Families have traditions.
Big ones and little ones. Sometimes you even make new ones. Since living in Texas we have stumbled upon a new tradition in our family. It happens every night at dinner, the kids ask Sean “Daddy, how many babies were saved today?” and he always has an answer.
Today OFL reached 800 babies saved!!!!!!!!! Over 100 of those babies were just this past month in April 🙂 If they keep it up at this rate with out any growth they will save 800 more this year….but if they grow every month 🙂 Man, we love math like that!!!
Now we know that the ministry at Online For Life is much more than that and it runs deeper in the lives of individuals they reach out to, but for our littlest kiddos, they don’t get counseling women in crisis, marketing, development/training of pregnancy centers, or national strategies to blanket cities in godly pregnancy centers and wipe out abortion city by city….
….they get babies. Cute, adorable bundles of life that grow up to be brothers and sisters. So that is what they ask Daddy- how many babies Daddy how many today?
The Color Run is a short 5k run/ fund raiser that travels from city to city. It’s an absolute BLAST!!!! They douce powdered color on you throughout the run. It’s really more of a walk than a run- surely a family and friends type event. So Jill’s sister, nephew and friend came into town to join all of us Martins at the Dallas Color Run. If you are curious you can check out their website at www.thecolorrun.com
So we set out for a good time, family bonding, opportunity to encourage and be silly as a family!!! We started clean, all white, but with each turn in the run came another color station. The stations have color dust everywhere, as well as workers showering you with color at every moment! We took the opportunity at a few stations to make a few “snow angels” in the dust. Hey why not? We HIGHLY recommend this event to every family. It may be in a city near you soon.
The pictures tell the story best….
Sometimes God has a special gift for us. Waiting. We don’t even know it’s there. Then one day, when we least expect it. We are asking God for our daily bread, and He gives us more than we can ask or imagine. A little bit like the fish and loaves story in scripture.
At the beginning of March we brought a special therapist to our home, Nancy Thomas. She came here for 5 full days, 6:00 am until 10:00 pm, WOW long days!!! Nancy Thomas specializes in helping children with attachment issues and conscious development. So most of her work is with adoptive children from challenging pasts. Even though our children were adopted at young ages, many of our children still struggled with things. We’ve spent their entire lives helping shape their character, bond as a family, and work hard to be overcomers in all areas of life. No matter how much we prayed, worked, encouraged, taught, disciplined, encouraged more, taught more, etc there still seemed to be a piece of the puzzle missing. So we brought Nancy to our home to help us identify the missing pieces, see what we needed to do differently or keep the same, and most importantly- how could we help ALL of our children become God’s best in each of their lives.
Well it was a tall order in this unique house, but not for Nancy! She has spent years rehabilitating children from extremely abusive pasts. Helping them overcome horrific things such as childhood molestation, neglect, trauma, and more. She helped us see that even though our kids came to us young, their long lists of infant surgeries, PICU life, foster care, and drug exposure added up to a lot.
We had spent years parenting the “fetal alcohol” and “disability” side of our kids. She helped us turn our eyes to the heart of the matter…. attachment. It is something that we take for granted as we parent our kids, snuggling them, kissing them, telling them stories. But when kids spend countless days in hospitals, 9 months in the womb cringing from burning alcohol and drugs, and more— it causes ones brain to develop different. The part of the brain that we use in bonding with others (the cause and effect part of the frontal lobe and temporal lobes) is atrophied. Brain scans show those parts of the brain look like swiss cheese. So even though we loved on our kiddos day and night, it wasn’t enough. Even though we teach them character, it’s not enough. There are parts of their brains that “need an extra workout” to help them attach appropriately to people and in turn, care about themselves and others. Learning how to love, really love, not just enjoy others.
Here’s how it usually works:
1) RESPECT (wow- my parents are all powerful and they meet my needs when I cry)
2) TRUST (wow- they keep meeting my needs, now I know if I cry they will help me)
3) LOVE (I bond to my parents BECAUSE I first respected then trusted them. That bond is love)
4) CARE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE AND THINGS (I care about things because I am cared for)
You see this developmental cycle doesn’t develop correctly in lots of adoptive children as well as children with disabilities. We try so hard to fill them with #3, that #4 doesn’t happen. They learn to enjoy things and learn to manipulate others. They learn how to reflect character qualities that we teach them to get what they want. But there’s something missing. So we start at square one. Even though some of our kids are 10 years old, they need to start from the beginning. RESPECT 1st above all in every little thing. Love is 3rd. I’m sure part of you is thinking- that’s a bit extreme- shouldn’t it be a balance? OK OK it’s not that we are not loving them- of course we are still loving them!! Remember first that their brains are already out of balance- so we need to rebuild the brain and the heart. Just imagine if you broke your leg. When you got the cast off you would have to work extra hard to rebuild it. It’s not that you are neglecting the rest of your body. You are focusing hard and deep on your leg SO THAT your WHOLE body can work together BALANCED in a healthy way. … and THAT is what are now purposing to do. Rebuild our children’s hearts and brains in a HEALTHY way. The end goal- that they can truly be TRANSFORMED by the Word of God in all areas of their lives, not just mimic the Word of God.
So this Daily Bread turned into overflowing baskets of fish and loaves. More than we could ask or imagine. It’s a lot of work when God gives you more than you can imagine. A lot of work. But sometimes that is part of the deal. Surely when all those people got tons of fish and loaves on the hillside there with Jesus, they had to pass it out, clean it up, and cook it before they could enjoy it. Part of the deal. So right now we feel like we are holding 12 baskets full. Full of more than we could imagine. Everyday we ask for grace and wisdom to parent God’s children well. God, in His sovereignty, knew that some of our kids would have these obstacles in their past, and He knew this day, Today, would come too.
We share this with you so you can SEE God at work in the lives of children with broken pasts. So that you will SEE that God can do more than man can imagine. Sometimes, people are afraid to adopt. They hear stories or hard times and struggles with kids. Yes that is true sometimes. But NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING is impossible for God!!!! Adopting an older kid with a broken past- HA! God says- HA! I’ve totally got that covered! Stop fearing and start believing— It’s the same with our relationship with God…
4) Care- that transformational work in and through us.
One last food for thought…. over 400,00 children are in Foster Case in the United States alone. Over 53,000 are already legally freed for adoption and just waiting for homes.
Paul Dunahoo, a friend of Jacob’s (and our family) was recently asked to attend APPLE conference for a week as a “Young Developer”. He won a scholarship to go!!! He has used his God-given talents and creativity to work all his extra free time into learning to develop APPs. He attended Apple’s conference with a just a few thousand other folk, all there to be on the cutting edge of computer developing…..and people say homeschoolers are unsocialized– HA! Yet another great example of Christ centered homeschooling success! Way to go Paul we are so proud!!! Click the link below him to watch this news report from the Wall Street Journal of Paul!!!
Paul Dunahoo Young Developer
While we have many missionaries back home from around the world, we know the importance of teaching our children to stand firm in their faith right here in America. Important lessons in life don’t always come from a text book, and they can be a lot of fun too. With a little CREATIVITY and FUN you can teach your children vital truths for their future.
Recently we have had different families over for dinner on a few different nights. Sean taught the kids a lesson on standing firm in your faith and what the shield of faith is all about. He passed out shields to each kid, made of foam board and rope handles, and passed out soft foam balls to all the kids. It’s a simple game that ALL KIDS can play, no teams, no big rules or strategies, no big concepts to understand– just guard yourself with your shield and throw the ball at others when able. 🙂
LET THE GAMES BEGIN and LET YOUR SHIELD PROTECT YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The pictures below are from different nights and different families, but the lesson was the same. (Note: in one picture Sean is under “attack” from ALL the kids!!! THAT was hilarious!!! Thank you little Joshua for helping protect him with your shield!!)
What a great season we are in here in northern CT. So many of our church missionaries are home for a long visits. This is not typical, so we are trying to glean as much as possible from their life, stories, faith, wisdom and more.
We recently had Robert & Becky Cooley (their link is to the right on our blog). They are missionaries with AIM in Lima, Peru. Not too long ago the Cooley family was living here in CT just like everyone else. When Robert, as an elder and father, went as a chaperone on a church mission trip. After a few year had passed, they sold all they had and moved to Peru to build the church there. Close to their arrival God used a huge natural disaster to open doors for their ministry. A massive earthquake left many without homes. The Cooley have used this trial in many lives as a wonderful opportunity for service, generosity, and showing the love of Christ to all people.
We had them over for dinner to share their story with our children. They have come before and shared WHY they went to Peru, so this time they shared about the some of the hard trials they face in their ministry. The struggles of helping to heal generational patterns that keep people from freedom in Christ. They also shared about using everyday things (like STRING) to build connections with children and families. They taught our kids about STRING FIGURES and how they use it in their ministry. (there are many free downloads online for free tutorials on string figures to share the gospel)
Becky teaching the kids string figures.
Josiah worked hard to figure out the “Apache Door” which can be used to teach about Straight is the gate and narrow is the path principle with the importance of Decisiveness in life.
Sophie learned the “Broom” or “Crows foot” which can be inverted to a Palm Tree to teach about Flexibility in trials
Robert showed the kids many photos of their ministry in Peru. What the people are like and their needs. Some pictures of people who are part of THE WORLD RACE with AIM.
What a blessing to learn and grow some more, as well as build lasting friendships with friends around the world!!!