Archive for October, 2008

Make A Difference Day 08 (A tad late)

In honor of USA Today’s ‘Make A Difference Day,’ which took place on October 25th, I am writing how I contributed to make a difference in the lives of others in the past.

Synergy is a wonderful thing!!  I’ve been on three mission trips so far in my life:  Long Beach, MS, New Orleans, LA, and the Dominican Republic.

The first two trips were hurricane Katrina relief expeditions.  I’ve never worked harder or gotten dirtier in my entire life.  In Long Beach and Biloxi, I will never forget the giant path of devastation I witnessed as I was given a personal tour of the wreckage.  As we drove miles up and down the Mississippi coast, the feeling was eerie, quiet and heavy.  I wondered how the people were surviving without any semblance of normalcy in their midst.  For a good quarter to a half mile back, into what were once beautiful and historic neighborhoods, everything was wiped away…bare.  There was no electricity for miles.  Sewage lines were literally exposed on street surfaces and huge casino barges served as monuments to the forces of nature on that fateful day.  An enormous ship still displaced by the ferocity of the storm resembled the famous ghost ship from the recent pirate movies.  People from all over came for the free food, water and clothing.  Their eyes were not tired and despairing as I had expected, but rather thankful and hopeful.  These people expected a miracle and saw us, the relief workers, as the fruitation of their faith.

The people in the city of New Orleans were the same.  I had been to the beautiful city before and quickly realized that life would not be the same for years to come.  By the time our team arrived a year had passed since the storm.  The houses we helped gut and clean had sat under water for weeks after Katrina, nearly to their roofs, and had not been touched until we opened them.  Instructed to sift through the debris and rotting stench for items of personal value, our teams became ecstatic when we uncovered family heirlooms and pictures still intact.  We prayed for the people and with the people.  We loved them and loved on them.  I learned an amazing perseverence and humility from the families and individuals who remained in New Orleans.  I heard it in their tragic stories which were mixed with awesome miracles as they retold them, maybe for the 100th time, to yet another captive audience of relief workers.  Their tears of pain AND joy reverberated through my soul and I will always remember their gratitude to all the people who went…and still go…to help them rebuild not only their city but their lives.

The Dominican Republic trip changed my life.  I have never before seen such a generous and loving group of people.  As I looked into the eyes of the individuals it was not hard to recognize them for what they truly were, sons and daughters of God.  The poverty in some of the areas in which I worked was overwhelming at times and although they waited in lines for hours in the heat, and sometimes in the pouring rain, the people were smiling, respectful, grateful and appreciative.  They received the medicine and vitamins we gave them as precious gifts.  One local doctor took our entire medical team to dinner at an expensive restaurant while other men and women in the community honored us in several of their local churches and graciously allowed us to address their congregations.  Personally, I made many friends and acquaintances that I will never forget.  My heart and perspective are forever altered.  For this I am grateful.

Synergy:  when the combined effects of two individuals (or groups) is greater than the sum of their individual effects.  I was not only a contributor in these experiences I shared, for I received as much, if not more, from them as I offered to them.

Isn’t it time we step out of our comfort zone and make a difference in the lives of others?!  We will not regret it.  More likely, we’ll emerge a new creature with greater understanding and compassionon for others.


Blog Action Day 08 – Poverty

Okay, I joined this Blog Action group one day late so technically this post should’ve been yesterday.  Having said that…

My life is fast and busy and crazy most of the time.  Two days ago I was going about my usual routines and came upon a mind altering email.  In this email there was this picture.  (I was amazed to see a SMILE on one child’s face!)  My heart broke into a million pieces and at that moment I began crying out to God and interceding on behalf of children and adults in poverty everywhere.

We, especially in America, tend to get so caught up in living day to day that we forget we are a minortiy in this world.  The luxuries we take for granted are not present in the majority of the world.  Sure, even in third world countries some people have food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, computers, cars etc., but this is a minority due to corruption in government and/or genuine lack of resources or education.  Even humanitarian aid is confiscated by rebels and government officials alike on a regular basis and only a fraction may get through to the people in need. 

Where does the destruction and death stop?!  How can we change this?!

1.  We PRAY!  on a regular basis for government leaders and rebels and anyone else that has anything to do with the continuation of these horrible cycles.  Pray for the people who are in poverty that they will receive basic necessities of life.  Pray for laborers to be sent forth to preach the gospel so these people will have hope even if they have nothing else in life.  Pray, pray, pray, pray, pray!  Allow the Holy Spirit to help you determine how to pray.  Praying in tongues is a wonderful way to pray about this issue as well because the Bible says it is good to pray in the Spirit when we don’t know how to pray.  (Talking to God in our natural language is like talking baby talk to God, babbling.  When we pray in the Spirit then our spirit is talking directly to the Holy Spirit and it’s like speaking adult language to God.)

2.  We Give!  Check out the breakdown of how a company uses their resources before you decide to whom you will give.  It’s important that the majority of your money actually goes to the people who need it!  All organizations will have this information available to you, usually right on their website.  And if you don’t have extra money to give, pray that God will increase your finances so that you will be able to donate!

3.  We Go!  Physically go to the different places, either locally or abroad, and offer these people encouragement and joy and love, etc.  Many people ask why, if I care so much, I would spend $3000 to travel overseas on a mission trip rather than donating this money to a worthy cause.  The answer is simple…the impact you can make on people is priceless.  How much is one soul worth?  What an life altering difference we can make by actually taking time to visit and love on hurting and desperate people, and by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with them!  They never forget it and neither will we!  Both parties are forever changed.  Don’t have the money?  Believe God for it.  Have kids?  Take them with you!  The kids now days need this reality check just as much, if not more, than we do!  Hopefully, as you may have read earlier, I will be taking my oldest child on his first mission trip next year.  (He’s 7 and just now old enough to understand things and be impacted by the experience.)

4.  Give yourself a regular reality check and look at pictures of poverty and starving people.  Don’t look away when the beggar on the corner pleads with his eyes for help.  Face the reality and allow yourself to feel the pain because only then will you have compassion and remember these people in your prayers and in your daily walk with the Lord.

In closing, God can do so much more than we ever can.  Please take time out on a regular basis to pray, as specifically as possible, for others in need.  I shared the pictures of the starving people with my children the night I got the email and now my children are praying for people in poverty all over the world daily.  (I know because we say our prayers together at night.)  It’s a beautiful thing!

May God richly bless you!


I May Withhold My Vote

I do not take this decision lightly, especially not after the email I received reminding me of the huge price the women in history paid, imprisonment, torture and discrimination, to assist in the fight in obtaining for us the right to vote.

Having said that, both candidates increasingly disturb me!  I honestly feel that with either choice will come consequences and a rough future for the people.  And lest I forget to mention, judgement from God on this nation for removing Him as the foundation of the country.

To be even more candid, I can’t trust a word McCain says…just watch him contradicting himself in “McCain vs McCain” on YouTube.  He says what people want to hear at the risk of (constantly) sticking his foot in his mouth.  Then of course there’s Palin, still undergoing investigation in the trooper scandal.  This just in!  She abused her power….DUH.  (You know it’s ironic that McCain actually contributed to the pregnancy of Palin’s 17 year old daughter in that he voted against funding teen prenancy programs in schools.)

I’m a registered Republican.  I believe in the party’s morals and values, but I don’t believe in the current leaders and candidate.  I think they hide behind this ‘Christian/conservative’ curtain (like gay marriage and abortion) and, like children, play war games and money (oil) games.  Well, I agree with your values but I am disappointed by your ulterior motives.  It disgusts me. 

Finally, we have Obama.  Who I was going to vote for.  (I still have their sticker on my car actually…but I’m taking it off today.)  I told myself that my misgivings about him were biased and prejudice.  I forced myself to give him the benefit of the doubt and chalk the Muslim stories up to negative propaganda.  Well, maybe it is, maybe it ain’t.  I wanted to read his book (I think it’s called…)  Memoirs of my Father..??  I don’t know.  Anyway, I would still like very much to read it if I can before the election.  Supposedly in there I will find the stories about him proven one way or the other.  Reading his words and the context in which he wrote will help me understand the quotes I’ve heard from the book.  In particular, “If things get ugly, I will stand with the Muslims.”  SCARY

So I think I’m withholding my vote this year!

A Gift.

So, seriously, I have an idea what my 30th birthday present is gonna be!!  AFRICA!!!!  I’ve been crying and praying and longing for Africa since God laid it on my heart all those years ago.  This could be the perfect present!

And in case it wasn’t clear enough to choose this trip, (I was considering this trip and another to Greece in May for school.)  The trip to South Afica is September 12-25!  (My birthday is September 12.)  So, yeah, I think I’m going.  I just hope I can bring Jaden!

Going on 30…Preparation for the Crossing

One of my favorite movies is 13 Going on 30.  It occurred to me out of the blue one day that I am not getting younger.  (At the time this thought smacked me upside my head I was a month or two shy of 29.)  I have been living fast all my life and I think it’s finally time to slow down and breathe. 

Maybe Moma’s unexpected passing finally snapped something inside of me but I cannot remain the same.  I must make this the year of the butterfly.  I need to go into my cocoon and sweat; sweat out impurities, sweat out baggage, sweat out the past, regrets and just plain sweat physically as I get myself in shape.  Then re-emerge as the magnificent, beautiful creation God intended I would become.

I figure if I don’t get myself in order this year then I may never get it together.  I want to be “thirty, flirty and thriving!”  Maybe a little less flirty…LoL.  Anyhoo, this should be an interesting journey :)