Sunday, May 29, 2011

Blessings Multiplied

If I'm really being honest here, I will admit right now that I still have a bit of a twinge in my stomach whenever I think about all of those unsold chickens!  Although, thinking about Sonya's contemplative inquiries following the chicken delivery to the Rescue Mission quickly dissipates these initial "feelings" of angst.  Sonya - "Mom, I'd really like to learn more about this place.  Is it run by Christians?" or "Mom, do any of these men have drinking problems?"  or  "Mom, these men really need to stop smoking."

The day following the parking lot sale, when I was probably at my lowest point emotionally due to extreme exhaustion, that is when God revealed to me that our fund raiser was not about being blessed with a lot of money but about receiving blessings of a very different nature.  God showed me He wanted me to think on those things.  So I did.

Here's the list of blessings that came through the sale and through not selling the chickens:

1.  All our friends and church family who showed up at 6-7 am ( I was just reminded that some friends came and helped as early as 5:30 am!) and stayed as long as they could or even until the very end, without complaint but with joy, enthusiasm, generosity and kindness(And all the men who came over the day before to help us load the uhaul!  So sorry!  I didn't mean to forget about you on the first write-up!)

2.  All our friends and church family who continue to show up and walk along beside us through this extremely joyous yet stressful time in our lives. 

3.  All our friends, church family and strangers who endeavored to make considerable donations of goods to our sale to make it even possible.  I do not forget for one moment just how much effort it took to sort through belongings, box them up, arrange for drop off and make sure they were worth selling.

4.  All the people who purchased Sonya's art work to support her in paying for her own airline ticket to China.  Btw, she wants to use part of her earnings to go toward her sister's ticket as well.  (You gotta love that girl!)

5.  All of the words of support and comfort spoken to me by friends, church family and the Lions Club members when I burst out crying when realizing we were not going to sell 400 chickens and make 1,800.00 to put toward the adoption as I had originally anticipated.  No one, not one single person, accused me of being a big, fat crybaby for having a big, fat meltdown over the reality of it all.   Because really, as a GROWN woman, it's really kind of embarrassing to break down in front of perfect strangers and people I have only known for the last year or two who share no history with me to know that I actually am very stable and not be made to feel ashamed.  Thank you, thank you for that!

6.  The pure JOY I felt in my heart when Dennis Stoll of the Lions Club suggested we make a donation of leftover chicken to the Rescue Mission.  Man, did that feel "right on"!  To feed the hungry, now what can be better than that (besides rescuing an orphan, that is)?  Which God can do btw, through us, when we are willing to do our part. 

7.  Watching some people purchase more chickens than they had planned on just to soften the blow.

8.  Having a dear friend hand me $80.00 a few days later to cover our chicken losses.  Because of her generosity and willingness to obey the urging of the Holy Spirit, we did not lose a single cent on the chickens!

9.  Watching people get excited over finding treasures at our sale which would bless them.  I did want to make money, but it was equally important to me that no one leave our sale feeling gouged or taken advantage of but looked out for and blessed.  

10.  All of the prayers on our behalf lifted up to God our Father to bring to fruition His good and perfect will involving the adoption of our precious little girl!   We know we are blessed beyond measure!  We do not take your love and kindness for granted!  Thank you, thank you for caring so much and not making us walk alone through our long and at times gruelling wait.

So here we go again, preparing for our next big sale on Friday and Saturday, June 3rd and 4th at 819 Bimini Lane located in Caribe Community off of Reed Road and Lake Avenue.  Almost immediately following our parking lot sale, more donations were coming in to help us make more money for Mei Mei's release.  Randy calls me a "Maniac" because I just keep on going and doing what needs to be done for the cause of our little one.  It's really God, though, who provides me with the impetus and drive to keep at it.  Of my own accord, I might decide to sit in the corner of a room, pull my knees up to my chest, put my head down and cry like a big baby non-stop.  Seriously.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Blessings Abound

For a whole week prior to the parking lot sale I spent countless hours in our garage - sorting, folding, pricing, boxing,etc.  While out in the garage I had an occasion to meet a young couple who were in the neighborhood doing business.  When the young wife approached our house with a question, after I answered her, she turned to leave.  That is when I asked her a question in return, "Do you like garage sales?" 

What started out as a simple question lead to a lengthy exchange between this young couple and me regarding their problems with infertility and desire to adopt.  It turns out the man is part Chinese, so in essence God lead them to the right house to talk to the right person and opened up the right topic at the right time - just like he always does!

On another occasion, which really is the central theme of this post, a twelve year old neighbor girl was walking by our house.  Because I know this little girl, I called her over and showed her some of the items we would have at the sale, and then noticed in front of me a little purse with her initial on it and asked her if she would like to have it.  As her eyes got big, she nodded yes.  Then I spotted a pair of lavender, silky American Girl pajamas I thought might fit her.   I told her if she wanted to go home and try them on I would sell them to her for only $2.00 and that her two dollars would be used to help bring Sonya's little sister home.  She agreed to the conditions and left.

Perhaps only ten minutes later, she returned carrying the pajamas with a big smile across her face.  I was disappointed for her that she was returning the pajamas so couldn't for the life of me figure out the reason for such a smile.  Until she walked up, handed back the pajamas and then proceeded to say, "The pajamas didn't fit, but I've been saving money since Christmas and wasn't sure what to spend it on, and then the Lord told me I should give it to you." 

This twelve year old little girl then handed me a bill, and when I unfolded it, realized it was a fifty dollar bill!  Of course, anyone who knows me knows what happened next.  I burst out crying and trembling and I hugged her tight and thanked her several times.  Then I asked this little girl if she would retell the story to my husband, so we called him to the kitchen door leading into the garage, and as she recounted her story I burst out crying again!  I told both her and Randy that this is the best gift so far, and it's moved me more than any other.

I asked her before she left if she would like a gift from the garage.  I knew I had several things any twelve year old girl would love to have, but she politely and quickly responded, "No thanks.  I don't want anything.  I just came over to give you the money." 

And if you are wondering why I count this precious twelve year old girl's gift more special or more meaningful than any other, including the gift from Show Hope, it is because this little girl already knows she can speak with the Lord!  She could hear instruction from the Lord, and she chose to obey!  Do you know how many adults don't even know they can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and that they can walk with Him and talk with Him daily?  And to think that this young girl knows the Truth, experiences the Truth, this fact alone blesses me beyond mortal comprehension! 

Thank you, Jesus, for walking with and talking with this little girl!  Thank you for her desire to listen to You and obey!  Thank you for her generous, selfless spirit!  Thank you for sending her my way at a low point in my day when I was exhausted and exasberated and overwhelmed!   Thank you for renewing my Hope in the next generation!  Lord, I ask that you bless this child for her obedience, and give her the desires of her heart!  Bless her, Lord, and keep her safe and sound always, hiding Your word in her heart so that she will be protected from the snares of the enemy all the days of her life!!!  Amen and Amen!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Limited Editions

Part I - By Sharon Kuhn
Sonya’s eyes sparkled as she sat with her friend Hannah at the art table where she was selling “limited edition” prints of her pastel and acrylic paintings. Although the wind occasionally blew one off the table, and she was somewhat distracted by the David and Goliath gifts she had made to give free of charge along with free toys for children that she had collected, Sonya interacted very sweetly and grown-up-like as she was asked to sign her work. Her friend and helper, Mrs. Angie, was calling out announcements to inform buyers that the prints were being sold to help Sonya raise money to go to China to get her soon-to-be-adopted little sister.

Adults and children alike were oohing and ahhing over the beautiful prints Sonya displayed. Her painting of the cactus greenery in a terra cotta pot sold out first. Second best seller was a floral of lavender flowers in a bright white and blue bowl with a lime background. Being thirsty from so much work, Sonya visited the drink table. Before long, little Hannah came to her to say that she needed to come back to the art table because some people were asking for her signature!  She excused herself very sweetly and went to sign.

As she made her mark on the day, it seemed that many blessings were on the way! It is precious to think of people hanging these innocent pictures in their homes. It was awesome to over hear conversations about where buyers would hang their paintings such as, "This will look beautiful in the bathroom"...  It is priceless how our community brought affirmation, laughter, funds and a day that was pretty as a picture to the precious Hoium family!

Sonya raised over $200.00 to help her travel to China to bring baby sister back safe and sound! Perhaps someday Sonya will paint a picture of this sunny day fund raiser for bringing Mei Mei home!

Part II - By Cheryl Hoium

Many months ago as Randy and I began our initial deliberations on how we would manage gathering the necessary resources to make this adoption happen, Sonya overheard a conversation between the two of us concerning whether or not there would be enough money to take her along with us to China to bring back her little sister.

It didn't take Sonya long to devise a plan to make sure she would not be left behind.  Her initial idea came in the way of making "David and Goliath" gifts which I believe she learned about in her Sunday school class.  Basically she folded up construction paper in a precise fashion so that a little rock would fit inside nicely and snuggly.  The rock was supposed to remind the recipients about the story of David and Goliath, and how, even though David was very little and Goliath was very big, with God's help David defeated Goliath.  So...her plan was to sell these creations and teach people about the victory through Jesus Christ at the same time.  The only problem was that she wanted to sell them for $10.00 a piece!

When Randy and I decided one of our fund raisers would be a parking lot sale, I was then able to convince Sonya perhaps she could sell her art work instead and give the David and Goliath creations as gifts.  She readily agreed as she continued the process of fashioning these little treasures.  Although Sonya handed out quite a few the day of the fund raiser, she still has quite a few left.  As we plan on having a garage sale/month at our home to continue raising adoption monies, Sonya will be given several more opportunities to give away her handiwork.

Sonya did raise over $200.00 at the sale, although I am not quite certain of the exact amount because people were putting money in her donation jar as well as handing it to Angie and Sharon.  In Sonya's donation jar alone was 195 dollars and some odd cents!

When I shared with Sonya about her earnings, she readily informed me she would like a portion of it to go toward her own airline ticket and a portion to go toward sissy's.  Apparently, Sonya wants to make sure she plays an integral part in getting her little sister home.

It turns out it will take roughly $500.00 to pay for Sonya's entire trip if we travel in September.  This sum includes her airline ticket, hotel portion and food.  I jokingly told Sonya recently I wish we could just send her to get Mei Mei as this would drastically reduce our adoption fees.  But...Sonya's not going for it!

Sonya will continue to sell her art work and hand out her David and Goliath gifts at our yard sale to be held on Friday and Saturday, the 3rd and 4th of June at our home.  Incidentally, Sonya attends a professional art studio through Garden of Arts, a Christian art studio owned and operated by Sharon Kuhn who adheres to a biblical worldview.  Sonya loves Miss Sharon, and I am looking forward to next Fall when Sonya will not only have an opportunity to continue her education through Garden of Arts and receive love from Miss Sharon, but little Cassie Mei will be joining her and get an opportunity first-hand to receive some loving too!  Praise the Lord!  Thank you, Jesus! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Letter from Sharon Kuhn to Her Friends and Family

Our dear friend Sharon Kuhn wrote a letter to her friends and family on our behalf asking for them to support us in getting our second China-born daughter home to the States safe and sound.  With a few minor edits, here it is:

Dear Friends and Family,
The Hoiums are disappointed in the amount of money raised but holding the pricelessness of the fellowship of community involvement in their hearts. God is using all to create belonging, ministry and joy! Upon taking over 200 unsold chickens to the Rescue Mission, Sonya commented, "We need to come back again and bring them more food!"

Please help them if you feel led. Please pray for God to meet their needs and allow them to not only bring  Mei home but also allow them to take her back with Sonya to the Rescue Mission someday as Sonya mentioned in order to feed those poor men! Sonya also speaks of being a Missionary to China so “out of the mouths of babes” may we all be inspired!  I pray that Sonya will not be dumbed down in American culture before she grows old enough to do so! I am certain Randy and Cheryl are doing all they can to prevent that!

So, lessons are learned that are bigger than life! God is good! Please visit their website, and thank you so much for the donations you will send!!!!!

Blessings to you and yours!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"My Neff Is Stick!

"My neff is stick!  Those were the exact words out of my husband's mouth this afternoon after unloading the entire uhaul into our garage!  I'm sure I can blame Randy's inability to articulate clear word structure on extreme fatigue.

Well, the tally is in, and we raised a little over $2,200.00 this time.  I will share more later once I've regained my own ability to put down in writing my thoughts-we are both very tired right now.

The chicken sales did not go well, and there is a silver lining to that story that I will share some other time.  I was pretty disappointed with the amount raised until God showed me this fund raiser was not about making money.  It was about receiving blessings of a different kind, which again, I will share later once Randy and I have had time to process it all.

We do realize in all of this that God has our back.  In less than four months from now He will help us gather
the needed $20,000.00, so we will not fret one little bit.  Thanks for your support and your prayers and your
kindness.  It truly means the world to us.  We thank God for you!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Please Come to Our Sale So We Can Start Parking in the Garage Again!

And living in our house again!

We'll see you there!  And by Sunday night we will let you know how much money was raised for little Mei Mei. 

And Jesus said, "And whoso shall receive one such child in my name receiveth me." Matthew 18:5

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Log In Date- May 11th!

On May 11th, we were logged-in to China!  Very soon we will receive official approval to adopt our daughter (although we have already been given official approval by the Creator of the Universe Himself!), and once that is in place, we will have a clearer picture of our travel date.  Please continue to pray for my little family, and pray that our fund raiser this weekend is a tremendous success. Let's watch God "show up and show off"! 

I hope to see you at our event this weekend, and I hope you buy plenty of chicken!  Remember, when we sell all 400 chickens, and we will, profits from that alone is $1,800.00!  See you and yours at the event!  That's Saturday, May 21st from 8-6 at Avalon Missionary Church, 1500 Lower Huntington Road, Fort Wayne, IN. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pics of the Raffle Items!

"Orchids"  Original Painting by Mindy Bermes

"Crewel" work of little girl on the piano
"Joyful" Hummel

"Be Patient" Hummel 

The two hummels will be raffled together for $5.00/raffle ticket.  Remember, we also will be raffling off a photo session retailing at $225.00 donated by local, professional photographer of Michelle Davies Photography (session includes 4(5x7s), 48 wallets and a proof book, date and location to be mutually agreeable)!  All raffle tickets for above-pictured items will be $5.00/ticket.  We also will be selling $1.00 raffle tickets for a twin sized, hand-tied quilt:

Remember, we will begin raffle ticket sales at 8am ending at 5pmThe location to purchase the tickets will be at our Parking Lot Sale on Saturday, May 21st at Avalon Missionary Church located at 1500 Lower Huntington Road.  You need not be present at time of drawing.  Oh yeah, did I also mention over 20 families donated their treasures to our fund raiser to help get our little girl home safe and sound?!   You really do not want to miss this sale!

Btw, did you also know you can email our posts to your friends and family?  It would be a great way to spread the word about what Randy and I are trying to gain through all of our efforts and what we have to offer folks in return.  Thank you so much for caring!

Still Waiting for Permission to Post Mei Mei Pics

I don't know when we will get permission to post pics of Mei Mei. I thought I knew, but I didn't. Rest assured, when we do receive the go-ahead, I will share them with you. Happily! Joyfully! Gratefully!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thanks Be to the Lord!

Two weeks ago, we asked our church to pray for a favorable outcome regarding the adoption grants we have applied to so far. That was a Sunday night. The following week I visited the Show Hope website and found out they were deliberating on which families to award a grant that same week. Following their decision they would notify each family by mail the following week. Are you following me so far?

So...last week, I checked our mailbox everyday awaiting the news. Everyday during the week, nothing. Saturday came, still nothing. It turned out to be a rough week for me because of my unmet expectations. I had this idea in my head about how things should go, and when they didn't go that way (and because there is so much on the line when it comes to my daughter living across the world in an orphanage without any knowledge that we even exist) by Sunday I was forlorn and disparaged.

Hence, by Monday morning as a heavy depression laid across my shoulders, stifling any reality of hope or joy in me, I uttered these words to my Lord, "Father, please, I need to see physical evidence TODAY that You are walking with us through this adoption process. Father, please, I feel like I've been walking in blind faith for a while now, and I can't do it anymore. Father, please, show me that You are listening to me. After this prayer, I opened my bible and read these words, "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Philippians 4:6

About an hour later as I approached our mailbox, I was hopeful for some news. I slowly opened our mailbox and peered in. I hesitatingly reached in and grabbed the stack of envelopes awaiting me. As I stood in the street in front of my house flipping through our mail, I came across what I had been waiting for, a letter from Show Hope. I didn't even wait until I got in the house. I opened it immediately, knowing all the while the words penned could start with "We regretfully inform you..."

But that's not at all what was written. Instead, what I read began with, "On behalf of Show Hope and the donors who make our grants possible, we rejoice with your family as you step out in faith to experience the miracle of adoption. Thank you for allowing us to be a small part of your adoption process. We are pleased to inform you that you have been awarded an adoption assistance grant in the amount of $5,000."

I started to tremble and cry and praising the Lord. I ran into the house, and told Sonya that we had been given a grant to help bring her little sister home as I reached for my cell phone to call Randy. When I got him on the line I asked if he was sitting down. (Ever since our journey to Mei Mei began, whenever I preface a phone conversation with, "Are you sitting down" Randy knows I have some good news.) As I shared with him the details, I saw Sonya in the background doing a "happy dance" and I remembered just the night before, while we were sitting in church, Sonya drew a picture illustrating perfectly what we're faced with in the adoption of her baby sister.

In her drawing, Sonya showed the orphanage with sissy standing out in front of it with a big frown covering her little face and me standing on the opposite side of the orphanage with my arms outstretched toward the other side of the world asking for money to get my daughter out of there.

On the opposite side of the page, Sonya drew a bag of money and then she drew an arrow pointing from her sister to the bag of money. Then below the money she drew another picture of her sister, this time with a big smile on her face, with an arrow pointing from the money to Mei Mei.

I think Sonya gets the idea very well. We are going to need a lot of money to get her sister out of there. Friends, it really does come down to money, and with this generous gift from Show Hope, we as a family have been given a renewed hope that not only is what we're needing to do for sissy doable, the money we need is accessible - but only through Christ Jesus.

I shared with some friends yesterday that I realized that God needed us to get to that point again where we were totally turning to Him and asking for His blessings on this situation before He could bless us again. And He always knew that at the eleventh hour just before help would arrive that I would call out to Him and lean on Him even though I had nothing to offer.

In my life, I have felt that God would only help me if I was worthy of His help. I felt that I would have to do something or prove to Him something before He would give me anything. But yesterday, I went to Him in my brokenness and asked for His help feeling in my despondency that I had nothing to offer Him in return. As His daughter, I went to Him, and He listened. Again.

I ask all of you now, please pray for my family that we receive the other grants we have applied to. It's not right that families who have been called to adopt should have to worry about money to free the orphans; however, seeing the wrong in this, the injustice in this, does not change the situation one iota.

The truth is, for Randy and me as Mei Mei's parents, we need a lot of money to get her out of there. We need a lot of money to get her out of there, and we know God has a plan. Thank you, Father, for the plans for your children!

Please, if there is anything you can glean from this blog, I hope it is a heart to go out and tell everyone you know that if they themselves do not yet have a heart for adoption that they need to get educated and start feeling for the orphan, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. As a church, we have neglected the needs of these orphans for far too long, and our apathy and ignorance must cease. Please help us to dispel the myths and wrong-thinking surrounding why families adopt internationally. Please help us to free an orphan. This orphan child who is called to be our little girl.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Friends, Get Ready for the BIG Day!

As we busy ourselves in preparation for our big day, that is our BIG Parking Lot Sale Fund Raiser Day, to raise money to bring little sister home, words to write seem hard to come by. But I will give it my best shot.

It is looking as though we will indeed be traveling in September to bring our precious little girl home. For the time-being however, all our energy, both Randy's and mine, is quickly moving into making sure we do all we can on our end to make this fund raiser, which is much, much bigger than the first one I might add, a success. A success, meaning we sell lots and lots of stuff and make lots and lots of money. And why are we doing all of this? Of course it is to purchase our daughter's freedom, and most people I have met or read about who adopt do it by the sweat of their own brow, hopefully and prayerfully with a sweat that is sanctified by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

So...on Saturday, May 21st, from 8am-6pm (some of us will begin at 6 am to set up - "Thank you friends!") we plan on filling the entire parking lot of Avalon Missionary Church located at 1500 Lower Huntington Road with quality items of all sorts, such as a matching coffee table and end tables, a full size girls bedroom set, queen size oak bedroom set, lawn sweeper, upright freezer, gas dryer, stereo, antique dolls, vintage dishes, small appliances, food processor, drawing table, Craftsman saws, glass art tools, Christmas decorations galore, tons of books, lightly worn children's and adult clothes, nic nacs, household items, framed art, lamps, Boyds Bears, CB radios, new telescope, sand box, jungle gym, new bath fan, new industrial ceiling fan, new motorcycle helmet and miscellaneous items worth checking out! Oh, and btw, the Lions Club will also be present to sell their yummy barbecue chicken halves. When all 400 half chickens sell, we will make a profit of $1,800.00 on that alone, so come on out and bring your friends. Encourage everyone to buy a chicken and fill up their cars with "must haves" that are priced to sell!

And that's not all. We also will be selling $5.00 raffle tickets on five separate hand-selected items all retailing at $200.00 or more, which are a hand-made, oak hanging porch swing; an orchid painting; a portrait of a little girl playing the piano; two hummels; a photo package by a local photographer (includes the sitting fee, 4-5x7s, 48 wallet sizes, and the proof book).

On top of all that, we will be selling coffee and donuts in the morning, hot dogs and popcorn in the afternoon and pop and water all day long.  Oh, and did I happen to mention the children's activities or the firetruck that will arrive in the afternoon specifically to keep your little ones occupied? Now it doesn't get any better than that!

People, spread the word! And if you can't make it, consider sending a check toward our cause, or more accurately, toward the cause of the orphan. Any amount is appreciated and coveted (in a good way, that is).

And to all of you who continue to follow along with our journey to Mei Mei, let me say a BIG "Thank you" to you right now! Hopefully, I will get a chance to tell some of you just how grateful I really am when I see you in person at our Parking Lot Sale on Saturday, May 21st from 8am-6pm. Thanks again, and God bless your day!