Tuesday, December 14, 2010
dated january 7th, 2007.
"I am always at home in Jesus. always. if i feel outside or alone or NOT at home, it's because somewhere along the line i chose to walk out the door. turn on the oven, open the curtains, i'm coming home. i'm here to stay and i wanna bring whoever i can home with me."
it's good to be reminded.
about my last post: the thing that is hitting about these women's lives is NOT the work they are doing, although that's what i thought at first, but their HEARTS. "there are no great things, only small things with great love." -mother theresa.
i want to memorize psalm 103 in spanish...there's a resonance with what its saying and this time i'm in.
an old poem:
a love that silences
a sweetness few perceive
bitter on the tongue of selfish men
yet richest of fare to the gutter's friend
which am i? do we choose?
may i don the beggar's cloth
if it be the way
to the divine love feast.
what are some things that are resonating in you today?
Monday, December 13, 2010
so is this draw to be taking care of those sweet ones in the MQV orphanage. and Amy Carmichael's story.
the same story that was washing over me 7 years ago is coming back, stronger and plainer and bigger.
and i feel like i'm just observing, just waiting. what am i supposed to do with all this?
i guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sister or father or mother or children or farms for My Name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inhereit eternal life. - Matt 19:29
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2
The preciseness and sheer exactness of His will and His plan continues to blow me away. Lots of shifting and changing happening, staggering in the starkness of positive and negatives. And I wait in the middle of it all, grasping for the way, the path, His will. there is so much of me that wants to figure it out for myself, make a plan, write it down, put it into my manageable box. and yet in the same moment afraid to make a wrong step. And then as I'm thrashing around, He just smiles and reminds me of what He had already shown me. As if there was any question or doubt. And there comes the peace.
More concrete details on this will be coming soon...thank you to those who have been praying.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
i am seeing the fruit of that Labor, this work He began and promises to finish. it's overwhelming when you marvel at His greatnes, utter magnitude, true goodness. and never ending faithfulness.
i write this as i ponder the faces of my fellow teachers, all of us just two days away from vacation. for me, it is simple unbelieveable that i have a place here, that these people are my friends, my support, my brothers and sisters. and together we work to change the future of a country. simple amazing.
for me, reflecting on this past year is going to take all of December. and I feel ready and eager to do so. the second year of teaching is SO different than the first and the third year of living in a this country promises to change me forever. there are certain qualities, perceptions and attitudes that are being forged, that are good and life-giving, that could never have been formed in my former path. just a snapshot:
infinitely more patient and loving, in a deep and base level way. i can't explain how it happens but there is something in the very core of me that is just different.
a whole new understanding of respect and rights.
a simpler, streamlined self
a person focused, not task focused mind...this is huge for me.
able to make hard decisions and trust that obedience is way better than 'sacrifice'
a fuller gratitude, for everything.
appreciation for simple things: time to rest, a beautiful song, lovely weather, particular harvests, hospitality, generosity, solidarity. this, at least, the government has correct - promoting and applauding solidarity. the nicaraguan people embody this trait.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
- my political party/leanings are not important for what i'm going to say.
- i'm not trying to get you to vote for X or Y candidate.
just in case someone was already huffy about the title and not willing to read further. :)
so, a dear sister posted about voting. and i really appreciated what she said. and i wanted to add my two cents, because hey, that's what blogs are for right?
i just want to remind my fellow brothers and sisters in the USA to take advantage of a working democracy...so many people are living in non-democratic countries or worse, a dictatorship parroting a democracy. here, you can go vote, but there is little faith that your vote will actually end up where it counts, and even if it does, there is so much corruption that it is highly unlikely you will have a fair and democratic election in which the people's voice is heard. dead people get to vote, thousands of votes go "missing" and just plain old lying makes sure that the people in power stay in power. they've already done it once and are in the process of changing laws to make it possible for the current "president" to continue his term.
as i was talking with my students in a summit about the Holocaust and Anne Frank, it burdened me to see the lack of faith and hope they have in their own voices. we were talking about how similar pre-Holocaust Germany was to the Nica of today...and how can they, the youth of Nica, make sure something like that doesn't have any place to grow here...one said they could take action in politics, to vote, to be informed. but the majority say, why should i vote or have anything to do with it when i know that if i don't vote for them (FSLN), it won't count. if the people, the youth, don't stand up and use their voice because it isn't heard, then all you have is a shrinking population trenched in poverty that submits to a dictatorship because hey, what are ya gonna do? it's infuriating, to see a people lay down and let the powers that be do as they please because they think they have no say. that is not democracy.
but YOU, you get to be a part of a government that caters to your opinion, that allows groups and rallies and invites you to get involved, on one side or the other. and whether you are happy with the things are or not, its your RESPONSIBILITY to keep the democratic system working and vote. no, it's certainly not perfect. nor is it the answer to all our problems. and yes, it is frighteningly polarized.
but it's definitely a democracy, and we the people should make sure we appreciate that and participate.
*stepping off soapbox*
Sunday, September 26, 2010
there was this thrill of something exciting, something unpredictable, something out of the routine. and a little scary, but i never doubted my parents ability to take care of me(obviously this was before my realization that man, before nature, has little control).
but now, here in nicaragua, storms are a bit...different. i have seen water just rise and rise and rise until it becomes a whirlpool in what used to be our cafeteria. i've seen it grow our lake like something out of a horror movie, taking down houses as it goes. it's taken lives, destroyed homes, ruined electrical systems, and basically wreaked havoc. it hasn't been until Nicaragua that i've felt truly fearful.whereas the rainfall used to help me sleep, it now keeps me awake.
like a night this week. the lightening was overwhelming, ripping the sky open and immediately crashing it back together again. the following school day was punctuated by screams as the children jumped with every lightening bolt, the power fleeing and the water slowly rising. every teacher kept their eye on it, willing it to pass as quickly as it could. and all this was before Matthew.
The good news, in all of this, is that it's been pretty calm for us. (I live in the orange strip,close to the edge of the red strip...the tiny lake you see there is Lake Managua, the house-eating one.)
Just constant rain and cool temperatures (sweater and sock weather if you can believe it). Luckily we are pretty high up in El Crucero and on steady ground. but the residents on the northern and atlantic coast part of the country are in danger. and the poverty in those areas is unreal. plastic and stick houses, very high unemployment, survival depending on crops...that are now being flooded. it's hard to feel that long-ago pleasure for something i now find so destructive. i'm sure survivors of Katrina and other natural disasters know what i'm talking about.
it just makes me wonder. when faced with one small element in a huge universe of unknowns like storms, why do we think we have so much control? isn't more logical that we don't? that we need someone to take care of us? that we need a little guidance? just wondering.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
i miss free time. i have free time, obviously, but it is usually suffocated by the ever-present list of things to do. isn't there a mute button somewhere on that annoying soundtrack?
why is it that when you CAN sleep in and have a good time to rest, you don't sleep well? it's like there's this rebellion in my body that refuses to rest...i don't know if it's stubborness, a martyr complex or some bizarre health issue. what i do know is that it's frustrating.
things i've enjoyed lately: riding out to the farm on a limitless sunny day with my husband, chocolate supplies, a slowly growing ability to put space between me and my job, time alone with my husband, reading....a lot, glee, sunny saturdays so my laundry dries, the book of samuel, toasted buns with butter, working with my students towards their success, perfect fitting calvin kleins that cost me 7 dollars, being ok with me.
only 8 weeks of class left, then exams, then the end of my 2nd year at NCA Nejapa. time is speedy here. still learning so much.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
i'm wanting to add some rhythm, some constancy to my life, where i can. many of the things that make it so topsy-turvy are completely out of my hands, but i have a tiny bit of control over some things and am really needing to find a rhythm in all of it.
some efforts i've tried so far: daily bible reading, daily prayer with my husband, preparing my lunch to take everyday to school, writing to my husband weekly, afternoon rest moments, looking at the positive side of things. and now i want to add weekly blogging. (i have to admit i am really bad at getting this rhythm down, so forgive me ahead of time.)
so often i have a lot i'd like to write, but i don't for one of the following reasons: it's too harsh, it's too messy, it's too personal. but as i've been teaching my advanced kids about story, and how it is important to tell a story, one you believe in, one that makes you feel positive and reaches others, i've realized i need to tell these stories. not all of them will be world-shaking or even very interesting. but there is something in telling that allows us to recognize new sides of the thing we are experiencing.
so in the midst of all the things from this weekend: no city water, constant rain, blackouts, my nephew's dad in jail for an accident, debts they will have to pay, a continually flooding school, allergies, weariness, irresponsibility, and the sticky stain of corruption on this country, i want to tell you a story.
a good story. i hope.
it was friday afternoon, and all were anxiously awaiting the news that the new pump had finally been installed and we would have water again. i had just woken up from a fabulous nap under the watchful eye of the brewing storm, the applause among the plantain trees the perfect lullaby. my husband and i went to check the water situation only to find out it would be another 2 weeks before the water would be back. like many things here, the new pump did not work and they would have to wait to buy another.
so we got to thinking. and planning. and shoving. not each other that is, but old pvc piping. alongside my husband, nephews, brother-in-law,and church members on the soaked ground, we came up with a device to catch rainwater and direct it into our water tank. it made me smile to see us all there, muddy and wet but laughing as we wrestled with various pipes and glue to make this contraption that stretched 8 feet from the roof to the opening of the tank. there was this triumph evident in their eyes, excited that they found a way to beat our circumstances.
since it had rained pretty hard, i had a full barrel of water and i could finally wash some clothes. my nephew started hauling water from one tank to where i was washing clothes, one after the other. my husband bounced around from one project(a soccer ball stuck in the gutters causing a flood) to another (fixing the piping we didn't use). as i scrubbed out the week's dirt and let my thoughts swirl around in the lather, i felt grateful. in the midst of not very fun circumstances, i had seen how we had come together, how each one gave what they could to make it work, to live. there is so much need here. so much that we don't have. and without this kind of unity and support, we drown. we dry up and get beaten down. and it was refreshing to see it work, to find that it just came together. with the sun peeking out apologetically, i hung those clothes up with satisfaction. who cares if it's not fixed? we have what it takes to make it through...and i see this apply to hunger, poverty, corruption, fear, betrayal, lack, emptiness.
maybe we can't 'fix' nicaragua. but we can be the best versions of ourselves, together, without letting our surroundings weigh us down.*
(*this is often so very hard to do. case in point: brother-in-law in jail for an accident in which neither has insurance and the kids on the motorcycle were injured, lots of debt from that, waiting around in the dim police station trying to negotiate and all of a sudden, a thief has gotten into a bus in the police station parking lot and stolen the radio. and they send the youngest girl member of the force to run after him, slipping and sliding in the mud.obviously she didn't catch him.
it makes me want to scream...inexplicably difficult for me to be the best version of myself or for us to overcome with unity. pressed down. but not crushed.)
Saturday, August 21, 2010
the final bell rang and we shouted a prayer to keep us safe, as the kids shifted their backpacks and fiddled with their white shirts, untucking them a stretch at a time. as we left the classroom, they all chattered excitedly over the situation, but i was remembering the last time this occurred: the steadily growing tide that consumed the office and the high school,a wake of recess snack bags and sludge cluttering the normally shiny surfaces, and the resulting wave of illness from the wet clothes and disgusting liquid squishing in our shoes. i put them to study math as i waited impatiently to know how we were going to resolve this one.
at 3:12, the stragglers crossed the soggy soccer field with me and a couple of other teachers, only to find the cafeteria a swirling pool of sticks, trash and a foot and a half of water. We huddled in the remaining sprinkles of the rain and i went to check on the office situation. there i found my other teachers with the director, now past the nervous stage and on to the witty stage, a skill we have from living in a continually negative and unstable world. if only we had known what that slithering pool around our feet was doing just a kilometer away...
now, i don't know about you all, but i tend to shy away from things i KNOW i'm not good at...like volleyball. and overwhelming crowds of people. and resisting chocolate temptation. and grief. maybe there isn't anyone whose really good at grief, but i feel especially unequipped at it. being a very sensitive person whose emotions swell and spiral and suffocate, i become very delicate and...different. and i just don't like it.
so you can imagine how much i was dreading yesterday, as i had to face my co-workers and students after the drowning of a dear 10th grader. that water that changed our afternoon as it twisted by our school changed anita's life as she tried to get home.she was trying to pass an unpassable turn that was running with the current, while my fellow teachers and i were up to our ankles in that same filthy water, laughing from some quip about the photocopier that was teetering on the table. it's sobering to think about just how NOT in control we are, for all we'd like to pretend and imagine.
i felt like a zombie as i walked through the day, pasting on a smile in front of the primary school kids as they had normal classes, tucking that grief away in the roof of my mouth, speaking with care so as to not dislodge it. but when i found myself with those i could be open about my grief with, i swallowed it, stone-faced and cut off. and all i could keep thinking was, how is one supposed to deal with grief? sure there are a ton of books and strategies and 'tools' that can be accessed, but i think it's like marriage and childcare and 'life crises'...they are just things that happen to you in life, things that you enter and depending on who you are and, i would say, how you relate to God, will affect how you deal with it.
as i listened to isaac sing 'alaba' and watched the students maintain vigilance over anita throughout the service, i rested in that pain. i let it be there and allowed myself to acknowledge it, to experience it. to cry and to laugh and to let it drip through my fingers.
i think my reaction, and that of many, is to hurry it up, to get it over and done with and to not let it take up too much space or time. but then i think of the truth that His power is made perfect in our weakness. and though i don't understand it, that it's ok to let that be true, to believe it, to apply it to my life. and not just with grief, but disappointment, fear, pain, loss, anxiety, worry, waiting, trials, tests, growth, change...whatever.
let it take the space it needs. but remember that the One who is in control, is the One who overcomes and brings us out of it. and Who will use it for His glory, which in turn always means good for us.
may His peace and provision cover her family and friends and may His presence be a balm on the rawness of this grief.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I can't really convey through words the sweet swelling that balloons in my chest when I think about it...it's one of those emotions that fills, that soothes the raw edges and relaxes the tense places that come from doing this kind of work. it says, little by little, what we are doing, is helping form and shape these little ones, in a way that matters...just that pixel of change, that they would feel a part of and not just one who receives. it's these things, the small and often unnoticed attitude and value changes that tell me El Crucero will be different in a few generations. and who cares if I'm not here in those future generations, the best part is just knowing it will be different...and hopefully, a lot brighter.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
there are so many opportunities to be disappointed and let down in this work. there are so many plans that fall apart, hard work that doesn't get noticed, time that gets stripped away.
weariness and sheer exhaustion and overworked are all common descriptors for those involved, the growing weight of the need that you see around you smothering, the hunger clawing to be noticed.
but none of these are the worst crisis for someone in some type of service. the real gut-wrencher is when you find yourself with absolutely no more desire to continue. when you find that you could turn it all over to someone else without a second thought of what would happen to those little tummies, those growing minds, those desperate eyes and grasping hands.
it's not even the weariness or heaviness or difficulty of it all that bothers me....its this new, flippant and oh-so willing part that wants to wash her hands of it all.
i sat yesterday, stewing in this and watching the sunlight glisten off the leaves...and just sat. i haven't just sat in a real long time.
and the bottom line is this: there is a need for balance. and rest. and sharing responsibilities. but more than that there is the reality that this work, this thing that i do...it's woven into my soul....its not even the place or the people or the circumstances but the profound knowledge that this is what i was made for. so even though this alarming new sensation is ever present in this moment, i know that it's just a false self, a shadow of who i thought i could be, but nothing like who i really am.
and with that, i could breathe. there is something about being anchored that allows you to hold on in the midst of whatever gust that comes your way. i'm thankful for that.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
one of the 4 year old twins(whose mom just died from a plastic surgery gone wrong...who on earth gets plastic surgery in Nicaragua
??)just bawling because he couldn't get his cut-outs to stay glued down...me kneeling, helping him and seeing that it really has nothing to do with cutouts or glue, but overwhelming loss.
being a mom to a 14-year old. Moises' nephew is living with us. and in the midst of all this is the growing ability to see how He provides. how nothing is impossible. and how there is always enough.
fruits of partnerships and the fullness they bring. there is nothing quite as sweet as seeing your dreams and visions sprout up and reach people, to see them change their lives, to see them overcome and smile at this new place they are coming into.
quietly and carefully tending to my marriage with my husband in the little garden of our lives. seeing him pour into it as much as i do. being united in one purpose.
that place of rest that always finds you when you ask, no matter the to-do list, the projects, the laundry, the whatever.
my soul clings to you; Your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:8
Monday, April 5, 2010
have you ever stopped to think about how valuable a sprinkler is? it provides a great way to beat the dry times without waterlogging plants or grass and can be a fun activity for kids to enjoy in the summertime. here, sprinklers, let alone the water with which you would occupy a sprinkler, are scarce. and not really practical.
but today, Moises made a beautiful 3 way sprinkler that gently mists withing a ten - foot radius...with electric tape, a beat-up hose, and an oil bottle. and i got all excited, talking about how useful this could be for farmers dealing with the drought...and he reminded me that they usually don't have water, and when they do, they don't have the pressure necessary to make it work.
sigh. well, it's still beautiful.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
do you remember David, from the Christmas confrontation in 2008? he was murdered last Wednesday, four houses down from where we were staying. i cannot put into words the many emotions we have gone through this week…anger at his choices that would make him vulnerable (drugs, mafia, stealing, all sorts of crime), sadness and compassion for his two children and wife left behind, heaviness for the reality of this small town, lost in a growing number of sins and depravity, restless for the lack of hope or alternative, gratefulness that the Lord pulled my husband out of there 3 years ago (David used to be best buddies with Moises), and just weariness. a touch of what I imagine the Word talks about when it says the earth groans in waiting.
It’s gotten me thinking and churning and there have been some things I'm reading that relate. Donald Miller talks about it like this… “I said his daughter was living a terrible story…I don’t know exactly, but she’s just not living a very good story. She’s caught up in a bad one…A couple months later I ran into Jason and asked about his daughter. ‘She’s better,’ he said to me, smiling. And when I asked why, he told me his family was living a better story.” (excerpted p 50, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years). La Batea, and many, many, MANY people are just living a bad story. And us Christians don’t offer a much better story.
WAIT. how is it possible that we, who have heard the BEST story ever, not be able to offer a better story? this creates a tension and pain that pricks in the stomach and swells to my head. it makes me take a long hard look at what i’m doing, if i’m just like them, but in a glossier-looking package. do all my activities and works and motives invite people into the Story or are they just pretty little vignettes for my own pleasure? if we’re honest, i think we will find that most of us are concerned about making a good story for ourselves, or as Donald Miller said, “My entire life had been designed to make myself more comfortable, to insulate myself from the interruption of my daydreams.” (p 77). we assume that the story is about us, just a tree in the forest, but we are reminded its actually a story about a forest (donald miller).
Amy Carmichael addresses this issue, specifically about comfort, in her book A Gold Cord.
“The Lord calls men with the spirit of Epaphroditus. That spirit will be required, for the life of uttermost service cannot be called comfortable. ‘Comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house as guest, and then becomes host, and then master. Ay, and it becomes a tamer, and with hook and scourge makes puppets of your larger desires. Though its hands are silken, its heart is of iron. Verily, the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning to the funeral’ (kahil gibran). It is true; but it is one thing to applaud it as truth and quite another to turn from that lust that murders the passion of the soul, for the sake of these for whom Christ died. But no one who has done so would exchange this way of living for any other.” (Amy Carmichael, p 367 A Gold Cord).
This passage cut me through, and I think it relates to what I was writing earlier, that if we focus our story on comfort, or security, or fun, or fame, or power, or whatever else it may be other than Jesus and His story and how our stories are all about the bigger story, we will fall into the same story that La Batea lives….an empty, bored church with souls chained up just outside the doors. we will be ineffective, useless and restless. maybe it won’t be so obvious, but we’ll know, because we will begin to see the mildew cracking through the whitewashing.
To take it a step further, Oswald Chambers speaks not of just a story that points to the larger Story, but of a giving that pours ourselves out. “ The real test of the saint is not preaching the gospel, but washing the disciples’ feet, that is, doing the things that do not count in the actual estimate of men but count everything in the estimate of God. Paul delighted to spend himself out for God’s interests in other people, and he did not care what it cost. We come in with our economical notions –‘Suppose God wants me to go there – what about the salary? What about the climate? How shall I be looked after? A man must consider these things.’ All that is an indication that we are serving God with a reserve. Paul focuses on Jesus Christ’s idea of a New Testament saint in his life, viz. not one who proclaims the gospel merely, but one who becomes the broken bread and poured-out wine in the hands of Jesus Christ for other lives.” (My Utmost for His Highest, February 25.)
Those of you who know the Word will have those verses echoing back to you, the place that all these ideas spring from. Jesus was very clear about the life, the Story that we are called to. There is a need, a DESPERATE NEED, for the children of God to remember what story it is that they are a part of and to fight hard to make their daily story resonate with the larger Story…because we are His ambassadors, His messengers, the ones who take the story to others and invite them in, reminding them that they too are characters in His story. and if my story doesn’t resonate with the Story, people get confused and misled. and they think the Story is about personal fame or power or success or comfort or easy living…and they get bored. and they get caught up and enslaved by the more deceiving and darker stories…where they can’t get out.
So I ask you…what kind of story are you writing? who is the main character of your story? what are the things that move your story along? and if you find that your story isn’t what you hoped for, I leave you with two other story ideas from Miller.
“The oldest book of the Bible is supposedly the book of Job. It is a book about suffering, and it reads as though God is saying to the world, Before we get started, there’s this one thing I have to tell you. Things are going to get bad…God doesn’t explain pain philosophically or even lists its benefits. God says to Job, Job, I know what I am doing, and this whole thing isn’t about you.” p 197
“I don’t ever want to go back to believing life is meaningless. I know there are some biochemical causes for some forms of depression, but I wish people who struggle against dark thoughts would risk their hopes on living a good story – by that I mean finding a team of people doing hard work for a noble cause, and joining them. I think they’d be surprised at how soon their sad thoughts would dissipate, if for no other reason that they didn’t have time to think them anymore. There would too much work to do, too many scenes to write. “ (p 247)
PS. Thanks, Donald Miller, for being honest enough to put all that into writing. For encouraging us to “edit” our lives and start making a meaningful story. You provided a more elegant version of something I’ve been thinking about for awhile.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
there is a comfort for me in that, that in both languages, this is beautiful. i guess Truth is just that way.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
- seeing students come under my loving but firm teacher gaze
- feeling His authority and love behind my words and actions
- David, drawing a picture of Right to Education, using materials his classmates lent to him (David is the first student with a handicap at our school...he has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound...but he is intelligent and quick in his mind and has the most beautiful smile...the fact that he is in our school at all says a lot..many children with different capacities have little opportunity for education and the idea of paras, IEPs, and any number of other acronyms we take for granted in the US are nonexistent within the Nica Ministry of Education).
- quiet morning moments before the crazy bus ride down the mountain
- eating breakfast with my husband on my first day...he accompanied me to calm my nerves :)
- thankful, to be in this place.
and though it has nothing to do with NCA, for a dear sister´s farewell to her papa. our language can´t cover what the heart feels in moments like this...how i wish i could be at your side Lauren.
peace to you my friends
Monday, January 18, 2010
living in Nicaragua has changed this a bit. not the desire, but the form in which i express it. and it has taught me how to receive, and graciously. (this i believe to be very important...its extremely uncomfortable to give to someone unwilling to receive). at first, it was embarrassing...humbling, actually, in the midst of a humbling time. and it made me take a look into my reservations about receiving.
in the end, it's this: we all need to receive. and we all need to give. and my husband and i have learned to trust the Lord's provision, always knowing He will meet our needs and obeying when we feel we are to be a part of meeting another's needs.
but this receiving became a deeper thing for me on our trip to the states. the hospitality, generosity and giving in general was a salve to places i didn't know were raw. we were received into a home where the family is struggling through a time of illness, and yet we felt like celebrated guests, made comfortable by each member of the family, all when they could have shut their doors and said, right now we just don't have anything to give.we entered into my home and received there like we had never left, like my husband had always been a son, complete with good talks and great food and precious prayer. we had numerous people invite us to eat a meal, covering the expenses because it was more important to them that we enjoy our time together in sharing life than worry about a few extra dollars. we were received in many a home with hugs and delighted smiles and accepting hearts. we were welcomed into a diverse church and a home, all because we are family in Him. we were carted around Chicago by various people and welcomed into an acquaintance's home, only to leave as friends and truly bound as brothers and sisters. we were given space and invitation into a community, allowing us to see how they strive to live out the gospel together, in all its drafty, messy, interesting and diverse glory. we were given monetary gifts like you wouldn't believe...not because of their quantiy but how they were always quietly given at just the right moment.
what i see in all this is the immense love of my Papa for two of His kids...and how He works through His body to do it. do you ever stop and wonder how your giving (in any shape or form) allows Him to meet His beloved's needs? or how if you don't, that it might hinder? certainly God always finds a way, remember the lilies and sparrows, but wouldn't you like to be a part of that holy giving? i know i do.
i want to thank you, brothers and sisters, who made us feel so welcome, loved, cherished and cared for in our time stateside. your support and prayers and time mean so much to us, and on a very personal note, i so appreciate how you all made my husband feel. i can't thank you enough.
He is always good.