Friday, November 21, 2014

California Furlough: Kingdom Families and Our Family

It has been a busy time in California since we arrived a month ago. We're so grateful for those that we've been able to see and connect with, both new friends and old friends. We're excited to see God moving during this season both in our family and as we continue endeavoring for Kingdom Families in Tanzania.

Kingdom Families Promo Video
We put together a little four minute video sharing our vision and passion for Kingdom Families and what God is doing through family based orphan care in Kilimanjaro. We'd love if you'd check it out and share it with others.

Kingdom Families from Brandon Stiver on Vimeo.

Connecting with Partners
We have been so grateful for several opportunities over the last month to share our vision and the passion God has given us for sustainable family-based orphan care. The most encouraging thing has been feedback from friends and supporters that voice their support of our project with Kingdom Families.

Equally so, it's been great to hear from other proponents of this model that are doing the same thing on a larger scale. This was certainly the case when we were able to learn from and converse with Johnny Carr who is a leading orphan care advocate among churches through his ministry Orphan Justice. We were able to connect with Johnny as he was the keynote speaker at the Welcoming Children Home Conference in San Luis Obispo on November 8th. Brandon enjoyed teaching one of the workshops at the conference, but our highlight was getting the conversation time with Johnny. We are hoping that it proves a fruitful connection as we've been able to connect with him through email as well and he's giving us important contact with Bethany Christian Services whom he worked for. Bethany Christian Services has a large scale program that has the same aim as ours and is in 14 different international countries, including five in Africa. We are also getting connected to Bethany through a contact we're receiving from the missions pastor at Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa, whom we were also blessed to meet with this last week. We are really hoping to learn from and partner with others as much as possible to see more and more orphaned children placed in Christian homes in Kilimanjaro.

Us with orphan care author and advocate Johnny Carr
We also had a great time sharing at three different churches so far and have had great feedback from people. We're really hopeful that this brief time in the states provides us with the boost that we need to propel this ministry into an exciting new season of expansion in 2015. We spent three weeks with First Baptist Church in Los Osos, two of which we were able to serve through preaching and leading worship. We also got to connect with our supporting church The Garden in Long Beach on the 9th and subsequently with their staff the following Wednesday. The church was so gracious and generous towards us and we thank God for their continued partnership. This past Sunday we were a part of Orphan Sunday at Newport Mesa Church in Costa Mesa. We were able to share during both services, connect with people in between services and enjoyed a great sermon from orphan care advocate and pastor, Mark Orphan (yes, that's his real name).

Family Update
It's been great to spend time with family and friends since being back and also prepare for our son's birth in under two weeks. One of the biggest reasons we came back at this time was to receive better health care for Melissa and the baby at a California hospital. We had also hoped that this would make Melissa having a VBAC still an option. However, now that we're back and have gotten things squared away with insurance and doctors, we have found out that with our options for physicians and hospitals, a scheduled c-section is our only realistic option. While this wasn't our original plan, we are relieved to now know what the plan is. Therefore, the c-section date for the delivery is on Monday, December 1st. Your prayers are so appreciated!

We are also grateful to have a car currently which we're borrowing from a dear pastor friend. We're also very blessed to be house-sitting for friends through the end of December. The timing couldn't be better as it lets us settle in for the two weeks before delivery and have our own space for that first month of his life. We're also happy that it's located just outside Paso Robles making it easier to visit Melissa's family in Los Osos and Brandon's family in Paso Robles.

Promise with her cousin Quinten (their grandparents on Skype on the tablet)

The next time you hear from us, our son will be among us and we look forward to sharing this blessing with all of you. We can hardly wait to see what he looks like and and tell everyone the name that we've chosen for him. We have much to be thankful for and hope that your time of thanksgiving with family is so blessed this coming week. God is good!

Brandon, Melissa, Promise and Baby Boy 


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