Thanks for your support of our adoption journey. We would love for you to join us in praying that God would give us wisdom, patience and perseverance as we go through the process to adopt our children! We appreciate the many people walking this adoption journey with us in prayer! ~Jon & Bethany

December 13, 2011

End of Year Giving

If you'd like to make an end of the year gift to our adoption, we would greatly rejoice at any amount you feel led to give! We still have thousands and thousands of dollars of travel expenses, referral fees, attorney fees, and more in the coming months as we get closer to bringing our precious children home.
If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to our adoption, you can donate through Lifesong.

To donate online, go to www.lifesongfororphans.org/bhProj.html. Look for the DONATE button next to our picture (Jonathan & Bethany Meacham). You can even read our letter we sent out to people about our Both Hands project if you'd like. Giving online allows you to give using a credit or debit card.

To donate by mail, make your check out to "Lifesong for Orphans" and write "preference Meacham Adoption #2036" on the memo line. Then mail it to:
 Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40 / 202 N. Ford St.
Gridley, IL 61744

Praying for our two soon-to-be children across the world! Lord, have mercy and execute justice for the orphan! Please place two lonely, orphaned children in our family!

We thank you in advance for your gift and want you to know that we praise and thank God for your generous giving!! We truly do praise God for the countless Christians who are a part of our adoption and who have each played a role in helping us rescue and care for orphans in the Congo! You are storing up treasures in Heaven!

In Christ,
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December 9, 2011

New President and lots of Praises!

First off, the winner of the 2nd Presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo was finally announced today: Joseph Kibala, the current president, was re-elected by a majority of the vote. However, please keeping PRAYING for the DRC, because the opposition leader who ran against him is rejecting the results and has declared himself as president, according to the BBC.  This has a lot of people worried about violent protests. Your prayers for peace & God's protection of the innocent are much appreciated!!

In other news, we have been PRAISING THE LORD this past week or two for so much answered prayer in lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ!

*We're praising God with our friends Weyland and Katie who've been waiting years for their 2nd domestic adoption, and they are at this moment on their way HOME with a baby boy! They had around 17 birth mothers look at their profile and then change their mind and not pick them to adopt their baby. Heartbreaking. But our entire church family at Immanuel has been crying out to God on their behalf and He has answered in His timing! He has given them a son!

*We're praising God with another couple from our church who are currently in Ethiopia with their kiddos, hoping to bring their children home by Christmas. We are PRAYING God would do it and work out every single detail for His glory!

* We're praising God with our friends, April and Everett, who are in Ukraine right now hoping to rescue 3 precious children!! We're praising God for the way He has worked out the details so far and that they were able to meet their 2 boys just the other day!! (You can read April's super sweet post here.)

* We are also Praising God for the encouraging posts we've been reading on David Platt's (author of Radical) blog! We are rejoicing in their beautiful story of adopting a little girl from China! Their story and the pictures make me so excited for the day that we get to go to DRC to bring our children home!

We also have gotten little tidbits of information lately that help us know how to PRAY for our adoption more specifically. So if you are out their pleading with God on our behalf, (we are SO thankful for you) here is how you can be praying right now:
1. Pray that God would grant us a referral for a little girl before we get baby R's birth certificate!!!
(Our attorney is changing the way he's doing referrals slightly,so that he isn't giving a child as a referral until he has their abandonment decree in hand. This is probably wise, and will be better for families coming after us. So when we get a referral for our little girl she will already have her abandonment decree & we can hopefully get her birth certificate in time for court.)
2. Pray for continued protection of baby R and our little girl from harm, disease, neglect and hunger. And pray that we could bring them home soon! We're hoping by some time in the spring to be home as a family of 5. =)

"The Lord is righteous in all his ways
 and kind in all his works.
The Lord is near to all who call on him
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy."
Psalm 145:18-20

Calling on the Lord,
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December 6, 2011

Pray for DRC Election results!

Please continue to pray with us for the DRC, that there would be peace throughout the country as the election results are supposed to be announced today.


According to this article by BBC news, about 3,000 people fled Kinshasa (the capital city) over the weekend in fear of violence and rioting once the results are announced.

Please remember the 4 million innocent orphans in this country as you pray, that God would protect them from harm, especially our baby R and all the other children matched with families!
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December 4, 2011

Missing our baby girl

I am missing our baby girl today. Whose sweet little face we saw for the first time last May (and immediately fell in love with). We "officially" received a referral for her last July. We loved her and prayed for her constantly starting in May. We imagined her being home with us and part of our family, all the things we would do together. We even started decorating her room. We sent her a care package jam-packed full of clothing, shoes, toys, and anything we could think of that would communicate the LOVE we had for her.

 Then we lost her. Her short little life ended on August 19th at around 9 months old. (Just 4 days before her care package arrived at her orphange, hand-delivered by our adoption agency.)

 And today (and a lot of days) I just miss her. I wish she and baby R were home with us right now. I trust that God will give us a referral for another little girl very soon, but I will always be saddened by the fact that I never got to physically be her mommy on this side of heaven. That she died an orphan. I'm so thankful she had someone praying for her by name for months, but I so wish we could have loved on her like crazy. Hugged her. Kissed her. Snuggled her. Fed her. Told her about Jesus. Styled her head full of hair. She was a beautiful little girl made in the image of her Creator, my Creator, my God, my Redeemer. And although our adoption was not yet official on paper- in our hearts, she was, and will forever be, our daughter.

When I think of her I long for Heaven, where I hope I will able to hold her in my arms and love her and be her mommy for eternity.

Jonah, our almost 2 year old, saw her picture on the fridge just the other day and pointed and said, "baby sister."
"Yes, that's right buddy," I replied misty-eyed.

We miss you Leseli Joyce, our Audrey Joy, and we look forward to meeting you face to face one day in heaven, where I hope to spend eternity showing you the love that Christ my Savior has shown me. The love I longed to give you on this side of heaven. I pray that all of our children will see their sin and repent and believe in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation so that we can spend eternity with you as a family, in the presence of the Lord.
But I trust and take comfort in knowing that you were just a baby, and you are now in the presence of the Father of the fatherless, the King of Kings, the Creator of the universe, my Redeemer, who himself IS love.
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November 28, 2011

Elections Today, PRAY!

The elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo are taking place today. Please PRAY for peaceful elections and peace and respect when the results of the election are announced on December 6th.

Pray for the safety and protection of baby R and all orphans and innocent people now and for the coming weeks and months.

And please pray with us that God would grant us a referral for a little girl this week!! We have seen Him answer many prayers in our friends lives lately, and know that He hears the prayers of believers. We pray that He would be glorified in placing a little girl in our family this week so you can praise the Lord with us!!
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November 16, 2011

Praying for our Daughter & Elections

Will you take a minute right now to PRAY with us for our daughter and son? Will you PRAY that God would grant us a referral for our little girl very, very soon? We have had our referral for baby R for 3 months now, and have been waiting to be matched with a little girl "any day." Please PRAY that that day would be SOON, even this week!

We know that God is the one who gave us this desire to rescue orphans,to adopt a boy and a girl, and we are trusting that His timing is perfect, even when it's taking way longer than we could've anticipated.

Also, please PRAY with us for the upcoming Presidential election in the DRC. Please pray for peaceful elections in this war-torn, newly democratic country. (I believe this is only their 2nd democratic election!) And pray that whomever is elected will be supportive of adoption and not hinder orphans being rescued.
You can read a little more about the elections in Congo here.
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November 9, 2011

a long, hard road

Man, I have been overwhelmed today with the long, hard road that so many families we know are on right now in their effort to rescue and care for orphans.

I will share more about that in a minute, but first I want to remind myself of something. We are now 10 months into our journey. It has been longer and harder than we had planned, and it is far from over. But my God is the God that created the universe and everything in it. And He is in control. He is sovereign over all things. We found out this week, after reading over a translation of baby R's Abandonment decree, that we had read his birthday wrong! (We forgot that the French switch the day & month around when writing out the date.) Well, we actually found out that it wasn't even his birthday, it is just the day that he was found in the market. The day that the orphanage caregivers knew that he even existed. And while it kind of breaks my heart because I feel like I just lost 2 months with this little guy, whom I pray will one day soon be my son, it is okay because God already knew. So our sweet baby R is not 7 months old like we thought, but 9 months old. Just 3 months away from his 1st birthday, which I was really hoping he would get to spend with us. I just wonder how old he was when he was found in that market. How many days or weeks did he spend with his birthmom? But I will probably never know the answers to those questions. But these are small things in light of all the other things going on right now.

If you know Jesus as your Savior will you please pray with us for our adoption and some of our friends and acquaintances?
Will you PRAY for our friends Justin and Bonnie who have been persevering on this crazy rollercoaster of adoption even longer than us? Will you pray that the Lord would give them strength and faith to endure the rest of their journey & that He would MOVE on behalf of orphans in Ethiopia, especially their son and daughter, so that they can come home to their Christ-centered forever family very soon?

Will you PRAY with us for another family we know adopting from the DRC whose baby has died before they could bring him home? We know this pain of losing a child you had never met face to face but already loved more than words can describe. Please pray that God would comfort them, and give them a peace that surpasses understanding (Phil 4) as they mourn the loss of their baby boy. Please also pray that God would give them strength to persevere in the midst of their pain, as they have a referral for another little boy as well. And while you're praying, please PRAY that God would heal this little guy, who is currently in the hospital.

Will you PRAY with us for all families who are adopting, that God would give them (us) the patience, strength, and perseverance that He promises to provide through His spirit (Gal 5:22) to all who believe in Christ alone for salvation? Will you pray that we would bring glory to God in the midst of the trials we face during the process of rescuing orphans and that more Christians eyes & hearts would be opened to the 147 million orphaned children around the world? And would pray for us to not grow weary and to remember that any suffering that we go through during the process to adopt is WORTH IT to save the life of a child made in the image of God? And these sufferings are little compared to what orphans worldwide go through every single day.

Thank you for crying out to the Lord with us. He is our Creator. Our Redeemer. The King of kings.
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified." Romans 8: 28-30

I don't know exactly what God's plans are for our family. But I trust that they are for our good and his glory. This is the post I wrote just 5 days after baby R was found in the market last February... at that point we still thought we were adopting from Ethiopia. God has opened and closed many doors since then and we are confident that He has directed our paths to where we are now, so we are trusting in Him in the midst of all the crazy twists and turns!


Clinging to Christ,
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November 4, 2011

An Actual UPDATE!

This, unlike many of our posts in the last 9 weeks, is an ACTUAL, REAL UPDATE with actual, real progress that we are PRAISING GOD FOR!!

Our agency has received a copy of baby R's Abandonment decree!

Here's what happens next (as I (hopefully) understand it):
1. Abandonment decree
2. DRC government will wait 30 days to see if any family member surface and protest the decree that baby R is an abandoned, orphaned child.
3. After these 30 days are over, they will issue a "Non-appeal certificate"! {To my understanding, after this point we are free & clear to adopt him!}
4. There is a 2 week waiting period, and then a birth certificate will be issued (I'm thinking/hoping our names will be listed as his PARENTS!)
5. Wait for a court date to OFFICIALLY ADOPT him!
6. After baby R is officially our son, we just wait for an Embassy date to go to DRC &  bring him home.

While we are excited to be moving forward and making progress toward baby R being our son, it is also saddening. We learned a little bit more of his story. He was abandoned in a market, someone found him and took pity on him and tried to find his parents, but no one knew anything about him, so the kind stranger took him to an orphanage. I wish I knew the reason his birth mom abandoned him and left him there. Could she not afford to feed and care for him? Whatever it is, I'm thankful that she chose to let him live and left him in a place where he was sure to be found. I'm praying for her today, wherever she is, if she is even still alive. I'm sure her story is filled with much suffering. I pray that she would know Jesus as her Savior.

We are so sad for all the suffering that orphans worldwide go through every day, but we are thankful that the Lord has led us to this little guy. We have been and will continue to PRAY that nothing would prevent us from being able to adopt him and bring him home to be part of our family forever. It has been a long 10 months in this adoption process, but I pray daily that God would give me faith to believe that He will help us rescue orphans, and that He will help us adopt and bring them home to our family forever. I know that He is the one who called us to do this, so I am trusting in His plans for our family and our adoption story.

Thank you for everyone who is praying with us! We know God hears the prayers of believers! Please pray that we would get a referral for our little girl very soon!

"Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.
God settles the solitary in a home."
Psalm 68: 5-6
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PS- Don't forget to wear an ADOPTION SHIRT to church this SUNDAY in honor of Orphan Sunday.

October 27, 2011

Orphan Sunday T-shirt Challenge

I was reminded today, as I was reading my friend Sarah's adoption blog, that Orphan Sunday is November 6th! She mentioned that Natalie & JT, a couple who have adopted with her agency, have challenged everyone to skip the fancy outfit and wear an adoption t-shirt instead to church on Nov. 6th.


I love this, so I am passing on the challenge to you!! Help me spread the word! If you don't have an Adoption t-shirt to wear, we'd love to give you one of ours for a $20 donation to our adoption. (But we only have 12 shirts left, so email me quickly @ mrsmeach1@gmail.com if you want one. First come, first serve. We have 3 navy left- 2 L, 1 XL and 9 gray shirts left- 2 Med, 4 L, 2 XL, and 1 XXL.) Or if you don't love our shirt, email me & I can point you to several of our friends who also have awesome adoption shirts.

If you go to a church where there is no Orphan Care ministry or maybe you are the only family that has ever adopted, what a great way to get into conversations about God's heart for orphans and all Christians call to care for orphans in one way or another! Start studying up on your favorite verses about orphans and PRAY for opportunities to share. Maybe even memorize James 1:27, John 14:18, Psalm 68:6, Psalm 146, or one of your other favorite verses about God's love for believers (who were all once orphaned) and the fatherless. Encourage your friends, family and pastors to read great biblical books on the subject if they haven't already, like "Adopted for Life" and "Orphanology."

Maybe you go to a church where God has been at work for years and you've seen an Adoption Culture transform your church and many families lives. Praise God! {Jon and I are soo blessed to go to a church where we can look around the room on any Sunday and see many, many families who have been knit together through adoption.} How cool will it be to look around the room and see so many families wearing adoption shirts, families who are answering God's call to care for orphans in some way. By adopting, supporting other families' adoptions, fostering children who are temporarily orphaned, fighting to stop human trafficking, sponsoring children in countries where they can't be adopted, and on and on. As you look around the room, you can give ALL the GLORY and PRAISE to God because it is only by His grace that you yourself, if you are a believer in the gospel, are now a child of God and no longer a spiritual orphan. And it is only by His grace that you have a new, regenerated heart that LOVES the things that God loves, like the orphan and the fatherless. And it is only because God first loved us, that we are able to love any children that God places in our families.

What an amazing gift that He gives in letting us reflect His glory to a lost and unbelieving world. I praise God for the wisdom and passion He has given to Dr. Russell Moore, reading his book "Adopted for Life" was absolutely instrumental in my understanding of every Christian's command to care for orphans.
So, wear an Adoption Shirt to your church on Sunday, November 6th and PRAY that God would move in the hearts of His people to care for the 147 million fatherless children all over the world. We designed our shirts specifically so that every time you wear yours you will be helping raise awareness of the 147 million orphans worldwide and God's heart for them. So wear it proudly wherever you go, and be praying for conversation opportunities!

 I read somewhere that 36% of Christian families consider adopting, but only 1% actually adopt. Let's pray that God would change that for the good of orphaned children and for HIS GLORY!


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October 16, 2011

7 weeks and more waiting

So I realize I haven't updated our blog much in the past 2 months and that is simply because there is no news.

We got our referral for baby R over 7 weeks ago. And we cannot move forward with his adoption until we get a referral for our little girl as well. It can be any day now. (As it has been for the past 7 weeks.)

People keep asking us what's the latest news, how is baby R doing?, etc...
... But we literally do not have ANY new information on him. Nothing since the day we found out that he was out of the hospital, that God had preserved his life from the serious case of malaria.

So we are just in another season of waiting. Waiting on the Lord. To act. To move. To execute justice for the orphan. To grant us a little girl. To help us adopt them. To bring our son and daughter home to their forever family.

So while we wait all we can do is pray. And so we pray. And we trust that baby R is in God's hands.

Can I tell you something cool?
His birth name means "Protecting Hands".
Isn't that amazing?
Already in the short 6.5 months of his life baby R has had God's protecting hands on him, even sparing him from death!

"Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation."
Psalm 68:5
Praying and Waiting expectantly on the Lord,
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September 30, 2011

Mommy's Heart Went POP

I just ran across a book called "Mommy's Heart Went Pop" on another family's adoption blog. After watching the video I'm thinking I will definitely talk to my husband tonight about becoming a "backer" for this book. (You basically pre-order which helps them cover the cost of printing.)

It sounds like it is going to be an awesome children's book about transracial adoption. The words from the video felt like they were coming straight out of my heart. I have felt those exact same things as I care for our son Jonah and wonder who is caring for our babies in the Congo. This video gets me excited to read the rest of the book! It sounds like one of those books I can picture us reading together often as a family of 5 all piled in mommy and daddy's bed. =)

Ok, so go check out the SNEAK PEEK VIDEO for yourself on the website at http://www.pop-theadoptionbook.com/ and consider becoming a "backer" so this wonderful book can actually happen! If you yourself are not adopting, it would make a WONDERFUL gift for an Adoption Shower for someone you know or just a great addition to your children's book collection!! (Especially if your children have friends who have come into their families through the miracle of adoption.)

(I believe this is one of the author's adoption blog http://adoptingruby.blogspot.com/2011/09/popan-adoption-story.html )

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September 22, 2011

a few prayer requests

Wow, does anyone else feel FUELED on to pray more after answered prayer???

As I've been rejoicing over the Lord healing our little Baby R, I have been fueled to pray CONFIDENTLY and EXPECTANTLY!

To all believers out there who know that they are sinners, falling short of God's glory and not keeping His law perfectly, and are deserving of God's judgement and wrath for all the things they've done & failed to do, but are trusting in Jesus' perfect sinless life and the fact that He absorbed the wrath of God that their sins deserve on a Roman cross for all who would believe in Him. If you are trusting in Christ Jesus ALONE and NOTHING that you do or have done, then you are a believer in the gospel and we would LOVE for you to pray with us because we know that if you're a believer then you have been ADOPTED by GOD and are now his sons and daughters (our brothers and sisters)!! And we know that God delights in answering the prayers of His children!
"7And will not God give justice to his elect {believers}, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily." Luke 18: 7-8

Here are our main requests right now:
1) Pray with us that God would be merciful in defending the rights of the orphan and move mountains to bring our friends Justin & Bonnie's children to the transition house in Ethiopia & bring them HOME soon! Pray for their 2 children and the hundreds of orphans in Ethiopia who are paired with families waiting for them, that God would unite them SOON!
2) Pray for God's continued protection of our little guy, Baby R, who is 5 months old! We pray daily that the Lord would protect him from any harm or disease and that we would be given a referral for a little girl very soon so we can move toward bringing them both home!!!
3) Pray that God would guard the hearts and minds of the many adoptive families who are currently in the long process to rescue orphans!  Please pray we would not be given over to anxiety and fear, but that we would hold fast to the truth, trust and hope in the Lord and be persistent in prayer.

Praying our babies home,
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September 16, 2011

PRAISE THE LORD, O MY SOUL!

1 Praise the LORD!Praise the LORD, O my soul!
 2I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
 3 Put not your trust in princes,
    in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
   on that very day his plans perish.
 5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
   whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6
who made heaven and earth,
   the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
 7 who executes justice for the oppressed,    who gives food to the hungry.
   
    The LORD sets the prisoners free;
 8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the sojourners;
    he upholds the widow and the fatherless,   but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin."
Psalm 146: 1-9

PRAISE THE LORD! PRAISE THE LORD, O MY SOUL!!! That is all I could think as I hung up the phone after talking with Cheri from our adoption agency just minutes ago! "Baby R is out of the hospital and doing well. He is still on some medication for the malaria, but he is back at Mami's orphanage."
PRAISE THE LORD!! Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob! Whose hope is in the Lord his God!

Baby R has been HEALED!! He is okay! God heard our cries on his behalf and UPHELD the ORPHAN! We and soo many believers with us went to God over and over asking for JUSTICE for the ORPHAN and GOD HEARD.... and He ANSWERED!!!

PRAISE THE LORD, O MY SOUL!!!!

Thank you, thank you to every single one of you believers out there who prayed with us on behalf of Baby R!! The Lord has taught me so much about persevering in prayer and being persistent, like the widow in Luke 18!!

PRAISING the true & LIVING GOD who HEARS the PRAYERS of HIS PEOPLE,
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September 15, 2011

our Audrey Joy

I am obviously not a graphic designer, but I wanted some way to have a memorial for her on our blog. (We already have a painted frame in our home & a sweet ornament from our adoption agency with her name engraved on it with this saying "If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever."

Remembering you today baby girl. And trusting that you are in the loving arms of your Heavenly Father.

We continue to pray for baby R... still waiting on news. Still hoping in the Lord and waiting expectantly that He has heard our cries and is healing baby R's body of the malaria and stomach bug even now.

 "5For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
   for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
   my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7On God rests my salvation and my glory;
   my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
 8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
    pour out your heart before him;
   God is a refuge for us. "
Psalm 62:5-8

Thanks for the encouraging scripture this morning Danielle! We are so encouraged and thankful for all the amazing brothers and sisters in Christ that God has put in our lives, especially all of our church family at Immanuel! We praise God for you!


Praying & Waiting on the Lord,
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September 14, 2011

Why not me?

I’m typically not a bloggin’ type of guy and this post will be short, but hopefully it will be a helpful and encouraging reminder to someone else as it has been to me…
One of my favorite sermons by John Piper, “How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Christian Sacrifice,” was preached at the Together for the Gospel conference here in Louisville in 2008.
As I laid in bed last night, a quote that Piper gave during this sermon came to mind. Here is what he said:
Sir Norman Anderson, former Professor and Director of the Advanced Legal Institute at London University, supported International Fellowship of Evangelical Students for sixty years. He had lost all three of his children in their early adulthood and his wife was so senile she could not recognize him. At one of the last public events where he spoke he was asked, “When you look back over your life and reflect on the fact that you have lost all your three children, and how your wife of sixty years no longer recognizes you, do you ever ask the question, “Why me?” . . . “No, I’ve never asked that question, ‘Why me?’ but I have asked the question, ‘Why not me?’ I am not promised as a Christian that I will escape the problems encountered by others; we all live in a fallen world. . . . I am however, promised that in the midst of difficulties, God through Christ will be present with me, and will give his grace to help me cope with the difficulties and bear witness to him.”

This is the right way to respond to suffering. What a glorious display of the sufficiency of Christ in all things when you can say with all honesty, “Why not me?” in the midst of suffering!
Now I know that the Bible tells us that all Christians will suffer (Matthew 16:24, John 15:20). Got it. But how are we able to respond to suffering like Norman Anderson by honestly saying “Why not me” and do so with joy – not head knowledge half-smile joy – but authentic all-satisfying Christ-glorifying joy?
And here is what has been particularly helpful to me. The reason we can say, “Why not me” in the midst of suffering, as Piper explained, is because of the joy experienced by looking to the great reward, namely Jesus Christ. As Christians, we don’t hope for suffering, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a radical God-glorifying response to it!
Not convinced? Here’s how Moses endured suffering:
“By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.”
 –Hebrews 11:24-26

Still not convinced? How about an example from Jesus himself:

“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” –Hebrews 12:2

“How was Jesus’ radical, loving sacrifice sustained? It was sustained “by the joy that was set before him.” That’s how he endured the cross. He looked forward to the triumphant experience of being exalted as the Savior and Lord and Treasure of an innumerable people beyond the grave and beyond this age. Even as he suffers for us, he shows us how to suffer with him. Indestructible joy breaking into present suffering from the assurance of future joy. (Piper)”

Lord, increase my faith so that I’m not left in my sorrow crying “Why me?” but that I may be filled with joy by looking toward a heavenly treasure, that is infinitely more satisfying than any suffering is painful.
-Jon
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” –Matthew 13:44

September 12, 2011

Falling on our Knees again

Well friends, I don't know what God is doing right now, but He is doing something.

Just yesterday I posted about how God was calling me back to pray with confidence that He hears and delights in answering prayer. And today I received a phone call that has given us reason to once again get on our knees before the Lord.

Our sweet agency worker, Cheri, called me around 2:30 this afternoon to tell me that the 5 month old boy we got a referral for about a week ago (Ya, we hadn't even announced this on the blog yet..) is in the hospital with malaria. She said it's serious.
So will you and every believer you know please join with us in asking God to heal baby "R" quickly and preserve his life so that we might adopt him and raise him up in the fear and admonition of the Lord?! We are praying that God would use this illness to showcase His power and His glory and remind us that He hears!! But no matter the outcome, please pray that we would be able to Praise the Lord and trust in His good plans for our family!

Here is one passage from yesterday that is FUELING my prayers today!

Luke 18: The Parable of the Persistent Widow

 1And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, 'Give me justice against my adversary.' 4For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, 'Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'" 6And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"

Fasting & praying on behalf of baby R,
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September 11, 2011

Lord, help my unbelief!

I'm going to be totally honest and transparent here. I have been struggling the last couple of weeks. I have felt like I've been walking around wearing a dark, heavy cloak that I want to take off but just can't. I have felt Satan's presence close by, closer than the Lord it seemed. He's been attacking my thoughts, distracting me whenever I sit down and try to read God's word, whispering his lies to me. Rather than deal with this darkness, I have tried to numb the pain and distract myself with temporary pleasures. A fun movie here. A delicious bite of chocolate there.

Only last week the Lord brought great conviction within me. I realized that I have not felt sad and downcast because of the death of our baby girl, Leseli Joyce. {Although I do still mourn at times that she died at only 9 months old. I actually take great comfort that she is with our Heavenly Father.} I realized that the primary thing that has been pressing down on me is that I am afraid to go to God in prayer.  I prayed earnestly for Him to allow us to adopt the 6 month old boy we got our 1st referral for. We lost the referral anyway. I prayed earnestly that He would keep Leseli Joyce safe and healthy until we could bring her home. She died anyway.

I have been afraid to ask Him for anything personal. Afraid to go to Him in prayer. Afraid that He will not answer how I think He should. I have prayed for other people, but not for myself, and certainly not for our adoption. When I have mustered up the courage to pray, it has been half-hearted at best.

I have completely lost sight of who my God is and what He is like. I confessed all these things to my husband Friday night. Up to that point I honestly couldn't pinpoint WHAT was bothering me and making me feel so depressed. I told him that one of the only things I've been praying lately is simply, "Lord,  help my unbelief!"
Thursday night we went on our date night that we'd had planned for weeks. And it was there, listening to FLAME's concert, that the Lord began to help my unbelief. Flame's music is awesome, the lyrics are AWESOME, and he is so faithful to preach the gospel between every song (and in his lyrics). I can't even remember exactly what he said, but I stood there listening with tears of conviction in my eyes. At a rap concert of all places. We bought his newest CD "Captured" at the concert, which we had been meaning to get for awhile. We love his music and he is a member at our church so we want to support his music ministry. But God orchestrated all of this in His perfect timing. I popped it in the CD player in the car on Friday and listened to every song. I drove home by myself in the car Friday night, crying as I listened most of the way home. This may sound completely rediculous.. crying while listening to rap?! But it was the truth, conviction and encouragement in his lyrics that pricked my heart. (His lyrics are awesome, seriously, just take a listen to the previews on iTunes or Amazon and find out for yourself.)
One song in particular was music to my weary soul. It's the last one on the album, and after hearing it, I put it on repeat the rest of the way home. It starts out, "I just wanna be, I just wanna be, closer to your heart, closer to your heart. Everything I am it's because of you, it's because of you. Tonight I'm giving you all of me..."
And track 11 is an excerpt from our gifted pastor, Ryan Fullerton's, sermon on Daniel 10. The whole series through the book of Daniel was extremely powerful and encouraging for Jon and me last year, but hearing this sermon in the car Friday night was like hearing it for the very first time. {Side note: You can listen to any of Pastor Ryan's sermons for free online @ http://www.ibclouisville.org/resources/audio.} Wow, to say that I was convicted is an understatement.

So Sunday morning came and I was blown away by the way the Lord is at work. I had one of those Sundays where it felt like the Pastor was right to me. If you are struggling with going to the Lord in prayer right now, I pray that you too will be greatly helped by this morning's sermon by Pastor Ryan. {You can listen to it here: Prayer that Cries "Your Kingdom Come" Immanuel Baptist Church } I am honestly still processing and trying to learn everything the Lord is trying to teach me. I plan to listen to this sermon over and over again this week (and now all of you can keep me accountable to do that!). It was some seriously good food for my SOUL! He talked about the disciples falling asleep while Jesus was praying on the Mount of Olives and how they weren't being lazy or unzealous by falling asleep, but Luke says in verse 45 that they were "sleeping for sorrow." They slept because they were so overwhelmed with sorrow that Jesus, their dear friend and teacher, was about to die. But Jesus says to them in Luke 22:46, "Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation."

This evening we went back to church for a dessert fellowship with 3 of the international missionaries sent out from Immanuel to different parts of Asia. We got to hear how the Lord is working and answering our prayers that we've been praying with them. It was a much-needed reminder that God hears. Then we were blessed to have our brother who lives in East Asia preach a brief sermon on Luke 18. Guess what Luke 18 is about? PRAYER. Jesus told them this parable "that they ought always to pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1).

I feel like the Lord is lifting the heavy cloak from me. He is pointing my eyes from my weary feet to His perfect Son. He is sending encouragement to me through faithful, Godly men and women and His word. He is SO clearly calling me to PRAY. Please pray for me that I will boldly approach the throne of grace in prayer and not lose heart, but believe.

Thank you Lord for helping my unbelief!!!



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September 7, 2011

Bear One Another's Burdens

We have written about our friends Justin & Bonnie on here before. They are a sweet couple from our church whose paths crossed with ours when we decided to adopt. We sought them out to glean wisdom from them before we chose an agency and officially started our adoption journey. (They were ahead of us in the process.)  They are in the midst of a very long process to bring 2 beautiful children home from Ethiopia. We have wept with them during their adoption process over may different things and got on our knees on their behalf and begged the Lord to have mercy and to act. Even now, we pray constantly that the Lord would help their son and daughter (who are officially theirs now, per Ethiopian court) to be released from UNICEF, brought to our agency's transition house, and COME HOME soon!!!!

As they wait and cling to Christ, they have even wept with us over the life of our baby girl, Audrey Joy, who beat us to Heaven and the loss of our referral for a precious 6 month old boy. Bonnie wrote a very sweet post asking for prayer for the DRC and our family that you can read on her blog.  We are so thankful for the many faithful brothers and sisters in Christ that the Lord has brought into our lives, especially through our church family @ Immanuel.  Countless people have prayed for us, wept with us, encouraged us, and served us.

We know that "Weeping may last for the night, but JOY comes with the morning." (Psalm 30:5) We cannot wait to be on the other side of this adoption road, with all of our kids home with us and to REJOICE with Justin & Bonnie and be able to look back and see God's faithful hand over every step. Until then, we will fight to cling to Christ and our hope in Him.

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September 1, 2011

In the Valley

A sweet friend sent me Sovereign Grace's "Valley of Vision" cd last week and I have had this song on repeat ever since:



Amazing lyrics. Full of truth. And hope.
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August 27, 2011

Finding Comfort in Romans

After one of my sweet friends encouraged my hurting heart with Romans 8:38 just the other day, I sat down this morning to read all of Romans 8, and I am oh so glad I did. The Lord met me here in His word, as he always does. I am finding so much comfort in Paul's (and ultimately God's) words to the believers in Rome.

"For God has done what the law.. could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,... in order that that righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled.." Romans 8:3-4

"For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of ADOPTION as SONS, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God, and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." Romans 8:15-17
   Wow. I have read these verses so many times, rejoicing in my adoption and being astounded that I am a fellow heir with Christ, but completley IGNORING the last part of the verse! "...provided we SUFFER with him (Christ) in order that we may also be glorified. So humbling.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the GLORY that is to be revealed to us." Romans 8:18  THAT IS A GLORIOUS REMINDER. The suffering we are going through now of mourning the death of a beautiful baby girl that we already loved so much is nothing compared to the GLORY that will be revealed to us in the future because we are Christians!!! I wish I had this heaven-ward perspective all the time!

I am so thankful that we have a personal, loving God who in His infinite love and mercy gave us His word to guide us and instruct us!!

Clinging to Christ,
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August 25, 2011

From Despair to Hope

Where do I begin? I have so many thoughts swirling around my head, so I apologize now if this post is all over the place, but that is how the past few days have been. I've been all over the place- emotionally and spiritually.

I confess that the first 24 hours after getting the news that our baby girl had died I was overwhelmed with feelings of DESPAIR. I kept looking at her picture and telling her, "I'm so sorry baby. Mommy loves you. I'm sorry I didn't get there in time." I felt like I had let her down. Like I didn't rescue her in time. And that is a gut-wrenching, despair-inducing way to think.

I kept questioning WHY GOD?? WHY??? WHY would You let this happen? When we were just months from bringing her home... when she would FINALLY experience the LOVE of Christ through our family. WHY would He let her die just days before our director got to Congo?? WHY would God let her die an orphan?? WHY did He not UPHOLD her as He promises to do throughout His word, especially in Psalm 146 that I've been praying through so often recently. WHY did you let this happen to our beautiful little girl, who is made in Your image???

I burst into tears every time I looked at her picture or thought about her all alone in an orphanage with NOONE to love on her & care for her. I burst into tears as I thought about our director showing up at her orphanage to give her our care package, only to find that she wasn't there. I burst into tears as our 18 month old son kept making silly faces at me, obviously trying in his little 18 month old way to "cheer mommy up." I burst into tears even when I learned the following day that she died in a Congolese hospital. It was somewhat comforting to know that she did receive medical attention, but broke my heart that they couldn't figure out what was wrong and HELP her. Basically, I've been bursting into tears a lot.

But I praise the Lord that He has not left me there, in my depair. He has surrounded us with our brothers and sisters in Christ who have been pointing us to Christ & truth while Satan has been trying to tempt me to believe his lies. Satan wants me to despair. He doesn't want me to have hope or believe that God is really good. {Sound familiar? Remember that the great deceiver used this same lie to coax Adam & Eve to sin & rebel against God's one rule in the garden... "God is withholding a good gift from you. He doesn't have your good in mind." See Genesis 3, and the outcome... and now ALL SIN and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).}

 So we are SO, SO thankful for the many faithful believers who have been pouring out their love to us, grieving with us, and encouraging us with the word of God. One of the pastors of our wonderful church, Immanuel, and a good friend of ours, Dom, called us Tuesday evening. His words to Jon were so encouraging and MUCH NEEDED that evening. Jon told him how we were struggling to understand Leseli's death in light of Psalm 146, "[the Lord] executes justice for the oppressed, ...gives food to the hungry... The Lord watches over the sojourners; He UPHOLDS the widow and the FATHERLESS, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin." As Jon mentioned in his post on Wednesday, Dom said to him, "She is no longer fatherless; she is face to face right now with her heavenly father. However she was suffering, God heard her cry and had mercy on her."
This hit me like a ton of bricks. Why had I not once considered this all evening? My reaction was so self-focused that I failed to realize the great MERCY God has shown her. Because she was just an infant and had not yet reached the age where she had chosen to rebel away from God, we can trust that she is in Heaven, face to face with her Heavenly Father. As much as I yearned to hold her and love her, God's arms are infinitely more loving and perfect than mine would ever be. She's in a place where, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Rev. 21:4).

Jon read this as we prayed together that night. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways" (Isaiah 55:8-9). Who am I a sinful, imperfect human to try to understand the ways of God? He is infinite, eternal, and created the heavens & earth and everything in them, including ME. Of course I cannot understand WHY everything happens. I am not God. (Thank God for that.)

While I am still VERY, VERY SAD that Leselie Joyce had to die an orphan, that I will never get to know her, show her unconditional love, do mother-daughter things with her, or teach her about my loving Savior Jesus... I can find comfort in knowing that she is with our perfectly loving Heavenly Father and I will meet her one day and spend eternity with her because I am His child too. He adopted me when I was 20 years old when I placed my faith in Christ ALONE for my salvation & gave my life to Him. I now have full assurance that His only biological son, Jesus, paid the penalty of God's wrath that my own sins deserve ("For the wages of sin is death" Romans 6:23) so that I can be washed white as snow & so that I don't have to spend eternity seperated from God by my sin in hell.

Another sweet friend reminded me of Romans 8:38, that although I mourn the loss of our baby girl, "I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present not things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor ANYTHING ELSE in all creation, will be able to seperate us form the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Praise the Lord!
In fact, not only can nothing seperate God's chosen children from Him, but He is actually using this trial and this suffering to test the genuineness of my faith & draw me closer to Him. "In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:6-9).

Though it has taken me a couple days to say this, I can now say with certainty that I am trusting that God has good plans for our family, plans to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). We would still appreciate the prayers of believers!! This journey is far from over. Our mourning and missing our baby girl is far from over. She will always be missed. 

*You can PRAY that "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts & minds in Christ Jesus" (Phillipians 4:7).

*You can pray that like Paul, we would learn to be content in every circumstance (Phil. 4:11) and trust that God is working all things together for good & making us more like Christ through our suffering (Romans 8:28).

*You can PRAY for us as we continue down this emotional rollercoaster of rescuing orphans. Leseli's death has reminded us just how badly the 4 million orphans in Congo (and 147 million in the world) need a family to RESCUE, love & care for them and protect them. We continue down this road in faith that this is what God is calling us to do, but we know that we are not promised a smooth ride with no heartache. Pray that God would guard our hearts and that the next referrals we get, whenever we get them, would be the children that we get to bring home and that God would knit into our family forever!

Thank you for walking this long, windy, uphill-downhill, crazy journey with us. It would be a lonely road without the encouragement and support of so many friends and family spurring us on!
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August 24, 2011

We Love You Baby Girl.

This will officially be my first blog post…a tough place to start, but a good outlet for what’s going on in my heart and mind right now…
This week the director from our agency is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Her main goal while over there: visit the children in line to be adopted, take new pictures and video of the children and bring them care packages put together by their new families.
We were so excited to get to put together a care package specifically for our little girl a couple of weeks ago; the adoption process can drag out and seem like it’s never going to end and sending this package to her allowed us to feel more connected with this sweet little girl! You can imagine the excitement and anticipation we were experiencing the past couple of days. I found myself checking my email more regularly throughout the day hoping to see new pictures of my daughter and get an update of how she was doing.
A couple of nights ago Bethany and I were just talking about how much we loved this little girl that we knew so little about. We talked about how it didn’t even matter to us what potential illnesses, disabilities or delays she could have, we loved her no less and couldn’t wait to meet her and bring her home.
Tuesday evening we finally got some news…
I was driving home from work and got a text message from Bethany, “Hurry home. I just got a call from CCI.” I hoped this would be good news but feared what that message might mean.
When I walked in the door Bethany was sitting at the kitchen table with a picture of our little girl in front of her and tears in her eyes. It was written on a piece of paper so she didn’t have to say it, “Our little girl died four days ago.”
We’ve been told that the adoption process can be a rollercoaster of emotions and to expect the unexpected, but man……………….…this really blindsided us.
After several hours to think about things and some encouragement from friends and family, I just want to share a few thoughts…
God is Sovereign. That phrase is thrown around a lot, and can sometimes seem like nothing more than a hard reality; just deal with it and move on. But if understood correctly, it is a glorious and comforting truth! It is helpful for me to think about what it would mean if God is not sovereign. If God is not sovereign, then God does not reign over evil, God does not work all things together for our good and we can have no hope in the midst of suffering. What good would it do to pray to a God that is powerless to sovereignly answer prayer? As R.C. Sproul put it, “…if God is not Sovereign, God is not God.” With this in mind, how awesome and powerful are these truths:
“The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!” – Psalm 97:1

"Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases." – Psalm 115:3

"But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. For he will complete what he appoints for me, and many such things are in his mind." – Job 23:13-14


And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28


“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” – Romans 5:3-4

It is comforting for us to know that God is sovereign. We may have felt blindsided by this, but God was not. This was God’s providence. “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father (Matthew 10:29)” The answers to our questions of why may not be completely answered on this side of heaven, and we are ok with that because we know that God has purposed this trial specifically for us in order to conform us to the image of his Son and glorify his name!
One verse that I was struggling to understand last night was from Psalm 146:9, “The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.” I couldn’t help but think about how she probably suffered and died from something that would have been preventable here in the States, how our director arrived in the Congo four days too late and how in just a few more months we would have traveled to pick her up and take care of her. How is the LORD upholding the fatherless here?!
I was helped when a friend called last night and prayed with me. On the phone he said, “She is no longer fatherless; she is face to face right now with her heavenly father. However she was suffering, God heard her cry and had mercy on her.”
As sad as it may be for us right now, God had mercy on this little girl and brought her home. Praise God, who in His sovereignty and mercy upholds the widow and the fatherless!
Now that she is deceased, we are allowed to share her beautiful face with you.
Her name was Leseli Joyce. We had already decided and filled out the paper work to change her name to Audrey Joy Meacham, named after my Dad’s Father, her great-grandfather, Audrey L. Meacham.
If you would consider, here are some ways you can be praying with us:
Pray that God would give us a peace that surpasses all understanding, knowing that God is a sovereign and merciful God.
Pray that we would not grow weary in the adoption process, which can at times seem like there is no end in sight.
Pray that God would uphold the fatherless in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (and throughout the world) and that many children would be able to be adopted by Christ-centered families.
In Christ,
Jon

August 22, 2011

baby steps

We have taken one baby step closer to bringing our children home! Last Friday we mailed all but 2 of our notarized "child specific" documents to our agency to complete our dossier! We are waiting to send the last 2 until we find out if we are getting our referral for our baby boy this week. (!!!!!)

Some exciting news...
We did get to chat with our director Sue last night online. She will be arriving in Congo TODAY!!!! Please pray with us that she & her daughter would have a safe, productive trip! She said she will try to email us any new pictures of our soon-to-be daughter while she is there!! {We weren't expecting any until she gets back this coming weekend, so that pretty much makes my heart soar!} I cannot wait to see more pictures of her! It is strange that in the first 24 hours after our son, Jonah, was born we had taken probably 100 pictures.... and our little girl is around 9 months old and all we have is ONE picture of her! ONE!


We are SOOOO thankful that Sue is going to see her and check up on her and take lots of pictures, and maybe even some VIDEO!!! She is also going to be delivering our care package to Little Sister!!! I'm really hoping she gets a chance to put one of the outfits on her so we can get a better idea of how big she is! (Her medical didn't include weight or length, so we have no idea how tiny she might be!) No matter what happens this trip, if we get any new pictures or any video, we continue to pray for and love Little Sister more and more everyday!!


Oh, Sue also said that our Attorney does have some referrals to give her once she arrives, but she doesn't know age/gender yet. We are PRAYING that one of those children is our SON and that we will get to see his face THIS WEEK!!!! And that Sue would be able to see him & take some pictures/video as well!!
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