Monday, September 25, 2017

Justice's Testimony 2017

Today marks 7 years since Justice was adopted into our family and arrived home on U.S. soil from Ghana, Africa. We have been studying the book of Acts together as a family and recently got to Acts 22. In that chapter the apostle Paul has just been arrested, but before he's taken off to the barracks he receives the opportunity to address the crowd who has gathered. We saw how this was a holy set up because Paul then proceeded to use this platform to share his testimony of how the Lord intersected and changed his life. As we took in Paul's example, Jake's challenge to us as a family was for each of us to prepare our own personal testimonies, and we've been sharing them one at a time with each other. I thought it would be fitting to share Justice's testimony today as we celebrate all that this day means for him and for our family.
 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Faith Over Fear

I received the following message (sent in the intent of love) last week and I am sure there are others thinking/wondering this same thing about our adoption, but perhaps just don’t have the boldness to ask. So I felt this message was the Lord giving me my “cue” that it’s time to address this…here is the question:

“Hello Janel! My heart had something on his mind and it is only through the love that I say this but here it goes! Are you sure you want to bring this young man into your home with HIV with your six children! It could take one bicycle accident or a car accident or a terrible thing like molestation to affect the health of all of your other children! I love the Lord with all of my heart and I know these children need help and I try to help others daily but I am just expressing my concern for your other children! I pray for this young man and his health and for your children and for my children and for my grandchildren! This note is not meant maliciously just out of concern and love! I know you and Jake are doing the Lord’s work and I am so proud of you! Please forgive me if I have spoken out of turn! I love you and I know at any point in life our health can change and our lives can change and the only thing we have to look forward to is our eternal life! Love in Christ” 

Interestingly, these sorts of fears (concerns) being brought up in this message do not just pop up when you are bringing a child into your family with a disease such as HIV. The underlying fear being expressed to me through this message is: what if this child we are adopting hurts (physically) our other children that we already have in some way? This was actually my biggest fear when we were set to adopt Justice back in 2008-2010. Justice was significantly years older than JJ and Jayla at the time. And my biggest fear was that bringing him into our home would negatively affect our other children. I was very aware of the possibility that he could physically hurt them, and it would only take one single “what if” thought for my mind to go into a bunch of escalating thoughts culminating in a worse-case scenario of this all going horribly wrong.

My answer to those fears that popped up during Justice’s adoption is the same answer that I have to this message that was sent me now today: faith. I have to trust that God loves my children even more than I do. And He will do a much better job of protecting them than I ever will. With Justice’s adoption, we trusted that the Lord had hand-picked our adopted child out for our family...and that He was looking out for us in whoever He picked. And that meant all the way down to the details of the child’s personality – that the Lord would pick out a child for us from all the way across the world that would not detrimentally affect our other two children. And much to our surprise, the Lord chose to put His hand-selection on display – giving us an African child with the exact shade of orange hair that matched the orange hair of our two biological children. If that doesn’t show you that the Lord picked out your child for you – then I don’t know what does.


And it didn’t stop at hair color.

When we adopted Justice he became the eldest child in our family. And this messed up the birth order of our children. Our eldest child, JJ, was no longer the eldest, and that is actually not a recommended thing to do in the adoption world. But this ended up being the best thing in the world for JJ. Because our son JJ was extremely shy and introverted to the point of awkwardness, and it actually had become a detraction to his personality. But then when God brought Justice into our family, Justice became the tool God used to draw JJ out of his shell of seclusion, and was a huge part of helping JJ grow in confidence especially socially. Justice was the one who taught JJ how to ride his bike without training wheels, Justice was the one who helped JJ get on the right bus on his first day of kindergarten, Justice became a human form of JJ’s protector and helper. And today they are best friends and behave just like brothers. Justice never hurt our son JJ (or any of our other children) – all he ever did was help him. The reason I’m bringing up Justice’s adoption, is because when the new fears over Julius start rolling in, all I need to do is take a look back over my shoulder and rehearse how God was faithful before in this area of me wanting to protect my children. That gives us the courage to move forward into this next step of faith with Julius. When you’ve experienced God being faithful before, it gives you assurance that He’ll be faithful again.




Additionally, I just wanted to share a few things I’ve learned about fear, such as the fears being brought up in this message that was sent to me. Namely: God is not the source of fear. We know this from 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” And spiritually speaking, if the scriptures are telling us that God is not the source of fear, then spiritually there is only one other option of where it is coming from. And that would be our enemy, Satan. The enemy knows that there is one surefire thing that can cause us to not take action, to not move forward into whatever the Lord is asking us to do. And that is if he can get us to be afraid to do it. Fear can become a paralyzer that leads to inaction. Fear can cause us to not obey the Lord. And that is what the enemy is after. Because when God’s will is done on earth (through His followers) as it is done in heaven - God’s glory goes out. And Satan hates that. Every single time, the enemy is out to make sure that God’s glory is not displayed in the world. And when we, God’s followers, move forward in faith, that glorifies God. So, the enemy’s strategy is to do all that he can to make sure that our step into faith doesn’t happen.

I’ve learned that you can't stop the enemy's voice from coming to you. But you can refute it when it comes. In scripture we have many examples of the enemy's voice coming to people. Two of the big ones are: Eve in the garden (Genesis 3). And Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4). Eve gave in to the enemy's voice. Jesus refuted it by standing on God's word - what God had said that countered what the enemy was saying. So this is how I am doing that with the fears listed in this message:

Are you sure you want to bring this young man into your home with HIV with your six children! 
“Anyone who loves their son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matthew 10:37-38)

It could take one bicycle accident or a car accident or a terrible thing like molestation to affect the health of all of your other children!
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91)

If I were to make decisions based off fear then I would never step foot on an airplane, or in a swimming pool, or even in a car for that matter. I would never leave my child with a babysitter. I would never let my child go to the basketball courts to play. Potentially dangerous, life threatening situations are everywhere. But so is God.

In scripture, God doesn’t tell us to be safe in potentially dangerous situations. He tells us to be brave. Brave doesn’t mean that you don’t have any fear. In fact, all throughout the Bible when God asks His followers to do something in faith, so many times He attaches these words along with it: “Don’t be afraid.” He said this to Abraham to Joshua and all the way down the line to His disciples. He had to tell them to not be afraid because as soon as His instruction went out, that fear rose up in them. But this is what I’ve learned it comes down to in order to not let fear win. When I am faced with the choice to move forward in faith or shrink back in fear, this is what I need to decide: Is what God is asking me to do more important than the fear that I have about it? More plainly, the question is: How important is obedience to God to me? Is it more important than my fear?

Julius’ physical life and his spiritual salvation is more important to me than the fears I have about adopting him. Obeying God is more important to me than my own desires to stay safe and comfortable.

Faith over fear. It’s not that the fear isn’t there. It’s just that we are choosing to let our faith in God make our decisions – not our fear.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

In Need


Acts 2 Collective cares for over 150 orphans and serves nearly 1200 students within our 4 mission centers and 3 schools across the continent of Africa.  Within those big numbers are individual lives - each with a face, a name, and a story.  Many of the lives we care for have very specific needs that we must tailor our care around to best help their situation.  Such is the case for Patrick (pic top left), Kwaku (top right), Sarah (bottom left) and Malwin (bottom right).

Due to Patrick’s age and academic background, Patrick does not qualify for secondary school in Ghana. So for the past 6 months A2C has been sponsoring Patrick to go to technical school to learn a trade, of which he has picked to study automobile engineering (he will learn to be a mechanic).  This school is also a boarding school where Patrick lives.  Last fall I posted a request to find someone to sponsor Patrick for the year, but we did not have any takers.  So A2C absorbed Patrick’s school fees and living expenses into our Ghana budget. 

I have shared many pieces of Kwaku’s story on our A2C Facebook page, and there are more to come.  Kwaku is absolutely thriving at the special needs boarding school that A2C sponsors him to go to.  Because of Kwaku’s disabilities, the individual attention and tailored learning environment at this special needs school has set Kwaku up for success.  We have seen him completely transform – socially, emotionally, and physically.  We have been so impressed with the educators, staff, and experience that Kwaku has had at this school that we also would like to send one of the other children in our care with special needs, Sarah, to this school.  Currently Sarah resides at our mission center in Asikuma, Ghana but our A2C school on campus that she currently attends does not provide the best fit or educational environment for her needs.

I have also posted details of Malwin’s miraculous recovery in which the Lord has brought her out of the grip of physical death and suffering into health and stability.  Malwin currently lives with a Ghanaian foster family who are also staff members of A2C.  Due to Malwin’s specific situation, we needed her to be close to the capital city for the best medical care, and also to be in a stable environment where she can receive customized nutrition for her medical needs.  A2C is also covering the school fees for Malwin since she is no longer living at our mission center and able to attend our school on our campus.

For those of you who are 1200 Club members, these are the types of situations and the faces and the souls that your money is going toward.  When I mentioned above our Ghana budget – well, it’s the donations from our 1200 Club members that carry such a big brunt of providing for expenses like these school fees that come within our monthly budget.  But we are in great need for more 1200 Club members to join Acts 2 Collective.  Last month we were not able to meet our Ghana budget.  Giving has been down since the start of the year, and come late March we had to form a plan to at least send over enough money to cover feeding the children at our centers.  That was priority and everything else including staff salaries were put off.  From there we went into emergency funding mode and one of our A2C team members was able to get the shortage covered through reaching out to his personal contacts.  All of this to stay, the steady funds we receive from our 1200 Club members are an integral part of our funding.  And we are in great need for more.

I am asking if there are at least 4 people who would be willing to come on board and support Acts 2 Collective by becoming 1200 Club members?  This is a pledged, recurring donation commitment of $100 a month.  4 new members would cover school fees for one year for Patrick, Kwaku, Sarah and Malwin.  To get set up you can email me at janel@acts2collective.org or to join right now you can go to http://acts2collective.org/donate/1200-club/.  Please help us to be able to continue our mission and keep moving forward.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

When You Have A Window, But You Want A Door

You know - those times when God has shown you something that's coming for your life….a little window into something that will be…but the door to it hasn't opened yet.

As Christians we often celebrate and highlight walking by faith. But what about waiting by faith?

Sometimes it takes just as much faith to wait as it does to walk.

There's a time when not moving ahead as God directs is disobedience. But there's also a time when moving ahead prematurely – by not waiting on the Lord - is disobedience. Just ask Saul (1 Samuel 13:8-14) or Abram & Sarai (Genesis 16) or Aaron & the Israelites (Exodus 32).

Many of us have knowledge of this physically, if not spiritually. We know what happens when a baby is born prematurely, before they are fully developed. They have days, weeks, months ahead in the NICU because their fragile little body was not quite ready for the intense environment outside of the protection of the womb. It is the same with faith.

There is a type of faith that you will need when you get there - that can only be developed here - in the dark womb of the unseen. Yes, you know in your heart what's coming. Birth, new life is coming. But there is growth, preparation, formation that must happen first. It’s integral even, and unnecessary complications will be avoided if you just wait out the pregnancy until the arrival of God’s delivery day that is marked on His Kingdom calendar.

I used to think that it didn't take any faith to believe in something that God has already shown you is going to happen. But the thing is, that on the way to it happening the circumstances and what you see with your eyes often don't match up to what He has said. The doubts start weighing in, and you begin to think you must have heard God wrong. In the wait of what is - to what will be - you can lose hope. Just ask the disciples in the middle of Friday and Sunday.


Even 3 days wait is enough time to lose hope.

"The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel." (Luke 24:21)

But this place. Where your hope once was. Where the thing you thought was going to happen looks dead...is dead...lifeless…unmoving…ruined. These conditions are actually quite right….for resurrection.

The prerequisite for something to be resurrected is for that something to be dead.

Just ask Nehemiah.

The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah: 

In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. 

They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” 

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. (Nehemiah 1:1-4) 

When you are staring at the destruction, the rubble, the ruins, the ashes…you are really staring at a stage perfectly set…for resurrection.

In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” 

I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” 

The king said to me, “What is it you want?” 

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it. (Nehemiah 2:1-5) 

Where others saw rubble and ruins, Nehemiah saw the hope of resurrection.

But he had to wait.

Nehemiah chapter 1 opens in the month of Kislev in the 20th year. This is when Nehemiah hears the disturbing news of the troubled exile survivors and of the destruction in Jerusalem. In his distress Nehemiah mourns and cries out to the Lord about the situation “for some days”.

He mourns. He fasts. He prays. He cries out. For some days.

In the following scene in chapter 2 we are told just how much time has elapsed over the course of “for some days”. Chapter 2 opens in the month of Nisan in the 20th year. Between the month of Kislev and the month of Nisan on the Jewish calendar is approximately 4 months as we would know it by our Western (Gregorian) calendar.

We receive a hint later in chapter 2 that it was throughout this 4 month process of Nehemiah crying out to the Lord about the situation, that the Lord showed him what was coming. A little window into what would be – that God was appointing Nehemiah to spear-head the rebuilding of the wall.

I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 2:12) 

We can also see from the scriptures that the Lord gave Nehemiah insight into what the open door would be to initiate this rebuilding. The end of Nehemiah’s prayer in chapter 1:

“Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king. (Nehemiah 1:11)

“This man” that Nehemiah was referring to and requesting the Lord’s favor for - was the king.

In order to go and rebuild the wall, Nehemiah first needed permission from his employer – the king. Not only that but we will see later that Nehemiah would also need resources and traveling protection from the king for the journey. But Nehemiah doesn’t just charge ahead by his own means and agenda to try and make this happen with the king. He waits on the Lord. Although the Lord had already shown Nehemiah what would be – that he would spear-head rebuilding the wall, he had to wait until the Lord opened the door into the opportunity via the king. And he did, and He did.

The king said to me, “What is it you want?” (Nehemiah 2:4)

Open. Door.

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king… “send me to the city in Judah…so that I can rebuild it.” 

Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time. 

I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests. So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me. (Nehemiah 2:4-9) 

When you wait until God opens the door, you will find that the pathway is graced.

God moves slowly, but when it’s time, He acts swiftly.

So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. (Nehemiah 6:15) 

From the time the rebuilding started, to the time it was completed, it took 52 days. The 4 month time period that Nehemiah spent praying, and seeking, and waiting on the Lord was twice as long as the time it actually took for the thing to happen.

In physical pregnancy there is a 9 month wait, yet the labor comes suddenly, and typically is over within a day, hours, minutes. And all that was once hidden - what you could only view through a window via an ultrasound, is now tangibly in sight. Formed and prepared for the life that lies ahead. 

And so it is with faith. There is a time of growth, of strengthening, of gaining confidence in what God has put in your heart before you physically see it come to life - that can only be formed to maturity through the test of the wait.

We don’t like the wait. But we need the wait. Lest our faith not be able to sustain us when we get on the other side of it.

There are things you will face on the other side of the wait, that God is preparing you for now, in the wait.

After the door opened and Nehemiah began the process of rebuilding the wall, he faced opposition at every turn.

Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. 

They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work. 

But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?” 

I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.” (Nehemiah 2:17-20) 

Nehemiah’s 4 month wait had taught him how to trust God for the unseen – for the plan put in his heart by the Lord that had not yet come to pass – to the point that he could now boldly refute the voices of doubt coming up against it. God coming through with the open door at the end of Nehemiah’s 4 month wait of praying and fasting and crying out had given him confident assurance that God would come through again. This time on an even bigger scale.

When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?” 

Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!” 

Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders. 

So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. 

But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat. (Nehemiah 4:1-9) 

Nehemiah’s 4 month wait had taught him how to pray to God for help in the midst of trouble and fear, and to rely on Him to provide it.

Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.” 

Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.” 

Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.” 

Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” 

When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work. (Nehemiah 4:10-15) 

In the 4 month wait Nehemiah had learned to trust that God would intervene into desperate situations.

When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates— Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.” 

But they were scheming to harm me; so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer. 

Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter in which was written: 

“It is reported among the nations—and Geshem says it is true—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us meet together.” 

I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.” 

They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” 

But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.” (Nehemiah 6:1-9) 

Time after time, Nehemiah was put in situations on the other side of his wait in which he needed to employ his faith in the Lord that he had learned - that was grown in him - during the wait. If the wait would have been skipped, Nehemiah’s faith would have crumbled at the first entry of opposition when he went about his assigned task from the Lord. His faith would not have been able to sustain him through to the completion of the task.

I’ve wrestled with why Nehemiah only had to wait for 4 months. In the big picture of things, that doesn’t seem like a lot of time, and other characters in the Bible had to wait a lot longer for what God had put in their hearts to come to pass. As I wrestled with this, I felt the Lord pointing me to focus not on days, or weeks, or years - but on proportions. Specifically that the length of the wait is proportional to the amount of faith you will need when you get on the other side of the wait. Nehemiah’s wait was twice as long as the time it actually took for the task to be completed. This shows me that God is much more interested in developing my faith then in just getting the thing done and over already – because He will do that part in the blink of an eye.

So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. 

When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God. (Nehemiah 6:15-16) 

Glory to God, dead things can come alive.

And there too will come a time when that unseen thing that the Lord has put in your heart will become sight. And when that day on the Lord’s calendar comes, maybe you will in fact find that the wait birthed a newborn baby with flesh and blood, or a rebuilt pile of rubble. But no matter what tangible thing you are waiting for, at the end of your wait you can be sure of this: you will be holding a developed faith – of greater worth than gold.

When Nehemiah’s faith became sight, his enemies lost their confidence. But one thing is for certain: Nehemiah had gained his.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Provision

I have a testimony to share. For the past two weeks since we passed court our next fees for our adoption have been due. This is $3900 to cover remaining legal fees and the process of getting Julius' post adoption birth certificate and passport. We cannot move on to the next steps until we pay this and we don't have it.

Each morning before school for the past two weeks we have been taking this amount to God in prayer during our family bible study time and asking Him to provide. Each time Jake and I and the kids take a turn praying - we've asked the Lord to lay this amount on someone's heart to give us, we've asked Him to bring us extra income this month to cover it, and we've asked Him just to flat out provide it some way some how.

Well, last night as we were walking out of Jayla's conferences we get a random phone call from our friend Mickey. Earlier this week Jake had met with one of Mickey's out-of-state contacts regarding non-profit structure, etc. Within this 45 minute meeting Jake and this man had gotten to talking and swapped adoption stories in which Jake mentioned how we were waiting on this amount of money to move on to the next step. Jake had only mentioned this as part of passing conversation - it was not the focus or purpose of the meeting. Well, Mickey was calling to tell us that he was holding a $3900 check in his hand from this man who felt led to cover these fees we could not pay. PRAISE YOU JESUS!!!!!!!!!!

I felt prompted to share this story today to encourage anyone who is trusting God to provide. Let this be a testimony to encourage you that HE IS FAITHFUL! God is really good at paying debts we owe. Keep trusting Him. And maybe you are on the other side of this and are in a position to bless someone else with the financial resources you have. That number God has laid on your heart is not random. Even if that number makes you uncomfortable or feels sacrificial - perhaps it's because you are holding the weight of a little miracle right there in your hand. Your obedience in giving could mean deliverance for someone else.

"Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving - the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God." ~ 2 Corinthians 9:11-12