For We Walk by Faith…Not by Sight

by Jennifer Smith

After the birth of our third child, my husband and I decided that our family was complete. We were content and didn’t plan to have any more children; however, God had other plans. During the summer of 2006 we began to think about adding to our family, discussed adoption and prayed for God’s guidance. We both felt a tugging towards adoption, but we wanted to make sure it was the right path for our family. We were looking for some sort of “big” sign, and that’s exactly what we got when we attended Winter Jam in 2007 in Mobile. It was our first time to attend a Winter Jam concert, so imagine our surprise when we discovered that Holt International sponsored it. As a video presentation of orphanages in China played, we watched as tears rolled down our cheeks. When it was over, we looked at each other and said: “we’re adopting…we’re going to China.” We requested an application packet from Holt the next week.

Like most people, we experienced both miracles and challenges during our adoption journey, but we forged ahead and claimed 2 Corinthians 5:7 as our adoption verse. It states: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” That verse came to mean so much to us during both the joyful and difficult times of our adoption journey.

We started out in the standard process but then switched to the China Child of Promise option. After only a few weeks in this program, we received our referral for a beautiful little girl named Shang Nan. She was listed as having vision problems. We read over the information and looked at her pictures, and we knew that she was the one. We fell in love with her instantly.

Rinnah Shangnan is doing very well now. She’s had an eye examination, and it was confirmed that she is completely blind in her right eye. She wears glasses now, and we can tell that using them is definitely helping her. She is trying to stand up now and even does somersaults! She is a good-natured and happy little girl. Continue reading “For We Walk by Faith…Not by Sight”

Investing in the Lives of Others

A youth group sponsors a child at a Winter jam concert

In order to reach kids with the Gospel in this day and age, you have to do it on their level. That’s why I love taking our group to Winter Jam each year. It features the greatest Christian artists of our day with a message that glorifies God. Our kids have such a great time, and it’s great to see how it changes their lives as they draw closer to God and make right decisions.

This year started off no different, but, as we were enjoying the show, God was working in the background. The earthquakes in Haiti had just taken place a few days prior, and I used it as a discussion in our classroom to point out that we aren’t promised tomorrow so we need to do what we can to reach those around us today. Then Newsong came out and presented the ministry of Holt International. As they were presenting, I looked around and saw the compassion in our group. When we had the opportunity we went down and found a little baby from Haiti.

His name is John Peter, but our group calls him “Lil’ H”, for little Haiti. It’s a term of endearment to these kids. We raise the money for the sponsorship independent of regular offerings, and the response has been great! One particular Sunday, a preteen girl gave her entire piggy bank full of change. That same day, another kid gave his whole allowance. When I ask for prayer needs, they are constantly reminding me to pray for Lil’ H. I’m overwhelmed on how God is teaching our kids to invest in the lives of others. We live in a selfish society where people are asking, “what can you do for me?”, but thanks to the opportunity given to us by Holt International, they are truly learning what it means to serve God by serving others.

Sponsor a child in need today!

Volunteer at or attend a Winter Jam Concert near you!

Winter Jam Off to a Great Start

Winter Jam 2010, a concert tour featuring Christian artists like: Newsboys, Third Day, and hosted by Newsong, continues to be a major force in raising awareness and support for orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children overseas.

The tour, so far, has seen many generous and caring people make the decision to help a child through Holt International’s sponsorship program, and the tour still has 2 full months of touring dates left.   Speaker, Tony Nolan, has offered hope and helped pave the way for orphaned and abandoned children to be given the assistance they desperately need.

A recent newsstory from Urban Christian News reports on Winter Jam 2010’s record-breaking start.   Also, see locations and venues for  remaining concerts and sign up to volunteer to help concert-goers as they select children to sponsor.

Urban Christian News:

Following the first six dates, Christian music’s largest annual tour, the Winter Jam 2010 Tour Spectacular, has kicked-off with the highest average attendance in its 15-year history. Launching January 8 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Winter Jam has seen nearly 63,000 attendees to date, an average spike of more than 9% from last year, making history for the Tour franchise. Concerts at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, each drew crowds in excess of 13,000. In addition, Winter Jam has facilitated 1,401 sponsorship commitments to adoption and child welfare organization Holt International, to help meet the needs of orphaned children around the world. Continue reading “Winter Jam Off to a Great Start”

The Power of the Human Spirit

by Jennifer Goette, Holt Director of Programs, South and Southeast Asia

During my first trip to Vietnam in my new role as the Program Director for South and Southeast Asia, there were many moments that led me to confront the power of the human spirit. Visiting orphanages supported by Holt, I was impressed by the loving care and genuine affection provided to each child. I was also touched by the need that emanated from each child, young and old, to be loved and cared for. Some of the children would find loving, permanent families through domestic or inter-country adoption; my heart went out to the other children – often older children and children with special needs—who would probably wait for years hoping to find a family of their own.

I was profoundly moved by a quiet young man with a determined spirit who has been living in care for most of his childhood. Tuan Ahn has a quick smile and is shy about his accomplishments. Orphaned at the age of eight years old when both of his parents passed away from infections believed to be caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Tuan was sent to live with his grandparents. After only two years, his grandparents were too old to care for the young boy and placed him with an orphanage supported by Holt International outside of Ho Chi Minh City. There he has received care and positive encouragement for more than nine years. Continue reading “The Power of the Human Spirit”