Monday, July 9, 2012

How Beautiful the Feet

Back on our March trip to Ghana, we encountered probably the most heartbreaking situation that the Lord has ever crossed our paths with. I blogged about it HERE. A few days later, a happier ending – or should I say beginning – was given to this baby as we all had hoped for – I blogged about that HERE. When I received the picture of the baby getting his bath at the foster home, every single fiber of joy that has ever ran through my body was literally all pulled to the surface at once. I was in an adrenaline tidal wave that continued to scream the theme of this story: REDEMPTION!!!! On that same day, I felt an overwhelming confirmation that I was to name this child, with a name that expressed the power of him literally being plucked from the grave. I received the go-ahead from his social worker who would have normally named him, and gave precious ‘baby in the bush’ the name of Joshua, which means, 'God Rescues'. Since then baby Joshua was placed into the Ghana program of Adoption Advocates International, where he was quickly matched up with a family waiting to adopt. Not only that, but his older 2 year old brother was also relinquished for adoption too by the birthmother.


And that is what this post is about today. Joshua’s birthmother. Another face and story, oceans away, that has settled in my heart and added into the daily snapshots that float through my head. Never will I forget sitting there in that hotel lobby, and feeling the heaviness of the situation floating through the air. The emptiness and hopelessness that seemed so evident. Once we return from our trips and have time to process what actually happened, it seems like action steps become so much clearer. And, in the same way that God has done with Christian and George in my heart, He started ‘bugging’ Jake about Joshua’s birthmother. Here is an excerpt from an email that Jake had sent to ‘K’, our in-country staff-member:

May 22, 2012

I need one other favor from you as God has been bugging me a lot about it lately. During our last trip to Ghana God put a young mother into our lives who abandoned her newborn baby in the bush – the baby was discovered by the workers of our hotel. Only by God’s grace was the baby unharmed, brought back to the mother where she was later counseled on the option of adoption. About a week later the mother relinquished the baby for adoption and now this little one is in the orphanage we’ve aided in Kwahu. The baby is being well taken care of. However, there is never one day that goes by that I don’t think of the mother. I want you to go and bring the gospel to her. I want you to use some of the funds to purchase five bibles (you can buy yourself one if you would like as well). I want you to give one to her, one to her aunt, one to the guy living at the house - I think it is the aunt’s husband. And, when you are standing at their house facing it, look to your left and you will see two men who are making the traditional African scarves. I want you to give them each a bible as well. Then I would like you to start a small bible study with those five people and let’s see what God is going to do. Go to ‘M’ at the hotel and tell her to bring you to this woman as she knows where she lives, and tell ‘M’ what I want you to do. I know you are preparing for your Father’s funeral but please do this as soon as possible as I just think God is up to something!

I am inserting this picture that Jake had taken on his camera of the guys making the scarves, so you can see it as I hadn’t included this on our trip pictures. I love how Jake specifically knew that the gospel was to be brought to these guys as well!
So, Jake sent that email back in May. Then, a little over a week ago, we received this amazing news back from ‘K’! An excerpt from his email:

June 25, 2012


‘J’, the young lady whose child is with ‘K’ at the Kwahu Orphanage is living with her aunt at some 5 minutes walk from my house.  To God be the glory, I went to preach to she and some of the neighbors yesterday in the evening, and all seven of them, including the two guys making the African scarves accepted and confessed Christ Jesus as LORD and Savior:D!!!  They even assured me of their readiness to be baptized, continue to do more Bible studies with me, follow me to my church and requested to have their own Bible to be reading!  Thus we might be buying maybe up to 10 Bibles:D!  The LORD is really at work, Jake!  Just that her aunt and her step father (aunt's husband) came shortly after the studies, but they also promised to be part of it anytime we gather again:D.  I would now be going more often to them, study with and strengthen them and pray with them.  Jake, this is another thing the LORD has done:D!

I love it! Love, LOVE, LOVE it! THE HARVEST IS PLENTIFUL PEOPLE! Hearts are ready and waiting to soak up the good news of salvation. The game-changer in this one will be discipleship from this point. Now, that they’ve committed their lives to Christ, what does that mean for them – how does that look in their lives – etc. And therein highlights the ‘benefit’ of us staying put in this same village for awhile. We won’t have to sit around and wonder from afar how Joshua’s birthmother is doing. In just a few weeks when our next missions trip team takes off for Ghana, Jake and the team can actually go and visit Joshua’s birthmother. They will be able to be right there with her and the others, to work on creating a relationship with them – and more importantly, to teach and lead them in what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. Another happy beginning, all orchestrated by the Lord. And yet, I am reminded through this that He chooses to use us - His followers - in His work. If we are willing. If we are listening to His proddings. If we move when He says ‘go!’. When we do, we get to experience the tidal wave of adrenaline, the awesome high, the feeling of purposefulness in being His instruments and bringing glory to His name! 

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” ~ Romans 10:14-15~


nick&abby said...

goosebumps! :)

Steph said...

Wow. Amazing. Tears in my eyes as I read this...

Tiffany DeBoef said...

Janel- I felt like I was reading one of Paul's letters as I read your blog. Way to put faith into action- I love reading what God is doing through you guys!!