Marriage

We’re Officially Homeowners

If you were to ask us 1 or 2 years ago if we thought there could be a chance we would be homeowners, the answer would be no. If you asked us 3-4 years ago, the answer would be “How? We can’t afford it.”

After 5 years of marriage, we packed what little we had and drove to Minnesota to start a new life. Nothing was fully developed or written in details. We had jobs, a shelter and a few plans- that’s it.

Almost one year since moving to MN, we’re moving again. This time to a home that we own by the grace and benevolent hand of God.

This is our story, this is our song.

November 26, 2016- Surrendering over coffee
Exactly 8 months after arriving in MN, JP invited me to meet a realtor that specializes in Bloomington. My heart wasn’t fully on board to purchase a house because it meant our finances that were saved for adoption, were being redirected. It felt as if we were aborting the plans of Minnesota for another, and that, was where my feet were unwilling to move.

I wasn’t sure what to expect and being the first time for us, we didn’t fully know what questions to ask. It seemed quite daunting to be here alone in MN. I thought to myself, “If we were still in CA, we would know who to email or call.. but here, we don’t know anybody.” It was at this meeting that I realized where JP was coming from with purchasing the house. The interest rate was favorable for us to purchase with a forecast that it would increase in the near future. I thought,

“Ok, Lord. I’m not on board with this but if You’re leading us to buy a home, then make it clear and lead the way.” 

We sat over coffee talking about what we’re looking for and what kind of timeline we should prepare since it was the holiday season which means the market is “hibernating”. Our rental lease would end right before April so we had to be on time.We decided on house hunting the first week of December.

December 4, 2016- Round 1
We saw a few houses and the more we viewed we began to formulate an idea of what this ideal home should look like. Having an experienced realtor in the area we were interested in, was a provision from God. Questions were answered and stuff we never considered important- she helped us understand why they were important. Some houses looked great but there was always something missing, an important factor, important enough to not set aside. We didn’t want to feel rushed or pressured but I knew my heart felt rushed which led me to approach this like a chore. A hassle, hard and laborious so I found myself mentally negotiating on negotiables and wanting to settle on a house-just to get the process over with.

December 23,2016-Round 2

After having some much needed CA friends over for the coldest winter day of 2016, we were back at it again. Of the house we viewed that day, one caught our eyes.

  • The Master bedroom and 2nd room were both located on the same floor and right next to each other. (This was for Benaiah)
  • The 3rd bedroom was located on the lower level. (For guests or future housemates)
  • The living room and kitchen had an open feel.
  • Two car garage
  • Driveway parking was a “U” or half circle so guests/housemates could park.
  • The backyard & view: So serene and relaxing.

This home was being sold by a Chiropractic school located across the street and was used to house speakers or hold meetings. It was fully furnished and was being sold as is. This was appealing to us Californians who lived spaces that were 700 sqft or less- we wouldn’t be able to purchase all the furniture (bed frames, couches, dining table, etc) to fill the house. Another provisional blessing from God.

We both had a good feeling about the house and the question was:

“Do we want to put in an offer?”

PROS:

  • Not much competition since the market was still in “hibernation”
  • We like the house a lot more than the ones we’ve seen prior.
  • If it works out, we can rest assure that we’re done.

CONS:

  • What if we put in an offer and a better home shows up?
  • It’s a bit early in the timeline given that we are avoiding double payments and our lease is up in end of March.

We decided it was semi early enough to put an offer in and depending on the seller’s response, we can continue searching without losing too much time. We met back at 3pm to sign some documents and we were done. We put an offer on a house. We went slightly lower than what was listed and specifically asked for a closing date in the middle of March.  Now we entered the waiting room. The tricky part was that Christmas was right around the corner so who knew when we would hear back from the school.

I remember JP and I both being in this “numb” phase. We didn’t wake up determined to put an offer in today. We expected a few more rounds but everything happened so quickly. I even had thoughts that this offer wouldn’t work and we would be back on the market looking for the next potential home.

Christmas passed peacefully in the Park family

December 26, 2016- The Counter

We received an email we were not expecting. The Board was interested and countered our offer. Closing in March wasn’t an issue. (Karissa, our realtor shared that the seller’s agent even asked if we wanted to put a date that far out–it was not common nor beneficial for the seller) We decided to move forward and sign on the counter. At this point, it had not occurred that we were buying a house. It just felt like another lease being signed. While others were excited for us to sign, something wasn’t clicking in me.

” Are you not excited? We’re buying a home…”

I felt bad towards JP because as his wife, I wasn’t on the same page to celebrate and I couldn’t figure out why. I just felt numb towards the entire process. I would ask God,

“What’s wrong with me, God? Is there something not right in my heart? Why am I not excited for this house?”

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(This is my rough draft of understanding the why: my heart was hardened with a straight/narrow plan that had no room to take any turns whatsoever in Minnesota. Our goal and purpose of leaving everything behind in California was school and adoption. To buy a house was not on the plan and I took it as:

“We’re not on track. We’re losing focus. I didn’t leave family and friends to sidetrack. If I’m going to be lonely out here, then at least we should do what we were supposed to do.”

Loneliness had a vice grip on my heart. Here’s how He showed me: Back in January, when I was still at VStar, I finally started opening up about our house plans. What triggered excitement was when I struck a conversation with a few other homeowners, moms, and wives. Seeing their excitement and hearing their feedback helped me realize that buying a house WAS a big deal. Mental knowledge wasn’t enough for me. I was a creature of emotions and interactions and the very lack of that caused this desensitizing inability to gauge big things like this. Not having people to run ideas and just do life with in Minnesota aka not having friends/fellowship/community, was “killing” my senses. 

I drove back home that day having a fresh awareness of this huge milestone in life. It wasn’t as near as JP’s excitement but something was planted and growing. I still believe that I’m the type that won’t celebrate during the process and will go all out to celebrate when it’s all said and done. 

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I’m not saying this process was perfect. It wasn’t. Throw in the timing of me starting a new job- it caused a delay in our closing to the end of March. It is the grace of God that helped us not be anxious and trust God’s sovereignty and faithfulness. If He has brought us this far, then how can we doubt?

This morning’s closing went smoothly and as we both returned to our new home, this time with an extra key on our keyring…it slowly sank in. This is ours to use, to live in, to raise a family, to fellowship, to worship, to share with others, to exercise hospitality with, to honor God with. What a huge call. And you know what? He has led us to a schedule of doing just that. Praise God we have a BCS student who will move in with us in May. We have a returning Californian visiting us in May and we’re housing a longtime ministry guest as they’re visiting MN in June.

I told JP today that I think God had plans for us to buy this house and share this house. To purchase it in the state that it was- furnished (like a hotel) and stocked with everything we would need (cleaning supplies, dish sets, brand new blenders, place mats and diningware, plenty of chairs and furnished bedrooms) if we had to house somebody today. There was no excuse for us not to house somebody, today.

With that weighing on our hearts, here’s to Day 1 of being an official homeowner. Our prayer remains the same:

“Thank you Lord for this blessing. Lord, establish and bring order to our steps. Help us in being a good steward of this blessing You’ve given us.”

 

 

 

 

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Green Light Green Light Green Light

SHUTTERSTOCK

SHUTTERSTOCK

I can’t believe it’s only been 2 days since our dinner with the Lee family. Last night was a pretty high energy “get stuff done” type of night. We’ve been working on getting the application finalized like finding our tax returns, getting documents ready to get notarized etc etc. Our 1st phone conference call with our social worker Ann, was scheduled for 10AM today.

As I walked to my car this morning I just kept asking God, “What should I ask God? Please fill our minds with wisdom and understanding of all the information that will be presented to us.” Even though my mind was focused this morning, as soon as I walked into the office it was chaotic. I came in and before I knew it, it was 9:53am.

Oh man! Get this document finalized.

9:58am. Double check the conference call line and access code.Quickly jotted it down on a post it note and notified the office that I’ll be away for an hour. I thought my heart was going to burst from nervousness. We were finally connected and I kept thinking,

“I can’t believe we’re having this phone call. I cannot believe this is actually happening”

Ann gave a brief outline of what to expect for our homestudy and what to expect after the homestudy. Sounded great. $2,900.00 …no big deal. 6 months to prepare the paperwork? Let’s do it. I was on cloud 9- Sold to the future of adoption. Never took notes this enthusiastically since….FIRST time I took notes this enthusiastically. Ann: “Any questions so far?”

JP: ” So we’re planning on moving to Minnesota in May. Will that cause any issues in our process to adopt?”

Ann: “Oh,  no you, you can’t adopt if you’re moving to Minnesota. Holt Korea doesn’t work with adoptions in non-branch states.”

I couldn’t believe what I just heard. “You can’t adopt.” ” You can’t adopt.” “YOU CAN’T ADOPT” It took me a few seconds to figure out what just happened. I could hear JP give a soft ” really…hmm” I mean what else could we say that to that? But on the website it was clear on Korea’s requirements that they would allow adoption in Holt Branch states which included CA as well as non-Holt branch states which listed MN. In their FAQ they even mentioned that Holt Korea would be open to allowing Korean-American couples to adopt in non-Holt branch states.

“Surely, this can’t be it. It can’t just end here.”

Ann encouraged us to stop the process here because if we paid the homestudy fees and moved to MN, our final report would not be valid because every state has different regulations. She didn’t want to have us just “absorb” the cost. And if Holt Korea won’t work with Minnesota then we might as well cancel our application and start fresh with an agency in Minnesota that works with Korea.

We asked Ann if she could contact Holt Korea and ask them if they would have any affiliated agencies in MN or if they would consider working with us because we are Korean-American. Bless her heart though, she offered to refund our application fee since we wouldn’t be able to proceed. I could care of the money. If anything I kinda wanted them to take it. I wanted to force it and say NO LET US ADOPT. PLEAAASE.

The plan was she would contact Korea and see if there were any options. In the meantime she asked that we talk about it over the weekend and let her know. And right there, the phone call that was suppose to take an hour, ended at 20 minutes.

JP quickly called me after the phone call and we spoke for the remaining hour just sharing our initial thoughts and emotions. JP’s initial thought was to change our plans and move earlier to MN–like THIS YEAR– to restart or continue the adoption process. I heard what he was sharing but my mind kept rejecting all ideas. I really couldn’t believe the door was closed on us that quickly. We barely got our feet wet. We haven’t even gotten matched. It’s not even finances that’s causing the issue.

“Lord, how could this be?!?!”

At this point, questions started forming.

  1. If JP doesn’t get into Bethlehem, then do we still want to move to MN?
  2. What if God is asking us to stay in California and receive the child first and then move?
  3. What if God is asking us to stay in California and go to China?

My mind was going 100mph. This straight path we were on suddenly got wiped clean of all dates and locations. It seemed like the one path we trusted was splitting into 10 different directions and asking us to choose one. Choose one. That seemed so impossible. By the time my 1 hour break ended, I asked JP if we could pray before I went back into the office. There was nothing more that I wanted at the time but to ask God to make things clear. To help our confusion and bring understanding to all of this. To help us to trust Him even when things don’t make sense. To let our emotions or lack of understanding lead us to a place of fear and doubt. Oh my heart was desperate for God.

I think I walked back into the office in a daze. Slowly and carefully. I sat at my desk and opened my email and to my surprise, Ann had replied back. It was 14 minutes ago.

What in the world just happened?

What in the world just happened?

Dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say or do. Another door opened. Another confirmation. Another prayer answered.

There was so much to process and share between the two of us. JP’s thoughts. My thoughts. What are God’s thoughts. We went out for dinner and our conversation was leading us to daydream about this boy coming home. How could we move this process along? The desire to adopt was growing bigger and bigger as each day passed. There were these comfortable silent moments where I knew we were just trying to process all that had happened today. What a roller coaster ride of emotions and what an awesome experience of seeing God open doors that we thought were closed.

IMG_20150918_183658

Telling his BFF Theo “I”ll TTYL”

IMG_20150918_183738One of the most memorable things JP said that night,

“When I imagine my son running around in an open grass area, it makes me really happy.”

We have some options of moving earlier to MN or moving as scheduled. Praying and seeking God’s direction in all of this. Do we move now before the harsh winter hits and continue the adoption process? Do we wait until the winter passes and then move. It’s 6 months. Seems like such a painfully long period to wait and pass. I think one thing we both agreed upon is the fact that MN would be a better state to raise a child in than CA.

So now, we pray. We look into MN. Pray & watch is our theme for our marriage.

Could this be an answered prayer?

Monday morning. Another battle through the week. I began praying and asking God to reveal to us His heart for us about adoption. I really don’t know how to pray about this other than the simple question. I guess if He says “YES” then the prayers can become more and more specific. Today’s LJ reading struck my heart from the 1st reading out of the 4.

Jeremiah 33: 3
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

I highlighted that verse with the quickness and latched on for the rest of the day. Today the ladies in BUILD to prayed for us and asked God alongside with us. So here’s today’s log of this journey.

This morning after BUILD prayed in our Kakao chat, I received an email from JP. He cc’d me onto an email he sent to a former Pathway member, Kevin. I was surprised again at how JP initiated to contact Kevin.

Hey, 
I heard from Jennard that your family will be adopting a Korean child! Congrats! 
Judy and I are looking into adopting and when I heard that you are already in the process I wanted to get some information/tip/advice from you. There are so much info out there on internet but I am just so at lost I don’t even know how to go about taking that first step. 
If you could let me know process logistics and how you went about it, that would be awesome. 
Thanks Kevin! 

Sent 12:34am Monday.

Kevin was so excited and eager to speak with us about adoption. The family actually planned to visit San Jose early in September so we’re hoping to meet with them over dinner to talk more in person.

Thank you Lord.

Later in the morning  another sister from church offered to introduce us to another couple who adopted as well. It wasn’t until then that I  appreciated (even more) the email and connection that God provided. My husband and I are very opposite which isn’t a bad thing IMO. We’re just wired differently and approach people/life/circumstances differently. As his girlfriend to wife for the past 6-7 years, I have grown to understand that JP likes to do his homework/research on anything he needs to make an important decision on. Laptops, used cars, our new home, credit cards etc. He’s very meticulous and makes an informed decision every single time which I really appreciate and admire about him. But, I think it’s one thing when you research online and get information from a machine and it’s an entirely different experience to get that information from humans.

I can see God knew that all along and provided that lead to Kevin for JP.

  • To provide a connection already established with us-It would make it easier for JP (and I) to share and talk about our struggles and so-far thought process.
  • They are still in the process – They just finished submitting their preliminary papers and are waiting for their match. Still currently involved but a few steps ahead of the journey.
  • They’re scheduled to visit San Jose in a few weeks– Instead of emails and phone calls we can meet in person and pray in person as well.

He knows and He is mindful. What a loving and good God.

And so it begins…

Last night was an evening of partial weeping and partial curiosity. Curiosity and weeping are two very different emotions/actions to have going on in your heart and head.

South Bay Church’s “Breathe” event was not what I expected. Their 2nd event’s theme: “The Warrior Within”. Perhaps I had different expectations from what their purpose was or maybe I had high expectations but I sat there in the first hour thinking, “Oh God….was this a mistake? A mistake to bring the CG to an event like this?” I couldn’t tell if I was in a club or not. Walked into the front lobby and music I would never imagine being played in a church gathering (not building) was blasting with the DJ in the corner, temporary tattoo stations, a snack bar and photo booth with backdrops made it feel like I walked into a Sephora makeup expo.

I felt tremendously uncomfortable and unsure of what to expect if I went further into the building.

Further into the building–into the area of worship they had these huge drums to fit their tribal/warrior theme. Their opening felt like some kind of opening to an entertainment show you’d find maybe in Vegas or New York. Lots of distractions. No prayer. They kept referring to this “inner strength”, “The warrior within us” which I later realized—they were referring to the Holy Spirit. So my question was, “Why not call it as He is?” I’ve never heard of the HOly Spirit named a “warrior”. I started to thinking, “Oh man…should I go into full regret mode of having these ladies come out to an event like this?”

The first speaker came and did a tabletalk with the “MC”. She shared her story on their family’s 3 year journey to bring home a young girl from India. Of course, my ears perked but my heart remained still. JP and I have talked many times about adoption and the topic has been popping up randomly and more often than before. Deep in my heart I feel a sense of willingness to try. Maybe it’s the optimistic -glass half full perspective I have. But JP has been more on the opposite end of the spectrum. His concerns for the cost of adoption is always hovering his head as the provider of our family. Of course having school loans and future school costs with moving plans doesn’t really make adoption an “attractive” path to walk into.

Her story was interesting. 3 years filled with ups and life rocking downs. Rejection after rejection after rejection. The MC chimed in. “For those who cannot relate, being rejected is similar to the feeling of a miscarriage. You anticipate and hope for this child to become yours and all of the sudden, when it doesn’t happen, it’s absolutely heartbreaking.”

My heart winced at the thought.

“Would it be that painful? Would I respond like that? I mean…if it’ snot meant to be then it’s not meant to be right?” (Moving on..)

When Lisa Chan came to the stage, I felt like I was breathing a huge gulp of fresh pure oxygen. It wasn’t one of those real “woah” moments where you felt like the message was custom tailored by God just for your heart and your life’s current circumstances. Her prayer for us that night was Ephesians 3:14-19

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of this glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

She brought it back to the basic of who God is and His promises for us. I loved how she shared her love for the good ole days when weddings had the fruit punch fountain at the reception. It would continue to overflow and overflow. Take your cup, place it under the flowing stream, fill your cup and take it back with you. If the cup goes dry then you just need to go back and refill. That fear is not of God. Fear is what misleads us away from experiencing the promises of God, the power of God, the love of God…

True.

I was reminded of the time when JP and I began to talk about the possibilities of adoption. The first statements that came out were:

“Where are we gonna find the money to afford adoption?”

Lisa was encouraging all ladies that when we’re faced with above and beyond circumstances and above and beyond callings—to not ask questions that are based on us and the circumstances/calling but to ask questions that are based on God.

“God, are you asking me..are you asking us to ____________________?”

Little did I know that God planted a seed in my heart. For the rest of the evening, my mind was still distracted by the “show” but my heart felt different. I didn’t share anything with Julie or the ladies in the CG just because 1. I didn’t want to say something prematurely and 2. Cause a ruckus when it was probably nothing ( to me)

But the next morning, I felt this desire to ask JP if we could actively pray and ask God the same question:

“God, are you asking us to adopt?”

(About 1-2 weeks prior to the event, I began praying on my own in the morning. Back in July I met an old friend who had adopted a child from China and our entire time together was just about his journey and process as a family. I stored that conversation away in my heart and didn’t mention it to JP. I couldn’t deny these hints and unexpected “reminders” about adoption. Since I wasn’t sure, I had to pray and ask God to make it clear to me. Nothing fancy or grand. Just praying as I got ready in the morning. “Lord, this desire to adopt is growing in me and I see things in my life that remind me or adoption or point me to adoption. Please, if this is of you God, please bring that confirmation and desire in JP’s heart as well.” )

Of course, I hesitated. Hesitated because I was not sure how JP would respond. Did I want to hear what I assumed JP would say? I know he initiated an email regarding adoption before (to my shock) but if I keep nudging would he feel pressured and push back? Would he get frustrated that I don’t seem to understand the reality of finances? Will it drive him even further away from the idea of adoption?

I sat at my desk contemplating. I opened a browser and typed in “Holt International”. The week of the event, JP and I watched Infinity Challenge and there was a short scene where they visited an adoption agency in Korea. It was an emotional episode so I didn’t see that scene as something worth hiding in my heart to ponder. As I browsed the site, I was encouraged to see that it was a “Christian” organization and historically well established. I clicked on the countries to see how Holt is working in the lives of the children and sadly, I couldn’t find many referrals or profiles available for viewing. Lastly, I clicked on the Cost tab. The costs were being listed and described. 3 digits–“hmm not bad” 4 digits—“hmm okaaaay.” and then at last the big whopper came up. 5 digits. Minimum $15k to $22500K. For some reason, though I knew in my head of these numbers, my heart took a step back.

“Wow…we don’t have this money right now. How is this gonna even work?”

It was fear. Fear creeping up on my heart. I could feel it and before it consumed my emotions and thoughts I quickly closed the browser and grabbed my phone to text JP. I don’t know what got into me but I had to just ask JP about praying. I just wanted to get it over with and get this burden to ask, off my shoulders. I didn’t want fear to be the one that closes the door on me. I wanted God to the one. In some ways, I want to believe God knew that fear would chase me. Chase me back into His arms and look to Him alone for the answers.

The actual conversation..

The actual conversation..

There is no one word to describe the emotion I was feeling. Shock + fear + gratitude + awe + “OMG” goosebumps + that feeling of “I don’t deserve this.”. I teared up trying to figure out what the heck just happened. I never told him I was looking at Holt International. Didn’t mention a thing to JP even after watching Infinity Challenge. Clearly, God was working and doing something in his heart all throughout this time. What a miracle. I had to share with the ladies in BUILD. OH the support and encouragement that flowed. So grateful I have a community to share and pray together with!

I don’t think God was done with just that for that day. During lunch I had scheduled our usual Taka ramen date with Yinyee. She isn’t a believer but her belief in God has grown to curiosity and dependency as she has been asking me to pray with her about certain situations in her life. I had no idea that a simple lunch conversation to share what God did that morning would turn into a tearfest at lunch. I guess I needed to process and “talk out loud”, all these different emotions and thoughts came to mind. I was hopeful, excited, anxious, nervous. The other wave of emotions would be doubt, afraid to get hurt or disappointed, disbelief, insecurity. Tears formed again as I felt so overwhelmed with every good/bad emotion I could feel. I opened up to Yinyee and she was amazed at how God works. She got goosebumps at the very fact that JP and I both were thinking of the same agency though we did not communicate anything about adoption for the past few weeks. I praise God in my heart as she responded to my testimony.

“Lord, even if the answer to our prayer was “No” and there was no confirmation going forward for adoption, if all this happened so I could have this heart to heart talk with Yinyee and she too would be amazed at you God, I would be grateful and content God.”

Our lunch continued with further sharing and though Yinyee may not realize it, she shared her testimony of how God answered our 1st prayer together regarding her family situation. How life would have been so different if it wasn’t for God answering that prayer. Our walk back to the office ended with a time prayer for her family again.

“Thank you Lord for this wonderful and amazing opportunity.”

I really don’t know where God will lead or say to answer our prayers. I don’t know how I will handle whatever answer. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and be disappointed or hurt so one day at a time is what I keep telling myself in the morning. He keeps dropping breadcrumbs for us and that’s about all we can handle until we see the next one.

The Children of the Park family

Most of our friends know that Kitler was our 1st “kid” or member that was added to the Park family. She came without an invitation 1 month after we were married. Clearly wasn’t planned as we were in agreement to wait a year before having kids. God had other plans for our marriage as we passed our 3rd anniversary this past May. Though we do not have children of our own, we were able to sponsor two children through Compassion International

We’d love to introduce our children to you like any other parents would. We’d love to share how much joy their letters and pictures have brought us.

Our 1st child: Avala Nikhil Kumar aka Nikhil

Age: 10  Location: India

We’ve had him 2009 and when we initially were looking for a child to sponsor, JP specifically wanted me to search for the “runt of the litter”. The least likely to be sponsored. Kinda like how you go to a shelter and most folks look at the outer appearance- how cute is the puppy or kitten. Based on that they will choose to take them home. It’s easy to get caught up in that. So it was hard for me to turn that filter off.

One of my sweetest moments with Nikhil was when we received a letter and a portion of the area was left where he could write on. He shared with me in his own handwriting “Three Blind Mice” Because of the language barriers, the children have translators to write and read letters. Seeing his own handwriting on this letter moved me. Even if it was “Three Blind Mice” I love all of his drawings that he sends us. He shared how he won 1st place in a “Egg on spoon” competition race. Love it.

Our 2nd child: Debora  Guetawende Elodie Ouedraogo aka Debora

Age: 9   Location: Burkina Faso (Say what? Yeah, we had to research and read up on this unknown place)

Our little Bee

Our little Bee

What makes it so special to receive these photos is that when we first saw them on Compassion’s website, it was hard to get a picture with their smile on it. But as years passed, to see them grow, transform and even smile. It’s a wonderful visual blessing for our hearts.  So..the big questions for us we’d like to answer is, “Why do we love Compassion International?” “Why Compassion and not World Vision?”

1. Compassion works through the local church ( Just like Samaritan’s Purse- another organization I will be an advocate for  )

The local church is the body of believers. Once a child is sponsored, the local church in that area team up to ensure that health care, proper nutrition, and education is provided as well as an opportunity to respond to the Gospel. Every employee of Compassion International is a believer which means any country that they’re working creates opportunities for them to share their faith. (World Vision does not require their short term employees to be believers)

2. Compassion International is committed to developing 1 child at a time through sponsorship

80% of the sponsorship amount goes directly towards meeting their spiritual and physical needs.  Other organizations will use their sponsorship to benefit the child but also the community such as build roads, dig wells, provide food, fund schools, carry out disaster relief. WV works towards building a positive community to develop the child rather than directly working with/through the child. Fighting poverty is very important but we also believe that each child deserves the proper care. Compassion International is committed to developing a child that can transform their community.

Compassion International is Christ-centered. Child-focused and Church-based.

Recently Compassion International invited their sponsors to participate in a program called “Speak Up For One Child”. It’s a chance to become an advocate for one child through C.I. Each child has been waiting for a long time and immediate sponsor is needed. I signed up and I got this kit in the mail.

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Look at this beautiful girl from Ghana. I love her name..Ophelia. It means “Help” in Greek. She lives in an AIDS affected area and has been waiting 9 months to be sponsored.

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My goal is to find a “family’ for Ophelia. Somebody or a family to not only sponsor her but write her letters, send photos, and pray for her development.  It takes $$38.00 a month to provide so much for a child. I can’t live off of $38 a month to cover education, medical treatment, meals and care but a sponsored child can. Here is what happens when a child is sponsored.

I’m looking for a someone.. or a family to sponsor Ophelia. She may be a nobody to the world but through sponsorship she can become somebody to someone. If you’re interested in sponsorship or participating in “Speak Up For One Child” please comment below. I’d love to share more in detail. =)

WEEKEND REVIEW: Team Fishcake & Team DdukBokki (Spicy Rice Cake)- 11/8-11/9 (BELATED)

It’s Thursday night that I post this ridiculously belated “Weekend Review”. Honestly, I still feel like I’m recovering from the weekend. I’ve never felt this slammed physically but full spiritually. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this weekend. It was a very memorable one indeed.

SATURDAY

OCC Planning meeting at the Lui residence. Since nobody knows whether JP and I will be at Pathway for OCC2015, it would be wise and beneficial for the church that we write some things down and plan out next year’s OCC. Isaac, my little chef buddy offered to make breakfast for me since I was their only guest that day. Granted he’s a young boy, I felt extremely flattered and touched by his offer.

Bacon, homemade blueberry pancakes, hashbrowns and french pressed coffee from Brasil.

Bacon, homemade blueberry pancakes, hashbrowns and french pressed coffee from Brasil.

It’s weird to actually go through these meetings (OCC, Retreat etc) and know in my head that this could be it. The last one. Even if we didn’t leave for MN during the summer, it would selfish and “going backwards” to coordinate these events again in 2015. Definitely a time of persevering hard to prepare and do the best that I can do and balancing that with, letting go-entrusting this to whoever may be the next person(s) coordinating these events. You serve as a special events coordinator and you become so attached to these big events. They become your baby. OCC first began in 2007 and it’s been an amazing 7 years of trying out new things, new fundraisers, new methods of promoting and collecting shoeboxes.  Can’t wait to finish strong for 2014.

Right after the meeting I was scheduled to meet Annie at Galleria market to go shopping for the CIC fundraiser ingredients. The menu: Fishcake soup & Ddukbbokki (Spicy rice cake).

Somehow something went wrong. The stove wouldn’t heat up all 4 tops so we had to resort to removing the industrial pot and “reboiling” or continue boiling the broth into smaller pots using 2 tops out of 4. It definitely slowed us down TREMENDOUSLY. What started at 1:30pm and should have ended around 5 or 6pm..went into past midnight. I think I got home around 12:47am.

SUNDAY

I remember waking up thinking, MAN..today is gonna be tough but we gotta persevere. JP was absolutely slammed from yesterday’s events. When I came home he was still working on the DdukBokki sauce but I had no gas left to run on. I don’t even know what time he came to bed… =T

We started at 8:30am and planned to meet up to set up all the tables and portable stoves for our food. Although it’s November, the weather took a turn back into Summer. Low 70s doesn’t really help promote our fishcake soup but JP’s spicy rice cake went out fast! Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much experience cooking for large portions. 200 to be exact. He ran out of sauce in the beginning of the 2nd wave. I was really proud of him. The test sauce him and DMin made was pretty hard to take so I worried a bit but he did a great job balancing sweet and spicy. To be exact, it was sweet at first and within seconds the spiciness kicked in the end. Even the young adults in the KM were coming back for more.

It was a really busy day selling the food and lots of encouragement came through the crowds which I was so thankful for. It wasn’t easy that’s for sure. Right after 2nd service was our church independence information meeting, then CIC meeting, then clean up the fundraiser and then at 7pm we had an appointment to come and casually talk about worship to a youth group where Lynn & her husband, Aaron serve as pastors.

IMG_20141109_194921Even though JP was exhausted, I thought he did a great job just answering the questions that were provided. We had a chance to challenge their vocal abilities as well as teach them how to use a pedal. Fun times. I hope we can see them soon again. Watching him from afar I had this thought, “Wow God, so this is a small glimpse of what JP would be doing as a worship pastor..” Although not all is clear and confirmed, its really encouraging to see him invest in people where his heart is passionate.

Lately, I sense that God is wanting to teach and develop in me more perseverance. To not give up in the middle or drop the ball just because it gets hard. So that’s a goal of mine for the rest of the year. To persevere and cross the “finish line” whatever that entails.

 

 

 

 

 

WEEKEND REVIEW: Raising funds for the Kingdom!!!

1 Corinthians 15:58

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

Enthusiastically for the Lord knowing that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. This was one of the physically demanding weekends which is probably why I felt absolutely slammed on Monday morning.

Saturday: JP’s Barbershop reopened for business & the World Series

It started off as a FB invitation to watch the WS. Then it became a “The Parks will host” & come for haircuts on Saturday to raise funds for CIC. At first it was just 2 customers. My husband kakao’s me, “Wife, can you please make some Budae Jiggae (Army Base Stew) for Bill and MJ? They’re coming on Saturday for haircuts. Sure. That’s not a problem. Then the thread on FB started growing and next thing I know, we have a total of 3 mouths to feed  and that escalated quickly to 5. 3 customers, 2 WS watchers and 2 hosts. (hey we gotta eat too right?)

3 customers lined up

3 customers lined up

 

We had a great time eating and cheering for the Giants. Of course it didn’t get interesting until the 6th inning came. I loved our MJ came cheering for the underdog. I get it. I mean I would too ..if it was against a team that I didn’t care. I’m not a huge fan of football so I usually cheer for the underdog. But…CMON it’s the Giants here! We all called him out on being a closet Giants fan.

I had dinner and left for a Karaoke party for a church member’s birthday. I thought it was pretty interesting because it was mostly moms and I’ve never hung out with a group of moms unless it was at the Retreat or a Women’s Ministry event. I came out and they had already belted through songs. I tried to find songs that they would like to sing together but I think I felt a slight pop culture/generation gap. Growing up, I listened to kpop and maybe some Mariah Carey. These ladies were busting out some songs I never knew even existed. They were “popular songs” according to them. I gotta give it to these ladies though..they can SING!

When I came back home, the Giants had a fabulous and UHMAYZING comeback. I guess it wasn’t until the 8th inning that MH our underdog fan said, “let’s start cutting hair because it looks like we won.” back up there. WE ???? WON???? lol Love it.

I can’t believe in about less than 2 months, my husband and 4 other brothers will be heading out to Asia for Christmas. To watch him use his skills to raise funds bring a smile to my heart. Speaking of which just the other day a brother came over and they were collaborating on some top secret event for CIC2014. Very excited to see these brothers work together to make CIC happen. I’m looking forward to seeing them grow together, serve together and “taste and see that the Lord is good” together.

 

Sunday: OCC “Shots for Shoeboxes”

Sundays are always a long day. “Church” begins at 8:30am every Sunday and this past Sunday it ended at 9pm. I had a fun time just hanging out with some of my CG ladies over Santouka Ramen. We all came out starving from 2nd service and so it’s just natural that our car conversations started with food. We listed all the foods we enjoyed, all the foods we wanted to introduce to one another and what we love and why we love it. Verbal gluttony at its finest. HA!

The day has FINALLY come! I’m no baller but I’ll use the Judy Nowitzki alter ego as my weapon. I was so grateful for the turnout of sponsors. Really, a FB event post and when I checked the signups, it  just blew my mind how friends from the past, new recent friends and unexpected friends committed 1,2 or 10.00 for every shot I made.

I think out of all the fundraiser events planned for OCC, I was most excited for this one. It was too bad that although many signed up, only 5 came out getting sponsors to raise funds for OCC. It was the most thrilling 30 minutes with a mix of tension and competition. When the 1 minute time started, it felt like the shortest but also the longest 1 minute ever. I couldn’t smell, or hear much. It was all about getting the ball in my hand and launching it the best I could towards the board/net and repeat. I hope next year that whoever does coordinate OCC, presents the 2nd Shots for Shoeboxes fundraiser. We raised almost 1K just from 5 individuals. Lots of potential in this event. Outreach and Inreach.

 

 

Thank you God for the opportunity use our skills for your work to be done. May what was done not be in vain. May every second and every penny bear “God pleasing” fruit.

In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Sat