Saturday, September 8, 2012

Rauch Adoption Update

Dear Friends and Family,

Many of you may know that we have been praying about adoption for some time now.  We have always considered adoption as a real option for our family.  We got serious about it when Jon’s sister, Beth, and her husband adopted three awesome kids about ten years ago.  However, we quickly had Elli, Ethan, and Elisha close together, which put adoption on hold until recently.  Over the past few years our church has gotten really involved in caring for children around the world, and that began to stir this calling in us again.  We felt moved as we saw what God was doing through Asia’s Hope (a ministry our church has partnered with to rescue orphans), as we read books and articles about the orphans of the world, and as we heard stories from those in our circles of friends who had adopted.  Last January, we started praying for direction and began to talk with many friends who had adopted to hear about their different journeys.  Through that process of seeking God and counsel, we began to pursue adopting from the country of Ethiopia.  However, this spring we became aware of a need through the Adoption Support Center in Indianapolis, where they currently have more birth moms making an adoption plan than families ready to adopt. This great need for adoptive families right now and right in front of us seemed like an open door we could not turn away from.  That brings us to today.  We have taken all our classes, passed all our background checks and home study, and are approved to adopt as soon as we have all of our finances in order to pay for the adoption.  Once we have all the funds in place, Adoption Support Center will begin to match us with a birth family.  This process will begin the real “wait and see” period of following God’s lead.  We know of some adopting families that currently are waiting months to be matched and we know of some cases that only took a few days! 

To help us pull together the rest of our money, we have the really cool privilege of partnering with Village to Village International, an agency that seeks to help families overcome the prohibitive costs of adopting children.  Our adoption will cost around $24,000, and this agency is allowing us to raise $10,000 through friends and family.  By donating to Village to Village, your gift will be tax deductible at the end of the year, and they will give us 100% of what is given in our account.  We realize everyone has costs associated with having and raising children, so we have been working hard to save all that we can personally.  This boost will give us what we need to realize our goal.  A gift as small as $10 will go a long way if we can get enough people to give.  Of course, those who can give larger gifts will allow us to move ahead quicker.  Thanks for considering us for this need, and thanks for your continued prayer as we move forward in this direction.  This is a huge adventure, and we are thrilled to be walking with Jesus’ help on it.
To give online and to track our progress, go to or you can also make a check out to Village to Village Intl. and send it to 5046 N Troy St #2 Chicago, IL 60625.  Be sure to include our names on a note with your gift.

We will keep you updated so you can continue to pray as we keep moving forward in the process.  Thanks, again!

Because Jesus Loves Kids,
Jon and Tara—Elli, Ethan, and Elisha

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tough Mudder--Pursuing Goals

Lots of new changes this year for Tara and I (sounds a little bit like every year:).  Back at the holidays, the calendar was getting ready to turn over to 2011, and Tara and I were talking through our goals for this year.  One of the goals I put down was to train for some kind of running/challenge event.  Fitness has been a regular part of our lives since we've been married, but I have never been a runner.  This was going to be something new and out of my comfort zone.

Back a few months, our staff at Grace decided to do the Tough Mudder event together.  It's a 12 mile race that includes like 20 extreme obstacles--such as, running through a field of fire, jumping off a cliff into 37 degree water, climbing over hills, crawling face down in mud under barbwire and lots of other neat ideas some sick people have come up with.  The scariest part for me was the running, because I had never run more than 3.5 miles at one time.  We've been training for a few months already and it's been fun to be able to add distance each week.  Most of my teammates have run half-marathons or full marathons before, so I've had a lot of good coaching and challenging from them.  Each time I get done, I feel like I could keep running more.  It's cool how God made our bodies to work when we discipline them.

This morning we ran a 7 mile run together, using headlamps and flashlights because it was still dark when we started.  It included running upstream on a creek that ranged from ankle to waist high deep water.  What a blast!  It wasn't quite 37 degrees, but still good training for what we'll do come November 20.

Pick up the OT and read Joshua--it's all about this man and people who did things they hadn't done before.  It's inspiring and it's powerful.  God may be calling you to trust Him to walk into new territory right now.  Go for it!  "Be strong and courageous!"--Joshua 1:7

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Daily Audio Bible for Kids

One of my buddies in small group has been listening to a Bible app on his phone lately while he reads it.  In fact, I got a text from him early this morning that simply read "What does 'they hamstrung their horses' mean?"  Our small group is reading through Joshua in the Bible right now, and I had read that part yesterday, so I knew what he was asking about--otherwise, I'd probably have been confused by such a question.

Church research shows over and over that after a period of time, if a Christian doesn't begin a discipline of personal time with God reading the Bible and praying, their growth stalls and they become stagnant.  It's just not enough to come to church and let someone else "feed" us--we need to learn to feed ourselves or we'll starve.

Why not help your child begin a daily habit while they are still young?  I recently came across a really cool tool for kids (mostly 8-12 year olds are using it, but whole families could, too) at  A ten year old, China, and her brother, Max, read a portion of Scripture every day and your student can listen to it while following along.  Today, I listened to Galatians 1:1-24--pretty cool.  You can also listen to iShine Christian music, join a social network side to it if you want to become a member, and it's all monitored by a real Christian mom:)

Maybe it could be the way they spend their first 5 minutes on the computer each day before they are allowed to look at any other site--just an idea!  Check it out today.  (By the way, my buddy later texted me a definition of what hamstringing a horse is--I'm pretty sure I could never do that.  I don't even like to go in the 4H barn where the calves are being born, but that's just me.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kids Lunches

I'm a horrible blogger (which is obvious since I haven't blogged since May) but I want to try again to get started.  I promise I'll do better this time;)

Yesterday, I ate lunch with a 3rd grader from Grace at Orchard View Elementary (thanks, again, for the mini pancakes, Megan:))  I love eating lunch with our kids, because I get to know them and their world in a different way than I can in Kid City.  I even got to interact with a Muslim boy yesterday and hopefully was able to share Jesus' love with him.  Today, I was reading a magazine article ("K Magaizine") about new technology being used in public schools.  Apparently, 5 schools in Texas piloted a program last spring that was able to take digital pictures of a student's tray of food before and after they ate and then report to their parents how many calories they're eating and what healthy options are being left on the tray.

It's a cool idea for sure, well advanced from the lunchroom experience I remember as a kid, but do we need to invest billions of education dollars to let us in on the big secret that today's kids eat too much junk food?  Is that really news to anyone?  Instead of re-analyzing a problem we already know about, we would better use our time and resources to help find a solution!!

That is a lesson for life.  Choose today to stop re-diagnosing all the problems with our lives, our spouses, our kids, our communities, our world, and let's start working and praying for solutions.  Are you a solution focused person?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Coaching the Kids

Like many parents these days, we are spending some time at the local little league or soccer fields.  It's  a lot of fun.  Not only do I enjoy hanging out with all the kids on our team, but it's a great way to build new friendships with the parents, and shine Jesus' light onto others.  Ethan and Elisha play tee-ball for the Grizzlies, and Elli plays softball for the Bandits!

Ethan asked me the other day what college he should play for when he's older...then he asked me if Tara and I will move to wherever he plays professionally, so we can still watch him:)  That's confidence!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Learning from Other Churches

Over the last 12 years or so that I have been in children's ministry, the greatest ways to learn have been from other churches.  I just can't understand why Christians and churches would ever put each other down--it certainly doesn't please Jesus and it gets in the way of building His kingdom.  I love visiting other churches when I get a chance to talk with the kids, dialogue with the staff, and just observe whatever I can.  It doesn't mean that I'm going to take everything I see back to my home church or agree with every belief another church has, but there is something to learn from a church that God is blessing.

I was in Dallas this past week for a leadership conference (Catalyst) and CE National Board Meetings.  Yesterday morning I got to go to Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX--FC Kids has thousands of kids in their ministries on the weekend!  I had a great time hanging out with one of their assistant Children's Pastors and gaining some fresh ideas of how to reach the hearts of kids and parents in today's culture.  Thanks to Fellowship, Alisha, and all their kids for their great hospitality!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thank You Church Janitors Everywhere!

Being a Children's Pastor is a risky enterprise.  Like teachers or pediatricians (or just your average mom), you're around germs all the time, so you're way more likely to get sick than the average human being.  Without doing any research or data gathering, I'm going to estimate that a Children's Pastor is 68% more likely to catch a cold than the average adult in America.  Every year I can count on, at least, one bout with Pink Eye, but I'm getting off point of this entry...

Being a Children's Pastor is a risky enterprise for many reasons, but one main reason is they are Public Enemy #1 of church janitors all across this nation!  I can hear the church janitors yelling now, "Why is there glitter all over the floor?  Wasn't that banned by the church last year?"  "Do the kids eat any of the goldfish they are given, because I just swept up a whole bag full and put them back in the cupboard!"  "Whose idea was it to give the kids silly string?"  "But it was a great illustration of how lies turn into a web that smothers us," answers the CP, ducking for cover around the corner as the silly string comes flying across the room...

CP's need to send "thank you's" to the church cleaning team more often then they do, because they are often the ones left to clean up after a weekend of high-energy, over the top creative, kingdom of darkness battle axing ministry in the children's area.  Thankfully, at Grace, we have an awesome team of Jeff, Jana, and many others that serve our church this way week after week.  They do an awesome job of putting our rooms back together for the next round, and they do their job as unto the Lord.  They are an integral part of our team, and they don't complain as I described in the (not so fictitious) stories above, so from all of us in children's ministries everywhere, "Thank you, to Jeff, Jana, and your posses!"