Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Count the cost

"For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost...all who see it begin to mock and say 'This man began to build and was not able to finish." Luke 14:28-30

After we accepted God's adoption plan for our lives, we started to realize that saying YES to Him means saying NO to the world. Just before the decision was made, we had big, wordly, plans for the Rust family. Our salaries had reached a place that encouraged us to not only rely on ourselves alone, but also to have many options for our lifestyle. For example, we talked about flying all 5 of us somewhere really nice this summer and spending Jason's 5-week sabatical together. A large portion of our salaries was padding a fat retirement and life insurance policy for both of us. We stopped asking if we needed any of our purchases; as long as we had the money to cover it (debt was not a word in our vocabulary for any reason except school and mortgage), that was enough for us!

We had enough options with our income that it began to feel like a burden to figure out what was the best way to spend it. When Jason got his last raise, we COULD NOT agree on how to spend it. I wanted a new (used, actually, so we could buy it straight up without borrowing, of course!) truck and he wanted to finish the basement. We went so far in our search for how to best spend the money that we bought 12 large water tanks and looked into purchasing food that stays preserved for 30 years~~just in case we might ever go hungry. GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!

Can't you see how little our faith was? Can't you see that money and self-centeredness was beginning to creap into our family?

That still, small, Voice started with a whisper. However, when we weren't listening and acting fast enough, it turned into a LARGE, LOUD, nearly audible, Voice. When Jason came home from work one night in tears (he really is a manly man---tears are a big deal in his world), he told me he heard the Voice nearly yelling at him all day. The Voice was telling Jason to put himself into action and TRANSFORM his family, by way of building these orphanages and adopting.

God created such a holy discontent in Jason, that all we could do was say, "Yes, please!"

Here's a partial list of what we've noticed so far about this "life is not our own" plan:

NO, Thank you:
~leisurely family vacations
~cool cars
~new clothes
~cushy retirement
~full college funding for our children
~eating out
~babysitters (Who's going to watch 5 children?)
~clean house
~buying a new dishwasher right away when the other one dies
~focusing on ME
~closets busting with clothes
~buying something we want

~camping somewhere cheap together as a family

~being used for His plan
~sharing our blessings
~showing our children what it looks and feels like to be selfless
~hand-washing dishes
~being close to the heart of God
~focus on HIM
~a limit on what we allow to take up space in our closets (Do we really need all those clothes?)

~buying something out of need only

1. Have you done anything out of faith lately?
2. Have you counted the cost of a crucified life?

*********How have you loved on HIS children today?*********

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Birth of a Mission

It all started one evening after we had put the kids down to sleep. It was a week night. I was grading papers and Jason had been unusually quiet. He finally broke the silence with the statement that he wanted to do something more. He was feeling frustrated because he couldn't figure out what it was that he needed to do. We spoke for an hour about all the options he had, but came to no plan.

Life went on as normal. He got a great review at work and a nice raise. We test drove trucks and began talks of finishing our basement. Roughly a month after our conversation, Jason was approached by some friends who were sharing some leadership in our small group at church. They asked if he'd like to help out. After agreeing, Jason fully expected to feel the sense of satisfaction that he'd found that "something" more. However, it was as if God was telling him, "That's great! But, that's not IT!"

Jason's feeling of discontent continued. I knew he was still searching when he came home from work one day and told me that he had come across the name of a man he knew on a web site for The Global Orphan Project. He'd spent many hours looking into the charity and asked me what I thought about it. I agreed to attend the annual "Big Event" with him scheduled for that very Sunday (Orphan Sunday is the second Sunday in November every year, come to find out~~and November is Adoption Month, in case you didn't know!). I was so excited to tell my Grandma Cook about our plans! She had been abandoned at an orphanage in St. Louis at the age of 5. There she lived until she married my grandfather at age 17. Her stories have always tugged at my heart and given me the desire to adopt. What a strong, honorable life she lived. I never got the chance to tell her. On the Friday before the Big Event (3 days after agreeing to attend the Big Event), my grandma lost her battle with Alzheimer's. Her death created in me both sadness and passionate willingness to action.

After attending the "Big Event," we agreed that we had finally found our passion. In fact, we committed on that evening to build a home for 8-10 children and save/raise the $15,000-20,000 needed ($5,000 to build and $40 per month per child for 3 years). We just KNEW, as evidenced by our constant tear-stained faces, that THIS WAS IT!!! We heard God's calling (okay, actually it's a command---check out the book of James) and we said "YES!" We have since found countless friends and supporters who have joined in our mission.

However, one month later (December 2nd, to be exact), God spoke again. He told us once more, "That's great! But, that's not all I have planned for you." On my way to school this Wednesday morning, my mind was in a million places. I was trying to get the girls to the sitter's and get to school a little early, for once. Of course, God showed up instead. I was waiting behind a school bus, while a mother was gently leading her daughter into the bus. The switch flipped right then and there. This was just an ordinary act of love, but it changed my life. I started thinking, "I have more love to give. I can love more children. I have room in this van and we have room in our house for more. There is NO reason we shouldn't adopt a child who needs a forever home."
I'm pretty certain the Holy Spirit was riding right next to me that morning, because I called Jason right away and here is our astounding conversation:

Me: "Jason, we need to adopt. Can you please look into it today and bring home any information you can get your hands on?

Jason: (silence)

Me: "Jason?"

Jason: (tearfully) Wendy, you will never guess what I wrote in my prayer journal this morning.

Me: "What??"

Jason: "One word. Adoption."

Me: "No, way!"

Jason: Wendy, this morning, I prayed to God that I wanted to adopt. I told Him that I needed Him to get you behind the idea so I wouldn't be afraid to move forward.

Me: (silence)

Jason: (silence)

BOTH: (awe)

That was the beginning, the very first moments of the birth of the Rust family mission. I will soon be posting our progress with both the Global Orphan Project and our adoption.

Until then, PRAISE THE LORD! Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light! Praise Him, you heavens of heavens! And you waters above the Heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD! Psalms 148:1-5

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What a great way to spend an afternoon

My sister, Penny, beat everyone! She went home with some
great prizes!

The serious table

The fun table

We just completed our first official fund-raiser for our home in Uganda. We are building a home through the Global Orphan Project with the help of many generous friends and supporters. Each home we're able to build will house and support 8-10 children. It's exciting to me that through an afternoon of poker fun with close friends, we were able to raise $600 toward that great cause!

Thank you to everyone who considered the children who will be off the street and came for a good time today (or simply gave because you couldn't make it). We sincerely appreciate your time and financial support. It's ironic to me that we can help others so easily, with hardly any sacrifice. It seems like it should be harder than this. When I get more energy (?), I am going to post what brought us to this charity and this newfound passion. Until then......

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We've arrived!

The Rusts have arrived to the blogging world! We are excited to share our stories with you. There is a lot going on at the Rust house these days and a whole lot of thinking that should be shared.

The title of our blog is in honor of a song by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils that holds a special place in the Rust family history. We have so many blessings~it's hard to imagine that it could even get any better. We know it will, because we've been promised (John 14:2~look it up!).

Now, I need to go learn how to post pictures and cool gadgets. Until next time....