Monday, August 20, 2012

Immeasurably More

Over the last year I have been in a small group Bible study with a group of 6 other women. We met every Wednesday morning to talk about God, our stories, our joys, and our pains. It has been amazing. For years I had been praying for this kind of group. A group of women to really live life with, to encourage each other, share in each other's burdens, and study the Bible together. "The Wednesdays" is what we affectionately call ourselves :)
(idea taken from a good friend who has a group called "The Tuesdays")

They've known for a while that Steve and I were praying about launching into a second adoption. When we finally and officially signed on with our adoption agency and set the course for Russia, the girls in my small group began secretly plotting fundraising ideas. They landed on the idea of a huge yard sale, with all proceeds towards going towards this adoption.

In the midst of their own busy lives, they began exchanging emails, planning meetings, and making phone calls to make an idea a reality.

The plan eventually came together with the goal of raising $1000 over the course of two days. Before long, people were coming out of the wood works with items they wanted to donate towards this fundraiser.

By Thursday the entire yard, driveway and garage were packed with things - all neatly organized and priced. Some of the kids set up stands selling lemonade and  sno-cones, all in an effort to help any way they could. It was such a beautiful scene.

Once we began, the yard was crawling with people. And each person that came was greeted by one of the ladies explaining the purpose of the yard sale. It was amazing. I spent most of the day, talking with person after person, many sharing their own stories of adoption. As word of mouth spread, more and more people kept pouring in, to support us and encourage our story.

There were so many incredible stories from this event. Here are a few...

A big, gruff looking man came passing by and noticed the yard sale. When he learned it was benefiting our adoption, he picked up a small item priced for 25 cents, came to the pay tent, and handed Carrie a $10 bill saying, "I was adopted. Keep the change."

A woman brought her adopted daughter from Russia to support us adopting a daughter from Russia.

Some people started to reverse bargain. One guy asked how much something cost. "Two dollars", I told him. "How about five?" He said.

A young mom from our church, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia showed up. In the midst of her own painful journey, she brought her family to the yard sale so she could be a part of ours.

A man I had never met before, but who has been following our blog, came at the end to help clean up because he wanted to support our story. He went on to tell me his story of how he was adopted at age 4 through the foster care system. A tough, tough story that God is using even today, 30 years later, to bless our lives. 

By the end of the second day, we looked around the yard in total amazement. God had already done immeasurably more than we could have asked or imagined. Even so, the girls wanted to extend the yard sale one more day. After two days of being in the sun, from morning to evening, without ever complaining, they wanted to do more. So, Saturday morning, bright and early we started on our third day!

When the yard sale finally ended, we began cleaning up when a woman walked up the driveway. She was there earlier, but came back to bring me a book written by her son and daughter in law, who are missionaries in Russia. She began to tell me about her son's work, telling me that they minister to young women in Moscow, trapped in the world of prostitution and sex trafficking, adding that  orphanages are breeding grounds for these things.

My eyes filled with tears, and I said to her, "this is why...this is why."

I know that trafficking and prostitution occur all over the world, including our own country. In fact, I am involved in a ministry here in Akron that works with women who are trying to escape prostitution. But to hear first hand stories of girls who grow up in institutions in places like Russia sobers me to the reality that there is not a great outlook for young girls who spend their lives in an institution.

And so right there, on the 3rd day of this beautiful yard sale in my friend's driveway, my heart became overwhelmed with passion for our daughter. Stirring within me were deep desires:

  • a desire for a young, Russian girl to never, ever have to experience the first hand realities of sex trafficking or prostitution. 
  • a desire for her to grow up in a home where she is loved and valued because she was created in the image of God...not because of something she can offer someone with her body
  • a desire for her to know the love of a man: her dad, my husband...a love that protects and provides and respects.
  • a desire for her to ultimately to embrace the love of God, our Father in Heaven - the Defender of the weak, the Lover of the oppressed, and the Writer of her story. 

So we that were remaining in the driveway, held hands and prayed for our little girl right then. With tears in our eyes, we pleaded with God to protect her and all of the girls across the world who are being raised in unhealthy environments.  We asked God to bring our little girl home soon.

Then the money counting began. Remember the goal of $1000? I love how God takes our man made goals and far exceeds them to the point where we can only give Him the glory.

$671 in checks.
$700 in 20's.
$200 in 100's.
$150 in 50's.
$160 in 10's.
$115 in 5's.
$a 2 bill.
$13 in 1's.
$57.75 in quarters
$11.10 in dimes
$4.60 in nickels
$2.39 in pennies

The grand total of $3205.84. Wow!

At a garage sale. God used a group of seven busy moms, offering their time, space and things to once again show us that He can do immeasurably more.

at the end of the pricing party on Wednesday

immeasurably more...

my hard working, sacrificial, loving "Wednesdays" :)

Until next Monday, love Kate, Steve & Dima.

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