It has been 43 days since my family heard about Grace Children’s Home (now Isaiah 54 Ministries) in Kara, Togo, West Africa.
43 days since the trajectory of our lives shifted so drastically that it left the ground shaking in its wake.
43 days since the knowledge turned into a passion turned into a calling prayed about turned into a calling pursued.
In those 43 days, we have returned from a mission trip in Ho, Ghana, West Africa. We returned to work and life and the gym and church and ministry and our dog, Oggie. We unpacked our suitcases and shopped at Target again and have just done life.
But in the meantime, we prayed and fasted before submitting preliminary applications. We gathered 29 references between the two of us. We submitted detailed applications and participated in our doctrinal interview and awaited our formal invitation to New Missionary Orientation.
And now, here we are. 43 days later.
While praying about our family’s service in Kara, Togo, I cried out to the Lord saying, “A month! It has been just a month! This is so fast! Our whole lives have changed in a month!” and in the quietness of my heart, I heard the Spirit whisper, “To Me, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. To you, Melissa, it has been 30 days. To Me, it has been 30,000 years.”
This whole journey really started years ago, when I served in South Africa for two weeks at an orphanage. The plane landed and I felt a weight come off my shoulders, like I had come home after a long day. Those two weeks were glorious: I saw how Love transforms lives.
For Allen, it started with a quiet calling to international missions and doors closing for him to serve in Europe.
We married, had kids, and pursued school and careers and more school. We started feeling a tug toward adoption and began praying about where our other child may be in the world while raising Ruth and Clara.
We read the book “Anything” and talked over and over about whether or not we would really give up anything for the Lord. God asked me one day, after a very productive and satisfying meeting at work, where I am a Business Systems Analyst, “Melissa, is your job included in anything?” and I said, “Yes, Lord. You can have anything, including my job.”
We said “Yes,” and then asked the Lord what He was asking.
We led that fateful mission trip to Ghana. And then we felt the Lord saying, “Instead of adopting one orphan… how about running a whole orphanage?”
And we said Yes. Yes, Lord. Anything. Anything for You.
43 days. Our whole lives have changed in 43 days. But really, it has been thousands of years in the works. Yes, Lord. Anything.