Wednesday, September 5, 2012


"She can't wear that shirt, ma'am."

So Leah puts on the ugly, mustard colored t-shirt that would have better fit a professional wrestler.

"Nope, no hair bow."

De-fancy the long brown hair.

"Make sure we can see her ears....whoops, no earrings."

Remove earrings.

"Don't touch the background."

The pasty white screen swings like a trapeze.

"Look at the camera."

"Hey, no smiles please."

"Make a NOT smiley face."

Well, it wasn't a smiley face...

"Put your hands down please."

"That's perfect."

The result???

One perfectly, personality-free photo for a United States Passport.

One freckly five-year old tickled to the moon and back, proudly declaring, "I'm getting a passporch!"

If you ask my little Leah lady where she is going, she will promptly say, "The airport."

Pressed a little further, you might hear, "To the 'Minican Public.'"

Hoop one on our Thanksgiving adventure to the wonderful Dominican Republic has been jumped through. I'm not sure the world is ready for Leah Hall, but Jonathan and I are ready to introduce her to an experience that we hope she grows up hungry for. We've planted a lot of seeds in Leah's little heart...

A seed of prayer, watered carefully each night, as we have taught our girl to lift up the names of little children around the world, her little voice quivering earnestly.

A seed of empathy, budding with Compassion, as her blue eyes pour over the newest child packets that mommy needs to find sponsors for.

A seed of relationships, blossoming in all its beauty in many colors across a sheet of construction paper addressed to her friend in Africa or India or Honduras.

A seed of selflessness, hungrily digging deep into the earth of her little heart as she says,"Mommy, will you buy this for Andrea?" instead of, "Mommy, will you buy this for me?"

You see, we want our little ones to grow up aware of the hurt in this world, aware of their place among the needy and suffering. As Jonathan and I strive more and more in our lives to live as servants to the poor, we desperately want our children to take their place beside us. This is because we know that in service, not in selfishness, the heart is satisfied. For the Christian, there is no place so fulfilling as underneath the cross, walking the road that the Savior walked.

I'm so proud of my Leah because she is hopping, skipping, jumping, running ahead of me down this road with youthful enthusiasm. She loves caring for her "kids" who happen to live far away. To us, it seemed obvious that the next step would involve putting her on a plane and letting her meet some of her kids in person. So, during Thanksgiving holiday, my miss is going to celebrate her birthday with Andreina Valentin, tag along in Las Colinas with Israel, light up the beach in Barahona with Jeffry, Cesar, and Dionaris, and reunite with her "aunts", Nujerling Santana and Megan Sprague. Leah has quite a little family waiting for her in the Dominican Republic.

Today's passport photo adventure left me laughing because I couldn't help but be reminded of some other photo shoots that might be taking place somewhere. Instead of putting on her plainest attire, a little girl is decking herself out in the snazziest attire available, pieced together from the collected wardrobes of her friends and neighbors. Hair is carefully combed.

"Fix your bow sweetheart."

"Stand up straight."

"Make sure I can see your hands."

"Will someone get that goat out of the background?"

"Smile! No, not THAT face. Smile!"

The result?

One perfectly unique photo for a Compassion child packet.

One child, maybe looking at the first photo of themselves they've ever seen, tickled to the moon and back, proudly declaring, "I'm getting a sponsor!"

Seeds planted...

Seeds of hope.

An "I matter!" seed, blooming into newly found confidence.

An "I'm loved!" seed, growing into a tree of self-worth.

An "I'm accepted!" seed, stretching thirsty leaves toward heaven, basking in the glorious light of our Father's adoption.

Will you sow a seed today in the life of a child?

Take 10 seconds to click on the "Sponsor a Child" link on this page. Look at the picture day photos...the fancy dresses, the carefully mended shirts, the wistful eyes hungry for hope. Will you pray for one?? Will you sponsor one??

Be about planting seeds.

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