Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Life as a Spiket

Recently in my free time I have been delightfully devouring a book by C.S. Lewis.  Usually the best chance to crack open the pages is in the evening after the house has been reassembled and the last of the hugs have been given and goodnights said.  The other night there was a quote that caught my attention, it goes something like this…             “the Glory flows into everyone, and back from everyone: like light and mirrors. But the light’s the thing.”And so it is with our lives.. and with this thing people have called “ministry.”  We are the mirrors, the clay.. the branch abiding.  It isn’t about us.. it isn’t because of us.  It is about Him.. and most CERTAINLY it is ALL because of Him. 
I was thinking this morning and I just thought of my life as an old rusty spicket… The sort that can be found behind some old dilapidated abandoned farm house.. long forgotten since the discovery of indoor plumbing.  And so someone comes ambling by… and stops and opens the valve and waits…. And out sputters water… first only a few drops.. Scaring out a resident spider or two.  Then comes the slow study stream of water… red with rust and dirt.  And the ambling, searching, seeking, soul finds no reprieve… nothing to satisfy here and so he wanders on.  See this world is full of people searching… people thirsty.. and when they are exposed to us through conversation or observation what are they seeing? ..what are they receiving from us? 
You see we are like that spicket… we give what is inside.  And if we are not choosing Christ… if we are not abiding and drawing from His living water.. the only thing we have to offer is this rusty water contaminated with anger and jealousies and selfishness. We have nothing of peace.. nothing of joy… nothing of hope to offer.   Often the soul that has come to us has long been tasting of that stagnant water..
they need something more.
We need something more!
And we have learned and found again and again that this life… this journey is nothing about us.  It has always been Him.. and it must ALWAYS be, if this world is to receive anything of value.. anything to satisfy.  We must be drawing from a well, an inside.. filled with Christ! Then the people on the street, the people in the office and the people in our home will be exposed to Living water.. spilling over and sufficient for all.
Hallelujah!! ..it is Christ!

Since the last update life has looked a bit different.  And it has been a blessing.. and God has been faithful!
We are now a good month into doing the feeding program in the new location.  I think the change of environment has breathed new life into us and we tackle Saturday mornings with excitement.  A school has generously allowed us to use their facility for a small fee.  Most of the familiar little faces have found their way to us by now, along with a good number of new ones.. curious to see what is happening behind the door.  It usually doesn’t take them long to run home and return with their plate.. or container.. or plastic sack.. eager to enjoy a hot meal! We also feed the high school students who are at school studying on Saturdays.  Wish all of you could come and join in on the fun.  There has been water fights.. near spillage of beans too heavy… jump-rope in the rain.. and loud robust praise to the Lord from little mouths awaiting food to fill.  We thank God!!!
Our house is the new meeting place for the BTS(Born To Shine) mentoring program.  So nearly every night we have between 25 and 30 preteens filling ALL the space between our walls.  Around six o’clock our house gets a whole lot hotter, louder, and livelier.  We keep the same schedule and try to share the responsibility of teaching as evenly as we can.  It has given us the awesome privilege of getting to know them much better.  What a blessing to grow in Christ together.  All of us teaching and learning as we interact. Last Saturday we had a birthday party to allow them to join in on celebrating our 22nd year.  It was so cute as some of them came up to us with small gifts they had bought for us.. a sucker.. some bisquits..a bracelet.   It warmed our hearts! They are so dear! The growth that we are witnessing is incredible.  I think being with them day in and day out can sometimes make these changes easy to miss.. but when we sit down and take time to actually consider it we are left with big smiles and thankful hearts!  Just last night no one was showing up for prayers so we had considered it off when a group of girls came flying through the gate and in between gasps for breathe explained the delay and asked if they could go ahead and pray… “They would lead it," they said. So we said sure and got to sit and listen as they organized themselves and began.  Their time was limited but they managed to spend time thanking God for their lives and everything in them.. and then they prayed for their families.. the orphans… and the persecuted church.  Wow! It was so encouraging.  I think when I was their age the persecuted church was not something I had ever considered! In a culture of “give-me” we are seeing them share and care for others.  In a culture of demanding.. we are hearing “Please, can you help me with.”  When left on their own we sometimes walk in to hear them sharing different things they have been reading in their bibles.  Certainly God is not done working here.. but the progress is Great cause for thanksgiving! School is now finished until next year so we have been trying to organize something for them to do everyday for at least 2 hours to keep them busy, together, and away from less desirable influence.  They have made Christmas cards for orphans, taken food to widows and families in need, done chores for various families and gone on two prayer walks.  Let me tell you.. a walking trail of 25 or so kids and two mzungus quiet in prayer causes people to look twice!! We are loving the opportunity to grow and serve together!!  Forgetting ourselves and our own situations and serving others proves to be SUCH a blessing!
Last week found us sitting in a house unlike anything we had ever seen.  It was a service day for BTS and we decided to visit the home where three of our members stay.  The daughter that lives there is one of our most involved and “on fire” kiddos in BTS.  A week or two before she had made a comment in passing about how she “slept in the ‘big’ chair and sometimes her little brother would too.”  And there we sat, staring at that ‘chair’ and remembering the comment.  All the foam and padding had been worn down and disappeared until all that was left was a small pad on which to sit.  One arm was missing and the whole chair sat at an angle.  Her mother sat in it that day.  Tears chasing each other down her cheek as she thanked us and asked if we could help.   She has six children of her own.. the oldest sixteen and the youngest one and a half.  Her husband doesn’t have a job and she has one but the little that comes in just doesn’t do it.  And in spite of not having enough for them she has also cared for an in-laws child since he was 5.  She said with a smile “he is now one of my babies.”  And our mouths were shut in wonder.  Our eyes traced the rough dirt walls.. and bare floors. They were exposed and open… not covered like in every other home I have entered.  There was the ‘big chair’ and one other in similar condition and a few crude stools for sitting.  And one bed.. and one small mat on the chair.  Besides the basins under the bed and a small cupboard in the corner.. that was all. Nine people.. and that was all.  She said thank you for what we are doing or her children.  Sharing how her daughter previously stubborn and unwilling, now does chores without being asked.. eager to help!  On and on she talked.. sharing her story.  A story of poverty and pain.
But we serve a Redeemer.  We serve a Mighty Rescuer.  There is a Light that wants to envelope her.. wants to consume her and her family.  There is Someone who wants to be her Provider.  There is Someone who has sustained her thus far.. and for a reason! So we are trusting and praying!! There is a better life for her than making and selling alcohol.. and struggling in darkness.  She needs a revelation of Life!!!! Our visit ended with a wet skirt clear through thanks to her sweet baby asleep on my chest.  A one and a half year old.. without pants nor diaper.. asleep.. its inevitable! :D   
We are currently in the process of registering this whole organization thing with the government as a Society.  It would give us a wider scope into which we can reflect the Light.  We are excited about that and ask for your prayers!
Thanks for all of your caring and praying and giving! You are a blessing!

waiting for lunch :)

brought baby siz!

awesome BTS helpers!!

Birthday snacks

everyone brought their own cup for chai

the people that it in the house

Chris and mama!

the crew!