Friday, November 23, 2012

Dry off your tears and get to work

"Oh those poor children."

I tend to hear that a lot.

Many times, people hear the story of a person and feel bad for them. They're sympathetic of their situation. Hearing their story may even bring tears to their eyes, they might gasp and wonder why bad things happen, and they may even say a quick prayer that God would intervene, that the child would receive food or care or whatever it is that they need.

But, what I have come to realize is that sympathy is not going to do anything to help that child. Neither is pity. You have got to do some thing about it.

If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? - James 2:16

You can wish that the needs be met, you can even pray, but if God is calling you to be His hands and feet, then we need to be stepping up to the plate and doing something to fix the need.

We can't just sit back, expecting everyone else to do it while the child goes to bed yet another night with an empty stomach, because unless your compassion compels you to move, its really not compassion, its sympathy. And there is a huge difference between compassion and sympathy.


feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.


 You see, compassion doesn't just say, "Oh, that poor child." Compassion says "Let's do something about this!" Compassion has a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. It doesn't just sit back and wait, it takes action. It doesn't shed a tear, but then turn its back, pretending that it doesn't know, thinking that someone else will take care of it.

Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act. - Proverbs 24:12

 So dry off your tears and get to work.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

 At twelve years old Roody is the caretaker for his six younger siblings. His mother has to work, and his dad is usually drunk, so Roody takes care of the family all day until his mom comes home. Roody is the one who makes sure they do their homework. Roody is responsible for finding something to eat when they run out of tortillas, and he is the one that comforts his siblings when they are sad. Roody and his family live in a nearby village called Chituc. They live in a one room house with dirt floors, aluminum walls, and a tarp for a roof. Their kitchen is a metal garbage bin that they put hot coals in. Roody shares a bed with four of his brothers, and his only sister sleeps on the floor. The 8 month old baby sleeps on a corn sack that hangs from a wooden beam on the roof.

(Roody and another boy from Chituc)

Recently we helped Roody's family by building them a stove, giving them a Mattress so that Roody's sister didn't have to sleep on the floor, and giving them a bassinet so that the baby didn't have so sleep in such a dangerous position. The entire family was so happy to have these things that most Americans take for granted. They were thrilled to have these simple things that we consider necessary. They were thankful.

(Roody's family)

In  America, not only does every member of the family have their own bed, we buy the extra soft mattresses. We buy elaborate headboards and comforters and pillows that match our rooms, and then we get new ones every few years, because they get old. 

Not only do we have stoves, but we have electric ones that start with the push of a button so that we don't have to wait until the fire is hot enough. And on top of that we have ovens and microwaves and grills, so that there are even more ways that we can cook our favorite foods to our liking.

Not only do we have baby beds, but we then buy matching bedding, and more blankets than a child could ever use. We buy mobiles that spin from the top on the bed, and then we buy portacribs that we can take on vacation. 

I'm not saying that it is wrong to have any of this stuff, but what is wrong is that we are always wanting more.
  (Roody's brother Bryan)

This week, we will all sit around the table with our family and friends and eat more food than it takes to make us full, to celebrate Thanksgiving. We will talk about the things we are thankful for, like our church, and our freedom, our job and our family.

(Roody's house)

The idea of something like this is impossible to a kid like Roody, not just because they don't celebrate a feast between the pilgrims and the indians in Guatemala, but rather because they could never imagine having that much food.

But the worst part is, the day after we all say how thankful we are, we get up early and stand in line to buy more things that we don't really need. We trample over other people and fight we the things that we want.

 I challenge you to pause for a moment this week and be thankful for everything you have, don't just be grateful on Thanksgiving, but on Black Friday too.

Friday, November 16, 2012

She stumbled down the hill, looking weak and desperate. Her body so thin and feeble that she was barely able to walk. She was starving, looking for anyway to get food for her and her family of twelve, so that they didn't end up eating dirt again to ease the pain in their stomachs. Then she saw it, the mispero tree.

At the exact same moment that thirteen year old Rosa was considering taking some of the small rotten fruits, my mom and I came around the corner and spotted her. We had been out walking and talking. We saw her from a distance and immediately I knew that God had put her on our path for a reason.

She looked at us, scared to death.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

She nervously looked down to the ground. "Do you think that I could take some of these?" she asked pointed to the rotting fruit.

"Do you need help? Can I get you some food?" She looked up and me, and I could see the pain and the fear in her eyes, and the dirt around her mouth like she had just been eating it.

We ran back to the house grabbing all of the food and the clothes we could find hoping that she would be there when we went back.

We brought her everything that we had, and she looked at us, emotionless, like her life had been so hard that she was now numb to the world.

My heart breaks thinking of Rosa, wondering where she is and if she's ok. I can't help but think of how that could have been me. I could have been the thirteen year old girl barely surviving, fighting for life and trying to find food.

Precious Father, 
Help us not to forget. Help us to remember how blessed we are, and help us to not forget about those who aren't so blessed. I don't understand why its like this, but don't let us be so wrapped up in the questions and the overwhelming number of stories like us, instead let us do something about it. 
In your holy name I pray. Amen

 This was supposed to be posted on August 23rd, but my computer crashed, so here it is now!

 I cannot believe it has been a year since we hopped on plane and moved to Guatemala. Some days I feel like we have just begun, while other days I am left asking myself, "Has it really only been one year?" While this has definitely been the hardest year in my 17 years of life, it has also been the most rewarding. My faith has been stretched to to limits farther that I imagined. I have experienced so many things in the past year, and I have learned so much. So, in honor of my first year, here are 25 things I have learned in Guatemala.
1. Spanish. I never would have imagined I would know this much Spanish, yet I have a long way to go. I have a whole new appreciation for the foreigners that come to America.
2. Even though there is a language barrier, kids are kids no matter what. You don't necessarily need words to play with a child. The best sermons are lived, not preached.
3. Skype can either be your best friend, or your worst enemy. While it is great to be able to see and talk to your friends back home, the majority of the conversation is usually spent asking, "Can you hear me now?"
4. Being called fat is a good thing, it means you have food.
5. When you play signs, don't lean back, or you may break a chair... or four.
6. Americans are so blessed, beyond what we even imagine.
7. You can, in fact, live with leaks in your roof. I have six in my room alone.
8. Avocado popsicles are not as nasty as they sound.
9. Retaining walls are really important when you live on a mountain.
10. Don't drink the water. Trust me it is not worth it, unless you like spending all night in the bathroom, but the green pills can usually fix that.
11.Terracotta. Yep, terracotta. Very few of you will actually understand this one, but those of you who do will laugh.
12. Fireworks are great at any time of the year.
13. I now know how to make a tortilla, but mine will never be as good as Elsa's.
14. Some friendships can break the language barrier.
15. You can fit more people into your car than you would think.
16. McDonalds is way better here. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that I miss American food, but regardless, Guatemalans take their jobs at McDonalds here seriously. The bathrooms are actually clean, and you can get waited on.
17. It is ok if things do not happen on time, they rarely ever will be in Guatemala.
18. Going along with number 17- be flexible!
19. Blessings come when you least expect it.
20. Its the little things.
21. I seriously have the coolest people in my life.
22. All you need is a little bit of faith, and God will blow you away with what He can do.
23. Always keep toilet paper with you.
24.Sometimes it may seem likes its impossible, but nothing is impossible with God, let Him handle it.
25.Don't ever doubt what God can do, he will probably prove you wrong.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Back in Bloggerland

 After over two months with a crashed computer, (Thank you to some awesome friends who were able to fix it.) and a month in the states, I am finally back in the blogger world. The past three months have been crazy! We were able to visit friends and family as well as speak at churches. We have been doing everything we can at Village of Hope to be able to take in kids. Here are so pictures from the past few months,