Friday, November 21, 2008

DVD's are Here!


Our DVD's have been duplicated and are now ready to be sent!

If you or your church would be interested in seeing the DVD or passing it around, please email your name and address to helpmisha@yahoo.com.

If you have already donated money, you will automatically receive a DVD unless you request otherwise.

The DVD's are free, so please help us spread the word about Misha, by sharing the video with your church, friends and family.

Thank you all for the wonderful testimony you have been to the "Body of Christ".

Beautiful Feet!


As I mentioned in an earlier post, "My Comfort Zone", stepping outside the walls of protection that I've created for myself isn't something that comes naturally. My family and I are learning though, that having made the first step, God is using our willingness to teach us so many things. One is the depth of God's love for us.

When Misha first came, he was very careful about anyone seeing his feet. Twisted and permanently curled backwards, they reminded me of pictures I have seen of the bound feet of Chinese women. The first time I took off his socks I could see the guarded look of a boy who had felt many rejections because of his deformities. My gentle and approving reaction was a turning point in our relationship. I noticed that in the next few days he felt much more secure in my presence.

One day, as I was drying him after a bath, I felt this impulse to bend down and kiss his deformed and twisted feet. It was one of those times when inside I'm thinking, "This is ridiculous! He's going to think I'm crazy", yet I really felt I was suppose to do it. As I reached down and carefully placed my lips upon the feet that had caused him to be a castaway, his eyes began filling with tears. Suddenly he reached out with a big bear hug saying, "Mom, I love you!" From that moment on, he has never seemed to doubt my unconditional love for him.

Through that experience, I began to remember the times that God has reached down and kissed my deformities. Oh, it wasn't a literal kiss, but He has used several very creative ways of revealing His unconditional love for me, just the same. First of all, God has used the sacrifice of a few Christians, who have demonstrated their love for me when I haven't been so lovely. Their patience and willingness to accept my imperfections has helped ease the pain of spiritual growth.

I began knowing who I could trust with my deepest struggles, and would allow them entrance into my fortress so that they could counsel me on how to overcome these short-comings. One of the greatest things they have taught me is how to die to myself and let Jesus take complete control. Thank you my precious friends! I have truly been blessed!

God has also used His word to comfort and nurture me into realizing my human frailty. I have come to see that God does not desire my perfection. Perfection creates pride! God hates pride! It has been through severe brokenness and coming to the place where I have realized that I, in myself, have nothing worthy to offer God, that complete surrender has come. It was in that broken and unworthy condition that God reached down and kissed my deformities.

Don't struggle against the hands that have created you! He loves you and desperately wants to kiss your feet! They're very beautiful to Him!

Picture found on allposters.com

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nick Vujicic

Shortly after we had agreed to become host parents for Misha, we received a picture that revealed that not only were his legs deformed but also his hands and arms. My husband became very discouraged wondering how we would ever be able to equip him to become an independent person.


I remember driving to town the next day, crying out to God for wisdom in knowing how to handle a situation that was much bigger than us. Misha's handicaps seemed beyond our ability to handle. Philip nor I shared our concerns with anyone but God.

When I got home, I turned on the computer to check my mail. My daughter Heather had sent me a short video clip of Nick Vujicic and encouraged me to watch this incredible young man who was born without arms or legs. As I watched this video, tears began flooding my face. Nick's courage and love for the Lord has given him a tremendous worldwide ministry where thousands have been saved by his preaching and testimony. After watching this video we went on to google "Nick, no arms, no legs" and discovered other video's and sermons by him on youtube.

Nick has truly triumphed over his limitations! God has used him to remind us that: "All things are possible with God!"




Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why A Handicapped Child?



Moscow


For several years, our family had prayed that God would show us what sort of ministry we should be a part of. Most of the ministries we had previously persued seemed to pull our family in different directions. Because family unity has always been important to us, we were convicted that whatever ministry God was calling us to, should be one we could all participate in together.




Moscow


In 1991, my husband was priviledged to be able to go to Romania on a mission trip. While he was there, his heart was touched by a couple of homeless orphans who roamed the streets in search for handouts. James 1:27 tells us that pure religion is to visit and take care of the fatherless. Since his Romanian trip we had been distracted from that mission, by raising eight children of our own. Even though this desire lay dormant in his heart, it was never forgotten.




Moscow


A year ago, our daughter Stephanie left college and told her dad that she wanted to be a part of helping him fulfill his vision in some sort of family ministry. Caught off guard, Philip couldn't really think of what that would be and recommended that she just help with the homeschooling and chores for now. Steph and I began privately praying that God would show our family His plans. Shortly after our first prayer together, Philp came home from work and as we sat around the dinner table, he began telling us of an organization he heard about on the way home. This organization brings disabled orphans from Russia for surgeries that will drastically change their lives. Suddenly, Stephanie's eyes met mine. We smiled at each other as we both came to the realization that Philip has always had a passion for orphans. As she and I quietly observed the whole family taking sincere interest in this new ministry idea, we snuck off to a quiet corner and shared our thoughts. Was this the ministry God had for us? Did we as a family, have the ablity to help a handicapped child?




Kremlin in Moscow


Every time I was pregnant with one of my children, the sweetest words I could hear from my care-giver was that the baby was healthy and without defect. Yet, just giving birth to a normal child doesn't guarantee that they will never suffer events that might cause them to become handicapped. I've come to realize that in just one moment our lives can change forever. A sudden car accident or disease could remove any chances of us continuing the life we presently take for granted.





Orphanage


My husband and I have always known that, should something happened to one of our children, and they became disabled, God would give the courage and grace to face those difficulties. Yet the question might be asked, "Why would someone willingly seek out to become the parents of a disabled child?"


Children in Orphanage


UNICEF says the worldwide number of orphans is now 132 million and growing. This number is absolutely mind-boggling. One might ask, with there being such a large number of orphans needing to be adopted, and so few people willing to adopt them, why seek to make our lives more complicated by taking on a "broken" child. Why not choose an easier road and adopt a young, healthy child who would be easier to raise? I truthfully must admit that taking the easier way would be my natural desire. Yet, as our family has pondered all these thoughts, we came to the conclusion that the easier road might not be the one God has chosen for us. Having a large family and older children to help with all the extra chores a handicapped child will require gives us an advantage that many considering adoption do not have.





It has been our observation that most couples desire to adopt a normal younger child. We began feeling that our ministry needed to be to a child that might otherwise be forgotten. When we heard about International Guardian Angels Outreach, and the disabled orphans, we began feeling that a six month commitment would give us an opportunity to know if handling a handicapped child was something we could actually do.




Misha leaving the orphanage


After many months of prayer and pleas to the Lord for His protection over our family, we began seeing the doors open for Misha to come to us. We have realized that just as our lives can change for the worse with just one car accident, Misha's life could change for the better with the opportunity to hear the gospel and have so many blessings and priviledges opened for him. Only God knows the plans that He has for Misha. Our prayers have simply been that God would direct and protect us as we willingly committed our family to His glory and purpose. Faith is trusting that God will answer those prayers.

The Providence of God

What a suprise it was for me, (as I'm sure it was for each of you!) to come to Misha's blog and find an anniversary love note from my precious hubby. I wasn't expecting THAT!!! Thanks sweetheart!


For those of you who have done the math, and are wondering how we have produced such a large family (including a 27 year old) in only 20 years of marriage; I encourage you to read "Our Love Story and the Providence of God"



I'll warn you though, you'd better have a box of kleenex because our love story has truly been written by God.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Anniversary!



Happy Anniversary Melissa! I love you very much and I am grateful to God that He chose you to be my wife. These have been 20 wonderful years and I look forward to many more to come!

The natural man would think that sharing your love with such a large family would reduce my portion, but just the opposite seems to occur. With the addition of each child it seems that your love for me grows. Even though Misha requires much of your attention at present, I can feel that your love for me continues to grow.

I love you, and may God continue to bless our marriage,
Your Husband

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Comfort Zone

I have always felt safer in my comfort zone, where life is much more managable. Avoiding situations that might get messy or reveal my true sinful, selfish heart, has kept me somewhat protected throughout the years. Without realizing it, I was handicapped! One of my disablities has been fear. Fears have kept me from stepping outside myself and experiencing all that God has wanted to teach me. Over the last six weeks my family and I have begun to get a taste of the joy we have been missing. As I've watched my children smother Misha with more love than he could possibly know how to assimilate, I have realized that he has been more of a blessing to us than we could ever be to him.
All the things that I have ever tried to teach my children about love and compassion have suddenly been placed into an arena where they can thrive. It has given me great pleasure as I have watched each child joyfully sacrifice and show their unconditional love to this new brother. Selfishness that I have tried for years to remove from certain children's hearts, has incredibily begun to evaporate, due to their joyful willingness to serve Misha. None of these attributes have been forced , but mysteriously began developing as God worked on each child's heart while they became first-hand witnesses to a life that has been less fortunate.
Recently, Misha told us that as soon as he was born his mother looked at his twisted and deformed body and said, "Oh, he's scary, I don't want him." This was just the beginning of the rejection he has received in his first fifteen years of life. How deep the heartache of his rejection goes can only be revealed in time. Fortunately, in spite of all the hardships he has suffered, he shows no signs of bitterness. As we have watched and observed him, we have noticed that he is very aware of his limitations, yet, he doesn't complain or say things that indicate he feels sorry for himself. This has put us all to shame as we remember all the silly things we have grumbled about in the past. God is truly using Misha to show our family how to have thankful hearts.
My children have verbally sought to help Misha see that the outside of our bodies is only a shell. I have heard them tell him that it is what's in our hearts that matters most. People can have perfect shells, but be very broken on the inside. This is repeatably revealed in all the Hollywood actors and actresses who are on drugs, lead miserable lives, or commit suicide. Our society thrives on outward perfection, yet the heart across our nation has become bitter and cold. Only Christ can cleanse our hearts and make us pure. I'm so thankful that God gave us the courage to take that first step outside our comfort zone. Life can be dangerously messy outside these zones; as we are daily reminded. However, now that I have lived on both sides, I can honestly say that what I thought was safe, was nothing more than an artificial sense of control over my life. I have come to realize what a foolish protection that was. Psalms 4:8 says, "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makes me dwell in safety." God wants to free us from all our fears, pride and selfishness and fill us with courage, mercy and love. He wants us to learn to depend on Him for our nurture and protection. I can't began to convey all the blessings we would have missed out on if we hadn't been willing to open our hearts, roll up our sleeves and get a little messy by serving this tremendous young man.
Are you comfortable? I encourage you to put your trust in the Lord and step outside!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Treasures of Gold


Watch Treasures of Gold in Family Videos and Faith Videos  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Misha's "Surgeon"

My daughter, Stephanie, posted the following video on her blog:

Misha's sense of humor has kept our family laughing since the day he arrived!
Yesterday, during one of the times he felt intense pain, he was holding his bear dressed in the surgeon clothes the hospital gave him. Between pains, Misha pointed at his bear and said, "Doctor, my operation!". He then proceeded to jokingly break the "doctor's" legs.

We got him to re-enact for the camera...


video

"My legs, you! Spanky, spanky!"

As you can see, he wasn't too happy at that moment with the doctor that performed his amputation! Misha, Misha!