Monday, March 18th, 2019

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray.  Is anyone happy?  Let them sing songs of praise. James 5:13

When you travel for a year with the explicit purpose of bringing glory to God and reflecting His love in the world you sometimes have days that just don’t seem that praiseworthy.  At least, that is, by worldly standards.  Nothing happened today that would make me think, at first glance, we made this huge impactful change in the world by sacrificing our comfort, career, and putting friendships on hold.  Today could easily be thought of as a reason why this trip was purposeless.

But as I reflect on the day’s events I realize that even the smallest actions can have big results and that sometimes just being there is part of the change.  While my day consisted primarily of homeschool work with the kids, Sara was present at the hospital and at the after-hours clothing sale which helped to benefit Firm Foundations.  After spending quality time with the children she worked with the FFR folks to facilitate a clothing sale of sorts for the hospital nurses.  They were able to buy quality new and used clothing which had been donated and the prcoeeds went directly to FFR’s efforts to help the children in the hopstial.  It might not seem like a huge and life changing event but in the grand scheme this “small” effort makes a real difference.  And at the end of the day any difference in the positive is better than no difference at all.

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Sara snuggling a sweet little girl.
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This little one loved her bottle.

This year has really opened my eyes as to the impact we as individuals can have.  I think that we sometimes get caught in the trap of feeling that if we cannot make a monumental impact then it is not worth attempting.  The truth is that all of our efforts should be done to His glory and honor and so every task and event can be done with the utmost grace.  It has taken me many months to even start to realize this and I hope that in the months ahead I will embrace it even further.

As I leave you I want to you remind you of a hymn that I loved singing in our church in Madison and one that I think truly reflects my feeling as of late.  I think it reflects beautifully the simpleness of what God asks of us.  We don’t know his plans or how He plans to use us so we will do whatever we can whenever we can.  Plus, James says to sing praises if your happy and I could not be happier.  So all of you at home, I want you to belt this one out, or at least in your head.

I’m gonna live so God can use me
Anywhere, Lord, anytime.
I’m gonna live so God can use me
Anywhere, Lord, anytime.
I’m gonna pray so God can use me…
Anywhere, Lord, anytime.
I’m gonna pray so God can use me…
Anywhere, Lord, anytime.
I’m gonna work so God can use me…
Anywhere, Lord, anytime.
I’m gonna work so God can use me…
Anywhere, Lord, anytime.
I’m gonna sing so God can use me…
Anywhere, Lord, anytime.
I’m gonna sing so God can use me…
Anywhere, Lord, anytime.

 

 

Thursday February 21, 2019

Matthew 5 14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Today was another tank cleaning day and I am surprised at how much fun this hard work actually is. Anjali and David are having a harder time getting involved in this process. They are not quite strong enough to clean the tanks at the same level as the adults, but they are trying. Today Lucia realized that cleaning the tanks is just not something that she is able to do, so she took it upon herself to seek out another job. She found herself working alongside Madu (one of the staff at the project) feeding the turtles. Madu will cut up the fish and then tell Lucia where to take the pieces of fish and which turtle to feed. She is such a joy to watch as she scampers about the hatchery thrilled that she has the important job of feeding the turtles. Her joy is infectious and I can’t help but be happy amidst being covered in green algae and turtle poop!

It brings me so much joy to see her being a light amongst all this “dirty” work. She allows her light to shine through all the raw fish, the algae, the sand, the turtle poop, etc and leads us all by example. Our job is to help protect and care for these turtles, for all of God’s creatures, and even if the work is “dirty work” we should still be joyous and happy; we should allow God’s light to shine through the dirt and muck and be a witness to His creation.

I can’t even count how many times I was leading a tour and folks were just amazed to see my children doing work around the hatchery. Children can be seen as unable to do work and I think it surprises people to see them so happy caring for these turtles. Both Jeff and I had many people ask about our mission and the work we were doing and I loved telling them about our various volunteer projects and how much our family has loved showing God’s love around the world. It is not about us, it is about God and His love for all of us. It is about being a light to shine on those in need, to show them that they are loved by a stranger from the other side of the world, to show them that they are loved by God.