Monday, January 18, 2010

The Story of Our House, Part One - “Land”

Remember when the children of Israel were just entering the land God gave them?  Do you remember one of the first things God had them do?
Here Is Their Story:
God’s People miraculously crossed the River Jordan. It was amazing . . . God had the river dry up for them so they could walk across!  And when they got to the other side - when they were actually standing in the land, God had the people put up gigantic “Memorial Stones” in the very spot of the miracle.  (I always picture huge Stonehenge-like rocks.)  There they stood (and maybe still stand) on the boundary of their Promised Land, a huge physical reminder of God’s Love for them.  
The battles weren’t over, there would be really hard times ahead and God knew that His People would need a reminder . . . a BIG one . . . 
for the times 
when they doubted themselves, 
when they doubted HIm, 
when they thought, “Maybe we got all this all wrong . . . “   
Standing Stones to remind them that this was 
God’s Doing, 
His Promise, 
His Love.
You can read more about these stones here.
Our Story
This re-telling of our family story is a putting up of Standing Stones.   Here is our reminder of all God has done and a hope of all He will finish!
Our First Stone:
Anton and I have felt for 5 years that God wanted us to give a family to some of the children without families here in Russia.  When we married, we lived in the huge city of Moscow.  Sophia was born and we soon discovered that Moscow is not the best place for family life. We left Moscow and moved back to Smolensk because we believed Smolensk would be a better place to raise children, to be a family.  
Our dream of adopting and/or being foster parents was still alive.  We found out that in the Russian social system, you must be the owner of an apartment or house to be eligible to adopt.  We began to think and pray . . .  
We were renting an apartment - and had always lived in apartments.  Most Russians work to own their own apartment.  Maybe we should start saving for an apartment.
The more we thought and prayed, the more our hearts turned toward a house, with land -  lots of space for growing food and playing outside!  How wonderful it would be to have a place where others could come and visit and experience the Russian country life and “have a rest.”  Maybe we could even have a transitional home for orphans getting ready to leave the orphanage.  A place where they could learn home-life skills - and see how a family works - and become part of a family.  Maybe we could have a business where orphans could learn job-skills. 
Our dreams were growing . . . 
But, our bank account wasn’t . . . we didn’t even have a back account . . . or a bank.
We were living month-to-month - hoping to make it to the end of each month with enough to buy food that last week  . . . 
We began to pray, “Lord, You know our hearts and our dream of land and a house.  You know that we want to share all that you have and will give us with children who have no one.  You know that this dream is absolutely not possible for us - WE cannot do it.  If it is Your WIll, will you provide everything we need?  Thank You!”  
And, we waited.
While I was in the States last Fall (2008), I was asked to speak about Russia in a woman’s group.  I shared about Smolensk, about our family, and about our dreams.
After the meeting was over, one of the ladies pulled me aside.  She said that she wasn’t a regular member of the group and had just decided to come to the meeting with a friend at the last minute.  This sweet lady said that God touched her while she listened to our story and she gave me a check for $5,000!  
I almost fell over!  
Could it be?  Could it really be that God was answering our prayer?
It certainly seemed so.
And the story continued . . . 

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