeromy’s heart and the relationships that were built, God gave Jeromy a vision to bring pastors and leaders together for the first East African Orphans Summit in Nairobi to discuss what can be done by the body of Christ in Kenya to address the needs of 2.5 million Kenyan orphans.

Last year, Jeromy called me to order a dozen copies of the book, Launching an Orphans Ministry in Your Church. He explained that he wanted to give it to several of his pastor friends in Kenya.

I told him, Bro, you know that book was written for lay people in American churches.  I’m not so sure its really going to work in Kenya.  I don’t know the first thing about how things work in Kenyan churches.”  Jeromy told me he would be sure to tell the pastors that the book was written for an American audience and he assured me that they would still be encouraged by its content.  I wasn’t sure I believed him.

Then a few months ago, I got another phone call from Jeromy.

“Can you come to Nairobi in June and speak at the first East African Orphans Summit?  I’d like you to do one session on the biblical perspective of God’s heart for the orphan and a second session on the content in the book about launching a church orphans ministry.”

I reiterated my opinion that the material on launching church orphans ministry was not created with the Kenyan church in mind and that there were really important differences between how Kenyans do church and how Americans do church that would render this material ineffective.

He argued that much of it would apply and that going would help me to learn the things that didn’t apply.  He urged me to at least consider it. After praying more about it, I finally sent Jeromy a text message saying, “I’m in.”

The Kenyan pastor helping Jeromy to organize the conference, Pr. George, hoped for 30 leaders to attend.  They planned for 50-60 just in case.  The conference start time was 9 AM.  At 9:40, there were about 5 people there besides the organizers.  It was obvious to me that God was going to choose to do this thing with a very small Gideon-sized army.

But during the course of worship, I turned around periodically to find that what I had heard for years from missionaries in Africa was, in fact, true.  Start times for events in Africa are merely suggestions.  There are far more important things in life than being on time (like being with people for instance).  The room kept filling up.  People kept coming in.  Before long, they had run out of materials.  That first day, 103 leaders showed up.  I was blown away.  Pr. George and Jeromy were shocked.  It was clear that God was about to do something amazing.

One of the attendees was an older woman named Pauline.  What Pauline lacks in physical stature she more than makes up for with spunk.  Pauline woke up that morning with two invitations for two different conferences on the same day.  One was a political conference for women and the other was this summit.

When Pauline woke up, she felt that the Lord was clear with her that she was supposed to go to the Orphan Summit.  She called a colleague of hers from a ministry they started that empowers grandmothers caring for their orphaned grandchildren (by the way, Pauline is one of those grandmothers).  They were on their way.  As Pauline sat through the first day of the conference listening to the testimonies of pastors, social workers, and lawyers about the needs of Kenyan orphans and the opportunity to promote adoption among Kenyan families, she was moved.  She later shared that she’d been to prayer meetings, and she’d been to meetings about various causes.  However, never had she seen a group of people praying about solving a societal problem and talking about the real issues at the same event.  At the end of the first day she shared that she was very excited and would be bringing others the next day.

The next day, when I turned around during the worship time, there was Pauline, singing and praising God, this time along with five other women she had recruited.  At lunch she said almost apologetically that she was only able to bring five.  During this second day of the conference, two Christian social workers from Uganda shared about a model they are using which is allowing 60 orphans to live in the homes of 16 different families in one tight-knit community.

At the end of the conference, Pauline stood up and challenged the others in the room to join her on the 14-hour bus ride to Uganda to visit this community and see this work firsthand so that it could be replicated for the children of Kenya.

The organizers of this Summit desired to mobilize many leaders on behalf of Kenya’s 2.5 million orphans and at the end, fifty-five Kenyan leaders agreed to hold Orphan Sunday events in their churches. Not to mention, with all five feet of Pauline on the move, God may have more in store for Kenyan orphans than anyone ever dreamed.

The bottom line is this:  God is moving in Kenya among these leaders and I expect that another great movement is afoot.  Pray with us that Kenyan orphans will find homes in Kenyan families and that God will use these children for His kingdom.

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Just recently, we finalized the adoption of our son, Joshua, from the foster care system.  On adoption day, I wrote the following letter for him to read as he grows up:

Dear Joshua –

As I write this it is about 5:30 in the morning.  The house is very quiet right now, but it won’t be for long.  In less than three hours, you, me, your mom, and your 3 sisters (who will probably be wearing very fluffy dresses) will pile into the van to go the courthouse for your adoption day.  While you’ve been with us for just over six months already and I considered you my son the moment you arrived, there is something very important about today.

What makes today different is the fact that you being my son and me being your dad becomes FINAL. When something becomes final, rest always follows.  When God created the world and everything in it – from trees to dandelions (don’t let anyone tell you they are weeds) to the duckbilled platypus – He finished all of that and then there was rest.  When your mom and I finish a hard day of working, there is rest.  When a runner runs a race and it is finally over, he rests.

So today, when the judge hits the top of her bench with the gavel, your mother and I will take a deep breath inside and feel this great sense of peace and rest.

Josh, one of the reasons adoption is such a privilege is because when I think about the process of adopting you and your big sisters, it helps me to understand God much better.

The Bible says this:

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.  This is what he wanted to do and it gave him great pleasure.”  – Ephesians 1:5 (NLT)

There are many times when I don’t understand why God would ever want me as His son.  There is nothing special about me and I am always messing stuff up.  There are things I know He wants me to do that sometimes I am afraid to do or just too lazy to do.  But that verse tells me that He didn’t adopt me because I was good enough to be adopted by Him.  He adopted me because He just wanted to. He just wanted to and it gave Him GREAT pleasure!  Now, this is something I really understand.  And the only reason I understand it is because I have had the privilege to adopt you and your sisters.   Joshua, I just want to adopt you.  It gives me such great pleasure to do so.  In fact, I can’t believe I get to adopt you.  Your mom and I love you so much and we are overjoyed to be able to call you our son.  It gives us GREAT pleasure!

So with that, I am going to get up and iron my shirt and get ready to take you to the courthouse, little man.  Let’s get this thing final and enjoy the rest that will come.

Love,

Your Dad

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