I am writing this post as part of the Summit 9 Blogger Giveaway. When I found out about the giveaway I was so excited, as I wanted so bad to go to the Summit this year but being a single momma of two boys, still unemployed from losing my job last year and being in nursing school full time there was no way I could afford it this year :-(
For those of you who are not familiar with the Summit I copied some information from their site directly: The Christian Alliance for Orphans’ annual Summit has become
the national hub for what Christianity Today recently called, “the burgeoning
Christian orphan care movement.” Summit IX on May 2-3, 2013, at Brentwood
Baptist Church in Nashville, TN is expected to draw 1,800 to 2,000 pastors,
grassroots advocates, organizational leaders and church ministry heads.
Alongside more than eighty workshops, the unforgettable plenary sessions will
include David Platt, Randy Alcorn, Michele Bachmann, Bishop & Donna Martin,
and other global leaders. Summit inspires, equips and connects for adoption,
foster care and global orphan ministry.
Doesn't that sound amazing!! The Summit came to my hometown in 2011 during which time I was in the paperchase process of my adoption. I remember thinking how awesome it would be to go but I had just recently started a new job and was unable to get off work. Thankfully my mom went to it for me and just seeing her facial expression as she told me about the sessions and speakers made me wish that much harder that I would be blessed with the opportunity to go one day. She still talks about everything she learned and experienced that year and because of her experience there I have met and become friends with some wonderful Godly people with incredible hearts for orphan care. Things my mom shared with me over the weeks helped me understand not only why God had called me to adopt (when so many thought I was crazy and shouldn't as a single mom) but that is also when the Lord started the reveal very slowly something he would make crystal clear 18 months later about what He was preparing me for and would call me to do.
Fast forward 2 years and I am home with my sweet Isaiah, nearing his first Gotcha Day celebration in a few short weeks and here I am hoping and praying the Lord would allow me this blessing of attending the Summit9!! Why do I want so badly to go? Well, I'm glad you ask :-)
During my time in Ethiopia the Lord broke me and showed me things that my head and heart had truly not been prepared for. The images of children wondering the streets, barely clothed, without shoes, some begging for food or money and others trying desperately to get you to allow them to wash your shoes in exchange for money. The memories of seeing little boys who were no bigger then 3 walking down the mountains alone, with no expression on their face, just dirt. Seeing children dig in the garbage, eating stale injera that had been laying there for who knows how long. These images will never leave me. I would lay in bed at night not able to sleep, thinking about those children and wondering what were they doing? Were they still walking alone, had they stopped to sleep on the side of the road? When I saw their sweet faces, I saw the face of my son who at the time was asleep in our home, in his bed, safe and without any worry about where his breakfast would come from. It was during that first trip that the Lord began to reveal to me that my journey was not going to stop once I got Isaiah home. Really, my journey was just beginning.
After I brought Isaiah home I couldn't stop thinking about Ethiopia and missing it terribly. I missed everything about that beautiful place and the people there. I began praying that the Lord would reveal to me what He was calling me to do. Over the next few months through Scripture, prayer and a God appointed meeting with a dear friend that Lord made clear what He was calling me to do. Not only did I partner with a dear friend of mine and beginning an organization aimed at orphan and widow care called Partners For Ethiopia. (You can read about it at partnersforethiopia.org) but the Lord also called me back to nursing school to further my education, so that I can do medical mission work once I graduate.
The Lord truly broke me during my time in Ethiopia and He has spent the last year putting me back together, allowing me to see things through His eyes and with His heart. Through more Scripture, prayer and many conversations with those He has placed in my life, I see that orphan care is more then just adopting a child or children. Don't get me wrong my adoption journey was an incredible experience full of God's Grace and Provision but there is so much more the Lord calls us to do for the least of these. All of His children need to hear how loved they are by their Heavenly Father, they need to see Christ in us and feel safe and secure, even if they are still waiting for a forever family to call their own. Why should any orphan ever feel alone, scared or unloved?? They shouldn't!!
On Maundy Thursday the Creator of the universe bent down to his knees to wash the dirt from the callused feet of his followers. And as he scrubbed away the dirt, he scrubbed from his Bride all possible justifications for ethnic and economic hierarchies. He radically upset cultural norms. And now he calls us to go low in foot-washing-like service to one another. What does that look like for you? For me it means letting go of what I have known to be normal and follow Christ wherever He leads me. Currently that means going to Haiti in 6 short weeks for a 10 day medical mission trip with my church. I can't begin to express to you how excited I am. Anxious to see what the Lord has in store for me.
So there you have it. Why do I want so badly to go to the Summit9? Simple, because I love and am passionate about orphan care and ministering to all of God's children. I want the opportunity to hear wonderful speakers and soak up every word like a sponge. Feeling called to medical missions, it would be an amazing blessing to hear David Platt speak, as it would be awesome to attend The Global Church session. Along with my desire to attend the session Maximizing the Impact of Your Ministry to enable myself and my friend/partner to learn how to best utilize our tools and resources to impact the children and widows we are working with in our ministry Partners For Ethiopia.
Another very important reason I want so badly to attend is to bring back everything I learn and help empower others to step out in faith and live out James 1:27 The enemy worked overtime during my adoption journey trying to place doubt and fear into my head. I want people to know it is not able how much money you make or if you have the ideal family dynamic to adopt. I was a single mom, fresh out of nursing school with a 5 year old who had been praying for a brother. Of course I was praying the Lord would bless me with a husband, but the Lord had other things in store for me and my boys. Would I change one thing about my adoption journey? Never! I am so thankful that the Lord called me to adopt, because not only did He bless me with my sweet Isaiah, but He also opened my eyes and heart to what breaks His and continues to use my experience to grow me and prepare me for the next season that waits.
Thank you so much for considering me for this amazing opportunity. I know whoever wins will be blessed and I hope and pray the Lord allows me this opportunity.