Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pray for the Children

As a World Help blogger, I had been encouraged to write during the month of September on the topic of Children of War but as much as I desire to raise awareness of social injustices around the world I just couldn't. I haven't allowed myself to do much more than skim news article or blog post regarding ISIS. I'd read "Nearly three million refugees...." and move on to find something lighter to read about or check on my Words with Friends, which happens to be my favorite form of procrastination these days. It was just too heartbreaking and quite frankly I was spending my time being self absorbed in my own problems - my ever growing to-do list, my worries about the budget or finding the energy to accomplish all the tasks set before me. 

Isn't it just easier to ignore what's going on ain  place that seems a million miles away? But ignorance isn't bliss especially when one desires to follow Jesus. God tells me to not to worry about tomorrow but to care for the "least of these".

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?" Matthew 6:25-27
 "for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;  was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’" Matthew 35:35-40

I also realized that the statistics, although heartbreaking and overwhelming, are easy to ignore but faces and stories are not. Seeing is believing and as I watched Vernon Brewer's video tears streamed down my face.  I don't want to pacify this heartache anymore with a stupid game on facebook or by browsing Pinterest for home decorating tips.

Restoring Hope to Refugees in the Middle East
from World Help on Vimeo.

I love how World Help reaches out to people in need all over this world. They provide food, water and medical supplies but most of all they are reaching those in need providing LOVE and giving them HOPE! I know, I've seen it in action.  

Read here to learn how World Help is providing humanitarian relief in the Middle East.


Would you consider partnering with World Help to provide for children and families that have been affected by war? 

  • A gift of $20 is enough to provide food and medicine for 1 refugee child for one month.
  • A gift of $120 will provide food and medicine for 6 refugee children for one month.
  • A gift of $1,200 to provide food and medicine for 60 refugee children for one month.
Click here to contribute to World Help's efforts in the Middle East. Regardless if help financially or not, will you please do me a favor? Please don't let the fear of knowing stop you from knowing. Open your eyes to the evil in this world and get down on your knees to pray. Pray for the children that are touched by war, famine, poverty, trafficking, and abuse. 
Children-of-War_FB-Cover

Friday, September 26, 2014

because

I love how one word can bring to mind a memory, a verse, a song. This morning as I read the Five Minute Friday prompt word, the melody of an old, seemingly forgotten hymn filled my thoughts. Words which comfort, Words which give hope.

Because He lives I can face tomorrow
Because He lives all fear is gone

Because I know He holds the future
My life is worth living just because He lives



When my works hours and my caring for my family hours and when almost all of the calendar boxes are filled with scribbles I find comfort in knowing that He will provide rest.

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:13

When the expenses exceed the income and it seems the budget can not be stretched any thinner, I find comfort because I know He is a God who provides.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19
When the "tomorrow worries" arrive I find comfort because I know that my God has a plan.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

When life just seems too overwhelming I can find hope because I know to whom my future belongs.  I know to whom I belong.


But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine."
Isaiah 43:1-2





Linking up today with many fabulous Five Minute Friday writers.

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

2nd button



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! 



Sponsor

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.