Monday, April 20, 2009

We're home, most of us are anyway, the rest fly in today. Why does it seem like there is less holding me here these days and more bidding me come back there? God's voice is gentle but urgent..."feed my sheep."

You will get Jen's sweet words back after this posting. She was kind and allowed her Momma Grose (and thanks to Poppa Grose for writing Thursday's post) the space on here this week to share some stories of what our eyes saw, our ears heard, our nostrils smelled, our hands touched and visions of desperation that drilled their way into the most protected places in our very souls.

I had such good intentions of detailed blogs every night so you could share it all but honestly, there were nights when I had no words. It was almost as if God was saying to me, "child, don't you get those fingers typing just so you can fulfill an obligation to write unless you work out inside your heart what you are going to do with all of this except just talk about it. Your words are cheaper than the most filthy rag of a shirt you saw on any man here unless they move your hands and heart to action."

I still don't know what to do about it all. Rick and I muddled it all over on the 2 hour ride home from the airport and awoke to start the conversations all over again today. I'm in the middle of reading Claiborne's book, "Irresistible Revolution" and I know it's not just a coincidence that I'm reading such a poignant book while in the middle of experiencing the heart-crushing scenes of the last 10 days.

Our trip ended with a sacred moment Saturday night with a baptism but it is God's story to tell thru Jen so please watch for that.

Please go and see, dear ones. Keep writing your checks and providing support but please don't allow yourselves to be satisfied with sending only. Go and see what the Lord has planned for you to do in His Kingdom. Go and touch their faces, rub lotion into their calloused feet, sit with them inside their brand new one room "mansion, hear them tell you their stories of God's faithfulness, because no words of my own will ever tell you the sacred story that is lived out in their lives.

Blessings on you all. Thank you for joining us in the journey. May we all continue to seek His face and strive to live by the rules of His kingdom, elevating the things He elevates and throwing away as rubbish those things that are unimportant in a Jesus sort of kingdom. Our eyes have seen and our hearts have felt this week how freed up a heart becomes when you sell out to living His way. Lord help us learn to live that way in our eating and breathing going about everyday lives.

To you be all the glory for anything that has been done, may we accept none of the glory you are due...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

It was our last building day today and we chose to return to the community by the city dump.   A 78 year old village matriarch, Fillipa, will sleep on a new wood floor tonight instead of the dirt floor we found when we got to her shack on her plot of ground.  (The black widow spider added an element of surprise to the demolition phase!)

And 22 year old Gina, who has buried 4 babies, was so excited for her new house she was jumping up and down like a child on Christmas Day.

The need is so incredibly great in this so many others.  And when we gave out food and clothing bags at the end of the day, our supply ran out long before the line was at an end.  

We are exhausted.  It's a good exhaustion.  It's an exhaustion not one of us would trade.  And tonight, two more families will have roofs over their heads, literally, and food to eat that wasn't scavaged from the dump.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

April15th, 2009

Today saw our team working in several different places in and around the Santa Ana area. Our “Community Service Day” had many of the team working on laying concrete walkways (see pics) around some of the buildings at Casa de Esperanza (children’s home). For those of you who have previously had the privilege of enjoying that experience, you know what that’s like in the 90 degree heat.

A few team members worked raking and cleaning around the Medical Clinic on the property, while other members of the team served the community around the Cacui houses (small duplexes located in close proximity to the Children’s Home that house those living in poverty). These team members, who were also joined by some of the community residents, collected and disposed of trash and garbage in the area. Because of their poverty, a part of the property adjacent to the duplexes has ended up becoming their own mini-dump. While working in the community, team members also had an opportunity share in the life stories of some of those who had experienced a life of desperation, but yet still found purpose and meaning in their lives, and have maintained a great faith in their God. Truly we are humbled at times by such a faith they possess.

Later that afternoon, several of the team tore the existing roof off of a house we had built a few years ago that had suffered storm damage. The family got a brand new roof, with modifications to help prevent future storm damage. Additional families in the area also need this type of work, and hopefully there will be time to do a bit more in the area. In the meantime, many of the other team members were engaged in a casa-to-casa distribution of food bags for the poor in the area.

Later, the team took the children from Casa de Esperanza to a locally constructed “CROSS” (see pics) for the evening devotional. Notably, the timbers of the cross were plastered with “junk pieces” from old cars and trucks. Seeing those parts plastered on that cross was a poignant reminder, and an unusually effective analogy of how the Lord asks US to leave our “junk” at the Cross of Christ as well.

Before leaving for the Mission House, the team gathered behind Casa de Esperanza to plant a tree (see pics) in honor of the passing of Juanita Foreman, mother and grandmother to many of our team members. Our hearts and prayers are with Rebekah as she leaves us today to return home for her grandmother’s funeral and to be with her family. Our hearts also go out to Ashley, who is also leaving today for her aunt’s funeral and funding raising efforts in the States.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009