Tag

hope

Glimpses

By | Blog, Involve, Personal

It’s like one of those stormy days when you know the sun is out there, but you just can’t see it.  And then the sun peeks through.  And is covered once more.  Everything in view is gloomy and overcast.  Your heart cries out for a breakthrough.

That imagery describes much of this journey we’ve had with Lovekin.  Right now that story is full of storms…

Yesterday we received lab results from one of the most advanced medical facilities in Haiti which confirmed her HIV+ status and provided a plan to deal with her infections, fever and malnutrition.  Lovekin had been experiencing diarrhea so it is difficult to know from her health condition if she was receiving the formula and medicine that we had provided, or if her grandmother had been giving it to others.  Her grandmother did not understand the severity of Lovekin’s challenges, but she does now.  She wept profusely when it was explained to her.  She worries for Lovekin’s older brother and sister who now must be tested also.

Lovekin’s family knew her father’s identity, though he had not been involved.  Our team located him yesterday after returning from the clinic and told him that Lovekin was HIV positive and that he needed to get tested as well.  He was outraged, demanded to be given his baby and yelled at the messengers.  He blamed Lovekin’s mother for the baby’s health.  Apparently he is in poor health also, and another woman to whom he was married had previously died from an unknown condition.  If you read between the lines, you begin to see the potential “tip of the iceberg” of how an epidemic spreads – but that story is for another day.

When does the sun break through in this storm?  Well, a partner of ours has connected us to an orphanage which cares for HIV+ children and after meeting with the director, the facility is open to taking Lovekin.  It’s not a done deal, but there is a glimpse of hope.  Now, we need the father and the grandmother to sign their rights away so that we can help her.  This might seem callous, but the sad reality is that either of them might presume that by keeping Lovekin they will benefit financially and materially from aid and donations.  But her best hope for survival is caregivers who have the training and support to give Lovekin medication on a regular schedule, meet her nutritional needs, can care for her safely and prevent illness and transmission of disease, and every other core need this child has.

There is a long road ahead, and we’re walking it together.  So thankful that we are walking it with you and know that above the gloomy skies is our God in heaven.

For those who wish to understand more about HIV and AIDS, here is a non technical overview of HIV in children and babies.  For those who want to help us provide for Lovekin’s immediate needs, we invite you to donate to the Lovekin Fund, which will remain dedicated to her care, and in the event that the funds exceed her needs or her lifespan, they will be used to support the neediest children in Haiti.

Through New Eyes

By | Blog, Envision, Involve

LaurenThis guest post is from Lauren Anderson, a young mother of two who participated in the August 2014 Haiti Mission Team with our humanitarian outreach, the Chanje Movement.  We are thrilled to be able to share her observations and experience:

There is so much I’ve learned this last year with my involvement in Chanje. One of the greatest lessons I learned is that sometimes when God calls you, it starts as a whisper. The whisper calling me to go to Haiti was gentle at first, so much so that I even ignored it. But overtime it began to grow to a point where it was so loud and so clear that if I were to have said no it would have felt like direct disobedience to God’s plan for me. When I finally agreed, I didn’t even know where Haiti was on a map! I thought it was in Africa!

Before long I found myself with 28 other people who answered “Yes!” to the call and we were on our way together to a small island that’s a two hour plane ride away from Miami airport. After just the first day in Haiti, a different level of understanding swept over me like a heaviness. To be honest, I was rather surprised by it’s weight. I thought over the past several years that I knew all about what was to come. I had seen the pictures that our missionaries shared in church, I had watched the footage on the news, I had listened to the stories, I had even been moved to tears… But nothing can prepare you for what it is to physically step in and experience this other world that exists outside of your daily reality. For me, it was all about the connection. It was about making a connection to the people. A connection to their suffering. A connection to their struggles. A connection to their pain. A connection to their endurance. And most importantly – a connection to their hope.

In seven days, there were times that I felt overwhelmed. There were moments where the ability to keep a brave face breaks down and the tears stream out of even the biggest, burliest, toughest males of the group. There were times I would turn to the veterans for assurance that we were making a difference, and with a brutal explanation of what [Haiti had been like] before, I would be calmed by their confidence in God’s work being done. Nonetheless, my heart was broken in places that had never been touched. A sense of panic started to form within me throughout the trip… “There’s so much to be done!” “We’ll never be able to help everyone!” “We can’t go home yet – we need to do more!” Every thought of concern felt like a needle in my heart stitching me to this country, it’s people, the children, their suffering. My panic grew to a search for answers to questions I couldn’t quell.

Thankfully, a very patient leader who was experienced in these thoughts and fears simplified a connection to the bigger picture. Dave Brodsky made it so beautifully clear to me and to all of us: we are not here to simply help provide food, water, clothes and shelter… for if that were all we brought with us – how hopeless would we feel once we left? It is not our main goal to build up lives here on earth; it is our great mission to build up lives in eternity. If we were simply focused on making everyone’s lives on earth more comfortable, we would certainly lose hope. But our hope is in the Lord and His promises. In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 it says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (NKJV) 

Keeping the focus on this main mission purpose gave me instant relief and a great peace came over me.  Yes, we are going to do our best to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, love the suffering – but it is all in the name of Jesus Christ, being the hands and feet of the Savior of the world, showing the love of our Heavenly Father through acts of service. These beautiful people of Haiti will better understand God’s love by the love He is showing though His missionaries that answer that call and step into their world to make connections that last for eternity.

We can listen and find so many different opportunities to be a faithful servant whether it’s a loud call or a gentle whisper. For some of us it may be a path of action, for some of us it may be by means of financial ability, for some of us it may be by using the gifts God blessed us with to bring glory to His kingdom. Perhaps it can be all of the above and even more… Giving our contributions to those who need it the most. Today I am changed by the connection I have to the people I got to know in Haiti. Today when I pray, I don’t just pray for faces without names – I pray for my friends, I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray for them like I pray for my family. I can’t wait to return to Haiti, but I also find great peace in knowing that even if I don’t get the chance to see each and every Haitian friend once more, we are forever connected in the love of Christ. I will surely see them again in eternity where we will be servants together forever side by side.

To learn more about the Chanje Movement, the humanitarian outreach of The Global Mission, and how you can be involved, please visit www.chanje.org.

 

New Life, New Hope

By | Envision, Media

With the return of the most recent Chanje Movement team, we are thrilled to share these images of the new life and new hope so many found this week through Jesus Christ.  So thankful for our Haitian partners who led the way, opened the doors to new territory, and who stand alongside us in trusting God for the future of Haiti!

httpvh://vimeo.com/104308199

To be a part of this exciting movement, please visit www.chanje.org and consider sponsoring a child, investing in micro-credit, or purchasing an item for one of our projects.

A Fertile Soil

By | Envision

Jesus taught the parable of the soils on multiple occasions (also known as the parable of the sower) as recorded three times in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.  (Yes, if you read the context, they’re not simply synoptic reprints – they are different events.)  He concludes the teaching by inviting those with a thirst for God to pay heed by saying “Let him who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  While this saying may be familiar to many, the intent is overlooked.  Certainly all those in the audience physically had the appendage known as an ear.  In fact, a pair of them.  But Jesus points out that many who have ears don’t use them to listen to truth – they don’t listen to what is important.  Are their hearts available or are they closed off?  He asks his audience to pay attention, because their part in the Kingdom is at stake.

So what is so important to know?  What is it that Jesus wants us to pay attention to, above the noise and distraction of the world?

First, God loves everyone, whether they love Him back or not, whether they even pay attention to Him.  He’s bringing His Word to them and He is extravagant with His generosity.  The sower scatters seed everywhere.  Not just on this spot or that; these regions but not those areas.  Every type of soil receives seed.  Is that wasteful of God to preach His Gospel everywhere?  Is it wasteful if Jesus died for the sins of people who would reject Him?  For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son (John 3:16.)  But while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8.)

Jesus wants us to know that He loves us regardless of whether we love Him back.  Pure grace.  An unqualified gift.

Second, people respond differently to God, and there are rewards and consequences of how we respond.  The beautiful part of God’s love is that we must receive Christ’s sacrifice for us through grace, by faith.  It’s not forced upon us, nor is obedience imprinted in our souls.  There is only one type of soil that the Word will thrive in and bear fruit.  So you actually play a part in determining what type of soil you are.

Jesus wants people to know that He loves them, He is available to them, and they need to respond to Him.  Some won’t listen, some won’t respond.  Some will receive Him and become mature and bear great fruit.  Are you open to that?  Do you have ears to hear?

 

Finding Jesus in the Chaos

By | Blog, Equip, Headfirst, Personal

You may have seen the jokes posted with the tag #FirstWorldProblems.  They ridicule the frustrations of our lives in contrast to the life struggles of the 3rd World.  Some are mean-spirited, but many raise awareness that sometimes our “big problems” are insignificant when held up to the “big picture.”  I’d like to offer one contrast of my own: Too busy for God.  This applies to Christ-followers and unbelievers, but my comments here are intended for the believers who are drowning in this conflict every day.

This isn’t a book, so let’s skip the chapter where I try to convince you that there is chaos in your life and you’ve allowed it to distance you from God.  If you don’t have this problem, move along.  I do, so I’ll just write for myself and you’re welcome to read along as an observer.  (Yeah, I just said that I have chaos in my life, and even the calling to lead a missions ministry has not made me immune.  Actually, it contributes, just like any other occupation.  It just has it’s own unique twists.)

So let’s embrace reality: my work, recreation, health, family, iPhone, friends, hobbies, travel, responsibilities and to-do lists…  they’re all part of a noisy, clanging, distracting battle where focusing on God and my relationship with Him gets obscured and lost.  Not because they are bad things, but because they aren’t Him.  They don’t simply dovetail into a beautiful symphony.  Some people recognize this, begin to re-prioritize, and re-launch the search for the elusive “balance.” (Surely if all my choices are honoring to the Lord, then everything will supernaturally sync.  Right?)

Let’s go after this from the other direction.  I want to find Jesus.  I want Him everywhere in my life.  I want to walk with Him but my life is full of chaos.  Not because I’m making horrible unbiblical decisions.  Rather, because I don’t live in the Garden, and I’m plagued by the consequences of sin and all its deformities.  Death and disease have come into this world, and I must work and sweat and battle.1  Jesus has won the war and I am victorious in Him, but every day until His Kingdom, I must battle.  One of those battles is against chaos.

There are two pillars I’ve learned that guard my soul in the fight against chaos so that I might walk closely with God.  Their names are Peace and Order.  We need to see that when we instill peace in our lives, we restrain chaos.  Peace means more than quiet (though silence is certainly peaceful.)  Quieting my heart means slowing, slowing, stopping.  My mind begins to drift to other thoughts that are not of Jesus…  stop.  Come back.  Slow.  Easy.  Nothing else, just Him.  Peace means surrender – of my soul.  Learning to be present in His presence.  “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”2  How could my heart be still then?  Only in my abandon to the Shepherd of my soul.

Order also restrains chaos.  It is more than structure – putting things in their places so that nothing distracts.  Order is intentionality.  Singularity of purpose.  I have no other agenda.  The Creator brought order out of chaos.  He can do the same in the depths of my heart.  “No weapon forged against you will prevail.”3  Purposefully give Him His rightful place and deny that which brings distraction and disharmony.

When I guard my heart and mind in Christ, when I let His peace and order reign over me, the chaos fades and I can find Jesus.  It’s not easy – surrender never is.  I must lay my will down and lift His cup.  “Not my will but yours be done.”4  It happens in His power or we fail every time.  I’ve been learning to invite God into moments and to ask Him to help me yield to Him.  To usher in His peace and His plan… and to let me come to a stop and purposefully surrender, that I might know Him.  More and more.

This week, the Lord brought to mind how much I need Him every moment.  A hymn came to mind and I decided it would help me build the pillars higher as I battle chaos.  I found this version on YouTube – the author (Sam Robson) seems to have created a number of these moving performances.  It was exactly what I needed to help me enter His presence.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3wSbLa2uGg

  1. Genesis 3:17-19
  2. Psalm 23:5
  3. Isaiah 54:16-17
  4. Luke 22:42

Build Your Kingdom Here

By | Envision, Involve, Media

Our November 2013 mission team of 16 men preached the Gospel in the prisons and in the public squares, reaching hundreds with the Gospel for the first time. Many adults and children children received Christ during our ministry outreach. In addition, hundreds of meals were provided to the hungry, needy and homeless, and the hope of salvation in Christ was presented to many more. This was the second team to visit the new Chanje Lakay shelter for children. Child Sponsorship is now a powerful tool of generational transformation, as we begin support for our third shelter of children.  Micro-Credit programs were advanced for community development.  Thank you for your support!

Enjoy and share!

httpvh://vimeo.com/80757787

Music written and performed by Rend Collective Experiment and available on iTunes, Amazon and wherever music is sold.
Video recorded and produced by Jacob Hart on behalf of The Global Mission
The Chanje Movement (chanje.org) is the humanitarian outreach of The Global Mission, a 501c3 nonprofit.
No photography or videography was allowed in the Haitian prisons.

Just a Day

By | Envision

In the last 24 hours, we:[arrow_list]

  • Got off a plane
  • Fed a family that hadn’t eaten all day
  • Paid for a boy’s funeral
  • Provided food for hundreds of children in Cite Soleil
  • Met with the mayor
  • Taught a young believer how to study the Bible
  • Looked at property to shelter abandoned children
  • Empowered a local pastor who is evangelizing his community
  • Gave hope to a woman who has been fearful and alone
  • Got kissed by a grandfather for bringing him a gift
  • Delivered donated clothes to the unemployed providing an income and a job
  • Had our hearts broken again for Haiti
  • Conspired to bring the Gospel and see transformation in the nations[/arrow_list]

It’s been a good day.

Bringing Chanje

By | Envision, Headfirst, Involve, Media

Chanje is the Haitian Creole word for change – for transformation.  We’ve seen the Lord move so dramatically in Haiti this past year, that we’ve begun calling what we do there a “Chanje Movement.”  Being a part of the transformation means being available to the Lord to change myself, my community and my world, however He directs.  This month, we had an amazing team of people participating in that movement.  Some of those highlights are in the video below, and as things progress we will continue to post the stories, photos and videos of transformation in Haiti.

Chanje Movement team in Haiti, August 2012

We are the Gospel

By | Envision

Powerful words. An amazing concept. That the incarnate Son as the one true God took on human flesh and walked among us. And upon death, resurrection and then ascent into heaven sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in us and use our flesh to bring His love to the world.

Sometimes, from a lack of faith and understanding, I want to ask Jesus what He was thinking. That He would use me to show His love to others. Flawed, failing, imperfect me. And in doing so would bring Himself glory. It is truly awesome.

Today, we went into one of the most dangerous cities in the world, because we knew that Christ was leading us there. This is what I shared with our Haitian brothers who came with us: courage isn’t the absence of fear – it’s following God despite it. Because honestly, we’d be stupid not to be afraid. But I’d rather be afraid while following Jesus than safe, but not following Him. So, strengthened with courage and equipped with the Gospel, we followed Christ into Cité Soleil. After all, Jesus commanded us to go into all the nations – and this tremendously impoverished community is definitely another nation.

We eventually left with three deputies of the zone commander from one of 34 districts and spent the afternoon asking them about their community, their struggles, their needs and their dreams. We shared our testimony and the Gospel with them. No promises were made, because we had no desire to join the ranks of those who have betrayed them. But our hearts were broken for them, their children, their people. Echoing in my mind, yet almost too fragile to escape my lips were my words, “I don’t want to fail them. Jesus, please help me not to fail them.”

We're all in this together

God has positioned us incredibly for reaching out to them and their community. We’ve been offered an invitation to return and bring help. I can’t specify details publicly yet because it would be presumptuous and disrespectful to our trust, but I am astonished at the platform we are being given to reach out. We are the Gospel – the living hands and feet of Jesus to bring hope and peace and love to those desperate for Him and His touch and His power.

Those words were spoken today by one of our amazing allies in Haiti, a man who shakes me more each time I am with him: We are the Gospel. This friend speaks little English but communicates his great love without needing to. He is poor and yet he gives everything away. He has needs, yet he introduces us to others whose needs are greater than his own. When we told him today that his lack of selfishness is inspiring, he replied simply that Jesus chose him to serve the people of the street.

Today, it is no exaggeration to say that I have been in the company of men and angels. It feels as though we’re living like those listed in the Acts of the Apostles, and I can’t wait to turn every page and read the next chapter. The mighty Risen One is actually sharing Himself with the nations through us! Truly, that is incarnational ministry: we are the Gospel.

Benefit Concert

By | Envision, Involve

For those in the Southern California region, we’d love for you to join us at the Haiti Benefit Concert at 6pm this Sunday, January 23, 2011.  The event is being hosted by Crossline Community Church and there is no charge for admission, though it will be preceded by an all-you-can-eat international dinner for $10 beginning at 5pm.  (Dinner will be only $5 for those who purchase a $20 raffle ticket to the drawing for a “missions experience for 2 to Haiti.”)  Raffle tickets and dinner tickets will both be for sale on site, though again, the concert is free.

The music will be performed by Factor V, featuring Martin Gerschwitz of Iron Butterfly.  There will be a free will offering taken during the program, and the winning ticket of the Haiti raffle will be drawn at the conclusion.  (Winner not required to be present to win.)  All proceeds will go to support the ongoing ministry in Haiti.