BIG LOVE BLOG- Our story of love and family


Sunday, January 3, 2010

HOPE RISING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today was just an awesome day! I am still blown away by the info I learned today! As most of you know, we go to an awesome church and over the past year our church started a journey to make a difference for orphans in the world....Of course I am encouraging this big time!
For any local people reading, it is LaCroix Church and I am just so pumped about what God is doing there! (Please also see this as an open invite to join us at LaCroix if you are a local and looking for a church, checking out church as an option, or just thinking this place might be cool)We just finished a great series called Hope Rising, and it was all about serving the poor and standing for those in need. It had such a huge influence on my life. We were challenged in many ways as a church. One of these challenges was to live for 5 days on what millions of people across the globe live like EVERY DAY. We were allowed tap water and 3 meals a day of one cup of rice and beans.
If you know me at all, you know I love food! Too much I have learned. How interesting what we focus our time and thoughts toward...And for me, deciding where to eat or looking forward to my next meal, or snack seemed to be a big part of my life.-The funny thing is, I would have NEVER known this if I had not taken on the food challenge. I pretty much thought doing the challenge would be "good for me". Eric and I both did it as a family. We went to sleep hungry at night and I know we were still eating like kings compared to so so many people who live on so much less than the beans and rice every day.

Here are some of the random things that I learned/pondered during this week:-Frustration....I felt it big time because I could not be in total control
-We spend WAY too much in a week eating out!
-Looking at my girls in there warm cushy beds, belly's full- I cried at the thought of the 147 million children in the world who have no parents and no security, much less little to no food most of the time.
-I cried about almost everything as a matter of a fact...I was constantly overwhelmed by the feeling of being hungry and how over the top we are as a culture with all of our "stuff" while people around the world are LITERALLY STARVING TO DEATH!
-I was in a bad mood on and off all week from the lack of food...and still we had all of the tap water we could drink.
-Two days I went to the gym and did my typical cardio burn, and when I walked out of the gym I thought I might pass out...And it made me think of what women and children go through walking for miles to get water, only to carry the heavy container once filled while their bellies ache for nutrition.
I caught myself looking in the rear view mirror as I drove our over the top SUV, looking at my girls in the back seat thinking...THIS COULD HAVE BEEN THEM...Not a number that is easy to ignore...MY GIRLS, MY BABIES...BIANCA AND SOLIE

-I knew the 5 days would end if I could "just make it to the end" and then life would be back to normal....FOR US, NOT THEM
-I cheated by drinking tea a few days...How weak can a person be?
-I wondered, WHY ME? Why did I get this phenomenal life that I EXPECT, and take for granted, and millions of other people ARE DYING FROM LACK OF FOOD AND LOVE
-I still went to bed EVERY NIGHT, in my plush, warm bed, and had a shower every day, love every day, a family every day....a wonderful life...every day
Eric and I looked at each other and were brought to tears so many times as we ate our one cup meal, realizing that millions of people would be so so thankful for this one cup meal.
Well, the list could go on FOREVER, but this is a taste, if you will.

In addition to the food challenge our church partnered with a great organization called Feed My Starving Children, and we packed and shipped 157,000 meals for people in need.
On Christmas Eve an offering was taken in hopes of raising $37,000 to pay for these meals, and also to support a great organization called S.H.A.D.E, wHere we will help increase a feeding program for people already serving the poorest of the poor.
Today was the day we were to learn how much our church gave for this need.
I went to church so excited I could hardly stand it, and when the amount was revealed, I felt weak in my knees.


Literally unbelievable!
I am so thankful and humbled and challenged!
Are you? Where do you stand? Maybe you have thought about getting involved, maybe you already are involved....We have so much...We can all do more.


michelle said...


when I left church I knew I wanted to blog about the joy I had when I heard about the Christmas eve offering also. I sat down this morning to write on my blog but first saw that you had a recent entry. Always curious and excited to read your updates I went to your blog first. The thoughts and emotions you have written are so powerful. We truly serve an AWESOME God and I am so thankful to serve him along with our church family who are all stretching themselves and their faith to do more. I hope it is okay, instead of trying to recapture my own "HOPE RISING" thoughts and feelings, I copied your entry on our blog. I don't think I could have written it any better, you captured the whole experience beautifully in this entry. Thank you!

Irene Ayieko said...

Vacationing with Michelle and the kids Parker, Paeton, Phisher, and Phelix was fun. Michelle and the kids drove for almost 2 hours to pick me up from the airport on the 29th December 2009 at Tallahassee. What a love to show to me this Christmas. I have not travelled by air since November 2004. This was so fun and seeing Michelle and the kids there waiting for me as I arrived smiling was very humbling. The twins looked at me with inquisitive eyes as though saying, “Where have you been Ms. Irene?” having not seen me in a week. I played Tennis with the Parker and Paeton on the 30th December 2009. Michelle and the twins were cheerleading all of us. I was the “Serena Williams” on that court Parker and Paeton made me laugh so hard-my ribs still hurt. Flying to vacation with Michelle and the kids was the most enjoyable thing for me. I had never been to the beach for vacation all my life. We had fun time at the beach, though I didn’t want to step in the water, but walked on the sad and collected beautiful Sea shells to bring home Michelle and the kids were very hospitable, I felt at home the entire trip. Driving back was the most hilarious journey, at night and so many deers along the way. As for me Michelle could win a driving race with her huge SUV. 13 hours drive to Cape from Florida; women in Africa don’t drive as much. She is an inspiration to me. I love her strength and determination. Michelle a loving wife and a care taker of her family and for Jamie a loving husband and father to his family, I pray fort them a lot.
Adoption is, for some, a calling to multiply their impact as parents by expanding their family with children who are not their own, biologically. Adoption is spoken of favorably throughout Scripture. For the Outman family, it is to give another child a chance as their own-an incredible thing to do. I met the Outman’s at a vacation bible study for kids from LaCroix Church at Arena building summer of 2004. Although I met Michelle several other times after this encounter we only exchanged hellos, but she always wanted to know how I and my boys were doing. Last year when she adopted the boys; through Kristi Howard she felt led to me if I would like to guide her on how to raise the twins given I come from Africa. It sounded hard in the beginning with me in at SEMO 12 credit hours and my own two boys. But the word of God about adopting a child reminded me what a noble cause it would be for me to be part of fulfilling these twins destiny by being part of their new life. God has not only given me a chance to witness the care the Outman family are giving to the twins, but how noble it is to be part of God’s plan in this kids life. I and Michelle go places and because she is so attached to the twins people around who don’t know she adopted them can’t help to wonder why she has those two black kids with her. Strangers look with utter curiosity, because even though I am like the boys (and one might think I am their relation) it is so clear that Michelle is their mother because of how the boys relate to her. Lately if she dresses to leave the house they can tell she about to go and even though I look like them they seem to know who their mother is. They are a joy they make us laugh so much with their new learned developmental skills. They know Michelle’s voice and when they are not feeling well they want her attention more than mine which amazes me what God can do. Some people will come around to ask if they are twins, and their age. Michelle lovingly tells them their age and that Packer and Paeton are their siblings. Actions speak louder than words, one can always tell from the look on those people’s faces they want to know more.

Irene Ayieko said...

Michelle proudly tells them she adopted them from Ethiopia and how much joy the twins have added into her family. I myself have 5 children-Orphans who were left behind 1 by my second follower sister and 4 from my last born sister in Kenya born in poverty. I am my sister’s kids’ inspiration and support through my friends here in Cape Girardeau. Therefore I know how it is to have nothing to depend on, and how it is to live a hopeless life because I have lived it. Jamie and Michelle have brought hope to these two boys. What a gift to give to a child who cannot survive on their own. What this means to God, and to these kids has been very humbling to me as it has not only built my faith about hope in God’s word, but I have received a new revelation of God ordering our steps. He ordered Phisher, and Phelix steps to the Outman family-10,000 miles to USA from Ethiopia. The Outman family chose the impossible in human eyes, and turned it to possible through God’s help and strength that he gives to them everyday. These twins will grow to love and cherish their new family and I know God will establish them. We may worry what they will be like once they know or see that they are different, but I know God’s promises are true. They will feel blessed to know Jamie and Michelle, Parker and Paeton loved them so much to bring them into their fold to share what they have with them. It will mean so much to them. I go to SEMO, and I meet kids who were adopted from China, India, and Ethiopia in classes all to Caucasian families and they are very proud of their adopted families because they chose to give them a chance for an American dream. When we do our introduction most of them for instance will say, “My name is so and so and was adopted from India because my family were very poor and could not raise me”. I have asked them what they feel about it they say they could not have asked for better parents than their adopted parents. You know when God is in something; it works out alright because God says it is well.
Coming from Africa born and raised in poverty I can witness what raising these boys’ means to God and to them. Sometimes they don’t sleep due to the change of circadian rhythm (time difference which is 9 hour difference from Ethiopia and USA). Michelle and Jamie have had to stay up late and sometime wake up at dawn when sleep is good to help the twins back to sleep. This couple won’t complain instead they enjoy it. Sometime Jamie and Michelle had to sleep in two different bedrooms so as to separate the twins so they don’t wake each other when one wakes up in the night. What a commitment for these two? Their older kids help with the twins a lot when I am with them. They can change their diapers, bath them and change them for their night wear, and it is so natural for them. They love their brothers from the bottom of their hearts. When I see this family with the twins, it reminds me of how God’s goodness can be spread to others in a loving way just as God has loved us so much.
Michelle has said in her blog the questions she hears people wanting to know the relationship between the twins and her biological children. The love Outman’s older kids show to the twins and to all those who come to their house including me, and my two sons Bill and Ernest is incredibly amazing. Outman’s children know to love and be very hospitable to people that visit their home. I have watched them a whole weekend day and night alone, their parents gone. That weekend helped me learn these two wonderful trained children of this generation.

Irene Ayieko said...

They know their house well, they know about their twin brothers, in a way that can bring tears to your eyes. They know their schedule and above all they love them and talk about them with me all the time. In fact their love for the twins is so natural and seems as a gift to share their love with them from God. Parker and Paeton are so hospitable so is Jamie and Michelle. I love the Outman family- they have been a blessing to me. To some people they might wonder why they adopted from another race, to them they are color blind they love their twins so very much sometimes I am struck by the love of God this couple and their children have for other people. May God bless them for opening up their home for those less fortunate to give a life and love. God looks down on them and smiles. God also does extraordinary things and I know God loves people who try to ape him by doing extraordinary things as he helps them carry out their plans for those they accept. Surely being part of the twins, and their older kid’s lives has been a blessing to me. I know for sure God from heaven looks at the Outman family and smiles at them. God says, “Keep up my children I am right here to help you do this”, so as to glorify the name of God as there are no coincidences with God. The bible says in Jeremiah 29:11—“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (NKJV)
Psalm 139: “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (NIV). That is why it is very easy for Jamie, and Michelle to raise the twins in their family’s fold, because God has a plan for them. God likes when we take challenges and he makes those challenges easy for us when we listen and obey his voice. God will make it very normal for the Outman’s raising their 4 children. It will never be a struggle because what is begun by God, He will give them the strength to carry out his divine plan for these twins, because the bible says in Philippians 1:6: being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is very easy for Jamie and Michele to care for the kids because when they see them they see God and not where they came from. Our God is God who performs miracles in our lives, even being alive is by his grace, the air we breathe he gives to us free.
For Jamie and Michelle adopting two African kids might seem a difficult thing to many, but not to God even Moses was born of Hebrew descent, but was raised in Pharaoh’s Palace by Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses became the leader of the children of Israel, out of Egypt. Jamie and Michelle know God, Pharaoh’s daughter didn’t know God as in Egypt they were idol worshippers and persecuted the Hebrews in Egypt. The Outman family live their faith and because first, as a parent you must live out your faith in your own life because it is impossible to give away something you don't have. Kids can spot a phony from a mile away. They're looking for the real deal from their parents. Living your faith can start with simple things, like showing love, kindness, and generosity. If your kids see you finding ways to "be a blessing," it will become a natural and normal way of life for them too.

Irene Ayieko said...

Beginning of the semester 2009 Paeton wanted to stay home and be home schooled so she could have more time with the twins-what a gesture of love from a 10 year old.
The word of God says in Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it”.
When with them I always remember this word, 3 Jn 1:4 “I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my [spiritual] children are living their lives in the Truth” (amp) I love this verse because it puts our spiritual walk into the perspective of a CONTINUING relationship not a one-time event. Whether you are a children's worker and the lives you are sowing into are those of others' children or you are a physical parent; the goal is not to just 'teach' a lesson...the goal is to plant seeds that grow into a life that is producing fruit years later. Our true success come when our giving (pouring in) produces adults who also walk in the truth (and pour out) and they become fellow-workers for the truth! In our microwave society...we need to remember that ministry (...anywhere you touch children) is more like a crock-pot...don't grow weary and keep on keeping' on! It's about relationship and fruit and there is NO greater JOY than this! :-) Jesus valued children and found them to be important in a society that did not value them. In Mark 10:13-16, the Bible records the time that the disciples did not want to let the little children touch Jesus. Jesus "rebuked" his disciples and invited the children to come to him. The Bible includes additional New Testament support for teaching the children in Ephesians 6:4: "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Jamie and Michelle are raising children who love God and people because they see what their parents are doing.
May God bless the Outman family Jamie, Michelle, Parker, Paeton, Phisher, and Phelix for the love they show to me and for letting me join them so many miles at their expense to Florida for a vacation with them. Go bless you so much, I love you. Matthew 10:42 "And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward."
Hebrews 6:10 “For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints”. Proverbs 19:17 “One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed”.
Since I have been here in USA I have realized that all the food that remains in restaurants is grounded and thrown as waste. I grew up seeing children picking crumbs of food from the ground, and I myself have survived one starchy meal of corn a day. No breakfast, lunch but only one meal eaten late at night to link that day with the following day. I have seen parents give up their meals for their children. Sometimes in land of plenty we forget how blessed we are. I don’t have much and many who know me know it has been a struggle, but I still rejoice for the miracle of plenty of food here.

Irene Ayieko said...

Having grown seeing meals prepared for one meal time and no leftovers food has to be rationed as it is scarce. Some families have no incomes, and some earn 2 dollars for work for 9 hours. Our middle class in Kenya for instance is very narrow, so are the rich, but not the poor. 50% of the people examples in Kenya live below poverty line and income per capita is around US$ 271 a year.
This is why I have reason to smile and reason to be very happy for Michelle and Jamie for giving the twins a place they can call home that will impact their lives greatly. I have lived the life of lack and for the twins God has changed their lives through this family. May God bless Parker, Paeton, Phisher and Phelix. I also thank God for the LaCroix Christians for their effort to feed the hungry. This is a noble calling to listen to God’s voice. May God bless they that gave and receive a hundred fold harvest because God will multiply the work of your hands.

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Irene Ayieko said...
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Jodie said...

Hi, just found your blog and love your writing. We have a mirror image of your family, the eldest son from Guatemala and our youngest from Ethiopia. We are presently on our third adoption journey to the DRC for our first daughter, we hadn't planned on starting for another year then God moved our hearts and told us our daughter was in the Congo. I look forward to hearing more of your 2010 adventures!

Stephanie said...

Wow! I am not even sure how I came across your blog. All I know is every time I read it, you inspire me to want to step it up in my own thinking. Recently at our church one of the Pastors had brought up a point that has stuck with me and that is, in our country we spend most of our time trying to stay away from food (as constant dieters) and in so many other parts of the world it is a constant battle to figure out how to FIND food! Keep on, you are such an inspiration:)

IAN Families said...

Hi there!
I just wanted to let you know that the IAN families blog has been redesigned and new content is being added everyday. You should come by and check it out!
I know that your blog used to be listed in the blog roll. Unfortunately, I had to clear them all out. All the blogs currently listed have given permission to have their photos or posts republished on the IAN families blog. Please let me know if you'd like your blog to be included in the blog roll...thereby giving me permission to "borrow" pics and posts. -Carey

McMurrays said...

So inspiring. . LOVE your post!
Thank you for your heart!

Laura said...

Thank you for sharing. Sometimes the poverty and need is so overwhelming. Thank you for doing something and showing us what God can do when we allow him to use us!

sara said...

Thanks for the encouraging words! I have "stopped" by a few times and everytime am so blown away by your faithfullness. I would love to do the rice and beans for a week...thanks for the challenge!

Suzanne said...

Chantelle, I've been following your blog for quit sometime. My hubby and I adopted our daughter from Guatemala, she is now two and a half. We are getting prepared to embark on an adoption journey to Ethiopia to adopt what will become our fifth child. I notice that you used IAN. We have decided to use them as well. I was wondering what kinda experience you had with them good or bad? I'd love to chat when you have time.


Stori said...

WoW! I wish I could have been to these services! God is amazing and people can be soooo very amazing when they follow his lead! I am going to have to check Hope Rising out!