Monday, September 21, 2009

Child Ambassador

I wanted to take a moment to talk about a new "mission" In my life. As many of you already know, Eric, Juli, and I had the life changing opportunity to meet and spend the day with our World Vision Sponsor child Habtamu. As a family, we had been supporting Habtamu and his family monthly as well as praying for him constantly for some time. So, we truly had a big place in our hearts for him. We also had been communicating through letters and pictures. Juli even thought we were going to be taking him home with us as another brother. You can view pictures of our day with him if you go back to older posts on this blog.

Meeting him in person was one of the most amazing days of our lives. I think anyone who has had the rare privilege of meeting a sponsor child will tell you they feel the same.

When we came home from Ethiopia, my good friend Sharon gave me a book as a gift called "The Hole in Our Gospel". I have spoken on this blog about it. It was recently written by Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision. This book has changed my life forever. And now Eric is reading it and feeling the same. In fact, I don't think i have spoken to one person who has read it and then said..."oh yeah, it was a nice book i guess."

Too make a long story short, (too late) I have come to the conclusion that there is much to be done in the parts of our World that are suffering. I personally feel that i live in this luxurious world, where I can eat whenever i want, have a multitude of drinks to choose from, and can find contentment in my long day. But this is far from true for millions upon millions of people on the other side of our world. They are starving, thirsty, and sick, and HOPE is a word they cannot even comprehend the definition of.

But, we as a family have helped one boy and his family in their time of need. And the reward to everyone involved has been a thousand fold. Therefore, I have join a group of about 500 people in the U.S. who volunteer for World Vision as Child Ambassadors. What that means is that I have chosen to be a voice for the children suffering in other parts of the world, here in our homeland. I am responsible for finding sponsors for children just like Habtamu who will change the lives of a child and in turn, his family and his village forever. I think basically, I have decided to help to define HOPE for the suffering in a tangible way.

If you would like to know more about the rewarding experience of sponsoring a child through World Vision, let me know! I would love to help you learn more.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Photo Shoot...

Well, I have been terrible at blogging lately. I seem to be bad at everything computer related. I think i just have too many kids and pets. Oh well.
Until i get back on the ball, here are some great pics of the kids on the lawn that I took this morning. They came out so great!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Let my Heart be broken...

Our first book club meeting on "The Hole in Our Gospel" went so wonderfully!
In the Prologue to this book, which is all we had to read this week, Richard Sterns told the story of Richard, an orphan in Rakai, Uganda who's parents both died of AIDS. He cares for his 2 brothers on his own. Other than his siblings...Richard was all alone in the world. I cannot even fathom that. What if my daughter was left to care for Elias by herself. Surely they would both die.

Stearns talks about how until that moment in his life, he had lived in this perfect little bubble of life here in the U.S. But there, as it starred him in the face, he could not get away...he even stated how amazing it was how this suffering had the same name as he did...Richard.

I love this section of pages 7 thru 11...
"Rakai was what God wanted me to see. My sadness that day was replaced with repentance... Twelve million orphans (due to AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa) and no one noticed? But what sickened me most was this question: Where was the church? Surely the church should have been caring for these "orphans and widows in their distress" (James 1:27). "

The prologue itself was filled with so much to think about. Now i have read the whole book already, but this reread and study is really making me look at it again and let it sink in even more. This is what I really needed. The famous quote from this book is what i long for... The founder of World Vision, Bob Pierce once said "Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God".

So, for our challenge this week which was given to us in the study guide, "we were to skip a weekly trip to the grocery store and donate the money to a local food bank. During this week, we are to only eat what is left in the pantry or fridge. By the end of the week, choices are often limited and our family may get a feel for what it is like to have few food choices."

Now, for me and a couple of others this was not too big a challenge because i have so much food stored away in my house that we could probably eat for a month without really noticing much more than the sweet snacks missing. So, some of us decided instead to vow not to go out to eat for a week with our families, friends...etc. This, for me at least, is a sacrifice in that I really am a foodie and love the times when we get to eat out and i can spare myself of the effort of making dinner every night. So far, Eric has mentioned going out twice this week during my challenge. Oh how i wanted to give in!!! But i guess instead, we will have to tally the cost of those 2 dinners and take our challenge seriously.

I totally challenge you to do this. It makes you think. How blessed am i?! Thank you God, I don't know why i am but i am and i must step up to the plate.

Until next week, here is another video to share. This really impacted me! Enjoy...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Beginning our Book Club...

Ok, so i have put this blog off for way too long. But in some senses i have not much to write at the moment as Elias is doing great, and so is Juli and as for China, we still WAIT.

But i have come to the realization that many of the things in my life have required waiting and so it will be again and again for me. And that is ok, because in the end God always comes through with flying colors. His timing is ALWAYS perfect.

On Thursday we begin our book club here at my house on The Hole in Our Gospel, by Richard Sterns. He is the President of the U.S. branch of World Vision and his book has changed my life and the perspective i carry of it.

So, i figured what better way to add to my blog than to follow along with our book club and write a little synopsis of it as i go along each week. Hopefully, if you have not read this book, these blog entries will encourage you to. And even if you have absolutely no intention of ever reading it, i hope you can get a feel for what Sterns is trying to get across to all of us...that God has given us, the world's wealthy, the responsibility for taking care of our neighbors, the poor and destitute of this earth. And if we could understand our part, we all as small pieces can eradicate poverty altogether. And by wealthy he means all of us because we as Americans, no matter what class of income we are in are still among the world's richest.

But there is so much more to it than that. Sterns tells us why it is our responsibility and what poverty actually is and does and how hope can be the driving force for someone struggling in this world... Give them a little hope and you can change their whole life. The thought that i could be the one to help give them that hope humbles me greatly.

Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision once said, "Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God" And he found them in the poor and suffering of our world.

Here is a video that can be found on the Hole in our Gospel website. It speaks volumes to the meaning of this whole book... see you again Thursday afternoon!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Getting Adjusted

Well, getting adjusted into a new home can be quite a challenge for a child. I know this well because Juli struggled for months when we first came home from Russia. I tried with everything in my power to prepare myself for the struggles that Elias might face when we came home from Ethiopia.

The funny part is that i didn't prepare myself with the proper perspective. It seems that I'm the one who has been doing all the adjusting this time around. Elias is and has pretty much since the day we stepped on the airplane been as happy as a clam. He just does not stop smiling, laughing, or trying to make someone else laugh.

Now don't get me wrong...he has had a couple of struggles. Mostly with not ever wanting to be away from me. But we have come to find great ways to combat that little love he carries for me. Hint, hint...he loves his bottle more!!! LOL

So the adjusting it seems has been a struggle on my end. I am just plain not used to 2 kids, 2 dogs, 3 cats, and 2 fish. And go figure all Juli can talk about is when we can go to China for baby Aimee...I think to myself everytime she mentions it..."please Lord, not yet".
It is coming to me though, and i guess as i get older change just takes a bit longer. And isn't it funny how I could feel so overwhelmed by one child and now i look back and say what was i thinking... The days it is just Juli and I for whatever reason, we are super on the ball! Crazy, this life.

Elias though is making great strides in his new life with us. He has begun to say words such as "hi", "by Juli", "auntie" and "Daddy". And he took his first steps recently as well! I do have to hold his hands, but he takes about 4 steps at a time! It is so cute. He is so proud of himself. Juli tried to video tape it for me while i held his hands, but I'm afraid her perspective was not focused on his feet, rather his face, so you can't really see the steps being taken, just the celebration following. It was fun for the 2 of us to share in that. We were sad though that Eric was at work for such an event.

I think sometimes of how God sees us the way we see our children. Our spiritual journey is long and hard at times. But each little step we take makes Him so proud of us. He wants nothing more than for His children to grow and flourish in His image.

Well, Elias turned one year old on the 23rd of June and loved every minute of it. We sang to him with a little ice cream cake and then he and Juli dove right in face first. Here is the funny video.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pure Love...

This is a video of some of the children we left behind in Ethiopia....
Each of them needs a mother and father's pure love to carry them through life. 
My heart breaks with that thought. Such a taken for granted possession... a mom and dad.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Elias' Welcome Home Party

Here is a slide show of the great pics from Elias' welcome home party. We had such a great time!
And the weather was beautiful that day! Thank you to all who came to help us celebrate. We love you so dearly!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Meeting Elias

Here is our video of the day we met Elias... April 13, 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Beautiful Country of Ethiopia & It's People

Here are some pictures of Ethiopia and it's people. They were so amazing these people!
I can't possible describe every moment of our trip especially because right now I have NO time. But i wish i could. Every moment was a memory forever set in my heart. I did not feel this love for Russia when we were there to adopt Juli. But for some reason I feel as though i left a little piece of my heart in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. And I know in my heart that Addis Ababa has not seen the last of the Kobys!

A view of the city of Addis Ababa from our hotel.

Juli is wearing a palm crown because it was Palm Sunday while we were there and we were climbing Mount Entoto. At the top of this mountain was a church. Hundreds of people walk it by foot carrying piles of wood.

We finally reached the top of Mount Entoto. The altitude made this climb incredibly hard for me especially since we did not have a carriage for Juli so we had to carry her much of the way!

Juli waving her palms for Jesus...she learned all about Palm Sunday in church just the week before we left so this was a special occasion for her.
Homes built in the mountains of Entoto.
Juli and a little Ethiopian girl sizing each other up. Juli had just given her a lollipop.

Juli sitting in an actual throne that once belonged to a king in Ethiopia. We were at the museum at St. George Cathedral
St. George, the Patron Saint of Ethiopia.

St. George's Cathedral.
The Leper Hospital's marketplace.
Rush hour, Ethiopian style.

Beautiful Eyes.

The joyful people who sold their wares at the Leper Hospital.

A group of woman who were marching Mount Entoto singing John 3:16 in Amharic, the language of Ethiopia. It was such a beautiful sound.
Eric kicking a little Fuze Ball butt in Ethiopia.

This man weaved this beautiful scarf that i purchased and was glad to take a pic with me to remember him by.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pictures of our visit with Habtamu, his Dad and World Vision

Here are pictures of our day with Habtamu. Below is a post describing how amazing the day was for us.
Juli just glowed all day.

Habtamu and his Dad with us.

In the car shopping for his family. He just starred at us all day, he was so cute.

At lunch at Bole with World Vision staff / translators. We needed 2! One from English to Amharic the language of Ethiopia and then one from Amharic to the dialect of their village. There are hundreds of languages in Ethiopia which is one of the things that makes it hard to connect with people of remote areas.

Ethiopia hot, Coca Cola cool!

Juli and Habtamu sharing a motorcycle ride in the arcade.

Habtamu with the cross Eric gave him around his neck.
Saying goodbye!