God has drawn me out of my pity party. I really have so much for which to be thankful. For one thing, He continually puts up with me and sticks by me closer than anyone. He has been with me through my singleness, beautiful and ugly moments in my marriage and in raising children, beautiful and ugly moments in friendships. I am a huge pain in the neck, sometimes, and would totally understand God saying "sayonara." But He is faithful and has carved me into the palm of His hands (Isaiah 49:14-16)
There is a family that REALLY needs your prayers. They have been an inspiration to me in terms of listening to God's voice and sacrificially loving complete strangers that live 9,000 miles away (and ten hours time difference) until they become family. Soon after we moved to Arizona, I met this homeschooling mom who suddenly felt a desire to adopt, even though her family had moved into a smaller home. And suddenly felt God focusing her and her family's attention on the plight of orphans in Ethiopia. Basically, orphans are considered 3rd class citizens in Ethiopia and if they never get adopted, they face an uphill battle to get jobs or even advanced schooling. Following God's call, they started by informally adopting two young men from an Ethiopian orphanage as their parents. God has forged an incredibly strong bond over several thousand miles between the family and these two men. The teenagers they adopted were still living in an orphanage at the time and were the "fathers" for all the young boys there. (Boys and girls are kept in separate facilities.) The mom eventually visited her boys four times, once with her husband and birth children. With God's help, she even planned projects to improve life in the boys orphanage, like having people make new pillowcases and stuffing them with pillows purchased in Ethiopia for the boys in the orphanage. During the 2nd visit, God brought a ten year old boy at the orphanage to her attention and during the fourth visit and with much prayer, they decided to adopt him.
Soon after that decision was made, a few months into a paper wrestling match with the Ethiopian government and raising the funds to pay for the adoption, they noticed that their tweenaged daughter was losing weight and developing a rash that wouldn't go away. For five months, they went to different doctors trying to figure out what was causing the weight loss as they saw their daughter become a shadow of herself. Eventually they found a doctor who diagnosed her properly: dermatomyositis. It is basically an auto-immune disease where the body attacks the skin and muscles. Wounds never heal, they only get worse and the body can create sores on the skin which turn into wounds. Patients also get progressively weaker without treatment. They found other problems, like a very bad reaction to the nickel in her braces that was essentially poisoning her body. All in all, her body was under attack in at least five different ways. She is currently taking more than 300 different medicines, most of them homeopathic and gets a weekly IV to treat the dermatomyositis. The good news is that three of the attacking agents have been dealt with and that her body is healing. The one exception is the dermatomyositis.
Since she has been diagnosed, she has developed two sores on her elbows that will eventually require plastic surgery, once the doctors have determined that she is well enough to be able to withstand the stress. However, in the last week, she has developed two more sores on her feet and one on her finger. When she was first diagnosed, the doctor said that 1/3 of the people with this disease have it go into remission, 1/3 of them deal with it on and off for the rest of their lives and 1/3 of them remain severe cases and can even die from it. The fact that she is continuing to develop sores makes it more likely that she will have to deal with it the rest of her life. Unless God intervenes. And because God is a God of hope and futures (Jeremiah 29:11), I have hope that God will swoop in and deliver a "shock and awe" moment to the rheumatologist and the other doctors treating her that are trying to prepare the parents for the possibility of a lifelong battle.
Even through this ordeal, this family's faith and trust in God is amazing. To be able to cry in frustration at how horrible the situation is and still praise God is truly sacrificial worship and faith.
Please join me in praying for this family, John, Tamara, Kristelle, and Kyle and their adopted sons Emnatu and Ayal, that God will continue to uphold them in their faith and strength in Him, as He has done so for so many months. Please pray that they would experience Him as The Comfortor as well as The Healer and Great Physician. Please pray for healing in the near future, or at least for it to go into remission, not just for the sake of the girl, Kristelle, and her family, but for the sake of the precious boy in Ethiopia who needs a mom and dad. And if you remember, please pray on Friday, April 12 at 7p.m. Pacific Time for Kristelle while she gets baptized during a prayer, praise and baptism event.
Thank you! And if you want to get status updates, go here.