Friday, October 03, 2014

Our Story

Jasper Speaks:

In 2007 God gave us a wonderful gift of a beautiful son named Jackson. He came to us not in the traditional way but through adoption. God gave us this wonderful child through the foster care system. He stole our hearts the first day we met him. God has taught us so much about His love for us through Jackson. We love him more than anything and he has helped us realize that God chooses each of us to be His. At that moment, He accepts us and calls us sons and daughters. He never again thinks of us as not His own. We understand this because we can say that of our little boy and us. 

Since we had been so greatly blessed by adoption, we almost immediately began contemplating adopting a second child. We believed that might be through foster care once again but those doors continually closed. We did not know what God’s plan was for us and at times that was very discouraging.

One night Kendra in 2009 was awoken from sleep. She began sobbing uncontrollably. She felt as though God was speaking to her heart. We were to adopt again. This time, God was calling us to do so internationally. At first we thought that Haiti was the country to which God was calling us. Many of our friends from our time in Maine were adopting from there and the stories were compelling. 

So we began to look. Even though so many we knew were choosing this country, we never had a peace about adopting from there. 
Next, Ghana seemed like the logical choice. Our church had a partnership with this country. In 2011 Jasper took his first trip there and fell in love with the children. There was a heart connection to that country for sure but still God had other plans.

We began to search and pray about from which country our adoption would come. Not wanting to limit God, we consider European and South American countries as options. One night we asked Jackson what he thought. He told us in an innocent, heartfelt way that he wanted a new child in our family to have the same skin color as him so he would not be the only one. We were perfectly willing to do that. We have a love for children of African decent and that love brought us Jackson. We felt that we now had a clear view of what continent we would pursue but the question of country still remained. 

Jasper began researching adoption agencies and found that one called European Adoption Consultants actually had two programs in Africa. One in Congo and one in Uganda. After talking with the agency, Uganda seemed to be the best fit and the most readily available for adoptions. Jasper also has a former college roommate whose family serves as missionaries in this country. 

The timeline from beginning to end usually takes about 18 months and we could be relatively assured of a child younger than Jackson. As we read more we found that there are 2.7 million orphans in Uganda. Our hearts break that we can’t find homes for each and every one of them. We do know, without a doubt, that this country will be the birthplace of a child we have not yet met but already love and cannot wait to add to our family.



Thursday, October 02, 2014

Provision

Jasper Speaks:


God is miraculously providing for our adoption. It seems that just when we need the money, God provides it. It is amazing to me that he would do such a thing. I sometimes wonder if we are meant to do this. It seems God squashes those thoughts by continuing to meet the large financial needs.

Also, someone we don't know personally, who is a friend of a friend has committed to helping us and it humbles our hearts. Find out about how soap can help bring our child home by clicking HERE.

We still have a LONG way to go and will still need support along the way but today we are rejoicing that we now have enough money to begin our homestusy process. God is faithful!

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Power of Encouragement

Jasper Speaks:




Gary Chapman has written that there are five love languages.These are gifts, quality time, act of service, physical touch and words of affirmation. For me, I like to hear your love. I am mostly an auditory learner and that crosses over into how I feel loved. My family will tell you that I tell them several times a day that I love them. Sometimes my son will roll his eyes and sigh as he says, "Daaaad, you already told me that!" I most often express love to my family in the way I  best understand love myself. 

As a result of this language of love of mine, I have found that one of my prominent spiritual gifts is encouragement. I love to tell people things that will exhort them in their daily lives. I find rejuvenation in speaking or writing encouraging words to people. I want to celebrate with you when I see you succeed and I want to lift you up when you have failed. I like helping people feel as though the race that they are on is one that they are running well and can finish strong.

The Bible commands us all to be encouragers. Proverbs 12:25 says, "Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad." So many of us are anxious. Many of us are battling depression. The world can seem dark and lonely. Even "good Christians" can fall into these hollow places. Great theologians like Spurgeon and Chambers were known for the battles they faced daily with depression. This passage reminds us that we can help one another in this area. How does it say we can help those who are hurting? It says we can make someone's heart glad by issuing a good word --- an encouragement.

Think about your own life. I am certain you can recall a time when you had a hopelessness in your spirit and someone issued a good word that made your heart glad. I believe a primary way that we assist each other on the Christian journey is through encouragement. As we express the power of God's love through encouraging words (and actions), we help our brothers and sisters in Christ to see that there is so much more to life than our present circumstances.

Hebrews 3:13 says it best: "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness." God commands that we encourage others every day. Why? Because Satan in a master deceiver and he is always at work to discourage believers. If we listen to his voice too long, our hearts grow hard to the Truth of God. When a fellow believer reminds us that Christ is King and His plan is at work, we are empowered by encouragement to let the voice of the enemy fall on deaf ears.

Today, if you are in a low place, let me remind you that Jesus died for you out of love for the person that you are. You do not have to worry about today or tomorrow because He has authored every letter of your story. He has promised that even if everyone you know has left you, He will never forsake you. The same Jesus who saved you from the pit of sin and despair, says that He came to bring you life to the fullest. Do not listen to the lies of the enemy as his purpose is to steal your joy, kill your witness and destroy your life. Your God wants to give you a life that is not free from hardship and sadness, but one that learns from difficulties and finds joy in every situation.

If you are doing well, I implore you to encourage someone today and everyday. You never know when the Lord will use you to be the voice of His love into someone's life. You may not feel like your gift is encouraging others and that is okay. God commands you to do it anyway. Let the Holy Spirit's comfort empower you to be the encouragement someone needs. You will be encouraged as well by speaking love into another's heart.