It has been a while since my last post- April 27th to be exact. To say we've been busy at the Parker house would be an understatement. There has been a lot going on, and my blogging has been pushed to the side a little bit.
But something happened last night that left me no option but to return to the blogosphere.
Because last night we welcomed a Latvian orphan into our home for the next five weeks. If you've read any of the things I have posted in the past you've read about how hosting two Latvian orphans this past winter completely changed our lives, wrecked them even (in a good way).
They were not able to come back for the summer hosting so we hosted another girl- a 15 year old from Latvia (she'll actually celebrate her sixteenth birthday while she is here- I'm voting she gets something along the lines of the MTV's My Super Sweet Sixteen party, but that's another story, for another day).
This particular young lady (or Princess as I call her) met a group of people from our church who were in Latvia on a mission trip with The Hope Epidemic. They fell in love with her and were extremely hopeful she would get hosted this summer. As "luck" would have it, she will be here with us for the next five weeks (at least).
There's just something about this girl. I can't hardly watch her playing with my boys or doing something with my wife Brandi without tearing up. I don't know all of her background, but what I know breaks my heart. It's only the first day with her (which means she's still trying to decide if she likes us/me), but I want to be her defender, her protector. That someone in her past has hurt her breaks my heart. That there is the risk of someone hurting her in her future is even worse.
Her best hope for her future is coming here on a student visa. That's an option that we have been looking into in the weeks ahead of her arrival, and it's something we will probably be having to make a decision on in the very near future. It would be her choice, and there would be some hurdles we'd have to cross to make it happen. But it's worth it, because she'd be safe, loved, and have the best chance of a successful future in the days and years to come.
I had a friend ask me a month or so ago after I had the pleasure of teaching to his student group on a topic close to my heart, "Why? Why host? Why desire to adopt? Don't we have enough going on with our four boys, one of whom is special needs?" He was setting me up, because he knew the answer already, and I think it was important for his group to hear it. The answer to why we would do something like this is simple, and could probably be reduced down to two main reasons.
1) The Gospel. The Bible is clear in its teaching about what the Gospel is. We were without hope, dead, with no hope, when Christ paid our price for our sins. The Bible teaches we were "justified," a legal term that basically means "made righteous." That's more than a little amazing, but it doesn't stop there. The book of Galatians talks about that we were adopted into the family of God. We are given the legal rights and privileges of a child of God.
When you realize what incredible implications the Gospel has for your life, it changes you. It changes your motivations, aspirations, priorities, everything. It's the natural flow from that that you would care for the orphan, the poor, the widows. In fact, I'd point out that it isn't a "super-Christian" who does these things. It's not the mark of a person with a "Master's degree in Christianity," but rather it's Christianity 101, elementary school stuff. James 1:27 states it pretty clearly, "Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world."
2) A Changed Life. The second main reason is actually a byproduct of the first, most important reason. It's simply that one experience with caring for an orphan changes you. It completely wrecked mine. I couldn't see my family passing up the opportunity to bring in an orphan and love on them. It has cost a significant amount of money, it has meant sacrifices in other areas, but it has been completely worth it. Not because we are some sort of super Holy sort of people, but because our lives have been forever changed because of the Gospel, and because of the orphan.
I'll likely be blogging more frequently during this, the next chapter of our "Great Adventure"...there's definitely more to come.