Adoption, Orphan Care, Uganda

My Little Church, My Big Church

flamingo

Every week, we meet with a few other families in a living room.  This is my little church.  My little church encompasses precisely what it means to be American.  We hail from North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.  My little church has multi-racial families, interracial marriage, bi-lingual conversations, and a healthy dose of southern drawl.  It’s a little glimpse of what heaven will look like.

When we have a potluck, we eat Latin-Ethiopian-Asian fusion food, as well as a smorgasbord of chips and dips, because the whole world loves dip.

We banter around opinions about everything from Watchman Nee to David Platt.  We come from complementarian and egalitarian backgrounds, Calvinists, charismatics, and Catholics.  Our idea of a group social is anything from a 20-hour foster care training to seeing The Hunger Games together.

We are passionate about every subject, and sometimes we swear.  Okay, well, I do.  When people ask me if I had a nice time with my group, I usually remark about how I got sweaty.  We wrestle with topics.  My little church is where we find accountability.  It’s where we kick each other’s butts and pour out grace with a fire hose.  Above all, we are there.  For each other.  When life feels impossible.  We are the hands, feet, and heavy lifting of Jesus.  Our motto?  Go deep or go home.

We love deeply.

And never have I felt more loved than when our family arrived home on Friday night.  After living in Latvia for three weeks with our new daughter, over Thanksgiving and right up until Christmas, we pulled into our driveway to discover that we’d been flamingoed, and there were signs and balloons everywhere we turned.

I walked into our kitchen to discover a huge bowl of fruit.  Snack food.  Pantry items.  I opened the fridge.  They had stocked it with lunchmeat, fruit, veggies, almond milk, and bread.  There were two breakfast casseroles ready to pop in the over the next morning, one regular, one GFDF.

I opened the freezer to discover homemade meals, labelled with instructions.

As we’ve settled into our new normal, wandered around like jetlagged zombies, and decorated our Christmas tree, we’ve enjoyed a fully-stocked kitchen from our little church.  We feel so loved.  Our little church encompasses what it means to be Jesus with skin on, to meet the needs of others, and being on the receiving end is spectacular.  It’s humbling.  I can’t wait to pass on this awesome feeling to someone else.

We walked into an outpouring of love from our little church on Friday, and then on Sunday, we walked into our big church.  Our big church is made up of a lot of little churches like ours, and what I love about my church is that I can feel the personal, life-changing, up-close squeezey love from my little church, then walk into my big church and watch as God uses our bigness to do huge things.

Our CarePoint in Uganda had a list of needs to help us develop a healthy, sustainable life for the kids in the program.  It was a really big list with an impossible dollar amount at the bottom.  My fundraisers felt small, felt not-enough.  I met with some leaders at the church several months ago and talked through the list, and then about a month ago, the pastor challenged everyone in my big church to give $39.95.

Then I flew to Latvia.

I got back Friday night, and on Sunday morning, I found myself standing on stage trembling as my pastor handed me a check.  I didn’t know what it said.  I was nervous.  I wanted to be grateful for anything, but I knew everything on that list of needs and I knew that big number.

This is what happened.

God loved and supported my family through my little church and made us feel like we could make it through these weeks of transition into our new normal.  And then He unleashed a level of generosity in my big church that blew my mind.  Adacar will never be the same.  Opening that check on stage was the realization of a four year dream and prayer of mine for my friends in Uganda.

My little church, my big church, I’m thankful for both.  This weekend, both of them demonstrated radical generosity, and I am humbled and grateful.

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  • Lyndsay Boulton

    Mel, this made me cry! So wonderful!! Congratulations on your girl and what an awesome gift for Adacar!!

  • Susan Flynn Love

    I cried like a baby cause I know how close to your heart Adacar is and how much this means to those kids!! Welcome home sweet friend!

  • Jamie Brown

    I just burst into tears with you!! Incredible outpouring of love & generosity. ♥ God Bless your family & the families in Uganda. Thank you Lord for the seemingly impossible dreams that You make possible and for the people who become the vessel through which those blessings can pour out. Thanks for sharing this. (LOVE, LOVE what your “little church” did for you, that is AWESOME!)

  • Alyssa Kaye Warner

    How amazing! You inspire me. I really enjoy reading your posts.

  • Darlene Fountain

    You and Alex amaze me.. you are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for the gift of being REAL and sharing your faith, your hopes, your challenges and most of all the praise when God sees it all through to the other side. You bless us by all that you do. :)

  • Amy Hinrichs

    What a wonderful community of believers. Inspiring.

 

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