by Joana Jones, ACM Founder and Director
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20
“Have the baby ready. Someone will be there in 30 minutes to get her.”
That call bought heartache I had never known. After retiring from a corporate career, my plan was to adopt foster care children. A baby girl was placed with me. She was a high needs newborn, five pounds and 11 days old. Caring for her was exhausting, but she was beautiful and soon her giggles made me love her as much as my own grown biological children. Although I should have seen the handwriting on the wall that I would not be able to adopt her, I was still shocked when I received the call. I barely had time to gather her little outfits together before it was time to say goodbye.
The empty nursery and quiet house were terrible. Days and nights faded together, and I believed that my broken heart would soon lead to my death. I cried out to God, “What do you want me to do? I don’t know how to live!”
That very day, an email came from Burma. “When are you going to come over and teach?” What a great idea! I had read about that distant Southeastern Asian nation, and I knew it could be a dangerous place. “Fine,” I thought. “I’ll go to Burma, and maybe I will die there.” As quickly as I could get a visa and a plane ticket, I was on my way.
I did teach, but every day was an amazing spiritual adventure. I re-read the New Testament with fresh eyes. Jesus came first to a poor and oppressed people, not so different from the people I saw taking baths in the river, or cooking a simple meal over an open fire.
My self-centered despair was gone, and I sensed a new calling on my life. Various Christian leaders met with me. I was intrigued with their stories –stories of miracles, stories of hardship. But the s
tories that kept me awake at night were those of children with no parents, no schools, no hope. Although I was in the country only three weeks, before I left I promised to provide the funds to open two orphanages –- one in north Burma, one in the south.
When I got home, the enormity of what I promised hit me. How could I afford to fund two orphanages? I shared the stories with some friends, some groups, some churches. Support began to materialize, and I moved ahead to form a non-profit corporation called Asian Children’s Mission.
I had hoped to be a mom to two or three children. But God gave me a mission far beyond anything I could ask or imagine in a land halfway around the world.
I have learned that times of loss are also times of opportunity. Scripture confirms this:
“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.” Isaiah 61:3
You are invited to join whatever adventure the Lord sends your way!