Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Shame on Us! More Ramblings...

(From Jay)

First, let me clear and say that it is sad how infrequent our posts have gotten on our family's blog.  We went from quite a regular amount of updating, to quite a stand still.  To those that follow our family through this blog, we sincerely apologize.

As I tend to ramble on my blog posts, let me stay true to form and just unload some random things on my mind this evening.

(1) Our Adoption
As most of you know, we began our journey to adopting Lori in February of this year.  God had an interesting way of planting just the right friends, preachers, and books in our path.  After finishing Crazy Love, we were approached with a proposition from an orphange we support in China,
regarding a sweet little girl we were 'supporting'.  Up to that point, we were doing our 'Christian Duty' and had 'sponsored' a child.  You know...the whole, send $30 a month kind of thing.  We could pat ourselves on the back, but it was still pretty safe.  Then we were thrown a curve ball..."do you guys want her?" was the question as I remember.  Now it's time for talk to become walk.  We felt we had only one clear answer...yes.  And so it began.

We then began to climb our mountain of paperwork.  We had to get everything...plus get it notarized...plus get it state certified...plus get it authenticated by the appropriate Chinese Consulate.  Several doors were opened by God that we could not open on our own.  It was really awesome.

We now sit in waiting having completed the Mt. Everest of paperwork.  Everything is sent.  Now we wait, and wait, and wait.  It still amazes me how much money it costs and how much time it takes to adopt a child that nobody wants...nobody but us, that is.We still have lots of money to raise for the trip over, but there is still time, and we are still waiting to hear on some grants.

We get updates from Harmony House from time to time with pics of our Lori.  I can't believe how much she's grown since we started this journey.  It may be hard to believe, but it could still be as much as February/March before we make the trip to bring her home.  Please join us in prayer over this phase of the process.  We specifically ask for prayers for: (1) our patience, (2) Lori's well-being and care, (3) the outstanding funds we lack, (4) for all remaining paperwork to flow smoothly, (5) that we might get to go soon, and (6) that God prepares our family for our new arrival.

Clink the following Link to visit Harmony's website at http://www.harmonyoutreach.org/

(2)  Debt Snowballs
Unfortunately, neither of us were raised with the best financial counseling.  Credit Cards were something you used to get what you wanted, and checks were good as long as there were checks in the checkbook.  Let's be honest, we started our married life with very poor financial practices.  And since finances follow the law of the harvest, it was years before it caught up with us.  And boy did it.

Fortunately, God used friends and acquaintances of mine to turn me on to folks like Dave Ramsey, Ron Blue and Crown Financial.  There is also a really good book out for couples by the Whalens that Camille and I are reading right now.  We eventually began to see our poor practices and started making efforts to clean up the messes we had made. We, unfortunately, did not start this effort near early enough in our life, but what is important is that we did begin it, and continue at it.

This summer with the coming adoption and other motivation, we have decided to make a concerted effort to get our non-mortgage debt gone for good.  We have been utilizing Dave Ramsey's debt snowball method, and we are working in some new areas to add logs to the fire.  First, Camille is having the gold-buying parties that you have read in previous posts.  Second, I finally, after ten years with my license, opened my own full-service real estate company, Agent Plus Realty.  We have seen God bless us through these endeavors, and we hope he continues to send people to us.

Our slogan is that we "build the wall"...taken from the story of Nehemiah.  Jerusalem was in trouble, and Nehemiah was burdened to rebuild the wall to protect the city.  The city would remain vulnerable without the wall in place.  Nehemiah was focused intensely on building the wall.  He made it clear when he got there that building the wall was his focus.  If you looked for him, you found him at the wall.  He remained intensely focused on building the wall.

We have claimed this as our slogan.  Our family, like Jerusalem, is vulnerable with the unnecessary debt we accumulated.  We have to remain focused on 'building our wall' to get rid of it.  I am hopeful and confident that God will bless us as we try to get our family financially balanced, so that we can be in a better position to help others and give more.  Please pray for us as we build our wall.

(3)  Crazy Love
We have mentioned this book many times in our posts.  I personally am reading it again for the 4th time.  I might also mention that I am currently one week into an eleven week class that I am teaching at our home church on this book.  If you have not read it, you really should.  It's painful, and it will step on your toes, but you will be better for it.  Please pray for me as I lead the group of men involved, and that we are all transformed from it.

The book leads us to live our faith...in radical ways.  Not just talk it.  Not just settle for 'going to church', and not cussing or doing the major bad things.  But realizing how much God loves us, and how our natural response to such an incredible loving God is to love him back in a crazy way.  That we are to lay down our self-seeking life that is so often about what we have, and what we want to do with 'our' stuff and 'our' money, when it really all belongs to God, and instead focus on God and bringing Him glory!

The book has a chapter that describes some real-life people that 'get it'.  But I would like to add a couple people to that list tonight.  They are the two ladies that we have been introduced to this year that are in Uganda working with orphans.  One is Katie Davis.  You can check out more on her at her blog: http://www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/ or her organization http://www.amazima.org/.  Be prepared to be blown away by this young lady.

The second is Rebecca Sorensen.  We just learned of Rebecca this week through a friend's blog.  She is also in Uganda, not too far from Katie.  You can look her up as Hero #2 at http://www.mycrazyadoption.org/ or you can take a direct link at:  http://mycrazyadoption.org/hero-2-rebecca-sorensen-royal-hope-school?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MyCrazyAdoption+%28My+Crazy+Adoption%29&utm_content=Yahoo%21+Mail

These are two ladies that have left behind what we would call 'normal' and are living radical lives for Christ, spending their lives taking care of orphans in Uganda.  It is just so inspiring to read about these ladies.

Camille has recently learned that our friend, Kari at http://www.mycrazyadoption.org/, is planning another mission trip to Uganda for next June to visit these ladies along with some other stops.  The trip is a part of the Visiting Orphans organization.  If you have ever considered a mission trip with a great group going to some incredible places, this is one to consider.  We have NO IDEA how we can afford such a trip, but we plan to sign at least Camille up for the trip, and hopefully one daughter, if not two.  I can't think of a better way to open the eyes of my children than to get them out of our small town bubble and send them to the ends of the earth, witnessing what others are doing for Christ and for orphans.  I am so hopeful that they can go and come back from it changed.

You can read more on the trip at either of the following links...

At MyCrazyAdoption:

or at Visiting Orphans:

1 comment:

  1. It's really good to have an update. I only get bits and pieces of information from Joe now and then.
    The Dave Ramsey Debt Snowball is how Joe and I cleaned up our credit so we could buy a house. Truth be told, it's time to start snowballing again. It's amazing how quickly the old ways creep back in....
    Keep your head up. Years from now, when she's getting her driver's license, this will all be a distant memory.