Tag Archives: giving

Dedicating a Bathroom to God

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Recently we had the pleasure of seeing a task completed here on the mission field.  We don’t always see the immediate fruit of our labors, so this was particularly sweet for us.  This past Sunday we dedicated a bathroom to the service of God’s House.  I know, we’ve reached new heights!  This is our second term as missionaries, so see what all you first term-ers out there have to look forward too?  Not everyone is qualified to do such work.  But in all seriousness, this day was one of those days when I felt like I was doing what I was made to do.

Last year our last team of the summer was from Brandon, Florida.  We brought the team out to a poor little church on the edge of town.  The sanctuary is nothing but 4 concrete block walls and a hot tin roof.  Next to the sanctuary is a dilapidated shack that the congregation was using as a Sunday School room, a make shift kitchen and a single stall bathroom for the whole church.  It was barely standing on its own.  The church had been told that since it was obviously not up to code, they would have to build a bathroom or close their doors.

The heart strings of the team were touched.  When they went back home, they presented this need to their congregation and they raised $5,000 to give to the church for the bathrooms and whatever other renovations were needed to bring it up to code.  The poor little church was beside itself with happiness.  At Christmas time, we brought the money into the country and delivered it to the pastor, who we highly trust.  In 22 days the church members constructed two bathrooms on the back of the property and were working on various projects to make the whole place handicap accessible, by Latin American standards.

But the amazing thing has been the response of the community.  In this past month of working on the building, they have almost doubled in attendance.  One man who lives down the street from the church would never speak to the pastor.  He was recently released from jail again.  With some of the money from the team, the pastor hired this ex-con to help with the construction of the bathroom.  Now his opinion of the pastor and the church is quite different than it had been in the past.  He is open to hearing what the pastor has to say.

This bathroom is more than a place to relieve the call of nature, it has brought dignity and respectability to the church in that community.  It has financially met a felt need of the workers who were hired to demolish the old and build the new, and it has been a source of pride for the church members themselves who now feel that they have worth and dignity.  No longer must they squat in a scary, dirty shack that shakes and shutters with every gust of wind.  Now they have a lovely facility that is even handicap accessible for those in the community with such needs… and there are many.

So we had the privilege of going out to the church to get video and photos for the church in Florida who are excited to see the results of their giving.  But more importantly, we felt the pride of the pastor and the church who built his with their own hands, and it is beautiful.

The Purge

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Well, it’s post-Christmas and it’s time to find new homes for all those new Christmas presents that our kids received.  Try as we might, it is impossible not to accumulate stuff. I really do try to live a more spartan existence than most Americans simply because I don’t want to repack all my junk after a few years.  Moving a lot keeps you clean.  I hate clutter.

I’ve noticed in talking to other missionaries that our experience is not unique.  When the Lord was leading us into missions, the first indication that some kind of change was on the horizon was this strange “Urge to Purge”.  We suddenly started feeling like our possessions were bogging us down.  It was like having rocks in your pocket when you’re trying to fly.  Stuff was holding us down.

So I started giving stuff away… and it felt really good.  The more I gave my things away, the lighter I felt.  I was disconnecting myself from the things of this world.  I have always been a pretty practical girl, but now I became militant about practicality.  If something did not have a purpose, it had to go.

We had a big garage sale.  Turning your house inside out is a useful activity.  It forces you to confront the back of your closets.  For example, I didn’t think I had very many baskets but in emptying the closet I counted 20 baskets that had collected there- relics of gifts that people had given us.  TWENTY!!  Clearly I had lost track of my possessions a long time ago and didn’t even realize it.

This Urge to Purge is a common experience for soon-to-be missionaries.  I think it’s a survival mechanism that the Lord activates in us as He prepares us to be stripped of everything, starting with our possessions.  But the crazy thing is that it’s an amazing feeling!  Being freed from your STUFF is an experience that I would like to GIFT to everyone.  But it’s hard to convince people to let go.  Just because you have stuff doesn’t mean you are the owner of stuff- stuff can own YOU!

So now the work begins of finding space for the new Barbies and books that came home with us.  It’s a good chance to clean out the old things that the kids haven’t played much with this year.  I will be looking for a few sweet kids who would like to receive some gently used toys, and we will make our joy complete through giving.

Stand up to Bullies

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Don’t be intimidated.  Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are.  So don’t hesitate to go public now.

Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies.  There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being.  Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life- body and soul- in his hands…

Stand up for me against world opinions and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven.  If you turn tail and run, do you think I’ll cover for you?

Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy.  I’ve come to cut– make a sharp knife cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law– cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God.  Well meaning family members can be your worst enemies.  If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me.  If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.

If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me.  If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself.  But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.

We are intimately linked in this harvest work.  Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you… This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it.  It’s best to start small.  Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance.  The smallest act of giving or receiving make you a true apprentice.  You won’t lose out on a thing.

……………………………………………………………………….~Jesus

The Message Version,  Matthew 10

What I am afraid God will say to me someday

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There is a very common complaint against God floating around now days.  There are several variations, but it goes something like this, “Why would a good God allow innocent children to starve to death?”  The idea is that if God were truly good, he would not allow children to suffer.  So because we see suffering children in the world, we take it as evidence that God must not be good.  We’re basically saying that Angelina Jolie is more compassionate than God Almighty.  We’re implying that either God is NOT a good God because he ALLOWED this to happen, or he is not a POWERFUL enough God to STOP this from happening.  Either argument accuses God of not being who or what he claims to be: All-good and all-powerful, all-knowing, just and righteous, merciful and kind.  Both arguments are the product of human logic.

In both arguments, we humans are better than God.  In one, we are more compassionate and good, in the other we are more righteous and just making us able to judge God by a human sense of right and wrong.  Both of these accusations are called “blasphemy” which is claiming for yourself the rights and qualities of God.  We puny humans shake our fists at God and point an accusing finger at him shouting that we are more just that he is, we are more compassionate than he is.

But what if, some day, when you pointed your finger at God and said, “How can a good God allow innocent children to starve to death?”  God actually answered you.  What if God responded with this, “I saw those children starving to death and it broke my heart.  So I gave YOU all the resources to save them.  I gave YOU more than enough money to feed your family and their family too.  I gave YOU a bigger house than you would need, hoping that you would share it with one of those children.  I gave YOU a powerful government to use to speak for those without a voice.  I gave YOU access to 90% of the world’s resources, hoping that you would spread them around.   I saw those children starving to death, and I wondered why YOU didn’t do anything to help them.”

When Jesus saw the multitude of people following him, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.  So he sat down and started teaching them.  As the day came to a close, the disciples noted the time and they encouraged Jesus to send the people home to eat dinner.  Jesus was concerned that some would have a long journey home and might faint along the way.  He told his disciples “YOU give them something to eat.”  Their initial shock was replaced by another kind of surprise when Jesus himself multiplied the loaves of bread and little fishes from a child’s sack lunch.  And everyone had enough to eat.

Jesus provided the miracle, but the disciples were given the command to pass it all out, “You give them something to eat.”  So before you point your finger in God’s face and accuse him of injustice and hard heartedness, take a long hard look at your own style of living and your own habits of consumption.  Are you really more righteous than God?  Because we didn’t save those children, God took them back to Heaven to take care of them himself.  How can a human ever love as much as God?

“If you give a cup of cold water to a child in my Name, it’s the same as if you gave it to me personally.” ~Jesus Christ.

I will waste my life

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I Will Waste My Life

By Misty Edwards

I will waste my life

I’ll be tested and tried

With no regrets inside of me

Just to find I’m at your feet.

I’ll leave my father’s house

And I’ll leave my mother

I’ll leave all I have know

And I’ll have no other.

I am in love with you

And there is no cost.

I am in love with you

And there is no loss.

I am in love with you

I wanna cling to you, Jesus

Just let me cling to you Jesus.

I’ll say goodbye to my father, my mother

I’ll turn my back on every other love and

I’ll press on, yes, I’ll press on

‘Cause I am in love with you, Jesus!