Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Christmas Blessing!

The Moore Family - Dec. 22, 2011

Sometime back, Kerri and Mike Moore answered God's call to adopt through the Alabama foster care system. They went through all of the necessary paperwork and training classes that were required, and then they began the waiting process. They never seemed to waiver from the knowledge that God had called them to adopt, and that He indeed had a sibling group for them. Kerry and Mike's motivation to adopt did not come from wanting to "rescue" children but rather, it was because they had once been spiritual orphans who had been "rescued" by a loving, heavenly Father! What a joy it is to share the hope of Christ with children.

In July of 2011, Mike and Kerri met brothers: Zach and Sean. It didn't take them long to realize that these were the children that God had ordained for them. Zach and Sean moved in permanently and the adjustment of a new family began. However, the adoption would not be final until December. I am happy to report that on December 22, 2011 Zach and Sean officially became "Moores" and they celebrated that afternoon with a big reception for family and friends. What a Christmas Blessing! Some of you may remember that Kerri sang a song on the night that Children's Hope was launched in September 2010. It was a song written by Steven Curtis Chapman about a child wanting a family for Christmas. Well, the Moores not only opened their hearts to one child but two! On behalf of your church family, thank you Mike and Kerri for being an example of what it looks like to care for "orphans in their distress."

P.S. I was eating a candy cane today and Hope ran up and excitedly said, "the sins are going away." Of course she was referring to the red disappearing and only the white showing. Jay preached on this Christmas morning. I don't tell you this just because it is absolutely precious but to stress how important it is for us as Christians to reach out to the orphans of the world and introduce them to the Savior that forgives our sins.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Good Company!

This picture was taken at the airport in Port au Prince as we were waiting on the plane to Miami. I had the privilege of being in the company of five Godly men and would like to tell you a little about each one of them. First, Rob Birkbeck is on the left. Rob was born in Zambia but now is a US citizen living in Orlanda. Rob travels all over the world as a free lance get it done guy for different ministries. He has done everything from smuggling in Bibles to setting up evangelism opportunities in the Ivory Coast. However, his greatest challenge was adopting a six year old relative with Reactive Attachment Disorder. No matter how difficult this became, Rob and his wife hung in there and never stopped loving him. They have truly been the hands and feet to this young man.

Then there is Andy! For those of you who know him, you know he is a man of integrity that loves the Lord with all of his heart! Andy continues to amaze me with his energy and willingness to sacrifice for others. I am thankful for his spiritual leadership in our home and for the special gift that God has given him to teach the Word.

Next, Charley Elgin is a man walking closely with the Lord. It doesn’t take long being around Charley to know that he is surrendered to the work of the Lord. He takes his calling very seriously and God has granted him much wisdom and faith. We continue to marvel over God allowing our paths to cross!

Finally, Doug Moyer and John Turnbull are sitting by Charley and both are from California. They first met Charley in Waveland, MS about five years ago and they formed a strong bond of friendship. This was the second trip to Chilren’s Hope, Jacmel for both Doug and John. Doug is a pastor with a strong background in construction. He radiates God’s love and compassion.
He and his wife have two children who were adopted as babies! As Doug relayed this story to me, it was evident that God had orchestrated every detail.

John has such a pure and loving heart and his actions and words are a reflection of His love for the Lord. It doesn’t take long to realize that John’s motivation to serve is genuine. John is originally from Scotland and still has a hint of an accent. He carves Noah’s arks and his wife, Debbie, paints them (

Andy and I are so humbled that all four of these men gave of their time during the Christmas season to be in Jacmel. Rob facilitated the acquisition of the land; Charley laid the ground work for a construction team coming in Jan. and beginning of Phase II; and Doug and John completed construction projects. We praise the Lord for them and their willingness to serve!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas in Haiti, 2011

Telling the Christmas Story
The kids listened so intently
Arab FBC provided pjs for all the children.

The crew with Charley, Doug Moyer, and John Turnbull
Lunch in the cafeteria

Showing off new flip-flops donated by a local law firm
Special monogrammed outfits from Eastwood Pres. Kindergarten Classes

We arrived in Jacmel around 11:00 a.m. Sunday morning after a few mishaps. We missed our plane in Atlanta by five minutes due to a change in policy regarding how early checked baggage was required to be checked in on international flights.
Also, our connection in PaP never arrived to take us to the chartered airport. However, God is gracious! He made a way for us to get on the next "full" plane to Miami and provided a kind taxi driver in PaP that took very good care of us.

As always, the children greeted us all at once with hugs and kisses. Once we were able to get off the taptap, I had them form a line so that I could give each one a proper hello with more hugs and kisses. After they showed me around their new home of which they are very proud, we headed to the cafeteria to begin our two day Christmas celebration. I shared the story of Christmas by using a nativity set. Then we talked about how Jesus grew up, died for us, and rose from the grave. I revisited the story again the next day to see how much they remembered and was pleasantly surprised. I also talked about what it means to become a Christian.

Then they each opened a gift that contained a pair of flip-flops, a bathing suit and a pajamas. They were thrilled with their gifts even down to the tie that held their gift bag together. All of the bathing suits fit perfectly. They were so fun to watch showing off their new gifts. Then we shared Rice Crispy treats and a coloring page with children in the snow making snowmen. I explained to them about snow, but I don't think they ever grasped it. I also had to explain to them about pajamas. They had no clue! Finally, I said you sleep in them. I was getting no where with our translator with the word pajamas.

During this first day of our Christmas celebration, I realized that I did not see the Christmas tree that I was told they would have. Joy was told that one could be purchased in the market and we decided to get one for the kids. When I asked about it, I was told it was outside. I was very puzzled and immediately said well lets bring it in (I brought ornaments). Then I was told it was hanging on a tree and it was a different kind of tree. Needless to say, I was very confused. After a lot of questions, I finally learned that there was no tree but a string of lights in a mango tree. If the smell and sights had not already told me I was in Haiti, this miscommunication certainly made it clear. I made a mental note to purchase a tree after Christmas and somehow get it to the kids by next year.

We ended the day at the Church by the Beach for a sweet service with other Christian Americans. It took place at Dr. Ken Pierce's house who is an American doctor from Hawaii. He and his wife are in Jacmel to build a medical clinic and have started a surfing ministry. There were 12 of us at church including four young adults who were such a blessing to us all.

On Monday, Andy met Rob Birkbeck (represented Manna Care from Canada) at the notaries office to complete the land transaction. The meeting lasted less than 2 hours. Rob said this was amazing, because these types of transactions can sometimes take up to years! Although we were hit with a large tax bill, we were praising God for a quick deal (things rarely ever go as planned in Haiti).

Then it was off to have our second day of Christmas celebration with the kids. As I said, we revisited the story of Jesus' birth. Then the kids got their second present.
The kindergarten classes at Eastwood Presbyterian School had purchased outfits for each of the kids. However, these were not just any ole outfits! The tops and bottoms had their names monogrammed and each child had a different color. Needless to say, the kids loved seeing their names. They were so proud of them along with hair accessories for the girls and extra clothes for the boys. They immediately tried their new clothes on and came ready for their picture to be taken.

After we had meetings with the staff and Samuel, we met with almost each child individually just to encourage them, remind them of God's love, and let them know that Children's Hope would do our very best to always provide for them. We made sure that "things" were going okay. Elida was the only one that began to cry.
Finally, she told us that she was crying because she missed Mrs. Joy!

As we left and said our good-byes, it was getting dark. I looked up in the mango tree and there were the Christmas lights. I couldn't help but think about Jesus Christ being the Light of the world and nothing can dispel His Light. I thought about Haiti and regardless of its darkness, the Light is shining!