Posts Tagged ‘Congo’

Hello Again.

Ps. Posting this early here, so you don’t get bored of my writing and miss it.  My wife got me an incredible new newyearsmicrophone (Blue – Snowball) for Christmas, and I couldn’t wait to try it.  So I whipped up a quick spoken word yesterday and put it online so others could hear it.  Check it out if you’re brave, and share it with others if you like it!

I suppose it’s about time for an update.  We continue to wait, and pray desperately for a miracle to help bring our daughter home from the DRC. No incredibly miraculous updates there, other than the blessing of knowing she has just celebrated Christmas in a home with a family for the first time in her life.  The pictures of her beautiful smile, and stories of her visiting sick children in the hospital to help them smile warm this fathers heart.

It’s also worth noting, I’ve completed my first year of Seminary!!! Whoo hooo!!  I’m 1/3 of the way toward my MDIV degree at Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University.  What is an MDIV? (I get asked this often.)  My response is usually, “I want to be a better pastor.  To improve how I serve God, my family, my community, and my church.  The classes for this MDIV are basically examining the various facets involved in pursuit of such a goal.   So far I’ve also realized I’m not a horrible student anymore.  Somewhere along the way, my nerd genes were activated, and like a mutant whose powers have only just begun to show – I’m more than a little excited.  Not because it helps me get A’s, (though those are each worth free tokens at Chuck E. Cheese), but because it’s legitimately improving the wealth of wisdom, understanding, and academia I draw from in the moment to moment serving who I serve where I serve.  I’m loving it.

Looking forward to the year ahead.  Throughout my spiritual formation course lately, I’m reminded of my extroversion, and desire to craft words together in a way that connects with others.  So be watching out for plenty more posts, and spoken words in the months to come.  Thanks for reading!

What is something you’re looking forward to/hoping for 2016?

#DRCStuck

I realize I’ve not written much in the past few months.  I started my masters’ degree this past January, and with the adoption journey being a roller coaster of emotions – it’s hard to know what to say during the few moments I have to say it.   I’m certainly still writing, but most of it is in the form of papers at the moment.

One of my recent assignments for a “Spiritual Formation” class was to illustrate a prayer request. So I made a video about our adoption journey.  It ended up being tougher for me to even watch than I thought, because it’s a bit emotional.  But I’m proud of how it came out.  It’s been on YouTube less than 2 days, and already has almost 1,000 views – so I figured I should probably share it with my mom and the few other readers that are still here. 🙂

Thanks so much for your continued prayers and encouragement…

a psalm for heavy hearts.

There is a stifling silence in carrying a burden, a weight so uncertain and hurting,
In search of a balm, we check the Psalms, and we learn that in turn,
these struggles that rock our home
Can become our megaphone.

Because it’s hard, and we’re not alone.
Our scars run deep, and to the bone. It seems like evil is on the throne,
runs the show, and even though we know there’s something greater,
it always seems like later – never now.
Never knowing how we’ll make it to tomorrow, but the sun comes up again.
And I guess that means we’re doing well, even though sometimes it just feels like we’re surviving.
For some, that’s the extent of thriving.

When driving rain comes faster than the wipers can clear a path.
The aftermath, sometimes silent, can come in violent waves unexpected
Of hope rejected, knowing sometimes there’s more dark before the dawn.
And if this was a song, it’d go on for sometime, before the key would change.
If an honest poem, more turning of the page, before the stage were reset,

The dim lights begin to raise, because there are better days ahead,
the field is not dead,
In fact, there is wheat growing among the weeds, some seeds of hope that cannot be rejected.
Knowing what’s expected, is not etched in stone, evil is not on the throne,

no matter how much sway it may seem to hold. Our whispers grow bold,
as we gather our broken bones, and cry out to the throne –
Lord Come. We need you.
Our arms are growing weary, and we need you.
Our eyes have grown bleary from the tears, over years and Lord we need you.
The blisters on our road-scarred feet scream for us to retreat, and we need you.
Our children look to us for answers we cannot provide,
and so with arms stretched wide we confide – Lord – we need you.

There is no other ear that even comes near to hearing our stifled voices,
choices all around us for ways to avoid this feeling of burden
A burden so certain and so heavy we want to find relief,
yet so infused to our hearts that we cannot put it down.

Not ever.

Clever words fail, and so we wet sail on uncharted waters
Praying the one who walks on water, the one who saves,
will be with us to calm the waves.

Lord, we need you.11825798_10153486977756747_7974870290730540774_n

“Bring You Where I Am” by Wick – Music Video

I know, you’re probably sick of hearing about it by now. But here’s the official music video to go with our song, complete with links to purchase the song or donate to our adoption if you’d like!!

Open Letter to DRC President Joseph Kabila

Your Excellency,

We don’t know each other.  I could never understand all that you’ve been through, or all the weight that you currently carry as leader of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  You and I have both made mistakes.  Because of your position and influence, when you make a mistake, its’ impact is large.  But we are both fallible.  Our strength comes not as we deny this, but as we humble ourselves and accept help/guidance from others.  As Desmond Tutu said,

“..You can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity.  We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”

I’ll be honest, I have a selfish motivation even in writing to you.  My family is pursuing an adoption of a child from the DRC that began years ago.  We would love to bring her home.  But even as I write this, there are families who are responding to your country and your authority with disrespect and malice.  I want to apologize for their actions and their words.  In regards to international adoption, we must not sacrifice the future protection of children and sustainable family-life for immediate homecomings of those being processed.  I understand that you and many others would be upset by what seems to be a lack of respect.  It seems many are more interested in forcing or coercing your hand to “bring home” children, rather than offer whatever assistance/wisdom we can toward reforming the systems in place for taking care of the future generations of Congolese.  The “best case scenario” is not to figure out how to do adoptions well.  The “best case scenario” involves healing the land, people, and systems so that the DRC can flourish and be the beautiful nation and people it has the potential to be.

I know you have a lot on your plate.  Even as great things are accomplished for women’s rights  in the Senate and your soccer team is competing, MONUSCO looks toward new action against the FDLR.  The conflict that continues in Eastern Congo is only a small part of the struggle your people have faced for over half a century, and even longer.  As so many in the world have valued their own desires, and sought to fill their own bank accounts and resources, the people of your nation were not only trampled on and stolen from, but they were learning a way of existence.  The way of existence that declares, “I look out for myself, no one else.”  Generations have come and built lives on this approach, and so there has been war, rape, murder, and worse.  Children are not allowed to be children, as parents are forced to sacrifice them to survive.  When children cannot trust their parents, there cannot be family.  When “family” is lost, so too are communities and eventually, nations.

I don’t speak all of these things from a nation that “has it all correct”.  As you have probably seen, the United States has its’ own struggles.  We too have built on generations declaring “I look out for myself, no one else.”  Our conflict may not be as visible, but it is having an impact on “family”, and therefore also, our nation.  From what I’ve read, you believe in Jesus Christ and in the Bible as the Word of God.  I’m appealing to you, therefore, not as someone who has much to offer you.  But as a brother in Christ.

Christ calls us to humble ourselves, to admit our faults and seek redemption.  As I began my letter I pointed out that when you make a mistake, the impact is large because of your power and position.  The opposite can also be true!  When you humble yourself and seek the redemption of what God intends for you and for your nation – it has incredible potential to transform the world both now and for the future!!  You’re in a unique position right now to bring reform, and not only speak words but put into action, plans and resources to transform and protect the future children of the DRC.  Imagine a future where your daughter, Sifa, whose name means “reputation/praise”, can proudly share who her father was, and point out the legacy you helped leave behind.  That even though you made mistakes when you were young and seeking power in a country where everyone was doing the same thing – you came to a point where you realized those errors, and were transformed.  That is the Good news of the Gospel message.  Lives like yours and mine, Jesus came to bring freedom from our sin, and redemption/new life through us for the sake of the world!

I know many voices are calling simply for you to “open the doors” and allow adopted children to go home.  As beautiful as that would be for so many families, it would also land your nation right where it was when this all began.  There is corruption, and changes need to happen.  You’ve already stated that publicly, but nothing concrete has been seen yet.  I encourage you, to put together a team to examine and reform the adoption process in the DRC.  Invite leaders from several nations where families are thriving, and figure out a long-term plan for the future of your people in the context of a global community.  Figure out what investments are being made in the economy of your nation, and what those investors are seeking to gain.  You have hundreds of families from all over the world, waiting to be forever connected with the DRC through their children!  What a great resource to tap into, and to invite into life-long relationships with!  As the country eventually opens, invite these parents to stay connected, and encourage partnerships with the local communities their children are adopted from.  Help develop structures and accountability so that such partnerships remain healthy and not yet another “I’ll get mine” enterprise.  Set a goal, not of simply serving the orphaned of today, but of healing the families and communities of your nation so that if and when orphans exist – the community and resources are there to provide homes and families for those children.

Allow your people to experience the beginning of needed healing, by publicly declaring you will not alter the constitution or seek another term in office.  Your country needs more than you, and more than any individual leader has to offer.  Lead them into an existence that declares “Ubuntu” once again.  Help them find a leader who can guide them into this next season of healing and redemption of family.

And someday, when you’re no longer carrying the weight and responsibility you carry, and you have some free time, I’d love to meet you.  To have my daughters meet yours.  To have our wives drink tea together.  To sing together, a song of worship to the God who offers to transform us both for the sake of a world that needs us to bear His image.

Thanks for your time,

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I’ll admit, this is probably a bit starry-eyed and will probably never be read by the President of the DRC….but it helps me to pray better.  Not simply for my daughter, whom I hope to hold someday.  But for her friends, her commune, her nation, and the future of the DRC that Jesus declares there is hope for.  And I believe Him…

New Facebook Adoption Auction!!!

2014FBAuctionHere we go again!!  Tons of scarves, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, tea gift sets, tea pots, infuser mugs, random items, MLB Cardinals Ring, NCAA Suitcase, NCAA Messenger bag, NCAA Leather Coasters, lots of other great gift items, PEZ Dispensers, and NCAA office items!

In order to bid by placing a comment on a picture, you must be a member of the Facebook Group.  To join the group, simply send me a message on Facebook, and I can invite you!!  Thanks for joining us in prayer to help bring our daughter home from the DRC!!

hope in the weakness of God.

In college I remember learning the distinction between two types of “time” in scripture.  There was “kairos”, and “chronos”.  “Chronos” is an easy one, it’s where we get our word “chronological”.  We have calendars, and monthly planners, and even down to the hour of what we’re doing each week.  We know what time things have happened, are happening, and will happen.

The other word, “kairos”, is a bit more complex.  Like when we were teenagers, listening to our loud music, fists raised to the air at a concert shouting, “this is OUR time!”  Or when my wife looked at me, pregnant belly packed tight with our 3rd daughter, and said, “I think it’s time.”

As we began our adoption journey, we knew in advance this was probably going to take a lot of time (chronos).  But we were also assured by many friends and family, and even by our own faith, it would all happen in God’s perfect timing (kairos).  We felt God’s “yes” to what we were stepping out toward in faith, and looked forward to how His kairos fit into our chronos.  All along the way, loving people around us have assured us everything will work out in God’s timing.

Then we entered a world where the Lordship of Jesus seems to be very absent.  Or at least, the way we want to see His stuckfilm_fullsize_story1Lordship.  That’s been a hard thing to let go of….and continues to be.  This is a road, and an experience, where hearing the phrase, “All in God’s perfect timing” ceases to be something that can bring peace.  Surely none of this suffering and pain, cruelty and sadness, injustice and delay of rescue – has anything to do with God  sitting on His cosmic throne saying, “Allllmost ready…..just a liiittttle more suffering and death; and then what I’m about to do will be awesome!”  Nor do we believe, as some have asked us, if the delay simply means perhaps God hasn’t actually called us to adopt.  We’re not alone here….sooo many families are where we are, and have experienced what we’re experiencing.

We believe in a God who, at the beginning of all things, declared it is “Good”.  This “Goodness” has not been destroyed by the brokenness that humanity has introduced to His world.  Because what appears to be “powerful evil”, is actually bankrupt and powerless against the already spoken “Good” of God.

That’s the Hope that came to us in the form of a baby…as we were still living lives of suffering and brokenness.  His Love compelled Him to enter into our suffering.  To give us a living statement of “I Love You”, that speaks louder than any wait.  God became subject to the “powerful evils” of our world, and let them do their worst.  They were found to be power-less.  The ways of God were revealed to us in Jesus.  Not the Jesus who is powerful and swoops down to bring rescue and crushes His enemies underfoot.  But the Jesus who Loves, and becomes broken and poor.  The Jesus who makes his dwelling place among the disenfranchised and forgotten.  Who has no place to lay his head.  Who was born in an animals feeding trough.

The Jesus who is spoken of in Mark 13:32, “But that day or hour (chronos words here) no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”  This is a Jesus who enters into the complete suffering of humanity…even to being subject to God’s “chronos”.  This is a Jesus who, in the midst of enduring the suffering of a broken world, used every breath to proclaim that this moment, these days, have been claimed as God’s “kairos”.  Now is the time of God moving in our world.  Now is the time of Jesus Christ being established as Lord.  Now is the time for Kingdom to come already, even as we continue to wait in suffering.  God’s “good” has never gone away, and is re-emerging even now.

People will continue to say it, and I know they mean well.  So I will smile, and be grateful they hold us up in prayers.  But “all in God’s timing” doesn’t help me to sleep well at night anymore.  Thankfully, there is a phrase that brings more comfort than ever before….come what may…

“and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us“).” – Matthew 1:23

Every day we wait…He waits with us.  Every tear of joy or pain, His eyes are also filled.  His presence is constant and steady, and in the power of His Spirit we are joining our quietly spoken “good” to God’s…

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