Sunday, November 30, 2008

Prayer for our Friends

Just a quick post this morning to ask that you pray for our friends, the Fournets. They are currently waiting to pick up their kiddos in Ethiopia and just found out at the end of last week that they will be waiting longer. Their case has been delayed again and are now waiting to hear about their new court date. God has blessed them with an amazing faith during this extended waiting period and it has been humbling to get to see it up close.

Beau and Natalie, we are blessed to call ourselves your friends and are heartbroken with you as your wait is extended. Thank you for your unwavering trust in the sovereignty of God and for setting an example for so many (including us) and making the light of Christ shine brighter in your lives as a result. Love you both and can't wait to celebrate with you at the kids' homecoming.

Follow Beau and Natalie's blog at

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Call to Action for the Congo

"Let us seek to be like Jesus in our devotion to the forgotten of the earth who have nothing to recommend them but their poverty and their heart-hunger and their tears."
A.W. Tozer

When Jesus was asked by the teacher of the law, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus told him the story of the Good Samaritan and then ended it by asking the question the lawyer should have been asking. "Which one of these (the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan) was a neighbor to this man?" You see the question is not to figure out who your neighbor is, but whether or not you are being a neighbor to anyone God makes you aware of.
I'm writing this morning to make you aware of your neighbors in the Congo and to ask you whether you will choose to act as a neighbor to them. Did you know . . .
  • 5.4 million people have been killed in the violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1998. More people have died there than in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Darfur combined.
  • 45,000 people die every month in what is being called Africa's World War. This is the deadliest conflict since World War II.
  • One of the primary weapons used in this particular war is rape. 80% of women living in the Congo today are victims of rape and 75% of all the rapes that take place in the world happen in the Congo.
  • The violence has forced civilians to flee their homes and head for already over-crowded IDP (Internally Displaced People) camps where it is virtually impossible to access health facilities, find clean water sources, and locate nutritional food. Most deaths are a result of these types of conditions, an indirect result of the violence.
  • The Congo has been named as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for children, whether they are killed by the violence, die from desperate conditions, or are recruited by the rebels and forced into unspeakable acts of violence themselves.

Who will be a neighbor to these people? Here are some practical ways you can love them as you would wish to be loved.

1. Pray that God would bring justice on all who seek to do evil in the Congo.

2. Pray for believers in Jesus Christ in the Congo to have the courage to stand firm in the face of this intense violence and proclaim the unwavering hope found in Jesus Christ.

3. Write your congressional leaders. Here are some links that may be helpful.

For Texas Senators and Representatives Addresses:

For info on what to write as a sample letter:

4. Consider giving financially to relief efforts in the Congo. $50 will allow a family to survive for a month. What would God have you give?

5. Grow your understanding of and empathy with those struggling to eat daily by fasting or restricting your diet to basics like rice, beans, and flour.

Please consider how you ought to respond and then do what God leads you to do.

"Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this,' does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?" Proverbs 24:11-12

For additional information, check out these sobering videos.

Monday, November 24, 2008

We've been TAGGED!

Seven Random Facts about Brandy

1. I love chips and salsa and I am kind of a salsa snob. I love it so much that even my children know this is my favorite snack. I will admit that I have eaten this for breakfast before.

2. I have an irrational fear of dentists. I require sedation....for a cleaning. I still have no idea what my old dentist looked like because I was always sedated when I left her office. I hate the sounds and smells of the office, I hate sitting in the chair, I hate that mouth stretchy thing, I hate the scrapey hook thing(I am shivering now just typing it). Don't even talk to me about the laughing gas....laughing gas is for amateurs.

3. I purposefully don't correct my kids when they mispronounce words because I think it is cute. I think it annoys my extended family, but come on, Josiah won't go to college saying "benember"(remember). I also cry when they figure it out and start pronouncing things correctly- like the first time Josiah talked about his friend "Joseph" instead of "Jo-fuss".

4. I have a secret ambition to move to Baltimore and get a job at Charm City Cakes. Maybe I will post some pictures of my work and Duff will somehow see it and offer me the job.

5. I have something wrong with my senses- if I am wearing sunglasses, I can't hear as well. Wes makes fun of me because when we are in the car, I have to take my sunglasses off to hear him.

6. If I could do it, my home would look like a Cottage Living magazine.

7. I don't know how many kids I want. It is strange, because most people I know say"we want three kids" or whatever number, but I have not been able to come up with the number that feels "done". Maybe I will know when we get there....I have read that women who have lost children often feel like their family is never complete because someone is always missing, and maybe that is true. But when I see videos of orphanges or think about the USA foster care system, I always wonder, will I always think maybe just one more??

Maybe Wes will add his facts later....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Daddy's "Helpers"









Josiah & Selah Building a Fire Truck at Home Depot

These pictures are from a little outing we went on about a month ago to Home Depot. They have a deal once a month where they set up a little project for the kids and you can come and build something (for FREE). It is a fun little experience, but it's not really a building project for the kids. It's a building project for Daddy.

I was thinking about this today and how one of the great things about parenting little kids is asking them to "help" with something, some kind of Daddy chore that's not on their typical list of responsibilities, like helping to cook breakfast, rake leaves, etc. Reality is that I don't really need their help and in fact could probably do it quicker and better (and cleaner) without their help, but I delight in watching the joy they experience in being a part of the "mission," a "mission" greater than themselves. I dread the day of their young childhood/teenage response of no longer seeing this as a delight, but as a duty and the proverbial "Aw, Dad!" that accompanies it. So for now, I delight in their delight.

And I think of how gracious our Father is to us. How ultimately, He doesn't NEED me or my "help" for anything, but delights in giving me the opportunity to build intimacy with Him through participating in a mission greater than myself. He tells us as much in passages like Psalm 50:9-10 where he says, "I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills." I am so grateful that though he doesn't need me, He pleads with me to "sacrifice thank offerings" (vs. 14) to Him, because He knows that there is no greater delight for His children than that they delight in Him.

I don't pretend to think that God needs Brandy and I to adopt. Granted there are 143 million orphans in the world and if just 7% of all people who call themselves Christians were to adopt one, we'd knock that out, but God has already declared Himself to be the "Father of the fatherless," and He'd do a much better job of fathering them than I would (and there'd be less mess). But He gives me the privilege of joining Him in this mission, among many others, and sits back to watch with delight as we delight in Him. How gracious and loving! And how I pray that God will deliver me from my teenage "Aw, Dad!" attitude, forgiving me for the many ways I already do that, and return my heart to the place of childlike joy in asking, "Can I help, Daddy?"

P.S. Within the hour of returning from Home Depot, one of the firetrucks was stickerless, wheel-less and little more than a pile of scrap wood. There's probably an illustration there too.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Last piece of paper . . . we hope!

Hello friends! Sorry for the long silence, but did want to update you real quickly on the latest with our adoption. Last weekend, we received the confirmation we needed from the INS saying that our fingerprints had cleared and that our Home Study had finally been approved after a little bit of hoop jumping that was requested of us. God continues to be faithful and provide for us in every way along this journey and it is fun to see His hand at work in all of this. We will mail this last piece of paper off and should be on the wait-list by Thanksgiving.

Many ask how long the wait is from here and while they say right now the wait is 4 to 6 months, we've watched others have longer and shorter waits than this, so if you want a timetable, that's what we're told, but we remember that God is King and His timing is perfect.

One of the things that I'm reminded of as we get into this season of waiting is that the definition of "waiting on God" is probably far different from what we traditionally think of as waiting. I think far too many of us look at this concept of "waiting" as though it's the "waiting room" at the doctor's office. In that sense, there is no real purpose to the waiting, nothing is being accomplished, and your left with nothing more than a few mindless magazines to pass the time while you wait for the doctor who is busy with other people. This is not the biblical concept of waiting. Instead, the Scriptures tell us repeatedly to wait on the Lord and that by doing so, we are strengthened and encouraged (Psalm 27:14; Isaiah 40:31), we are helped and shielded (Psalm 33:20), we are exalted (Psalm 37:34), we are heard (Psalm 40:1) and answered (Psalm 38:15), we are redeemed (Psalm 130:5-8), we are delivered (Proverbs 20:22), and we are blessed (Proverbs 8:34; Isaiah 30:18). Doesn't sound like any doctor's waiting room I've ever been in. God does not waste our waiting, when our waiting is grounded in hope in Him and in Him alone. He does not call us to wait because he is busy with another patient, but is actively involved in our "healing" that takes place during the waiting. There is never a wasted moment in God's economy, so we ask that you pray for us in the waiting for this adoption as we pray for all of you in our mutual waiting for the completion of our adoption as sons and daughters of God (Romans 8:23).

Here's a few pictures of our "waiting" recently. It's been a beautiful fall season here in Dallas!