Saturday, July 27, 2013

From BEING the Mercy Mission ...to BRINGING the Mercy Mission...

Today I was MOVED!!!



As a part of our program with our ladies, we take a day as a group to go on a "Mercy Mission".  

It is always an interesting time to me - usually our group receives the "Mercy Missions"... many of the mamas in our group truly are the poorest of the poor!  But, when it comes time to go and extend grace, they are willing and excited... 

Today we went to an orphanage together.  In preparation, we talked about how we would pray for these babies.  That our time of holding them would be a time of coming before GOD in prayer for each child and his mama - who must be in a truly desperate place, to have abandoned her baby!

I left the ladies in one room... we were waiting for sleeping orphans to awake.  When I returned, the nannies were all sitting in the front on the couches.  There was commotion coming from the bedroom where all the babies were.  I walked back.  Wondered what was going on.  When I entered I just stopped.  These ladies were each holding, singing, rocking and praying in loud supplication to GOD for every one of those babies!  Tears were coming from their eyes... my own eyes as well!

How these ladies, who truly KNOW pain, also KNOW compassion!  The love and grace that they spilled on these babies was amazing!

One of the ladies who was with me was Beatrice.  I met her months ago - on the day after her own son died.  

Read Beatrice's story here 
 
Today, Beatrice pulled me aside.  With tears in her eyes, she told me - I want to adopt a baby boy.
As I looked into her heart, I understood...


Yes, I have a lot to learn about mercy ... from those who need mercy!  ...I too am one who needs to receive MERCY!!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

When EVERYTHING Changes...

Bead work pushed aside, it's time for some deep study of TRUTH


Walking home today, from our Girls With Vision, my eyes teared up as I thought back.  

We started this journey with 17 new ladies just a few months ago... this morning was such a study in contrast to those first weeks together!  The whole group - including our 17 newest members, all together, learning a new jewelry design.  
Laughing.  Encouraging.  Hoping.  Trusting.


This has not been an easy season!  We have dealt with some deep needs, hurts and pain.  I remember back to the first week, as a young mama wondered aloud if she could really even join our group.  I CAN'T leave prostitution!  How will I feed my children?  Today, this same lady laughed along with the others - reveling in her new-found hope.



We don't change lives... not even a business start-up or help with rent payment changes lives... GOD is the only one who changes lives as HE changes hearts - and the truth is, HE REALLY DOES!!!

I love these moments of wonder.  Because so many of the days, as we struggle alongside of those who are struggling, we really do wonder...  But we continue on - just because we know - God has given us a promise of hope!

If you are generous with the hungry
    and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
    your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
    I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—


Isaiah 58:10




Friday, July 19, 2013

Stealing the SPOTLIGHT


I took this picture of Sho Sho... sitting at the table in our Girls With Vision center,  reading God's Word aloud to a room full of hungry women - hungry for truth, hope and love...

What struck me at first when I downloaded the photo ... I can't really see Sho Sho's beautiful face!  Then I noticed the VW Bus in the background... worn out - yet somehow lovely - stealing all the focus!

I hope that this picture, somehow, is reflected in my life.  That when people study my face, their eyes are actually drawn toward SOMEONE in the background.  The truth is, that this week, I have been reminded again and again that alone, I am too WEAK!  I truly CAN'T!    

I'm leaning heavily on this promise...  And trusting that as I stumble along, the spotlight is on the ONE who holds me tight in HIS grace!

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
 
2 Corinthians 12:9

Saturday, July 6, 2013

When GOD Brings Us Compassion Through HIV Medication


The alarm rings at 7 o'clock, twice a day at our house...  Each time it rings, I feel Brad's sigh as he reaches to take medicine.  We have both come to dread that alarm.  

During the medical camp we had a few weeks ago, Brad got pricked with a used needle.

 













Because there was no way of even knowing whose needle it was, we decided NOT to take the .3% chance of contracting HIV.  So Brad started taking the same medicine that so many of our friends and neighbors take on a daily basis.  The only difference is that in 30 days, Brad would be able to stop... they will continue the twice a day routine for the rest of their lives.

As I read the list of possible side effects of the medication, I think that Brad is experiencing EVERY one of them!  He has even stopped drinking coffee because of the nausea!

NINE days of treatment left (yes, we are counting!).  As I reflect, I am realizing that GOD orchestrated this situation - as a special answer to our prayers!

COMPASSION...

We've prayed for GOD to fill us with it!
...That we would never become calloused, as we walk with people through hardships on a daily basis.  
...That we would never loose our SHOCK when we encounter abuse, ...PAIN when we see sickness or death, ...DISTRESS at others' hunger, or lack...



Many of the ladies that we work with are HIV positive!  They have shared about those days - when the medication just makes them want to stay in bed.  When they feel depressed, nauseous, sick...   I KNOW that I will respond differently after this experience!  This is REAL!!!  These things are not easy!  

When we hear tough stories every day... when the person we helped yesterday turns out to have lied to us... when we are worn out ourselves,  GOD please continue to fill us with compassion!!!   Because I believe that it is through our compassion that God speaks!

And, as we continue to pray for compassion, I realize now...  sometimes GOD brings us those answers through our own pain! 

He (Jesus) comforts us when we are in trouble, so that we can share that same comfort with others in trouble.  We share in the terrible sufferings of Christ, but also in the wonderful comfort he gives. 
2 Corinthians 1:3-5