Sunday, March 25, 2012

Favorable determination.....

Yesterday was my birthday.  Since we have so much going on and John was performing a wedding, we didn't make any plans.  And I was really ok with that.  I mean....I'm leaving for Africa on Monday....that is the most amazing gift ever.  I was good.

So, I spent the day hoping to raise funds for my friend Meghan's adoption and shopping with my pre-teen for shorts.  Have you shopped for shorts lately?  Oh my word.  Can you say "Daisy Dukes?"  And my daughter is in this interesting stage of "too big for the kids section" and "too small for the adults section".  So juniors it is and conservative does not appear to be a choice these days.

Ok...moving on :o)  Mandy & I were in Burlington coat factory where you can actually find suitable shorts for preteen girls.  Yay!  My hubby calls me and says "did you get my text?"  I check my text.  He says "ok, let me send it again".  Nothing.  So he says he'll send it through email.  I wait.  And wait.


Thank you Father in Heaven!

So, right there in Burlington coat factory....I screamed.  I cried.  I panicked.  I cried some more.  And I succeeded in embarassing the heck out of my girl :o)

Here's the funny thing.  John and I are not "wait-ers".  If we even get a hint of God's whisper, we act.  Not always a good thing.  Probably why we had to wait 2.5 years for our home to sell.  Well, in our attempt to learn discipline, when we got our fingerprint appointment...we chose to wait.  See, when you get your letter, you can pretty much go that day....even if your appointment is weeks out.  We didn't.  We trusted that God had given us that date so we chose to just wait it out.

That date was Monday, March 19th.  It took just 5 days to get our I-171H.  5 DAYS!  I've read blog after blog after blog and I have never heard of "first timers" getting theirs in 5 days.  I've seen 3 weeks up to 20 weeks.

Our dossier is in Uganda.  A copy of our I-171H is the last thing our attorney needs to file for court.

We are close.  SO. VERY. CLOSE.

I am also VERY EXCITED to share that our boy has a Project HOPEFUL Fig (Families in the Gap) Fund!  This means that you can make a donation to his adoption AND it's completely tax deductible!  Clicking on the link below will allow you to donate directly to his fund.

We can't thank you enough for your ongoing support and generosity.  We covet your prayers as we continue on this journey.

To God be the Glory.....ALWAYS!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The latest.....

There are lots of exciting things going on in the Patterson household and I wanted to take time to share with you some updates!

1 week from today, I will be headed back to Uganda.  Oh, how I wish it was to get our sweet boy but not quite yet.  This trip is very much a "business" trip with 2 distinct purposes.  You've probably seen me post on facebook the jewelry from the Women of Destiny.  The Women of Destiny are part of a ministry in Mukono, Uganda under True Vine Christian Ministries.  True Vine was started in 1999 by Stephen Kibriango and his wife Jesca.  When it began, it was just 9 of them being an HIV+ widow.  When she passed, she left her children to Pastor Kibriango and his wife.  A ministry was born.  Fast forward 13 years and True Vine has grown tremendously.  They now operate Victor Christian school in Mukono which is home to 1100 students. Through this program,  the ministry has relocated children from Northen Uganda and brought them to the  School and home. The ministry meets their educational needs as well as clothing and feeding. During holidays, the children do not go back to Gulu but they stay with foster parents who support them and love them. Since these children have been emotionally hurt due the LRA atrocities, the ministry has social workers who counsel them and pray with them. These children also have a myriad of medical needs and the ministry has a small clinic with one nurse to treat the children. The ministry intends to support some more 100 children from northern Uganda. There is an immediate need of a medical centre that will serve and meet the many medical needs of the Northern Uganda Children that will be supported through this program in future.

This is where part 1 of my trip comes in.  Mukono district is home to approximately 500,000 people with only 1 government funded health center which is not adequately staffed.  True Vine is currently working to build a children's clinic in Mukono that will provide an emphasis on HIV, malaria and other common childhood illnesses.  I will be meeting with church leadership and visiting the land where the clinic is to be built to see how best we could partner with their ministry.

True Vine is partnered with an organization right here in the states called Childrens Heritage Foundation.  They are a licensed 501c3 so all donations are tax deductible.  100% of the donations go to the intended purpose.  I KNOW THIS FIRST HAND.  I have sent thousands of dollars to the Women of Destiny through jewelry sales and when I visit, the women have a detailed account of the funds they've received and it's to the penny!  I encourage you to visit the website and prayerfully consider making a contribution to this amazing ministry.  When I return, I will have much more information to share!  In the mean time, if you would like to read more about the work True Vine has done, please visit this page.

Part 2.  This is where I get downright giddy.  Collaborating with Noonday Collection!  I LOVE to design, I DO NOT love to reproduce....LOL.  This is why Noonday has been such a tremendous blessing to me.  I can not wait to be with this amazing group of artisans again and be able to pour into them.  I'm infinitely grateful to Jessica (the founder) for giving me this opportunity.  It has been such a gift to grow in our friendship as we work together, pray together and dream together.  Lord willing, I will be guest blogging for Noonday about my time with the artisans....provided the Internet cooperates :o)

As I type out the above, I sit here in disbelief.   I will never comprehend the adventure God has allowed me to experience.  I feel unworthy, incompetent, completely unqualified and ridiculously blessed...all at the same time.   But I believe this is what He has called me to.  For this time.  And when this time ends, I'm sure I will cry and struggle and grieve and wrestle with God and beg Him to let me continue.  But we will cross that bridge when it comes.   Ephesians 2:10 says "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do".   I'm believing God.  And when satan creeps in....and he does....a lot, I have to continually remind myself of Romans 8:1 "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus".   And Jesus gives me the strength to just keep pressing on.

To God be the Glory.......always,

Thursday, March 15, 2012

...for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.

Matthew 19:14.  Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  I have been so humbled by the children God has placed in my path.  Oh, to have the faith of these little creatures.  They give so generously, follow Jesus with no inhibition and love with every thing they have.

Oh, to be like the children.

I want to share with you about another very special young friend God has placed in my life.  Her name is Ella and she is 7.  Her sweet mama is an awesome customer & friend of Funky Fish.  When she placed an order a few months back for a Project HOPEFUL necklace, Ella got so excited because she thought it was hers.  She had told her Mom that she wanted some Funky Fish jewelry for her birthday.  Reason #1 I fell in love with this kid ;o)   Seriously....could she be any cute?

A few months later, I get a message from her Mom asking if I could send some Funky Fish business cards.  Ella's heart had been broken for the orphans of the world and she thought if she told people about Funky Fish (specifically the Tesfa jewelry collection) then she could help.  I assured Mama that I would.

Time escaped me and when I remembered that I hadn't sent the cards, my heart sank.  So I prepared a package for Ella with business cards and several Tesfa bracelets.  I had no idea what would happen and it wasn't about the money.  It was about encouraging a little girl to follow her passion to care for the orphans.

Her Mama messaged me and said that their church was giving Ella the opportunity to share about Funky Fish & the Tesfa jewelry.  Here are the messages I received after Ella had her opportunity to share with her church:

I just wanted to let you know that Ella told our church about Funky Fish and the Tesfa Collection today...she sold all of the bracelets after the first of two services! Many more people stopped and took a card from her and were interested in buying from you online...I hope that they really do!  Thanks again for letting her help!

Our pastors LOVED the idea of Ella promoting the Tesfa collection (and Funky Fish in general) and were wondering if you'd be willing to send Ella jewelry again next month.  I asked Ella if that's something that she would like to do since they brought it up to me and my husband and she said that she would love to and that she had so much fun today.

I really can't put into words what my heart felt when I read that.

The Tesfa jewelry collection supports Hope in Ethiopia....a partnership between our church, Grace Covenant in Austin, Food for the Hungry and 12 Evangelical churches in Zeway, Ethiopia. 

Community Transformation through Orphan Care.  That is what Hope in Ethiopia is about.  One little village in Zeway, Ethiopia is transforming communities in Arizona...and wherever the Lord leads.

Thank you sweet Ella for your gift of compassion.  God is going to use you in big, big ways.  In fact, He already has.  Thank you for being such a beautiful example to all the "grown-ups" out there.

To learn more about any of the ministries mentioned, please click on the links below.

Tesfa jewelry
Hope in Ethiopia
Food for the Hungry
Grace Covenant Church

To God be the Glory.....always,

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Humbled.......again ♥

Today I was brought to a messy puddle of tears by this:'s a ziploc bag with money....but it's the story that impacted me so.  It's a beautiful example of the Body of Christ coming together to bring one boy home to his forever home.

To say my church family has been supportive of our adoption is an understatement.  But today, a member of my church family knocked my socks off....and she's only 11.  She's the daughter of dear friends of ours and she decided that for her birthday party...instead of presents...she wanted her friends to bring donations "To bring him home".  Today she gave me this.  I just cried.  I hugged her.  I thanked her.  And I am pretty sure she's convinced I'm just plain nuts.  Ok, she's probably on to something there.  But wow.  Just wow.

God ALWAYS shows up just when you need Him the most.  Satan hates adoption.  I think I always knew that, but I'm sure I never felt it until we began our journey.  His attacks are relentless.  Just this morning, I was snuggling with my husband and I was having a very, hard morning.  He encouraged me.  He prayed over me and in the kindest way possible, he basically said "c'mon baby, put on your big girl panties and let's go worship our MIGHTY KING, our SAVIOR, OUR LORD and give Him our BEST because HE GAVE HIS LIFE FOR US. 

Ok...pity party was over and I got ready for church.  Amazing....AMAZING...worship where I was brought to tears.  (Do you sense a running theme here?).  Our worship pastor has such a gift of leading us.  Then came an awesome message by our Pastor about the Holy Spirit.  Then I was presented with the sweet, sweet gift from Madison.  Even now as I type...the tears fall.

I long for the day to tell our son how many people loved him home.  My cup runneth over....

To God be the Glory......ALWAYS.