Many of you know that I'm at Vanderbilt University studying special education specifically for students who are visually impaired. If you know me, you know that this has been the calling on my life since I was 16, and other than my faith in the Gospel, there is nothing that Iʼm as passionate about. If this were not the case, I would not be pushing my way through the overgrown path that comes with being the only undergraduate in my program.
During my time in high school, Mr. Dyer, my teacher for students with visual impairments (TVI), invested so much of his energy to help me grow as a person, a believer, and a future TVI myself. While Mr. Dyer taught me what it looks like to love and serve students in rural Macon County, he also opened my heart and mind to journeying off the known path. At the time, I had no desire to travel because the idea of living in Nashville was intimidating enough, but he planted a seed that has grown in the past two and a half years.
I am humbled to share with you that I will be working at Bethel China in Beijing this summer. Bethel is an orphanage for children who are visually impaired that strives to provide the best available care and educational opportunities to its children while they wait to be united with their adoptive families.
I will be teaching the English immersion preschool class for children who are paper ready to be adopted into the United States. I will share my classroom with a paraprofessional who speaks Chinese, and we will collaborate to support our students as they wait for their forever families. In addition to working on English, Bible stories and songs, pre-braille skills, the expanded core curriculum, and preschool-age milestones, I will be working specifically on behavior intervention because my students previously lived in government run orphanages that lacked the support staff and resources necessary for caring for children with disabilities.
I am overjoyed at this opportunity, and I am blown away by the provision of the Lord, but I am not so naive as to think that this time will all be singing, playing, and celebrating. I think this journey will involve a “grieving grace” because there will be beauty and pain, sorrow and joy, all mixed with trauma and change.
Those things are messy, and they are not comfortable or easy, but I think amazing things can happen when we lean on God and trust the path Heʼs set for us. All of us.
I know that there is not grief I can cure, erase, or outrun, but by the grace of the Father, I can be a vessel in accepting and carrying some grief to Him. I know that running headlong to embrace this depth of hurt can feel lonely and defeating. But I also know that I am truly not alone, and His redeeming love is ever-present.
I would be honored to share this journey with you! So how can you be involved?
1. I need your prayers -- prayers for me, the children at Bethel, their future families, and all of our teachers, staff, and caregivers.
2. If you or someone you know is considering the adoption of an older child, please prayerfully consider inquiring about the children at Bethel who have yet to be matched with families. While I am excited to teach them there, the ultimate goal is to see them in loving homes.
3. You can help make this happen by donating to my fundraiser. Funds raised will cover the cost of my travel visa, my travel insurance, and my flight. Any additional funds raised will be given to Bethel to allow them to continue providing the quality of care that children deserve. Every donation is appreciated and will be celebrated as it will allow me to walk lighter as I prepare for my trip.
We serve a mighty God whose works are unparalleled and unstoppable. As we wait, may we know that the very bread of Heaven exists inside of us and we get to be broken so that others might feast upon His grace. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!
Grace upon grace,