Category Archives: Honduras

Meredith is going to Honduras

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hnOne of the great joys of raising our daughter, Meredith, is watching the social-justice vein within her grow. Ever since she was very young, she has been concerned with and tested many venues for helping the disadvantaged. Her father and I are often caught in the balance between lending a hand to her “charity work” and reining her in when she tries to help a little too much.

“You’re right. All girls should be allowed to attend school! But, no, we cannot spend the summer after Kindergarten traveling to all the countries and speaking to the leaders. Not this year.”

“Yes, feel free to make bags of toiletries and snacks for homeless people, but no you cannot walk through the city alone to distribute them.”

“Thank you for helping collect clothing and school supplies for the orphanage we support in Honduras, but no you can’t travel there…  Or can you?”

This last request, one of dozens, sat differently on our hearts. Could she go to Honduras with one of us, meet the children she has supported for more than five years, work alongside us, build relationships, play games with kids her own age but vastly different backgrounds, be forever changed? Why yes, this time we can say with resounding clarity – YES.

Honduras

Meredith and I are headed to Honduras in less than six weeks with a small team of parents and teens. At age 10, Meredith is by far the youngest member, but we believe ready. She is excited to meet the kids, teach crafts, and play games. Our team will host a week of summer camp activities with sports, music, games, crafts, and devotions. We are raising money to take all 100+ kids to a local water park. We will share dinner with the older teens and worship at church alongside the whole community. But the most important “work” will be to spend time and build relationships with the kids who don’t benefit from regular attention, hugs, and quality time.

For Frank and me, our prayers for Meredith are many. Among them, that her innocence will be protected in a place where the harshness of life isn’t hidden away. She will come face to face with much of what we in America shield from our children’s eyes: poverty, greed, desertion, immoral life choices, animal cruelty, physical and emotional abuse, desperation. When I consider all the awfulness and danger of a third country as poor as Honduras, I question our decision. Why expose her to this at all?

Because she will also get to see God show up in a place that seems so void of His love. She will meet children who have nothing yet are filled with a knowledge they have everything simply because He holds them in His hands. She will learn family is everything, even if it consists of 100 brothers and sisters without a single biological connection. She’ll perhaps realize taking the top bunk above her little sister isn’t quite as bothersome as sharing a bedroom with seven other girls and no air conditioning. Working alongside half a dozen women who cook, clean, do laundry, bathe, and care for more than one hundred kids, she might learn a heavenly perspective on housework – theirs and ours.

Above all, I pray Meredith will experience the uninhibited joy of childhood! No matter on what continent a child has been born, no matter what advantages a child’s family can or cannot provide, no matter what horrors a child has seen or experienced, when all the distractions of life are stripped away, each child on this planet is entitled to joy and unconditional love. Despite all we give our children in our affluence, our children are left unfulfilled, hungry, wanting. Yet, these kids who bring no material possessions as they escape lives of abuse and neglect, find their security in others who care for them, hope from the opportunity to be educated, and wealth in being loved by God. The first time I ever looked into the eyes of pure, overflowing joy was 4 years ago when I met the children of Heart 2 Heart Children’s Village. I cannot wait to introduce my daughter to them!


We are working with the team to raise about $1,000 to take the kids to a waterpark. If you would like to help us make that happen, feel free to make a donation here www.h2hcv.org (please mention Meredith or me in the subject line).

To learn more about the amazing work happening at the Worldwide Heart to Heart Children’s Village, visit the homepage at www.h2hcv.org. H2H is a home and school to over 100 children and youth, ages 2-20. The children come undernourished, abused, and unloved, but H2H changes their lives by raising them in a Christ-centered family atmosphere and educates them at a bilingual school.

Read more about my experiences before, during, and after my first trip to Honduras under the Missions tab. Meredith and I both hope to catalog our trip via this blog.

Above all, please keep us in your prayers!

 

 

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That Time I Said No to God

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My heart resides in an orphanage in Honduras. Lush green forests, smooth rich coffee, insufferable poverty, broken homes, happy children. I went, I fell in love, I returned to my family, forever changed. And now everyday, I seek ways to better the lives of the children in Honduras or others like them.

The opportunity was handed to me like a jewel on a silver platter. A team was ready to go to Honduras this summer, but they needed a leader. The church offered to pay all my costs. Will you go, they asked? Would I ever! It’s perfect. God must want me to go, I believed.

Everything called me to the trip. Everything, except my extended family. The trip was scheduled in the middle of our family vacation, a trip to celebrate my father’s pending retirement. If I missed half of the family time for a mission trip back to Honduras, surely my dad would understand. He knows my heart. My husband and I prayed, believing it was obvious God wanted me there. We worked the schedule this way and that, juggled flight times and childcare, and finally came up with an agenda that made sense. Only, to my parents, it didn’t.

Every so respectfully, they tried to explain why No, they didn’t think I should go. This was a time for our family to be together at the beach. Oh how I argued, in my mind, if not directly to them. How would I be able to sit in the sand, play in the ocean, and relax while my heart and soul were with a hundred rescued orphans? And so I prayed some more. My heart was screaming “Say yes to the trip!” but my family was quietly asking me to stay home.

Eventually, probably out of exhaustion, I relented and listened to that still small voice. Instead of insisting on “Missions or Bust!”, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the other calling to “Respect thy father and mother.” In my selfishness to fill my own heart at the orphanage, I was neglecting the love that raised me, taught me about Jesus, and fostered my heart for others. In my bitterness at their disapproval, I had lost sight of the incredible gift my parents are to me. My supportive, adoring, wise parents.

And so I said No to God. No to the call and opportunity to return to Honduras (this time, at least). My heartache was replaced with an abundance of gratitude, healing, and forgiveness as God responded to my faithfulness.

Three months later, I sit on the porch overlooking the beautiful Carolina beaches. My children laugh with their pack of cousins. My sister sits, quietly reading the Bible in the warmth of the sun. My mother takes a few of her beloved grandchildren for a sparkling sunrise walk along the coast. My family and I sang and danced the night away to the music of our childhood. And my dad? I steal glances at him, soaking it all in. Three grown daughters, three sons who treasure his girls, and nine grandchildren to fill every corner of his bottomless heart. Yes, God, this place of unstoppable love is exactly where You wanted me to be. Thank You for waiting for me to say No.

To the team who traveled to Honduras without me, I am praying for you, for your precious hearts of love, and for your safety. Come home and tell me all about the children who changed your life! 

To learn more about the Worldwide Heart 2 Heart ministry, please reach out to me or visit http://www.h2hcv.org. The children’s village is an unforgettable slice of heaven!

And then there is BRAVE

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Learning to be brave can take many forms. For some, it goes so far to as find a newly brave soul jumping from an airplane; others test their taste buds with strange foods in strange lands. Many people consider stepping in front of an audience to be a bravery make-it-or-breaker. In my own quest, I am testing my limits and finding my courage by sharing my heart via this blog and offering it for others to read.

To that end, I recently submitted an entry to be published in an online publication. While my piece was not chosen, the act of editing it to conform to the publication’s standards (and limit of 450 words!), then sending out to be judged took as much gusto as that first time I stood behind a podium to address hundreds of people. And, maybe, just maybe, when the task was complete, I put on my well-worn SuperGirl tee shirt!

The following is a consolidated story from my mission adventures in Honduras


And then there is Brave

I thought I was so brave when I left my children. I filled their arms with stuffed animals to cuddle and their hearts with promises to love them forever. I arranged for babysitters, church friends, my mother to comfort them in my absence. My MOPS Mentor mom suggested I leave love notes and Bible verses to read if they felt sad. I packed my bags, I kissed my babies, and then I left them.

As the plane took off and my home receded farther into the distance, I recited the verse I had left with my daughters, my mantra of bravery.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

Several hours later, our plane touched down in the third world country I was to spend the next two weeks. My mission team and I wound our way through customs, hoping our bags would not be confiscated. We traveled through checkpoints of armed teenaged military personnel and were awoken at night by nearby gunshots. I was often frightened, but not afraid. This was an adventure, an opportunity to see another side of life, to bring God’s love and hope to hurting, abandoned children. I would return home and tell my daughters I had left them to spread goodness in the world. It was hard being away from them, but I would show them I am brave.

And then I met bravery face-to-face, looked into eyes of true courage. She arrived at the orphanage with her five young children, then the young woman signed paperwork, handed over her babies, and walked away.

The native language being foreign to me, I gleaned only a little of the conversation but words were unnecessary. Grief has a language all its own, a non-verbal way of taking over one’s posture, gaze of the eyes, strength of hand, to expose the deepest heartbreak. I saw the vacant look in her eyes as she left her babies; the orphanage would provide a safer home than the one she offered full of sickness and abuse.

What love and wisdom – bravery she probably didn’t know she possessed – it must have taken to leave her children, giving them their best chance at survival. In weakness, my heart crumbled as I recognized the strength she possessed was something I do not, with my clean, secure home and healthy, well-fed children. Choosing to separate herself from her children in order to save them, she revealed to them – and me – what true bravery is: a sacrifice of love.

The Unwrapping Continues

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I knew what I wanted for my 40th birthday a year in advance. Several months before my celebration, I was elated to receive the gift I had asked of family and friends, and embraced it with wonder and joy. Together, many of the people closest to me sent me on a mission trip to Honduras. What I gained through that gift was so much more than an experience or a cool trip, but a new perspective on life, a view of the world beyond my own.

So now, on the eve of the “big 4-0,” I’m left remembering where I was a year ago, emotionally and spiritually. I had never traveled to a third world country, never faced immeasurable poverty up close and personal. I had never wrapped my arms around an orphan. I was celebrating my 39th, never thinking I would soon be attacked by fire-ants while playing frisbee, cook rice and beans for dozens of hungry children, and fall in love with an unwanted, abandoned child.

When I received the gift, I slowly, carefully peered inside. Throughout the months following, I’ve checked back inside from time to time, toying with and chatting about the memories, but keeping it all locked where it is safe. It’s only now, that the real value is beginning to show.

My husband is taking his own journey and traveling to Honduras next month! I am thrilled to share the places, smells, sights, and faces with my partner in life. I know what he will experience, and I can’t wait to hear about it from his perspective. (I’m guessing fewer tears and less hugging.) Most of all, I am excited for him, for the impact these children will have on his heart, for the love and compassion I know he will feel for the nationals.

When I landed in Honduras, I immediately realized the second 40 years of my life would be very different than the first 40. The first proof of that is finally coming to fruition. My crazy college boyfriend, my adventurous backpacking-across-Europe pal, my stuffy business-suit-wearing husband … he’s going on a mission trip. And that is the greatest gift of all!

Feeling a Little Un-Christmasy

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It doesn’t feel much like Christmas this year. I have decorated the house, wrapped presents and placed them under the tree, and moved the Elf 22 times. We made cookies and biscotti. My six year old, for whom the next three days will pass much too slowly, danced her heart out in her Nutcracker debut. We have sugarplums swirling in our heads all night long. My one-and-a-half year old is delighted by the decorations and lights, exclaiming “Wow! Mismas” at every turn. We have done all we could to prepare, but something is missing.

I feel like I’m hanging out in the Inn, maybe partying with the crowd late into the evening, while over yonder in the stable, something breathless is about to occur. And I’m going to miss it.

I have prepared everything for Christmas. Everything except myself. Today, I sent my family scurrying to church without me because I haven’t been feeling well. An hour later, as I walked into the mall for last minute gift-buying, I felt sick to my stomach. The feeling had nothing to do with my headcold.

I fell for it. Materialism and commercialism have robbed us of the sacredness of this holiday. And I am swept up in it.

Three months ago, I boarded a plane for Honduras. I came face to face with poverty and filth, desperation and heartbreak. At times, my memory replays the images like a documentary. Other times, the heat, the work, the love are so close I can taste them. But right now, while I am reveling at the Inn, carrying on about my selfish needs and desires, and thinking only of my family, the Love I encountered in Honduras is as far away as that stable in Bethlehem.

It doesn’t feel like Christmas because Christmas isn’t here where it’s warm and toasty, where the drinks flow freely, where our physical desires are met. Christmas is out there, in the dark. In a tiny manger lit only by a star, a light from heaven. That’s where Love is.

If I hope to encounter His Love this Christmas, I need to step out of the Inn of comfort and ease. Where do I want the Child to meet me? In my decorated home with our pretty tree overflowing with presents for one another? Or at the side of the manger, on my knees, thanking Him for each precious gift He has given – my family, my home, my broken heart? These are the best gifts. The ones I can receive with open arms, gifts from God Himself. And what does He want in return? Only my love. His Love for my love.

Maybe that’s the part of Christmas I neglected this year. Love for love. Not presents, candycanes, trees and ornaments, icicle lights, wrapping paper, the Elf, or even Christmas carols. Just His Love for my love.

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, generous inside and out, true from start to finish.
John 1:14 (the Message)

Merry Christmas to each of you. May you step outside of your Inn, walk toward the manger, and let His Love enter in.

InstantGratification.com

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How do you like your chicken? Lemon pepper, boneless and skinless, BBQ, organic, individually packaged, fresh frozen or fully cooked, free-range, cage-free, hormone-free, chicken-free veggie meat… Chicken in America comes anyway you want it. A walk through the butcher’s aisle of my local Giant offers dozens of options to prepare poultry for my family. Enough options to make a girl cry. Especially a girl who recently spent time in a country where chicken comes only two ways: dead or alive.

Before leaving Honduras, we were warned that upon returning to the U.S., we might find ourselves overwhelmed with the choices before us. Indeed, during my first trip to the grocery, I wandered up and down the 23 aisles, nauseous and emotional. So much stuff! The complete opposite of the humble yet sufficient supermercado where I had so recently shopped. So much perceived want masked as need. Yet, I bought into it. Those welcome home Cocoa Krispies never tasted so good!

Other advice we received upon our departure from the orphanage was to avoid feeling guilty for the conveniences we have. Wise advice; we have so many creature comforts, they are hardly avoidable. Prepared food via drive-thru, take-out, and delivery, movies that come to us immediately, the world at our fingertips through online shopping. While preparing to host our Thanksgiving feast, I order our groceries online, never having to battle the weather, other frenzied shoppers, or my whiny children.

One of my favorite conveniences from the world of InstantGratification.com are diapers. I can hop online, tap the screen a few times, and have diapers delivered to my front door within 24 hours. That’s faster than sending my husband to the store for a pack! I’ve taken to ordering toilet paper, laundry detergent, shampoo, you-name-it, all with free shipping and overnight delivery.

That guaranteed quick turnaround means procrastinators can wait to order until an item is almost empty at home. I know my website will deliver the day after, so I request a new package of diapers when my daughter is down to a day’s worth. Why do I test them so? For a gal who usually has three dozen rolls of toilet paper stored under cabinets, this diaper-roulette is a surprising twist.

It might come back to haunt me tomorrow. Forecasters warn a half-foot of snow is headed our way. In this pseudo-Southern state, such precipitation is paralyzing. My bulk diaper purchase is “in transit,” scheduled to be delivered in the height of the snow storm, putting the internets and brown truck company to the test. Have I become too dependent on my conveniences? Come tomorrow afternoon, I might be forced to wrap a blanket around my little one’s middle, donn my snow boots, and head to my local grocery store. At least I know that when I arrive, I can choose whatever type of diaper suits our needs. And while I’m there, I might just pick up some chicken for dinner.

Between Mary and Martha

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There is a story in the Bible about two sisters: Martha and Mary. We hear about them often: Jesus and friends came to visit their home. Martha worked like crazy, cleaning, cooking, playing hostess. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to her teacher. Martha complained to Jesus about Mary’s unwillingness to help. Jesus chided Martha, encouraging her to be with Him while she could.

This story is often retold with a measure of guilt, reminding us to give God our quiet time and not rush about, worrying over trivial matters. Fair enough. I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner today and have a laundry list of tasks to complete, not to mention the mound of laundry waiting to be folded. I need to channel my inner Martha, indeed. But I’m not. I’m also not really following Mary’s example, either.

This past year has left me sitting somewhere between the listening, receiving Mary and the diligent homemaker, Martha. I stopped working when my daughter was born a year a half ago and was thrilled to step into a new role as a stay-at-homer. Then I tore my ACL and had knee surgery while my baby was learning to sit. My little family and I sat at home on Thanksgiving and ordered Chinese take-out. In the midst of my recovery, I repeatedly dislocated my shoulder; that surgery was scheduled a week after my daughters’ spring birthdays. Another six months later, I packed up, traveled to an orphanage in Honduras, and returned home broken on the inside.

Now here I sit, day after day, needing to either hop up and Martha my way through the day or open my heart and listen like Mary. I do neither. I am numb. These difficulties have left me broken and poured out. Pretty tough to be filled up when the vessel is in fractured pieces and impossible to pour out when it’s bone dry. Yet, my family, community, Bible study, church, and this Thanksgiving meal need my jar to be whole, in constant filling up and pouring out.

I don’t believe God causes or wants bad things to happen. He didn’t allow my knee to buckle or shoulder to fall out. He certainly doesn’t want those children to be orphaned. God doesn’t desire my vessel, my heart, to be in shattered pieces. He wants to put it all together. Just as I want to help my daughters avoid getting hurt, find solutions, and learn how to make their world better, isn’t that what my Father would want for me? He wants to piece this broken vessel back together, me holding the jagged edges and allowing Him to be the glue. Then, only with my God holding me together, will I be able to be filled up and poured out again.

Mary and Martha, I am your sister in between. As we race into the holiday season, may Jesus wrap His own broken hands around my heart and hold me together. May I be open to all He has to teach and ready to pour out His love to everyone in my path.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” Martha replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
John 11:25-27

Souvenirs

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Upon returning home from vacation, most of us unpack the souvenirs and download our photos that serve as physical reminders of our adventures, but the stories we bring home remain the mind’s delight. The memories make the planning, the budgeting, the packing and unpacking worth the effort. Not the “Let’s remember this moment” variety, but the spontaneous memories that pop up unexpectedly during life’s mundane tasks.
– Folding laundry yet remembering the taste of Chianti and homemade pasta served expectantly in an ancient Etruscan cave-turned-restaurant.
– Standing in a checkout line and taking a mental vacation back to Nice with its perfect weather, invigorating colors, and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.
– Washing dishes while pedaling a bicycle and laughing hysterically in pouring, soaking rain next to the Chateau at Versailles.

I have been fortunate to travel a good bit, though not as much as I’d like. Paris and Rome, Tuscany and the French Riviera, Poland, the Caribbean, the Baja coast of Mexico are all reflected in the pages of my passport. Thanks to many years of business travel and an adventurous husband, I have driven across the US and back, and visited 39 of the 50 states. I have enjoyed fabulous, pampering spa weekends and “we’ll laugh about this later” debacles that tested my character and my ability to truly laugh later.

I’ve flown with (and been vomited on by) my children and I have given thanks I was traveling without them because the plane I was on would surely go down. Due to a rough pregnancy, I have been sick coast to coast, and can rate airlines, hotels, and airports accordingly. I’ve been the passenger, driver, and caravan leader, even the trunk-popper when the brakes caught fire.

Among the varied travel-related emotions, there is no feeling quite like careening in a metal can seven miles above the earth, and feeling the desperate chasm between yourself and your children. Turbulence be damned, I have prayed and willed my way back to my daughters, sitting at the edge of my seat to be an inch closer and wondering if the trip was worth the ache in my soul.

Except when I left Honduras. I boarded a plane and left behind my children to return to my children. I couldn’t wait to get home, just to shorten the time until I can go again. My heart, now existing in two places, is left in a paradox; I both love and resent my life. I want to fully embrace all the blessings God has given me and my husband in our daughters – the ability to feed and clothe them, to provide them quality healthcare and excellent educations, to meet their needs and desires. Yet I despise our greed and consuming behaviors. I want to educate my family of the world’s ache, emptiness, and needs without burdening them with guilt.

The stories and memories that came home with me from Honduras are more precious to me than any treasure. I wear my inexpensive beaded bracelet and coconut earrings, not as a fashion statement, but as a connection to the love I found at the orphanage. I spent weeks creating my photo album, smiling back at each beautiful face, carefully crafting my words, and selecting Bible verses to bolster my aching heart. But now it sits, untouched, on my bookshelf. I don’t know how to crack it open to share the stories within the pages or within my heart.

Many weeks have passed since my return; the “How was your trip?” niceties have stopped. Unlike other travel memories that bring a smile to my face – walking along the Seine with my beloved, driving the wrong way through a one-way tunnel in Rome, watching the sun rise above the glaciers of Alaska or set past the beaches of Hawaii – the memories from Honduras bring joy, sadness, longing, and pain. It will take quite some time to sort through them, and to know where to put them, what to do with the memories and my changed, broken heart.

In the meantime, the trip replays in my head. I laugh, I well up with tears, I lash out at simple frustrations. I seek, desperately seek, a space where I feel comfortable, torn between two vastly different worlds. When it comes time to unpack my souvenir, my changed heart, I need to know where in the world to place it.

In the Line of Greatness

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We are often told God uses unlikely people to do His greatest work. Abraham was an old man married to an old barren woman, yet God used him to become the father of many nations.

I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” Genesis 22:17-18

How honored Abraham must have felt to hear God tell him of his pending greatness. A bit overwhelmed and humbled, sure, but the human condition must have left him feeling at least a little pleased.

Moses, an orphan with a speech impediment, was used by God as one of the greatest leaders in history. Sure, he missed out on the final moments of his life’s mission to bring the Israelites into the Promised Land, but with God’s help, he had brought them out of slavery in Egypt, across the raging Red Sea, and through years of wandering in the desert wilderness. That takes great leadership, stutter or no.

Then there was David, an adulterer and murderer, who became a great king, lyricist, and poet. Paul, a persecutor of Christians… Unlikelies used for greatness. The list goes on.

When we hear of those who are not so great, it’s easier to discount them. The lowly, the bad parents, the drains on society. One such not-so-great was Rahab, a prostitute living in the sin-ridden city of Jericho. Her story in Joshua 2:1-14 reads like a great action flick.

Rahab was a bit of a mess. She was in the lowliest profession, she lied to the king of Jericho, and she committed treason by hiding spies in her home. And why? Somewhere in her soul there was a seed of faith. A tiny seed planted when she witnessed miracles by God and actions by His obedient followers. She trusted God’s workers, the spies, at their word and did what she thought best to save her family.

James 2:25 asks, “In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?”

The story of Rahab is fascinating. The Bible is our guidebook for laws, grace, and love, yet it tells us of a sinful woman who lied, committed treason, and caused others to sin through her very profession, but then later to refers to her as “righteous.” It’s nothing short of a mystery begging to be unraveled.

Sure enough, her story gets even better when we skip ahead to Matthew 1: the genealogy of Jesus.

Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, …
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of King David.

Rahab, the great-great grandmother of King David, listed in the genealogy of Jesus. This liar, traitor, prostitute, was a person by all human accounts who should be discarded by society, but when she was offered a tiny seed, she believed. God took the crumpled mess of a woman and He allowed her to be used, not for greatness itself, but in the line of greatness.

I consider Rahab a sister, of sorts. It is only through the seeming randomness of birth – time and place – that I have not suffered a fate as lowly as hers. That any of us haven’t. But I am no less a sinner. My past and daily life are full of poor choices and outward acts of disobedience. Treason against God, so to speak. But if God could use Rahab, He certainly can use me!

During my mission trip to Honduras, we spent ten days helping at the Heart 2 Heart Children’s Village orphanage and school, playing with the children, and truly being fed through their love and warmth.

My heart was shattered as we drove through Honduras, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, where it is commonplace to find children foraging for food among piles of trash, families living in tarp-covered shacks the size of my minivan, and people burning plastic inside their homes to eliminate bugs carrying malaria and dengue fever. It’s not right, how these people live. The kids at the orphanage seem to be the lucky ones. Removed from their abusive, neglectful parents to be raised in a group home, fed three simple meals a day, and given a Christian education. They’ve got it good!

But what do they do after? When is their opportunity for greatness? They’ll grow up, and what?
Go to college? Not likely.
Be adopted? Not from Honduras, a corrupt country with no ties to the Hague Adoption Convention.
Get a job, find a nice home, and start a family? Hopefully, but the statistics are not in their favor.

Greatness in Honduras and in many parts of our world seems as elusive as clean water and decent medical care.

On our second day at the Village, I came face to face with a heartbreak no mother should experience. I watched a woman bring her five children to the orphanage, sign paperwork, and leave them. Esther, Luis, Johanna, Lorraine, and Naomi range in age from 8 to 1 1/2 – the littlest the same age as my little Audrey. And just like my daughter in strange new environments, little Naomi clung to her mother. I saw the vacant look in the mother’s eyes as she tore out her own heart and prepared to walk away, knowing the orphanage is a better home than the one she was providing full of ill health and abuse. No one should be faced with that choice, yet this woman acted so bravely, knowing she did what was best for her family.

She is just one example of many. People around the world and throughout the ages seem to us to lack the potential for doing anything great. But we aren’t called to judge potential. We are called to obey God’s commands, perform miracles in His name, and plant seeds of faith.

A seed of faith is all Rahab had. She observed God’s people following His commands, performing miracles, and proving His omnipotence. This unholy woman from a town of idolatry and false gods proclaimed, “the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” She stepped out in faith to protect God’s people and was spared not only her own life but that of her whole family.

As I look back on the people of Honduras and others in similar situations in our world, on the children, on the humble women who tirelessly serve meals to 80 growing children each day, or on the mothers who relinquish their children in that last desperate act of maternal love, I wonder where greatness is happening. Through love and seeds of faith, it is growing. Through people like you and me who are willing to obey God’s call to go or send our resources, God is making a difference. We might never get to see the greatness unfold. But what an honor it is to know everything we do in love – every. little. thing. we do in God’s perfect love – is used to further His kingdom. When we travel to the depths of poverty and oppression, when we collect school supplies or tutor disadvantaged students, when we share the Gospel and our own personal stories of redemption with friends and neighbors, we might never know what seeds are planted or what greatness will unfold, but we have faith God’s kingdom is growing.

So, what do you say? You, me, our questionable pasts, our sin and disobedience, along with the desperate mother, the prostitute, the exhausted missionaries, and everyday seed-planters – Let’s act obediently, in faith, align ourselves with God, and allow His greatness to unfold through us.

Ten Days, What Next?

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Well, it had to come sometime. The big question: What next?

I’ve just had the most transformative experience if my life, aside from giving birth to two children. I prepared for it, thought about it and prayed about it for months, if not years. I took that step of faith and went on a mission trip to Honduras. I held orphans, I shared the love of God, and allowed my heart to be forever changed. But what next?

The trip itself took months to plan, many weeks to raise the money, and several days to pack. But we were only gone for 10 days. Once I was home, I was unpacked within 24 hours. Laundry done and put away within two days. The trip is over. The best I can hope for now is to place an order at Snapfish and relive through my pictures and stories. But even those will get old. What next?