Thursday, September 23, 2010
Yesterday was a good day. I woke up and decided I needed to wash some clothes. So, I went outside and filled up 3 large buckets with precious water to let my clothes soak in the soap. I got an urge to play with bubbles. So I went and got some bubbles and started blowing. Within seconds ten kids were there playing in them! It was a hit! They loved them. Letifu (a special needs boy) was eating them, which made me laugh because I remember doing the same thing as a child. So, by the time the bubbles ran out, my energy was out!! Mainly because I have malaria. So then I stared washing and six of the children came to help. We had a great time. We were all soaked by the end. (I think the 4 year old does a better job than I do). One of the girls helping me had a twin sister around 9 or so. I found them sitting in the hall. The sister was crying so I thought something had happened to her. I quickly found someone to interpret what she was trying to tell me. Comes to find out she had lost one cedi (equivalent to 70 cents). I felt so bad because she had probably been out selling tomato's or something all day. So I came in and got 10 cedi and gave to her. She just looked at me as I told her Yisa Yura (Jesus loves you). A few minutes later she found me to give me 9 cedi's back! I almost cried. I finally got across to her that I wanted her to keep it. They were so grateful. She bowed down and said natuma.(thank you). Then Jon Michael and I walked into town to get some malaria medicine and pick up something from the seamstress. (we only had to walk a few miles in the 100 degrees weather) So we got home and it began to rain. No, pour. I love the rain and it was so inviting. I talked Jon Michael to come play with a beach ball in our volleyball court (our front yard). The kids were just laughing at us because it is taboo to play in the rain. It's almost as if they are scared of it. However, after about ten minutes they decided to join us. We had a blast! Eventually I had to come in because I thought my head was going to explode (from the malaria). So, in all, a great day. I love loving.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Honesty with yourself can be the harshest, brutal, and bloody of all wars. But, in the end there will be a peace treaty with your soul. Only when we can be brutally honest about our own failures, hang-ups, and insecurities is when God can give you the fullness of His grace. This morning I was reading through Matthew. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Poor in spirit is the opposite of self-sufficiency. Jesus was speaking of the deep humility of recognizing one's utter spiritual bankruptcy apart from God. As, Christians, we must be brutally honest with ourselves and realize our lostness and hopelessness apart from divine grace.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Jon and I were in Kumasi (about 7 hours from Yendi) a while back waiting on Muss to get out of a wedding (which lasted about 3 hours) and a girl named Sylvia opened the door of the van and hopped in and sat with us. We were like alright....comes to find out she knew Muss's family and bought something for them so she found the van and hopped in. So, this girl is amazing. She was maybe 25 or so. She was so encouraging and has some awesome stories. One I remember so plainly is the one about some students in the village. Some of the students from her school go into the villages in the northern region for break to spread the gospel and encourage churches. One particular group was at this one village having a prayer meeting. They were sitting in a circle on the ground, in the dark, when they got news that some Muslims from another village were on there way to them. They decided to stay there and pray. As they sat there in the dark on the ground the men came with machetes to take their lives. However, they walked all around them and didn't see them! God had made them blind to the students and the church members! The men left and the students gave glory to our God! This is a wonderful story that is a reminder that God still works miracles!
Ramadan is the Muslim celebration lasting for about 30 days, according to the moon. This is a time of fasting from 4:30a.m. to 6:30p.m. They do this to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds. So, for the last month, we have had tons of people to ask us if we were fasting. Our reply was Christians don't celebrate Ramadan. Most of the Muslims do this in hopes of advancing their way to God. I have met some of the most genuine, devoted Muslims here. They do good deeds, pray 5 times a day, fast when they are supposed to...in hopes of doing enough to get to a Holy God. Its heart breaking. I told one of my Muslim friends that I could never be a Muslim because I could never "do enough" to get to a holy, perfect, and just God of the universe. So, today is the last day of the fast and the streets are insane. People are wearing their nicest attire, shouting, dancing, singing, drinking, eating, riding bicycles and motor bikes. The police are patrolling the streets all night to ensure "safety."
Concerning my last blog, I just want everyone to know it was out of love. We are all on the journey of following Christ. I am burdened because I know America is becoming a lost nation and their blood could be on our hands. I fight every single day on totally surrendering to the cross. Its a struggle to go against the current. Its not easy to give up everything that is familiar...but thats why its the greatest adventure! We are all in this adventure together. Here are some books that are highly motivating and challenging. So, if you find yourself in a complacent position with Christ and want a challenge to run after Christ, here are some wonderful books that have helped guide me to where I am today:
- Bible (of course)
- Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne
- Radical by David Platt
- The Barbarian Way by Erwin Raphael McManus
- Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning
The American Dream. The American Dream is something we are all familiar with. We live our lives around it. We lose sleep over it. We are willing to sacrifice marriages, friendships, and even our children over it. Let's admit it: It is the heartbeat of our Western culture. Every student, after high school gradation, is expected to go to college and be successful. After all, the only way to make it these days is to have a masters degree, right? However, the more I read the gospels, the more I doubt the American Dream. What??!! Could it be that Jesus calls Christians march to a different beat than that of the rest of the world??? No way! Let us be reminded that Jesus is the one who said, "Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be my disciple." In other words, pick up an instrument of torture and follow me. The One we claim to follow also says, "Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." -("Go, sell everything yo have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then come, follow me.") Hmm....this does not exactly match up with the "American Dream." Sounds to me that Jesus was asking His disciples to abandon their comforts, security, safety, dreams, goals, possessions, careers, and everything that is familiar to them and follow Him. But, that was a different time. A different culture, right? So, He certainly was not speaking to modern day Christians, or was He? David Platt's, Radical, has pointed many of these things out and helped me understand a lot about our western culture's agenda. As Christians, we tend to claim the verses like, "I come to give life, and life more abundantly." But, we do not think the verses like "sell all you have and give to the poor and follow me" do not apply to us. So do we have the authority to choose which verses applies to us personally?? It is time we face the truth: The American Dream is not biblical. Jesus calls all Christians to die daily, esteem others higher than ourselves, humble ourselves to the point of dying for our friends, hate our mother and father, go out in the midst of wolves as sheep, carry our crosses, give until it hurts, be a living sacrifice, live in community, go the the end of the Earth...abandon ourselves. This does not sound like the American Dream. The American Dream is self-centered and the God Dream is Christ-centered. There can be no balance. God requires us to be either hot or cold, no luke warm Christians are allowed or He will spit them out of His mouth! (He said it in Rev. 3:16! I didn't say it) What I fear the most is that the institution of the Christian Church is marching to the beat of the culture. Kids are having kids, children trying drugs, girls with identity issues, prostitutes searching for love, children becoming homosexuals, people committing suicide, sex trafficking (even in our own county!), children with no one to love them, children living in trash heaps around the world, kids being forced into war and a life of violent monsters, 600,000 children dying every day from malnutrition and preventable disease, and lets not forget the millions of people dying every day without hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ, all the while the Institution of the Christian church is arguing over 500$ chairs for people to sit on if they are tired of standing, new carpet, better popcorn machines, new pews, better worship centers, more lights, more strategies to attract the people, the best technology, how to get people in, how to be better than the church down the road, how we can make the gospel sound appeasing instead of self-sacrificing like the gospel of Jesus Christ, when will we have our next meal to fill our bellies while others down the road may not have enough to feed the children that day, better, best, more, more, more... This may be a sick and twisted image, but it's true. It is time for the Church of Jesus Christ to rise up out of our pompous self-righteous religiosity and continue the revolution that Jesus started 2,000 years ago: The Revolution of Love.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Tignaln was one of the villager boys in Ineudu. He was so precious and had the deepest eyes I have ever seen. He seems to be staring into your soul when he looks at you. He was only six or seven. I knew something was special about this little boy but I couldnt exactly figure it out. He clung to us all week. I noticed the other kids were not very nice to him. He seemed like he only wanted love. His laugh was so contagious. He loved to be tickled. I saw that he always hid his hand where no one could see it. Finally I saw the reason why. His whole hand was scarred up. It looked like he had been burnt very badly. He couldnt even function properly with his hand. I could tell he was embarrassed by his scars. So, I got a translator to tell him that I thought his scars were very cool! I told him it showed that he was strong. I even showed him all of my scars. A huge smile swept across his face as he slowly uncovered his scars. I told him that if I was him I would show everyone my cool scars so they would know how strong he is. Later that day I saw him playing with both of his hands. I pray this precious little boy will be set free from the embarrassment and insecurities of his scars.