Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Worth It

After months and months of preparation, tonight at Fellowship Bible Church's Big Wednesday event for youth, we kicked off Worthday!

It was like a dream come true. We stood on stage and spoke about our passion for the orphans of Sagrada Familia, of the world. We poured our hearts out, about how much those children deserve to know that they are loved. That they have a Heavenly Father. That they are WORTH dying for.

Seeing hundreds of students sitting on the floor with a picture and information sheet next to them, writing letters to these children. Telling them that they love them. Encouraging them to believe in God, and turn to Him in times of need. Pouring their hearts into words that conveyed the worth of those children.

As I stood on stage, speaking about how Worthday's wish was for them to fall in love with an orphan like God falls in love with the orphans, I was suddenly transported back to my room on a rainy day, wrapping one shoebox with light blue snowflake wrapping paper. I couldn't wait to fill it for Carmencita.

I tingled with anticipation as I wrote her a letter, saying how much I loved her, how beautiful she was, how much more God loved her.

And then I blinked, and saw an entire crowd of students doing the exact same thing.

How did this happen? How did one, simple letter multiply into hundreds. How did one idea grow into an international initiative?

God. It's all God. And I am so humbled and filled with joy that He saw fit to use me in my weakness.

It was all worth it. It was worth the months and months of preparation. It was worth the time spent organizing and re-organizing only to be completely rearranged in Peru. It was worth the over $1000 I had to pay to go to Peru. It was worth spending hours typing in 922 names and ages into an Excel document. It was worth staying up 'til 2:00 a.m. ordering pictures from Costco.

It was worth it, because they're worth it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

At Last


Evan is home. Home. After two years. After unbearable uncertainty. Home to her forever family.

Words cannot express my relief at seeing Mom and Dad coming through the gate, holding my little sister. Tears streamed down my face.  I looked into her beautiful green eyes and thought, does she know?

Does she know that I'm her sister? That I would go through hell and back for her? That I would lay down my life for her in an instant? Does she know that she's home to stay?

My heart jumped when she grinned and went straight into my arms. We were sisters. Forever.

The last few days have been surreal. Every time she gets up from a nap or in the morning, I marvel that she's there. Evan's there. Right in front of my eyes. Her grin makes my heart smile. Her laugh lifts my soul.

All that remains now is for us to grow closer. She already loves us. We've loved her for years.

Glory to God today, on the day His Son died for us. It is truly incredible to experience the redeeming of a child from an institutionalized life. This is what Jesus died for. To bring His children from the darkness into the light. And I praise Him that He brought Evan into the light of a forever family, where she will shine brighter than she'll ever know.




Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Surreal


It's surreal to think that in one week I will be meeting my sister.

So many questions race through my mind. Will she like me? Will I be able to hold her? What if she's scared of me?

I wonder if she'll like to have pajama dance parties. I wonder if she'll love cheese puffs like Levi. Will she like to play in the dirt, or will she love tea parties and princesses? What does her laugh sound like?

I want to experience that smile in person. I want her to look at me and know that I am her sister. I want her to look into my eyes and feel safe and loved. I want her to look at me and hold my hand and know that I would die for her in an instant.

I want her to know that if she wants to dance, I'll dance with her. If she wants to make mud pies, I'll make mud pies with her. If she wants to have a tea party, we'll have a tea party.

I want her to know that if she has bad dreams in the middle of the night, I'll come in to hold her. I want her to know that if she falls down and gets hurt, I'll scoop her up and make it feel better.

I want her to know how much she is loved. I've prayed that she knows this for over a year.

It's surreal to think that in one week, I will be able to physically show her that love.

Monday, April 4, 2011

How Do You Know?

How do you know? That's a question I've been asking myself a lot lately.

I knew when I was twelve years old that I didn't want to live in America when I grew up. I knew that I wanted to live in a third world country taking care of orphans. I knew that, deep down inside me. I knew it from the moment I saw the African Children's Choir on American Idol. Those were the kind of people I wanted to work with. Orphans. The fatherless. Those who couldn't fight for themselves.

My feelings only grew when I went to Peru last summer. I came back and I hated America. I hated living in the United States. All I wanted was to go back to the orphanage.

Then I learned something that shifted my perspective. My church offers an internship in Peru during the summer, where you can do virtually anything you want. I could visit the orphanage several times a week, and spend the rest of my time loving on other kids in Peru.

But then something happened. Something grew inside of me that was foreign. I couldn't understand it. Was this fear? Was I scared? How could I be scared? This is what I'd dreamt of for nearly four years. How could I be scared when this was all I'd ever wanted?

Suspicions started sneaking their way in. Maybe this isn't what I wanted after all. Maybe I wasn't strong enough to handle it. I don't even speak Spanish. I say that I could last, but could I really?

I'm not sure. And it drives me insane. How do I know? How do I know for sure that this is what God has called me to? What if I've been dreaming of this my whole life and it's not even what God intends for me to do? Or worse, what if it is what God intends me to do, and I'm too scared to do it?

But, I do love that orphanage. I feel more comfortable in Peru than I would in, say, Africa. And, oh how I love those kids. But, could I handle it the way I think I could?

I am very at war within myself. Praying a lot. That's all I can do, really. Pray, and hope that God reveals His will to me in time. I've got a while, after all. And He chooses when to reveal His plans.

He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority."
          - Acts 1: 7

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Love's Not Easy

It is impossible to put into words how happy I am that Evan is coming home! I can already see her running through the halls in our house, joining in with me and Levi and Jace for a dance party, and playing dress-up. I had friends call me on Friday and tell me that they had literally cried when they heard the news. In a way, my friends seemed more excited than I was. But, I think that's just the way I take things. I will not, cannot believe it's true until I see Evan on American soil with my own eyes. Until then, it just seems surreal.


But, as excited as I am, a part of my heart is on another side of the world. It lies with a little girl who will never be adopted. A little girl I love with every fiber of my being. A little girl who I get to see twice a year, at most. My baby, my ni
ña, my little girl.




I love her so much it hurts. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about her and wish I was there with her. I know she is very well taken care of, especially for a special needs child in Peru. I know that she still has a connection, whether physical or legal I'm not sure, with her mother. But, I also know that she is not getting the love that she needs. And, oh, how I want to give her that love!


I am ecstatic that Evan is coming home, but my heart physically aches for Carmencita. I know God has a purpose for us. I know He has a reason behind intertwining our lives, but I can't see it yet. We can't adopt her, so what can I do? I'm doing everything I can. Surgeries, doctors appointments, you name it. I will do anything humanly possible to get her the care she needs. But, she doesn't just need medical attention, or food, or warm clothes. She needs love. Real love.


And it is the hardest thing in the world to have to depend on God for that. I can't give her that love from across the world, but God can. And I have to trust that somehow, someway, He will convey His love for Carmencita to her. I have to believe that He can and will, or I would go insane wanting her to know how beautiful she is and how much she deserves to be fully and deeply loved.


video

Friday, April 1, 2011

Overwhelming Joy

At last, at last, at last! At about 2:30 am on April 1, 2011 the judge approved the adoption!!!

I am so happy. So incredibly filled with joy! My sister's coming home! After a year and a half, my baby's finally coming home!

The nerve-wracking uncertainty is finally over and now all that's left is to wait in excitement! The countdown begins... 16 days until Eva Noel Hook is home to her forever family!

We had such an army of prayer being spoken over us and over the court and over Evan the past two nights. It was unbelievable. I know that hundreds of people fasted and prayed - people we've never met before in our lives, people that live across the world. God works in such incredible ways! He united hundreds, maybe thousands, of his followers in the lifting up of one little girl. And now thousands more will see her worth and the worth of children like her!