His Little Feet

(the link to the sponsor page was the wrong one earlier…I fixed it now.)

I’ve written about them in the past, and they still grip my heart to this day.

It’s been a few weeks since our last international children’s choir went back to their countries. It was a heart-wrenching time of saying goodbye, but oh! what peace and joy came in knowing that each one of these precious hearts was in surrender to their King as they were being sent back into the world as shining lights of TRUTH!

I heard an update about them this past weekend, and tears welled up again. Oh, precious children, you will never be forgotten!

The choir this time was a group of children from Honduras and Ethiopia. Oh my . . . be still my heart. I’ve heard that one of the little girls from Ethiopia is back in her orphanage and spends all of her time ministering to those around her–staff, children, everyone she comes in contact with. This little girl has a precious heart of service and love for those around her. Oh, sweet girl!

Another is on fire for the Lord and hasn’t been able to stop telling everyone he meets there in Ethiopia about Him. It puts me to shame that I’m not that willing to tell those I meet about the One I claim means the most to me. Thank you for your devotion, passion, and surrender, dear young man–God has already used you in mighty ways!

Two brothers that came together have taken it upon themselves to teach their whole orphanage back in Ethiopia the whole song and dance routine from their concerts. They’re taking it very seriously and really pouring into these children’s lives. What precious hearts these young boys have!

What an honor to get to live on the same campus as these precious children each year. To love them, to hold them, to tuck them in at night and hear their prayers . . . to pour the love of Jesus into children from all over the world!

Not ten minutes ago, I signed up for the His Little Feet 5k Walk/Run to help raise money for this upcoming choir from India and Ethiopia. The staff at HLF have invited the students/staff/interns here at the Ellerslie campus to help them in raising a certain amount that they need to be able to bring in this next group of little ones. I have a page to help them raise this amount, and I’d love for you to be able to participate, too! If you’re local, you should definitely consider joining in on the actual 5k Run–much fellowship, laughter, water, singing, and fresh air is to be had in copious amounts. If you’re not local, there is an option on that page I just linked to to help sponsor a runner–me! …well, actually, I guarantee I will not be running. I will be walking. ;) …

I’ve never done anything like this on my blog before, but I so love the passion for the Lord that this ministry has the way the Lord is using them to touch the lives of hundreds of children and adults throughout the world. I’m friends with the directors of HLF, and their lives have deeply impacted mine and have constantly driven me to the feet of my Saviour. So honored to know them!
Again, please visit this link to donate and sponsor me as a runner/walker and reach out to these precious children!

His Little Feet Sponsor Donation Page

Tonight’s Thoughts

Tonight is a night where everything is so still that I can almost palpably feel the nearness of my Jesus.

Tonight He is whispering to my heart with words of love and truth.

Tonight I am grieving over my own hardness of heart.

Tonight I am thankful for weakness and pain.

Tonight I am unable to sleep because of the aching in my heart.

Tonight is a night of peace and contentment; a night of longing and searching.

Tonight is a night of sweet worship in adoration of my beloved King.

Tonight is the sort of night I’d love to be taking a ramble in the woods, peeking up into the stars above between the branches of the trees, reveling in the majesty of creation.

Tonight, the cry of my heart is “Desiderio Domini!” (“I dearly long to be with my Lord”)

Tonight I am thankful. So very thankful.

Tonight I am realizing afresh my own unworthiness, and the utter worthiness of my God.

Tonight the tears are falling as I pray for my brother who does not yet know the reality of a life lived for Christ.

Tonight my arms are aching for the hugs of my dear kiddos in Africa, and the ones I’ve not yet met all over the world.

Tonight I am hungering and thirsting for more of my Jesus.

Tonight is a sweet gift from God.

An Overwhelming Love

(This post was originally written on January 24, 2010.)

 

As we were walking down the red dirt road home from church, I noticed something I hadn’t seen on the way there as I had been too intent on making sure we were going the right way and taking all the turns we needed to take.

There was a “village” of sorts just down the street from where we went for church. The whole place was literally made of rusted metal pieces and cardboard. The “houses” (which weren’t even big enough to stand up in) looked like they were mostly falling over, and people had attempted to prop them up with sticks. There were clotheslines throughout the place with ragged clothes and blankets strung across them. Women hunched over small fires. Dogs wandered slowly around, scrounging for scraps.

(this isn’t the actual village, but it’s one nearby which looks a bit more “high-class” than the one I’m talking about . . . just to give you a bit of a visual.)

It was one of those sights that you don’t think you’ll ever see other than in a National Geographic magazine…you assume subconsciously that there isn’t actually anyone still out there that lives like that in the 21st century.

I got a little choked up as I dealt with the emotions of actually seeing such poverty first-hand for the first time, but we continued walking down the path. It was only a few seconds until I heard the happy laughter of children. I looked behind me and there were about 2 dozen kids running towards us. One little girl came up and grabbed my hand and laughed merrily up at me–she appeared to be about six or seven years old. I clung tightly to her hand and tried not to cry as I asked her her name.

“Lydia.” She laughed again.

As I was watching Lydia’s beaming face, a hand clutched at my other arm. I looked over and there was a beautiful girl who looked to be 10 years old. She was holding a baby. I smiled and asked her her name.

“I am Brenda!” She held tighter to my arm. I drew my arm in so her hand was against me.

I told both the girls my name. Brenda’s face lit up and she motioned to the baby in her arms. “This is Grace, too! You both are Grace.” I found out that the baby was her sister and they all lived back in the village. By this time there were about three little kids holding onto my left hand, Lydia was clutching my wrist, a little boy was holding my right hand, and Brenda still had my arm…the rest were all trailing behind, pushing and laughing to have a turn to hold my hand. As soon as she had a chance, Brenda took my hand and interlaced her fingers through mine. She squeezed tightly and said “I want you to be my friend.”

I choked back more tears and told her I would love to be her friend. She sighed happily and started swinging our hands back and forth as she skipped along next to me, still holding her baby sister. Little Lydia put herself in charge of making sure that all the littlest kids who were running along to keep up had a chance to hold my hand. She never let go herself, but clung to my wrist, and would call the other children and let them hold my hand–about three of them at a time. It was absolutely precious. I wanted to stay with those kids all day long!

We eventually got back home and had to tell them goodbye. They waved and ran off to head back to their homes in the village. I wanted to run with them and play with them. I wanted to love on them and be their friend. I want to go back to that village and see them.

As I sit here typing this, I’m looking at my hand. I still have dirt all the way up my arm from their sweaty grimy hands. I don’t want to wash it off.

The thing that struck me was how happy and joyful these children were. It was an absolutely beautiful thing to see!

What could I say?

Have you ever said “When I get to heaven, I’m going to ask God _______”?

I have.

There are some confusing things in this world.

One of those questions that haunts me is why does He allow poverty, desperation, hunger, injustice in this world? He can do something about it–why doesn’t He? I’d like to sit down and talk to Him about this . . . ask Him directly.

But then I’m afraid . . . what would I say if He asked me the same thing?

The Father’s Heart

Africa has been so strongly on my heart lately.

My heart is literally breaking.

I had the most vivid dream last night–it was more realistic than any I’ve ever had before.

When I woke up and realized that I was not actually snuggled up under a mosquito net with my babies . . . my heart ached and my eyes overflowed with tears.

It’s easy not to care when one doesn’t know the names and faces of those in need.

I have begged God to give me His heart–to break my heart for what breaks His. And oh, He has answered. He has shown me faces, He has told me the names. I vividly see the faces of those starving, the faces of those being abused, the faces of those abandoned, the faces of those overlooked, the faces of the hurting, the faces of the hated. I deeply love them.

I can’t not care.

I am so thankful to know that my heart is broken for that which breaks the heart of our Father.

I’ll be transparent and say that I didn’t realize how painful this answer to prayer would be–but it’s a pain I’m thankful to carry.

Jesus, continue to soften my heart towards the things which are nearest and dearest to You. You are a Father to the fatherless!

One Year

A year and two days ago I was hugging my family and friends goodbye in the Denver airport.

One year ago today, I had flown across the ocean, spent 12 hours in Germany, and was now landing in Uganda.

I took a deep breath as the wheels touched down on the runway.

I was in Africa.

 

I still, a year later, haven’t yet found words to describe the emotions that were going on inside of me. The emotions that are still running rampant in my heart.

God gave me a lot that day.

A burden in my heart.

 

A depth of love that I had never experienced for people I didn’t even know.

 

A true peace, even in the face of huge “unknowns”.

 

Glimpses of joy in the face of desperation, poverty, and desertion.

 

Visions of God’s heart that I still haven’t yet comprehended.

 

A deeper desire to know my God.

 

The reality of what it would truly mean to spill ones life for the glory of God.

 

And lots and lots of memories that are still working in my heart and life to draw me ever closer to God.

 

(as an aside: I’m not allowed to post direct pictures of the kids that I worked with while in Africa, but, believe me, if I was, you’d be completely inundated. Completely. Inundated.)

Right Where I’m At

Sometimes I long to be back so much it hurts.

I can feel the red dirt on my feet–it seemed like it would never come off, and deep inside I wished that it wouldn’t.

I can feel those arms wrapped tightly around my neck–oh, that I would never have had to let go!

I can feel the damp heat. I can smell the laundry hanging on the lines. I can hear the large birds squawking in the trees nearby. I can hear the laughter of beautiful brown children. I can hear the boda drivers on the corner, hoping I’ll choose them. I can smell the market. I can hear the laughter and banter from the mamas. I ache to hold and love the dear street children with deep dark eyes.

I pray God will allow me the privilege of going back someday, but . . . today? I am here.

God has me right here and I am content.

I have realized that Africa isn’t the only place where there are people who desperately need love. It isn’t the only place where one can see God perform miracles. I don’t need to fly halfway around the world and be in less-than-physically-desirable conditions in order to grow closer to God. My relationship with the Lord should not and can not have anything to do with where I am in the world.

Because of my deep love for my Jesus, wherever I am, I am with Him. And I choose to always strive to bring Him glory–no matter the circumstances or situations around me! I choose to live for Him!

I love it right where I am.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t jump on a plane tomorrow and head back overseas if God so lead, though.