Praying Koby and Si Home

It’s been a while since we updated anything on our adoption. Part of the reason for the delay is a series of tumultuous events in our life shortly after returning from Ghana. Perhaps we’ll be able to share more about that later, but for now, we are simply concentrating on walking in obedience to Christ and getting our new sons home!

As most of you probably know, we traveled to Ghana in mid-September for our court date. It was important to us to meet Koby and Kwesi before we went to court, so we traveled and met them the day before our court date. Emotions were turning with nervous anxiety for us and for them, I’m sure, as we sat and watched them enter the gate to our hotel. However, we warmed up to each other quickly, and Christy and I fell in love with them again as we spent time with them. See this pic of our first face to face encounter.

The night before court was filled with much anxiety as well. Christy and I spent a lot of time praying and seeking God. So much change for our family rested in the next 24 hours, and this court decision would ultimately change the course of many lives. We were concerned and a bit fearful. Eventually the Holy Spirit reminded us of God’s work in this, and we knew that God in His sovereignty had brought us to this moment, and we were content to trust Him!

Our court session was in Cape Coast, so we set out for an interesting trip in a van full of parents, children, and orphanage personnel. Eventually we found ourselves in the judge’s chambers. We listened intently as she went over the paper work commenting from time to time. Eventually looking at Christy and me she declared that from this day forward Edward Kwobena Armah would be known as James Koby McCosh and that from this day forward Gerrad Kwesi Owusu wouldbe known as Josiah Gerrad McCosh, the names we had chosen for the boys. She further stated that Christy and I were now their legal parents, and reminded us that we are responsible for their food, shelter, clothing, education, and medical care etc.

In the moment of the pronouncement of the decree, emotionally I experienced a familiar place not much different than that when my 3 biological children were birthed into this world. Up to the point of delivery, I knew they were mine, and I couldn’t wait to see them and hold them, but Christy had taken care of them pretty much solo up to that point. However, the moment they were born, I somehow immediately morphed into the provider and protector–The proud but cautiously over-protective father.

Emotionally, this adoption decree was very similar. At once, at the moment of the pronouncement, unexpectedly, I felt it–OKAY THESE ARE MY SONS, and I will provide and protect them as my sons Forever! At that point, even though I already loved them, the paradigm changed. The love I have for them now is different! Now I love them as my own sons! I am so thankful that God’s love for me is that of a son. I wonder if upon the moment of my conversion and justification if God’s heart felt like mine: “Now your are my son forever!”

John 1:12  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.
Rom 8:14-17  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15  For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16  The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17  and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ . . .

The next several days with them were such a blessing. You can see pics of our trip here. We enjoyed spending all of our time with them, but unfortunately we had to leave them behind for now. We still have to wait on approval from the USCIS to get visas to bring them home.

That’s where this post comes in. Our court decree had misspelled names, and we haven’t been able to get a corrected decree so we can file our paperwork. It’s caused us to delay filing for more than a month. Please pray that we can get our corrected decree and that our I600 can get filed and approved quickly. Please help us pray Koby and Si home!

As Always, we’d love your feedback, questions, or input, so please comment below.

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Confessions from a Control Freak’s Husband

As we prepare to leave for Ghana to meet these two precious little boys we are bringing into our family, we are learning that God Provides! While Christy confesses her personal compassion to control in her latest blog, I plead the 5th. I do know she desires only what is best, and often I am just as concerned as she is.

Even when we walk in faith in God’s will, we often wonder how He is going to work. Will He provide or will we suffer? Those are often the indwelling questions of our hearts.

I’ve heard it said multiple times: If it’s God’s Will, it’s His Bill!

That is true, but often God allows us to suffer through trials as James wrote in chapter one.

In this case, at least at this time, He has provided again! And I am so thankful for people with kind, compassionate, and generous hearts that are Christ-like! Through the obedience of many of God’s people, His will is ushered in!

Praise be to the one who has picked us up out of our desperation and rescued us and adopted us into His own precious family, Jesus!

Check out my wife’s latest blog on our adoption journey:  Confessions from a Control Freak http://wp.me/p2aIPJ-6i via @wordpressdotcom

To the Glory of Christ!

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Last Chance to Win Rifle and Help us Get our boys home

Christy and I traveled to Ghana in September, and on September 18 we were granted the adoption of two new sons: James Koby McCosh, and Josiah Gerrad McCosh. Praise the Lord!

Now we are trying to get misspellings corrected on our court decree so we can file the paperwork with USCIS to get approval for visas to bring Koby and Si home!

That means airfare for two to Ghana and for four back home. So we are still in need of raising some funds.

The drawing for the raffle of the antique Russian sniper rifle will be next Friday, the 19th. The winner will be contacted and announced right after the drawing. Get your chance while time remains!

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We were blessed by the generous donation from a church member with this antique rifle toward our adoption. The gun is a Russian M91 7.62x54R. It is the original design of the Mosin Nagant. Based on my research, I believe this gun to be a 1924 Tula Dragoon. The estimated value could be up to $500.

This is an older version of the Mosin Nagant 91/30 that was used as a Russian Sniper Rifle featured in the Jude Law movie “Enemy at the Gates.”
You can view more pics of the gun on my facebook photos.

You may buy tickets by requesting in person, through paypal on our blog, or simply by messaging and mailing money.

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Russian M91 Tula Dragoon 7.62x54R

Russian M91 Tula Dragoon 7.62x54R

This is a 1924 soviet snipers rifle. It is the predecessor of the Mosin Nagant 91/30.

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Growing the Family

It’s been a while since my last post–busy! The last few months have been a roller coaster of emotions and trials with some victories. God has used recent events to mold and shape us. For that we are very thankful.

My oldest, Ivy, started high school yesterday. I can’t believe my baby is that old. Sophie started 7th grade, and Levi is in 4th. Another school year begins . . .

Meanwhile on our adoption journey, our boys have had their medicals and we now know their birthdays. Gerrad, who we will call Josiah, was born on February 10, 2009. I found it interesting that my last blog post, about the adoption, was posted on his 3rd birthday. James Koby, who we will call Koby, was born on November 4, 2008. A mere 14 weeks separate their births, unusual for brothers I know. They aren’t biologically related, obviously, but will be brothers forever because of adoption.

We plan to travel to Ghana in a few weeks to meet them for the first time and to get a court date during our visit. This will be the opportunity for Ghana/Social Welfare to find us as credible adoptive parents and hopefully, as far as Ghana is concerned, these two little boys will be legally declared our sons. We look forward to this trip and to welcoming these boys into our family. Unfortunately we won’t be able to bring them home right away because we will have to file more paperwork in Ghana (I-600) and wait for approval; then we must get visas and passports for the boys, and other legal stuff, I’m sure. We have been told, if everything goes smoothly, we could have the boys in our home before Christmas. That would be AWESOME!

Please join us in prayer on this journey. We are acting in faith to a God-called task. We currently do not have funds in hand to make this happen. Once we buy our tickets to Ghana our adoption fund will be empty. We’ll have court fees and many other expenses while in Ghana. Christy has been seeking part-time employment to help fund our adoption, but she has had no luck so far. However, every time we have needed money for each step in the adoption, up to this point, it has been available. We trust that will continue. The gifts often come from unlikely sources, and we are thankful that God moves people’s hearts to give.

If you feel compelled to help us give Josiah and Koby a home with the McCosh family, you can send a check to:  Gum Springs Baptist Church (noted for the McCosh adoption), 5454 Franks Ferry Road, Walling, TN 38587, hand deliver it to a family member or a church member or to us, or you can donate through PayPal.

We really appreciate any support you may be able to give us, and we pray God’s blessings upon you all!

There’s more than one way to grow a family. I pray that more Christian families will be moved by the Spirit of God and the Word of God to give fatherless children a Christ-centered home!

As always your thoughts and comments are appreciated.

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Just Like Jesus

Most of you know my family is in the process of going through the steps to adopt two precious little boys from Ghana. We are excited and anxious about this opportunity. It, however, does not present itself empty of challenges. If teenagers were required to go through the same steps to adopt before they were permitted to have children, teenage parents would be few and far between. One of the immediate challenges is in raising the funds for the adoption. International adoption costs are enormous. The agency costs alone steered us away from many countries.

Through the Sovereignty of God we were led to do an independent adoption utilizing the volunteer resources provided to us through Hearts for Ghana Ministries. Even as an independent adoption the cost will still probably be at least $15,000. We recently sold our home when we answered the call of God to serve as pastor at Gum Springs Baptist Church. We initially thought we’d pocket enough to pay for the adoption, but due to the housing market, we barely broke even after having the house on the market for almost 9 months. So far we have received $600 in assistance, and we are extremely thankful for these generous gifts. We are prepared to save and pay for this as we go, but we know this is God’s will, so we trust Him. If it’s God’s will it’s His bill!

A couple of weeks ago Christy started a blog, mainly to feature our adoption. It is called: Just Like Us. Please take a look at it, and if the Lord leads you, consider supporting us through prayer, encouraging words, and/or financial assistance.

The most exciting thing about our adoption to me is that through this process our actions emulate those of Jesus! As Jesus prepared His followers for His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, He warned them that He would be leaving them for a while, but He promised; “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18 NKJV). Thank God one day we will return with Him to His home and all the Father’s inheritance!

This is our heart! We are compelled to provide a family for these fatherless children, and we are also committed to ministry to the fatherless–Just like Jesus!

Adding to the excitement is what God is doing this through other families in our church. My associate pastor Kevin Weldon and his wife Debbie are currently awaiting Dossier approval to get a referral to adopt an infant from The Congo. You can follow their adoption blog here: Forever by Grace.

Dwane and Ginger Scott, faithful members of Gum Springs Baptist Church, are also in the process of adopting from Africa. After beginning the process to adopt from Rwanda, they have recently changed their adoption to Ethiopia due to Hague Laws. You can follow their blog here: Our Story for God’s Glory

More excitement includes two other families in our fellowship who currently keep foster children, Jeff and Lori Jones, with 6 children of their own, now have foster twins in their home. Johnny and Cheryl Bryant have also opened their home to a foster child. Praise the Lord for His great work through His people to minister to these little ones!

Jesus loves the little children of the world! So do we! Lord help us to love them JUST LIKE JESUS!

As always your comments are encouraged and appreciated.

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Just Like Us

Christy has started a new blog that we will use to keep folks updated about our adoption process. It’s called Just Like Us. It’s a great name. We didn’t realize there was a movie by this name just a couple of years ago. Oh well, we thought it was appropriate since our two Ghanian sons, although a little different, in most ways they are just like us.

We now belong to our eternal family through faith. These boys will be just like us because they will forever be our children and a part of our family.

We were chosen by God not because of anything we have done, but because of His grace.

Just like us, these boys have been chosen, not because of who they are nor because of anything they’ve done, but simply by grace and God’s work in our hearts and lives.

The ways they are just like us are innumerable, and when we finally get them home, they will become more and more like us.

Ultimately our goal is not to make them like us, but to give them an opportunity to be conformed into the image of Christ, Romans 8:29. Just Like us–who are being made to be just like Jesus–we want them to be made Just like Him!

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Blessings from The Father

God provided the way for all of us to know Him as our Father through Christ. He has provided blessings undeserved by us who were alienated from Him because of sin, even His enemies.

In the first chapter of Ephesians we see how God blesses those He claims as His own. There are at least three ways:

1. He has chosen to rescue you from your helpless condition (V. 4).
We are all sinners. Romans 3 makes that plain! We are really worse off than just being sinners. We are dead (Eph. 2:1). We are selfish and disobedient (Eph. 2:2). Instead of children of God, before our redemption, we were children of wrath!
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6 NKJV). Folks we are utterly incapable of saving ourselves. We are helpless and hopeless without Christ, but in spite of His foreknowledge of our sin and hopelessness, God chose before the foundation of the world to rescue us from our helpless condition.

The text says he chose us in Him! That is our position in Christ. We are in God. Notice the purpose—that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. We could never achieve any of that on our own, but God chose to pick us up out of our pitiful state of sin and rescue us to be with Him, holy and full of love.

2. He has chosen to adopt you as His own child (V. 5).
Isn’t it great that God chose to rescue us from our helpless slavery to sin? AMEN! It gets better though.
God in His sovereignty, not only rescued us from sin, the grave, and hell, but he predestined us to adoption as sons (His own precious children).

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (Galatians 4:4-7 NKJV)

Only adult children get immediate access to the inheritance. This is the way God has adopted us. We immediately have access to all He has! Look with me at Ephesians 1:11-14. We have a guaranteed inheritance because we are His children forever! Why? Christ’s work. He has purchased us with His own blood. Those who have believed God and his redemptive work through Christ, repented from sin, and surrendered to the Lordship of Christ are immediately adopted into the family of God with all the rights of grown sons, and they are His children forever! What a Blessing!

3. He has chosen to accept you for His pleasure (V. 5b-6).
Notice the reason for God’s adopting us. It is NOT FOR US! It is for Him! It is for His pleasure and for His glory!
God adopted us in our unworthiness to make His grace look great. God’s action is radically God-centered and God-exalting. God seeks His own glory! HE IS WORTHY! He is not undeservingly selfish! He deserves all we can give Him and so much more!

Look with me at Ephesians 1:12 and 14. Notice the emphasis, “to the praise of His glory!”
We need to exalt God for His glory. That is our purpose. This is why He created us. We are redeemed to be enabled for us to do this! We are adopted and placed for this! We are gifted for this purpose—for the praise of His Glory!

Since we have been blessed so much by our Heavenly Father—given so much love from Him, Christy and I want to share that love with others. God placed the desire on our hearts years ago to adopt a child without a family. After we had Levi and struggled through the greatest trial of our life this far, we weren’t sure we’d be able to, even after God brought us back to where we should be with Him. The burdens of raising a special needs child seemed too heavy to add additional children.
Now we are in a place in our relationship with God and with each other that we have never been! God is SO GOOD! We are closer to Him and closer to each other than ever, and God has given us a desire to rescue a child from his helpless condition. As a matter of fact, God has given us the desire to rescue two little boys from an orphanage in Ghana, Africa.

Thanks to Whitney Reynolds and Tammy Maloney and Hearts4Ghana Ministries we have a plan in place to bring these two boys into our family as adopted sons with all the rights of fully grown children to the praise of His glory who lifted us out of the mire and pit of sin by the revelation of The Way through His Son, The Word of Life!

We are bringing children into our family, not for us, but for God’s glory! God adopted us for the praise and glory of His grace; therefore, we adopt for the praise and glory of His grace!

Someone may ask, “Why didn’t you adopt a child that looks like you?” Our goal is not to raise a child that is like us, but a child that is being made to be like Jesus—to live and praise our God through Christ!

Please pray for us as we follow God’s direction in this adoption process, and pray for our family and these two new sons, that God will prepare all of our hearts and lives for one another, and pray for wisdom in planning and procedures and for all the resources we need to complete this adoption.

You can listen to the sermon that was a part of our adoption announcement by clicking on this link to Sermon Cloud.

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God can use an ink pen

I always find people’s stories about how they came to Christ interesting. Often Gideons share stories about how someone was down and out, depressed, and suicidal, suddenly discovered a Bible by their bedside, read it, became convicted by the Holy Spirit, repented and were given life in Christ!

Everyone knows the Bible itself can point people to Christ (Hebrews 4:12). So no surprise is found in those stories.

I’m also familiar with Christians placing Gospel tracts in strategic locations where someone eventually picks it up and a similar scenario to the one above takes place. A person places their faith in Jesus because of a tract that contains The WORD of God, and it shows them The WAY to a right relationship with Him!

Again, no surprise there–that’s what tracts are made for.

What about an ink pen?

The last business session in our church involved a short discussion about ordering pens (no fights broke out; nor was any hostility detected).

Previously the church had ordered pens with just the church logo. If the logo was internationally or even locally recognized it would stand alone and everyone would know where it was from. Unfortunately, ours is not–at least yet!

Some wanted the cheapest pens we can buy in order to save money for missions and evangelism–A Great Thought from a god-like heart, and a good alternative.

Why not use the pens FOR missions and evangelism?

Today my wife ate at a restaurant in Cookeville with a friend. When they handed her the tab, they handed her a GSBaptist pen to sign it. I wander how many hands have handled it and how many might have wondered where Gum Springs Baptist Church is (5454 Franks Ferry Road, Walling, TN 38587).

Unfortunately it only had the church logo. If it had the address someone who is depressed may drive to one of our services and find deliverance. If it had our website: Gsbaptistwalling.com, a person enslaved to alcohol might visit the page with God’s plan of salvation and there find freedom in Christ. If only our phone number, perhaps they could call and chat with one of our pastors and find a friend in Jesus.

We must be more outreach focused and evangelistic minded. Why? God can use the smallest items to make Himself known.

When it comes to sharing The Way to the wayward–God can use an ink pen!

        

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Gideons, The ACLU, and The Truth

It’s a story often told in other places, but recently it has been told close by, right here in our new home in White County. The ACLU steps in and threatens suit against the County Board of Education because “Bibles” were being passed out in one of our schools.

The complaint is a little deeper.  Members of a local chapter of the Gideons, an international Bible distribution organization headquartered in Nashville, came into the classroom, and students were invited up to get a Bible if they wanted one. It is being reported that one student said “she didn’t want to take [a Bible] but felt pressured to do so.” Her mother later complained to school officials and then to the ACLU.[1]

Let’s be clear. The Gideons do distribute Bibles with the intent to provide those who receive them and read them an opportunity to learn of God and His great love, demonstrated to us through Christ and His sacrifice and resurrection. They hope and pray that many will come to repentance and faith in Jesus. However, they do not force the Scriptures upon anyone.  Even this student admitted they did not force her to accept a Bible; she took it out of her own free will as she felt pressured by her peers. Surely we cannot blame the Gideons for peer pressure.

The intentions of the Gideons aside, the Bible is clearly the most influential writing upon the American culture. This is especially true in the south, even truer in the southeast, and overwhelmingly so in places as Gospel influenced as White County Tennessee. Surely, even atheists, agnostics, and skeptics would want their own children to be informed of the whys and hows of the common culture around them. What better way to understand why your neighbors and your children’s friends go to church on Sundays, abhor homosexuality and abortion, and why many give more than 10% of their money to the church and mission causes?

If I were living in Iraq or Saudi Arabia, I would not be shocked nor upset if my children were handed a Koran in a public setting. In fact, I would expect it, and I would take the opportunity to use the FREE information to teach my children the TRUTH.

If you believe the Bible is just religion made up by men, then by all means don’t take one for yourself. It is your right. However, if you are not afraid of learning the truth, take one, and read it, you might just find out that it shows you THE WAY , The Truth, and The Life (John 14:6 NKJV  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”). What harm is there in the quest for real truth? (John 8:32 NKJV And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”).

Let us Read His Word together. It does show us The Way!

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