Saturday, October 20, 2012
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 2012
My mind is simply swamped with her…Her. I have to tell you about her.
In the two months since I have returned home to Fiji I have been blown over by the nature of God to sustain life. One new mum has come from the pits of the sex trade here in Fiji. Another has buried a baby.
And thenthere is Esther.
To our knowledge Esther has never received any formal education. Esther is deaf and mute; she has created her own sign language to communicate basic needs to those around her. Esther has come to us because she has been greatly abused and is 7 months pregnant. Esther is 17.
Oh, the horrors that this young lady has likely experienced.
Oh, how I could hate humanity right now, humanity that is composed of creatures that take advantage of the most vulnerable and simple.
Oh, but my God will not let my head remain in the darkness. Instead I linger in the Beauty. Oh, the beauty of a Crazed God.
Oh God, Your Esther has nothing but joy. She runs everywhere. She smiles at everyone. She hugs and showers her affections on all. She yearns to be touched, thrives in learning and living.
I call her Esther, (Not her real name) because it is the name in Heaven You have given her, for she is Queen. Esther is the orphan that you have set aside, loved, and destined for greatness.
Oh, God, only You take the horrors and shape extraordinary divinity-laced people.
Oh, You Lion of Judah, You ferocious Leonie God who takes the dust and breaths life. You have taken this girl-child-woman and given a sweetness that is incorruptible, innocence that will not be stolen, persistence that prevails against evil, beauty that is not for the ages but for eternity.
I ache for what the days bring concerning Esther. My mind reels with what will come…soon she will give birth, but You see God, Esther cannot possibly care for her child in a safe and level method. I wonder, how can we, how can I possibly take one more thing from this woman? This girl who has been stripped of her rights to her body, this child who has spent her life controlled
by others, I am to be a part of staking one more thing from her…her child.
Oh, You Lion. I hear you now. I hear you: I have given her a voice. I am taking care of her. I am caring for her. Hush your wonderings. Hush your wanderings. I have painted the flowers in the field. I feed the birds. I see them. I see you. I see Esther. So be still. Esther will know greatness because no one can tell her she is not good enough, because she cannot listen. Despite everyone I Am. I Am for Esther.
Thank you, Crazed God. You make so little sense to me. For this I am thankful.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
As I sit here, realizing how much time has passed since my
most recent post, I think of all I have missed in sharing with you.
So, how about a crash course on my last 3 months?
Here we go:
New resident-mums and growing relationships
For the past several months, resident-mums and their children have come and gone. Some have been happy farewells. Others, I have cringed as the mum left knowing that she was not quite ready to leave our Homes of Hope family.
Regardless, I have learned the art of saying good-bye. And yet, as I wince at these leavings, wondering what lie ahead for these mums and their little ones, I rest in knowing God has each of these in His hands…they do not take one breath without God’s notice
3 Cheers for new life! If there is one thing that
Jesus has taught me here at Homes of Hope this year, it is this:
The Savior’s power to save and restore surpasses all comprehension and expectation. God,while You do not erase the past, You do offer hope and rebirth that leads to new life, in a new city, in a new family.
This is baby Katherine…my namesake. The mother of this precious one is 19 and honored me by naming her baby girl after me. Names hold much worth here; I have come to learn that the name is given to describe and to honor, a bridge from past lives to the present rebirth and the future.
Trip to North Islands
November, along with the heaviness of
summer, brought an opportunity to visit the North Islands in Fiji, Taveuni and Qamea (Ga-mA-a). I had one day to prepare and then found myself traveling via large boat, cruising north.
Lesson learned #1: Katherine gets sea-sick.
Lesson learned #2: The meal in visiting a village is THE
Lesson learned #3:
Katherine loves village life. Oh, if only I could capture the essence of the
slowness and relational quality of living in a village, removed from
civilization. No electricity, outdoor showers and commodes, living from the
land and sea day-to-day. And thrilling in the conversation and sweetness of our hosts and friends.
Wrapping up the Year
Now events and people begin the slow crawl towards Christmas, and with it we all, that is Homes of Hope staff and residents, are anxious for time off from work.
As for me: I am going home!
On December 17th I will fly back to the States for one month.
How excited I am to see my friends and family, and to catch some time away from ministry and cross-cultural thinking. Oh man, I am ready to get my lazy on!
Till next time...
Monday, September 12, 2011
I have been mulling over a personal revelation for nearly a month now.
Several weeks ago there was a short-term mission team from the U.S. visiting the Homes of Hope campus. This was a lovely team, filled with persons whom I know and whom know me.
Our week with this team culminated with time spent together one final night on campus. There is a gym on campus, essentially a large piece of concrete covered by a tin roof where the mums relish these final nights with a team, for they have had a week to get to know each other, and now we gather to play volleyball and enjoy a late night tea together.
This night, however, I found myself sitting and conversing with my Fijian friends, the mums that make up the residents of Homes of Hope. While some of the mums played volleyball with the team members from overseas, some of the team playing with and enjoying the children, I sat at the edge of the gym with several of the mums who were watching the activity.
Amidst this, I had an uncomfortable feeling that I could not place or dispel…and it was toward the end of this night that I began to understand what this uncomfortable feeling was and its origin:
You see, this team from the U.S. is from my country, my home nation. This team had persons I had gotten to know and enjoy. This team had come to know some of my own personal joys and struggles of working at Homes of Hope. If I would ever feel at home with a group of people, it is these, those whom are of my own culture and common perspective.
Yet I find myself more at home in this moment with the woman whom are my family now, whom I share life and home with.
The discomfort is this: That my people, so to speak, have become strangers in a land where I was previously a stranger. Those whom I relish my time with, whom I want to spend my time with have become those who will never understand my home culture.
This is a jolt for me; a new feeling. Blessed am I to have a hand to hold, that of child, friend, co-worker, and a Persistent Jesus.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
I sat baffled the other day. Did you know that I have been in Fiji for over 6 months now?
The adage follows, I suppose, that time flies. Following this revelation of time passed, I pursued my place and thought-life right now.
About a month ago a little girl of 19 was brought to Homes of Hope. Her eyes were downcast. Weary as she held her baby girl. Jasmine, a shattered woman, was led onto the campus with a police escort. She had just come from spending a night at a police station with her baby because the man she was living with had tried to set her on fire with kerosene.
Slowly, conversations over afternoon tea uncovered Jasmine’s past, much of which is heart wrenching, involving gang rape, being sold by her family for $700, and the requisite abuse from those who should cherish and protect.
Yet my bafflement is washed in the sustaining life of God who makes all things new. New and fresh and incomplete…Incomplete. What beauty is the incomplete, because our Jesus is not done with His work.
The incomplete is Jasmine who holds her head up now. Jasmine has decided to give Jesus-walking a try, and after her first week of, as she calls it, “her change” Jasmine has said in a bewildered voice, “I never knew that ugly could be beautiful again.” I asked Jasmine to explain what she was saying. She did, and I asked if I could write down what she had just said to me, for it is a beautiful thing.
Here is what Jasmine said:
I thought, this Jesus is a man. And men are mostly ruled by hurt and pain. They put this on us. Then they told me that this Jesus wants good things, that He is love, and saving, and life. So, how could this new Jesus, new God want an ugly girl? I asked Jesus this, and He made me cry and said, “You are fresh like the rain and beautiful to me.”
And I am baffled by this New and Relentless God, who makes the Fresh and the Beautiful.
Monday, May 30, 2011
This past month has seen the ignoble death of my beloved computer. After a solemn eulogy and burial, I laid said computer to rest and commenced on a quest to annoy everyone within walking distance who owns a computer to let me borrow theirs, “for just a minute! I swear only want to check my emails!”
Stellar news is that my very generous home church is sending me a new one. So soon, very soon now I will not get in trouble for checking my email AND Facebook; if you could only see me giddy with excitement! Thank you, Sun Valley!
What a month this has been. This month has seen the start of the busy season for Western guests coming to visit and volunteer their time at Homes of Hope. This month has also seen the birth of two baby girls here on campus. One mum is choosing adoption for her baby; the other has moved back to Homes of Hope and is raising her little one.
In fact, we are so inundated with mums and babes that we have one more at the hospital in labor as I write this post.
Not only do we welcome new life to our campus and in our lives, God is ushering in His presence and Life on our beloved lady-residents. This month three of our residents at Homes of Hope have claimed an interest in knowing God more; two of them have made a life commitment to pursue Jesus and trust Him with their lives…welcome, sweet ladies to the Eternal Kingdom! God has been waiting.