Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Burning Shack

Sara and Angie....our actresses

I just got back from my 3 days at the Villa…..God moved so powerfully.  The Lord spoke to us through the devotionals, the circumstances and a drama that the kids came up with for our Weds service.  It was awesome.  He just kept showing them (and me!) that "ALL things work together for good for those who love the Lord".   The kids so need to really believe that.  So do I.

  Our devotional was about a man who got stranded alone on an island and he found driftwood and made himself a shack.  He cried out to God for rescue and the next day his driftwood home went up in flames.  He complained to God asking why would God allow such a thing when he was already suffering so much.  Soon a rescue boat arrived.  He asked them how they knew he was there and they mentioned the smoke!  After we read that story was when Sara said it.  She said, “I think Hae Young’s being gone is our burning shack!” 

 Then in the evening they created a drama about a missionary who gets hit by a car while preparing to go on the mission field.  The missionary (played by Angie) loses her leg and has to wear a wooden one.  When she arrives in the bush with her translator (Sara), she is attacked by cannibals (the Villa boys and several of the younger girls)!  They bite her wooden leg and are surprised and frightened and this causes them to be open to the Gospel.  You should have seen the part where Sara translates what Angie’s says to the cannibals.  It was hysterical!  I was laughing so hard.  It sounded like a mix of grunts and Korean words and English.  Sara was so animated and funny!  Then we spent some time talking about how God uses really horrible things for our good!  It was such a sweet time.  

After that they opened up about how hard it was for them to have to adjust to having Elvia, Marlyn and me as their new leaders out there since we are all so different from Hae Young and Hye Jin and from each other.  I told them that I totally understood that, but challenged them to think about how hard it was for us too.  We are all experiencing the burning shack together!  The next morning around 3am the Lord awakened me to pray.  I was sleeping with the boys so I couldn’t really get up and sing out loud, so I sat there in bed, looking at the moon and began to sing songs of praise to Him from my heart.  I was so overwhelmed by His presence and I sensed Him saying, “Betsy, you have all that you need.  You have Me!”  So the next morning during the devotionals, I shared how God had touched me with that truth and asked them to consider dwelling on the given and sharing that which cannot be lost.  The Holy Spirit really seemed to touch each child and we ended up praying for the nations together, using a cloth map which had been tucked away and forgotten in a drawer.  So precious.

Hae Young wrote in the middle of the week saying that her doctor there said he thinks she has altitude sickness.   That seemed really strange since the Villa is only 3000 feet.  Her email was factual and lacked warmth which worried me.  But in total answer to prayer, she wrote again today even before I had a chance to answer her, and the tone was more like the Hae we know.  She says that now the doctor has found tumors in her thyroid (benign..... thanks be to God) and that the fatigue continues.  I am so wanting to be there with her because I know that the greatest battle she faces is in her mind, no matter what the source of her disease.  So please pray that that God Himself will keep helping her stand on the truth and that He will heal her completely. She has children to care for and many miles to go before she sleeps!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

River joy

Truly this has not been one of the easiest at the Villa.  One malfunctioning well pump+ 26 children on vacation for a week equals some wild happenings and smells!  But the not-having-of-something makes you oh so grateful.....

and yesterday was just pure joy in that river.  An unexpected blessing in the middle of much water hauling!

Our sixth grade teacher, Keidy, invited us to have lunch in the home she grew up in with her family.  Home for her is an hour by dirt road from the Villa.  We set out, all 28 of us smooshed into the two Jericho vans, and arrived dusty and dry after that bumpy road trip.    

Keidy's mum (actually her grandmother who raised her) was waiting for us.  She had prepared a huge pot of arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) and had made a juice out of a local fruit called Nance.  Her humble home was ours for several hours and it was such a blessing to wash clothes in her pila (outdoor cement basin with a cement washboard) and to take real showers.
Keidy serving arroz con pollo

Keidy and her Mama

Keidy and Juan Carlos

I think it was Keidy's idea but we were all thinking about it.  We had seen the river on our way into town.  It was the cleanest looking river I have ever seen here, not the usual muddy colored, litter strewn rivers you commonly see.  No, this one was inviting and it had a strong current.
entering the river

my swimming buddy

Julio, Carmen, Lissel, and Vanessa


"Welcome to the Swimming hole at the Bridge"
pinl parasol lifeguards

River joy

We walked  in together, tentatively at first, not sure of the depth or the strength of the current.   Julio was the first to plunge into the swirling water and it took him down quickly but without harm. We watched him bob up and down the river as he just barely missed rocks along the way.   Soon pairs of children (we use the buddy system while swimming) were plunging and floating, swirling and giggling as the current took them down the river.  I don't know how long we played like that.  I totally lost track of time and of facts like the age of my frame.  The river carried us, cradled us.....and our worries seem to float right down that river.  And we burst into joy.

We still don't have that water pump working but somehow the water feels lighter in the bucket today, knowing that the One who takes care of us knows what we need and surprises us with joy.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Growing in the hard places or what to do when trials persist

A friend told me once that wild orchids tend to grow in the cracks and crevices.  She said they seem to thrive in the rocky, hard-to-grow places, and that they are a lot heartier than one might think by the looks of them. We happened  upon some at the place we call lookout mountain on our Villa property.  Sara, our fearless one, who swats at invading bats without blinking an eye, got close.

 Before I knew what was happening, Josue had snatched one of the blooms and came running up to show us his conquest.

 I think that is us in these days.....needing to grow stronger between the rocks and the hard places, where our only answer is God.   It is not Red Sea in proportion but it sure feels that way.   It seems like there is one trial after another, the pressure does not let up and it's constancy threatens to make us weary of well doing.  I read this recently from streams in the desert:

"We are troubled on every side" (2 Cor. 7:5).  Why should God have to lead us thus, and allow the pressure to be so hard and constant?.....Well,it makes us more conscious of our dependence upon Him. God is constantly trying to teach us our dependence, and to hold us absolutely in His hand and hanging upon His care.  It teaches us trust.  There is no way of learning faith except by trial.  The lesson of faith once learned, is an everlasting acquisition and an eternal fortune made; and without trust even riches will leave us poor.  --Days of Heaven upon Earth

Some of the trials are emotionally taxing, especially for the children......like Hae Young sensing she needs to stay in Korea for some unknown amount of time.  Some of the trials have been almost weirder than science....like Elvia thinking she had an infected mosquito bite when it was actually a worm growing under her skin!  We all are suspicious now of every raised bump.  Some of the trials have been on the absurd side....like all four of our cars breaking down at the same time.  Some of the trials have been financial in nature....like waiting for the funds to come in for our three University students who have come to the near end of their days off.  And some of the trials are quite personal in nature......like living in a half packed up home due to the landlord's need to return while waiting upon God to show us where He wants us to go with all our boxes of stuff.   Reading the scriptures, I am reminded that this is not something new under the sun:  it is merely to cause us to cling.  Like those wild orchids clinging to the side of the rock ,bringing beauty in unlikely spots, we are learning to lean into Him more and more and to have joy in the midst of it all.  That's the rub really.....finding joy in the middle of the trials.

Tonight I can hear my eldest boy on the porch.  He is singing praises at the top of his lungs, really belting it out.   Joy comes slipping under the door to the rest of us listening in.   It reminds me that this is what I need to do.  When the enemy whispers in my ear, "it's not worth it, it's too much, why don't you give up?" , the praise teaches me to rephrase the question into a statement.  "Is this really worth it?" becomes everything is worth it because HE is Worthy*.  Worthy is the Lamb who was slain and who sits on the throne reigning in majesty.  The perspective shifts, the attitude changes....joy comes.  He is Worthy to be praised in all situations. He will make a way where there is no way.  He will not leave us half packed or wormy or without all that we need to carry on.

So on we go, rejoicing (or at least trying to) in the trials, holding tightly to His hand, resisting the enemy....... learning from the wild orchids.

The man who toils rejoicing in his God has success guaranteed.
  Charles Spurgeon

*a teaching from Helen Roseveare

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Isa in her normal mode
Isa at rest
She was not sleeping, that littlest one of mine, and so I caved into her begging to lay down beside her for just a minute or two.  I began to sing her one of my favorite songs as a child from Sunday School.  "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam to shine for Him each day, Jesus wants me for a sunbeam to shine in every way". That was how the song went but I thought it said "sunBEAN" and so I would imagine myself as a little bean giving off light for Jesus!  Fast forward almost fifty years and I am living in the land of beans three times a day and singing this to my 4 year old.  She gets it somehow and cocks one eyebrow and says "frijoles para Jesus???" and bursts into laughter.  She is smarter than I can fathom.  I don't remember how long we laughed at that frijol joke and then we sang and sang that song together until she finally dozed off.  Two minutes it was not.  I love it that God knew long before I would ever have imagined it that I would sing about Jesus and beans, then live in a country where beans are the main menu, and live to laugh about it with a child given to me out of wedlock (like all of my children) all the while trying to shine for Him.  So amazing is our Lord of the shiny beans!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Let the children arise

A beautiful sister in Canada sent me the link www.kidsarise.com stating that she thought Jericho might like to host this event.  Not really known for our hosting prowess, we prayed and waited for a green light from God.  The burden grew and we decided to join the throng of children and adults around the world in a 24 hour prayer chain to dedicate this next generation (ages 4-14 in particular) to the Lord!

Our thoughts led us to invite the children's homes whose ministries are similar to ours:  rescuing and redeeming the children whom world has deemed unredeemable.  It seemed like a perfect plan.

As the day drew nearer, we began to experience difficulties.

Like home after home contacting to say that they could not come for some reason or another.
Our balloon man angel

And then on THE day, our designated keyboard player did not show up.  We had been fasting and praying for this event but now we had to pause everything and cry out to God more intensely.  It was Janny, one of our teachers, who had the idea first.  She had been chatting with the young man who came to help us with the balloon towers.  He was a pastor's son and just "happened" to be a worship leader in his church. And guess what instrument he played?  Yep, he was a keyboard player.  This balloon man turned out to be a major gift from God.  Not only was he willing to stay and play but he also was the only one who was tall enough to hang the map of the world that we had meticulously painted for the event.

going out to the highways and byways
There is a story in the Bible about a party that was thrown and all the invitees could not come so the fiesta givers went out to the highways and byways to bring in the lost.  So that's what we did.  Our "event" didn't really look as polished and lovely as what we saw online but that little ragtaggle band of children praised and worshipped and listened to the heart of Jesus and when it came time to declare Isaiah 61:1-3 over them, the presence of the Lord was palpable and real.  Gisela, our preschool teacher, then prophesied over the children and God spoke Words of encouragement and vision into their lives.

Janny and our children

  a ribbon with Arise 2012 stamped on it was our version of the Arise tee-shirt

Listening to God
God showed Susana that she would be used as a Psalmist in the future

At the very end we all spent time asking Jesus to speak to our hearts.  The children wrote down or drew pictures of what they sensed God had spoken.  One little boy whom Marlyn had scooped up off the streets came running forward.  As I asked him what he had heard from the Lord, he announced boldly that God had showed him that He loved him!  Another young boy had drawn a cross with a man kneeling before it.  He explained that God had shown him that he would be used to bring many to the cross of Christ!

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon us, because the LORD has anointed us to proclaim good news to the poor.  He is sending us to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD'S favor and the day of vengeance of our God, and to comfort all who mourn......and we will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor."  Isaiah 61:1-3  Let the children ARISE.  It is Time!