There’s a book in the Bible called Exodus. It’s all about God’s faithfulness and grace towards a people who didn’t deserve it and His power to do the seemingly impossible. In it, God saves the Israelites from slavery bringing them right through the Red Sea, they wander the desert with God providing manna from heaven to meet their needs, God gives them the ten commandments, and He comes to dwell among them in the tabernacle. It’s kind of a jam-packed book. In chapter 18, Moses takes a breath from it all and has a heart to heart with his father-in-law Jethro. Moses tells him all the good stuff that’s been happening, all the things worthy of celebrating, the stories he never imagined he’d be able to tell. He also tells him all the challenges they’ve faced along the way and where they’ve seen great victory and where they hope to see victory still. Jethro listens and affirms and encourages…and then he challenges.
Why are you doing this all alone? You’re going to wear yourself out and if you do, what will happen to the people you serve? Moses, this job is too heavy a burden for you to try to handle all by yourself.
Here in our little corner of a suburb of Philadelphia, in our brand new office, that’s the message we heard. We need some help to both carry our burden and increase our capacity for whatever burden God trusts us with.
Last week, help arrived pulling a U-Haul trailer with Texas plates.
When our favorite physical therapists weren’t able to make our orphanage team trip this past October (new babies have a way of affecting plans), I told them I understood entirely…and that they’d have to recruit two doctors to take their place. Fortunately, they were happy to do that. One of those doctors was Erin. They told me she was faithful, mission minded, an excellent pediatric physical therapist in Texas for over 6 years, and delightful. They knew she’d been feeling a nudge for something but she didn’t know what. China was never on her “bucket list,” but she was willing to go. They told me this was the perfect trip for her, that it would meet our need and Erin’s as well. They were right.
The October orphanage trip moved her profoundly. That place she had never been particularly drawn to now captivated her. She was overwhelmed by how hard the staff worked in attempts to meet the needs of the children. She was humbled by their servant heartedness to do this work for years on end with little to no recognition. She was astounded by the resilience of the children to overcome. Life changed for her in the biggest city no one has ever heard of west of Xi’an. A second trip with us to a new orphanage in South China only a couple months later sealed the deal for her and for us.
A few weeks ago, Erin finished her last day practicing physical therapy in Forth Worth, Texas and started packing up her bags. Last week, she packed those bags into a trailer with her little dog Calvin by her side and started the journey to the Northeast.
While practicing physical therapy privately here part time, she’s going to help us as we seek to support adoptive families and children without families and their caregivers as well as seek out and pursue growth opportunities to do all that fuller and better. It’s such a good thing, people, to have help and not just any help but her help. She gets it, and she can bring something to the table that we couldn’t bring. I’m already feeling a bit of the burden lifting.