Recieving The Call - The Ucherek's Story

A blog friend of mine put me in contact with Christi last week, and I checked out their blog site as we e-mailed back and forth about doing a guest post.

I read the long version of the story of how Christi and her husband Dan were called to adopt their son, Malakai, and pursue long-term mission work in Guatemala. Their hearts for the Lord just shines through their blog! I know the Lord is going to use them in great ways as they go to work with these kids who have no family.

Christi was kind enough to write an abbreviated version of their story for this blog, and I hope you enjoy it!

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I just want to start by thanking you for taking the time to read the story that God is writing with our lives... and a HUGE thank you to Callie for sharing her blog space with us - what a blessing!

First, let me start by introducing ourselves... my wonderful hubby Dan, I'm Christi, our sweet boy Malakai Aweke... and there's a bun in the oven due 3/18!



Our story goes a little something like this...



In 2003, while dating, our eyes were opened to the plight of the orphan. God used the trip that I, Christi, took to the Dominican Republic to change our hearts forever!

About six months prior, I had been introduced to Jesus Christ for the first time in my life. As I started a relationship with HIM and dug into HIS Word, I began to see that He had plans far better than anything I had imagined.

I was given an opportunity to serve overseas for about 4 weeks that summer. While I had no idea how this would happen financially, God pulled together the pieces and I left on a plane for the Dominican Republic that June. I had NEVER flown before, I had NEVER left my family for that long, I was SCARED to leave Dan, and I was serving with 30 others that I had never met!

What happened over the next 4 weeks completely rocked my world!

I knew there were orphans in the world...

I knew there were widows...

I knew there were poor...

I knew there were many injustices....

BUT I had NEVER been face to face with what I was about to experience.

I spent the next 4 weeks reaching out to a village that was filled with witchcraft...

A village where the 'workers' that came in to harvest the surrounding sugar cane fields raped all of the young girls...

A village where children were raising children...

A village where most of the people were walking around naked from lack of clothing...

A village where the children had bloated bellies from lack of food...

A surrounding garbage dump full of HOMES...
families searching for food each day...

Children NOT in school...

Children NOT being cared for...

The look of despair was on the faces of all...

And people that had NEVER heard the TRUTH of Jesus Christ...


Many faces and stories stand out in my mind, but God used this ONE child to grip my heart forever!



For months I would cry myself to sleep wondering if anyone was taking care of him, if
anyone was feeding him, and what would happen to all those precious lives!


I returned not completely understanding HOW to process all that I had just experienced. Through much prayer and seeking the wisdom of my pastor, I shared my desire to serve overseas as a full-time missionary and maybe adopt one day with my amazing boyfriend, Dan. We both knew that God was calling us to a life together, but Dan did not share this desire. I remember something along the lines of, "That's great babe, but I'm a sender, NOT a go-er"...

However, my wise (future) hubby made a commitment that he would pray for these children by name, listen to my stories, help me process all that I had been through, and be supportive of whatever God called me us to... just as long as it wasn't full time mission work!

Upon returning, I went through a period of really wrestling with the Lord... wondering how HE could burden my heart so heavily to serve the people of the DR BUT at the same time make it so clear that now was not HIS timing! Dan was absolutely instrumental in helping me to process all that I had been through and encouraged me to continue to seek the Lord's timing and purpose.

During this time, we were both challenged to dig deeper into God's Word and use our gifts to further the Kingdom. While we were serving, we had grown comfortable and were more willing to serve where and when it was most convenient for us, not really being bold in the name of Jesus!

We soon both felt the Lord calling me to again serve the vulnerable overseas. We asked the Lord to show us where and He led me to a trip to Honduras which was later postponed due to political unrest. I was given the option to go to Guatemala or wait a year to go to Honduras. As we prayed, it was Dan that sensed the Lord was leading me to Guatemala. I vividly recall struggling with this decision and Dan telling me that this may be God's plan all along, for me to serve in Guatemala...

God definitely wanted me to go on the Guatemala trip! THIS TRIP CHANGED OUR LIVES!





While many stories stand out in my mind, it was THESE two little girls in particular, God used to change our hearts, especially Dan's heart! Just like the DR trip, HE was using a small child to greatly impact our lives.

The first photo is Milagra- a precious little girl found in a dumpster and the 2nd is Yulisa- a sweet little girl with a big heart that was attached to my hip!

As God would have it, right after I applied to go to Honduras, we were sensing that the Lord was prompting me to serve in a ministry full-time... and I was THRILLED to leave corporate America! We prayed, researched ministries where I could serve, specifically in orphan care or adoption, and surrender this to the Lord and HIS timing! God then called us to my Lifesong for Orphans! God was on the move and we couldn't have been more excited to be involved in all that HE was doing in and through the Lifesong ministry!



We set out on this trip knowing that God had plans for it... to spread the gospel, to love on some children without parents to call their own, to serve the widow, to encourage some teens from desperate situations, and to make an impact for the Kingdom.

As I returned home and TRIED to process all I had experienced, I quickly noticed that not only was I lying awake at night crying myself to sleep thinking about the brokenness I had witnessed..... but Dan was too! He could not get enough of the stories and the photos... something was different this time!

God gave Dan this BEAUTIFUL song that he put to the video below which allowed us many
opportunities to share and advocate for these precious lives.



She's got no one to tuck her in at night... does anyone care? Father, please, stir in me, OPEN my eyes to see.... GOD was opening Dan's eyes to the plight of the orphan... and it was INCREDIBLE!

We were BOTH so broken... people would ask us to share about the trip and we'd both break down... it was ALL we talked about.... we were physically ill thinking of doing anything but going back!

As we left Guatemala, our team gathered around in the airport and asked the Lord to show BOTH Dan and I how HE would have us respond and how we could serve TOGETHER
defending the cause of the fatherless. That spot in the airport is so overwhelming to me!

Over the next months, we sensed the Lord calling us to adopt. We contacted everyone we could get our hands on to try to pursue these 2 sweet girls... and door after door was closed. We made a covenant with the Lord that we WOULD adopt these 2 sweet girls... whenever He called us to. We eventually received the news that ALL adoptions from Guatemala to the U.S. were closed... that we could do nothing, but pray. And pray we did. Fervently!

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Check back tomorrow for the rest of the story, including how their son came into their lives!

Also, if you just can't wait until then, you can read the full version of their story on their blog.

Dan and Christi are planning to become full-time missionaries to Guatemala, and they are still in the fundraising phase. They have to raise 75% of their support before they are allowed to go. If you are considering donating so that they can go as planned, here is the link to their donation page. I know they'd appreciate even five dollars so much! Maybe consider giving up that Starbucks I mentioned yesterday?

Part Two coming tomorrow!


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Anne said...

I love this story so much already! I can't wait to read the rest of it. Thanks so much for sharing!

Melanie said...

Wow! What an incredible story!! I can't WAIT to read the rest tomorrow! I had a pot on the stove of babyfood I was making going while reading this and it started boiling over I was so ingrossed in the story..lol! (dont worry it didnt burn)!

Natalie said...

Wow, what an encouraging story! I love how the Lord aligned the desires of their hearts!

Nicole said...

Wow, this is so outrageous... thank you for featuring her.
I'll definitely be back tomorrow to read he rest.

Christi said...

Thank you SO MUCH for sharing Callie... and thank you for all the kind comments as well! We are humbled that God would use us to accomplish His work in Guatemala!

-Christi

Dove of Snow said...

Awesome story! Very inspirational. I am so thankful that God places the desire and the ability to minister as overseas missionaries in the hearts of some of His kids! :) - Rachel

Shannon said...

I'm so happy that you posted this, Callie! I've read your blog for awhile now, but I'm not good about commenting. :) I think it's wonderful that God has prompted you to use your blog as a ministry for Him. My husband and I have felt a very similar calling to your guest poster to care for orphans. We are working on an adoption right now and I love reading other stories of families who have adopted. Keep these coming!

Julie S. said...

This is so crazy- I went to high school with Christi and we are members of the same church! :) I love their heart and their mission for the Lord! They really are the sweetest couple (I mean family!) and God is just using them in the greatest way.

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