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Personal Testimony - Adopted Daughters Wedding

Mike Connell

Page 10 of 11
While Joy made a decision to bring the baby into the world, she decided not to keep her. “We gave her up for adoption. At that time in New Zealand, the law was such that if we gave up our baby (for adoption), we will never be able to see her again. The law restricted all access between the two families.”

Thankfully, God made a way for the young couple to eventually get married, as their parents felt they had been together for so long. Even though Joy felt like a backslidden Christian, there were people who knew about their problems and were praying for them. “And one day I did feel the Lord said he (Connell) has a heart after God and it was okay to marry,” Joy said. “I felt a release.”

To pacify both families, the couple decided on a joint service by a Catholic priest and an Anglican minister. “On the day I got married I gave my life to Jesus; I realized that we will never make our lives work unless Jesus was there. So I made a commitment to Christ at the service just before we got married,” said Connell.

This is the love story of Mike and Joy Connell, now the senior pastors of Bay City Outreach Center in Hastings, New Zealand. Their names are not unfamiliar at City Harvest Church. Connell is an internationally recognized teacher of the Word who moves powerfully in the prophetic, deliverance and inner healing gifts. His ministry has brought great healing to the hurt and broken-hearted.

While he was at CHC to minister over the weekend of Jun. 2 and 3, his family shared with City News the story of how he and Joy came to reconcile with the firstborn they gave up for adoption.

Reconciliation Begins with Healing

“After coming to the Lord, I realized how wrong I was (to give the baby up for adoption). I believed in my heart that the Lord will make a way for her (the baby girl) to come back, even though the law said otherwise. So I came into deep repentance, and made a commitment that when she came back in our lives, whatever I was doing, I would make it public and be completely open with everyone, because the sin was in the hiding, and repentance meant doing the exact opposite.

Eight years after they were married, the Connells were called to start a Christian school in the same year they started pastoring a church. As life moved on, they never talked about how the trauma of what happened affected both of them.

“We were working with a few married couples at one time and decided to have a marriage renewal service, looking at the foundations and helping these couples make a fresh commitment towards each other,” Joy shared. “And that was the first time we look at the foundations of our own lives and we realized how much damage had been done in terms of the grief and pain because of what happened. We resolved our hurts and shortly after, the laws (that restricts parents from meeting their children after giving them up for adoption) changed! God knew that the laws were changing and He got us ready for the change.”

The Connells wrote a letter to the social welfare. Interestingly, the mother who adopted their baby wrote them a letter as well, almost at the same time, to ask for information.

Josephine Brown, Connell’s daughter, was already 18 at that time, and was finishing her first year at university. Normally, the welfare services would not let them make contact until the child was 21 years old, but because there was interest on both sides, they allowed contact to be made.

“When I was born, I had a splint and had to be in bed for 10 weeks,” Josephine shared. “When my parents came to adopt me, the doctors couldn’t tell if I would develop some kind of disability. When they told their parents they wanted to adopt me, their parents were quite resistant.”

Unlike other adopted children, Josephine had always known that she was adopted. “It was not good or bad, just facts I knew. But as a child I always wondered who I was. In New Zealand, there are people who came from so many backgrounds, it’s like people have traveled here from England, Ireland or Wales so people always discussed if they are Irish-half or English-half and I never knew who I was.”