Friday, June 26, 2009

View from the Church Window

How Beautiful are the Feet that bring Good News

While in Liberia, we had the opportunity to host a Bible camp for children. The children had never seen anything like this before. We did all the simple things that children here in America would not find particularly special. We sang songs, did simple crafts, shared Jesus with them, and played games. I cannot tell you how much the children loved this time we had together. Over a hundred children lined up outside the church singing, and waiting eagerly to get inside. As they came in, I lined up their shoes against the wall. I count it a highlight of my trip that I got to pray over each of those sweet shoes that hold the feet of those precious children.

On the last day of the camp, the village chief honored us by giving us a chicken (a traditional way of expressing thanks). But this was not just any chicken- it was a white rooster. You see, they heard us share the story of salvation through the wordless book and took the meaning of those colors to heart. They searched high and low for a white rooster to symbolize the purity we have after being washed in Jesus, blood. How cool is that?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Africa in my Heart

Before I went on this trip to Liberia, I knew that I would learn a lot while I was there and I would surely be changed as a result of seeing God at work amongst the poor. I wasn't sure however, that our team could do much good while we were there. I mean what could we really accomplish in the face of such poverty in one week?

Well friends, I can tell you that God took what little we had to offer and magnified it times 1000. Our trip was incredible and I will be telling you some of the stories of what we did in Liberia in my upcoming posts.

Thanks for your prayers- we felt every one!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Only for You, Lord.

Only for you, Father, would I leave my sweet children and go to Africa.

Today we made friendship bracelets that we will keep on until I return. Tonight, my heart is breaking with the knowledge that in the morning, I will be leaving for Africa. Any mother knows that being physically separated from your children can be physically painful. And yet, I am willing. The temporary pain I will feel as I kiss my children goodbye for the week is nothing compared to the mother who kisses her child goodbye for the last time. And those are the mothers that I will be privileged to serve this week. And those children, those who are dying and those who will be orphaned too soon- those are the ones I will humbly serve with a grateful heart.
God bless you, sweet children! Mommy will be home soon.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

My Little Abolitionist

My sweet daughter was lying in bed last night crying. Why was she crying? Because the little girl she helped in 1st and 2nd grade is being transferred to a different school next year and Evelea is afraid she will have no one to help her there. The little girl Evelea helps would be considered an outcast to most students. She lives in the projects. She doesn't obey classroom rules. She still has trouble reading and doing basic school work. She can be loud and annoying. But she has become precious to Evelea.

We took awhile and prayed together. We came up with the idea to write pre-addressed stamped envelopes so Evelea's friend could stay in touch or write if she has a problem. Then, we released her sweet friend into the care of her heavenly Father. The One who loves her more than we ever could.

Psalm 82:3
"Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless, maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy: deliver them from the hand of the wicked."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Heart of Gold

A dear friend of mine held her son as he slipped into the arms of Jesus just a few months ago. He was only 2 1/2 years old. This sweet boy born was born with a rare heart condition, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. He had made it through two tough surgeries with one more to go. He was a typical 2 year old, thriving at home surrounded by the love of his mom, dad, aunties and grandparents.

No parent should have to purchase a coffin that tiny.

This is family who did not let their son's illness get them down. In fact, before Braden was one year old, they started the Heart of Gold Charity. This charity provides scholarships for students entering the medical field. It also provides gift baskets for anxious families awaiting treatment at the Herma Heart Center in Milwaukee. They hold a yearly golf/dinner event to raise funds for this great cause. By starting the Heart of Gold Charity, Stephanie and Rich Petska have done more than raise money for a good cause, they help to raise the spirits of so many struggling with the complexities of having a critically ill child. Stephanie and Rich are the kind of people that just being around them, makes you feel less afraid.

Just a few days ago, Stephanie and Rich were blessed with a precious baby boy. This young man is symbol of hope for all of us still grieving for his brother. I cannot imagine how my friends can embrace this precious gift they have been given in the face of such grief, but I know they will. That is the kind of people they are.