Sunday, February 27, 2011

Loving Outside The Lines

Well it has been a LONG time since I have updated my blog, so I will try to make up for lost time as quickly as I can.
Baby Kendall
Harrison and I have become close family friends of a family here in French Harbour. Several boys in the family are a part of the mentoring program Harrison and several others are leading. Their mother, Francis was pregnant and had her baby in December. She decided to name her son Kendall and named Harrison and I the God-Parents of this beautiful baby boy!! It has been awesome to spend time with their family and helping provide some of their needs to help support their family. Harrison and I recently were able to give Francis some money to buy sheets so she could sell them and help with supporting the family. There are around 8 people who sleep in this one bedroom house. It has been an honor to see how this family has allowed us into their lives and trusts us to take care of their kids! I was able to take Francis and baby Kendall to the Dr. to get a check up and I have even been able to take Kendall for a saturday to give Ms. Francis a break.

Another amazing thing happened over Christmas, I got engaged to the most amazing man! And I had no idea it was coming. Harrison proposed while we were playing in the snow and I of course tackled him in the snow. It has been such a blessing to have the Lord bring him into my life. I am still amazed at how God  has spoken to both of us so clearly about our relationship, our purpose, and the direction of where our live together is headed. We will both be moving back here in August after our wedding to work with a non profit called Intensive Heart Ventures.

An update on Sindy! Sindy has learned how to eat by herself and how to use utensils.  She can understand simple commands such as: Put your plate in the kitchen, Put it in the trash, Wash your hands, Sit down, Put on your shoes, Give me a kiss, and put it back. She has continued to amaze me at how fast she is learning! She can also count one and two on her fingers. She can even say several words now and she is trying to say a lot more. She has turned into the most loving and giving child here. When you walk in the door she greets you with a hug, a smile, and lots of "Hola"s.  Right now, we are working on potty training, expanding her verbal skills by answering Yes or No questions, fine motor skills, and learning how to put her clothes on. These are big tasks, but somehow she is learning so quickly and God continues to bless the time we spend together.

It was so exciting to come back to the Children’s Home and have all the kids run up to me and almost tackle me to the ground. I absolutely love each and every kid and wish I could take every one home with me.  I have seen such a difference in the kids and the way they are beginning to understand how to treat me, and also one another. I have begun seeing the kids say more encouraging things to each other and seen them saying “please”, “excuse me”, and “sorry”. But one of the most exciting things is that when I got home one of the boys, Angel asked me if he could pray before lunch one day. It was such an encouragement to see him taking leadership and wanting to pray! 

One of our boys, Norlan, was having bad nightmares at night and wasn’t able to sleep. He would come knock on my door and ask if I could pray for him. So we would go to his room and both pray for the Lord to take away his fears and bad dreams. It was really exciting to see him come into his prayer life. At first he was ashamed to pray in front of me because he didn’t know how. Now he is more confident and comfortable because he knows he is just talking to God, like he would talk to a friend. After we prayed I would read him some of my favorite scriptures until he fell asleep. I would leave my bible in his bed because I told him that there is power in just have God’s word in your hands. Eventually I gave Norlan his own bible so that he would feel safe and protected when I was not there. It was also amazing to talk with Destiny and hear about how she has been praying. I asked Destiny one day how she had been sleeping, and she responded “SOO good Miss Kendall! I wake up in the morning and I pray, I go to the bathroom and I pray, I pray before lunch, I pray at night, and I sleep SO much better”. Wow. Talk about being blown away by childlike faith. These kids continue to show me the simplicity in believing in God’s power and authority. Destiny just began school a couple weeks ago for the very first time, and she is 9. She was so excited one day before school because she told me that she didn’t want to act bad anymore because she just wanted to learn the ABC’s. 

My relationship with all the children is growing daily. They are opening up to me about their lives before coming to the children's home. Each of them has a emotional story to tell, and I wish I could share the details about where they have been and how far they have come. Some of the kids who were unaffectionate and stubborn are now the biggest cuddle bugs and I love it! I received a comment one day from a person while being down by the dock with some of the girls. They commented about how Shenice hasn't looked so happy and played like a child in a long time and that today she genuinely looked happy and carefree. It was so good to know that God is working on softening her heart and allowing her to feel like a kid again. I love seeing the Lord working in their lives. It is so freeing to know that I don't have the power to make a difference, but it is the Spirit living inside of me that guides me to help love these kids daily, and God fighting for them constantly. All I can do is be in consistent prayer over them, teach them how to listen for God speaking to them, and teach them how be in His presence.  


also got to see Jenny again a couple weeks ago. It was very unexpected and she ran right up to me and hugged me for five minutes. She had brought me a present to the Children's Home and had someone write me a letter in English! She told me like I was like her mom and continued to call me mom for the rest of the night. Jenny looked so beautiful and it was such a blessing to get to see her again. 

I was also able to take two kids to the dentist while Harrison’s mom and sister were in town. We took Marba and Pablo to the dentist, which was an all day experience.  We ended up waiting at the clinic for 4 ½ hours while the kids waited their turn and got their teeth fixed. Marba had never been to the dentist before and one of her teeth was rotting from the inside. She was very afraid of the needles, drills, but most of all the suction device. Pablo had to have one of his teeth completely removed from his mouth because it was so rotten. These kids are tough because they didn’t have any laughing gas! Way to go!! 
I also got involved in helping out with Harrison’s mentoring/tutoring program that he started. It has gotten so big that they needed two different time sessions for the kids. It has been exciting to develop this relationship I have with the kids from French Harbour even further. They are the most fun loving group of you will ever meet, and I LOVE watching them grow in not only their education but also in learning values and morals. Harrison and the other teachers are buying the food and materials right now that help feed and teach the kids. God has blessed us so that we have the funds to do this. However, we are praying that the Lord would provide these fundamental needs that we have so that we can continue serving these children.  

As for right now I am working at the Children’s Home from 9-1:30 on a Monday-Friday schedule. Harrison and I are beginning to work with our friend Joseph in his non profit called Intensive Heart Ventures. We will be heading up his scholarship program for local kids here to be able to afford going to school. I’m not quite sure why Joseph has picked us to work with him, because I feel inadequate compared to all the knowledge and experience he has, but I’m excited for this new season of growth and to see how God wants to use this to further teach me more about serving Him and bringing His kingdom to earth. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Simply Serve

"I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; and from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about, what I have planned, that I will do." -Isaiah 46: 10-11
This verse has been a frequent reminder of the Lord's sovereignty these past few months. For me it has been easy to get overwhelmed with all the things I am doing. God has slowly but surely let me figure this one out on my own; that in my own power I have nothing to offer these people here. I can't change people, people's circumstances, or the way people think. All I have to offer people is the love that God has poured into me for HIS people. All I can do is be an example of love to people who have never experienced that kind of raw powerful emotion. All I can be is a light in the darkness and an arrow pointing towards God's arms open wide.  God is revealing to me that even though he is behind me in the work I am doing, He does not NEED me. God will fulfill ALL his plans with or without me. It is such a humbling realization. Oftentimes when I become involved in DOING a lot my pride starts to get in the way of seeing God move. 
Sometimes the call to be the hands and feet of Jesus can be as simple as "Just Serve" or "Just Love".  Many times I think the call has to be extravagant or extraordinary! And God does have extraordinary things planned for us, but we tend to forget the preparation period. That in order to make us great leaders, we must first become servants who serve with no ulterior motive other than to be the hands and feet and bring glory to God. I am reminded of the story of David in 1 Samuel, where he was prophesied to be king and was told that Saul had lost God's favor. However, David served Saul with no questions asked, and was content serving where he was.  Simply serving doesn't always usually have much spotlight or get much attention, but God prefers this method many times because He is teaching us to let go of our pride, to humble us, and to mold us into people who have a servants heart. Because once we learn how to truly give up ourselves and serve selflessly, God will lead us into situations where we will think "How can I use my leadership and authority to serve more"? 
God is raising up leaders everywhere who know how to serve.