When we went to our conference in KC a couple of weeks ago, I walked away feeling like I needed to seek out some cross-cultural ministry opportunities. I began to pray that God would show me opportunities to get involved in that way. So, when I called my friend Sarah to chat about church business a few days after my conference, I was once again amazed at God's hand. After catching up on church details, Sarah explained that she had had an experience that she wanted advice about. It turns out that while we were gone, she had become aware of a migrant camp in our county where there were 20+ children living in 3 very worn trailers (as in sub floors with no windows or doors) and a hodge podge of tents. She had met them and felt that maybe she needed to get involved in their lives. She knew she needed help, but she wasn't sure what was next. I immediately knew that Ryan and I needed to be a part of whatever it was. That afternoon, Ryan went out to the farm, met the children, and asked if we could come back on Thursday.
Today, about 9 adults and 9 children from our church drove to the farm and spent about 3 hours with the kids and a few women. We took simple things like parachutes, bubbles, kickballs, and crayons. They were delighted and they played and smiled with us. They graciously accepted the sack lunches we had prepared and they listened as Ryan shared the story of creation. We asked if we could come back again next week and got a resounding yes. It was such a blessing.
My girls went with us and they were shocked at the conditions in which these children are living. Who am I kidding? So was I. Seeing things like that makes you different. It changes your perspective and it convicts you of your wastefulness. We didn't even have to discuss these obvious things with our girls. All day long, they were commenting on what they had seen and experienced. They saw, they knew, they understood.
Tonight when we were eating our warm dinner around our nice clean table in our cool, air-conditioned home, Lily paused and said with a sad face, "I wonder what those kids are eating for dinner tonight?" What do you say to that?
Just a couple of hours later, when the thunder and lightning were dancing across the sky Elizabeth came to find me and with tears in her eyes she said, "Mom what about those poor children who are out in this storm?" What do you do with that?
I suppose that's the time when you emphasize to your children the power of prayer and the value of developing relationships with people so that just maybe you'll have the opportunity to change their lives. Realistically, we know that we probably can't change much about their physical circumstances. But, we can share with them the hope of heaven and shower them with our love and prayers. We can trust that God will use our pitiful efforts to make a difference in a way that will bring him glory.
In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:2-3