Wow wow! To say I’m excited about this anybody story is an understatement. [do I say that every week?] I can’t wait for you to meet my sweet friend, Chelsea. Her and her family have a beautiful story of Gods redemption. Through the loss of their son, they have started an amazing orphan care ministry called His Chase! They work in Rwanda [among other places in Africa!] at the orphanage I’ve gotten the chance to visit on my Visiting Orphans mission trips. They have just started a sponsorship program, sending kids to christian boarding school. We have had the honor of sponsoring a young woman I met when I was there on my first trip, Dative. and yall – she calls us family now! She is like our spiritual daughter and it’s been the BIGGEST blessing to be a part of her life. Not only sending her to school, but encouraging her, praying for her and simply her knowing there is a family who loves her and supports her no matter what! I hope & pray that as you read Chelsea’s story the Lord will prompt you to be a sponsor, or a pen pal, or to GO! Chelsea’s right, being dumped out of the box is the best way to live!
Anybody can change the world: I’m just an in-the-box girl who serves an out-of-the-box God.
And the funny thing is, as He has slowly but surely dumped me out of my comfy box into a world that is broken and messy—I would never go back for anything. Why? Because when I look around at the life He lovingly dumped me into, I realize this is where I truly found Jesus…and a hope and passion that is more powerful than anything I could have ever created for myself “in the box”.
So, just how small was my box? I grew up in a Christian family, daughter of a minister, the oldest of four sisters, a straight A student. You guessed it. I’m a recovering perfectionist. An over-achiever. A list-maker. And a girl who lived in fear of anything that moved too fast, stretched me too far, or wasn’t already on my pre-printed schedule for the week.
These lovely characteristics grew up with me through college, grad school, married life, and right on into my years as a mom.
I absolutely love children. My whole life has been about caring for children, learning about children, teaching children, and advocating for children. I went into the field of counseling for children because I have a passion for little ones knowing how important they are. I served in children’s ministry in church, and I longed for a house full of children of my own from the earliest age.
I am thankful that God granted our prayer for a family, three times in a row with beautiful, amazing, healthy daughters.
And, then, in 2009–SURPRISE! Our fourth baby was on his way. Yes, I said “his” way. We were having a boy!
And, it totally freaked me out. What do I DO with a BOY? There is such pressure when you’re raising a BOY!
So, my husband, Mark—every single day—would pray that our boy would change the world, and that God would give us the wisdom to shape his life and his heart for the Lord’s work.
We had no idea how God would answer that prayer. It was in a way we could never have guessed or imagined…or ever have asked for.
Because our baby boy never spent a day of life here on earth.
He died when I was 35 weeks pregnant, due to a blood clot in his umbilical cord.
And, our world was rocked to the core.
What do you do when your nightmare comes true? What do you do, when your carefully laid plans don’t actually work out, and the false sense of control you had, crumbles?
Through a series of events I could never fit in one blog post, we were face to face with the brokenness of losing our precious Chase Allen. But, at the same exact time, God opened our eyes to brokenness beyond ourselves. He whispered to our hearts “there are so many more people hurting like this…and I want you to do something about it.”
As we began to daily pray for God to redeem our loss, to heal our hearts, to direct our pain to a place that could minister to others, He began to answer those prayers.
We realized we had the most amazing doctors, the best medical care, and a plentiful supply of healthy food and nutrition. And, our son still died.
But, what about all the moms out there who lose their children every day to things WE CAN PREVENT?
And, what about all the children out there, who have survived the worst of circumstances, but have NO ONE to fight for them, to love them, or to provide for their futures?
We were slowly but surely being dumped out of the box by our great BIG merciful GOD, who knew this was the beginning of a whole new life for us.
So, we said YES.
We told God that we would go anywhere and do anything He wanted us to do. With just one request. Don’t ever let us go back to normal again.
Because this felt so right. Even in the middle of pain and loss and sadness and tears, our eyes were being opened to brokenness of another kind. And, it was exhilarating to experience the hand of God every single day in miraculous ways. It was as if the verse “you will hear a voice from behind saying ‘this is the way, walk in it’”, was actually happening in our home.
And, as we began to say yes, some crazy awesome things happened. First, I was absolutely delivered from fear. I no longer cared about to-do lists or the seemingly “perfect” way to do anything. We were thrown out of our little box and everything changed. I began homeschooling my kids (which I had always wanted to do, but didn’t have the guts to try.). We began traveling to Africa. (No, the old Chelsea would have never done that either.) We began wanting everyone we knew to experience the spirit-filled life we were tasting for the first time. I couldn’t hold it in. (And, still can’t.)
As we began saying YES to the Lord, projects and ministry opportunities for loving orphans began falling in our laps, literally. We began our orphan care ministry, His Chase Foundation in 2010, and now love on the most precious children in Rwanda and Ghana, sending almost 300 children to Christian boarding schools, and running a sponsorship program so they each have a family to love them and pray over them.
We have added to our family in two ways that only God could have arranged. Claver Nsanzumuhire, a 25 year old college student from Noel Orphanage in Rwanda, is now a part of our family—a big brother to our girls, and a blessing to our lives beyond words. We have also adopted our precious son, Gabriel Mugisha, from Rwanda, a child who may have never been a part of our family otherwise. He has cerebral palsy and could be seen as a child with a whole list of difficulties. Yet, we see a miracle in the making. Because he represents everything God revealed to us during what should have been our deepest pain. “There are others out there, Chelsea, who HAVE survived. And, they need you to speak up. They need you to love. They need you to spend your life showing them they matter.”
And, that’s exactly what we intend to do. What’s the challenge for you in this? Allow God to dump you out of your box. His way is so much better. Allow Him to show you some brokenness, because never in my life, have I found such healing, such meaning, such purpose, and such love. And, if you don’t know where to start, JOIN US in loving the children of Rwanda. Sponsor a child. Become a penpal. Be a prayer warrior. Take a trip with us. Tell God today that you wanna be dumped out and made new. It will be the best thing you’ve ever done.
I’m just an in-the-box girl with an out-of-the-box God.
And, praise the Lord He loved me enough not to leave me there.
don’t forget to check out HIS CHASE and see how you can be a part of changing a young person in Rwanda’s life! sponsor! pen pal! give! go! I promise you will be blessed beyond measure. visit the facebook page here to view more pictures! you can also visit Chelsea on her family blog: http://mcjacobsjournal.
This picture was from the Jacobs trip to the school last month! This is when they passed out all the letters + pictures of each kids sponsor. Dative realized she KNEW me and I’m so thankful to Chelsea for taking this picture! These were her words, “Sweet Dative. She ADORES you, friend. And, I could never describe the way she lit up when she saw that it was YOU who wrote her! She just kept hugging the paper and shaking her head with the hugest smile. PRECIOUS moment for me.”