Tuesday, November 29, 2011

All of my hope is in You

Yesterday, I was reminded that God doesn't need me to do His work in Uganda but has given me the amazing privilege of sharing in it.  I would like to think it is my love for the boys that is making them change, but in reality it isn't.  Only God can change these boys' hearts and He is doing it whether I am there or not.

I have talked about John on here before.  He is an amazing kid and part of what helped me realize Uganda was where God wanted me.  I can't imagine loving anyone more (Of course I love all of the boys the same, but he has a very special place in my heart.) and would do just about anything for him. 

John and I are very similar in personality and I think that is part of the reason that we connected so well.  He is very quiet and shy, until he knows that he can trust you, and then he never stops talking.  He holds a lot of things in and is very guarded, but has an amazingly soft heart.  It took work getting to know him and there were many days I was convinced he didn't care about me one bit.  Of course, now I know that isn't true.

Very soon after I told him I was going to take him back to school, we were talking and I was asking him about his family.  It is almost a useless topic with street kids because most of the time they won't give you the truth as to what really happened to them.  However, I feel like if it is possible to keep the family ties, then the boys should.  So I was asking him if he would like to go home for a visit or to stay.  What he said shocked me and broke my heart all at the same time.  He told me, "Why would I ever go back there?  They don't love me."

While that could very well be the truth, there is a chance it isn't.  He could have just been hurting so much at the time from all of the trauma and abuse that he couldn't see the situation clearly.  There is a chance his family is missing him and praying he will come back, but there is also a chance they don't care and are happy without him.  Since that day, I have never asked him about his family again.  He has shared a bit at his own will but nothing in depth.

Yesterday, I was talking to him on the phone, first he told me that he forgave someone he was very upset with.  He was upset because she never came and visited him at school and he was expecting her too.  He felt hurt and abandoned and said he would not forgive her and never wanted to see her again.  She finally did visit and he forgave her.  I was very proud of that accomplishment alone.  It showed great growth and maturity on his part but most importantly it showed how God was working in his heart, that the healing had begun.  Then, as if that wasn't enough, he asked me if he could go visit his parents because he missed them.  What????  I couldn't believe it...

There are a lot of ups and downs with these kids.  Sometimes the downs seem so overwhelming, that I wonder, "Is it ever going to get better? What is the point?"

But John is the point.  God calling us to take care of orphans and widows in their distress is the point.  A while ago when I was trying to decide if it was God calling me to Uganda long term, a friend told me that it is our choice to accept God's calling in our lives.  God doesn't need us to do His work, so we can choose to accept the calling or not, but if we don't we will miss out on the blessings from doing His work.

For me, this means I would have missed out on moments like this with John.  I would have missed out on miracles because it is a miracle what is happening to John's heart and many other boys like him.  I would have missed out on being loved by some amazing kids.

I am very nervous about John going home and part of me wants to tell him no just to shield him from more possible heartache but that wouldn't be fair.  So I hope you will be praying with me for God's hand to be over this reunion, that his family is missing him and will welcome him with open arms, and that God would continue to work in John's heart and would prepare him for whatever he finds.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

God moments

Some times there are moments where the only explanation is they were God given.  Today I was lucky enough to have 2...

I went to a craft bazaar at a church today that I had never been to.  I saw the sign advertising "vendors wanted" so I decided to call for information a few weeks back.  Today was the day of the show and I was all prepared to sell the jewelry.  All day I had in my mind a set number that i wanted to sell, so I prayed throughout the day that God would just keep bringing people to my table.  With only about 45 minutes left, I was $50 dollars from my goal, and most of the customers had gone.  I prayed again and waited. When it seemed that I was not going to sell anything else I thought, "God, what happened?  I thought we were selling $500 today." A lady that had a booth and came by earlier to chat walked by and said bye shortly after and started heading out the door, when she STOPPED, TURNED AROUND, CAME BACK, and handed me $40 and told me it was for the kids and I should be encouraged.  I definitely was...

Last week, I contacted a church here that has a heart for Africa and the mission pastor told me I should check out a service and then give him a call and we could chat.  I decided that I would check it out tonight.  It was very different than any service I have ever been to, but I took away something very important.  The pastor made the point that Jesus never performed a miracle for someone that wasn't willing to ask for it.  He talked about the man with the deformed hand in the temple.  Jesus asked him to stand up, which would have shown everyone that his hand was not right.  He had a choice to make, either stand up and show everyone what was wrong with him and admit he needed help or stay seated.  Because he stood up, he was healed.  He admitted he needed a miracle and Jesus performed one.

Made me think, maybe the reason that I don't have all of the sponsors and support I need is because it will take a miracle to get them and I haven't admitted that I need a miracle before.  So here I am, admitting that I need a miracle...

God, I need a miracle. You have known it all along, but I finally just realized that I needed to ask.  I am ready to ask for it. I am standing up and admitting that I cannot do it without You, You are the only one that can provide for these boys.  I pray that just as you healed that man's hand when he stood up, You would hear my cries and see me standing and would work a miracle for these boys, that I love so much, and provide all of the support that is needed, so they never have to spend another night on the streets.  I ask this in Your name, Amen

Friday, November 11, 2011

LOT 2545

Matthew 25:45
"He will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'"

I am happy to share that yesterday, the paperwork was filed to incorporate LOT 2545 in Indiana and it was approved!

LOT 2545 is going to be the non profit I use for my work in Uganda.  I got the name from the verse in Matthew.    Street kids are definitely the "least of these".

I am really excited for this new step and can't wait until the last piece of paperwork is filed.  I know God has big plans for LOT 2545 in Uganda and can't wait to see what He does.

Thanks for the continued prayers and support!

Friday, November 4, 2011

What's the season?

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend about how fundraising was going.  Thankfully, he is wise beyond his years and gave me the best advice.  He recited the following verses to me:

Ecclesiastes 3 (easy to read version)

A Time for Everything
 1 There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time.

 2 There is a time to be born
   and a time to die.
 There is a time to plant
   and a time to pull up plants. 

He then told me that everyone knows that it is impossible to harvest at the same time as you are planting.  You must plant first and then come back later to harvest.  He reminded me that this is my planting time.  I need to be patient and wait for the harvest.

Seems like simple advice...it was.  But it never occurred to me, I was trying to harvest before I even planted anything.  

I was interested to see what the rest of the passage said, so I looked it up.  How appropriate is the rest...

3 There is a time to kill
   and a time to heal.
There is a time to destroy
   and a time to build.
4 There is a time to cry
   and a time to laugh.
There is a time to be sad
   and a time to dance with joy.
5 There is a time to throw weapons down
   and a time to pick them up. [a]
There is a time to hug someone
   and a time to stop holding so tightly.
6 There is a time to look for something
   and a time to consider it lost.
There is a time to keep things
   and a time to throw things away.
7 There is a time to tear cloth
   and a time to sew it.
There is a time to be silent
   and a time to speak.
8 There is a time to love
   and a time to hate.
There is a time for war
   and a time for peace.

God Controls His World
 9 Do people really gain anything from their hard work? 10 I saw all the hard work God gave us to do. 11 God gave us the ability to think about his world, [b] but we can never completely understand everything he does. And yet, he does everything at just the right time. 12 I learned that the best thing for people to do is to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live. 13 God wants everyone to eat, drink, and enjoy their work. These are gifts from God.
 14 I learned that anything God does will continue forever. People cannot add anything to the work of God, and they cannot take anything away from it. God did this so that people would respect him. 15 What happened in the past has happened, and what will happen in the future will happen. But God wants to help those who have been treated badly. [c]
 16 I also saw these things in this life [d]: I saw that the courts should be filled with goodness and fairness, but there is evil there now. 17 So I said to myself, “God has planned a time for everything, and he has planned a time to judge everything people do. He will judge good people and bad people.”

My favorite part????  God wants to help those who have been treated badly and He does everything at just the right time.  

I know the harvest is coming. I know it is His plan for these boys to be off the streets. I just need to be patient and wait upon the Lord.