Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Baby Melanie Update

Thank you for all your prayers for baby Melanie. We wanted to let you know that early this morning, she was ushered into the arms of Jesus. Please continue to pray for her parents, Patrick and Sarah, and for her family in Uganda. For Melanie’s story, you can go to http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/babymelanie/

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Caroline’s Promise Prayer Seeds

Caroline’s Promise is offering another way to make a difference – one prayer at a time. Perhaps you have already been praying for orphans and our ministry; thank you! Now you are able to get current updates for specific prayer requests. Just  sign up for our monthly CP Prayer Seeds Update at www.carolinespromise.net. Enter your email where it says "Subscribe to our ENEWS" then check the box that says CP Prayer Partners. Our first update comes out this week! Will you join us as we pray for the needs of our ministry and for orphans around the world? You can make a difference, one prayer, one person at a time.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Looking In, Looking Out: One Family’s Story of Adoption

Have you ever considered adoption as a possibility for you and your family? What factors help solidify your thoughts or decision? Sometimes a family can feel a pull, a call, towards adoption, but the hurdles seem so great they back out. One hurdle that consistently makes potential adoptive families hesitant is finances. Did you know that Caroline’s Promise offers grants to adopting families? These grants are just one way that Caroline’s Promise is reclaiming hope for orphans and giving a boost of help and encouragement to the families who would become a forever family for a child in need. Maybe you’ve not felt a burden to adopt but rather to help in other ways. By donating money, you are helping Caroline’s Promise offer more grants to more families. You can make a difference, one dollar at a time. Go to our website at www.carolinespromise.net to find out more about how you can make a difference for one: one child in need, one family in waiting.

We would like to introduce you to one family who followed God’s call to adopt. The Renslow family adopted baby Zuri this past year and with your help Caroline’s Promise was able to award them a grant to assist with the cost. Thank you for your support! Here is their story.

The Insufficient Because Clause

The list was flooded with cognitive reactions to a very simple question: “why not you?” Our question had evolved from “why” to “why not?” While wrestling to answer this question concerning adoption, all of our reasons either seemed silly, selfish, or faithless. “Why not us?” Why wouldn’t we be a family to adopt? Argument number one was that we had a loving home to offer, but we were afraid of ruining the wonderful dynamics that we had already established with our family of five –silly. Ruined it? How about refined or reshaped? This journey of adoption has made us closer than ever before because love is at the center and it was a family decision to step out believing that love never disappoints. Sure there are adjustments and it has been different having a baby in the house and an adjustment for our nine year old daughter to share her room, but for this to be the reason to say no was simply silly.

Argument number two was that mom and dad are pushing forty and have left the baby stage in the rear view mirror almost a decade ago – selfish. If we are truly called to pray, as Jesus taught us, that God would bring his kingdom of heaven to bare on the kingdom of earth, then what better demonstration of this than the love and hope of adoption? Many of our reasons for saying no were tied to our own personal comfort and once we realized this, “no” was no longer an option. How could we continue to say “no” when our justifications all came back to our own selfishness?

Argument number three was our inability to answer the question “how?” There is just no way that we could afford such an expensive endeavor – faithless. We had heard the stories over and over about how God had provided for other families, but were we willing to trust God that much? Were we willing to allow God to write us in his story in this way? We are not those people who have a long track-record of exhibiting radical faith. So, for a long time the answer was no, but in the end a lack of faith was just not reason enough and we knew that God would not lead us to something so wonderful only to watch us continually fail – he wasn’t calling us to failure, he was calling us to trust – but would we?

After quite a journey, we could not come up with a satisfying “because …” answer to the question: “why not you?” There were no words that were fitting enough to establish a “because clause” when there was a child living in an orphanage with no hope for a family unless we stepped beyond what was comfortable and trusted in what God was doing in our family. This seems to be the mystery of God’s work in our lives as he is constantly working in the shadows of our hearts, but many times this is only illuminated when we choose to trust.

In our story, God was working in our hearts to have enough faith to take one step, but at the same time he was working in hundreds of other people to give towards adoption through Caroline’s Promise. The grant we received by Caroline’s Promise allowed us to go and bring home the child God planned all along to be our fourth, created by Him for us, as much as our other three biological children, and we are forever changed. Our faith steps towards adoption found solid ground because of the generosity of people like you. Thank you to all who give to Caroline’s Promise. Your gifts have helped us complete our first adoption story practically debt free and that will allow us to look towards saving for our next adoption!

renslow family in uganda Jimmy and Gayla live in Northwest Greensboro with their four children: Boe (13), Mac (11), Leia Grace (9), and Zuri Hope (1). Jimmy is the pastor of the Church at 5:14 and they write about their adoption journey at www.echoesofzuri.blogspot.com

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Yard Sale for Missions

A family located in the Piedmont Triad (NC) is hosting a large yard sale, August 22 from 7am to 1pm. The proceeds from the yard sale will help with the cost of a missions trip to Uganda in September that the family will be going on with Caroline’s Promise. Items for sale include clothes (baby, kids, women, men) decorations, kitchen items, crib, changing table, cradle, wetsuits, linens, books, toys games, stuffed animals, shoes and more.

They are also collecting new and gently used flip flops or “croc” style shoes for the orphanages they will visit. Shoes are needed for toddler through teenager, particularly boys. Address for the sale is 8001 Hill-n-Dale Drive, Kernersville, NC 27284. Any questions may be directed to sdimora@triad.rr.com

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Urgent prayer for Baby Melanie

Melanie came through her heart surgery on Friday but went into cardiac arrest early Saturday am. The doctors were able to stabilize her but the next 48 hours are critical for this precious little baby. Please continue to pray for Melanie, her Mom and Dad and all the incredible people who are caring for them. You can follow her progress and receive updates at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/babymelanie

Are you willing to make a difference for ONE - by praying?

An Invitation from South Carolina Director, Martha-Marie

James 1:27 says, “Pure religion and undefiled  before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”  As Christians, if we take this verse to heart, then we need to realize that it applies to ALL of us – not to just a few.   So, if this verse is meant for all of us, why aren’t there more believers doing something about it?  Maybe some people just don’t know how to apply that verse.  Maybe some of us think that there really is no need for that kind of ministry, especially in this area – “It’s the Bible belt for crying out loud! There are more churches here per person than anywhere else in the world!” Maybe others think, “I’m too old”, “I’m too young” and on the excuses go. Well, Caroline’s Promise is ready to help end the excuses and start putting this verse into practice.

One of our desires and dreams, is to see a passion for orphans spread here locally in South Carolina and then across the country. We believe the best way for that to happen is to get the churches involved.  But we also realize that many may not even be aware of the overwhelming need for this kind of ministry – even here in our area.  That is why on Tuesday, September 17, we, along with other Christian adoption and foster agencies in the South Carolina area will be hosting a Pastor’s Luncheon, in which we hope to raise awareness and ignite a passion for orphans. Our prayer is that those pastors who attend will take this new passion and awareness back to their churches and begin their own orphan ministry. 

You may be thinking, “Well, that’s nice, but then what?” The next step is to plan how to start an orphan ministry in your church – and we already have a workshop scheduled for you to take that next step! In October our same group will be hosting an orphan ministry workshop in which we hope the pastors who attended the luncheon will send church members to gain useful tools and ideas to incorporate as they begin an orphan ministry in their church.

The Pastor’s luncheon will be held at First Baptist Church in Simpsonville, SC.  We will open the doors at 11:30am to give Pastors time to look at the many booths that will be set up.  At 12:00pm we will officially begin and plan on ending at 1:00pm.  Our guest speaker will be Carl Robbins of Woodruff Presbyterian Church.  There will be a free book giveaway as well as free barbeque plates. The only thing that we are asking pastors to do is to come.  Please RSVP to rlittleton@fbcsimpsonville.org.   For more information please call (864) 967-8519 ext 16. Will you help us spread the word to your pastor and other pastors that you may know? 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Introducing Martha-Marie Smith

 

Every so often we would like to introduce you to some folks who work very hard behind the scenes at Caroline’s Promise. All of them are volunteers, from board members to directors to envelope stuffers. You already know David and Lisa Holbrook, executive directors and co-founders of Caroline’s Promise. Today we want to introduce you to our director for Carolina’s Promise, South Carolinaeddie_and_mm. Martha-Marie Smith, of Liberty, South Carolina, is passionate about children who have no one to give them a safe permanent place full of love. For Martha-Marie, the desire to promote the values of Caroline's Promise is more than a full-time job. She and her husband Eddie are the parents of a daughter, Selah, and son, Brayden. Brayden was first a foster child in their home, and later they adopted him. The Smiths have always loved children and knew what God's Word says about caring for orphans. But being foster parents to Brayden changed everything. "After we met our little boy, everything changed," says Martha-Marie. "That's when my husband and I began to have such a passion and heart for orphans. We had a living, breathing ‘orphan' in our home."

Martha-Marie knew Lisa Holbrook for years and Martha-Marie watched as Lisa and David went through the process of adopting their daughter Caroline, and ultimately beginning what is now Caroline’s Promise. Watching Lisa’s example spoke volumes to Martha-Marie and it was the seeds of this willingness that began a harvest of faithfulness and obedience for Martha-Marie. A few years after Caroline’s Promise began, Lisa approached Martha-Marie about directing a program in South Carolina and Martha-Marie knew that Lisa and God must have the wrong person! At the same time, her heart was breaking over the horrible situations that many children have to live in and felt God ask, “Are you going to step out and let me use you to make a difference?” As she prayed about the idea, she knew that God was leading her to say yes.

Since her acceptance of the director role, Martha-Marie has been busy making connections with churches and other organizations promoting the cause of orphans. This past spring Caroline’s Promise, South Carolina had a fundraising banquet, to raise the awareness of orphans and ways that individuals and groups can help. This fall they are sponsoring a pastor’s luncheon and a conference for those interested in starting orphan ministries at their own church. (More information to come!) In November, Caroline’s Promise, South Carolina will be hosting a dinner/auction raising funds for the first grant to be given by Caroline’s Promise, South Carolina.

When asked what someone could do to help support Caroline’s Promise, this is what Martha-Marie said, “ We need all sorts of help from being a financial supporter, a prayer partner, a person to stuff envelopes, a photographer, a videographer, a baby-sitter, a person who works well with numbers, a person who wants to go on a missions trip, ANYBODY!!!  We need all kinds of gifts and talents to help us make a difference for orphans!” If you are interested in supporting the cause of the fatherless, go to our website at www.carolinespromise.net for more information.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Baby Melanie Arrives

Baby Melanie, her mother and nurse arrived in the States Monday afternoon. Continue to pray for her upcoming surgery and recovery. To follow her journey you can visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/babymelanie or her father, Patrick Serunjogi’s blog at www.beingabridge.blogspot.com. Your prayers are so appreciated.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Update on Baby Melanie

We wanted to give you an update on baby Melanie in Uganda. We asked you to pray for her safe travel to the states to have heart surgery. Since that time the original doctor who had agreed to do and pay for the surgery backed out. So we have been praying for a new way for Melanie to get the treatment she needs. Add to that, we heard she was being treated for malaria.

We now have great news and praise! Melanie is doing well enough to travel. A group - Medical Advocacy was able to find her a doctor in Alabama that is going to sponsor and do her surgery.  Sarah (the mom), baby Melanie and her nurse are leaving Uganda THIS Friday! What a praise! From seeming hopelessness to great hope. Our God is great and mighty and so compassionate.

Thank you for your prayers! Please continue to pray for her continued health, safe travels, and a quick, successful surgery. We will update you as we have news. Thank you for partnering with us in this way!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World

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In his first novel, Tom Davis gives a face, a name and a story to the facts about AIDS and orphans that he reported on in two of his previous books, Red Letters and Fields of the Fatherless.   Gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, repulsive yet redemptive in the end, this book will undoubtedly open the eyes of the reader to the injustices faced by many of the 150 million orphans who live on our planet.  It is a difficult but necessary book to read.

The story revolves around an unlikely relationship between Stuart Daniels, an award-winning photojournalist who has lost sight of his life's purpose and Adanna, a young African girl who is prematurely forced into adulthood after AIDS claims the lives of both of her parents.  Hunger, sickness and the worst kind of abuse are all part of her reality.  While her circumstances are desperate, her spirit is strong.   It is this quiet strength, along with the protection she receives from a gentle stranger she calls the "Illuminated Man”, which carry her through the atrocities inflicted upon her. 

Although Scared is by definition a novel, it blurs the lines between fiction and non-fiction, telling the story of a real girl that Davis met while visiting an orphanage in Swaziland.  If Scared was purely a work of fiction, it would be much easier to leave behind. However, the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of "Adannas" facing the same circumstances, makes it nearly impossible to read this book without being moved to respond.  Davis capitalizes on this desire to act by sending people to the book's website www.scaredthebook.com where readers can meet the real-life Adanna and learn how to make a difference in the lives of orphaned children.

If Davis' goal was to compel his readers to take action, to speak for those without a voice, to defend the defenseless, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and to love the unloved, then he can definitely consider Scared a success. 

This reclip_image004view was written by Tami Rumfelt, a board member for Caroline’s Promise, North Carolina and also radio host of WBFJ. Tami will be airing an interview she did with Tom Davis on WBFJ, Wednesday, August 5, at 8:40am and also on Friday, August 7 at 7:30am. To purchase this book you can go to our website http://www.carolinespromise4u.org/store/catalog/. The book is $15 including tax and shipping.