Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Roller Coaster of Life

I feel like I am a person who loves a good adventure. Hike to a waterfall, give surfing a try, go on a sporadic road trip, hop on the motorcycle and see where we wind up, crawl & climb through a cave, go snorkeling or scuba diving, jump in a raft & navigate down the rapids, repel down the side of a mountain. I am game for all of these things.

However, there is one adventure I am not a fan of, rollercoasters. The suspense, the free falling, the hanging in mid-air waiting for your stomach to drop feeling…I don’t want to be a part of any of it!
This is exactly how life feels right now.

I knew when I told God yes, when I said I was willing to commit my life to these street kids here in the Philippines that every day wouldn’t be easy. I knew I would face challenges. I knew I wouldn’t have all the answers. I knew I would have to rely on God more than ever before in my life.

But knowing these things ahead of time doesn’t make the day to day life any easier.

I never know when I come home at night and lay my head down if I will feel a peace and at ease with our kids or if I will question everything we are doing.

Some days I live on a high where I can see the light. Where I can see the kids beginning to open up their lives to us. Nights where I feel like soon they will want to give up the life they have on the streets for a family who loves them. Days when I believe they have seen a glimpse of who Jesus is and one day soon they will want to know more.

And then there are other nights where I think instead of making any progress at all we have taken three steps back. Nights where I feel we are just an enabler for these kids. Times when I think the kids will always be addicted to sniffing rugby and nothing will ever be worth it to them to quit. Days when I believe they see no value or hope in themselves or their future.
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I don’t know what the pattern is. I don’t know when I wake up if that night will be the peak of the rollercoaster or if I will come home with the pain in the pit of my stomach as we are about to free fall.

The truth of our ministry is there are good nights & there are bad nights. And we never know which it will be for the night until we go out to spend time with our kids.

The possibility is high that it will be a night like Tuesday night where we went out and found four of our kids. Having not seen them over the weekend I was eager & ready to play. They were on quite the other end of the spectrum. That night they wanted nothing to do with me. I greeted them with a cheerful “Hi” & my hand raised for a high five. I got nothing. No smile. No hey. No high five. I tried small talk and still got nothing. Matter of fact instead of small talk they just decided to move to the other side of the park away from me. Later on that night a couple of them were sitting on the bench so I tried to sit with them and talk. As soon as I went to sit down they got up and went to a different bench. They were angry. No one was smiling. No one was getting along. They were arguing over everything. They were picking on a girl who can only see out of one eye.
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That night was definitely a defeated night. A night I came home answerless as to how to help these kids. A night where I laid there wondering if they would ever see just how much I love them & want to see them walking in their own Christ-filled identity.

And then you have last night. 24 hours later. Where things seemed to have done a complete 180. A night where we walked up to the kids & they were excited to see us. They began talking right away. Excitement was in their voices over our upcoming weekend activities. They wanted to hang out with us. They didn’t beg for food but waited until we asked to tell us they were hungry. They taught us a new game. That sat and just laughed. They were kids.

These are the nights I am able to come home with the peace in my heart knowing God IS going to do an incredible work in each & every one of their lives.

Here’s to finding out what night tonight will be….here’s to the roller coaster…

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What Do Miracles Look Like?

I admitted recently that my prayers sounded selfish and desperate but in actuality it was just me believing if I asked God for big things then big results were possible. If I asked him for miracles he would respond with miracles.

And boy did he ever respond!

September was wonderful yet challenging all at the same time. I officially moved to the city where our ministry is located. I was able to begin to see what life here looks like helping our street kids.
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But I was also faced with the challenges that came along with that. Hearing the children ask for food because they haven’t had anything to eat all day. Seeing the kids high and out of control. Knowing these kids have no hope and no dreams for a future that is possible for them.

And one of the biggest challenges…the kids not responding how we hoped they would.

We began renting a room for the children to have a safe place to hang out instead of the streets. A place where they could come and receive a meal for the day. A place where soon they will receive education.

But in renting this room magic didn’t just happen. There weren’t instant results over night.

The last week of September we barely saw the kids.

One day we saw three kids. So we told them to meet us the next day at the center at a certain time. No one showed.

The day after that we found one kid. Again we told him the same things. And again the next day he was a no show.

We searched every where for our kids. But we couldn’t seem to consistently find them.

For months we have been praying for men to come help with our ministry since the majority of our kids are boys and they react better with men.

God faithfully answered that prayer and coming into October we knew we had a team of guys coming to help us for the month.
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But as a ministry team we were worried the guys wouldn’t have enough to do. We were worried the kids wouldn’t be around for the men to form relationships with the kids.

So as a team we began to pray and brainstorm ideas for this team. Ways to best utilize them. We also knew we had a few construction projects we wanted the men to complete.

So our goal was to have the men complete the construction projects the first week. This gave us time to try and find our kids more consistently and introduce them to the team of men on a day to day basis.

It was a great plan but at the same time we knew there was a lot of work to be done.

We knew we just had to plan things out and ultimately trust in God’s planning and timing.

So October rolled around and the team arrived. We picked them up super early at the airport and told them we would see them at lunchtime for orientation.

During orientation our goal was to be very straightforward with the team. We wanted them to understand we are a new ministry and we need their help in forming relationships with our kids to create a desire in them to want to come to our center instead of the streets.

We didn’t know how the month would play out but we just prayed God would use this team to breakthrough to our kids.

As we were sitting there explaining all of these things to the team, three of our kids just showed up at our center!
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This may read as a simple, ordinary sentence to you. But I can assure you it is far from that.

The kids just showed up without any prodding or asking from us. We didn’t have to go searching around the city. We didn’t have to bribe them with a meal to come to the center. They were there on their own!

That night we came home exhausted and drained from our first full day with the team. But I found myself standing in the kitchen yelling,
“God didn’t send an angel with a sack of rice to the center, but man that sure was such a miracle when the kids showed up!”
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God’s timing was so perfect as he brought the kids to meet the guys. Exactly as it was being explained who our kids are and how we wanted the team to impact these kids lives.

This day and the days that have followed have been nothing short of miracles from God. And I am confident he has been pouring out miracles left and right because I asked. Because we asked. Because you asked.

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If you were a fly on the wall & had been listening to my prayers lately you would probably sit there wondering just how selfish a person can be. You would think I was only focused on asking God for things. You would assume I only wanted God to give and that I didn’t care anything about being thankful or appreciative of all he has blessed me with.

It’s true. Lately I feel like I have only been asking God for provision. Asking for provision from Him is what’s on my heart. It’s what’s on my mind. And it’s what comes out of my mouth.

Provision for our boys.

Provision for their safety and hungry bellies and hearts that need Jesus.

Provision for me personally.

Provision as I humbly ask people to partner with me both financially and prayerfully.

Provision for our team.

Provision for guidance and direction as we try to figure out our daily steps with the boys.

Provision for our ministry.

Provision as we plan & hosts teams who will help with our center & our boys.

But I’m asking for all of this provision, not because I am selfish, but because I know this provision IS possible.

I know HE can provide the monthly supporters I need. I know HE can provide the sack of rice we need to feed the boys for the month. I know HE can provide the materials to build the walls in our center. I know HE can provide protection for our boys. I know HE can!

And when I’m asking for this provision I know I am not asking to ears that are not listening. I am fully confident these things are possible through God. Jehovah Jireh, my provider!

So I ask!

And I cling to His word telling me how he delights in giving good gifts to His children. To me! 

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”- Matthew 7:11

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