the beggar

The other day I passed a beggar, a very deformed beggar.  He was sitting, more like slumping, on the sidewalk with a blanket in front of him.  A big pile of money collected as people seemed to automatically dropped coins and bills as they walked past.  I watched many people drop money.  One couldn’t help but have compassion.  I myself have never seen such a grotesque body, personally.  I tried not to stare as I wondered when was the last time someone touched him.  Ate with him.  Spoke to him.  The sun was hot and beat down on his bulging back.  There was no relief.  Just money.

Nearby was a stand where I bought mango juice and bananas.  As I approached him, I was compelled to sit down next to him and look him in his face.  It meant bending down and looking up because of his deformities.  There I greeted him in the name of God.  I shook his hand and held it as is the custom here.  He smiled as he drank his juice and tucked his bananas away.  Together we put his paper money in his bag to keep from thieves.  All the while attempting to communicate.

Surrounded by the movement of the bustling street, I could feel the eyes on me.  I was a stranger in this land doing a strange thing.  But for him, this was his life.  As I sat with him, someone shared their umbrella with him to shield the sun; and many others dropped even more money.  Lots of money came floating down.

Quite frankly, I would have rather dropped money and kept walking—as I have done so many times before.  But this time God wanted me to touch him and to sit with him and share in his humiliation. This time I was to be a friend.

It was an honor.

 

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In my face; GOD

Who am I to question God’s provision for another?  What do I know?  How can I even begin to fathom the depths of our Creator and how he touches and comforts humanity?

These questions have been plaguing me since I visited a single mother in her home.  She is the mother of one of our orphans in our home based care program.  She lives in a one-room, tin house with an outdoor kitchen.  The room is about 10’x8′ and consists of a raised platform for a bed or seat, an upright box for storage, and another thin mat on the floor— which is basically the ground covered with cardboard and such.  Stuffed in every corner are their life’s possessions.  The outdoor kitchen is made of uneven poles with a torn plastic roof.  On the ground are the ashes from a fire and the familiar three stones often used to cook.  And of course, liter is scattered everywhere.

Upon arriving for the visitation my colleague said,  “We are very happy God provided her with this good place.”  As my eyes beheld this poverty-stricken home my heart cried out in silence to my head, “What? THIS is God’s provision?”

I was struck dumb.

Thereafter, and for the entire visit I pondered, sat, and soaked in her utter gratefulness to GOD and her joy of being able to have this place for her and her two children.  So, what was it in me that struggled to accept this as a blessing from GOD?

In the book, When Helping Hurts, my own ethnocentric thinking was challenged.  A thinking that presumes our [American] standards are the only standards worthy of living.  Anything less needs to be upgraded.

Bam! GOD is the God of the rich and the poor—and GOD meets us, all of us, wherever we are at.  This is the gospel of Jesus Christ we bring—THIS is GOD.

pml

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bread and bananas

The capital city, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia is experiencing an incredible economic boom and changing daily. Development, new businesses, and construction can be seen everywhere. Many good things are happening all around the city.

But still there are many who are very poor and struggling.  Many children are without families, wandering the streets, merely surviving.  They beg incessantly.  Just the other day such a child approached me.  She was tattered, dirty, hungry, and desperate.  Giving into begging is generally not a good thing to do. But this child pierced my heart as my eyes beheld her harsh reality.  Then I saw a woman nearby sitting on the sidewalk with a small child and nursing two babies, twins I suspect.  As I looked around, I saw all who were begging and poor.  My heart welled with compassion.  How can I say “No” and turn away?  Determined to do something, I purchased bread and bananas for the mother and insisted she was to share with all of the children.  The child who pierced my heart ate immediately.  She was very hungry.

At that moment, I knew in my soul we were right where we are supposed to be—living among the poor of the world so to reach out and care for little ones such as this.

In Mark 10:14 Jesus said, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all.”

World Orphans supports local churches to develop rescue and care programs for orphans within their communities through church-to-church partnerships.  Individuals who are interested in joining our efforts can become a rescue partner at www.worldorphans.org.

Together we will bring destitute children to Jesus to be adopted into the family of God where they will be cared for, protected, and loved by others.  In so doing, we will expand the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.  And that, my friends, is so much more than bread and bananas.

pml

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boxes, dump runs, craigslist, and give aways

The purge is nearly complete.  We are living in a relatively empty house, except for a couple of couches,  a few mattresses on the floor, pots, pans, and food in boxes, and paper plates.  It’s an exciting time but laced with sadness.  Saying goodbye is never fun.  But we must say it before we can move on from here.

We have all our necessary funding plus a little more!  God has provided once again and we are over the top: Confirmation.

We have our tickets purchased, excess baggage reserved, and a verbal approval for our non-government organization license by the consulate at the Ethiopian Embassy.  Once we are in Ethiopia, we must go in person to pick it up.

We need God’s favor and His Spirit to go before us to get all our bags through customs duty free.  God can do that.  I mean, it’s not like the Rea Sea is in our way, right?

Pressing onward…

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Foolishly following where the Lord leads

Out of concern and love for us, some have questioned our calling.  Understandably, for they have watched us follow the Lord at a great price.  And yet, despite the cost, we still trust His voice and will continue to follow.  Some would say it is foolish, others say it is faithful.  Even I wonder sometimes…

Every spiritual journey has both challenges and victories.  There is a deep peace within when we remember that all circumstances are under the sovereignty of God.  I am often reminded of Hannah Hurnand‘s book Hind’s Feet on High Places, and the sojourn of the protagonist, Much Afraid.  She learned many lessons along her way from the Good Shepherd.  One I most remember was “Never forget what you learned on the mountaintop when you are in the valley.”  We all want to stay on the mountaintop.  But alas, we all must descend.

So we press on.  Returning once again to Africa to give the rest of our working days to the caring of widows and orphans for the Kingdom of God; trusting Him with all our needs, all our children, grandchildren, and earthly cares; knowing that even though our hearts will long for security, family, and lifelong friends, we ultimately desire to be where the Lord would have us be.

Is that foolish?  Or is it faithful?  And what does it mean?

It means asking others to pray for and with us.  It means sharing openly and honestly about where we are at, what we need, and how others can help.  It means humbly receiving gifts and donations from friends, family, and strangers and using those resources to the Glory of God.

We need $200 in monthly contributions to reach 100% of targeted monthly support.            We need $7000 in one time gifts to secure clearance from WORLD ORPHANS.                 We need our non-government organization paperwork approved and secured.                        We need God’s favor for our business visas, excess baggage, and customs upon entry.

Pray with us?

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Thy Kingdom come

…thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Is the Kingdom of God found in the church today, here in America? Is the Kingdom heralded in by professional musicians, eloquent and exceedingly handsome and beautiful people preaching in million-dollar establishments? Or can it be found in the plastic, make-shift tents of Haiti, mud huts of Africa, or straw houses of Asia? Isn’t the Kingdom wherever we are?

As God is, so is His Kingdom.  The Word says, “Wherever two or more are gathered in His name He is in their midst.”  The Kingdom is now and forever.  Let us not grow weary doing good for the sake of the Kingdom.  Let us press forward, giving, serving, and doing the will of our Father for the good of all creation.

Each person has a responsibility to the Creator; how each of us respond is seen in our daily lifestyles.  How we live, spend our money, raise our children, treat our land, run our businesses, and engage in our communities.  May we usher in the Kingdom in all we do.

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unity, liberty, and love

As this election year presses onward, no one can argue that there is much that divides us.  Issues that at one time were bipartisan are now being rehashed and politicized to feed the fires.  And across the globe there’s dissension, strife, destruction, wars, and mass protests.  Is there any place where there is no hostility of some sort?  It seems that in every nation we find division, discord, and disunity.   Makes one wonder what in the world is going on?  But the greater question is how are we to live is this changing world?  What are our actions to be?

I am mindful of a great motto from the faithful Moravian church: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, love.”

May we strive for unity in the body of Christ: “Do we not all have one Father: Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?” Malachi 2:10

May we serve liberally: “Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.”  Isaiah 1:17

And above all else, may we be as Christ in love: “A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  John 13:34

pml

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Sun Stand Still

The Old Testament has some spectacular stories of how God intervened in the lives of his children.  One great example was when Joshua asked God for the sun to stand still until he could finish the battle.  He just needed more time to accomplish the work (Joshua 10:12).  God did it.

We serve the same God today.  The Master of the Universe is on our side.  There is nothing our God cannot do.

In the New Testament God’s children are in the Church.  And it is through the Church that God’s Spirit is manifested to all humanity.

That said, may the Church to rise up to love and care for the millions and millions of widows and orphans.  May the suffering of so many be relieved as we, the Church, call upon our God to move us to give our resources and spend our time.  And in all our doings, may God be glorified.

O, Lord, move more hearts that Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

 

 

 

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Acts of Righteousness

In our small group, we’re studying Matthew 6:1-18.  Jesus is talking about doing things in secret for God and not for others to see.  However, what really struck me was what our ‘acts of righteousness’ actually are: Giving to the needy, praying, and fasting.

Giving. Praying. Fasting.

That’s it.

 

 

 

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World Orphans partners US churches with local, indigenous churches to rescue and care for orphans within their communities.  Together we can change the world as we empower churches to minister to their most vulnerable.

Why the most vulnerable? Because the reality is that the orphaning of children is cyclical.  We must break the cycle.  Children are a community’s greatest resource.  Rescuing orphans and restoring them into families breaks the cycle.  Families are the foundation for communities.  The link below is a 3min video that demonstrates the cycle and how stopping it changes everything.

How does a child become an orphan?

Isaiah 1:17

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