Crucify Him! (the song)

Good Friday

Dear Lindsey,

blur CrucifyMusic somehow reaches the core of my being. A certain song will command movement and make a workout more intense; another tune will force a smile to overcome my countenance; yet other combinations of notes slow my pulse and restore me.

“I wrote this song yesterday; I think this is the piece we have needed for our Good Friday service,” Gary Hallquist, the pastor of music ministry of our church, said a little over a year ago. His music-writing amazes me.

Our Good Friday “Service of Shadows” is a choral and orchestral production centered around Scripture reading, depicting the last days of Christ before crucifixion. The lighting changes to darkness slowly throughout the musical evening, ending the service in complete darkness and silence, as if the Light of the World was extinguished. On Sunday morning, the service begins in the dark, and the lights come up – into full brightness to celebrate the Resurrection.

At the Service of Shadows, singing “There is a Fountain” or “Oh Precious Savior” leaves the listeners and singers in wonder and awe of Christ. But Gary’s song called, “Crucify Him!” stirs different emotions. I didn’t want to sing it.

overall crucifyThe orchestra leads the introduction with dissonance. Conflicting notes that don’t yield “happy” build on top of one another, creating suspense like the theme from “Jaws”. The listener is transported back in time to the day that Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, asked the crowd, “What do you want me to do with Jesus?”

“Crucify Him!” is almost shouted in bass tones in a syncopated rhythm that is woven throughout the piece. The shout begins on the first beat of the measure, but then it changes: beat two, or the second half of four – as if a crowd is sporadically shouting their opinions, yet so musical in chorus. The orchestra echoes the rhythm, with the bass instruments randomly repeating it while the choir is singing other melodies, like an underlying hatred in the world.

I hate singing, “Crucify Him!” The words pierce my heart, yet I know singing it creates the emotions for the service that must have been there the day the chief priests and officers were shouting it to the Roman prefect. (John 19:6)

The men sections come in full force, singing the words of Pilate in powerfully ominous bass tones: “Whom do you want me to release to you?”

Title CrucifyThe choir women answer as if they are the crowd of Jewish leaders in front of Pilate, “Give us Barabbas!”

“What do you want with Jesus your king?” Pilate (the choir men) asks.

The crowd (choir women) interrupts with the answer, “We have no king but Caesar; We want Him put to death! His blood be on us and our children!”

What… an… angry… crowd. I cannot imagine the emotional overcast that day.

Do I have to sing and pretend to be that?! I would NEVER scream, “Crucify Him!” If I were there, how could I possibly say that I would rather have Pilate release a prisoner and kill the Son of God instead? Barabbas was known for robbery, which in those days often meant terrorism and/or bloody insurrection. (Mark 15:7) I would NEVER have chosen to release him, knowing that with my words, I could have voted for Pilate to release Jesus, a man who never sinned, instead!

Do you ever have these thoughts?

  • “How could those leaders act like that? Wasn’t a crowd just yelling, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ last Sunday?” (John 12)
  • “How could Peter, one of the disciples, say he didn’t even know Jesus, when just hours before, Jesus had washed his very feet with His own hands?” (John 18:17)
  • What kind of man is Pilate, that he would allow a crowd to make the decision for his conviction.
  • “I would NEVER yell, ‘Crucify Him!’ I would never want to free a bad guy instead. I would NEVER say I didn’t know Jesus. I would never be like that.”

sync crucifyBut I can never say, “never.”

When I judgmentally thought, “That’s disgusting,” looking at someone dressed differently, adorned with things I would not have near my body, and walking in an unattractive way, I was not loving.

When I had to talk myself back into emotional control when the flight attendant gave me a hard time about “FAA regulations,” (which must not have existed on the 3 previous flights that day!) I was not seeing her as Jesus.

When I received a negative email, how much did I want to return the negative with a kiss of betrayal?

“Crucify Him!” I was shouting with each thought, each emotion, each lack of love.

If I am not for Him, I am against Him. (John 3:18) I shout “Hosanna!” in church, and by the time I am home at the end of the week, or sometimes even the day, I have denied Him three times.

I cannot say, “never.”

Barabbas was guilty.

Jesus was innocent.

Barabbas lived; and on that first “Good Friday,” Jesus died in his place.

I am guilty; Jesus died in my place.

Maybe Pilate represents all those men of power who lack the courage of their own convictions. He thought Jesus was innocent (John 18:38, 19:4,6), yet followed the crowd. I have been Pilate.

Peter may stand for those who have been there: felt their guilt, know their need for a Savior, and yet hide it under the pressure of the “in” crowd, a friend or spouse. I have been Peter.

Today, Good Friday, as we remember the day that Jesus was crucified, may we lay our own lives aside and live for Him. “Greater love has no one than this: than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

Closing this letter is best done with the words of Dr. Ray Pritchard:

“Finally we are left with the question Pilate asked: “What shall I do then with Jesus?”

You can stand back and say, “I don’t care about him.”

You can push him away and say, “Leave me alone.”

You can open your heart and say, “Lord Jesus, I welcome you into my life.”

That is the best thing you can do. It is the safest thing you can do. Trust him. Run to the cross and lay hold of Jesus who loved you and died for you. What more could you do than what he has done for you?

Jesus or Barabbas. The choice is yours.”

May God give you grace to believe in Jesus and crown him as Savior and Lord today.

In love,

Terri

Suggested Reading: John, Chapters 17 -21

Related Post: Climb the Ladder

Below:  Video recording of the Service of Shadows (Crucify Him song is near the 40th minute, but feel free to enjoy its entirety for the real message.)

 

 

Easter with Children: Beating the Bunny

Christian Easter with Children

Dear Lindsey,

I have nothing against bunnies or eggs – any more than hearts in February, or clovers in March, but I want my kids to know that the bunny is a thief :). Ok, really, I don’t think in my “WWJD” terms that Jesus would beat up a bunny, but the title grabbed attention. In serious terms, I want children to know the real meaning of Easter: when we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior who came to take away our sin so we can go to heaven for eternity.  Wow. Look at those words:

Celebrate the RESURRECTION! of our SAVIOR! so we can live for ETERNITY!

Those words are too important to just pass over with an egg hunt and a new dress.  It means everything to me, and I didn’t want to minimize it with a secular bunny and eggs. Before I lose you, the Bradys do color eggs – if I get them in time – and hide them in a fun tradition that spills into homeschool hunts during the spring.  But I fail at decorating my house for Easter, and every year I intend to send out Resurrection cards instead of Christmas cards…which have yet to get done…because without Easter, Christmas is nothing. It is that monumental, so I thought I would tell of some ways that people have shared with me to teach children the REAL meaning in a fun and memorable way.

Easter Tree

Easter Tree 1

This was introduced to me by my dear friend, Carmen Madler.  Her idea begins each year by taking their Christmas tree, cutting off all of the branches and saving part of one to use as the cross bar. For the 40 days and nights before the resurrection (signifying Jesus’ time when he was led by the Spirit to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, Matt 4:1-2), the Madlers tell a part of the story and place something on the tree: the crown of thorns, the sign which says, “King of the Jews“, the dice (signifying the “lots”) that the soldiers cast to try to win Christ’s clothing, etc. I love this idea, since it links the meaning between the two biblical events: Christ’s birth and resurrection – in a visual way that children will remember. Of course, the decoration in the home is a constant reminder for adults as well.Easter Tree zoom

Easter Story Cookies

When I first attended a Bible study (bsfinternational.org) as a new mom, I remember a discussion about how to show the REAL meaning of Easter to children.  The following recipe was shared, and became a tradition in our home – even though we had an egg allergy and couldn’t eat them;  the message was good enough to keep the tradition. (And even now that the egg allergy is gone, the kids don’t really like to eat these cookies – they beg to make them for the story.)

Macaroon

The Night Before Easter: Make these cookies, and be sure to read the Bible passages!

  • What you need:
      • Bible
      • 1 cup whole pecans
      • 1 tsp vinegar
      • 3 egg whites
      • pinch salt
      • 1 cup sugar
      • (zipper bag, wooden spoon, electric mixer, tape)
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees (It is important to turn it on at the beginning, so it is completely preheated by the end.)
  • Place pecans in zipper bag and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces.
      • Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.  Read John 19:1-3.
  • Let each child smell the vinegar.  Put 1tsp vinegar into mixing bowl.
      • Explain: When Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink.  Read John 19:28-30.
  • Add egg whites to vinegar.  Eggs represent life.
      • Explain:  Jesus gave His life to give us life.  Read John 10:10-11.
  • Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand.  Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl.
      • Explain: This represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.  Read Luke 23:27.
  • So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing.  Add 1 cup sugar.
      • Explain: The sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us.  He wants us to know and belong to Him.  Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.
  • Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.
      • Explain: The color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.  Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.
  • Fold in broken nuts.  Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet.
      • Explain: Each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid.  Read Matthew 27:57-60.
  • Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.  Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.
  • GO TO BED!
      • Explain: We may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight.  Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.  Read John 16:20 and 22.
  • On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie.  Notice the cracked surface and take a bite.  The cookies are hollow!
      • Explain: On the first Easter, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.  Read Matthew 28:1-9.
  • Sing Christ the Lord is Risen Today!
  • Eat the cookies before church:)!

Resurrection Eggs

Plastic eggs have never had such valuable content! I didn’t realize Resurrection Eggs Resurrection-Eggscould be bought when I first heard of the concept, so I made them out of my own dollar store plastic eggs, a twisted paper clip crown, a rock from the yard, cotton ball with vinegar, etc.

Whether you hide these in the yard or house, or read through the passages as you each open an egg at the dinner table, the children stay in full attention, waiting to see what will be revealed inside of the next egg. Of course, the last egg is empty, signifying the empty tomb – and the sigh can be heard from every mouth as their hearts are pulled to thoughts of the Savior.

May you be blessed with a family week of celebrating the Resurrection of the Savior!

– Terri Brady

Be still!–for your Ears’ Sake

“Both my noses are clogged!” my then 6-yr-old son woke me in the darkness of morning. I consoled the patient and dug for remedies, while my mind realized that it was “night time” to him, but this was my early morning. I was now not only

English: Alarm clock

missing my last couple winks of sleep before my alarm would sound at 5:30, but soon my exercise time and Bible time would vanish…again… while I coddled him, allowing him to get needed sleep leaning on me.

I always feel like I can’t fill the needs of my family until my needs have been met, and yet once again, I started my day of filling their needs, while my tank was “on empty,” despite my intentions.  The clock continued its never-ending race, while I ran the laps up and down the stairs to rouse children for their school day.

Breakfast- breakfast dishes- wipe the counters (after the 6-yr-old had already wiped them) – split up sibling squabbles – clean up dog mess – wipe tears over the “eaten” toy – get to the car to take the oldest to school, then back home quickly to get the other three started in their homeschool around 8:30.  This was the daily routine of this entire school year.

We had our family Bible time, then math, grammar, the regular subjects – I switched from one subject to the next, sometimes teaching one, while spinning plates in the background with two who didn’t have my full attention at the time. The day continued at breakneck speed.  I looked forward to after school, when all were settled, and I would have an hour of silence before heading with the taxi-full to evening activities.

That’s when the 11-yr-old said, “Can you cut my hair before pictures next week?”

“Sure!” I said, as if it were an easy task. The week’s schedule flashed through my mind. Weekend travel and week night activities, concerts, and the like made me realize that my “hour of silence” that afternoon would once again be taken by something more urgent: haircuts before pictures next week.

Cutting my boys’ hair began as a money-saving venture when we had one child. It grew into an ear-saving venture, when my second son wouldn’t sit still long enough and I was worried the “ear-ritated” barber would cut off his ear. (Sorry – I couldn’t resist the pun!) But at this stage in my life, the currency being saved was time. I could cut three boys’ hair in 45 minutes, which is how long I would have to wait before even starting at some salons.

I began with the oldest and worked my way down to the youngest. I probably should have used the opposite sequence, because by the time I got to the 6-yr-old with a cold, my patience had waned lower than his.

“Be still, please.” I said as I went over the top. He squirmed side to side, and tilted his head at every snip.

“Be still.” I said more firmly, worried I would clip his ear, but hardly slowing my scissors.

“Be still!” I practically shouted at him as I continued my race to get it done before the evening schedule commenced.

Ps 46:10 abruptly came to my mind: “Be still! And know that I am God.”

I smiled to myself thinking of God shouting to me to “be still!” with an explanation point, or He would chop off my ear.

Regret filled me as I realized how “not still” my day was. I felt like promising I would do better tomorrow. “Tomorrow, I will have a quiet time with You.” “Tomorrow,” I will have a less rushed day of motherhood.” “Tomorrow, I will BE STILL and KNOW THAT YOU ARE GOD.”

As quickly as I made promises, I wondered what part of my day I was supposed to have done differently.

Was I supposed to tell the sick child to “go back to bed! I want to be with Jesus now!”?… I don’t think so.

Should I have skipped breakfast or lunch so I could “have a quiet time”?!… Not necessarily.

Should I stop homeschooling, or take kids out of activities, so I can sit around with my me-time and make it God-time?

What am I doing wrong?!

A.W. Tozer in his book, Pursuit of God, hit me hard. I wasn’t born when he wrote the book, but his seeds were planted for a harvest in this year and eternity, I’m sure. In Chapter 10, he talks about ME!

The day of the haircuts was as though I was saying, “Sorry I have to do all of this menial stuff called life, but God, I want to be with You, and tomorrow morning, while it is still dark, THEN will be my sacred life.”

The conflict comes when I try to separate my “sacred” life and my “secular” life.

The “stillness” God wants from me is that my sacred life and my secular life are one. It is then that we truly can be still.

1Cor 10:31 says that whether we eat or drink we should do it all for the glory of God. It’s so significant to me that it says “eating and drinking” – such “menial stuff called life.”

Be still, and recognize the gift of motherhood He gave.

Be still and be thankful for the usefulness of my life; I have something to exhaust me every day!

Be still and praise God! …while I go to work, attend school, cut hair, drive the carpool, coddle the sick one.

But don’t wait for quiet time to do it. Believe me: I LOVE quiet time, and set my alarm clock early on purpose. But if God’s purpose for me wakes me before the clock, I can’t second-guess His plans for my day. It is then that I can be still, and know that He had it planned just perfectly, all along.

I suppose being still has little to do with cutting off ears, and more to do with opening them to hear God’s plan for the day.

May you enjoy this day the Lord had planned for you!

Terri Brady

Related Posts

But For the Grace of God

Dear Lindsey,

This week in Guatemala has been blessed with friendships, new and old. Susie

Jen, Tracey, Susie and I at final night dinner out

Hallstrand and Tracey Avereyn have been friends of mine for the best parts of a couple of decades. Susie’s nursing knowledge combined with her ability to always see the needs of others –team members or strangers – was irreplaceable. Tracey chose to read to the three special needs children of Dorie’s promise instead of playing outside with the children daily, yet her fruits of the Spirit were also evident in her gentle reaction when a child accidentally pressed, “delete all,” on her camera.  My friend, Jen Korte, (who invited us to go on this trip since she has been here many times), and I have a friendship that makes up in depth what it lacks in years, as God gave me a soul sister on the soccer sidelines. But here in Guatemala, I feel like I have met the “real Jen,”: the Jen that has an insatiable desire to help others in need, in the name of Christ.

Each morning, our team would meet with the FCI Missions director, Joel Juarez, who would go over a devotion, which kept us focused on our purpose, when the pain of surroundings tried to distract. In the evenings, we would meet again and each member would state a high and low of the day: the returned smile from an apprehensive toddler, the reciprocated English “God bless you!” of the teen, the boy who said, “I have only had the bones, but I wonder what the chicken tastes like,” and more.  The quality of the hearts of the people in the room was astounding. Two team-members, Sue and Kari, even brought their children (Belen -5 and Wilmer -10) with them whom they had adopted from Dorie’s before international adoptions closed.  They, along with Jen, returned with a promise not to leave the others behind, and spent their week sorting through hundreds of pounds of donations they had stuffed into extra luggage. Liz’s heart was on her sleeve and kept our eyes “leaking” love; Kate’s smile lit the room when she spoke of her daughter’s fundraising; David and Bin said they were nervous around children, but that never showed, and they’ll be fantastic parents to the baby they are expecting through adoption from Korea within a year; Nate was seeking a way to serve and found the group solely by internet searching, but it was hard to catch him without a baby in his hands!; Sheryl could be a stand-up comedian with her Jersey humor and kept me taking notes so I could laugh again later;  (We nick-named her “Jersey”, and because she kept adding “ario” to words to try to sound Spanish, we later called her “Jerseyario”.)  Diane showed such leadership with the kids – they would follow her anywhere, but her true strength showed when she served through a migraine yesterday. Tracy (different from Tracey) and her daughter, Alex (10), were blessings of peace under fire.  The team made the perfect parts of the body of Christ to serve together on this trip.

With such great teammates, I wanted to capture more than just my own thoughts of the week, so I invited them to write for my blog. Tracey took me up on it (below), and I am hoping some of the others will attach comments to bless us all.

In the words of Tracey Avereyn:

When the invite to go on a mission trip to Guatemala appeared in my life,

Tracey and I in front of “the dump” community entrance

my enthusiasm for the idea grew from a couple of seeds.  The first was the opportunity to go and make a difference…to be active hands and feet of the Lord Jesus Christ as instructed in Scripture.  The second was much more selfish.  I know people who had returned from similar trips and had shared how blessed they had been through the experience…blessings from learning the stories of others, travelling to other countries, gaining perspective and developing (or even fine tuning) a scale against which to audit myself in such areas as character and faith.  And I wanted that.

And now our trip with Forever Changed International and the Dorie’s Promise Orphanage is beginning to wind down.  And this is where the rubber meets the road.  What will I do with what I’ve learned…what I’ve seen?  How will I be different going forward?  What will I be doing differently in the days to come?  And, I can honestly say that I don’t have all of that figured out quite yet.  But I know one thing…I will give thanks to God, because the one thought that continued to rest on my mind is, “There but for the grace of God, go I.” 

This week I’ve met families who live in homes that would fit within the bedroom walls of my 7-year-old.  “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

I looked into the sad eyes of 14 year old teen mothers…placed into this situation primarily by abuse…abandoned by family…living in a government-operated orphanage.  I considered my own 12 and 14 year old daughters.  “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

Our team bought thousands of pieces of used clothing for $112 to be distributed among the residents of a shantytown community situated on the edge of the dump.  These people make their living among the vultures that oversee this chasm in the city rummaging for items discarded by another that they can sell in order to feed their families.  A luxury item in this place is a concrete floor…a roof that doesn’t leak.  “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

Water filters on our bus

We had the pleasure and privilege of delivering 20 portable water filters to a ghetto community that is built along the steep face of a cliff.  The joy evident in the faces of the ladies who received these apparatuses would light the night.  I’m sure they were considering the time saved now that they didn’t have to boil their drinking and cooking water.  Yet, I felt inconvenienced with washing dishes with water that I didn’t have to boil, while waiting for a new dishwasher.  “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

In his first letter to the Thessalonians (1 Thess 5:16-17), the Apostle Paul instructs us to “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances”. And, if I were to be honest with myself, and you too, I must confess that I fail miserably at this charge.  And, this week, I repeatedly met people in much more dire circumstances than I have ever found myself…doing just as Paul instructs.  These people had no say regarding what country and situation they were born into…just as I had no say, yet received the unearned mercy of being born in the United States to a loving family with a committed mother and father. Yet, as we launched into communities in such places as a Guatemala City ghetto or a shantytown set up along the edge of the dump…we repeatedly were experiencing these people giving back to us.  Serving us cups of Coca Cola…praying God’s blessing for us…and assisting us with our various tasks.  I have so much to learn from them. 

Anytime I am leaving a beautiful vacation spot, usually along a beach of one of the Great Lakes, I am always a little frustrated that that beauty is always there whether it is being enjoyed or not.  This week, as we came and went to these places, returning to our comfortable resting spot, it occurred to me that those places of struggle continue to exist whether someone is there to help or not.  There is no escape for those residents.  And as I return to my wonderful country…to the cocoon of my family and friends…I need to give thanks to an almighty Creator because “There but the grace of God, go I”.            – Tracey A.

//

When we are irritated by that slow driver, frustrated with the boss who lacks people skills, judgmental of someone’s response to us in life, may we give thanks to God in all things and humbly recognize that there, but for the grace of God, we go.

And when we feel a tug on our heart of a need to be met, may we, by the grace of God, GO.

In love,

Terri

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No Orphans of God

37,000 orphans in Guatemala.

33 adoptions last year.

No orphans of God.

Dear Lindsey,

I am still in Guatemala. The heart-wrenching is good for the soul.  I haven’t had time to write every day, but I thought I would try to synopsize a bit so you can get the idea.  Feel free to skip to the “Thoughts to Ponder” if your time is too limited for reading my diary :).

MONDAY:

Dorie’s Promise, the privately owned orphanage on the property where we are staying, has 38 children right now.   That seems like a lot: to grow up with 37 siblings. 38 people at the dinner table. 38 people’s worth of laundry, food, sickness, chaos, etc. It breaks my heart that they don’t have a mom they can “go home to” and tell the story of their day.

Yet, I realized what a difference Dorie’s Promise is making in those 38 lives, when we went to the state-run orphanage, which has up to 1000 children under the age of 18. We focused on those most ignored:  sixty with special needs and twenty young mothers (age 13-17), who had been raped and left or abused, so they were brought to the orphanage by police.

We brought cake and activities. Smiles and hugs. We tried not to notice lice or deformed faces, not to think of how the baby’s arm was broken or how the mentally retarded girl now has a baby.  I tried not to flinch, when grabbed from behind, as they reached out only to be touched. Give me Your eyes today, Jesus. May I see them as Your children and lift them to see themselves that way.

One young retarded boy helped another in a wheelchair by taking his plate to the trash. He licked the other one’s plate as he walked, and I realized what a gift the cake must have been.  A young mother needing dialysis three times/week is about to be back on the street since her 18th birthday is approaching. So much “out of my control,” it’s hard to think about.

TUESDAY:

We woke to treat the “special mothers” (women who work long shifts here and love the children of Dorie’s Promise more than just a job) to a breakfast and devotion in our house, while we went next door to take care of the orphans. I LOVED reading a book aloud to the children (I’m sure my gringo accent was half of the amusement.), and they came running to fight for lap space as soon as I sat with the libro.  Painting nails, making beaded necklaces, coloring and finger painting were special activities for all. The other amusement was my camera that takes videos. “Por favor foto?” they would ask, and pose with different combinations of children to vie for the spotlight. This cutie, Hilary, surprised me with her belly dancing. Aaah!! Easy to love the lovable! Nayeli had a different interpretation of dance, but both RAN to see what I had filmed. 🙂

street entrance to dump

After the morning with Dorie’s kids, we headed to the city dump, a large area where another ghetto community has been built. The repelling stench increased our desire to stay on the bus, but our team, favorably greeted by residents, forced ourselves through the trash-sorting area to get to the community of 150 homes made of cardboard, cinder blocks and tin. Approximately 3 families per home lived in this community full of roaming children and dogs. The dirt paths were speckled with color, reminding me that we were standing…ie, they were living… on a mountain of trash. I could see the bottom of a Croc surfacing.  I pray the people don’t associate themselves with the trash beneath but with the God above.

Toddlers and babies everywhere made me see the burden of fertility and I was beginning to forget the blessing.  An old man, weathered as much from the sun as from the years, suddenly leaned down to kiss a baby who lay unattended, near where I stood. As the baby received the kiss, both the great-grandpa and the baby instantly yielded smiles, as if the weight of the world were lifted. “My great-grand-daughter!” he announced to me, proudly pointing to the baby’s married 16-yr-old mother beside him.  I felt like I had received a post-it note from God: “I am still here. Don’t grow weary.”

“Road” inside dump community

Part of the $975 cost to attend this trip with Forever Changed, included buying things to supply some needs of this area.  At the dump, the money was used for “pilas”. A pila is a 500-pound cement sink basin, which seemed like an odd request if they are not washing dishes.  However, a pila, to them, means income, because they can use the water to clean things that have been “dumped” there, and then sell the cleaned treasures on the streets.  As we delivered our gifts, I realized we were trying to live out the philosophy taught in the book, When Giving Hurts, so that we don’t hinder people by our gifts.

.

.

WEDNESDAY

At our own devotional time this morning, Joel told us that Dorie’s Promise was so

Mural on the play-yard wall.

named because an orphan, Dorie, who had been abused and moved from home to home, had been given a Bible and the words, “Jesus loves you,” by a missionary. She had hung to those words and The Word through much abuse afterward, but eventually devoted her life to giving back and helping orphans. Such a small seed was planted, and although the missionary never saw the fruit, God did, and still is.

.

After devotions, we went back to the ghetto today – the one we had visited Sunday.  This time we carried twenty water filter systems. (They look like 20-gal Britta filters.) One woman wept when she walked into the room and saw the filters, before we gringos even began to speak.  The woman from our team whose 10-yr-old daughter had raised the money for the filters (selling hair clips) also wept, while the recipients expressed their gratitude. It was as much of a blessing to give as to receive.

POINTS TO PONDER

1. United States is rich. I once heard that people on welfare in the U.S. have a higher average income than 85% of the world. In essence, Americans are all rich in comparison. I used to be judgmental of rich people, assuming they were materialistic and loving money more than God.  “Good people do good things with money,” my husband fought back when I tried to squelch his ambition to start a money-making business over a decade ago. “If good people don’t use their God-given ambitions, who will be there to help when a need arises?” he had asked me. No one on this missions team is unambitious: Surgeons’ wives, business owners, nurses and CEO wives were blessed by God to be able to help in time of need. I am so thankful for them!

2.  “What if it’s a scam?!” “What if your money doesn’t really go to helping anyone?” “What if the people are pretending to be poor, taking off their shoes when you arrive, just so you will give them more?” “What if they take your gifts and destroy them the next week, since they didn’t earn them and don’t appreciate them.”

People who have been here don’t ask those questions.

3.  I think a definition of “hell” for me would be to be surrounded by people with needs that I cannot meet. Hungry children. A teen with kidney failure. A diabetic grandfather who lives at the dump. A 60-yr-old woman who tumbled down the concrete stairs of the ghetto last week. A 5-yr-old with a tumor on his eye. Those have been the low points of this week. Yet, how prideful I am! To think that I am the only one who can help?! That I have control over whether needs are met?!  My pastor said it well:  “It’s not, ‘I do my best and let God do the rest.’ That’s wrong.” (I myself have been guilty of saying that!) “The real statement,” he said, “is ‘God does it all. Period.’

I am thankful that I do not have to carry all the weight on my shoulders. God has this. Every day of these people’s lives has been made by Him to make them who they need to be.  Maybe one of them will be the next Dorie.  I just want to be quiet enough they hear His voice. As our director, Joel, says, “I want to disappear, and let God be seen.”

One little stone changed two nations forever.  (1 Sam 17 – David and Goliath) That was our devotion one day this week. What little stone could you be throwing with God’s might behind it?! Today, Joel said in his broken English as he ended our devotion time: “You know those people who say they are going to change the world? And everyone thinks they are crazy? They are doing it.”

“God doesn’t respond to our needs, He responds to our Faith.” –Joe DarkAngelo

May the people of Guatemala have faith in Him.

Con carino de Cristo,

Terri

When We Don’t See A Purpose


Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
– John Watson (aka Ian MacLaren)

My friend and pastor, Tom Ascol, was struck by lightning in 2008 and lived to tell about it. Continue reading

Perceptive Perspective (I hope)

Dear Lindsey,

The kids were rewarded for delivering drugs! That’s all I remember from my college spring break trip to Washington D.C. We handed out food in a soup kitchen, took children from the inner city to an outer park to show them what green grass looked like (called the “Fresh Air Program”) and visited a “safe house” in the middle of a block; this particular block of tall apartment buildings was where children were taught to deliver the illegal drugs, to keep their parents out of jail.

The baby never left the papoose on the Navajo Indian reservation where I stayed one summer. Children were everywhere, but they all lived with their parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents in a two-room house with a hole in the roof (used as a chimney). The accommodations seemed impossible; I actually wished they would all go inside for a minute so I could see how they fit. While a team of us were replacing their roofs in 110 degree weather, the entire family of 16 stood around outside and marveled. Women and children came and went with buckets of water, carrying them from a nearby well. There was no running water or electricity, and barely a roof. This seemed like a third-world within our own US boundaries: outside of Newcomb, NM.

Last year, I had the opportunity to go to Brazil to visit the MORE Project. The charity has a center in the heart of the Brazilian favelas. As we walked through the “town”, only in daylight for safety, gang members seemed to be watching on every corner. We walked on slatted boards, under which the sewage ran and the smell wafted upward. We came to a home where several of the “More Project kids” lived. A 15-yr-old was in charge, holding the baby in her arms as the multiple others sat still to stare at us strangers. Later, we determined the baby belonged to the 15-yr-old.  On the next block, two 13-yr-old girls approached, dressed as if they were 20.  We were told the sad story of their choice to leave the MORE Project and go into prostitution for $1 a night. “They know no different,” Sergio said. “It is what is done here, until someone steps in and teaches otherwise.”

As I returned from each of the above trips, it was so hard to acclimate (even though they were less than one week each!). How do I spend $75 to put gas into my sport utility when there is such need? How do I take a hot shower every day and think, “There is no food in this house,” with a full pantry. Did I really think “I have nothing to wear” to that wedding? Ugh. Perspective. I wish I would never lose it.

As we remember the Holy Week this week – the anniversary marking the last days of Jesus’s life on earth, I am thankfully given perspective. As He was beaten, mocked, and deserted, Jesus didn’t retaliate, nor even speak in defense, but played the part that God had designed. He “drank the cup” and died the death, so that I may live eternally. As we remember Him, may we keep the eternal perspective that He intended. He cares about the children in DC, the Navajo Indians, the Brazilian favelas, and even me.  We are blessed indeed. Life: May we keep it in perspective.

Love ya,

Terri

John 17:23 “ I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”

Art Exchange

Gallery

This gallery contains 40 photos.

Dear Lindsey, I found a note on my desk from my daughter. It read, “Dear Mom, I borrowed some paper but will give some art.”  As the paper was indeed returned in its promised form, I was pleased and impressed … Continue reading

163 Miles North

The steering wheel was wet. I could barely hold on, but the anger inside seethed and prevented me from stopping, despite my blurred vision from the tears that jumped from my face. I ranted and raved in my head. The injustice! The money lost! The months waiting! The painful nights! The fervent prayers…all for nothing!

Continue reading

Short, Sweet Prayer

Praying for... Santa?

My 4-yr-old once prayed, “Jesus, you are such a great guy. Amen.”

Matthew 19:14: But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”