Sunday, October 21, 2007

Shaohannah's Hope Luncheon

Well it was another amazing day in the crazy Mestas house. We have been experiencing a drought here in NC and of course, as we were preparing to attend this outdoor luncheon the heavens finally opened up and poured on us. When we arrived at the house we sat in the van and prayed for the LORD to be glorified through our presence and testimony, and for the rain to stop just long enough for this luncheon. We really do need the rain! Well, the LORD is so faithful. It rained right up until we started, the sun came out and it was an absolutely beautiful day. Except for the gardener next door blasting the leaf blower while Steven was talking, and the rain giving all of us a really bad hair day, the luncheon was superb. The food was great, the fellowship awesome and the rain started up again just when we finished up and everyone was heading out the door.

This was a special luncheon sponsored by Shaohannah's Hope to showcase their ministry and their goal to help families like ours, who have heard the call from God and are stepping out in faith. People who have room in their heart and home to adopt a child, but don't have the bank account to make it happen. Steven Curtis Chapman and his lovely wife Mary Beth have heard the call from God and have been given this ministry to help get these families and children together. I must say that as a fan of his music we were very excited to meet the Chapmans. But now after spending the afternoon with them I can honestly say I feel like I have known them for years. They are so humble and real. I was so surprised at how approachable, sincere, funny and transparent they are. We were blessed to talk with them, break bread and truly fellowship.

Scott Hasenbalg, the Executive Director of Shaohannah's Hope was an absolute gem as well. We were told we had eight minutes to share our GOD Adoption Story. We stayed up really late Thursday night fine tuning, cutting things out, putting them back and racking our brains to figure out how to glorify the Lord and how not to short change HIS story. We finally decided to just turn it over and let HIM lead us. We managed to share a portion of this story in 12-15 minutes. We tried not to go over but it just wasn't possible. As we finished up, I held up the photos of our precious babies and quickly sat down. Scott came up to the stage and the first thing he said was; "Wow, I really feel ashamed that we only gave them eight minutes. This is obviously a real God story and I feel like we short-changed God." Then he introduced Steven who opened with; "Mary Beth, our work is done, we can just go home now, we have nothing more to say to top this story".

We were so blessed to be able to share and be in fellowship with people that are exactly where we are in this movement that the LORD is orchestrating with HIS people. We are convinced that this is the heart of God and that this is all about HIM. He is working so many miracles in so many peoples lives and HE is calling us to step up to the plate, practice pure religion and walk in faith as HE reveals himself through the wonders that can only be explained as "GOD".

I am also convinced that there is a direct correlation to the fact that our country is guilty of the greatest moral failure of all time. January 2008 marks the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, that has resulted in the killing of 43 million babies. I believe with all my heart that God is telling us to rise up and take a stand as HIS people, to show the world that life is sacred! We need to adopt the children that are not aborted and that have no family. What is the point of being pro-life if we are not willing to be pro-adoption!

It is time! We must stand up for righteousness, for the helpless, the unwanted, the underprivileged and the heart of God! We can all play a role in this commission... James 1:27. Some of us will actually adopt these children, some will financially support the adoption with the resources the LORD has blessed them with. Some will be like Rob Mitchell who wrote the book, "Castaway Kid" which tells his story of growing up in an orphanage, never having been adopted. Others will be the prayer warriors and physical support to families. There is no excuse for anyone to be left out of this ministry. We, HIS people, must answer the call! The word says HE desires GODLY OFFSPRING! In Ethiopia alone there are 4.3 million offspring waiting to be taken into Christian homes to be trained in the Godly part! This is not the governments or Hollywood's job! Henry Blackaby says it well; "If you really want to experience God, find out where HE is at work and join HIM!!

As God continues to unfold HIS plan and purpose for our lives I pray that we would all repent and truly seek to live as HE desires and not by our own. Jerry and I have been invited by Steven and Mary Beth to speak at the annual Shaohannah's Hope event in TN next year. Chuck Colson will be the keynote speaker and if the Lord wills, we will be there with all of our eight children, including Melissa, Randy and our first grandchild. We pray we will continue to be a part of GOD's work as we seek to glorify and serve Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. Our lives have never been so meaningful and joyful as it has been in this journey of faith. Thank you LORD! May I encourage each of you to step out of the boat, walk in faith and find your place in God's Awakening for the Orphan! May HE find us faithful! WHAT NOW???

This slide show is a glimpse of our wonderful day with the Chapman and SH family! (Thank you Ellie,Jonathan Melissa & Randy--photographers)

Happy Birthday Cousin Georgie!!

Several weeks ago, Jerry and I went to New York City to work a trade show. He asked me to join him for the three days and I thought this would be a wonderful little retreat for me to rest up before I start my new life with 5 children under the age of five years old. Well, it turned out to be such a wonderful blessing. My new friend and sista in Christ and adoption, Deanna offered her apartment in NYC to us as a gift. It was about a mile away from the show. Then my cousins Billy and Patty got us fabulous tickets for Les Mis. Thank you Billy, Patty and Debbie! We had a great time! We got to visit with our niece Jaclyn at our favorite restaurant "Carmines" and had some wonderful fellowship with her. Then we got an email from cousin Georgie while there inviting us to his birthday party at a club in NYC. We missed it because we were at Les Mis but we made arrangements to meet the next day. Here is where the GOD STORY begins!

We were greeted at the elevator by cousin Georgie holding out both arms saying "I just read your blog a couple of days ago and I can't believe you're here. I know I need God in my life, he has been really calling out to me and I think he sent you here to talk to me." He shared that he had said a little prayer to God after reading our blog, "I wish I could talk with my cousins about some things" and then 9 days later we were sitting in his office in NYC! We spent three hours with him talking and answering a lot of great questions he had. We were so encouraged and blessed by this visit with him as it united us together and began a new relationship. When it was time for us to leave, Georgie walked us out and we decided to pray with him. There we stood in the middle of the sidewalk on 5th Ave, in NYC, with hundreds of people walking around us, and we formed a circle and prayed for Georgie. We hugged, kissed and told him to keep in touch and that we are always available to answer any more questions for him.

Well, Georgie just showed up at our house this past week. He felt led by the LORD to come visit and ask more questions. He intended to stay one or two days and he stayed for four! We had a blast! We stayed up to the wee hours of the morning answering his many, many questions with the word of God. We read the scriptures that spoke directly to his questions. We ate lots of good food, took him a little sight-seeing and then he went deer hunting on opening day with Jerry and Jonathan. He just happened to have bought a bunch of hunting gear the week before and had it with him. So, he had a variety of activities that equaled a good time. He even got to take a nap and rest in the middle of the day. Our big comfy couch got him a few times.

Well, after much deep thought, intentional questioning, reading God's holy word and praying, Georgie decided to give his life to Jesus Christ on Sunday, October 14, 2007 at 12:30 a.m. HE IS BORN AGAIN! He told us he wanted to be baptized and asked Jerry to do him the honor. So we went to church where we were honored to share this testimony. Georgie shared his testimony with the saints that had just heard about him a few weeks earlier and we had asked them to pray for him. It was awesome to see the rest of the story and to see him live, before us professing to be born again! What a thrill and joy for our Trinity Baptist Church family! We then went to Falls Lake and celebrated this new creation in Christ Jesus. There is nothing more joyous or important than what we have experienced here. Another soul has been rescued from the pit of hell. Georgie, like me, has been adopted into the kingdom, into the family of Christ. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, adoption is the perfect picture of salvation. Jesus Christ died to save us from our sin, to give us new life in Him. To enter the kingdom of heaven for all eternity with a love that is indescribable. The same love, agape love, that we have come to know through our journey of adoption with our children.

As we drove away from the lake, Georgie joyfully shouted "Today is the first day of the rest of my "New" life!" He was overflowing with joy and excitement. There was a big sign at the exit of the park that read "Thank you for being SAFE today" and as we drove by Georgie yelled out, "Hey, did you see that sign? Did it just say "Thank you for being SAVED today??" to which I responded, "I'll bet it did Georgie, I bet God himself wrote that for your eyes to see! He is rejoicing along with all the angels of heaven right now!"

So, this story began when Georgie sent us an email inviting us to his 32nd birthday celebration at a club in NYC and it wound up that we celebrated his spiritual birthday with him here in NC just three weeks later. PRAISE BE TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST! What an honor, privilege and joy to have been blessed by this amazing adventure in Georgie's life. We thank you Georgie for allowing us to be a part of the best thing that will ever happen to you on this earth. May the LORD richly bless you now as you seek to love him with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. Like you said Georgie, we now have a new bond, not just cousins anymore, but now having been adopted into the family of Christ, we are brother and sister. We Love You! Happy Born Again Birthday!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Court Rescheduled Again

Today we were notified that our court date has again been rescheduled for Oct. 31st. The courts have made some major changes in their procedures. They now want the birth mother to appear with three witnesses and they want medical testing done on her and the children for HIV. Needless to say, we are disappointed, but we again rest in the surety that God's timing is perfect and HE will bring us all together when He appoints it. We have to reschedule our flights and hotel reservations. (Ouch for the fees...$50 per ticket and we have six.) We are now scheduled to leave here November 18, Sunday through Monday, November 26. We will not be home for Thanksgiving but I couldn't think of a better way to spend it. My mom said, we'll just save the turkey and we'll celebrate when we get home. Please keep praying for us and our precious babies. It is very hard to know they are just waiting for us to get there and bring them home. May the LORD receive all the glory in this journey!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Steven Curtis Chapman Concert This Friday!

We have been blessed yet again with another amazing adventure!

Several weeks ago Jerry and I were speakers at an Adoption Expo in Raleigh. From the very beginning of this journey the LORD has said that we are to share this testimony for the purpose of everyone Seeing Him, Hearing Him and Knowing Him!. Mark 4:11 "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, "they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!" We are convinced that this adoption story is all about God and has nothing to do with us. We are merely the instruments through which the Lord is carrying out His plan and purpose for the lives of His saints.

We were blessed to meet a board member from Shaohannah's Hope Ministry at the expo and had a great visit with him. I asked him to check the status of our grant application which he very graciously did. We received the call last week from Wendy that we are indeed approved for the grant and it is for $7000. What a shock this was because we had first heard that it was originally for $5000. The night before we checked into our flight and hotel RSVP and learned it was going to be more than we originally anticipated. The extra $2000 was a real blessing. I am so amazed at how the Lord is providing everything we need for this adoption. He is so amazing!

Well while talking to Wendy that day, sharing our "GOD STORY" of this adoption, we both felt the presence of the Lord with us as we talked, laughed and cried together. The next day she called me back and said she had shared our conversation with her boss and as a result, they would like to invite us to speak at a private fund raising luncheon this Friday with Steven Curtis Chapman. It will be a small group and we will share our testimony and then Steven will perform for the group. We are so honored, humbled and amazed again at what the Lord is doing with HIS Adoption Story that we have the privilege and honor to be a part of.

We will then attend the concert at the NC State Fairgrounds, Dorton Arena at 7:00 pm. A custom that SCC has at each concert is that they invite a family that has applied for a grant, in each state where he has a concert, to be their honored guest to attend the concert and they have a special presentation for them. Well, my dear friends The Martins, Paul and Miranda are his special guests for this evening. This was not preplanned, they didn't even know we knew each other. So, we will be there to celebrate and rejoice with them as well. Miranda had attended another event where I was a speaker, sharing our testimony of this adoption journey and it was shortly after that they stepped out onto the water of faith and began this journey with us. They are awaiting their referral from Ethiopia as I write this. The Lord is so gracious and caring to bring us all together as we seek to walk out His plan and be instruments for His Glory.

So, if you are reading this from the Raleigh area, come out and join us this Friday, October 19, 2007, 7:00p.m. at the Dorton Arena for a night of wonderful fun, worship and fellowship. I heard there are a few tickets still available. If not, stay tuned as we will be posting the pictures and testimony of this next adventure!

Monday, October 15, 2007

My Right Hand Man, Jonathan

Yes, Jonathan is alive and well! Sometimes I feel like he is the lost ranger. He is very much a great help and contributor around here. He is busier than a one armed paper hanger. He is attending community college, finishing his Senior year at Mestas Christian Academy, a Jr. Firefighter with the Wake Forest Fire Dept. and in training to be a professional Fire fighter through their training program. He also works part time for Team Electric doing some manufacturing work and apprenticing to be an electrician. He just resigned as our official lawn mower this year. He decided something had to be removed from his schedule and this was his least favorite activity. He also resigned from the Explorers program with the Wake Forest Police Dept. since he likes being a fire fighter much better. He just passed the state EMT exam and is continuing the certification classes for Fireman I position. If all goes well, he could be entering the WF Fire Dept. academy next summer. He will be graduating high school on June 7, 2008. We have 17 graduates this year with our homeschool group. So, mark your calendars if you can come join us in this awesome celebration.

Jonathan is an outstanding young man of integrity, he is funny, drives too fast, easy going, loves country music, hunting, fishing, cliff diving( A Wake Forest pastime :) and he is my right hand man. He is a great big brother to Ellie and the boys and he is going to be the primary care giver of the twins while we are in Ethiopia. I am blessed and honored to be his MAMA!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Change In Court Date

Well, we just got a call from Mary T. that our court date has been changed to next Friday, Oct.19, 2007. So our new travel date is now Nov. 8-15. This works out better because Mel & Randy will be home but, Jerry has another mandatory trip for work.
If all goes well, we will come home on the 15th and Jerry will fly directly to NV from DC. Ellie & I will bring our babies home from DC without Papa :( We don't want to take the risk of jeopardizing his job so, we will make it work!! This is so crazy but I have to rest in the fact that the Lord is in control and His timing is perfect! We also just got these adorable photos of the girls. They are trying to get us a new one of Josiah Abel too.

Monday, October 8, 2007


Mary T. just called us to say our court date is this Friday, October 12, 2007!!!AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Last night I had the strongest feeling we were getting the call today and so did Jerry & Ellie. It was so strong that I knew I just had to start packing. I was up until 2:00 a.m. and I packed everything for our 3 babies. Of course, last week Jerry's job scheduled him to be at a mandatory meeting in CA from Oct. 22 - Oct. 26 and our primary babysitters Melissa & Randy are scheduled to go to CA on Nov. 1st. for his job. Talk about crazy?? We knew this was going to happen. So,now we need to go to Ethiopia on October 25th!! The whirlwind begins...I just called our travel agent and she is getting all the travel arrangements for us. Jerry said he will be leaving CA on the red eye on the 25th in time to get on the next plane to Ethiopia. PRAISE THE LORD WE ARE ON OUR WAY TO GET OUR PRECIOUS BABIES!!!! Again, I am sitting here in amazement and tears pouring down my face. I just can't comprehend all that the LORD is doing in our lives. I am so amazed!!!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

My Sweet Ellie Marie--Cute As Can Be!

As I am wrapping up another busy day, I am missing my Ellie. She went to spend the night with her friend Anna Beth tonight and to attend a concert at Duke University, where Anna Beth was performing. I just wanted to take a minute to brag on my Sweet Ellie. She is like the wind beneath my wings in my home. She is always full of joy, laughter, compassion and love! She is my right hand lady. Because we home school, we spend a lot of time together...practically 24/7. She is so smart, musically gifted, athletic, funny and a real joy to be with. She is like a second mama to our baby boys. She has such a heart for children and especially the orphan. She has played a major role in Jerry & me pursuing this adoption journey. We originally started with China a few years ago, because she really wanted a Chinese baby sister. We were rejected from the program in January, 2007 due to our ages. When this happened I really thought we were done having children. It was due to Ellie's persistence that I finally went to the Lord and asked him to clarify that we were done so that my Sweet Ellie would not keep her hopes up. It was a total shock when HE spoke through Job 42 and told me to go rescue Keziah & Keren. So, my Ellie has played a vital role in this journey which is why she will come with us to Ethiopia.

Since our journey began, she started a drive to collect clothes and items needed for the orphanage. She has been communicating with Mary T. and asking what the needs are there. She put a giant box a our local home school store and has been telling people about the needs there. A friend of mine works at the local charter school in the charity fundraising department and she offered to help Ellie by having a fundraiser at her school. Ellie did some research and talked with Mary T. at Gladney and decided to raise money for the library they want to build at the older boys orphanage. Well, they just finished their drive and Franklin Academy delivered $1000 to Ellie for the Gladney Center. I AM SO PROUD OF HER!!

We also have a lot of clothing, diapers, etc. to take to Gladney and now the dilemma is how to get it all on the plane without costing us a bundle for overweight luggage fees. We have three of us traveling there, but we also need to bring everything for our three babies for the entire stay there. (Clothes, diapers, formula, toys, etc.)Ryan and Abby are going to have to bring a truck to pick us up at the airport :)

She has also become a pro at this blogging stuff. She has taught herself how to design, make videos, slide shows, etc. She has just gotten so passionate about all of this and we are all amazed at her expertise. Jerry & I are now calling her to help us with our blog and posts on a regular basis. Besides all of these wonderful attributes, the most important thing about Ellie is that she loves the Lord Jesus Christ and claims Him as her savior. What more could a mother possibly ask for?? I thank God with all my heart for giving me the gift of Ellie Marie. (As well as Melissa, Randy, Jonathan, Jeremiah, James, Josiah Abel, Keziah Selam, Keren Fikir and my dear husband Jerry!) I am truly Blessed!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Baby shower pictures

Look at how many people took time out of thier busy lives to celebrate and welcome our precious new babies from Ethiopia!! My dear sisters in Christ Theresa, Mary, Myra, Cathy, Candace & Sue put this shower on for us. We are so blessed!!

Shaohannah's Hope Grant Approved !!!!!!!!

I am in constant awe and convinced more and more every day that the LORD has planned for us to get our three babies from Ethiopia. When Jerry & I spoke at the Adoption Expo last Saturday we were blessed beyond all measure. It was a day of divine appointments as we spoke to several people about their personal circumstances. We were able to encourage them to trust in the Lord and just be obedient to step out of the boat and walk on the water of faith. All too often, we know deep down inside that God wants us to do something, but we lack the faith to walk it out. We were also blessed by hearing testimonies of several other people that have walked this journey and we were encouraged and felt our faith grow as a result of their stories. One of those speakers was Dan Coley, father of four biological and five adopted children, and board member of Shaohannah's Hope Ministry which donates $100,000 per month to help adoptive families with their expenses. Remember the song by Steven Curtis Chapman on my earlier post? Well, this is the ministry he and his wife started. We were able to talk with him personally and I asked if he could check on the status of our application for a grant. Well, he just called me on the phone and said we have been approved for a grant of $5000!!! I am sitting here with tears flowing down my face yet again!! This is so much bigger than I can handle. The personal hand of God keeps stroking my heart and my life and I am in a state of awe that I can't find words to describe. He continues to show me that when He has a plan, nothing will stand in the way of completing it. The financial aspect of this adoption was the biggest mountain we had before us. But the Lord has no mountains in His way. I have never been so sure that I am in HIS WILL as I am today! Thank you to Shaohannah's Hope Ministry...There are no words to truly describe my gratitude to all that you have done for us and for the orphan!!! Steven Curtis Chapman will be in concert here in Raleigh on October 19, my family and I will be attending and we hope to be able to personally meet, hug and thank him for his loyal service and dedication to our King, the Lord Jesus Christ. This would just be the topping on the cake. I pray each of you reading this message today would be encouraged. No matter what mountains you may have in your life, you can go to the creator of all things, you, your purpose in life and everything pertaining to it. There are no boundaries, or mountains that HE can't conquer!! Praise Be to the LORD!