Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wrapped Up

So, yesterday there was an earthquake in Virginia and Colorado. Am I the only one that was sick of hearing about it within 5 minutes after the one in VA happened? No one was killed. I haven't even heard reports of injuries. But the media spent the rest of the day talking about it and I woke up to even more coverage of it this morning. Between that, hearing non-stop about Gadhafi and STILL hearing about Casey Anthony, I'm just a little sick of what is deemed newsworthy in this country.

An earthquake that did little more than shake things up. What I want to tell people is to get an earthquake app and see how many earthquakes occur around the world every day. You would be surprised and this would end up seeming like no big deal. I won't touch the Gadhafi topic, but waking up to more news about Casey Anthony sent me reeling.

We are a country wrapped up in the wrong things.

Do you want to know what I think would have been newsworthy yesterday? It isn't as if I have never said it before, but since the news refuses to cover it on an ongoing basis I guess it's left up to advocates to keep shouting from the roof tops.

22,000 children alone died yesterday from poverty related issues...things like hunger and easily preventable diseases and illnesses. That is the equivalent to one every four seconds. Fifteen every minute. In 2010 there were 925 MILLION hungry people in the world. And the number is increasing, not decreasing.

That is what I call important, but I guess the media giants don't think it is glamorous enough or exciting enough to talk about it every day, probably because most people really do not care to think about it. It's just too big of a problem. If you can't fix it, just ignore it, right?

I do not deal well with the whole ignorance is bliss thing. In the 12 seconds that shook part of the U.S. yesterday afternoon, 48 children died. What is more sad than their deaths is the fact that every one of them probably could have been prevented.

If only we weren't so wrapped up in ourselves...

Monday, August 22, 2011

When Old Becomes New

Being the music lover that I am, I've heard this a lot over the years and have never really liked it. It was just one of those songs that never really moved me. Until a few days ago. More about a conference I attended this weekend will come later, but for now this is what is playing over and over again in my mind. This song that has never spoken to me before is my prayer. With eyes closed and hands raised high I realized that it is the cry of my soul, my deepest longing. To give every thing I am for His kingdom's cause as I am walking from earth into eternity.

Heal my heart and make it clean.
Open up my eyes to the things unseen.
Show me how to love like You have loved me.
Break my heart for what breaks Yours.
Every thing I am for Your kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity.

Facebook readers can watch the video here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What's Happening Now?

We're getting ready for a mission trip, of course, and I am counting the days until I am back in Guatemala. Literally. 53 days to go. We will be in Guatemala October 10 - 15.

I know, I know...I say it every time. "This trip is going to be awesome!" Every time I get back, "The trip was incredible!" And I mean it. Every single time. So of course I have to say it again.

This trip is going to be incredibly awesome!! I cannot wait to serve the people that we love so much in Pueblo Nuevo with the team that is traveling from our church and because of the size of the team we will be able to accomplish so much while we are there.

So what are we going to do?

Distribute water filters. Lead children's ministry. Host a village wide party (fun & games for the kids, dinner for everyone in the village and presenting the message of Christ). Something super special just for the women in the village (more about that a little later...maybe even after the trip). Minister to families. Love our sweet friends in Guatemala. Behind the scenes I will be working on some possible job opportunities for women in Pueblo Nuevo and need to figure out some health care issues and talking to parents to figure out how we can better help them so they will allow their children to attend school. Basically, what we've done all along and what we continue to believe has to be done in order to get anything accomplished in the long run. Meeting basic physical needs (clean water!); meeting emotional needs (just loving), working with our ministry partners and families on long term solutions to alleviate poverty and above all sharing the love of Jesus with those that already know Him and those that do not.

Do you want to be a part of this even if you can't physically be there with us?

We need more water filters. No, we do not need them...families in Guatemala need them. We ask for your help on their behalf. Each filter costs $50 and provides an entire family with clean water. 10 gallons of clean water every day. Will you consider sponsoring one? Two? More? If you cannot sponsor a whole filter, will you consider contributing $25, $10, even $5 for one?

You can donate via PayPal on the sidebar or on our website. If you would like your donation to be used specifically for water filters, please indicate that during checkout.

Thank you for your support! We cannot wait to share this trip with you.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Are we really all that different?

I will never understand how things can be so different yet so much the same.

I will never understand why one person gets to live her life in luxury while another struggles her entire life when both live the lives they do just because of where they were born.

And I will never understand why everyone doesn't "get it". Why is it so hard to make even the smallest sacrifice of your time, of your finances, of yourself? Why is it so hard to love someone you've never met, just because she lives a different life than you, in a far away place or even your own backyard? Why is it so hard to give to those that can never repay you? It isn't hard at all. But to us, the ones that have it all, we so often make it appear as though it is.

Are we really that selfish that we refuse to spend ourselves for the poor? Or do we just think that it's pointless to do anything since we are single handily unable to save the world?

We are moved to tears and slightly open our wallets when disaster strikes, but it often stops there. Once the media moves on to the next big story we forget that the suffering continues and we move on with our lives while they continue to try to rebuild theirs. And what about the stories that never make the news? There are so many. Every day. Everywhere. But they go unnoticed, unseen, forgotten, never known.

Until you step into their world you will never know. Just a glimpse is all you need to change your life forever. Just a moment is all the Lord requires to open your eyes to what you have been blind to. Once you see it, it cannot be ignored. You will never forget. And you are forced to act. To remain unmoved, unchanged, is to ignore the command given by Him. Love.

I still hear that I am too obsessed with Guatemala. Some are tired of hearing about it and others just think I've taken this too far when really we are far from where it is going. This wasn't my decision and today and every day I am overwhelmed with thankfulness that He did not just open my eyes, but He rocked me to the very center of my being and brought me to a place that I would be unable to escape. I am so thankful every day that He continues to work in my life, that He walks before me and beside me and directs my path and that He continues to break my heart for the most vulnerable people in the world. Just when I think He cannot grow my love anymore He proves me wrong again. The stirring and growing never stops and I pray it never will.

I miss Guatemala every day. I long to be there while working very hard to live and love right where I am. And I constantly count the days until I will return.

I have 68 days to go. October 10 is approaching quickly. A team from our home church is traveling and I am so excited to spend this time serving with them there. Maybe it's because time is moving quickly and registrations are coming in and I am working on trip details a lot this week that has my heart in a flutter of anticipation and my mind in a race. More so than usual. I am so excited about this trip, as always, and being able to deliver more water filters to families in Pueblo Nuevo. We are not giving up on making sure that EVERY family there has access to clean water and more importantly that every person there hears the message of Christ.

To escape the thought that we are all so different, but so much the same has come up in everything I've done the past of few days.

I walk down our gravel and oyster shell driveway in a pair of cheap, thin flip flops. The rocks and shells under my feet cause me to wince in discomfort and I wonder why I didn't wear one of my other pairs of shoes. Another pair out of many. The heat is unbearable for more than a few minutes and the humidity is suffocating. It isn't long before I return inside to the comfort of air conditioning and an intentional cool shower. Later I look through the pantry at all the options we have for dinner and do not have a craving for any of them so I get into my car and I drive to the store where I buy something else for dinner that is more pleasing to us for the night and stack up on snacks and fresh fruit and new socks and more Legos for the child that has become a small scale architect. As I leave the store those same feet wearing the same cheap flip flops hit the pavement one step at a time and I think...I wonder what she is doing right now? On the same earth, made by the same Creator, loved just as much by Him as I am. What is she doing? I make it home in time to throw dinner on our plates, eat and relax for a while before sending a precious little boy to bed. He sleeps in a real bed. In a house that has doors that are more than shower curtains. In a house that has a roof with no holes in it. In a house that isn't over run by rodents. He didn't go hungry today. Had he gotten sick, he would have been able to see a doctor immediately. He had nothing to do but play with an abundance of toys, do his learning activities, and be smothered all day with hugs and kisses. Once he was asleep I sat in silence. Again my thoughts returned to her.

In flip flops similar to mine, where did her feet walk today? The same as every day, I'm sure. She walked up and down hills, on concrete and dirt. Perhaps she made her way all the way down the mountain and back up again. The dirt covering her feet and legs is not enough to cover the proof that she is always up, always on her feet, always walking, always working. She does her best to feed her children and she tucks all of them into one bed at night. A bed made of one thin foam mattress on top of a dirt floor with a torn shower curtain as a makeshift door. I've only seen the mice during the day and they are quite at home there. I can only imagine their activity in the dark of night. If it rains tonight water will pour through the holes in her roof and the dirt will become mud. I wonder what she does as the children sleep. No doubt she continues her never ending work. I cannot adequately explain her life. There are no words to truly explain it. And she is just one of many that we have grown to love. She happens to be in a village in Guatemala that we know about. But all over Guatemala and all over the world the same story plays daily and for each one that lives it I am overwhelmed with love for them. Whether I know them or not.

I cannot change the world. I cannot change a country. I cannot change even one small village. But I believe that He can. And I believe that if we allow Him to use us, it isn't as hard as we may think. We aren't here to save. We are here to love. To love Him. To love each other. That includes everyone.

The God that created me, the One that created you, created every person that is suffering in the world right now, from the youngest orphan to the oldest widow and everyone in between. He created those that love Him and those that reject Him.

This country that we are blessed to have been born in is a very small part of the world He created. We all walk the same land. It may be in different countries, but it is the same Earth. So why do we act as if things are so different when we are really all the same? What makes us so much better than those that have never had a chance? What gives us the right to keep the blessings we have been given to ourselves? And what gives us the right to keep Him to ourselves?

In the end, there is no difference at all. We are all born the same. We take the same first breath. We spend our lives just trying to get through it. And then we die. Some will find themselves rejoicing in Heaven while others will spend eternity in hell. Regardless of where we are then, we will all be the same.

We don't have to wait until eternity to see that we really aren't all that different at all. And we don't have to wait until eternity to find out what we were supposed to be doing during our lives on Earth. If we claim to love Him, we must love each other. If we claim to be Christ followers, we must follow His example and be the most loving, most compassionate, most giving people we can possibly be. All we have to do is love and have hearts willing to follow Him anywhere. He will take care of the rest.