Don’t start spreading the rumor yet, I’m Just kidding! But if God lead in that direction, we would pack up and move in a heartbeat. No, we aren’t starstruck or looking to attend some huge, famous church. As a matter of fact, that was the last thought on our minds as we headed to Albany this weekend. We were simply going to thank our amazing Emily Flynt for all of her help with our Kate adoption and meet her precious family.
There is nothing much near Albany. The policemen obviously don’t have a lot to do, because we entered Warwick County and were pulled over within 10 minutes by an officer who didn’t have anything better to do than stop threats to society like us. I say that, because as we were sitting and waiting for our ticket, 2 different concerned citizens (one actually laid on his horn at the officer; quite audaciously funny) stopped in the median to notify the officer that there was a wildfire about a mile up the street. He called it in on his radio and then continued to slowly write us up for going 15 miles over the speed limit in the only area of this 4 lane road where the speed limit is 45 mph. He apparently had no concern that his town was about to burn down.
Our hotel was not much to look at either. All the hotels in the area were booked because of a summer baseball tournament, so we settled for a Comfort Inn. Despite the pics on the website, when we arrived, we were told that there was no swimming pool which disappointed the boys considerably. The air conditioning not only didn’t cool the room, but it made the most annoying noises and the shower wasn’t much better either with it’s constant shrill humming. The only saving grace was that the room was extra large and included a sofa which is a must for us now that we have become 5.
Napping after a rough first night in the hot room.
So why, you ask, did we love Albany so much? Well, it began when the Flynt’s invited us to their home the night we arrived to meet her kids and swim in the backyard. When we pulled up in the driveway, 3 lovely blondes and 2 dark skinned beauties greeted us as if they had known us all their lives. Jay and Emily’s children are completely precious and very likely to follow in their footsteps and change the world. Her oldest three girls look almost just like her, and her youngest two (adopted from China) look almost just like Kate :).
As Emily and I began to talk, it was sooooo nice to feel like someone was speaking my language. I can’t explain it, but your life totally changes when you adopt a child and your perspective is completely different. Just as a person without kids cannot fully relate to one with them, a person who has not traveled this road, cannot fully relate to one who has. Don’t get me wrong, I love to talk to others who haven’t adopted and share our story, but it is another conversation all together to have another adoptive mom understand and speak to the issues you are dealing with and the worries you are carrying. It is just a pair of shoes you have to walk in yourself to understand… and by the way, I fully recommend these shoes! So it was so enjoyable to just be able to talk and ask questions and relate and tell stories. We did that all weekend with the Flynt’s.
Emily’s husband, Jay, is a pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church. Sherwood is the church responsible for “FlyWheel”, “Facing the Giants”, “Fireproof”, and “Courageous”…several movies that God has used incredibly in our quickly disinegrating culture. The boys and I LOVE “Facing the Giants” and never tire of watching it. So we were excited to visit the church and meet some of the actors. We were not prepared to completely fall in love. See these actors aren’t famous at Sherwood…they are servants…some are ushers, some are prayer warriors, some are missionaries! They were so gracious to us…they took pictures with our boys…they quoted lines from the movie with the boys… Stephen Kendrick (writer and producer of the films), whose family is currently in the process of bringing home their daughter, Mia, from China, stood and talked with us for a half an hour…asking us questions about our process and praying with us about our future. I got a kick out of discussing an idea for a Sherwood/Kendrick Brothers film centered around adoption! Wouldn’t that be wild!?! Not only were all of the people friendly and welcoming, there was not a bit of pretentiousness over the “fame” of the church. And the music…The music will be heard in heaven for sure. Mark Willard is the only music minister David and I have ever heard who can seemlessly combine Prestonwood and Gateway music in a song set and make it seem like they are the same church…and then add in a hymn or two :). We swooned. The message was built on unadulterated truth and it was obvious that the church does not compromise the Word of God to draw seat fillers. These people are serious about Jesus!! It only got better in the evening service…did I just say evening service?…yes, I did. It was a more casual atmosphere as far as dress was concerned, but it only got deeper in worship. I was touched considerably at the people who walked to the altar in conviction as the service started to end pledging to lead their families to revival. The stories of how God has opened doors for this church blew us away and we left totally confident that God is fully allowed to work in the ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church.
In between services, Emily took our first family pictures and can I just say that I am SO excited to see them. Even the unedited ones she showed us were pretty incredible and I can’t wait to get them on my wall. Catching Kate smiling on camera is a feat to behold and it doesn’t help when it is 95 degrees and the knats are flying up her nose and in her eyes, but Emily patiently worked with us and got some really, really good shots. After the evening service, we took the kids to Burger King so they could play on the playground (we weren’t up to braving a sit down restaurant with 8 kids under 12) and we enjoyed often interrupted, God filled conversation until they kicked us out! At this point, I was ready to look for houses. I am so thirsty for community I could cry, but I know that it is crucial at this point in our journey with Christ that we wait on Him. He is seriously working in our family right now and we are being very cautious to follow His every direction. We are at a point that we have surrendered it all, and we want Him to be able to use that to the fullest degree of His glory.
So, no, we aren’t moving to Albany…at least not yet ;), but we sure did enjoy our short visit. And before we left, God reminded us that His promises are always steadfast and faithful. He will not leave us wandering. Please pray that the ministry at Sherwood Baptist will continue to change lives for Christ around the world.