Monday, January 25, 2010

My first attempt at a Memorial Box Monday

I have a sweet bloggy friend named Linny that I keep up with(I would say that I stalk her blog, but her post today was about a real life stalker so I won't say that I stalk her blog- but, um.... I do check up on her frequently :) ) Anyway, Anyway- I really do admire Linny's passion for serving the Lord, lovin' on her BIG family, and keeping life in perspective! So in Linny's blog (you can check out her blog at, she and her family celebrate what she calls Memorial Box Mondays. I've read her Monday posts for a long time and have LOVED the idea of a Memorial Box, but I honestly just haven't figured out how to do this type of thing in my life. I think I've even shared this with a few of my close friends.....I want to do this in our family......but I have so many questions......How big would my "box" need to be? Where exactly do you get a "memorial box"? How do you find the appropriate little trinkets to signify the GREAT BIG things God has done in your life? etc. etc. etc.

So-- I still don't have all the answers to my Memorial Box Monday questions but I've been praying about this, have been inspired by Linny to try it, and I am going to attempt today to START a little "Memorial Box Monday" posting of my own and hopefully by next week, I'll have found a memorial box and will use this creative idea to help our family have tangible ways to remember the goodness of the Lord in our lives.

I'm going to start with an Ethiopia story because I never really shared with you about the many BIG God things that happened while we were there. I just never could sort through my emotions enough to capture the whole week in a blog post or even in 20 blog posts! It was just so BIG for me! But-- maybe if I focus on just a small part.......maybe I can do this and share our testimony of the Lord's goodness with you while we were in Ethiopia!

Here's the story of our first two hours in Ethiopia........

There we were, finally in Ethiopia- all 5 of us. We had gone through customs and we were greeted at the airport terminal by an older gentlemen, an employee of our agency at that time, that we'll call Dr. A. When we met Dr. A, I immediately sensed that this gentleman did not have a genuine heart and I still don't know if he is a born again Christian. I sensed that this man was self-seeking. I had a moment of panic and sheer FEAR erupt inside of me when Dr. A abruptly and matter-of-factly told us that Madilyn and Robbie would be riding in the "taxi" with the luggage and that Joel, Jackson, and I would ride in his personal car to the guesthouse. Our arrival was at 10pm so it was not only dark, but this was also a foreign country for us, we didn't speak the language and I did not feel comfortable with this car arrangement. After a few minutes of loading all of the luggage (we had tons of donations!!) I finally gathered up enough courage to tell Dr. A that we appreciated his willingness to transport us to the guesthouse but that Joel and Jackson would go with the taxi and Robbie, Madilyn and I would ride with him. I knew he was a BFAS employee and that he would get us where we needed to go, but I was not so sure about sending my mother in law and daughter in a taxi with an unknown driver, in the dark, in an unknown city. I could tell that he was frustrated that I was questioning his decision and he mumbled some things in Amharic as we loaded up (my way) and headed for the guesthouse. This was the beginning of our trip, the first hour in country and it was an adventure!

There are not many "PAVED" streets in Addis Ababa, and no street signs or house numbers. The main highways and some streets are paved, but when you are driving in the neighborhoods- you are mostly on dirt roads with no navigational clues. We also travelled during the "rainy season" to Ethiopia- so the roads were very muddy. It was DARK. It became very evident that Dr. A was lost. The taxi stopped way behind us and the driver started walking up and down the mud roads yelling at the gate guards in Amharic asking for directions to our guest house. No electricity. No street lamps, or signs. The streets were just dark black and FEAR started to creep up into my soul, again. I was really scared now. There were 3 or 4 house guards that came out of their courtyards, into the muddy street, walking around our car and loudly discussing the route we should have taken in Amharic (at least that is what I think they were talking about!) I didn't understand why we were stopped in the middle of the muddy road and I really couldn't understand what they were saying! Robbie had a doubtful and concerned look on her face also and Madilyn began to cry. Then it happened, I felt a surge of relief as the Lord gave me FREEDOM from that fear of being lost on a dark muddy road in a foreign land! I remembered that I had brought a flashlight or TWO in my carry on bag and they were right under my feet in the front pocket! Thank you Lord! As soon as we turned on those flashlights and the darkness was changed to LIGHT, there was calm and safety in that car and in our hearts. We might have gotten to our destination even if I had not remembered that I had the flashlights in my bag, but the LIGHT did calm our fear and comfort our hearts!

God's word says it so clearly.......Psalms 119:105 "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." and John 8:12 "Jesus once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in."

We made it to the guesthouse safely (the taxi did also!) and we were served an amazing dinner of lasagna, bread, and fruit by our sweet new friends and agency employees, Beti and Italgu. We only had electricity 3 of the 10 nights we were in Ethiopia but we used those flashlights every single night that we were there at some point or another and they did light our paths and help us to not stumble around in the darkness! We were very thankful for those small flashlights and lamps that we had brought with us!

When I find the perfect Memorial Box.....I am going to put a little flashlight in it to remind me that God did light our path that first night in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and during our whole trip there. I also want to remember that as Christians, our ultimate goal is this.....

2 Corinthians 4:5 "Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we're proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, "Light up the darkness!" and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful."

Many blessings to you,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Bloggy Apology and Prayer Request......

So I've been pretty distant here in BloggyLand and I want to apologize to you, my sweet Bloggy friends.......but, I also want to ask for some prayers!

I've been pretty silent here, mainly because I've been overwhelmed. Not overwhelmed in a bad way---but instead, overwhelmed in a GOOD way. I honestly don't know where to start to catch you up on the crazy life of Team Newsom. God has been opening some amazing doors. He has been teaching me many Truths' over the last few weeks and He has answered many prayers. God has also given me some unbelievable opportunities to share our adoption testimony with new friends, and He is coordinating a medical mission trip to Ethiopia for this fall!! Wow!......and that's only a tiny bit of information that is swirling around in my head! God is really at work here and I know it but I haven't really known WHAT TO DO NEXT. So, I've been really quiet around here. I've been praying lots and I've been waiting for God's wisdom and guidance. Will you pray with me for wisdom and guidance as we strive to seek HIS will for our lives??

I do want to quickly share with you just a few of the unbelievable opportunities God has given me over the last few weeks-- I have been ASKED to visit/share our adoption testimony with 6 different ladies at 6 different times over the last 2 weeks. Isn't that too cool??? God loves the poor and the afflicted. He LOVES the orphan. His word tells us to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. I am just amazed that He has planted so many seeds in the hearts of people I've recently met and I want to be obedient, even in, YES- I WILL SPEAK UP FOR THE ORPHANS GOD LOVES!!

God has also given us an opportunity to serve Him in helping to coordinate and plan an upcoming Medical Mission Trip to Ethiopia in October 2010. Agitu, BFAS Staff, Fruitful Harvest Ministries, and many BFAS families are coming together to minister and show Christ's Love to the people of Ethiopia!! WOW! This is getting so much bigger that I ever dreamed or imagined and somehow--- God has placed me in this network of Christian servants as a coordinator of people and resources. I am so humbled and again, even though I feel UN-worthy and very UN-equipped; I am choosing to be obedient and I know that in my own strength I have absolutely nothing to offer, but then again.....there is that TRUTH in God's Word: "WITH CHRIST, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!"

Please pray that Joel and I will have direction, wisdom and guidance from the Lord over these opportunities to serve Him and also in those other areas of our lives that I haven't shared here with you because of the time constraint! I am really going to try to break out of my overwhelmed state of silence and be more faithful in sharing my thoughts, prayer requests and testimonies of God's goodness with you here in BloggyLand on a more regular basis. More than anything, I recognize the need for your support and especially your prayers, as we travel along this amazing journey!

Blessings abound,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

This is YOUR house.

I'm speechless, exhausted, and overwhelmed but I'm also very joyful, so content, and super happy. Most of the books I read pre-adoption were right on with issues involved in adopting older children but I think I was really in denial at that point, that "WE" might face some of those issues. :) Most of them also didn't even talk about the the sheer joy that comes from GIVING an orphan a home, even through all those "adoption issues!" I have been so humbled by this journey and am still learning so much! Every day brings something new with Joshua Nahome. He is doing really well! Singing, dancing, clapping, jumping, smiling, laughing--- these actions fill his days with us. But then there are those....."MOMENTS" that aren't as easy to handle, like today......

Joshua and I were in the kitchen and I was sweeping the floor, he was helping by holding the dustpan for me. He said, "Mommy your house is clean, so nice." I said, "Thank you for helping me sweep Joshua. Yes, our house is very clean now."

He then said, "This is your house. My house is with Tigist."

I stopped sweeping and prayed a quick prayer for wisdom here at this "MOMENT".......

I got down on my knees and the Lord gave me the words, "Joshua Nahome, this is YOUR house, too. You do NOT have a house with Tigist. Tigist loves you but Tigist does NOT have food and Tigist does NOT have a house for you. Tigist wants you to live in America with Mommy and Daddy in YOUR house here. This is YOUR house. Tigist does NOT have a house for you. This is your house. Okay? Do you understand?"

Joshua Nahome looks into my eyes and says, "Yes, Ma'am. This is my house. Can I have some cake?"

Then it was back to life as normal and cake was served! WOW. Talk about some pressure for me!!! Whew! The "moments" just come and then just as quickly, they are gone. There is no major emotional breakdown, no tears, no crying, no screaming--- Joshua will just make these random statements that open an opportunity for me to SPEAK TRUTH into his heart and mind so that he understands and doesn't fantasize. I pray that he does come to understand the WHY without needless heartache and pain but just by openness about his past and Tigist. My hope is that one day he'll be able to say....."My birthmother was destitute and could not feed me, I lived in an orphanage for many many months until GOD gave me a forever family to love and grow up in."

I am also praying that the Lord helps us to grow our love deeper and have more compassion for Joshua, but also be able to see the need and ability to speak TRUTH, in love, to this sweet little boy in spite of the painful circumstances of his life as an orphan. These are hard conversations to have without having some reaction time-- I have to pray hard and think fast! God has provided each and every time I've been faced with these moments that I'm not mentally prepared to handle and he's given me grace, humility, and has helped me to speak TRUTH even when it is hard.

Ephesians 4:11-16 It was He who gave gifts to people; He appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers.12 He did this to prepare all God's people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ.13 And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ's full stature.14 Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent.15 Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head.16 (C)Under his control all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body is held together by every joint with which it is provided. So when each separate part works as it should, the whole body grows and builds itself up through love.

Proverbs 24:3 "Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Blessings to you and yours,