After leaving Tahiti and spending 6 months in Auckland, NZ, helping with Impact World Tour, AFRICA and the ORPHAN CRISIS kept on bombarding us from all sides, wherever we turned. Our hearts were majorly challenged by the enormous needs!
Even though I had ministered to orphans in Mexico during my "Discipleship Training School" ,
to orphans/street kids in the Philippines during my "School of Evangelism" and to street kids in Brazil during outreach for the "Impact Evangelism School", my burden and love for the orphans just grew and got more intense. I KNEW that God had MORE for me/us to do...
We didn't sense that we were to move our family to Africa, but just about decided to stay in Germany (when we were there for a 6-month furlough) and go from there back and forth into Africa. But when we put out a fleece before God for confirmation and it didn't happen, we felt that it was his will for us to continue in our plans to move to New Zealand and continue ministering into the Pacific Region (and beyond).
This didn't make sense in regards to Africa (cuz it's so much further away than Germany), but God's leadings sometimes don't make sense at first...
And so - once again - the vision for the African orphans was put on the shelf.
We arrived in Tauranga, NZ, in Jan 2005.
After home schooling the older 3 kids for 5 years we felt to put them into school.
So all I had was little 1 1/2 yr old Kylie to take care of during the days - which I totally enjoyed!
The Lord spoke to me to take 2 years off ministry outside the family (how cool was that?!! I had been so stressed and tired by the time we arrived in NZ and really needed that break!)
As I was taking walks with her (just about) every day in the beautiful countryside, my passion for orphans and the yearning in my heart to do something to help them came up again - and got stronger and STRONGER and STRONGER. I started praying and praying, then begging God to allow me to do SOMETHING to make a difference in orphans' lives - be it here in New Zealand (if there was a need) or in Africa.
After a year of that, God very clearly led us to become foster parents, and to make a VERY long story short, we ended up with little 6-month-old Shayden in our home (July of 2007). He was to stay for 2-3 months ~~~~~ He's been with us for close to 3 years now and will stay permanently - YAY!!! You can read up about some of his journey with us here and here and here
Deciding to keep Shayden permanently also settled that we would not be able to move away from New Zealand (shorter trips are ok) - which confirmed what we had already felt anyways. New Zealand was to become our permanent "home-base" from where ministry was gonna happen.
While we were visiting Rich's home church in California in January 2009, the children of the church prayed for us while we ministered in the adult service. Afterwards, they handed us a bunch of notes. They had written down what they felt God told them concerning us. There was mention of "new beginnings" and other interesting "stuff" that we could only make sense of several months later - - -
Fast-forward to July of 2009 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ the stirring in my heart for the orphans in Africa is getting ever stronger and the Lord whispers to my heart that NOW is the time to pursue my passion for orphans in Africa. I also feel him "say" that I was going to visit Africa in 2010 and that I/we should put NZ$20 aside every week towards the costs...
Shortly after that, I remember one Sunday evening at our church, during a ministry-time, our Pastor said: "... and God is birthing new ministries in people's hearts - even now."
As he said those words, I felt "struck" by God and just KNEW that this word was for me. I knelt at the altar of our church and just sobbed and sobbed, my heart broken for the orphans.
I was thrilled beyond words when God's "GO-AHEAD" came!!!!!!!!! After waiting for over 40 years - you can imagine my excitement!!!!!!!
The first thing I felt to do, was to "marinate" this new ministry in God's presence by spending regular uninterrupted time before God in the Tauranga House of Prayer.
Rich graciously offered to watch Shayden 2 mornings a week so that I could do this.
AWESOME TIMES - God answering my prayer to break my heart for what breaks HIS !!!!!!!
By the way, watch out for part 4 - - - Rich will get in on this, too :)