Wednesday, October 24, 2012

some updates on ministry

Hey all, I wanted to give some updates on some things God has been doing in our lives and the lives of those we are involved in.
   I am (Melissa) happy to say my friend Kayla and her family are doing good. God has been blessing them with their business of selling salgados. Everyday they bake and sale these door to door and at their kids school. They seem to be making enough money to buy food, diapers and clothing. They have been also hungry for fellowship with other Christians  and attend church with us on a regular basis. Our church here has welcomed them with open arms and continues to help them with their physical needs as well. Kayla and I have started again with our discipleship. Tuesday mornings we go the house of our friend Anna (she attends our church to) and breaks down the word for Kayla. It’s been so cool to see how God really does what he says “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Praise God for all he has been doing in their lives. Please continue to pray for them that they would be strengthened by God’s word and keep growing and trusting Him.
  Also on Tuesdays Ben and I have been going to Bolivia, He goes into the prison with Ricco and others to encourage the believers there and to share God’s love. I personally haven't been inside the prison, I have been at the gates though and sometimes can’t believe that there are children living there. Our pastor Altair went yesterday and explained in detail what the inside looked like to me and Luryan. He was shocked to find out 26 men sleep in one room with only two fans. it might not sound that bad but if you felt the heat here you’d realize how bad that is. The men there have heat rash and also I have seen it on the girls. Not to mention mosquito bites and disease from such a cramped environment. I’m not trying to paint a horrible picture that you would feel bad but that you would pray.
  I have been reading a lot about the structure there in Bolivia. The government really tries to keep the families together even if one ends up in prison. They believe that it is better for the children to stay bonded with their parents than to live on the streets or with other family members that can’t even afford to feed them. I get that I even agree to but not all prisons in Bolivia are a picture perfect situation for kids to be growing up in. Now do I want them living on the streets..No.. do I want them living with relatives that don’t love or care for them..No. I do know that there has to be be another option for these children. Ricco and his wife are praying and trusting that the Lord will provide a way for these kids in Puerto Suarez to have a safe and loving environment to grow up in. Please continue to pray for them and that the doors will open fully for this to happen.
   When Ben goes to the prison me and some girls from the church pick up the little girls that live in the prison and bring them to the missionary base. Where we invite other neighborhood girls to a little bible school. Where we have stories, crafts, snacks and this week a puppet show. Please pray for us to show God’s love to the girls and also the moms that have been coming. Also for our Spanish..I speak zero..thank God for others that do.
    This last weekend we were able to go to Porto Esperanca. It seems like every time we plan to go something comes up. I get sick or Ben does or the car breaks down or something else happens but this weekend thank God we were good. Ben’s parents went with us, His father shared in the church on Saturday night and Ben translated for him. The message he shared really impacted me and the leader of the church there. There is a huge need for discipleship there. A one on one, life on life kind of discipleship. Our church here plans on going on the 10th of November to do some remolding and fixing some problems with the church building. Then again on the 24th of November for the anniversary of the church. Ben and I plan on going again along with Adam and Bethany who will be here on the 15th of November.:) YEAH!!!!! Again please pray that God would use us and our church here to really disciple the believers there and that the church there would grow.  
    As for myself and my family we are doing well. God has personally been challenging me to trust Him, to have faith in Him and to seek Him whole heartedly. I just finished reading the autobiography of George Muller and have been really challenged in these things. God wants to bless his children and wants to use us for His purposes. Am I willing to wake up early everyday to seek Him? Am I willing to give with no thought of return? Am I willing go outside of my comfort zone and touch the brokenhearted? Do I believe God can actually do the things He says He will do in His word?  I hope so..I’m praying and will have faith that He will accomplish what he wants to through me. It might take my whole life.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What will we sacrifice?

Today I find myself asking what am I willing to sacrifice for the sake of the gospel. For the sake not only of the gospel but to go to those who seem to have no value. We find ourselves at the end of a lonely highway in the middle of nowhere. Spending time with neighbors, going to a prison in a nowhere frontier town, in slums, a tribal village.

If I get real honest when I look at most of these people they are never going to matter much, not in the way we think of as a society. They are very unlikely to change, to get educated, to tithe, to send their kids to college. Maybe a few in our neighborhood as society is making more room for that here, but the tribal kids I was with today? 2012 they are living in mud huts, sitting there chewing coke leaves, drinking terere without much ambition or teeth. Thank you Ricco for passing it to me.

Worse yet are some of the prisoners. Not only are they unlikely to contribute to society they are a drain. Two new guys today were in a dirty, disgusting little processing cell. They asked us to pray for them. Ricco asked why they were there, the one we could understand said he beat up his woman for trying to leave him. Great, a #@#$$#@ and I was praying for him.

We have other connections too, some of which seem more important, or at least easier to stomach. Still Corumba is the end of the world and not likely to amount to much. Even if I became a great missionary to the wealthiest people here no one who didn’t already know me would be likely to hear of me.

It could be easy to convince myself to go back to the US, to minister in my own culture. Shoot I could work at McDonalds, be far more comfortable, lead a bible study, do outreach with our church and it would be just as valid and important of ministry. There is no great high calling in being here.

I could really get ambitious and go pastor a church somewhere in the US making a fair living, be in easier circumstances and be used by God just as much as here.

What is it that makes us stay? Even more to be excited to stay? What is it that makes the price seem so small to love the people who don’t deserve it?

Today I really believe it is because I get to taste, touch and sense what God’s heart for me might be. You see I don’t really feel that way about the people I describe above. It is doubtless how I would feel without God’s love though. Equally as doubtless that in truth I am far more worthless then them to God.

Ricco preached today at the prison and I just enjoyed listening. He shared how Jesus called Lazarus from the dead but spiritually speaking we are all dead without Christ. Amen.

In Christ I am no longer the dirty prisoner that makes me uncomfortable to talk to. I am a loved child of him that can take joy in sharing that love with others. Sharing that love with those that don’t deserve it, all of us.

What an amazing Lord we have, if he can place value in those beautifully dirty tribal people there may be a little hope for me.