Carrier, by Jared Anderson

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me
To preach good news to the poor
To bind up the broken-hearted
To make You known even more
So that people living in darkness
Will see the great light

I'll be the carrier of love and compassion
I'll be the carrier of light to the world
I'll be the carrier of hope and salvation
I will go shine Your light to the world

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me
Freedom and truth to proclaim
Trade your ashes for the oil of gladness
And your sorrows for garments of praise

Here am I send me, send me.

Monday, November 22, 2010


As we enter into a busy week, filled with family gatherings and decadent holiday dishes, I have been led to look deeper into the “reason for the season” as they say.  I love the traditional Thanksgiving fare just as much as anyone, but the way we celebrate our thanks giving seems a little off base to me now.  How do these celebrations honor God, show our gratitude to Him, or bring us closer to Him?  It seems amiss to put so much time and energy into preparing a feast that will be consumed within an hour, then spending hours in front of the TV watching parades and football, and calling it “Thanksgiving.”  For many, it is just a means of getting the whole family together at an acceptable or expected time of the year, preparing the expected traditional kinds of food, and enjoying an expected amount of time off from work or other obligations.  But that is not where the celebration we call Thanksgiving started.

As the name implies, Thanksgiving started as a time to give thanks to God for all He had blessed His people with, specifically the fall harvest of crops, and was therefore considered to be a “harvest festival”.  The food that was typically eaten was food that would have been harvested at or by that time of year.  For Americans that would mean things like sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and of course the turkey which would have been born in the spring and large enough to feed a whole family by the fall.  It was a time of rest, as all the work in the fields was done, and the bounty could be enjoyed.  But the roots of this holiday go even deeper.

The Jewish fall harvest festival, Sukkot—Feast of Tabernacles, or Booths—was a time when our ancestors not only celebrated their agricultural harvest, but also a time when they remembered the humble means of survival their ancestors endured while wandering the desert for 40 years after the Exodus from Egypt.  To this day many Jewish people observe the Feast by building booths in their homes, as replicas of the bamboo style huts the ancient Israelites lived in while wandering the desert.  It is a time to give thanks for abundant provisions, but also a time to humble themselves before the Lord, giving thanks for even the most meager means of survival.  Because even those humble booths were provisions from God.  Instead of decorating their tables with the finest china and linens, exalting themselves and all they have, they humble themselves; eating, and sometimes even sleeping inside these booths.  In doing this they honor God for ALL that He gives, whether it be a tree branch to provide shelter from the sun, or a sprawling abode large enough to accommodate an entire family in wealth and abundance.  I am in no way implying that we should all go build booths in our homes this week, or mirror this Jewish ritual.  But the message of humble thanks is one we can take with us.  God’s love is abundant, life in Christ is abundant, no matter what our worldly means are.

So here is my mission for this focused time of Thanksgiving: 1) to not get lost in the tradition, the heritage, or the expectations of the season, 2) to be ever mindful of, and offer thanks for all that God has blessed me with, 3) to humble myself before the Lord, thanking Him for even the least of my blessings, which often take the shape of trials and tribulations, 4) to offer my loved ones the best of what I have to give, the best of my spiritual harvest from above. 

This Thanksgiving, as we gather together with family and friends, and enjoy the feast set before us, let us not forget to“rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in EVERYTHING give thanks; for this is God’s will for [us] in Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)  Let us pray without ceasing for those less fortunate, that the Lord will “bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  [That] they will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” (Isaiah 61:3)

Let us carry with us the spirit of humble thanksgiving all the year long!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Intercountry Adoption Moratorium

On November 3, the U.S. Department of State released the following statement:

November 3, 2010

The Ukrainian legislature is in the process of voting on a bill that would suspend all intercountry adoptions from countries without bilateral agreements with Ukraine, including adoptions from the United States.  The bill passed a first reading and vote, but must still pass a second reading and be signed into law by the president.  The second reading could take place in the next few weeks.  If the bill passes the second reading, it may be signed into law as early as the end of 2010.  The draft bill appears to include suspension of all adoptions in progress.

This bill would prevent hundreds of children from coming home, some of whom have already been chosen by prospective adoptive families, some of whom have already met their adoptive parents and are simply waiting upon finalization, some of whom have urgent medical needs that cannot be met in their own country.  There are over 70 families working with Reece’s Rainbow right now, to bring home over 100 special needs children from Ukraine.  They are at various stages in the adoption process, but regardless of how far along they are, if this bill passes their children will not come home!  And that’s just the families associated with RR, that doesn’t include countless others working with adoption agencies around the world.  The second vote is supposedly scheduled to take place in mid December.  If the bill passes,it would be an enormous blow to the efforts of His faithful servants striving to obey His call of caring for orphans in their distress.  (James 1:27) 
As you now know, I have a special place in my heart for all orphans, but especially the least of those, the children with special needs.  Over that last several years, more and more special needs children have been adopted, chosen as treasured gifts from God.  Each time a little one is carried out of an orphanage, into the loving arms of a Christian family, and ushered into the Father’s Kingdom, Satan is defeated.  So he is fighting back.  Our enemy does not like this folks—the more innocent lives that waste away in orphanages and mental institutions the better.  We MUST NOT let him win this battle!!  For if he wins this battle on earth, he is winning a battle in the heavens. 
We must “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that [we] can take [our] stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Please, please join me in launching prayercrafts of mass destruction against this bill.  It must be destroyed before it ever gets off the ground!  These children have no future in their home country, so if they are not allowed out, their future on earth is extremely bleak.  Pray, pray that the authorities and powers that be see the futility of banning intercountry adoptions; pray that they see how many good and loving families are ready and willing to bring these children home; pray that Light overwhelms the darkness in one glorious crushing blow!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chris Tomlin - Our God (Slideshow With Lyrics)

Good morning everybody! I thought that after all the sobering statistics and stories of children in need, we could all use something encouraging and uplifting today :) This song is one of our all time favorites, and a great source of encouragement. When faced with any challenge, no matter how big or small, no matter how daunting or seemingly insurmountable, we can all count on the fact that our God is bigger and stronger than anything we may face. If we are moving in alignment with His will, with Him on our side, NOTHING can stop us, NO ONE can stand against us!

Romans 8:31 says, "What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]" If you are in a hard place today, or know of someone who is, go to Romans chapter 8 and let the Holy Spirit reveal His strength, His power, and His awesome glory to you. Romans 8 is one my favorite chapters in the Bible, and each time I turn to it the Holy Spirit gives me new understanding of His word; time and again demonstrating that He is indeed our great Teacher and Comforter!

I hope you enjoy the song!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sarah's Story: Part 2

While speaking with the woman who had taken custody of Sarah, who we will call Miriam (again, for security purposes I do not want to use her real name) I learned that Sarah was in "critical condition," in need of serious intervention.  Both Miriam and I had been extremely misled about Sarah's true condition.  When Miriam agreed to take custody of Sarah, she was under the impression that she was a healthy seven year old girl with Down Syndrome, who had mild behaviorial issues and hearing impairment.  But when she got Sarah home, the true story started to unravel.  As she realized just how severe the situation was, she began inquiring more and more about this little girl's past.  These are the pieces of Sarah's story that we have uncovered.

Sarah was born a twin, although when you go look at the birth announcements in her local newspaper, the only birth that was announced was that of her twin brother (who does not have Down Syndrome).  Her grandmother took her in, for what we believe was the first three years of her life.  When the grandmother could no longer care for her, the mother took her and pretty much immediately started looking around for a family to adopt her.  So for the last four years she has been living in a home where she was not wanted.  She was isolated to her own room, locked in to prevent her from "roaming" the house.  She was so malnourished, that her desperation for food has become the overwhelming driving force in her existence.  She will do absolutely anything she has to do for food.  By the time Miriam got Sarah home, she was critically ill with two parasites, one so severe she almost died, and it has taken the last four months to completely clear her body of it.  When asked if she ever held Sarah, the birthmother said she didn't hold her until she was 3 years old, and she has no idea who was holding her before that!  She was diagnosed as hearing impaired at birth, but didn't receive hearing aids until she was six years old.  Because of those six years of living in complete silence, doctors don't know if she will ever learn to speak.  The remaining details of  Sarah's condition are very hard to discuss.  Suffice it to say, because of the severity of her neglect, Sarah's instincts and behaviors are somewhat animalistic (similar to those of the famous feral child, Genie, though not as severe).  She has lived her life fighting to simply survive.  Sarah is far from being a healthy seven year old girl with Down Syndrome, mild behaviorial issues and hearing impairment!     

Sarah needs intense behaviorial therapy to learn how to function within a family.  She needs intense speech and occupational therapy to learn how to communicate and begin to accomplish basic tasks, like potty training.  But most of all Sarah needs intense spiritual healing.  She needs to know she is loved, she is safe, she is precious.  She needs to have her every need met with love and compassion.  All the doors that were opened to the enemy through her years of neglect and pain must be closed, and covered with the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ.  He is the one and only source of true healing.  Sarah needs to be bathed in His tender mercy.  Each of her wounds needs to be mended through prayer and relationship with her Heavenly Father, in the ICU of His loving embrace.  That is the therapy that will bring substantial levels of healing to this child.

Miriam cannot offer her the kind of treatment and special education that she needs, because the closest facilities are over an hour and a half away from where she lives.  While she has grown to love Sarah very much, and has made enormous progress with her, Miriam knows that what is best for her in the long run is to be with a family that can provide her with therapy and structured schooling every day.  Miriam feels that God used her as a transitional home for Sarah; a way to get her out of the deplorable conditions she was living in, and get her the immediate medical treatment she needed.  Now it is time for Sarah to complete her journey to her forvever home!   The family that has agreed to adopt her can offer her the absolute best in special education and therapy, a safe and loving home, and an evironment in which she can thrive.  We are all so very thankful for this family.  But it won't be easy for them, or Sarah.  She must undergo yet another transition into a new home, adding one more notch to her belt of insecurity, abandonment, and rejection. 

So please join me in launching prayercrafts for our sweet Sarah.  Let us storm Heaven with prayers of peace during her transition, and prayers of healing from the many years of neglect she has suffered; prayers that her ears will be opened to His word, her heart will be filled with His love, and her eyes will see the hope for brighter days that only He can bring.  I wait in great anticipation to see this little girl's light shine as Christ works in her!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Sarah's" Story: Part 1

I realized that for security purposes I needed to change the name of the child in the middle picture (on the righthand side of the page), so instead of using her real name, we will call her Sarah.  I trust that God will know exactly who we are talking about when we pray for her!  I want to share her story with you, but in an effort to keep the posts from getting way too long, I will break her story up into two parts.  Part 1 is about how Sarah came into our lives, and Part 2 will be about her personal journey, and why she so desperately needs our prayers.


Sarah is a precious seven year old girl with Down Syndrome who is in the midst of moving into her fourth home (after living in her previous home for only four months!)  We were contacted about Sarah several months ago when her birthmother decided she could no longer raise her and was looking for an adoptive family. We prayed over that decision, felt the Lord leading us to say yes, and then were informed that the birthmother had selected another home for Sarah.  The reason?  This mother had sent an email to us and one other family telling us about Sarah, and asking if we would be interested in adopting her.  One day later I found her email in my spam folder, and immediately replied.  Well, the other family had responded to the email faster, and within those 24 hours that our email was sitting in spam, this birthmother made her decision.  Part of us felt exremely sad...I was amazed at how quickly I began loving this child who I didn't even know, and how quickly we began picturing our life with her in it!  But the other part of us felt somewhat relieved that her mother did not choose us, because we felt TOTALLY unprepared to parent this child.  We trusted that if God wanted us to bring her into our home, that He would equip us with absolutely everything we would need to parent her.  But we knew it wouldn't be easy.  So there was some peace in the decision that had been made.  What we were not at peace with, however, was the hasty manner in which her mother made this decision.  She decided where and with whom her daughter would live for the rest of her life based on one email!  We didn't have much faith in that decision.  All we could do was to pray for her, and trust that Sarah would be going to a safe and loving home--to the right home.  Our faith was in God, and His ability to make all things work for good!
Over the next several months I thought of Sarah often, wondering how her transition had gone, if she was safe and secure, if her adoptive family was showing her the awesome love of Christ.  Then in October, late one night I received an email from the birthmother saying that she was extremely upset because the family she had sent Sarah to live with could no longer keep her, and she wanted to know if we would still consider "taking" her.  After getting over the inital shock that this little girl was once again "knocking at our door" so to speak, we began praying about what the Lord's desire was in this.  This time, we felt even more unprepared to take in this child.  The last several months have brought about many drastic life changes, presented many difficult challenges, and thrown many unexpected curveballs our way (but all leading us to a closer, more honest and pure relationship with our Father!!)  So the thought of taking in this little girl seemed totally irrational and unrealistic.  But again, we trusted that if God was asking us to do this, then He would certainly equip us with everything we needed.  I contacted the woman who had taken Sarah, and during that conversation it became overwhelmingly clear that Sarah was in need of SO much more than simply a loving forever family.  What this child needed was some intense healing at the hands of God, some time in the ICU with the Great Physician,  our Jehovah Rapha--God who heals.  Sarah needs physical healing, mental healing, and most of all spiritual healing.  Her precious spirit has been completely crushed over the course of her short life, and she needs to be on complete "life support"!

To be continued...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Reece's Rainbow

As you can tell by the buttons on the right, I am an advocate for Reece's Rainbow, a special needs adoption ministry focused on international adoption of children with Down Syndrome.  Andrea Roberts, the director of Reece's Rainbow (RR), started this ministry after giving birth to her son, Reece, who has Down Syndrome.  She was contacted by the hospital where she gave birth to him, to come back and speak to new parents of children with Down Syndrome about the journey that lay ahead for them.  From there, she began RR to raise awareness about the countless children with Down Syndrome that await families in orphanages around the world.  Theses children are shunned by thier families and their countries, viewed as having absolutely no potential for a fruitful life.  In some countries, babies born with Down Syndrome don't even make it to the orphanage, much less a loving home...they are literall thrown away, left on the street to die.  When these children reach the ages of 4-6 years, they are transferred from the orphanages ("baby houses") to mental institutions, where many die within one year.  That means that many of these precious lives are only on earth for less than seven years!  That is staggering, and entirely unacceptable!!  Even in the United States, with a pre-term diagnosis abortion rate of over 90%, the public perception of people with Down Syndrome is still largely misled. 

There is no rhyme or reason as to why I am drawn to these little ones.  I do not have any family or friends with Down Syndrome.  My personal involvment, previous to discovering this cause, was very limited.  The answer is simple:  God gave me a heart for them, an undeniable love for them, and led me to literally stumble upon Reece's Rainbow when searching for something entirely different.  It should go without saying that we must not lump every person with Down Syndrome into one general category; they are as individual and uniquely made as the rest of us.  In fact, a common phrase among parents of children with Down Syndrome is, "They are more like typical chidren than they are different."  That being said, another common perception expressed by these parents is that individuals with Down Syndrome have an enormous capacity to love, and are often so very honest, almost to a fault.  Love and honesty...things we could all use a little more of in our lives!!  These children deserve a chance to thrive, a chance to show the world what they have to offer, to shine the unique light of Jesus that was knit into that one little extra chromosome!  I do not believe that extra chromosome is a mistake; it carries an extra measure of love and honesty, an extra measure of childlike innocense, an extra measure of pure joy.  Jesus said, "Permit the children to come to Me, do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these!" (Luke 18:16) 

I feel a heavy burden to help these children, who retain much of that childlike innocense by design, come to Christ.  Please visit  to learn more about how we can all help to bring each of these kids into loving homes.  And for those who are still waiting in orphanages or mental institutions, we must launch powerful prayercrafts for them, that they will come to know Christ before their lives on earth are snuffed out, so that when they take their last breath, they will enter His kingdom as sons and daughters of God; that they will know the loving embrace of their Father.