Swift to Respond ~ by Brittany Bethel

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This week’s ROOM contributor is Brittany Bethel. Brittany’s heart for God’s children has brought her alongside ROOM in varying capacities over the past several years and now we are privileged to have her sit as the Chair of ROOM’s Board of Directors. We are so thankful our Board is willing to invest in this ministry, particularly because we have a passionate and driven Chair in Brittany. 

I have had the privilege to go to Honduras for the past 6 years in varying capacities. In the last three years it has become my job as the Overseas Administrator for Carolina Cross Connection (CCC). I get to prepare and educate teams of students and adults to go to Honduras and serve in several orphanages.  My partnership with ROOM started out simple: they introduced me to the orphanage directors and from there I was able to start relationships. Three years ago ROOM was my foot in the door; today, I humbly sit as the Chair of the Board. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my heart on orphan care in the next 100-page dissertation (or maybe just the next 300 words or so).

Recently, I picked up a book called Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care by Tony Merida and Rick Morton. I will be honest, I have only read the first two chapters, but it has captivated me. In the introduction David Platt writes something I believe ROOM is building on daily: “One of the clearest displays of the gospel in the life is when redeemed men and women extend a hand of mercy to children in need and bring them into their families.” This is what I believe ROOM’s team in India and Honduras is doing day in and day out. They are living the gospel. They are an inspiration. The Creator of the universe has redeemed them and they love kids as their own while fully understanding that they, as well as the kids, are children of God.

It is overwhelming to think about what the ROOM teams are doing as they partner with government officials, rock-star orphanage directors, and the community; but here is the reality,“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons and daughters. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:4-7)

The people serving with ROOM have been redeemed and so have you. You have been adopted and because of this truth you have the responsibility to care for orphans. The best news is that you have been equipped for this responsibility! The question now is how? How is God calling you to step out in faith into his call? I believe we are all at different levels and none of us are being called to the exact same thing. There are opportunities through ROOM for you to go, see, and learn. We also are in a Matching Gift campaign right now that is benefiting Honduran and Indian orphanages, as well as the children living in our transition homes. There are also children in your churches and communities that need you to hang out with them and point them to Jesus. Some of us are being called to adopt, some from the States and others in foreign adoption. Some are called to support adoptive parents, raise awareness, or host an orphan. The opportunities are endless. Join us as we continue to seek the Lord’s direction in how he is calling us collectively and individually. Please pray for us as we walk through this Matching Gift campaign. We are praying for you that the Lord is clear in his call and you are swift to respondBrittany_Blog_9.24.2015 a

As Brittany stated in her blog, ROOM is thrilled
to have a generous, anonymous donor come alongside of ROOM to help create the
 ROOM 2 Come and See Campaign. Every dollar donated will be matched to help make your gift go twice as far! We invite you to partner with us by exploring the many ways you can support the ministry of Reach Out Orphanage Ministries.

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Preparing for the Mission Field: God’s Confirmation~ Kellie Weed

This week’s ROOM contributor is also our newest additions to our ROOM Family, Joey and Kellie Weed! We are so excited to have them, as well as their beautiful son, Connor, join our team in Honduras. They will fill instrumental roles for our organization and we cannot be happier to know that they will soon bring fresh eyes and fresh energy to our team.  Please pray for them as they continue to prepare to obey the calling the Lord has placed on their lives. 

When we first answered the call to serve with ROOM in Honduras we really didn’t know what to expect. We knew it would probably take around a year to get things in order; sell our house, learn Spanish, fundraise and prepare mentally and spiritually for what was to come. We wanted a plan, a step 1, 2, 3 with dates and everything, but unlike planning a wedding or having a baby, there isn’t too much google has to offer in the way of preparing for the mission field (trust me, we’ve searched it). So here is a glimpse of to what the past year of preparation has looked like for our family.

In the past we’ve prided ourselves in what WE have worked for. How much security we built up in our savings account or how many years until our house would be paid for. We would trust God with our money and knew if we were faithful to Him, He would provide, but just in case we had a backup plan. Little did we know the freedom that would come with truly surrendering EVERYTHING to Him, trusting that we will live with no promise of a paycheck come Friday. Knowing that we are not trusting the people who have committed to sponsoring us (we are so grateful for you), but trusting that God will provide. With giving away everything we had, God has proven His faithfulness by blessing us even more than we could imagine in return. God sent us confirmation by providing financial support for us.

We didn’t know our exact timeline, but we knew we needed to sell our house before we could make the move to Honduras. One of the things I love most about my husband is his extreme faith and trust in God. He said from the beginning we weren’t going to put our house on the market, because God was calling us to Honduras and He would sell it for us. I would have gone the old fashion way and put up a “for sale” sign, but we tried it his way. 4 months went by and nothing. Out of frustration he tells me he’s getting a “for sale” sign to put in the yard. I agreed, knowing he wouldn’t. I came home from work that day to see no sign in our yard. His response, “God will sell our house when it’s time”. The very next day we met the people that would soon buy our house. The details on how things have worked out from that day are amazing, but a little lengthy. God sent us confirmation by selling our house.

How do you explain to your three year old that we are leaving behind everything he’s ever known to serve children in Honduras (which he thinks is located where Texas is on a map)? Although we’ve done our best to explain it, he can’t fully understand what’s to come. He’s comprehended it to be “we are going to Honduras to help the other kids because their parents went home.” In his innocence, he can’t understand that there are children without a daddy and a mommy, but he is excited to love and help them. God sent us confirmation through our three year old who has the loving heart of a servant.

I wish we could say that this year has been the easiest. People tend to think that Pastors, Church and Ministry Leaders, Missionaries are so close to God that the devil can’t reach them….WRONG! The deeper we seek God, the more under attack we are by spiritual warfare. We have seen evidence of this in our marriage, our families and our friendships; even relationships with some of our closest church family. These aren’t battles that we can win on our own. They are battles that have to be fought by the One who already won the war. God sent us confirmation by strengthening our marriage and family and preparing us to trust Him even in difficult situations.

There are days driving down the road tears just fall. They aren’t necessarily tears of sadness or tears of joy; just tears of emotion. Tears of fear of the unknown, tears of excitement of what’s to come, tears through prayers for children I’ve never met and tears of anxiety for things that I can’t control. But there was a day I thought I was stressed to my max, where I knew I couldn’t do it on my own; God led me to Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you in Christ Jesus.” God sent us confirmation through His Word.

We are so thankful for everyone that God has placed in our lives for such a time as this. Our families and church family support us, encourage us at just the right time, cover us in prayer and love us every step of the way and. We have been given great mentors in who walked this path and are real with us about what to expect and warnings to help keep our family and ministry strong (because YES the devil is on the mission field too). We have also been blessed with an amazing Spanish teacher who has made it her ministry to teach us. When we get to Honduras, we already have family there, excited to welcome us. God sent us confirmation through loving people all around us.

We have come to the conclusion that the reason there isn’t a “Preparing for the Mission Field: For Dummies” book out there, is because it isn’t a check list, it isn’t the same for everyone and it isn’t by our own means, but by GOD! For our family, preparing this past year has been ups and downs, but filled with full confirmation that we are doing exactly what God has called us to do. We are so excited to serve with the ROOM family. With 2 months left in the States, we ask for your prayers that God will continue to orchestrate our preparations in His timing.

To learn more about the Weed family check out their Facebook page

To support the Weed family financially, check out their Razzo Page.

Things Missionaries Won’t Tell You about Fundraising~ by Kaylie Kuhn

This week’s ROOM contributor is Kaylie Kuhn.  Kaylie is serving as a full-time, permanent missionary in Honduras.  She manages the Orphanage Care program in Honduras and provides critical childcare for ROOM Transition Homes.  Kaylie is passionate about orphan prevention and family reunification.  She spends most of her time and energy supporting Lizzie, her former foster daughter, as she transitions back into the care of her biological family.  As both the youngest (age 20) and longest tenured ROOM Missionary (Kaylie began her missionary work with ROOM two years ago when she was a foster mother at age 18), Kaylie’s experience, personal relationships with the orphan care community and passion for children, are tremendous assets to Reach Out Orphanage Ministries’ work in Honduras.

As the ROOM 2 Come and See matching gift fundraiser continues, we’re all trying to do our best to keep the fundraising spirit high! In honor of this great campaign, I’d love to share a missionary perspective on fundraising, in order to give you an outlook of what it’s like for us. Thank you, ROOM family, for all you do to support us and our beautiful kids everyday! Now, without further ado…

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Things missionaries won’t tell you about fundraising

1) We don’t know how to talk about ourselves.

– We tend to have no problem talking about the children we care for or the people we’re serving; but we have no idea how to talk about ourselves. We love talking about our programs, and even the other missionaries in our organization, but when asked about ourselves we go silent. Mission work is so outreach focused that it’s hard to think inwards. It’s not that we don’t appreciate ourselves, or think the work we do is unimportant, it’s just not the first thing that comes to mind when we’re so used to speaking about our organization and programs. It’s also hard because it feels like we’re “tooting our own horn.” We don’t want to come off as overly confident or prideful, especially when missionaries are expected to be humble. It’s a hard thing to try to balance.

2) Updating your donors can be a nightmare

– As missionaries we feel an overwhelming pressure to spin everything into a happy, inspirational story. It’s not that we think our donors won’t understand our struggles, but more because it’s another one of those false missionary expectations: Missionaries always succeed. I’ve definitely felt this type of pressure, being compared to Katie Davis (of the book “Kisses From Katie”) before. While I know the person who compared me intentions were good, it still put an immense pressure on me to be more like Katie Davis. I knew our thoughts, personalities and callings were different, but I still couldn’t shake the comparison and became discouraged as I saw myself as the underwhelming version Katie Davis instead of the awesome-in-my-own-way Kaylie Kuhn. When it came to Lizzi I didn’t “succeed” in the typical way, and it was hard to update those praying for my success. I struggled to spin Lizzi’s story into a happy ending. I didn’t know how to inspire others when I was lacking inspiration myself. We all get into that place of devastation in our lives, the only difference with missionaries is that we have to broadcast ours. So if you haven’t heard from the missionary you support in a while, just give them time. They may need a little while before they’re able to give you the full story.

3) There is no such thing as a budget on the mission field.

– While utility bills and rental costs usually stay the same, our budgets change constantly. On the mission field, you never know what you’re going to get. One month you’re in the green, raising three foster kids, and the next month you’ve accidentally taken on a family of three for emergency care and are one month in debt. Or your foster son needs a surgery. Or there’s a baby girl with a hole in her heart desperately in need of your care. As much as we’d love to have savings and emergency accounts we generally just don’t have enough to spare to prepare. As much as we can show you our budget, our lives change too often for us to really keep up with it. Which is exactly why we constantly need to fundraise, whether or not our not our needs are met at the moment.

4) We’re not always on the best terms with God.

– it’s a common misconception that missionaries are always happy and pleased with God. We have just as many struggles in our relationship with the Lord as anybody. Every time we lose a child, every time we’re taken out of comfort zone and put into a situation we weren’t prepared for, every time we lose hope seeing all the unquenchable need around us, it’s hard for us to stay inspired. Our incomes rely completely on God. Even those given salaries, the salaries come from donations. Our work is also dependent on God, whenever He wants to change it, He will. All too often He tests us by restraining the income and doubling the work. He puts us in a place totally reliant on Him. I know everyone in any job is put into these situations, it’s just so apparent on the mission field. I’ve had many moments where I’ve cried out to God in frustration and anger. I’ve taken His work into my own hands rather than depending on Him. I’ve been hopeless and refused to look for the lesson He was teaching at me at the moment. Just because we’re on the mission field doesn’t mean we know God better, or listen better, or even obey his calling. We struggle daily, sometimes even hourly, to listen to His words and depend on Him. Being a missionary does not make being a Christian easier. Like I mentioned before, it’s hard to talk about these times with our donors since the general expectation is to make all situations into inspiring stories; to have no doubts.  The reality is – missionaries struggle in their relationship with God just as much as any other Christian.

5) We’re not asking you to just support our jobs – we’re asking you to support our lives.

– A missionary’s work isn’t defined by hours in a day. For us, there is no nine-to-five. Our “job” is our lives. It takes up our nights as well as our days. We’re not just asking you to just support us when we’re working with the boys at Senderos, but also when we’re up at night with the babies of the Transition Home. There is no point in the day where the Transition Home gets to say, “Well, I’ve done enough today, you babies go take care of yourself,” or when Kacey gets to say, “Jesus, you’ve been to enough therapy appointments. Let’s just stop going,” or when Johana gets to say “That’s not a part of my job description, I’m not going to help with that.” Our lives surround the jobs we’re doing. It truly is a lifestyle for us. So when we ask for donations or prayers, it’s personal, and it means more than you could ever imagine to us.

6) Our supporters are family to us.

– Ok, so maybe you guys did know this one. Even with our updates lacking or our communications failing; we love you guys. We could never do what we do without you. We love to share our success stories with you because we know you feel the same joy as we do. We love your prayers. We love it when you “like” our stuff on Facebook, we love to receive messages from you to see how we’re doing. We know that every donation we get is God-inspired, and we love to see God working through you as He calls you to our mission. Although we may not have enough time or energy to express how much we love and appreciate you – please don’t doubt it. Juvencio talks more and more everyday because of you. Eda, and countless others, got a chance to find a forever family instead of growing up in an orphanage because of you. Lizzi and I get to laugh our days away because of you. Thank you so much for every donation and prayer you have ever sent our way – you are family to us, and we love you dearly.

To learn more about Kaylie’s story, please visit her personal blog at https://n2yhonduras.wordpress.com/  To make a financial contribution to her missionary work, please visit https://www.razoo.com/story/Kaylie-S-Mission