This is a guest post from my dear friend, Cindy. She brought the story of Masha and the New family to my attention and it immediately melted my heart. With Cynthia New‘s permission, Cindy and I have put this post together so that you may read this story as well. God’s hand is all over this, and I just love watching it all unfold. Let’s bring Masha home!
A girl waits
A long time ago in an orphanage far, far away (okay, a decade, and in Ukraine), a group of girls grew up together. Surrendered to the system and ignored by society, they waited… waited to hear those magic words, “A family is coming to meet you.” Eventually those girls aged out of the baby house that had been their only home. Fortunately for them, they all ended up at the same orphanage for older children, and the only family they had known remained intact.
One by one, families came for the girls. One by one, they left their orphanage for a new life. So one by one, the group got smaller, and smaller. And the girls left behind smiled and sniffled through their friends’ farewell parties, wondering when it would be their turn, and whether they would ever see their friends again.
As many of those girls were adopted by American families, they have seen their friends again. Though they may live across the country from each other, miracles of modern communication helped to connect the families and reunite the girls in their new lives and with their new families. But there is an empty seat at the table.
Today, as you are reading these words, a girl waits. The last of her friends from the baby house, and stuck with a “special needs” health label that scares off many prospective parents, a wonderful little girl waits, hoping that some day it’ll be her turn to hear those magic words.
A mother dreams
Here in America, a serviceman’s family with two boys of their own had an extra seat at their table. They always knew they’d like to add to their family through adoption, but never pursued it because they did not feel they could afford it. But still, the mother dreamed.
The desire to adopt was reawakened in them when their pastor adopted two girls from Ukraine. One of those girls belonged to the group that had grown up together and reunited in America. She was very excited to be going off to a new life with a family of her own, but sad to leave her best friend behind, to wait some more.
Her name is Masha
One day, after a sermon on adoption, the family approached their pastor. The idea of adopting weighed heavily on their hearts, and they felt God leading them to make a leap of faith and find a child to adopt. Their pastor asked if they had someone specific in mind, they didn’t. He knew the perfect girl, “Her name is Masha.”
Since that day, Andy and Cynthia New have been working tirelessly toward the goal of adopting Masha, and bringing her into the very community her best friend now calls home. They have completed all the home studies, background checks, and other paperwork for their dossier, which the Ukraine adoption authority has already approved, and are waiting to be assigned an appointment date to fly to Ukraine and begin the in-country process of adopting Masha. But one thing stands in their way: funding.
Here’s where you come in
Adopting a child is not cheap, and bringing home and caring for a child with health issues even less so. This passionate, loving family, who have already accepted Masha into their hearts, need your help to go get their child. They have already raised thousands of dollars through yard sales, tamale sales, online fundraisers, etc. But they need thousands more.
The New family has now been given a date to arrive in the Ukraine to bring Masha home, but they still need the funds to do so. The day is only a few short weeks away, and they need all the help they can get!
This Christmas season, you will have many charities reaching their hands out, hoping to benefit from your holiday generosity. Of course, you hope that a majority of the funds you give go where you intended. But here is a different sort of opportunity for giving. And you know it’s not getting siphoned off the top for advertising or executive salaries. Will you commit to helping the New family bring Masha home?
HOW YOU CAN HELP
You can contribute directly to Masha’s adoption fund here (she is listed on the site under a pseudonym, as are all the children on Reece’s Rainbow): http://reecesrainbow.org/69114/sponsornew
Any donation made through that site will be tax deductible!
Want to read more?
You can follow the New family’s adoption journey at: http://thenewsadoptionjourney.wordpress.com/
Here you can read their pastor tell Masha’s story: http://www.jarrodjones.com/2013/05/bring-marnis-best-friend-home/
Hopefully next time those smiling girls get together, a new smiling face will join them. Once again the way to donate is at this link: http://reecesrainbow.org/69114/sponsornew
Growing up in a Pastor’s home, I always loved when missionaries came to our church and shared stories of their time out on the field. Reading books about their journeys and experiences always fascinated me as well. So when I was given the opportunity to review Seed Sowers: Gospel Planting Adventures by Gwen Toliver, I was ecstatic!
This book certainly did not disappoint. In fact, I would say it was one of the most exciting and descriptive missionary books I have read yet. With 165 pages full of adventure just as the title states, the true stories of missionaries out on the field with the task of translating the Holy Bible into the native tongue of the people they are spreading the gospel to will keep you from wanting to put the book down! While some of the names and locations of those in the stories have been changed, each chapter is indeed a true story of a way that God has worked to help His children.
We used this book as a “family read aloud”, but I also went back and read it again alone so I could soak it all in. The kids seemed to be really interested in what they were hearing and even asked me a few times, “Is this for real? This stuff really goes on? Cannibals and witch doctors?” Yes, kids. It does go on, sadly. But as they listened on they realized that God was there all along, keeping His hand on those He had called. The stories make it clear that God made a way for those who were not only doing His work, but also those who needed to hear the Gospel.
In addition to hearing all about what God can do, the descriptions of the locations where these stories took place were amazing. Hearing about different parts of the world that we had never been to was really neat and a way for us to explore more geography than we usually would during the Summer time.
Gwen Toliver, a homeschool mom and blogger, could not have done a better job writing this book. She went to great lengths to share the stories of those who had given it all to share the love of Jesus with others. I am so thankful to her for her hard work on this project!
On top of all of the information available in the book, there are also photos on the Seed Sowers website where you can see the faces and places from the book. How cool is that?
Available for sale on the publisher’s website, you can purchase Seed Sowers: Gospel Planting Adventures for $12.50.
If you’d like to give your children a heart for those who need to hear the Gospel and be able to read the Word of God, I highly recommend this book. It will bless you to bits and introduce your family to having a heart for others.
Want to read more reviews? Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew
Has God been calling you to do something and you are running away from it faster than a cat with it’s tail on fire?
Well, as most of you know, Jonah had to stop running eventually. When God told him to go to Nineveh, Jonah was like, “no way, no Sir, no how!” He even turned and went the opposite direction to put as much space between him and his destiny as he possibly could. No matter where he went though, he could not escape the calling of God Almighty.
Because of his disobedience, he had to be thrown overboard from the ship to Tarshish. He didn’t realize beforehand that the decisions that he was making, had a great effect on those he was in company with or those around him. His decision to disobey God caused the boat to sway to and fro in a rage. The other men on the boat were scared and knew that this kind of rage could only come from God.
God had already had the “big fish” prepared to swallow Jonah up. Can you imagine being in the actually belly of a fish? With all the stomach acids and inner parts? You know that it couldn’t have smelled very well. He wasn’t just there for one day either, but 3 days and nights!
This gave him plenty of time to think, pray, and humble himself before God. After those 3 days, he was vomited up onto dry land, and from there, Jonah went on to Nineveh as he was supposed to in the first place, which led to a mighty work of God in that city.
Do you realize that if you’re not walking in His calling, you are pulling against Him? Your decision affects those around you. You could be the only Bible that other people read. There may be someone around you that doesn’t know Jesus and YOU are the one that is supposed to be a witness to them.
If God is calling you to something, which ticket are you going to purchase? One to Tarshish or one to Nineveh?
It’s Friday night. The boys and Molly have built a fort in our living room. Molly has since gone to bed, but the boys are watching a movie and will sleep in here all night… Most likely they will fall asleep on separate sides of the room, but will end up at some point snuggled up to each other because that is what they do. Bobby, my husband, is sitting on the other side of the couch from me. What he’s doing on his computer is beyond me, but he looks relaxed. Earlier today I was able to purchase the plane tickets for my 2 older children to visit this Summer.
To not feel loved at this moment would be impossible. I’m surrounded by a family that loves me and will see more that do soon.
In my life, I have loved many. Friends, family, children, and most of all my husband, to name a few. I have laughed, cried, and literally peed my pants over emotions brought on by those that I love. When it comes to love, I am definitely wealthy. I may not have a lot of money, assets, or possessions. But love? I have an abundance!
Unfortunately, I have learned one thing about all of these people: They are human. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying anything bad about any of them. My point is that they are going to fail me, no matter how much they don’t want to hurt me. There are those that I love that don’t feel the same about me. There have been some in the past that have outright betrayed me regardless of how much I loved them. There are even those that may not realize they are hurting me at the time, or may let me down with actions that may not seem to them hurts others. It’s human nature; We change our minds, hearts, and feelings all the time. Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the human heart.
You know what’s amazing? The only love that I can 100% truly count on? One love that will never fail me, or you?
The love of Jesus.
It was the first love I ever learned about in the form of song. First Jesus Loves Me and then Jesus Loves The Little Children. The only love I felt while crying alone in the middle of the night, cold and helpless without anyone to turn to and unsure of where my next meal would come from. The love that held me close and let me know He was there through each and every one of my painful miscarriages. The love that has told me so many times “You can do this! Follow My lead!” when others said “What are you thinking?”
The ONLY love that is guaranteed. The only love that resulted in the forgiveness of every sin I’ve ever committed. The only love that can heal my illness. The only love that can help me to be the woman of God I desire to be. The ONLY love that will never fail me.
This love will never end, and is everlasting. Jesus won’t change His mind tomorrow. Nor can He “fake” his affection for me, as anything He says is made truth. His love does not play favorites, and it doesn’t get moody. His love stands beside me as I laugh, and holds me when all feels hopeless and I’m sure I can not possibly go on.
His love never fails.
I can love my husband all the live long day, and I know that Bobby will always be by my side. He is the closest thing possible to the man I prayed for as a little girl in my bedroom playing with my dolls. Our story is truly that which fairy tales are based on. However… My husband has and will fail me. He would never EVER intentionally hurt me. But he’s human as am I.
My parents may see me as their little girl. I can make them beam with pride. (And believe me, I can make them hide in shame, too!) They can do all they can to make me happy and feel loved by them. But their love will never be able to fulfill me the way the love of Jesus can.
Children are the greatest blessing from the Lord. But being a child myself, I know that my children are not required to love me. They may grow up and feel very differently about life than I do. They are going to let me down at some point. And that is okay, I will always love them.
I have been so blessed with many family members and friends. But not one of them will love me in a way that is able to whisper “all is okay” after I’ve lost a pregnancy or have received word about a loved ones death.
Only Jesus, only the love of God is everlasting. Jesus was my first love, after all.
By the way, have you met Jesus? His love is pretty awesome, if you haven’t caught on by now.
Romans 8:38-39 KJV:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In 2002, 2 days before Mother’s Day, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, Becca. Talk about the best Mother’s Day gift a mother could receive! I was in shock, excited, and calm. It was right. I just knew it. I had a 14 month old son, and had suffered a few miscarriages. I knew this time was going to work out just right.
On Sep. 10th, 2002, we found out she was “likely a girl”. Gotta love small towns. 😉 Her Dad and I ran out to “The Bookie” and bought her a Washington State University Cougar’s Cheerleading Uniform in an infant size. We were thrilled. A boy, Jeffrey, and now a girl! How could things be more perfect?!
A few months before I had bought Amy Grant’s “The Collection” CD. (From Columbia House! Anyone remember THAT?! And, yes, CD. MP3s were only on PCs at that time, and in my bedroom while reading, that was not available. You had to be rich to have more than one laptop that lasted more than 2 hours on battery… and wireless network? Hahaha… You’re funny…) From the time I found out I was pregnant with her I was DRAWN to this cd. I can’t even begin to explain it. The same way that while in labor with my oldest son I listened to Keith Green when I could stand noise, with her it was Amy Grant’s “The Collection”.
I remember the exact moment like it was 10 seconds ago. I was in chapter 5 of “Bringing Up Boys” by Dr. James Dobson. I was listening to “The Collection” by Amy Grant when I heard a “Pop” and I felt it. The song playing was “El Shaddai”. At that moment I was lying on my left side, looking at the book, when I felt a trickle of fluid run down my left leg and a tear drop down my left cheek. I was crying and devastated. “Dear Lord, this can’t be happening. Please, let this be nothing…” I was just barely past 24 weeks and being just barely past the “Age of viability”, I knew the hospital would do little to help. I jumped up and told my then husband, who was writing a school paper, and called the Doctor. It was just after 2 am.
I was sent immediately to the hospital. I was met there by an amazing Emergency staff waiting for me with a wheel chair. They even let me park my car in the place reserved for ambulances. I was taken by wheelchair to the Maternity Ward, holding back my tears. I had been through a late miscarriage before, but nothing like this. I didn’t know what to expect. All the while I sang in my heart and head “El Shaddai”.
Soon after, an awesome midwife was sent in to see me. (I wish for the love of all things holy that I could remember her name. She was amazing and awesome through my entire pregnancy. Hormones, sheesh. 😉 I do know she had a love for all things electronic and was jealous for my then husband’s giant box of a laptop. (It didn’t seem like a box way back then.) If you by chance know her name or a way for me to send her an email or card, PLEASE let me know.) She sat with me for most of the many long hours that I sat there until my fear was confirmed. My amazing family Doctor, Dr Emtman, walked in with sad news. My water, had indeed, broken. I felt so guilty, somehow I was at fault for this. As much as he assured me it wasn’t my fault, I just knew I did this. I still blame myself a little for it… but it happened and nothing will change that.
2 short hours later I was on a helicopter to Spokane, WA. I couldn’t grasp what was happening. I was short on sleep, well, actually without. I was without my husband or baby, and on a HELICOPTER! The way it was set up, the helicopter had me looking towards the ground as I laid in the gurney. Freaky? LIGHTWEIGHT!
In what seemed like hours but was only minutes, I was at Deaconess Hospital. Honestly, it was all a whirlwind. I was asked so many questions. Poked, prodded, questioned, and consoled. Within minutes they caught I was contracting by my saying I had a “Horrible burning and tightening” and stopped it with MANY medications, hormones, steroids, and supplements. (To God be the Glory! The mere thought of not having my Beccarie now kills me. We almost lost her!)
Dr. Johnson (whom I cannot track down via the internet, but has been an inspiration to me ever since that Hospital stay…) met me soon after. She wiped my tears. She reminded me that GOD is in control. She saw my Bible and book (the same Bringing Up Boys book) on the vanity stand and let me know she was a Christian. She confirmed that I was in her prayers. She would tell me confidently “God told me everything is going to be okay. Don’t cry any more. Every thing is fine.”
I sat for what felt like days in that hospital room. Laid many nights alone. Ambien was prescribed, but didn’t help much. Visitors came and went, though I still appreciate them all. Gifts were brought. Food was made. My 21st birthday was celebrated… In which I received the greatest gift a mother could ever receive. A sonogram confirming that fluid levels had returned to normal, the sack had miraculously resealed itself, and my baby, my sweet Beccarie, was healthy and thriving! Praise Be to God! El Shaddai! (The lyrics of the song: El Shaddai, El Shaddai, El-Elyon na Adonai, Age to age You’re still the same, By the power of the name. El Shaddai, El Shaddai, Erkamka na Adonai, I will praise and lift You high, El Shaddai.)
After many months (felt like years) of bedrest, on January 16th, 2003 I delivered a healthy 8lb 3oz baby girly 2 weeks past her due date. Figures, right? She scored HIGH on the apgar scale and after a hearing test scare, she scored fine 2 days later and had little jaundice. Perfectly healthy. She’s the most creative, loving, courageous, steadfast little girl you’ve ever met. She’s a bit of Mommy, a bit of Daddy, influenced by her step parents evenly, and everything in between… yet a distinction of her own. I’d love her no other way. She is the daughter God gave me, and I am blessed.
Months after her birth, the only music that calmed her was “Lullaby” being hummed (yes, hummed, not played) to her or Amy Grant’s “The Collection” on CD. Naturally, when El Shaddai came on, I cried. He was telling me all along it would be fine, and I didn’t listen. I should have known. So human, right? LOL
The entire time I laid in bedrest though, this was the song I wanted my little girl to sing. She may or may not choose to do so, that is up to her… But it’s her song from her Mama’s heart regardless:
Look up the entire album on iTunes or Amazon. I highly recommend it. (I’m a bit old school… 😉 )