No Longer An Orphan
- A conversation between Derrick and Anna Abell, members of Fellowship of Grace
DERRICK: My wife and I both grew up in Christian families and came to know Christ in our childhood years. I know my relationship with Christ has not been perfect through the years, but since going off to college, getting married and starting a family – I have seen my relationship with Christ grow as I gain more life experience and learn more about how deep God’s love is for us. Just the experience of loving my wife and loving my kids has taught me so much about Christ’s love for His bride (the Global Church) and God’s love for us as His children.
We have also enjoyed our time at Fellowship of Grace over the past 7+ years, serving in a variety of different roles. It has been an exciting ride so far and we are both looking forward to the future of what God has in store for us and our church! Back on the home front, we are currently in the middle of the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia. We began the process at the beginning of 2013 and I’d like for Anna to tell you a little bit about what led us to this decision to adopt and describe a little bit of the process for you – take it away, sweetheart!
ANNA: Well, I have always had a heart for kids and have been intrigued by the idea of adoption for a few years. Derrick and I had even casually discussed the possibility of adopting someday, but we never really had thought seriously about it until after our second child. But we still weren’t sure of how exactly adoption would fit into our lives. Then, late in 2012, as our youngest child, Josiah, was beginning to turn into a little toddler and we were talking about growing our family, I felt a strong calling that adoption was the way God was calling us to grow our family during this next step of life. Derrick wasn’t so sure it was the right time at first, but after much prayer, research, reading, and more prayer – God really began to break both of our hearts with a desire to care for orphans through pursuing an international adoption in Ethiopia.
We decided to go with a theme for our adoption of “Reckless Love” because both Derrick and I really aren’t that great at being reckless – we are both the more reserved, cautious types – which isn’t necessarily bad, until it comes to stepping out in faith and obeying God. Often times, it can feel a little reckless to do what God wants us to do, and that’s what we were feeling. But we knew it was the right thing to do. It was just a little scary. But looking back over this year, it has been amazing to see the things God has done and how he has provided things at just the right time, not a moment too soon or too late – what a wild ride it has been!
DERRICK: Are you seriously just going to leave them hanging like that? Come on, you’ve got to give them at least one example of how we’ve seen God work this year.
ANNA: Are you sure they want to hear the details?
DERRICK: No, I’m not sure – but they need to hear how God showed up. Plus, they are still reading up to this point, so you might as well tell them.
ANNA: Ok, well do you remember the garage sale fundraiser? That was pretty cool.
DERRICK: That was pretty cool.
ANNA: We collected items for a garage sale and had overwhelming support from people in our church donating items to help raise money for our adoption (which will end up costing us over $30K – you feeling the “reckless” part with us yet?). We chose a weekend in May, where we figured the weather would probably be decent and some friends generously let us use their garage and driveway to have the sale at during their big neighborhood garage sale. We got everything ready for the sale and Saturday came … and it was 40 degrees and rainy … all day … not exactly ideal garage sale weather. But guess what – we toughed it out with a few tents and tarps to keep us dry and God provided and we were able to raise over $1600 that day.
DERRICK: I remember multiple times throughout that day thinking “What the heck are these people doing out in the cold and rain buying a bunch of junk?” – it was crazy.
ANNA: It was so cool to see God provide in a truly miraculous way that day. From the people that were involved in the fundraiser to the way God provided the $ in spite of the weather conditions, our faith was strengthened and we were really encouraged to see such a visible confirmation that we were right where God wanted us. Sometimes it is hard to know if what you are doing is the right thing or not, but on that day it was so refreshing to see God’s hand at work. And we could go on and on about how God provided for us throughout the year to get us fully funded – there really is no way to describe it, except a miracle of God!
DERRICK: God is good, isn’t He?
ANNA: Yes, He is indeed.
DERRICK: So this year has been really exciting and we really believe God has called us to love on orphans through the ministry of adoption and to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) by making disciples of all nations. We have learned so much about the global orphan crisis over the last year and we are excited to encourage others to care for orphans in whatever ways they can. While we understand that not everyone can (or should) adopt a child, we strongly believe that caring for orphans is not just an idea to be entertained … as Christians – it is a command that we must obey. We’ve come to realize that caring for orphans is such a great picture of the Gospel (the good news of salvation through Jesus), because all of us are born into this world as spiritual “orphans”. Sin is what keeps us from being children of God, and we all are born into sin. So God sent Jesus to pay the price for our sin – so that we may become children of God. Through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins and His resurrection from the dead, we now have a way to be “born again” into the family of God – what an AMAZING BLESSING! We are truly humbled to someday welcome an orphan into our family as a son or daughter and show them God’s love, because He has first loved us.
ANNA: I agree. And just a couple of weeks ago, we received some more details on who exactly that orphan will be. While we can’t share a lot of the specifics yet, because there is still much more paperwork, processing, legal stuff to do – we have accepted the referral of a little 3 month old boy, and we hope to be able to bring him home by the end of 2014. We already feel God connecting our hearts to this little child that will soon “officially” be welcomed into our family, and hope that we can someday help him experience the love of our Heavenly Father and be welcomed into the family of God.
DERRICK: And then he will truly no longer be an orphan.