• I said yes… But it’s not about me.

    20131103-230319.jpgIt was just a couple weeks ago I found myself thinking “No! No more. I can’t take on anything more.”
    Over a month ago we moved from our little rented house in the country, into town on the grounds of the ministry we are now serving with.
    Since then I have found myself busier than ever.

    I won’t bore you with my crazy schedule… But a person can only take on so much, right?  I knew (or thought) I was reaching my limit.

    It wasn’t long after those “No!” thoughts started, I found myself saying yes, instead.

    My friend was getting ready to leave for her annual trip home to Canada, and I had already offered to care for her 8 year old son while she was gone. Him and Kayden are best buds and I knew it wouldn’t be make much of a difference having him around. He’s a good kid, and the boys would have fun being together. What’s one more? I thought. A couple days before she left, much to her delight and surprise, she was asked by social services to care for a 9 month old baby girl, for a “few days”. Knowing it would be hard to find some one to care for her, with such short notice, I was quick to say “Yes! I’ll take her too!”
    Kind if a crazy decision, especially since my husband was going to be gone for the entire two weeks she was gone.
    I would be parenting 6 kids.
    Alone.

    Now, I know I can’t take on everything( really, I do know this) and in my day to day life I need to find a healthy balance of where I spend my time…
    BUT
    I never want to close a door to a blessing God brings my way. Even if the blessing is hidden in the middle of a crazy chaotic mess.

    I am not super mom, and I do not have it all together or figured out.
    Saying yes, is not about me, it’s about Him. When I say yes to something that looks hard, challenging, and even impossible… I have no choice but to trust Him more. And when I do, I get to see miracles happen….

    Like having to take a sick baby to the doctor 12 days in a row and having him refuse any type of payment for his service or the various medications he gave me.20131103-230758.jpg

    Or the big box of donated baby stuff dropped off at my door, 3 days after baby girl came to stay by some one who had no idea I was taking care of a baby.  It’s contents were exactly what I needed … Formula, baby cereal, and baby food.

    Or seeing my kids all work together, doing their best to help me, and generally having a good attitude. We did have a couple bad grumpy days, of course, but we had way more good getting along days. That is a huge miracle!20131103-230634.jpg20131103-230718.jpg

    And the simple fact that my 3 year old, slightly territorial “baby” girl, not once showed any type of resentment or jealousy the entire time I took care of a very sick, time consuming baby. She was an amazing “big sister”!20131103-230510.jpg20131103-230548.jpg

    Maybe the biggest miracle if all was the changes going inside my own heart. When I said yes, I was saying no to me. No to what was comfortable, convienent, easy, and predictable. I had no idea that I was saying yes to long nights, more doctors visits than I can count, a messy house, and absolutely no “me” time…
    Yet through it all I knew more peace, joy, and strength than I could have ever imagined.
    When I had every reason to feel run down, exhausted and sorry for myself, I didn’t… Like at all. How is that even possible?
    I have seen God at work in so many ways the past couple weeks, I feel so blessed!20131103-230010.jpg

    I believe in a God who is crazy about His kids. So it’s not about me being this super amazing person or Mom.  No. It’s about a super amazing God just loving his kids, giving us all what we need, when we need it. I can take no credit for the miracles I have seen or been a part of.

    A simple “yes” from me, and He did the rest.

     

  • Outside the Orphanage

    IMG_6373It’s been more than 15 years since I first came to the orphanage here in town. I was captivated by orphan care long before I ever visited here and naturally fell in love with so many kids here since then.

    I will never forget the first time a baby boy just arrived in the orphanage nursery and was placed in my arms. I was 18 years old, and the only one working that night.  I will always remember that scared look on his face, his dirty clothes and smokey blanket he was wrapped in. I was the first one there to hold him, bath him and pray over him. It was truly an honour. Since then I have gotten to know so many great kids!. I know more than their names, I know their stories, well parts of them any ways.  Some children were abandoned at birth. Others were rescued from horribly abusive homes. Many parents drop off their children, when they just can’t take care of them anymore.  Some stayed for only a few weeks or months, others had lived their whole lives there. Many kids had parents and family visit often. Sadly, serval never had a visitor, not even once. In all those years spending time with kids in the orphanage I have very rarely thought of the parents of the children left there.

    To be honest, in my mind they were the bad guys.
    What kind of mother lets her husband or boyfriend beat her children?  What kind of father ties up a child? Why would any parent choose to place their child in an orphanage?  How could they not know much they were hurting their child by doing so?

    My heart broke (still breaks) for every child I know that is in an institution.

    I have to admit I never really tried to understand the other side, the people outside the orphanage, leaving little ones behind.

    Until…

    until I met a little abuela (grandma) named Mara*

    Not to long ago I found myself in the middle of family crisis, with a family I had just met. I was told some little girls were being abused by a family member. My heart broke and I wanted to help. I talked to some one who knew the family well, and before I knew it, the girls were voluntarily placed in an orphanage by their grandmother, Mara, who was their primary caregiver. I had such mixed feelings. I knew the girls needed to be somewhere safe, but also knew what years living in an orphanage could do to them.  As badly as I wanted to take them into my home, I knew I couldn’t.  It was out of my hands.

    As much as I hated to admit it,the orphanage seemed like the best option for them.
    I cried many many tears over it all.

    When I visited Mara, it was hardly a week since the girls had left, and I wanted to see how she was doing. As I sat in her quite house, not really knowing what to stay, I saw something in her that surprised me.

    I saw brokenness.

    She was mourning the loss of two little girls she loved very much.
    Two girls she had treasured and no doubt given up a lot for.
    Two girls she had failed to protect.
    All my ideas and judgements of “bad parents” shattered as each tear of hers dropped to the ground. All those years thinking parents left their kids, believing they didn’t care or didn’t hurt for them. I suddenly knew, without a doubt, that many many kids had some one crying for them too.

    I had no words that would offer any comfort for such brokenness. We cried together.IMG_1986

    At this point, there is no beautiful happy ending to this story. The girls are doing ok, in their new “home”. I see them often at church, where we share many hugs, and I hold back tears when they ask me to take them home with me.  One of them recently told me they wished I could be her Mom.  It kills me.   Mara still misses them desperately, she tries to keep busy.  How does life go on with some one you love isn’t there any more?

    I am not sure if they will ever go home to the place they knew as home. I am praying for a miracle only God can bring…

    I wish I knew how this was all going to end.  I don’t.  It’s hard to deal with.
    What I do know is that outside the orphanage, where hurting children live, are broken hurting Grandma’s, Moms, Dads, siblings and family members, who know….

    it was never meant to be this way.

    *name changed for privacy

  • The Rich Lady

    IMG_5888When my Mom was here a few weeks ago, she was telling me this story about her friend, who was at work when, there was a car accident in the parking lot. I guess some one was driving fast enough to crash into another car.  Crazy, hey?  Anyways, my Moms friend saw what happened and helped the lady who had been hit.  She had no serious injury’s but was really shaken up.  A couple of weeks later the lady came to thank my Moms friend for her kindness..  She invited her to come to her house to get first pick of her stuff that she was selling in a garage sale.  My Mom went along too.  Apparently the lady was rich.  She has tons of stuff for sale.  Lots of it was new, hardly ever used.  Most things were worth a lot, many of them bought in Europe.  Bedding, rugs, clothes, shoes, you name it!  All hardly used, some with price tags on it.  As my Mom told me about it we talked in disbelief at how people can live with so much “stuff”  and be “so rich”.  It’s to easy to look down on people who have “more” than you, isn’t it?  

    Fast forward a couple weeks and I am in full purging mode. Every once in awhile I have this overcoming need to get rid of more “stuff”. I am constantly looking at what we have, trying to get rid of things that don’t fit, aren’t used, or we simply don’t need.  Next thing you know the back of my SUV is packed full of stuff to give away.  Clothes, toys, shoes, a little bit of evreything.  And to be honest, most of those things won’t be missed by any one.  We have more than what we need.  Then is dawns on me.   To the people around me I’m the rich lady.

    Me.

    The missionary…

    with the tight budget, thrifted clothes, and “little” house.

    I know with out a doubt that any person from one of the humble areas that we serve would take one look at my little house and think I am rich.

    How quick I forget, even though I see poverty almost every day… I forget.

    You probably don’t think you are rich either.IMG_5883

    BUT you are.  For reals.

     

    I know what it looks like to not be rich, so let me tell you that

    You are rich if one or more of the following apply to you…

    you get to use a machine for your laundry, dishes or your hair

    you can buy an item of clothing “just because”

    you eat out

    you have internet on your phone

    you have more than one bike in your home

    your kids and even you get celebrated on their birthdays

    you have the luxary of not eating something because you don’t like it

    you have any type of decor in your house… even if it is home made or from a thrift store

    you have a hobby or a sport you do just for fun

    you have traveled some where for fun… oh yeah it’s called a vacation

    if you get sick you can see a doctor and even buy medicine if you need it

    you have a designated area (basement, garage, storage bin, etc) to store all the stuff you do not use, need or want to deal with

    you have ever had a garage or yard sale to get rid of your “stuff”

    Do you believe me now?  Are you rich?

    It’s humbling now, isn’t it?IMG_5886

    It is for me… and I live in a third world country.

    There was a time I didn’t know I was rich.  I really didn’t.  I’ve known for awhile now, but I was so quick to forget.

    Maybe you didn’t know either.

    Hope I helped you see the good news.

     

    IMG_5882It’s not something to feel bad or guilty a out.   It’s a blessing if you truly take it to heart.

    For me, well, it forces me to live differently.

    To love people more, spend less and be more willing to give myself, my stuff and my time to others.

    It makes me want to waste less.

    Most of all it convicts me to do what Jesus says to do… to use every rich blessing I have been given to love and bless others to the best of my ability.

    Sooooooo……

    What are you doing with your riches?

     

    Oh and if for some reason you still think you aren’t rich, you can actually see where you stand in the global rich list.

    I’m not making this stuff up.

    It might be time to change some things in your life.

     

  • Open Door

    IMG_8064When I was in Canada in the spring, I met with some of my home church pastors.  It was so nice to catch up with them, they are so encouraging and supportive of us.  Anyways, as we chatted, one of them said it must be hard on us, not having really settled down, and have found the place we are supposed to be.

    I laughed.

    I actually felt (still feel) really bad about laughing.  (Sorry!  You know who you are!)

    It was said with a lot of compassion and sincerity and I really really appreciate it…

    But this crazy journey we have been on has been lead by God alone.

    He knows where the bumps, detours and turns are, even if we never expected them.

    Serving God is the most wonderful, life changing adventure ever possible.  I would not have it any other way.

    So even if things don’t go how we think they will, He knows better than we do.

    So some times all I can do is smile.

    Laugh even… because He is in control.  I trust him.IMG_8096

    That said, I just wanted to share with you all a door God opened for us recently.

    We were feeling pretty discouraged (some times are easier to smile than others)  We were even thinking about leaving this area… it seemed like more doors had been closed than opened.  We were seriously considering an other ministry somewhere else.

    As much as we LOVE this area and the people here, it seemed like nothing had worked out like we hoped.IMG_8077

    We thought maybe it was time to move on…. but then we get this call from Jackie, the director of a ministry in our town, called Welcome Home Outreach Ministries.

    She tells us she was resigning (we had no idea) and that they were looking for replacements and we had come to mind.  It was very unexpected phone call.   After the ups and downs we had been through, it seemed unlikely to us that some one would think of us…

    God was definitely at work.

    He always is, isn’t He!IMG_8065

    Well that was back in June.  Since then, we have had many meetings, sharing our hearts with the leaders of that ministry, and learning more about what they do, as we were unfamiliar with it all.  Turns out their ministry shares our heart for loving people and sharing Jesus.  They do it in lots of practical ways and are even intimately involved with one of our favorite little villages. After lots of prayers by many, we were offered and have accepted the jobs as assistant directors of the ministry.  We are so excited.  We know that God put this into place.   Looking back we can see how every bump, detour and turn had prepared us for this time.  We are thankful for His faithfulness to us.  For bringing us to this place!

    IMG_8119

    Please support us with your prayers as we go into yet another season of change.  We have to move again (soon), and we have a lot to learn before the current director leaves in September.  Things just never seem to slow down!  We have a lot to learn and look forward to!

    “What he opens no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open” Revelations 3:8

  • DIY – Painted Tins

    IMG_8320 I really like having a place for everything.

    My craft locker was getting out of control.  So many little things without their own place.

    I decided that metal tin cans were the solution.

    A couple of trips to globos (market) later, I had what I needed.IMG_5995

    A couple of coats of turquoise spray paint later, I had me some nice looking tins.  IMG_8334

    They are stored on top of the craft locker, in wired baskets so I can easily take them down when needed.IMG_8327

    They gave me the extra storage I need and look pretty great!IMG_8339