Thursday, October 31, 2013

Doers of The Word (guest post)

We met the Higbie Family at our church in Wisconsin but it wasn't until March of 2012 that we actually got to know wasn't until then that we took a step out of our comfort zone, out of our "busy schedules" to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and go help them peel some potatoes for a fundraiser they were having that week. I say that because that's probably not something we would have decided to do on our own for people we didn't really "know", but after the church service that day when Diane starting telling me about their story and the fundraiser and the help they needed, the Holy Spirit prompted me and I knew we needed to get involved, even if it was just donating our time to help them peel some potatoes and attend a fundraiser until past our bed time. I point that out because serving isn't always convenient, loving others doesn't always look like things we would choose to do, but if you know God is telling you to do something, you just obey and He will reward you for it. Josh led someone to the Lord the night of the fundraiser, God multiplied our time and everything we needed to get done was accomplished, and we know that meeting the Higbie's was truly a divine connection and friendship!


It didn't take much time spent with Diane to see her beautiful loving heart, so passionate and full of faith! Every moment I spent with her I was encouraged and uplifted, strengthened and refueled. I can't even tell you how much it spoke to my heart to see her love on her family, her precious children, even the ones who weren't "home" yet! She never hesitated to pray, to praise, to sing, you could just see Jesus right next to her every moment and that so blessed me and encouraged me in my own personal relationship with the Lord!


Just a few short months after getting to know Bob, Diane, and the girls, Josh and I followed the call of God on our lives to Pastor my home church in Texas and the Higbie's were such an awesome encouragement to us and our faith as we prepared for our big move. We were learning to trust God, and I mean really trust Him, quitting our jobs, not having a place to live or any guaranteed income, just acting on His Word to go...just like the Higbie's, obeying God's call on their lives to adopt those precious children "a world away", trusting God to provide every step of the way when everything was stacked against them. And to see Bob's faith because I can relate to his doubt and reasoning, wanting to understand everything and know how it's all going to work, that's me for sure, but how he just trusted anyway, wow! Josh and I thank God for this couple!


I want to share a few things about faith...

 "But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]."  (Hebrews 11:6 AMP)

We are supposed to be channels for God to work through us, and how does God accomplish things on earth? How does He love the unlovable, father the fatherless, feed the hungry, etc.? He does it through His Body! We as Christians are His Body, we are the hands and feet of Jesus here on this earth, God works through us, us in obedience to Him, actually taking action.  We cannot please God without faith and faith without works is dead.


I like the way The Message explains faith in action - James 2:14-20

14-17 Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?

18 I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.”

Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.

19-20 Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands?

22 Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it. 23 If you hear the message and don’t obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror 24 and forget what they look like as soon as they leave. 25 But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don’t just hear and forget.

26 If you think you are being religious, but can’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and everything you do is useless. 27 Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil.

The Higbie's are full of faith, they are living this out right now, right in front of us, sacrificing so much and being away from their family, against all odds and obstacles, they are not loosening their grip, they hold fast to the promise of God...they continue to speak God's Word and truth when the doubt and the voice of impossibility scream in their face...and God is very pleased with them, they are fighting the good fight of faith, that is the fight you know, keeping the faith, continuing to believe...


We encourage everyone to get on board with Bob and Diane and help them out financially as well, they are trusting God for the finances to come in, even as they are already oversees to get these precious children, and how do you think God will get the money to them? Through you and I, He works through people and the longer people disobey and not give when God is telling them to give, the longer it takes. We already know personally the reward of obeying God and giving when He tells us to, it's not ours anyway, we are His channel, to flow through us, not for us to keep everything for our own desires, God has always taken care of us and we do not go without, He is faithful!


We pray that the eyes of there condemners have been opened to see the great work that God Himself has fulfilled through Bob and Diane. To God be all the Glory and Honor and Praise. Bob and Diane, thank you so much for living a true Christian life and not being merely talkers but being "doers of the Word!"


-In His Service, Josh & Angela Napiwocki

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

National Adoption Day in Ukraine

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

Today, September 30, 2013, is National adoption Day in Ukraine. We are so pleased to announce, that on this day, we offered adoption to 2 children we had never met....

More on that in a minute. Let me share what has got Bob and I to this point.

                                                  This is  a road map of Ukraine...

1 kilometer is equal to 0.621 miles. So far in country we have traveled over 4500km by car with Max, our facilitator,  to accomplish the adoption of our children. We are not nearly done. We have at least that many more to go... We have traveled from Lviv to Zaporizhia to Lugansk, with trips back to Kiev to file documents with the DAP office in between. We have seen more of Ukraine from Max's car than we ever expected to. But the togetherness and travel is helping us not only get to know each other extremely well, it is also helping Bob ad I get a much better understanding of the Ukrainian people.  Though out our travels we continue to see striking contrasts in the economic classes within this country. This experience has shown us the people of Ukraine are different than Americans. Not better, not worse, just different. Those we have gotten to know will be life long friends. They are solid, genuine and giving. We are blessed to call each of them our friend. As our journey continues, we hope to add many more to the list of friends we have already been blessed with.

                    On our way to Lviv we saw many horse drawn carts mixed with the traffic...
And roads that look like they have been here since the WW II... this road on the way to Lviv went on for what seemed like forever. It took us 3 hours to cover the last 30km.. 
and at times Max actually drove in the field NEXT to the road instead of ON the road!!
Waiting for the social worker in Lviv to join us. We then traveled to The orphanage where Oksana and Vasyl reside. Offered them adoption into our family.
 Fear kept them captive and they refused our offer.   
We then headed back to Kiev to file those documents with the DAP. It left Bob and I with a very BIG decision to consider... Do we get Nadiya and head home OR offer adoption to 2 children we have never met. We spent a great deal of time seeking God's will for our family. We prayed together and read His word daily. And we waited to hear from heaven ...
And then... we hit the road again. Referral in hand for our Nadiya. We had a delay as the Embassy here in Kiev could fine no evidence of our filing the necessary I600 form within the 180 days of our I600a approval date. I had to contact the immigration office in the USA, and request for them to send a scanned copy via email to me and CC Max. He then had to compose a letter requesting the Embassy official to draft a letter stating that, in fact, I had filed our I600 within the allotted time and stated Nadiya by name and DOB on that form. Thus giving us the opportunity to move forward and receive her referral. 
So, after picking up a social worker here...
 We FINALLY, after 21 months of waiting got to wrap our arms around our sweet Nadiya!! We met her at the Trade School she is attending. They are training her to be a seamstress.
Our visit was brief as we needed to take all the documentation from the local social worker and the Trade school, along with Nadiya's hand written "YES" to adoption back to Kiev to the DAP office.
24 hours later we are again at the DAP office delivering documents required to receive a court date in Nadiya's region.
48 hours later Bob and I are sitting in Maria's office with Max. We are discussing moving forward  on offering adoption to 2 children who are in their last days of eligibility to be adopted. We were presented with several options and settled on the children we felt God was calling us to. A boy who is already 16, and his sister who is 15. 
24 hours later, on Friday at 3pm in the afternoon, Bob and I go back to the DAP office to pick up the  referral. This is our third visit in the last 27 days to this small hallway where we wait to sign for and pick up official document allowing us to visit the children we are offering adoption to. 

Sunday morning finds us back on the road. This time for a 10 hour trip all the way across Ukraine to just shy of the Russian border.
Noticed some strange sights this trip too... Yes that IS an armored vehicle!
AND...If I go the rest of my life and never have to utilize one of these again... I am A-OK with that!!
Waiting in a classroom to meet our perspective children... This room measured about 5x10 and contained 4 student desks.
Getting to know you... Bob and Y walking to his sister's dorm.
Waiting for said sister outside her dorm...
Allowing them to show us "their world"...
This is his cot... about 2 feet wide with a 2"mattress in a room approx. 6x8 feet. He shares this room with 2 other boys.
365 days each year... these are their "facilities"... No running water. No plumbing per say. One for the boys, one for the girls. Inside these are simply multiple "squatters" in open bay setting. The smell is overpowering as you walk the grounds.
We were not allowed to take a picture of T 's dorm room. It is equally crowded and similar in size and condition.
We were given a tour of the school by the social worker in charge their. He is very proud of the school. In sharp contrast to the outhouses... they have the latest technology in ONE of the classrooms teaching computers. A 50" white board that works as an Ipad, with  applications similar to those on our Iphones or Ipad.
We remain here in the nearest city  to the kids with accommodations to house and feed us. Their "YES" to adoption was immediate. We will spend time with them each day after they are finished with classes at 2:30 for the duration of the 10 days allowed per law. 
 Today while visiting, I asked if they had coats as they were both wearing just hoodies, and it was COLD. -1 this morning. It has been cold and rainy this past month. Rain everyday except today that we have been here. They told us, "no coats."  So in the morning, Bob and I will find a shop to purchase them each a warm coat and hat and gloves. They both have decent shoes thanks to a summer host family.
As this journey to family continues for us, Bob and I thank each of you for your continued support and prayers for our family. We are humbled and so very grateful for each of you.
To God be the Glory!
"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation." (Psalm 91:14-16)