The fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. Dueteronomy 14:29

~ Silas and Naomi are HOME from Uganda ~

17 January 2011

Violins and Beautiful Music

Before children, jobs, houses, and spouses, when I was attending college in Chicago, I went to the symphony with my roommate (this is craig writing not jen so no one is confused). I even went out and bought a black wool trench coat at the thrift store and borrowed a fancy scarf so I would fit in with the Chicago rich folks. I will never forget how people praised the conductor. At the end of the concert the applause was loud and boisterous and it was not for the musicians, it was for the conductor. He was someone famous from somewhere far away. I thought it strange…almost out of place…after all it was the musicians who were making the music wasn’t it? I felt sort of bad for them. The conductor got all the praise.

Four years and one month ago we began our adoption journey. It was a process we believed would take about 9 months. (for some bullet points of our journey see Sep 7 2010 Post) “Adoptions from Vietnam can be quick, but international adoption is an unsure process,” we were told. “God is on our side it is not unsure for us,” we said. We were absolutely right, but we had the wrong vision of what that looked like in our life. God’s ways are not man’s (my) ways and he sees a much bigger picture, and his picture is…right. Our adoption has been marked by many disappointments and bazaar setbacks but through it all God has done some truly remarkable things.

Very early in our adoption we went in to our adoption agency for a meeting at the end of which we found we had a $1500 bill. Jen began to cry…but not for the reason you might think, we had received in the mail, on Monday of that week, a cashier’s check for $1500. Whoever sent made sure it was anonymous. We had deposited the check on the way to the meeting. We gave them the money.

May God be praised for his beautiful plans.

Some time later we held a yard sale the proceeds of which were astonishing. A week passed with the money in the bank and our friends who had been trying to adopt for many years got a call. “Come to the Ukraine for twins.” It was unexpected for them to say the least and they were without money to fly. Their need matched our adoption account almost to the penny. About 3 weeks later we received a check from them in the mail with a little extra added on to say thanks. The amount was what we needed to take our next steps…and just in time. God provided miraculously for us, for them, and then for us again…with the same money.

May God be praised for his beautiful plans.

Our 2 year old daughter Maela: a sovereign surprise from our father in heaven. Whose laughter is a continual blessing to us.

May God be praised for his beautiful plans.

Our home study was complete. There was one problem, it was one of parenting philosophy and it was a deal breaker. Do you spank your children? The conversation with our agency was long and drawn out.  We were honest and our answer to the question was a qualified yes, and because our conviction on the matter came from the Word of God it seemed to be an un-reconcilable difference. The board of the agency was unanimous…no. Yet some way somehow God made the answer yes.  Since the end of our disagreement they have expedited every step of the process for us.

May God be praised for his beautiful plans.

Our hearts were breaking, we had gotten pregnant…miraculously…and we had just found out that we had lost the baby at thirteen weeks. All this three days from the largest event that we had ever tried to plan, a Family Fund Run. It was a 5k and 10k race and Carnival that was going to support our adoption expenses. It was a huge event, the details were in shambles and we just wanted to curl up into a ball and disappear… People ran in the race, port-a-poties, bounce houses, tables, tents, ponies for pony rides, a DJ and the two live bands he booked for us, countless people to help, a beautiful day and live worship music being played during much of the event, all donated, all provided by God. We breathed deep the mercy of God in the midst of sorrow. Next step of the adoption paid for.

May God be praised for his beautiful plans.

Wednesday night and the news was very bad. It was Abi, she had pneumonia. We were scared and the truth is that Abi was very near death. We called Abi’s caretaker and she confirmed our fears about her condition. “Please Lord provide a way for her to get the care she needs, preserve her life.” Praying the impossible we did the only thing we could, we called our friends in Mbarara Uganda. God had laid it on one of his beloved servant’s hearts to offer to be Abi’s foster mom the day before. Our friends called her and she dropped whatever it was that she was engaged in and made the long and expensive trip out to the orphanage. She picked up Abi and took her straight to the hospital. God had answered our prayer before we even knew to pray it.

May God be praised for his beautiful plans.

The elders of our church opened their (personal) wallets and gave us money to put on a dinner at our church. Gospel truth, Ugandan food, Ugandan history, Adoption info, it was to be a great event. In the time we have been waiting we have been privileged to develop many relationships with folks who work with children in Uganda. One such person hearing of our dinner said, “see if you can find a home for a beautiful little girl who is ready to be adopted.“  This little girl has been reunited with her sister (whom she had been long separated from) and they are both going home to their forever family very soon. These two girls were the first of eight who have found families during our wait.

May God be praised for his beautiful plans.

The time is short, we are supposed to leave soon and the conversation with God is urgent. “Lord, I believe that you can provide what we need to travel but I have no idea how you are going to do it. Please let me see.” 48 hours later. Thousands of dollars given, A missionary on furlough providing us a house in Mbarara, flights booked, our rides miraculously arranged, and a go-ahead from our lawyer in Uganda…

Praise God We Leave on Jan 25, our bags are almost packed.

May God be praised for his glorious plans.

In Chicago, in December, wearing a black wool trench coat I wandered slowly back to my dorm room after a beautiful concert from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I didn’t understand then what God has now shown me through his Word and through the tumultuous events of our lives over the last four years. The musicians learn the notes on the page, but without a conductor to interpret and provide emotion and depth to the piece of music, the song will always fall short. In fact it is the direction of the conductor which gives meaning to the song. When I look at our story despite the incredible disappointments and setbacks I can’t help but hear violins and beautiful music. The conductor has every detail in his grasp and HE WILL ACCOMPLISH IT. He will accomplish it in a better and more complete way than we could ever have imagined.

Lord let our memories never fail us for the glorious works you have done for your names sake.


  1. Wow, thank you for that. Beautifully written and such a powerful reminder. God is so good! Can't wait to hear all about your journey and to embark on ours in a few months!

  2. Craig - you are an amazing writer and young man!!!! We are so blessed to see how you let the LORD order your steps - how you give HIM the praise both in the difficult times as well as the good - how you seek out wisdom, and even take advice when it may not be what you want to hear(and remain HUMBLE) - it has been a long road - but I would venture to say, you would walk it again in a heartbeat - just to see HIM doing HIS glorious work!!!
    Dad & Sherri