Wednesday, January 12, 2011
JANUARY 2011 PRAYER LETTER
Dear Praying Friends,
We hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas, and we wish you a very happy New Year! This holiday season has been a blessed one for us for one extremely special reason. The Lord has seen fit to add to our family. A few days before Thanksgiving, after having delayed our return to Zambia because of a few necessary medical tests, my wife noticed a rather unusual post on Facebook from a friend and fellow missionary in Zambia. Joe and Tammy Haden, who live in our town, had found an abandoned baby outside their fence. Unbeknownst to my wife, I asked God to let the Hadens contact us if He wanted us to adopt this four- to six-week old baby boy. Preetika and I have considered and prayed about adopting a Zambian child for the past three years. The process always seemed rather daunting, and we were overwhelmed with thoughts of where to begin. Incidentally, I had been told in my research of Zambian adoption that a prospective adoptive parent had to have a targeted child in mind before beginning the process. Our purpose in considering adoption was not only to fulfill our desire of parenting but also to care for a child truly in need. Though there are plenty of orphans in Zambia, most are cared for by their extended family members. While this can often lead to mistreatment and a “Cinderella” syndrome for the orphaned children, it is the typical way of handling this common situation in Africa. So we planned on visiting some of the orphanages in our country on several occasions; but each time God closed the door, and our plans for a visit fell through for some reason or other. We are now convinced that He already had His plan set in motion. And when God does something, He does it right!
Now that you have been brought up to speed on God’s pre-workings in our hearts regarding what He is shortly to bring to pass, this is where the story really gets good. The next day after hearing about the baby (and praying for God’s will to be known) was a Sunday. While returning from church that afternoon with my wife and her parents, Preetika checked her Facebook page on our cell phone. She was sitting in the backseat, and I was driving. When we arrived home, she came to me with tears in her eyes, looking like she was about to burst with excitement. When I asked what was the matter, she replied that Ms. Tammy had sent her a message asking if we would be interested in adopting Elijah, the abandoned baby’s name given by default by Ms. Tammy. (For the complete story about his name, please see our website, www.warnersinzambia.blogspot.com.) I told Preetika that the Lord had answered my prayer, and we replied that we were VERY interested in adopting Him. Within one week, the Hadens had been court-appointed as his foster parents until he turned 19 or was adopted. We laughed about that “until age 19” clause since Bro. Joe and Ms. Tammy are doting grandparents expecting their 13th grandchild in a few months (actually that unborn grandchild has been pushed to number 14 now that Elijah has entered their life!). Over the next two weeks, Preetika and I frantically prepared for a new baby in our house—from 10,000 miles away. We praise God for the tremendous support, encouragement, and help in preparing for Elijah from our family and Foothill Baptist Church family, my wife’s home church.
We traveled to Zambia with at least 150 pounds of baby gear in tow. It especially attracted a lot of attention to be carrying a baby car seat with no baby in it. Several times we were asked if we had mistakenly left our child behind somewhere. We didn’t mind the questions, but I just imagine all those that thought the same thing but didn’t ask. I am sure there are dozens of people from Los Angeles to London to Johannesburg, South Africa, who think we are the most careless parents alive. At any rate, the anomaly of the situation allowed us to share Elijah’s story several times over the journey. Preetika and I have decided to work on a tract or pamphlet tying in the message of God’s adoption of sinners into His family through Christ with our own adoption of Elijah to prepare for the questions that we will undoubtedly field regarding our multicultural family over the years. Since our arrival in Zambia, we have spent much time with Elijah at Nonna and Granddaddy Haden’s house. We have met with Mr. Kawana, the social worker handling our case, and he has encouraged us with his effort and concern to push Elijah’s adoption through the system. He also enabled us to have the unspeakable gift of having Elijah in our home over the Christmas weekend! We have been assured that Elijah should come for good to our home in the first or second week of January as we take over the fostering of him while waiting for the adoption to be finalized. Please be in prayer that God will open doors and allow the paperwork to be completed soon. We are trusting God and have been amazed at His working in this situation. Many times through the last couple of weeks, we have remarked that things are just going too smoothly—nothing is this easy in Zambia. We can’t go to the store and buy groceries as easily as things have worked so far in this process! While we don’t completely expect smooth sailing, we know God is in control, and He opens doors no man can shut! For more on Elijah’s story including pictures, you can find my wife on Facebook or check out our website. Thanks as always for your prayers.
“God setteth the solitary in families….” (Psalm 68:6) Praise God He does!
In His service,
Justin & Preetika Warner