Made for another world

"If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." C. S. Lewis

Friday, July 27, 2012

When Serbia Calls Your Name

A package came in the mail yesterday. It held the exciting promise of travel to Serbia. My passport! I've been itching to post an update but it hasn't been time, until now.

I'm excited to say that God is continuing to unfold his plans to show compassion to his dear ones in Veternik, Serbia's mental institution. I want to invite you to partner with me. Won't you lean in close and see Jesus in the midst of the broken?

I'm thrilled to tell you that I'm at the make it happen stage of this trip and it's time for action. As I said before, I have my passport. I also have my travel companion.  I haven't gotten permission from her to share her name publicly yet, so I'll have to tell you that later. But I can say that I see God's finger prints all over this partnership. We've been friends for many years and I'm thrilled to share this experience with her. I believe we complement each other well and her gifts will be excellent for this trip. Her experience working with disabled children weekly in her job will be invaluable.

We will travel sometime in October and stay for up to two weeks. During our time at Dom Veternik we will meet with the staff to discuss their needs and how we can help. We anticipate touring their facility and spending time with the disabled children and adults residing there. I'm also praying for good opportunities to make contact with other Christians in the area who would be willing to partner with us long term.

When we arrive at the institution my desire is for us to not show up empty handed. Ultimately this trip, and any future ministry, is about showing Jesus' great love for them personally. I believe the best way to do this is to represent him well by showing joy, affection, humility, hope, kindness, and generosity. One of the ways to do this is by helping them with the needs they are facing. Serbia is a country still recovering from war not too many years past. The lack of resources affects the vulnerable of their society most.

Material Needs:

I asked a staff member for a list of things they are in need of. Here are some of the items they listed:

Hygiene products; toothpaste, tooth brushes, deodorant, soap, shampoo, diapers, etc.
Linens; sheets and towels
Clothes and shoes of various sizes
Non-English Educational materials; educational toys such as puzzles or blocks, paper, pencils, craft supplies

If your church or family is interested in putting together a box of some of these items to send to the institution please let me know and I can provide further details for you.

What you can do:

If God has laid it on your heart to respond to these needs there are a few ways you can do that.

* You can pray. 
Pray that God would prepare hearts to hear his message of grace and receive his love, both the staff and residents.
Pray that he would empower us as we go to show that love.
Pray that he will provide for every detail as we travel and for our families still at home.

* Send a box. As mentioned above you can help provide material resources for this institution, a tangible expression of love to the staff and residents alike.

* You can give. If you feel God leading you to contribute financially to this trip you can give through the chip in box on the side bar of this blog or if you prefer you can contact me and send a check personally. Expenses include airfare, accommodation and food, an interpreter, and travel in country.

* Spread the word. You can share this post with others that you feel would be blessed by hearing what God is doing in Serbia or would like to join in by praying and supporting.

Thank you friends for your encouragement and prayers as we prepare to walk by faith and respond to God's call to care for the helpless!

It excites me that God invites us to participate in the reconciling of the world to himself. You may not be heading to Serbia any time soon but you can certainly display the mercy of Jesus to those hungry for his love in your community. I pray that he will give us all eyes to see and hearts to respond.

{We are no longer planning on sending boxes of supplies to Serbia. Due to the high cost of shipping and customs it is more cost effective to buy supplies in the country. If you are interested in contributing to the purchase of supplies for the residents of Dom Veternik you can contribute through the Chip In account, or contact me about sending a check. Make sure to note the purpose of your contribution.}

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Freedom's Cry

I wanted to share with you a short story I recently submitted to a writing contest at The Write Practice. The prompt was "America Is." Instead of a typical piece on fireworks and apple pie, I took another angle.

It's a hard story to read. It was hard to write. The story is fiction but it is based on research I have done on human trafficking in India. Girls, such as the one depicted in my story, are real. The greatest gift we can give them is to look full faced at their suffering and not turn away. To allow their need and our compassion to compel us to action. 

Nazeeya sat on her little cot looking at a patch of sky through the small window high above her head. It had been days since she had seen the whole expanse of that blue or smelled fresh air. It had been days since she had seen anything, except the walls of her prison, and men.

She imagined her younger sisters, her mother, her father all sitting under the same blue sky. Did they looking up as they tended the garden in their little village and think of her too? The ache in her chest grew tight, almost too tight to breathe, as she remembered the last day she had seen them.

Her father had brought a strange man to the house. He was at least twice Nazeeya's 15 years. A cold chill had shivered down her spine as he was introduced as her prospective husband. His name was Abhijay. “He will offer a home to you,” her father had said. “You know we have little to feed you with. Women in his village are scarce and he needs a wife.”

Her parents had little choice, and she knew it. There was no reason to argue. Had they known her fate they may have been less willing to part with her, even for the modest payment. Abhijay had taken her hundreds of miles away to a village in the province of Delhi. But a marriage had never taken place. She had lived with him as a wife for several weeks and then he had sold her
at a profit.

The new man had not bought her to be his wife either. She was taken to the outskirts of New Delhi and given into the custody of Avani. The old woman had charge of a house full of girls. They rarely saw one another but she could guess their stories. They were poor, with little hope, and now even less.

She pulled her blue sari around her and swatted away flies. Dressed in azure from head to toe she was the only bright spot in the drab, dirty room. The greyness had crept into her soul until she felt nothing. Except perhaps the faintest glimmer of irrational hope.

Reaching under the thin mattress of her cot she pulled out a magazine. Written in English she understood none of the articles or advertisements. She did understand the pictures. Images of well dressed, well fed people smiled at her. Pretty houses and pretty things, bright colors and unfamiliar landscapes spoke to her of beauty and wonder.

One page in particular captured her attention; a man in a uniform, his arm around a woman, children by their side. There were pictures of him getting off of a plane surrounded by his family all holding little flags. A picture of him
playing with a dog in front of a nice house, the same flag hanging from a pole. Red, white, and blue. She knew what that meant. America.

It was her one hope. Even more than returning home she longed for a new life in America. There was nothing for her here. If she went home would she be sold again? Her parents couldn't afford a dowry, or to keep her, which is why they had sold her in the first place.

She tore out the picture of the family standing happily together, flag waving proudly in the background. Folding it carefully into a square she tucked it into her dress beside her heart. Quickly she slid the magazine back to it's hiding
place. She never knew when the key would grate in the lock or who
would enter.

Several hours later Nazeeya was awoken by Avani storming into the room. Yelling at her. Hitting her with a heavy stick. She makes out from the woman's shrill screams that she has committed the ultimate sin. She's become pregnant. Apparently a customer has complained about her condition. Angry at the inconvenience and loss of income the old woman takes her anger out on Nazeeya's thin, already bruised body.

It's dusk and Avani's blows drive Nazeeya from the room and into the courtyard where the man waits for her in an dirty black jeep. The old woman throws her into the back and shuts the door. Huddling in the floor Nazeeya glances up at the strong back and bald head of her owner. Trembling she rides in silence as the houses slip away and fields flash by in the twilight.

She knows she will never make it to the land of promise as he roughly drags her from the backseat into the empty field. Fumbling for the page tucked into her clothes as she's dragged along, she reaches for hope even now. Her eyes fall on the smiling faces and bright flag as the man shoves her to the ground, planting her face in the dirt with his boot.

Nazeeya's heart races to the sound of steel as he unsheathes his Gurkha knife. Freedom comes in many forms. She closes her eyes against the harsh world. With a whoosh of his blade her red blood stains the brilliant blue of her sari and splatters her crumpled hope.

Freedom shouldn't be a commodity we posses but a way in which we live. I think it's important, and a gift, to use our freedom for the good of others. If you're interested in responding to the need, here is a website that sells jewelry made by young women rescued from the horrors of human trafficking, offering them dignity and hope, setting them free.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Real Deal

I'm not Ann Voskamp, or one of a dozen other amazing authors, I'm not sure if that fact dismays or delights me. It's been on my mind lately and I've been wrestling it into submission. 

Two different blog posts on friend's sites recently prompted these responses from me.
Why do I write? Does the world really need another novel, another blog post, another e-book. Yes and no. The entire world may not need to hear what we need to say, but our sphere of influence does. Words of hope, words of healing, words of wisdom or challenge, words of joy, of meaning, of beauty, they are our gift to the hearts of those around us. Loved ones and strangers alike. Our hearts long to connect and words allow us to do just that. 
I've been pondering lately, how I can be the best me, who honors God, if I'm worried about being someone else?

Are you being the best you possible? Do you wonder if what you do matters?  I say it does. One of my favorite quotes is from Jim Elliot, “Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” 

It may be that my words and actions, led by Jesus, impact one person or one hundred. But that's up to God. He can use whomever he wants however he wants. Our responsibility isn't the size of the audience, the budget, the talent, ours is the responsibility of submission and obedience.

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do," Ephesians 2:10. Don't offer the world a copy of someone else, offer the gift of you, uniquely created to honor God, pointing others to the truth of Christ. 

I want to hear your story. What dreams has God given you, what are you gifted for, what are you offering to others?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Just A Man

I saw something yesterday that I can't shake. It's niggling me. I saw a man. Let me explain. I watched a speech by President Obama. Now, before you start stepping onto your band wagon or soap box, sit back down, this isn't one of those posts.

No I didn't see a demon or a savior, as he is so often painted. I saw a man. A man with tired eyes, graying hair, and a flat voice. I could be wrong but it appeared to me I saw a man loosing heart. A man who has been fighting a battle far bigger than himself for longer than he has the resources or energy.

Ideologically I don't agree with President Obama. Actually when he was elected, to be honest, I flipped out. But I'm not flipping out anymore and quite frankly I have little interest in elections and politics and such. Not because I'm embittered more because I'm liberated. Living in the Kingdom of God here and now, destined for the Kingdom of God later, is perspective changing.

Previously, I saw President Obama as the enemy. But I don't anymore. He's not our enemy. Our own hate is. If we have been born into the family of God through the sacrifice of Jesus and power of the Holy Spirit we have very few enemies. Death isn't our enemy, it's been defeated; people aren't our enemy, God is greater; circumstances aren't our enemy, they are temporary.

No, our greatest enemy is our own self. Our own pride, lust, fear, or indifference; they are the enemy of intimacy with God. Not the president. 

And yet I see sound bites and words flying across the internet and hear conversations that drip with vitriol and disdain. But the president shouldn't be our enemy. He should be the focus of our prayers and compassion. We all want a scape goat, and President Obama is a natural target, but he's the wrong one. No one person ruins a country. We all have.

I think there is enough gluttony, self-centeredness, apathy, and prayerlessness to go around for us to all indulge in a little humility and repentance. What concerns me is our pride. How can we speak about grace for others but not offer it to the president, as if he's too bad for it? But God says he expects something different from his children.

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God... rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.... Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:1,8,12

If we are raised in rebirth with Jesus Christ our real life is in him, and his leadership is unshakable no matter who is president. Fear is improper for people living in the reality of eternity. Malicious, hateful words have no place in our speech, they are a denial of our birthright of grace. I have no doubt God meant that applies to all people we speak to or about, from our children to our president. If we join in the mudslinging debate we are wallowing in the filth of this world. Clothing ourselves in compassion, humility and gentleness lifts us above that mess.

Yesterday, for the first time, I saw a man. And I repented from my slander and hate. I prayed for compassion and kind eyes. And I prayed that I, and my brothers and sisters, would do my part in the reformation of society. Not by yelling at the unrighteous but by living in bold conviction and authentic love. 

It is our duty to speak up for the unborn, the poor, the disabled. It's also our responsibility to care for them. It's not our duty or right to turn that love for the needy into hate for others. Certainly we can speak about what is good and right for all people without ungracious words for someone else. 

If God had treated us with the gracelessness we have a tendency to treat others with, when we were dead in our sin, what hope would we have had? I'm thankful he's not like us but that we can become like him. I invite you. Look and see a man. A man that needs grace, just like you. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Gift of Right Expectation

Yesterday I wrote about not being enough. Not enough to satisfy other people, or accomplish anything on my own really. Only Jesus is enough to satisfy and to overcome our weaknesses. 

Today I'm wondering, do we allow Jesus to be enough for others as well? Grace let's others off the hook. It is a right expectation that they can never be enough to satisfy or fulfill us. Grace says, your weaknesses are covered by Jesus' righteousness. Grace has orderly expectations of God and of people. 

I'm not saying we don't hold other Christ followers accountable to a righteous life. And I'm not saying that we don't desire those living in sin to be reconciled to God.

I'm saying we live out our relationships with others, even the hard parts of confrontation and restoration, with a heart remembering that we ourselves are not enough. Expecting others to be enough to get it right all the time, please God in their own strength, and never disappoint us, is unwise and unkind. 

I think that may be what God meant when he inspired Proverbs 16:18. "Pride goes before destruction,  a haughty spirit before a fall." He hates it when his children, whom he saved when they couldn't save themselves, forget their humble beginnings and deal harshly with others. When we expect others to be enough we're saying we can be perfect ourselves, which is a lie, and God opposes that lie in our lives for our own liberation.

I have to confess, I have struggled for years with this. But God has faithfully been stripping away spiritual pride. Of course I'm disappointed when leaders don't lead, peers stumble, those who should know better don't. But the reason I'm disappointed has changed. Instead of being offended by the short comings of others, it's my love for Jesus' bride that desires the health and well being of it's members.

I've lived too long with the proverbial plank in my eye, running around pointing out others specks, their not enoughness. But I don't think the size of the sin is the issue in that teaching, I think the ownership is. Our own issues should be foremost in our lives, our sin, our obedience is our primary responsibility. It's not that we aren't supposed to assist others with their own speck. It's that we need to deal with our junk, recognize in humility the that we have junk, and remember it's a privilege to assist others with their messiness.

Not an easy task, to admit we are not enough and allow others that same freedom. But what a liberating way to live; our eyes on Jesus, trusting his righteousness for us all. Our devotion in prayer for the church body and our families, our gift of forgiveness, our hopeful expectation, are all evidence of faith in the One who is enough for us all.

Ephesians 5:1-2, "Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

Is it harder for you to accept weakness in yourself or in another? Ask God to help you extend life giving grace today.

Monday, July 16, 2012


I wrote this post on Tuesday but Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama prompted us to write about ENOUGH for our Five Minutes this Friday. So I'm linking this post up with her. It's more than five minutes and not written on Friday but it's the best I've got for - Enough:

I am not enough. Not strong enough, smart, pretty, kind, or good enough. I am not enough to avoid disappointing you. I am not enough to please you. I am not enough to raise my kids or accomplish my dreams. I am not enough to satisfy my husband.

And it feels good to say so.

I'm thankful to admit it. The expectation of being enough is like shackles dragging as I shuffle through my days when I try to carry that heavy burden. I turn on everything around me, pugnacious and resentful. Wishing I could fool you and myself into believing I am what I'm not. Working to hide what I don't want anyone to see. Hiding that I'm not enough.

But it's better to beat life to the punch. I choose to lay down the mask. Stop the charade. Confess before I can be accused. I am not enough. It's what scares me every day, when I let it. What if. 

What if I'm not enough to go to Serbia, what if I'm not enough to publish a book. What if I'm not enough to homeschool my kids. What if I'm not enough to be a good neighbor, friend, wife. What if my worship isn't enough. What if I'm not enough.

What if I'm not enough to please God. Isn't that what I'm really saying? And of course I'm not enough which is the point of Jesus' holy life offered in exchange for my broken one. "Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit," John 19:30. I have absolutely nothing I can add to that statement or that precious final payment.

All that's left for me now is to put on the righteousness of Jesus like a garment that covers up my not enoughness. And then live in it. I may not be enough but he certainly is. Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
I am not enough. Really. Are you? Are you tired of trying to be enough? Then slip on the righteousness of Jesus offered freely for you, you'll have to let go of all of yourself to take hold of it, but really it's worth it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Beauty Calls

Sometimes life pounds hard, zips past, and makes demands. Even if it's just the simple routine of work and dishes and bills. And sometimes, really all the time if we're listening, beauty calls out. Her voice isn't demanding though. It's gentle as a mother's, salty as an ocean breeze; full of nuance and flavor, whispering of rest, joy and healing. Beauty is a gift. God's gift, an intimate part of his created order. I wonder if enjoying his gift of beauty is a form of worship, an expression of thanks.

This Sunday, after the work and privilege of worshiping God, our family took time for the work and privilege of enjoying beauty, together. It was hot and we (okay me) snapped once or twice, but it was lovely and satisfying to be together. It's a whole other experience living near water, one that we're discovering the joys of bit by bit. These pictures were all taken in Pensacola, Florida, enjoy.

Our lunch view at The Fish House, best grits EVER!

My sassy southern belle!

I loved the artistry of this charming old church.

A peak inside.

Live oaks! Living poetry in a park.

Live oaks are prone to long limbs that break.
I love their solution to offering the trees support!

My water baby enjoying the splash of a pretty fountain.

Southern architecture delights my senses.
I love the balance and decorum of this house with it's cheery mustard walls.
Beauty makes us better. Where have you seen beauty lately? Won't you share with us how you answer beauty's call?

Friday, July 6, 2012

A letter to the church from a pastor's wife

Dear Church

When I was twelve I fell in love with you. I remember it happening. My father opened the Word like breaking bread and painted a picture of a love story. Am I mixing my metaphors? He spoke and I saw the obsession in his eyes like a disease compelling his actions and eating at him from the inside. I saw visions of white and lace, a husband and wife, a community of siblings, love and acts of honor, noble sacrifice, joyful communion and rich fellowship. A quest. I had never seen it in action, in real life, but I heard the memory, like a rumor, lifting off the pages of truth.

Here I am now. Over twenty years since those early days of wide eyed wonder. Years have slipped by since that first breathless commitment to serve. And I bear the battle scars of that love. You can't see them, like the scars of motherhood that stretch across my skin, these lines are etched in my heart. In secret places. But they're there. I feel them at night sometimes, throbbing in the darkness. They don't hurt after a careless word or thoughtless action, no those happen in life, all of us say things we regret. It's after my husband is devalued or his gifts mocked, it's when his honor is questioned, or my love isn't good enough. It's when we become invisible or worse, the enemy. When I see young believers devoured, heavy laws laid across their backs, and the hunger for grace creeps into their expression. It's when Jesus is obscured by fear or pride or envy or hate and the blame lies at our feet. Because we've called sin by it's real name and, really, rebellion is easier than love. That's when my scars hurt.

I haven't been in a location yet that didn't leave a scar. At first I flinched and resented the marring. But I don't anymore, at least most days. I've seen some men and women develop a resentment and run away. I understand that but I can't do it. I think it's because I love your Bridegroom more than I love you and my love for him gives my love for you value, meaning, and purpose. And of course I recognize that I'm not guiltless. I've let you down too. Your heart bears the marks of my shortcomings and graceless moments.

But I have a request. Instead of me loving in spite of and through it all, why not let's try something new? Why not allow me to love you and you love me back. Like I'm your friend or daughter or sister, your very own, and we belong to each other because we belong to Christ. And let's not forget him. Let's do everything for his sake and by his Spirit as if he's more important than blue jeans, and coffee in the sanctuary, and favorite songs, and drums on the worship band, and you sat in my pew. Because then maybe I won't be embarrassed inviting a neighbor to church and maybe they'd come and just maybe they'd see Jesus too.

I really want to love you. You're stuck with me, I have no where else to go. I'm like a dog on a scent and it smells like rain on the horizon. Like the Spirit's going to fall. And I wouldn't miss it for anything. But I've stood in the storm before, wind tossing to and fro. I've heard the thunder and felt the hair raise on my arm, only to have the hot wind of pride kick up and chase the storm away. And each time I've stood bereft at what we've all just lost, the promise of less of us and more of Him. And inevitably we go our own way because the memory of what just happened is too raw to bear. But one day I'll be there, face down in the dirt, when the cloud breaks over us. I'll grab your hands and we'll dance around like children in the free flowing grace, and forgiveness will stream down our cheeks. It's what I live for, most days, and if it doesn't happen on this earth it will happen on another, at a banquet, with a Lamb.

So you see, you're stuck with me, it's inevitable. But I have one last request. Instead of making it a chore for me to love you, could you make it a joy?

Your Sister,

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. Hebrews 13:17

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Set Free

Love of self kills our freedom in Christ.
"Do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love." Galatians 5:13
Conforming to the image others have for us, out of fear, leaves us prisoners.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1
Laws; self imposed, government imposed, church imposed, never lead to freedom.
"I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts." Psalm 119:45
 Searching for freedom in the face of another love is dangerous.
"He has sent me [Jesus] to proclaim freedom for the prisoners... to set the oppressed free." Luke 4:18b-19a
 Freedom on earth is a temporary truce, anything else is surrender.
"Creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God." Romans 8:21
 Pride tears down freedom. Man never authors freedom he enters into it.
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 
2 Corinthians 3:17
 We don't fight for freedom, as something to win, we live in it. 
"In him we may approach God with freedom and confidence." Ephesians 3:12
 Freedom without responsibility, love, or self-sacrifice  is not freedom, it is petulant self-indulgence.
"Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil." 1 Peter 2:16
Freedom is everywhere, if we're looking for it. It takes eyes focused, not on ourselves, or others, but on the crucified and risen Christ Jesus. 

"For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality... Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory." Colossians 2:17, 3:1-4
That is the ultimate freedom!
 Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! - Patrick Henry

Can we resonate in our spirits with Patrick Henry's sentiment. Is there any sin, or law, or pleasure that binds us to anything other than true freedom in Christ? This week of celebrated liberty do you live set free, liberated in joy? What's holding you back from living in freedom today? 
{The content of this post has been recycled from an archived post dated August 31, 2011.}

Monday, July 2, 2012

Holding Hands ~ A link up and update

I'm linking up with my friend Ellen Stumbo. She offers a writing prompt every Monday. This week the prompt is; Holding Hands.

Today hands I've never held fill my mind. Hands of scrawny children that reach between the bars of a crib that might as well be a prison. Hands of adults that behave and think more like children. Who need people to have courage to love them and offer them the gift of touch.

I contemplate my reservoirs of courage and compassion and wonder if they are full enough. Certainly not. I'm trusting Jesus for that.

It's so hard for me to imagine vulnerable, needy children laying in bed at night without a mother to dry their tears or chase away bad dreams. Does their whole life stretch out before them as one long nightmare? I can't imagine days without a daddy to pick them up and hug them, without the hand of love to clasp little fingers, without a gentle voice to teach them.

If you've followed my blog for long you know that God has put the need of Serbia's disabled orphans on my mind. It's been a long journey and I still have far to go but I'm getting closer. I have been welcomed to visit an institution in Veternik, near the city of Novi Sad. God has been so faithful to open doors along the way and I'm trusting he will continue to lead!

For those of you who have prayed and encouraged me, thank you! I hope you will continue with me on this journey of love for the least of these.

Here are some ways you can pray:

- For continued open doors and contacts as plans are made. For soft hearts that are open to the love of Jesus, new ideas, and changes in the institutions.

- For resources, financial and otherwise. It will cost several thousand dollars for myself and a companion to travel to Serbia and spend a couple of weeks there. I'm also planning on taking physical resources to the institution; clothes, bedding, diapers, medical supplies, etc, which will need to be shipped.

- For the disabled children and adults we will meet. My prayer is "Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them." Psalm 10

- For courage as we go. I've never stepped so far outside my comfort zone, while at the same time been so sure of God's leading. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and fearful even in the excitement of following God.

- For God to raise up people to respond to the needs we find in the institution. People to go on short term mission trips, people to support financially, to support in prayer, and to give other resources the institution may need.

Thank you for praying and stay tuned for updates!