Monday, November 28, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
be greeted by street vendors,
seeing smiles on the faces of the children I love,
saying hello to ones I don't know yet,
and joining together with my sweet brothers and sisters in Christ to make a difference.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
The author talks about his friend Jim Wallis who, as a seminary student, conducted an experiment with a few of his classmates. They perused all 66 books of the Bible, underlining every passage and verse dealing with poverty, wealth, justice, and oppression. After this, one of the men took scissors and cut out each of those verses leaving a tattered Bible that barely held together. When Jim would speak in public about poverty he would hold this Bible up and say, "Brothers and sisters, this is our American Bible; it is full of holes. Each one of us might as well take our Bibles, a pair of scissors, and begin cutting out all the scriptures we pay no attention to, all the biblical texts that we just ignore."
That is a very powerful illustration that at times is hard to accept. But unfortunately it is entirely accurate. If you don't believe me, then just watch the news. Did you see all the footage of the Black Friday madness? People were getting beat up, and crazy ladies were pepper spraying people because they tried to take an X-Box she wanted. I understand that's the extreme end of the spectrum but as Americans we live with a mentality that everyone in the world lives as we do. Unfortunately, it's just not so.
That thought is overwhelming me tonight. As I sit warm and safe in my own room, one of many rooms in my home, complete with a bed, electricity, the computer I'm typing on and more, there are young women just like me sleeping on the hard ground. They have no dressers filled with clothes. For some, what they are wearing might be all they own. There are children who went to bed hungry tonight, and tomorrow morning they will still be hungry because their families have no money for food. There are babies crying who won't be held, and old grandmothers who have no idea how they will provide for their grandchildren now that they have been left orphaned by AIDS.
Please know that it was not my intention to make anyone feel guilty, but rather I am trying to give perspective, as well as process all the thoughts in my head. What we see today, everything that surrounds us right now, it isn't the norm in this world. It's easy to think that because it's what we see immediately in front of us, but over 40% of people in this world live on less than $2 a day. That's almost half of the 6.5 billion people living and breathing on this earth.
And tonight, I can't quite seem to wrap my mind around that.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
A few months ago I was talking to my dad outside when out of the corner of my eye I saw a beautiful monarch butterfly sitting on the grass a few feet away. I quickly grabbed my camera and started snapping pictures of this elegant creature, one that typically doesn't stay still to get many good shots.
But I haven't given you the full picture. This butterfly, though beautiful, was anything but perfect. In fact, it was in what was probably the last moments of its life. You see, it had lost a good majority of its wings and couldn't fly anymore.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Our family has been so blessed by those of you out there who have supported us both in prayer and financially. When we are in Uganda, we never forget to tell the workers and children that even though we are the only ones they see, there is a network of amazing people back home who help us do what God has called us to do.
This really is a team effort and without each of you out there supporting us in some way we couldn't do what we do. Whether it's reading the blog and saying a quick prayer, praying for us every day or every week at church, supporting our work financially, making bracelets, donating clothes and supplies for us to bring, or sending us a word of encouragement, each of you have a role in this ministry and it's impacting the world for Christ.
So I just wanted to take this time today to thank you for the role you are playing not only in our lives, but the lives of people all over the world. When each of us work together, we really can make a difference for Christ in this world!
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Since returning to full health from my long-term sickness, I haven't had many colds or flu-bugs. But when I do feel under the weather, I find that I can't stand resting. I know it's what my body needs to get better. But after spending so much time before laying around doing nothing, the thought of laying around all day drives me a little crazy. It's funny because while I was so sick, I learned how to be still and I didn't want to forget how important it is to slow down every once in a while. But now, being still feels like torture, like a child in time-out. I just want to keep saying, "Can I get up yet?"
But I have to remember that sometimes being still is exactly what we need. It gives us time to stop and listen, to process what's really going on. It may not be fun, and it may not be easy, but sometimes it's necessary.
I know I'll be back to reading stories, teaching multiplication, and shooting jump shots before I know it. But for now, as hard as it can be, I'll try to enjoy being still.
Friday, November 18, 2011
But it hasn't left much time for updating the blog, or really anything else for that matter. But today is a special day as I prepare for my next adventure to Uganda. Yes, for those of you who have been reading for a while now you may know where this is headed...
I am 40 days from leaving!
Now there's two ways to look at this. First is that I still have 40 days before I leave. It's over a month. There is still time to get things done. But on the other hand. I only have 40 days until I leave! There's so much to do and I only have a little over a month to get it done. See the difference there? It's all about what perspective you look at it from.
But either way there are 40 days left. I may only have 40 days left to raise my support, buy any needed supplies, and pack. But I still have 40 days to spend time with family and friends, sleep in my own bed, eat American food (hello Thanksgiving and Christmas!), work, and encourage 28 middle school-aged girls every day. Just as always, I want to enjoy every part of this adventure, which starts long before I step foot on distant lands. And I know without a doubt this will be a trip like no other.
I will try to update every day from now until I leave. But if I miss a few days, please forgive me and know I didn't drop off the face of the earth. It just means I'm caught up with soaking it all in and enjoying each moment of this journey.
Thanks for coming along with me.
To understand why I chronicle the 40 days before we leave, check out this post
Friday, November 4, 2011
But recently God spoke to me through a little boy in Peru. One Friday night I was sitting with my computer, enjoying a peaceful night at home. Every so often I check AMG's website for children needing sponsors. I love to look at the kids from Uganda to see if I know any of them. But as I scrolled down, a sweet 5 year old boy caught my attention. His buzzed hair and cheesey smile reminded me of my little cousin Joey, and my heart instantly melted. The information next to his picture said he lives in a very poor neighborhood outside Lima, Peru. His two-room house is built with bamboo and scraps of wood.
But it wasn't his sad story that stood out at me.
For just a moment, God gave me a glimpse through His eyes. I didn't see a poor little boy whose family struggles to meet his basic needs. Instead I saw what God wants him to be. A pastor, teacher, doctor, politician, a man of God with a purpose. And with that thought, a feeling stirred and a still small voice said, "Sponsor him."
Now you've met my sweet girls Mariam and Sophie. I have been so blessed to be part of their life as their Muzungu Mommy but since I started sponsoring them 4 years ago, I have constantly had to rely on God to provide the money for them. At times I've really struggled to keep up with their sponsorship, but I made the committment and I know that God will provide. The funny thing is, when I heard God telling me to sponsor this little boy from Peru I was trying to come up with all sorts of excuses as to why I couldn't.
I don't have the finances.
I can barely keep up with sponsoring my girls.
I have so much on my plate right now with the trip coming up.
I would want to go meet him and I don't know if I could get the funds to go to Peru ever.
Excuse after excuse. But this little boy wouldn't leave my thoughts. I went to bed that night thinking about him. I woke up the next morning thinking about him. That next day I went to Walmart and was buying some supplies for a project I was working on. Without thinking much of it, I spent more than the $28 it would take to be sure he has food and medical care for one month.
And it hit me. I can spend that kind of money on things I really don't need without batting an eye and here I am wondering if I should sponsor another child...I felt awful. I text my friend Karen right away. She works in the child sponsorship department at AMG and I told her that on Monday she needed to take him off the website because that boy is mine. I think she was a little shocked. Not that I would sponsor another child, but that it would be a child from Peru. And others at AMG were shocked too.
God spoke to me through a little boy with buzzed hair and a cheesey smile.
So I thought, what better day than today, my 24th birthday, to introduce you to my son, Rodrigo!
My birthday wish this year is to see more kids just like Rodrigo reach their full potential in Christ through sponsorship. If you're someone who has never considered child sponsorship before, I ask that you would consider it now. If you are someone who has thought about it but you're not sure you could do it, I want to encourage you to take that step of faith and sponsor a child.
For $28 a month you can help a child go to school, receive medical care and nutritious meals. And best of all, he or she will hear about the love of Jesus through AMG's programs. But most of all, he or she will witness that love in a tangible way through your giving.
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit AMG's website here to find out more.
I want 24 to be the year with the biggest impact so far on these kids. Will you help start it off with a bang?