Miles came home from school the other day and showed us his first loose tooth. He was SO EXCITED! All of the sudden I felt really old… Here’s a little video Miles wanted to share.
I look at my son and am just amazed at what God has blessed us with… every day. The joy and responsibility of being a dad is something I wouldn’t trade for anything – and how loving is my heavenly father that he would offer me this experience! Anyway, two weeks ago Friday, Miles tested for his Yellow Belt. Here’s a little video of him doing his White Belt form (Miles is on the right):
And last Friday, he receieved his Yellow Belt! Jen and I were there with his sitster Macy along with his Mamo Barbara and Papa Bob. We’re so dang proud of him! Here’s a little video of him receiveing it (bummer, we left our decent camera at home, so this is TreoVideo):
Generosity has been on my heart for the past couple weeks as the Christmas Season quickly approaches. If you missed the past 3 posts go check out Advent Conspiracy, 50,000 Shoes, and the Ukraine Adoption Story.
Today (we’re behind by the way, thanks to my Blog Bottleneck), I’d like to quickly share with you two urgent (which is why I crammed them into the same post) needs – areas of generosity opportunity, which means YOU CAN HELP!
First is John over at human3rror.com. He’s a relatively new friend to me, even though I’ve seen him all over the web. I think I first met him (online) when I first read about Louie Giglio & Chris Tomlin planting a church in Atlanta. Anyway, he’s got a pretty cool opportunity to meet his birth mother in Korea and he needs help both financially and with prayer. Go read his story today and pray about supporting his trip. We’ll be praying for sure for John.
Sidenote: If you’re not reading his blog and following him on twitter, you’re missing out.
Second is Randy Miller, by way of my good (and local) friend, Rich Kirkpatrick. I’ll quote from Rich’s blog:
As I have shared on this blog about my friend Randy Miller, he needs our prayers and support. His band The Myriad has made some great friends with a group called Third Day. Well, Third Day is amazing both as artists and godly, caring men. IF you are in SoCal PLEASE ATTEND THIS CONCERT.Ã‚Â Here is what Third Day sent out on Facebook today.
Third Day is playing a benefit concert for Randy Miller (drummer for The Myriad) and his family. The show will be at Friends Church in Yorba Linda, CA, on Dec. 7. All proceeds will go to the Miller family to help pay for RandyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s medical bills. Tickets go on sale on Nov. 21 at www.ticketforce.com.
Unfortunately for us, we’ve got prior plans on the 7th – but if you’re in SoCal, this is such a cool opportunity. Not only do you get to help someone with a great need, but you get to check out one very cool band at the same time. Sounds like a win, win.
Also, don’t forget we’re still trying to get to 50,000 shoes by the end of the year & we’re only at 5,410 – go buy 2 pairs today for only $5.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, tonight Miles and his Kindergarten class from Santa Rosa Academy sang a little song about Thankfulness at our local Barnes & Noble.
I am Thankful for… from alex mclean on Vimeo.
By the way, this is what Macy looked like when we got there – she woke up just in time to watch her brother sing.
Another ‘by the way’ – I can’t believe next week is Thanksgiving!
Jim & Melissa are a very cool couple at our church that I’ve had the privilege of getting to know over the past year or so. I wanted to include their story in this Generosity series because, well you’ll see when you read their story. I had a chance to do a little interview with them this past week:
Melissa and I joined a group called Wycliffe Bible Translators shortly after we were married. Ã‚Â I had trained in aviation so that I would be prepared to fly missionaries living in difficult situations. Ã‚Â We served with this mission for 16 years. Ã‚Â I flew in many challenging situations and I thank God for his care. Ã‚Â We experienced living in several different countries, mostly in Africa. Our oldest son is 21 now and he was a baby when we first went overseas. Ã‚Â Our two other boys were born in Africa. Ã‚Â Luke is 17 and Trevor is 12. Ã‚Â We left Africa in 2001 to return to California. Ã‚Â I think all 3 boys have a very broad perspective on the needs of the world because of the places they have lived. Ã‚Â We have lived in California for the last 7 years and I have continued in aviation by working in the private jet charter industry.
We have always been a family that is willing to take risks. Ã‚Â I have tried to teach our kids that nothing in the world is more important than people. Ã‚Â In the past we had done foster care for needy kids, and we even looked into adoption several years ago but nothing really came together. Ã‚Â We really werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t looking to adopt anybody when this situation came to us. Ã‚Â During the summer of 2007 we agreed to host an 8 year old girl who was visiting California for 3 weeks with a group of orphans from Ukraine. Ã‚Â After we got to know her we couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t imagine sending her back to the orphanage with no hope of having a family. Ã‚Â Kamila wanted to belong to us more than anything, and we couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say no, so at that time we agreed to start the official adoption process. Ã‚Â We didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know how it would all work out, but we knew it was the right thing to do.
When Kamila returned to the orphanage in Ukraine last year we promised that we would stay in touch with her during the adoption process. Ã‚Â A few times we have actually succeeded in talking to her on the phone. Ã‚Â She doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t speak English, so it has to be a conference call with a Russian translator. Ã‚Â It was during one of these conversations in March that she announced to us that her two older sisters had just joined her at the orphanage! Ã‚Â She was anxious to know if we would adopt them too! Ã‚Â This was a shock to us, so we decided to look into the situation. Ã‚Â I made a trip to Ukraine in April and spent a few days at the orphanage gathering information about these kids. Ã‚Â It turns out that they are the sweetest girls ever. Ã‚Â Their mother died almost 2 years ago and the girls have been in separate orphanages until recently. Ã‚Â We knew it would take a miracle but we were convinced that we had to try to rescue them.
Through blogs we have come in contact with many other people who have also been involved with adopting. Ã‚Â We have been able to share ideas and information, which has been a big encouragement. Ã‚Â It has also given us a great tool to keep people informed on current developments with us so that they know how to pray and support us.
We have learned a lot of patience! Ã‚Â ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a very long and tedious ordeal, but we have tried to keep focused on the end result. Ã‚Â We began the process 15 months ago and I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have believed then that we would still be trying to finish now. Ã‚Â If itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard for us, I know it really seems like forever for the girls.
When we told the girls that we would try to adopt all three of them I knew that it would take a miracle for us to fund it. Ã‚Â Even adopting one girl was going to stretch us to the limit financially. Ã‚Â I had some periods of serious doubt and anguish. Ã‚Â I was grieved over the possibility that I had given the girls false hope for something that was impossible. Ã‚Â Melissa suggested that we let all of our friends and family know about the situation and see if people wanted to contribute financially. Ã‚Â This would be a sign as to whether we should proceed or not. Ã‚Â To our amazement, money started coming in! Ã‚Â Last week we just sent the final payment of fees to the adoption agency! Ã‚Â Now we are actually about to travel to Ukraine for our appointment with the adoption ministry on November 17.
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think you would ever regret helping people in need. Ã‚Â James 1:27 tells us that true and pure religion is to help widows and orphans in their distress. Ã‚Â IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been encouraged by Galations 5:13 which says, Ã¢â‚¬Å“serve one another in love. Ã‚Â The entire law is summed up in a single command: Ã¢â‚¬ËœLove your neighbor as yourself.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬Â Ã‚Â DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be afraid to step out on faith and do what is right. Ã‚Â If God is with you it will be a blessing.
We would love to have prayer support and encouragement from everybody at LifeChurch! Ã‚Â Melissa and I and our son Trevor are about to go to Ukraine to see if we can finish up this process. Ã‚Â It should take about 2 or 3 weeks to finish up the legalities. Ã‚Â ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to be an adventure and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not sure exactly what to expect. Ã‚Â We may have to make a second trip a few weeks later to actually bring the girls home. Ã‚Â We would love to have the church make them feel welcome and included when they finally arrive. Ã‚Â People can follow our progress on our blog. Thanks, Alex, for asking about us and letting us share whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going on!
I love hearing the ‘story behind the story’ in people’s lives – these are the kind of people that are sitting next to you in church, just living out their faith, being extrordinarily generous. It’s encouraging and challenging at the same time. Would you join with us as we pray for this family and follow their story?