Intervention

I’m in Angola finishing up our first day – highs & lows. At our first stop, we hopped out of the car only to meet face first a baby who just died along with her mom who was just shattered. I’ve landed at this clinic too many times to come with flippant indifference. The fight for life here is literally every day. 

On a relatively positive contrast, I visited a neighborhood & keyed in on a baby who’s not doing well at all.  Please pray that she turns up at the malnutrition clinic in the morning, her name is Josephine.  While I’m extremely sad to see Josephine’s condition, I’m also thinking that some prayer & proactive work has a really good chance to keep this baby from dying. 
God redeems pain & maximizes opportunities to maximize life!

X-Rays

Going through airport security in foreign countries can be a very interesting experience, to put it mildly. The security in some countries is nothing more than a suggestion & in other countries, I’ve had some experiences that I just don’t talk about. But the whole point is that they want see past a person’s surface presentation, X-ray vision. 

It seems to me that the ability to see beyond the surface is really important. So many times in our lives we can be distracted & even deceived by mere appearances. Some people look amazing on the surface but if you dig a little deeper, they’re a disaster in every way. On the flip side, I’ve met people whose surface appearance was far from appealing. They’re disheveled & unimpressive from a quick glance, but underneath, they’re nothing less than magnificent humans.  And this is one of the things I most love about the Holy Spirit, Whom Jesus also calls the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit has X-ray vision, knows who we really are on the inside & remains deeply committed, faithful & loving with us. The Holy Spirit empowers us to be who God has made us to be 🙂

Anticipation

In about 24 hours, I’ll be swimming in babies & toddlers in Angola with my Saving Moses work. One part of me loves this immeasurably & one part of me hates this almost more than anything. I loathe seeing emaciated babies, whose lives are literally hanging by a thread & their faces from previous trips still haunt me. 

While I get to travel with an absolutely awesome team & they’re MASSIVELY fun, I also know that each of us will soon be over our heads, swimming in the deep end of emotions, raw hearts scrapped on a grater & overwhelming questions that can only be divinely soothed. 
I’ll go to sleep soon on a plane & wake up in a different world, try to get my bearings & love well. Over the next week, I’ll post some about my trip, along with some insightful & intimate God thoughts. Stay tuned 🙂

dealing with: disappointment

We all deal with disappointment, feeling let down & even betrayed. It’s not an issue of “if” you’ll experience these things, but moreso “when” and most importantly what we do with this stuff.  While this week for me has had some awesome high points and causes to celebrate, it’s also had a fair share of disappointments.  So what do we do with this stuff?  The Bible is replete with examples of people dealing with disappointment, feeling let down & betrayed – Judas, Joseph, Leah & Moses are a few names that immediately come to mind.

A few helpful points:

  • remember the lesson of the pearl:  it’s beauty started with an irritant
  • sometimes disappointment can show us that maybe we’ve had the wrong focus – looking at people, situations or events more than keeping our eyes on God;  this reminds me of when the angel spoke with the women at Jesus’ tomb in Luke 24:5, “Why do you search for the living among the dead?”
  • redemption is the outcome when we put discouragement & let down in God’s hands
  • let’s encourage each other to remain faithful to God, knowing that God is doing divine things of which we are unaware (Rom 8:28-29 – all things work together for good to those who love God, . . . . )

hot topic: dead babies in storage shed

I was absolutely appalled to read about the discovery of 4 babies found dead in Canada yesterday in a storage unit.  The Canadian authorities are obviously doing a thorough investigation into the situation and because they were only found yesterday, there’s not alot of information to answer the host of questions that neither you nor I have at this moment.

When we hear of situations like this, I think it’s extermely important not to get callous nor indifferent to these kinds of atrocities – hence my work with Saving Moses.  Our mission with Saving Moses is to help babies & toddlers where the need is most urgent & the care is least available.  With these parameters, we have a malnutrition program that feeds severely malnourished babies in Angola (very high infant mortality), many of whom would die without our therapeutic formula.  Additionally, we run a really novel program in Cambodia called nightcare, where we take care of the babies of prostitutes at night while they work – so they don’t have the babies with them while they’re working, or abandon them in unsafe care or situations.  We are already setting up plans and funding for 2015 so that we can continue to expand of efforts with our mission to “save Moses.”

If we are not deeply and even primordially disturbed by these atrocities with babies, then perhaps we need to pause & reconsider some basic human values 🙂

Doing Everything!

Sometimes I wish I could do everything. In my thinking this means I could:

  • take voice lessons so I could learn to lead praise & worship because I love this heaps!
  • Learn Portuguese & Khmer languages to I could communicate with my Saving Moses babies & moms better
  • Keep babies from dying with Saving Moses in Somalia, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Liberia & Guinea
  • Learn how to do more cool stuff on social media
  • Write all the books that role around in my heart, right now!!
  • Coach my kids in their sports stuff (probably in their best interests that I don’t)
  • Figure out how business and accounting people do that cool stuff
  • Learn Ugaritic, Akkadian and Aramaic while getting my doctorate in Biblical Hebrew
  • Open nightcare with Saving Moses in India next week

Just because I want to do something doesn’t mean that I should – indeed, learning to work with people, helps us to do much more than what we could do by ourselves. Furthermore, only God is wired up to do all of that stuff & much more.  If you’re like me, let’s be mindful that we don’t drown ourselves in all our dreams and desires 🙂

hot topic: ebola

Puking blood, bleeding through the eyes, ears and other areas, coughing, fever, headache and some delirium – these are all symptoms of a person who could have the ebola virus.  As I’ve read up on the current outbreak, here are a few important things to note:

  • there’s no known medical cure nor vaccination
  • the current strain is killing between 50-60% of those who catch it
  • it’s spread through bodily fluid (blood, saliva, etc)
  • the World Health Organization thinks that this outbreak could kill 20,000 people before they can get it under control
  • it’s presently in these African nations:  Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria & Congo (DRC)
  • two US healthcare providers with the ebola virus were medically evacuated from Africa & have recovered & been released
  • this outbreak probably started with the orginal victim in December 2013 – a two year old in Guinea  #SavingMoses

Please be praying for Africa with this outbreak.  While I know that there are many deadly diseases that are dramtically more common than ebola, let’s pray nevertheless for protection for the healthcare workers who are on the front lines fighting this awful virus and let’s pray that the leadership for each country will have wisdom in how they communicate and the decisions that they make for their citizens.

 

an outlier father

Watch this a short & really amazing video of a  legendary father

After you watch this, consider that he’s most likely the ONLY single dad that our malnutrition workers have ever met in Angola in more than 15 years of work there.  Moses is totally amazing!!!!

 

 

some helpful encouragement

YAHOOOO!!!!!  I’m super excited because lots of the hard work that we’ve been doing with Saving Moses is starting to yield some fruit!!!!!  I have so many dreams in my heart for the work that we do with Saving Moses that sometimes I can get discouraged when I’m not making the progress that I’d like.  But today is a really good day for Saving Moses!!!!  We are making some breakthroughs with our nightcare centers, considering expanding to 2 more countries this year, getting some help with our marketing efforts and watching our efforts become increasingly effective!  I can’t give lots of precise details at this time, but it’s just encouraging to see how God is helping us to grow & become more impactful!

If you have some areas in your life that seem discouraging, please don’t give up praying for those things & continuing to trust God.  Gal 6:9 says that we don’t get weary in well doing because we’ll reap a harvest if we don’t faint 🙂

A Slow Trip

When I travel, I try to take the shortest routes hoping to spend the least amount of time traveling. For example, when I go to Angola with Saving Moses, I try to figure out a way to skip stopping in Europe so that my travel can be more efficient & more direct.
In contrast, I was reading in Luke 24 about how Jesus’ disciples were on the road to Emmaus & were unknowingly having a very engaging chat w Jesus. Once they arrived at their destination, they were enjoying Jesus’ company so much that they compelled Him to stay w them & share a meal. During the meal, Luke tells us that their eyes were opened & they recognized Jesus! As I thought about this, maybe they should have slowed down their travel / journey to enjoy Jesus’ presence along the way.
Slow down, Jesus is walking with you each day 🙂

Likes and dislikes

Here’s some transparency:

  • I do like walking through garbage dumps in Cambodia to find helpless babies, but I don’t like figuring out stuff about makeup (mascara, blush, etc)
  • I do like studying biblical Greek and Hebrew but I don’t like office administrative work
  • I do like dreaming about helping babies in Somalia and the DRC with Saving Moses, but I don’t like the stupid hoops we have to jump through to get visas to help these babies
  • I do like giving the babies of prostitues a safe, clean and loving place to sleep (nightcare) while their moms work but I don’t like getting criticized for empowering prostitution

If you’re like me, our lives are mixed up with lots of things we enjoy and lots of things, not so much.  I find that if I embrace the things I don’t like as much (makeup, administrative work, visa applications, criticism), I will often get to see and experience things about God that I never knew.  Don’t miss the chance to know God better by rejecting things that might be inconvenient or uncomfortable 🙂

Hello Again!

YAHOOO! We get to launch a new year today & that makes me very excited!! It’s a new year to try new ideas, meet new people, solidify the lessons of the past & possibly explore some new countries. In Isaiah 43:19 it talks about God doing a new thing. May this year for you & me be full of God’s new & wonderful things – happy New Year!

something new

Happy New Year, one day early!  When I was growing up, my dad always had the same breakfast:  2 eggs over easy, patty saugsage, whole wheat toast & hash browns with a continuous coffee IV drip.  We can all get easily stuck in a rut, but New Year’s is a great time to shake it up a little.  Think about a few changes that could be helpful for the upcoming year:

  • more consistent church attendance
  • healthier eating decisions
  • more water & less coffee
  • relationships that have healthy boundaries & constructive influences
  • increased Bible digestion – more reading, more memorizing, more studying, . . . . just more
  • become a Saving Moses hero and save babies where the need is most urgent & the care is least available
  • pursue truth & reject deception

Let’s turn the page on 2013 & celebrate change with a new beginning!

when things don’t work

Sometimes I can get frustrated when things don’t work particularly when I’m trying to get alot of things done & I’m being slowed down – very frustrating.  There are lots of things & situations that can break down in our lives & not work:  computers, cell phones, relationships, cars, work situations, communication, physical difficulities, etc. Sometimes, I can get frustrated with God & I can feel like God isn’t working like the Trinity is supposed to work – babies having terminal illnesses, toddlers watching their prostitute moms earn a living ( saving Moses ) , despots behaving with no seeming retribution or boundaries, employers cheating their workers from fair wages . . . . . and the list can keep going on & on.

But in my better moments, I know that God is very engaged in our daily living around the world and wants to use each of us to bring genuine love to the people with whom we interact, and possibly bringing this love into our communities most effectively when we feel the weakest & most frail.  So perhaps when things seem to be the most broken, maybe this is some of God’s best opportunity to bring divine solutions, presence, provision & help 🙂

let’s get comfortable

Being comfortable conjures up different things for different people.  For some people, being comfortable can be the experience of sitting by a fireplace in a cozy blanket & reading a book.  For other people, being comfortable is best described as being at a really fun and vibrant party.  For me, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be comfortable and I’ve learned some interesting things to pass along to you:

  • being comfortable can sometimes be an impediment to a deeper relationship with God – discomfort usually makes me do something different
  • I never want my comfort zones to exclude God – indeed, life with God is a more accurate expression of who I really am
  • I’ve learned that I can be extremely comfortable in a variety of external situations because of an internal contentment that comes from some very sweet & rich communion with God
  • when I’m uncomfortable, I tend to lean into God better

 

Keep Some Light

Sometimes we can be in really dark situations or seasons in our lives. Darkness can be lots of different things: bad environments, yucky people, wicked things that happen to or around us & lots of other things ( I’m reminded of one of the neighborhoods that I walked in for a possible new nightcare location in Cambodia with www.savingmoses.org – a totally evil & wicked place that was overwhelmingly dark even during the day).
With that being said, lets be mindful to keep Jesus as the Light in our hearts – dont let the darkness seep into your thoughts or emotions no matter how strong it may seem. Darkness never overcomes Light so lets stay full of Jesus in our hearts so that we can bring light, hope & genuine love to any darkness that could be in our lives 🙂

Traveling lots

Sometimes when I travel I feel like I’m in perpetual motion & I just want to pause for some stillness. I’m really feeling like this now: in April, I was in Angola, May was China, June was South Sudan & July has been Cambodia. While this is lots of travel, I’m really grateful to God for such amazing opportunities & experiences to express genuine love. And when I’m home, I want to continue to get better & better at giving genuine love with less Sarah & more Jesus. Anyone eager to join this adventure with me?

I don’t care

When I was in high school, I used to like some of the Robbie Nevil songs that praised the glories of apathy & indifference (Wot’s It To Ya’, C’est La Vie).  I think I liked these songs at the time because I didn’t know how to handle my deep feelings of care, concern and connection for people and the world around me.  Sometimes I still feel this way & can get overwhelmed when I think about various situations, Saving Moses, people and events – I’m deeply concerned about what’s happening in Egypt with the instability there.

But just because my feelings can be overwhelming from these various situations, relationships and experiences, I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot become apathetic.  In my mind, apathy is just a socially acceptable word for passive violence.  So what do I do with these things that can easily overwhelm me?  Pray.

Prayer is the best immunization against apathy.  Pray often, pray quickly, pray fervently and pray all the time.

whooops!

When I was in Angola last week with Saving Moses, I was trying to say goodbye to some of my new friends, the moms of the malnourished babies that we help to feed.  In Angola, the official language is Portugese & it can sometimes be similar to Spanish (a language in which I’m kind of comfortable).  As I was leaving, I was explaining in my mixed Portugese and Spanish efforts that we are leaving in the morning to go back home.  The moms seemed to get REALLY excited & I thought they were just being very polite & friendly.  After I kept telling lots of different moms about us going home the next day (in the Portugese / Spanish mix), our translator overhead me talking & quickly jumped in with lots of Portugese & explained something.  Later he told me that I was telling everyone that we all, including each mom with whom I was speaking, were going to fly home – implying that I was going to bring all of them with me back to America.  That was a BIG WHOOOPS!!!  Thankfully, the moms understood that my language skills in Portugese are still in the developmental phase :/

I say all of this to ask you to think about letting the Holy Spirit be the translator for your life, rather than trying to understand life without His Help.  Bad translation can lead to some very dangerous misunderstandings 🙂

Mundane can be magnificent

I finished my trip to Angola with Saving Moses & one of the things that continues to hit home with me from this trip is the power of mundane. Having watched the moms of the babies who receive malnutrition formula from us, I’m extremely impressed with the daily commitment to be present & fully engaged in their families. In some ways, these moms exude genuine love. But in some ways, their daily routines could be considered boring & dull. But may we never believe the deception that genuine love is dull or even unimportant just because it can be expressed in daily routines. Genuine love is magnificent!!! And the picture is the “kitchen” our moms use in Angola at our malnutrition clinics w Saving Moses 🙂

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