Tuesday, April 28, 2015

It MUST have been a CURSE!

She joined Girls With Vision in February. 
Fell ill in March. 
And died 3 days ago.

We felt we had hardly even gotten to know Susan!

Tomorrow we will visit and grieve with her family.

As the group gathered today - for the first time since her death, we shared the sad news.  The lady who was sitting in Susan's usual spot got uncomfortable.  Each one looked around with sadness and suspicion. 

Because, death here in Ngando doesn't "just happen"... it HAD to be caused by someone!  So as we grieve, we will also fight against these traditional beliefs.  Beliefs that will struggle to make sense of the pain.  Beliefs that will search for the "spiritual" reason... the "witchcraft"... the "sacrifice" that caused this death.

These beliefs will make some fear to go into her home.  Or sit in her empty seat at our Bible Study.  Or speak with her family.

So, as the same questions seep from my hurt as I struggle to make sense of this pain,   I pray that I can point these ladies and friends toward JESUS.  The answers won't ever come from unearthing a curse...  Our only HOPE is as we LOOK toward the One who bore our sorrow to bring us GRACE.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

When FAITH is my gift of love back to GOD

These last few weeks have brought pain and tragedy into our constant view...

 A young HIV infected mama dies alone.  
Rejected by friends and even her husband! 

A lady we have poured into spends the night in the bar...  
"hustling" to find money - even though we have offered her honest work!

 A mama looses her baby - and then her neighbors and friends stay away!  
They believe she has been cursed, and that any contact they have with her could bring the curse to their own homes.

Wounds... rapes... hunger... abuse... 

I find myself struggling to get air - seeking peace in my own soul - so that I have peace to pour into hurting hearts as I lock eyes with them.

Because these are the days that test what I claim!  
These are the days when I get a chance to PROVE that I BELIEVE what I say is true.  
That God is my ROCK - 
and I will trust 
even when circumstances around me seem to contradict that truth!

FAITH is what GOD values!  
It's the best way for me to express my LOVE to Him!

I've been pondering the story of Job this morning.  
Imagining the story from GOD's perspective.

As the scene opens, God is actually boasting about Job to Satan...
“Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil."  

(Job 2:3)

"Ahh... - of course he is faithful", Satan taunts - "you have given him such a good life!"
Satan urges GOD to test Job's faithfulness.  God agrees. 

Tragedies occur in Job's life - one after the other.  
Then both God and Satan watch.  
I imagine them holding their breath.  
How will Job respond?   
Will he remain faithful? 

Lately, I've been seeing my own life as a scene in this same theater.  It feels like one tragedy after another has struck our own family as well as the lives of people around us.

I wonder...  I know... God watching.  He is waiting for my response.  This is my chance!  I must stay strong and witness - He is my PEACE!  I will stand in my FAITH!   

FAITH is what GOD values!  
It's the best way for me to express my LOVE to God!

You will keep in perfect peace
    all who trust in you,
    all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Trust in the Lord always,
    for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.
Isaiah 26:3-4