Renee Loux

Redemption: an adoption story

Renee Loux
By Renee Loux
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Editor’s note: Renee is mother to 13 children, adopted and biological, founder of the Orphan Justice Center and also full-time staff at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. She believes that in any city where there are believers in Jesus there should not be unwanted children. The mission of our lives is to restore broken and discarded children through adoption, prayer, worship, and the Father’s heart.

September 7, 2012 (Bound4Life.com) - This past Saturday my priceless daughter Telma was married to her amazing groom, Isaac. The theme of my heart throughout the entire day was “Redemption.” I have watched this gorgeous daughter of mine transformed from a broken, hurting little girl, into a woman of God who is full of life and hope.  I watched her standing beside her Isaac, who has embraced her with the most beautiful and powerful love, and my heart was full.

If you are not already familiar with Telma’s testimony, I want to share it with you so that you can fully understand the magnitude of the power of God in her life to rescue, redeem and restore.

In Telma’s own words:

“My biological father left, after getting my biological mother pregnant. I was born with severe scoliosis, having a 115 degree curvature of my spine. My mother couldn’t handle the stress of taking care of me. After being passed around to several different people who provided shelter, but were not able to care for a child, I ended up doing whatever it took to survive. Alone and unprotected, I learned how to fight on the streets.  Looking back, it’s hard to believe the situations I was in, as I defended myself and searched desperately for food.

The one room house I lived in was often used as a place for people to have sex. I would get paid a soda or a bag of chips to be a lookout while various sex acts were taking place right in front of me. One day I met twin girls who told me about this missionary guy with cool hair that was leading worship in my own language. I felt compelled to go and hear him. As I sat with his wife Renee’, and their family, I found out that they were planning on adopting the twins. To the majority of the Marshallese children, all Americans are rich movie stars and I wanted to be adopted too. Two days later, before the sun came up, I knocked on the door of the apartment that they were staying in and asked if I could play with the twins. Not only did I get to play, but Renee’ welcomed me into the apartment for the remaining week they were there. When they had to leave, I was devastated! Renee’ held my face and wiped my tears, promising to find me the help I needed. I didn’t really think it would happen, but Renee’ kept her promise. Six months later, I was part of Renee’ and Derek’s family. The missionary guy with cool hair and the beautiful mom were now my very own parents.

It took awhile for me to realize that I didn’t have to be in charge of me anymore; there was actually a family that wanted to take care of me. It took a little bit before I was free to be me, free to hope for my future, free to feel loved, secure and blessed. There are so many kids that live on the streets in the Marshall Islands, but God knew me and rescued me through two very loving and Christ-like people. When I was adopted by Derek and Renee’, I began to experience what it was to be loved, cherished and valued. In the past few years, God has given me a greater revelation about who He is, as my friend and my Father. God allowed me to experience His amazing love as a daughter and to experience the joy of being loved.”

Telma and her new “Daddy,” developed a very close relationship. She learned to know and understand what the pure love of a father meant. Derek protected her, nurtured her and taught her all about the love of her Heavenly Father.  Telma only had Derek as her “Daddy” for 7 years. He was killed in a car accident 1 and 1/2 months before her 20th birthday. She was on her way (with Youth With A Mission) to Rwanda to work with orphans when I Skyped her to tell her about Derek’s death. After flying back home for Derek’s funeral, despite her great loss and heartache, she returned to Rwanda to complete her outreach to others who desperately needed to hear about the hope of Jesus and his great love for them.

Isaac and Telma chose to get married on August 25th, the day that would have been Derek’s 40th birthday. Telma wanted to honor the memory of her father, who was such a huge part of her restoration.  I know without a doubt that Derek is rejoicing in this marriage, and I can just picture the celebration that he was having in Heaven as he watched this beautiful miracle of redemption!  Telma and Isaac had a “Celebration/memorial” table in Derek’s honor in the foyer of the wedding venue. Derek’s mom Miriam, baked his favorite cake and Telma had her favorite framed pictures of her with her Daddy, and a letter to him on the table as well.

As we continue to walk through these life-changing moments as a family, it still stings that Derek is not here to be a part of them, celebrating with us, that he wasn’t here to walk his third daughter to marry, down the aisle. It still pains my heart that he was not there for the father-daughter dance, or to celebrate like the wildly amazing man he was, dancing the night away with his children. Oh how the children and I miss him! Derek was such a good father, and all that he poured into his children is reflected in the beauty of their lives. One day, God will wipe away every tear and His justice will reign. I can’t wait for that day to come! God is sovereign, perfect in all his ways and I trust Him to continue the good work that he’s begun, bringing beauty from ashes.

I am still blown away that our incredible Father, handpicked this precious girl to be part of our family. A street kid, forced to defend herself, rescued, adopted, and restored. We literally watched her transform before our very eyes. And now this incredibly strong woman of God is beginning her life as a married woman. I cannot wait to see all the amazing things God has in store for Isaac and Telma as they start their life together!

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Reprinted with permission from Bound4Life.com

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for your support. 

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