Friday, May 30, 2008


We just got a telephone call tonight from our agency that M. is back at the orphanage!! They have no other news at this time. Just that she is safe at the orphanage. They will call us Monday with more information as they plan to get over the weekend. PRAISE BE TO THE LORD!! SHE IS ALIVE, SHE IS SAFE AND BACK AT KEBEBETSEHAY ORPHANAGE!! Stay tuned as we watch the Lord at work in her life and ours. Thank you to all of you who prayed, who called upon the Lord in her name and ours. We are so grateful and thank God for each of you. The Lord is good and his mercies endure forever!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Maria's Memorial Celebration Program

I wanted to share the contents of the program from Maria's Memorial Service with you because I found it so comforting...I pray it blesses you also.

MARIA SU CHUNXI CHAPMAN May 13, 2003 - May 21, 2008

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

Lord's Day 1 - the Heidelberg Catechism

Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong--body and soul, in life and in death--to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

2 Corinthians 1:3-11

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

Through the gospel, that is, by the person and work of Jesus, we are called to 3 great realities today.

1. Acknowledging the "Why Lord's"
The gospel enables us to hurt, lament, name and own our confusion. So much of Paul's life and ministry simply didn't make sense to those who assumed hard things don't happen to faithful followers of Jesus.

2. Silencing the "If Only's"
The gospel frees us, like Mary the sister of Lazarus, to run to Jesus and fall at his feet, and cry out, :Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." Jesus responds with his own tears and deep affection (John 11:17-37).

3. Embracing the "So That's"
The gospel releases us from bondage to mere explanations, unto a life of deeper worship and fuller engagement with God's Story--Jesus' commitment to redeem his people from the nations and restore his broken creation--including one day eliminating the very word "orphan" from the human vocabulary. Why did this heart-breaking event happen to the Chapman family? We simply do not know why, but we do know that it happened so that we might join them in trusting God who raises the dead, and follow them as they follow Jesus, who has promised to make all things new.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

In Memory of Maria

Well our Memorial Day Weekend turned out quite different than we expected. As we received word Thursday night that the visitation for Maria would be held on Friday night from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m and the Memorial Service on Saturday at 11:00 a.m., we were overcome with the call that we had to be there. We cancelled all of our previously scheduled plans, packed up the van and headed out at 6:00 a.m Friday morning for Nashville, Tennessee. Our dear friend Carla and her daughter Morgan also joined us. Over the last year, we have had the honor and privilege to get to know the Chapman family, and the Shaohannah's Hope family on a more personal level. We love them so much and felt that we needed to be there in person to give them our love and support. What a BLESSING this turned out to be. We arrived at the church right at 5:00 and waited in the long line of thousands of loved ones and saints all there to be a blessing to this beautiful family. When we finally got into the Sanctuary we were graciously greeted by Kerry and Scott Hasenbalg, Executive Director of Shaohannah's Hope, who also lost their precious daughter this past January. We were then graciously received by Steven, Mary Beth, Caleb, Will Franklin, and Emily with her fiance Tanner, with a warm, loving and sincere greeting of gratitude that we were there. What a joy and blessing it was to hug, kiss and cry together as we all suffered through this state of shock, confusion and sadness.

The Memorial Service on Saturday was an extraordinary time of fellowship and grieving, but most of all it was a celebration. Little Maria lived a life that was full of love and life. She left quite an impact on all of us. For five years, she lived her life to the fullest, loving to draw flowers, lady bugs, butterflies and being butt naked. In an especially poignant moment, Mary Beth told the story of how just 3 months ago, Maria prayed to receive Christ as her Savior. What a blessing to hear those words! Emily Chapman, who was just engaged last weekend to Tanner, shared the analogy of Maria getting engaged 3 months ago to the Savior and she beat all the Chapman girls in marriage...she is now with her bridegroom. Will Franklin wore Maria's favorite blanket around his neck and they shared some of her artwork and cards she had made for them. All of the children at the service, including 6 of ours carried a flower and placed it all around her casket...she loved flowers, and were hugged and greeted by Steven and MaryBeth. It was an absolutely beautiful service!!

I often wonder how I will react when faced with tragedy as this, or how a family such as the Chapman's who live their lives in the spotlight will react to tragedy. People watch and wonder...I guess it's just human nature. I was totally blown away with the love, acceptance, and forgiveness that they exemplified. What made it so special was that it was genuine. No one was putting on an act. This family was overcome with pain and grief, and did not hide it. They were saddened that God had taken their little girl so soon, but accepted His Sovereignty. In the midst of their pain, they praised the Lord. They thanked Him for the 5 years of Maria that they had the privelege of enjoying. They remembered and shared with us what a special little girl she was. They were not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. They were looking toward the future with the hope that God has promised us, that we will see her again.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

They took off their shoes to demonstrate that they were walking on Holy Ground. Over the last couple of days, I thought about just how significant that was, in the context of who was there. Many of the people in attendance were well-known celebrities that came to pay their respects. In fact, the folks who participated in this tribute to Maria looked like a who's who of Contemporary Christian Music. But these folks were not there simply to be seen (I won't evne name them here). We knew that they were there because of their love for Jesus and for the Chapman family. They sang words of real praise to a real a just and holy God. As I listened to these very famous people, I was captivated by the thought that the person who was clearly in our midst, and whose presence I felt more than anyone else was the Lord Jesus Christ. As the Chapman's portrayed a perfect example of forgiveness, I could not help but think that only a true follower of Jesus can accept God's plan even when it is not our plan. Only a true follower of Jesus can forgive like Jesus forgives. The thought of Jesus forgiving a wretch like me is is still overwhelming to me. And yet I so often want to question and judge. Don't we sometimes think we know better than God? Don't we sometimes hold on to hurt and pain and a need to blame? We serve a God who is still on the throne and knows what is best for our lives. Why should we think that our plans are better than His? It is still so amazing to me that we serve such an awesome God.

The Chapman family requested that we continue to lift them up in prayer, knowing this is going to take a long time to comprehend. They asked for prayer especially for their son. Please keep them in your prayers!

You can give the Chapman family your condolences by clicking here.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008


There are no words to express the heart wrenching grief and heartbreak we are experiencing right now for this precious family. Lord God our Heavenly Father, we need you more than ever....

"Maria Sue Chapman, adopted and youngest daughter to Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman, was killed Wednesday night in a tragic accident in the family driveway on Wednesday evening. She was LifeFlighted to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital but for only reasons God can explain she went home to Him... not to Franklin as we all so desperately wanted.

Your prayers are needed for all in the Chapman family. This is a family who has so generously loved and given to so many. Just hours before this close knit family was celebrating the engagement of the oldest daughter Emily Chapman, and were just hours away from a graduation party marking Caleb Chapman's completion of high school. Now, they are preparing to bury a child who blew out 5 candles on a birthday cake less than 10 days ago. These words are unthinkable to type. And yet we trust in a God who was not surprised by this and because of Jesus I am certain through faith in Him we will see Maria again. - Jim Houser (Manager)"

This is an absolute tragedy. This family has been an inspiration to so many as they have dedicated their lives, music and ministry to the plight of the orphan and to Jesus Christ. They are so dear to many, we love them and ask all of you to please pray for them without ceasing during this most difficult time.


1 Thess. 4:13-14 / Heb. 6:9, 10:23

This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but ...

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
(There's a place by God's grace)
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again

And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father's smile and say well done
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're home
And now you're free, and ...

We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true, so ...

We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope

Words and Music by Steven Curtis Chapman
(for friends whose young daughter died in a traffic accident)

Friday, May 16, 2008


WE just received a call from Gladney via Belay in Ethiopia, M. is MISSING from the orphanage!

Ever since we got home from our last adoption in November, we have had the photo of M. posted all over our home. We have been praying for her and waiting for the required 6 month period to start the adoption process again which we started several weeks ago. We have fallen in love with her and have already considered her to be our daughter.

Well, our precious daughter M. is missing from the orphanage since Tuesday, May 14. She is approx. 11 yrs. old and she is currently wandering the streets of Addis Ababa, a city of 3 million people. M. is a precious young lady who needs to know she is loved and wanted. We are asking all of you to join us in getting on our knees before God to ask him to bring her back safe, sound, and immediately. The police have been notified but, honestly, the streets are full of children begging and homeless. It is going to be a MIRACLE that brings her back to us! We are absolutely heart broken...... PLEASE, PLEASE PRAY FOR HER!!!

She doesn't even know about us yet because the paper work has not been approved in ET yet. She has no idea she is in the process of being adopted. This could also be contributing to her depression and desperation. She watches people come for the little children every day and thinks no one will come for her. I believe this is what all of the older orphans are going through. She is so sad, her entire family has died of AIDS. She has experienced more sorrow in her short life then most of us will see in a lifetime! She is heart broken and she has no clue that the Lord is working in her life to bring her a forever family! She is out there in the dark, cold, hungry, scared and in great danger!!!! Please lift her up until you hear from us again. Our God is a God of miracles, I know HE IS WITH HER RIGHT NOW! ONLY HE CAN HELP HER!



THANK YOU for your help!! Please leave a comment to let me know you are out there. MY DAUGHTER IS MISSING AND MY HEART IS BREAKING!! I COULD USE SOME ENCOURAGEMENT!!!It is so encouraging to think that there could be people all over the United States of America and Canada praying for her right now, lifting her up to the LORD of the heavens and earth! She is out there right now desparate and all alone and she has no idea that the power of prayer is surrounding her. Please share this with everyone you know, please!!




PSALM 52:8-9

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Penny Wars for Orphans

This is a post from my dear girlfriend Beth's blog. Her daughter Sarah has been touched by the Kolfe Orphanage and she was moved to take action. This is so creative and such a blessing as well.

My daughter just completed a fundraiser for the Kolfe Youth Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in her dorm at college, where she is an RA. It was International Week, and each dorm held a fundraiser for an international charity. After reading about Kolfe on my friend Eileen's blog, Sarah knew she wanted to do something to help.
(read about the Kolfe Youth Center, an orphanage for boys ages 12-18 at
The Forgotten Boys , and watch the slide show here.)

They held a Penny War! Her dorm has 8 floors, with about 36 students per floor. In the lobby, they had a table with a large jar for each floor. All during the week, students could drop pennies into the jar for their floor, and the floor to collect the most pennies at the end of the week won - something - I don't know, a pizza party, maybe. Now the cool twist was that coins other than pennies - nickles, dimes, quarters - were NEGATIVE points in a jar. So students would drop those coins into the jars for other floors, hoping to boost their own floor's chance of winning the prize. At the end of the week, the dorm had raised over $200, which they are sending to the Gladney Center for Adoption's humanitarian aid fund for Kolfe.

Matthew 25:35 -40
Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."
Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?"
The King will reply, " I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


If you have been following our blog, you know that while in Ethiopia last November, we visited the Kolfe Boys Orphanage which drastically and radically changed my life. I have been "GLORIOUSLY RUINED" in the words of Kay Warren. (Wife of Rick Warren Pastor/Author of the Purpose Driven Life). I have been asking the Lord; Why Lord did you bring these two young men, Solomon & Habtamu into my life? How can I help them? What is my role in their lives? Why can't I adopt them and bring them home to USA? What is this all about? WHY ME LORD?

Well, since then we have been corresponding via email and hand deliveries by traveling adoptive families that have been so gracious to contact me and visit my boys for me.

Solomon will be 17 years old on May 7th. I was able to send him a birthday card, gift, and hugs and kisses with the Roberts family last week. I also sent him a copy of the newspaper story our local paper published about our adoption journey because I wanted him to see the Kolfe story and his picture as well. When I was there, I told them I would tell people about them and ask God to help me get the word out to help them, and that someday we would be able to visit him again at Kolfe. This story in the paper is a confirmation that God is answering my prayer.

Honestly, last week I just thought it normal to send him a birthday gift without even thinking about it. The reality of what hit me when he responded has pierced my heart and mind! This is so much bigger than I realized. I am sharing this with you to give you the blessing and AWAKENING REALITY that I have received today. My heart is again aching, my tears are flowing and I am forever grateful that God has given me the opportunity to be MOM TO SOLOMON!!! I have just realized how important my role is in his life. What a responsibility, what an honor, what a joy and what a blessing I have been given!! Please read his note below:

Hello Mom.
Mom I received the package. I was reading the newspaper. I am amazing by your history. I like your faith, compassionate and believe. You show for the world faith is greater than everything. If you have a faith everything is simple. I learn this from your history. I proud by all of you. I like also the wonderful gift in the package .thank you very much.
You know no one give me a gift for my birthday before. You are the first worried about me, love me and done for me one mother did for their child. You are different for me. The word I love you is not express my love. I love you very much. I remember you all my life. “God please give to mom whatever she need and bless her and her family ever and forever. Amen!!! This is my prayer for you.
How is going on M’s paper? She is very lucky because God give her a precious and beloved mom. When God needs to live together one day I also live with you. My always prayer is this to God. Until later I love you and I can’t wait to hug and kiss you. God bless all of you ever and forever. Amen!

Solomon has lived for 17 years without a MOM, without ever receiving a birthday card, a gift, a Mom's love, a Mom's worries for him. No one has ever cared for him the way every young man should be cared for. Oh, LORD, Thank you for taking me out of my little world in NC and blessing me with this precious young man in ET. Thank you for taking me out of my little box and making me realize there are 143 million orphans, Solomon's out there, that need a Mom's LOVE, a birthday card, someone to worry about them, to LOVE THEM!!

Even though we can't adopt him and bring him home because he is too old to be adopted, just being here for him in this way has made a difference in his life. To love him like Jesus loves us, to take time out of our busy lives, to just be in his life really matters!! May I encourage you to take a step of faith and get involved in the life of an orphan. Every life matters to God! The blessing and joy of knowing SOLOMON KNOWS HE IS BEING LOVED is immeasurable!!

Click side bar "Forgotten Boys" to see the slide show of Kolfe, the orphanage where Solomon lives.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit IV

Eileen and I had the privilege of attending the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit this past weekend. It was nothing short of life-changing. We were blessed to be in the company of so many brothers and sisters with the same passion for the fatherless. We were instructed, motivated, disturbed, burdened, and called to action. We should have known we were in for it from the theme, which was "Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only..." from James 1:22. On Friday we saw a heart-breaking video of children in Africa dying of thirst, accompanied by a powerful and moving song from Karl Moraski, about the faces of the forgotten. Then Kay Warren stepped up to the podium and described so vividly what so many of us have already experienced. She talked about how she went through a stage in her life when she did not know one orphan, and had never met anyone with AIDS, and how God moved in her heart to have compassion for people she had previously not had compassion for. It was amazing! It was as if she was telling us what was already in our hearts, but we had never really articulated before. It was heart-wrenching and very emotional. She talked about what God does in our hearts, transforming us, making us "Seriously Disturbed, Dangerously Surrendered, and Gloriously Ruined." It was that way the whole weekend. We left there convinced we would always be involved in Adoption and Orphan Care Ministry. We just aren't sure where and how! We are praying that the Lord will soon reveal this to us as we continue to seek His will for our lives. This video comes from Loving Shepherd Ministries, one of the many ministries represented at the Summit this past weekend.