Thursday, March 17, 2016

Fear & Faith

"Fear is a regular part of the landscape for anyone who wants to grow in faith."  (Andy Stanley from his book Fields of Gold)

Fear is a misrepresentation of risk.  The journey of faith may appear to be a journey of risk.  Fear is an intruder that attempts to minimize and sabotage faith.  Interestingly enough, fear and faith seem to hangout at the same intersection.

Those who are committed to a life of faith in God should embrace the reality that there is going to be an increase of exposure to potential fear.

Uncertainty and the unknown reside outside the threshold of choice.  They can result in a choice motivated by faith or fear.

My guest blogger gives the following insight on why we have chosen to adopt four adult Africans.

She is, of course, my partner in our latest adventure of adopting four African adults.  Because we have three biological children who are grown (they have given us 12 grandchildren & one great granddaughter), we wanted them to be a part of this adventure.  As much as possible.  Which is a challenge since we are separated by 10,000 miles and reside in very different cultures.  We were limited to a few phone calls and emails in an effort to bridge the gap.  Here is one of the emails (part 2 of our adoption adventure) Pam sent to Janelle, Stephanie, and Dawson:

Robert
I realized that each of you have visited us here in Uganda.  Which is helpful because those visits have given you some idea of what our lives are like here.  I'm grateful for that.  It's a big help in you understanding how we live and what we live with here.  But there is an element of life here that you don't see and I think it may reveal some of the path we have walked to get to this adoption decision.

Our lives here in Africa are filled with risks. We live each day with risk at a different level than we live with when we are in America.
  1. We ride on the back of small motorbikes  with no helmets or leathers, wearing flip flops and sandals.
  2. The same motorbikes get no respect from other drivers except bicycles and pedestrians.
  3. I have worn a seat belt in a vehicle less than 10 times in the more than then years I have lived here ... in traffic patterns that can be describe as chaotic at best.
  4. We driver out vehicle (not so much me) knowing there will be no actual insurance coverage in case of an accident ... even though we are covered.
  5. We live in a culture that does not value transparency or honesty ... yet we do business with these people.
  6. We have to trust people that we know are not trustworthy.
  7. We regularly care for people with serious, transmittable diseases.
  8. Our home is open to all who come here.
  9. We leave the gate of our compound open ... in spite of thieves and murderers.
  10. We eat food cooked by others with a constant threat of getting a running stomach.
Maybe the biggest risk is trusting God with all of this ... and more ... MUCH MORE!

Rebecca
Just this morning, Dad left home for Kampala with Peter, our boda boda (small motorbike) driver.  But, Peter was not driving his boda boda.  He was driving a small Toyota Primo that he just bought 3 days ago!  He had trouble turning the car around in our compound.  Yet he is driving to and around Kampala, the capital city of Uganda today with your dad!  It is his first car to own.  His motorcycle endorsement also allows him to drive a small car legally.  But, he has had no training.  If one has the money to purchase a driver's license he simply buys it.  Regardless of whether or not he has experience or training!  And, there is no driving test taken to prove that you have some level of skill in operating a car!

I'm a little nervous.  It will be a day of prayer!

I'm coupling this information with another piece of our lives.  Let me explain ...

You know Dad and I love to read books together.  God uses them to challenge and shape our lives by the many authors of good books.  And, we've often shared those books with you.  So, you know what I'm talking about ... The Insanity of  Obedience, Doing What Jesus Did, Called to Greatness.

Ezra
These authors continue to encourage us to keep giving our lives away ... to spend our lives on the things that matter most to us.  You three kids are definitely a part of the things that matter most to us.  That is why we plan our schedule to be home during the summer months.  No school. Long days.  Freedom from travel. Time to be together with you.

Someday, if the Lord tarries, you will understand this age that we are in.  I mean numerical age. Pushing 70.  It's obviously moving us closer to the end.  And, even if there are many years left in our lives, how many of those years will we be able to travel?  To live life like we are doing now?  And, still feel we are making an impact?

So, at this moment of our lives, we feel full of life.  Full of purpose.  Full of opportunity.  We are still very much willing to keep taking risks.  Not out of stupidity, but out of faith.  It's an amazing life that God has made for us here in a foreign county, with opportunity to have influence on another culture, and a new generation within that culture.

You know that we have always loved and cherished Family.  Although we didn't set out to make another family here, we have had relationships we have always treated in some regard as family ... as with Abdu, his family, and Jeff.

Chris
Right now, it seems God has given us these four African persons that we feel ... for different reasons ... would benefit in Kingdom ways by us giving ourselves to them as parents.  Obviously we aren't raising them as children or orphans from the village.  Their physical and material needs, even though they are great by American standards, are not our motivation.  We are looking at being purposeful, as we can be, in these formative years of them establishing themselves as adults.  And setting foundations in their lives that will greatly impact their futures, long after we are gone. Even though they may not have jobs, or live on their own, we are still able to live life with them and give them what they have not received from any family. These four have opened themselves up to us ... in their own unique ways ... to allow us to love them, correct them, teach them, train them, and give who we are to them without reservation.

We have no idea what impact our actions have, because we have never lived in a culture such as this.  But, we have been here long enough, and been told enough stories about the impact that we have already had (and stories about what little family means here) that we realize giving the gift of FAMILY is huge.  Just incredibly huge.  So much of what we take for granted in the West is not even a dream here.

So, what we are offering these four African kids is an opportunity to have FAMILY God's way.  They are each still single. Two are headed for marriage.  Probably soon.  Our hope and prayer is that they will take what we offer them and establish their own families in a much better way than how they were taught .... mostly by neglect and culture.

Ezra & Robert
You know that Dad and I have been saying we are "changing Uganda ... one person at a time."  This is one of the most intimate ways we can do that.  We know that we can't do this with everyone.  Not even everyone who would want the opportunity.  But, Dad and I feel that these four have all been coming to this place of intimacy in our lives so that it seems a natural step for us to take.

Rebecca's goal is to be trained in medicine and return to Uganda to help her own people. Robert's fiance has immigrated to Canada. He wants to get more education in the field of music.  He is currently in the process of immigrating either to Canada or the Unites States.  That has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with his love for Miriam and his desire to live in a safe place.  Ezra and Chris?  I'm not sure where God is taking them ... yet.

Dad and I are obviously supporting Rebecca.  We would like to help Robert get married and maybe get some additional schooling.  I'm not sure what that will look like.  We would also like to help Ezra and Chris become established in what God calls them to.  We are not promising anything physical or material to these kids.  Just our hearts and support as parents.

Of course we would love for all of you to know each other and support our efforts in loving each of you.  These kids here know we have children we gave birth to, raise, and have relationship with. There is no question on their part about that being natural.  But, the other side of that equation is the choice that each of you will have to make.  These Africa kids are not natural to us or to you.  But, we would like for you to choose them.  We would also love to have your influence in their lives.  We talk about the three of you to them a lot.  They know stories and our hearts for all of you.  No question. But, I guess the future is up to all of you.
Ezra, Rebecca, & Chris
We keep living our lives.  We didn't plan to keep having kids.  We planned for YOU to have kids.  It just seems to us that God has blessed us with the opportunity to keep loving kids, working to shape their lives to God and His Kingdom.  I suppose that there are many ways to go about that.  But, Dad and I have felt like taking this one more risk at giving what we have for His sake.

So ... at this age and at this time ... we feel full of life, adventure, and are not at all interested in retiring and living  at the beach (nothing wrong with the beach!).  We already see the temptation that old age brings: to be safe, comfortable, secure, etc.  In all of our lives we have never set that as a goal.  Never.  We would rather keep living life with this purpose.  No matter the risks.

All of that to say that Dad and I are probably more together in working and living together than ever. It's a very good thing.  And, we are enjoying it.  Just so you know.  You can't see it.  So, I get to tell you.

Love each of you very, very much,
Mom

15 comments:

  1. Sam started leaking. What a rich life you live....even with all the risk.

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    1. Thanks Karla. Pam and I miss you here in Uganda. Hope you are aware that March in Uganda is YOUR month!

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    1. No surprise here, Rebecca! She is, has been, and always will be YOUR FAVORITE! Thanks for loving your Mom like she loves you!

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  4. I absolutely love this post Pam. There are people all around us that desperately need unconditional family love. From the obvious, our own biological children, to wonderful people God brings into our lives. Jim and I have "adopted" people into our family for many years, and that has been a richness that nothing else can produce. Everyone can enjoy this opportunity if they are open, because......after all is said and done, we will be one giant family in our home to come. Why not get started here. Love you guys, and your hearts. Teri and Jim

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  5. Thanks Pam , I'm glad to get to hear your heart. So proud of both of you.You know your decision givs us four more great grandchildren. We are happy to add them to our list of thirty some. I think it's thirty five or 36. Good facetime with you just now . love you, Mom & Duke

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  7. I just lost everything I wrote because I forgot to click publish. It's after midnight so I can't do it over, but since we just facetimed you know how proud we are of you. We are happy to have 4 more great grandchildren to add to our 35 or 36. I can't keep count. :) Ha. so good to talk to you, love you, Mom & Duke

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    1. Mom ... your daughter comes from good "stock" ... I'm blessed to be her life partner and adventuring with her! We love you.

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  8. Tears kept running as I read this post. God bless Pam and Paul Hunter.

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  9. Tears kept running as I read this post. God bless Pam and Paul Hunter.

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