The Clelands are adopting again. We’ve identified a four-year old boy living in an orphanage in China with special needs and we’re about to start the process to adopt him. We begin on Monday when we travel to Atlanta to meet with our agency. Erika and I couldn’t be more excited and our children are thrilled.
This will be our fourth adoption. Every time we’ve done this God has used the experience to strengthen our faith and shape us in ways we never expected. Once again we need to be depending on Him every step of the way. There is nothing easy about it. But there is a boy in China who needs a family.
First of all we covet your prayers. Pray for our little boy as he sits in that orphanage. Pray that God will move workers in government offices to act quickly on the documents that we need. Pray for Erika and I as we endure what can often be an up and down process. And pray for our family as we look forward to bringing a 5 year old into our home for the first time.
Second, we cannot do this unless God once again opens His storehouses and provides the money we need to bring this little guy home. Last time, He provided EXACTLY what we needed right when we needed it. And we trust that He will do so again. After all, He’s the One who sets the lonely in families.
We’ll be using this blog to keep everyone updated throughout. For now, we have one specific need. We started the process anticipating that we would soon be receiving the amount of money we needed to get started. In God’s providence that money hasn’t arrived. But we know that He provides in many ways. Please join us in asking Him to provide before Monday.
I’ve been reading Melanie Kirkpatrick’s excellent book Escape from North Korea. There are many notable things about the book from the horrible testimonies of oppression to the inspiring accounts of those who risked everything to escape. But most surprising is Kirkpatrick’s observation that North Koreans are turning to Christianity in droves. Kirkpatrick pinpoints the reason for the attraction of Christianity among North Koreans: “Much of the informal assistance that refugees receive comes from Christians, especially local Chinese. Christians are the only people who seem to care. In a country where helping North Koreans is against the law, there are few others to whom a refugee can turn for protection and support.” (p. 156)
Many North Koreans who have just crossed over into China have little or no knowledge of Christianity. For some their freedom depends upon which door the knock on first. Many Chinese are happy to report refuges to the authorities or worse, make a little money by calling a broker who will sell the women as brides. A knock on the door of a Christian’s house is often the first step towards freedom, not just from the oppression of the Kim family, but also from sin and death.
In I Timothy 3:15 Paul calls the church “the pillar and support of the truth.” In the architecture of the ancient world the job of the pillar was not just to support the roof. It was to make the structure beautiful. Paul is saying here that the church of the living God doesn’t just support the truth but it makes the truth beautiful. To harbor illegal aliens is strictly forbidden in China and could lead to fines and imprisonment if discovered. These Chinese Christians are obeying Paul’s command to make the truth beautiful by their sacrificial compassion for these North Korean refugees.
How can we, the church in the USA, obey Paul’s command to make the beautiful? Are we living in such a way that someone would say, “You should find a Christian and they will help you?” Those Chinese Christians are examples of Christ’s command that His followers be salt and light in the midst of darkness. Clearly God is using their example to bring the lost to Him.
As faith in Christ continues to decline in the West we should take notice of Christians in other parts of the world who are experiencing the power of the gospel in ways that we know almost nothing about. In spite of their lack of obvious talent and resources people are coming to Christ in droves because of their example. We have powerful men and full bank accounts but that can’t compare to the power of one poor Christian peasant in China who makes the truth beautiful by opening his door to protect and feed a foreigner.