God’s Story ~ Keli Shreck
Today I’m blessed to bring you a God Story from Keli Shreck. She is one of Quail Spring’s missionaries in Rwanda along with her family. She has such a sweet Spirit and heart for serving God. I love her reminder of how God breaks into our days in unexpected ways and speaks straight to our hearts…
Our God has done so many amazing things! Since He created the world, He has been doing amazing things. I see it in the miracle of a seed growing, the stars, the oceans, the mountains and the precious eyes of a child. He is big and so wonderful. He will never run out of wonders and strength and glory and power. His stories will be told forever. I look forward to the time in Heaven when we can exchange more stories of the wonders He has done!
His faithfulness, tender care, and love in my life have saved me and encouraged me to keep living for Him. Here is how He encouraged me one day…
It was December 2007. The background of the story is that my husband and I had traveled to Rwanda to meet and bring home our sons. Our daughters were seven and nine years old at the time. So much of this story is a family story. At least two years before this particular day, we began praying for our sons. And before that, our daughters, Kassidy and Natalie were praying for a brother. They ended up getting a double “yes” to that prayer.
Through a course of watching several adoption agency DVDs, reading packets, and attending a couple of adoption seminars, we felt God was leading us to adopt our sons from Russia. We decided on an agency and were ready to start the process. Then we heard about babies in an orphanage in Rwanda. Two other families from our church, Quail Springs, were adopting for the Home of Hope Orphanage in Kigali, Rwanda. We had thought our sons would be from Russia, but after a time of prayer and fasting, my husband Brett, and I knew God was leading us to Africa instead. As soon as we started the process of adopting from Rwanda, Russia closed International adoptions for a time.
As I mentioned before this really is a family story. It is specifically Benjamin and Nicholas’ story. The parts I tell are how their story has impacted me. I have been forever changed and blessed to be their mother.
Back to the day in Africa, where God met me in a powerful way. We had finished the adoption process in Rwanda and had to travel to Nairobi, Kenya, to process the US paperwork at the US Embassy there. Our sons needed US visas to be allowed to enter the US, and at that time, all US citizens adopting from East Africa had to go the Embassy in Kenya to finalize paperwork before returning back to the US. We had been to Nairobi once already, but had to leave because of election violence.
This was our second trip to Nairobi in a month and the city was eerily quiet. There was a visible and strong military presence. We saw lots of soldiers guarding a rumored demonstration site. They were all standing elbow to elbow with feet apart surrounding a very large city park. There were road blocks every so often on the way from the airport to our hotel. It was tense, especially with two newly adopted sons in tow. Benjamin was 17 months and Nicholas was 5 months when we first met them and began trying to bring them home.
The road blocks were symbolic to me. I felt like after a certain point in our adoption process, we were encountering so many roadblocks to getting home. On this day, I was in our hotel room with the boys. Brett was out trying to see what progress could be made on our Embassy appointment or finding another option to get us all home.
In the morning, we had taken the boys to finish their physicals by the Embassy approved doctor. The boys had, had more immunizations and were not feeling great. I can’t imagine how hard the shock and stress of meeting their new parents and all the travel was to them. Everything was new and unfamiliar, the sights, the people caring for them, the smells, the food..and now shots. They were understandably not happy.
I was trying to comfort both of them and just started singing…”Jesus Loves Me,” “Jesus Loves the Little Children” and on and on. When I ran out of children’s songs, I started on hymns. These songs started ministering to me. When I began to sing “Victory in Jesus” something happened in my heart. God began to give me a glimpse and fresh realization of how absolutely enormous His love was for…me. I started softly crying as I sang and felt such an amazing and overwhelming sense of peace. My adoption journey as an earthy parent completely paled and shrunk in comparison to the journey God made to make me His daughter! I was overwhelmed with the words “How a Savior came from Glory” (Now THAT’s a long trip- from Heaven all the way to the cross. From Glory to dusty earth.) I was overwhelmed with the words “He loved me ere I knew Him.” I understood a little bit of how that was possible. I had prayed and cried tears for and loved these boys before I ever saw a picture of them. I had dearly loved both of our girls before they were born, too.
In that song, I felt God telling me how much He loved me before I was born. How He traveled so far to adopt me. He was telling my heart…”Keli, this is an old, old story of how much I LOVE YOU.” His love is so amazing. The fact that He took time to tell my heart this helped me know that He was in control. I could stop worrying and let Him get us all through the “roadblocks.”
I knew, along with my husband, that God had led us in every step of the adoption process. We saw His miraculous opening of doors on so many occasions. But on this day, He chose to bless me in a way I have never forgotten. It was a truth that had always been there. He just opened my eyes and heart to understand it a little bit more that day. How can we ever fully grasp the wonder of the Creator of all the universe and His Great love for us?
By then Benjamin had fallen asleep. I rocked Nicholas and cried tears of overwhelming love and thankfulness for God, my sons, my husband, and my daughters. After almost 7 weeks in Africa, God brought us home. We were a family all together at last! It was such a joyful reunion with our daughters, family, and friends.
I remember even on the day we got home from the airport, trying to explain this “God Story” to my family. I wanted them to know how God had shown me the story of my adoption into His family in a deeper way that day. I want everyone to know that He has done that for you too!
“God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.” ~ Ephesians 1:5, NLT