Sunday, September 25, 2011

TESTIMONY: The Upside-Down World of Terry Stockman






Terry was a "reluctant husband" of sorts.  God gave him a heart for orphans, but not yet a heart to count the cost of actually bringing one into his home.  That is, until he met, in his words, his "son." 

Read how a needy orphan thousands of miles away, an orphan who doesn't even know that Terry exists, can turn a grown man's world upside.  And that's a good thing, when it's done for our Father's kingdom!

~ ~ ~

Where to begin? Well, I can tell you that on January 1, 2011, when I was thinking of all of the New Year’s resolutions that I was not going to keep, adoption was not on my mind.

This year was supposed to go so much different.  My wife Desiree and I had planned on getting our house cleaned out and fixed up a little to put it on the market.  After all, we have three girls and a dog.  What we need is more room and a bigger house.  But God had other plans for us.

My wife had mentioned adoption about a year or two ago, but it was one of those things (at least to me) that was probably a long way off, if ever at all. Right now was really not a good time. In addition to upgrading our housing situation, I was in the middle of studying for a very difficult technical certification that would advance me at work.  And besides, wasn’t adoption really expensive?!

For some reason my wife started looking into adoption websites around mid-February and started showing me pictures of “waiting children.”  At first I didn’t really pay that much attention to it—she would show me pictures of children from all over the world; kids with cleft lips, heart issues, or who had no health issues but simply had started to grow up and now were four to ten years old.

To my surprise, God really started to work on my heart. He started to break my heart for these children who do not have parents, who have been abandoned, who have next to nothing...but no one child really “grabbed” me.  Sure, my heart was broken for them, but was I willing to turn my life upside down and drop 20 to 30 grand on a kid that wasn’t “mine”?  Nah, not yet.  I hadn’t fully caught what Christ was trying to tell me.  I didn’t really “get it” yet—not until I saw my son.

Jesus used a seven-year-old boy named Shen NanSheng who lives in Southeast China to show me in an instant just how big He is. He showed me that life is about Him and His glory.  He showed me that I could love someone with all that I am even though I have never met them.  Jesus has showed, and is currently showing my wife and me, just how powerful and awesome He really is.

Will you JUST look at that face!  This little guy is ready for the Stockmans and Jesus!  Meet Shen NanSheng.


We have experienced a roller coaster of emotions through this process so far—from fear to happiness—but He has been there through all of it. I can honestly say that my wife and I have never grown in our faith as much as we have over these past seven months. We have been forced to rely on Him. He is my everything!

I am excited to be about the business of my King and to be passionate about what He is passionate about. I cannot wait until February 2012 when my wife and I can fly across the world to go pick up our son. My prayer is that glory would be given to Christ from this adoption.  I have been reminded so much of how I am adopted into His family, and I did not deserve this.

Please encourage the Stockmans by going to their blog to follow their journey and to drop them an encouraging word.  Go to www.findingourson.wordpress.com. God bless you, Stockmans!  We're praying for you and cheering you on!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Prayers for Friends' Unborn Son



Wow, this is exciting.  My wife and I have been asking everyone we know to pray for the unborn son, Zac, of dear friends of ours in South Africa.  We have known Brett and Janine some fifteen years, having first met them on the mission field in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  They are both amazing musical worshippers who have an undying passion for Jesus Christ.

Doctors told them some time ago that he is in an urgent situation.  Zac's heart was not developing properly, and they couldn't even identify what kind of condition he has.  Lacking an aorta (the primary artery of the heart) and having only one of four chambers, only the power of God can save him.

This morning, we read Janine's blog post here that announced the miracle has begun!  God has supernaturally woven a brand new aorta in this little boy's heart!  However, Zac is still requiring urgent prayer.

Two words, friends.  "WE BELIEVE!"  Do you?  Then please join the army of prayer warriors across the globe to bring healing into this precious family's situation.

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Man Camp" Father and Son Fun

I had great bonding time with my three sons--Connor, Kellan, and Cade--in a beautiful part of our state recently.  It was Christ-centered and fun-centered. 

The Salem Skate Team got to bond together...




And show off together...






The littlest "man" got to play cowboys and Indians (without the cowboys)...





The biggest got to "monkey around"...





And the second-to-the-oldest got to "flip out"...





While the littlest was just chillin' with his new buddies at the diner hall...



Yep, I reckon Man Camp is just fine with us guys.  Kellan could do wild things without his mom having heart failure...



And where else do you do mountain boarding, except on a mountain?...






But one of my proudest moments was when my littlest man became a very big man instantly!  At seven, he climbed up 40 feet and jumped down a zip line that spanned a wide river.  When he landed, a huge smile greeted me and the words, "I want to do that again!"  When I was seven, I wouldn't jump off a bed!




So for all of us guys, Man Camp was definitely a BLAST!






Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where I Was on September 11, 2001






Amid the myriad of high emotions felt by every American on that fateful day, I felt a different emotion from most.

We were on the mission field in Perth, Western Australia.  Adéye had just put little two-year-old Connor and one-year-old Kellan to bed.  Being tired that day, she went to sleep early herself.

As these days, I like to check the news before I turn in for the night.  What I saw on every television station in Perth froze me in place. 

I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I remember watching alone, feeling the need to wake up my wife to make sure that what I was seeing was real.  After all, these eyes have never seen such an event on TV before, much less, in my own country.

We watched as the first tower was burning, while other reports were coming in of planes going down and flying into the Pentagon.  Then, before our very eyes, we watched live as another plane flew into the other building.  Then the images of people jumping out windows sent shivers down our spines.

They were saying that as many as 50,000 people could be the death count.  It didn’t soften the blow when we finally learned that “only” 3,400 people died that morning.

We were serving in a large church in Perth at the time, helping them with their evangelism efforts.  When I walked in the doors the next morning, I was asked by several people if I knew anyone who died in the attack.

“Well,…I don’t know,” I said, taken aback.  I thought it was an odd thing to ask me.  On par with, “Oh, you’re from South Africa.  You must know my uncle in Kenya.”  But I knew why so many asked me that.  They wanted to feel a connection with the event.  And I must say, I needed to feel it too.

And that’s the emotion that took me by surprise that day—a longing to be with “my people.”  To suffer along with them.  To commiserate.  Or put in biblical terms, “to mourn with those who mourn.”  So I did the next best thing.  I asked the senior pastor if I could hold a prayer memorial for those in my part of Australia who were grieving immensely and needed support.

We publicized the memorial on the local radio station, stating that if any American or any other grieving person needed prayer, to come to the event.

To my utter dismay, the auditorium was packed.  I don’t remember seeing any other American there.  Just me and the wife of a staff member.  All others were Australians.  And there was scant a dry eye in the house.

Struggling to get the words out at first, I remember telling the audience that I had not felt like that since the day my mother died in 1993.  Then I forgot what I said after that.  I DO remember, though, that the Father presented Himself as a sweet, sweet spirit in that auditorium that night.  His peace filled the room.  We all needed the love of our Daddy, and He was there to deliver.  

So here we are, ten years later.  All of those emotions and images resurfacing.  Is it bad of me to not want to watch all of the commemoration footage on television?  Why is it still so raw?  Why did I feel like crying the entire day today?

I don’t have those answers.  But I am so, so thankful that we have THE answer to all of this worldly depravity just a breath of prayer away.  And even closer.  When the Lord of lords and King of kings resides in our hearts, somehow He does a contortionist act—He wraps His arms around our souls and squeezes us into His bosom, reassuring us that this, too, shall pass, and that all is well with my soul.

The gospel is such good news, friends.  And the lightning pure love of Jesus Christ makes it that much gooder.  (Is that a word?)

Pray for those families who lost heroes on that day.  We need more of them.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Last Day at the Pool

The last day at our local pool was like the first day on Memorial Day--lots of rain.  But when it cleared up, the watermelon came out, and the shout came--"Let the games begin!"



My two older boys, Connor and Kellan, jumped in and hooped it up like the rest of them.

The Watermelon Toss rules are simple: Boys line one end of the pool, while the girls start at the other end.  Then a fat watermelon greased with vaseline is tossed in the center.  And it's a free-for-all. 



When someone gets it, they have to make it to their opponents' "end zone."  But they won't go without a fight.



Imagine a bunch of kids trying to pry a slippery melon out of your grasp.



Tons of fun.  But also, a bit of sadness.  It's been a wonderful summer at the pool, meeting new friends, and even growing up bigger than when the season started.

Can't wait for next summer.  Until then, we'll enjoy a crisp fall season with lots of beautiful leaves and fresh winds.

Enjoy your September!
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