Monday, May 21, 2012

Just a girl, following a BIG God.

I can't blog from Ethiopia, but am (trying to) keep a journal. Here is what happened last Wednesday: Day 3: It is Wednesday. Today was Abenezer’s visa appointment. The visa appointment was set for 8:00am. We arrived about 20 minutes early, it was wet and a bit rainy. We had Ab’s passport, photos, application and letters from a few churches and camp where Abenezer is planning to share his story. Unlike my last experience at the US embassy in Addis, I was not able to just walk right in. This was Abenezer’s appointment, so we had to wait in line with the other Ethiopians. I was so glad I was going to be able to attend the appointment with him. We waited in the line outside for about 45 minutes. About a hundred of us huddled under the one bit of shelter in front of the embassy. We finally made it in the door, went through security, then went into a giant room that was already filled with around 150 people. There were 12 windows. Abenezer was given a number and we waited. His number was called and we went to the first window, we gave them his passport and visa application, then sat back down...and waited. We thought they had called his number again, went to a window behind another person and saw their application rejected and they were sent home to make another appointment because the passport photos were the wrong size, the same size as Abenezer’s. We approached the window and realized Ab’s number had NOT been called, so we sat back down...and waited. Abenezer’s name was called and we went to another window where his fingerprints were taken. We sat back down and waited...and waited...and waited. While we were waiting I was studying the four Americans that were giving the interviews. I had been specifically praying for whoever would do our interview. I was curious who it was I had been praying for. We were told the interview would last only a couple of minutes, and a decision would be made. We were also told that one of the interviewers was very tough and she rarely granted visas. And we waited. We watched several people who had been behind us in line come and go. Finally, Abenezer’s name was called. When we got to the window I realized this lady had just taken over this window. It had been a man in that spot all morning. We walked to the window together, but she asked me to hand her my paperwork then sit down, she needed to talk to Abenezer alone. I heard her ask him his story, since so many churches were asking to hear it. I did not hear his answer. She asked him a couple other questions, then she invited me up to the window. She asked how I knew him, and I told her the 2 minute version. She then asked if I was a Quaker - that threw me off guard. I told her yes, she said she noticed most of the churches he was visiting were Friends churches. Then she told me she went to a Friends school...and she gave us the visa approval. We found out later that day, this is the woman who rarely granted visas. The fact that the photos were the wrong size was never mentioned. We experienced a true miracle...WOW!!
I am learning so much about how BIG my God is, and how small my faith is. My eyes are slowly being opened. Each time I take a small step out in faith, God exceeds my expectations. He is so much bigger than me, His plans so much greater. It is not about me. It is not about Abenezer. It is about God’s kingdom and His plan. I can’t wait to see how God uses Abenezer. I have said I feel like Billy Graham’s Sunday school teacher. I am getting the chance to be a small part in Abenezer’s story, but I really feel God is going to use him to do mighty, mighty things for His kingdom. I can’t wait to watch his story unfold. Until then, I pray I am faithful and willing and courageous enough to do whatever it is God asks of me. I pray my story will inspire others...not that they will see me, but that they can see that if God can use a little, poor, goofy Kansas girl like me, then He can surely use them as well.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Passport Madness

What a crazy week. Well, unless an unbelievable miracle happens tomorrow, Megin will not be going on this trip to Ethiopia. The craziness started last Thursday. Megin still, after 4 weeks, had not received her passport. I called to ask about it, they told me we could expedite for $76. We were getting down to the wire, so I agreed. Monday, we got a
letter in the mail telling us we need additional documentation to prove her citizenship. No problem, we had an issue with Tem's passport, too, but were able to call and clear everything up. No such luck. After 2 days and over 60 phone calls (Congressmen, lawyers, county clerks, adoption experts, best friends, and lots and lots of random secretaries who would transfer me...and transfer...and transfer...)nothing worked. We had to break the news to Megin after school today, which was one of the hardest things we have ever done. She was disappointed, i was heartbroken. Overall, a very hard day. SO...we are postponing her trip. She will still go, we can get a refund for all but $300 of her airline ticket. She has raised enough money to make a trip later. Perhaps she and I can return in September when we take Abenezer back to Ethiopia. We can complete all the paperwork the passport agency is requesting over the summer. WE will make that trip, and still have that reunion with Grandma. I will still be leaving on Saturday morning. It is going to be a completely different trip without Megin. Not really sure what I will be doing for two weeks. I am kind of a spontanious planner. I like to have an outline for the trip...then I am comfortable to change it as I go. To go into a trip like this with, really, my departure, my return and Abenezer's visa appoinment on the calendar...and nothing else. Well, it is pretty scary. Definitely out of my comfort zone. Well, bring it on. Please continue to pray for Abenezer's visa appointment. I really want to be able to bring him home for the summer. Pray for my health (my biggest fear is to be sick while I am there, esp. there alone). Pray that I am open to whatever God has for me on this trip. Thanks, friends, for your fervant prayers this past week. Please keep them coming. It feels like a spiritual battle and I can't do it without your support!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

URGENT! Need a family for these girls

UPDATE!!!! FOREVER FAMILY FOUND!!! PRAISE THE LORD :) These beautiful girls need a Forever Family, and soon! These beautiful girls are 7, 4 and 3 and are currently in an orphanage in Ethiopia. They are getting older and it is sooo hard to place 3 children with one family. If you know anyone who would be willing to adopt this sib set of girls, have them email me ASAP at We would prefer families who have already gotten their I171H approval, or at least have completed their fingerprint appointment. Please do not share this photo, but feel free to send people to my blog. Please pray we can place them soon!!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Help Megin get to Ethiopia!

Hello friends!

I am so excited that Megin is coming with me to Ethiopia in May!  I am thrilled to be able to share my love for her birth country.

Along with Abenezer's visa appointment (keep praying for favor with the embassy - we WANT that visa!!), we are also hoping to re-connect Megin with her grandmother, and perhaps some of her extended family.  What an amazing opportunity for both of us!

We are also hoping to visit some orphanages, help with a medical team coming to Korah (city dump area), and spending some time with Embracing Hope Ethiopia (check out their video HERE).

We still need to raise about $1000 (we already have a little over $1500) for her trip. To donate, Simply click on the chip in button on the right of this page and donate as much as you like.
Thanks for your continued support on our crazy journey!! Can't wait to tell you all about this trip!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Out of the Box, into the Amazing

Well followers (that sounds pretentious), sorry there has not been an update recently. Life gets crazy, you know??  If this is the first post of mine you have read you will need some background.  Read my story about Abenezer HERE.

Where to begin??  December.  First, on December 14th I wrote THIS post (it's short, if you read it this will all make more me).  I was saying I trusted God to provide the $3400 I needed to get Abenezer a visa and airline ticket.  I knew that it couldn't happen with out His help.  Needless to say, God did some crazy amazing things right around Christmas.  You see, I had begun working as a Field Rep a couple months before.  I was hoping to help connect some families with an agency, and was honored to work with International Family Services again.  I worked for them as a receptionist waaaaayyyy back in 1996 when I was pregnant with Alexis.  Great people.

So, I got an email from Carol Mardock (aka Executive Director of IFS) telling me that they had these infants available in Ethiopia and no waiting families at this time.  Well, thanks to God, Kari Gibson and Facebook, we placed 5 infants in a month.  As a field rep, I am paid per family as I unite them with the agency.  Between t-shirt sales, donations and that one month miracle, I had more than the $3400 I was hoping to get.

Plan B:  You know that verse where it says God is willing and able to to more than we can think or imagine (yup, that's a good one).  Well, it's true.  At the beginning of January, God challenged me to stop putting him in a box.  That, when it is His will, there are no limits.  So, I started to get ridiculous (in my feeble teeny tiny mind).  I thought "Oh, yeah, lets see how big I can dream".  Here was my "big" dream.  Now that I had the money to get Abenezer here, I wanted to be able to go get him myself.  My being at the visa appointment would increase the chances of his getting a visa by 567% (totally made that number up).  It is what I had secretly hoped for from the beginning, but never dared to think it  could happen.  Then, I dreamed even BIGGER.  I dreamed I could take my daughter Megin with me.  We adopted Megin nine years ago from Ethiopia. I have always wanted to take her back with me and give her a reunion with her grandmother.  I also wanted to give her the opportunity to serve in her home country.  Of course, it seemed like a far-reaching dream.  Yeah, have you met my God?  He loves those dreams.

Cut to February.  I find myself getting tons of emails and fb messages about adoption.  I also get a call from IFS that they need a new Ethiopia Program Director, and would I be interested.  WHAT?!?  Of COURSE I am interested.  I only live and breathe God, orphans and Ethiopia.  It's only my PASSION...YES PLEASE!

So, now here I am, a mere 3 months to the DAY that I posted that I wanted to get Abenezer home, but I wanted God to get the glory.  I wanted it to happen in such a way that I would get no credit.  I am blown away by God's blessings to me.  I don't even have the words to express it.

Today, someone sent $500 to my Paypal account.  Out. Of. The. Blue.  Yesterday, a friend told me they were sending $350.  God is Rocking My World.  The $3400 I needed for Abenezer has grown to $7500 so Megin and I can go to Ethiopia (an astronomical amount in the world of Randi's checkbook).  As of today we only have $1574 left to raise.  And you know what?  I'm not even worried about it.  Nope, not a bit.  And you know what else? I am going to TRY to stop limiting what I do by what my checkbook tells me.  God is bigger than my checkbook (shouldn't I have known that by now??).  God is bigger than my "big" dreams.  And the more I come to know Him, the more I see His character, the more I understand that this is SO not about me...well the more in Awe of Him I am.  I am willing to stop freaking out - and just do His will.  I am going to listen and GO, because this adventure I am on is incredible.  

Thank you to those who have prayed for this dream.  Thank you, thank you to those who have listened and donated.  Your faithfulness astounds me.

This is so much bigger than I know.  God is doing amazing things, which makes me think this is about more than bringing my son home from Ethiopia.  This is a catalyst of something huge for God's kingdom. I don't know what that is, but I am thrilled to play a part.  I am willing.  Send Me.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Daughter, Alexis

Just had to show off.  This is my 15 yr old daughter, Alexis, performing an original song.  Thanks for watching!!
Click Here to watch "Okay", by Alexis Shetley