Sunday, January 08, 2006

Steven's Card

Below is a copy of an email I just sent out to all the people who were kept updated about our time in Kenya and also Steven's adoption. It's pretty long, but I'll share it with you anyway:

Many of you followed our family’s story a year ago when Paul went to Kenya to adopt Steven. Your prayers resulted in doors opening miraculously and in Paul and Steven arriving in Oregon on Christmas Eve.

Because of all the circumstances of his adoption, I have always felt that God has a special purpose for Steven when he grows up. Today I found out that God is already using him.

Gospel Echoes Northwest, a ministry to prison inmates, is based here in Oregon and headed by our friends Brent and Rita Baker. One of the many projects they undertake is to deliver thousands of handmade cards, along with bags of cookies, to inmates at Christmas time.

Many of us get involved in making, coloring, and signing these cards. This fall, the younger children’s teacher at school encouraged them to work on these cards when their other work was done, so both Steven and Jenny made a number of cards.

Today at church, before the sermon, Brent got up and said he would like to share a response that Gospel Echoes NW got from the Christmas project. He read the following letter:

This letter is from a 21 year old that has pushed God away his whole life. My name is Michael. I am from Grants Pass, Oregon.
I would like to share an experience like no other I have ever felt. I came up in this world having to earn everything I’ve ever had. In doing so at times I made a lot of wrong choices. I never really knew no better, so I was a thief so I could feed myself. And for a very long time I slept in other people’s cars because I had nowhere else to go.
I grew up meeting the wrong people but at the time they made me feel like I was important and it wasn’t long before I was in a gang. I did so many things that I think now and I wonder if I could be forgiven.
However, there’s something else. I never in my life have been to church. I don’t really know anything about God. I’ve never in my life opened a Bible. And I’ve never wanted to pursue to gain knowledge about God, until now.
But I would like to share with you how the morning of January 1st I was feeling a little more depressed than usual and started writing a poem about God in the form of a prayer. I never have prayed before let alone talked to God except to blame him for my wrongs. I ended up wadding it up and throwing it away, too frustrated and depressed to courage myself to keep writing for what I know nothing about.
After dinner I was walking back to my cell and there was a line off to the side. It was your church people handing out address books and cookies and a card. I thought it would be nice to get a address book so I joined the line. I went back to my cell, ate the cookies, and ended up opening the card.
It made me cry. It said, "Have a happy time. From Steven age 10." Something hit me and I don’t really know what. I didn’t receive any cards or letters for Christmas, and here in front of me was a card from a 10-year-old boy written in colored pencil and colored on the outside.
It made me feel like there’s somebody out there that really does care. I know he didn’t know who was going to get it, but I believe with all my heart it was meant for me. Is it coincidence that I started with writing a prayer to God that day which I’ve never done, give up, then receive a card from a church that was from a little boy that opened my eyes and heart into something I can’t explain. Still it gives me goosebumps.
I would like you to know I feel weird writing all this. I’m supposed to be a tough guy and I’m still in a gang. But you know, I want help, I want to learn a different way of life. But most of all I want to continue to feel the way I do now.
I ended up picking that poem out of the trash and I finished it. It’s my first prayer to God and I owe it to that boy named Steven. If I had one wish I would wish that my experience and my prayer could be heard throughout your church in hopes that it finds that boy that by a simple card gave me something I’ve never ever had, a hope for a better way of life.
Michael


My First Prayer: Is There an Angel for Me?
(Dedicated to Steven, age 10)

Is there an extra angel, Lord
That maybe you could lend to me
I know this is a lot I’m asking for
While down on bended knee.

I must’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere
And know I’ve lost my way
I feel as if I’m down to my last prayer
So an angel is for what I pray

Someone to walk by my side
To lead me by the hand
Lord take the time you need to decide
Until then I promise to do the best I can

I have come this far
As much as I can, still I stay strong
Guilt continues to beat my heart
Still, somehow, I carry on.

Is there an extra angel up there
To wipe these tears for which I cry
Even if I have to share one, I don’t care
Please Lord, I’m so lonely in this life.

I’ve cause my world to crumble to pieces
I even pushed my family away
Coming up with excuses I called reasons
Yet still I feel this pain

I pray to the Heavens way up high
For only this angel I cannot see
To fly down from this beautiful sky
Fly down and rescue me.

With my hands to my face I close this prayer
God please forgive me for all my sins
Please show my family love and care
Help lead me away from this life I live.
Amen.

By Mike A.
Thank you, Steven, for helping me believe.

As you can understand, I’m sure, Paul and I were in tears by the time Brent finished reading this. We plan to write to this young man. Steven doesn’t seem to understand why it was a big deal, but I am putting a copy of this letter and poem in his scrapbook for the future day when he needs reassurance that God really has a purpose for him. Thank you again to everyone who had a part in Steven’s adoption, and may God show you that your work today, whatever it is, is "not in vain in the Lord," and "in due season, [you] shall reap, if [you] faint not.


10 comments:

  1. That's awesome that you are gonna keep in contact with him. It's amazing how something so seemingly small can completely change someone's point of view and even their life.

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  2. I had tears in my eyes, too. What a tremendously touching story.

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  3. "Praise the name of Jesus" jim h

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  4. I don't think you were the only one w/ tears--what an awesome witness of Gods power--

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  5. Our God is an AWESOME God, using a youngster of 10 years old, to touch a prisoner's heart. Thanks so much for sharing the story/letter.

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  6. That's wonderful! Through our church's prison ministry, my husband and I are beginning to see how huge a need there is for inmates to know that someone cares and is willing to help them. So... if anyone is looking for ministry right where you are, check out your local prison! Thanks for sharing the story.

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  7. oh boy, I blubbered the whole way through; just cried my eyes out. How totally precious! Oh my, I'm still crying. God bless your little boy and you as you mother him and God bless that man in prison.

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  8. Dorcas thanks for sharing this. I must say that it brought tears to my eyes also. I know that in going to college you never know who's life you will influence for the good or bad so we must walk, talk and act as Christians. Love Elizabeth Swartzendruber

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  9. What a wonderful story!! It is wonderful that you are going to keep in touch with him and your son is so wonderful! Sometimes it takes a child to touch other peoples lives when others have failed.

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  10. Wow, Dorcas. That's a really neat account!

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