Planted in Pearland

What's going on in the life of Covenant Community Church

Craziness March 6, 2010

Filed under: Adoption,Hospitality,Learning — Sarah @ 4:20 pm

Like Maggie, I can give a list of excuses for the delay in blog posts: travelling, a crashed computer that took all my blog outlines and rough drafts with it, our first public service launch (!!!!), illness (we each took a turn: Tim, Eliza, me), the list goes on, blah, blah, blah. I do want to do a post on the launch and services since – it has been awesome – but I have something on my heart I need to share.

Truthfully, I wrote this blog post a couple weeks ago, but I didn’t post it because I was afraid of what other people would think. The Bible has a name for this. It’s called fear of man, and it is sin. As believers, we are called to fear God and not man. And because, as Maggie mentioned, I am no longer a slave to sin but to righteousness because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, I have the ability to put this sin to death. So here it goes.

A couple weeks ago, a lady named Heather, whose blog I read, posted a notice about an opportunity for Texas families to sponsor (kind of like fostering) Haitian orphans who need to come to the US for medical attention. The post stopped me in my tracks.

This was one of the most clear “orphan in distress” (James 1:27) cases I had ever seen – and here was an opportunity to care for these orphans, dropped right into my lap. I just couldn’t ignore it. I showed the post to Tim when he got home, and he agreed we should ask for more information.

The information we got was not exactly “ideal.” There is no timeframe for when the kids will arrive in the US. Most of the kids brought to the US would be school age or close to it. They will be mostly amputees in need of many medical interventions of all kinds. They will not be wards of the state and therefore not eligible for Medicaid. It is unclear when or if they will ever be eligible for adoption. They, obviously, will have gone through a horrible ordeal and will be in need of massive amounts of love and patience as they adjust physically, mentally, emotionally.

I have to admit, my first reaction was, “No way.” We always talked about adopting a child close to the age of our biological children. We always talked about adopting a “young child” (translation: not old enough to be too screwed up from trauma). We had never talked about (translation: never even considered the possibility of) adopting a physically disabled child before. We always talked about adopting “after this” or “when this happens” – and now was certainly not the right time.

As we were talking about all this, God was doing a work in my heart. He came to help me realize that every time I said “we want to adopt” what I meant was “we want to adopt the right child, who’s the right age, at the right time, when it’s most convenient, suits our family best, etc.” I didn’t really mean “we want to care for orphans in distress through adoption.” I wanted to adopt – but in a safe, comfortable way that I could predict and control.

Safety, security, predictability, comfort, control – these are idols that God has been working on ripping out of my heart for years.

  • Moving to Louisville, a zillion miles from anyone and anything I had ever known – rip!
  •  Trusting God to decide when a child should be added to our family, in the middle of seminary, with no money – rip!
  • Deciding to church plant, the most insecure and unpredictable job you can possibly choose after seminary (with the exception of foreign missions) – rip!

Obviously, God has placed me in circumstances time and time again (these are just a few examples) that require me to let go of my idols of security and comfort and trust Him. Yet I still often find myself holding on to these idols with all my might.

I don’t want to be this person. I don’t want to be the person who always chooses the safe, predictable, secure, comfortable, “wise” path- and who kicks and screams when I’m asked to get off that path. To be clear, that is indeed who I am – I just don’t want to be. I want to be the person who fearlessly follows after Jesus no matter how uncomfortable it makes me.

So here I am yet again. My idol of a comfortable, secure and predictable life is being threatened again – this time with a call to extend hospitality to and provide care, love and a family for a Haitian “orphan in distress.”

Pray for us. We are still wrestling, talking, walking down this road as far as it will take us. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

**Update: We pursued this opportunity as far as we could. Eventually, we found out that we were not a good candidate family. Ultimately, the final word we got on this was that they were not able to gain permission for these kids to leave the country and therefore the kids were not able to come.**

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Moving Day December 4, 2009

Filed under: Hospitality — Maggie @ 9:38 pm

The day has come for Dave, Shepherd and me to move out of the Ganger’s home. It is a sad day. We have loved living here with Tim, Sarah and Eliza. We have loved that every night is like a weekend hangout with friends. We have loved that our babies get to have daily playmates in each other. We have loved that we get to love on each others’ babies everyday and watch them grow. We have loved that we have built-in babysitters in each other. We have loved just being with dear friends all the time – who wouldn’t love that?

But, most of all, I think I can say that Dave and I have loved being the recipients of amazing hospitality. And I do mean amazing.

Tim and Sarah have 1600 sq. ft. 3-bedroom, 2-bath house, a 1 year-old, and 2 dogs. Dave and I have lived in one of those bedrooms for over 3 months now, and Shepherd (our 7 month-old) has shared another one of those bedrooms with Eliza (their 1 year-old). So, let me do the math for you. That is 4 adults, 2 babies (and their toys), and 2 dogs in a 3 bedroom house. I know what some of you are thinking. “Yikes, that is a lot of people in a small space!” And it was a lot of people in a small space, but this makes their hospitality all the more remarkable.

Acts chapter 2 speaks of this kind of hospitality and fellowship among believers.

And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. (2:44-47)

Tim and Sarah demonstrated this kind of hospitality on a daily basis. Their home was our home. Their stuff was our stuff.  We had need and they supplied our need by providing us a place to stay and food to eat. Dave and I were called to move to Pearland from Louisville, KY to help plant Covenant Community Church, but months passed and Dave still could not find a job to enable us to move down. Tim and Sarah affirmed our calling to Pearland and to Covenant, but rather than stop there, they made possible this calling by opening their home to us. Not only this, but they did so without any conditions. They did not require a dime of us during our stay in their home! We never felt like we were imposing. We never felt like we were outstaying our welcome. In fact, as we were packing up our things, Dave told me that he never felt like he was in someone else’s home. It was just our home with Tim, Sarah and Eliza.

At times, it was hard to be constantly on the receiving end of hospitality. I wanted to have something to offer. At these times, Dave graciously reminded me that this is good practice for heaven when we will eternally receive Christ’s hospitality.  I praise God that Tim and Sarah’s hospitality is a small glimpse of what I have to look forward to in heaven. And I praise God for such a dear brother and sister to image Christ to me and my family through their gracious hospitality!