"Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii's way to say Merry Christmas."
This being Christmas, enjoy a quick read . . .
Her eyes are dark sparkling pools, fashioned like almonds, their corners crinkling when she smiles and laughs ~ which is often. Her feathery coal-black hair, gathered together with a hair tie, shoots straight up, falling like a fountain that crowns her little head. Her cheeks are chubby and pink, with twin dimples that suddenly appear just below the corners of her merry mouth. She is totally beautiful, with a sweet personality to match. Ruthie is the most contented baby I have ever seen.
Ruth is a very special chosen child. Named after many family members: her mother, her mother's mother, her great aunt, a great-great aunt and a second cousin are all her heritage. But these Ruths in turn, were all named after a marvelous foreign, non-Jewish woman who became a great-great-great-something grandmother to Jesus; Ruth of the Old Testament, was a faithful young woman whose husband having just died, followed after her grieving, widowed mother-in-law to a strange and different land saying, "Where you go, I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God." (Ruth 1:16)
So it is with little one-year-old Ruthie. She has just immigrated from the home of her birth to a strange and different land, a land that her countrymen would shiveringly think of as cold and inhospitable, especially in winter. If only her people could have seen the warmth of her welcome to the snow-swept and wintry plains of Western Canada.
Her mother is Laurie our oldest daughter, who has faithfully ministered alongside Donna and me since 1988. Almost ten years ago, still single and with no 'prospects' on the horizon, Laurie heard from God one night as she was driving home on a dark and lonely road. In obedience, she applied to adopt a special needs baby girl from another culture. Denial was disappointing, but Laurie placed her 'word from the Lord' on a shelf and went on with her life. As you may have read earlier in these pages, Laurie met Pete Worrall from Australia and they were married three years ago just before Christmas. Suddenly her 'word' jumped back off the shelf.
In the words of Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, when she greeted Mary, "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" (Luke 1:45)
On their third anniversary, Laurie and Pete flew away to meet their daughter (after a whole year of a sometimes challenging process). Upon their triumphant return a week later, the tiny airport where we live seemed filled with welcomers all wanting to meet this little angel from the East.
Ruth is from Taiwan, Chinese by birth. Dr John Langdon Down (a British physician 150 years ago), lent his name to the condition which has touched Ruthie. Laurie had known all along that her baby would carry Dr Down's Syndrome. Is this a blessing or a curse? Sadly, our society today identifies the syndrome even before birth, and widely considers these little angels to be nothing but trash, to be plucked from the womb and dumped in the garbage. Ruthie is only a blessing!
But these, and other babies with differences, can be absolute blessings to their families. Did I say it would be easy? Of course there will be challenges. But with any kind of adoption, not only does the child become part of a family, that family ~ even through tough times ~ is the better for it.
Ruthie is the third adoption in our immediate family. Our niece Lisa (a former YWAMer and a twin herself), is on a difficult quest to adopt twin boys, abandoned in a garbage bin at birth because they had club feet. Donna and I have met these now two-year olds ~ they are being cared for in a YWAM ministry for so-called "unwanted" children. Please pray that all the government bureaucracy and red tape will be cut through quickly for Lisa and her husband Kent.
For many years I myself would not even consider adoption; but one day God got through to me. We are all adopted into God's family (Romans 8:15). Would you ask the Lord if God has an 'unwanted angel' out there for you?
You might say we have come full circle. For me personally, this is the fulfilment of a dream of my own ~ and perhaps of my Mom & Dad too, who served as missionaries in China and Taiwan for many years; I am stamped, "Made in China," and am now able to fully embrace a tiny part of that great people into my own family (although Donna and I have already been 'adopted' by many Chinese around the world).
Christmas Blessings to you and yours,
You can follow Laurie & Pete's journey at http://petenlaurie.wordpress.com/
One more note, but of sadness. This week we lost a good friend and former co-worker; Malcolm Heath passed away after a very short battle with cancer. Malcolm & Rosalie served faithfully with us in Canada for several years. You can send notes of comfort to Rosalie c/o Dianne: firstname.lastname@example.org
Renewal Gatherings in 2010
May 31-June 5: Germany ~ YWAM Hurlach (near Munich) Donna Jordan, "Listening to God"
June 27-July 3: Borgen, Norway (way up there, but easier to get to than you may think!)
July 18-24: Sweden ~ with Donna Jordan, "Listening to God." Contact James & Kerstin: email@example.com
July 26-31: Norway ~ near Kristiansand with David Demian, Watchmen for the Nations Canada, and Peter & Donna Jordan
Contact Lidvard: firstname.lastname@example.org
August 8-14: France ~ YWAM Le-Gault-la-Foret (east of Paris in the Champagne Region) with Daniel Schaerer (founder of YWAM France)
August 22-28: Switzerland ~ in the Jura Mountains (close to Vallorbe) with Al & Carolyn Akimoff
For info and registration for European Camps, go to the brand new www.ywamassociates.eu website, click on Contact and ask Roy Jones about 2010 Camps.
Hawaii in November beckons with a Grand Finale 50th!
Let's all celebrate the first 50 years of YWAM; what better place than Hawaii? It's not too early to start praying and planning! There will be many Anniversary celebrations around the world ~ starting in New Zealand in January, and climaxing . . .
*Nov 21-25: Kona, YWAM Associates International Gathering
*Nov 29-Dec 4: YWAM's final 2010 50th Anniversary Celebration
Plan to come for one or both events. Watch this space for details next month.
With 2010 marking YWAM's 50th year, go to www.ywam50.com for complete details for a celebration near you.
Sean Lambert is producing a 50th anniversary magazine. It will have some great articles from our past as well as other articles about what God is saying about our next 50 years. The magazine will also have many old photos from around the world.
Sean wants to include some "Memory Stones" (read Joshua 4). Instead of piling rocks somewhere, Sean is looking for people to contribute short memory stories from their time in YWAM. If you have a memory story, send it to: email@example.com
Special thanks to the team who made our new website possible: Mark Lee, Steve DeVries, Rebekah Lee & Aussie Pete. Check it out: www.ywamassociates.com
And finally . . .
A word on Global Warming: "Where would Canada be without it?" Dean Sherman, who was recently permitted to enter 'The True North Strong & Free.'
Special Christmas Blessings ~ and let's all get together again, right here, in January!
Feel free to use anything from this YWAM-eTouch, in whole or in part, in any way that will glorify God and advance His Kingdom.
What a wonderful tribute and welcome to your newest and youngest granddaughter! Congratulations Grandpa and Grandma. What a wonderful Christmas gift for Peter and Laurie and for Ruthie too!
Lee and Libby
Darlene Brett writes:
Thank you for your beautiful letter. How wonderful and what joy for your daughter and husband and all of your family and friends to welcome this adopted little Ruthie into your lives. I will read their story.
We have also been blessed with our special son, Jason, born with Downs. Jason is now 23, living in a group home, but here with us for a couple of weeks during "the holidays". We have had a kiwi Christmas, beach weather, beautiful picnic at one of our daughters homes in Whangamata. Jason was born with 2 heart abnormalities and has had 2 heart surgeries, first at 10 months and second at 3 years. He now is on list for another surgery on his heart, which will take place in Auckland hospital in 5 or 6 months time. Your prayers appreciated.
He has been a very healthy boy and young man, loves his music, writing rap songs to sermons he hears at "his church" the AOG in Otumoetai.
David and I make our home at Bethlehem Baptist church and the next 2 weeks David will be preaching at the Welcome Bay Baptist church as the dear pastor there is on sabattical having Parkinsons disease progressing. We have also lost a dear friend and former missionary to New Guinea recently. He was 84 and battled long with cancer similar to David's. David will go on another chemo treatment course beginning on the 7th of January. His energy levels are decreasing, but his passion is still to preach and share in evangelism, bringing Jesus to the people and people to Jesus!! We miss our family and friends around the world even more at this time of the year, and long for the coming of the Lord, but it is a time to harvest more souls as long as it is "today". I have so enjoyed the "in touch" e-touch news and challenging messages.
It's been 30 years since our time in YWAM in Scotland, but we are always meeting younger YWAMmers and reconnecting with those of our generation as well. 2010 will see both David and I reaching our 65th birthdays. Our children held a special 60th for us and perhaps we'll have another party in October. God is still Our Father and Jesus Our Lord and Saviour and the Holy Spirit our Comfort and Guide...A very present help in time of trouble!!! Love and blessings, Darlene and David Brett, Bethlehem, New Zealand
What a beautiful story to wake up to..
Thanks for sharing about Ruthie. I had been following the story, but missed
that she was now home.
Merry Christmas to you all..
What a fabulous letter!! Many thanks from another "Ruth" across the world in Cape Town!!
Much love and prayers for you all and for Ywam
From: Fred Warkentin
Subject: Re: Christmas 2009 YWAM-eTouch
Dear Peter and all the Jordans! Our Ruthie 'touch-down' prayers have been answered. May God bless you forever for bringing this little gem home. Our prayers continue
always and most especially during these early bonding times. We look forward to a visit from Ruthie to the 'Olympic City' or sometime in 2010! We love you and miss our visits together,
fred and kathy
nancy long writes:
Thank you for keeping in touch. Where to begin; as a mom of a severely disabled adult child I am always blessed when a couple or single chooses to adopt a child living with a developmental disability. I have many stories of how my Kent has made me a more kind, loving and understanding person and although the journey of his childhood was wrought with long hours of beseeching God for what was best for him I can say with certainty it only created a deeper more sweet intimate relationship with the Lord. I congratulate Laurie, Pete, Lisa, Kent and others who have willingly taken on this great adventure of love. Blessings, Nancy P.S. As all my children are now adults who knew that Kent would become my "easy child".
Thank you for sharing about your little Ruth! I know that she is a special blessing!
I sure wish our culture would pay attention to real people, and not just "statistics" or pre-conceived notions of who is important enough to deserve life. My cousin's first child also has Down's syndrome and yet she is the most loving, kind, caring person I know. Those qualities are far more important that how much money a person will be able to make in their lifetime or whatever career choices may be made. So in my eyes she is far more valuable than a lot of so-called "important people".
Many blessings to you and your family.
From: Philip Kim
Subject: Re: Christmas 2009 YWAM-eTouch
What a wonderful story!
May God continue to keep you & Ruthie in His mighty hand.
Thank you for sharing all of these amazing stories.
I have a new heart for people with Down's Syndrome. A few months ago I was driving down the freeway when I was suddenly caught up into heaven. There I had a conversation with someone who was SO very profound. I felt like such a tiny child, so hard to understand the simple things that he was saying to me. But there was no air of condescension toward me, despite my slowness, only genuine love.
The person was talking with me about what matters most, and becoming like Jesus, learning to have a heart like Jesus, and he was sharing from his experience on earth.
Then as I was coming out of the vision (in a freeway tunnel! but never mind about that...) I heard the Lord ask me some questions. One of the things he asked me was what I noticed about the person I spoke with. I thought hard but couldn't really think of anything special except the pure and simple love he showed, and the remarkably elequent way we was speaking.
Then the Lord asked me again and helped me notice somethings - they were not normally noticable in heaven but the Lord allowed me to see these things as I was between heaven and earth and I noticed that the person I had been speaking with had Down's Syndrome on earth. I don't really know exactly how I could tell though...that is really hard to say.
And I could not help feeling like crying afterwards, but I was driving so I could cry a little only. Because I felt so small, so childish, so "slow", so "retarded" compared to the person I had been speaking with. And he was so nice to me and so willing to allow me to be on his level, not demanding any "position" or power.
And the Lord asked me what language we were speaking in heaven and I really thought about that and did not know because I could not remember any words at all, then I realized we were speaking in a pure language, very deep, a language without words, a language of love. And I realized that the brother I was speaking with had deeply learned this language while on earth and part of how he learned it so well was because of his "disability" here.
I shared this with a friend of mine Joel, although I did not know why I shared it specifically with him. And he said that he had a dear friend who had recently died, a person with Down's Syndrome that he used to see every week. The man used to share with him and lead them in worship together. He really had few words on earth though. Joel had just asked the Lord about his friend Mike, how it was in heaven, and so when I shared my experience with him it was very precious, because he thought that maybe it was his friend Mike I had met.
This sort of thing happens to me sometimes, so it wasn't strange to me, although it might sound a little strange to others.
From: Tammie Martin
Date: December 27, 2009 4:56:56 pm MST
Thank you so much for emailing me. I count it such a blessing that you contacted me as I know you must be so busy with your family!
I first heard about your courtship and wedding story via the September 2008 eTouch newsletter. That newsletter is still in my inbox as a testimony of God's faithfulness. I read the story from time to time and adore the song your friend wrote for your wedding. I have looked at the wedding pictures a few times also. They are so beautiful and I can see the love of Jesus shining on everyone's faces! :)
I am 42 years old, never married, no children, and very inexperienced in dating. I only started to "date" about three years ago after God did some major healing of my heart. I say "date" as I feel like God has me protected and shielded for someone very special. I have tried online dating, a dating service, joining singles groups, and blind dates. Nothing... but God! My hope remains (and is encouraged by your story) that God is ALWAYS RIGHT on time. His timing is absolutely perfect and I know that His plans for me will far exceed my expectations.
The most recent eTouch newsletter told of your adoption of your precious baby girl and again your story hit deep places in my heart. I desire to be a mom one day and like you I have thought of being a single parent although God hasn't given me the go ahead on that one yet. Your blog is such a testimony of God's handiwork in your lives. I look forward to reading more of your blog.
I have read stories of courtship and God's divine direction in peoples lives but for some reason your story has a special place in my heart. My main reason for reaching out to you was to share how deep your story has touched me and to ask how I would go about supporting you and your family as you continue your work with YWAM. I would love to sow financial seeds into your lives. Is there a place I can send the money to obtain tax credit for the giving?
Thank you for your time and I pray that God continues to use your story to minister to others as I know He is already doing! Blessings to you and your precious family!!