Notes From a Big White Ship.

DestinFew times in my life do I ever recall sweating like I was in this picture. Part of the reason is, I was standing in a two-room orphanage in the Republic of Congo with about 20 people and no fans.

The other part was Destin, the little boy I’m holding. He clung to me so tightly, for so long in that sweltering room, that we began melting together like a s’more.

Destin wore me out, but each time I shuffled him around trying to rest my arms, little worry lines grew on his forehead. He clutched my shoulders and whimpered as though his tiny protest, might prevent the inevitable.

The inevitable was, of course, me setting him down and heading back to the Big White Ship, to my big white life, where I have choices Destin can’t even imagine.

What kind of world is this? Setting those babies down, as they reached back up to us and cried, made me wonder if it was fair to pick them up in the first place. Oh Jesus help. This life is brutal.

Luckily, I’ve learned to drop to my knees when I get to thinking like that because, newsflash –  it’s not all up to me to fix.

So on the way out, we paused in the Land Rover for a second and I prayed for all the things we can’t change. And of course we prayed for them too. Lord. Families please! Hurry!

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Baby Creche is a program hosted by a Mercy Ships division called Mercy Ministries. For this program, they load up a dozen or so ship folks and head out to a state-run orphanage to hug some babies. Simple really. Humans need hugging. Especially baby humans who are abandoned on trash heaps or orphaned by AIDS.

At the orphanage, nine women, working around the clock in shifts of three, care for the children. While they do their best, they are outmatched by the need, and it’s clear by the way Destin clings, physical hunger hasn’t been his only concern. Cribs line the walls and you have to watch where you walk because the women leave babies sprawled out on the tile floor.

It’s not a bad idea, it’s cooler there.

MalikaThis is my friend Heather holding a little boy named Malchiat.

Like Destin, it’s hard to guess Malchiat’s age because he is malnourished. He was on the brink when somebody found him in the market and brought him to the orphanage. The women nursed him and Mercy Ministries put him on a special and kind of expensive diet. Malchiat is putting on weight now, frankly, because Mercy Ships is in Congo providing him a kind of expensive diet.

But the ship pulls out in June.

“What happens then?” I asked my friend KJ.

“I don’t know,” she said quietly.

So, in a big, mean world full of things we can’t change, here’s to the things we can. They need us, we need you and we all need each other. If you too would like to hug a baby on the other side of the world, we can help you do that.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

**As ever friends, the views herein are my own, not those of Mercy Ships. 

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Where’s Your Territory?

Last week two high school kids in Zambia went completely nuts when they found out, with only 48 hours to spare, their high school tuition was in the bank. On Monday morning they were out buying books and uniforms.

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Telise (left) Fidelise (right)

I promised I would tell you how we raised the money, crowing about the mountains God moved, but in this case, there wasn’t much mountain moving, just garden-variety obedience.

Two people right here in Texas, who are already believing their heads off for rent, gas, insurance and food scraped up enough money to get Telise and Fidelise started. Then a couple more people wrote checks and now the second term is nearly in the bank. We need another $800 for third term.

There are no dramatic stories here, no millionaires in the bunch, just an unsexy, unheralded sacrifice made by regular folks who want to level the playing field slightly, to make the earth a little more like it is in heaven. There’s a lesson in that.

English: Bachalpsee in the morning, Bernese Alps

Bernese Alps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What we do might not be extravagant but when it’s done out of obedience to Jesus, it’s eternal. The work becomes a living part of the Kingdom of God, like a shiny new castle, a fuchsia azalea or an alpine lake.

I’m so glad Jesus has become the why behind my what, because it gives me context for the kind of work I’ve always wanted to do anyway.

So yes, the world is badly broken and the injustice is overwhelming, but remember we’re just responsible for our own territory, not the whole thing.

So where is your territory and what are you planting there?

You Are a Miracle in Waiting.

When I agreed to go to Zambia this summer with SCRUBS Medical Mission, I dreaded raising the trip money. I’d rather take a beating than ask people for help because I’m a proud, independent American woman and I can handle stuff.

Unfortunately for me, God hates pride and stubborn independence. He does. Look it up. Proverbs 8:13 and Psalm 10:4

So, I sucked it up and asked everyone I knew. Today, I only have $300 to go. Can you believe that? Thirty six of you were happy to jump in with me and go make some friends in Zambia. What a lesson! How often do pride and independence – the most American of all values – interfere with that big, leapy faith God wants before he lays some mind-blowing miracle on us?

Evidently, for me, raising $3600 wasn’t hard enough though. I want leap farther now, believe even bigger. So here goes:

Meet future Zambian engineer Telise and lawyer Fidelise

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Telise (left) and Fidelise (right) used to be orphans but they’re not anymore, because Pastors Jasper and Zion took them in, loved them and taught them how to believe in God’s faithfulness – especially for school.

  • School in Zambia is free only to seventh grade.
  • According to Wikipedia, 74% of Zambian children go no further.
  • Telise and Fidelise need tuition for 10-12 grade by May 18th to pursue these formerly inconceivable goals.
  • One year for both of them is $2400, but they really need two and I have no idea how to raise it.

June 2009 132But God does and He’s waiting for us to be the conduit.

So I’m believing for it and when it happens, I’m going to crow about it right here. So get ready. As the Prophet Isaiah said:

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11

If you’re the miracle, or you’re part of the miracle or know someone else who is, will you pray for it, forward this link or send a tax-deductible contribution to SCRUBS with “Tuition” written in the subject line? SCRUBS Medical Mission 15434 Brittain Court, Lindale, Texas 75771

Zicomo. That’s thank you in Nyanja. I’ll keep you posted.