May 15, 2009

India and Prayers

This will probably be our last post before India. Next week we will be out of town for 5 days and then we will be moving out of our apartment and spending some time with our families in SC and FL before we leave.

A specific request to please be praying for our health as we transition to a new country.

We are so excited and ready to be in India. I'm craving God's presence there as I've felt him tell me to have high expectations of His presence. Please pray for grace for our transition into the home and the culture.

All the prophetic words and prayer we received on Saturday and Sunday were such an encouragement to us. You don't know the impact they had! We are so incredibly blessed to know such amazing people. Thank you for your support... we really needed it.

Stay tuned...

Adventures at the hospital

A few weeks ago at the Well, I felt led to talk to this couple who work at YWAM Atlanta. They both have incredible evangelistic hearts and spend their time reaching out to people in downtown Atlanta and at Georgia Tech. After just a few moments with them, I knew they had a part of Jesus's heart that I needed in my life right now. On the way home that night, I had a picture of myself praying for a woman with a braced up foot at the mall. I thought this was funny since I hate the mall and hardly ever go there. Turns out, I ended up at the mall a week later to pick up my contacts. There were very few people there and I was done with my errand quickly. With a short, half-hearted breath prayer on my way out I said , "well God if you want me to pray for a broken foot you better show me because I'm on my way out!". The next second, a woman rolled by me on a wheelchair with her foot in a brace. Go figure. I stood there for like 5 minutes, struggling with my own fear. I couldn't believe how strong that fear was, and realized I had let it build in me by not stepping out more regularly in the last 2 years since my Wesley internship. I ended up praying for the woman, who has diabetes, but was incredibly disturbed by the stronghold of fear in my life.

A couple we recently met, Shaun and Naomi, came to Athens Wednesday night to hang out and do some ministry. I thought this would be great since I really want God to shake this fear. Earlier in the day, Ben felt God's leading that we should minister to people in one of the two hospitals in Athens. I had never been to this hospital and Shaun and Naomi had never even been to Athens, but we all prayed beforehand and agreed it was the right place. I felt like God gave me a specific name of an employee that works there- first and last name, and his race. Naomi and Shaun saw a picture of someone in a wheelchair with a red balloon, and a big heart. So off we went to the hospital to see if God wanted to touch anyone. As soon as we got in, we realized there was almost NO ONE there. It was so quiet. My friend Kim asked an employee if this man worked there (the name that I felt God was saying to me). The lady confirmed that he did and described what he looked like, cornrows and all! They tried paging him to meet us. We waited for him and I couldn't wait to see what God wanted to say to him, but he never came. He either wasn't working that night or was tied up. Maybe God just wanted to encourage me that I DID hear his voice clearly. Maybe he wants us to go back. Either way, please pray for this guy.

On our way out, we just happened to see a woman being wheeled out the door with a red balloon attached to her wheelchair! Naomi and I went up to her and talked to her briefly. Her name was Martha and turns out she just found out she had an enlarged heart. It all fit with what God had spoken earlier- a red balloon, a wheelchair, and a large heart. Because of his word, we really believe God wants to heal Martha. Please pray that her heart would go back to its proper size and that Jesus would be glorified.

A great thing about the night was talking with Shaun and Naomi afterwards. It was one of the most encouraging conversations we had had in a while. They are both walking in the things we feel like God is leading us towards. It was so encouraging to hear about their path of faith and trust in God. Whether they realized it or not, they spoke words of life, words that gave me life. It connected right with our hearts. We really needed that encouragement.

I'm still disturbed when I examine the fear in my own heart, the desire for approval and the fear of rejection. It is crazy how we can hear God's call yet still experience so much fear in our obedience. But God has been teaching me that HIS approval is the only thing truly matters, and it makes the rest so much easier to let go of. Just the other day in church He said to me over and over "you are not a fool, you are not a fool, you are not a fool" until I almost broke down weeping right there. It is true that many people, both non-Christian and Christian, can view us as fools (heck I used to be one of them), but thankfully God says the foolishness of Him is wiser than man's wisdom, the weakness of God is wiser than man's strength...

I need so much grace but Jesus has a neverending supply... Please pray for these people mentioned above! And please pray that I would hear his voice clearly as I go to India. I desperately need to hear him clearly. Thank you!

May 8, 2009

The Fatherless

So I know I have gotten in the habit of copying and pasting parts of other people's blogs, but sometimes I can't help myself. I came across an entry from Sarah Olds, a former director at Wesley who works with street children in South Africa. Here is what she wrote:

Today, the sections that I read in each one of these books all quoted Matthew 25:31-46 in part or its entirety.

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

"God created you and I to express His goodness. “Every time you perform a loving act; every time you alleviate human suffering or bring hope and joy into a person’s life, you’ve expanded the good and increased the honor God receives for creating you in his image. God loves when his children reflect his character. (Wide Awake)

I’m a missionary in Africa. . . yet I’m challenged by this passage of scripture. How many times do I miss an opportunity to express God’s goodness to the people so close to His heart – the fatherless. Look at these statistics I read in Fields of the Fatherless:

•More than 1 million children are trafficked every year as sex slaves and another 8.4million children work under horrific circumstances – forced into debt bondage or other forms of slavery, prostitution, pornography, armed conflict, or other illicit activities.
•Today there are over 143 million orphans in the world. That’s one child in every 13!
•10.9 million children under the age of 5 die in developing countries every year – malnutrition and hunger related accounting for 60% of these deaths.
•More than 13 million orphans were added to the total in 2006 alone.
•Every 5 seconds a child dies because he or she is hungry.
•By the end of 2006, there were 2.3 million children living with HIV around the world, and over half a million children became newly infected with HIV in 2006.

These statistics break my heart. They overwhelm me. They challenge me. How many times have I passed by a hungry child begging for food without offering him something to eat? How many times have I seen a child living on the street and dressed in rags yet not given him clothes? 143 million orphans in the world. How many of them live in Maputo, Mozambique? How many of them do I pass by everyday?

Thanks Sarah....