Friday, May 4, 2012

For He makes all things new…

Well, this blog post is just going to be a random collection of thoughts over the past month. I am not the writer my wife is, nor do I have any good pictures so…this may be boring. Also, I have been thinking about a lot of things so this will also be LONG. Malaria meds man- As I mentioned before we are asked for money about 10 times a day. Some people have true needs; some are just hoping they have found a sucker. I pray for wisdom daily and try to rely on the convictions from the Holy Spirit to guide me to know who is who, but sometimes it is really hard. Some days I feel very soft-hearted to all who ask and try to give as much as I can, some days I want everyone to leave me alone and I keep a tight grip on my leones. The times I get hard-hearted are usually when I am driving back home from downtown Freetown, because the number of people who ask me for money downtown jumps to about 483 and I am worn out by the time I return. About 2 weeks ago I drove into town to get some supplies, I was stopped in traffic and this guy comes up to my window telling me that someone is trying to call me, as I was looking where he was pointing his buddy was on the other side of the car grabbing my backpack. Luckily I had the forethought to hook my bag to the emergency hand brake and he couldn’t get it out. I turn around, yelled, and flexed my muscles and he ran away with great fear in his eyes. Actually, I yelled, he yanked the bag again, I grabbed the bag for a short tug of war, then him and his buddy gave up and casually walked away. It REALLY makes me mad when people steal things, especially my own things. It makes me double mad when 20 people are standing around watching it happen and all they did was laugh and tell me to roll my window up higher. JERKFACES!!! Sooo, this really got me fired up for the rest of the day and I was in no mood to be handing out money when someone just tried to steal it all. Well Mr. Scrooge made it through town and successfully completed the mission of not giving ANYONE ANYTHING!! Looking back on what happened next I think God was smiling a little bit when he put me in this situation. I am sitting in the same traffic on the way home when this man runs up to my car; I immediately grab my bag and get ready to tell him to get lost. He starts explaining to me that his daughter has a very severe case of malaria and he is short the money he needs to buy her medicine. I am sitting there thinking, “get away from me, I am sure you are making up some sob story, and I am not in the mood to deal with it right now.” Believe it or not my finger was reaching for the button to roll up the window (maybe I am the jerkface). He stopped me by saying, “PLEASE sir, I am not a beggar. I just have nowhere else to turn. See, I have just come out of the pharmacy and the medicine is 40,000 leones and I only have 33,000. I do not know what to do, but my daughter is dying so I must do something. I saw you sitting here in your car and decided that she is worth it for me to come and beg you for the money. PLEASE sir, if you were not in the car I would be on my knees at your feet asking you this question.” I looked up at his face and saw the same look of desperation I saw on the lady who grabbed my arm that day. This was a man fighting for his daughter, if Ivey were dying and I ran out of money I would be asking everyone I could think of for some money. The look on his face and the way he talked to me made me realize that he HATES having to ask me, but he LOVES his little girl. He was 7000 leones short…one dollar and 60 cents. Yes, Scrooge gave him the money and God once again reminded me that I have a long way to go. I am starting to realize why Solomon asked for wisdom above all things. I really wish I were better at knowing what to do, how to act, and how to reflect Jesus Christ to all I meet. I want people to see me and see a glimpse of King Jesus shining through me. I kind of dull the shine when my heart is so rock-hard sometimes. New Intakes- We took in some new children into the Covering a couple of weeks ago. Most of you blog-stalkers know this already from the other TRS people’s blogs, but I still wanted to write about it because it was beautiful. The first girl out of the TRS poda-poda (van) was an older sister of a girl in our center that we did not know even existed. The girl in our center had not seen her sister in 2 years, but told us she thinks about her every time she eats and hopes that her sister has food as well. We were able to reunite these siblings and that was beautiful to see. The next child off the poda was a young boy about 3 years of age. This was a very special intake because this child was one of the children that TRS was not able to rescue a few years back from a very abusive situation. Frankly, most of us thought we would never see this child again as he was in the last stages of starvation when we were forced to walk away. We have a few other children at the Covering who also grew up at the same place. They know the abuse, they know the neglect, they know the fight, they know the conditions that this young boy was just rescued from. Not long after this young man came out of the poda in the arms of a woman who loves him dearly one of these previously rescued children came down the stairs, she saw this boy, rushed to him, held him tight, and started sobbing. This girl RARELY shows any emotions…but she knows…she knows what he has been through, and she knows where he is now. It was beautiful. The third child out of the poda was a handicapped girl who is about 9 years old but weighs less than Ivey. This is one of those cases where a flood of emotions hit you. The abuse could not be hidden on this girl. Her arms are stick thin, her legs are nothing but bones, she has sores on her bottom because she has been sitting on the floor for so long, and her face, mouth, and esophagus have major burns because she “accidentally” drank boiling hot water. I see her and I get very angry, I get sick to my stomach at the evil present in this world, evil that would hurt and neglect such a helpless child. This little girl was scared. She grinds her teeth when she gets nervous and I could hear the grinding from 10 feet away. I could almost see the wheels turning in her head as she took in her surroundings trying to determine the best way to survive. What she didn’t know just yet was that she was already in the arms of someone who would NEVER hurt her, she was surrounded by kids who would welcome her with open arms, she had cooks looking over the balcony at the new arrivals who would always keep her belly full, she had people watching who will always fight for justice, she had aunties around her who would go back to the states and tell her story to raise up sponsors for her, she had caregivers pouring out of the building ready to clean her up and love on her, she had a family that will, above all, introduce her to King Jesus, teach her to walk in his ways, and watch as she falls in love with Papa God, soon she will join in with all the other voices as they sing at the top of the lungs, “ I tell Pappa God Tanki”. I checked on her recently and her wounds are healing, she is getting fatter, and she smiled at me…I am hoping soon she will recover enough to let me hold her. Right now I am scary, but that is ok, she has been through some tough things…but she lets her aunties hold her…she likes for them to hold her. That is beautiful! Kadija- Some of you may remember a recent post of mine where I mentioned one of our caregivers so unselfishly giving blood to a little girl who was dying. That little girl is Kadija. She is my friend and she comes in my office every day to give me a hug. I really like this little twerp. I think she is about 5, but she also weighs less than Ivey, I guess a lot of kids weigh less than Ivey, but you get what I mean. I like Kadija because she is super quiet and somehow is able to sneak up on me and jump in my lap without me even knowing she is in my office. I like her because after giving me a hug and visiting for a few minutes, she be-bops on out of here to head up stairs and get some food. I like her because she never forgets to come see me. You see, Kadija doesn’t live here; she lives just outside of our gates with her mom. She loves her mom very much and her face lights up when I ask how her mamma is doing. You see, up until these last 2 months Kadija was sick. She was really sick. She was sick all the time. Her hair was orange from malnutrition and she was such a skinny little thing. The TRS church has embraced this family outside of our gates and built relationships with them. We noticed that Kadija did not look well anytime we saw her. Because Pastor Daniel cares for our community he was able to check into this situation. You see, Kadija’s mom is very young, so young in fact we thought it was her sister at first. She is young and she works HARD trying to care for this little girl, but she just doesn’t know how. She can only afford a little food. She had a box of medicines because she knew her little girl was sick, but she didn’t know what to do with the medicines. So Kadija was sick, Kadija was dying, Kadija received life giving blood. I love our staff here. They are wise men and women. My first thought was that we need to get her into our program. In fact, I just knew that was the right thing to do. Well, once again I was proven to that I have a long way to go. You see, like I said before, Kadija loves her mamma and her mamma loves her. Her mom didn’t need a hand out, she needed a hand up. Sooo now our nurse works with her mamma to teach about medicines, we share our Kids Against Hunger food with the family, our house supervisor walks to kadija’s house every day, picks her up, walks her up to the center to eat lunch and play, and then walks her home late in the afternoon. This gives little Kadija a daily nutritious meal and exercise to strengthen her weakened frame. It gives her mamma time to go work to raise their standard of living and keeps a family together. They come to church here on Sundays now because they saw King Jesus in our staff. I know most of you think I am this incredibly macho, handsome, rugged, and muscular guy who stomps on sissys. I am ok with you thinking that, just stay away from my office when Kadija comes around or you will find me with a cute little 5 year old on my lap trying to explain to her how a wireless mouse works (this is difficult because my Krio is still about 50/50, she speaks no English, there is no word in Krio for wireless). Beans and Rice- Growing up my mom would always tell me, “well you don’t want to be eating beans and rice now do you?” This was always during a lesson about spending your money wisely so you have some left over, or not buying more than you can afford. I cherish these lessons as they have helped shape who I am with finances today. Well, the other day I was in my office eating beans and rice for lunch and just busted out laughing. I eat beans and rice a lot here…and you know what…I really like beans and rice. I really like that my mom and dad cared enough to teach me about money, but mom, I am going to have to change the warning about foolish money spending now that I am in Africa. Adoption ban- after 2 years of waiting I am happy to say that the adoption ban in Sierra Leone has lifted. We are still waiting to hear how to proceed through the correct channels with the government, but doors have opened. This is a great thing for TRS and a great thing for our family. Praise God! The Sierra Leonean government is making strides in putting together an adoption process that will help curtail child trafficking and allow many children a chance at a family. Please be praying for the government, TRS, and our family. My kids- I am just going to go ahead and call it right now. God has BIG plans for my kids. Heather and I are just the ones that are equipping them, but God has BIG plans for them. I thought he had big plans for us, but I think maybe I am wrong; maybe our role is just to give our kids a different perspective on life. I see it every day. Their personalities, talents, and passions complement each other so well and they will be such a strong team as they grow. I see Levi being so curious about the world around him, being able to build almost anything, and always ready for adventure. I see Albert having such a passion for God’s word that I can’t get him to go to sleep at night because he is up reading his Bible. I see him light up when I talk about unreached people; I see him quietly soaking up the world around him. I see John able to win anyone’s friendship with his humor and smile. I see Isatu’s kind spirit, servant heart, and love for prayer. Ivey Lane spends most of her day encouraging. She is just wired to encourage others. She is so sensitive about other people’s suffering that she regularly cries at movies because someone is being ugly to someone else. When Levi taunts her because he beat her at something she says, “you really did a good job, Levi”, and she isn’t being sarcastic, she really admires the job he did in beating her. I see my children fighting for justice, serving the poor, praying, praying, praying, being open to God’s leading even into an adventurous place. I see their white faces opening doors; I see their black faces opening doors. God has a plan; as hard as it is to follow sometimes I am so glad he is leading me. I wish I understood how all of this is going to work, but I don’t. I pray that God will use them to share the good news of his Kingdom. I pray that he will show Heather and I the best way to prepare them. I can’t wait to see how these amazing kids will be used. I am so proud of them. If you are not asleep by now from reading this long blog post I pray that the scripture below will be an encouragement to you. Thank you for following along with us and thank you for praying for us. May God Bless You!! Isa. 1:10-13,16-17 Isa 58:1-3,5-10 Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah! “The multitude of your sacrifices-what are they to me? says the Lord. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals: I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths, and convocations-I cannot bear your evil assemblies…Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. “Why have we fasted,” they say, “and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?”…Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this the kind of fast I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-when you see the naked, to cloth him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. I pray that my children will see their parent’s stumbling attempts at trying to follow these directions from God and be encouraged to follow Him into greater things. I pray that their lights will break forth like the dawn and that the glory of the Lord will be their rear guard. I pray that my children will spend themselves on behalf of the hungry, that they will shelter the wanderer, clothe the naked, seek justice, defend the cause of the fatherless and widow and most of all I pray that my kids will love and obey the Lord with their heart, soul, mind, and strength….whatever the costs, wherever the road may lead. That will be beautiful…


  1. Anything but boring! Thanks for sharing your heart so beautifully, and thanks for being the man of God that He intends you to be!

  2. Exceptional. Your writing honors the Lord and most definitely shines forth His image to us here trying to focus through the tears on the beautiful and powerful story you've shared.
    Thanks from Memphis.