This is the beginning of a new year and my encouragement for you is to persevere. We have each been allotted a specific time here on this earth to accomplish our calling in Christ Jesus. Not all call Jesus, Lord, but each person has been gifted by God with a specific purpose. Our first purpose is to worship God and then to serve Him and each other with His gifting in and through us.
Persevere- to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.
What is important to you? What are you doing about it?
Pray and ask God to help you discern what you need to persevere at during your time here on earth. Now do it and keep doing it until God tells you to stop.
I am reprinting a newsletter that I received from the Starfish Foster Home from Amanda de Lange. Visit the website, marvel at the miracle of love and care that God bestows through willing hands and hearts and the difference that it makes.
I highlighted the text about perseverance in Amanda's newsletter below. Obviously, it is difficult to raise a child and this is a home for many children.
I love the banner for Starfish that states "For this child, I will make a difference."
You can make a difference. The difference you make while on this earth at times will be obvious, but truly the eternal difference will only be seen when this life is over.
Do what you can and do it well. I know you can.
1 Timothy 4:15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. NIV
1 Timothy 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
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© 2011 Debbie Turner Chavers. All Rights Reserved.
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Article below is reprinted with permission from Amanda.
End of Year Letter, 2010
On September 13th, 2010 we celebrated 5 years of Starfish. I think of it as one of the greatest tutorials of my life. There is no way to fully explain the things I have learned and the adversity I have overcome and the life lessons that are being taught every day. It is an experience like no other I have ever had. The unbridled joy, the pain personified heartache, the overwhelming gratitude, the intense hard work and unrelenting stress. For the first time I understood this year why it is so. I asked my assistant to count the time the babies have been at Starfish and then to add it all up and would you believe it came to 125 YEARS and some months. So at Starfish every day is like five days other wise. Now I get why it is so hard to do. You have to be incredibly strong and very focused on your mission. You have to be flexible and able to adapt really fast and with a minimum amount of complaint. At the same time to have a very clear vision of where you are going and what needs to be done to get there. You cannot be swayed by any opinions and unsolicited advice. About this aspect I can write books because there are so many people who have something to say, without knowing much of anything that happens at Starfish. Your decisions need to be swift and right and so I pray for guidance all the time.
Recently, I read about three women and the money that they spent on their unsuccessful political campaigns in the US. It turned out to be US$217 million. What an incredible waste! I found out too, that Obama raised US$500 million through microphilantropy, where many people gave small amounts and he spent it all on becoming the president of the US. When I looked at that amount my heart wept because I thought about the 143 million orphans that are estimated to be in the world and like winning the lottery, I thought of what I would do with that money to help those kids be adopted and to get surgeries. I thought of the adoption funds that I would create to allow the families a donation to allow them to defray the enormous cost of adopting. I would have enough money to continue helping like this for years. Reverend Billy Graham once said: "Show me your check book (credit card etc) and I will show you were your heart is."
I watched the movie Schindler's List many years ago. There were so many lessons from that movie, but one that stayed with me. Oscar Schindler who was by all accounts a womanizer, a gambler, an alcoholic and a member of the Nazi Party, but in those golden years he saved more than 1 200 Jewish people's lives, in giving everything he owned, even his wife's jewelry to help them. After that time, he was not to be successful again at anything and he faded into oblivion except to the people whom he saved and who never forgot him. He requested to be buried in Jerusalem because according to him: My children are there. The lesson to me was, you do not have to perfect to be able to do good deeds. If we waited for the perfect people to turn up, there would be no-one to do the work. So for me, in spite of my foibles, I get to save babies lives and in my own way I am writing my Amanda's List with each baby that comes to Starfish and some who do not. I might sound egotistical but true none the less.
I am so grateful for the chance that I have to be able to help the babies when they are so medically fragile such a critical stage of their lives. I am so grateful for the love that is poured out on them by the nannies and the volunteers. I love being the keeper of their hearts at such an important time and to teach the what it means to be loved and how they are to love back.
I am so grateful for all the donations that we receive and for the ability that it gives me to help a child in desperate need. We have had 124 babies at Starfish and they are all little teachers. I am so grateful for the lessons they have taught me and for the change they have brought into my life. I am grateful for the 52 families who have received our children and for offering them something that we could not do for them at Starfish, a family of their very own. There are more families going to have the blessings of having a Starfish baby in the future. This year we did a phenomenal 28 adoptions. More than the four previous years combined!
I am also so grateful to the volunteers who come to Starfish from far and wide and around the corner here in Xian, to offer up their time, talents and their love to the babies. Thank you for your service on behalf of the children. It really is a team effort which has such excellent results.
I am also so grateful for all the medical help we receive from skilled surgeons and medical staff, who with their training heal so many children. I cannot express my gratitude enough for what they do. We did 53 surgeries this year. Think of all the lives that have been impacted by that.
It has been the greatest honor of my life to be entrusted with the lives of these children . I love hearing how well the babies are doing and I love writing about what our adventures at Starfish.
My heart and my thoughts also go to the children who never got the chance to know the love of a family, the children who we were not able to heal. It is hard to accept that not everyone can be helped, in spite of your best efforts. These lessons of life are some of the hardest to learn and come to terms with. May I never forget them.
Thank you for your love and support of Starfish. We thank you for your generosity and concern for children you might never meet.
Life, love and laughter,
At Starfish, we have taken care of 124 children to date, arranged more than 100 surgeries and had 51 international adoptions, so our little starfishes live all over the globe: the US, Netherlands, Norway, France, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Canada and in China. Our latest adoptions are to Washington State and New Mexico, Georgia and to Southern California. We currently have 45 babies under the age of 3 and three foster homes. Preparing to move to our new "castle" hopefully before the end of the year.
Starfish Children's Services
US Tax Number: 20-4682916