After reading the book Adopted for Life, Jason Belyeu, pastor, focused his 2019 Christmas sermon series on the Christian’s response to orphan care. Each week, before studying the life of Joseph of Nazareth who adopted Jesus as his son, members of the Columbia, S.C., First Church watched an adoption story featuring families in the Carolina Conference.
Members were challenged to practice “pure and undefiled religion” (James 1:27) by giving generously to an offering which would bless four separate groups. Children of Epworth Children’s Home, who await foster care placement, received Christmas gifts. A child who was recently adopted by a Columbia First family received sponsorship to Nosoca Pines Ranch for summer camp. A family who lost a spouse and two children in a tragic car accident received assistance for medical expenses. An Adventist family from the West Coast who recently adopted a child from the Carolinas received more than $2,000 to relieve unexpected debt incurred in the adoption process.
“This offering was a Christmas miracle,” exclaimed Belyeu, “considering how a church in the Carolinas blessed a West Coast family who adopted a child from the Carolinas!” This blessing started after Columbia First contacted Choice Adoptions, an adoption agency in Oregon that originated out of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Belyeu asked if the agency was working with any Adventist families in need of financial assistance with their adoption. Choice identified one Adventist family they worked with previously in an adoption that cost $25,000. Choice was now helping that same family again with a second adoption. However, unexpected costs raised the second adoption to $45,000. To provide a forever family for the second child, the Adventist family wiped out their savings and incurred $16,000 of debt.
Columbia First contacted the pastor of the Adventist family whose adoption was finalized near Thanksgiving. Would the church during worship play a video to surprise this family with news of the Columbia First’s Christmas gift? The pastor replied that this request was providential because the adopted child would be dedicated to God on the Sabbath prior to Christmas. During that worship service, the family, along with their congregation, watched Columbia First’s video with good tidings of great joy!
Grateful for their unexpected blessing, the family shared with Columbia First that their generous gift was a part of a larger miracle God had orchestrated. The family had prayed to God for help with their debt. The Lord answered that prayer the week prior to their adopted child’s dedication. First, the husband received the largest Christmas bonus he had in all his years with his company! And then, the family received a Christmas gift from an Adventist church in the Carolinas, where they had no connections whatsoever. Between these two blessings, the family ended 2019 debt free and with seed money for their emergency fund!
Carolina | May 2020