Posts filed under ‘Faith’
This is Blanca. We visited her home this afternoon. She just seemed to show up at my side multiple times during the day.
Christina. Another one who kept finding her way to my side throughout the day. She noticed my lipstick and wanted some.
Isabel. That meek smile accompanied me throughout much of the day.
Joslynn Tamara. This is her in her home. She’s been attending the project for a couple years now. Through her attending the project, her entire immediate and extended family are now walking with God, free from addiction and living in the light of his Presence. Her mother is now walking with Jesus and tutoring at the project. Her mother wept as we prayed for them before they left, that they would continue to walk with Jesus and remain faithful to his work in their lives.
This is Oscar. He came up to me and told me he wanted to recite a poem for me. And then… he did another one. I asked him, “Do you like to rhyme?” He enthusiastically nodded. I asked him to say a Bible verse for me and he couldn’t remember one on the spot. So I told him, “When you remember one, come find me, okay?” A couple hours later, he made good on it. He found me in the director’s office and recited Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you…” He became a special buddy of mine today. And who could resist that smile?
Maricella. Mother of Blanca (picture #1). This is her in her home. She welcomed us there, even though she was nervous. Jesus came and met us there, though. She told us of her history of gang membership and the tattoo on her forehead because of it. And she now can’t find work because she won’t be trusted. Even though in Christ, she is a new creation…. My heart broke for her.
My first day of interacting with people on the receiving end of Compassion has been nothing short of amazing—their stories, their homes, their openness to our presence, their excitement for Compassion and the effects it’s had on their families. My heart is somehow broken and full at the same time. Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.
We all made it safely to El Salvador today (with all of our luggage)! Thanks to all of you who prayed for us and thought about us throughout the day.
First thing’s first: flooding. I mentioned that Hurricane Ida had passed through and substantial flooding had killed around 100 people. Many people have lost their homes, and some of the Compassion projects have incurred damage. Some of the Compassion-sponsored children have lost homes or been evacuated from their homes because they’re in areas at high risk for further landslides.
Thankfully none of the projects that we’re scheduled to visit were damaged. That makes things a lot easier, itinerary-wise, for our trip leaders (as you can imagine).
Today was a full day of travel and then meeting up with our tour guides. We drove through downtown San Salvador, had a wonderful lunch, and then went to the Compassion National Headquarters.
They’ve been in this new building for about a year, having moved from a bunker with no windows for offices. It was a beautifully-maintained, well-run, organized office! What a blessing to this hardworking staff! I seriously have never seen an office of people so happy. We met every staff member and they just basically kept one-upping each other on the happiness scale.
We had a presentation by Brother Guillermo, the country director for Compassion El Salvador. And wow, what an awesome, Godly man!
One thing that you should know about Compassion in El Salvador is that they have just added a new program, the Child Survival Program, this year. As Brother Guillermo was sharing about that and showing a couple stats and pictures, he said something that stopped my heart. He was showing a picture of a baby girl, probably about 3 months old, and he said in such a sincere, passionate voice:
“This child deserves to know Jesus!”
The tears filled my eyes as he said it again:
“This child deserves to know Jesus!”
And of course we, as sinners, have no rights to God. But that he loves us so much despite our sin that he still gives us access to Him is staggering. That we can share in his love, his grace, his joy, his peace, his wonderful plan of salvation… it’s amazing to me again today.
I’ve seen and heard so much already about Compassion’s model for their programs worldwide. They focus on the development of 4 key areas: physical, cognitive, socio-emotional, and spiritual. They are deeply invested in meeting these needs for their children. They have project managers that are continually evaluating each project to make sure they’re addressing all of these areas and they operate a training department to help the churches and projects in their weaknesses to achieve their goals. It’s so cool!
I just want to encourage you today to think and pray about sponsoring a child from El Salvador. They deserve to know Jesus.
Just got a link from our trip leader, Shaun Groves, sharing the news that there was a hurricane in El Salvador last night, and that 91 people are believed to be dead.
Read the story here.
Of course we have no idea at this point how this will affect our trip. Almost certainly, children and families sponsored by Compassion have lost the little they had in the last 24 hours.
So pray for us. Pray that we can love people well in the midst of their disaster, if that’s what we come up against. Pray that we will trust God in ways that are beautiful and attractive to the people that we encounter, even as we proclaim that we trust in the God who controls the winds and waves.
I watched this video this morning over at the Compassion blog. It seemed fitting, especially since I just posted about the Child Survival Program.
I couldn’t help but tear up, allowing the gravity of the topic to land on me for a few minutes. The reality that 9 million children a year die before their 5th birthday—my son turns five in a few weeks, Lord willing.
For me, having lost a child to something I couldn’t control, it hits even harder. I mean, I can do something about diarrhea. I can help people learn how to sanitize bottles and breast feed their babies.
You don’t have to feel the same way, but this is a very exciting ministry to me.
Last night we lit candles. On the eve of our daughter Felicity’s 2-year homegoing anniversary, our dear friend Barbie read us a beautiful piece she had written. She adapted it from something written for her on the 2-year anniversary of her son’s death back in August.
We lit candles for love, joy, memories, tears, hope, peace, and strength.
I wasn’t expecting this at all, but the stanza about joy was the one that touched me the deepest. I don’t feel like I connect with the word joy very much in my grief. So I was surprised by joy, even as the tears ran down my face.
Here’s what she wrote:
We light a candle for JOY:
For the joy of a wedding;
For the joy of Orison’s birth;
For the joy of Morrow’s sweet life;
For the joy of Felicity’s name;
For the joy in hearts that waited for her;
For her joy in the presence of our God;
For the joy, for the Felicity of our risen Lord.
Happy birthday, Felicity Margaret.
Every day is a re-living day for someone.
Today is a re-living day for so many, remembering the day their lives were changed forever, knowing they would never hear the voice or touch the warm flesh of their husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother again.
I know that many of us relate to the anniversary of 9/11 by remembering where we were or what we were doing when the news hit us. That is, of course, a normal way to relate to that traumatic news. We do our own re-living of this day when do that.
That was my first reaction this morning when I saw many people Tweeting what they were doing eight years ago when they heard that news.
But soon after that, God brought someone else to my mind—someone I don’t know, the collective “someone” who lost their beloved husband or wife, their treasured son or daughter. This is the someone God brought to my mind today.
We all remember the scenes of chaos we watched via the major news broadcasts. But I want to try to remember that there were people actually experiencing that swirling, smoking, screaming chaos. There were desperate people racing to Ground Zero to try to locate any news about their precious loved one. People dialing again and again into the jammed phone lines, searching for the voice they would never hear again on this earth.
This morning I heard a devotion on Psalm 56:8
You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
This is the segment that struck me the most:
The [Hebrew] word for bottle (no’d) does not refer to some small capped jar, but rather to a skin-bottle used for large quantities of liquid. It’s as if David, after affirming God’s awareness of his sorrows, cries out in hope: “Collect all of my many tears in your canteen!”
So for all the families and friends who have cried so many tears of longing and devastation these past eight years, God has a big enough canteen for all of them. They’re all there and known…collected.
I want to be with you in my heart today, marking your re-living day. Some of the tears in God’s canteen marked “Molly Piper” are there on your behalf today.
So there was a little buzz around the Twittersphere this morning when it was announced that I’m joining Compassion International‘s next blogger trip to El Salvador in November.
Most of this so-called buzz was from my good friends, who sent me messages saying things to the effect of, “What???”
So to save myself the effort of having to write back to each of you—Yeah, so… Lord willing, I’m going to El Salvador in November.
Okay, the story goes…
A few weeks ago I was contacted by Shaun Groves, who is the Blogger Relationship Manager of Compassion’s blogger trips, asking if I’d be interested in joining this trip to El Salvador in November. I’d followed a couple of their trips through other blogger friends, and been fascinated by the stories I’ve read.
I also thought it was really cool and innovative on Compassion’s part to use bloggers and their influence in this way.
Anyway, back to the story (by the way, this is what it’s like to have a real conversation with me—rabbit trails, rabbit trails)… so that night I mentioned the email to Abraham and our good friend Wes, and they were both really encouraging about my going. I was really nervous, mostly feeling like I don’t have a good enough blog to do something like this. But they persisted, and the thoughts of the trip persisted in my head and heart.
I’ve always felt really intimidated to start traveling down the road of greater global poverty awareness, social justice issues, etc.—mostly because I felt insecure. I’ll be honest about my insecurities and failings. Ready?
- There’s too much information. I wouldn’t know where to start.
- There’s always people who know more than me and I’m gonna look like an idiot if I try to join this effort.
- I don’t have time.
- I have way too much of my own pain right now.
- I’m forgetful when I have food and clean water and money for groceries.
- I might actually have to change if I know more.
- What if I’m a flash-in-the-pan kind of person? What if I get all gung-ho and then lose steam? (Again, pride telling me I’ll look like an idiot, and me listening to that, instead of to God’s voice.)
But back in the fall, right after Felicity’s first birthday, I was treated by my dear friend Jenna (lovingly known for her quirky online alterego, jennapants) to a concert by Sara Groves, Derek Webb, Sandra McCracken, and others to highlight some ministries doing work with poverty, slavery, and childhood prostitution. I was shaken by it. I remember coming home and asking Abraham random things like, “Do you want to become an abolitionist with me?”
I remember wanting so deeply to get outside of myself for a little while and remember the plight of those around the world who have it so much worse than me.
But it’s been hard. To be honest, year #2 without Felicity has felt so much harder on many levels. A good friend of mine (whose 24-year-old son died a few weeks before Felicity) told me recently, “Year One is the year of shock. Year Two is the year of feeling.” How true that’s been for me.
But in all of that pain, I’ve still felt a tugging and longing to be part of this global effort outside of myself to see change in God’s big world.
I know things like poverty, prostitution, and slavery matter to God. Jesus told us that a cup of cold water matters to him.
So I’m trusting God that none of these experiences and longings have been accidental, that he is indeed doing something in my heart to bring greater measures of healing, bring me to a place of deeper dependence on him, show himself to me in new ways… I’m eager.
I’m trusting him that these non-accidents are going to set a tone for Year #3, the theme of which is yet to be experienced.
I really hope you’ll stay tuned through November and pray me through the trip to El Salvador. I’m really excited to share with you all what God is doing in that little country in His great big world.