- Withdraw cash to be exchanged into Ethiopian Birr when we arrive. (This required multiple trips to various bank branches because all cash has to be crisp and dated 2005 or later.)
- Research how to call home from Ethiopia and buy calling cards.
- Pick up donations from many wonderful, generous people who are sending gifts for orphanages in Ethiopia.
- Call our bank and credit card so that they don't shut down our accounts while we are in Ethiopia.
- Fill multiple prescriptions for us and Little Brother to take with us.
- Shop at Wal-mart, Walgreens, The Party Store, The Dollar Store, Costco, Target, Michael's, etc., etc.
- Make copies of all of our important documents both to take with us and to leave with our family at home.
- Get a couple of shots that I still needed before leaving (and meanwhile finding out that my doctor has moved to a different practice that doesn't take my insurance and I didn't even know it!)
- Make lists of what to buy and who to buy souvenirs for.
- Pick up luggage, converters, and other travel items that we are borrowing from friends.
- Wrap up all of my accounting work since I will be out of commission for a while.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
- Food to hand out to street kids (granola bars, pre-packaged packs of trail mix, protein bars, etc.)
- Over-the-counter medicines for kids:
- - Cough medicine
- - Vitamins - liquid and chewable
- - Tylenol - children's and infants'
- - Benadryl
- Latex gloves
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste
- Toddler shoes and socks
Sunday, May 16, 2010
<a href="http://www.goseeklove.com"><img src="http://www.goseeklove.com/images/goseeklovebadge.jpg"/></a>
Thanks for stopping by! We are the Kirk family (Stephen, Amy, and our 6 precious kids), waiting to bring our newest addition home from Ethiopia. As a family, we are striving each day to grow STRONGER in our devotion to God, CLOSER in our commitment to one another, and FURTHER in our passion for the world. By God’s unfathomable grace, we have been adopted in Christ—redeemed, rescued, and restored as His children, and now God is calling us to do the same for one precious little life a world away. What a privilege!
Several months ago, it became clear that God was asking us to “Go! Seek! Love,” a child through adoption. As we have responded in obedience, we have been encouraged by the example God himself set for us. He comes to us in our sin, seeks us out even as we push Him away, and loves us unconditionally and without merit. The path of obedience is not easy, but it is always good. May you experience the profound love of the very first adoptive Father in new ways today!
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
This was the road leading into our neighborhood as it appeared Monday morning when we came back. The water had been receding for 12 hours already. At the lowest point there was about 8-10 feet of water over the road.
This is how our backyard looked when we got back. About half of our fence was washed away, and many other sections were leaning. It's amazing what the force of the water can do! Daniel worked so hard on this fence all through the summer last year. We were very blessed, however, to be able to recover most of the missing sections from the field beside our house.
The house on the left used to have a two car garage beside it. It completely washed away.
Cars on our street.
My Aunt Sarah lives in Bellevue, and she had two feet of water in her house.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found;
surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me
with songs of deliverance.
- Psalm 32:6-7
The last week has been filled wtih heartbreak, praises, hard work, and every emotion I can think of. I am just now coming up for air, and all that has happened is sinking in. Here is our story.
We have the Harpeth River in the back of our property. Our backyard slopes down quite a bit, putting our home just above the level of the 100 year flood plain. When we bought our house 7 years ago there was a dispute with our mortgage company about whether or not we were required to have flood insurance. We are just outside the range, and so we “won” and did not have to purchase the expensive insurance.
Last Saturday evening we watched the river rise, thinking it was fun and exciting. It was unthinkable that the water would ever reach our home, and unlikely that it would affect any of our neighbors. However the one road that leads in and out of our neighborhood is very close to the river. Before going to bed we were wondering if we might be “flooded” in and unable to go to church the next morning. Oh, we had no idea.
When my alarm went off at 6:30, the first thing I did was look out the window at our back yard. “Oh my goodness, that’s a lot of water!” I said, waking up Daniel. I jumped in the car to survey the neighborhood and found that already the road leading out was under four or five feet of water. You could barely see the top of a car that had been submerged while trying to cross the flooded road. The houses at the other end of our street were right on the brink of flooding. And the torrential rain wasn’t supposed to stop any time soon.
Still, I had no idea just how bad this was going to be. None of us did. I settled in on the couch to do my Bible study and have a few quiet moments before everyone else got up. I watched the water rise and just casually started to think through what we would need to do if it began to seem like the water might actually reach our house. But there’s no way that would REALLY happen, right?
Daniel got up and marked the water level. In an hour’s time we found that the water had risen a vertical foot. Wow. It rose at least another foot in the next hour. We started doing the math – the water only had to rise another 8-10 feet to be at our back door, and the downpour wasn’t supposed to stop for at least that long. We got in the car to survey the neighborhood again and found that houses were beginning to experience significant flooding. At that point, it sank in – this was really happening. Unless God chose to change the direction that things were going by his mighty hand, our home was going to flood.
We hurried home and kicked it into high gear. The first thing that would flood would be Daniel’s workshop in the backyard. He started cleaning everything off the floor and moving as many of his power tools into our two vehicles as he could. I got all the toys that were scattered in our backyard up by the house, and then started inside. In a matter of about 3 hours, I packed up our entire house and put every single thing that we own on top of furniture. I pulled out the lower drawers and put them on top of the dressers. I emptied cabinets and put everything on the counters. I moved clothes out of closets and piled them on top of the mountain of stuff on our bed. We put the legs of our kitchen table in pots and put taped plastic bags around the legs of all other furniture possible. We unplugged everything in the house, and moved all our electronics to higher ground. It’s amazing what you can get done in a short time when you have to.
Meanwhile we watched the water rise. It was inside the back of our fence by 9 am. It enveloped my precious vegetable gardens by 11. By 2 it was at the level of the floor of Daniel’s workshop. The unthinkable was happening. Within about 3 hours it would be in our house.
At first we thought we would just ride out the storm in the neighborhood. Madeline and I would go and stay with friends on a higher street, and Daniel would keep watch over the house. Then we got word that an emergency team had been evacuating people by boat and by ATV through a muddy field to a local church. The water was getting too high to continue doing it though, and it was now or never. Having done all we could at the house, we decided to leave. There was no electricity, phone service, or cell phone service anyway. We wanted to be on higher ground. We packed our backpacks with a change of clothing, toothbrushes, sleeping bags, a little food and our wallets and headed out. We told Madeline we were going on a big adventure.
Just down the road, a hero whose name I don’t even know picked us up on an ATV. Daniel held Madeline and hopped on one side of the rack on the back, and I jumped onto the other side. We held on for dear life as he took us through someone’s yard, through new creeks that had formed that day flowing to the river, and through a muddy field to the road that leads out. I don’t mean to over-dramatize, but it really was every bit as dramatic as something you see in a movie.
We were so grateful to make it to the church. You know, you just never picture yourself as someone who will seek refuge at a public shelter during a natural disaster. The unthinkable really was happening.
Madeline had a blast throughout it all. There were lots of people, lots of dogs, lots of chaos. What could be more fun? As Daniel clung to her on the ATV in the pouring rain, she pointed out flowers that we passed in the field and sang songs. Her childlike innocence and trust was so refreshing.
At about 8 pm, the emergency team chose to move everyone at that shelter to a middle school 30 minutes away because there was power there and cots available for everyone to sleep on. The roads were inaccessible, and so people were moved by ATV down the railroad tracks beside the church, two at a time, and then they crossed the highway in a boat to make it to a bus that took everyone to the school. What an ordeal for all of these tired, stressed people. Even elderly and handicapped people had to do this. We felt extremely grateful to be invited to stay with some friends who were at the church running the shelter. They lived closeby and their road was the ONLY one that could be reached from where we were. Instead of sleeping in sleeping bags on the floor, we ended up on their couch bed with a pack and play for Madeline to sleep in.
It was a long night, but there was peace. We were safe, and we were together. I was so thankful for my precious family sleeping together all in a row. We had everything we needed. The Lord was with us. We felt that in a tangible way.
At about 9:00 the next morning, I got a text message from a friend who was in our neighborhood with a photo of the front of our house. It showed that there was water very close, but NOT IN our home. It was our first indication of the truth that had now become unthinkable – OUR HOUSE DID NOT FLOOD. Soon I got another text message from another friend telling me that they thought all was OK.
We headed out at about 10 am to see if we could somehow make it back into the neighborhood. We hiked through the field and waded in mud up to our ankles, but we made it back. It was true – no floodwaters had reached our home. All three of us got on our knees in our backyard and praised God. Our home was the only one on our side of the street that did not flood.
Why were we spared? I wanted to know. It didn’t make any sense. Our house was just a little bit higher than our neighbors, but not that much. Even our next door neighbor had three feet of water in his house. As I closely inspected our property, I found that water had surrounded our home on three sides. It had come within 2-4 feet in most places of reaching our walls. Immediately I could picture angels standing around the perimeter of our home, holding back the water. I thought of the story of Elisha and his servant: The army of an enemy surrounded the town that they were in. The servant was afraid, and Elisha prayed that his eyes would be opened to see what was TRULY happening. There was an army of angels standing between them and the enemy, protecting them. There was nothing to fear. I could almost see that same army around our house.
I talked to a dear friend a few days later, and shared our story. She was completely undone upon hearing what happened. Here is what she sent to me in an email later that day:
“You see, the night of the storms, in the midst of prayer for those I loved in
the storm--God laid you, Daniel, and Madeline on my heart and just pressed and
pressed you all there--CONSTANTLY.
He VERY specifically gave me Psalm 32:6-7 for your family and as I prayed for you. The prayer over and over was for God to place a ring of His angels around your property, and that He would keep your specific property dry. I also prayed that this line would be apparent around your home. Also, that your home would be a place of respite and island of care for your neighbors. I could see in my spirit them coming to your home for help and that you would be safe enough that you could give out to them. As I
heard about the line around your property and the chili and stew you gave out to
your neighbors, the peace that you all had in Him, and the peace you are able to
share with others--I am completely undone.
He has greatly been in our midst.”
There is so much more to tell, but this blog post has gotten a little long. I will share more stories later.
God is good. He is with us, and he has been merciful. I don’t know why he chose to spare us from the destruction of the flood and did not do the same for others who prayed to him. But I know that he is with every one of his believers and followers, and he works in our lives in different ways. His mercy looks different for every family. “He works ALL things for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”