Thursday, July 22, 2010

A God Ordained Encounter!

I had an amazing, God-ordained encounter while we were on our mission trip to Vancouver that I have been wanting to share.

One of the main things we did throughout the week was to walk around the city meeting people and hearing their stories...we called it "exploration and discovery."  It was so cool to really take the time to meet people, listen to them, and show them God's love.  We would go out in groups of 3 or 4, but this particular day, my group decided to split up.  We were at the mall, and it was a safe place for us to take some time to "explore" individually.

Now, I have to be honest, it was late in the afternoon and we had been walking around all day, and I was getting really worn out.  But, we had about 30 more minutes before it was time to return to the center, so our group left the food court and went our separate ways.  I wandered around the mall for a few minutes, but I found myself doing more shopping than "exploring"!  I felt like God was telling me to go back to the food court and talk to someone who was sitting alone.  I had seen an older lady earlier eating by herself, and I thought maybe I should go talk to her.

As I walked up, I realized the older lady was gone.  So, I began to pray, "Lord, show me who YOU want me to talk to."  As I walked past the tables, I looked to my left and I saw...her. I knew immediately because God spoke to my heart, "This is her.  She is the one I want you to talk to."

She was sitting alone with her toddler age daughter in the stroller next to her.  It was an easy approach because her daughter was adorable, and I told her that!  We starting chatting a minute, and I asked her if I could join her.  She agreed, and immediately asked about my accent!  I told her that I was from Mississippi, and we were here working with our friends at the Middle Eastern Friendship Center.  She said, "I met someone else from Mississippi working with them about a month ago at another mall."  Pause.  Cool moment...we had another missions team from our church in Vancouver last month, and she had met one of their team members!

When I told her that our church had another team that came last month, she said, "Church?  Do you believe in Jesus?"  I replied, "Yes, I do believe in Jesus."  And the tears started pouring down her cheeks.  She kept repeating, "Thank you, Jesus.  I love you so much, Jesus," even through her tears.  Then she said, "I have been going through a really hard time over these last 2 days.  Right after I sat down with my food, I prayed to God for Him to give me a sign that He is still with me.  You are my sign!  He's using you to tell me that He is still with me!"

And then my tears started to fall, and we wept together, as I told her that I had just prayed that God would show me who He wanted me to talk to.  God had divinely set up our meeting, and I was about to find out another reason why.  She had become a believer about 2 years ago, but was going through a tough spritual battle in her life. I began to encourage her and reassure of her of God's presence and plan for her life.   Then I asked the question, "Where are you from?"

Her answer?  "ETHIOPIA!"  And then my tears started really falling!  You see, I had never met anyone from Ethiopia before...ever.  I cried as I told her that God had led us to adopt a baby girl from her home country...our fourth child, our daughter, Caroline Faith.  Then I knew the other reason that God led me to her.  He knew I needed to meet her, just as much as she needed to meet me.  She was my first personal encounter with Ethiopia, a country and people I've already fallen in love with.  God used us to encourage each other in such a unique way...His way.

Eventually, I had to leave because it was time to meet back up with my group.  We hugged each other and promised to pray for each other.  It was an amazing moment.  Two sisters in Christ, from two different countries, crying together and encouraging one another...it was a huge God thing...and it was beautiful.

I was so excited to tell the story to our team, and Jody was especially moved by how God had led me to her...at just the right time.  He asked if I had gotten a picture with her, but I had been so "caught up in the moment" that I didn't even think about it!  Well, you'll never believe what happened...

Jody went to that same mall the next day with his group (we weren't in the same group), and was about to leave Starbucks when he saw a lady sitting with her little girl and a friend.  He felt like God was telling him to speak to them before he left.  He asked where she was from, and she said "Ethiopia!"  It was then that it hit him.  It was her!!!  He told her that I was his wife and how blessed I had been to meet her the day before.  She was so excited and gave him a huge hug!  And thankfully, Jody remembered to take a picture with her!  He said, "Alison will never believe me unless I have a picture with you!" :) 

I just love this picture!  Don't you love God's perfect timing?  How he ordained so perfectly for me to meet this beautiful woman from Ethiopia one day, and then for Jody to meet her the next day...in a city of over 2 million people!!!  That is not coincidence...that is God!!

How amazing is God??  I just love all the totally crazy and fun ways that He has revealed Himself to us during our adoption process!  And He has continued to confirm over and over again that this is His plan for us...to adopt our baby girl from Ethiopia! 

To Caroline Faith...There is no doubt, you are a special part of God's perfect plan for our family, and we are having so much fun watching His plan unfold!  God has us on an amazing journey to bring you HOME!  We love you already, baby girl!

15 comments:

Kelly Jo said...

i love when God works like that...when you know it never would have happened if it wouldn't have been for HIM!!! amazing!!! :)

Kristi J said...

love that story..amazing!! kj

Ashley said...

That's amazing!!!

Our Bigg Family said...

Yeah!!! God is so good!!!

meredith and justin said...

God is so amazing! Love this story!

Brandy Hester... said...

so sweet...i love it

natali said...

i love love LOVE this!!! and i love how He is always, always, ALWAYS working behind the scenes :)) this is awesome! :D

Jeremy and Amanda said...

I love it! Great reminder of how much better the story is when He writes it!

Mars Family said...

AMAZING!! Still crying over this sweet story. I love the way God touches hearts!

The Segrest Family said...

Oh Alison! HOW AWESOME! Tears came to my eyes reading this!!! What wonderful blessings for you both.

Mike and Sarah Stiltner said...

I love how God orchestrates our lives! So wonderful!

Josh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Breisch and Angie Stallings said...

You will never know the power this blog holds. God is using your family and your dedication to this blog. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. We are all better for it.

Val said...

I love this post!!! Your blog is truly something special!!!!

Debb said...

WOW! Talk about an amazing work of God! Don't you just love it when He shows up like that?!? Only God could orchestrate the details you write about! What a very beautiful story! And yes, you are right! Our children, who are half way across the world, are another work of God's tapestry! It amazes me how He already KNOWS who He has planned all along to be our children~ and is orchestrating the details to bring them HOME! FOREVER! So glad to be following along on your journey ~ and thanks for following ours! Will pray for you and yours!

p.s.....I had to chuckle when I read about the lady asking about your accent! I smiled when I "heard" your accent in your post on our blog.... "y'all." I giggled when I learned you were from Mississippi! Love it! ;)