May 29, 2012

Ukraine Orphan Hosting Program

I'll never forget the looks on their faces as they came down the escalator at the Austin airport.  They looked tired, scared and were bundled from head to toe in the only clothes they brought to America.

Her name was Oksana and she was coming to our house.  She had the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen and she touched my heart the moment I hugged her.  Little did I know that I would be on the journey of a lifetime.  We had a heart for Ukraine after adopting our first daughter, Molly, just 3 years prior to that December night in 2007.  The next three weeks were a whirlwind!  We did all we could to advocate for these 6 little orphans and our appearance on a TV show led to the adoption of our youngest child.  Oksana and her 3 brothers would later be adopted by an Italian family!

Two years later, we hosted a sibling set of sisters and would later return 10 months later to Ukraine to adopt them.  We have seen almost 20 orphans come home to forever families after being hosted with Charis Orphan Care and Adoption Ministry.  I founded the organization shortly after our adoption in 2004 after my heart grew more and more for the orphans left behind.  I had no idea that there were over 143 million orphans worldwide at that time.  The number has increased dramatically since that day.

Charis Orphan Care and Adoption Ministry has helped bring many children over since 2007 and is continuing their efforts across the United States.  We invite you to visit our website by clicking on the link above.  Please feel free to take a glimpse at the children available to come for summer hosting.  The tentative dates are June 25-July 16.  The cost, which includes everything (visas, medical, translations, transportation to/from airport, chaperone fees, airfare, and insurance) is estimated at $2300.  We strive to only charge our cost to host as this is not a "money making" scheme.  We work with reputable facilitators and an attorney in Ukraine to provide honest services.  We look forward to our summer host trip and we are excited that 7 children, so far, are confirmed with willing families!  We have many more that are available and we are praying that families step up to the plate and bring a child into their homes for three weeks this summer!

Thanks for reading!

Be Blessed!


May 23, 2012

Experiencing God

I've had the privilege of doing the Experiencing God bible study over the last few weeks. I had no idea that God was preparing me weeks ago for what lie ahead in our lives right now. How I marvel that He brought me to this study so that I could know His is Sovereign over all and in total control!

Some great things I'm learning in this study that I want to share with you:

* when you get to a place in your life where you trust Jesus to guide you one step at a time, you experience tremendous freedom. If you don't trust Him to guide you this way, what happens if you don't know the way you should go with your life? You worry every time you make a decision.
* "It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Phil 2:13
* What is God's will for my life is NOT the right question. The proper question is...What is God's Will? The focus needs to be on God, not on my life.
* When you believe nothing significant can happen through you, you have said more about your belief in God than you have declared about yourself. You have said that God is incapable of doing anything significant through you.
*God never asks people to dream up something to do for Him.
*God develops character to match the assignment. But we don't want to give attention to the development of our character, we just want God to give us a big assignment.
*I will never look at my situation or my circumstances except against the backdrop of the Cross!
*God takes the initiative. He chooses is, loves us and reveals His eternal purposes for our lives.

So that sums up the first 3 units ;-)

I have no idea the plans for the Hill family but I do know Who created those plans from the beginning of time. I know Who holds our future and will seek Him! For He will see the work He has started to completion!

I am excited about what God is doing in our lives. It's been hard and the road has been extremely rocky and nothing I could have ever imagined. But my Creator holds us in the palm of His hands!

Be blessed!

May 22, 2012


Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 
1 Thessalonians 3:7

I don't know why I am amazed but I always find myself in awe at the beauty and blessing of the friends that God has put in my life!  This road we are all on is not easy and we will all face trials and persecution, but its the faithful friends that lead us back to the Cross and encourage us that help us on our journey.

The comment that caused such an uproar was filled with ignorance and obviously the person that posted it has never walked a mile in my shoes.  They have no idea what its like to sleep with one eye open and fear for what can happen to your child by the actions of another one of your children.  No one knows what its like to see a rage so horrific that you could swear that it was not of this world and something so demonic that it terrified you more than you could ever imagine.  For someone to be so derogatory towards our family for the healing and restoration that we have sought for Lizzie is just plain foolish.  The Bible is clear that "We are not to answer a fool in his folly lest you become like him." Proverbs 26:4. So, as bad as I wanted to blast this person, I held my tongue from what was really in my head and that's a good thing.  

I am so appreciative of the precious emails and texts that I have received from friends that love us and are so supportive of us.  I am thankful beyond what words can express for the encouragement - you have no idea that it comes at such the perfect time.  Aside from what was said on our blog, our family could really use your prayers.  We are experiencing some life changing events and we need you to pray alongside us that God would reveal His plan for our lives in due time.  Our God is rarely early but never late.  He loves us and has planned out all of our lives since the beginning of time so I find rest and comfort on the pillow of His Sovereignty!

Thank you, friends!  I love each and everyone of you!  I pray that my blog and my open and honest view of life would be an encouragement to you!!!!

Be Blessed,

May 21, 2012

Time flies when you are on an island....

Talk about being a slacker in the world of blogging!  My last post was April 2011 and there has been so much in our lives, that it would take a book, not a blog to document it all. 

We are still enjoying life in the Keys.  The weather has been amazing lately with the exception of an afternoon thunderstorm but we've enjoyed life outdoors.  We have met some amazing friends and attend a small church in the community.  We opted to choose a church here so that we could better connect with others.  It was hard traveling to the mainland every Sunday and stay connected with members.  We still consider that church family very special to our hearts and support their mission to reach the lost in South Florida.

We will be moving to a home on the water in August and can't wait to have a canal as our backyard.  We are thankful for good swimmers in our family and look forward to lots of time on the water.  We got a small boat that is perfect for us to take the girls fishing and Craig has really enjoyed spending lots of Daddy/Daughter time with his girls.  We look forward to being on our rooftop to catch a glimpse of the beautiful sunsets, gaze at the amazing stars and look out over the vastness of the ocean! 

The girls are still homeschooling and we have connected with some amazing homeschool families.  I was shocked at the number of families who have chosen to pull their kids out of school and teach them at home.  We have so much fun meeting up with these families to explore the islands.  We have been to some amazing field trips at the Turtle Hospital, Dolphin Research Center and much more.  I look forward to building these relationships and fostering the friendships that God has blessed us with here in the Keys.

Our life has turned upside down a bit and we are trying to make sense of it.  In January of this year, after much prayer and seeking wise counsel, we chose to send Lizzie to a therapeutic home in Texas.  After many months and thousands of dollars in medical expenses, we could no longer provide for her emotional needs.  She was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder last year and in the best interest of her and our smaller children, we decided to remove her from our home.  It was, by far, the most difficult decision we've had to face as a married couple.  But, we know that God is Sovereign and that He has allowed this to happen for His glory.  We know that He loves Lizzie more than we could every imagine and that He has a perfect plan for her life.  We had to remove our own personal opinions about what to do and only seek Him and His direction for our lives and her life.  God led us to a wonderful organization that has been so supportive and helpful in the journey.  We know things will only get better for Lizzie and for our family as she seeks healing and restoration in Texas.  We trust that God knows what He is doing in her heart and we have to let go and let God do the work, not us.

We are in the process of change in our home.  We can't disclose too much but we covet your prayers.  We know and feel God working in the lives of our family and its an amazing feeling!  To be totally dependent on the Lord and seek Him first in all we do, is a great place to be!  I've been doing a bible study on my own called "Experiencing God" and I am in awe at what God is teaching me.  Its so wonderful to be drawn to Him by His own choosing and to know that He has initiated a love relationship with me - little ole' me!  Its humbling to say the least and I look forward to where He is leading us in the next chapter of our lives. 

I hope to start writing more about our lives in the Keys and hopefully spend a lot less time on social media (FB).  I hope that this will be a way to keep in contact with family and friends because quite frankly, I can get sucked into FB within a matter of minutes :-)

I look forward to more writing and sprucing up the blog but I may need some pointers from some of you out there!!!  I still haven't figured all the ins and outs of the Blog World! 

Thanks for stopping by!