Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Thursday, September 6, 2007

our HUMONGOUS, GOD-ORCHESTRATED fundraiser






In April 2007, God woke me in the middle of the night (probably because that’s the only time He can get a hold of me) and prompted me to spend some time with Him praying and writing in my journal. Around 3:30 am, I began to get a very clear vision of a huge fundraiser for our adoption. Over the past year, I had brainstormed fundraisers many times but never felt compelled to carry them out. The idea in itself always seemed overwhelming. This time, however, I was getting very excited. I felt like God was giving me all the ideas and I was just putting it on paper. About 1 ½ hours later, I went back to bed. When I awoke later that morning and thought back to my time with the Lord, my first thought was “that was the most overwhelming idea ever.” I quickly dismissed everything I planned earlier that morning. A week later God brought the vision back to me, this time with an abundance of enthusiasm and confidence that I was to carry this out. As I began writing, details filled the paper. I could barely keep up with my thoughts. God even gave me a date of June 15, so I wrote it down. An hour later, I came out of the office and told Todd that we were going to be having a fundraiser on June 15 and 16. I called my friend Lacey and my parents. I think I needed to tell someone so I would have some accountability. This time I was sure that God was asking me to bring this fundraiser to completion.
Over the next month I prayed. I prayed about locations and volunteers to help implement this event, and I met with a friend to begin planning. Over this time, God refined the vision and made it crystal clear. I was to have a massive garage sale, BBQ, and bake sale. I wanted the whole community involved. I wanted our neighbors, friends, small group, church, etc. to be a part of this. I started sharing my vision with more and more people and word traveled.
I was on the phone constantly trying to nail down a location. I had prayed about it and even had a list of criteria we were looking for, but every option was a closed door. As June 15 approached, many people suggested that I postpone the fundraiser because we had no location. I felt very strongly that I was supposed to carry it out on that day—there was no changing it. I persevered and would not let discouragement seep in. I knew God would provide a place for us. A few days before our fundraiser we decided on a location—our home!
In the mean time, I got another idea—let’s make t-shirts. A friend of a friend, Shauna Majerus, quickly agreed to help us. On very short notice she designed the front and back of the shirt for us. To save on time, we ended up using the painting she had made for our friends Erryn and Deke for their mission trip to Uganda. We had over 500 shirts made through Sutton’s Sportswear. The turn around time was supposed to be 3 weeks. However, Sutton’s was very supportive and generous towards us—they not only donated some of the costs, but they put a rush on the order, so we would have them before the 15th.
Within one week of our fundraiser, details came together. Our phone was ringing off the hook, and we were constantly sharing praise reports of what God was doing.
 A family from our small group donated 800 hotdogs, hamburgers, and buns, along with some help from Sweetheart Bakery and Food Services of America.
 City Brew donated a carafe of coffee that serves 80-100 people for Fri and Sat.
 Starbucks donated a carafe of coffee that serves 80-100 people for Friday.
 Donut Hole donated 5 dozen donuts for Friday and Saturday.
 Let’s Party donated a balloon arch for over our street.
 Wheat Montana called and said that they had seen our flyer. They thought this fundraiser was an awesome idea and for a great cause. They brought a carload of pastries, turnovers, cookies, cinnamon rolls, breads, etc.
 Target donated a $30 gift card.
 Wal-Mart donated a $25 gift card.
 Albertson’s donated the use of their copy machine to Lacey and I at midnight (because we found out Kinko’s is not open 24 hours) for us to make 250 flyers.

Our big living room, which had no furniture in it since we were remodeling our house at the same time, was completely filled with donated items. A person could not walk into the room. There was not a square inch of space left. We had items dropped off on our doorstep overnight. Over 35 families cleaned out their homes to donate to our sale! On June 13, I had some friends come over to help organize this pile. Amber, Sarah, Lacey. Rhonda, Carol, and Summer began distributing items to vacant rooms of the house and pricing each item. I was making phone calls to find 6 ft. tables. I ended up tracking down 30 tables and had volunteers drive around to pick them up. We had people at our house around the clock helping. Becky and Char made an enormous array of baked goods. Neighbors dropped off more goodies. Sharon helped watch my kids and cleaned my house. Since we were still without a washing machine, Carol and Sharon both took ALL my laundry home and brought it back the next day folded! Jon and Christy, Jana, and Cindi, and Chuck all stopped by to set up for the sale. Sarah spent hours making signs for the sale—complete with a map to assist the person posting them. I wrote a letter to our neighborhood informing them of what was going on. They all responded positively and parked their cars on side streets and alleys to keep our street open for the public. We blocked off our street to have more space and used our neighbor’s grass and driveway.
The night before the sale I got 45 minutes of sleep. We had people showing up at 6am and it stayed busy until the evening. I was stationed at the “cashier” table where we had our t-shirts on display, a scrapbook of Christopher and Katie, and a donation jar. We had lines of people waiting to pay and to hear our story. I repeated our story non-stop all day long for two days. Masses of people heard about God’s love and His faithfulness. People were brought to tears. Nobody tried to negotiate prices. In fact, the majority said “keep the change.” I even had a few give me $100 bills. One particularly vivid memory is a woman who said she had just met my husband a couple days earlier because he was working on her neighbor’s house. She heard about our adoption and fundraiser. She said she had just gone to the bank and handed me an envelope. We were so busy, that I just looked at her eyes and said thank you. I put the envelope in the donation jar. A few hours later when we had a moment, we unfolded the envelope and saw $1000 cash. I was in tears. I called Todd at work to tell him of this amazing blessing. After Todd got off the phone, the song “Who Am I” came on the radio in his truck. Todd is not an emotional person by any stretch of the imagination, but as he listened to the words of this song and thought about this woman’s generosity, he cried. As the tears were pouring down and his eyes were blurry, all he could think about was what would happen to the pies, that his customer had just made for our bake sale, if he crashed from not being able to see!
We were completely humbled and overwhelmed.
KULR 8 News came that afternoon, interviewed me and put us on the 10pm news.
Friday night we were exhausted. We thought we would go to bed early. It was around midnight. The moment I crawled into bed, Jaden woke up with a severe asthma attack. We gave him his rescue inhaler but it was not helping. I prayed with him and Todd tried calming him down. After an hour, his asthma only progressed. Todd stayed home with Kellen and Sage while Lacey hopped in the car with us to go to the ER. I began praying out loud for Jaden who was panicking. I made a phone call to the hospital to let them know we were on our way. I also called our fellow prayer warriors Chuck and Sharon. While I was on the phone, Lacey took over praying out loud for Jaden. About five minutes later we pulled up to the hospital, and the moment we walked through the ER doors, Jaden was breathing normally. His oxygen level was great, he wasn’t wheezing anymore. After seeing the Dr. they had no explanation for us. They could not explain why he was breathing normally now. But we knew…without a doubt, God had just made Jaden better.
We were able to get 1 hour 45 minutes of sleep that night. God showed us that He can be our strength, that we need to rely on Him and He will carry us through. And He did!
A couple days later a reporter from The Journal Gazette tracked us down and wrote an article about our adoption. Our fundraiser was a huge success because Christ was at the center of it. He received all the credit. He brought our friends, neighbors, and community together and they embraced us with love and support. It was amazing. We thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. We saw God working in the midst of us. He was alive and present at our garage sale. God was glorified!

 In the late evening of June 14, Sharon and Chuck drove to the Heights to run an errand for us. As they were overlooking the rims, they saw a beautiful rainbow and were reminded of God’s promises to us. On the morning of June 17, on the way to church, we saw another rainbow. God gave us a rainbow at the beginning and end of our fundraiser.
 People often asked how much money I expected to raise from this event. I had no idea. Of course I wanted it to be a successful weekend, but I truly believed that the weekend belonged to the Lord. It was His to do with as He wanted. If not one person came, it would still be ok because I was only doing this fundraiser out of obedience to what God has asked of me. He would receive the glory no matter what. In my moments of daydreaming, I thought it would be incredible if we could raise $6000 plus another $1000 to give to Amani Baby Cottage. (Amani does not keep any money for themselves, they are totally run by donation). On the evening of Saturday, June 16, after the completion of our sale, we counted $6996. Over the next couple days, some more money came in, bringing the total over $7000. Praise God! He is so good to us.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Update

It has been difficult writing this blog only because I started a year and some after we began the adoption process. Therefore, everything I have written so far, is a retelling of what has happened in the previous months. I have been trying to get caught up with the present. I am almost there!
As of today, September 5, 2007, Christopher and Katie are 14 months old.
We are still waiting for an affidavit to be written and sent to us. Once we notarize it, we Fed Ex it back to Uganda and the court date is then set.
This past Labor Day weekend, I had an uneasiness in my spirit. I sensed that something big was happening in Uganda regarding the adoption. I even had a dream that everyone was talking about something significant happening. In my dream, I was praying. While I was praying, God showed me the judge looking at our file and seeing our names and who we are adopting. The judge then said, "I have never done this before, but I am going to give a ruling without seeing Todd and Jenny in court. My answer is YES! They can take them home. When I awoke, I felt a great need to pray for the judge that he would love Jesus, ask forgiveness of his sins, and give his life to the Lord. I told Kellen to be praying for the judge. Kellen said, "The judge already knows Jesus, he is just being disobedient." Interesting! We are praying that God would move upon the judges heart in such a way that a miracle would happen.
I am clinging to the scripture verse in Matthew 21:22. It says "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
Lord, increase my faith!

Jocelyn and Katie

I was able to get in touch with Jocelyn--the one who donated blood to Katie. She had incredible pictures to share with me and great descriptions of my children. It was a prayer answered. I had been longing and praying for someone to share a special connection with my children, to love on them and hold them. The following is an excerpt from an email she sent me:
"I'm so excited to spout off everything I know about Katie. Her and I spent most of 2 1/2 months together and coming home was pure torture for me. Where do I start? She is the most precious, unspoiled, unwhiny baby at the baby home. The only time she ever really cries is when she's really hungry (she doesn't like the breakfasts at the baby home and does usually eat very much, so around lunch time she gets a bit cranky. Well, she used to, that is. I don't know if she's still pulling that stunt). Other than that, she's happy and independant. Cuddly when you want to cuddle, but not so attached that she'll cry every time you leave. She always had this one special look for me when I walked into the room. The Mamas said that she didn't look at anyone else in that way. But I'm sure that as you get to know her, she'll transfer that special look onto you. It's a kind of "Hey! Jocelyn's here! Everyone, look! Jocelyn's here! Yay!" look. Haha, at least, that's what I pictured her thinking as she did it. She has the most beautiful big eyes in the world and she's quite lanky - I think she'll be a very tall, very thin girl as she grows up. She has a thing about biting and if you see her leaning toward you with her mouth open, it's usually a sign that she's going to take a chomp. Come to think about it, Christopher does it too. Katie doesn't have typical Ugandan hair. It's quite straight and fluffy (or what's there is - she doesn't have much!).As for Christopher, we didn't spend nearly as much time together, but I did get to know him fairly well. He's a very funny guy. Very active. We called him the Juggernaut because he just plows through anything and anyone in his way. He's always either crying loudly or laughing like a crazy person. He doesn't have much of an inbetween stage. At least, he didn't when I was there early this summer. He's a lot of fun."

Friends, Packages, and Uganda

God has blessed us with a beautiful friendship through Erryn and Deke Lundman. They are passionate about following Christ. Their enthusiasm and love for the Lord radiates from them. God used my mom to spur them on to a mission trip with Believer's World Outreach (the same one she went on two summers ago). They responded obediently to God's call and went to Uganda for two weeks in July 2007. It is so exciting seeing God use them in mighty ways in and out of Africa.
Before they left for Uganda, we put together a package for Christopher and Kisakye, which was hand delivered by Deke and Erryn. We made a laminated collage of our family pictures and filled a soft, durable photo album with pictures of all of us. We also sent an IU (Indiana University) outfit for Christopher and Katie to have their pictures taken in. Jaden, Kellen, and Sage have all worn these same outfits which were given to us by Papaw and Mamaw. We then surprised Papaw and Mamaw with these pictures. IU fans all the way from Uganda!

When Erryn delivered the picture collage to our babies, Christopher and Katie became instant celebrities! The mamas held onto our babies and wouldn't even let Erryn hold them! The mamas wanted to ask questions, hear stories, and see pictures. Everyone in the baby cottage had to see and hold the collage. Mamas were grabbing the pictures out of the kids' hands because they were so excited! It was a little crazy! Erryn had to keep telling the mamas that these pictures belong to Christopher and Katie!
It is our prayer that these pictures will familiarize our babies with us. We are asking God to create a special bond so that when our babies see us for the first time, they will acutally recognize us. We pray that God would unite our hearts together even now, that Christopher and Katie would know they are a part of our family--forever!

Our Miracle

God woke me in the middle of the night at 3:45 am. I felt an urgent need to pray but was not sure what to pray about. I lay in bed for a couple minutes until the sound of our phone ringing bolted me out of bed. It was Mary, our liaison, telling me that I needed to pray. Kisakye was very sick and she was beign rushed to the hospital. They thought she might have sickle cell anemia and she was going to need a blood transfusion. Todd and I prayed together, and then I spent the next couple hours praying for Kisakye and wrestling with many different emotions. The words, "God's grace is sufficient," kept running through my mind. I had been told that two men of God annointed Kisakye with oil before she left for the hospital, which was 3-4 hours away. I prayed for pure blood for her transfusion. Then God reminded me of the meanings of her names. Kisakye means "God's grace"--God's grace is sufficient. Christine means "annointed"--she had been annointed with oil. Katie means "pure" and I was praying for pure blood. The Gunderson's CD had arrived in the mail a few hours earlier. I had the pictures loaded on my computer and was able to view a very close up picture of Kisakye. It was so clear and vivid that I could see the tiny hairs on her skin, the shape of her delicate features. I prayed as I studied her face. She felt so close that it was as if I was holding her in my arms and praying over her.
When Kisakye arrived in Kampala, the hospital did not have any blood for a transfusion. The doctors tested the blood of the four women who had taken Kisakye to the hospital. A Canadian volunteer named Jocelyn, who had held Kisakye and prayed for her the entire way, was a perfect blood match and donated the life-saving blood to our little girl. Praise God. He is so good!

A huge blessing

The Gunderson's, a family from California whom we met through the internet, traveled to Uganda to adopt their child, Judah. They graciously took 60 pictures and 4 video clips of Christopher and Kisakye while they were at the baby cottage. When they returned to CA, they burned the pictures to a CD and sent it to us. IT was so exciting to receive an assortment of pictures from different angles, different settings, and with different expressions. We were blessed by their generosity.
Cindi also emailed us while she was in Uganda and gave us our first description of our babies. She wrote: "Well, yesterday I got to meet your beautiful little ones! They are so sweet and cute! They both have BIG outtie belly buttons :D I have taken some pictures and will send them as soon as I am able. Know that they are being taken such GOOD care of! THe mamas and aunties LOVE all the children here!"

video

Names!

Christopher James Tushabe Moore
&
Kisakye Christine Moore
For a year we had discussed and prayed about names. We wanted to give our babies a name that had significant meaning. We also planned on giving them an Ugandan name as part of their heritage. After hearing the story of how we knew these were the "Jesus Babies," we wanted to keep Christopher and Christine. We chose Christopher James Tushabe Moore. James is after my Dad and Grandpa and Todd's Dad and Grandpa. How awesome to pass a family name to an adopted child!Tushabe is named after our "brother" in Uganda, Fredrick Tushabe, which means "to pray to God." We named our little girl Kisakye Christine Moore. (Kee-saw-zjay) means "God's grace" and was a name chosen by Fredrick. We thought it was beautiful. Her nickname will be Katie--named after a dear friend of mine who was passionate about living for Christ.