A Piece in His Hands #UNITE Linky


4:00 a.m. in a hotel on the other side of the world…

I drag my Bible from my backpack…The same thick, black book I had taken with me to China, three times earlier.

Words penned on my journal, stare up at me, slipping out simultaneously with the gospel strong beside it…

Because writing comes with reading, application must accompany what God is teaching. Lessons just naturally spill out after digesting what God’s been speaking.

A small, red puzzle piece, laying flat upon the white sheets…Staring up at me, from seemingly nowhere, on this darkened morning, from the other side of the planet.

DSC08440How did it get here? In this hotel room, where did it come from? Why was it glaring up at me on this missions trip, to China?

And then, it struck me…

When I spoke at the Missional Women conference last spring, I had a handful of puzzle pieces.

I laid one down on each person’s chair, to give them as a reminder of the piece He was calling them to concerning orphan ministry.

Each person took home a piece, something I felt was God-inspired. Something done because He had whispered to “be obedient in doing this”, softly in my ear….

I prayed over those puzzle pieces, asking God to dwell among each piece, like the aprons and handkerchiefs that had touched Paul’s skin, anointing them uniquely. (Acts 19:12)

I then shared how, “each piece was a small part of God’s larger puzzle when it comes to foster care, and orphans”

And how, “God has a bigger picture concerning orphan ministry, one He is calling the church to, as a whole.”

“This is your piece”, I held out a piece in my fingers in front of them. “What will you do with your piece after the conference is over?” I challenged each person.

Yet now, one whole year later, who would think….One of those exact same pieces would be staring up at me, a world away, in China?

It must have slipped out of my bag, when I took out my journal and Bible. It DSC08450must be left over from nearly a year ago, and I just failed to find it, until God revealed it to me now…

And how, us leading are only students, those teaching are no more that pupils sitting diligently at His feet…

Faith giants are just learners, desperate to hear His voice.

When I spoke last Spring, I shared how I just know God will use each person’s piece, will bring to mind and reveal their piece in a special way, at the exact right time He wants to speak to us…

And who knew, I would be preaching to myself.

“What will your piece look like?” I encouraged them to press into asking.

“How will your piece represent helping orphans? Are you called to support and assist those who care for children? Are you called to foster care or adoption?”

I stare at that piece, in my hotel room, with weary eyes. The sky dark, the sun beginning to rise, on the other side of the world, in China.

It was red. Why was MY piece red? Like the morning sky? Of all the pieces, in a box of a wide variety of colors. What was my piece specifically telling me?

How might my life, look more like He was asking?

The blood. His blood. Red. All good works are done, not by our own power, hardly by our own strength, but solely because of the blood He shed on Calvary.

Only by His Spirit, not done by our might, or our power, He reminds me of this Scripture. (Zachariah 4:6)

This trip was about bringing friend’s who supply mobility equipment, so that they could help orphans here in China.

This was soDSC08442mething God put on both my husband and my heart, almost exactly a year ago, last time we were in China.

And yet, nothing is possible without His blood, His life shining light on it. No ministry, no time, no traveling to China could have been happening now, without God’s blessing.

  • His blood resurrects to life.
  • His blood redeems relationships.
  • His blood is the power that makes all things possibly.
  • His blood was shed to make orphan ministry possible.

And yet, how easy it is to own achievements, look to our own resources, pat ourselves on the back, when simply His grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9)…

All ministry is only done because His hand is in it…

We are just one small piece in His puzzle, grace is the miracle of His plan.

I envision the children at the orphanage we came here to visit. How they’ll look, how they too are a piece of what God is doing, here, now, with our floating pieces, now in China.

And yet, this country has been generous, offering a visa, letting us crash their DSC08447culture with the shallow roots from a place like America.

And how I long to know the history here, the culture, the people, the hearts that make up thousands of generations, letting our wings land, so that we can even be a small part, of China.

I press that piece between my thumb and pointer finger…

So small, seemingly so insignificant. Almost futile and vain, some might say, pointless without seeing the rest of the puzzle first…

Yet, we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Cor. 5:7) We live for His purpose, and go wherever He calls, regardless of how insignificant our small piece may seem.

We see in part, faintly, dimly, while only He sees completely what He wants us to accomplish here in China.

“I trust God will show you what He wants you to do with your one, small piece”, I had told the onlookers at the conference.

Yet, here I am. Coming to China with a ministry that will provide wheelchairs, walkers, and mobile equipment for children.

Is this simply, my one small piece? And was this all He is asking of me, to be here on this mission?
I look over. A second piece of the puzzle stares at me. It too is reddish, seeming to fit exactly in the piece I am holding.

“This is my husband’s piece.” I hold it with a knowing, somewhere deep inside me.

Together, as one. This mission we are on, in China.

I lift my hand, stroking gently the arm of the man I have been married to nearly twenty-five years. This man who followed the vision in his heart. This faith giant who believes nothing is impossible…

Fearlessly spanning the ocean because God placed this vision somewhere deep inside him….

And I wonder what your piece in orphan ministry looks like? You have a piece, you know? Not just some, but we all are called to, “Care for the widows and orphans in their distress.” (James 1:27)

And yet, it can be hard to see when holding just our piece what His bigger picture looks DSC08453like.

It can be easy to feel small and insignificant when the vision is grand, the needs are great, and beginning in orphan ministry can seem frankly, quite intimidating…


  • What if we prayed, and asked God what He wants us to do with our small piece?
  • What if the whole world, got together, grabbed their Bible’s, and accomplished whatever small piece God was calling them to do, for orphans?
  • How might the world change toward His purposes if we started with just us being obedient?
  • Would the world have no more parent-less children if we followed where He was leading?
  • Would we all be humbled, as we practice what James says is “perfect religion”?
  • Might our pieces together connect us each, in ways we never imagined?

I lay my piece down, back on those crisp, white sheets. Look at it, as the morning sun shines colors of red, orange, and yellow over the horizon.

Then, I ask God, “Please, use my piece both now and in the future, however you wish”.

Not so that I can be something, known, significant…But, so that I too can be just like this….

One small, quiet piece….lying humbly, in mercy and grace…content in the Father’s hands.


Hi, you all!  We are back from China!  A short, but amazing trip!  Maybe I’ll pass along some photo this next week when I post.

We were able to bring Kaitlin’s Mobility Foundation to China, and I think, they fell in love with China, just as much as we have!

Join us here, every Tuesday, for UNITE Linky, and Friday for our regularly scheduled post!

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Jen Avellaneda

Jen is an adoptive, foster, & bio mom to trans-racial family. She speaks, writes, & passionately advocates for the orphan domestically & internationally with her husband of twenty-five years.
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  1. Jen – on Sunday, I was just having a conversation with someone in our church congregation about this very statement/question: And I wonder what your piece in orphan ministry looks like? You have a piece, you know? the person I was talking to, has a heart for adoption though the foster care system. Thank you for hosting each week.

    Also, I would love if you would consider linking up to my NEW Thursday Party #TuneInThursday it stays open until Sunday. You can promote your linkup too… you can find it here: http://debbiekitterman.com/blog/
    (Please feel free to delete the link if you feel it is inappropriate to post here).

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