God is not . . . .
God is not . . . .
Today I began a five-week journey reading the book Hope Lives. My desire is to be challenged to become what God is calling me to be. I believe that there has got to be a reason that I keep finding myself faced with the poverty of the world. I know that God keeps interrupting my life to help me see these people, who He loves, and view them through His eyes. I know that God values the poor and there has to be a reason that He repeatedly keeps asking me to serve them. I will post here of what, if anything, that God reveals to me as is go through this study seeking the purpose God has for me in these opportunities that keep finding me here in Kansas. At this point, I have no idea what will come of this, but I am open to what I discover.
Do you have a best friend? During our lifetime we have many best friends. Some share our lives during times when we are in the same life station and are sharing similar experiences, some share our good times and our bad. But what about those friends that seem to be in a totally different part of life than you? Can they really be your "best" friend? My girls have two "best" friends one that is many years behind them in life experience that they are sharing life with and hope to be a part of her growing and developing for many years to come. They intentionally spend time with her and look forward to seeing her whenever they can. They also have a "best" friend that is years ahead of them in life experience that they also love to spend time with and look up to. She is sharing life with them and giving them an example of what it looks like to pursue God with a passion that is out there for all to see. Who is your best friend that you are sharing life with and giving in a way that will never be prepaid? I thank God for those best friends that are willing to not only share life with me but pour into my girls as well. Words can never be enough for the gratitude that I feel for the best friends in my life.
Sunday had to be my favorite day in Haiti. Our team had the great privilege of attending church with our new little friends. Each team member was surrounded by the children we had met previously. These kids could not sit close enough to us. And I have to say it truly made me feel loved by them. Then in the afternoon I was so honored to be there for the church dedication of the Cavaillion, Haiti church that Restore Community Church built. Back in October Restore was in a teaching series about generosity, the plan was to give one Sunday's offering toward the building of a church in Haiti. Restore proved that they are a church of generosity and that Sunday the offering was over $60,0000, WOW! Not only were they able to build a church but the orphanage as well and children will be moving in the next couple of weeks. The dedication service began with a handful of people inside the church and then the people literally started to pour in. You could see streams of people coming down the road to the church. Within a couple of minutes the church was packed out with people standing shoulder to shoulder. Our guess was there were between 300 and 400 people in attendance both inside and outside the building. And these are not "pastor" numbers I was there. The opportunity to be there for this dedication in knowing that this church is there to make a difference in the community, is such a privilege and one I will not soon forget. The emotion of it was overwhelming. I had chill bumps and could not stop the tears in knowing the generosity of one brand new church in Kansas City, was not only making a difference in the community in which they live but helping a group of people make a difference in Haiti as well. God is so good!
We are home from Haiti. Although it is great to be home, a part of my heart has been left behind with the children that we played with for three days. I experienced a whole new kind of love. I have never doubted that God loved me, but have not really stepped back and seen how much God loves others. God loves these children through so many people. The amount of details that have to come together in order to care for these children can only be attributed to the love of God for His own. I do not believe they want or need our pity, because they are willing to show love to all that come a visit them. I watched them make sure we were comfortable, the older ones cared for the younger ones, and they made sure that no one was left out of any of the small gifts that we brought them. Each of the team members, 14 in all, sat in church on Sunday surround by these loving children. Think of being in a church service with 200 children under the age of 12. You would have been amazed. They were all very well behaved and worshiped God along with the adults. It will take me a couple of days to process all that I experienced, but I thank God for allowing me the opportunity to experience His love through these children. They will be in my heart forever and I have been changed.
Whenever I leave for a mission trip there are feelings that come up that I just don't expect. It does not matter how many times I have gone in the past, every trip brings these emotions. There is the anxiousness of going somewhere you have never been before, leaving the the familiar for the unfamiliar, and just not knowing what you really are getting yourself into. I also know that once I arrive in Haiti, there will be the overwhelming feeling of how unfair life seems to be, that I was born in the U.S. in a middle class, christian family, and did nothing to deserve this privilege. I never even realized what a privilege it was until I found myself on that first trip to India three years ago. Just as the people in third world countries, did nothing to deserve to live where they do, in the conditions they find themselves. I know that I can easily be blinded by the immensity of the need and paralyzed by thinking I can make any kind of difference. My focus needs to stay on Jesus and reason I am going, to love on His children, one child at a time.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
This is the work that God has prepared for me in advance and He knows that I can do it when I depend on Him.
Last week I told you about how there was a bird that had decided to sit above our front window and make a mess all over it. Well, needless to say we actually saw the little sucker sitting there when some friends were leaving our house last Thursday. Without going into detail, because I had promised a certain someone that I would not post about it, we took care of the problem in a permanent way, if you know what I mean. However, this morning I got up to more poo on the window. Are you kidding me? I think there is a bird conspiracy and they are waiting in line to poo on my window. We have lived in this house for over five years and never had a bird hang on our porch. They only have 1/2 inch or so to sit. There is no way that is comfortable, so I think they are now plotting against me and our murderous act towards their friend. Hmmmm?
We just got the phone call last night and it is official. Ryan's company is moving him back to the Kansas City area. In fact, he will be moving here next week. When I get back from Haiti Ryan will be living here, woo hoo. He has not lived here since the summer of his Freshmen year of college. He said he is looking forward to having time to hang out with the family that isn't rushed knowing he had to leave in a day or two. He will be staying with us for a couple of weeks until he finds a place of his own. So we could in fact be going from empty nest to full house in a matter of weeks. It is only four weeks before the girls are off for summer. Wow, how time flies. I never knew how much I wanted my kids to be near by until Ryan mentioned the possibility a month or so ago. I cannot be more thankful for prayers answered. Thank you, Jesus!!!!
I am so excited as the time grows closer that I will be leaving for Haiti. My great friend Sheri and I will be going to Haiti on a mission trip with Restore Community Church who is partnering C3 Missions. There are so many ways in which this trip will be like no other I have been on before. First of all, this is my first trip where we will be traveling with men. I have only been on women only trips in the past. Secondly, I have no preparation as far as teaching goes, we will be going to orphanages and playing with the children. In our meetings, they keep saying that this trip is about the children. How fun is that? And third, we will be only gone for five days. Wow, I cannot wait to see how C3 and Restore is impacting the community in which they have built a church and are in the process of building an orphanage. I know that I never go on trip where God does not have something specific just for me. Part of the adventure for me is finding that purpose and making the most of it!
For the last week, I wake up each morning with more poo on my window. And this is not just any window it is the big window above the front door. You can see this poo as you walk up to the porch from outside, and when you are coming down the stairs from the inside. I keep checking to see if there is a nest inside the porch, but there is no where for a nest to hide. Why is a bird just sitting above my window and making its mess? There is not only poo on the window but here is the door mat as you come into the front door. Now this is just gross and I have designers that come to Stitches By Sturman everyday and have to step over this bird poo. I do not know what to do. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get this bird off of my porch? I am really done with poo.
Saturday was full of one activity after another. We started our day at 6:30 am at the Olathe Marathon cheering on Lindsey as she ran in her first 1/2 marathon and our good friend Sheri as she ran in another 1/2 marathon. Anna, Jeff, and I had fun driving from place to place along the route to cheer them on with their very own signs. There were also our friends, Nancy O'Connel, Brooke, and Josh Jackaway from Restore, and Paige Wilson from Inidan Creek, Olathe that we cheered on as well. We left directly from the 1/2 marathon to Gardner to put door hangers for the Indian Creek Community Church, Gardner campus egg hunt that happened on Sunday. Jeff, the girls and I along with 23 others hung 1000 door hangers. From there, we went back to Olathe to help unpack and then repack the new trailer that was delivered with all of you church supplies for the Gardner campus. We left there about 3:00 pm only to go home and shower and then have a great dinner with some great friends. Wow, what a day!
On Sunday I made the best meatloaf. I absolutely love meatloaf, but really hate to make it because your hands have to get so gooey. Who likes to mush raw meat with their hands? Defiantly not me. I was in my local Price Chopper store early one morning and they had all of the "have to sell today" meat at a great price, so along with some pork chops, and steaks, I purchased a bunch of ground beef, thinking I really needed some meatloaf. Remembering I now have a mixer that can handle the dirty work, I was ready to go. I used 2 1/2 pounds of ground beef, so we would have plenty for meatloaf sandwiches this week, yummy. We get the extra benefit that every time you open the fridge you get that great meatloaf smell. Jeff hates that, I really like it. I know it's kind of weird but just keeping it real. Here is the recipe I use:
2/3 cups green onions, sliced
4 egg whited, slightly beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
4 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons basil
2 tablespoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons vinegar
Combine egg whites, bread crumbs, milk, basil, oregano, pepper, and 1/2 cup tomato sauce in a large mixing bowl. Add meet and mix well.
Pat meat mixture into a 7 1/2 x 3 1/2-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the glaze, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup tomato sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar in a small mixing bowl. Spoon glaze over meatloaf and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until no pink remains and a meat thermometer read 160 degrees. To serve cut into slices.