Based in Downtown Bentonville, Arkansas, Mike currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer at Pure Charity, a nonprofit dedicated to building world class technology solutions for Nonprofit Organizations, individuals, and Community Advocacy.

...we settle on return and there is peace (our weekend with Gladney)

By some strange chain of events Corrie and I found ourselves in Fort Worth this past weekend to attend the Gladney Family Association Summit.  We weren’t really sure what to expect, but the opportunity to visit the home of Gladney was something that we didn’t want to miss.  So off we went. 

It will take time to process everything from this visit, but I don’t think we left there the same.  I may not ever know the long term outcome of our visit, but it truly feels like we may have passed through a fairly significant milestone in life without evening realizing it. 

As we opened the front doors and walked into the lobby I was caught a little off gaurd at the emotion of it all.  We carried our little Ethiopian girl into the very place that was responsible for her being in our arms.  These were the people and this was the place that made it all happen.  I know that caring for the orphan is a sacred responsibility, so this was a holy place we were entering.  I didn’t know if I should take off my shoes or stack rocks, but as I paused in the foyer with my little girl I was silent.

I was silent, but I was not alone.

We were greeted by Scott Brown (if you remember, Scott was there the day Sosi was placed into our arms), so it was wonderful to see him again. 

Sosi also had the joy of finally meeting Mary Thottukadavil.  Mary walked with us every step of this journey as our case manager. 

There is no way we could ever say thank you enough to Scott and Mary (and everyone at Gladney) for what they have done for us.  They will always hold a special place in our soul.

For the next two days we sat with approx. 40 other people from all over the US who were trying to find any way possible to be an advocate for the orphan and move communities to action.  Their passion and dedication to this seemingly impossible task was incredible. What a humbling feeling to be among this group.  Thanks to Wendy Lee for doing what she does because it was an incredible weekend. 

…but we left Gladney finding ourselves again asking the question we have not been able to answer.

I guess in some way I knew that even as we welcomed Sosi home there was so much work left to do.  However, what could we really do?  Where would we even begin?  The orphan need is just too great for us to really do anything about it.  How could we make a difference? 

But, those images of the children we left behind in Ethiopia continue to occupy my memories. 

They simply won’t go away.  

But, we have a little girl to care for. 

Isn’t caring for one child who was once an orphan enough?

Yes, it is.

But, how do you say that to the 147 millions orphans who won’t go home tonight?

…this weekend I was in a room full of people who could not say it either.  I was in a building where for over 120 years they have not rested or slowed down for a moment.

So, once again in my life, in the halls of a building decorated with a history of over 120 years of orphan care, I was interrupted again.

Right now Corrie and I are driving back from Fort Worth after an incredible weekend with Gladney and dinner with some newly made dear friends considering where we go from here.

After a great weekend, we talk of returning home…

        …returning home

we talk…

….return
                …home

        …home

….return

Return…

…we settle on return, and there is peace.

Soli Deo Gloria