Bring Her Home

Here’s the real reason we’re adopting.

We believe with everything inside us that we all have the responsibility to help orphans. For us this takes on the action of adoption. For years we’ve felt that adoption was going to be in our story at some point. We prayed about it. Did our research. Started walking down the path. Every time God seemed to say, “Wait.” And now, after lots of prayer and some of what felt like searching in a fog, God seems to be giving us some pretty specific direction. And the first thing it seems God is teaching us is this: Adoption is not about you.

We just started a campaign to raise about $20,000 to help cover some of the costs associated with adopting a waiting baby, with special needs, internationally. To most of you, like me, this dollar amount seems high and somewhat unachievable if I’m just looking in my pockets. But that’s exactly what first enlightened me. That’s a lot for Kelley and me and regardless, we can’t do this alone. And I just don’t think that would be God’s plan, anyway. At first, I felt really embarrassed to ask you (some of you I haven’t even met yet), to give us money to meet this goal. But that’s because I was thinking wrong. I was thinking that this was about me. That you were giving me $20,000. But what I’m actually asking is for you to join us in doing something quite miraculous.

What you may not know is that this baby girl we’re bringing home is approaching sixteen months old at the time of this writing. She has Down syndrome, a common condition for many babies born (1 in every 691 babies, in fact). In the US, a child born with Down syndrome can live a full, beautiful, normal life well into her 60s. But for a baby in a rural orphanage with not enough caregivers or resources, this baby girl will likely not live past five years old. Our baby girl has medical needs that are somewhat routine here in the States and are generally affordable, especially with good healthcare options. She’ll need to have surgeries that aren’t available to her where she is. We’ve got to bring her home.

This is not about us. This is all about her. This dollar amount we’re targeting not only helps to bring her into our family, but it has the very real possibility of extending her life well into her senior years. We’ve got to bring her home. Our daughter is in another country on the other side of the world in need of medical care, in need of a family; a mommy to hold her at night when she’s scared, brothers and sisters to roll around on the floor with her and make her laugh just for the joy of hearing her laugh, in need of a daddy to snuggle with before bedtime or early in the morning before anyone else is awake. She has none of these. And without it she will die. Her life means more to her God than this. But it takes action. We must go to her and bring her home.

Hers is not the only story like this. There are 163 million more with their own stories waiting to be heard. Waiting to be loved. And this is another reason God seems to be saying to us, “Adoption is not about you.” I know with every fiber in my body that something in you stirs when you hear about children going to bed hungry, or scared, or lonely. You know in your core the injustice of this reality. According to one website, more than one-third of American have seriously considered adopting, but no more than two percent (2%) have actually followed through. It’s not surprising why. It can be daunting to look through all that will be required to adopt a baby. For some families, the wait can be as long as six years. Costs can exceed $40,000 in some situations. These stats can easily discourage a great majority of people. But please, if you’re reading this and have ever considered adoption, don’t let money or time or the fog of uncharted territory deter you. Thirty percent of people who’ve considered adoption have walked away from babies who will likely leave this earth not knowing the love of a family. This is a BIG deal. This breaks my heart. And this has so little to do with you and me.

Maybe you’re one of the more than thirty-three percent of Americans who’s considered adoption. Maybe you’re considering it now. Awesome! Talk to as many people as you can. Start building a network. Get going on raising your funds. Share your story and bring that baby home. Some of you might be reading this and you’re not sure adoption is right for you. Who knows… maybe it’s not. Maybe the timing is all wrong. Maybe it’s something else. Whatever the case, you’re not off the hook. You can help care for orphans. It takes a lot of energy, a ton of networking, and a good chunk of funding to help adoptive parents bring home their babies. Jump in and help out. Find an adoption to support, share a story with your networks, help out with bake sales, yard sales, Etsy stores, website creation, project management, auctions, car washes, raffles, special events, ad nauseum. Get out there and help bring this baby home. There’s a family waiting for her and in most cases, the only barrier that persists is funding. Don’t let that be the case.

via Bring Her Home | Adoption, Family | NICHOLS PARTY OF SIX.


Live Generously

A problem currently exists in American churches that we as spiritual leaders need to address. As a whole, American congregations (of which we are classified) are not generous. Let’s look at some facts.

Christians are giving at a 2.5% per capita or tithe. During the Great Depression, they gave at a 3.3% rate. Today, 33-50% of church members, those who claim they have bought in at a deep level to the ministry of their local church, give nothing.

If we were able to see people increase their giving from 2.5% to 10% of their annual income, an additional $165 billion would flow into the Kingdom. To show the global impact those resources could make, consider the following:

$25 billion would relieve global hunger, starvation, and deaths from preventable diseases in 5 years.
$12 billion would eliminate illiteracy in 5 years.
$15 billion would solve the world’s water and sanitation issues, specifically at places in the world where 1 billion people live on less than $1 per day.
$1 billion would fully fund the Great Commission.
$100 – $110 billion would still be left over for additional ministry expansion.
These statistics were provided by

Here are some possible characteristics of a generous church. Do you agree with these statements?

A Generous Church:

is broken about the condition of those around them and has a vision of what financial resources could do to bring aid to the hurting and suffering.
celebrates generosity.
is unapologetic about asking for resources. It understands that ministry costs money, and the more money you have, the more impact you can make.
is well-funded and therefore, able to focus on the under-resourced, hurting, orphaned, poor, and those in need rather than giving so much energy to ministry maintenance.
is on a quest to serve those around them. Too much of Swain Co. and surrounding areas live below the poverty line. This is unacceptable to the Generous Church.
values partnerships with other organizations like LoveBryson, Samaritans Purse and Bridge of Hope to make the greatest impact in our communities and around the world.
isn’t afraid of the “Big Ask.” Giving and serving aren’t bad words in a Generous Church and the people of a Generous Church aren’t afraid to answer the call.
knows its community and knows how to utilize resources effectively to bring a solution to the problems.
creatively allows its people to participate in generosity.
has many avenues for financial contributions. There is no shortage of opportunity or mechanism for giving at the Grove. Obviously, giving on Sundays during regular worship gatherings is an easy way. But the Grove also offers online giving, automatic pre-authorized bank draft and mobile transactions. There are actually members of our team who can process contributions directly to the Grove on their mobile devices. Try it. Next time you see Jeff or Randall around town, offer to make a donation right then and there. It’s painless and the receipt is texted to your phone or can be emailed to you on the spot. Pretty cool.
recognizes that it takes all of us working corporately together. Together we make a difference.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these points.

What would it be like to see global hunger erased; every person on the planet drinking clean water; missionaries around the globe fully funded as together, we fulfill the Great Commission and ministries all over the world begin growing at record rates? This is so within reach. But it won’t happen on our current 2.5% giving. Do you believe in living generously? As people, we are wired to act on what we believe. If we say we believe something and do nothing, is it really a belief or simply a nice idea?

I’ve been reading Bonhoeffer lately. Two things spring to mind as I wrap this entry. He says (to the effect), “The ultimate test of a moral society [like the Church] is the kind of world it leaves to its children. We do not very naturally realize that we have been given so much more than we give. But we cannot be rich without gratitude.” More famously he wrote, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

So again, do you believe in giving and living generously? Do you believe it’s important to obey God? Bonhoeffer states, “Only the obedient believe.” Your money is going somewhere.

If you believe it, do something with it that will make an impact.

Live Generously.