TEAM TRUTH

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“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows– This is our God.”

I have been working toward a goal of mine for a little while and today I finally made it official. I registered for the Chicago Half Marathon and joined Team Truth.

That’s right, a half marathon.

Now I’m not an avid runner, and motivation is difficult at times, but this race is different, and worth it to me.

You see, I will be running for something that is very near and dear to my heart– ADOPTION.

I believe that we are all called to participate in the act of adoption somehow, whether as supporters, prayer warriors, or those who adopt, we are moved to realize that we have been adopted by God into a glorious kingdom of His family, and we need to in turn extend the grace we have been given.

So, while Dan and I are not yet adopting, we know there are things we can do now to live out our convictions.

This is why I am running. 

For this experience, I will be supporting adoption in two different avenues. First, I will be raising money for Project Hopeful, an organization whose “mission is to educate, encourage, and enable families and individuals to advocate for and adopt children with HIV/AIDS and other of the most overlooked children for adoption.”

Project Hopeful, which is led by Carolyn Twietmeyer, is an incredible organization that profoundly impacts the lives of thousands of children and families all over the world. There is so much I would love to say about this organization, but just go on their website and you will see the amazing things they are a part of. projecthopeful.org

Additionally, I will be raising money to help support my best friends in adopting their first child from Uganda. I am incredibly thrilled that they are choosing to walk the road of adoption and pray daily for their little one who will find a home here in Lancaster, PA. Adoption is  expensive and I want to watch God move in their story, where mountains will become miracles of provision. Please follow their story here at jeremyandlea.com.

The training is on and we are officially two months away from the September 8th race.

Please consider joining me in supporting adoption both at a broad and local level, by donating to my support page for Project Hopeful, or would pledge in the comment box to support Lea and Jeremy. Please email or Facebook message me with any questions. 

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God sets the Lonely in Families.

This week has been one filled with a lot of joy. New married life has been lovely and work has been pretty great, but there has been something else that has been occupying my thoughts and putting a smile on my face all week. Dear, wonderful friends of mine got to meet their daughter for the first time, in Ethiopia, and have a court tell them that she is officially theirs.

Now you may wonder why this has me so joy-filled, or why it’s absolutely consumed me this week, and I regret that I haven’t talked about my deepest passion on this blog enough, or maybe even at all (at least recently). So let me start from the beginning.

Over the years, I have loved children. For babysitting, I was the go-to girl. I have begun to realize though, how much God loves children. His heart is overwhelmed for His children, and I believe He would do anything for them.

I believe though, that God has a specific love for His hurting children of the world. And I am not just talking children the way we do, I mean anyone who is lonely, heartbroken, wounded, suffering, starving, dying… Anyone.

You see, God’s heart is burdened and weeps for those of us who are suffering. He sent His only son to die for us so that He could ADOPT us into His family. So that we could lay our burdens on Him.

But I don’t think He wants the process of adoption to end there. I truly, and deeply believe that God has called those whom He has adopted, to go out and do the same. Please don’t misunderstand, I do not believe that every Christian family is called to go through adoption process, but I do believe that we are called to adopt the lonely, the poor in spirit, the suffering into our churches, into our families, into our homes. We are called to love the “unlovable”.

I believe that Jesus actually meant what He said in Matthew 25: 31-46.

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Do we live like this? Do we live like we are touching Jesus when we encounter those who seem less than “desirable” or when we see the commercials on TV that make foreign countries look like other worlds that are impossible to truly help? Do we turn away when Jesus looks us in the eye?

Or do we take action, move in His direction, follow where He is leading?

I believe that is the only way we can truly love Jesus while we are here on earth.

There are countless verses that talk about God’s love for the least. Here are just two that are pretty convincing to me:

“Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”– James 1:27

Let’s look at our lives. Do we honestly live like this stuff matters to us? Like this stuff matters to GOD?

So the reason I was so filled with joy this week, is because I honestly believe that God was so glorified through my friends. Through the union of their family. I believe this is some of what the Psalmist was talking about when scripture says,

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families.”–Psalm 68:5-6

God sets the lonely in families. What a beautiful picture of His love for us.

Contagious TRUTH!

I wanted to let you all know about World AIDS Day this Wednesday and some things you can do to get involved!

First I want to tell you a story. A story about a pretty amazing family.

Meet the Twietmeyers. All 15 of them! Dan and I have had the privilege of hearing Carolyn speak and follow their ministry and family through Facebook and their organization Project HOPEFUL. Carolyn and Kiel have 7 biological children and 6 adopted children, 2 of whom are HIV+. This is one joyful, loving, passionate, and beautiful family. They have committed to spreading the word about the TRUTH regarding HIV/AIDS, a topic that is not discussed, and still remains highly stigmatized regardless of research and advances made within the medical community. They are even being featured in the December issue of People magazine and will be on CBS with Katie Couric tomorrow night. Their beautiful family has experienced God’s loving mercies in bringing them together and allowing them to be faithful advocates for the most marginalized orphan.

PLEASE check out Projecthopeful.org. Read the stories of this beautiful family, discover the real truth of HIV/AIDS. Please look at the pictures of many children who are waiting for their forever families and pray that God would speak into the lives of those who need to step up and bring these children home.

This week, please share the Truth Pandemic Video on your blog, on your Facebook, with your family and friends. If you have Facebook, change your status and profile picture according to the Project Hopeful website. Doing this will spread awareness, and knowledge is the key toward action. Be in persistent prayer this week for the millions of orphans around our world, many of whom have been devastatingly effected by HIV and AIDS. Please do your part.

“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'”– Matthew 25:35-40

“Who do You want me to love for You today?”


“Keep me close to Your heart, and I will soar on the wings of the dawn. I’ll remember the way You love.”– Melody Olson

I have been reading an awesome book called Forgotten God by Francis Chan for a study with my Grow Group. Every time I sit down with it, I anticipate being challenged and changed. I learn more about the Holy Spirit with every page I turn, which is a topic I had never fully tried to grasp before. I am still baffled by the ways of the Holy Spirit, the ways He moves me, desires to work through me, intercedes for me, and so much more.

Today, as I opened the book, tea in hand, my expectations were once again met and I have so much to process as a result. At the end of the chapter, I read a story about a woman named Esther Ahn Kim, a Korean woman imprisoned by the Japanese during WWII for not bowing to idols. In anticipation of her imprisonment (yeah, she expected it, so she got ready for it instead of running away), she trained her body to eat spoiled food and to endure different circumstances she might encounter while in prison. Knowing she wouldn’t be allowed to have her bible in prison, she also memorized over 100 chapters of the bible and different hymns.

When she eventually was taken to prison, God used her in countless ways. One night a you Chinese woman convicted of killing her husband was brought in. She moaned incessantly and beat on the doors until the guards tied her hands behind her back. It was this woman that God called Esther to love and reach out to. Esther held the woman’s feet at night to warm them, even though the woman was covered in her own excrement. Though food rations were small, Esther gave up her portions for three days to this woman. Over time, the Chinese woman began to respond, carrying on conversation and eventually accepting the good news of the gospel. The woman was later executed for her crime, but she went to her death alive in Christ.

This is one of many people God used Esther to minister to. Murderers and swindlers who were utter outcasts were changed before all who watched as the love of Christ, through Esther, healed their hearts and gave them hope. Even the jailers and government officials noticed how Esther shone in that dark place. She could have just endured her suffering like a good Christian, and we would have applauded her for it. But she was not content to merely endure. She was ready every day and every moment, asking God, ‘Who do You want me to love for You today?’

Wow! I know that I, and the majority of Christians in the American church need to start asking this question. “Who do You want me to love for You today?” Because, the truth is, we don’t usually fulfill the commitments we agreed to when we surrendered to Christ. We agreed to allow the Spirit lead us wherever He desired for us. Yet, we forget that what Christ calls us to is deep love for the destitute, the poor, to be willing to go wherever He leads us, no matter how uncomfortable. Christ is love, yet how many of us forget to love throughout the day. We forget that by loving the unlovable, we are really loving Christ, for we will find Him with the poor every time.

“Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” Matthew 25: 44-45 NASB