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It’s my birthday, but T-Minus 3 days and off…

to Peru for seven days with 43 strangers with Compassion International. The flight is six and half hours, and we will be getting into Lima at 9:15p. The daily plans for this trip are filled with mainly children ministry through worship, skits, and fun with people that love kids. =D We will also be painting and cleaning up one of the community centers. The main thing about this trip is getting to know Compassion Peru on a personal level. When you invest your time and money on a child in this country you want to know what it is going towards and this is the beauty of Compassion. You get to go to see just what they are doing.

In my handy dandy package

I have been reading more about Compassion and their mission as an organization. They use a holistic approach to caring for these children in their programs. It is about giving educational opportunities, life skills, health care (supplemental nutrition when needed), safe and healthy recreation, and the biggest  gift they could give the chance to hear the gospel. I believe in the work that Compassion is doing, and I am sure that after this trip my belief in them will be even greater!

So, I first want to ask each of you to please pray for the 44 people that going here they are by name:

-Felicia, Emily, Sandy, & Pete Amy (Texas)

-Matthew & Pamela Brewington (Compassion Workers/CW)

-Nancy Bullard (Georgia)

-Brenda Burkett (CW)

-Stephanie Campbell (Ohio)

-Carol Carroll (Ohio)

-Christine & Lydia Clark (Pennsylvania, also they are in my Family Group)

-Robyn Dell (CW)

-Darien Evans (North Carolina)

-Kelly Heimerman (Wisconsin)

-Larry & Pamela Hodges (Alabama)

-Aislynn Holt (Florida, that’s me)

-Mike Huskey (Texas)

-Rachel James (Texas)

-Margaret Jones (Nevada)

-Rodney & Jennifer Keaney (CW)

-Anna Koon & John Odom (North Carolina)

-Sheryl McGillis (CW)

-Darya Miller (Colorado)

-Katie & John Paczak (Mississippi)

-Gina & Megan Peterson (Washington)

-Heather Quinn (Louisiana)

-Shan Reed (Japan, US Missionary)

-Lyle & Beverly Riggers (Virginia)

-Susan Taylor (CW, and my roommate)

-Rachel Wilding (Nevada, and in my Family Group)

-Sean Dana (Tour Leader and my group leader)

-Liz Duckworth (Co-Leader and other group’s leader)

-Christian Metzler (Compassion Photographer)

-Cristina Zavala (Peru Country Director)

-Silvia Sanchez (Prog. Comm. Manager)

-Soledad Agreda (Tours & Visits Leader)

There they are. I will be in a Family Group with Christine & Lydia Clark and Rachel Wilding. I’m trying to figure out why I was put as the leader of this group when I am sure one of these three would be incredibly better at it. I prefer being a responsible follower. We will have a translator and staff member with us, and Sean will be over us and three other groups. The other four groups will be with Liz. Sean also sent me an email telling me they were in need of a voice for the worship team, and I am still processing the way God worked that one out. If you know me, you know why I say this. Sean doesn’t know me!

Our Daily Itinerary is below: 

Sunday, Sept 11- Depart for worship with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ at a local church, and short visit through the city and shopping at the local craft market

Monday, Sept 12- Depart for the Compassion Office in Lima, tour of the ministry with the opportunity to meet the staff that makes your sponsorship through Compassion possible, lunch at a local restaurant, depart for our first Child Development Center visit, PE109. We will spend some time touring the classrooms, and playing with the children.

Tuesday, Sept 13- Depart for a Child Survival Center, where we’ll meet with the mother’s and their little ones of the community, visit their homes, and learn about the help of Compassion in the community, lunch at the center with the children, in the afternoon spend some time with the children at the center, visit their classrooms, and play games.

Wednesday, Sept 14- Depart for Child Development Center, PE444. Enjoy a welcome by the children, visit with the children and their families in the community, lunch at the center with the children, depart for the hotel to get refreshed, dinner with some amazing college students who are in the Leadership Development Program. Listen as they share their stories, and how they glorify God with their lives.

Thursday, Sept 15- Sponsored Child FUN Day- The DAY you’ve all been waiting for!!! Depart for the Zoo where you’ll you’re your children.  Spend quality time with them and their guardians who traveled with them, share lunch with your child and translator. As the day comes to a close take the opportunity to pray with your child and their family. Don’t forget to ask for prayer yourself, they are might prayer worriers!

Friday, Sept 16- Painting Day- Depart for the same project we visited on Wednesday, PE444 along with PE408. Keep your hearts open to all that God can teach you as you serve with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to paint the centers. As we wrap up the projects, pray with the staff at the center, and say our last good-byes. With great memories and experiences in our hearts, we have our last dinner and debriefing, to give God the glory for this trip.

Saturday, Sept 17- Depart for the Lima airport, 7:30am Departure from Lima to Miami. 2:25pm Arrival into Miami to catch our personal domestic flights home.

I think aside from meeting my Compassion child, I am most excited to sit and talk with the students in the Leadership Development Program. I had the opportunity to do this when we took the youth group to Student Life camp the past two years. The two students that I met in the LDP were great women of God, and they were just wonderful to talk to. They are students that grew up in the Compassion program, and to see what opportunities they have had through having a sponsor is really beautiful.

Along with praying for the 44 travelers please be in prayer for the Compassion children. Reson and I have Smith (Peru) and Pataso (Thailand). They are beautiful boys, and when you get a letter in the mail from them telling you that they are succeeding in their Bible lessons and Bible memorization… you see God’s plan working in their lives. It’s breathtaking. Both Smith and Pataso have been asking for prayer for their fathers. For their families this is a big hit as everyone must work to make life happen. As Smith wrote us in December, “Thank you for the Birthday money, I was able to buy new shirt and shoes. I also bought bread and eggs for my family.”

Today is my birthday… give the gift of opportunity to these kids! Here are our boys Smith (left) and Pataso (right):

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Christianity

 

Birthday Packing

Today is my birthday! However, that is really not the exciting part this is:

These are “some” of the things that I am taking with me to Peru in THREE days!!! I want to give a BIG BIG THANKS to my momma, my mother-in-law, Adys, Linda C, and soon if I can make it over to the hair salon Cissy and Becky (Coupon Queens) for helping me gather many many of these items up. It was a short notice request, and it has been a really blessing seeing all this come together. My birthday has been greatly blessed by having people in my life that care about what I’m doing with Peru. Currently and all of it yet is:

- 4 backpacks (2 w/lunchpacks)

- 1 duffle bag

- plates and bowls

- ball pump

- soccer ball (deflated)

- 2 hats

- 2 boys’ outfits

- 3 jump ropes

- 5 packs of bubbles

- 4 frisbees

- 2 infant outfits

- 10 notebooks

- 2 packs of pens

- 3 pencil keepers

- 6 boxes of crayons

- 3 bottles of lotion

- 1 tube of toothpaste (more to come)

- 8 toothbrushes

- 7 pairs of scissors

- gluesticks

- pack of construction paper

- 8 bars of soap

- packs of stickers

- hairbands, clips, and bands

Things that are to come: more handbags, coloring sheets, and towels.

There is one thing that I can do and that is pack a bag. If it wasn’t for a weight limit… I know for a fact I could fit my things for the week and all this in here:

But alas… I have to consider the backs of those moving this bag off and on the plane. So, I will be taking a second bag for check-in, which is allowed and greatly being taken advantage of. =D

I will be posting again in just a second to talk about the details of the trip… stay tuned…

 

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Christianity

 

Shhh… Listen

Gonna be hot and sunny outside, praying for a hurricane inside! #heisjealousofmeloveslikeahurricaneiamatree -Louie Giglio

I’m not sure what it is about the David Crowder Band song, “How He Loves,” but deep down every time I hear it I want to skip it over. This may sound funny to some being that it is the first song I learned how to play accurately on the piano just a short month ago… but it’s true. Each time it is shuffled in, and I hear those first notes… I want to skip it.

I think deep down it is such a song of truth, it hurts just to listen to it. My eyes well up with tears, and I just truly cannot in my feeble mind comprehend, why? It is so true that it brings me to my knees knowing that I have doubted it. I have questioned it as things happen in a day, a week, in a year, and it hurts to hear the beauty of truth. Doesn’t it? You hate hearing you are wrong about something or to just hear the truth about yourself.

This song makes me think of those moments that I have stayed up thinking about things that are out of my hands and only in His. I am reminded through people that I follow on blogs, and then I remember why I invest in reading them.

“The mind would rather fret about the future or pine over the past – so the mind can cling to its own illusion of control. It’s the battle plan of the enemy of the soul – to keep us blind to this current moment, the one we can’t control, to keep us blind to Him, the One who controls everything.” – Ann Voskamp

Is this not true for all? The fret is much better because we have a believable illusion of control, but then when we release those frets over to the Creator… woooooo… that’s true control.

What is that control? It’s the hurricane inside of us whirling mightily knowing that we are in His hands, and NO one can pluck us from them. We are thee unpluckables (yes, I stole that from Flame).

John 10 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

He is in control. His grace drowns over us, and it is (I want to say “inconceivable,” but I can’t for obvious “Princess Bride” reference)… His graces drowns over us, and it is beyond understanding, and when the reality sets in it’s hard to keep listening to Crowder’s song. He says it too, doesn’t he.

“When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great Your affections are for me.”

The pain almost becomes too much to bear, but then His glory submerges us into complete trust and faith in His plan for His story that we are apart of. That’s the key… remembering it is His story, not ours. We need not pray for what our life will like, but we need to pray that His story be completed using us! So, I close my eyes… shhh… listen to that…

He loves us

Oh how He loves of all

We are His portion and He is our prize, drawn from redemption by the grace in His eyes. If His grace is an ocean we’re all sinking. When Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss, and my heart turns violently inside of my chest. I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves us.

Keep it on, listen to it, soak in the truth… shhh…

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Christianity

 

I got it!

Yesterday, was a big day! First, we had an unexpected visit with this handsome lil man:

Then, I got this in the mail.

I am 14 days away from driving down to Miami to hop on a plane to Peru! The mix of emotions that I am feeling over this trip is really crazy. There is angst and peace, which is strange and yes they are antonyms, but it is two feelings that are interesting to have at the same time. I will be reading through the guide this next week and will be in prayer as God has proven to have many things going on in my life and this trip being a big part of it.

Lord, may I have ears to hear, and eyes to see the will that You have for Your story in my life. I know that my feeble mind will not always understand, but may I have peace that You offer to those who seek You.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2011 in Christianity

 

Are you Super Mom or an Abiding Mom?

I have this paper posted on my fridge. There have been moments that I have stared at it in disgust, yet other times that I look at it in joy. The disgust comes after I followed the “Does” column all the while ignoring the “Is.” Yet, there are moments, quiet moments when I look at it… and there is a joy that comes through my mind as I see improvement that the Lord has granted me in areas of the “is.”

I have found that my views are not popular with in areas of the way I mother or the way that I am a wife. It must be an out fashioned thing… right… I tend to think it is was is called of me from God.

“Blessed is the marriage of a woman who joyfully serves, offering gifts by the work of her hands.”~ Time-Warp Wife

Apparently, this quote was liked by a person on my friend’s list, but I sit back not getting an answer for the discontent with the statement. However, it made me focus. I am an accomplished woman. I have a degree in English Literature, a wonderful husband, and two beautiful little boys. Am I accomplished if you read just that alone?  In today’s society, sure, but would quickly think otherwise if they knew more…

I don’t work outside the home. No, I stay at home homeschooling my two boys.

I delight in keeping our house clean.

I find thanksgiving in serving my husband offering the gifts that are done by my hands.

Now, I sound like a maid serving the egotistical superior male.

The stereotype of serving in this generation is really a sign of the ignorance in this world. We see serving as a downgrade. We see it as a woman giving up her “power” in the house. It’s easy to let the world cloud our mind with these ideals, and you sit at home with screaming children, toys scattered everywhere, and it hits you… I have no purpose here. The kids don’t listen. The laundry never stops. Escape!

However, if we look at our purpose from the time of Adam and Eve, we are given the job of “helper.”

20bBut for Adam there was not found a HELPER fit for him. 21So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.   Genesis 2

With that comes something of great value. Along with us being a helper, we are of great worth for we came from the man directly. He will rule over us for the sin committed in the garden, but what we need to remember along with him ruling over us is that we will be of ONE flesh.

24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2

How do you become one flesh? We share in delight with each other for who we are. Who God created us to be. When we align our lives with Christ our marriages move in-sync with one another as if in ONE flesh.

This is just the beginning of what a marriage is to look like, and I am sure I will write more about this later. Our world has deformed what marriage is, and has made it to look like a battle of who can stay the boss the longest.

And so comes the page on the fridge and comes part of my purpose as the “Helper”… having children adds a new dynamic to the marriage so a Godly woman’s train of thought must develop into something greater. Am I accomplished by the world’s standards, to some “yes” to others “no. Am I accomplished according to the God who is the Creator of all things? I look into my heart, where do my standards lie? I don’t care about your standards or even what mine can turn into if I focus on the world. I care what is written in the book of truth. My delight is in pleasing my Father.

So, I stand against the kitchen counter sweaty from deep cleaning the bathrooms, loading the laundry into the dryer, and I listen as two brothers are laughing one second and the next screaming over a toy. I look at the time to see that it is barely 9:00 am. I look back at my page, go down the list:

impress others/please the Lord… I pray out loud that I am pleasing to Him;

controlled by agenda/controlled by the Holy Spirit… at this moment the Holy Spirit as I skip a chore to stand and read this page; self worth in accomplishments/self worth in Christ…

Christ you give an abundance of this; peace in perfection/peace in the storm… a great storm has passed through and I reflect thinking of the gift of peace He gave Reson and I (thanksgiving);

discourage by failure/failure remembering His perfect strength in my weakness… again reminded of the frailty of the past month and see only His strength gave us strength and endurance;

expects perfection/practices grace… I look down knowing this has not been done. I look back on my apologies for my imperfections. I am reminded sanctification is never ending process;

teaches kids to be good/teaches kids to be Godly… I look at the page below this one that reads “Pray for God to change your heart.” This page that has a little girl knees bent in prayer. I think about sending Luk to his room to ask God to help him practice self control, yet I remember sending him to his room with no Godly direction. I think about how often I need to be disciplined by my Father, and I go without acknowledging Him;

frustrated by lack of fruit/ abides and bears much fruit… I have looked at this sheet with frustration in this area, but over the past couple of months I have begun to see that I was simply ignoring the fruits. I wasn’t stopping and engaging in His fruition;

does things with her kids/builds a relationship with her kids… I think back to a day when I sent Luk to his room for nap after a discipline lesson that was not God directed, and yet I remember all the other days I sit with him and he tells me about his sadness, his joys, and his frustrations. Though they seem small today his ability to tell me the small things will lead to him wanting to share the big things as he grows;

perspective on seen/perspective on unseen… Is my focus on the above or of the world? We are working on that as we disengage the television and engage the Holy Spirit;

quantity/quality… this seems to be an ongoing battle as we choose activities to get the boys involved in, but I am reminded that what I show them is important now will dominant their engagement. So, we focus on one sport that is still overtaken by the Word;

children think mom is too busy/children call her blessed… I look down again and smile. It was only this morning that I was reminded how blessed I am. Logan climbs into the bed in the dark at 6:30am, and he kisses me followed by placing his head against my cheek. Luk climbs into the bed at 8:00am whispering, “I love you, Mom.” Blessed.

Blessed. The word gets misused so much today. Blessed because you have money because you got a vacation and it’s quiet. What way are you blessed? Is it the reverent and honor through worship, blessed? Or is it the blessed because of good fortune or enjoying happiness? Are you blessed through the pain and through the bad? Blessed. There’s more than one kind of blessed.

Sacred. A sacred life that is dedicated or set apart to have a service of worship for our Creator, or devoted exclusively to one service, to serve God. Sacred. A word left out of tongues… you are blessed, but are you sacred? That puts you in a whole new light… doesn’t it?

 

I sit stunned… and disgusted… (news on Somalia)

Disgusted would be a good word, but I think I may be more than that. The headlines on Google Reader:

MSNBC:                                                                                                                                                     “Democrats Fall Short in Wisconsin Recall Elections”                                                                                               “UK Readies Water Cannons as Rioting Spreads”                                                                                             “Back from the Dead? Young Surfer Amazes Doctors”

USA TODAY:                                                                                                                                                 “Census tracks 20 years of sweeping change”                                                                                          “Americans’ message on joint debt panel: Let’s make a deal”                                                                              “As riots rage, Britons want show of force”

Google News is the same things. Yahoo News is talking about “Big tickets deals are coming,” “Worst foods for your teeth,” or that “Obama announces new fuel standards for big vehicles.” Let’s also look at Britain riots, North Korean/South Korean news, etc.

THERE ARE 600,000 CHILDREN ON THE BRINK OF STARVATION IN SOMALIA!!! HELLO!!! WAKE UP AMERICA!!!

This doesn’t happen over night. A famine that is the worst this country has seen in 20 years doesn’t happen in a week. It takes time and is gradual, and then the effect of death hits hard like a Mack truck hitting a Smart car. What are we doing!!! Who cares about our S&P credit scores, who cares about big tickets deals, or the worst food for our teeth. There are people with NO food to care about what’s happening to their teeth! Families are losing all of their children to starvation as we, throw away scraps and looking for more food to throw away.

We are called to care for the least of these… and they are dying right in front of our eyes while we worry about fuel costs. Disgusted with myself and my peers as my children sit healthy in front of me playing on the computer, and are fighting over who gets the mouse. My heart breaks knowing that as I sit here while two parents are surrounding the last of their three children in agony over his death and no money to bury him.

I pray they have hope in Christ. I pray that someone has gotten to them to share the hope that only He can give to such grief as this. Devastated to think that so many have already perished without that hope and that message living in their lives, and devastated knowing more are to following. How can we ignore it with our “World News” being focused on Britain’s riots.

Riots starting because people have no jobs and no money…

Really?! You are destroying your home, your country’s safety, and yet people that have no choice are just sitting still dying, looking on as the flies swarm their dead… how can this even be truth? However, it is!

Truth of a sinful world… seeking revenge and hate… glorifying riot crimes… ignoring the reality of all of us sitting behind the computer while hundreds of thousands die from malnourishment, diseases, and hopelessness.

We are so arrogant to think that we don’t deserve to be treated unfairly; we don’t deserve to talked about badly; we don’t deserve to lack a job and money. What do you deserve? You deserve the right to riot, to find the right food for your teeth. I wonder what do you think that those that die of poverty deserve?

I know the truth and fairness of it all is that we die and spend eternity and hell. Yet… Christ died to bear this fate. He died so that I could experience hope. He died so that I might believe in Him and love the least of these. Do you love the least of these? Do you love the people of Somalia? Do you love the people of Peru, of Africa, of Guatemala? How about Thailand, Ethiopia, Bolivia, or Tanzania? Do you really love them?

As you sit down finishing your summer vacation at the beach or lake what are picturing?

Right now all I can see is the people that God loves dying in a land with no water in sight or no crops to be eaten. You say, why God? How could you let this happen? I say, He is a just and fair God. He will bring condemnation to those that do not believe, and those that do will suffer and still have hope because that is what He promises. Christian living is not a straight away path to the land of milk and honey.

No… No… Paul, Peter, Moses, Isaac, Lot regular men, Hannah, Sarah, Mary regular women, all to prove that even with love of Christ, His people will suffer for Him and that is the only life worth living because it is when you are of Him and not of this world that true hope comes.

Sure it’s a hard pill to swallow (and a huge one at that), but for those that love God all things come together for His good.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

We can’t think that God only uses good for His will. No, bad must happen for His will to be done. Jesus’ death is the greatest example. A holy perfect man died for my sinful ungrateful flesh. How unfair is that?

Lord, You are full of such splendor; you are God almighty and just. Please bring hope to people that haven’t been awakened by your Holy Spirit. Grant them the most excellent sense of hope in You. Help us, Lord. May this famine in Somalia bring us to do Your work that You have commanded us.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because Iam going to the Father.  Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.  John 14:12-14

I just reached in the refrigerator to get Logan a glass of juice. Lord, please don’t ever let me forget the blesses You have given me. Please, help me to remember to give to those that need to be given to. Don’t let this greedy selfish American living destroy my calling for You! Heart Breaking that I can reach 10 feet away and supply my children’s hunger and thirst while thousands reach 10 feet to hold their dead child one more time…

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2011 in Christianity, Compassion, Mommy Thoughts, News

 

I’m gonna go to Africa…

“when I grow up, and I’m going to help the people make them clothes, plant food, water, make houses for them,” proclaimed my five year old as he came into my room from his nap. He continues the story with wanting to be a firefighter to help the people of Africa control fires, but that he needs to be a police man to help with crimes. However, he has to a hunter, too so that he can catch meat for them (they may not have a problem in some of areas of Africa with this). He drew a picture of the animal clothing he would make for them, “like God made for Adam and Eve.”

Making underwear

Animal Clothing and Homes

I sit still listening to this, and I think to myself, “start praying for the missionary in him.” I had been praying that he love, love the people that God love so much, and that he would care for the people that needed care. I wish I knew why Africa because talk around the house has been Peru, but he is stuck on Africa. He then states, “Mom, when I grow out of my clothes I will take them to the people in Africa because I know they need clothes.” Again, I am silenced by this thought. Brilliant thought because I never thought in that light. A boy who makes a measly quarter or two on his chores, and he thinks of the things he has right now in his possession. I pray for the woman he marries in a whole new light, now. Our prayer at night with him would be that her parents would raise her to love God, but now it seems we may need to be more direct that she will embrace that love and that it be morphed to a love that loves the very least of these and want to serve them.

I tell Luk about how when we go to Peru in June/July that we can bring clothing and help them rebuild after their earthquake, but again he was insistent that it would be Africa that he would this. Again, I’m thrown for a loop over this new journey he has for Africa. I embrace the conversation. Compassion International asked a few days ago on Twitter, “At what age should children be exposed to the reality of extreme poverty?” My immediate response was, “Any Age!” Reson and I have been very open about poverty in our house. I can’t say that Luk grasps it fully, but he gets portions of it. He knows that the people do without and that their is a lack of hope, but he doesn’t “get it” get it because he hasn’t seen it or experienced it. In that phrasing I guess I don’t fully get it either. I have seen poverty in areas that we traveled to in Jamaica on our honeymoon, but I didn’t get a chance to be engaged in it like my husband. So, I understand it, but I don’t “get it.” I want Luk to grow up getting it.

So, we are thriving to introduce it to him next summer. However, until that time comes we try to have those with the least in our home.

Smith & Pataso on our family room wall

Lovely Compassion Child covering Luk's Christmas photo

She is right at the door as you walk in. I don’t know anything about her, but that she is in need of a sponsor. I pray for her and I will probably never find out if she gets sponsored. I will still pray for her and our boys. I wonder what the Lord has in store for Luk’s life (and Logan’s), but I pray and hope that this desire does not burn out. It has been a wonderful gift for me to see him love people he doesn’t even know. Is it ever too early to introduce poverty to your children? Is a child ever too young to live in poverty? The answer is no. Children are born into it every day, every second. I will not hold this as a secret from my children. Start now, and teach your children that they are blessed, and God has called them to bless others!

 
 
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