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Originally written by Dave Stewart

Last year there was a story in the news which caught everyone’s attention – a seven year old Russian boy was “returned to sender” by his adoptive mother in Tennessee. The mother decided after eight months together she just couldn’t handle the boy and so she put him on a plane with a note saying in part, “I no longer wish to parent this child.”

We followed the story with a strong sense that the woman must have been completely exasperated. But clearly we knew while it was wrong to send a child halfway around the world alone, it was even more of a mistake to give up so soon on such a serious commitment.

I’m sure in the beginning the woman was excited and overjoyed to have the young boy as a part of her family. But over a short period of time, she began to believe she hadn’t received what she bargained for, and enough was enough.
That’s not the plan for child adoption. It wasn’t legal, and it certainly wasn’t moral.

Much as our vows in a wedding ceremony, when we adopt we commit “for better or worse, in sickness and in health…” not, “until I get tired of this or you drive me crazy.”

In the same way, when we study Scripture and begin to fully understand God’s plan for worship among all people and nations, we begin to see the incredible number of “unadopted” groups of people in the world. Groups who, on their own, struggle and stumble in the spiritual darkness of false religions based on fear, guilt or shame.

At Savannah Christian, we believed it was time for us to adopt. It was time for us to do our part. We prayerfully decided to adopt the people of “The Hills”, an eastern Mediterranean Islamic people group with few known believers among them.

And just as when two parents adopt a child and are committed to that child no matter what, we knew and discussed the long term commitment involved. It’s a serious commitment; it’s not designed to be reversible.

Through education and prayer gatherings, we began to care for and love our “child” and much like committed adoptive parents, we began to love that child more each day…and the burden for leading them to Jesus increased.
We began to see God calling us to send our resources, our prayers, and our people to diligently work until worship exists in The Hills.

Today, two young families and a single adult from our church serve as a team in The Hills, working to learn the language and culture, building relationships designed to eventually allow the people there to see Christ in us.

With hundreds of praying “parents” here in Savannah, our commitment to the people of The Hills is long term and irreversible.

If they treat us unfairly, we care for them.

If we aren’t well received, we hug them.

When they prove to be imperfect, we still love them.

And when they grow up to be everything God intended them to be, we’ll be the proudest parents around.

If you’re a mom or a dad, it all makes perfect sense.

And if you are a follower of Christ, it should make perfect sense for all of us to be in the adoption business.

Kind of like it was God’s plan all along.

Linda Epeards

Author Linda Epeards

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