In a recent Christian Index article Scott Barkley focused on foster care and how the church can respond. I have a nephew who he and his wife have served as foster parents and eventually followed through with adoption. We have a younger daughter who along with her husband are in the process of adopting a child from overseas.
Two years ago our oldest daughter and her husband adopted a little girl from India. She had lived in an orphanage since the age of five. The process of bringing her home took three years. She is now 11. All of us are adopted into God’s family when we are saved. It matters not what culture or background you are from or what experiences or prior beliefs that you my have, God’s grace is sufficient. There is a lot I could tell you about Kavita Hope Pilgreen, but my church planting wife and author daughter can do it much better.
The following post is written by Shauna Pilgreen.
What It Looks Like to Trust in Jesus!
She believes! Kavita has decided to put her faith in God—to give all of her past, present, and future, to the One True God! God, thank You for opening her eyes, for answering our prayers, her prayers, for being her ultimate Rescuer. I praise You! You are good. I love that You have used camp, friends, family, and hard conversations to lead her. In coming home June 2015, she was eager and quick to learn English. She took to songs and biblical teaching easy. She loved church, kid classes, camp, bible school. she was reading her Bible and always learning in advance the set list for worship songs each Sunday. Every time in the van, “Mom, can you turn on some church music?”
This spring, tension developed as I believe she was at a crossroads with, “Do I believe all of this about Jesus?” She doubted. She questioned how we could hear and talk to God who we can’t see. It felt silly to pray. When I stepped aside to see what she was seeing, it made sense. Why had she first learned of thousands of gods who she couldn’t please and communicate with, experience abandonment and abuse in India, be one of the few to be adopted out of an orphanage, to then be told at the age of 9 of a One True God who created her, loves her, and has a plan for her? That this One True God sees her though she can’t see Him? That He is the reason why she has a forever family and why her heart can sing and be glad for the first time? How can this be?
While we can tell others about God and how He has changed our lives and the hope we have in Him, we can’t make that decision for them. Nor would we want to. When Jesus is the best part of our lives, we want our children to arrive at that truth for themselves. And just like God stirred our hearts towards Him, we would pray that Kavita would see what a Good, Good Father He really is. Family and friends prayed for home and for her to see how good God is and that He loves her. Truth and grace continued to be taught and put on display.
I was with three of our kids at Centri-Kid camp again this year with our church. Tuesday night after the fourth of July party, me and Kavita talked about what she was learning. “Jesus is the One True Light. He can meet our greatest need. He is Who we need most.” well, yes, but that sounds like you read it from a book insert. Then I could see tears below hanging in her eye sockets. She began to explain that she believes that there can only be One God and that Jesus is Him. God, You are touching her heart and moving. Keep on it, God. Only You can save. I believe You are at work. Thursday, my friend, Ana, and I went on a walk up the mountain, praying along the way, specifically that Kavita’s eyes would be opened to the truth that is for her and that she would respond to Jesus calling. Ana encouraged me that Kavita has a heart language that will communicate with God in a different way than me. I came into the world trusting my family—talking with them and learning early on to talk to God. Kavita in a short time has had to learn to communicate in English and trust people that don’t look like her. God is new to her. How she connects with Him will be special between the two of them, yet for her to know God she will need and have a “want to” to talk to Him. That’s how a relationship begins and grows.
Friday morning, after closing celebration, Kavita told me that she had put her faith in God on Tuesday night after our talk on the bottom bunk bed. Huh? Independence Day! She wanted to ring the bell that all new Christians could do as they exited camp. I got out my tough questions. I would never want to her believe because that’s what everyone else was doing or because it would make us happy. Within split seconds, she was undone with emotions as she let me know that this decision was sincere and not based on anyone else, but only on her own accord. My mom hat was still on as I thought we should first talk it over with Ben when we got home. Ana and will said, “Let her ring the bell—let this be her Ebenezer stone—she believes! you can talk more about this at home—faith as a child, right? She’s saying yes to Jesus—let’s walk with her!” She was overjoyed!
As she got in line to ring the bell, Asher and Sam came to hug her. So did her sweet friends, Belle and Kaylee. After she rang the bell, she wasn’t seeking applause or approval, she had received that from Jesus Himself. She fell into my arms and cried happy tears.
“Mom, I’ve never cried happy tears before. I’ve only ever cried sad tears.” I know she wasn’t allowed to cry at the orphanage. She didn’t know what to make of this! It was beautiful to see. A lady who had met us last year at this same camp found me to tell me that she had continued to pray for Kavita. She rejoiced that she got to see Kavita’s decision. As we drove up the mountain heading home, Kavita couldn’t stop crying happy tears. Belle, Kaylee, and Asher talked and encouraged her.
“Let me get this straight—you all prayed that I would come home to my forever family and that I would know Jesus?” she asked.
“Yes! Yes! Yes!” Belle shouted. “You get it, Kavita.” More tears. Belle told her how she’d been praying for years for her friend. “And now I will pray that you read and want to pray and obey—basically, it’s just getting started!” We all laughed!
“I just can’t believe how good this feels. My heart feels so good. It was a hard decision—I’ve heard of so many gods, but now I know the One True God. Mom, I just needed time to figure it out.” Belle told Kavita that her decision to trust Jesus was harder than her decision because of their different childhoods. It was so incredible to listen as we drove home.
“I want my first family to know God,” Kavita told us. This struck deep and hard. Wow. This was life transformation. What she had discovered, she wanted desperately for the man and woman who brought her into the world, a mom and dad she’ll never see again because absolutely no records exist, to know this love. We told her that we would pray. and we did right there in the van. “If God can put you in a forever family and save us, He can certainly save them.” Kavita told us, “My favorite words that I’ve been singing in my heart are, ‘sin has lost its power, death has lost its sting…into marvelous light I’m running. out of darkness. out of shame.”
“That’s me,” she roared! “I can’t wait to tell dad! he’ll be so proud of me. Mimi will cry when I tell her. Can I call everyone, Mom? This is the best decision I have ever made.” She was so happy. It was so genuine.
And as we went to bed Friday night in our own home, she prayed aloud and it was the first time I’d heard her pray because she wanted to and it was so real. She was praying to God that just weeks earlier seemed like such a silly thought.
“Dear God. Thank You for loving me and saving me. Please send someone to tell my first mom and dad about You. Send families to adopt the kids at the Ashram. Give me good sleep tonight, amen.”
Read more with pictures at shaunapilgreen.com.
There is no doubt that foster parenting and adoption are strong affinity groups in our communities. Live Sent…because He said so.