Saturday, November 22, 2014

All I have to offer... a snotty mess!

I wanted to hear the LORD speak; I wanted to know what He wanted from my life. I wanted to feel alive again and feel His awesome presence. When I was talking to Barto (my fiancĂ©) on Facebook chat there was a message that he had written me and it kept sending randomly throughout our conversation,  “It is so good to cry in the presence of God.” The first time it repeated it, I thought oh Barto that was random, why are you sending this but I just went on with our conversation, then it happened again. I asked him why… he said, I don’t know, my phone is being weird.

After we talked, I got on my knees to pray to the LORD. I started out praying just to leave Barto in the hands of God, since He is in Africa and I am in Mexico…  And there are problems in his family in this time. I was praying for his schoolwork, his health, and all of his family. I was praying for the Pastors and children that I love so dearly in Burkina and all of the ministries. And I started to ask the LORD to cover for my trip in January—for each moment to be in His hands and for all the finances to come so I can go. And I was asking him to show me what to preach to the people in the churches, and I started to cry when I asked him to shine through me. I asked him to make me alive again, to really be alive and not in this state of depression and nothingness. All of my heart started to poor out on what is going on in the orphanage in Mexico and I was crying for each thing that burns deep in my soul; each child that has left and is out of this place, and all of the changes being made. I have felt broken, lost, unimportant, and completely alone most days asking myself, how am I truly helping these people? And how can I get them to realize the importance of what we have instead of wanting something better? I had this image of something so beautiful on the outside but on the inside it was so dirty and disgusting that I couldn’t even look at it, I wanted to vomit. I have been so disgusted by so much. And I wasn’t standing up for what I believed is right. I don’t want new couches or a new kitchen; I want children who love Jesus! There are days where I want to scream because the children do not appreciate anything they have, it is like a throw away toy that doesn’t matter because tomorrow comes another one, and I want it to be done. How can we teach them?

In that moment I thought about… how does God feel? Do I just throw away all of the blessings He gives me expecting that the next one will come!? Or am I in awe and praising Him because I am unworthy of even one blessing? I was sitting on my cold floor with my face stained in tears and my hands covered in snot… and said, “LORD this is all I have to offer you… me… a snotty mess! But I am all yours. I don’t believe I have ever questioned your existence and I know that you love me, and I really love you. So please make me alive again.” I sat there crying and asking Jesus to help me, and to fill me, and to wake up this ministry.

Then I started to read Mark 7:24b “He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet HE COULD NOT KEEP HIS PRESENSE SECRET.” Wow… what a statement… He could not keep His presence secret… 

I know my Jesus lives, I feel Him even in the darkest of times. I felt Him all this year when my best friend Chuy died, when both my grandpas died the same day, when the old director of the orphanage and his family left the ministry, when some of the children walked out of the orphanage and into a bad life, and when parasites and infections filled my body. I KNOW He is real, and He is good. I have also watched Him take this ministry from living week to week to being able to cover every meal, every bill, every foot with a shoe, every back with clothes, every child with a bed, and every backpack filled with school supplies. In those moments, I am in awe. With each new day I see Him working and providing. And I see the children changing little by little—when I get their hugs, see their smiles, and feel their kisses I am complete.

Im praying for ways to make the children to appreciate what they have.. and value... but mostly I am just praying for their hearts. 

When I was talking to Barto today, I said Barto I have to be honest… I don’t know what we will do after we are married or where we are going to live or what money we are going to have or when you are going to have all your paperwork! He said, “My love, when are you finally going to trust Jesus with all of that?” WOW what a statement… I have a smart man with me. I don’t know what is going to happen next, or where God will send us. But all I know is, we will shine HIS light wherever we are!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Even though I am weak, YOU make me strong!

These last couple months has been some of the most shocking and emotional months of my life. Towards the end of July I was suppose to head back to Mexico but one Saturday night before I was about to leave, I felt in my heart that God wanted me to stay with my family for another week. I prayed and told the Lord if you provide today for me to buy another plane ticket, then I know it is your will for me to stay with my family. That day the Lord had opened a door for me to visit a church in McCook that I had never visited before, but I knew some people in the congregation, they had me speak about my mission and were praying if they should support me as a missionary. At the end of the service, the Pastor asked if people would give a special offering to me for whatever I needed. At the end the Pastor handed me the money and it was exactly what I needed to buy another plane ticket! I looked at my mom and said, I believe I am suppose to stay, she said I believe so too and I am so happy.  I went home to call the mission in Mexico to ask if I could stay another week since my grandfather was so bad, and they said, stay as long as you need too.

“If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” Romans 14:8

For the next 3 days I spent all day at the nursing home with my grandfather as I watched him stop eating, talking, or even really able to do anything. I would ask him if he wanted me to sing for him and he would shake his head yes. But every time I would start to sing, I found myself just start to cry. We talked to him and held his hand, on Wednesday evening I kissed him on the head and told him how much I loved him. And then walked out with my mom, feeling like he would be going home with Jesus that night. After midnight, the phone rang and I knew what it was, that he was gone. Even though I knew exactly where he was my heart hurt so much to let go of someone I love so much. A friend came over to be with me, to help me through the difficultness and I couldn’t sleep. At around 5am, I finally fell asleep and at around 7:15am I got a call from my mom in a panic that my other grandfather was dead in his bed at home. I couldn’t believe it!! How could this be? What do you mean the other one is gone? That just doesn’t make any sense. She said, I know but I can’t do this, please call the family and get here now. I then began trying to call everyone but no one was answering, finally I got a hold of a cousin so he could help me tell the others. Then I finally got a hold of my dad to tell him that his father was dead. My friend came back over to pick me up and at that point I was hysterical. She took me over to my grandparents so I could help. I saw the police car and it became even more real, as I walked in the door I happened to know the police officer, he hugged me and told me how sorry he was for losing both of my grandfathers in the same night. I went to see his body, and he was gone. I just couldn’t believe it.

We began to plan for both funerals and decided to do them on the same day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I went to the church that day to record the songs for the funerals because I knew I wouldn’t have been able to get through it on the day. Watching both sides of my family grieve through the losses of both of grandfathers was incredibly difficult. All the images stick so clearly in my mind. I do know that it is only by the grace and strength of God that I was able to stay strong through the whole situation. I left for Mexico the day after the funerals, and I came back to a lot of work and difficulty. Soon our directors will be leaving, and others will be taking over. A lot of people are leaving, and at times I feel like I am going to be alone in my work. But I know the Lord will give me the strength and I love these kids more than anything. I know with all of my heart that they need me to be here, and to love them through each day of this transition. I believe that God has big plans for City of Angels, and I am honored for all the days the Lord gives me in being here.

“You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not gave way.” –Psalm 18: 35-36

Through all the difficulties and a lot of work, we have gained 7 amazingly beautiful little kids who joined our orphanage family. We are truly so blessed. And having all the children back and starting school is always a joy-- even though it is so much work, seeing them all again brings me such happiness. Please be praying for us through this whole transition, and for this new school year to be prosperous!

When I got back, I thought Oh Lord, we need a huge amount of money for uniforms and shoes, plus tons of school supplies and we are running low in our pantries on food and toiletries. I was praying so much and hoping the Lord would cover each aspect of the orphanage. He starting touching hearts and Lord has covered all of our needs for uniforms and shoes! And He has been speaking greatly into people to give donations of food, supplies, and so much more! My heart was just bursting with happiness!

In all of this last month, and even this whole year.. I can see God at work in my life. Through the last couple of days as I watch our directors move their things out and I am completely in the dark to know what is going to happen next I felt Gods voice whisper in my ear.. "Do you trust me?" And I thought.. yes, yes I do! I trust my Heavenly Father more than anyone or anything.. And I know He loves these kids more than I. Thank you to everyone that has surrounded me and my family through all of this difficult time. Continue to lift all of us and this ministry up in prayer.