James 1:27

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the
Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let
the world corrupt you.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Depraved Indifference

My friend posted this video. It is absolutely amazing. I want to be His hands and feet. "Whatever you did unto the least of these you did unto me...."


I can't help but think of how much we miss out on when we choose the "easy" way....how those miracles may be stolen from us....

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dying to self

We are learning more and more (although just a teeny bit of an inkling!) of what it means to die to ourselves...that when we are weak, He is strong....that His ways our higher than ours...that we are to take up our cross daily and follow Him!  God is taking us a on journey that is purposeful and beautiful, but also difficult. Below are some quotes that have completely challenged me and spoken to my heart.

This is part of the book "The  return of the prodigal son" by Henri Nouwen. Much of came as a result of seeing Rembrants painting of the return of the prodigal son and what God showed him through it. It's so good, yet so tough too!! Nouwen chose to leave his position at Harvard and being known as a world scholar to go live with disabled people. The place was called Daybreak.

"These years at Daybreak have not been easy. There has been much inner struggle, and there has been mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual pain. Nothing, absolutely nothing, had about it the quality of when I first arrived. However, the move from Harvard to this place proved to be but a little step from bystander to participant, from judge to repentant sinner, from teacher about love to being loved as the beloved. I really did not have an inkling of how difficult the journey would be. I did not realize how deeply rooted my resistance was and how agonizing it would be to "come to my senses", fall on my knees, and let my tears  flow freely. I did not realize how hard it would be to become truly part of the great event that Rembrant's painting portrays. Each little step toward the center seemed like an impossible demand, a demand requiring me to let go one more time from wanting to be in control, to give up one more time the desire to predict life, to die one more time to the fear of not knowing where it will all lead, and to surrender one more time to a love that knows no limits. And still, I knew that I would never be able to live the great commandment to love without allowing myself to be loved without conditions or prerequisites. The journey, from teaching about love to allowing myself to be loved proved much longer than I realized...."

"Certainly there were many hours of prayer, many days and months of retreat, and countless conversations with spiritual directors, but I had never fully given up the role of bystander. Even through there has been in me a lifelong desire to be an insider looking out, I nevertheless kept choosing over and over again the position of the outsider looking in. (In this he is talking about Rembrandts painting of the prodigal son....when he saw it he realized he wanted to be the son, in the tender embrace of the father....). Sometimes this looking in was a curious looking in, sometimes a jealous looking in, sometimes an anxious looking in, and once in a while, even a loving looking in. But giving up the somewhat safe position of the critical observer seemed like a great leap into totally unknown territory. I so much wanted to keep some control over my spiritual journey, to remain able to predict at least a part of the outcome, that relinquishing the security of the observer for the vulnerability of the returning son seemed to close impossible. Teaching students, passing on the many explanations given over the centuries to the words and actions of Jesus, and showing them them the many spiritual journeys that people have chosen in the past seemed very much like taking the position of one of the four figures surrounding the divine embrace (in the painting). The two women standing behind the father at different distances, the seated man staring into space and looking at no one in particular, and the tall man standing erect and looking critically at the event on the platform in front of him- they all represent different ways of not getting involved. There is indifference, curiosity, daydreaming, and attentive observation; there is staring, gazing, watching, and looking; there is standing in t he background, leaning against the arch, sitting with arms crossed, and standing with hands gripping each other. Every one of these inner and outer postures is all too familiar to me. Some are more comfortable than others, but all of them are ways of not getting directly involved.

Moving from teaching university students to living with mentally handicapped people was, for me at least, a step toward the platform where the father embraces the kneeling son. It is the place of light, the place of  truth, the place of love. It is the place where I so much want to be but am so fearful of being. It is the place where I will receive all I desire, all that I have ever hoped for, all that I will ever need, but it is also the place where I have to let go of all I most want to hold on to. It is the place that confronts me with the fact that truly accepting love and forgiveness and healing is often much harder than giving it. It is the place beyond earning, deserving, and rewarding. It is the place of surrender and complete trust."

"Many are deceived when they suppose that the death of self is the cause of all the agony they feel. Actually, their suffering is caused only by the remains of life. Pain is seated in the living parts of the body, not the dead parts. The more suddenly and completely we expire to self, the less pain we experience. Death is only painful to those who resist it. The imagination exaggerates its terrors. The spirit argues endlessly to show the propriety of the life of self. Self-love fights against death, like a sick man in the last struggle. But we must die inwardly as well as outwardly. The sentence of death has gone forth against the body as well as the spirit. Our great care should be that the spirit of self dies first. For then our bodily death will be but a falling asleep. Happy are they who sleep this sleep of peace!"...

"we must bear our crosses. Self is the greatest of them. ...if we die we have but little to do on the last day...what we so much dread in the future will cause us no fear when it comes- so long as we do not allow its terrors to be exaggerated by the  restless anxieties of self love....these little daily deaths will ultimately destroy the power of the final dying!"

It is powerful and amazing to learn what it means to die to our flesh- whatever the outcome of this may be. He is using it! Thank you for continuing to pray!! love you all, Bren

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Please read. This little one needs a "forever family"!

Buttons with Pillow
One Less?
Will you help Ladybug, and make it one less?

Hi His Hands Family,

Buttons Eating Yogurt
Do you remember last December when you received a special e-mail about a baby everyone called "Buttons"? I know you have been keeping up with his progress and it is amazing what has taken place in his life as a result of all your all your prayers, concern and a very special family that God had picked out just for him. Well...I've said all of that to say I am another one of those special babies that has been referred to His Hands Taiwan. My Aunties call me Ladybug, they say they call me that because I am so cute. They say I am extra special so they want a family, who has completed their homestudy, to choose me. When I was born I had no heartbeat. I found it impossiblfirst visite to breath with a rope wrapped around my neck two times, they called it my umbilical cord. Just as Buttons had his difficulties, I have come to the House of Hope with my own special needs.

The first time I met the team of His Handsteam first visit Taiwan was about three months ago. I knew they had to be very special people because even though they had been told about my "special needs", they were still willing to come and visit me. They were so excited to hold me. Some of them were even crying and smiling as they looked at me. They were all ready to bring me home but the doctor told them that I had trouble swallowing and sucking. They huddled in a circle and came back crying without any smiles this time. They said I was too hard to look after so they left me in my hospital bed. What they didn't know is that I just don't like things to touch my lips. You see, so many of the people helping me have put things in my mouth that hurt me, like a breathing tube, a suction tube and a feeding tube.

A month later two of the beautiful women from His Hands came to visit me again. I decided that I would let them touch my lips this time in hopes that they would take me home.  I 'showed-off' and rae fangdrank 30cc's of milk. Even though I let them touch my mouth they left me. I could tell by the look on their faces they were not happy about leaving without me and I just had a feeling I would be seeing them again. 

Last week we met again and this time they made a GREAT choice and decided to bring me home. I have decided that I will not drink and I will cry if anyone touches my mouth.  My aunties tell me that I will quickly learn how to use a bottle but they do not know how stubborn I am. I am hoping they just give up because being fed through my tube is just fine by me. I think eating through the tube is much easier for them too. They do lifting head upnot have to fuss with bottles and stopping throughout the day to feed me. They just have to hook me up to the syringe and gravity does the rest. Once I am old enough to eat solid foods I am hoping all this will change. I know they have all been doing a lot of research and I hear rumors that I will be able to chew and swallow when I am a little bit older. I just don't get the sucking thing, why would I want to suck on rubber???? They have tried to put a rubber thing in my mouth and it had no flavor, I think I heard them calling it a pacifier, all I can say about that is YUCK!!!

I have overheard my aunties whispering to one another about how easy I am at night. When I was a few days old I gave the sleeping and eatingdoctors and nurses a scare by shaking my whole body. After that they gave some medicine each night to be sure it did not happen again. This medicine makes me very, very, very sleepy so I usually go to bed at 8:00pm and sleep until 8:00am. I think this makes me a very boring baby but my aunties do not seem to mind.

Currently I feel very secure, I get a lot of attention, a lot of snuggles ...well just let me say everything I need is well taken care of. I've seen other babies where I am staying and I hear people talking about a "forever family",  I'm not sure what that means. I have decided I am not going to concern myself with wearing dresswhatever that is. I know these aunties are taking care of me now and when my "forever family" comes to get me I will understand. Just as you prayed for Buttons I would like to ask that you pray for me. From reading the above you have an idea of the needs I have. I am sure you will be hearing more from me soon. Thanks for your prayers!!!!

I love you all already,


malachi and ladybug
Here I am with my Aunt Cheryl, Uncle John, and my new friend Malachi.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Post from my friend Carrie that I had to share.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Advocating for the Orphan: What I have learned this week

We have spent the better part of last week and this past weekend advocating for a little guy who was born last week and who essentially isn't wanted by his birth mother. Although I can't share many details here, I would ask those who can, to lift him up in prayer. It appears as if we have done all we can and that the state will now step in, but we know that no matter who appears to have control in the natural, that ultimately the Lord holds this little one in the palm of his hands. It has been a LONG LONG week. Lots of time has been spent on the phone, with lawyers, in meetings, etc. There have been many ups and downs for our family, but I wanted to share a little of what God has taught us through this.

Number one: The orphan crisis is everywhere and the body of Christ needs to be everywhere too - This call is not for some but for ALL.

I admit that sometimes I have a limited view of what this calling to "care for orphans" really is. I think too geographically or too much about what we want as a family, or what is comfortable for us. The truth is that down the street from our home there are orphans born all the time as there are orphans born around the world each day as well. It is everywhere, and the Lord needs us just to be willing. Willing to adopt, to foster, to pray, to hold and feed, to meet with birth moms, to change a diaper... the list goes on. We have watched the Lord raise up a spiritual army this week around this child. There are some in it that knew this is where God would want them, and others who find themselves surprised to be there. But it is neat to watch God at work as He shows us all that it takes us ALL to get the job done. There are so many needs that surround each of these little lives, and we should be there in whatever capacity we can. If we don't avail ourselves to this work, than who will? Sure each person is called to this in different ways, but have we made ourselves available? Are we willing to do whatever is needed in this crisis, regardless if it is next door or halfway around the world?

Number two: it is worth the fight.

I can tell you over just this past week, we have been overwhelmed even unto despair at this situation. "Why doesn't God just step in and do something?" we cry. We have pushed back because it seemed too much, but He just keeps giving us more to do or pray for. But the truth is, God never pushes back with us, so how can we look into the face of one of His precious children and say, "enough is enough"? There is a very real battle being fought for each orphan in the spiritual realm, and who do you think should be fighting this war? It's me and you, it's the body of Christ, we are the warriors God needs here. After all didn't He call us to take up our sword and sheild? We are the warriors, the question is can you and I see the battle and are we willing to fight until the Lord draws the white flag?

Number three: Advocating for the Orphan is not so much about the end result as it is in the little steps of victory.

Yes, we all want to see every child of God in a loving christian home. And yes a great end result is always our hope, but are we willing to take the next step? Are we willing to just love on a baby and care for a baby not seeing the end? I don't know about you, but this is a hard one for me. I want to know the end. I don't want to offer my heart if there are no guarantees. And while we should be wise and prudent to protect our hearts and family, can we still be willing to love like Jesus, with no conditions? God needs His people to be His heart expressed practically in love to orphans. He needs us to take off our blinders and human limitations and love like He will be back tomorrow. This is our job folks, the responsibility does not lie with the government or with some organization, it is us who should be His hands and feet. So weather it is adopting a baby from across the globe, or feeding a little one who has no mama by his side, or interceding on a orphans behalf, we just need to be there. We need to make ourselves available and ready and I think, God will do great things.

This week has been a good reminder that you can get no closer to God's heart than when you care for the heart of an orphan, because that little one is at the center of His Heart.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Amazing video

This is a video documenting how in one day clean water was brought to a school in Nepal. It is so moving.
In this village, the people will go to the well that contains dirty water up to 50 times  a day, for their water supply. This problem was fixed in one day. Amazing!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Jeff's most recent update about Dusty. Amazing. Please continue to pray!

“It’s an honor that God has trusted me with this suffering…” spoken by Dusty just a few days after being diagnosed with life-threatening Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.

"And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God's message without fear." Phil 1:12-14 (NLT)


It has been 112 days since Dusty was diagnosed with leukemia—and over these last few months God has told an amazing story. It is a story of faith, of purpose, and of perspective. It is a story about Dusty and her relationship with her Creator. And it is a story that each of you have been a part of as you’ve prayed for us, loved us, and supported us in so many ways.

Dusty and I have learned so much. We’ve learned that God is good regardless of our circumstances. We’ve learned that while "my health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak…God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever." (Ps 73:26)

We’ve learned that physical healing is an awesome gift, but that we should never elevate the gift above the Giver. We’ve learned that our faith is not in outcomes—but that our faith is only in the fact that “nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.” (Rom 8:38)

And we’ve learned that sometimes it is those events in our life which seem to be the most terrible—that can actually provide us with the greatest opportunity to share just how good our God is.

Over the last 112 days we’ve learned about purpose—that sometimes it’s more about being used by God than about doing stuff for God. We’ve seen God use London (and her birth) to help save Dusty’s life. We’ve seen God use Taylor to be a perfect 100% bone marrow match (against the odds) to help save her sister’s life. And we’ve seen God use Dusty to touch the hearts of so many people around the world—just by lying quietly in a hospital bed. In fact, what appeared to be an interruption of Dusty's purpose was soon revealed to be a magnification of that purpose.

And it was during Dusty’s darkest times that His presence was always the greatest. When she watched as all of her hair fell out—He reminded her that “the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid.” (Luke 12:7)

When Dusty learned that the first round of chemo did not work and that her life was truly in peril, God gave her the faith to say, “if there is any other way, please show me that path, but if not, Your will be done.”

And as Dusty gave up all of the comforts of her former life, He replaced those things that were lost with something of far greater value—Himself. In fact her relationship with God became so intimate that He no longer felt like a "Heavenly Father," but more like a "Dad." His tangible presence in her hospital room—holding her closely, loving her, and comforting her hour by hour…

But perhaps the most amazing moment of the entire 112 days was an incident that I’ve not yet shared with you. It was a Thursday in September and London was scheduled for her two-month check-up. The appointment had been made six weeks prior and at the time Dusty had felt sure that she’d be out of the hospital and able to attend.

But she wasn’t. The day snuck up on her and it hit her very hard. She felt overwhelmed by the despair of being separated from London, and she spent the entire day in her hospital bed weeping uncontrollably—hours upon hours. And Dusty cried out to God, “Why? I only want to be with London," she said. "I only want to be with my daughter. I only want to be a part of my child’s life.”

And in that moment, God spoke back to Dusty in the gentlest way possible, saying:

“I feel the same way when I am not allowed to be a part of My children’s lives…”

He knew…

He knew exactly how Dusty felt. Imagine, our God, the Creator of the Universe, heartbroken when we don’t allow Him to be a part of our own lives. He loves each of us more than we know. It is almost too much to comprehend. But then again, so is the work that was done for each of us on the cross.

And so God has told us a story. It is a story about Dusty and her relationship with Him. It is a story of hope in the midst of a painful world. It is a story that has pointed us all to a hope beyond this life. And it is a story that at first seemed so tragic, that He has ultimately revealed to be a thing of magnificent beauty.

But this story is not over. We will continue to provide updates on Dusty as she recovers over the holidays, the New Year and through the spring. And we still need your prayers. I’m asking that you would continue to pray for Dusty’s health—that at the end of January the transplant would be deemed a complete and total success. And please pray that God would continue to use Dusty’s story to touch the lives of others.

And we know that the best is yet to come. In a world where we all crave normal, God has called Dusty to a purpose that is beyond normal. He has great things in store for her—as a thankful mother, as a loving wife, as a healthy sister, as a caring friend, as an empathetic counselor, and as a powerful witness to the mighty God that she serves.

Over the last 112 days Dusty and I have seen with our own eyes the true power of Jesus Christ, and the peace and hope that can only come from a relationship with Him. Our lives will never be the same. And we thank God that He has allowed us to share all of these things with you.

Pass it on…

“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16 (ESV)

God is good—all the time!

Jeff, Dusty & London

Visit our community site: Friends of Dusty, London and Jeff

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

First Donation to Clean Water

  Not only does our money help give clean water (read stats below), it also yields income! That is awesome!!!
Every $1 invested in improved water supply and sanitation yields $4 - $12 in income. We think that's huge.

You may be able to double or triple your impact through your workplace! To see if your company matches donations visit www.charitywater.org/donate/match.php
Tweet about your donation OR follow @charitywater on follow
I just gave to charity: water - you should too! 100% goes to clean water projects for people in developing countries. http://bit.ly/TmWS
Every $1 invested in clean water yields $4-$12 in income. Give to charity: water here: http://bit.ly/TmWS
$20 can give a person clean water for 20 years. I just gave and you can too: http://bit.ly/TmWS

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Adopted Prints!

My amazing and wonderfully talented friend has created a website where you can order adoption prints (note cards, announcements etc). They are amazing! The website is  


(Below is her post about it.)

 She also has another awesome website called twinkleandshine that sells adoption related shirts etc, especially for little ones. They are TOO CUTE! Check it out at


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Announcing Adopted Prints!!!

Shop for a personalized gift at Zazzle.

I am thrilled to announce the launching of our new store for adoptive families! Right now it is adoption announcements, Christmas cards, tee shirts, and note cards that celebrate Africa! They are all fully customizable so you can upload your own photos and put in all your own text and then order! They ship next day and there is even a page called "zazzle coupons" with discount codes to use on various items. We are currently adopting our third child from Ethiopia, and so I bet you can guess where all the proceeds will be going! :o)
Anyway, I am just praying that people like what they see and order some fun things for gifts or for themselves! I am planning on adding more countries soon and of course am always open to doing personal designs. Anyway, go check it out by clicking on the link above under the banner.

So excited!!!!


Home Study

Our home study went perfectly! Our social worker was so sweet and it was a lot easier than we thought it would be. We basically went through our application the whole time and then she just did a quick walk through of the house. She told us that we "passed" on her end!! The next step is waiting for all the FBI background check stuff to come in. We were told this could take up to 4 months, but also could be quicker. Once that is in, we send everything to our government for approval. Once they receive our application, they have 90 days to accept or reject it, but Jamie (social worker) said they usually respond much quicker. We know the timing of this whole thing is completely out of our control, and we have no clue what the future holds; but we know we serve a good God and it is all in His hands and His perfect timing!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Home study

Wanted to let you all know our home study is on Saturday. If you don't know what a home study is, it is where the social worker comes to our house for a few hours and basically goes over the 30 page application we filled out. Our being able to adopt is contigent on "passing" our home study! After the first visit, there is still a ways to go in the process (could be a couple months). She has to approve us, write up a report, get all our background checks etc back,  then send it to the government, and they have to approve us. Please pray with us that the home study goes great and smooth from here on out! :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010


First His Hands Baby Calendar!
His Hands Baby
We're selling a calendar! You want a baby, but the waiting list is just too long? The night hours too important for your beauty sleep? Worry not, we've got just the deal for you! For only $25 USD you can get a year's worth of His Hands Taiwan babies in your own home! Forget about those long waits at AIT, forget the late night feedings! Imagine writing your appointments below these happy smiling faces, they make everyday worthwhile.
Christmas Babies

April baby

and even Fall..
October baby

Order below to get them all!
These calendars don't just bring a splash of joy and color to plain old bland walls, but also provide for the essentials these little models need, like clothes, diapers, formula and much more. You're missing out if you pass up this great deal! Get your very own His Hands Taiwan Baby Calendar today!
To make sure that you get in on this great deal email:
Be sure and tell us the address of these babies new homes, and how many you're planning on "adopting". You will receive a confirmation email with payment instructions.