Over the last couple of years, we have taken the time as a family to study and participate in the annual cycle of the Feasts of Israel. We also studied this alongside our small group, which was very fun. While we have only just begun to really learn about the feasts and their fullest, deepest meaning, (we really have only scratched the surface in our understanding) we have observed that one key thread connects all of the feasts: they are designed to help us remember all that God has done.
Looking back on this season of participation and reflection, I am so grateful that we were able to focus on these amazing Feasts. What better way to enter into this adoption season than by spending a year looking back and celebrating what God has done? We have found that remembering what He has done makes trusting what He will do all the easier.
Spring is festival season in the Jewish calendar, including the most well-known feast of Passover which happened this week. And since Spring also marks the start of all things new - a new growing season, new birth, and the like - it is such a great time to reflect on all that God has done. You can think about all He has done in a large, grand scale: how He made the whole world, freed the people of Israel from slavery, sent His son (or, in another way of thinking, sent Himself) – and these would all be good reasons to remember all that He has done. But, you can also think about all the wonderful things that He has done around you. Romans 11:36 reminds us that “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” Every breath of your lungs is there because He commands it to be so. Every day you have is a gift He has given, and every moment of your future eternity is in His hands. There is so much for which to be thankful!
Adoption means that as we look ahead there is a lot of uncertainty. However, remembering all that God has done gives us hope and comfort. When we feel nervous or scared or anxious about what comes next, it helps to remember God’s goodness, faithfulness, and provision for His people throughout history, and for us personally as well.
Remembering what He has done makes trusting what He will do all the easier.
Without sacrifice, there can be no love.
Every loving action a person does requires some kind of sacrifice – a sacrifice of time, of money, of thoughtfulness, of energy, of reputation, or of convenience. In fact, sacrifice is, itself, the very foundation of love. Without sacrifice, there can be no love.
Easter, of course, proves this to us in the fullest way possible through the person and work of Jesus. He loved us while we were still sinners – in knowledge of all of our sin. However, His death was a willing Sacrifice, a self-Sacrifice, born completely out of love. He chose to die not because we earned it or deserved it, but simply because He loves us. Without His sacrifice, there would be no love at all, nothing good, and nothing worthwhile to pursue.
Sacrificial generosity is precisely why we have been feeling so very loved lately. All of you, and many others, have shown us real, selfless, self-sacrificing love in the last several months. Some have given up their time to participate in fundraisers. Some have taken the time to pray for us. Many have sacrificed their money for us (and often to the point of their own inconvenience). Dozens and dozens of individuals and families have looked at our need and responded – in love and in sacrifice. And because of all that, we have just passed $30,000 which is just about 66% of our goal. We are so incredibly thankful!
Recently, our sweet friend Jill Pearson did a fundraiser for us through her business. Guys, we didn’t even ask her to! Jill runs an art studio (Riverwood Studio - www.riverwoodstudioarts.com), and on any given week, you can find classes of kids or adults enjoying art together. And for one particular night, she decided to put all of that to work sacrificially for our benefit. Jill gave her time, skills, resources, and business assets to help bring our kids home.
And I think what is so amazing about all of this generosity - including every one of you who has participated in supporting us in your own way – is that yes, on some level it is our friends and family who are being so generous to us. But in reality, the generosity isn’t really about us. The generosity is primarily for the benefit of two children half a world away who these kind, generous souls have never met. Most of you don’t even know their names. And yet, you have sacrificed, and because you sacrifice, you are showing us, and them, love.
Without sacrifice, there can be no love.
We are feeling the love.
Thank you for the love.
-Brian and Ann
Wow - so much has happened in the past month, and we want to bring our community up to speed on everything that we are excited about. First a bullet-point summary, and then a little explanation.
-Dossier has been translated and submitted to the Costa Rican authorities
-We were awarded a matching grant of $3500
-We were approved to participate in an amazing fundraiser called The Both Hands Project
Things are moving along as planned with paperwork and processes. This part of the process involves some weeks of waiting (as far as official paperwork goes - but there is a lot more to do in other areas), and we look forward to hearing back from Costa Rica. If all goes as we hope and pray, we should get the official "green light" next, which will put us in place to be officially matched. After being matched, it’s time to start planning for travel.
We have started a partnership with three organizations who all coordinate and work together to help people bring their adoptive kids home.
Lifesong For Orphans – an online portal for crowd-funding donations. All donations will go through this portal from now on.
The Chosen and Dearly Loved Foundation – an organization that helps fund adoptions through matching grants.
The Both Hands Project – helps organize fundraisers for adoptions in which families build a team, send out letters, and ask for sponsorship for fixing up the house of a local widow.
Lifesong for Orphans
We will now be funneling all fundraising in this next season through this venue. One of the GREAT things about this is that all donations given through this site are tax deductible, which is a benefit for individuals and/or businesses who choose to participate. Additionally, there is only a small credit card fee no usage fee for the site here.
If someone cares to donate by check, simply follow these directions:
-Make checks payable to Lifesong for Orphans
-Memo line: “Martin 7460” (This must be on the check or the money will not be directed to our account)
-Mail to: Lifesong for Orphans PO Box 40 Gridley, IL 61744
The Chosen and Dearly Loved Foundation
This wonderful organization awarded us a matching grant of $3500! That means the next $3500 we raise will be instantly doubled. We are so incredibly grateful for this partnership to help us meet our financial goals.
**In order for the dollars to be matched, however, the money needs to be donated directly from the person donating through the link for Lifesong (above) or on the Both Hands page (see link below) that brings you to Lifesong, or by check directly to Lifesong (address above). This grant and the Both Hands Project work together, so one donation helps both things. Woohoo!
Both Hands Project
While we look forward to telling you even more very soon, we are so excited to be working toward this goal. Here's a brief description of how it works:
Both Hands help families fundraise for their adoptions. A family gathers a team of volunteers and Both Hands coaches them to coordinate a service project fixing up a widow's home. Similar to a 5k race, the family and their team raise sponsorship for their day of service and the funds raised help an orphan be adopted into a forever family!
You can see our specific webpage through their site here: https://bothhands.org/project/martin-7460. Please note that clicking on the “donate now” section will redirect you to “Lifesong For Orphans.”
We are so excited to be able to serve a widow in the process of adopting these children!
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” James 1:27 (NIV)
Okay, we know that was a lot but we wanted the information to be available. Please let us know if you have any questions. We look forward to posting more about the Both Hands Project soon!