general thoughts on missions

Ain´t happenin

I was going to post some more photos from Christmas but the reality of the internet here, even the fancier faster one in the office, is just way to frustrating.  I will try to make sure to post more when I am in America in April.  Speaking of America, friendly neighborhood reminder- I will be in the states March 25- Around the end of April.  So if you want to see me let´s plan something! 

School started yesterday and I have to say, like I said last year about this time, so ready for school to start! The kids were antsy and starting to act a bit nuts and we need some more structure and better schedule than the holiday schedule.  

As usual, I teach my kids what I learn, and last week´s circle on Wednesday morning was about Sin. Because I have 90 teenagers it is easy for folks to throw around reminders of past stupidity.  Sometimes I remind them because they are making new poor decisions and need reminders of the past ones. But I try to not put a kid in a box of being a "bad kid" and reinforce sometimes what people in their pasts have said. So, we talked about sin. 

I was explaining to the kids that when we are in Christ He has taken our sins to the cross.  We still sin, but we confess them and move on, letting Him change us.  We don´t allow the enemy to keep bringing them up again and again, reminding us that perhaps we are just trapped. That we can do no better. That we will never be free.  That we are condemned by our sins and cannot walk away from them.  

I know the tendency is to allow him to speak to us like that, and too often to listen.  But the bible says different.  Several places it talks about how God forgets or throws away our sin. And these are in the OLD TESTAMENT before Jesus! Imagine, in a system of forgiven sins in the temple with animals and shed blood God forgives, forgets, throws away sins! 

If you need to see it to believe it....Here are just a few:

Psalm 103:11-12

Or as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Micah 7:8,18-19

Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Do you see that? He throws our iniquities- our wickedness into the sea!! Have you ever thrown a rock into the sea and then tried to go find it? It's basically GONE.  So when we stand in forgiveness because of Christ's work on the cross...we are forgiven.  And our sins are not to be found again! Into the SEA. 

 

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

When we think of sin we think of justice. And Justice for wrongs would be imprisonment, repayment, retribution of some sort.  This says He is Faithful and JUST.  And His Justice for us is to forgive our sins! How crazy is that?  He sends His son to die on a Cross, kick death in the teeth, so that we can live forgive and free....and in His Justice which is mercy, grace, and forgiveness because of Christ!

And as I explained to my kids, somehow we let the enemy try to tell us we aren't forgiven.  We will not be free, we cannot change....and live in the sins of our past.  Such a big fat liar. 

I long to totally understand and live in this myself.  And I long for my kids to understand this and walk in freedom.  He is so good to us and we fail to look to Him and walk in His freedom far too often.  I pray we see Him as He is, and the gifts He has for our hearts! 

Please pray for some of my kids who are making poor decisions regarding school right now. And for the people they choose to hang out with that are bad influences.

Please pray for wisdom for me and other staff.  

Pray for rest and restoration as we spend time with the Lord.  To be diligent in taking the time when it is open.

Please pray if the Lord is leading you to become a financial supporter. One time gift or regular giving.  When the funds don't come for me to remain here, then I can't stay.  I don't want funds to be an issue to my remaining here with my kids. 

I'm grateful for you guys. For your support and your prayers!! You don't know what it all means to me and my kids!! 

Be His

 

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511

http://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

 


first what?!

Happy December 1!  So it seems I am going to just move to a monthly post here.  Sorry for being a slacker.  The weather has been chilly and dampish here and most of the staff and kids have been sick at one point or another.  Thanksgiving day blew in chilly but not damp IMG_8450 IMG_8463
and it has remained on the cool side which is nice since we have Christmas lights up and the kids are talking gifts non stop (some things are universal like kids praying for Christmas gifts).  

 

Update since the last post- no answer from my insurance on the MD appeal but the hospital has agreed to write off my bill if Insurance denies again.  So I only have my surgeons bill and the anesthesiologist bill! So yeah on that! 

The Auburn-opelika container arrived in record time and I am now a happy owner of a mattress and box springs from my parents for Christmas! I had to adjust the wood bedframe I have so it would fit but it is super tall so I am just going to have to break it down and put it on the floor.  The day I got it I literally had to pull on the other side to climb up into it! IMG_8511
I feel like the princess and the pea. And we got a couch from Queenie! So we got rid of the termite eaten stinky loveseat.  Now we just have the big one that is granny Honduran looking and dirty.  Small things. So thankful. 

Catherine and I don´t have a tree and she has always wanted a ¨roof of lights¨ so I worked on that with a few extra icicle lights I had and sacrificed my white lights from my room I use to read at night with while I have multicolored lights.  She likes them so much they are on in the day and I haven´t seen the overhead lights on since I put them up.  So Merry Christmas from duplex #2!  IMG_8547

Now about the title of this post.  I am hesitant to share all the details but I want to show you life for how it is for me so here goes....

A couple of weeks ago I was texting a friend and telling them I missed my #village back home and really wished that I could fly home for the 4 days I have free between teams Dec 11-15.  The next day my friend started asking questions about my furlough account and other things.  I told her to be honest I had $200 in the bank total.  As I shared last month, my furlough account was exhausted while home for 3 months and paying for medical bills and things that cost money while in the US like gas for the car, food, and buying stuff for my girls.  And the Lord provides enough just to get me through the month every time.  So I did not have the money for a ticket home and was praying I would have enough for the bills in December.  

I realized that day I would have to extend my visa. Because of a little misunderstanding with my bad spanish 

So a couple of days later I get an email from my friend that had a flight itinerary attached.  And as I looked at it I realized it is First Class!  I have never flown First Class in my life! Much less as a missionary and an almost broke one at that.  It is a tangible evidence of God´s mercy, grace, and love to me.  I know He loves me even if I had to stay here or fly coach, or get in a raft and swim home.  He loves me.  But things like this....just too much goodness and not enough words to explain it.  

The thing is that being here since September has been different.  I knew I would be here until April.  That´s 7 months straight.  That seemed like a long time without seeing my family or village peeps.  And October and November didn´t have many teams.  I wasn´t very busy in the office and it was frustrating.  I can´t explain how things are here for you to see how good but difficult it can be, I wish I could.  So just to be able to leave for a few days, celebrate my little sisters 30th birthday with her and some preChristmas activities is just amazing.  

So as I am sitting in my First Class window seat on the way to Atlanta next week and someone asks how I ended up there "God" will be the first thing out of my mouth.  

The team that just left Last Saturday gave me a gift and a bracelet.  It says "anticipate grace".  They said that it means to anticipate it from the wearer and the wearer should anticipate it out of others (in their church...it´s a theme for their church right now).  It was all just another reminder of Him and the themes He has placed in my life.  I don´t think anyone on the team knows I have a grace Cross tattoo. IMG_8559

In the girls Volunteer Bible Study we have been studying  Isaiah 9:6. Last night we talked about Eternal Father. It is just so good to spend time talking about who Christ is (especially in English).  How He came to this world for us.  A gift to save us.  To intercede on our behalf. To defend us.  To fight for us.  And tomorrow to continue bragging on who He is as we live life.  I am blessed to have the opportunity to teach and spend time with the girls who come..  I look forward to Prince Of Peace next week. 

So tomorrow be assured there will be a tweet about First Class and the ridiculousness of who my Heavenly Father is. I hope to see some of you Thursday, Friday or Sunday! 

Be His.

 

IMG_8542Karla and her son Isai at Thanksgiving.  Karla is staff for the toddler house and asked me for a bubble gun for Isai for Christmas.  I am going to hook him up with more than just a bubble gun! He loves bubbles but isn´t old enough to blow them himself. 

IMG_8471Of of my girls that works in our kitchen doing her word search.  My parents and their sunday school class and you guys (I used your money haha) bought about 130 and sent them down in the container.  I gave every girl a book and a pen and when they finished their books they could trade them in.  Some went through 3 before we ran out in like 2 weeks. 

The girls are also loving GaGa Ball that the OK team put in last week.  There are 2 pits one at the school playground and one in the front playground.  The day after they played the first time one of my girls was in our yard and was placing shoes and flip flops in a circle and I said what is she doing? I figured out when the girls all got in the circle of shoes that they were playing GaGa but without the wall.  Haha

DSC_0330 DSC_0340

 


It´s already November?

Sorry it has been ten forevers since I posted last.  It seems that life here just happens and I am not always sure how to blog about it.  But I have filled up a journal in less than 2 months so I know things have been happening.  Just not sure how to blog about it. 

October was a rough month. I knew coming back in June that October and November would be more difficult months for me.  We only had one team in october and will only have one in November and teams aren´t emailing much til probably next week since they will be coming end of the month through April...this is my slow time.  I have been working on getting things in the yard and my house fixed and trying to finish my team training video.  It´s been kind of vanilla.  

We all expect life to be like what we see in movies and tv shows...all exciting and full of drama.  Most days aren´t like that....it´s just vanilla.  And we have to look for opportunities God presents in the day.  He has presented many to me over the past months.  Moments here and there with my girls and the volunteers.  Sweet moments that I know are divine in the middle of the vanilla.  I laughed because one of my girls was saying she didn´t want to live here any more because it was so boring.  I explained the vanilla theory to her and explained it´s just all okay. haha

Here are some bullet points to catch you up on life for me:

  • Still working on healing up some from that surgery thing.  Waiting for the day it´s a little warmer and I can start running.  Seems I may be running a race in April (my village knows how to motivate me haha)

 

  • My insurance has declined payment for my surgery.  I appealed and they decided to pay for one of my evaluative procedures (they had already paid for one other one) but not the surgery nor the other test I had done.  They said preexisiting abdominal pain...but why they paid for 2 tests but not the rest is beyond me...after the preauthorized it all.  My surgeon is submitting a written request for a physician review.  I have sent in the paperwork to have the bill reduced or written off by EAMC if my insurance continues to deny it.  I simply don´t have the money to pay it. 

 

  • I applied for Honduran residency last week.  Spent a lot of money and a little frustration at Immigration.  Will have to go back 2 more times for other things but I am not sure exactly when.  I applied with one of the volunteers and we spent the night since the next day was my day off.  It was lovely to take a bath and read and sleep and take a nap or two.  And eat a cheeseburger.  Prayers for the next steps to be drama free appreciated.  

 

  • The rainy season kicked in and it rained and rained in September and it´s gotten chilly.  I have had a sore throat/ cold for what seems like weeks.  It´s not as rainy right now but the chill remains.  It´s a great break from the hot and great for sleeping weather. 

 

  • I have a circular saw arriving today and I am excited to have it to work on some projects I have in the works.  Going to make some Cracker Barrel peg games for the girls to play.  I have a duct tape version they have been using but it is more difficult to keep the pieces in place.  They have loved the puzzle games and mancala.  I am hoping to be able to make a couple more mancala boards with the wood shop guys.  I can´t hollow out the bowls in the board but I am confident they can. I have some beads and little rocks to use from the craft house. And finally got one of the bikes that had several things wrong with it repaired so the girls have been riding it non stop in the yard. 

 

  • Christmas is coming and the girls are all saying "Hey my friend for Christmas!" since they know I will be here this year.  I have explained to them that friendship goes 2 ways.  They are all waiting for school to get out in the next 2 weeks.  I have wordsearch books for all of them when they finish since time in the yard will be all day and boredom can increase here for them. Glad teams are coming to help keep them entertained.  I am glad to report that Queenie sent me a couch from her soon to be daughter in law so Katherine and I can get rid of one of our termite eaten honduran couches.  I am working on putting up the icicle lights that a church group donated to the yard.  I have some others we will be putting up on the houses and or a tree if we get one.  Looking forward to having the yard decorated! 

 

  • I started a girls bible study with the volunteer girls last week.  We will meet every other week on Thursday and we are walking through Isaiah 9:6.  Leading up to Christmas we are talking about the Names listed there.  I look forward to spending the time with them in english studying the word and praying together.  We may do worship next week if I have time to practice.  

People are always asking me what I want or need for Christmas and I am hesitant to tell them funds for my furlough fund.  But that is what I need. Because of the medical costs I have had for my test copays and appointments and labwork when I was home as well as just costs of being in the states (gas, food, travel etc) My furlough account that helps pay for my travel home and medical bills is exhausted.  I try ot have $3000 in it and currently I have $100.  I am trusting the Lord as usual for the funds...he knows what I need and always shows up.  If you wish to give to this you can send a check to CMC or go online.  The info is below.  Just send a note with your check and don´t write my name on it please. 

I am grateful for the way you guys support me.  To know people pray daily for me and my girls delights my heart.  To have folks send things we need for day to day needs is amazing.  It´s such a blessing to not have to worry about when we will have simple things like sanitary pads or socks.  I am grateful for the way the Father shows himself to me daily in His word, through my kids, through people here at Emmanuel..teams, visitors or volunteers.  My girls have been asking how long I will be here, and have told me how I love them.  One of the girls that pretty much hated my guts last year brought that up this weekend.  She said ¨Remember how bad I was to you last year?¨ yes.  "It was because I didn´t know you.  I thought you were mean.  I just didn´t know you!"  Glad she has seen the love I have for them.  It´s just the love of God through me because most days I am grumpy and irritable.  So the patience and love I have for them is just him.  So glad they see Him. 

Sorry there are no photos...internet is not cooperating.  But we are soon getting speedy internet in the office with unlimited data...Praise the Lord for fully functional internet! 

Grateful to be doing this together. 

Be His. 

 

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411

http://www.cmcmissions.org/donate


the rest of the story...10 things missionaries won't tell you

Contrary to popular belief, I have not fallen off the face of the planet. I just came back home to Honduras.  And since we have teams almost every single day this summer I have been a little busy. But all is well in Emmanuel and God is great to us.

 

With that being said I wanted to address a post that blew around Twitter and Facebook lately.  It was a post by Adam Mosley Called “10 Things Missionaries won’t tell you” It blew up so big he had to shut down his blogpage temporarily and use another.  The original post is here:  http://www.trinitykenya.com/10-things-missionaries-wont-tell/  Please take a minute to read through his post so you have appropriate context for my comments below. 

 

I wanted to address a few things to those of you who know me or other missionaries.  We don’t all feel just like him. But sometimes we do a bit.  Please don’t assume he speaks for all of us.  I know he doesn’t fully speak for me.

 

1. THEY DON’T HAVE THE TIME OR ENERGY TO WRITE…BUT THEY DO IT FOR YOU

I often feel like I have disappointed many of you because I haven’t written on the blog or posted an email to my supporters.  But I don’t write because I feel obligated.  I write because I want to share what God is doing in my life.  With the kids, in my heart and to share the good and hard so that you can pray.  And for those of you who financially support me I want to see what your investment is doing in lives on this side of heaven.  And I often find it difficult to summarize time around here, but I never dread it, because it is sharing what our Father is doing in this world. And some days it is hilarious and wonderful and somedays it is heart breaking.  Those things are often hard to put in print. 

 

2. FACEBOOK “LIKES” DON’T PAY THE BILLS

3.  THEY ASK FOR MONEY BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO CHOICE

 

I will address these two together.  At times it is difficult not to focus on the financial aspects of being a “self supported” missionary.  The need to rely on individuals and not an organization to send a set paycheck each month.  However, for me I consistently try to trust the Lord to provide for my needs.  And He does.  Although some days when people say things on facebook or wherever the human fleshly not trusting side wants to say “put your money where your mouth is” But that is a judgment from me.  Often times the people who don’t send a check are ones who pray a lot and even ask others to give or pray for me.  So it’s not always about the dollars.  And the Lord is faithful, when I need the money it comes.  When He tells me to share a need I have that is financial, I do.  I never feel I have no choice.  It’s not up to me.  If He wants me here, He will enable me financially to stay here.   And I know it is a joy for me to be able to financially partner with people serving in places I couldn’t serve.  Eternal impact with physical blessings we have received. 

 

4.YOU’LL NEVER HEAR ABOUT THEIR WORST DAYS.

I had to laugh at this a bit.  The Missionary according to Adam says “This has been a challenging week.”   So true.  But isn’t this what everyone does?  Who really shares via email to a group of people or on a blog post about their worst days?  Why do we expect missionaries to?

I am often hesitant to share about my “worst days” because it is hard to summarize the events that happen that create difficulty here.  It’s hard to frame the context of those events.  It’s hard to share in a way that you would really understand.  It’s not that I think you will try to talk me out of being here.  Or I am afraid to share but often just don’t know how.  I typically share these things in person or on the phone.   Some days I just need to end the day on my knees to set it down at the feet of the Father who knows what is going on and has the plan anyway. 

I do have people that I communicate with on the really hard days that remind me of truth and keep me grounded in the word and the character of the Father.  And sometimes I just need to vocally decompress and just say “Today was hard.  Or it just really stunk.”  Then hand it over to the Lord and do what He says to do with the next day or moments.

 

5. THEY NEED A VACATION…BUT WON’T TELL YOU IF THEY TAKE ONE

7. “GOING HOME” IS A LOT OF WORK. 

I’m going to comment on both of these together. 

Because people send missionaries like myself money to live on I know it is often difficult to feel the freedom to do something that sounds selfish like take a vacation or buy a plane ticket to somewhere nice to get away.  However I have never had one person fault me for doing something that is refreshing and restoring to my soul.  I have never heard anyone speak ill of another missionary for doing so.  The only time I have heard of such was a family that posted more about vacation time than work time.  From their blog post it was never clear that they actually did any work.  (I am still unsure what they ACTUALLY do! Haha And it’s not because they cannot share for safety reasons.)

It is sort of work to go home. 

Right now for me I have to leave Honduras every 4 months.  That means leaving my coworkers with my work load and feeling guilty for that.  Then feeling the SELF IMPOSED obligation to see as many friends and family and supporters as I can when I am home.  I often feel guilty if I have been in the states and not seen some of you in some form or fashion.  However I never have been made to feel guilty by anyone.

It is hard to be away from my kids.  To try to share what has been going on here.  To try to share what I need prayers for.  To share the bigness of what God is often doing here or I pray will be doing.  To travel here and there and be on the road and in the air.

But in this struggle I see the Lord.  I see community.  I see how He is working and growing me and my kids.  And although it can be tiring it is a blessing because I WANT to see you all.  To hear about YOUR life (my life often is all I think and hear about!) To hear what God is doing in YOUR life. 

I am thankful that many of you know that sometimes I just want to go to the beach or lake, or spend a day chilling with a friend somewhere kinda alone.  And I am thankful that many times you all bless me with free trips or places to recharge and just be loved on without obligation.  I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness to me through you. 

 

 6. HOSTING TEAMS IS A NIGHTMARE

I cannot say that I agree with this.  However there are individuals sometimes that come with set things they will do to bless us or the kids that create more problems than good.  But every missionary and organization has different needs and expectations for teams.  Some are not like us and don’t regularly have teams and open communication.  I am not afraid to let someone know that the idea they have may leave negative effects or be counterproductive.  But if you desire to take a team somewhere please insist that the country partner be honest with you about what they NEED and be honest if you can fit that need.  Perhaps you cannot.  Perhaps your funds would be better used not on a plane ticket, bus, and lodging but paying for food, clothes, or other needed things for that organization.

I personally love teams because I can challenge them with the word and thinking outside of the parameters they may be thinking to see a larger context to their service and future service to the Lord, whether at their hometown, nationally, or globally. Is it difficult so sometimes be continually teaching the same lessons but to different people or groups? Yes.  But I find Jesus said a lot of the same things to folks during his ministry.  So I'm just going to keep going and challenging people to be like Him. 

 

8.IT’S EASY FOR GOD TO TAKE A BACK SEAT IN THEIR LIFE.

Reading Adam talk about this broke my heart for him.  It makes me realize the context of some of what he says comes out of this. 

Missionaries are people.  And people often forget that the priority is time with the Father and in His word.  Out of this time is the wisdom, energy, and fruit in which we live our lives.  We don’t take the time we need then we often operate out of the wisdom, energy, and fruit that WE possess.  And that doesn’t cut it.  My prayer for Adam and every Christian is time grounded in the truth (That’s the bible yall) so we can be filled up overflowing types.  I say this knowing that time in the word doesn’t make us perfect or everyday full of rainbows but it SURE does change the context with which we live and view our days.   That our work would delay for a few minutes so we can take the time we need with the Father first. I have a friend that will ask "How is your time with the Father?" and it is often because I am being overly grumpy, or judgemental or negative and I haven't spent adequate time with Him and my view and heart is not in the right place. 

 

9. IT’S HARD TO TRUST PEOPLE

This also hurts my heart for Adam.  But I know it’s true.  Somehow as missionaries we are considered persons to share every detail of our lives suddenly and trust anyone who approaches us to partner with our organization.  On a personal level to find people we can be honest with about the ugly of life. 

It’s hard to have people disappoint us.  Christians and brothers or sisters in Christ especially.  I pray that Adam and other missionaries who have experienced the level of broken trust he has can have this repaired and healed by the Lord and Adam would find trustworthy partners and people who can walk with him.

I am grateful to have such a great variety of supporters that I know pray for me.  And here at Emmanuel to have coworkers who are trying to do the best for the kids and the Lord.  Do they disappoint? Yes Do we disagree? Yes.  But we are after all human.  So I pray for Godly wisdom for those moments and situations and walk on.

I am grateful also for the people who I know have my back and my heart.  Who challenge me when I am stupid, selfish, or just wrong.  Those who point to scripture to be the standard and guide.  And that pray with me and for me.  Not just saying they are praying but actually sharing WHAT they are praying. People who aren't afraid to share their lives with me that we can struggle to be more like Him together.  And get in each others faces with the truth to leave a conversation changed.  

 

10. THEY ARE LONELY.

This point, like point #8 makes my heart hurt for Adam.  He acknowledges that it comes from neglecting time with God and giving up on people… of course he feels lonely. 

We all do. Don’t we? 

One of my biggest fears in coming here is that I would be forgotten.  That people who I love back home would have events and activities in life that I would miss and never even mention it to me.  That they wouldn’t miss me at those times.  Holidays, celebrations, dinners together.  That I would be forgotten in their prayers. 

I have to surrender this to the Father time and again.  I will miss events.  I will miss holidays with people in the states.  This is what He has called me to.  But THEY will miss the blessing that events here can be.  Time with my friends here and the kids I love.  Too often we only see what we DON’T have.  Not what we have been given.

I am not going to lie…My heart leaps when someone emails me, sends actual mail through the container or someone coming down, sends a text, photo or video just because.  Or when they share that the Lord had them pray something specific for me.  Or just to remind me of a simple truth.  I LOVE hearing about YOUR life and what you are up to.  It not only makes me feel not so “alone” but also reminds me life isn’t just about Honduras and Emmanuel! Haha

But I am often reminded I am never guaranteed to be remembered.  Or not alone.  Or healthy. Or whatever physical thing we think we need.  I continually read in scripture the promises that when we speak Christ and Him crucified, resurrected and living that we will have problems from the world.  That John 16:33 says we WILL have trouble.  But I can take heart because he has OVERCOME the world.  That the eternal world coming will never hold tears.  And because I am the bride of Christ…I know I honestly am never ALONE. 

 

In summary I will close with this.  Let’s just be the body of Christ to one another.  When we think of someone in prayer- tell em.  When we think we ought to share something with someone, a word, money, a hug, a joke, a card, a physical possession- share it.  When someone needs a minute to talk or pray- give it to them.  If we want to be like the Acts 2 church- then lets be the Acts 2 church. (Added later: And let's be real when we need something.  It's not honoring to Christ to do things in our own strength when He has it in the plan to use someone in our walk. Let us share real life.  Because Jesus shows up when we are real with one another)

We are all on a mission in Christ.  Some just are further away, speak another language, and are seemingly more out of their comfort zone.  But I bet if you looked He can use us all for eternal things daily.  So let’s encourage one another with the word to Be His.  And do His work.  

 

Grateful and blessed by Him through each of you.  Let’s keep after the prize.  Him. 


Crying and circle time

I thought I would share the devotional I shared Thursday morning with my big girls.  I had planned to talk about God's love after several of the events of the week.  And then Wednesday afternoon 3 of our girls decided they wanted to leave.  They were of age and able to make this decision.  So their father came and picked them up.  It was unexpected and it made quite a few of us a little sad. I spoke to one of the girls in charge about her tears (She said "I NEVER cry. And this makes me want to cry.") I shared with her she cries because she loves.  And she cares.  

This is what I shared Thursday morning:

This morning I want to talk to you about a verse that many of you have probably read .  You can probably memorize it right now if you don’t know it already.  It is very short. 

John 11:35 Jesus wept.

Jesus lloro.

 

That’s all the verse.  The shortest verse in the Bible.

 

This is the story: Jesus was told that his friend Lazarus died.  Jesus  travelled to Lazarus’ grave four days later. Jesus saw Lazarus’ sister, friends, and  family crying.  They were upset that Jesus didn’t come and heal Lazarus.  That Jesus didn’t come sooner when he knew that Lazarus had died.  Jesus was standing there looking at all the people and he wept.  He didn’t cry out loud like some people do, making a big scene.  (insert here me making loud crying sounds like "Boooo HOOOO HOOO" to which they all laughed and I said "You know what I mean?")  But he quietly wept. I can imagine what Jesus looked like as he stood there and had tears in his eyes and running down his face.

 

 

I don’t like to cry.  I don’t like to have people see me cry.  I don’t want people asking me “why are you crying?” Sometimes it is too hard.  I am too sad.  Sometimes I cry because my heart is full of joy and happiness.  Sometimes I cry in church when I am worshipping the Lord in a song.  Sometimes I cry when I am praying.  Sometimes I cry when I feel so loved and I cannot understand how someone can love me so much. Sometimes I cry when I see again how much God loves ME.  Sometimes I cry  when I am mad.  But I don’t like people to see me cry when I am sad or mad.  Sometimes I feel it makes me look weak.  But this is wrong.  It is not weakness.

 

I know many of you are like this.  I have seen it.  I have seen that you are like this, I saw it this week.  I have seen you cry because you were mad.  I have seen you cry because you were sad.  I have cried this week because God surprised me with good things.   I went to my house and I cried yesterday after our girls left because  I will miss them. (Insert here that I actually started to CRY as I said this... I guess the Holy Spirit knows I needed to show the girls I meant what I said.  And at this point they were all listening, but after I started to cry they REALLY listened. ha)  I want you to know that  it is okay to cry. Jesus did it.  We can too. 

 

Do you know why Jesus cried?  Do you think He was sad  because Lazarus died?  Jesus knew that He would go raise him from the dead. It wasn't because Lazarus was dead. Jesus was sad because he knew that sin is in this world.  Sin causes death.  And he is sad that Lazarus had to die because sin is in this world.  He was sad because he knew Lazarus’ family was missing Lazarus because he had been dead for FOUR days.

 

So Jesus wept because he LOVED Lazarus.  And because he loves us- the people who have to live in the world with death and dying and sin. And he wants us to live in his victory. And he wept because his heart was broken for this broken world. 

 

We cry because we love.  We love people and then they disappoint us.  We love people who leave.  Sometimes we love team members who leave.  Sometimes it is our friends.  Sometimes it is our families who visit us and have to go back home.  Sometimes we cry because we miss our family.  Even if we never see them.

 

We cry because we love.  Jesus cried because he loved Lazarus.  He loves us.  He still does.  Do you believe he loves you?  Yormany talked about this the other day.  Vanessa talked about God calling us by a name only He calls us.  You.  Are. Loved.  Do you believe it?  If you believe this one thing then you won’t need to ever worry about what anyone thinks.

 

 If the God of the Universe tells you that HE loves you then what else is important?  Even if everyone else hates us, dies, or leaves us.  God- the Almighty Father loves us.  He loves ME.  Do I believe this?  Do I live each day like I believe it? 

 

Isaiah 43:4 says “You are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you.”

You are precious and honored.  He loves you.

 

Do you believe Him? 

 

Ephesians 1:4 says He chose you.  In love he adopts us as children.  He gives us grace.  He redeems us.

He choses us to be his when we trust Him as our savior.

 

Do you believe Him?

 

(I understand the theological difficulties with what I said about Ephesians 1.  But for simplicity I just said it like I did.  Another day I will discuss further complexities and richness of Ephesians 1) :)

Be His.

andi

 

 


its moments like these...

There are moments here at Emmanuel that I wish I could just video as I see them in my head or heart so you could see them. There have been many this week.

The rainbow on the south side of the campus early one morning. As I sat on the laundry steps with my head girls and Elvia. As we prayed before we opened the doors for the girls to come out the rainbow just got more vibrant. And my phone and small camera couldn’t take it all in justly. Thankfully one of the FBCO team got it. And ironically I am in the photo trying to take a photo of it. Glory of and to God for his creation.

Moments this week of discussions with my girls. From the funny to the serious. The heartbreak of discussions and new understanding with my girls. Of the work that the Lord is doing here. Day by day, moment by moment. One girl in particular has captured my heart’s attention this week. We had a discussion Tuesday night and Wednesday just before I left to get team members in Tegucigalpa she told me she was angry and frustrated. I briefly spoke truth and love to her but had to go. When the bus drove by my yard I saw her with her head in her hands. I wanted to stop the bus and just sit and pray with her. Today we talked about it and I explained to her that we have to put things down. We are to lift them up to the Lord for Him to care for or set them down at His feet sometimes. He gives us burdens to bear but we often are just to turn around and lift them up to Him. We cannot do it on our own.

I have been sick this week. Monday my throat hurt and my head and it was just too much for my brain. Monday night two sweet friends in the volunteer house made dinner for me. Tuesday was a tad better but my throat hurt. Wednesday as I went to Tegucigalpa I felt worse and worse. And when I got home I skipped church to take drugs and go to bed. But the longer I laid in bed the more heavy my heart became to just ask someone to pray with me. Not for me, but for my girls, for my yard. So two roommates came in and I said can we please pray? We did. My body still felt terrible but I felt I had been obedient and my heart felt lighter. I just wanted sisters to join me in praying for God to work down there. I woke up Thursday feeling better. As the day went on ( I had to go to Tegucigalpa again) I continued to feel better and better. By the time I got home Thursday I felt like I could run a marathon (no. not really). Come to find out that two girls came in my room and prayed over me after I went to sleep the night before. And I know people at home were praying. So grateful for people who trust and believe and are not ashamed to walk in the way of people who pray. (did that last sentence even make sense?) Anyway….grateful for my roomies/housies.

Friday morning one of our big boys got his left hand cut open with a chainsaw. There is some discrepancy on how it happened from the stories I have heard. I think that the boy that had his hand cut open isn’t entirely sure what happened himself. He was working with one of our men cutting wood and the chainsaw bucked or something. One story is that the boy was trying to protect the man and stuck his hand between the man and the chainsaw. Either way…it was ugly. I was standing in the office when the radio started chattering/yelling. They needed a doctor in the clinic. Dr. Harper is here until Monday and he was standing about 40 yards from the clinic. And he had a radio and was saying “I am right here and it’s locked” So he started up the hill. Mommy had a nurse and the key and was on the way. It seemed that everyone arrived at the same time to the clinic. I ran out the office to make sure that the nurse I knew was nearby was there. She was so I went up to see if she needed help finding things. So we went in the clinic to find things needed and get set up for when they carried the boy in. I ended up getting to watch how God had arranged things… The drugs that had just arrived the day before with people, the sutures someone brought the day before from a veterinarian friend, the fact that Dr. Harper is here only from Thursday to Monday. It was a privilege to watch and hear them discuss some of this as time went by. At the end of it I just asked those in the clinic if we could please just stop and pray. If nothing else, I just wanted to thank the Lord and ask that He would keep the boy’s pain and infection less. My heart broke for him. He is the guy who usually goes with our driver to pick up teams in Tegucigalpa when I go in. He is funny and has a good heart. Blessing to watch how God took care of him.

And then I come to this point…the point I was at last night. After seeing all that I have seen this week, I just wish I could share with you how I feel and give you the reel of film that plays in my head. I see often how God takes care of these kids. How he protects us/them from so much here. The fact that I have 100 girls in my yard and there is so little drama/sickness etc. But I often see the darkness that exists here. I feel that I am continually fighting that unseen force that the bible speaks of. And I know it is not about me but I have felt this week that I have been personally fighting. Being sick has been a hindrance just to be able to love on my girls and at times speak to them…when one’s throat is on fire you just don’t want to talk. And I have been trying to get movies converted to go watch one with them last night. I found out about an hour before that the converter only did 10 minutes of the movie. Fail. So then I tried to get a new converter and such… it still hasn’t worked. But that’s just a small thing. And then last night my ears started hurting again, draining down my throat that has had mucus running down it for the past 2 days since my throat stopped hurting.

So last night I just felt done. Overwhelmed and weary of the fight. I needed to just voice this to a person outloud. I wanted to just be home for a minute so that I can sit with you and try to explain how much I love these girls and boys and how I want victory to reign in this place. How I want Satan (who is a butthead, but in the end defeated) to have no place here. No place, no voice in my girls lives. How I have seen God answer so many prayers this week yet I am begging Him to answer so many more… Grateful for your prayers. Your partnership in the gospel. Grateful for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and how they work to bring glory, salvation, truth, freedom to each of us.


did i mention my head is a rock?

I would try to give you the replay of my week but I cannot exactly remember how it has all gone.  So let me tell you the highlights.

Worked with the team this week some and took them to Tegucigalpa yesterday and picked up a new team.  I had about  an hour to head to the mall and do some errands.  I think it was the first time I felt American.  I was booking it around the mall walking around all the chilling slow walking Hondurans.  But I am proud to say I got something at Sportline (aka FinishLine in the US), photos printed for one of my girls, ate lunch, got some lotion, and got some cash.  In a mall that is impossible to get from up to downstairs.  I think they do it on purpose.

The June container came in while I was gone.  My box from a friend is on it.  But since I wasn't there it is still in the warehouse.  When I got back with the team Wade said that he wanted me to do orientation.  I didn't have my list and I wasn't mentally prepared.  Wade said that if I did it he would get my box for me.  I didn't.  He said "We are supposed to always be ready." I told him I would be glad to tell Him all about Jesus. 

Then this afternoon a group showed up and wanted a tour so Wade called me down from my book reading/nap time on my day off and I said "You know what this means right!?" He laughed and said yes.  I didn't get my box but the group blessed me with a "tip" which I found slightly ridiculous.... and a hammer moment from the Lord, my head IS a rock. Since I was complaining about having to go do it.  Way to go Lord.  Way to show me up.  Note taken.

I have had the opportunity to meet with another girl this week- she speaks good english.  I had another say "when will you take me to the store!?" I said next week.  But my rule is that she has to answer five questions.  The day after I took Johana, Ruth came and said "So what are the questions!?" I told her I couldn't tell her because they may be different for her.  I can tell she is a little stressed about it. I look forward to those moments. 

The kids are all out of school so there is a lot of time to fill which can lend to some good intentional conversations.

I got my report from CMC this week.  And brought to tears over the reminder of how folks pray for me and support me financially.  I am astounded repeatedly how you believe in God's work here. 

oh. and i have one more Dr. Pepper.  Praying for supernatural provision on that one. :) hahaha

I am going to try to take some pics with my kids to post this week.  I love them.  Grateful for the time here.


empty and settled

I said this weekend I wouldn't post much this week but my heart is full and I want to somehow share it. So as usual...hang on for possible random train of thought.

As I sit here and type this I cannot help but feel that somehow today has been the first day that I have felt HERE.  It's hard to explain but if you could see my heart and how it feels you would understand. There have been many days here that I felt like an outsider.  Like I would never fit in.  I understand that in a lot of ways I will never fit in.  But as I walked to the volunteer house from the Big Girls Comedor I thought today has been a good day because I finally feel settled.

This weekend my heart was stirred up- an unrest in my heart about things that did not belong.  Because I am often unable to understand things the first time around God has to 1. Say things FOURTEEN times 2. Say them sometimes progressively louder and if that doesn't work 3. Whisper them in such a way that it gets my attention.  It was a combination of all of those things that occurred yesterday. 

Church was super short- There is a team here and one of the men from the church group preached.  We got out a good 45 minutes before normal.  This meant more down time.  Right now I have decided to set aside Sunday as a no big girl yard day.  I love my girls but I need some down time.  Especially after how they behaved Saturday afternoon with me during my favorite time here- the cleaning of the dining room.  Anyway.  I took time to get in the Hammock.  Read. Nap. Listen.  And somewhere in the quiet the Lord spoke to the places in me where Pride exists.  It was just a hint.  But it made me see things differently.

Then late yesterday one of the volunteers-Amy and I listened to a sermon that her brother did.  It was one of those stories that we have probably heard repeatedly.  But then one time (like yesterday) it becomes and your heart hears it.  It was from Luke 7.  Her brother explained the proabable motives of Simon.  His plan to invite Jesus yet keep distant.  Just to play it safe.  And he explained how the woman- a prostitute came to be at the same dinner.  And I saw for the first time the vast difference between those two people.  How desparate one was to protect himself.  How one was desparate for what she could not do.  To give what she could seeking help.  And she believed in such a way it lead to her salvation.  She wanted to pour out what she could and in return her Faith saved her. 

After listening to that Amy and I went on a walk.  My mouth rambled aimlessly for about 20 minutes and at the end of it I couldn't tell you why in the world I said what I did.  I felt as though it was a waste of Amy's brain cells. 

But I realized in the midst of the moments later that there was something that I let go of.  My new understanding led me to a place of being more empty.  A place that I could not have gotten to without the Lord drawing me there.  Slowly speaking love, truth, and rebuke to my heart.  But not a crushing rebuke that just leaves you heartbroken and a mess (in a bad way) but a rebuke that makes you just thankful.

And as I laid down in my bed last night I heard 1 Corinthians 1 on my ipod- the same passage from David Platt last sunday.  But in the middle of the almost being asleep/awake I only heard the last verse... "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord." And I completely woke up and smiled.  Thankful for the echo in my heart of understanding.  Of remembering how it was in my heart to be that woman desparate to pour out what I had for him.  Regardless of what others think. What they could think.  What I think they might think.  To be free of those things that entangled my heart so tightly. That held me to be sometimes passive.  Sometimes halfhearted.  Thankful for the rest from it.

I know full well I am prone to pick those things back up.  But being aware of what those things are I am praying the Lord would shine his light of "There it is" before or soon after I decide to take those things up again. 

So today as the day went by I just saw things differently.  There are many things that happened the same as Saturday.  As Friday.  As the day before.  Some the same as tomorrow.  But I thankfully, gratefully see them differently.  Some of that God vision that I always ask for.

Then today there was a girl who was sent home.  For reasons that I cannot share here.  But one of my girls.  She was one of those who frustrate me but she was quiet about it.  And as days have gone by I have wondered what her deal was.  Well, events of this weekend lead to her being sent home with her mother.  It broke some of the other girls hearts.  Some of them are angry at the leaders because she was sent home.  Some are just missing her.  It breaks my heart for the circumstance.  The way that that girl allowed Satan to speak lies to her.  To make her think that her behavior was the way to go.  I don't know the reasons why she did what she did.  But I know that somehow she decided she needed to do it. And it made me angry.

The anger that I think Jesus must have had when he flipped the tables.  The angry at the sin but not the sinner.  Angry at the sin that entangles us.  And for awhile I didn't know what to do with it.  And still somehow don't know what to do.  But I know I will set it at the feet of the one who knows all.  Stand at the feet of Jesus and ask Him to take care of it.  For the Father's way.  And love on kids again.  And keep loving on them.

In the midst of the afternoon- the learning spanish with kids getting loud and repeating themselves over and over and over, the wrestling a kid to the ground to show her that maybe I am stronger than she thinks, the sharing random life moments- the baked beans and potatos and rice.  The spanglish.

It was just settled.  Heart full and settled. 

Grateful for your prayers.  As I walked home up the hill I HATE in front of our house I thought that when we get to heaven I would love to see the prayers prayed on my behalf today. It just feels like one of those days that I am covered.  Short and sweet or long and drawnout...covered. And I am blessed.  So blessed.  Because today was just HIM.  Grateful.


insert song title/lyric here

I am sure that there is a song that somewhere says "Today was a good day.  A really good good day" But I can't think of what it is.  Good Life comes to mind....but that's because it is my ringtone. Well, today was a good day.  Here's the recap-

Got up at 5:15 like normalish but didn't eat breakfast.  Just can't eat a lot when I am on the edge of sharing about God.  It's just how I have always rolled.  But afterward...that is a different story.  I even took my Dr. Pepper down to the yard and didn't drink it. 

Anyway... We did the praying and the lettin the girls out, and the general wandering around checking houses and answering yes or no, or sorry you lost your shoes again... Then circle time.  Singing.  Then me.  I stood in the middle of a circle of 70ish girls and said "surprise"  They didn't know I would be sharing today.  I shared my story.  I cried in the middle of it a couple of times. (My church family and former team mates are not surprised...It just happens when i talk about God. It wells up and comes out my eyeballs). I looked at them listening intently.  I looked at them looking at me like they didn't care.  I took it in as I paused to have Katherine translate...

I shared my teenage days of my relationship with the Lord. With my family.  My anger. Forgiveness. Seeking and Serving.  And how I got here today.  And why I am here.  And how I longed to share not only me with them but Christ.  His love, mercy, compassion, bigness, and holiness.  How HE chose us.  I shared about my walls that I thought made me strong.  But just kept me from love.  I shared that I cannot BEGIN to comprehend what their lives look like but at the end of the night when we lay down alone we are all the same.  I need of Christ and His love.  Desparate for it. To Trust HIM.

I shared Jeremiah 9:23-24 and Jeremiah 32:37

I thanked them for their patience.  For helping me learn.  For repeating themselves over and over when I don't get what they are saying.  I thanked them for being a friend to me.  I challenged them to love each other well. I do love these girls I have known for such a short time...

Now to start working on what i am going to share next week.... haha

The rest of the day was full of studying spanish.  I feel like I recognize more things in the day to day.  But when it comes to conversations sometimes I get completely lost and my brain shuts off.  But like learning the girls names, I learn a lot more words each day and try em out to remember them.  I ran some errands for a few folks.  And walked with a friend down to the front of Emmanuel to a bible study for Some of the older girls.  We prayed over them and what she had to share as we walked. And then some good dinner discussion.  I think Kimberly here has a #Village nickname- Frodo.  We will see if it sticks.  I think it is a keeper.

And i found a package of photos I had printed to send some to my Uganda kids.  It was of them, and some of my family and friends.  Oh like rain to my heart.  I said "It's MY PEOPLE!" So hint to some of you- hijack photos off facebook. print. send.  you'll be my hero.  :) It was fun to show them to my girls after lunch today.  So much better than on my phone. 

Oh and a team came today from GA I think.  Got off the bus with their matching tshirts.  For my former team members you will know what I mean bout that.  It just cracks me up. 

Then as I was getting ready to take a shower they said the container from Chattanooga arrived that was sent about 3ish weeks ago.  So we went down to help unload it.  Always fun and sweaty.  And good manual labor. Lots more moon pies today! :) haha

And as we walked back to the volunteer house and watched the Dole Semi drive back I thought "today has been a good day."  nothing too fabulous.  But just good and somehow rich.

And now I lie in my bed listening to the thunder and wind down for my 5am Yard arrival tomorrow. 

Again- thank you for the prayers.  The comments, texts, and emails.  You all continually bless me.

Circle time from Thursday...from my vantage point standing behind them.  Katherine the blonde was sharing. IMG_3550

IMG_3548

My honduran Twin- Andy.  This was thursday too.

And included for dinner...fish heads.  Yes. Just the heads.

IMG_3555

 

 


food is a chore

In the states eating is an event.  Sometimes I feel like here eating is just eating. Especially when it comes to eating with the girls. 

They line up outside the comedor (dining room persay) and file in past the servers.  Usually there is one person serving on each pot, one putting spoons in the bowls and one on the moon pies or the water, or kool aid.  Depending on the meal.

For breakfast (730) it is usually granola- as in plain with milk, a moon pie and since the girls volunteer house got 12-13 boxes of Oreo crumbs I took a box down that took three days to go through.  We had oatmeal for awhile - on the soupy side but I guess we don't have any right now, so it is cereal.

Lunch (1200) is usually rice with manna pack rice mixed in (protein added, calorie packed) and a soup of vegetables- carrots, potatoes and another vegetable I don't know how to spell and sometimes some big shell pasta in it, all in a tomato based soup.

Dinner is rice and beans.(3pm)  Sometimes mushy big and sometimes more on the little firm side.  Every other day or so we get tortillas.  I love the tortillas. 

I haven't been eating with the girls at all meals mostly because we run out of bowls.  Sometimes I will get a bowl that a girl has finished with but if there is leftover milk or rice I don't like to because if she wants seconds she has to get another bowl from someone else who doesn't.  So this morning i FINALLY remembered to go take my bowl.  (Swiss cheese brain is exponential here)

I say eating is a chore because typically the girls stand outside for a bit.  Come in and get their food.  Sit and wait until someone says "Don provecho" or something along those lines and then they can eat.  And then about 10 minutes later we ask if they are done.  Then we tell them to go outside again.  And they are to sit in silence.

Then the wrangling begins...the older girls- the Colegiano (I don't know how to spell it) It's high school girls do the cleaning.  There is an order I have yet to figure out- of what meal and day who does what.  And they sweep.  Then they mop.  Then another mops.  At dinner they sweep then scrub then mop 2x and there is an inside and an outside.  Different girls do inside and different girls do outside.  Add in that our mops can never stay down at the Comedor so a girl or two will mosey and shashay down to their house to get a mop...it can be draining.  And if you don't stay after them they will waste time and take forever and be late for school. 

For a process person like me it is draining.  My salvation comes on Wednesday night when we have big group bible study and they eat outside.  There isn't time between eating and Bible study to clean so we don't.  Hallalujah. Except for the days like yesterday when they cancelled big bible study and we did.

And did i mention that our Comedor leaks really badly when it rains.  So then we have to mop/sweep the rain and mud out BEFORE we eat.  (at least so it is passable inside)

Thankfully Katherine and I have talked and gotten permission to get a cabinet built to lock up the brooms and mops so they can hopefully STAY.  One less excuse to wander off and take longer. 

Small things my friends small things. 

I long for them to learn and understand how we work as unto the Lord and not man.  And want to do a job that is honoring to God.  I long for them to care.  But as I have said before...teenagers.   Small steps.