Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hope deferred, Desire fulfilled, A Ghanaian Market Basket Giveaway to support Giving Hope Orphanage and A Happy Announcement...


Those are His Words, not mine. I love that God understands us, and that He put this scripture in His Word purposefully so we would know that He gets us, that He cares.

Our outreaches into Ghana, West Africa, began in the heart of our middle daughter when she was a wee, little girl. I've known that she needed to write her story, her journey of hope deferred. What I didn't know, was that as God was working in her wounded heart, He was also fulfilling her secret heart's desire. I hope you'll enjoy this guest post by my daughter.

At the bottom of this post you will see how to enter the giveaway for the Ghanaian Market Basket
while helping us raise funds for the Giving Hope Orphanage in Koumasi, Ghana, West Africa.)

****************
Most young girls dream of growing up to be a movie star, singer, or a ballerina.  My little girl dream was to go to a foreign land and tell people about Jesus.  I used to imagine that I could speak all the languages of the world, and that I would visit all the countries of the world and tell people about Jesus. 

When I was 17, I went to Ghana, West Africa.  At 19, I went to the Ivory Coast.  Both trips solidified that West Africa was where God wanted me to be.  It was home.  I feel at home and feel most comfortable in my gifts, callings, and who God created me to be when I am with the people of these Nations. 

Before you go thinking I grew up saintly, let me dispel that idea quickly!  I was a regular ornery kid who grew into  a regular teenager, boy crazy and full of drama!  This calling, this burden, however, has directed my life’s decisions and goals.  I went to Bible college at a school birthed from revival and focused on reaching the world.  I met a man who was adventurous and just as determined to follow God.   (We’ve been happily married 13 years!)  After college, our plans to go and change the world (by being full time foreign missionaries) began to fall apart, and what I like to call the “great divine detour” began.  It lasted 12 years.  No matter what we tried, nothing panned out.  We were stuck in America while our hearts were on the other side of the world.

Yet time was not lost, God is always working things out for our good!  Along the way, we were blessed through adoption with two beautiful children.  We met a very important man, our primary ministry partner and very dear friend, Bishop Frank.  We were able to travel and minister in Ghana, Mexico, Inner City LA, and Washington D.C.

Last year, we took a leap of faith and moved our family to Ghana.  We had six months’ worth of living expenses (which took us three years to raise) and hearts full of faith that during our time there, God would open doors for us to remain in country and continue to minister.  Six months came and went.  No miracle.  No open door.  We said good bye to the people who had become so dear to us and went home, not understanding why God was doing this.  The need in West Africa is great.  Poverty prevails while the Gospel has been tainted with mistruths.  We were willing servants, crying out, Lord send me!  What was His problem?  Why wouldn’t he let us serve?

What followed was a year of the deepest spiritual darkness I have ever faced.  My missionary identity had been stripped.  My sense of calling gone.  All I was left with was the simple truth that God did exist and he was Sovereign.  Nothing else made sense.  My heart remained burden for a people an ocean away. I became angry.  My head knew the truth; God always has a plan.  His ways are always best.  But my heart was broken and felt betrayed.  I had given, literally, everything to obey His call, and He had given nothing in return.  Hope had been deferred and my heart was sick.

Despite my pain and anger, things were beginning to happen.  Ministries and project were beginning to be financed.  A project we’d been working on for three years finally came to pass.   An irrigation and farm system for a small community.    Within weeks of the farm being complete, a ministry approached us about helping complete an orphanage project. (You can be a part of this project!  Building goes up, February, 2014!)  Bishop Frank began this project over 10 years ago, and we weren’t scheduled to working on it again for another three years!

I found myself faced with some very uncomfortable questions.  What was more important?  Me (and my wants) or the people I was wanting to serve? Why was me being a missionary so important?  Was I really in it to help others and spread the Gospel or was I in it for the self-gratification of doing something and being someone important.  I’d like to say when I examined myself that all I found was heart full of humbleness.  But, if that were the case, why was I pouting while help was finally beginning to arrive for the people I loved so much?

It has been fourteen months since we lived in Ghana, seven since I’ve been in the country.  My heart still longs to live there; to do life and make disciples with the people who have captured my heart.  I miss it more than words can say.  The burden to see the people of West Africa hear and accept Jesus is just as strong as it was when I was a girl.   Many of my questions still remain unanswered, but I am at peace.  God always has a plan, and it is always higher and greater than my own.  He is at work in Ghana, and I am blessed to be a part of what He is doing, even if it is from across the pond.

The Lord has blessed me with peace.  And while he has temporarily said no to my heart’s desire to live and minister overseas, He has said yes to one of my most secret  heart’s desires.  One I tucked away and put to rest long ago.  After thirteen years of marriage, our first birth child will be born to us next year.  We serve a good God, who comforts us in our pain, listens to our fits of anger, and blesses us with life and good gifts when we are at our ugliest.

He truly is good.  All the time.

*************************

{Yes!  We're going to have another grand baby!  That's a happy announcement, isn't it?  

Another happy announcement is that we have a donor who is willing to match any donations made towards the Giving Hope Orphanage project by December 15th, 2013 up to $4000.  So, to enter the giveaway for the Ghanaian Market Basket I am unashamedly asking for you to click on the PayPal link under MISSIONS on the sidebar of this blog and make a donation to Ask for the Nations, which is our 501c3 missions outreach.  All donations you make will go directly to the Giving Hope Orphanage project and will be matched by our donor.  Your donation will be doubled!  For every $5 you donate you will be given one chance to win the basket.  In other words, a $25 donation means you get entered into the giveaway five times.  Also, that means, that with the matching funds from our donor, you have actually given $50!  The basket winner will be announced on December 15th, the day that the matching funds campaign ends.  Also, if you have an Etsy shop or business you want to advertise, click on Ads for Missions, and you can advertise your shop on my blog with all proceeds going to the Giving Hope Orphanage as well, and you will also be entered to win the basket! Once you make your PayPal donation, just leave a comment that says, "I did it!"  We will be able to tell your donation amount via PayPal and will keep track of your name and total of number of entries for the basket.  Thank you for your help in this important ministry to Ghana.}


still following,

     

23 comments:

  1. This is so beautiful! My eyes are brimming with tears.

    There is a special place in my heart for Ghana as my birthday buddy, Portia (one of our Compassion sponsored children) lives there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, maybe you should make a trip there sometime! My Hubs and I went when the kids were there for 6 months. They went back with a team from our church last February to build the well and irrigation system and will be going this February to work on the orphanage....except only my son-in-law and Hubs will be going with the team this time since my daughter is pregnant now!

      Delete
    2. Someday...right now we are planning a family trip to Thailand : )

      Delete
  2. God is so amazing! I know that He has used Stephanie in such a mighty way beyond what she can even imagine! I'm thrilled that she is able to minister (even from "across the pond") to the people that she loves, and that she will soon be snuggling a precious child that God is bringing into their family! I cannot keep the tears from streaming down my face as I praise Him for His many blessings!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't this amazing?! We are all over the top with excitement! The kids will be 11 and 10 when the baby is born so they will be good helpers. They are sooooo excited!

      Delete
  3. What a fabulous story! Your daughter is as special as her mom!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your donation! And thanks for your sweet comment too!

      Delete
  4. Awesome post--more awesome news! Congratulations--I know big brother and sister are excited beyond words--

    I'm going to donate--just not sure which route I'm going to take yet--

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh friend, your donation will be so appreciated! My two oldest grands will be 11 and 10 when the baby is born. They've known they're adopted since the beginning, but for some reason keep telling us the baby will look like them. They are half Latino, so if it does, we'll all be shocked! They are head over heels ecstatic, as we all are!

      Delete
  5. Congratulations! And your daughters story will be part of the grand story in Heaven. It is moving, beautiful, heartwarming. Thank you for sharing it. God is so good!

    ReplyDelete
  6. WOW! This is such a great post. Your daughter has inherited your wonderful writing skills. Yes, your surprise announcement was a happy one. Congrats. We can never have enough "grands" can we? Hope your daughter is feeling good and that her pregnancy will be easy.

    Debbi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are all so surprised about the new grand baby but incredibly excited!

      Delete
  7. Congratulations Grandma! Such a very special time! Love, Patty
    PS. Enjoyed 'meeting' your daughter!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Patty! We are soooo excited!

      Delete
  8. I shared this post with my readers at Compassion Family - hopefully it will bring in some donations : )

    ReplyDelete
  9. I did it :)
    Wonderful post.
    Eilis@my-heart-lives-here.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Ellis! Your contribution means so much!

      Delete
  10. What fabulous news! I did not know your two oldest grands were adopted! This baby will have two mamas and two daddies - I know this from experience by having a 13 and 10 year old when Ethan arrived. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm so glad that God provided so that I was able to contribute to the orphanage project!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm so excited for your family! And that I can be a small part of the project. GOD is SO amazing. I am grateful that HE loves to give us miraculous gifts. Love you bunches!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am sorry I missed the giveaway and chance to give. I am following you from Still Saturday. I loved your daughter's story.
    Many blessings,
    Janis www.janiscox.com

    ReplyDelete

The best thing about blogging is hearing from you!
I'd love for you to leave a comment! Click subscribe by email if you want me to be able to reply to you.