Category Archives: Missions

Travel Insurance

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You people are amazing!! Thank you for all the messages, Facebook posts, texts, phone calls, cards, hugs, and smiles across the room and miles. I have heard you loud and clear and I am encouraged! Through your varied experiences, you have opened my eyes to sights unseen. Through your strengthening words, you have girded my confidence. Through the verses you’ve shared, you have sent God’s word with me. Through your offers to support my family, you have reassured me. Through your prayers, I am covered.

I will take these words, and the many others you’ve sent, with me!

We are praying for your heart, which will never be the same.

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, so this trip cost is chump change to Him! Keep trusting Him to provide!

High five to your supportive husband and to you both for giving your daughters this fantastic lesson and for giving these children a chance.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last.” John 15:16

“I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.'” Isaiah 41:13

No need for our eyes to be on the other stuff, the Lord’s got that!! “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3

!Vaya con Dios!

!Vaya con Dios, indeed! I will go with God, my thanks to YOU!

Got Talent?

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With a sigh and a quivering voice, my 6-year old plopped down and said, “I’m sad because I don’t have any talent.” Parenting an emotional roller coaster is never dull! My first inclination was to squelch the heck out of that ugly lie trying to take root within my daughter. Then I wanted to show empathy with stories of my own talentless youth, but I held back. I listened and I silently prayed. Impulsive Leslie was terrified of this newfound technique.

When it was time to respond, here’s what God, through me, shared: Sure, there are lots of people who have cool talents they get to show off. Dancing, singing, doing gymnastics and magic tricks, playing instruments – they’re all performing arts. And they’re fun to watch. Everyone has talents, but we can’t see every talent. Some people are good listeners, encouragers, builders, writers, you name it. And many of us have no idea what our talent is. Take Moses for example. He was chosen by God to be one of THE great leaders in Biblical history. If he didn’t do what God needed him to do, God’s people might not have survived and God’s great rescue plan might not have worked. He chose Moses because Moses was a talented leader. Only, Moses was terrified to speak in front of people, something his job required. Did God stop there? No. He chose Aaron to speak for Moses. Aaron was a great public speaker, but he was no leader; Moses was a leader, but he stuttered. Together, their talents complimented one another and God’s work continued. In the same way, we can pray that God will reveal to us our strengths and talents so we can do our best work for Him.

“I still really want to be a gymnast. Maybe gymnastics is my talent?” said my 4-foot-something first grader. As she skipped and tripped downstairs to practice cartwheels, I was left thinking about talents, about our childhood quests to discover our specialties, our wishes to be something greater, and the circumstances that tame the fires until we live to survive instead of striving to succeed in our gifts.

This past week, in preparation for my trip to Honduras, I shared with my daughter pictures of the children I’ll be visiting. I asked her to write letters to a couple of them, to tell about herself and ask questions of them. She loved the idea of encouraging these kids and finding areas of commonality. Then she decided perhaps she could ask a few friends at school to also write letters.

Before I knew it, she had a plan. With her teacher’s permission, she would tell the class about my trip, the school, and the orphans, and ask her whole class to write letters. Her inspired teacher took it one step further and invited me to visit the class, talk about Honduras, and help the students write notes as part of a Social Studies lesson. It was a treat to see the children’s eyes light up at the pictures and read the notes they wrote to kids half a world away. More amazing to me, however, was to see my own daughter, a girl who thinks she is without talent, guiding, inspiring, and delighting her classmates with her vision for spreading love and justice.

She might figure it out tomorrow, or maybe not for dozens of years, but like Moses, Aaron, and each of us, God indeed filled this girl with talent. The question is, what will she do with it? Will the flame continue to burn or will the passion be snubbed out by the lies of “I’m not good enough”? What do any of us do with the talents we were given? Do we spend our lives seeking them, improving them, using them for good, or do we turn our backs for fear of comparison, judgment, or failure? Rather than assume, like Moses did, we aren’t equipped, we should step faithfully toward our talents and let God give us the support needed.

Follow Through

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People might call me a lot of things, but “athletic” is not one of them. Yet, somehow I got snared into playing softball for many years of my youth. I was pretty horrible at the sport since I could never master that hand-eye coordination bit. During many games and practices, I heard my dad holler from the sidelines, “Follow through. Follow through the ball when you swing!” I just wanted to make a hit, let alone keep swinging!

Then there was golf. What a mess I was! In retrospect, I feel bad for my father. His wife and first two daughters joined him in the game from time to time. But there I was … defective. “Follow through. Follow through the ball when you swing!” If I followed through anymore, I could have dug to China for all the grass I scooped on my swings. But that blasted ball just sat on its perch, taunting me.

Learning to follow through turned out to remain an elusive lesson for me in life, as well as sports. As I neared the end of my college career, rather than firm up relationships for the long haul of life, I pulled away from the friends on whom I had depended for so long. Saying goodbye was hard enough; I suppose my subconscious tried to protect me from the impact. A couple years later, I packed up my belongings as I left behind my New York City apartment and roommate. But in an effort to steel myself for the departure, for weeks prior to my move I had closed myself off to the city and friend I so dearly loved. I quit early on the relationships and experiences because I was unable to follow through.

It took many years for me to recognize and address this personality flaw in myself. I caught on in time to follow through at the last job I held before my second child was born. I prepared myself to walk away from my career with a sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing I had done all I could do. It felt great … my personal home run!

Right now, I’m once again having trouble following through on life. I am so ready to be in Honduras, I’m not focused on the present. I find myself immersed in projects for the trip, rather than interacting with my children. Knowing I’ll be gone for almost two weeks, I should be planning and preparing freezer meals for my family, but I have not even committed to filling our refrigerator now or making meals for us to eat this week. I should be folding my children’s laundry so they have fresh clothes to wear, rather than worrying over what I will pack for the trip. I’m riding along, thinking about being there, so ready to get to the next place.

If I give my attention to now and neglect the thought of leaving, I won’t be ready when the time comes. How does one strike a balance between being present and being prepared to move on? How does one make contact with the target while pushing the momentum far past the field of vision? Suggestions welcome. In the meantime, my wrinkled family will eat cereal for dinner, again… (I’m exaggerating. Sort of.)

Bouquet of Sharpened Pencils

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New school supplies … we all love them! Freshly sharpened pencils, crisp white paper, erasers, and notebooks that hold the promise of learning and discovery. New clothes, shoes a half size too large, even new packs of socks and undies send children to school feeling confident, loved, and ready to tackle the world. What’s not to love?

We wouldn’t think of having kids show up in worn-out clothes, deny them enough supplies or toys to get through the day, let alone the year, or make them wear dingy old undies and socks. But that’s how children around the world face each school day. Their needs are many, but their expectations are few.

Over the next two weeks, I’ll be collecting items to bring the children at the Heart to Heart Children’s Village. I will hunt down the last Back to School sales and stock up for these kids who are striving for success, just as my own daughter is. Sadly, their metric has been set so much lower. If you’d like to raise that bar and send items to the kids, please let me know. I’ll reserve space in my suitcase!**

Items needed:
underwear—size 2 year olds to 18 year olds
socks, white
sandals and flip flops
plain black leather school shoes–age 4-18
school supplies—erasers, black pens
kitchen utensils, big wooden spoons, dish cloths, sponges,
hand towels
bath towels
play clothes
backpacks
frizbes
Toys and balls
Bubbles
Small items as reward for the merit system in place: hair ties, colored pens, markers, cool erasers, hot wheel cars, hair bands, dollar store items etc.

* Amazon users: If you use this link to make purchases at Amazon.com, H2H will receive a portion of the profits. Your Amazon experience will remain the same, but you’ll help the kids along the way. Bookmark it.

** Feel free to use Amazon or another site with free shipping and send items directly to me. Just be sure the package arrives by Tuesday so I have time to pack it!

We (He) did it!

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We did it!! With the generous commitment of some amazing friends and family, we raised every single dollar for my trip to Honduras!!

Deposit $200 Paid
Flight $540 Paid
Participation $950 Paid
Immunizations $300 Paid

Well, by “we” I really mean He. Because, as excited as I am about ME having the courage to go and YOU offering your love, support, and prayers, none of this – not one tiny molecule of an idea of this – would be possible without God setting the stage, choosing the participants, and making it happen.

A huge THANK YOU to every who contributed, both prayerfully and financially. It has been a treat to hear from friends far and wide, offering loving support and sharing how this opportunity is blessing them as well. I can’t wait to see the next step in this adventure!

DCA to SAP

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One non-refundable ticket purchased. Washington Reagan (DCA) to San Pedro Sula (SAP).
I’m going. I’m going! I AM GOING!!!

This fall, I am traveling to Honduras with a small group from my church! We will serve at Heart to Heart Children’s Village (www.h2hcv.org), a home and school to about 90 children and youth, ages 2-20. The children come from the streets, undernourished, abused, and unloved; H2H changes their lives by raising them in a Christ-centered family atmosphere. It is my heart’s desire to spend time with these children, serve them tirelessly, and pour love upon them, though I have been warned it will be me who receives from their abundant goodness.

Christ called us to go into the world and share His love. I believe that when we serve and care for the “fatherless and the widow” as He commanded us, He is able to minister to us in our own brokenness. You already know I feel called to go. I want you, also, to be present and active in this work if you desire, so I plan to share the journey here, on my blog.

Please join my friends and me in praying for our group as we prepare for and embark on this trip. Let me know if you want to join my prayer team so I can count on you and pray for you, also.

Current/ongoing prayer needs:
– complete healing for my shoulder and knee to be prepared for the physical demands.
– that I am able to raise the balance of the $1,600 financial requirement for the trip. (If you want to participate financially, let me know. It would help tremendously!)
– for one more person to feel called and empowered to join our group. (Is it you?)

I am thankful to all those who will take this journey with me. I truly believe that through this experience of blessing others, God will bless us in ways we never expected!