Well it's April again...I LOVE this time of the year!!!!
A couple of years ago, God asked this girl to do some things that scared the beegeeber's out of me, but have come to just be absolute markers in my spiritual walk in so many ways. One of my very favorites that scared me to death before it all happened was that I got to lead a team of people to this precious country after I had only been here once in my life. A scary, daunting task to say the least and I felt hugely inadequate...but so many people I loved wanted to touch and feel and see and do and allow the glory of God to shine through them to some dark places that needed to be touched with hope. In light of that no being an option sort of just becomes not an option. When you've seen it and know how it changes you, you are compelled to share that experience with those you love. And so we set out.
3 years later andhere we are and many of those same folks that were willing to step out in faith and go on the word of this girl who had been so completely touched by these people and this place will be back again. The only thing better than that is that they've now felt compelled to share it and so there will be new faces and eyes that see all of this for the very first time and we'll get to marvel at the marvelous through their eyes. We'll all set our hands to the plow again (or the hammers or food bags as the case may be) and we'll get dirty for Jesus. I can't wait!!
These folks have become so precious to me and trip time is one of my favorite times of the year. We've gone miles deeper because we've shared these experiences. It seems that true worship does that to souls. When you join hearts there, something happens. I believe with all of my heart that the life we live here in surrender to God planning our calendar and divinely appointing our locations and yielding to Him in the moment with these people...THIS is worship as pure and true as I know it.
Tomorrow some of my dear dear friends will arrive and we'll finish last minute things before the rest of the group flies in on Thursday. It will be neat this year because Jody and MaryAnn and their girls will have a part in helping choose house locations and letting the families know that God wants us to build them a house and we'll do some neat things as well before the rest of the group gets here.
I have had the privilege over the past couple weeks of getting things together and somehow this time of year always brings me back to center in so many ways. It is such a vivid reminder of why we do what we do and how "worth it" it all is and how blessed we are to just get to be a part of it. Always reminds me that there is no merit in what "we do" but such huge honor in God inviting us to be a part of His outstretched hands of love and compassion to this world. What a privilege.
I'll share just a couple highlights of the past week or so in preparations so that you can share this journey with all of us. I went the other day to a village called Mololoa (San Miguel to some of you) and saw some house sites that were possibilities to build. We always attempt to pray before time and choose the house and family situation that is most "in need" at the time. Such a difficult thing to determine. I'm going to be very honest and tell you that I am rarely shocked anymore. Sometimes ashamedly I've grown accustomed to seeing poverty. I drive by it often. It masks itself in dirty children begging at my window every single day. I have learned to expect it and accept it as part of my world here. So when I go to see house sites, I no longer expect the "oh my goodness" reaction, but the other day got me again. It had been a while since I took the time to see and attempt to enter in to the lives of the people on the sides of those mountains. My life at this point involves the lives of 10 kiddo's and so I have lost touch with some of the other stuff unfortunately. So when my friend randy showed me this house, it caught me off guard just a bit and the "oh my goodness" was certainly present. I'll allow the pictures to speak for themselves.
You might notice the back is held up with 2 x4's that are there to stabilize the house that is already leaning at at least a 20 degree angle, the cardboard pieces are put up to hopefully block the air and insect flow through the HUGE cracks in the wood. The gutter system is one pipe held up with pieces of wire in a futile attempt to keep the water from flooding the dirt floor inside the house. The inabitants of this particular dwelling...a 2 month old baby just born to a 19 year old girl, her mother, and her grandmother in a house that is smaller than most of our living rooms. I went inside after the family got home and took some pictures and met the family. They have no idea that in just a few days this leaning shack will be replaced by a house without cracks, a wood floor that will no longer fill up with rain and be infested with bugs as they lay their heads down. They'll live in a house that God built and we'll be so honored to put sweat hours into things I know He believes in with all of His heart.
Then just yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the mayor's office in Santa Ana and talk with her about possible house sites in this community and while I was there one of the ladies that she wanted to be able to help was outside waiting to talk to her. She invited her in while I was there and the woman explained that she would not be able to accept the help from the mayor for the donated land because in order to get her paperwork completed someone had told her she would need 300 lempiras (which is equivalent to $15) and she didn't have it to spend. She's been spending her nights in different people's houses, moving here and there all the while having her stuff stolen from her and she was certainly beside herself. She started to cry as she told the mayor that she was sorry but that she just didn't have the 300 lemps to pay and I thought in that moment how poverty so strips so much of your dignity. I felt so sorry for her and I asked the mayor if I could talk to her privately and so she excused the woman from her office and I said to her, is it acceptable if we help her pay to have the documents taken care of to which she said yes and so she brought this sweet lady back in, I believe her name is rocinda (though I have no idea how to spell it) and she said to her listen we want to help you and I got to explain to her that I had no idea why we were blessed the way we were but that we so badly wanted to share the blessings and that God wanted us to help her and we wanted to be a part of building her a new home and this 50 year old woman put her head in her hands and bawled...shook because she was sobbing. Life had forced her to be a nomad in a certain sense of the word and she just wanted a "home" a place that she could settle and live and 300 lemps ($15) was gonna prevent her from doing so. Can you even imagine???? We spend that on dinner most days. Oh God please help us!!
So I've once again been touched by the heart of God this week as He has tenderly shown me His heart for the poor and oppressed and the beaten down of this world.
I will be blogging about our adventures over the next couple of weeks on this blog and so you can read daily to be updated on the ways God is blowing us away by His mercy and kindness. Please pray for us, our eyes to be opened and our hearts to be bent toward obedience. Please pray that we'll allow God to take over and change within us things that are not of Him and that we will walk away different for Jesus because we've looked into the faces of some of His precious children, young and old alike in this country and seen the face of Him in each of them.
Allow me please just one second to thank some sweet sweet ladies from Arkansas who are coming to help us at the children's home so that Karen and I can go and be a part of the group and expose our kids to some of the neat things that go on during this time. We are so looking forward to it and are so grateful for the servant hearts of Kea and Kinsey, please pray for them and the kiddo's as well over the next couple weeks. It will be a blessing to have them here.