I read this morning in John where Jesus says, "For this purpose I came to this hour." It is the same for all of us. For you. For Me. God uses us. God uses our stories to speak to the world around us about His goodness, His love, His provision, His creativity.
Today I want to tell you the story that is Pete. Pete is just a typical kid but boy, does he have a story. His story is full of God's redemption and God's provision and God's miracles. I'm telling you the story that is Pete today for today is Pete's 15th birthday.
His story begins long before he was born (all of our stories begin before our birth). Have you heard of Stalin? Yes, the Stalin from Russia? In the early 20th century Stalin sent thousands upon thousands of people to a city called Magadan which is northwest of Japan (or you could say northeast -- you have to go west to get there but it becomes the Far east when you go so far) to mine the gold. They were prisoners but most did nothing wrong. They were just needed to get the gold for Stalin and his goons. Many, many died. But in those prisoners very likely was one of Pete's great great grandfathers. For it was in this town that Pete was born.
Pete was born to a woman who made some very bad choices. Maybe she had a very rough life and felt powerless to make better choices. I do not know. But she made a very good choice once in that she carried a little baby to term and placed him in the Magadan orphanage. They named him Peter. Poor Peter, many thought. He had cerebral palsy and was affected in the womb by his birth mom's alcohol use. He had many delays.
But Peter captured the hearts of the women in the orphanage for Peter always smiled. Even though he couldn't keep up with the other kids in the orphange he still smiled.
And it was that smile that was captured in a photo that was placed for a short time on a website.
And that photo captured my attention. I looked at him daily. I prayed for him. I shared his photo with my kids and my husband. And we prayed for him to get a family.
And one day in November of 2003 my son Ryan (who was in grade school at the time) said, "Why can't we give him a home?"
We had no answer to that. Why couldn't we?
The world would say we couldn't because we were already in the midst of adopting Maggie (who hadn't yet come home). We had no money (Peter's adoption would cost over $30,000 -- a lot of money but a whole lot less than a brand new pick-up). We had nothing. We probably didn't need another child who couldn't walk. We probably should have said no, people would say. That would have been the rational thing to do.
But we had something the world's system doesn't understand.
We had a Father who loved us and loved Peter and would grab hold of that yes and do amazing things.
I don't know to this day how God provided for Pete's adoption. But He did and He brought that boy home at the age of 3 (almost 4).
He has never quit smiling.
Okay, as his mom, I can say his smile can be annoying and frustrating when he is in trouble! When you're talking to him, getting after him, he still smiles. Mainly this is because he smiles when he gets nervous. He even will laugh when he is nervous (oh boy -- this can really get people mad).
Last year he started attending school in the Dupree School District. He uses a walker and the staff was very open to him attending but there were some concerns.
How would the kids receive him?
Would this be a good fit?
It was better than a good fit. It was perfect.
God used Pete and his walker to change people's lives. People started seeing the world in a whole new way. In some weird way Pete with his smile and walker bring people hope.
Pete became the vice-president of his class.
Pete entertained the crowd in the school play.
Pete made people laugh and smile.
And wherever he goes, people say, "Hi Pete."
He's become sort of a local celebrity.
God somehow knew a little crippled Russian boy was needed on the Cheyenne River Reservation!
And what about you and your story? You are needed right where you are at. God is speaking to people through your story too. It is just as amazing as Pete's. Pete's is ongoing just as yours is.
Let God use your life to love the world. He sure wants too!