Monday, May 25, 2009

Walking in the Truth

Danny and I took part in two graduations this past week: our eighth grade Crossover celebration and our high school graduation. Both were blessings! At Crossover, each of the teachers had an opportunity to say a blessing over several students. This year I even got teary-eyed as I had to say goodbye to a student who was moving away and whom we all loved dearly. Take a look at some of the pictures below:

Aside from Crossover, Danny and I participated in several graduation parties. The Fleet boys, Carter and Taylor, graduated this year, and Lynne and Bill threw a catfish party for them. We have watched as these two grew from middle school boys into young men graduating from high school. Celebrating their accomplishments was a special night indeed:

Carter and Taylor, Class of 2009

Suzanne getting ready to serve up some catfish!

The kids playing some croquet

Bill as he is about to say the blessing

Small Group men hanging out together

And the Small Group women

Our whole family...

Our graduation celebrations culminated with the graduation service itself. Every year our headmaster, Mr. Anderson, asks the faculty how we can tell if we have done what we were supposed to do; in other words, how do we know if our students are prepared? Is it by their SAT and ACT scores? Is it by the colleges into which they get accepted? Or is it their earning potential? No, he answers. We will know if we have done our jobs when, twenty (or two) years down the road, we can say this of our students: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth" (3 John 4). I have to admit, there is no greater joy than to see these young people grow in their knowledge of and love for the Lord. It is the reason that we teach.

This week has been a special one at CPA. Danny and I are blessed to be a part of such a wonderful family. We are proud of our graduates, both middle school and high school. And we are thankful for the opportunity to do what we do for such a time as this. Soli Deo Gloria!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Latest from Auntie Isabelle

Isabelle lives in Uganda while she is waiting to get her son Nathaniel home. Nathaniel and Asher have been buddies for a long time. These words are from Isabelle:

Asher ran up to me yesterday shouting, "Auntie Isabelle, Auntie Isabelle, my Mummy and Daddy are coming from Amewica!

That's right, Asher! We're coming! We love you!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pictures from Africa

A sweet friend, though I have never met her face to face, has gone back to Uganda for the summer to volunteer at Amani Baby Cottage. Emily Worrall knows Asher (and all his other buddies that are coming home to their forever families) and has already sent us pictures of him. These pictures were taken at the beginning of the week. He looks so happy! I know he is excited to see his friend Emily again. The first thing Emily said to Asher was, "Hey, I heard you have a family!" She said that he just grinned. I am grinning just thinking about it!

Our boy praying...just precious!

Danny's excited about Asher's vertical...

What a happy fella!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Isaiah 65:24

I found this story on Renee's blog. Renee is moving to Uganda and starting a ministry of her own there. When I read her latest post, I thought it worth sharing. Please read this story of God's loving kindness and faithfulness toward His children. God answers prayer! Keep praying!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Danny and I found out from the USCIS in Memphis that we are the first couple in Tennessee to file an advance petition to adopt a child from Uganda. I must confess that these unchartered waters are a little scary. We had to go back and revise our home study as well as change some of the answers on our I600A, but we finally got approved! That's one hoop we've been able to successfully jump through!

Now comes that hard part...waiting! Our custody papers have been with the probation officer in Jinja for about six weeks. We continue to wait for a clear moment on the docket. Once a lawyer signs and stamps these custody papers, we can file our affadavit and get a court date. After that, we travel to Uganda to bring home our son! That's where you come in. James tells us in his letter that "the prayer of a righteous [person] is powerful and effective" (5:16). Therefore, we need your prayers! Please pray for a clear moment on the docket. Please pray that there will be no delays in the filing of the paperwork. And, lastly, please pray for an early court date. I believe that God will honor our prayers, and I thank Him in advance for His faithfulness. Still, it is true what they say: the waiting is the hardest part!

Here's another picture of Asher. I like to look at these pictures as often as I can to make the waiting easier. It really does help!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Asher Knows!

I am so excited I can hardly contain it! Instead of telling you the story, I will let you read it for yourselves. Here is an email I received from Mary, the U.S. Foster Coordinator for Amani:

This weekend, Asher told the nurse, Siouxanne, that his family was in America. Siouxanne just assumed that he had been told about his family. So, she said "Yes, you do. Would you like to see their picture?" So, she showed him the book. Then, later, he was talking to Danyne's little girl, Diana.

Asher: "I have a family. They are in a book."
Diana: "What? In a book?"
Asher: "Yes, I have a family. They are in a book in the office."

Just had to share this story that I just heard from Danyne. He sounds so "clever," which means smart to us. "Smart" in Uganda means you are dressed nicely. Anyway, he has now seen your pics. Siouxanne thought someone had told him, but no one had. He just said his family is in America......that boy is READY! So sweet.


I cannot tell you how comforting this is to know. I can't really explain it, but somehow it feels "official" now that Asher knows. He knows! He really knows! He is no longer alone...he has his family! Praise the Lord!

"I will not leave you...I will come for you." John 14:18

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Love to Tell the Story

Today was Grandparents' Day at our school, and the theme of the program was storytelling. It was just a blessed day all around! Mema and Granddaddy were able to tour the kids' classrooms, meet their teachers, and see all their work. Then we were all blessed to watch the elementary students sing old hymns and tell their own stories about the impact their grandparents have had on their lives. My favorite part of the program was when the kindergarten students recited the ABC Bible verses, one verse for each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. These precious children truly are our legacy, and I am reminded of the importance of raising them in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord." Above all else, we want to teach them the truths of the Bible so that they can store them in their hearts and one day be able to tell the old old story of Jesus and His love.

Mema and Granddaddy visit Owen's class.

The Three Musketeers: Owen, Michael, and Keaton

Mema and Granddaddy finally make it to Sylvie's room...

...and they love the picture of Sylvie dressed in "grown up" clothes!

Sylvie and her class singing "I Love to Tell the Story"

On the way to a special lunch with the grandparents!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Here Comes the Sun

Well, the sun never showed up for our fund raising events, but the Son did! We saw Jesus in Lynne Fleet as she helped organize the garage sale and recruit friends to bring their items. We saw Jesus in Bill Fleet who showed up at 6:30 (Danny was barely even up yet!) to set up and who stayed into the afternoon, keeping us company and driving hard bargains. We saw Jesus in all the couples from our small group and friends from school who donated really nice things to help the cause. We saw Jesus in the Fullers and the Arndts who bought the most expensive glasses of lemonade ever made! And we saw Jesus in the wave of people who came to the garage sale in the rain. If it hadn't been for the weather, I am convinced that I would have thought the whole day a success because of my amazing planning and forethought. However, once again I am humbled by the fact that God, and God alone, is the bringer of all good gifts. It is He who, by His grace, allowed our garage sale to be successful in the midst of a torrential downpour (slight embellishment!). By that afternoon, we had made $800! Jesus showed up in a mighty way!

But the day was not over yet! As soon as we finished cleaning up the garage sale, we headed off to Kids Movie Night at the church. Not knowing what to expect, we were amazed to have around 60 kids come to play games and watch a movie. We saw Jesus in the Stubblefields who gave up their night to help us entertain 60 young people. We saw Jesus in Addie, Merrell, Mallory C., Mackenzie, Morgan, Grace, and Mallory M. who also volunteered to help. We saw Jesus once again in all the families who brought their children and who gave so generously. When this event was over, we had raised another $2700!

For all you who participated yesterday and who donated so generously to help bring Asher home, we thank you with all that we have. We are humbled to be surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses. And we have seen Jesus through you. And we can't wait for Asher to see Jesus too. Because of your generosity, one day he will! I promise that we will tell him that because of your love for Jesus, you helped bring him home. He will know...

Danny and Bill hanging out on the sofa donated by the Clarks

Thank you, Lynne and Bill, for coming up with the idea!

Owen, Sylvie, Mary Ellis, and Annie manning the lemonade stand

Kids at Movie Night

Last night brought our fund raising escapades to a close. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Asher has been blessed by everyone's donations. But I must say that Danny and I have also been blessed to experience once again the sacrificial giving and love of God's people. It has changed our hearts and taught us what it means to love others well. Once again, we are humbled. Words cannot express this side of heaven just what everyone has meant to us, but please know that you have made a difference in the lives of ALL the Kecks. With much love,

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Raining Cats and Dogs

Well...the weather is yucky, but God is still good! I am off to get balloons for the garage sale signs. We have had to move all the items in the garage...quite a feat with a sofa, chair, coffee table, ficus tree, three sets of speakers, two guitars, paint ball and air soft supplies, a basketball goal, three baby seats, eight boxes of books, a bread maker, a tea set, racks of clothes, three tables of baby get the idea!

If you read this, please continue to pray for the weather and that God will bring people to our house anyway. Then, tonight Danny and I along with some friends are hosting Kids' Movie Night at the church. Pray for a good turnout there as well.

We are working hard and are tired, but ALL of it is worth it to bring our sweet boy home. I think of all of the things that Asher must have gone through in his short life, and I am ashamed to even be tired. In that sense, I am so thankful for the opportunity to work hard and to be tired and to feel "at odds." It gives me a glimpse into Asher's life as well as the lives of his little buddies. Thank you, God, for these opportunities to grow in you. Give me your grace today!

And bring the sun!