I am sitting at the school in Membrillal this morning watching the Capital Church team play games with the kids and I am thinking about the last 6+ months. I am watching the kids and seeing how much they soak in loving attention from any older person that notices them. I find that I constantly am the victim of hugs, fist bumps and pile ons. I am so grateful that God has opened the door for me to spend so much time at this school and to get to know the kids. They have taught me much about life and about myself. I have learned what our relationship to our heavenly Father is supposed to be. I have come to understand in a much greater way the need we all have to experience love from someone stronger and wiser than we are. It is the very reason for our existence. We draw a sense of security from knowing that we are loved by someone that knows more and has more strength than we do.
When I go to the school every kid knows my name and most or the 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders clamor for my attention. They are saying “Do you notice me?” You cannot get away from the feeling that your attention is of vital importance to some part of their lives. Sadly, by the time that they get to 4th Grade many of the kids, especially the boys have begun to retreat from many of the adults. They still will interact but it is not with the same degree of enthusiasm as the younger children. It is obvious not just that they are getting older but that they are also closing their hearts a little bit to people. They are not as receptive to the attention that they craved just a year or two earlier.
Many of the children in this community come from single parent homes for several different reasons. Others come from homes with alcoholic or abusive parents. Many come from loving homes but they have a dad that is gone several days at a time to make a living in a low paying job in another region. The reasons that the children have come to isolate themselves from authority are numerous but the results are usually the same. They are not limited to this small community in Guatemala but are everywhere. Kids that feel abandon, neglected, abused or forgotten will gradually begin to shut down to receiving love.
I am beginning to see that through much of my life I have done the same thing. Where I once craved attention from authority figures and older people, I eventually began to resent them and try to stay under their radar. I developed a mistrust for their attention to me. I became defensive and did not want to be accountable to them. After all, who are they to tell me what I can or cannot do? This attitude did not show up in 4th grade but I suspect that it start to take root then. As I felt the sting of criticism from one of my teachers and began to develop my first ulcer. I am sure that it progressed as my parents, out of love and concern kept me from some of the things that other kids were doing. While today I can see that their motives were for my benefit and protection, at the time I just felt resentment. I felt like an outsider and it became a self-fulfilling view. The more I felt that way, the more I acted in ways that separated me from the people that I wanted to be like. There were times that I resented everyone and was angry at the world but only my family saw it of felt the resentment because a good Christian guy does not act out how I was feeling and to show it would just bring more isolation and resentment so I wore a mask.
For most of my adult life I have been actively involved in youth ministry. I loves kids and wanted to pour into them. It has not been until recently though that I have learned that what they need from is that I learn to receive the love of Jesus and allow that to fill everything I do. When I am doing a difficult or dirty task, I have learned to remind myself that I am l a son loved by my Heavenly Father. When I am spending time with the kids, I have learned to ask Jesus to fill my heart with His love, not just for them but for me. I realize that a person that is lives in and is aware of love filling their lives is able to serve much better. I have begun to serve from a desire to see the love that is filling me more daily to fill others too. Jesus loves us and it is in receiving that love that we are really able to show the world the power of God to bring transformation. I want Him to use me not just to transform individuals but towns and a nation so I need to live continually in the awareness of His love.
Jesus wants you to experience His love in real and deeply profound ways. He wants to fill you so that you can go and pour into others. He wants to use you in ways that are beyond anything that you can imagine and bring fulfillment to your lives. I also have come to believe that you will never experience more of God’s love until you let Him show you an outlet to release it. Love cannot flow into our lives unless we have a place for it to flow through. What is your outlet? How is God leading you to share His love? Are you called to join me or others in foreign missions? Maybe He is calling you to visit the sick or elderly in the hospitals and nursing homes. Possibly you are called to reach out to the young people in your community or lead an exploratory Bible study or Alpha group for your neighbors. I do not know what the specifics of your life or but I know this, If you want to receive the love of Jesus Love cannot flow into our lives unless we have a place for it to flow through. What is your outlet? How is God leading you to share His love? Are you called to join me or others in foreign missions? Maybe He is calling you to visit the sick or elderly in the hospitals and nursing homes. Possibly you are called to reach out to the young people in your community or lead an exploratory Bible study or Alpha group for your neighbors. I do not know what the specifics of your life or but I know this, If you want to receive the love of Jesus you need to let Him show you where to give it away.
I will be returning to Guatemala on September 20th and will be followed a few days later from a group from my Church. I need to raise about $2,500 in order for that to happen. I already have ticket to go but need my return ticket and living expenses for 2 months. I would like to ask you to pray about partnering with me in this. God is faithful and I know that He is the one that has called me to what I am doing. He has always provided for my needs but He often uses people. I do want to make it clear that this is only for my personal living expenses. I am glad to provide you ways to give to our projects also but that is not what I have asked for here. In the tabs of the blog there are tabs for ministries that you can give through to support our schools and projects.
Thank you all for your prayers and support in the past and I would love to get together with any that would like to hear the stories and see the pictures of what we have been doing.