"..so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve, if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully."
Here goes....Stephen and I have been called into the International Mission Field. Not really sure why I capitalized those letters, maybe to seem more official?? Either way, we are called, and we are going!
We are leaving a week from today (Wednesday March 5) to check out an organization (Open Arms Foundation) down in Medellin (pronounced Med-E-yin), Colombia. Yes, Colombia, South America. That was my first thought too. "God, you want us to go where?? Ha, you are funny. I think you forgot we have children to keep safe and family here, in our cozy Knoxville, TN. We don't mind being out of our comfort zone, God, but Colombia is beyond comfort comprehension. It's off the charts! Try again." Isn't funny how we think we know what's best for us and where we should go and what we should do? More concerned with us then with people that need the love of Christ.
Well, it only took a couple days (probably less than that), for my heart to be at peace. To know, where ever HE leads, HE will be there too. Sure, there were times when I let my imagination run wild with all the bad things that could happen-- I mean this is third world, drug capital of the world (my own deduction), prostitution is legal and 12 children are kidnapped every week. This can't be right. He wouldn't call us to a place we could die, or lose our children, right? Whenever I do indulge in these worthless thoughts, without fail hear a gentle reminder "They need Jesus, too."
Now, I am so excited to be on this journey with Stephen, our kids and the one who goes before us (God). He is our guide, our protector, our provider. I have experienced this (his guidance, protection and provision) SO SO many times in my life, our life, and it NEVER, NEVER gets old. It still amazes me that God loves us so much, he is involved in the big and small things, sometimes little tokens or notes that no one else ever sees, but it is a reminder, He is here, always. He overwhelms my heart. I'm also excited YOU get to be a part of this, too!
Open Arms Foundation (OAF), has a home for girls, most have been rescued from sexual exploitation or slavery. Some have children and some do not. They get counseling and help learning to be mothers, and members of a community, all while being ministered and shown the love of Jesus.
They also have a Farm for boys, ages 2 - 18, most of these boys are/were street kids (no home, just living on the street) or have been abandoned. They go to school and are taught to work, along with counseling. After their 18th birthday (if they stay that long) they move to another house to integrate them permanently into society, to get jobs and become productive citizens. Also, the love of Jesus is shared through out the entire process.
What these kids need most (besides Jesus) are examples of godly men and women, ANNDD family life. Most of them have never seen functional families (mom and dads who love each other, love the children and even love them too) . That's where we are hoping to come in. Providing a picture of Christ's love, displayed through family life. We have never met any of these boys, yet our hearts are full of love for them. I know it will not be easy, they probably have a lot of trust issues (among other issues). We need for YOU to pray for us, as much as possible.
Our pastor talks about areas in your life/ministry that are so vulnerable and dependent on God, that if he removes his hand, the whole thing will fail. For us, that is now. If God is not with us, if he does not go before us, I do not want to be there. We will fail without him. We need you as well. So, please join us in prayer- for physical protection, continued peace, mental clarity, and victory over spiritual battles- that we will daily put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6), that we will find rest in Him. Let us know if you will join us in praying, we would love to thank you, and keep you updated!!
You can check them out on facebook: OAF for more info!! :)
I have asked the foundation for a list of needs for each of the homes,a small token of love we can give to them. Here is a list-- if you have anything you can send with us I know it will be a blessing. This list is NOT exhaustive, if you have anything else you would like to include, we will graciously take it to them! :-) The number of kids change often- some are added, or run away, etc. ANNND The Colombian people are a lot smaller than Americans (yes, we know we are already taller than average Americans, so this is going to be pretty interesting). :-)
GIRLS HOME- 13 Girls, 8 Babies.
Clothing for babies from 0 to 18 months
Towels for babies
Towels for babies
Blankets for babies
Shoes for pregnant girls that are comfortable (Sizes 35 a 38) - Size 4 to 7.5 US
Maternity pants and jeans (size 4 a 10)
Maternity shirts (Size Small)
Anti-diaper rash cream
Vitamins for pregnant girls (Iron sulfate, calcium, folic acid)
BOYS FARM- 10 Boys (ages 8-16)
Flip-flop style shoes
Pants (size 26 a 30) - Size 5/XS to 12/Large in boys
Shirts - 5/XS to 12/Large in boys
SO excited to see God move, using each of you on this journey with us. Thankful for your open hearts and willing hands.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."