Monday, October 31, 2011

Miracles In The Dust or, "The Little Princess"

Once upon a time, there lived a princess. She wore a beautiful dress, and had a smile that shone from ear to ear. Every time one held her, she would gently rest her shoulder on yours in innocent comfort. Growing up, she was not held much at all, and because of this, she was in a ‘hug-deficit.’ Her parents died at a very young age, and she was left with a brother to care for. A little prince. Her skin is a light brown color, which contrasted perfectly with the color of her heart: a bright and pure-white! This little girl was smart, although there were many things she did not know. She did not know, that she was infected with HIV. She did not know that she was malnourished. She did not know that should be taking medication daily, and that she needed it soon. She did not know she was feeling sick, and this is why she was always tired. She always rested her head softly on my shoulder, although she did not even know how love-deprived she actually is.

This little girl is a gift.

Many times in our lives, we are not looking for miracles. Days we are doing mundane things, miracles seem dim and unreachable. How often are we looking for miracles in our daily lives? Often, miracles happen right in front of us, and we miss them because we are not looking. Miracles are everywhere, and they are not luck, they are gifts! Miracles are the people right in front of you. Who is in front of you today?

This little girl is a miracle.

Miracles are often defined with “BIG-attitude-mentality”, yet at times they are smaller, and much sweeter than we realize. They are often small moments that cause us to feel that...‘hmmmm!’ Sometimes, they cause us to ponder for a split second and realize how beautiful love is. Are we searching? This week, this princess is my little miracle.

This little girl currently lives in a village called “Bakka.” She is 2 years old, and is HIV+. She is extremely malnourished, and very weak. Yet, her spirit is strong. Her physical body is hard for us to see, but I believe there is hope.

This little girl is a princess.

Please pray for my little princess, as we try to get her help and treatment this week. Please pray for her heart to know Jesus' love. Let's help this little miracle have her own miracle!!

"Little Justina"

MARK 11:24 - Listen to me. You can pray for anything. If you believe, you have it. It's yours.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Towards A Deeper Sense Of Love

1st Timothy 1:5 - “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

As a child I haunted the local library in our small town. I would sit for hours and scroll through books with brilliant themes: adventure, intrigue, romance, hope, fear and suffering. These stories always left deep impressions on me. The stories were usually centered around children who needed help and hope for their future. Usually the stories ended well. Most of the time they ended at home, safely in bed. These children would go to sleep with a deep sense of knowing, and an even deeper sense of love, as they drifted off to read their own adventure stories.

For most children in Uganda, this is not the plot or storyline. They sleep crowded on cold concrete floors, covered by small moldy blankets. Nights are cold, and so they are forced together to avoid the weather outside. Many times they get sick because of the crowded spaces as well as their own ignorance of hygiene. They are not the children in the books I used to read. They do not have a balanced story or happy ending, and definitely not a balanced diet. Their story does not include intrigue, genuine romance, or adventures in the forest. Mostly they are fearful of the night. They suffer from hunger, and are forced to risk their lives on the streets, just for a little cash.

For as long I can remember, I have always had a deep sense of love. From wonderful parents, amazing support, incredible friends and (oh yeah) an even better God. Recently this understanding has been even more apparent as I think about the questions asked of me, “why do you do what you do?” Apart from the age old answer, “my faith,” there IS IN FACT a deep sense of love I feel. Many do not have this, and it is injustice. The real reason behind what I do, is because I understand true love. I have always felt a “safe place,” with that deeper knowledge of love. I sensed it and felt it from day one. I often become so overwhelmed I get teary-eyed with gratitude. I never had to prove myself worthy, good or beautiful. All I had to do was be born. When a baby is born they are loved immediately . No good deeds, just crying and poop.

To believe in a deeper sense of love is exactly what I desire to people everywhere believe, and right now God has me in Uganda. So, to believe in a deeper sense of love is exactly what I desire this nation to CLAIM!!

I desire each one believes in love so much, that their little hearts burst with joy. Uncontrollable joy! My hope is that, at the end of the day they can trust they are understood as they go to bed safely-loved. They will know deep in their soul that the love they feel is real. Love that is much deeper than any social structure or abusive relationship can offer. My prayer for each one is that they will know how loved they are. I hope their story will incorporate adventure, hope, joy, beauty and love.

Suffering is always a factor, so my hope is a deeper sense of love becomes a lifestyle through hard times.

To believe in a deeper sense of love.

To believe in a deeper sense of love... in God.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Today In The Slums, I Stepped Over A Shoe...

... Today I stepped over a shoe. It was not any shoe. It was about a 7/ 1/2 U.S. size. It was covered in mud. feces and most likely some sort of disease. I thought for a moment about this shoe, and where it came from. Who owned it? How long had it been lying there? How did it end up in such a place? What did it do to deserve this life? Then I came back to earth.
Why am I thinking about this shoe? I should be asking similar questions about the child I'm currently hugging.
I am hugging the neck of a young boy in the largest slum in Uganda. Approximately 20,000 people squaller in existence, if you can call it that... The slum is located in Kampala, the capital of this bueatiful country. Despite it's many lovely places, Uganda's darkest side are it's slums. Full of large black fire-pits, gasoline, glue, urine, feces, chickens and a whole number of other atrocities. I should be passing out.
Life for a child in the slums is filled with excitement. They wake up at the crack of dawn after little-to-no sleep. To sleep means to get robbed or abused. There are two sets of street children in Uganda. One set sells scrap metal or bottles, and purchases a "safe-place" in video shop for sleeping during the day to avoid abuse or worst. Another set smells toxic gasoline on a tattered cloth all day, then gets so high that he passes out, only to wake up and do that again. So yes, life is super exciting.

As I hug this scrawny little neck, I cannot help but feel how Jesus' heart is aching. I know that this precious little one is loved beyond any controlling slum in this world. His heart is confused, yet he does not know it. 'How do I live without this glue in my hand or defense in my heart?' He thinks.

Jesus is bigger than this.

I am encouraged to pray for eyes to be open to truth. That blind scales on the eyes of his heart would fall off and he would ONLY see light. I pray that the light he would see would be that he is a precious child of God, and innocent. That nothing he has done in his life would separate him from this love. That he needs nothing but God to make him whole. Nothing but God.

I pray that soon he will know he is not worthy of being trampled over or stepped on. I hope he will know soon he is a child of the king, worthy only of love.

I cannot give him food today, for if he has a full stomach and empty soul, what good does it do?
What I can give him is much greater.

Jesus is bigger than any slum.