These past weeks have been rough on our family.
When we started out on this drive around America we had all the zeal and vision a family could muster. Ready to take on the winding roads, and tell the story of the orphans in Ethiopia loud and clear to anyone who would listen.
Then. As the miles wore on, the kids grew weary, and the stories started to sound like broken records in our own ears, we have began to fade in our resolve. What started as a loud cheer has dimmed to a tired march onward, instead of looking forward we found ourselves counting down the days.
Not that we are backing out, in fact I hesitated to write this post that has been burning in my heart for the past week, because I worried about what people would think of us if we admitted that we were tired.
“Will they take it wrong, and think we are saying that everything is crashing down?”
I wondered to myself as my head lay on another strange pillow in another strange bed with my wife by my side, and our four kids all within arms reach on the floor beside us.
And so, I offer this disclaimer before I continue on any further; Our family is weary in this season, but Bring Love In is still about the business of creating and supporting families. In fact our staff back in the Ethiopia office are all doing well, and helping the eight new children adjust to their new homes as we speak. Things are good.
But, we, our family, back here in America, sitting a fold away bed in the basement of a home in Chicago where we spent the afternoon and much of the evening telling our story to a steady stream of guests who came to hear this daring family who moved their family to Ethiopia speak, we are taxed today.
But there is a point to this post. I am not just on here complaining, because I know there is nothing you can do about this, and most of you who follow along on this blog took one look at our long list of events scheduled for this summer and knew right away that we were biting off more than any family could chew.
Yeah. We knew that too.
We knew going into this that our family was going to be beyond tired, we were going to question the wisdom of planning this trip in the first place, and we even knew that we would one day be so exhausted that we would want to give up and go home.
But do you know what? We also knew that there are hundreds of kids in an orphanage in Ethiopia who are ready to go home to a family, and we knew that our family needed to do whatever it may take to spread the word about those kids, and that whatever our family might have to endure on this trip would be tiny compared to the sleepless night of a child who has been placed in an orphanage because his parents died and he has no other place to call home.
A child who shares a thin foam mattress with two other children who also were abandoned in a place without love.
We knew this.
And so we planned this trip, we sat down with our kids and we asked them to join with us as we together struggled to tell these other children’s story. We got on our knees and asked God to give us the strength to fight a battle that we knew we would not be able to win on our own. A battle that is just as much internal as we struggle with the loss of routine as a family, as it is tactical as we try to find the words to tell a story that seems so distant from the place where we stand on our soapbox to tell it.
This is what helping orphans looks like for us today, it means getting in the car again tomorrow, fueling up and driving from morning till night, unpacking our things and telling our story, then getting back in the car to do it all again.
Thousands of miles from the kids we are helping, while trying desperately to not forget them.
Someone asked me the other day what our goal was for this trip. I paused as I realized that although I had a hundred answers for his question, I did not have one answer. I fumbled around as inadequate words bounced back and forth around my head, and then the answer came to me.
The one reason why we put our family in the van and started out on this trip.
Our goal is to tell as many people as we can about how Bring Love In is creating families from widows and orphans in Ethiopia, so that we can create more families from widows and orphans in Ethiopia.
Did you get that?
We are here to tell their story.
Then though, after the words fell into place in my mind and the sentence flowed out of me and darted to and fro off the walls of the living room, I realized that we are not in this alone. Not only has God been here holding our hand from the very moment when Bring Love In started to come together, but this man who stood before me was now someone who had heard.
And the other people in the room, they as well were now armed with the story, and they too could go out and tell it to others.
This battle is not just ours to fight.
Then, (and I bet you can guess where I am going next) I realized that you as well have heard, you who are sitting there reading this blog, you also know about the kids who sleep in orphanages but could be in families, and you could tell others, and you could give up some of the blessing that God has given you, and together, we could make a real difference.
We could give more orphans the families they deserve.
The funds are coming in to create new families, but it is a lot slower than we had hoped, and there are thousands more kids who we could (and hopefully eventually will) be helping.
Today, we, a family who has given everything, and is emptied out tired, and grumpy, and has nothing left but a vision of the goal that we set out to accomplish, and a tight grip on the garment of a God who cares for each of those orphans, are asking for your help carrying this load with us.
Will you help us tell others? Will you become part of this mission, and give part of yourself, and your life to help these kids with us?
We can’t do it without you.
We are staggering under the burden, and need you to step under here and hold up some of this with us.
To wrap up all that I have been saying here today, I have three questions for you.
Three simple requests.
- Will you give to help with the setup expenses of a new forever family house? It costs $5500 for each home to be set up. Furniture, Appliances, Beds, Deposit on the house, Everything… Today we have 9 homes fully sponsored with their monthly expenses, but we need funds to set them up. Five of them are already up and running, another one is already paid for and getting set up soon, but the rest are still in need to startup funding.
- Next, will you take up part of this load that we are carrying, and tell as many of your friends as possible about Bring Love In. Will you become a part of this work by being not only a believer in the help that is being offered to these communities but also a teacher to others who could come along side and help?
- Lastly, will you pray for our family to have strength? We are tired and weary from the road, and need a great big God Infusion today. We need Him to help us keep our eyes on Him as the reason for all this, and to give us strength to keep going.