"The Lord had his heart set on you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all people, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But because the Lord loved you."
If you have read throughout the Bible at all, you've easily come across God's genuine love and tender heart for the fatherless at some point. There are many verses that call us to act upon the many social injustices of the world, and we (Josh and Shelby) both feel a huge call from God to fight for the orphan crisis. This verse above consistently brings me (Shelb) back to tears, as this is the major verse that spoke out to me as we were praying through this adoption process. These children that we'll be fighting for are not the most numerous of all people. They are not the most popular of all beings. They contain no riches and hold nothing to their name. They were abandoned, abused and/or neglected, BUT.. But they still have value. They still have love. And are chosen above by Our Heavenly Creator because of His tender love towards each and every one of them. We are not here and never will be here to shame any of you who do not share this same specific call as Josh and I, but we are here to encourage those and invite those wondering in to explore the different options of how you can fight for the orphan crisis around the world. We pray and hope you can come along side of us and fight for what God has so boldly placed amidst our hearts. We are His children. We are His warriors. We will do what it takes to make a difference in this world.
Shelb adventured over to Tanzania in 2012. As she served alongside of Hope Ministries, her heart was truly broken for what breaks His. After that trip she willingly traveled to both Puerto Penasco, Mexico and Tulcea, Romania with The Archibald Project and realized God was calling her to something more. She traveled back to Tanzania in January of 2017 one last time. After that trip she knew this was the last time she would do a short-term mission trip before serving longer term one day.
Josh traveled to Ethiopia in 2015 and spent several weeks loving on children in a school, orphanages, and very poor villages. During his time there, his eyes and heart were exposed to the vastness of God’s love.
After we got married in 2016, we started exploring the missionary process through two different organizations, at two separate times, where we both received very audible messages from God to "wait".
After much wrestling and prayer and deciding to "wait", we both received a message from God to start the adoption process in Uganda in October of 2017. We, for the first time, have felt His guiding peace about this decision to move forward and have continued in this process since. We were pre-approved to apply in January and then submitted our final application in July of 2018. After 3 long months of waiting, we were accepted to move on to the home study process at the end of October 2018. After the home study is completed, we will wait for a child referral and then move to Jinja, Uganda to foster our child over the course of 12 months, complete court and paperwork and return to the U.S. after 18 months.
Leaving The Comfortable
Josh and I will be uprooting from our current living situation in Manhattan, Kansas to pursue one of God’s children in Uganda. We will leave behind our current businesses, The Fellow Coworking and JD & Liana Works, for the required 12-18 months while others genuinely take care of what we've created. Shelb will leave behind her current, impactful job at Relate 360 and we will both pursue mission work in Uganda during our time on the ground.
Our time on the ground will be majorly focused on fostering our child in our home, spending time attaching and bonding, along with facing all of the new challenges that arise when becoming a new parent. We also are praying for opportunities to serve as missionaries by using our talents and gifts that God has given us and sharing those with others to further build His Kingdom in Uganda.