“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

The above verse is one I considered to be a “life verse” – one I hold dear to my heart.  While there are many scriptures that blow me away with their infinite wisdom and application to our modern world, this one resonates with me more than any other.

This verse, paired with Romans 8:28 (And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…) offers immense comfort to my scared and worried soul.

How reassuring to know that God does indeed have a plan to prosper us and it will be good.  I don’t know about you but if God tells me this is so, and He does, I guess I need to trust what He says because if I don’t trust what He says does that make me a believer or a doubter?  Wish it could be so simple.  I still sometimes forget the hope in these two verses.

Hopefully, you have enjoyed my posts in this series written over the last two weeks.  I’ll be wrapping it up tomorrow but before I do, let me reveal some stirrings that have emerged recently that allowed me to say “I get it!!!!  I’m starting to see it!!!”

I read Same Kind of Different as Me and realized that I needed to put my faith into action.  Faith without works IS dead.

I read One Million Arrows and discovered the meaning behind the title – creating one million arrows for God.  I learned about the importance of raising Christian children that will set the world on fire by reaching past themselves.

Our church worked closely during the month of May with Passion to Action, led by the inspiring Loekken family, who equips congregations to “Show them what we say.”

And now?

I know this much is true:

1.  We will be sponsoring more children through Compassion International.  Currently, we support Susie from Tanzania, which is an AIDS-infested country.  We are not sure if Susie has HIV and we don’t really care because we love her regardless.  She is precious to us and I take great joy in hearing my children pray for her each night.  I feel so good about the work that Compassion does because a) it is a Christian organization and b) the administrative cost of the money they receive is less than 20% – which is great because this means more money is going directly to the care and growing of these sweet children.  Our family pays $38 each month to send Susie to the “center” where she is given healthy food to eat (these are often their only meals), receives an education, and learns about Jesus.  She is absolutely an arrow in the making being sharpened by Compassion International.  I would so encourage you to consider sponsoring a child; however, there are several ways to support their mission.  In fact, there is actually a catalog of children on their site that you can choose to sponsor – to be specific, there are 1, 886 still waiting for your support.  They particularly have a need for sponsors of older children – it seems that everyone is drawn to a younger child (0-4 years old) which leaves the older ones a little bit left behind. Click here to learn more.

Susie is the little one on the left wearing the blue.  She is shown here with her mother and little sister.  This photo has haunted me since I received it a few months ago because when we first starting sponsoring her a year ago, we were told that she had four siblings.  She is now down to one.  I was also immediately struck by her mother – as a mother myself, I peered into her eyes and felt that we had so much in common in the heart and so little in common in our way of life.  Her face tells me of despair, of love for her children.  I feel that she looks so very weary and hopeless.  Her frustration is evident as her gaze meets mine while standing in my kitchen with running water and modern-day appliances.  I don’t worry about when my children will die or if I will die first and leave them behind.  I don’t worry about where on earth I will find food for them.  I don’t worry about being assaulted on my way to the well – but she does and she is a mother who loves her children and wants them to prosper.  She so desperately wants them to have hope and a future.  I can see it in her eyes.

2.  Here’s the big one…Everyone stop for a moment and catch your breath (I am saying this for our extended family who will begin to murmur that we are crazy because we have so many little children in such a small period of time)…When I met JJ eight years ago, he told me he always wanted to adopt a child.  I didn’t give it much thought because truthfully, I was more interested in having my own.  But now I see it so differently and we both feel that we are being called to consider adoption.  We are so very new to this thought and we’re still trying to discern if we are accurate in what we’re feeling as well as if we would adopt domestically or internationally.

For those members of our families who are now on the floor, please know that this will not be something we are going to do soon.  We feel that our youngest needs to be a year or two older before we welcome a new child into our home.

One Million Arrows contains a quote that I can’t include in it’s exact wording because I lent my copy out but the basic premise is that there is such a short time in which we can actually serve God and our neighbors at the same time.  This reverberated with me.

We are given one opportunity to serve both.  Just one. Give yourself a chance to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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