A blog about my journey - through life, family, our non-profit, Africa, poverty, justice, nature, faith, hope & the calm that can be found though out.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
“Clearly, from God's perspective, those who are blessed with riches are supposed to share with the poor, so that those whole don't have the resources to get what they need, can do so, to the point that the poor aren't so poor anymore. I looked around though, and these new friends of mine were still destitute. I wondered what the western world was missing and why so many Christians didn't seem to be doing what God so obviously wants us to do where the needy and concerned." - Katie Davis
I am completely torn apart - wrecked again. God seems to do this to me every once is awhile and it usually changes some course of my life. This time, it was reading the book, Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis.
To just cover the last 12 years (instead of my life) - the first time I felt wrecked by God was watching a Dateline story about 3 orphaned brothers. Ryan was one year old at the time and yet, I was ready to adopt all of these boys as I tried several time to get through to NBC. I wasn't the only one, as hundreds of people contacted NBC. I had their room planned out in my head and everything (of course I had not gotten to the point of talking to Eric about it). Clearly, I was moving ahead on my own in this situation and God knew that this was not my plan. However, it did lead me to the point where I prayed to God and told him that I would go wherever He called me, and take in whoever He asked me to. My husband and I started praying about what God was calling us to, and it was a refugee family from Sierra Leone. A mom and her three kids, and her sister's three kids. Her husband and her sister and brother-in-law had all been killed in the war, and they had escaped to a refugee camp in Ghana. We spent the next year of our life completely committed to this family. It was life-changing and awesome.
Photos from scrapbook of our refuge family
The second major time God changed me was when I read, The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, founder of World Vision. This book was given to me right as we were deciding about going to Africa. I had so many fears that it was hard for me to go, but after I read this book, God grasped my heart and I had no choice - He had changed my heart completely so that I was absolutely ready to follow Him to Gabon and Kenya. That adventure continues as it was what led to the beginning of our non-profit, E4 Project.
Our friends in Gabon - the inspiration of E4
So, onto the book. Kisses from Katie is the story of a nineteen year old girl who feels called to Uganda. She is now 22 and has adopted 14 girls, started her own ministry, Amazima and serves over 400 children in her community in Uganda by sponsoring their school fees, uniforms and supplies. Amazima also feeds over 1200 orphaned and vulnerable children in the slums of Masase every day. Katie welcomes everyone into her home and treats their medical conditions, nurses them back to health, saves children and provides a home for them until other arrangements can be made for them, etc. I highly recommend this book - it is a great read and will get you thinking about your own life as well. Seriously. One 22 year old woman. I am blown away. She is serving the poorest of the poor and has given her whole life over to serving Christ. What about me? Our family has made significant changes over the last few years. We give more. Serve more. Started a 501c3 ministry that serves in Africa. I know that we are making a difference in the lives of others and God is using our ministry in amazing ways. But, I am still here in the U.S., living in a very comfortable home, in a great neighborhood, with plenty of food to eat. My son has been sick for a long time, but we have doctors everywhere. We can get medical care when we need it and we don't often think about the water and food we have. What about the people living in the majority world?
Children in the Mathare Slums, Nairobi
What is our responsibility as Christians in the western world? I think it becomes so easy for us to go about life and feel like we are serving God, because we are on par with the other Christian families we are friends with. But - what if God wants us all to be like Katie - completely sold out for His Kingdom? Clearly, we are not all called to move to Africa, but we are all called as followers of Christ to take care of "the least of these" and give up our agendas, finances and plans to follow God's ultimate plan. This does require sacrifice on our part, but we can do so joyfully and knowing that we are following after God's heart. Why is this sometimes so hard for me to remember?
“But then I realize there is never going to be a day when I stand before God and He looks at me and says, 'I wish you had kept more for yourself.' I'm confident that God will take care of me" - David Platt, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream.
Whether we think we are or not, we are rich. With that, comes a huge responsibility. I don't know where God is going to lead our family this time, as I am wrecked again, and ready to move to Uganda (I told you that I tend to take my ideas and rush ahead of God and my husband). But, I am praying again for God to show us His call for our lives and how He wants us to follow Him. I know we need to keep doing more for others and I know that my life is His. I continue to choose to follow Him, wherever He leads.
3 Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.