30 Ways to Help Orphans

we-will-not-be-judged

It’s Orphan Sunday! Let’s face it: caring for the world’s 153 million orphans is daunting. The task can seem so overwhelming that it’s easy to do nothing. But Scripture challenges us as we see the heart of God:

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” — James 1:27, NIV

Fortunately, there are many ways to care for and support orphans around the world beyond the obvious — adoption and foster care. The vast majority of the world’s orphans actually have one or more living parent or extended family member — who do not have the resources to care for their child. The options below contain many examples of how you can support these families and help them keep their children by paying them a livable wage for their products. There are also many options to care for orphans by providing food, medical care, and educational resources. Costs are as little as $4. Most can be done from your living room. All make the difference in the life of at-risk families and orphans in need.

Here are 30 of my favorite ways to help orphans this Orphan Sunday.

  1. Pray for orphans. Be open to God asking you to become a foster or adoptive parent. 
  2. Participate in fundraisers by adoptive families. Check out the Facebook group: Shop With a Purpose — Support Adoption Fundraisers.
  3. Join Fair Trade Friday Club, which helps women in Kenya keep their children by providing them with jobs creating products which are shipped to your door.
  4. Sponsor a child through World Hope International to help a child have access to education, food support, and spiritual guidance. 
  5. Choose one product you regularly use to always purchase Fair Trade: coffee, chocolate, tea, rice, cosmetic products, clothing.
  6. Discover your own Slavery Footprint, and write to companies who use unethical practices to produce cheap goods.
  7. Offer to support, encourage, pray for, or babysit for an adoptive family.
  8. Become a respite (part-time) foster parent, who takes foster children for short term (usually a few days). Placements are based on your availability.
  9. Sponsor an Ghanaian orphan’s food, education, or both through Feeding the Orphans.
  10. Move a child in an orphanage in China into a foster home through Care for Children for $35.
  11. Establish a church-based adoption loan program through the ABBA fund.
  12. The Both Hands Project pairs adoptive families with local widows who need help with renovations, cleanup, maintenance. The adoptive family gathers a team to support their work on a widow’s home while raising funds for their adoption.
  13. Donate to my friends, the Kelleys, as they adopt their daughter Emma from China. You can follow their story and donate here
  14. Sponsor the education and nourishment of an orphan in Liberia for $40/month through AfricanChildSponsorship.com.
  15. Buy a chick for $4 to support orphan care in Zambia at Every Orphan’s Hope. 
  16. Purchase gift subscription boxes made by at-risk women around the world to help them support their families at Bonjoy
  17. Skip a meal to feed an orphan for a month. Fast, or eat a meal of rice and beans, and give the money you would have otherwise spent to Food for Orphans. $10 feeds an orphan for one month. 
  18. Mentor or help meet material needs of a child who is “aging out” of the foster care system without a family.
  19. Become an advocate for an abused or neglected child by representing their interests in the legal system through a Guardian Ad Litum program.
  20. Decorate your Christmas tree and stuff your stockings with treasures from Ornaments 4 Orphans.
  21. Collect school supplies for orphans through Orphan Outreach.
  22. Buy a cool t-shirt for $22 from Rice Bowls and feed 40 orphans.
  23. Sponsor the care of a medically need orphan in China through Show Hope.
  24. One out of every 5 child deaths in Africa is due to Malaria. Provide a lifesaving mosquito net for $8 through Sweet Sleep.
  25. $27 can give 10 children in Liberia life-saving parasite treatment through Vision Trust.
  26. Host an older orphan from Latvia or Ukraine in your home for 4-8 weeks to expose them to family life, help them learn English, and help make connections which might result in a forever family through Project 143.
  27. Sponsor a micro-loan for an orphan graduate or caregiver to be able to start a sustainable business and earn a living through LifeSong for Orphans.
  28. Adopt an Orphanage through LifeSong for Orphans, supporting them financially, visiting them annually, and serving as an encouragement through letter writing.
  29. Shop from a selection of hundreds of gifts that are Fair Trade and ethically sourced at The Hunger Site.
  30. Donate your birthday! Ask your friends to donate to 147 Million Orphans in lieu of buying you presents. 147 Million Orphans will let you know how the donations were used to change the life of children around the world.

Vertigo

Vertigo: a sensation of whirling and loss of balance, associated particularly with looking down from a great height

These last few months have been dizzying. Disorienting. Confusing. We were so sure we were moving to Ghana.

And then we weren’t.

A year’s worth of exhausting work evaporated overnight. 

We found ourselves living a life that had been rearranged to accommodate moving to Ghana, not what we wanted or could even tolerate long-term.

I had left my teaching job. Ken had only been able to find employment at Chick Fil A. We have no friends in our town. Our church is an hour away. I work long hours, 7 days a week. I have no paid time off. We have no one locally to call on if the kids need picked up from school, if Ken and I need to travel, or if we just need a helping hand. The remnants of the life that we intended were impossible to put back together again. Life was not sustainable. There was nothing to hold on to in order to make the spinning stop.

And then we were asked to consider moving to Oregon.

My parents and brother’s family live in Oregon. I went to high school there. But the logistics of a cross country move are daunting. We live in a slow real estate market. Our house was for sale for over a year before we bought it. Changing medical jobs is really hard, especially when the job market is a mystery. I have a horrific out clause with my job. Moving across country is prohibitively expensive. The vertigo increased.

But what if?

So we started walking through doors. Waiting. Expecting them to close.

Ken got a great job at my parents’ church, which my grandfather built.  

I got a job at a clinic where they understand faith-based practice. Who offered to pay our moving expenses. And pay a significant chunk of my school loans off. And a signing bonus. And 6 weeks time off each year. Paid.  I would work normal hours.

We put our house on the market. It sold before the sign had been in the yard 24 hours.

I found the perfect house in Salem close to both of our jobs and in a great school district.

Family and friends I’ve known for decades will be nearby.

The spinning is slowing.

So we are packing up and moving closer to family where opportunities have been abounding, where we have local resources, and possibilities to invest long-term. And a chance to make the spinning stop.
The Jewett family’s next stop will be Salem, Oregon.

On Hold, Holding On

It’s not easy to raise a half a million dollars in our spare time.

That’s been our goal.

We have been pursuing mission work in Ghana for a year now. In the process, we have spent thousands of dollars, transferred Ken’s credentials back to the Wesleyans, spoken at more than a dozen churches, shared our story with thousands of people, attended two national conferences and three district conferences in two countries, and traveled over 7000 miles to do all of that. We have changed jobs, turned down other jobs, started less than ideal jobs because of their flexibility, and worked very long hours to save up money to continue the partnership process. We’ve spent all of our savings. We’ve done six weeks of training in partnership development, community health evangelism, tropical medicine. Ken has spent countless hours with Rosetta Stone in French. I’ve been approved for a grant to pay my PA school loans while on the field. God has healed my lungs. We have flown to Africa, heard their needs personally, developed a plan to address both spiritual and physical needs, and borne witness to the amazing things that God is doing there. We’ve built a lot of wonderful partnerships. We’ve faced misunderstanding, challenges, and rejection.

While we have made plenty of mistakes along the way, our heart has been clear: When it comes to Ghana, we are 100% willing to go.

We, however, cannot do it alone. A flock of partners has to be willing to join with us with financial and prayer support. Unfortunately, we are at 24% support after an exhausting year. We are spent financially, physically, and emotionally. Our target date of leaving by January 1st is drawing nearer, yet our financial total is not moving.

We are stuck.

We have come up short in the amount of money we need to raise in a timely manner. It seems like God’s answer for us is “not now.” We are humbled and thankful for those of you who have stepped forward to partner with us. We wish we had a thousand more like you. Literally.

It’s not easy to raise a half million dollars in our spare time.

My motto for years has been, “I would rather do something perilous for the sake of love than nothing for the sake of fear.”  I would rather take huge risks for the sake of God’s kingdom and come up short than live a life afraid to try. I want to stand before the throne of God someday and have a track record of 100% obedience, even if I don’t have a track record for 100% success.

After all, God does not call us to “success,” He calls us to obedience.

So, we are humiliated, tearful, and exhausted as we find ourselves needing to put our call to Africa on hold. We still feel drawn to the needs in Africa. They are very real. We still feel drawn to God’s awesome movement in Africa. It is also very real. If we could snap our fingers and make it happen, we would.

But we are not God.

And He is not snapping any fingers right now.

These words of Oswald Chambers resonate with me,

“Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life– gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God.”

So with breathless expectation, we wait. We wait for God to show us what our next chapter will be, how to move forward, how to let go, how to hold on.

Our faith in God and the story He is writing in our lives is unshaken.

Why Are We Ghana Go to Ghana?

We have had a whirlwind of a week — I attended a week of training on Community Health Evangelism, then scurried off to Nashville for the Alive Wesleyan Women’s conference, attended a funeral of my former boss, had the chance to share at our former home church in Hermitage, and talk to hundreds of friends in between.

I’ve realized that for some of you who are jumping into our story at this point, you may have missed a few a few details about what God has called us to. So for those of you jumping in at this point, WELCOME!
Here’s what God has asked of us:
We’re moving to Tamale, Ghana, hopefully in mid-2016 to be missionaries for a three year term.
 I will be focusing on the Northern Ghana region, developing a program called Community Health Evangelism (CHE).  CHE focuses on creating sustainable development programs in developing areas. The community itself identifies its needs, and I will train trainers to help the community solve problems like: poor soil, lack of economic opportunities, infant mortality, malnutrition, illiteracy, and preventable diseases. We focus on solutions that can be found in the local community rather than creating dependency on Western resources. Scriptural principles are appropriately incorporated into the curriculum. (For example, when we look at ways to improve soil, we will talk about the parable of the sower and having “good soil” in our hearts.)  Because the community chooses the development projects, the leaders, and the workers, the community quickly achieves sustainability.
Ken will be working with pastors in Northern Ghana and in regions of French speaking Africa, where the Gospel is expanding exponentially, and church infrastructure is needed. There is also a need for pastors to be raised up and trained by a French-fluent church leader, which will be Ken. Ken hopes to facilitate the empowerment of Haitian nationals to become missionaries in French-speaking Africa, which is a new focus of Global Partners: sending missionaries from one mission field to another.
Addie and Palmer will be attending an international school started by Wycliffe translators, and will be educated in four different languages to help them become effective linguists. We are all excited about this, given the experiences God has already allowed in their lives. They are also very interested in helping other children from becoming orphans by helping to provide medical care alongside me.  Addie and Palmer know in their hearts that God has called them back to Africa to bring Jesus’ love and healing.
We hope to leave for language school (either in Canada or in Ivory Coast) in January 2016, but we have to reach full funding before we leave. Because we will be the first Global partners missionaries in Northern Ghana, we have to raise operating expenses in addition to start-up expenses. We have a tall task, but the work of God in Northern Ghana and Western Africa is a tremendous financial opportunity for investment. To achieve our financial goals, we need 70 partners who are willing to contribute $100/month for the next four years. We also need 400 prayer partners who are committed to praying for us at least once per week for the next four years.
We know that God not only calls us, but we know that He has called people across the United States and Canada to Partner with us as well. We’d love for you to pray about what role God might want you to play in what God is doing in Ghana.  If you feel that God is calling you to be a part of what He wants to do in Northern Ghana and French-speaking Africa, click here!

The Radiant Bride

(A guest post by Ken)

Someday, Lord willing, I will walk Addie down the aisle.Jewett (12)

Me.

Her Dad.

What a strange thought. And it came out of nowhere. I was alone and driving in the car.

I don’t know when. Or where. But someday I will take my little girl for one last walk and then her heart will belong to another.

She will be radiant.

Her hair will be perfect. Robin will see to that.

Her dress will be fabulous (and expensive).

But the honor of walking her down the aisle will fall to me… wow! What have I done to deserve this?

Rosa (2)She was born in a far off land to another family who loved her and tried to care for her as best they could. She came to us… wild and afraid. Those early days were long and hard. But love to hold and grew into something unique and beautiful.

On her wedding day, Addie’s eyes will be on a young man at the front of the sanctuary who will be wearing a rented tuxedo and scared to death. And all eyes will be on her. Deservedly so. After all she is… perfect… just as her Heavenly Father intended her to be.  The road to that sanctuary may have been a bumpy one. But on that day, the past will be forgotten and we will simply bathe in the beauty of the present. Together.

Knowing me, I will try to say something profound or memorable, but all that I will be able to say will be “you are so beautiful” or “your mother and I are so proud of you”. But that will be enough.

There will be tears and smiles as we are overwhelmed by emotions too powerful to describe. Our beautiful Congolese angel is flying away.

Any pain, frustration or heart-ache will have faded into distant memory. All that will remain will be a strong, mature and precious woman beaming with the joy of young love.

My daughter has given me a fresh glimpse of what it means to be a Christian.

To be the Church.

The bride of Christ.

The words are not new to me, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. ” Thanks to Addie, this amazing little princess, who faces the challenges of each day with reckless abandon, I now have a better understanding of the Apostle Paul’s meaning.

Someday I will be the Father of the Bride. I will be beaming (and broke). But today I am also part of the Bride of Christ. And while the simple thought of walking my little girl down the aisle to be married bring me to tears, my emotions pale in comparison to how God the Father views the Church, the Bride of Christ.

The Church is far from perfect. Be it is loved and therein lies its true worth.

He has called us.

Redeemed us.

And we are loved.

The wedding day of Jesus and His Bride cost the Father dearly. His one and only Son. But so great was His love for us that He paid the price.

And someday God the Father will march us down the aisle so that we may spend eternity with Christ.

The Danger of Daffodils

Daffodil

The perky heads of yellow have sprung from the ground, signaling the end of winter. A new season has arrived — days are getting longer and warmer. The arctic winds of winter have shifted to bring spring showers, awakening the dead earth back to life. Daffodils are the first sign of that annual renewal of life.

 

For the last 12 years, daffodils have been a danger sign to me. They signaled the coming of spring pollen. Every year, when the tree and flower pollen spikes, my lungs go into lockdown.

 

Every.

 

Single.

 

Year.

 

Ken and I started celebrating Valentine’s day at other times of the year because me getting sick was so predictable. Every year, I’ve been on steroids. Many years, I’ve ended up in the hospital.

 

Daffodils signify danger.

 

So when I saw the first signs of the daffodils of spring, I gasped.

 

And I exhaled.

 

Easily.

 

I chuckled to myself as I am reminded that I have been set free from the chains of asthma. Even the cough I picked up in Africa in 2012 is now gone. I’ve been off of asthma medications for over 6 months now, and when I saw my physician this week he said aloud, “It’s the strangest thing.” I wasn’t just a typical asthmatic, I was the worst kind of asthmatic. I took the monthly injection Xolair in 2013 to the tune of $3500/month, and it didn’t touch my asthma. A day or two without my daily inhaled medicines would send me into gasps of suffocation.

 

When Ken and I prayed for my healing as confirmation that we should move to Africa, it was as if we really didn’t expect God to heal me. Though we were certain God could heal me, we weren’t sure He would.

 

As a medical provider, my entire job is, well, trying to help people God chooses not to heal. I pray for my patients every day as I travel to their homes. I have prayed for long lists of health requests from Sunday school classes, small groups, academic settings, and more.

 

I spend my days immersed in what God is seemingly not doing.

 

I am learning that God’s purposes in illness are not always about the cure. He could have healed my asthma 12 years ago, when I first asked. But He didn’t. He waited 12 frustrating years and over a hundred thousand dollars later. Illness did not merely exist in my life so He could heal me from it, but to teach me through it. I had had to learn to find joy, when I could not breathe well enough to walk across the house to get a glass of water. I learned to embrace the struggle as a part of how God was shaping me. I learned to love God not in spite of my physical ailment, but because He had chosen me to discipline in love through my illness. And I ultimately had to offer it as my only request to God before we moved to Ghana. I have often asked Ken, “If I wouldn’t have had asthma for 12 years, would we know for sure God wanted us to move to Ghana?”

 

While God did heal my lungs, and I am so thankful for the confirmation we needed to know that His plan would be found in Ghana, I am even more thankful for the lessons He taught me on those long days of suffocation.

 

I wear a heavy cloak of burden these days for all of my patients because of the illnesses that they bear. I carry the burden for our prayer partners who are suffering from illness in themselves or their family. But if what is true in my own life is true for others, an absence of healing does not mean an absence of God’s presence and guidance. Perhaps rather than praying only for my patient’s physical healing from illness, I should pray for their spiritual healing through illness.

 

My work in medicine must balance what God is seemingly not doing in the physical realm, with what He is doing in the spiritual realm. And He calls me to be a healer in both.

 

John Piper in What Jesus Demands from the World says, “He did not die to make this life easy for us or prosperous. He died to remove every obstacle to our everlasting joy in making much of him. And he calls us to follow him in his sufferings because this life of joyful suffering for Jesus’ sake (Matt. 5:12) shows that he is more valuable than all the earthly rewards that the world lives for. If you follow Jesus only because he makes life easy now, it will look to the world as though you really love what they love, and Jesus just happens to provide it for you. But if you suffer with Jesus in the pathway of love because he is your supreme treasure, then it will be apparent to the world that your heart is set on a different fortune than theirs. This is why Jesus demands that we deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow him.”

 

Daffodils will now always remind me of delighting in God, whether in danger or disease or deliverance. And this year, I am celebrating what God has taught me, as I embrace the arrival of spring, with every. single. breath.

Why I Don’t Need Diversity in My Life

I do not need diversity in my life to feel better about myself.

  • I need people with dementia in my life, so I can learn to love without any expectation of return tomorrow.
  • I need minorities in my life, to open my eyes to the white privilege I unknowingly enjoy.
  • I need the poor in my life to teach me to value what is eternal more than what is temporal.
  • I need children in my life to help me to laugh, love, and forgive easily.
  • I need LGBT people in my life, to help me comprehend the sting of hateful words like “abomination” in an area of personal pain.
  • I need chronically homeless people in my life, to help me understand how much work it takes to survive homelessness and unemployment.
  • I need Christians from other cultures in my life, to help me distinguish between what is Biblical and what is political.
  • I need people with disabilities in my life to help me see the benefits of a little patience, a little accommodation, and a lot of hard work.
  • I need undocumented immigrants in my life to help me comprehend how unjust laws have created systematic discrimination and abuse.
  • I need Muslims in my life to remind me of the pain of being judged as an individual based on the actions of others.
  • I need patients in my life whom I cannot cure to remind me that I am not the Ultimate Healer.

To dismiss and dislike those whom I do not know is tempting. It is much easier to love and fill my life with those who look like me, think like me, believe like me. I need people from diverse backgrounds in my life to recognize what I am not.

You do too.

The beauty of the gospel is that God demonstrated that He loves us, not because of what is in us, but because of what is in Him. Likewise, I need others in my life who are different than me to learn to love, not because of who they are, but because of who Jesus is.

Revelation 7:9-10 “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

‘Salvation belongs to our God,

who sits on the throne,

and to the Lamb.’”

If the picture of Heaven is diversity, I need more in my life in order to for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Who do you need in your life?

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Making Room for a Miracle

Rose_and_EmmanuelWe were completely caught off guard Monday evening, August 1, 2011. We were expecting to be in the paperwork process of adoption for several more weeks before we could even be eligible for a referral. My heart dropped in my chest as I read the email we were unprepared for — medical information, pictures, demographics of a 3 year old girl and a 4 year old boy. The chubby-cheeked girl was clearly angry in the pictures, and the boy tore at his clothes in grief. It was the moment they were turned in to the orphanage, and they were broken. And we were being asked to adopt them.
In order to demonstrate our intent to adopt, we had 6 weeks to come up with $17,000. With sinking realization, I knew we just didn’t have it. We actually didn’t have any money because we had spent all of our savings to start the adoption process and were living from paycheck to paycheck. We had no way to even get it.

I turned to Ken and said, “Unless it starts raining money from heaven, we are going to have to turn these kids down, raise money, and then accept the next referral that comes our way.”

I am quite certain that God chuckled at my words.

Little did we know, checks had already been written. Contributions had already been sent. Without saying a word to anyone, we had $5000 given to us in the first 24 hours after that email. God was sending rains of generosity through people who were sensitive enough the spirit to give without even being asked. Dozens more followed in the next few weeks, and there are hundreds of people who were able to be a part of making beauty from ashes in the lives of those two broken children.

Jewett (43)
And the kids in those pictures are sitting in the living room of our house in North Carolina watching cartoons.

When we started out the adoption process, we had no idea how we were going to pay for it. The only thing we did know was that God was asking us to, and that we would need to have faith that He would provide as we were obedient.

When we were adopting, if we had asked ourselves, “How much can we afford to spend on adoption?” we never would have adopted. We had to step out in faith, knowing that God would provide what we needed.

Without the need, we never would have seen God provide the miracle. 

Faith promise giving is exactly like that. Faith promise giving is not looking at a budget and asking, “How much can I afford?” but looking at God and asking, “How much do you want me to give?” In fact, if you can afford to give, faith really isn’t involved. Faith steps in and says, “Without you, God, I cannot make this happen. I am trusting you to provide.”

 

Without a need, God has no room perform a miracle.

 

When Ken lived in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia as a young single pastor, there came a day where he was down to his last $40. He had pledged to sponsor a child through Compassion, and it was either the child that was going to eat, or Ken. No one would have blamed Ken for calling up Compassion and cancelling his sponsorship. He really couldn’t afford it on a part-time pastor’s salary.

But Ken wrote the check to Compassion and trusted God to provide, or to lose some weight in the next week.

As Ken was leading youth group that night, he heard some rustling going on upstairs at the church — they were having a board meeting, he was told. After youth group, Ken went upstairs, and found the members of the church had planned a grocery shower for Ken. There was a whole table of food — cereals, soups, crackers, pasta — more than Ken could eat in a week!

God must have smiled as Ken chose to write the check to Compassion. The blessing was already on its way.

Without the need, he never would have seen God perform the miracle.

I know there are many of my friends who would love to support our work in Ghana. We are so blessed by people who are praying for us and cheering us on. There are some of you who read this blog whom I’ve never met before, who are drawn to what God is calling us to do.

I’d ask you to consider one thing: Don’t ask if you can afford to support God’s work in Ghana. Ask what God wants to provide through you.  Would you consider putting yourself in a position of need, so God can work miracles through you?

Without a need, God cannot perform a miracle.

Is it time for you to make room for a miracle? 

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye

Guest post by Ken

“Missing friends is the worst part of moving away.” – Sue Dinkins PinionTomas-Vokoun-213x380

I am not a sentimental person. Our closets are not filled with memorabilia or souvenirs. I have a few, but only a few. (Tomas Vokoun bobblehead doll. 2003 NHL Rookie Draft ID badge that was signed by Wayne Gretzky.) It may be the number of times that we have moved.  More keepsakes means more boxes and longer moving days.

Christmas would be the exception. We intentionally add a new souvenir each year to our “tree of memories”. I like this tradition. It may be in part because Christmas ornaments are small and easy to move.

Whether good or bad, I have always been good at saying good-bye. I think it started back when I was in college. Each summer I worked as a counselor at Camp Sebago, the Salvation Army Camp on Sebago Lake, Maine. The days were long but the summers flew by quickly. And at the end of each week we (the counselors) would say tearful heart-felt goodbyes to our campers. With each week the goodbyes got easier–routine almost.

In ministry Robin and I have had to say more than a few goodbyes as well. Some have been easy and some have been very difficult. Fortunately in college ministry (which is what Robin and I have been doing for the last 15 years) goodbyes are natural as students graduate and move away to conquer the world.

Leaving Wesley Community Church in Pembroke, Ontario was easy for me. I loved the people there and the teens especially. I was grateful for the friendships with Elizabeth Stewart, Mike McConnachie, Darren Somerville, and Morgan MacPherson. But leaving Pembroke was easy because I was moving in order to marry Robin and begin our lives together.

adamWhen Robin and I left Marion, IN it was a particularly hard goodbye for two reasons. The first reason was the circumstances under which we left. We loved Pastor Dave Terhune and felt tremendously blessed to serve with him. He loved Jesus and was an incredibly gifted soul-winner.  The second reason why is was hard to leave Marion was it meant leaving behind a very good friend, Adam Sprinkle. Adam was like the brother I never had. He still makes me laugh like no one else can. Adam was a relatively new believer and so saying goodbye in order to pursue God’s will was still foreign to him. To this day, one of my greatest regrets in ministry was having to say goodbye to Adam.

Now that we are planning to move to Ghana people ask what we are going to miss most. In terms of the “stuff”… nothing. Not really. There will be days in which I just wish I could microwave something, watch hockey on our plasma screen TV or eat a Five Guys cheeseburger, but for the most part it’s all small potatoes.

Robin and I talk–almost daily–about what WILL be hard for us to leave behind: our dogs. We have had Buddy & Holly for over eight years. They are part of our family. It’s on our kid’s minds as well. For Addie & Palmer, the dogs have been two constants in their young lives.puppies_at_beach

What makes saying goodbye to Buddy and Holly particularly difficult for me is that I know they won’t understand. They’re just dogs. But they are our dogs and we love them dearly.

Intellectually we know that we cannot put the love of our dogs before our commitment to do God’s will. But emotionally it is inconceivable that there will come a day when we will have to say goodbye to Buddy & Holly.

 If you’re not a dog person, this may all sound silly to you. That’s okay. But for those of you who have enjoyed the companionship of man’s best friend, you understand the hurt that is a part of our decision to move to Ghana. And we would ask that you pray that God will help us find a loving home for two amazing canine friends entering their golden-years.