Friday, October 17, 2014

pretend play!

Every afternoon the children let me know that they will walk me to the road.  This is a big deal because only the children who are "big" enough to behave, not cry, and walk back by themselves are allowed to come on this adventure.  One of the new favorite games the kids like to play on the road is a sleeping game.  As soon as we leave the fence the children let me know that they are going to sleep on the road, to which I'm supposed to get all upset and let them know that they are NOT allowed to sleep on the road.  They tease back and forth and quickly run ahead of me.  It's my job to "stumble" upon this group of sleeping children who are sprawled out on the ground.  I typically stand over them remarking at how loudly they are breathing and snoring.  I question if I should wake them or leave them to sleep there on the ground for the entire night.  Before long it's my job to yell "leve, leve, leve" so the kids can jump up while screaming as loudly as they possibly can to let me know that they are now awake!  They then rush ahead of me once again to "sleep" on the road one more time before it's time for them to  give me kisses and return home.  This has literally become a favorite activity for the kids and something that we all enjoy.  There is honestly nothing cuter than watching them pretend to sleep and hold as still as they possibly can while I'm standing over them.
The "sleeping" children=)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

the church

I was recently asked to share my thoughts on how I saw God or on what was impactful to me during church service.  Most Sunday's it's easy for me to get lost in the brokenness that is literally right in front of me.  A majority of the people who come to church on campus also come through our clinic for medical care. It's often hard for me to turn off the nursing side of my brain and to simply "be" in the church.  To not be in the service for work but rather for worship.  Life here is hard and when you realize the reality of life, it can at times just seem hopeless.

I sat and watched as a young girl raised her hands in worship.  This girl has always seemed to have a hardened heart.  She is rougher than others and yet for some unknown reason she is special to me.  She is the only believer in her home and I know that choosing to follow Christ hasn't been an easy choice for her.  Just a few months ago I sat with her after telling her that the exam was positive.  She was pregnant.  I sat and watched as her face was hardened to even hearing those words.  Her life was already difficult and would now be even harder.  And yet, I've watched as the people of the church have surrounded her.  They have pushed her and yet still loved her.  I've heard many tell her that she will return to school and that she will work hard in order to provide for the baby that is to come.  Many have walked the same path and they know what is ahead for her.  And yet they still love her.  She comes into the church building broken and yet watching her pursue her relationship with Christ is humbling.  By no means does she have it all figured out but she is there, sitting on the bench with her arms lifted high.

I watched as a woman made space next to her for some of my friends to sit.  That one action pretty much sums up this momma.  She is a servant through and through.  She who by the worlds standards literally has nothing, and yet still gives absolutely everything.  This woman has turned everything I thought I believed upside down.  She doesn't just "talk the talk" rather she lives it.  And yet, if you were to hear her story and to know the details of her life you would think it is all hopeless.  I've cried with and for this momma and her family more times than I could even count.  She has never asked for anything she didn't actually need and has always freely given to me.  She is an amazing mother who fights for her children, all seven of them.  Today, during offering this mother pulled out her portion to be placed in the box.  This mother who doesn't have the money to provide for her family today is still living with palms wide open.  What is hers, is His.  And she truly knows that He will provide.  That is how she lives each and every moment.  If you watch her worship you know that this is how this sweet momma breathes.

I sat and watched as our sweet mommy came walking into church.  She just giggles when you ask her age, because she really has no clue.  If wrinkles were an indication though you would for sure think she is really old.  In typical fashion, she was around 1 1/2 hours late for service.  She enters the church hot and out of breath from the long walk.  Because she walks in the hot sun around two miles just to get to church each and every Sunday.  She is quick to greet me with a kiss and hug and then she heads towards the front of the church to squeeze into an already over-crowded row.  Watching mommy worship is like getting a glimpse of what heaven will be like.  She praises the Lord with her arms lifted high and oh does she dance.  Her little frail body that can barely walk at times literally knows no limits when the music starts playing.  This sweet old woman doesn't have anything of earthly value and yet she is filled with the presence of the Lord.

You see, today I saw the face of God well before the sermon started.  I saw Him in the people of the church.  Our church has "official" services each Sunday and on multiple days during the week.  And yet those services are the smallest portion of what is really going on in our congregation.  The lives that each and every person in the church are living out is a true testament of their faith.  They are living and breathing their beliefs and that is something that impacts me more than could ever happen during one 3 hour church service.  The hope of so many isn't in today but rather in the eternal life that Christ offers.  And so, today during service I watched as so many of my friends chose to worship God.  They chose to worship Him, regardless of circumstance, in a way that was one hundred percent palms wide open and arms lifted high.