Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Making it easy for YOU!

Ok, so I told all of you in the first post that I have never blogged before and am learning, oh so much about how all of this works. I love that it allows me to share our heart and the work of the Lord in our lives towards bringing home "Baby E" I share the good, the bad and well actually all of it.

So I have figured out a way, (actually Traci, who designed my blog helped me) to make it easy on you. If you choose you can actually put in your email address on the side and when I make a post it is emailed straight to you!! I still want you to visit my blog when you can because of lots of other stuff that is here but I am excited about this advancement.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why Ethiopia?

We received our fingerprint appointment in the mail! We are not scheduled until February 16 but we are going to try to do a walk in appointment this week. Please pray that they allow us to go ahead and get this done. A lot of people have been getting there Favorable Determination Letter (FDL) within a week or 2. This is the last thing we are waiting on. Then we will be on the wait list. Yipee!

This video pretty much sums up why Jesus broke our hearts for this country.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Thanks and I600A mailed!!

I want to say thanks to all of you who prayed for us during the last few days. I am fully aware that this adoption, international adoption in general, is not for the faint at heart and will be full of ups and downs. We are keeping the course with Holt and with Ethiopia. I spoke with Holt and feel much better about the email that was sent. I am vowing to not panic in the future, at least in the first 24 hours. Would you all please remind me of that?? The email was regarding the health testing of our child and also extended wait times. I am now satisfied with what has happened and how Holt is working thru it. Everything is not CERTAIN but we are CERTAIN that we are following the only thing that is CERTAIN, Jesus. We have a peace!!

We received our Final home study yesterday and sent off our I600A today!! It felt so good to finally mail send it. We drove 25 miles just to send it FedEx so we could track it!! I have been so anxious to get to this step because it is so uncertain how long it might take. This is a petition to the USCIS, United States Citizens and Immigrations Services to allow us to bring an orphan into the US. We had to send our home study, birth certificates, and marriage certificate to them along with a nice check to the Dept of Homeland Security. We are now waiting on our fingerprinting appointment.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Prayers Please!!

I am going to ask you all to be in prayer for us tonight and over the next few days. I received a very disheartening email from Holt today (actually 30 min. ago) - it was sent out to all families in the process. The gov't there is making MAJOR changes. I don't like some of them at all. I know without a doubt that God led us here and that He will see us through but we have some major decisions to make. Do we stay with Holt? Do we stay with Ethiopia? Do we change to Uganda? Do we sit on this paperwork and wait a week or 2 to see what the new developments are? I am just being wide open with you, my blog followers. The truth, I just want the child God has for us, but finding it MAY be a little harder to do than I thought. I will keep you posted.

It is so hard to discern whether this is a bump in the road or a U turn sign heading us in another direction. What I do know is God has a child for us in Africa.

Following HARD after HIM!!!!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Reflections of 2010 and Happy New Year 2011!

I really should be sleeping right now, since both of my kids are asleep. They have both had the flu and together we have been fighting this for 10 days now. That equals NO sleep for me. However I am wide awake and no I don't think it is all of the caffiene I have been living on for the last week.... I am reflecting and envisioning and I am excited.

2010 - was a great but difficult year for our family. We built our home, which is now a huge blessing but it was a very difficult process for us. The main thing that sticks out to me when I think about 2010 is that WE, as a family went down a very different road for the first time. We felt Gods call on our hearts for the fatherless, the unloved child, the orphan, or the least of these - however you want to word it. This time was different, this time was clear we were to go make it one less. In the process of this we pretty much spent our entire year analyzing everything we knew, had been taught in church, had ever heard of and also every part of what being a Christian is about. I am not even kidding people. We questioned it all. We felt a calling to our TRUE CALLING. God truly broke our hearts. The more resistant we were the more our hearts broke. I cried countless tears. As true American Christians, we had always considered we were blessed by God, that He wanted the best for us, that he wanted us to be successful, that we were suppose to be in church and be kind to one another. I am really not being cynical, I am not. I am exposing to all of the bloggy world what I actually thought and what Bryan did too. I think he is enjoying a nap as I am sharing his feelings too. We, not at all our parents fault they were raised the same way and so on, were raised to be "good" and God would be happy with us as long as we tithed, went to church, and were always honest and tried to do good. But suddenly this version, my version, of the gospel just wasn't cutting it. It wasn't adding up. If I was blessed by my "stuff" what about the dying child in Africa, the homeless man in Dallas, the orphan in Haiti, Africa, Europe, or China or the foster child in here in Texas? Did God forget about them? For God so loved the world, not Canton, or the US or the sinless (thank goodness). This didn't make sense. I analyzed it all and discovered quiet the contrary to what we believed. God loves those just as much and THEY are the center of his heart. Just for fun try to figure out how many times in the Bible the least of these, or orphans, or widows or fatherless are mentioned. They are mentioned both in commandments to us to take care of them and in how we should be! Thought provoking to us anyway. We are given what we have to take care of those. After all we are to be His hands and feet. Our prayer is that God would break our hearts for what breaks His. I would say that if you want to be near to the heart of God, find a widow, find an orphan, find someone in need. I am not at all meaning for this to be preaching to you, I just want a written record of how God changed our hearts for the good and moved them towards His in 2010!! AND we are not ever going back.

FYI, I am working on reading several books that actually go along with this. I am believing in a revival among Christians for the orphan cause of the world.
The Hole in the Gospel

2011 - Oh how I get excited to think of this year. I am excited to see what God has in store for our family as we continue to strive to know His heart better!! But I can't wait to see the face of the sweet innocent one that God broke my heart for - completly unexpectedly. I know everything is in HIS timing (yall remind me of that when I am posting an I am impatient post!!) but I really think that by the middle of the year we will get to see his or her face on my computer screen for the first time! and also have gotten to hug them and kiss their face for the first time in Africa and here is where God's timing comes in but I would love for there to be 1 more face in my Christmas card next year and have that child HOME with us by this time next year. Now this last part might be pushing it but that is truly what I want and am praying for.
I am excited to see Cole and Averie grow in their understanding of the Lord and the heart of Jesus.

I guess as far as resolutions are concerned, I could stand to get more organized, lose a few pounds, get more sleep and learn something new. But if I had to pick something that I really mean, it is that the Bryan and Mandie Cantrell family would strive to be broken by the things that break Jesus' heart and to know it more.

Adoption Update: I should get notarized home study in the mail Tuesday and will be mailing our Orphan Immigration Papers on Tuesday or Wednesday! (I-600A for those of you in this adoption world) Pray for a speedy turn around.

May God Bless You in 2011 but May He ALSO use YOU to Bless Others!!

Happy New Year!!!

James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress, and keep oneself from being polluted by the world.