Papa the Farmer and I have never celebrated Christmas together in the traditional way. He didn't celebrate Christmas at all as a child, but in my home Christmas was a really big deal. When we got married we had to find a good compromise. Since he got 2 weeks off at Christmas every year, we decided that our “together tradition” would be that we would travel. We saw the Grand Canyon, we went to Florida, we stayed in the beautiful smokey mountains in Tennessee. Each year we would go some place different and make new memories. (Why yes, these were the days before children! How could you tell?) In later years we stayed home because we often had a new itty bitty baby. Those were good years too.
Now that we'll be hosting a sibling group of 4 orphans we need to make some new traditions. It's not fair to ask them to walk into our no-traditions Christmas. So, we've decided to start a Blessing Tree. We really like the beautiful tradition of a Jesse Tree so we'll incorporate elements of that into it! Each day we will read one story from the Bible that has to do with the plan of Salvation. (Because really, Christmas is not just about celebrating the birth of a baby. It's about our salvation!) Then we'll hang an ornament on the tree that illustrates that day's Bible story. We don't know how much our Eastern European host children know about the Gospel, but we are participating in a Christian hosting program and a Jesse Tree is a wonderful way to come together and learn more about God's ultimate adoption of all of us!
The Amazing Part of the Story That Builds Our Faith
It was just last week that we made the decision to decorate a tree this year. The catch is that we don't have a tree. We don't have any decorations. Not one. Not even a piece of tinsel. And since all our extra money is going towards bringing the children here, we aren't going to be spend a fortune buying all that stuff. We decided to decorate on the cheap and use paper. In this Pinterest-Era we can make it so pretty!
Then I got a phone call over the weekend. It was a friend. “The Lord put it on my heart to make you a set of Jesse Tree ornaments this year. You don't mind, do you? Can you use them?”
How did she know about our Jesse Tree? When God orchestrates something, crazy things like that happen.
It's a Blessing Tree
In the week since we began this journey to orphan hosting and possible adoption we have been seeing the Lord work in amazing ways. I don't ever want to forget the way He has been encouraging me this week! When the Lord did things to bless Israel He told them, “write this down” or “pile up 12 stones as a remembrance.” He knew that we tend to forget what He does for us. So I'm writing it down!
I bought a fancy paper punch that punches pretty 3 1/2″ tags. (See the picture above?) On those tags I'm writing down all the encouraging notes I receive from people and all the miracles that God has worked out in order for this hosting to happen. (You can read some of the miracles here.) If we are able to adopt this children as we hope to, we will always have a record of how God worked to bring these children into our family. And we'll have a beautiful reminder of how much people loved all 10 of us and gave so that we could be together.
You Can Decorate Our Tree… And Your Tree, Too!
Today, you can help decorate our tree! We're going to play a little fundraising game.
Hosting orphans is expensive. It costs almost $2,950 per child. There is a discount for hosting multiple children, but in total this is still going to cost $10,700 to bring all four children. Why so much you ask? Because these children all need airline tickets, train tickets, visas, etc, etc, etc. It all adds up! We learned about orphan hosting a little over a week ago and we've already raised $3,660 but that means we still have $7,040 to raise. We're only about 1/3 of the way there! The bulk of the money is due November 1st. They gave us an extension and we can pay the last little bit on November 4. If we don't raise this money, the children can't come. It's that simple.
So, here's how the game works. I have 100 ornaments that you can sponsor. Ornament #1 is $1. Ornament #2 is $2. Ornament #67 is $67… All the way up to Ornament #100. You get to choose an inspirational quote, Bible verse or encouraging message and we will put that on your ornament! Then we will print the ornments to decorate our tree and we'll send you a pdf of all 100 ornaments to add to your tree! (We'll include your name on OUR copy of your ornament, but we will remove your name on the copy that gets sent back to you.) Then you will have 100 pretty and inspiring paper ornaments to hang on your tree and we will have a beautiful keepsake of people who have helped us bring the children here!
Here Are the 2 Easy Steps:
- View the Google Spreadsheet and decide which ornament you will donate towards. Fill out the line for the ornament you want to sponsor to let us know it has been taken. (If you don't want to put your email address in the spreadsheet, feel free to just email it to me at GoodOldDaysFarm@gmail.com)
- Visit the You Caring page and donate the dollar amount that corresponds to your ornament number. (Your donation is tax deductible! You Caring also asks for a donation. Click on it if you wish to change it.)
Then start spreading the word and let's bring these children HOPE for the holidays! Thank you so much for your help. We only have 4 days left to raise an incredible amount of money! We could not do this alone!