Monday, January 25, 2016

Ever assume you know, or think you know, what is going on? And then you discover you are so wrong you cannot even believe HOW you missed the truth? I think being here in a foreign country, doing ministry to help others and share the Good News, and just being a fix-it American I sometimes get so caught up in not really seeing the bigger picture around me. My perspective is skewed because I am only seeing what I want to or not really looking in areas beyond the obvious. Let me illustrate what I mean:

Sunday I am at church sitting down front as usual with our Meet the Kids group. It is time to do communion and so we help them go over to the tables (we have had many lessons on what communion is now and how to observe it since many of them used to run and grab as much juice and bread as they could, sometimes going from one table to the next). I still get a little nervous wondering if they will remember what we have said. A little girl came and stood beside me that had been sitting down front with us. She had a little English New Testament in her hand and seemed to be very timid. I reached out to let her in front of me and put my arm around her. Her little head had a bit of an odor, her clothes were worn pretty good, and she would not look me in the eye. As we moved towards the table, she was going so slow. People were waiting. I was thinking come on, sweetie, just keep going. I gently guided her forward and saw her go a little off balance. Still oblivious I kept at it. I was starting to get a tiny bit frustrated that she would not go faster. I decided to go around in front of her to see if that would coax her to move on and get through. She finally got there and took the juice and bread. She then reached out to take my hand and go back to our seat. Yes, now I feel a little guilty. She is so sweet, I think!

As we sit back down I see one of her flip flops has twisted around backwards and so being the good fixer I am, I bent down to adjust it. THIS IS WHEN I SEE HER TWISTED FOOT WITH TOES MISSING. This is when I realize she has a club foot that is turned facing backwards and it is NOT that the shoe is on backwards. This is when my eyes are open to how little I really see! This little one, who walked to church from who knows how far with no parents or older siblings, moves slowly due to her foot. But she comes nevertheless. She followed me up when I did children's moment, she sought me out after church to hold my hand, and she even followed me all the way to my car. Why? Because she had no idea of my stupid assumptions but praise God, the touch on her back was interpreted as love. She saw Jesus in me even when I was blind to what Jesus wanted me to see in her.

God, help your children to move from assumptions of what people need or assumptions about what they may be doing to the vision to see your truth in their lives.

On the side: Work is going along well. We will start English with more DuHope ladies next week. The first Bible club for kids at CCR is tomorrow and we have 16 registered. I finally made soap after a failed first attempt so we pray it is a good recipe. We can then move forward in helping the ladies coming to the new DuHope in March learn how to make it and sell it. It has to cure for 4 weeks before we know. We have plans for science clubs in the works and I will be training a teacher to start teaching at the Mother Child Development Center this week. More volunteers are learning about and assisting at The Inshuti Home for the Disabled and so that is encouraging! Please pray for all the work being done with vulnerable women and children. Pray I speak and live out of the gospel daily here so people come to know Jesus Christ as savior and make Him Lord.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Sitting here on a cloudy day, the second day of a new year here in Rwanda,  I am just reflecting on what God has shown me since I got back on December 1. It may be easier to read in list form:

1. Culture shock can and will happen at any time and even sneak up on you. I cane back for year three thinking it might be easier. The last few weeks I have been stretched in traffic, missing the routine of life that is easy to find in the states, and feeling so overwhelmed when I seem to not be able to accomplish what I want to. I have prayed more the last few weeks for God to just let me not give in to it but continue to walk out of this house and meet life here head on. I am seeing some light now. The Rwanda I love is still here.

2. Satan is an adversary that is going to fight to stop what God is wanting to do here. He hates the things God has put on my heart for ministry. He is attacking my room mates with the work they are doing, and just in general he is out to stop the kingdom advancing here. He has worked overtime on me the last several weeks. The power of Jesus, the standing we have in Him, and being alert and aware to the devil's schemes have helped me to stand firm. I may have been afflicted but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed! (2 Cor. 4: 8-9) Thank you to those who continue to pray for me!

3. Showing God's love is not always earth-shattering blog worthy stuff. It can be simply listening to a hurting mom, counseling wayward or confused young people, praying and encouraging friends who lose Dads in car wrecks, holding hands with disabled folks and laughing when they burp the orange Fanta you are helping them drink. It is researching soap making for a potential income-generating idea for women who want to get out of sex work or sharing a scripture verse with a bank security guard. It can be forgiving the man who swipes your bumper with his car instead of going postal on him. It can be giving money to some sisters to buy supplies or challenging so many of you to help children get an education here. I often want to measure things in the big moments and those happen here for sure. But the quiet, spirit-filled life where you stop to take someone to the airport in a change of plan can often be more challenging to me to be full of grace and stop MY thing for the sake of someone else.

4. My family, my close friends, my church family, and the people I have come to know in my circle of life in Mississippi have the biggest hearts ever! We sponsored all 45 children and even raised some for the extra feeding they will be doing this year. Thank you, team! I do nothing here that is not a direct result of the support that is coming from the place I call home there.

If you give God the space in this life, He WILL fill it. He is showing me what to empty out and get rid of and filling it with His sweet presence. I am a slow learner but He has grace, mercy, and patience with me. Please continue to pray for the next new endeavors I seek to undertake. I am hoping to get a Bible club started back for kids 3rd-5th grade, to assist with teaching English classes to DuHope ladies, and to learn how to make milk soap. Pray that I can find the best place to host the club, be effective as a teacher of basic English but yet infuse it with God and His Word, and that I do not blow anyone up using lye :)