Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 31

I wanted today to be a double celebration.  March 31 is special in our house and as I prayed through the night - waiting for news about Evan and the Hooks - I longed to be able to share both celebrations.  But despite 5+ hours in court today, the judge has not yet reached her decision.  Instead, during her deliberation process, she found an error in their paperwork.  They will resume court tomorrow, and we are left to pray that the facilitators are able to resolve the paperwork issue so that the judge can render her verdict.  Please continue to lift the Hook family up to the throne. 

But in our house, we do have cause to celebrate today...

13 years ago Rob and I were given a wonderful gift.  A beautiful blonde haired, blue eyed little boy.  Our second son - fearfully and wonderfully and uniquely made - JUST RIGHT! 


Being the loveable snuggler that he is - He squeezed his birthday right in between the birthday of his Daddy (March 30) and his Gran (April 1). So we get to celebrate LIFE for three consecutive days at our house.

Yesterday we celebrated Rob's birthday but I leave the tribute to my dear husband for another post...

Tomorrow we will take Gran out for her birthday dinner.

And today - well today - we rejoice that God gave us this son. 

He has brought us much joy and laughter in his 13 years. 

We are beyond blessed!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Update on Evan

For all those who are praying with us for the Hook family - Here is the latest from her blog:

Hello Friends,
What a day! It's so hard to explain all that we are feeling. Of course I have no problem explaining this. WE SAW EVAN TODAY!!! The orphanage director opened her room door and Evan saw me and came running out and landed in my arms.
AHHHHHH!!!! The staff was so surprised that she remembered me!! She was a little shy with Clark and kept poking his beard with her finger. She finally warmed up and they were laughing hysterically by the end of the visit.
We were able to spend about 2 hours with her. She has the best belly laugh and had us in stitches. It was very emotional leaving the orphanage with the uncertainty of our case. When we went to say bye-bye in Russian she responded, "No." Her momma and poppa's heart is full.
It takes us about 6 hours roundtrip to get to the orphanage and back on the worst roads you have ever seen. There are also five of us squished in a tiny car - with the heat on high blast. It was during this time that we prepped for court. Not the best way to prep. It was loud, bumpy and hot. It was also the most important information that we'll receive in order to be prepared. Our heads are on overload, crammed full of information on how to respond if the judge asks this, make sure you don't say that, remember to say this. I took 7 pages of notes to be prepared. However, with all the bumping we did in the car, it looks more like chicken scratch.
We felt your prayers today. We are exhausted, physically and emotionally. We need more prayers.

Specific requests.

1. Our court date is tomorrow morning, March 31st at 10:00 am. That is 1:00 am Thursday morning for all you Nashville people. We would covet your prayers at this time - or anytime after that. Our court date is expected to last 4-5 hours. I'll take any and all we can get during that time.

2. Pray for the Holy Spirit to bring to mind specific answers that they may ask from us. As I said, we are tired and we still have some work to do before we can lay our heads down.

3. Pray for Clark. He is making a very specific speech at the beginning of our court hearing. It is long and important and full of details. He has tonight to write it. Pray for God to guide his pen.

4. Pray for the Judge. That she will see the love that we have for this little girl and that she deserves to have the love of a mommy and daddy and sister and brothers.

2:00 am tonight...

Tonight - while we sleep - the Hook family will be standing before the judge pleading for their daughter.

Today we pray.

Will you join me?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Last week I shared pictures with you of Kirill.

This week you get to meet sweet Evangeline - or Evan as the Hooks are going to call her.

Isn't she precious?

The Hooks think so.
They are right now in Evan's country - preparing themselves to stand before the judge on Thursday so they can convince her to officially state what is already true in their hearts.

She is their daughter.

 Their precious treasure.

Named.  Chosen.  Loved.  Wanted.

Never to be forsaken.

Their little European beauty.


They want to take her home.

To her big sister Tori, who has her own blog shiningcityteens where she passionately advocates for orphans. To her big brother Jace who can't wait for his sister to come home, and to her soon to be twin, Levi, who shares the same number of chromosomes.   


Where she belongs.

Safe and loved and cherished.

No longer considered valueless because she has Down Syndrome.  No longer cast aside - hidden. 


Tomorrow has been set aside as a day of fasting and prayer for the Davis and Hook family.  Whether you choose to fast or not - PLEASE CHOOSE TO PRAY!  Pray without ceasing for these kids - these families.  Pray for the judge and the prosecutor on Thursday.  Pray for Clark and Angie Hook as they stand before the judge and argue for one little helpless babe who has taken their family by storm.  Pray that God would flood them with a peace that is beyond comprehension.  Pray for boldness of speech and Holy Spirit words.  Pray!!

Pray for the Davis appeal that is going to be filed this week.  Pray for their attorney, pray for those who will review the case, pray that they will make the right decision.  Pray.  Pray for Tesney and Greg Davis that they would be granted rest as they wait. 

Pray for Kirill. Pray for Evan.

Pray for all the other little ones in that region who desperately need the doors flung open wide.

Pray that God's will would be done.

Pray so that these two little ones can be part of their forever families.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Simple Blind Faith

Since I was young I have heard the phrase that "God doesn't ever give you more than you can bear."  I used to believe it to be true, but not anymore.  The older I get, the more I realize that there are times when we truly are given a burden that is much heavier than we can bear.  All I have to do is open the Bible to the  book of Job to see that sometimes - not often, but sometimes - we are hit from every side.

And sometimes - like in Job's case - the strength to get through means simple blind faith.  One feeble step at a time.  A single-minded determination to stay the course - to not curse God - to cry out to Him with every single breath taken.  It is in those times, when the burden is beyond carrying, that we learn truly what faith is all about.

Beaten, bruised, knocked down, wondering, questioning, grieving, crying, believing, hoping, clinging and perservering.  One single solitary step at a time.   Weeping as we go.  Longing for the light at the end of the tunnel.  Reaching for the light.  Placing hope in the only One who can see us through.  Recognizing that without Him, we could not bear what has been dealt to us.

This week is one of those weeks for both the Davis and the Hook family.

Both are walking in a valley that is filled with mist and terror that none of us would ever choose to enter - if we had a choice.

They would not have chosen it for themselves either.

God was wise to not allow them to see what was coming around the bend when they stepped out in faith so many months ago to rescue two little children with Down Syndrome.

It seemed so easy then.  Fill out this paperwork, pay these bills, jump through these hoops and you get a child at the end of the rainbow.  The Davis family's journey first led them to one precious treasure that they had to let go before they landed with Kiril,l firmly planted deep into their hearts.  For the Hook family, it has been one long delay after another.  But because they were taking it one single step at a time, they kept plodding ahead.  Fixing their eyes on the prize.  Despite the delays, twists, turns and setbacks, they were able to move ahead - always hoping for the end of the rainbow.

This week, both families stand - trying to figure out what happened to the rainbow and wondering how in the world they are going to pass through the dark valley looming ahead of them.

The burden is beyond their ability to carry alone.  The journey that started out so easy has ended with a mountain whose top is shrouded in dark mist.  If left to rely on their own strength, they could not endure what is being asked of them.  

The Hook family is being asked, on Thursday, to face a judge and prosecutor who less than two weeks ago turned a deaf ear on the pleas of their dear friends for the life of their son.  They will make the same pleas for the life of their daughter.  They have been told that denial is highly likely. 

The Davis family is appealing their case. If they win, they will go back to that same judge and prosecutor, face her again and plead again for their son. 

The possibility that they could go through all of this and still not come out with a child in their arms is a gut-wrenching reality that both families have had to face.  It has brought them to their knees.  It has given them pause to wonder and question.  But they are not giving up.  They are choosing to stand.  Stand and fight.  Against all odds.  Battle weary - beaten - scared - frail.  But focused and trusting.   In simple blind faith they are believing that though the valley is dark, and the mountain is high and treacherous, and the way out may not take them where they would choose to go, they will not stop clinging to the One they committed their lives to many years ago.  Whispering all the way through this valley that God is Good - He is good.  Believing that in the end, when the dust has settled, they will be left singing the Praises of the One who carried them through.

"I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end He will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see Him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!" Job 19:25-26

And we stand with them, thousands strong, surrounding them.  Reminding them again and again that they stand not alone.  As they step blindly ahead, in simple trusting faith - they are not alone.  For God has raised up an army to help breathe into them the strength they need to face the mountain that looms ahead.  They are not alone.  Across the nation - across the world - we stand.   Whispering prayers throughout our day as we quietly now wait for the political process to take its course.  Asking God to shine His light - to dispel the darkness that surrounds that mountain.  Praying that Kirill and Eva and Baby J will be set free.  Praying too for the other little ones in that area who are desperately in need of families.  Praying.  Vigilant.  Strong.  They are not alone. 

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12 :1-3

Sunday, March 27, 2011



Well.....Let me tell you...

A month ago we donated TO THIS ADOPTION to help bring this little one home...

Sweet Charlotte....

We donated in Aaron's name for a Giveaway of a handmade quilt and WON! 

Aunt Lorraine THANK YOU!!

I think a homemade quilt on my bed looks just fine.. don't you???

Aaron and Elijah definitely like it...

THEN... we donated to THIS ADOPTION to help bring home these two little ones...


Peter and Nathan....

And we won one of these...

We bought three more and gave one away.... the boys wear these all the time!! 


We donated to these PRECIOUS BOYS who desperately need families - We gave to each boy - in honor of our three boys....


An iPod!!

YEP - We are winners - TIMES THREE...

You see - we NEVER ask anyone to give to a Giveaway unless we are also giving.... And there are definite benefits in taking part in all the many Giveways happening in the adoption world!!

You CAN win..

I've never won anything in my life - until now!!

Tis fun to win....

But honestly - It is much more fun to watch the numbers rise and to see all the families having their socks blessed off by the many many donations given for so many priceless treasures!!

Don't worry - I plan on keeping you keeping you up to date on other Giveaways...

For today - Here is one that is unique and for all you sports fans out there.... Quite a treasure... This family definitely could use some help as they bring home a set of brothers who are definitely in need of a family and serious medical care!!

John and Carson

In the Giveaway you can win an autographed football signed by Jerry Rice and Steve Young!

The blog is HERE to learn more about these sweet boys.  To donate through Reece's Rainbow you can link HERE.  Make sure you leave a comment on their blog to let them know you donated!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Braces and More

I will never look at a child wearing braces with eyes of indifference again after this week. 

I will instead recognize that those braces probably came at great cost.

And the carefree smiles that burst forth from this child's face...

I will not take them for granted either.

Hearing our son begging us not to hurt him... tightening straps on braces that we know are for his benefit but cause so much pain... trying to comfort him and at the same time refusing to release those straps....listening to him cry... watching him rock back and forth....seeing the tears gushing down his face...

It has been a very hard week.

We are struggling with the braces.  The one foot fits neatly into the brace without trouble and causes him only minimal pain at this point.  The other brace is tighter and Aaron's foot is not fitting neatly down into it without causing great discomfort.  We took him to Aaron's Dr. here and he gave us advice on how to care for the sores on that foot that are being caused by the tightness.  We are trying to decide if we should take him back to Philly to get Dr. VanBosse to look at it.  Since we are novices in the brace department - it is hard to know what exactly is 'normal.'

Thank you to whoever sent Aaron the bulldozer.  What a wonderful surprise for our little guy!  He was absolutely delighted with his present.  It was just what the doctor ordered!  Thank you!

Please keep spreading the word about Kirill.... Please - Tesney heard from their Russian facilitator in Moscow and all the posts yesterday were starting to be heard OVER THERE!  That is vital for their appeal!  Please don't stop.  Keep spreading the word!!!  The Davis link is HERE.  Please feel free to just keep sharing Kirill's story on FB and on your  blogs - contact anyone you know... news media etc!  It may seem redundant but every single pebble into the ocean is making a difference....

For those who are wondering about sweet Carrington - The most recent update is HERE.  The little princess is doing better but still has a long ways to go so please keep praying!

Last but not least.... Earlier this week I posted about the Beamish family.  They are leaving TOMORROW!  On Monday they were still short by 16,000.00 dollars.  As of this morning - They are short 2,500.00. 

Yep - You read those numbers correctly.  The church has stepped up to the plate to surround this family.  Let's finish the job!  The Beamish's have been doing an iPad Giveway and my dear friend, Adeye, yesterday decided to increase the Giveaway by donating a Kindle! 

They leave tomorrow.  How precious a gift to them if they were able to step onto their airplane fully funded.  What a statement of God's grace and mercy to this family as they embark on an adventure to rescue a little one who has already been transferred.

Go HERE if you would like to make a donation!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mama Love

The video below is Kirill.  Last August.  The day the Davis family met him for the first time.  He was dirty and smelled of urine from his overloaded diaper.  His hands were raw and bleeding from  being constantly chewed and his ears had infected looking sores in them.  He had on a shirt that was ragged and stained.  He was tiny, cold and so very thin. He didn't talk but instead grunted and hissed.  On the outside he was a wreck of a little guy.  Covered with sores, frail, smelly and filthy dirty. 

But to Tesney and Greg - He was gorgeous.  He was beyond precious. They wanted nothing more than to grab him up, hold him close and run with him out of that orphanage as fast as their legs could carry them.  He was their treasure.  They delighted in every aspect of him.  He was their son.  Filthy - dirty - scab-encrusted - wretched.  Their son.  Handpicked by God to be theirs.  They looked at him through the eyes of Love and deemed him perfect.

They were only able to see him for two days last August.  Two hours total.  In the first moments - when they first met him - they didn't want to frighten him - they wanted to give him space - room - time.  So they gently talked - loved him from a distance - letting him make the first move - giving him the chance to choose.

This, my dear friends, is what Kirill chose. 

He chose Mama Love. 

He chose to be held close.  He chose to have his head nestled in its proper place against his Mama's shoulder.  He chose Love. 

Last week a judge determined in a shocking ruling that this little boy would be better off in an institute instead of in a family. 

She didn't see this video.

She didn't watch this little boy melt into his Mama's arms.

She didn't study the look of utter contentment on his face.

For two hours last August Kirill experienced for the only time in his life the wonder of being loved by a Mama.

He got to feel her gentle arms wrapped tightly around his dirty, sore-covered body and he got to hear her gentle voice whispering words of love in his infected little ears.

Mama Love.

A love that is beyond reason.  A love that sees beauty in filth.  A love that looks past the outward odor and appearance.  A love that mirrors God's love. 

Kirill is their son.  Whether they are ever allowed to cross that ocean and bring him home or not - he is their son. 

That dirty - wretched - sore-covered - smelly little boy needs to come home.

He needs His Mama.

Please raise the banner.  On your facebooks -  your blogs - do whatever you can to shout out that this little boy needs to come home.  Share this video.  If you know anyone in the media or anywhere else who can help this family - then please contact them.  Pass around every single blog that you see that has to do with Kirill.  Mine are Here (Kirill) and Here (Hold Them Close)  There are tons of others out there. 

The Davis blog is HERE.  The word needs to be spread. 

And PRAY PRAY PRAY for the Hook family.  Next Thursday - March 31 - they stand before the same judge - begging for their little girl.  Please - Pray! 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Drops of Blood

"Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. 

 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” Luke 22

Drops of blood. 

What a picture of Sacrificial Love. 

 The Creator of the Universe kneeling in a garden - anguishing over us to such an extent that even before He was placed on the cross - He was shedding blood for us. 

Why do I share that?

I received an e-mail this morning from Tesney Davis begging for prayers.  As I read her e-mail - as my spirit groaned for words to speak, knowing the utter anguish they are going through right now over Kirill - the picture of Jesus kneeling in the garden came to me.  Praying.  Wrestling.  Surrendering.   In anguish.  In utter sorrow.  Praying that God's will be done.  Regardless of the outcome.  Knowing that what He faced would ultimately kill Him. 

 But choosing Love.  For us.  So we could become Sons and Daughters of the King.

So that we can Love ourselves.

So that our lives - as His children - can be an offering.

He shed His blood for us so we too could LOVE in return.

Not for reward.

But because we first were Loved.

Adoption begins and ends with God.

The Davis family understands this.  The Hook family understands this too.  As does the Moreno family.

They understand that it is GOD who called them to adopt because He first adopted them.  They are securely in HIS grasp.  They know Him intimately and it is to HIM they cling in all the uncertainties that they are currently facing.

They are choosing to stand and fight a battle that may not be won this side of Heaven.

They know this.

They are fighting anyway.

They are fighting because the Creator of the Universe fought for them.  And won. 

They are now fighting for their children.  And the hundreds of other special needs children in that region who are voiceless and helpless.

It is beyond hard to love as they have come to love with the knowledge that losing is a real possibility.

They need us.

They need us to kneel beside them and pray with them.

We cannot sleep while they cry out in anguish for their little ones.


We need to storm heaven for the Davis family.  Pray for their lawyers, facilitators, the Supreme Court, the judge - the prosecutor. 

We need to cry out  for the Hook family.  The terror they are experiencing right now is beyond words.  Please pray for them.  They face this judge and prosecutor NEXT WEEK. 

The Moreno family - They just met their little one two days ago and are head over heels in love.   She's a spitfire.  She is ready to go home.  Today!

These families need us to be on our knees.

All the children in that region need us.

Pray that this case - these cases - cause an uproar that cannot be silenced. 

Pray for peace.  God's peace to fill each of their hearts.  Pray that He would be their Rock and Fortress.  That on Him they would lean.  Pray that His Presence would fill and sustain them as they walk through this dark valley. 

Pray so this little guy can come home.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

No More

In the Into the Woods musical that the boys participated in over the last few weeks, there is a song called "No More".  In it one of the characters is trying to decide whether to run away from all of his troubles or stand and fight.  He wants to give up.  He wants the giants to go away.  He wants to live his life without conflict and war and strife. 

No More.

 That's how I feel right now.  Running away.  From everything.

No more braces on the feet of my little son.  No more screams and cries as we tighten the straps.  No more judge's saying no.  No more little boys dying in cribs alone.  No more three year olds weighing 11 pounds.  No more transfers.   No more.

That's just how I feel right now.

I know that tomorrow will be a new day.  I know that Aaron's feet will eventually adapt to his new braces and the pain he is experiencing will eventually pass.  I know that there are judges all over the world who ARE saying yes and I know that God can move the mountain that stands in front of the Davis, Moreno and Hook families to enable this judge to also say yes.  I know that there are hundreds and hundreds of little boys and girls who are being taken out of the cribs and carried into families. 

I know that not every child in every orphanage weighs 11 lbs.  I know that transfer doesn't always spell doom.

I know.

I know too that God has given me so much.

And so for today - I am focusing on all that I know... 
And singing quiet praise to the Lord of my life because... as it says in Psalm 115 -

Not to us, LORD, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.

I worship a Living Loving God.

And that is all I need for today.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


This morning I wrote a post - I labored over it - picking several pictures off the Reece's Rainbow site to use.  I was looking for little ones with that look in their eyes of longing - pleading - helplessness.  The sorrowful. The desperately sad.  The ones whose cries are just whimpers in their cribs.  The ones who will die if not adopted.  I picked six children.  Whispering prayers for each of them.  Longing deeply for each to find a family.  A home.  For someone to pick them up and hold.  Six Tuesday Treasures. 

I come home this afternoon to discover that one of the precious little ones that I picked to put on my post - Landon - has died.  Gone.  In the arms of the Shepherd. 


 I had absolutely no idea.

A little boy who spent his entire life laying in a crib - staring at the ceiling.

I'm just plain sad.

Feeble Whimpers

He has heard the cries of the oppressed though their cries are little more than feeble whimpers from tiny voices who gave up long ago believing that anyone was listening.

Ezekiel 34:11“‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep."


"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3

"I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD.

I will search for the lost and bring back the strays."

I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak." Ezekiel 34

The feeble whimpers of the oppressed are being heard. 

Just go to THIS PAGE and meet the families who are SO CLOSE to crossing the ocean.  All those children on that page.. they are so close to understanding that the God of the universe is hearing their silent cries.

The children on this page.... they are still waiting for families. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Giveaway Heaven Part 2

Poor little Aaron.  If he could have his wish, he would take those horrid braces that are attached to his feet and throw them into the sea.  To say he hates them would be putting it mildly.  We are doing everything we can to keep him comfortable and happy and he did have some periods of calm yesterday while we were out and about with drama shows and practice but his world crashed down when we prepared him for bed last night and had to tighten the side straps on the braces.   The tears turned to sobs despite enough drugs to knock out an elephant.  One thing we have discovered about our little disabled son is that he is a fighter.  It is a trait that served him well for six years alone in a hostile world but when he desperately needs rest and refuses to close his eyes... Oh my goodness....

It was a long night.



The last few days have brought the plight of the little ones across the sea into a new reality.  So many wonder what they can do when they hear stories about Kirill and Carrington.  They wonder how they can make a difference.  

There are several ways.

Here are my top four....


I know many many of those who are reading this right now have adopted or are in the process of adopting.  But some of you are too old or too young to adopt.  Some of you have circumstances in your lives that keep you from stepping out. 

That's okay. 

You still can do the other three things on my list.

Pray... without ceasing!
Advocate - everywhere you go.  Yell - holler - scream - spread the word - tell your family and your church and your co-workers - let everyone in your world know about the plight of the special needs orphans.

You can give.

There are SO MANY families who are working so hard to scrape together what they need to rescue a few of the millions. 

You have the opportunity to help them.

And I'm going to help you this morning to put your money where your heart is....

The families listed below are all adopting through Reece's Rainbow.

They are all doing Giveaways. 

That means that if you donate - you have the opportunity to WIN SOMETHING.

Pick one - two - all of them....

Have fun.  Bless a family.. or two... or all of them!!  They need your help!

Just click on the hot links for each Giveaway and you will be transported to that blog!

Remember Alexander??

Remember the video of Alexander and the ball?  Oh how this little guy captured our hearts!!  His family is working so hard to go get him.  He has ALREADY BEEN TRANSFERRED.  Time is of the essence for sweet Alexander.  His Giveaway ends soon so click quickly!!


I LOVE this Giveaway because, though raising money is seriously hard, this family is HAVING FUN!  Renee and her buddies are working to raise 2,000.00 so that their three husbands will go out in public... dressed... a bit awkwardly.... For the love of one little girl.  Please go help make this outing possible!

This is Frederick.

I LOVE boy adoptions.  So many of them are left behind... This little guy is going to be part of a loving Homeschooling family.  I can't wait to see pictures of him playing in their backyard!!


Doesn't she look like an ANGELina??
This Giveaway ends TODAY!!  So hurry up and help this family!!  They brought  back one treasure last year and are doing it again!!


Okay - THIS FAMILY LEAVES NEXT WEEK and frankly - I can't wait to see the first pictures of this precious treasure!!  They are still way too short of funds to be so close to travel so please help them out!!

Abel and Archer

Are these not the cutest little guys??  More sweet boys to join a loving, Godly family!!


The Dueck's have been offered 1,000.00 IN MATCHING FUNDS if they can raise another 1,000.00.  Please help them out!!  They have SO MUCH to raise and are still thousands short.  They are so close to travel and have been working tirelessly to raise their money.