Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" - Matt. 16:24

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Baby Joao's death

Joao died today.

I don’t understand why a child is born to suffer, only to die 9 months later. I don’t understand why his father has been allowed to experience the loss of his wife and child while the same virus that murdered his family  pulsates through his own body. I do not understand why people go hungry while others kill themselves by overeating. I do not understand why bad things happen to good people.  I don’t understand why so much grace has been abundantly poured out on me while others suffer. As you can see, there is much that I do not understand about this fallen world. 

Baby Joao a few weeks before he passed
There is evil, this I do know. I also know that despite this evil God is still good and loving. God sent his son because of his great love. He cares about his children so much so that he provided the ultimate sin offering, his son.  Through this we have the promise of eternal life, free from suffering.  One day all will be made right, babies will not die of AIDS, mothers will not worry about what they will feed their children and fathers will not mourn.  Until then we have a task, to make this great outpouring of love known. To care for the orphan and widow, to feed the hungry and uplift the downhearted. This is our responsibility as believers, we are the hands of feet of God.

There is a reason God has allowed me to experience what I have here. His extreme love and compassion for these people is evident through the people he has brought here to serve them. These believers have said yes to the call of Christ, to deny themselves, pick up their cross, and follow after him.  So where is everyone else? Where is the church? Christ’s bride has become complacent, self-consumed, lazy, and apathetic to the cries of the poor. She needs to be awakened.

What could be accomplished if the bride of Christ would grasp her lover’s deep compassion for the poor?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Joao's Story

Of all the children that have captured my heart here in Dondo, there is one that stands out.  It is not likely that this little boy will ever grow up to have a voice to tell you his story so I feel compelled to share it for him. I share it in hopes that it might spark something in whoever is reading this to help.

The first day I met Joao he was wrapped in blankets carried by his father to the nutrition center.  I commented to one of the workers that he must have been born just a few weeks ago. I was so excited to hold him! As I held him in my arms I knew that this was not a well-baby, his breaths were shallow and I could feel his bones under the blanket.  His father tenderly undressed him to put him on the scale, he weighed less than 8lbs.  His Dad looked at him with sadness in his eyes, I soon learned why. Joel is 9 months old and his mother died of AIDs soon after his birth. Both the child and the father have AIDS and are getting progressively worse.  

HIV can be transmitted from mother to child through birth or breast milk. The chances of the virus being transmitted this way are reduced to less than 2 percent if the mother is taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) during pregnancy.  The problem is that this medication is not available for everyone.  For those who are able to get the medication they often do not see the need to take it because the symptoms have not become life altering yet or they don’t know they have the virus. If babies who are born with HIV are not treated it is not likely that they live past their 2nd birthday.  

But there is hope! There are organizations all over Africa that are dedicated to getting medication and education to people to stop the spread of AIDS.  CRI is one of them. Whether it is through prayer, money, time, talents or advocacy we can all be a part of not letting Joel’s story become any other child’s story.   

Joao and his Dad.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"Only one thing is needed"

It’s been a great Sunday. I woke up early to spend some time with the Lord, it was much needed. In the busyness of things I have not spent as much time with the Lord as I crave.  I was reminded of a verse from Luke 10 that talks about Mary and Martha; Martha is so busy trying to please Jesus with her work, he says to her “only one thing is needed”. The “one thing” is what her sister Mary is doing, sitting at his feet.  So I sat at his feet today and it was everything I needed. I have to constantly remind the Martha in me to settle down and just bask in the opportunity to spend time with my God! There was a hefty price paid for this opportunity.  Then we went to Rose of Sharon, one of the other interns shared the message then we hung out and played games with the girls for a few hours.  

So! The schedule for this week, lesson Prep on Monday then teaching at the nutrition center tue, wen, and thru mornings.  I will be teaching on Malaria prevention this week! In the afternoons I will be doing home visits with Pascual and Josepha in the afternoons, they are two of the nationals that run the clinic, amazing ladies. During the home visits we will go to the houses of babies to check on them and see if the baby is thriving on the formula.  Then Friday I will spend at the daycare, Cresh. I may try and bring out some puppets! Then we will be going to a birthday bbq for the activistas of project life.  Project Life is a ministry that reaches out to people living with HIV. The activistas are truly the hands and feet of this ministry. They are taught a bible study and then go out into the biros and teach it to others. During the week they go and visit HIV positive people to pray with and encourage them.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

To Serve the Least of These

We prayed, then headed over to the hospital with a bucket of soup and some paper cups.  There were women with babies tied to their backs sitting outside waiting for us. They solemnly followed us in as we set the soup on the table. A gospel message was shared and then the moms lined up to receive the soup.  As they unwrapped the babies and I got closer the sever emaciation became apparent. Two of the babies were unable to hold their heads up because of weakness. Their bones stuck out beneath their thin chalky skin. I prayed over them and then we moved on to the next room.  There were not many patients in the adult room; I got to share some scripture and pray with them.  To see such great human suffering that close is unexplainable. To touch the hand of a baby that has most likely known nothing but poverty and pain and know that you are completely helpless is tough to deal with.  How do you even begin to process that?
For anyone who knows me they can tell you about my deep admiration for Mother Teresa.  She spent the majority of her life caring for orphans and the dying in India. She truly lived a life worthy of Christ. I have always wanted to model my life after this great woman without truly grasping the reality of the work she did. This is not easy. The glorified version of my “dream” has been shattered and I am beginning to truly understand what it means to serve the least of these.

Rose of Sharon

Today we got to spend the afternoon with a group of young ladies through a ministry called Rose of Sharon. We painted nails for hours and several of us got our hair braided. The Rose of Sharon ministry has become one of my favorite times while here. It amazes me how much we connect with the girls even though we both only know a few words of the others language. We point and sign and laugh, it’s the best. Sometimes a translator is available and that opens up a whole new dimension of communication!  I love investing in these girls and look forward to encouraging them to grow closer to the Lord.  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Week One...

Well….To sum up this week is difficult. I have experienced more in this past week then I ever imagined possible. We landed in Beria last Thursday, as we drove into Mozambique the poverty was overwhelming. The first day we took a tour of Dondo and the CRI projects. I have seen numerous pictures and videos of people living in poverty but there is no comparison to being in the midst of it. As I walked through the village, seeing, touching and smelling, my senses were overcome by poverty and the consequences of it.

The next day I spent in the clinic observing. Baby after baby came in and tested positive for malaria, seeing their little bodies ravaged by disease broke my heart. So many of these diseases are completely avoidable; from a health educators prospective the lack of sanitation, proper nutrition and malaria prevention almost angered me. I also felt the weight of how massive the problem of poverty is. But there is hope, God loves the Mozambicans and CRI is doing a great job of making that known.

I have to constantly remind myself that this is not about me, the impact I make on this world is irrelevant as long as my life is a testimony of Christ’s saving power and his name is made known through my obedience to his will. I must accept that poverty will always exist and that this world is never going be perfect, not until Christ returns. As you can see I only got through two days, HA! More later.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Abandoning my Cause

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.”- Acts 17:24-25

Oh, how I have come to love and desire God’s word! Another scripture that I have been changed by recently is Acts 17:24-25. I look at all the suffering and poverty in the world and think, I will go, I will alleviate the suffering. This is my cause and God will help me to accomplish it.I have it all backwards! God does not need me! If he wanted to end suffering he would, he is all powerful. He simply calls me to be an obedient vessel. His glory is above all else, including my desire to see the needs of the helpless met. This is not my cause, it is Gods and I am simply allowed to partake in it.