Monday, February 9, 2015

Good and Evil Recently in Our Lives

Mr. M here - 

This last week has served as a "Sign of Contradiction" week in 2015 where you can see what a difference it makes to follow Christ and to not follow Him. That is, St. John Paul II said that Christ would be a "Sign of Contradiction." For some, Christ's and His teachings (taught by the Catholic Church) would be life and happiness itself despite the difficulties, sufferings, and wounds we may encounter. "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me" (Mt. 16:24). For others, Christ would be a reminder of the evil they have done and their guilt would lead them to resentment and rejection of Him and His teachings. They have bought into the lie of the world "that you can have it all without truly following Christ."

This week, we were first presented with great goodness and holiness on Wednesday, February 4th (the positive sign) and then later in the week we were presented with some depressing, evil news (the negative sign). There is such a temptation in these situations to forget the goodness and be depressed by the evil. This has been our experience and evil continues to tempt us with despair. But no, we will not be wrecked by the sins of others and the evil around us! "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with goodness" (Romans 12:21). We choose to do this overcoming by following St. Paul's other advice, "Love does not rejoice over wrongdoing, but rejoices in what is right" (1 Corinthians 13:6). In other words, we need to speak out against the evil around us by particularly highlighting and rejoicing in the grace that we find among the thorns. This is what I intend to do in this post.

So let me just say - if you want inspiration about the grace going on in the world and a saintly life to follow then let me point no further than to the upcoming documentary - THE DROP BOX.  

Pastor Lee

This documentary will change your life. Please do your soul a favor this Lent and see it on March 3rd, 4th, or 5th in theaters. Pastor Lee and his wife who are the heroes of the documentary are incredible examples of Christ's love and compassion to the least fortunate in the world. They decided to do something about all the abandoned babies in the world who were left to die on the cold streets of South Korea. Through a drop box, where women can place their unwanted infants instead of killing them, and an incredible ministry of Christian love poured out as total self-gift for each other and the world, they have saved over 600 babies!

Most of these babies are placed into foster care to adopt and then placed with loving families. This is particularly moving for a couple like us who want to adopt and have not been blessed with a child due to infertility. But also noteworthy is that a number of the mothers have had a conversion of heart. Pastor Lee and his wife have been able to reunite 140 mothers with their formerly abandoned children. Pastor Lee has also adopted 15 children, mostly with severe disabilities.

He also takes care of his own biologically conceived disabled child, who due to his disabilities had to spend 14 years in the hospital. Pastor Lee and His wife sold their home and literally lived in the hospital for those 14 years prior to the beginning of his orphanage. They credit their time in the hospital and their disabled child as the inspiration behind the founding of the orphanage. Talk about the sacrifice and love he and his wife have made for this ministry and the care for their disabled child! They are a true witness of Christ and they don't shy away from talking about how only their faith could have led them on such a radical journey of love.

To make things even more crazier, we had the privilege to meet Pastor Lee and to hear directly from him about his love of Christ poured out in this ministry at the prescreening of the movie. Wow! I felt like I met a living saint. He, along with his wife who wasn't able to come, really reminded me of Mother Teresa and her order's love.  As we heard Pastor Lee spoke, everyone was moved to tears all around us, including us. There was an grace-filled electricity in the room that spoke to our hearts: "We must be more like this man and his wife" and "We must change and be more Christ-like than we have been." I felt an incredible grace to give more self-sacrificially and be less damn selfish. Aren't we all selfish individuals in need of ongoing conversion? How arrogant we are when we deny this about ourselves and this is why we need to see films and meet people like Pastor Lee and his wife.

Also, the director at the pre-screening shared a moving testimony. The director experienced a conversion to Christianity while doing the film! He said that "he had intended to go over and help save these children, but instead was saved by them." This director is a young man of 26 who as part of his conversion gave up an addiction to pornography and an unhealthy, abusive relationship with a girlfriend.

Amen, amen in the goodness of Christ. Let's rejoice in what is right by seeing this film. Let's be like Pastor Lee and his wife and "take up our crosses and follow Christ."

See the trailer for the documentary here:

Please pray for us and pray for those around us.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

tiny steps toward adoption

As Mr. M mentioned in our last post, we're planning to start the adoption process officially this year. That feels like a big deal, and I guess it is a big deal! Here's what we've been doing related to that:

  • Setting up a fundraising/update blog (public) where people can donate to us and read how things are going - more on that to come!
  • Compiling a list of addresses of people we'll send a fundraising letter to
  • Writing our fundraising letter - that actually came together much quicker than I thought it would, thank you Holy Spirit!
  • Reading books about parenting in general and parenting adopted kids specifically: I just finished "Parenting From the Inside Out" which was okay, but I liked "The Connected Child" better; I'm now reading "Parenting the Hurt Child"
  • We set up an adoption budget: how much we anticipate spending, plus how much we anticipate saving from our jobs + fundraising, to calculate when we'll be in a good position to adopt, then work backwards to see when would be a good time to start the process - whew!
  • Saving, saving, saving - We decided that February is going to be a no-spend month, meaning that we're going to try not to buy pretty much anything above and beyond our necessities. This means nothing in these categories of our budget: clothing, entertainment, haircut, home supplies (except essentials), books, gifts, and misc. I have $50 of "blow money," and that's it. It's not meant as a long term thing, just a "boost" to see our savings add up and our adoption budget grow. 
Finally, the thing that has meant the most to me emotionally: we're actually seriously prepping our house as if we're going to have a child here someday. Meaning, yesterday I moved all our cleaning supplies from the bottom of one closet to the top of another closet. And we went to Target and bought two tubs with lids to put all our medicines in, to child-proof them. And I am actually reading through a book called "Your Baby's First Year" to try and catch up on mom-knowledge and figure out what you actually do with an infant! And I measured stuff in our bedroom to figure out where a crib could fit....

......all of which feels completely surreal. First because we are still months (likely over a year) away from even having an infant, let alone a toddler, in our home! But I figured why not get a head start :) And it has been incredibly therapeutic to do these simple things. Basically for me it means taking a leap of faith and saying (at least in my heart) "I am going to be a mother." I still doubt it, but even acting like it's going to happen is a way of trusting, right?