Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Creation of the JOB Jar!

As life continues to throw curveballs and open door after door, we continue to stand amazed at what is happening to our family.  Here we were, just a few months ago, completely content with how things were going.  No intention of "stirring the pot" or "shaking things up"!  Life was good.
But like I said in my last post, God has different plans! God has put a little boy, Job, from Haiti in our lives and we are pursuing him with all we have.  His, and our future, is uncertain at this point but the farther we dive into this crazy process, the more we are realizing that relying on God is the only way we are going to survive this.
We are probably the last people that should even be considering such a life changing event.  I am sure most people say this when the Call comes in, but we really were not prepared.  Being a two teacher household and still recovering from past events our budget does not, in any way, allow for a process of this magnitude to even get off of the ground.  I don't tell you that to seek sympathy, simply to show you that this is not happening because of us!  It is happening in spite of us!
You see, one of our biggest worries has obviously been the financial side.  However, a close second to that has been how our own two boys, Isaiah and Mikah, would react.  Mikah is probably too young to realize what is happening but still shows excitement for it all because mom and dad are happy!  Isaiah, on the other hand is old enough, and at a point in his life where this could be a real hinderance to him.  Our fear was he would not want to be a part of it, and he would be completely justified had he said that.  We were prepared to honor his feelings also.  This was going to be an all or nothing deal.  We are a family first and will always be!
So while saying our bedtime prayers a few weeks ago I nonchalantly prayed for Neha, a little girl we sponsor in India.  I then proceeded very quickly to pray for Job and that if God wants him to join our family to please show us the way.  Prayer was done!  The seed was hopefully planted and I was going to bolt from his room as quickly as possible.  My hope was that he would have heard my prayer and just give it a brief thought and go to sleep. 
Yeah right!  Like almost everything with Isaiah there was a question, and another, and another!  I began to answer.... Yes, mom and dad are trying to decide if we are the right people to help this little boy named Job... Yes, he is from Haiti (Isaiah has always had the same heart for Haiti that we have)... Yes, it would probably mean some changes to our house and where people might sleep... Yes, he would have two little brothers... Yes, Job would not speak english right away but will catch on quickly... Yes, it will cost a lot to fly him here in an airplane someday.
And on and on and on!  His questions were real and his heart was starting to understand.  I could sense that he was really diving into this and trying to figure it out. 
So I asked him what he was thinking.  My turn for questions or just one question as it turned out.
He had already decided that Job could live with us, he had heard us talking about it before... Haiti is not a good place for kids without moms and dads... He could have Mikahs room and Mikah can move into the toy room downstairs... It's okay he doesn't speak english but we are sure going to have a lot of work to do. I (Isaiah) will teach him everything I know about talking and maybe we can find a special teacher to teach him the rest... and finally the biggest commitment I think he could make right now. 
He quickly grabbed his Lightning McQueen bank and opened it up.  There in the bottom was twelve dollars in cash and some loose change.  "Dad, I want to use this to fly Job here", he said.  And so it began.  The kid that money typically burns a hole in his pocket has the same broken heart we do!  I couldn't have been more proud.  He has actually worked very hard for that money planting flowers, digging up our old garden and helping Grandma and Grandpa Choo Choo with many jobs.  He has every right to go buy candy, pop and toys.  However, he has that same tugging happening in his heart right now that is saying we need to help!
So as this story progresses into the uncertain future we sit at a table with a newly created "JOB Jar" as the center piece.  A place where Isaiah has decided that money can go in but cannot come out.  I am not sure what he has put in this but it seems to be filling up.  He and Mikah worked for Miss Val last week and each made $5.  Straight into the JOB Jar, minus 50 cents each to buy a broken bouncy ball and a spice rack at our neighbors rummage. 
Yesterday when a letter came in the mail addressed to the Peters Family I knew it was for them to open.  Inside was a check for $110 from the Church of the Damascus Road.  The gentlemen that attend that church are all currently behind razor wire at Fort Dodge Correctional Facility.  When they heard about our efforts to help Job they decided on the spot that they wanted to give their church offerings to help.  A group of hardened men from all walks of life decided that their hourly wages of 6-35 cents an hour were supposed to help my family.  These men save up months to afford phone calls, envelopes and top ramen.  And yet they put together a massive amount of money, to them, to help a child that is less fortunate than they are.  God is good!  Straight into the JOB Jar!
Again, the only reason I am sharing these stories is because we are soo completely amazed at what God is doing in our lives right now!  We are not at all equipped for a journey of this magnitude but by simply following where we are being led the pieces are just falling into place.  We have great people in our lives that are investing in our future with Job right now.  We have never expected a dime from anyone, nor asked a soul for anything more than prayers!  But God in his amazing ways has started to open doors and hearts from places and people that we least expected.  From the four man cells of a prison to the man in a parking lot handing us $40.  We have been told from the start that by just being obedient and following God's gameplan this process will take shape and be an incredible journey.  With a little patience and trust I am starting to realize that this is more true that I ever imagined!

Will you please continue to pray for our family as we move forward with this process?!  Doctor visits have been completed and some very important phone calls and meetings are taking place this week to get a better grasp on where we are at with it all!  It's an exciting time and a very scary time.  Please join us in prayer for Job and that he may come home sooner than later!

Monday, June 18, 2012

A New Kind of Father's Day!

Yesterday, Father's Day, was one of those days that gave me a chance to really reflect on the last 7 years or so.  The two little boys in my life, Isaiah(7) and Mikah(4) have been an amazing blessing!  We have truly been through a lot with them both and yet I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.  Through the good times and the really bad we have become a stronger and more devoted family than we ever would have been had life been smooth sailing!  Our resolve and strength as a family has really amazed me and maybe even some that have been along for the ride. 
However, as much as I try to think back on the past years I keep getting drawn to the future.  The past has presented it's challenges and celebrations and yet as I sit here thinking, the future has thrown out it's own!
Isaiah and Mikah 2010
For the past four years people have always asked when Anne and I would have baby number 3.  Our response every time has always been surprising to most I would imagine.  Our two boys were NOT fun babies between colicky nights and sickness and acid reflux, so to have another of our own was just not really ever a consideration.  So our response was that we would love to have another but it would most likely have to be "not ours", and more detailed a "Haiti baby".
We really had no serious intentions and just felt that if God wanted us to take that leap it would happen.  So it sat.  On the back burner.  Just tugging at us once in a while.
When someone would talk about their mission trip to Haiti and show pictures of the children...our hearts would beat a little faster.
At concerts when the artist would ask people to sponsor a child in another country...our hearts would beat a little faster.
When our pastor talked about his own sons adoption from Ethiopia...our hearts would beat a little faster.
Finally, when a friend of ours talked about the things happening in Haiti and how her own daughter was moving their full time to take on the challenges, our hearts starting beating faster.
I haven't ever really been one that reads into things too much and can honestly say that God needs to speak to me pretty clearly in order to get his point across.  A fault I am not always proud of!  But all of a sudden God started talking to Anne and me pretty loudly!  Call it crazy or what you will, it has not stopped in the last two months.
As we sat with our friend and listened to her talk about her daughter leaving a few weeks later she began to tell us of some of the kids she has come across.  Very subtly it came up that we had always thought our next child would be from a situation like that.  God began to talk!
"You should check out Job!" she said.  Job?  Who is Job?  She began to tell us how a little boy named Job had broken her heart several months ago.  His dimples.  His excitement for life.  His giant smile and laugh.  His four year old body still wearing 18 month clothes.  And his battle with Malaria and overall lack of size for his age. 
The conversation went on and became a little more serious but was just chalked up as conversation that night.  Until God started to talk!  Upon returning home that night Job was on our hearts.  Anne couldn't escape him and I was trying to be the "sane" one.  It didn't seem like a very realistic thing anyway.  We have things going right how we want them right now.  Life was finally clicking along.  We are at a point where all of Isaiah's bills are almost gone.  The boys are in soccer and both will be in school very soon.  No more daycare is just around the corner.  We couldn't possibly afford the adoption process or even come close.  It would just never work logistically.  But God talks, ALOT!
Job, 2011
Anne began to feel that tug daily and couldn't escape it.  We found out that Job has no papers of record and was just dropped off at an orphanage.  Making it even harder to become adoptable but not impossible.  So Anne called a lawyer on a whim.  He just happens to have experience with situations like this.  She began to talk more with our friend that fell in love with Job and they began to put a plan together.  What seems like an impossible task has loopholes and possibilities.  But also the process is discouraging.
Being the voice of reason I told Anne to slow down and see what happens.  God will show us how to do this and if it is really supposed to happen.  I was leaving for a weekend serving at a Prison Ministry for five days and told Anne to take it easy and just see what happens.  I also prayed that God would clear my head of this situation so I could focus on Prison, but if He had a sign for me to make it very clear!  Something I had never asked for before.
Guess what? God Talked.
Within fifteen minutes of arriving at my five day getaway I ran into my friend Joel.  We have known each for 4 years and stay in pretty regular contact.  Joel knows who I am!  Joel, like everyone else in the world, didn't know anything about my prayer or what was happening in our home.  However, as Joel and I hauled supplies into the prison Joel said, "Hey Job, hold that door for me!"  Not Jon, JOB!  He quickly apologized for the mix up when I asked what he had called me.  I think I offended him a little with my response, but seriously!?!  There is no logical explanation for him calling me the wrong name, let alone Job!  God talking?  I think so. 
That was the sign I had praying for! 
It also is one of about 25 that God has smacked us in the face with.  A donation by the prison inmate church council to help with the adoption process was made.  Completely not asked for.  Just a group of men that want to help a child less fortunate than them!  Along with that we have a lot of family, framily and friends that are stepping up to walk beside us on this journey.  And Isaiah has saved $14 so far to help fly Job home!
We aren't completely sure where God and Job are leading us.  We would love to welcome Job into our home someday soon of course, if that is what God has planned.  It will be difficult, and a long journey we know.  But for the moment we feel that there is a plan for our family to grow and that it will be through the adoption process!  We pray it is Job, or that Job is leading us to someone else, and that the process is a smooth one. 
We ask that you would join us in prayer for Job and our family as we take these next steps.  Anne and I have scheduled doctors appointments for physicals and have Home Study papers sitting on our table waiting to be filled out.  Soon they will be filled out and mailed in! 
Until then will you join us in prayer?  For Job!  For Isaiah and Mikah!  For Anne and Myself!  And for those that will be joining us on this journey!!