"I didn't know exactly why God was calling me to this play," she said to me about the school's production of Annie, Jr. "And I didn't know why I chose November, other than the fact that it seemed like a good month with the school's Grandparent's Day celebrations and Thanksgiving, too."
And I didn't know exactly why God had delayed my Orphan Sunday presentation to the Masses of St. Vincent Ferrer by one week. I was frustrated, for sure, but I knew--in my heart--there was a good reason and that it was more than I could possibly understand.
Then Mrs. Delgado, the Principal of the school, heard my cry for the least of these at the Masses in recognition of National Adoption Month and Orphan Sunday. The Holy Spirit had worked through me, I was assured, when I witnessed with my own eyes the outpouring of support in our Catholic faith that weekend. I'd walked in with a message of hope and boxes full of brochures about orphan sponsorship, adoption information, and foster care resources, and I walked out with practically nothing left but a feeling that something big was brewing. (We were blessed by some donations for Lulu, too.) Mrs. Delgado said that it all came together at that Mass she'd attended, and she knew precisely why God had called her to that play about orphans. It was His perfect timing.
I reached out, the week after, to the Director of our local Birthline/Lifeline chapter here. I know her well as I've been a part of the Adoption Speakers Guild for a couple of years now. I shared the feeling in my heart and asked for guidance in planting the seeds for an orphan ministry in our Catholic faith. A meeting was set for Tuesday, December 1st.
Stay with me...
Stay with me...
The next weekend, on the opening day of the school's play, I received a Facebook message from Mrs. Delgado, the school principal:
"Nothing happens by chance...I just want you to know that we will be donating 15% of our box office sales tonight from Annie Jr. to your ministry for orphans. Thank you for your wonderful message. You and your husband touch so many through your examples."
We were floored--stunned that the Holy Spirit had worked in this way! But, then, why wouldn't He? Our Heavenly Father adores all of His precious children. Mrs. Delgado invited me to attend the school's community showing of Annie Jr. on December 3rd, at which time they wished to present a donation check for our orphan ministry--you know, one of those "big checks" that are given to charitable causes. Yeah...that's a first. I was pinching myself and celebrating the fact that our ministry would now have seed funding.
Fast forward to this week. Accompanied by the Director of Birthline/Lifeline, I met with Catholic Charities. We prayed together before our meeting not sure how this heartfelt message--and request for a ministry--would be received. But our God is bigger, and our words were met with smiles and receptive expressions. In fact, the director made mention that her own mother had done mission work in Guatemala, and in orphanages! Suffice it to say, the Holy Spirit was in that room, and the proposed goal seemed attainable even. We walked out in awe of what had transpired. A new meeting has been set for mid-December, and a Novena of prayer is now being shared for the intentions of our ministry.
After the meeting, I came home to another message from Mrs. Delgado. She inquired about the name of the foundation to write the school's donation check to. I picked up the phone knowing there was so much to explain and, of course, wanted to fill her in on all of the beautiful details that had unfolded. I rambled on and on about the infancy stages of this Catholic ministry for orphans and named which organization the donation check could be made payable to.
There was silence. Then Mrs. Delgado said, "But we want to bless Lulu with this donation."
I was speechless. Well, you know me...I'm rarely speechless (ask Jimmy), but I assured her, with confidence, that God would provide for Lulu's adoption if they chose to give their donation to our rising orphan ministry.
And then Mrs. Delgado replied without an ounce of uncertainty, "We want to give this donation to Lulu. We would much rather be a part of Lulu's story than to donate this money to a foundation."
Boom. The tears fell. It was an unexpected twist of a blessing!
I showed up yesterday morning, with dear friends, to watch a very talented group of children sing their hearts out and give one heck of an amazing show. Of course, Annie Jr. struck so many chords about the reality of the world orphan crisis, and it was quite an emotional morning. After the play, they invited me onto the stage and presented the "big check" for Lulu. I was given a few minutes to share my heart and to thank the cast of Little Orphan Annie for blessing Little Orphan Lulu.
I am constantly in awe of the Holy Spirit, and how His plans are orchestrated so perfectly, and so beautifully, despite our own personal desires and plans. We're just so thankful, always, for the many blessings we've received for our children--for His children. For they are the worthy and deserving of love.