Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Come to me as little children...

I have been amazed by children this week... first there was a 2 year old hailing a cab (that made me laugh) and then there was the little one year old singing and waving her hands during church (now THAT is undignified worship!)
But nothing could prepare me for the story that my friend Andrea told me about her 7 year old son. They were in the house the other day; Andrea, her son Nicolas, and her mom when several men with knives came into their house to rob them. As they are taking their money, laptops, televisions, anything and everything worth something, her 7 year walks up to one of the men holding a machete, hugs him and says, "Jesus loves you." And then walks back to his mom and sits down. Andrea told me that she is convinced Nicolas is the only reason that these men did not kill them. As the men are packing up to leave, this little 7 year old says one more time, "Jesus loves you and I forgive you."
I wish we all could know Jesus' love and forgiveness like Nicolas.

Monday, November 17, 2008

hold out your hand

"I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, "Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown." And he replied, "Go out into the darkness & put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light & safer than a known way."
-- M.L. Haskins

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Look what the Lord can do...

I saw the tears streaming down her face. Can God really do something this amazing this quickly?
Last week we partnered with one of the local churches, Semilla de Mostaza to do a youth camp. We invited a whole bunch of our friends who don’t attend church and combined them with the youth from Semilla totaling 45 people.
I invited all the girls from my bible study, and one of my friends Maria de los Angeles invited her friend Anita. Anita NEVER wants to come to any “Bible” type things so I was really surprised when they showed up at El Sendero to pay her $15 to go. Even as she was handing over the money, she looked leery about the whole thing. I found out later that Anita told Maria that if she didn’t feel right, she was going home. And Maria told her that if she didn’t have a good time she would pay her $15!
Maria confessed to me today that the entire weekend she was praying for Anita. She said, “I just keep praying over and over, ‘Lord touch Anita!’” And touch her he did… the last meeting we had, Claudio, the speaker gave the gospel and sure enough, I looked up and Anita was standing with tears streaming down her face. Maria assures me that she is different. Anita is not the same person she was a week ago. She now has a relationship with Jesus.
The prayer of a righteous man (or woman) is powerful and effective.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

One life touching another

I love stories… and I realized today that Jesus does too. I’ve been reading in Acts and was brought to tears as I read about how an angel of the Lord rescued Peter from the jail. God really CAN do this. It is not beyond his reach. I remember telling one of my friends one time, “If God wanted a frog to jump out of my ear, I believe that it would.”
I have seen him move mountains, I’ve heard of his wonderful acts not only in this day and age, but in the past. When I read Acts, I don’t just see history, I see testimony after testimony of how awesome our God is and what he can do. But for some reason we are all so afraid of telling OUR story or the stories of how God is working today.
So here’s my story for the day, I pray that you are encouraged and see that YES God is working and moving in the world and in Loja.
I’ve written about him before, Gabriel. I met him about 8 months ago in the café. He looked like a normal 16 year old kid, just hanging out and doing his thing. But if you talked to him, you quickly realized that he had more problems than he knew what to do with. That was then, and this is now. I haven’t seen him for a good couple months, but yesterday he walked into the café and looked like he’d come straight of the streets… dirty, bloodshot eyes, and a half of an earring hanging out of his left ear. We began to talk and he quickly got to the point of what he wanted… to forget, to numb the pain and to try and fill the void that was consuming his soul. He said that God couldn’t love him because of what he’d done, of who he was.
My heart hurt for this kid… I didn’t know what to say except that he was never too far for God not to love him. He told me that I didn’t know… that I hadn’t been there. Just then, my friend Romel, who HAS been in that place walked in. I told Gabriel that maybe I didn’t know but I know people who have been worse off and the Lord has met them right where they were.
What came next was such a beautiful thing I almost cried. I introduced Gabriel to Romel and after some small talk, Romel began to share his heart with him. “I know the drugs are good.” I thought this was a little bit of a funny way to start, but he continued, “But they will never fill. When you decide that you want help, here are all my numbers. Call me. I don’t care if it’s 3am. I don’t care if you have no where to stay and you have to sleep on my floor. I will pick you up from wherever. You just call when you’re ready.” I don’t know what will happen with Gabriel, but one thing I do know, I saw the Lord use one kid’s life to touch another hurting life.
THIS is the body of Christ. THIS is mission. THIS is how God works. THIS is God’s story… never underestimate the power of an Almighty God!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Numero Tres... a story can change a life.

So many people are scared to tell their story... it's either "boring" or "too bad"... it's either "no one cares" or "people will be talking about me for weeks"... and that's what Satan wants. He wants to use a part of your past, your present or the fear of the future to paralyze you... why? Because he knows that TESTIMONY is powerful.
Think about it... the man who was blind from birth being healed by Jesus on the Sabath; the Samaritan woman's testimony to her city of who Jesus was; the paralytic walking. Seriously, if you think about it the list goes on and on. And people were moved to ACTION because of their stories of the REALITY of Jesus.
Part of the "program" that the team put on while they were here included testimonies; from the team and from Ecuadorian Christians. One of these was from my friend Romel. I love how he starts his testimony, "I'm famous. If you say the name Romel Torres in Loja, everyone knows who you're talking about. They will say yeah, he drinks, does a ton of drugs, gets with any girl he can and is known for starting fights. So when they hear what God has done in my life they don't believe it."
And then there's Jack... hearing how God brought him from homelessness and alcoholism to walking with the Lord blows my mind.
But some of my favorites are people like Diego. Diego is a volunteer at El Sendero and he always tells me that he has a boring story and that no one wants to hear it, but watching him this weekend at the El Sendero/Semilla de Mostaza camp was truly a blessing. He shared a devotion about the Samaritan woman and how she was trying to hide who she was, just like he used to hide who he was. He was always trying to show people the part of him that he thought they wanted to see. But then realized that his identity lies in Christ.
How many of us need to learn that lesson? My identity is not my ugly past, my ok-looking present or what I think might be my awesome future. My identity lies ONLY in the fact that I am a daughter of the King. Nothing more, nothing less.
Don't be afraid to share your identity... don't let Satan paralyze you with fear or pride. Let the Lord use all that you have and all that you lack for his glory... SHARE IT!
Gracias amigas para compartir sus vidas conmigo! (Thank you friends for sharing your lives with me!)