|My college prof... in his element.|
I attempted to send you a note around 10:30 this morning, but it looks like it didn't send. I apologize if this is a duplicate note!
You have been very influential in my life. I often tell people about my college prof that would call me and wake me up in the morning to tell me that it was important that I came to class! I look back to those Church Music classes as some of my best memories. While packing up and sorting through old boxes last month, I came across some of my assignments. My packing was delayed by 45 minutes as I allowed those old papers to take me back to those days. It was encouraging to see where I had come from.
Kellie and I have been married 17 years now and we have 3 children. Our daughters are both adopted: Aleksandra, 8 from Russia, and Sterling 18 months from China. We just brought Sterling home in April. It is amazing how she immediately fit into our family. We began her adoption process 6 years ago, long before she was born. We like to tell folks that it took us 6 years to adopt our 1 year old... God's math is different than mine!
We first travelled to Guatemala 3 years ago... and I was overwhelmed by what I saw. Over a 24 month period I returned several times and began to understand that I had to give through the pain... the benefit of locking eyes and hands with an individual and bringing hope to a life far outweighed the pain. I began to see the joy in the mission.
Kellie and I have always had this dream of being adoption agents. Through our encounters in China & Russia we saw the plight of large orphanages... how desperate they are, how hard they try with so little resources. We went to Guatemala and encountered Fontaine and Paula Greene. They took abandoned and hopeless children directly into their home and covered them with love, educated them, fed them, taught them about Jesus, and gave them hope.
God gives us our dreams and then sets our vision. He has made a way through impossible barriers for us to receive 4 abandoned and orphaned infant girls as soon as we arrive (June 2013). We will have legal custody of them and be authorized to select their forever families. We will be adoption agents. Currently this is available only to Guatemalan citizens and residents, but we hope to be able to also coordinate international adoptions with churches that partner with us here in the states. Politically, it looks feasible within 3-5 years. Praying!
God has been HUGE at work in our lives. We are living in my parent's basement and we have either sold or given away nearly all our belongings. We eat with borrowed dishes and rest on borrowed furniture. We are aggressively becoming debt free. We have become evangelistic in our nature as we talk of our mission and God's story to all we encounter. We are building up a base of 600 partners. We are reaching out to people, to groups, to churches. We can present to an individual, or to thousands. We are going BIG.
We have been living with James 1:22-27. We believe that caring for orphans and widows is the heart of God. We believe that we ourselves were orphans before being adopted by the God of everything. We simply seek to take the hands of others and lead them to the miracle we have experienced for ourselves. We also are living in Acts 2. It is incredible to read with fresh eyes the story of the emerging church... how God added daily to their numbers as they lived lives in obedience, faith, and fellowship. All these things are critical to us as we transition into the mission community of a third world country.
Our faith has been stretched... we have learned that the promises of God are ALIVE and not just stories in the Bible. We have learned to pray prayers so BIG that the only way to move forward is when God steps into the picture. Our children are seeing our weaknesses and our faith in action. They see that it is God that moves us forward.
We needed to sell our home... and could not do so. We were in despair, we had hit an impassible barrier. We read of Joshua and we decided to pray circles around our house. I tell of it in my blog, it is the Jericho series.
For seven days we prayed as we walked around the outside of our home. On the 7th day we circled it 7 times and then we blew intruments (a trumpet, a recorder, and a ram's horn) and we SHOUTED. The kids were scared the house would implode. As we marched around the house the 7th time on that 7th day... we passed through our gate the final time and suddenly it slammed shut behind us! I kid you not! A wind seemed to gust out of no-where and then the night returned to stillness. I shook and cried with the knowledge that God was with us.
7 days later, to the very hour... we got a phone call from distant family who needed to move to Ohio from South Carolina. They took our house sight unseen for the price we needed. God answers big prayers.
I am thrilled to have you partner with us in any way you believe you should. We need mentors, accountability partners, prayer warriors, and financial supporters. Thank you for being in my life.
May God Always Be With You:
|...and the things you have heard of me among many witnesses, |
entrust to reliable people who will be qualified to teach others.
~2 Tim 2:2
www.cten.org/chadshepherd (our mission agency & the way to partner with us)
www.catalystresources.net (our Guatemalan Mission)
blogspot.com/ (my Blog: faith, adoption, mission)