We just flew in from a week shadowing Rico Suave on his business trip…seeing exactly what this man of mine does when he travels to Traverse City. I’ll be posting some pictures from our fun and crazy week I’m sure this weekend–but as for tonight…I’m sitting here stumped. We got in tonight after 10pm–after 2 flights with 4 children…with our youngest screaming for much too long on the flight home. You’d think I’d walk in the door and crash, but the ball has to keep rolling because in 6 short days I leave for Ndola, Zambia.
And I’m stumped. Can’t even think of a better word to use other than stumped…that’s how clueless I really am.
The bottom line is I don’t really know how to do ministry—ministry to the hurting in Zambia. Ministry to a people who live in a country that is one of the top 5 in the world for AIDS, death, poverty–where children raise children…and many of them become adults much, much too early.
The Lord laid the topic of purity on my heart to go minister to these orphans and widows with…and really–at first…I thought it sounded easy enough. I mean, I have children. I talk to them about purity…in kid terms. And as they age, I’ll make our talks age appropriate…we’ll whisk them off as pre-teens for a special weekend to give each of them a purity ring and challenge them to make a purity commitment. And at first–I thought this is what the Lord wanted us to do for the kids and widows in Zambia.
We started planning the details. We dreamed how we would do this for our children…so let’s do the same for these 300 orphans (the ones ages 10+ will come to the retreat…they see hard things much, much sooner than ours) and our 150 widows…let’s talk about purity to them as if they were our children. Let’s give them purity rings as a life-long reminder. Let’s sing, dance, have a wedding cake and Fanta. BUT…there is something I am forgetting.
These children–are just like my children in the fact they DREAM…they giggle…they long to be sung to, tucked in at night. They love to play. They love to draw letters in the sand and play chase. Surely, I can talk to them just like my children about this right???
But…they are not like my children.
They are orphans. They do not have a mom and dad to protect them…to sing to them…to tuck them in at night. To protect them…and the truth of the matter…is that most of them–even at the age of 10…may have already experienced abuse beyond anything I could comprehend. Many of the kids have had things done to them that don’t even effect their hearts any more…because they have had to learn to be tough…to endure–to be strong and survive.
Children raising children…a sweet young girl with child and taking care of another orphan…
…and all of the sudden…I feel like the challenge in what the Lord wants us to talk to them about is going to open up a big can of worms.
Seriously Lord??? A purity talk???
What about the girls who are HIV+ and they would love to have saved themselves for marriage—but a man in the village was told by his witchdoctor he could rid himself of the disease if he had sex with a virgin.
And then the 7th grader…who discovered she was pregnant…who was in the wrong part of the compound too late at night–and the widow who was housing her is now ashamed to have her there. Rejected again…
How many of these stories Lord??? How many in this group of 300 orphans and 150 widows???
My flesh wants to cancel the retreat–and just help with the soccer camp, serve meals and give hugs…we love them–and to always remember that God loves them too…we’ll be back next year…here’s a sticker and some bubbles. Don’t I feel good about myself now and go home. BUT…that is NOT what we are called to do.
(James 1:27) Visit orphans and widows in their distress…
What is distress anyway?
reat pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction; trouble; a state of extreme necessity or misfortune
And something tells me that THIS TOPIC…falls into that verse. Something tells me the Lord wants us to go there and open up this can of worms…and not just blow bubbles. And I have to say that I’m actually scared to death to open my mouth next week at this retreat…but I know He has me leaving my 4 babies and husband for 10 days for a big, worthy purpose (because He also knows how much I hate to fly…and I told Him to please only send me across the world if it means bringing home a child or something just as big!)
He sees the orphan and widow in their pain. He knows each and every heartache…every tear. And He is reminding me now–that I DO NOT. This is not mine to carry. But His. And I believe He wants to show these beautiful children and widows how deeply He loves them. No matter their past–things that have been done against them are nothing of their fault…and how through Him they can even forgive and ultimately love and pray for those who have wronged them. He is big enough to heal…and make them pure and holy in His sight no matter their past or their current situation or their future.
I have no idea what I will say to them…but I do believe He is going to do something powerful. And our team covets your prayers as we prepare to go.
Please pray that God will prepare the hearts of every orphan and widow who will attend this special time. Please pray for our hearts and minds as we prepare the agenda and time for them. Pray that our words would not be from our minds and hearts–but from His.
I shared these thoughts with Richard this past week–and this is just one of the many balls we have in our court that seems quite messy. If this is what your life looks like right now–BE ENCOURAGED!!! True ministry is always messy. It just is. We live in a sinful, broken world–and when you open your hands and give the Lord permission to use you for His glory–it will always be messy. BUT HE IS BIGGER. If you are living a life of order and you are a believer with no messy–I’d challenge you to add messy to it. Because it’s in the messy–you see Him work. You see Him heal. You see Him do things that you could never, ever take credit for. He turns messy to beautiful…and He is glorified.
Just my thoughts as we prepare to go…Oh Lord–I know You laid this one on my heart for a purpose!!!
P.S. Want to thank those of you who bought a t-shirt to go toward this trip next week!!! THE T-SHIRTS JUST CAME IN AND WILL GO OUT IN THE MAIL ON MONDAY!!! Would love for y’all to wear the shirts some while we’re gone and tell others to pray for our team too that ask about it when you wear it!!! Can’t WAIT for y’all to get these in the mail!!!!!