Sunday, September 09, 2007
Part of the reason we have been negligent in this is how busy we have become since our Edgars has gone back to Latvia. Lana and I after much prayer are sure it is our mission, our responsibility, and most importantly God’s will to bring Edgars into our home. James is really positive about this decision and he even brought up the idea before we told him we had decided we were going to attempt to adopt Edgars.
We have been busy doing all the stuff needed to do to get a child adopted. Paperwork upon more paperwork for the US Government, the Latvian Government, and all of the folks we have to work with to make this happen. With so much at stake what is a little paperwork, huh? J
It is all good! Soon we will have a new son and this needy child will have a loving family to help him grow into a wonderful healthy man we know he can be.
Adopting a child is something we never envisioned, we never planned on, actually never even wanted but generally God has a way of giving people what they need not necessarily what we want or think we want and we are so grateful for that. Adding Edgars to our family child is a major undertaking and this was not something we were really prepared for.
Lana and I were both raised in rural area albeit in two different countries from very self-sufficient people. If adopting a child was something we just wanted we would never dream of asking for assistance. We would get busy and get prepared and when we were ready we would add to our family. Asking for help is difficult but there is little boy’s life that is impacted every day he is not with us getting the love, support, and medical attention he desperately needs. This boy only has one chance at life and each day that goes by is time he will never get back. Even though we will get the joy of another child, we are doing this for Edgars. If you find it in your heart to help in any way please let us know. Any and all assistance would be welcome.
We have created an email address if you would like any addition information on how you can help by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org (just a bit of self-fulfilling prophecy). We will respond to you and let you know what assistance we are needing. Also if you have questions you can contact Jennifer@SimpleObedience.org but she is just an informational resource and although she is supporting us she is not part of the adoption process.
Thank you for all your prayers and please continue to pray!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
James is missing Edgars a lot today. He said that he feels so lonely and couldn’t wait to call Edgars. All of us are missing Edgars already, even the dogs :). Well, we can’t tell what God has in stored for Edgars, but the Bible says that “His (God’s) way is perfect,” and we believe that.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Blessings,The Johannsen Family.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
The third week was wonderful as the previous ones. James and Edgars are getting to know each other better. They are spending more time with each other and their conversations are different now and more peaceful:).
The highlights of this week are: The Birds of Prey Show; The Magic Show; our visit with the Burell’s family; the laser show at the Stone Mountain Park; Jenna and Jack’s visit, and Edgars’ visit to the best dentist! (today:). As you see, we had a full week (again:). All shows and visits were wonderful, but one of them was special. My dear friend and a sister in Christ Jenna came to meet Edgars with her 6 y.o. son Jack yesterday, and Edgars shared with us how he came to know Jesus. Oh, how I grateful to our Father that HE is everywhere! It is so precious to me!
Thank you all for praying for us. Please continue to pray for God’s perfect plan in Edgars’ life.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Thursday morning I took Edgars to meet my sisters in Christ. They were so glad to meet him and asked him about his country, school, …., and then Mrs. Leslie invited us for lunch in the Country Club and she wanted James and Edgars go for a swim at the swimming pool (same place). Of course Edgars didn’t want to eat because he said he would drown if he eats much. We stayed there till 4pm. It was not very sunny, just perfect. We came home, had dinner, Ineta and I went to Wal-Mart, and the boys enjoyed an evening with TJ.
Friday. The boys woke up at 10 o’clock and we started to get everything ready for a picnic. Our wonderful friends Mama Dot and Mr. Jim took us to the park near to the West Point Dam. It is a beautiful place! We stayed there from 11 till 3. Edgars fed the squirrels and tried to catch a few. He realized that they are much faster then he is. We came home about 4 and Edgars wished for a swim. James stayed home, and Ineta, Edgars, and I went with Edgars for an hour. TJ came from work and we went to Franklin, GA to visit our dear friends Gabi, Jimmy, and their family. We had Papa Johns’ pizza for dinner and all kinds of vegetables. For Edgars there was a special order: mushroom pizza!!! “Finally!” he said. We played soccer, volleyball, rode bikes, and Edgars just loved to jump over a sprinkler. Came home tired but happy.
Saturday. We had a wonderful lunch (we named it “a special lunch for Ineta”), and shortly after that, we drove to Jennifer and Joel’s house for a cook out. It was so nice to see the kids sitting together and sharing their stories with each other. Also, it was so nice for all of us, hosted families, to share our stories with each other. We had a great time. Came home tired but happy.
Sunday. Lord’s Day! Edgars met many new people. The worship and sermon were wonderful! After church, we had lunch and watched a movie. After the movie, the boys wrestled with “The Big Daddy,” I enjoyed watching them. That was all for Sunday.
Monday was slow and quiet. We stayed home, didn’t do much.
And today is Tuesday! Two weeks as Edgars is with us!
Please continue to pray for Edgars and all of us.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Yesterday it was Edgars’ turn for the foot massage before bedtime. He asked if I could do his back also. He was the first child in my career that wouldn’t move! Usually kids cannot stay still for one minute, but Edgars was just lying calmly with a slight smile on his face.
We are going to the Braves baseball game tomorrow. Edgars loves baseball. Please be praying for our safe trip to Atlanta and back. I am one of those people that pray even for the parking spot:). I simply want God in everything I do and everywhere I go:).
Blessings for today,Lana.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Also, we got everything straight with Edgars’ medicine. After being so confused, I called our wonderful friend (who knows everybody here) and he took us to the best pharmacist in town. Mr. Chuck spent over an hour calling different places and he got it right. As it appeared, here in America we don’t have dosage as in Latvia. It is different there. Though I was a nurse in Ukraine for 12 years, it was not even close what I thought it should be. I am very very grateful to Mr Chuck for his help. The Father God has provided us with everybody we needed: dentists, phatmacists…:) and I know it's not the end:). He is our Jehovah-jireh: "And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
In our prayer time, Edgars said that he had a very good day and together we thanked God for a very good day.
Tomorrow we are going to see TJ’s sister, her husband, and their four children. It’s about 4 hours drive so, please pray for our safe trip and for wonderful family time.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
The boys were playing hide-and-seek till almost midnight! I had to calm them down before our bedtime prayer. I asked boys if they were having any praises or prayer requests; James had both: praise for Edgars is with us, and request for all hosted kids.
The boys are still sleeping.
Again, I thanking our loving Father for yesterday, and asking His blessings for today and every day.
Monday, June 11, 2007
February 1st came and went, and we normally purchase our plane tickets to Ukraine for James’ 2-month summer vacation and Lana’s mission work in Ukraine. In the last 2 years, I had been unable to go visit and this year I was going to be able to get the time off work and go also. Lana’s Grandmother was getting up there and had had a tough winter and we desperately wanted to see her again. She was such a special person and who knows how many years she was going to have left. But in spite of all this we just never got around to purchasing our plane tickets.
Then it happened. On a peaceful Saturday morning, I received an email from Jennifer about Edgars that ROCKED my world. I happened to be talking to a friend right after I received the email and in hopes of any ideas on how to break this to my wife. It took me until Sunday afternoon to tell her. She was laying out in the yard reading on a blanket when I just went over to her and told her about the email.
She took the news much better than I had hoped. She immediately was open to moving forward again but in a much different manner. The first time there was a fire, a desire to have this boy, almost like a possession; this time there was a much different drive in her. This time it is about a little boy who needed a mom, a child that needed a family, and a mom who needed another child to smother with love. Me being the know-it-all that I am had to tell Lana, I told you so, if God intended us to have this boy in our family we would. :) Lana was much more reserved about moving forward this time. She said we need to meet with three Spirit-filled people we trust. We met with two of the couples and got a great deal of guidance and advice and Lana needed to speak with one of her spiritual mentors. Again, I felt completely at peace with the path we were on. Generally, I see things very clearly, and once I make a decision, I move forward with confidence but rarely do I feel the peace and inexorable pull I have felt with Edgars’ situation. It will not be easy, and there are many challenges I am not sure how we will overcome but we are moving in the right direction. Lana began to pray many times each day looking for a sign, but there wasn’t any. Finally, she prayed one big prayer and was waiting for the Word or sign from the Lord.
Then Thursday came. (I cannot remember if I have mentioned, Edgars wants to sound more American in his name, so he calls himself Eddie). Thursday morning’s Lana goes to a woman’s Bible study and on this particular day, they had a guest who is one of our closest friends. He works with a ministry called Sav-A-Life and travels all over the country and world with the founder Wales Goebels. Wales and he just returned from Africa where they had spent a great deal of time ministering and exploring mission needs. They had taken clothes and other items to give out to the needy there and of course they took many pictures. Well on this Thursday, our friend came to share with the Women what they had seen and done. He passed around many pictures and as Lana looked through them, she was thunderstruck! On one particular photo there were many people gathered under a tree in the shade. The picture was truly way too dark; you couldn’t make out the details at all. Some of the faces were barely visible but you really had to look closely. There was a small part of this photo that stood out. One of the people held a white plastic bag like you get from the upscale retail stores with their name printed on it. Now, I have traveled quite a bit, but I have never heard of a store by the name printed on that bag that showed up so bright and clear. The name on that bag was ”Edgars”, and the name of the man who brought those pictures was Eddie. This was the sign Lana needed in God’s perfect timing. She had her sign, it felt right, we were at peace with the feeling this was the direction God was leading us. So, we moved forward.
The next step was to meet with Jennifer and Joel to get to know them and them to get to know us. We wanted all of the information we could before we officially moved forward with hosting. The meeting was both momentous and anti-climactic. Lana and I felt at ease with Joel and Jennifer, we covered all of the issues surrounding any child that would be coming to visit. There were no big problems we felt would be too difficult to overcome and we started to get so excited. The 2 largest problems we faced were this mission was totally out of the blue for us and we were not prepared financially and Lana’s Grandmother was ill and this would be our last summer to go see her. Through the generous help of Friends and people who were touched by Edgars' story we were able to come up with the support we needed to be able to host him. Lana’s Grandmother passed away followed very quickly by her Grandfather. We were all devastated by this but God was taking them home and removed all of the obstacles and guilt we might have felt.
The days and weeks have gone by, James' heart has been changing towards Edgars specifically and hosting in general. Lana and I are moving forward knowing we don’t know anything for sure except we are supposed to host this little boy. Only God knows what the future truly holds.
Please tune in for further updates on our journey.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Finally, I asked her if there was someone she could talk to help her through this because my efforts were totally ineffective and I was at wits end what to do next. I listed all of her friends, my family, her family, church members, pastors, everyone. She said there was only one person who could help her, a person she had never met or even talked to, that person was Krista. Lana felt that Krista was the only one who knew what she was feeling. Because of that I was not so sure Krista would want to talk to anyone about what she was feeling because Lana was a wreck and had never met this little boy and Krista had established a relationship with him and now could not adopt him. It felt like I was going to jump from the frying pan into the fire. So, I wrote a letter to Jennifer to sound out the waters with Krista. Krista agreed to talk with Lana, PRAISE THE LORD! Krista and Lana had a wonderful call and I never got all of the details of what they chatted about, but after the phone call ended Lana felt so much better. We talked and agreed that if God wanted us to have this boy - we would have him, and if He didn’t - it would not be a good thing for us to adopt him. In our conversation we agreed to possibly look at adoption in the future once we were prepared to pursue this further and specifically ready financially. When we got the first email we had no idea of the cost of this kind of adoption; we just said this little boy needs a family. Our son James is a lot like his mom, and handles change better if he has a chance to think about it first. So, as we wrapped our conversation up, we brought James in and wanted to inform him his thoughts were important to us, but if we ever chose to adopt a child it would be Lana and my decision not his. I asked him if in the future we pursued adopting another child could I count on his support. He calmly replied, “Probably not, that’s not what I want.” The reply he gave was serious, and one that I will never forget. That was ok as we still felt a loss here, but we were moving on with our lives with optimism and joy. God had another plan for Edgars and we had to be content with that.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Lana returned from work and reread the letter from Krista. She then read this blog from start to finish. The picture of Edgars with the butterfly on his finger and the whole story on the blog touched her deeply. She wanted this boy to be part of our family. She also knew she was supposed to send the message on to others. Lana did send the email on to her support groups, friends and our church family, printed out the picture and went back to work. As she happily bounced into work, she held up the picture of Edgars and announced, “Is there anyone you know who would like to adopt this boy?” Everyone started to laugh and asked her what our son James had done that we want to place him for adoption? The 2 boys look so much alike and we have a photo that is almost the same of James. She filled them in on what was going on and in her mind we were just a phone call away from an addition to our family.
That evening Lana informed me she wanted to move forward. So, I sent an email to Krista, indicating we would like to meet Edgars. We cancelled all of our weekend plans and waited for a call or an email back. That call back from Krista never came. It never came because Krista and her family had taken Edgars to another town to meet the family who had expressed an interest in adopting Edgars also. They had received the letter before us and had already contacted Krista and Jennifer before we even knew about the situation. On Friday evening, we received a call from Jennifer letting us know Edgars was meeting a possible forever family and they would let us know how that went. The children, including Edgars, were leaving on Tuesday I believe and were supposed to return from this visit on Sunday evening. We then made arrangements to be off work to go see him on Monday because we just felt we were supposed to be his forever family. Now all we had to do is wait until Sunday evening and find out when we would meet Edgars.
Edgars Arrival for 2007 Summer Visit: 19 days and a wakeup
Thursday, May 17, 2007
It was right around the first of the year, and I was in the office at work, It was almost deserted as most folks were taking vacation when I received an email. This email was sent to me by a wonderful Christian woman about the heartbreaking story of this great little boy who had found a family who loved him and wanted to bring him into their home and were unable to due to a reason beyond their control. This little boy was from Latvia. It was a letter that Krista had sent out to a couple of people and they sent it on and on and on. My wife and I get all kinds of things like this because it seem everyone thinks all of those countries over there are part of the same country almost as if the Soviet Union was still around. So, I walked to the woman’s office who sent me the email, spun a chair around backwards, sat down, leaned on the back and said, “Ok, what’s the deal?” She calmly looked at me and said, “I was told to send it to you.” “Why?” I asked. “I don’t know, I just was told to send it to you,” she responded. Since I didn’t know anyone on the email list other than the person who sent it to me I wanted to know who told her, so I asked her. She coolly calmly said,- “God told me”. At that I got up with out saying anything else, went back to my office and sent it off to Lana.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Edgars Arrival for 2007 Summer Visit: 26 days and a wakeup
Monday, May 07, 2007
… God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
The Holy Spirit reminds me of this verse every day now since our mandatory Orientation last Saturday. It is not human love. It is God’s love. The whole, endless, unconditional love of God. What a blessing it is that we are God’s channels of His love!
I pray that each hosted child will experience this love and will carry it through all their lives.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
This is the Word from the Father for me today (and probably for many others).PRAISE GOD that our lives are not our own! Oh, how I pray that HE will direct our steps and only His will shall be done in our choices, in our decisions, in our everyday lives.Thank you for your prayers for Edgars and for all of us.May the Lord richly bless you today and always!
Monday, April 09, 2007
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
Hosting a child does not mean you have to adopt them. We know that God does not call everyone to adopt. Simple Obedience has events where families interested in adoption can come and meet the host children. You could be the tool that gets the child to their forever family. Some of the kids aren't available for adoption at all. Gene and I can tell you first hand that even if you never adopt the child, the few weeks they spend in your life will change them forever. Especially if you keep in touch with them after they return. Gene and I have talked with Edgar at least once a week for the past year and a half. His foster mom says that our relationship with him has changed him for the better. That is not to say anything about us, but the change that God did in his life when he came here and discovered unconditional love that comes only from God.
Some ways you can help if hosting is not for you:
*PRAY! If you would like to be on the Simple Obedience Prayer Team email me at Krista@SimplyForLatvia.org and I will add you to the prayer emails.
*Support financially a family who is hosting
*Spread the word - Tell others about the program
If you are interested in hosting you can check out the Simple Obedience website at www.SimpleObedience.org or email Jennifer Peters at Jennifer@SimplyForLatvia.org.
This program is not limited to Metro Atlanta. If you live in another area and are interested, please contact Jennifer and she can answer your questions.
To view the blogs of other families who have hosted see the links on the right side of my page for Rob and Kathleen's blog and the Murphy Family blog.
Check them out! Email me if you have questions!
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Gene and I are clinging to this verse as we try not to lose hope for Edgars. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, the family in Texas is not going to be able to continue pursuing the adoption of Edgars. While we completely understand their situation, it is a crushing blow to this little boy who has already lost so much in his life. Gene and I have poured all we could into helping him for the past year and a half since he walked into our lives, and it feels as if we just keep coming up short. It is hard not to lose hope. So we cling to this verse, and God's promises, and we trust His heart. Please join us in praying that somewhere out there is a family for Edgar to call his own. He needs a mommy to tuck him in at night, sing him songs and kiss his boo boos. He needs a dad to throw the football, wrestle with him on the floor and teach him how to be a man. But most of all, he needs a family to show him the love that only comes from above!
Keep the prayers coming!
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
finished subfloor and walls
I think I'm finally back on Georgia time...maybe. Well we had a great trip, although it was a bit on the cold side. We got to see a lot of cool things God did for us. We got to meet new friends and see old ones. And we got to be there when a young lady named Agne gave her life to Christ. All in all it was a good trip, but it did have it's obstacles. The hot water lines in our cabin froze on our 2nd day there. They probably still haven't thawed yet. I did learn something through that experience..... even a shower w/ brown water is better when Hot! Our tools didn't show up until late Wed., but God provided. We were able to use a chainsaw and hand tools to get by until our tools arrived. Then, the battery chargers survived long enough to get us over the hump w/ the power tools and we were able to improvise after they burned out. Our sheetrock mud had been stored in the stairwell- There's nothing like a frozen bucket of sheetrock mud- but it was still useable after we thawed it by the fire at our cabin. We did so much more than we ever dreamed of getting done. Our hope was to sheetrock the bathroom and to put in the sink, toilet, and shower. If we had time and they hadn't finished the floor in the rest of the rooms we were going to try to help with that. We didn't get the base of the shower set, but we did get the shower head and controls in. All they have to do is set the base and attach the drain. In addition to what we were hoping to accomplish we also finished a subfloor in one room, we hung sheetrock in another room, helped brace a floor in the main room and set the subfloor there, hung two doors, and put in all the tile for the bathroom. The grout to the tile didn't dry in time for us to set the shower and I was kind of disappointed, but then I started looking at what all we got done that we hadn't planned on. It was truly a blessing from God that we were able to accomplish as much as we did even with the obstacles we faced. The church was able to purchase a fireplace for the daycenter area upstairs, which was installed while we there. It made a huge difference in there. We had an interesting time with driving on the snow and icy roads, but God kept us safe. There was one incident where I was glad to have the experience of the skid pan at the driving track at work, and we were able to stay between the ditches. I also learned that my work boots were not suited for walking on the ice.... after three falls, I solved that issue with a power drill/driver and a handful of screws. They all thought I was crazy but it worked. I thought it best to remove my traction stability devices before heading to the airport though. Well, I guess I will conclude this message by saying thanks for praying for me and my team. We couldn't have done the things we did without God's help and your prayers.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Not much to update on Edgars for now. It is going to be a waiting game over the next few months.
His new big sister Katie (the one who is living in St Petersburg) is coming to visit him in Riga this weekend. He is very excited!
She is also going to go over to Skrunda when Gene is there in a couple of weeks. Her and Edgars will both come to Skrunda and spend time with the mission team.
The team is getting very excited! Keep praying! They leave in 13 days!
Be sure to check out the Simple Obedience website. And check back soon for the kids who will be available to be hosted for the Summer hosting! This is a wonderful experience! Even after all the hard times, I would do it again in a heartbeat!
Pray for our friends Rob and Kathleen who are in Latvia for their first court date to adopt Kristine.
Also, pray for a little boy in Skrunda, Romans who God constantly lays on my heart. He is 5 yrs old and smoking! I can't wrap my mind around that!
Monday, January 22, 2007
Thursday, January 11, 2007
He goes back to school next Monday. Please pray for him and that he will be able to hold on for just a few more months until he can come home to America!
Also please pray for Liza, Janis, and Ruta who did not find adoptive families on this trip. Please pray that God will send the family he has planned for them, just like he did for Edgars!
Gene will be leaving in just a few weeks to go to Latvia. If you have any donations, they would be greatly appreciated! Especially board games, shoes and head lice treatment. Just let us know! email@example.com
Have a great day!
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
We shed some tears and promised to continue to call and keep up with him. He thought we would just forget about him. How could we? We don't know what our life was like before we met him! For the past year, so much of our focus has been on doing all we can for him. Now we will call him and be friends but we can also just step back and see what unfolds.
We also need to step back and reevaluate where do we go from here? We definetly want to devote ourselves more to ministry and reaching out to other kids. What a wonderful blessing it is to see kids come to the family that God had planned for them all along. Now I am driven to help more of them find that very thing!!
Gene will now begin preparing to go to Latvia on Feb 19 to continue work on the Skrunda Baptist Day Center. We would appreciate your prayers in that as well!
Thank you for all of you across the country that have prayed for our family and most importantly for Edgars. All I can say is Wow! Their is power in prayer and God is SOO cool!!
I will try to keep the blog updated on the progress with Edgars and his new family!
Monday, January 08, 2007
I wish I knew how to say God is AWESOME in Latvian instead of God is Good because Good does not even begin to describe how AWESOME God is!!! If only each of you could be in our shoes to see what awesome things God has done in the past week alone! Last week I sent out an email. A desperate cry from a mother's heart. A cry for a family for Edgars to call his own. Over the past year we have grown to know and love this child. When God very clearly closed the door for us to pursue him any further...we were all...Edgar included...to the point of almost despair. We did not understand why this past year was going to end like this, with no hope and no answers. And then from my heart I typed an email that reached out all over the country. Literally. A ministry called The Shepherds Crook in Ohio took my email and forwarded it out even more. Thru them...it found its way to a family from Texas. Bob and Teresa and their four girls Mary Teresa(almost 23), Katie(20), Monica(17) and Jane(9). We drove to Nashville yesterday afternoon and spent all evening and all day today with Bob, Teresa and Jane. They are a wonderful family whom God has been preparing in many ways for Edgar to very likely become one of their own. Let me just name a few...They have always been open to adopting a son. Bob's favorite uncle who raised him, is named Edgar. Mary Teresa is in Medical school and plans to specialize in Pediatric Endocrinology (which includes Growth Hormone Disorders). Katie is studying in St Petersburg Russia and working with orphans. She called and spoke to Edgars in Russian. And oh my goodness...Edgar resembles their family!! The picture of Edgar and Jane is unreal at the resemblence. Gene and I have a wonderful peace that can only come from the Lord. We KNOW that this is God's plan and his PERFECT timing. Thank you so much for everyone who has prayed for us and for Edgar all along the way. Don't stop now! This family has a long road ahead of them. This has happened very, very fast. Two days ago they did not even know Edgar existed and now...they are possibly gaining a son!!! WOW! Isn't God AWESOME??? Thank you to everyone who passed on the emails...you played a part in something that may have seemed small but will make a forever difference in Edgars life! I will close with the Bible Verse in Bob's devotional for yesterday. Galations 4:4-5 "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
We love you all!!
Monday, January 01, 2007
Happy New Year! We had a great first day of the New Year! I hope you did as well! We baked muffins, the kids made stepping stones for the yard, and we finished off the day with Edgar's favorite meal...Shishkabobs! As you can tell from the picture he was thrilled! He ate about 5 helpings!! If only we could cook that for every meal, we would fatten him up in no time! hehe! In 8 more days the kids go back to Latvia. Please pray for them and the families this last week. It will be the hardest one. Most importantly please pray for a family for Edgar. He really needs a family to call his own.