Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Love is Enough

 Wow. Life has been crazy good since my last blog post. The Lord has been continuously moving within me to not only pour out more love, but also to begin sharing His relentless loves for each of these kids. I’ve felt like the Lord is slowly guiding me into situations where he gives room for the Holy Spirit to move within me and within the hearts of the kids. I’ve began doing some prayer time with the kids before they go to bed, and I am always amazed and in awe of their prayers. Every single kid prays for their families, and asking for God to send angels to protect them is not uncommon to hear. I am astounded by how much love they are pouring out for their families considering the situations they come from. I was taken aback one night, with a revelation that these kids are living the way we are supposed to! They are loving without expectations and forgiving their families despite how they have been treated. Being around the kids is such an encouragement and I see the Lord working on my heart through them. I often catch myself thinking about how amazing it is to know that the Lord has given me this opportunity to love on His children and help them experience His fullness.
            God continues to lead me into special moments where I get to pour into His children. One night, a boy across the hall from me started crying in the middle of the night so I went into his room. I was able to hold him until he fell asleep and pray over him. I felt the Lord saying to me, “This is what I have created you for and given you the desire to do. Delight in these moments.” It’s crazy to think about. I have nothing special to offer these kids, but through God I am able to pour out His love and be satisfied in doing that. I love that God is always seeking to lead us into more satisfaction in what we are doing so that we can’t help but give more glory to Him. God is ALWAYS going before us and preparing the path so that we can fall more in love with Him.
 I also have been able to get more intimate prayer time with a girl name Destiny. She has been struggling recently with obedience and submission to authority. She has been acting out with screaming, hitting, and throwing things. One evening, it got particularly bad, and I went to go talk with her. Immediately she tells me about having really bad dreams about hitting people and hearing things to tell her to do something bad. I knew God was leading me to ask Destiny if she wanted to accept Jesus and her savior and allow the Holy Spirit to come inside and help remove all her problems. She said yes, and we prayed together for the Spirit to begin a transformation in her! I felt God comforting me saying that that Destiny is His child and He will fight for her; all I have to do is continuously bring her to Him in prayer.
Hanging with Jenny and Shenice

Taking a break from the dance part for a photo.
I’ve also developed a relationship with a girl named Jenny (12). She is beautiful, smart, amazing, and has the most breathtaking smile and heart. She came to us about a week and a half ago because she was being abused, but then was placed back in her home four days later. Jenny only speaks Spanish….and I, well am working on that. But I did understand when she told me she didn’t want to go back because her mom was “bad”. I had barely begun a relationship with Jenny but she hugged me and cried on my shoulder for the next 40 minutes before we dropped her off with INFHA to take her back home. I gave her my number and told her to call me if she needed anything. I met with Jenny on Saturday, and she ran up to me and clung to me and started crying. She showed me bruises and welts from being hit. She said she needed some clothes—and so we went shopping. It was so amazing to get to go shopping and see her face light up because she felt loved and important. Since then, Jenny has told me that she doesn’t stay at home, but instead at a friends’ house. Today, she stopped by the children’s home and hung out with me for the day. She doesn’t have a place to sleep tonight- so she is staying here. I’m not sure how exactly how to help Jenny, but feel God telling me to continue to pour out love for her. It’s amazing to see how God is moving in this relationship considering we don’t even speak the same language. Love is enough! Love has the ability to communicate and to heal without words.  I am in more and more situations where God gives evidence of his crazy, relentless, and powerful love for His children. God will always fight for us and continue to pursue a relationship with us. This gives me so much hope and I pray that I can plant a seed within in these kids and that God will continue to bring fruit forth within them.  

Monday, October 11, 2010

Prepare The Way Of The Lord

I’ve been at the Greenfield Children’s home in Roatan, Honduras for 2 weeks now—and it has been an adventure already. The first day I was dog piled by all 16 children and could barely breathe. I wish I could have a picture of that moment. I soon realized that every child was asking me how long I was going to be visiting for and when I was leaving. I began to understand that these kids are so used to people coming and visiting for a week at a time, and then leaving. They’ve not really had many constant adult relationships. They’re mentality is that people come for a short time, and then leave. When I explained that I would be here for a many months, the smiles that came across their faces and screams were priceless.  I have gotten to know the parents who run the Children’s Home and God has truly blessed me with amazing Spirit filled Christian role models. They are constantly pursuing God’s will for the children’s home. We have devotionals at 9 in the morning (all in Spanish of course) and it’s been SO encouraging to see how everyone who works here is passionate about serving God. On Sunday’s we go to an all Spanish speaking church that is outside and lasts for 3 long hours. Hopefully one day I will post of picture to show you how everyone at this church is crying out for more of God.  People are showing up in school buses to pile under this shelter and literally crying and lifting hands out for God. Although I understand absolutely none of the Spanish, I can feel the Lord’s presence moving among His people.  The other women who work here speak only Spanish, so every morning I’ve spent an hour teaching them basic English- and trust me, it’s been hilarious for sure. A lot of the children have some degree of a learning disability, and I’ve been able to work with them one on one.
                I have gotten to know the children’s personalities and been able to establish relationships with each one. Each child has come from a very traumatic background and it is heart breaking to hear about each one.  Recently, God placed an opportunity for me to be able to talk with a young girl named Destiny, about her life before coming to the Children’s Home.  The opportunity was not obvious; it kind of just fell in my lap. I was taking Destiny to my room to talk with her about her attitude towards the other kids. And as I began to talk with her, she just started tearing up and telling about how her mom and dad used to abuse her. Her Dad would come home drunk and tell her she was not worth anything, and in Destiny’s words, she said “I could see the Devil in his eyes”.  I could feel the Lord telling me to share His Love for her. I got to pray with her and ask the Lord to begin a healing process in her heart.  When it came time for Destiny to pray, she said the most sweet, innocent and childlike prayer that brought me to tears. She prayed forgiveness for her parents and that God would bless them and not allow any harm to come to them. She also prayed for the poor and also that God would be with everyone she didn’t know. Talk about a childlike heart. I was amazed at how selfless this girls prayer was after the things she had just revealed to me.
                I am in the middle of establishing my authority with the kids, and so with that comes a lot of discipline. I’ve seen that the children don’t really have a sense of boundaries on what is acceptable and what is not. There is a lot of hitting, kicking, and screaming. I am trying to show the children that they are all brothers and sisters, and that it is not O.K. to fight against each other. I have been able to get through to a lot of the children, and have already seen a huge difference in the kids. I’ve seen some of the toughest kids change their whole attitude once I get to sit down and express how much I love them. Now I can’t stop smiling whenever I walk into a room and they run up to hug me. I am so thankful that I am able to pour out love on these children with no restraints. I feel so blessed and honored that I get to be an influence on their lives. The Lord’s love is so present here, and I feel there is a huge harvest in front of me. I’m so excited to see how the Lord will continue to move here! Please continue to pray for us.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers”
-Galatians 6:9-10

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Running After God

This past summer has been a whirlwind of emotions, experiences, and intimate time with God. It has been an adventure listening and trying to follow God's will for my life. For people who know me well, they know that I am a planner. I love to plan. I get excited going shopping for a new planner (yeah, that's how bad it is). My whole life I have always made plans for how my life would pan out. My relationship with God was a huge part of my life, but I had never asked God what His will was or ask for His input.  I was more concerned about making sure I was doing the things I wanted to be. I had this amazing plan - and it was going to be GREAT. That plan went to pieces the day God revealed something different for my life.
Since I started writing in a journal I've been able to record my thoughts and feelings while God has been preparing me for this adventure...
-Jan. 3rd: "I pray God will show me the path He wants me to take. I'm desperate for Him to talk to me, to show me. I pray He gives me the opportunity to be able to do His work that I'm so passionate about."
-Feb. 1st: "My heart is Yours to do with whatever Your will is. Where You lead me, I want to have the faith to follow knowing that You will provide for me...I know you have something unique planned for my life. God, I want You to prepare me and my heart for what You have in store for my future. I don't want to miss or take any opportunity for granted. I can't ignore You calling me any longer - You have called me to be different and show Your love for the world through me."
-March 15th: "Today Mary prayed for me, and after we had prayed she told me that she felt like God was preparing me to do something radical with my life. I got so excited, because I've felt it too. I want to make myself a vessel for God and be available to do whatever He asks and have the faith to do it without doubt or questions".
-June 27th: "Woah...Last night and this morning I keep hearing from God to leave school and follow Him wherever He calls. I'm grabbing a hold to this rope of faith.I don't know where it's going, but I know God will show me where I need to be."
All of this eventually to my realization that God is calling me into ministry. After telling my family and friends that I wouldn't be going back to school in the fall so that I could pursue ministry, all I could do was pray for clarity and direction. My mom sent me a website of an orphanage in Roatan, Honduras. It was by far, not the first place I wanted to go and spend my time serving. I casually sent an interest form to the orphanage, and didn't give it another thought. I had been really excited to look into mission work in Africa and that is where I spent most of my time looking into opportunities. After weeks of prayer asking God where I should be, He finally spoke to me clearly. I asked God that if this was from Him and this was where He wanted me to go, that He would tell people close to me the same thing. Without a doubt, God was faithful and had placed the same place on everyone's hearts:  an orphanage in Honduras. This is was an amazing illustration that God does communicate clearly with us, and that He does move among us.
Throughout this whole process of figuring out that path that God has placed before me, He has continually blessed me and remained faithful to me. I had been praying that God would give me opportunities to interact with children in Honduras that had disabilities. To my surprise, the orphanage called me a week later to tell me they had just received a new girl at the orphanage named Sindy, and she had been diagnosed with Autism. The secretary of this ministry forwarded me several e-mails from the director of IHNFA (child services in Honduras) asking if I would be willing to extend therapy to several children she knew that had multiple forms of disabilities. This is just one of several examples of how God has kept reinforcing and affirming my decision. I am so excited to finally head down to Honduras and meet these children that God has placed in my life. I am even more eager to see how God wants to move and interact with these children and with the people in this community. I can't help but have the feeling that God really wants to pour out His Spirit on to these people and start a transformation. I still have two more weeks before I leave, but I can't wait to meet these children and share God's powerful love. Please continue to pray long with me that God will encounter this city and His people in a new way.
               -Psalms 119: 30-32 "I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes, O Lord; do not let me be put to shame. I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free."
This is a picture of Sindy, the girl with autism- I have already fallen in love with this girl.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Give Me A Man And I Will Change A Nation

The world needs more heroes, not the Hollywood type-- but REAL heroes. Now more than ever the world  needs men and women who aren't motivated by what they get out of something, but are moved into action because of their concern for others. We need heroes who believe the world can be changed and who won't surrender to the prevailing cynicism and unbelief that the world teaches us is logical thinking. So often we keep ourselves in this endless cycle of wanting to do something to make a difference, but getting stuck when our minds tell us it's not the practical thing to do, or it will never work because of X, Y, and Z. The thing is our minds will never understand what our hearts can (Thanks Frank).  Our hearts are telling us to step up and do something about all the despair and destruction going on around, and yet our minds hold us back by telling us that one person can never make a difference. And that's where we get it wrong. God tells us that he only needs one man to change a nation. Look at the story of Gideon. God calls Gideon to stand up for Israel and fight the Midianites. Gideon cries out to God saying "We have the weakest army in the land" and the Lord replied by saying "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?" So many times we forgot that God is capable of doing the impossible, and He is just looking for one man to surrender his fear to Him. When we give all our doubts and fears to God  we are tearing down the the walls we have built up that keep us from realizing God's miraculous power. This leaves room for God to move and change nations in Gideon's case. Throughout this story, God continuously tells Gideon "There are too many men" and Gideon's arm went from 22,000 to 300. This is pretty ridiculous- How could God expect Gideon to defeat the Midianites with only 300 people? This story amazes me because Gideon has such faith in God's power and he achieved the impossible through God. We tend to become stagnant and decide to do nothing at all simply because we cant do it through our own power, and we forget that when we surrender ourselves and give all authority to God, the unfeasible becomes reality! We need more Christians who aren't confined to thinking logically, but allow God's love to lead them and rely on God to overcome all obstacles. Proverbs 3: 5 says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding". We often tend to doubt God's plan because we cannot see the bigger picture. This is when faith can get sticky. There is this misconception that faith is easy and comes naturally as a part of being a Christian. The thing is faith takes work and a lot of submission. Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see". We need to always hold on to what God has revealed to us and never doubt Him even when we cannot see where His path is leading us. Faith is not about knowing all the details.  We desperately need Christian heroes who believe in one truth and believe that through the name of Jesus they can change the world and are ready to act on it.  Over and over again people say "Someday when I'm done with _______ I'll have the time or resources to be able to make an impact". But the thing is, the time to act is today, not someday.  Being a hero doesn't mean you have to go fight world hunger in a foreign country. Too often we under estimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. These are the type of heroes that are focused on one thing that motivates them to action: Christ's Undeniable Love. When we start thinking with our hearts and allow God to lead our plans, then we can overcome all barriers and start an explosive transformation of nations.