My cousin's son who is a photography major has been visiting with us for a week, and we had the opportunity to take Olivia to a friend's photography studio and practice his photography skills one day last week. (Thank you, Debbie.)
Olivia hasn't been feeling very well for a while now, and this was her first outing in about five days so it was just good to get her out of the house doing "something fun." Out of all of the pictures, this might be my favorite.
Olivia is such an "American girl" now that seeing her in somewhat "Indian" attire makes me smile.
I remember when Olivia was about four, I was in the kitchen with her one day and she looked at me very seriously and said, "Mommy, when I grow up I'm going to go back to India and tell people about God, and Jesus, and Spirit."
And then, without missing a beat, she added this deep question,
"What is Spirit?"
It was all I could do not to laugh. This sweet little four-year old girl was dreaming of helping her people learn about Jesus long before she really understood just how badly they needed Him.
I remember thinking, '"I don't ever want to forget this moment."
When we visited India last spring and witnessed firsthand the worshipping of so many different false gods, I realized for the first time just how much Olivia's life had truly been changed by becoming a part of a Christian family.
When I saw an Indian mom crying as she lowered her baby's head onto a dirty, concrete slab in front of their "god of death," as if she were begging the god to somehow save her child, my heart broke.
When I saw shrine after shrine lining every road we traveled on, covered in trinkets and silk flowers that had been left by poverty-stricken Indians who were trying to appease this god or that, I felt powerless.
Here I am, a 44 year-old woman who knows so much more than Olivia could have ever known at the age of 4, and what am I doing to help India????? This question haunts me over and over again.
I feel that it is time to share a dream I have with all of you. This dream started as I thought of India and our own Olivia's journey.
See, Olivia's middle name is Faith, and she is definitely a girl of great faith. Her journey in this world started when she was found by a policeman after being dropped off a bridge in a small village in southern India at just a few days of age. From there, she spent 6 weeks in a nearby hospital and then was moved to an orphanage.
Her journey took a very different turn a year and a half later when she flew here to American with Tim who had gone to pick her up from a world where she had already begun chanting praises to false gods during regular ceremonies within her orphanage walls.
Since being a part of our family, her journey as "Olivia Faith" has truly been a journey of faith in so many ways.
Olivia's journey has known cancer from the time she was four - watching her buddy and big brother Nick begin his own tough journey at the young age of 7.
Olivia's journey has known the joy of being baptized into the family of God. I remember when she decided that she was ready to give her life to Him..she was so determined and so happy. She cried tears of joy as Tim shared with the church that she had decided to accept Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior.....her little head barely peeking over the baptistry as Tim spoke.
Olivia's journey already includes deep grief. She misses Nick so much. Only with a strong faith in Heaven has she been able to regain her smile and joy.
Olivia's journey has embraced Nick's foundation, and she longs to play an active role in its ministry.
I think the fears over the past few days regarding Olivia's health have been a catalyst in awakening within me this dream I have had for some time.
I realize daily that millions in India need to know about God, Jesus, and "Spirit." (The Holy Spirit!) How can I and how can you help these people?
Well, here's my dream:
Olivia "Faith" has a journey.
At the same time, each of us are on our own journey of faith.
So, my dream is called "FAITH'S JOURNEY."
Olivia Faith's Journey......
Your Faith's Journey......
My Faith's Journey........
If you are willing to join me and Olivia on this journey, I am asking that you please consider cleaning out your drawers, closets, sheds, and garages. Then save all of your items for an opportunity to join in a nationwide yard sale month for Mid-India Christian Mission. I am going to have posters made through Nick's Foundation so that you can print them out online. These "Faith's Journey" posters will tell about the work in Mid-India and explain how our yard sales will help the people there learn about the love of God. You can decide if you want to give all or part of your yard sales' profits to the mission work. I will give you the address for Mid-India's forwarding agent so that your donations will go directly to them. I'm hoping that everyone will take pictures at their yard sale and send them to me so that we can put together a power point to share on YouTube...the power of Faith's Journey.
I am praying that we can raise at least $50,000 for the Mid-India Christian Mission Orphanage. Just imagine the hundreds of kids who would then be better equipped to share the love of Jesus with their country. By stepping out in faith that God will use our time, energy, and money in ways we never dreamed possible (much like the Bible story of the boys' fish and bread that fed thousands), I believe we will begin a journey in our faith that is life-changing. Who knows? This project may begin reaching a different country every year!!!
Please pray for the people of India and start cleaning now!!!
By mid-August we sh ould be ready to launch
I believe we will all be blessed as we step out in faith, willing to give so that others can know God's love.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Thankful for a God who stretches me to the point of waking up to His dreams,