Tuesday, March 25, 2014

So You Wanna Change the World...Tracing One Thread

My hands click the bluetooth keyboard as I sit in the MRI waiting room. The TV drones on in the background.

Esty is on the table or would it be "in the tube" for a scan on her brain and spine.

It's just to get a baseline...when you adopt, you often don't get much information.

But I write today not about our present circumstances...but rather about something that happened over 100 years ago.

In Asia.

Some American missionaries made a life change to pack up their lives, say goodbye to their loved ones and board a boat bound for the other side of the world.

Their destination? The Philippine Islands.

I do not know their names. I do not know their stories. 

But they had a direct, traceable impact on Esty...a future child born over 100 years later in China. 

Go with me as I trace this.

These missionaries shared the gospel (the Truth that Jesus died once for all and we can be set free from all our wrongdoings and can join Him in Heaven one day) with villagers.

At that time, no one believed in Jesus.

Until...a man and wife heard the news and put their faith in Jesus. 

Their lives changed. I do not know the details of how.

But they had a son, and that son also believed in Jesus. As he grew up, he attended medical school. He prayed a prayer, "If you'll let me become a doctor, I'll spend some of my time serving You, Lord."

This young man DID become a doctor. And then, he moved to the United States of America.

And he lived in Columbus, Ohio.

He opened a private practice. Remembering his promise to Jesus, he ended up opening two clinics for the homeless. 

And soon, this became "not enough."

The doctor closed his private practice and began to serve fulltime.

He began to be burdened for the millions of people around the planet who have no access to medical treatment.

He moved his feet in sync with his heart. He went back home to the Philippines. He began to serve the poorest of the poor.  He performed surgeries that saved lives.

And somewhere along the way, he met a woman who shared his passion. She wanted to serve alongside this amazing doctor. They married.

The two have served now over THIRTY YEARS in an amazing 40 countries. Everywhere from Africa to Asia, Eastern Europe to South America. They have not raised money to do this, but personally funded their missions. Then, they went a step further...

They invited people to go WITH them.

And my husband was one of those who went. 

He was a tender 16 years old. His mother said "yes" and allowed him to pack a bag and get on a plane and fly to Africa.

It was his first experience leaving the country...and his luggage got lost.

He also lost his heart. He fell in love with missions.

What this doctor did, was light a passion in my future husband's heart to care for the poor in the 3rd world.

This forever impacted the path of my husband. He returned home and nothing looked the same. He knew that he would grow up and serve others overseas.

Meanwhile, God had done a similar work in my own heart. I was called. I was committed. I had gone and served.

And this brought us together as a couple. We married and began "us."

"Us" has ALWAYS revolved around missions and being on mission.

We served together in China. Then, while we were in process to serve career to India (why I have a nose ring...not just for "style" in America!), our son was tragically taken from this life. We reeled.

But then, in the years that followed, we discovered that God's calling on us included adoption. Children from those countries we had prayed and ached for.

We had our hearts broken for the "least of these," orphans who were in desperate need for families to choose them. And they have brought the MOST joy imaginable.

This brings me back to Esty. She was an orphan. Waiting in an orphanage with a whole host of medical issues, and no one stepped forward for her.

For years.

And God called us to her.

I am convinced that we are here today, at this American hospital, with this child as my daughter in an MRI tube because over 100 years ago, those American missionaries gave up their present reality to serve in far-away Asia.

You see...those missionaries led the first believers, who had a son who became that doctor, who took that young boy overseas, who married me, who adopted her.


Do YOU want to change the world? You don't have to do something ENORMOUS.

You don't have to become famous, write a book or get win American Idol. You don't have to find a cure for cancer, bike around the world or become a CEO.

All of those would be nice, I'm sure.

But you don't HAVE to, to be able to play an integral part in changing the world.

Those first believers in the village? What was their role in this thread? They parented their son. They encouraged him to become a doctor. (I don't know any direct stories of them, so these are educated guesses.) But they did what was right before them.

Do you want to change the world?

I do.

And the awesome thing is that you just need to be obedient to what is right in front of you.

Who knows? You might be able to trace the hand of God through your life. :)

That doctor? 

His name is Pedro Obregon. His wife is precious Judy. We got to spend an evening with them just this past weekend as they were inducted into the Medical Missions Hall of Fame.

What was so cool was that when we lived in China, we got the JOY of bringing him into the village where Brian worked! It had gone full circle...the boy who traveled with the doctor to then-Zaire, was hosting the doctor in his own "stomping ground" -- the remote mountain villages of rural China. It was truly an AMAZING thing.

I love the way God plans our lives! He has tucked so many joys into so many corners...just waiting for us to discover them!

And what a joy when we can trace His hand back through time and see it!

I'd love to hear the story of those American missionaries who left back in 1900 for the Phillippines. They also had a hand in what's happening now.

Isn't it fun to think about? 


  1. Oh Amy, I love this! Thank you for sharing!!! Kim via www.kimkintner.com

  2. Don't you just love the way the Lord works?!?! Love the Obregons - love the Shaws. HUGS

  3. I am happy to discover your blog et your beautiful family !
    I am a French mummy of a little girl adopted from Vietnam in 2010 and in process for a second adoption (special needs) with my husband.
    May you be blessed !


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