Envision me 3 weeks from my due date, big round and very pregnant. It was at this point in our lives that Kent tells me, "I think we should look into missions." Now any women that has had a baby knows full well that when your that pregnant all you want to do is, well have your baby! He said that he wanted to look into working with Native American Indians. So he looked up a ministry in Show Low, AZ that was hiring dorm parents for the fall of 2011. Since, I was so pregnant and about to delivered Grace Leann, the entire idea got put on hold.
Well the hold wasn't long. We applied to this Indian ministry, not really sure what to expect. Within a week or two they had offered us the job but it was very low paying and dying ministry. However, some how in all the excitement we decided to go visit the ministry and another children's home, Sunshine Acres, located in Mesa, AZ. We also applied there, but didn't hear back from them.
So with our 4 week old Grace, and Bobbie watching Grady, we bordered the plane to AZ to see what God may have in store.
We visited both ministries. The Indian ministry was not good and we're thankful we decided not to do it. Sunshine Acres was a different story. We visited for a while and even started to be interviewed, when in walked the show stopper!!!!! We found out that they couldn't hire us because our children were too young. Their ages would hinder the amount of children they could have in the homes. They told us to come back in 2 years when Grady was 5.(Which by the way will be this October.)
It's also important to note here one other thing. While we were there we were blessed to stay with Ducky and Chris, a couple we had met 2 years prior. We went to church with them and were able to talk with Seth and Brandy Beer, who wouldn't have normally been at their church, yet God needed it to be that way. During my discussion with Brandy, I found out that they had became foster parents. We talked for a long time about it, and God planted a seed in my heart that would begin to grow upon our return home.
When we returned home Kent was very discouraged. He was ready to do something and felt like God just kept saying no. Which now we know he was just saying wait.
Some time pasted and we searched again for another children's home. We found Big Oak Girls Ranch in Alabama. We applied and they invited us to come stay for the weekend and meet some of the staff. In October of 2011, we travel alone, thanks to Bobbie for keeping our 2 kids again, to check out this ministry. Our time there was great. We really loved the ranch and the people. We returned home pretty confident that this could possibly our next home.
Jonathan, the director of the girl's ranch, called us a week later and told us the same thing that Sunshine Acres had. That our children were too young and to check back when Grady was five. (Do you see a reoccurring theme).
With this second disappointment we decided to take a break. So we started on the path of foster care. I love this part of our journey. The magnitude to which God had to carry us through is out of this world. The multiple times He gave us confirmation that we were doing the right thing was unfathomable. This season is a time in my life I'll never forget.
We started the process in Oct. 2011. We drug our feet for a long time. In January 2012, I remember having a conversation with God about why I couldn't seem to get anything accomplished. To which he responded, because you're not being obedient. Needless to say, I started to focus again on our paper work. We were able to finish our paper work and classes by April 2012, making us licensed foster parents.
I do have to add one thing that happened during that time. In March 2012, Jill and Aaron McCormick invited us to Catch the Vision at New Tribes Bible Institute(NTBI). We went just expecting to enjoy the weekend with the McCormick's. :) However, it was at that time God began to plant a seed in us about serving as missionaries through New Tribes Missions. At that time we didn't think we could ever go to Bible College because of the cost. It's not a lot, but it is something you have to pay for, while your both going to school. This is part of our story which always makes me chuckle. Nothing with our finances has really changed since that time. However, its amazing what God can do to your heart to help you be more willing to step out in faith. I no longer worry about the money. I know, believe, that God will provide it someway.
So as you can see, even while we were doing the journey with foster care, God was working in our hearts to prepare us to go to NTBI.
From April to June 8, 2012 we waited for "the call." I slept with my phone just incase we would get a call in the middle of the night. And then it happened.... we were called on June 9th at 1:30am to take Luke. I was told on the phone that he was 4 months old and had fallen off the bed. That he was in the hospital and would be brought to me from there. I went to wait on the couch and fell asleep. The case worker, a police officer, and little Lukey Duke arrived at my house around 2:45am, and my life would forever be changed.
I believe I'll stop here. I'll continue my next post picking up with Luke and the impact he had on our family.