Today, I’m in Bangledesh & I like being here because of the wonderful people. They are super friendly & very hospitable. Unfortunately, this country is one of the poorest countries in the world. They have annual floods that routinely displace thousands of people, killing large pockets of the population in these horrendous floods. Additionally, the education system here is still developing, so the literacy rate is a challenge. Bangladesh has 160 million people & its 90% Muslim, 8% Hindu & 2% mixture. There’s generally a high level of respect for the various differences among the ethnicities, religions & social classes here.
Today, we’ll be going around the capital city, Dhaka, & I’m super keen to spend some time here! There are about 30million people in this urban area with lots of diversity in the spectrum of poverty to wealthy. As I’m in this city, I know I’ll see things that I don’t like, but I want to see with God’s of compassion, healing & welcome. Let’s be careful that we don’t turn away from things we don’t like, when God wants us to engage & express genuine love 🙂
Here in Cambodia, sometimes I get to experience technical difficulties. For example, sometimes the wifi here isn’t reliable, or maybe the traffic is more congested than I expected, or the plank over the sewage collapsed & things got messy. Throughout life, we all experience technical difficulties from time to time & this can be very frustrating.
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit can manage our technical difficulties with supernatural agility. The Holy Spirit helps us with communication & with getting us to the places we need to be in His timing. Also, I’m abundantly grateful that the Holy Spirit can clean up & redeem the messes that happen in our lives. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to be our abiding expert for technical difficulties 🙂
I’m presently in Cambodia with a magnificent team expressing Jesus’ love
To the babies & toddlers of prostitutes. This is a really powerful experience for everyone & me in particular. For starters, getting to love on babies is thoroughly glorious. Their bright eyes, curiosity, trust & acceptance are unparalleled in our adult relationships. There’s a simplicity & purity with babies that we seem to lose as adults. This experience is also powerful for me in getting to watch my team come together as individuals & join in cohesion, complementing each other rather than competitive division & exclusivity. Finally, this year is unique for me from the previous years. Last year when I was here, I was recovering from a concussion & that was extremely difficult, blech. The year before that, I was doing physical therapy to recover from shoulder surgery.
Going through hardships helps us appreciate the non-hardship times! Walking with God is truly the adventure of a lifetime!
I’m extremely excited for the next week or so & I want to stay connected with you!! I’m excited because we have our largest ever team trip with Saving Moses in Cambodia, working with our five nightcare centers, loving on babies & experiencing the MARVELOUS people of Cambodia!! I’ll be posting pictures, telling stories & bringing you along with me, hoping you will feel God’s lavish love for you through seeing & reading about these experiences!
And on top of all that excitement, I’m also popping into Bangledesh for a few days to continue working to set up nightcare there!! I’m giddy excited for God’s love to pour through me in these days & I’m praying that you’ll also sense God’s love for you, as you keep up with my blog 🙂
Feel free to subscribe to my blog so it will be easy to keep up! Thanks & let’s have a really fun adventure together for the next week or so!!
Jesus told a parable about a rich dude who made an elaborate feast, with abundant food. The dude went to extravagant lengths to prepare, complete with invitations, massive amounts of food & loads of servants to facilitate this magnificent party. When the servants went out to let the invitees know that the party was ready for them to attend, none of the invited peeps showed up. This was very rude because the dude hosting the party had killed several animals to abundantly provide food for his party. Now, he’s stuck with all these provisions & no one to eat them. Rather than letting everything go to waste, the party host sent out his servants to invite anyone & everyone to come to his party.
Here are some important take aways for us from this parable:
God has made an extravagant feast for everyone – there’s more than enough!
As God’s servants, let’s keep inviting people to experience God’s lavish love for them
There’s room at the table for you, your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, . . . .
“Come & Dine!”, the Master calls!
In our modern world, outage is common & I think even expected sometimes. It seems like we can get massively incensed at almost anything: driving infractions, mistakes on paychecks or bills, government shortfalls, moral failures in Christian leaders, etc
But here’s something to consider: if sin is the common human experience, why do we allow ourselves to be outraged when people sin or make mistakes? Wouldn’t we be more constructive to celebrate the moments when humans don’t behave sinfully? What about when a driver makes space for you instead of cutting you off? That’s noteworthy! What about when a government does something positive that exceeds your expectations? This might not be often, but that’s exactly why we should celebrate it! And when a Christian leader has a moral failure, let’s not be so much outraged as we should pray for them & have sincere compassion because we identify with our own shortfalls.
Let’s aim for less outrage & more celebration 🙂
In Bangledesh today, I met a group of floating sexworkers, in contrast to the brothel sexworkers I visited yesterday. Sometimes I think it’s human nature to quantify or qualify bad, worse & worst. So we think that one kind or quantity of suffering is worse than another. I’m not sure that I think this entirely accurate. Suffering hurts, full stop.
Can we find it in our hearts to express compassion regardless of who is suffering or how much is being suffered?
I hugged each woman that I met this afternoon deeply & wholly, feeling that I wanted more love to pour through me for them. None of these experiences are easy to process but the worst thing for me that could happen would be to ignore my feelings & disregard the eyes with whom I met with deep affection & connection.
I’m super EXCITED to be back in Bangladesh for the 2nd time this year!! Not only do I love the people here, but I also LOVE getting to work with a wide diversity of people! My team for this trip consists of an American, Irish, Khmer & Bengali – a wide assortment of cultures, mindsets & abilities! Thankfully, all of them are very patient with me & eager for our grand adventure! We’re opening nightcare here very soon & very eager to provide a shelter with nurture & protection for the babies & toddlers of sex workers, while their moms work.
Last time I was here, they let me know that 7/10 babies & toddlers are on the bed with their mom as she works. So I’m very humbled & honored to provide a shelter to protect & look after these lovely babies!
Saving Moses is expanding nightcare this year & Bangledesh is on our immediate horizon!
I’ll keep you posted over the next few days!
Emily – no bats in the closet at the TD, this time ,)
I’ve been around lots of high achievers throughout my life & these great people have inspired me in various ways. I’ve met individuals who’ve overcome educational deficiencies, social disparities, financial impossibilities & physical disabilities. Regardless of these obstacles, these individuals have accomplished seeming impossibilities. Here are a few common things I’ve observed from these individuals:
Faith – not so much in themselves but moreso in God’s presence & power working through them
Persistence – it’s hard to find “quit” in high achievers
A little more – even if it’s s smidgen, iota, millimeter or micro-speck more, high achievers give that extra push.
Whatever the challenges that lay in your path, be sure to see them as opportunities for God to grow you to be bigger than
We live in a world that is inundated with information. It’s super easy to find out all kinds of information, so sometimes we can drown in such an abundance. But there’s some information that needs to stay in our thoughts everyday! These things include:
You are loved by God, deeply & wholly
You can’t increase nor decrease God’s love for you
The more you love sincerely, the more fully love can be experienced.
I know it’s weird to admit this but I really like to learn languages. If I didn’t have my family, I think it would be a BLAST to get dropped in a place that spoke no English for like 6weeks so that I could acquire whatever the language is that’s spoken in that place. Some languages that I’d like to get under my belt include: Mandarin, Khmer, Bengali, Swahili & I’m sure there’s several more I’d quickly add to my list.
But my first priority is to learn the language of the Holy Spirit. I appreciate that the underpinnings for this language are rooted in genuine love, so all the subtleties & communication nuances have the flavor & lingering residues of genuine love. I think the Holy Spirit’s language is also infused with intimacy & connection, endeavoring to facilitate & integrate genuine love in every conversation. Finally, I think the Holy Spirit’s language is one of transformation – seeing things that aren’t visible, calling things that aren’t as though they are & exchanging broken & dysfunctional for healthy & redeemed.
Anyone want to learn the Holy Spirit’s language with me?
I tend to run in the red zone. This means that I try to squeeze the most out of my time, energy, money, talents & attention. Generally, I’ve thought this has been a good way to do life. If a person wants to achieve a lot, suck out the marrow of life & choke on the bone, maybe even burn out, then FULL CHARGE ON!!!
But I’m beginning to see the importance of margin, or breathing room. Margin gives us space to think, recover, listen & be with the Holy Spirit. If you think about it, Adam’s first day of existence was God’s day of rest. Perhaps it’s in the margins & rest where we can experience the deepest intimacy & fellowship with the Holy Spirit, just maybe 🙂
Things that are exhilarating to me include: snowboarding REALLY fast, exploring new countries, reading adventure books & endorphins after a good workout. On the flip side, I don’t get excited about repetitious dishwashing, being a taxi mom or the mundane working out that precedes an endorphin rush.
Sometimes our walk w God can mirror these contrasting experiences. There are definitely experiences with God that are far beyond exhilarating & spine chilling. However, let’s never minimize the day to day essentials that cultivate that deep, fulfilling & abiding intimacy with Jesus. Thrills & chills are fun, but nothing can sustain us like our walk with Jesus through daily time in the Bible & prayer!
How we treat people reflects what we think about them on the inside. So if we treat the barista like an extension of the espresso machine, then we’re thinking of them in terms of an object rather than a living human. This happens alot when we get in transactional modes of interaction & neglect to see the person with whom we’re interacting.
When we try to change someone: correcting their attitudes, challenging their political opinions, getting them closer to Jesus, making them “better”; let’s be careful that we’re not treating them like a “project“. The exceptions to this concern can be the parent, teacher or mentor roles, all of which are most affective when we perceive the recipient of our input as a human & not merely a project.
I think what made Jesus so entirely irresistable by the masses of humanity, when He walked on the earth, is that He interacted with everyone with authenticity, genuine love and sincere interest. He engaged with each individual as a person, not as a project nor object. This is what happens when we interact with others from the place of genuine love rather than manipulation, achievement or domination. Let’s allow our lives to remain in genuine love so that our interactions with others resound with redemption & reconciliation!
In my efforts to always grow & Improve, sometimes I can get discouraged. This happens when I continue to focus on weaknesses & mistakes at the expense of looking at progress.
The truth is that we are all growing. Sometimes we see massive progress & sometimes the progress is microscopic. But let’s celebrate progress, regardless of the size!
You’ve come a long way, so be encouraged!! And remind yourself that the good work that God has started, He will continue & complete – Philippians 1:6 🙂
Maybe I’m the only person to struggle with his, but I find it challenging to be truthful & sincerely loving at the same time. For me, this is a tricky balance because I find it easier to be loving & less truthful or more truthful but less loving.
In Proverbs 3:3, it says that we should keep both love & truth around our neck & written on the tablets of our heart. In this verse, we don’t get to pick one over the other, love over truth or truth over love. Instead, we are to blend them together as they connect our head to our body (as a necklace) & permanently inscribed on our hearts to inform our core values & define our actions, conversations & outlook.
With the Holy Spirit helping us, let’s blend love & truth throughout our daily living!
Being rebellious usually gets the thumbs down reaction from the Christian crowd. We tend to find those verses that talk about being respectful, obedient & compliant & there are heaps of Bible verses to support this mindset.
However, being a person who finds herself sometimes at odds with many societal norms, let me highlight some ways that Jesus went the opposite of the culture & society of His day.
Unexpected: Jesus didn’t cater to what people expected from Him. Consider in His first miracle that He told His mom to “chill out” (my slang for “Woman, My time is not yet come”)
Forgiveness: when all the religious leaders of His day wanted Jesus to condemn the woman caught in adultery, Jesus forgave her & the intolerance / judgment evaporated
Genuine Love: one of my favorite quotes from Jesus: “He who has been forgiven much, loves much; but he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
Miracles: Jesus defied conventional thinking by frequently doing miracles: multiplying food, cleansing lepers, restoring promiscuous women, healing the unclean & driving out demonic forces, just to name a few.
If we are followers of Jesus, then we must go the opposite of our flesh, religious intolerance, demonic influences & cultural trends. Most of all, let’s personify genuine love because of the Holy Spirit working in our mindsets, conversations & actions!
“Time to get up,” I whispered gently to my very tired daughter this morning. Mornings tend to be a weakspot for her. So helping her to get moving & be strong in the morning is an ongoing challenge.
With that said, strength is the antidote to weakness, so how we can be strong is important for all of us, no matter our age, situation or season in life. Here’s a good example for for getting strong: David
Friends help us to be strong: in 1 Sam 23:16, it says that Jonathon encouraged / strengthened David in the Lord. Let’s remember to encourage our friends & let them encourage us! This helps us to be strong:)
Strengthen ourselves: in 1 Sam 30:6, it says that David strengthened himself in the Lord. In this chapter, David was really squashed to the wall & very discouraged, but he chose to find his strength & encouragement in the Lord.
Let’s lean into the Holy Spirit to gain strength & be encouraged :)Getting
All of us have prayers that we are waiting for God to answer. Such prayers can be related to job, school application, health diagnosis, relationship challenges, kid stuff, finances, etc. It seems to me that waiting can be a problem for us, so here are a few ideas for your consideration, while you wait:
Take this opportunity to let your trust in God grow – Prov 22:19
Increase your prayer focus – Phil 4:6
Do little things to make progress – Gal 6:9
Let’s stay encouraged that God is answering our prayers!
I have heaps of crazy ideas & what’s really interesting is that I’m not afraid to try out lots of these ideas. Sometimes it works out well & sometimes it’s a disaster. Over the course of time, I’ve grown accustomed to the raised eyebrows & quizzical looks that people give me, but there are few friends who give me the thumbs up & seem to enjoy these grand adventures.
Sometimes, I think the Holy Spirit has some crazy ideas as well. I’ve had the Holy Spirit direct my steps to do some really incredible things, like starting nightcare with Saving Moses, teaching German in China & learning some fun languages! Let’s be careful that we don’t automatically dismiss something crazy & miss an opportunity to follow the Holy Spirit on a fun adventure!!