What’s Better?

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.

Lets love well.

How to Live?

I’ve just spent several hours walking through the largest brothel in Bangladesh & had the privilege of talking with some very incredible women. I’m struggling to process these hours & conversations. Listening to each woman & looking in her eyes let’s me genuinely love the person sitting in front of me. We desperately need to throw out our stereotypes of people & interact on the basic level of human to human.
It seems to me that we cloak & insulate ourselves in our professions, education, hobbies, etc, all the while neglecting to interact on basic human levels.
I could tell you stories of sex workers that could probably evoke strong reactions. But let’s be careful not to create chasms of disconnection rather than cultivating genuine love on a very basic & daily level.
As I walked through the maze of alleyways, I kept hearing this question: Am I loving well?
I hope I bring this question home with me for my daily conversations & interactions. I hope this question defines my mindset & outlook.

Crazy Ideas

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!!

Mix It Up!

What are you planning for your vacation this year? Are you going to do the regular stuff: pools, driving, sunburns, etc? Why not try something new?
Here’s a cool idea: come with me to Cambodia & make a vacation that you’ll never FORGET! I’m taking a small group with Saving Moses to help with our nightcare work in Phnom Penh. The cool stuff you’ll get to do includes:

  • experiencing a new & incredible culture,
  • meet babies & toddlers who will steal you heart,
  • do some cleaning, painting & renovating with our centers,
  • meet Jesus in the faces of desperate people

Let’s make your vacation this year something fresh, unique & possibly life changing!!

Here’s how to get started: LETS GO!!

Space is really limited, so apply fast before we fill up!

Not Safe

It’s 3:45am & I’m in Bangledesh. Just when I thought I was safe to take out my ear plugs, the prayer call thing started up again. Maybe tonight is a special occasion for some city-wide prayer meeting via the Goliath loudspeakers blaring outside my window.

It’s one thing to struggle with changing time zones & getting decent sleep with the blaring city-wide prayer call. It’s another thing to think about the babies & toddlers I met yesterday whose moms work in the largest brothel in Bangledesh. When I asked these moms about where they keep their babies when they work, 7/10 said that their babies & toddlers are on the bed with them as they work because these moms have no other option for their babies. And many of these are at risk from being abused by their moms clients.

So these babies & toddlers are NOT SAFE. Enter nightcare with Saving Moses. In nightcare, we provide a safe place for the babies & toddlers of sex workers to sleep while their moms work. We have been doing nightcare in Cambodia for almost 5 years & I’m super keen / eager to open nightcare here in Bangledesh.

The moms of these babies desperately want to keep their babies safe so they’d can keep a “fresh mind.” This was a quote from one of the moms I interviewed. It unraveled me.

Love Is Light

There’s plenty of darkness in our world & lots of that darkness comes from letting hate & apathy into our hearts. For example, my friend was telling me about a brothel in Bangladesh where the underage workers are forced to take bovine steroids to force their bodies to develop & be more appealing to clients. Obviously, the steroids have very negative results on these girls’ bodies to say nothing about the babies born & toddlers raised in this environment. Truly, brothels like the one I described are dark & deplorable.

Enter nightcare with Saving Moses. In Cambodia, we have four nightcare centers where we look after the babies & toddlers of prostitutes while they work. These sex workers have no way to look after their babies or toddlers while they work, so our centers are essential to the nurture, upbringing & worldview for these lovely treasures! Jesus talks about caring for Him when we look after “the least of these” in Matthew 24.

Be sure to watch my blog over the next week as I visit Bangledesh to bring love & light to the least of these!

Dream Team

I’ve had the opportunity to travel all around the world with all kinds of teams but never like this team. I’m in Cambodia right now with our nightcare work here, one of the privileges we do with Saving Moses & I LOVE THIS TEAM!!!! Here are just a few things I love about this team: they’re flexible, they don’t complain, they’re eager, kind, patient & they love the people here! I also love that this team is all about reaching people with Jesus’ love. They aren’t put off by how someone looks, the smells or the poverty. This team is totally centered into connecting people with Jesus’ love & I couldn’t be happier to be among such a fine group who follow Jesus so passionately!  

Boots on the Ground 

   
    
 
There’s nothing like experiencing things first hand & I love to experience new things! I’ve been in Asia for the weekend & some of my first hand experiences include tasting some totally delicious street chai, visiting Mother Teresa’s Home for the Destitute & Dying, walking through some shady neighborhoods & meeting some very spectacular people, premium quality to be sure!  
All of these experiences help me to appreciate even more the Holy Spirit walking with me everywhere I go. Moreso, on this trip, I’m learning that the Holy Spirit is God’s “boots on the ground”, guiding my steps, directing my desires and anchoring my thoughts in truth. I love walking in step with the Holy Spirit!

Baby Steps

In my work with Saving Moses, I get to experience lots of baby steps. This is because we look out for the most urgent needs for babies / toddlers where the care is least available. So I find myself in all kinds of interesting places & situations, looking out to save babies, often in the most literal ways. 
One of the things that we love getting to do with Saving Moses is our nightcare work in third world countries where we take care of the babies & toddlers of prostitutes while they work. Our nightcare work provides a safe refuge for these babies from experiencing many of the horrible things that happen in brothels & red light districts. But developing the places & relationships to provide nightcare only happens, in my experiences so far, in baby steps. 

This leads me to ask that you would be praying for me & the team with me as we take such baby steps in an extremely important third world country. 

Thanks muchos & have an awesome weekend!!

Baby Steps

In my work with Saving Moses, I get to experience lots of baby steps. This is because we look out for the most urgent needs for babies / toddlers where the care is least available. So I find myself in all kinds of interesting places & situations, looking out to save babies, often in the most literal ways. 
One of the things that we love getting to do with Saving Moses is our nightcare work in third world countries where we take care of the babies & toddlers of prostitutes while they work. Our nightcare work provides a safe refuge for these babies from experiencing many of the horrible things that happen in brothels & red light districts. But developing the places & relationships to provide nightcare only happens, in my experiences so far, in baby steps. 

This leads me to ask that you would be praying for me & the team with me as we take such baby steps in an extremely important third world country. 

Thanks muchos & have an awesome weekend!!

waiting & wanting

Cormon,_Fernand_-_Cain_flying_before_Jehovah's_Curse  Have you ever waited to acquire something you wanted?  It seems to me that waiting & wanting go together like peas & carrots, almost complementary.  Things that I’ve waited for & wanted include:  a new coat, a camera lense, opening nightcare in India, surgery on my shoulder & lots of other stuff.

Recently, I read about sin waiting forwanting Cain in Genesis 4, related to the tension between Abel & Cain about their respective sacrifices.  God confronted Cain in verse 7 and told him, “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”  Sin was waiting for & wanting Cain but God told him that he needed to master sin & not be mastered by sin.

I honestly think that sin also waits for & wants us as well.  Sin wants to control us, creating chaos & destruction in our lives if we cave in to it’s desires.  Cain surrendered to sin and lived a vagrant and tormented life.  Let’s learn from Cain’s downfall & master sin rather than let sin master us.  Indeed, Romans 8:6 says, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace”  Just because sin is waiting for & wanting you doesn’t mean that you have to be it’s victim.  Let the Holy Spirit strengthen you on the inside to overcome the seductions of sin!

Baby Jesus

  
Jesus was born in kind of a shady way – an unmarried teenage chick, Mary, gets pregnant, supernaturally & gives birth to the Messiah. Maybe her parents were a little suspicious of the “supernatural” thing & maybe it’s good that Mary took a few months to chill w Elizabeth her cousin while they were both pregnant. Although Mary became pregnant because the Holy Spirit overshadowed her & Elizabeth became pregnant supernaturally, their babies were gifts from God, filled with the breath of the Almighty. 

Just because a baby is born in kind of shady circumstances doesn’t make them disposable nor less valuable than a baby born in more “normal circumstances”. 

I love my work with Saving Moses because it’s genuine love in tangible expression. It is a very practical way to walk humbly with God, do justice & love mercy. 

Please join me in this journey & get behind Saving Moses in your finances, prayers & energies. God has a great future for each of the babies we get to love 🙂

Watch This 🙂

Celebrate with me!!!

I’m totally PUMPED & God is doing spectacular stuff! I’m celebrating today because I’m part of a magnificent team with Saving Moses! Some of my team is in Brazil, exploring some cool opportunities for us there & some of my team is in Cambodia, introducing our nightcare work to some really fun peeps. The reason I’m celebrating today is because I’m in Denver with my family & not flying everywhere on the planet – a great reason to celebrate!!!!
Here are some things to think about in your life, possibly worth celebrating:

  • Teamwork: God puts us on fantastic teams – we never accomplish our divine mandate without teamwork!
  • Growing – in the past, I’d be all about my independence & doing Saving Moses alone; change is good for me & others 🙂
  • Capacity – when I’m obedient to God, my capacity to be effective grows

Let’s always celebrate God’s work in our lives!!

homesick

  
I have the absolutely AWESOME honor of getting to travel & have incredible experiences, for which I’m seriously GRATEFUL, to be certain. However, I also get homesick. At present, I’m in Cambodia with our Saving Moses team trip & seeing God do some phenomenal stuff – all of which I totally LOVE! But I’m still homesick. Truth be known, I’ve always been a homebody & being away from home makes that all the more intense. I like all of the fun new experiences, love the crazy food, enjoy fun cultures & meeting amazing people, absolute legends, who motivate me in expressing Jesus more & better. But I’m still homesick.
Sometimes our human living can make us homesick for our eternal home. But while we’re here, let’s shine light, spread genuine love, heal the hurting, repair the broken & live out redemption everyday through genuine love. And remember that heaven is our home 🙂
  

Genuine Love:

  

If you want to change something that is people related, think about how to love well. I say that because sometimes people can be cranky, grumpy & even rude for various reasons. But genuine love seems to often diffuse some of those challenges & hostilities. Seems to me that we humans do well with receiving genuine love but even more importantly, we are most fulfilled when we love others well & not only when a person seems worthy of being loved. 
With Saving Moses, we get to express genuine love to our babies with nightcare & it is totally a divine experience to express genuine love to our babies & their moms. 

Let’s love well 🙂

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 🙂

Lizards & Snakes

I don’t like snakes, never have & I have very strong beliefs that I never will. I don’t like snakes, full stop. Lizards, on the other hand, don’t wig me out nearly as much as snakes. I watched a lizard eat a bug the other day & found myself cheering for the lizard – yea buddy! United against bugs!! 🙂
My husband informed me that I need to understand that lizards eat bugs like snakes eat mice & rodents. Even though I don’t like the snakes, everything has a place & use, by Divine design.
This makes me consider that perhaps God has a use for the things I don’t like,
I don’t like that babies starve to death with no hope for the future = Saving Moses
I don’t like that a 3year old girl sells condoms to her moms sex clients = nightcare
I don’t like that my thoughts can get murky & tainted = meditating on the Bible (1Cor 13 is a great starting place or the Sermon on the Mount, Psalms 23, Col 3, . . . .)
God can use the things I don’t like for significant redemptive value, maybe even snakes ,)

enjoying now

Do you ever get frustrated with yourself?

I recently returned from leading our first team trip for Saving Moses and it’s been a little tricky  getting back in the groove.  A few things that I’m presently working through include the regular jet lag sleep challenges, the normal digestion excitement and catching up on missed sleep.  Additionally, I’m trying to process some of my experiences and this has proven to be rather difficult.

When I get in these kinds of mindsets, I often get impatient with myself and frustrated that I can’t seem to get back to my regular groove, which only makes things more frustrating & difficult.  Thankfully, God had a nice chat with me this morning and reminded me of a few helpful things:

  • temporary – life can change is big & dramatic ways, but more often, our current situations are temporary & are changing incrementally, even when we don’t know it
  • be gentle – I can often be harsh & impatient with myself, which often makes things worse;  when I’m gentle, gracious and forgiving with myself, I seem to adapt and grow more easily
  • now –  being present today, in Denver, Colorado with my kids, husband & church family is very good

Celebrate!!

I’m happy to announce that we opened our third nightcare center in Cambodia this week!! It was extremely exciting to have our team here with this opening so they could see the infancy of a center opening (no pun intended). Our first night we were ready & eager to welcome babies & toddlers & there were a few interested moms but because nightcare is such a new idea, we only had curious moms – which was a really good start because any mom worth her salt is going to check out the place & people who might look after her baby / toddler.
The second night, we had I think like 8 babies!!!!!!!! That was totally AMAZING!!!!! The rest of the week, we’ve continued to visit the neighborhood for this center & the moms are continuing to bring their babies – YAHOOO!!!
During my last night in Cambodia, I visited this neighborhood & invited the moms to come to our nightcare centre, loving on them & I even got to snuggle a newborn, 15 day old little girl. Such hope, life & potential, eager to drink in genuine love, like you & me.

do, tell, love

Our first ever team trip with Saving Moses has gone exceedingly well!!  Thanks MUCHOs for the of the prayers, encouragement & grace to keep up to speed with our adventure 🙂

The title for the post comes from what we did everyday:

  • do:  facility renovations at our nightcare facilities (painting, cot repairs, base replacement, cleaning, deep cleaning and DEEP cleaning, .. . . )
  • tell:  in the afternoons, we went into the neighborhoods connected to our nightcares to invite them to send their babies & toddler to our nightcare place
  • love:  in the evenings, we had the tremendous honor to help our babies & toddlers with nightcare

This schedule kept us pretty busy & I’m pretty tired.

An event happened today that I’ll blog about over the weekend :/

For now I’m signing off because I feel like I’m sleep typing