My Mission:

Engaging, Equipping, and connecting children and their families to their most strategic role in completing the Great Commission.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bring on the New Year

If we win, we'll praise Him. If we lose, we'll praise him still. I'm going to resolve to give God everything I've got."
 -from Facing the Giants 
The count down to New Years begins. Every year, starting after Christmas, I go back the the previous New Years and read all my journal entries to date. It's a time of reflection and evaluation and remembrance. I found myself incredibly discouraged last night as I began to read and notice that I seem to be in the exact same place I was last year...afraid of the future, worried about support, unsure of what God was going to do. I wrote to my best friend in Korea and she responded with some good food for thought. Two things stuck out the most 1) God's faithfulness and goodness are not defined by the fulfillment of our expectations, and 2) Seasons repeat but our ability to handle them changes and increases. 

    I stopped reading to soon last night. If I had continued one more page (which I did today!) I would have seen hundreds of beautiful threads of faithfulness begin to appear. Although the struggles in my personal life never ceased, ministry grew in ways I never dreamed and fathomed. And through both highs and lows, I grew and changed.

   I had no idea the gloomy and hopeless 2009 New Year what 2010 would bring. It turned out to be the greatest and most defining year of my life. I got to TASTE and see that the Lord is good. So...

Let us praise him for the million great things: Global Xpress growth, new staff and volunteers, conference's and teaching workshops, VBS's and outreach programs, and a million other amazing moments.

Secondly, please join me in starting off 2011 with 30 days of prayer for His financial provision and change in my personal life. You can pray or you can fast or do whatever the Lord leads you to do. Feel free to share verses or words or pictures the Lord gives you along the way. Let's pray that all hearts, mine as well as those who are or will be giving, will be willing and open to learn the lessons He is teaching us along the way.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Becoming a fictional character...

I just wrapped up production on our January issue of Global Xpress. Our feature country is Malawi, a place I traveled to back in April 2007. Normally, Kiersti writes all our stories for our magazines, bringing each place to life and connecting kids with the people there. Usually, the stories are fictional.

This month I was blessed with the opportunity to write the stories for Malawi, but there was no need for fiction. Instead, Conductor Courage became me. Through my stories, I was able to share the real life adoptions of both Lauren and Gift, two children whose parents both died of AIDS. What a blessing it was for me to be able to share my heart and my experiences. It reminded me of why I do what I do. Our magazine isn't just a geopgraphy and culture lesson. It's an opportunity to connect kids here with kids like Lauren and Gift. We do it for them. We do it so an army of little faithful prayer warriors will petition to the Father on behalf of the lost, broken, lonely, and confused. Thank you Jesus for all the ways I get to serve you.

Here's our older kids story on Gift, along with actual pictures of him and his mom. Enjoy :)

    The Global Xpress pulled into the station in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. A man stood there waiting. He was holding a sign with my name on it.

    I walked up to the man. “Hi, I’m Conductor Courage.”
    “Moni.” He smiled. “My name is Moses. The orphanage sent me to pick you up.”
    Moses, Charcoal and I climbed into the van. As we drove, I couldn’t believe how beautiful Malawi was! Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, but it did not look like a place of poverty. Lush, green hills rolled out as far as my eyes could see. Banana trees lined the sides of the roads. The sky was bright blue with giant, puffy clouds. As we drove, I saw small red clay huts along the road. Children played soccer in a nearby dirt field. Once in a while we would pass a truck filled with people sitting on top of bags of wood and grain.
    As the sun was setting, we finally pulled into the small village of Mzuzu. As we pulled in to the orphanage, an older woman walked out smiling.
    Dr. Helen greeted me with a warm hug. “I am so glad you are here! We have a long day tomorrow. Let’s get you inside so you can get some sleep.”
    Dr. Helen led me to a small brick house. Inside my room was a bed with a large, blue net hanging over it.
    “What is that for?” I asked Dr. Helen.
    “It is a mosquito net. It keeps the bugs from biting you while you sleep. You can get very sick from bug bites in Africa.”
    As I snuggled into my bed, I thanked God for little things like mosquito nets.
    I woke up early the next morning. Beautiful shades of red and orange streaked across the sky as the sun rose. Dr. Helen was waiting for me.

    “Today we are going to a nearby village. We are adopting a little boy named Gift. His mother is very sick with AIDS and will die soon.”
    I silently prayed for Gift and his mom as we drove down a long dirt road. Monkeys called to each other in the trees above us. As we got out of the jeep, I saw several small square homes made with clay. There were no windows. Inside the house was only a small cooking pot and a wood chair.
    Gift was sitting next to his mother. A Malawian social worker talked with Gift’s mom about the orphanage.
    As the adults talked, I looked at Gift. He was small with big brown eyes. He had no shoes, and his clothes were torn. As I watched him, I thought about all the times I prayed for orphans around the world, asking God to help them find homes with people who would love them. God was now answering my prayer.
    “We will take good care of Gift,” Dr. Helen said as she held his mother’s hand. “We have been praying for him.”
    Gifts mother nodded her head as the social worker translated for Dr. Helen. Then he handed her a pen and helped her sign her name on the adoption papers.
    I held Gift’s hand as we walked back to the jeep. I thought Gift’s mom would be very sad. Instead, she smiled and clapped her hands.
    “God has taken care of my son!” she sang out in Chichewa. “I can die happy knowing he is loved!”
    That night I crawled back under my mosquito net with a big smile. God had given Gift the greatest gift of all: His love.