Saturday, April 30, 2011

With a Little Trust

Sometimes, I think we in Mission work, or any field for that matter, get caught up in wanting to do "The Big Things." If you're an engineer, you want your new idea to be the one that changes the industry. If you're writing a paper for school, you want to be the one that impresses the teacher to give you an A+. And if you're in orphan ministry, you want to raise thousands and thousands of $$$ and get kids home at the snap of your fingers, by your own power or someone else's. Its a legit desire. We all want to be noticed, we all want to be "That Guy" (or girl) who does it all. We all want to be noticed.

But I think we can get so wrapped up in doing that big thing, getting that promotion or that amount of money for that special orphan, that we can forget why we're doing what we're doing. That we're only a part of really huge picture, and that we're not painting it: we ARE the paint that's being used as the Painter sees fit!

If you're a Christian, somebody who appreciates an inspirational movie, or both, I highly recommend you get out and see the movie Soul Surfer, the true inspiring story of Bethany Hamilton, a now pro-level surfer in Hawaii who at 13 lost her arm (and nearly her life) to a freak shark attack, but found the courage to get back up and try again. Before the attack, however, we see a scene in the movie at her Youth Group, where the youth minister (played by Carrie Underwood) that night is showing them an interesting concept: she starts with an extreme closeup of an image, and lets people take guesses at what it is. Almost every time,  the teens (and the watching audience too) gives an incorrect guess of what the image is, judging by its closeup view. The point of the exercise, according to Carrie, is to show things can look a certain way when we're zoomed in on our little "patch of canvas" if you will. Our little blotch of paint can seem insignificant and unimportant to how things turn out (from our point of view), but in reality can be part of a detail that makes the painting of this world's story all the more beautiful. And being a photographer who knows that every single pixel in my photos contributes to the overall feel, look and impression (or lack thereof) of the picture, I can attest to that.

I'm being painfully honest when I say I know that I'm guilty of this myself. I see my tiny little part of the picture and I try and judge what I think should be happening off of that. I feel like/wish that I could inspire tons and tons of people, organize mission trips all on my own for people to go on across the world and SEE orphan ministry right before them, raise tons of cash, etc. While I probably do a poor job of keeping the site and its pages up to date as is, I wish I could do more. And sometimes I wonder if I make the difference. But just a few days ago, as we celebrated the official legal certification of Sonya and AJ/Dusty as members of the Hinz Family, I was reminded just how much things have moved with this little ministry. This site was started to pray and find a home for Sonya, the little girl I only met briefly before leaving my sister Julia's orphanage, maybe forever. when I found out she was older, I just wanted to get her out of there with all in my power. So one night as I was skyping with a friend, talking about orphan ministry, I created this website. And while I posted about many orphans, and prayed for many, Sonya was that special little tyke that always kept me going back. If it really was God's will (which it wasn't) that she wasn't gonna be adopted, I wanted to feel at least like I had given it a shot.

                I remember the day that I found out that our blogger buddy Helle had become Sonya's Easter warrior. I commented saying thank you, because it meant a lot to me even if I was just another advocate putting her info out there. I checked the blog later to see if Helle had commented on my comment. But what was waiting for me there! While I didn't realize who it was until shortly after, Sonya's new mommy commented on the post too, that after the tragic loss of one of the little boys they were going to adopt to Leukemia, they were stepping forward in faith to adopt Sonya. I nearly fell down the stairs in my haste to tell mom the good news. A little while later, I started talking with the Hinzes on Facebook, and have been blessed to shoot the breeze with them a lot as they have been finishing the in-country part of the process. As I was talking with Mrs. Hinz on Facebook after they passed court, she said one thing that stuck in my mind:

God has worked through you too in this process!

With that, the rush of memories and tears  emotions came flooding back. All I could hear in my mind was "Mission accomplished." Sonya was just one of many orphans in need of a home, but thanks to the prayers of every person who has ever read this blog, she has a home. It wasn't a huge fundraiser, or a mission trip, but it was Trust and Victory nonetheless.

So maybe someday, this blog will be the root of a nonprofit organization known throughout the world, changing millions of lives every day. But for now, we're trusting God one step, one child at a time. and loving our little victories all the same.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Our Little Graduates

This is a great day for so many reasons! So many kids who have been here in one form or another from the very beginning are now OFFICIALLY part of families!

Today, Sonya Noel Hinz and Alexei Joseph "Dusty" Hinz are OFFICIALLY part of the Hinz family! This is the day I hoped for from the day I started this ministry, and its finally HERE! Beyond glad! Talk about sunshine on a rainy day! The weather is GROSS up here in NY, but hey, its all good! A little rain is gonna pull my spirits down!

So anyway, a little farewell speech to our graduates:

Eva Noel "Evan" Hook- Miss Evan, you are one little miracle baby. You were the first little child we prayed home, and after nearly two years of never giving up, your beloved family has finally welcomed you into their home forever. I am so happy that you're home, and all of the worrying your family had to bear as they forged through this process was worth it. I know from what I've seen on your family's blogs and Pictures on Facebook that you're doing very well, and I can't WAIT to meet you this Friday via Skype! It'll be Awesome, I'm sure.

 Sonya and A.J. (or Dusty, as many of you know him)- you guys are special not only because you're the first kids we advocated for, but your the two special kids I met in my little sister's groupa. This is the day I have waited for since I met you, and the happiness just overflows in all of us that you're officially spoken for. So from our team to the team that is your family, congrats :) I anxiously await May 19th, when you finally come home forever!
And finally, to the little girl we hope to call a graduate soon, Brigita.

 We are still prayin' for ya baby, and we really hope you have a family soon :) you just deserve it.

Thanks to all who have prayed for these families, we greatly appreciate it! We'll keep you updated, and, as always, Speak for the Silent!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Prayers please!

So as fate would have it, we actually had a very exciting event on Tuesday! The Hinz family, adopting our precious Sonya and Dusty from Orphanage 3 on Reece's Rainbow, got their court date! Unusually soon, too. Like, less than 12 hours from now (which would be Ten O'clock p.m. EST). SO around 7 a.m, EST, the Hinzes will be in court for our precious little lovies! praying so hard for them- Sonya and Dusty inspired me, Mr. and Mrs. Hinz have been kind enough to talk with me my family, which means so much.

                For me, advocating for these kids is more than just posting pictures, a blurb about them and/or their new families, and praying them along. Even though Sonya and Dusty will always be my special babies because I met them and they kicked this act into gear, I honestly feel a tug in my chest when I see kids like Carmensita in Peru or Jonah in EE and the fact that one of them is permanently stuck in a orphanage, and the other is so close to transfer it almost haunts me as much as it does tug at me. The fact that the new parents of two kids who inspired me are willing to talk, even for a few minutes, is so much inspiration for me to keep going. It reminds me that even in its small size right now, our community has garnered some extremely faithful followers and made the difference to somebody. I have had the privelege of talking to one mom who is trying to find a home for two of our orphan loves, Shawna and Lindsay, since she can't adopt them herself for various reasons. People like that mom, who want to do as much as they can to help, they're who inspire me. Tori has even started her own little movement down south with some friends called Worthday, dedicated to showing orphans their worth in the eyes of the Father. People like Tori, Helle, or Mrs. Nalle or Mrs. Klekas, or the Hinzes (this list could go on for a while), even my extremely encouraging mom and dad, who do all in their power to help orphans, are what keep me going. So if any of you read this, a personal thank you to all. You've kept one blogger from deleting his blogs and profile and trying to make the difference. Would I like to add some more male role models to the list to join a hero like my dad? well, that's another post.

One more little prayer request: our child of the week, miss Brigita (see her pic in the sidebar) is apparently having a rough time in her orphanage. According to my dear friends Helle and Mrs. Klekas, the tongue thrusting that  is signature of  people with Down Syndrome, is becoming a detriment to miss Brigita. In these orphanages, they shovel the food into these kids mouths at mealtime, and I would think it a fair guess that only about 30% of the food actually goes down the children's throats. If Brigita is indeed having problems with her tongue pushing food out, it could be pretty dangerous for her health. Please pray for her, that not only would a family will come forward for her, but that she'll be ok until then.

Thank you all again for reading and praying, and please keep the Hinzes and Brigita in your prayers. Thanks!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Beauty is in the eye of the Father

I always liked the phrase "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." How true it is. I can look at a picture I've just taken and think "Man, I really messed up the (insert technical detail)," but the guy next to me can see "Whoa, that looks awesome!" Indeed, we all get our own creative angle, eye for style, whatever you want to call it, and we see things a certain way.

But too often in culture, beauty is given a stereotype: what is directly pleasing to us on the outside, what has the best looks,that's what our culture has defined beauty as. Too many girls I see on Facebook or in the mall are trying to fit the mold and/or conform to it, just to get the Likes, glances, compliments, etc. We want to feel wanted, important, or loved, which is legit.

But at the same time, its heartbreaking to think about it. A movie, play or book may be worthy of the highest accolades, but if it doesn't have the best marketing, production, or "big business names," it can be passed over. In the same way, people can be discredited by some earthly standard, of not having the latest I-phone, Mustang, or Aeropostale Sweatshirt.

But as so many Christian Artists have said in their music and ministry, we're not beautiful because the world says we are, but because the Father does. He didn't put his beloved son through all the pain of crucifixion just to say "I kind of care about you," but because we are his beautiful children, fearfully and wonderfully made.

Good Friday was easily the most strenuous day of Holy Week for me. The morning was filled with helping mom ad dad clean the house, and then there would be the 3 o'clock Good Friday service at church, which would probably last an hour. By the end of the service (which I was serving in) I was tired and hungry, since I hadn't eaten since 11 in the morning. After that was an outdoor procession where we walked around the neighborhood my church is located in, with a man dressed as Jesus carrying a cross. The purpose is to meditate on the Passion and have a living, breathing reenactment of it right in front of you. As we walked along my legs felt hollow and shaky, and I honestly felt like I was going to collapse. This was while I was in comfortable (but formal) clothes, had eaten only about 4 or 5 hours ago and had good supportive shoe,s and could walk along at a steady pace. Then I thought of how Jesus must have felt as he walked along. He probably hadn't eaten in almost a day. To top it off, he only had crummy leather sandals to support his feet, and he was in a coarse robe that stuck to his many wounds. All this while carrying a 200 pound wooden cross with a crown of thorns in his head. All I can think was this: If I feel sort of shaky, but I'm trying to be a trooper along with my other brothers and sister in Christ going along too, how much greater Jesus' love for us, as he took all of the pain for us and without one bit of complaining or getting angry.

And hence, this week we are going to bring out a new child of the week, one who is both beautiful in her Father's eyes, and in the eyes of the S4TS team:


To me, people with Down syndrome (and in Brigita's case, FAS as well,) are a prime example of people that are beautiful inside and out, because they are just so open to love and take great joy in the things they love to do! Let's pray this week that Brigita finds her family, and keep our children of yesterweek, Shawna and Lindsay, in our prayers too.

As a nice little side note, I would also like to add that Miss Eva Noel Hook is home with her family FOREVER! I am so excited for them, and I can't wait to see them grow as a family! I will be updating everything (Our Orphna Loves, Charities, Donations, and a new Graduates page) throughtout theweek. In the mean time, pray for Brigita!

Christ has Risen indeed, alleluia!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Oh My Dearies

To three less orphans in the world, I want to give my personal congratulations.

To Little Miss Eva Noel Hook:

You have waited so long for your dear family to come and get you. They have waited, prayed, fasted and traveled all for love of you. And you have united more people in prayer than you will ever know. You get to meet all your new brothers and sisters this Tuesday, and I can't WAIT to meet you soon on Skype, since I have you to thank for finding a friend in your Big Sister :) You're a little miracle baby, and the miracle of your adoption is now full circle now that you are with your mommy and daddy.

To My Precious Sonya, sweetest Dusty, and their amazing Parents:

I met you two little angels on Christmas Day, 2010, when I walked down this hall

                                               And I met you for the first time.

My emotions were so mixed when I met you. I saw your joy and I loved you happiness and the little light that shined through you, but I feared for you because of the place you would go if no one stepped forward for you. But God had a plan and a family already on the way for the two of you. when I found out both of you were coming home, I was overjoyed. And now that you have met them, I think you and your Mommy and Daddy all pretty happy with each other.


This is a day Your new mommy and daddy have dreamed of forever. And while it hasn't come without its trials, I am as overjoyed as they are that you are in their arms, that much closer to being home. You are the orphans that spurred me into action, and now your journey home has begun. Mr. and Mrs. Hinz, you guys amaze me with your courage, faith, and love and I am SO happy I have had the chance to talk with you, and hope we can MEET soon! Blessings to you as you begin your in-country journey to your two precious arrows!


Monday, April 11, 2011

The Left-Behinds

Well, friends, forgive the lateness of this post. I had known my weekend would be nuts, but I didn't anticipate how late I'd get back home, how wiped out I would be and remembered that today was Monday, i.e. School day.

But enough about me- hope all of you have had a blessed weekend- gorgeous weather for the most part up NY way!

Last Monday, we picked out a little girl who needed a family. Constance.

Whether it be good timing, coincidence, the Power of Prayer or God's hand, within 24 hours, Constance had her mom and dad starting the paperwork for her. It's a beautiful thing. The picture of her above, though, was actually taken by a family who's at her orphanage now adopting someone else. They were afraid they'd have to leave her there, unanswered for. She would have been a Left-Behind.

So many posts back, I coined the term "Little Heart Movers." It was my personal term for not only orphans in general, but especially those that "move someone's heart" to adopt, advocate, whatever. For me, Sonya was that little Heart Mover. For Tori, it was Carmensita (found on the "Our Orphan Loves" page). I could probably think of one for almost every advocate I know if it wasn't 11:30 and I'm as burnt out as a fireplace. Bottom line is, They get you going.

There's another category, however, that many of those children may fall into. For some of us, they still occupy this group, for others, they have left it. The Left-Behinds. The Children some of us meet in these treasure troves we call orphanages that stick in our heads long after we've left. We saw them. We touched them, played with them, held them. And when Gotcha Day for our special little one we have traveled so far for comes around, we must leave them there. For all of the difference we have made for one, there are so many more who need help. Some of us find their Forever Families. Some of us are their forever families. Our degree of calling to them varies. But the level on which our hearts break, our minds constantly recall them, never changes. And for some of us, we will live with it forever, wondering where they are, how they are doing. The privilege I have, of knowing that little child that  stuck in my mind and heart, has a family on the way, who have been kind enough to get to know us a little bit, is something I know is a onetime opportunity I cherish.

But since there are still Left-Behinds at this orphanage, from which 8 kids (7 of which are Harper and Haley Salem, Yuri and Bohdan Winkles, Sonya and Dusty Hinz, and my little Julia) in the last year have been rescued, we're going to honor the two left-behinds who need families and are on Reece's Rainbow with the "Child of the Week" feature:


                                                      and Shawna.

Both of these little girls are 7. the transfer age in their region is around 6. The fact that they are there, living and breathing in the flesh, is a miracle enough to urge someone ot get them. Let's pray these two little girls home all week long!!!!

                                           You think about them all the time

                                              These are the Left-Behinds 

                                        You heard their silent, painful cries,

                                            These are the Left-Behinds

                                     You felt their hands and they felt yours,

                                     You know them only a minute or more 

                                       And yet your heart, it hit the floor,  

                                    Because they are so bright and pure

                                            These are the Left-Behinds   

                                  So now you know that they are there,

                                   their sad dark path they aren't aware

                                     So do a favor, please, just care....

                                         Don't leave them left behind.  

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We're going to Battle!

Say WHAT now!?!?!?!? We're going into battle? What kind? Lord of the Rings type, Saving Private Ryan type? WHAT TYPE OF BATTLE?!?!!?!?

Prayer Battle, my friends. Prayer Battle.

I'm not gonna be around this weekend, I'm going to be on retreat ,and I just wanted to put out our list of people/causes we're asking you to pray for.

1. The Hooks and their precious Evan are 97% DONE with their process. Waiting Periods will wrap up in about a week, and then they're home on the 16th! Praise God. Pray for sweet little Evan's transition, and for a healthy home to come home to. I won't spill the details, but all you need to know is sick has been passing around the Hook Household.

2. The Hinzes (Sonya and Dusty's family) are leaving soon for EE! Pics of their first meeting will DEFINITELY be posted here once they're available, but for now just pray! Pray for their friends the Schwenzers as well, who are on their way into their second trip!

3. I'm officially going to announce it here- I have an idea brewing in my head to help connect this little community God has blessed us with! For those of you who are on Facebook and/or following the S4TS page, there's a discussion boards area that, apart from one of our ardent Facebook followers posting some info there, has remained unused. It's basically a place where everyone can put their thoughts into a conversation all fans of the page can participate in. After Easter celebrations have quieted down, I'd like to try and schedule a board where anybody who's interested can talk about what they would like to/are doing to help orphans and how they got started. I'll be putting up a poll here and on FB to see how many people are interested, and if you know anybody who isn't following the ministry, please spread the word so this could happen!

4. Last but CERTAINLY not least, is to pray for all the kids on our "Our Orphan Loves" page. Scroll down the page ad pray for each and every one. We have had the fortune of seeing 3 (maybe more) of them make it it to the "Children we are Praying Home" Page, and Miss Evan and the Hooks will be the first to graduate that page. If it cna happen with three, it could happen with 3,000 more kids. keep them in your prayers.

And finally, if its not too much to ask, pray for our team. Tori is gearing up for not only a new family member she has waited FOREVER for, but she's getting ready to fund raise for a grand total of $5500 for two summer mission trips. I'm continuing to try and keep this blog, my personal one, and occasionally my family's updated (along with help from my teammates of course ;) ), and I'm trying to write some notes for a talk on Orphan advocacy I'm giving at a summer camp this August to a whopping 300+ people.

Thank you so much for continuing to follow, comment, and like, and God Bless!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yay!!! We need to pick a new child of the week!

So, I guess it would be silly to keep Constance as the child of the week. why, you ask? Its only Tuesday! Well....


So happy for her! We'll be posting about her family a little later on. I should also note-


Meant to post it a couple days back, but my computer time has been consumed with filing the 1200+ pictures that have accumulated on my computer. I'll be moving both of them ASAP, and adding a couple kids to fill their spots!


In honor of Constance getting a family, though, we're going to keep her on for the rest of the week to pray for her new adoptive family, and that they may receive the funds and strength to finish their process. 1st time's a charm after all! ;) Come next Monday, though, we'll have a new little orphan IN NEED of a home!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Ever Onward

Well, friends, I'd say the orphan-advocating Legions of God's armies have rallied together for some smashing victories of late! The Hooks are on the way home. The Hinz Family (for Dusty and Sonya) are getting ready to ship out to EE! (Visit the "Children we are praying home page for more info)  The Schwenzers, a family also adopting two adorable little kids from the region where my sister Julia, Sonya, and Dusty are from,  have passed court! Well, time to throw in the towel, sit back in a lawn chair and sip an Iced Tea!


Many goals HAVE and ARE being accomplished. Actress Patricia Heaton (of Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle fame) is pledging to contribute some titanic amount of money (within the ballpark of 10K I believe) if 10,000 people will tweet to the Twitter handle @reecesrainbow and follow them. Can you imagine what Reece's Rainbow could do with Ten THOUSAND DOLLARS!?!?! Unreal.

But there are still kids to be advocated for. I'll be adding Josh's two little Orphan Loves to the page within the week (hopefully) and I'm going to be adding on more charities to the Charities We Love Page. I'm also going to be announcing a new Idea I've got for connecting this community across the internet that could be a lot of fun! But this week, we are going to start a special feature: Our Child of the Week! And the first Our Child of the week is....


The Our Child of the Week feature is essentially a little "Pray for this child especially please" type thing. We'll feature them in the Sidebar and link to their donation page on the RR website (clicking the picture will access it).

And so we move ever onward....

Friday, April 1, 2011


Yes, you, helped the Hook Family PASS COURT!!! your fasting, praying, and waking up in the wee hours of the morning to lift them up prior to their two court sessions CHANGED EVERYTHING!

The Hook's Original Court Date (my last post) did indeed occur that night/morning of March 30th, as planned. The Judge grilled (and I do mean GRILLED) Mr. and Mrs. Hook for 5.5 hours, asking endless questions and MR. and Mrs. Hook having to explain everything about their adoption, to say the least. Unfortunately, a document that the Hooks had just completed that morning  for the court proceeding appeared to have errors on it in the Judge's eyes, and they fixed it, and had a slightly quicker session of court this morning to wrap it all up! They are now the family of six they have been waiting so long to be, and now their adoption is finally coming to a close! They'll be home about middle of this month, and they will have completed the journey 18months in the making.

Thank you for all your prayers, fasting, and other little crosses you took up to help this amazing family reach their goal. They are overflowing with joy as you can imagine, and I cannot imagine the peace, tranquility and joy that must be surrounding them.

And no, this is not an April Fool's Joke ;)