Monday, September 8, 2014

the mountains are His


This morning as I looked at this picture, a picture of the beautiful Guatemalan mountains, my first thought was "the mountains are his, the rivers are his...." I thought this phrase came from a verse or worship song but on further investigation I learned that this phrase was one I had sang many times during my years of working with the children's Sunday School. It may be a simple children's song but oh what beautiful truths it holds!


My God is so big, so strong and so mighty there's nothing my God cannot do.
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty there's nothing my God cannot do.
The mountains are His, the rivers are His, the stars are His handiwork too.
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty there's nothing my God cannot do.

We are in his mighty hands!

For behold, He who forms mountains,And creates the wind,Who declares to man what his thought is, And makes the morning darkness, Who treads the high places of the earth—The Lord God of hosts is His name. Amos 4:13

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hearing my Father's voice

Funny, no sad really, that in the everyday struggles I've stopped hearing His voice. I begin to rely on on only my self to get through each day. Yet when I faced the really hard days, those days spent by a hospital bed, I knew I could get through each day by leaning into Him. That's when I heard His voice.

As I sat by my daughter's side, not knowing what the following days would bring, I could only pray. In those prayers my words where transformed by the Holy Spirit as I prayed, "May all this bring glory to you, Father. May your will be done." These were not words of a strong woman with extraordinary faith. These were words the Holy Spirit whispered to me, a woman who knew her strength rested in her Heavenly Father.

I sought Him each morning in the hospital gardens, sitting on a bench as my legs threatened to give way, the sobs would come and my prayers would be lifted. As sobs subsided I'd feel his comforting arms and hear His whispers in the soft June breeze which carried the sweet fragrance of the flowers that surrounded me. He strengthened me and filled me with hope. His voice told me that whatever was to come would glorify Him. He told me that what ever trials I faced I would not be alone.

As I sought Him I heard His whispers.


Though it's Saturday, I'm sharing my five minute "Whisper" post here: 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sponsorship is a good investment

Are you skeptical of sponsoring a child from some far off land? 

I get that. I work very hard for my money and the money I do have is stretched very thin some months as I try to make the house payment, pay the bills and feed my family. Some may argue that the $35 sent each month to a sponsored child isn't much but some months, when the bills are piling in and unexpected expenses such as a chipped tooth needs to be extracted by an oral surgeon (yep, this happened this month), an extra $35 seems hard to come by. 

Yet as I look at the extras that I seem to manage to add each month - you know, ice cream, movie rentals, and coffee - isn't investing in the life of a child so much more important than the extras. I can live without a trip to Dairy Queen for my favorite banana split blizzard because I've seen hunger. 

Are you afraid that the child that you are sponsoring isn't a real live human being? 

I got to meet my sponsored child last month and I can tell you she is real. I had the opportunity to color with her. I saw her smile and I heard her laugh and friends, the mere memory of those precious moments with her brings me to tears. To know that the money that I send each month helps provide for her blesses me so! 

I have made a commitment to Karina, my sponsored child, one that I intend to keep through her teen years and I look so forward to watching her grow over the next years. Though many miles separate us, I will continue to send money, write to her, love her, and pray for her. This small amount of $35 a month is an investment. An investment that I pray will open the doors of opportunity for Karina. An investment that blesses and satisfies me more than any banana split blizzard ever could! 
Click here to see how sponsoring Karina has blessed me and the children in my care.

Please consider sponsoring a child through World Help. If you're still not convinced, click on over there anyway. Look at all the beautiful faces and then pray. Pick a few children to pray for during the next week and then just follow where God leads you! 



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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Remember

It's been just over three weeks since I returned from Guatemala. Three weeks and I'm still processing that trip. In returning to the normal, everyday grind I forget. I forget the little girl whose front yard is littered with broken glass and cast away shoes and a burning pile of rubbish.  I forget the little girl whose meals show up three times a week, served by pale skinned people with a funny language. I forget the little girl whose home is made of a dirt floor and walls made of sticks and found objects. I start to forget all that my eyes witnessed, all that I loved. I start to forget how she, this country and her people, changed me. So I visit the pictures often to remember. And as the tears fall I remember the laughter of the children. I remember that there is no language barrier when cuddling a child. I remember that I needed Guatemala more that Guatemala needed me. And my heart aches and longs to return.



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Minimalist Living Takes on a Whole New Meaning

Becoming a "minimalist" is all the rage. Many in our developed nations are striving to live a minimalist lifestyle to decrease the carbon footprint, to find "inner peace" and to achieve stress-free living. As I viewed the Guatemalan homes, which would be more accurately called shanty's, I was struck with the "minimalist lifestyle". A lifestyle that would not be considered peaceful and stress-free but a lifestyle of great need.

This small house to the left is just one of many highly sought after designs for minimal living. It has running water, a toilet, and although small, a functional kitchen. This house has solid walls and a floor to not only keep out critters but also the elements. Living in a house such as this one would have little worries of the rains washing away the floor.
This Guatemalan, open-air kitchen comes complete with free-ranging ducks and a wash tub. Some villages have been fortunate enough to have a clean water source, thanks to the initiative of causelife,  but many just hike it to the nearest stream of contaminated water. 

The stove is replaced with an open fire - sometimes made on top of cement slabs or blocks. The upgraded models include a grate to cook on top of. Most homes are one room. Walls of Guatemalan homes consist of woven sticks, tin/sheet metal, and even plastic which do little to keep out the rains. Many times the rains run right over their dirt floors. The one home I stood in was as big as my living room (before last week I may have even complained on occasion about my small living room). In this Guatemalan home, which was the size of my living room, lived a husband and wife, a grandma and nine children. In one corner was a bed which I assumed was the parents as it had plastic draped around to create a wall of privacy. Nine hammocks were tied around the room for the children, some tied above another to create a hammock bunk bed of sorts. The one other bed in the room was grandma's. This I knew because we had come to pray over her as she waited to die. 

Grandma had sustained injuries when she was hit by a tuk-tuk, injuries which if treated were not life threatening. Grandma however was refusing to be brought to the clinic at the Hope of Life and seemed resigned to staying in bed and allowing the injuries to take her life. With the help of a translator, members from our team spoke encouraging words pleading that she would use the medical assistance that was being offered to her. Unconvinced, she said she was ready to meet Jesus. 

As I looked around I thought that this was truly living the minimalist lifestyle. No closets full of clothes and shoes. From what I could tell by the clothesline closet strung between the walls, each family member probably had one change of clothing. And shoes? Some had shoes, usually flip flops and sometimes mismatched but others were embracing "earthing", the barefooted life. Not by choice but because this is their only option.

The contrast between the minimal homes in the developed world and the homes of Guatemala grips me with sarcasm and sadness. Living with little in the U.S. is seen as hip/chic/cool...any other adjective that paints a positive picture. Living with little in Guatemala means sickness, dehydration, malnutrition and poverty. The home that I viewed is the type of home in which the majority of Guatemalans live in. This isn't a small problem as OVER 70 percent of Guatemala is impoverished and over 50 percent fall below the "extreme poverty line"


Homes at the dump
When I returned home my eyes were opened to how blessed I am and my home had now become a mansion. Many emotions occur when one's eyes are opened wide. Guilt over all I have, shame for my discontentment, motivation to change, and sadness for those I saw that who are living in need.
How can you help? Partner with World Help. World Help works with the Hope of Life in Guatemala to rescue babies and children who are dying of malnutrition, digging wells to provide clean water in villages, sponsoring children so they can be fed, clothed and educated. Friends, the needs are so overwhelming great but we can make a difference! One child, one family, one village at a time. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Blessed Are the Children

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.   Mark 10:13-16

This week my daughter and I are serving with World Help at the Hope of Life in Guatemala. The picture above is just a peek, a mere glimpse, into the fabulous day that we had today. The girl in the crib is just one of the many disabled children who live at "Kelly's House". She doesn't communicate with words but with her eyes, with coos and with sweet smiles. She, as well as many  all of the children, have stolen my heart. 

I have so much to share but I know that we have another busy today tomorrow so I should get some sleep! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

One Child

Last fall I decided that I would like to sponsor a child and God gave me the insight to involve the daycare children in this decision. Oh what a blessing that has been!

I already knew that I wanted a child from Guatemala as Guatemala was one county that had been weighing on my heart. Since the majority of my daycare children were three years old, I searched for a child to sponsor who was also three. After narrowing our choices down to 5 children, I printed their photos and "introduced" them to my kiddos. For a week we prayed for each one of the children and at the end of the week we voted for which child to sponsor (oh, how I wanted to sponsor all of them!).

As we talked about the children, I shared with the kids in a age appropriate manner the needs of these children. We discussed the way in which we are so fortunate to have parents who love us and care for us so well. We have food and access to clean water. We have abundance, yet these dear children who we prayed for, have very little. As we learned more about the needs in Guatemala, I saw in these young Little Sprouts of mine a compassion for others.

At the end of our week of prayer we chose a new "Little Sprout" and the children where so excited to tell their parents all about Karina and Guatemala. It made my heart sing to hear the kids talk with such love about Karina!

Sponsoring has opened up so many learning opportunities for the daycare children as we learn where Guatemala is, we learn basic Spanish words and we learn to love others. My prayer is that my daycare children will carry these memories forever, that they will live a life of compassion and that they will continue to care for the "least of these" for the rest of their lives.

On Sunday my daughter and I will be traveling to Guatemala with World Help and working at Hope of Life International. We may even get the opportunity to meet Karina! My heart skips a beat and my eyes well with tears as I pray for this chance to shower this sweet girl with love and gifts. The daycare children, although disappointed that this isn't a daycare field trip in which they can join, have been buying gifts for me to bring to Guatemala.

One mom shared with me that her daughter insisted on buying toys and candy for Karina because, although the fact that she may be impoverished in other ways, the most shocking idea to this sweet four year old was that Karina may not have any candy! Oh, the hardship. :)

Katie Davis, in her book "Kisses From Katie", writes, "I have learned that I will not change the world, Jesus will do that. I can however, change the world for one person.....And if one person sees the love of Christ in me, it is worth every minute. In fact, it is worth spending my life for." My prayer is that Christ's love would shine through me to each of my Little Sprouts. Even my Little Sprout who seems to live a world away.

Friends, I'd like to encourage you to prayerfully consider sponsoring a child. Make a difference in the life of just one child!