Friday, March 21, 2014

Retreat Recap from Kris...When it all Starts to Fall into Place.

When registration started for the 2014 Joy in the Journey conference, I thought it sounded like a great idea, but knew there would be no way I could go. Our family was trying to raise $3700 to host an orphan from the Philippines over the winter. Every cent we had was going toward that fee.  However, God knew I should be there.  One of my friends offered to pay half of my ticket, and another FB friend, although we have never met in person, paid the other half.  I was very excited they had bought my ticket, but still didn’t really think I’d be going.  In my 15 years of marriage, with 8 kids, I’ve never gone anywhere “alone” other than an occasional trip to the grocery store.

Now, I have to back up a little bit. My husband and I had been attending the same church since before we were even married. It was the only church our kids had ever been to. One weekend I was out of town with the kids and my husband had stayed home because he wasn’t feeling well. However, he called me on Sunday afternoon and told me he had just left our new church.  Although I was quite in shock, my husband has never led us in some crazy direction, so I knew if he thought that this church would be right for our family, that it probably would. The  kids cried and worried all week, but the following Sunday, when we left our new church for the first time, we knew we were “home”. 

I wasn’t sure of the reasons God led us to change churches, but then one morning I had lunch with our Pastor’s wife. She wanted to have lunch with me to find out why I was so passionate about orphans. She knew from Facebook that I was advocating for orphans for New Horizons For Children’s hosting program; she knew we had adopted once, and would probably adopt again. During the course of lunch we exchanged stories, and I found out she was adopted as an older teen. I left that lunch so excited to see what God had in store. I knew this was at least part of the reason He brought us to our new church.

I’ve always wanted to attend a church with some type of orphan ministry in place, but ours still doesn’t have one. When I signed up for Joy in the Journey, one of the breakout sessions I signed up for was “Starting an Orphan Care Ministry”.  While I sat attentively in the session, I really didn’t engage too much because I was just thinking, “there is no way to be able to start something like this at my church, they just really aren’t interested in new ministries starting…”  So while the retreat was a huge blessing to me, and it was wonderful to get away and to connect with other ladies who were passionate about orphans, I wasn’t sure why God had me there.

The Sunday after the retreat our Associate Pastor gave the message at church.    It was  a great sermon on using the gifts, talents, and passions God has given us, for the Glory of God and the benefit of people.  Some of the key points I took away from the sermon were:

Every single person can have a job, ministry, or an impact at our church. Ask yourself, “what ministries or what areas am I passionate about? What people do I see that are hurting that I really want to help and I really want to be used by God to minister to?” Answer the call based on your passion and the hurt/need that you see.

 The effectiveness of the church is directly tied to the people being used by God .

What is it YOU are doing for the Kingdom of God?

If you’ve been a Christian for a long time we want you to think about, what could God be calling you to do bigger than just the ministries already here at our church?

If you see a need, have a passion, and people are hurting, think outside the box. Think, with God’s help, "I’m going to create something that is going to benefit thousands of people.  If I just dream and imagine, what can God use me to do with the dreams and talents I have?" Sit, process, pray, allow yourself to be used by God. 

Is there something too big that I’m afraid to even pray about it? 

And you will never even believe this next part. He even said, “HAVE JOY IN THE JOURNEY!!!!” 

I couldn’t even believe my ears.  The Pastor was speaking right to me. Now I knew why God had orchestrated us changing churches, and me being at the Joy in the Journey adoption retreat!

After the sermon, I went and told our Associate Pastor what an amazing sermon it was. I told him how I had just been at an adoptive mom’s retreat this weekend and I was going to be praying about an orphan ministry at our church. He said, “that’s great!! I can’t wait to see where God takes it!”  So while the day before I had been convinced it would be impossible to start this at our church, God had other plans…

I started praying about it, but still had no idea where to start. The next day I  messaged the one other lady in our church I knew had already adopted, and one other lady who has two little girls from foster care. I told them what had happened and asked if they had any interest in praying with me for the next 40 days over orphan care ministry.  It seems they are both very interested. We also added another adoptive mom, and our Pastor’s wife to our prayer group. We’ve been praying daily through the 40 days of prayer for orphans sheet I received at the conference. I have no idea what God has in store for our church and orphan care ministry, but my prayer is  that it will be something big to help many children who are hurting to be adopted into loving families, and  for our church to also be able to serve and make an impact on many children caught up in the foster care system.

No comments:

Post a Comment