Month: October 2013

The Healing

Here is the beginning of my new project.  Let me know if you want more to follow:

Current Day

Amy walked up to the corner of the hospital.  It was the quietest side of the hospital with few windows and doors.  There were few exterior cameras on this side  – a fact that she was well aware of.  She wore plain jeans and a hoody over a baseball cap and glasses.  It was late in the evening and no one was on the sidewalk to see what she was about to do.

 

In a sudden move, she stepped up to the looming building that housed over 500 patients and hundreds of nurses, doctors, orderlies, and support staff.  She pressed both hands against the yellow brick and whispered a few words.

 

As quickly as she approached the building, she turned and walked away.  Her head was down, her face hidden.  She had timed this so that she could get to the corner and jump on the last city bus for the night.  Three blocks away she got off the bus and walked two more blocks to her car that was parked at a metered spot in front of closed offices. 

 

Driving away she finally removed her hood and glasses.  She shook so hard that she had to pull the car to the side of the road.  The tears came hard and breathing was painful.  The thought of dying was close but she knew it wouldn’t come.  After twenty long minutes her body began to balance to normal and she pulled back on the road to return home and hope for a night that would pass quickly without much sleep. 

Intercession

I have spent the last week trying to encourage a friend that is suffering in many ways but specifically she is currently suffering over the death of our son Isaiah.  I feel like I am losing the battle.  I don’t know what else to say or do.  I certainly hope and pray that she makes it through this deep and dark valley.

Time after time, we read in the Bible about people going through deep valleys.  I don’t know what I would have said to David when he was hiding from Saul or his own son.  What would you say to Daniel before he was thrown into the lion’s den?  Would you have encouraged Noah when he was building the ark?  How about Joseph when he was in the pit, or in jail?  If I was Jesus’ mentor, I would have told him to kill everyone more than once.

It’s at these moments that we turn to God for intercession.  We cry out for His grace, mercy and wisdom. 

Romans 8:26

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
 
**If you are interested in my friend’s most recent blog, it is http://acceptthebullshit.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/trees-and-tears/   This is not for children or for a casual read.  If you do choose to read it, please spend some time interceding as well.  Thanks, Brian

We’re at our anniversary

We made it to our anniversary.  1 year.  We are observing it today and tomorrow.  Isaiah died on October 23rd but last year the 23rd was a Tuesday.  Last week I planted a tree for Isaiah and his grandfather who died a month earlier.  Tonight I am helping one of his friends plant a tree in her yard.  She is still hurting and needs a lot of prayer and healing.

Tomorrow Laurie and I are going to sort through all of his belongings and clothes.  We haven’t touched anything in his room for a year.  We’re going to collect his things and donate them to charity.  We hope that they will help someone in need.  We are also applying to renew our passports.  They ran out two years ago and with everything going on we did not renew them.  It’s time for us to travel again.  It’s time for us to reach out to missions again.  Maybe it’s time to work in an orphanage for a season.

We have prayed.  We have questioned.  At times we doubted.  We’ve had anger and frustration.  We’ve had relief.  When we see killings by hurting teens we are relieved that our tragedy didn’t end that way.  Maybe that is a terrible way to look at this but it is reality.  It could have ended much worse than it did.

Last night was difficult.  After a year of dealing with the police we finally got the records from the stolen iphone that he was texting on during his final three days.  That was hard but it showed again the pain and confusion that he had.  How does a child get so damaged and why couldn’t he be saved?  Those are questions that we can’t answer.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to those of you who have stood with us this year.  Your prayers have carried us through it.  You will never know how much that helped.  There were so many times that we talked at night and shared how much peace we felt.  We always said, “it’s because so many people are praying for us.”  Don’t ever feel like you can’t do anything.  The prayers of the righteous are very strong . . .

Isaiah

Ministry in Guatemala

I felt led to share this opportunity to give:

Casa A banner
CONNECTED IN PURPOSE
CARING FOR THE WIDOWS AND ORPHANS
 
 
Emiliana, our “grandmother” at Casa Angelina, was rescued a few months ago from horrible living conditions. When we found her she weighed only 63 pounds! She suffered from extreme malnourishment, which prohibited her from eating well the first two months she was with us. Because of this, she lost 4 pounds. She also suffered from bronchitis, gastritis, intestinal infection, arthritis, anemia and a very stubborn parasite that took months to get rid of. When we found her, she was in a wheelchair, unable to walk, feed or bathe herself and needed assistance going to the bathroom. 

Emiliana in the home and life we rescued her from.
 
We are so happy to report that God is miraculously working in her body! God has healed her in so many ways. She has gained back the weight she first lost and now weighs 68 pounds! She is off of all medication, and only needs supplements such as iron, fiber and multivitamins. Her bronchitis is completely gone, her gastritis is under control, she no longer has intestinal issues, and there are no signs of parasites!
One of the biggest miracles we are experiencing with Emiliana, is that she is on her way to being more independent! She can feed, bathe and go to the bathroom herself and can take a few steps with her walker! Getting her up and on her feet has helped her gain much needed strength in her legs. We praise God that He has given us the opportunity to sow into Emiliana’s life!

Watch this video of Emiliana walking!
 
We want to thank all of you for your prayers and financial support of Casa Angelina. Because of you, we are able to care for our widows and children. Below are some specific needs we have at Casa Angelina. We are trusting God to continue His provision for us. We want to send a big thanks to all of you, our faithful supporters!
 
Emiliana lives in an apartment at Casa Angelina that is connected to another house. This apartment needed a bathroom, which we were able to build with some extra material we had. Since we didn’t have all of the materials we needed, it ended up being a very rough finish. With winter coming and it currently raining so much, we would like to finish this bathroom properly for her. The total cost for this project will be $3000.00.
 
 
 
We have elementary, middle and high school students who are in need of graduation gowns for their upcoming graduation ceremonies. Each gown costs $16.00 and there are 20 children that will need them totaling $320.00. At the end of each school year, we have a graduation celebration for all the children, which will cost $400.00. We are asking for your help in raising a total of $720.00 by the end of October. 
 
All of the children at Casa Angelina are growing and are in need of pants for Christmas this year, especially our older kids. We would love to be able to give each child three pairs of pants. To be able to do this, we need to raise $1000.00. 
Each child needs a new bath towel. Towels costs $3.76 each, so we are hoping to raise $376.00 to be able to fill this need. 
Thank you again for partnering with us as we continue to care for these precious lives!
 
 
 
Everything we do of significance we do in partnership with others, and without your help we cannot fulfill our mission of saving children in Jesus’ name. We want you to be a part of this journey and join us in feeling the conviction of helping those in greatest need—the orphans and widows.
To find out more about supporting our children and becoming a partner in our ministry, please contact us at our U.S. office at theteam@whatmattersmm.org or by calling (719) 495-9494.

Thank you for investing your valuable time into being connected with what God is doing through this ministry.

Connected in Purpose,
The Team at What Matters Ministries and Missions

 
 “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.”  -Matthew 18:5

PO Box 62820 | Colorado Springs, CO 80962 US

Be Patient

Psalm 27:13-14 NIV

13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

Be patient.  The Lord has not forgotten you.  He is preparing you and the path that is ahead of you.  Be calm.  Be at peace.  It will happen because God loves you!

10 Reasons not to become a missionary

This is a site that I just found today.  It’s a great site and I hope you enjoy it.  Laura also has a new book on human trafficking.  Blessings!

10 Reasons Not To Become a Missionary

by LAURA PARKER on OCTOBER 16, 2012

1. Don’t Become a Missionary if You Think You Are Going to Change the World. First, high expectations doom to disappoint, but, also, maybe your desire to change the world is trumping your desire to serve. Ask yourself if you would be happy moving overseas to a much harsher environment in order to quietly help a local, while getting no recognition and seeing no fruit in the process.  If you can answer honestly yes, then maybe you’re still in the running. {Don’t worry, we thought we would’ve answered yes, but found out that we really had some unhealthy saviour-complexes to begin with. You can read about that here: On Living a Good Story and Not Trying So Hard and The Guy in the Orange Shirt .}

2. Don’t Become a Missionary to Make Yourself Better. My first mission trip was as a middle schooler to Jamaica. I’m not really sure how much good we actually did, but I do remember one of the missionaries we worked with. His name was Craig, and he had some of the biggest glasses I’d ever seen. And the dude talked to everybody about Jesus. Everyone– the pot-smoking Rastafarian in the line, the tourists at the store, the check-out guy at the food stand. And I remember turning one time to another missionary who worked with him and asked what made him so “good” at evangelizing.  The older missionary said, “Craig?  Oh, he didn’t come to Jamaica and become like that. He was already like that in the States.”

And I think Craig with the big glasses dispels the lie that if you move overseas, then you will magically become a superhero Christian. Um, false. What you are here, you’ll be there. And while it’s true that the change of environment can spark growth, it doesn’t mean you’ll go from luke-warm average Christian to Rob-Bell-Cool-On-Fire-Mother-Theresa just because you suddenly find yourself on another continent. Pretty sure it doesn’t work that way.

3. Don’t Become a Missionary if You Think You Have the Answers and the Nationals Don’t. Westerners have clunky shoes.  This is just true. We are loud and obnoxious and, good Lord, arrogant. Our DNA has us descending on other cultures and dictating ways they can “fix” themselves, while throwing money at their problems. I think I’ve learned that every good missionary LISTENS, first. And listens, a lot. {Don’t worry, I suck at this still. You can read about that here, Rich Guy with the Crappy Car or Quiet Heroes.}

4. Don’t Become a Missionary if You Can’t Hack Transition. We’ve been overseas now for less than two years, and we have moved houses three times, taken two major trips, and have gotten close to and then had to say goodbye to over 15 good family friends. People come and go on the mission field. Terms are up and governments change the visa laws. You find a deal on a house or the house you are in has rats. When you sign up for missions, like it or not, realize it or not, you are signing up for a transient lifestyle. {On Moving House, Like A Lot and New Girl both speak to this reality.}

5. Don’t Become a Missionary if You Think You Are Really Pretty Great, Spiritually-Speaking. There’s nothing like moving to a foreign country to reveal all the crap that’s in your heart.  Seriously. I have cussed more, cried more, been more angry, had less faith, been more cynical and, generally speaking, have become in many ways a worser person during my last two years of serving in Asia. Call it culture-shock if you will, but I tend to think the stress of an overseas move thrusts the junk that was conveniently- covered before out into the blazing-hot-open.

6. Don’t Become a Missionary if You Think Living on Support is Cake. It might look easy, but it is most definitelynot– this monthly process of holding your breath and praying that you get a full paycheck , while knowing that even thatpaycheck is based on the kindness of your parents or your friends or the lady you know hardly has two pennies to rub together anyway. And then, when you do have a little money, you stress about how you should spend it —  Should I treat myself to a coffee? Do the kids really need to go to the pool today? Should I buy the more reliable scooter or the used one that will {probably?} be just fine?

And then, and then, shudder, there’s that awkward process of asking for it in the first place and feeling like you are annoying-the-heck out of the same people, who happen to be the only people you know  — like that pushy lady selling Tupperware down the street.

The whole thing might be great for your faith, but it can sure be a killer on your . . .  heart, finances, sense of self-worth, savings, relationships, budget, fun, and freedom.

7. Don’t Become a Missionary if You Aren’t Willing to Change. Flexibility is more important than I ever thought it would be in an overseas life. So is humility, actually. Unfortunately, neither of these qualities is naturally at the top of my Character-I.Q. However, I have learned that the more determined you are to stick to your original plan– regarding ministry or living situation or friendships or organizations or personal growth– the more painful it is when that plan changes, and change it most definitely will. It’s the ones who humbly hold things loosely that I think can go the distance with far less collateral damage.

8. Don’t Become a Missionary at the Last Minute, on a Spiritual-Whim, Spontaneously. And yes, my Charismatic friends may disagree a bit here, but moving overseas, especially with a family and especially in any kind of committed-capacity, is not something to be taken lightly. It’s not necessarily a move that should be felt at a tent-meeting on Friday and plane tickets bought for the the next Monday. Training is important. Spiritual, emotional and cultural preparation has immense value. Turning your heart to a new place often takes time to fully root. So, give it a little time. Don’t be afraid to put the brakes on a bit, and heaven’s sake, don’t think that you’re more godly if you decide, pack and go in record time. This is not the Olympics, and sloppy leaving can take more time to clean up than you realize.

9.  Don’t Become a Missionary to Fix Your Kids. Jerking a rebellious teenager from liberal American society and sticking them in an African hut so they can “find God,” is not a valid parenting technique. Family and personal problems will follow you overseas, in fact, they may be amplified. It’s important not to buy into the lie that forcing your kids to be missionaries will supernaturally make them love Jesus. That might happen, but moving a rebellious teen might also royally backfire on you, and should never, ever, ever be the primary reason a family takes up missions.

10. Don’t Become a Missionary to Find Cool Friends. Now, I’m not saying you won’t find amazing friends– maybe the best in your life– but there is no denying that the mission field can draw some pretty odd ducks. {Of which, I, of course, am not one. See #7 regarding my natural humility.} Don’t be surprised, though, if you find yourself in a church service with ladies wearing clothes from the 80?s singing praise songs from your middle-school years like Awesome God, but without even the drums. Don’t be surprised, too, if your social interactions are awkward at best with many of your fellow mission-souls. Living out the in jungles for twenty years might do wonders for your character and strength and important things, like, oh, the translation of the Bible into another language, but it can sure do a number on a person’s ability to shoot the breeze in a church lobby somewhere.

But, there, again, maybe there’s a necessary shifting that has to happen to your definition of cool, anyway.

– Revised and Extended from LauraParkerBlog‘s original list, posted Jan 2012

Laura Parker, former missionary in SE Asia.  Twitter:  @LauraParkerBlog   Ministry: The Exodus Road

 

Current day slavery

(Reuters) – Nearly 30 million people are living in slavery across the globe, many of them men, women and children trafficked by gangs for sex work and unskilled labor, according to a global slavery index released on Thursday.

The index by anti-slavery charity Walk Free Foundation ranked 162 countries on the number living in slavery, the risk of enslavement, and the strength of government responses to combating the illegal activity.

It found that 10 countries accounted for 76 percent of the 29.8 million people living in slavery – India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Modern slavery was defined as human trafficking, forced labor, and practices such as debt bondage, forced marriage, and the sale or exploitation of children.

Researcher Kevin Bales said he hoped the index, the first annual report to monitor slavery globally, would raise public awareness as numbers were at an all-time high and it would increase pressure on governments to take more action.

He dismissed the view that poverty was the key factor behind slavery and instead blamed corruption, calling for laws to stop organized gangs.

“Consistently when we analyzed the statistics we found that corruption came out as more powerful than poverty in driving slavery,” said Bales, a professor of contemporary slavery at the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull in northern England.

“Fundamentally this is a violent crime issue.”

The report found Mauritania in West Africa had the highest number of slaves proportionately, with up to 160,000 enslaved in a population of 3.8 million, due to culturally-sanctioned forms of chattel slavery and high levels of child marriage.

The highest absolute numbers were almost 14 million in slavery in India and 3 million in China.

“By far the largest proportion of this problem (in India) is the exploitation of Indian citizens within India itself, particularly through debt bondage and bonded labor,” said the report.

In China there was forced labor of men, women and children, including domestic servitude and forced begging, sexual exploitation of women and children and forced marriage.

Coming last in the index were Iceland, Ireland and Britain although Bales stressed they were not slavery-free.

Up to 4,400 people are estimated to be enslaved in Britain, the victims mainly from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. They are forced into sex work, domestic servitude, or low-paid jobs in agriculture, construction, restaurants and nail salons.

“Hopefully this report will be a wake-up call for rich countries as well,” Bales told Reuters.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith; editing by Andrew Roche)

Purpose

I was a philosophy major in college.  And yes, it did lead to a great job.  My favorite area of study was existentialism – studying the purpose of life.

I have been reading again the struggles during WWll and the torture of the Jews.  I just finished the book “Anne Frank Remembered” on audio.  This is EXCELLENT.  If you have any interest in the subject listen or read this book.  The audio is very well done and is available at the library.

I’m going to jump to the last day of imprisonment of the Jews – the day the war was over.  Some Jews died on that day.  Some died on the days leading up to it.  Anne and her sister almost made it but died about a month before the end.  Can you imagine?  Living through all of that and dying on the last day when they could be free in 24 hours?  I can’t wrap my mind around that.

Victor Frankl experienced that as well.  Men were led off on the final day only to be shot.

What is our purpose here?  Why do we exist?  If the Jews could give testimony during imprisonment shouldn’t we be able to give testimony in what we do?

In 1940, before the war, a teacher in Iowa thought it would be a good idea for her students to write letters to students in Europe.  A girl wrote letters and waited patiently for letters to be returned.  She received letters from two sisters in Amsterdam.  The letters told of their lives and family.  The authors of the letters were Anne and Margaret Frank before they went into hiding.  That teacher had no idea what that little exercise would produce.

Exodus 9:16

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

 

This IS just the beginning

Attachment disorder – RAD – Abandonment – Adoption Syndrome – Whatever you call it, it is difficult to deal with.  Some are able to pull through it.  Others, like us, are not.  I am NOT against adoption.  I have always been for it.  Unfortunately we got hit very hard with the extreme eye opening experience.

Our prayer is that we can take our experience and use it to help others.  We still hope to get involved in orphanage ministry.  All children need love.  Please don’t use my writings to pull back but to move closer to offering healing to children in need.  This whole area of need is in need of a lot of prayer.

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