A Whole New World

2019 Aladdin

I told you we love movies….but more than that we love our heavenly Father and people. I’ll get back to the movie in just a moment….

Another school year complete and summer is officially here! We have so much to share because much has happened. Thank you again to all of our supporters, those that are praying and coming alongside our family. It’s amazing how time just seems to be flying by but in the midst of it, we as believers know, that God is steering the course. First, we have an incredible story to share with you, all about the closing of our home!

Our God is Faithful

Well, it became official. On May 9th, 2019 we SOLD our home of 17 years. Several years ago, Rick had always stated that a goal for his 50th birthday, would be to have our house paid for in full. Thankfully God had different plans for how this would be accomplished. It was bittersweet. Walking through the house, with all the rooms emptied out, Rick and I began to tear up a little bit thinking of all the memories that were made in our home. We were the original owners, we loved our neighbors and the city of Monroe. However, the keys were just a couple hours away of being handed over to someone else.

That’s just about the time, doubt started to sneak its way in…”is this really happening? No turning back now. Did we make the right decision?” But then again, time pushes on, there’s always something to do or the kids need my help. My thoughts had to be put on the back burner. It was time for the closing.

We all enter into a conference room. Josiah, from the title company. Flor, the realtor of the buyer. Sharon and her young son (her husband was out of town for work), the buyer. Heather, our realtor. And of course, Rick and I. As we begin to sign all the necessary documents, Flor asks about our children. I then share with Sharon that within our own family, other friends and family that had also lived with us for periods of time and the moments of opening our home for children in foster care- the house has been filled with a lot of love. It brought so much joy to know, that another family can continue filling the home with love. Then Sharon began to share her story with us.

To God be the Glory

Sharon said that walking through, first she fell in love with the looks of our home. Secondly, she sensed there was a lot of love in the home. And finally, when her realtor had shared with her that our family was selling because we were in the process to become missionaries in the Dominican Rebublic…..well, that was it for them. They wanted to put in an offer. Sharon, herself, used to work as a missionary, for 17 years! (Crazy to us that it’s the exact amount of years that we had the house.) A few of those years she also worked in the Dominican! We couldn’t believe it. We were amazed! Tears started to well up and we were thrilled! But it didn’t end there…..

From left to right: Sharon and her son, Heather, Rick and I, Josiah.

Josiah then shared that he was a youth pastor. In just a few weeks him and his wife would be licensed foster parents and in just a couple days he would also be adopting! His wife, had a daughter that was born with a cleft pallet (before Josiah was in the picture) and the biological father of that daughter never returned to the hospital. Heather then chimed in. She shared with Josiah that her family adopted two children with cleft pallets. Which then left just Flor. I looked at her and said, “well, somehow God has us all connected! What is your story?!” She then replied, “well, I’m just a realtor originally from Guatemala.” Once again we share, that was exactly where our first foster daughter came from.

“For the Word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all He does.” Psalm 33:4

So remember the doubt that was sneaking into my mind right before closing? Thank God that I didn’t have the time to dwell in it all. God is faithful and to Him be all the glory and praise! He continues to hand over a blessing of assurance and faithfulness! (this makes me want to start singing the old hymn, “Blessed Assurance”.) The process of moving forward to His work ahead is good yet sometimes challenging. No matter what though, we will continue to praise our Savior, all the day long! Things of this world will come and go, eventually withering away, but with people….there is only one place that our Father wants us all to enter, an eternity in Heaven with Him.

“…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Lately with our family, we have certainly had our ups and downs. Before we moved out of our house we had a great week. A few more joined our support team, then right after, we were faced with negative discouragement. The closing of the house came. As I shared with you, no one could have orchestrated such a beautiful gathering of love other than God Himself! A few days later, after moving all our belongings into my moms, the part of the home we live in…sadly, we discovered bed bugs! Yes, you heard me right! (Sorry if I start to make you itchy.)

The dreaded horror itself!

It was awful at first. Tears shed, frustrations high. Such a little nuisance can cause a heavy heartache. Preparations needed to get done. We bagged up everything as quickly as we could. For a week our family stayed at a hotel so we could keep our kids from getting bit. We hired an exterminator and we still have one more treatment that needs to get done. There are three total because of how quickly these bugs can increase. Another sad process were the times that decisions had to be made to throw certain items away. Furniture belonging to my mom, a good amount of the kids books, certain toys for the kids, etc. Our life of living as a refugee was beginning. (Now I really don’t think it’s that bad, but if you could see all the bags and bins all over the place, it can maybe help to give you a mental picture.) Only God could help us though to see what really mattered….

This is my mom and stepdad

You see, my mom was diagnosed with an eye disease in her early thirties. She is legally blind. Thanks be to God she will never go completely blind, but sadly her ability to drive was taken away during that time. My mom, having a heart to help others in need, allowed a woman to move in her home temporarily before we moved in. The woman, who sadly had a hoarding lifestyle, didn’t communicate with my mother the situation she was living in. My mom felt awful in not being able to see well and not knowing what we had moved into. But the Holy Spirit moved within us and before us to realize how to respond in the storm.

The middle name in red was the name of our first foster daughter. I saw this on a wall in a restaurant on my first mission trip with Project Manana.

You see, we have sort of been in a similar situation before. As we took in our first foster daughter (before the twins), sadly the child had a severe mental and physical delayed development and to top it all off, her beautiful, thick Guatemalan hair was infested with lice. She had gone through a lot of hardship. Sadly for our family, we had to give up on the reality that we were the right family to provide her with the intensive medical care that she needed. Her little soul however, will forever be in our hearts.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

That time in our life was a reminder that we couldn’t give up again. Satan this time will not get the upper hand (his goal is to always crush your spirit and he wants you to lean on your own understanding). We will remain faithful in the call that God has placed in front of us. The difficult times are not a surprise to God and He allows us to experience certain storms and wants us to reach out to Him. So as we pray to Him, remain in His Word and remember His faithfulness and love, we can achieve the peace that passes understanding. We are able to look at the storms we are in and the challenges ahead with His light and love. We know that the time with my mom is a blessing. If we didn’t move in the time that we did, the bugs could have gotten worse. We are grateful that we can use this time to help our parents and we remember that God loves and is strengthening us all in the end. Again, it is not always easy but we choose to remain in Him. He always provides and is always faithful!

Our last day in Monroe hanging out at our next door neighbors —– The view from our new neighborhood – Price Hill ——-

Now to get back to the point of the movie from the beginning. I promise there is a connection. Being in such a whirlwind with the bug situation and still in the process of settling in at my moms, again, the amazing mother that we have offered to watch the twins for us so we could get out of the house for a little while and relax. With Colin making Honor Roll for the entire school year we treated him to the new Aladdin movie. (By the way, Will Smith did great!) But I got tell you, with all that our family is going through and all that our Lord has blessed us with, when the scene for “A Whole New World” was performed, I couldn’t help but hold Colin close to me as we listened to the lyrics. I shared with him afterwards how some of the lyrics in that song can really relate to all that God has in store for our family, but really for all of us.

Of course I take it to that level- but when shared with my 10 year old son, there’s something about sharing mushiness to him and he wasn’t that interested. The truth is there though. We’ll be in a whole new part of the world, working Kindgom ground for our God, to help bring others into a relationship with His son Jesus, so that one day we’ll be in A Whole New World…with Him.

Santiago, Dominican Republic

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