Friday, July 31, 2009

bryan and my friend

one of my friends who has been here a few times has practically adopted a guatemalan family here. he and his wife are like parents to these kids. they cry uncontrollably every time they leave to go back to the states.

recently, my buddy asked to film the boy, named bryan, saying a few words about his life. bryan started talking and it wasn't long before he started speaking directly to my friend. "thank you for helping us. thank you for helping us with a home, with clothes, with food. thank you for loving us. you're like my daddy."

it's no coincidence that bryan's father is an alcoholic who is rarely home. from what i can tell there is very little, if any, love and affection shown to this boy from his dad.

i pray that as they grow up, bryan and his sisters will learn and experience more of the love of the Father who never leaves us, abuses us, abandons us, or forsakes us. the fatherly love that surpasses our understanding.

in the meantime i am thankful for our friends, who are giving them a glimpse of that very love.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

grace

a friend knocked at the door late tonight. drunk out of his mind, crying, asking for help. his marriage is falling apart, his family crumbling. he shared with me that he told his pastor everything and his pastor said "i can't keep making time for this - don't come back until things are better."

what? this blows my mind. to say that is to not understand jesus at all. hearing this gave me a new energy and commitment to not grow weary. to keep helping the helpless, to keep loving the unlovely. to stand for truth, but never stop extending grace.

this man needs grace. he needs to understand what it is. to know that jesus waits and longs for his broken return to the cross, and that the cross is enough.

let us not pretend to be perfect as the church. let us confess our sin openly to one another, without fear of condemnation or being cast off. let the church be the open arms of christ, willing to take in the sinner and love him back to recovery.

Monday, July 20, 2009

stefani

met a lady today with her 7 kids (2.5 to 12yrs) who was working outside in front of her father's tin house. she has a 5yr old named stefani who was born with an mysterious illness. she cried as she told us about her condition. no ability to do anything about it...

been running into a lot of these situations lately. where the people simply do not have the ability, finances, or means to find out what is wrong with them or their children. they know something is wrong, but they just cant do anything about it.

it is so hard to know what to do. jesus says love them as yourself. in other words, do what you would do if stefani was your own daughter. wow... help me jesus. give me the ability to obey your word.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

francisco

walking through buena vista today, and old woman asked me if i could help her son. he fell 4 years ago and broke his foot. it obviously didn't heal correctly because he has been unable to walk for 4 years. he only gets out of his bed to use the restroom, with help from his mom and sister.

francisco lives in a poor rural town in a 3rd world country, his "home" tucked into the side of a steep mountain. in his world, a broken ankle means never walking again. in our world, its a 3 to 6 month setback...

makes me think about justice, and how god's justice is different than mine. in luke 18 jesus says whoever exalts himself in this life will be humbled, and the humble will be exalted. it's hard to remember that god thinks eternally. his scale of fairness has heaven in mind, and so many times in scripture we read "blessed are the poor." i pray for francisco, that his reward will be great in heaven.

Monday, July 13, 2009

the dunlaps

in january we had a bunch of guys come down and help us prepare the teamhouse for future trips. it was a special week. a group of guys from all different backgrounds - working, serving, and bonding.

one of the guys was alex dunlap, a close friend of my brother chad. he had a great experience here - and was impacted greatly with a collision of sorts with the gospel of jesus. he told me in january that he would be bringing back his family.

the thing is... lots of people say stuff like that. but he meant it. he is here now, with his mom, sister, cousin, and some friends. they are building a playground for kids in a community where the poverty is such that the kids don't have clean water, shoes or enough food - much less a place to play.

they are building basketball goals, laying grass, bringing in playground equipment, and painting. the kids in the village are crowding around the area - playing and helping with eager anticipation. it is truly a beautiful sight.

these are the hands and feet of jesus. serving the needy. helping those that can't help themselves. loving on the "least of these." caring for those in need and expecting nothing in return.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

blanca suzanna

kerrie and i have been thinking a lot lately about blanca suzanna. she is a 13 year old girl who lives near us. she was raped right after she turned 12 and now has a 1 year old baby. as if that isn't frightening enough, she is also mentally disabled, with what appears to be some kind of retardation.

yesterday kerrie and sarah took their family a box of food and spent some time visiting.

about a month ago, someone who had heard about her situation anonomously made a donation and asked us to use it the best we we could to help her. we have been praying about this. the needs for this family are so great (they live in extreme poverty), its one of those situations where you have to ask "what would help them the most?"

it's hard to answer that question unless we get to know them better. so, that's what we have been doing. we are beginning to have some ideas, and praying for wisdom as we prepare to do something for this family. please pray with us... i will keep you posted.

Monday, July 6, 2009

family time

today we snuck away to a nearby park for some needed family time. it was awesome. my favorite part was playing baseball together. it has been 6 months or so since jake and i have hit (we used to go hit all the time). so i was a little nervous that he had lost some skills. but in no time he was back to his old self...

we had a great time together. this has been a challenge for us - finding time to just be alone as a family. like anyone in "full-time ministry" (what does that even mean? aren't we all in full time ministry?), it can be easy to justify a lack of family time because of all the good things you are doing. lots of time we are out working on various projects together, so it seems like family time. but it's not, because we're not alone with each other...just us. when it's just us, it is different. more personal, and more intimate.

i was reminded today how important it is to set apart this time on a regular basis.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

dreaming & planning

having developed a little phobia for everything too organized, i am trying to "dream" first and "plan" later. in the position God has me in currently, it would be a disaster if i didn't stay organized. but i don't want to be so organized that i feel like i'm running a business again. i want to let the spirit lead, be flexible, stay open...

so dSg is dreaming about some exciting things on the horizon:
  • building a playground for the kids of Buena Vista. soccer, basketball, and playground equipment!
  • starting dSg sports leagues. partnering with the Leiva family and providing FREE, QUALITY sports leagues to poor kids who can't afford to play in other leagues...
  • exploding growth for the 12x12 love project... the ability to have many homes being built at the same time...
please join us in praying and "dreaming" about these things! if God blesses these desires, i guess i'll have to start organizing... haha.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

a little r&r

we had the hult's and widener's here for about 10 days. after a solid run of teams and projects, it was nice to mix a little fun in with some work. we did a one-nighter to the pacific coast and stayed at a cool little joint called johnny's place. awesome weather, cold drinks, lots of volleyball, and a blast with friends. thank you god for a refreshing break! pics here.