It began with a question.
"Mama, what can we do?"
Josie-Tatum was just a few weeks from her sixth birthday when she asked that, and I was preparing materials for Adoption and Orphan Awareness. It would be the first time our church participated in November's National Adoption Awareness month. It would be the first time many in our church heard of the orphan crisis. It was the first time Josie-Tatum began to understand the enormity of the problem and God's call to the church.
This is one of videos I previewed before sharing with the church. Josie-Tatum sat with me and watched every one, intrigued by what she was learning.
So, she asked the question, "Mama, where can we do? What can we do?"
And, the questions continued every day and each night. Following every new video, she asked more questions. "You mean there are big kids who need mamas, too?" She even said, "Well, I can tell you one thing. If you didn't have to work, and I didn't have to go to school, we would travel all around the world and bring home every orphan daddy would let us."
She took her new burden to Jesus. Nightly she would pray, "God, show me and Mama what we can do to help orphans. Show us where we can go." I began to realize God had entrusted me with a priceless treasure of another kind. I could bury that treasure, or I could make it shine!
I started investigating different options for mission trips where orphan ministry was the focus. Time and again the doors were closed. After several weeks I decided God was going to allow Josie-Tatum and me to go on a mission trip, just the timing was not right.
With my mind at ease, I settled back into my comfortable life. Josie-Tatum continued to pray. Her prayer was sometimes, "LORD, it's okay if we don't go now, but just show Mama and me what we can do." Then, she came. Brenda. Brenda Sutton.
It had earlier been suggested to me that I give her a call, but I had already decided that we weren't to go on a mission trip yet. And, since I didn't try to find her, the LORD sent her to me.
Brenda shared her work with the Servant's House Ministries. She shared much about a recent mission trip, where the team stayed in a hostel, and showered out doors where a hose was stretched over a tree branch. That was certainly not the mission trip I would take Josie-Tatum on.
But, after the service, I went to talk with her. I told her a little of Josie-Tatum's story. I asked her to contact me if she ever knew of a mission trip that would be appropriate for a young child, and she, without any hesitation said, "Come with us to South Africa."
There are so many details, so many God moments. I'll post links to many of those stories, later, but you should know that we committed to go, needing over $6,000 and having no idea where that money would come from. When we left for South Africa, just a few months later, we had raised over $8,000. We were able to use the remainder of the money for multiple projects for orphans, including tuition for school.
Josie-Tatum's heart and passion for orphans, though, touched more than just her family. The missionaries in Shayandima had begun to feel God calling them to more involvement with orphans. The love of a 6-year-old girl on the other side of the world sent affirmation that they were following His leading. Imagine my joy and the honor. God had allowed me to see His work in a way I could never have imagined.
With the extra money we had raised, we were able to sponsor tution for this precious child of God!
We had the money to sponsor one my child for school the next year. While visiting a nearby home for orphans, we met one of the cutest four-year olds in Africa.
We talked with the missionaries, and they made the arragements for him to be the second child we would sponsor.
While spending much time with the LORD prior to our mission trip, He has spoken to me through Isaiah. He brought this verses to my mind--Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth ; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
God did indeed begin a new thing while we were in South Africa. Brad and Hazel committed to opening a home for orphans. We committed to helping them build the home. And, we broke ground on the site where the home would be built.
And, this year, we have felt His call to return, to return to the new thing God has begun, to see how it is springing forth, to see the way He is making in the wilderness.
Like a Memorial Box story, revisting His call has blessed my soul! It has encouraged me as I have remembered that this work is a work He has begun. And, His word says He will complete the work He has begun.
And, now once again, I ask you to pray! Pray! Pray continually and pray fervently. Pray that God will remove the obstacles that might keep us from being able to return to His work. Pray with me as I prayed this morning...as Moses stood before the Red Sea, we stand before the financial obstacles keeping us from His promises. Pray with me that He will part the sea, and we will walk across on dry ground! And, we were are on the other side, He will get all the glory and honor. We have already been blessed with nearly $5,000. I know that God can easily provide the rest!
If in your prayer time, you feel God leading, you may click here and donate, using Pay Pal or your credit card. Many of you, some of whom I have never met, have already given generously to our adoption fund. And, my heart is full when I consider how He is using the body of Christ. We would be honored if you would share our need with others in your circle of influence!
You may also donate by sending money to The Servant's House Minsitries, P.O. Box 365, Blackshear, GA 31516. Include a note stating the money is to be deposited into the account of Josie-Tatum.
Thank you for your faithfulness to pray! Join us as we watch Him do great and might things!