Our church is doing a series on adoption. Last week’s sermon was all about how God has adopted us,  how we are his children and he is our Father. This week’s was about the call to love the orphan, and how that is true worship.

I kept squeezing Brian’s hand as we listened. The fact is, adoption was on both of our hearts before we met each other. That has been such a blessing– that we’re already on the same page about it. We do want to have a child of our own, but we have a vision of a multi-racial family. God willing, that’s the plan.

It began for me when I was a teenager. At first, in my dreams, my children were multi-colored. Not multi-racial… multi-colored. I had a red baby in my arms, while a yellow one and a blue one ran around. As I got older, the dream became more clear: I had a black baby boy, and an Asian baby girl.

As a missionary in South Africa, I was around black babies all the time, and my heart for them grew and grew. A single girl on the base was even in the adoption process while I was there. A missionary couple on the base had two adopted girls. I was so in love with these children that I would have brought a baby home if it would have made it through customs.

When I met Brian, he had already had visions of an Asian girl in his future. He has a heart for the unwanted girls in those nations. I couldn’t believe that the man I wanted to marry already had a heart for international adoption. God really does have his hand in everything.

The call from our preacher today was to begin to pray about how we will all love the orphan. It’s not an if we should, it’s a how we should. God is clear on that one. There are opportunities, of course, to adopt. There are opportunities to work with adoptive families, with foster kids, and people can give monetarily. I kept wondering what it was like for those who had never considered adoption in the crowd to be hearing this sermon. Does it sound crazy? I feel like I’m already on board– we’re just trying to pay off the wedding and have our first big blow-out fight (only partially kidding) before we try adding a kiddo to the equation.

We stayed after the sermon for the info session on opportunities for how we can begin to love orphans. I know that it can be a really long process, so my thought is to just get our own process started by asking questions and getting information. We also need to begin praying about it– for God to prepare our hearts, our child, and that we will trust him in his timing.

The Story Team that Brian and I are a part of made a video that was shared today. I want to share it with you all as well. Bust out the tissue before watching– it’s a good one. I hope you guys enjoy it.

Jacob Chen – An Adoption Story from The Austin Stone on Vimeo.


We started our development programs at church today, and wow, they set a high bar. This will be a great time for us, but we knew it would be a commitment. Well, they delivered, and it’s good.

I’ll let Lindsey speak to the Women’s program later, but for the men’s we have class for 3+ hours every Wednesday, group meetings outside of that and several weekend commitments. It promises to be very tough, and a great learning experience. I don’t share this to brag at all, in all honestly I must confess that I feel quite a bit of trepidation about it. I’ve signed up for deep accountability, for an academic challenge and a lot of work. I know this will be great for us, but I also know it will be a challenge.

I have faith in our leaders and in God that he will use this time to help mine and Lindsey’s marriage, but our lives just got a whole lot busier too.

Opening up our community

Tonight our community group had the chance to open up our normal meetings for some folks from our church who are looking into what missional communities are all about. We hosted a dinner and spent time getting to know some new folks and sharing with them what God is doing in our group.

We did a potluck and Lindsey cooked some wonderful meatballs from a new recipe. We had some good food and a better time. We told our stories, and it was a great time to reflect.

We have seen a lot of growth in our group and in ourselves. We truly love our group, who really are family now. It was fun to let people in to see what we share with each other.

I love that our church values true connections within our missional communities, and I love that our staff is so supportive. It was a fun night to share with our leadership, our family, and some new friends.

What is community?

On this blog we talk a lot about the word “community”. Specifically we talk about “our” community. This usage is not very common, so I want to explain it and why it is so important for us.

Honestly, this is one of those words that Christians of our particular variety tend to overuse and maybe even misuse. You don’t typically hear people say things like, “I want to live in community” or “my community group is really important to me.” It’s just kind of odd to be honest. When most people hear the word community they tend to think of either a really great TV show1 or their town/neighborhood. So I’m sure this is confusing.

So when we talk about community we mean two things. First, it specifically means our missional, community group at church. These are people meet with regularly, study the Bible with, share the deepest things in our lives and love each other like a family. In a real sense this small group is very directly our church. Second and more broadly, we mean the general call we have to cultivate a group of people around us who we love, are involved with, share the ups and the downs of life, and grow with. For both of us this second group is broader, but just as dear to us as the first.

Lindsey and I value community very much, we believe it is essential to a healthy marriage. Without men in my life who ask the tough questions and expect high things of me I can easily slip into being a husband I don’t want to be. By having women who Lindsey is completely open and honest with she is able to grow in her faith and understanding.

Christians use code words way too much. We use them so much I am consciously trying to reduce my use as much as possible. We just end up having these weird words and phrases that no one else understands, and that is not good. And in this case it is particularly egregious. Humans are made for this type of life, this life in community. We are made to love and to be loved. We work best when we are open and honest, it brings out the best in us.

So the next time you read us talk about “community” that is what we mean. It’s important to us, it’s important to our marriage. And we hope you see the value and joy in it too.

  1. I mean really great TV show. Oh, and I’d love to have Abed in my community. Seriously. We could dress up as Batman together and build blanket forts. It’d be awesome. 

Overdue thanks

Abby, Laura, Kari, Kerrie, Jill, Rachel, Jennifer, Sarah and Michelle,

Thank you for taking care of my wife. Tuesday night group meetings are always an important time for us but there is something special about the time she spends with you. When Lindsey comes home from her Tuesday nights with the girls to tell me about how you care for her, cry and laugh with her, are honest with her and most of all pray with her I could not be happier.

It is a humbling thing for a man to care so much for his wife, but also know that he cannot provide everything; and that is where you all step in. You girls take care of Lindsey in the ways that I cannot. You understand her emotional side and speak to her in a way that I am not able to. You see things from her perspective that I don’t.

I am very thankful for the ways that you serve Lindsey. You are all so supportive of her, of our marriage, and of me. It’s a wonderful thing to have folks like you in our lives daily.

With gratitude,