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!!

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!

Keep Looking

“Where is Jo-Jo?”  I’d circled through the stark malnutrition clinic in Angola with Saving Moses, looking for the struggling little baby that I’d met just before we took a break for lunch.  I remembered seeing Jo-Jo’s mom: she was extremely tired and her nerves were obviously frayed.  But I was hopeful for Jo-Jo, since she was in our clinic now and could receive some medical care and a steady supply of the malnutrition formula that has kept literally thousands of babies from dying.

I talked with my friends about Jo-Jo over lunch and I was eager return to the clinic and  encourage her mom that we would do our level best to help her frail daughter to survive and even thrive.  I walked through our clinic again, slower this time, looking for little Jo-Jo in her bright red shirt.  I couldn’t find her so I asked our translator to check in with the nurse to see where Jo-Jo was.  “Her mom took her and left,” was the nurse’s reply.  “We have to find her!  She doesn’t stand a chance of surviving without our help!  Where’s her file, find her address, call the phone number, let’s go to her house, let DO SOMETHING!!!”  I was really upset and I could tell the nurse was also very disturbed.  We looked at Jo-Jo’s chart, found a phone number and only the name of the neighborhood where she lived, since Angola doesn’t use an address system like we do in the US. There was no chance of finding her in the neighborhood listed, it was HUGE.  When we called the number listed on the chart, there was no answer.  So how could we keep trying to find Jo-Jo?  Could we send someone to her neighborhood in the very remote chance we’d find her?

We did this and we kept calling the phone number, but we never found Jo-Jo and given the extremely frail state of her little body, I would suppose that she died.  This has really bothered me for a very long time because Jo-Jo’s mom seemed to have given up all hope for her daughter to live.  What kind of hell does a mom go through to get to the point of giving up hope for her baby to live?  Could I have been more sensitive to the mom’s exhausted state?  What would I do differently in this situation for the future?

Some things are deeply disturbing and this is probably a good thing because such experiences can interrupt our comfortable living and provoke us to bring genuine love and life to the world in which we live.  Let’s keep looking for ways to let God love the world through us.

Awful to Awesome


Here in Cambodia, I get to experience awful all the way to awesome & usually all in the same day. This particular trip is even more interesting on the heels of recovering from a concussion. I don’t like that my memory isn’t as reliable, I don’t like the sleep challenges that are more difficult than usual, I don’t like feeling my brain get tired & I don’t like feeling like I’m in continual slow motion. 
But here’s some awesome: I’ve never travelled with a more surrendered group of people committed to expressing Jesus, full stop. I’m experiencing heaps & heaps of grace that keeps me in a perpetual state of gratitude. Finally, I feel like I’m on the cusp of some explosive opportunities that God is about to open. 

Seems to me that redemption is all about take the awful & God turning it into awesome – for you life to be sure!!

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!  

A Good Tired

Is there such a thing as a good tired? Often when I’m tired, I get cranky, impatient & selfish. So what kind of tired might be the good kind?
Here are a few good “tireds” for me:

  • exercise tired: when I’ve swum hard, run long or lifted well, my body is spent & there’s a euphoria that feels very satisfying
  • mission tired: sometimes when I come home from a Saving Moses trip, there’s a sense of rich fulfillment, seeing redemption in realtime for today & into the future
  • people tired: when I minister, it feels good to spend myself & let the Holy Spirit work, touch & talk through me. 

There’s also some bad “tireds” that I experience from time to time:

  • selfish tired: when I get self-absorbed, this can be very draining
  • abundance tired: there’s an interesting balance between being overfull versus starving; being overfull with activities, achievements, food, sleep, coffee, etc can make me very tired
  • stress tired: when I carry / hold lots of pressures, it drains me of energy

Seems to me that the good tired happens when I’m balanced & keeping my eyes on Jesus. The bad tired happens when I get my eyes off of Jesus & try to fill myself with other stuff. Jesus is always our best choice 🙂

#heavenlyhelp

Traveling Friends

  I recently had the honor to get to do international travel with absolutely amazing people! I completely loved traveling with these peeps for lots of reasons:

  • Fun!  we shared a lunch one day where each of us had zero idea of what we were eating, but we seriously enjoyed the adventure where we’d hopefully never eat again ,)  Flexible – when our plans changed or didn’t go as expected, no one became stressed out but rather they were happy to move onto the next appointment
  • Supportive – never once did I ever feel from them that they wanted to get off the ride, not even standing on a corner in a red light headed district on a Friday night in uber sketchy conditions
  • Goals – each us understood what we were trying to accomplish & walked together to get those things accomplished. 

I think that in very similar ways the Holy Spirit wants to be our integrated traveling companion throughout each day. I’m continually astounded how the Holy Spirit is super fun, uber flexible, fully supportive & when I walk in the Spirit, there’s a unique synergy that happens from sharing common goals. 

Come travel with me! savingmoses

Traveling Friends

  I recently had the honor to get to do international travel with absolutely amazing people! I completely loved traveling with these peeps for lots of reasons:

  • Fun!  we shared a lunch one day where each of us had zero idea of what we were eating, but we seriously enjoyed the adventure where we’d hopefully never eat again ,)  Flexible – when our plans changed or didn’t go as expected, no one became stressed out but rather they were happy to move onto the next appointment
  • Supportive – never once did I ever feel from them that they wanted to get off the ride, not even standing on a corner in a red light headed district on a Friday night in uber sketchy conditions
  • Goals – each us understood what we were trying to accomplish & walked together to get those things accomplished. 

I think that in very similar ways the Holy Spirit wants to be our integrated traveling companion throughout each day. I’m continually astounded how the Holy Spirit is super fun, uber flexible, fully supportive & when I walk in the Spirit, there’s a unique synergy that happens from sharing common goals. 

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!!

Happy Birthday!!!

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I’m super pumped to celebrate an amazing birthday throughout this whole year!  Saving Moses is five years old this year & I’m incredibly amazed at what has happened in the last five years:

  • we have four nightcare centers currently in Cambodia with almost 100 babies receiving genuine love and a chance for a different future than their moms
  • we have six malnutrition clinics in Angola that provide malnutrition formula for babies and toddlers, many of whom are literally at death’s door
  • we are doing phenomenal work in rural Afghanistan with immunizing babies and helping educate families for safe birthing practices
  • numerous smaller projects like assisting babies whose parents died from ebola & providing earthquake relief for babies & toddlers in Nepal

So here’s a special invitation for you to celebrate your birthday with us this year.  Take a brief moment to go to our birthday club link and join our celebration on your birthday this year!

Happy birthday to you and Saving Moses!!

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!

Giving Joy!!!

  

I remember when my first child was born & the total joy that infused all of my thoughts (after the birthing process, of course). Even though most of my kids are teenagers, I still find myself overflowing with joy when I think about them. 

In stark contrast, I’ve also been with parents who have lost their baby or toddler & the grief that I feel with them is intrusive & tangible, lingering in my thoughts & feelings to this day.

So I’m asking you to give the gift of joy this Christmas by helping us with our Christmas campaign for Saving Moses. We are taking on a special project to train community workers in rural Afghanistan to go into remote communities & teach safe delivery procedures for birthing babies. Easily 3/5 babies born in these areas die at birth, most from very easily preventable causes. One of the dads that was interviewed after receiving this training explained that he buried four of his own babies because he didn’t have this training. 

Even though we are seeing radical Muslims come into our nation with evil intent let’s counteract the evil by sending genuine love & joy to bring life into the world surrounded with love rather than hate 🙂

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 🙂

pre-prayer

Today is an important day for Saving Moses, as we are praying, planning & strategizing for what God wants to do with Saving Moses in 2016. Days like this are important & they are have very massive impact for what we do in 2016, as well as how we do those significant goals.

We have this annual meeting at my house, so there are things that I do to prepare: clean the house, get coffee / tea ready, my husband made fresh biscuits this morning for everyone, I’ve made some good plans for lunch & some other things. Suffice it to say that I’ve prepared for this meeting with logistical foresight, mostly. But the most important thing I can do for this meeting is pre-prayer.

Let’s always remember that prayer is foundation for all of our preparation, so let’s always pre-prayer for each day J

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!!

Changing Plans

  

Ever make plans only to see everything hit the fan & splatter in messy chaos? This is why I’m eating spicy pizza at the Los Angeles airport at 10:15am – not exactly what I’d planned for this moment. Nevertheless, the pizza is fantastic & I had a very lovely chat with Giovanni who made my pizza. He’s born & raised in LA but would like to travel & experience a wider cross section of cultures. 
Anyways, my point is that in the middle of changing plans & with uncertainly aplenty, let’s be sure that we hold more tightly to God than our plans, trusting that God works all things together for our good, as we stay in love with God & surrendered to His purposes & will 😉

Please be sure to stay tuned to my blog – I’m doing some really fun travel in the next week with Saving Moses & I want you to come with me so we can have fun together on this adventure! Remember as well that you can easily subscribe to my blog – some kind of button things in the right & it’s easy ,)