Monday, January 23, 2012

Loving God, Loving People

This past week has been fabulous and challenging! 
Each day has been PACKED with teaching that has both enlightened, broken, emptied, and then refilled us with truth; and enriched our relationship as well as dependence on God. 
On Sunday, I went with some of the staff here to hand out bread & spend time with the homeless people in a dangerous part of the city. There were men, women, and children lining the side streets... packed down the road like toothpicks in a box. We drove up to one street where the people were all sleeping in their boxes (it was FREEZING outside). We asked one man who was ragged and beat down if he would like some bread and he immediately sprang up from his pallet and ran to the car to receive. As I looked into his eyes, the windows to his soul; I could not even imagine the story that was hidden deep within. This man who has laid all pride away to accept something as cheap and as simple as a piece of bread... what a reality check to me who always worries about accepting donations as a missionary; this man was running to receive something so small... humility. 
At the “old people’s home”, we were able to just love on people. I firmly believe in the dual aspects of the gospel: loving God and loving people. I met the most adorable little man at the nursing home. He told the nurses that he loved me and then took it upon himself to inform everyone at the nursing home that us youth were there , “as missionaries to tell help them, etc. etc.”. They were so very thankful that we were there and we were blessed as well.
Metro Ministries is one of the ministries at the base here in Costa Rica. The group invited me to go with to participate in this ministry last week. It was FABULOUS! The purpose is to raise up children, to instill values and morals in them, to help the most at-rick intercity children chose the right path. These are the neighborhoods where children can easily fall into the drug cartel, gangs, etc. The bible promises that if we raise up a child in the way he should go, he will not stray from that. It is worth it to invest in children. The best way to change a community is to start with the children. (This same ministry is in inner city New York, and ghettos in large/dangerous cities around the world). The children were so receptive and open. They immediately jumped into my arms, thankful to have any kind of attention. These children listened so attentively... they are “the least of these” and they know it. 

Last week a team from Colorado came to teach the DTS. The days begin at 6 with wake up call. We then have breakfast, followed by worship time, then intercessory prayer; then classes until 9 most nights. God did some huge and amazing things in my heart this week. He rocked my world by identifying un-truths that I had guarded in my heart about who God is and who I am in him. He then ripped those out (while I willing gave them away to Him), and replaced them with new, biblical, and WONDERFUL truths. The teachers also prayed over us during the week and gave us words that God had laid on their hearts for each of us. The words that they gave me were very affirming. One of the things that God had spoken to me earlier in the training has been confirmed by multiple people; which is my calling to “The Nations”. 
There is a group of missionaries here at this base who had the opportunity to go to Mexico for training for their ministry called “Casas de Esperanza”, or Home of Hope. This is obviously not a cheap thing to do when you are living off of donations and support; but this training is HUGE for their ministry (one of the ministries that we are able to participate in). After working with home building ministries in Guatemala, I know how important and influential ministries such as this are. As a base, we prayed for them and then took the day to see what God was laying on our hearts. With a base consisting of mostly young people, we were truely hoping in God to provide these funds. Each person gave whatever they felt they should give... and at the end of our prayer time, we calculated home much was donated. (One boy who had no money to donate auctioned his ANCIENT Ipod). The total amount that we raised as a team was exactly $60 over what was needed for their training.... it is so touching to watch God provide through obedience and generosity of His body. 
On Thursday morning, our leaders asked us to meet them outside in the courtyard after breakfast. They had stations set up around the soccer court. They played worship music, and washed each one of our feet. As they washed, they prayed over us. I was so moved by this... I have experienced this before but it has never impacted me in such a huge way. The two leaders that prayed over me cried as they washed my feet, holding them in their hands, and thanking God OVER and OVER for my life. They continued to tell me how they knew that I felt blessed to be here in this training, but that I was actually a blessing for the base. The lady told me that my heart was life Jesus’, willing to go anywhere to serve God... not focusing on the suffering but on the outcome. Immediately after she said this, I burst into tears. I thought of Jesus, washing my feet right before he went to be crucified. How he had thanked God for me and then did the greatest act of humility and service imaginable. How he suffered and died for me, not seeing the pain but the outcome.... 
I am here in training with some of the most wonderful people... it is so beautiful for me to look around the room and see all of these young people ON FIRE for God and PASSIONATE about knowing God and making God known. It is truly breathtaking.... one of the boys in my group is a refugee from Somalia, there are local Costa Ricans, people from Norway, Ireland, Switzerland, 3rd world countries, people who come from countries that have had the gospel for years and others who come from churches scarcely populated with Christians, some of them have parents who paid for their training while others are struggling to even raise a portion of their support. Faith, passion, and devotion are HUGE here. Most of the students in my school call me “Mom”, and for me it is an honor to be serving them and pouring out into them as God continually pours into me. 

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