Jun 12 2013

Guatemala Day 3

Before you dismiss this with a "why should I care", let me challenge you with something Francis Chan said,

"Do you know that nothing you do in this life will ever matter, unless it is about loving God and about loving the people He has made." 

You may never set foot in Guatemala, but you should care about the people here, about these kids that we have been visiting in the orphanage.   Yesterday was one in which I was so overwhelmed at what we saw,  children who have been cast off by their families, for any number of reasons, just wanting a place to call home, and yet I was overjoyed at what I saw happening in the few hours that we got to spend with them.

So often we think that doing something for God has to be on this mammoth scale, for Him to be pleased, and yet it is in the small things that we offer,  in which we see God move.  In the Bible, how often to you see God make much of the small things?  He will take what we offer and do far more than we ever thought possible, which is exactly why we should purpose every day to offer whatever little we may have, to whomever God may put in our path.  The shoes that you gave during the K-LOVE Pledge Drive through Shoes For Orphan Souls are small, but they are accomplishing HUGE things here in Guatemala!  They are a reminder to these children that "I am not alone", "there is someone who loves me", and most importantly "God hasn't forgotten me".  With God there is power is in a simple gift.

On the basketball court I met Anthony, a 7 year old little boy whose toes were hanging out of his shoes, his chalk drawing told an amazing story, it was a simple house, but what it represented was far more telling, Anthony longs for family!  As I washed his little feet, I reminded him that he has a family; I pointed to all of us visiting and told him that we are his family and that we love him, in that moment tears filled Anthony's eyes, and a smile crept across his sweet, little face with a reassurance that he was not forgotten.

Then there was sweet little Crystal, she is 5, but is about the size of a 2 year old due to the malnutrition that she has suffered.  She stole my heart, Crystal has a tracheotomy to breath, and although she can speak, it comes out as the faintest of whispers, through the tube in her throat.  She would not let me go, other kids could have one arm, just as long as she had he other.  Within minutes, I became "papa", "daddy".   She loved her shoes, but what she loved even more than the shoes was the simple note inside that said, "Jesus Loves You".  Crystal would whisper "papa vamos", which translates to "daddy go there" and we would go to someone she was pointing to on the playground,  Crystal would show them the note, and then declare as loudly as she could through that little whisper in her throat, "Jesus te ama!" "Jesus loves you!" and then whisper, just as enthusiastically, "Jesus me ama!", "Jesus loves me!" as she pointed to herself.

The power of a simple gift… a pair of shoes, a simple note declaring Jesus' love, a little bit of your time.  None of these things cost a lot, or take a lot of effort, but God will use them to change someone's life.  Yesterday they changed Anthony's, Crystal's and mine.  So what are you waiting for?  Make your life matter today by loving God and the people He has made.

Thank you to Shoes for Orphan Souls and to YOU, for making all this possible!

For more information, you can visit them on Facebook and Twitter.

Categories: General
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Jun 11 2013

Guatemala Day 2

Carl Sandberg once wrote, "A baby is God's opinion that the World should go on", and that is exactly the sense you get serving the children that we visited at the orphanage in Guatemala yesterday.  As a dad, this has been the hardest 48 hours I believe I have ever experienced emotionally, how does a parent just abandon their child?  That isn't the story for everyone of these children, but it is for so many.  I was in shock to hear what many of these kids have suffered through, yet in a place that you would expect to find hopelessness  prevalent, it was quite the opposite.  So many of the children were full of such joy!

Maybe you're like me and always wondered how it was the Apostles could have such joy in spite of the most difficult of circumstances, these children are a living example of God's grace in action.  Does God have us here for them, or does He have us here for us?  We are certainly seeing God use us and the shoes that you have generously provided as the K-LOVE family through Shoes For Orphan Souls, but much more than that we are seeing why the Bible stresses the importance of loving and serving others, it changes you, it awakens every fiber of your soul, sure there is a cost that comes with serving others, but the reward is so much more valuable than whatever the cost may be.

So many of these girls touched our hearts, but God used two girls, in particular, to open my heart, 13 year old, Jarelyn and 17 year old, Catherine Melisa.  We spent only a few hours with these girls, singing songs, playing games, sharing a Bible story, painting nails, washing their feet and giving them their shoes, but in those precious few hours, God moved.  As we were preparing to leave, the girls each brought me a thank you note, declaring their gratitude for the shoes, which is the ONLY thing they own, but they declared their love for you, "Te Kiero Mucho" the letter said, "I love you very much".  As our translator, Cynthia was reading the letters, I just wept; in closing Catherine wrote, "if you ever have problems, remember we serve a Great God."  I am not often speechless, but all I could do was embrace these girls and thank them for the lesson they taught me yesterday.  Before leaving we all prayed, and in praying, I promised that I would pray for them like I would my own children, I can honestly say that I have never done that before, but isn't that how we should pray for each other?  How much different would we treat one another if we prayed for others as members of our own family?  How much more grace would we offer to one another, if we loved each other that way.  It is then that we are able to fulfill the two commandments that Jesus build the entire Gospel on, to first love God and then to love others.

If you have never experienced this, you must, and don't think the you have to leave the country to do it,  you don't, there are people right in your hometown who need "you", and the love that you can offer them through Jesus.  Yes, Jesus will use you, if you'll allow Him to, but more than that, He will use those that you are serving to transform "you".

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Jun 10 2013

Gautemala Day 1

I love how often that we take off thinking that God is sending us  to minister to someone, when in reality it is often times, we who He is intending to reach. Today I have been humbled by how often we come as Americans first, and Christians second.  It is a shame how often we fall into the trap of thinking that we, as American's, are the one's that come riding in on the white horse as the hero, but the reality it is Jesus who is the hero!  Our mission, no matter where we find ourselves, should be to put his heroic love front and center, it is in doing that that we see God do the amazing and profound.

We started our day by going to church at Fraternidad Cristiana De Guatemala, a church that seats over 12,000 and has 50,000 members in Guatemala City, God met us there!  The Pastor spoke from Proverbs 22, in verse 11, it says "God loves the pure hearted and well spoken; good leaders delight in their friendship."  May that be what we strive for, may that be the catalyst that drives us to be Christians before we are ever anything else.

When we are "pure hearted" we allow God to move through us the way we saw Him move this afternoon at a former prison that is now a government run orphanage called, Secrataria De Bienestar Social, a place that 726 kids call home.  Kids like 17 year old Joshua, whom I will never forget, but It seems everyone else has.  He is 17, his parents abandon him and left for the US, and now live in Los Angeles.  My heart is heavy, as a dad of an 18 year old son, I am trying to fathom how a parent just walks away from their child.  Sadly Joshua is just one of many, but what I was so humbled and encouraged by is the faith these boys had, many who cling to the small reminders that God hasn't forgotten them.  The shoes that you helped provide through the K-LOVE Pledge Drive and Shoes For Orphan Souls are being used to do just that, God is using something as simple as a pair of shoes, to remind them that although their parents have forgotten them, God has not!

I wish that I could show you a ton of pictures, but we were not allowed to take any because of the abuse that these kids have suffered.  In spite of that suffering, you never heard them complain, and something as simple as a high five and a fist bump lit their faces up like a Christmas Tree, with beaming smiles.  Really… A high five and a pair of shoes?  Yes! "A little love goes a long way" that is the lesson here today, one that I hope we will all take to heart.  Do you have a little love to offer someone today?  I hope so, because it just may be what God uses to change someone's life, even if it's only for a moment.

Categories: General , Music
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