Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What Next

The kids in Membrillal saying good bye to Candace

Well, I am back in Illinois and I have to say that in some ways it feels like I was gone for years but in others, it feels like I just left yesterday. I certainly have mixed emotions about my return. I missed my family and friends here and am grateful for the opportunities to reunite that I will have in the next few days. At the same time, I am missing Guatemala and my friends there. The upside to living in two different places is that I am surrounded by friends wherever I am. The downside is that I am only surrounded by some of them and am missing the others. I guess that is why this world could never be our home. We were designed for eternal relationship not separation.
This summer, I had the chance  to spend time with the kids at the schools more than any previous trip. I got to play with them and hopefully show them the love of a Heavenly Father that enjoys them. 
 There were several times that I was able to be at the schools without a specific construction task. The kids would come and just want to play, watch a video on the tablet or have me take pictures of them. I have tried to share some of them but no picture could do justice to the fun that I was having. I believe that in the future this playful expression of the Father's love will become a bigger part of what God is calling me to. I do not know exactly how that will look but I continually see kids reaching out for loving. playful attention. I am excited to see where this leads.
Summer Crew 2014
As for the future, I am not sure what it will be. Right now, I am thinking, planning and praying about where to go next and what to do. I cannot share all of my plans at this time but feel like the next step is to go to language school in January. I have gone before but went in an area that was heavily populated by English speakers and I did not become immersed. This time, I am praying about going to Quetzaltenango in January to begin studying. If I am going to be able to minister in word as well as action, I need to speak Spanish much better than I do right now. After that I would begin working with teams again.
Some of our Galilea Team
I am asking all of this to keep me in prayer. I need wisdom and discernment to know God's leading in all of this. He has a plan. I have seen glimpses. I know what is in my heart and believe that it is aligned with His will.Please pray that I am in step with God and His timing. Thank You for your continued love, encouragement, prayer and support.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The World Needs Fathers

One of my favorite speakers over the years is a man name Jack Frost. He died several years ago but his ministry on discovering the Father's love has spoken to me many times over the years. I loved being where he was because of the sense of confidence that came from him as he spoke. He was so free and secure in who his Father had made him that he was unreserved. There were times that I saw him come out into a crowd and sit on another man's lap just to make his point clear. He talked a lot about being at home in love. This is a message that I think everyone needs to hear.

This summer, the words of Jack Frost have really began to take root in my life. Another man, John Washko, came to my Church just before I was preparing to come to Guatemala in the Spring. He said that he felt like God was showing him a picture of me as Papa Jorge and that kids, needing a father would begin to come to me. As with any word that people give to me, I put it on the shelf and prayed about it. Throughout the spring, as I went to the schools kids would high five me or fist bump but that was about as deep as it got. When I came home for a few weeks, I wondered if I had missed something. I was a little sad.

WOW, did God have something in store that completely caught me off guard! These last few months, kids just came to me. When I was reading, they wanted to see everything that my tablet could do. When I was sitting, they wanted to play. No matter what my reason for being at the schools, the kids just came to me. One day, I spent about two hours under a pile of kids that just swarmed around me while I was trying to read. Another day, they wanted me to slide down the wooden ramp and life them up to hang on a suspended walkway. For hours these things went on. Now I am having to be careful where I am when I go to the schools so I am not disruptive to the class.

Some of these kids have no dad in their lives and others have dads that have to be away from home for long periods of time to find work but cannot afford to take the families with them. I am seeing the need for substitute fathers to step in here just as much as I am seeing it in Illinois. If kids are ever going to have a good view of God as a heavenly Father, they are going to need people to demonstrate what that looks like to them. My role right now is to show them an adult man that just loves them and enjoys being around them, in supervised conditions of course. There are enough predators around that they need to experience this in a safe, controlled environment.

At the same time, God is showing me fears and insecurities in my own life that He needs to deal with. He has shown me areas where I have had a love deficit that will keep me from effectively loving these kids in the way that He desires to show Himself through me. Play and spending time with them is a first step. There is a need for something deeper and more substantial for them and I am just a part. I need to let the Holy Spirit deal with every area of my life where His love in me would be  blocked so I can be totally free and then, I need to let that love pour out of me so that they can know Jesus and He can be glorified in us all.

How are you doing today at being a vessel for the love of God to fill and overflow? I  need some work.