It's late here in China, but we had to share a couple special prayer requests with you. Tomorrow is 8/22 in China. It might be an ordinary day for most of you. But for our family.... it is a big day! It has taken on a brand new significance for us.
Mercy turns 14 years old tomorrow. In China, orphans age out of the system at 14 yrs old. They are no longer able to be adopted. There is a strict cut off- no extensions -no exceptions - no 2nd chances. The Lord allowed our family to learn about Mercy only a few short months ago. A China special needs adoption normally takes 1 to 2 years. GOD has moved mountains to bring Mercy into our family. She is no longer an orphan. She is loved, chosen, accepted and cherished. She belongs in our family. Bigger than that... GOD loves her and has amazing plans for her life. HE has plans to repay all that the enemy has tried to steal. HE has plans to redeem the hurt and broken places of her heart. HE longs to be gracious to her. HE is already revealing HIMSELF. We believe with all of our hearts that HE is at work in her life and HE will use her life for HIS glory!
In the pre-China travel prep, we did some planning for Mercy's birthday. We knew it would unfold in China and we wanted to make it special. We did not know her at that point and we weren't quite sure what to get her. We were concerned about doing too many gifts and giving her the impression that this is what mattered most. At the same time, we wanted to shower her and express tremendous love. We wanted to decorate and celebrate. We decided to bring some decorations from home, a couple of small -yet meaningful gifts from home and then plan for a cake with our guide in China. Somehow Mama forgot about the decorations until the last night. In the rush of packing, I searched the house and came up with a couple of rolls of yellow crate paper. That is all we had around the house. It went into the luggage. We pulled it out tonight to decorate after the girls fell asleep. Tears began to fall as we were reminded about how GOD is in the smallest of details. We will give you one guess as to Mercy's favorite color?!?!?
Yep, she is going to wake up to yellow streamers all over our hotel room. Oh, we can hardly wait. Another detail.... we picked a watch for Mercy's special gift. We are giddy with excitement to give it to her. She asks Art at least 20 times a day to see his watch and check the time. She is a girl with a need for order and plans. She loves to know what is next. We aren't sure if she has ever received a birthday gift before. We don't know if she has ever had a birthday celebration. We do know that GOD has blessed our family with this precious daughter. GOD knew her favorite color. GOD knew she would love a watch. We are excited to celebrate her life tomorrow.
We did one other thing after we got the girls to bed tonight. We prayed over them from Joel 2 - asking the Lord to restore all that the Locusts have eaten. We prayed that both girls would come to know HIM at an early age. We prayed that HE would be glorified in and through them. We prayed many would come to know HIM because of their stories. Would you join us in that prayer?
One other note.... GOD orchestrated a very special friendship here in Changsha during our last stay almost 2 years ago. We met with that friend today. HE gave us the opportunity to share HIS love and hope today. Would you please pray for our dear friend - courage to surrender and receive the gift of salvation? Thank you so much!
We are grateful for your friendship, your love, your support and your prayers-
Art & Jen