• Night to Shine

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OUR NIGHT TO SHINE

By Barry Cameron
February 13, 2015

In August of 1999 Angela Ettinghoff and her husband flew from their home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to China to adopt a new baby: a beautiful 16-month-old girl. When they returned, Angela went on the Internet to get some advice on how to help her new daughter, Annie, with her eating habits. She posted some questions on a website for adoptive parents. A mother in Boynton Beach, Florida, responded.

Eileen Surrey was the woman who wrote back. She told Angela they’d also brought home a baby girl from China who, coincidentally, was also 16 months old. They’d gone to China five months earlier in the spring, and brought their new baby daughter home to America. As the two mothers continued to correspond, they discovered both had gone to the same orphanage, the Changde Orphanage in Hunan Province. When they exchanged baby pictures, Eileen saw Annie for the first time and said, “I almost stopped breathing.” She sent a note to Angela and said, “I don’t know if my daughter knows your daughter, but I feel like I know her.”

God saw us for who we were, with all our faults, failures, sins and stains, and still said, “I love you, I want you, and I’m willing to pay whatever price it takes to have you as My child.” Then ... He sent Jesus to get us.

For the next several years the two mothers continued to correspond and, even though they lived hundreds of miles apart, became friends. As they continued to exchange pictures and emails, both were surprised by the striking similarities in the two girls. Their personalities, academic achievements, even their artistic inclinations appeared to be strangely similar.

Finally, in December of 2005, they took DNA samples from both girls and discovered not only are they sisters, they are twins! The families are closer than ever now. In fact, they call themselves “twinlaws,” a unique blended family of six that includes two extremely talented and beautiful 7-year-old twin girls. Renee said that “the best thing about being sisters is being sisters.” Annie agrees and wrote a note to Renee that said, “I love you so, so much.” Renee wrote back, “No, Annie. I love you more!”

It’s been said you don’t get to choose your parents. However, in an adoption, parents get to choose their kids. That makes those who’ve been adopted phenomenally special. Someone saw you as you are and said, “I love you, I want you, and I’m willing to pay whatever price it takes to have you as my child.” Talk about love!

That’s exactly what God did for us in Christ. Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:4-5, “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.”

God saw us for who we were, with all our faults, failures, sins and stains, and still said, “I love you, I want you, and I’m willing to pay whatever price it takes to have you as My child.” Then ... He sent Jesus to get us.

Tonight we’re adopting close to 90 special needs kids and their families to be a part of an incredible program called NIGHT TO SHINE. We’re doing this with the Tim Tebow Foundation, providing a place and a program they will remember for the rest of their lives. I am so thankful for my incredible daughter-in-law, Lindley Cameron, for leading the way in this endeavor and for the team she has assembled. Hundreds of our people have stepped up to help; praying, volunteering, donating, serving, helping, you name it.

So as we adopt these kids and their families and love on them with the love of JESUS, will you pray we do it with excellence and enthusiasm and in a way that honors God? We want to do our absolute best.

Because ... tonight is our NIGHT TO SHINE!

© 2015. Barry L. Cameron

BARRY CAMERON

Senior Pastor

Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.

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