Mothers and Children

Some of my earliest memories are of my mother taking care of me. I can remember everything from her taking my temperature when I was sick to giving me Flintstone vitamins every night (did anyone ever figure out where Betty was?) to making my favorite meal (lasagna!), I always knew that with her there at my side, I would be ok. On the rare occasion that I forgot my lunch at home, I could count on her to be at the school before lunchtime to bring it to me. She wore herself out making sure that my sister and I had everything we needed. Most of my own mothering style, I have learned from my mom. From cuddling up on the couch with my babies and reading a picture book to putting hydrogen peroxide on cuts and boo-boos and blowing on it (cause it burns!)…those are all things I learned to do from my mama.

But what if you, as a mother, wanted to do these things, but couldn’t? What if there were no vitamins each night to give? No medicine when your child  was sick? What if there was no lunch at all? What if there were no books to read, and even if there were, no one with the ability to read them? What if there was no peroxide or Band-Aids to put on boo-boos?

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Not only are many mothers across the ocean not able to provide the absolute basic needs for their children, but many families in Asia feel forced to actually sell their children in order to feed the rest of their family. When they are sold, these children are introduced into a world that no child should ever have to live in. A world that is completely empty of the gospel of Jesus Christ, a world that is full of evil. While we in America could never imagine the possibility of this, we have to remember that we live in a very different reality from many areas of the world around us.

This is what mothers in Asia and around the world face each and every day. Wanting to provide and care for their children, but falling woefully short due to their circumstances. It’s difficult to hear, and it would be so much easier to just not know about it, but it’s so important for us all to know. Because when we know, we are called to action. When we are called to action, we can accomplish things for the glory of God. And this is why I love Gospel for Asia. Gospel for Asia has a ministry called Bridge of Hope where families in America can sponsor a child each month and that child will have medical care, food, and an education provided for them. What a gift you can give a family. What a difference we can make all the way across the ocean! I can’t think of a better way to minister to a mother than to help her care for her child. This is one way we can take the gospel to the ends of the earth. In the last two years, I have come to realize that it is our duty as Christians to care about the things that God cares about. God cares about those who have no hope. He cares, and since he cares, we should care too.

mom and child gfa
When you consider this with your family, think about this…nowadays for a family to eat out one time, it’s about $30 or more. If your family skips one restaurant meal a MONTH, you can feed, clothe, provide medical care and an education for a child for an entire 30 days. When I was reading through the book Revolution in World Missions, I was strongly convicted of the amount of money I waste every day on unnecessary items that another family could use just for the absolute bare basics. It really puts things in a different light. Will you pray about supporting a child in Asia? Maybe two children? Will you ask God what you can do? Can you provide the bare basics for a child out of the abundance in which God has blessed you?
1 John 3:17 ESV
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

Click here to visit the Gospel for Asia site and see how you can help!

Click here to receive the free book that changed my view on world missions and my own life!

Gospel for Asia Logo
FOR KIDS: Parents, here is a kid-friendly version of the above story to read to your children to get them involved in World Missions.

How does your mom take care of you? Does she take care of you when you are sick? Does she put a Band-Aid on when you fall down and get a cut? Does she make your favorite meal sometimes? Does she read to you? Moms are so important and so special. But can you imagine a mother who wants to take care of her children but can’t? Can you imagine a mother who wants to cook for her family but has no food? What about a mother who wants to take care of their child when they fall, but they have no Band-Aids? What about a mom who wants to help her child feel better when they are sick, but there is no medicine? What if a mom wanted to read to her children but didn’t know how to read? How do you think that mom would feel? How would that child feel?

In Asia, a country all the way across the world, this is true every day. There are mothers who are not able to care for their children. That would be so hard. Some mothers have to sell their children in order to have food to feed the rest of her family. We can’t imagine that can we? That’s because your mom and dad would never, ever sell you. But we live in a very different country where we have lots more help. In Asia, it happens, and it’s very sad…it’s sad for the child and for the family.

But there is good news…you can help! Yes, you! The Bible says in

1 John 3:17,
“ Suppose someone sees a brother or sister in need and is able to help them. And suppose that person doesn’t take pity on these needy people. Then how can the love of God be in that person?”

When we see or hear about someone in need, God wants us to do what we can to help. And a ministry called Gospel for Asia has made a way for us to help! Talk to your mom and dad and pray about what you and your family can do to help these mothers and children in Asia to have hope.

I’m linking up today at one of my favorite places to hang out with my Arkansas blogger friends:

Arkansas Women Bloggers
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An Announcement for Redeeming the Days Blog

 

I have been blogging on and off for about 9 years now. Yeah, I know…crazy. It began as a journal, or a way to post pictures of Isaac. Then, it kind of morphed from there. I tried my hand at some crafting posts and some recipe posts. Now, three blogs later, I’m still at it. The funny thing is that I’ve never really cared if anyone read it or not. It’s always really been for me. If anyone read it and enjoyed it, that’s just been an added bonus in my book. That’s why you don’t see ads on my blog. That’s also why I have never made money off my blog. When I recommend a book, I get no commission. It’s sincerely because the book impacted me deeply and I want to share it. I’ve come to realize that blogging is really and truly an outpouring of what’s in my heart. And, as much as I have tried to put it on the back burner, it keeps on bubbling up. But, recently, God has taken me in a new direction for this blog, and I’m excited to share with you the journey that I’ve been working through.

I am a reader-always have been. But, I have a confession…I LOVE children’s fiction. And I can’t stand adult fiction. It’s just not something I’ve ever been able to read and really enjoy. Therefore, for “pleasure reading” I always end up reading Christian non-fiction or books about homeschool or rearing children. I know, it’s weird. I just feel really good about making my leisure hours somehow productive. Ha! Anyway, I stumbled upon a book called, Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan, the founder of the Gospel for Asia ministry. It was a free book, as in a they-will-mail-it-to-you free book-not just a Kindle edition. I couldn’t pass it up! When I got it, it sat on my shelf for a while as I read through some other books, but finally curiosity got the best of me, and in all honesty, I will admit, I ended up putting it in my bathroom so I could read a little bit at a time in peace. Yes…this is the only way I get any reading done. I take extra long bathroom breaks. I know that’s probably too much information….just keepin’ it real for you-it’s a good technique when you have four children. So I read through it really slowly, and every day, the few pages I read just cut me through. I mean, I felt so convicted with every page turn, so changed, so moved to action in world missions. I literally mentioned to Tim a few times that we could just head on over to India and be missionaries and it would be just fine with me. If you know me, I rarely leave Morrilton, I can count on one hand how many states I’ve visited, and I’ve never been to another country. Yeah, I’m a homebody. So you can see that this book really and truly was doing a work in me.

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After a while of reading this book and the Holy Spirit really beginning to move in me, I knew that I had a part in this. I knew that while jetting off to India was not the right thing for us at this point, that still, God had something in mind for me to do. But, I just couldn’t figure it out. And in the meantime, my head was so clouded with so much I was mulling over that I felt as though it might just burst. I couldn’t rest, I couldn’t think clearly, I was cranky.   And if I can just be totally frank with you, in my mind, I was going through a huge adjustment with our adoption, and I kind of felt like God should just give me a little rest from any other conviction, right? That makes sense doesn’t it? But, that apparently is not how God works with me. Not in this case. So finally, one night I just broke down and shared my thoughts with Tim, and he felt that all of my crankiness and poor outlook on things was due to the fact that I was supposed to do something that I wasn’t doing. When he said that, it clicked, and I knew. I was supposed to be writing. I was supposed to be pouring my thoughts onto the computer screen.

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So, I went back to the Gospel for Asia site, but this time, I wasn’t looking for somewhere that we could go. I was just looking….and sure enough, tucked away in the site menu, I found a little button that said, “Sign Up to be a Blogger for Asia”. And my heart leaped. I knew that was it. I couldn’t go be a teacher across the ocean, but I could be a voice. Maybe a tiny voice in a great, big world, but a voice all the same.

And it occurred to me…that’s what God has called me to do on a few accounts. It is my prayer to be a voice for those who don’t have one….for the orphans in our own community to the women and children destitute and starving in Asia. It may not be much, but I have to do my part to contribute. So, the big announcement is that I am now officially a “Gospel for Asia Blogger”. And periodically, I will be bringing you stories from across the world. It is my hope to write these stories in a family-friendly way, so that you can share my posts with your children. Because we need to raise up children who are more passionate about the things that God cares about and less passionate about the things of the world. And I will tell you that when you begin to read some of these stories, the things of this world look so very pale. I also plan to share with you missionary studies that you can do together with your family. I’m really excited about the direction that the Lord is taking my blog. I have realized in the past few weeks that writing is something that I have to make time for…it’s something that is good for my soul. It’s actually what I do for me just as much, if not more, as I do it for others. And while I don’t think that I’m an amazing writer, I hope and pray that these stories will challenge you, encourage you, and empower you, as they have me.

I’ll begin sharing more soon. In the meantime, check out the free book that completely changed the way I think about almost everything. Click on the banner below:

 

Missionary from the Past, Lesson for Today

jim elliot

For the past three years, my life has been deeply impacted through homeschooling my children. One of the reasons for this is that our curriculum has included studying missionaries. Never in my life have I given much thought to missionaries. ..although I am really ashamed to say that. But over the past three years, we’ve had the pleasure to read and RE-read stories of great missionaries like George Muller, Gladys Aylward, and my most recent favorite, Jim Elliot. For several weeks, every day we would read a little bit of the Jim Elliot biography, and every day, my kids would beg me not to stop reading. Truthfully, I didn’t want to stop reading either. I mean, I knew what was going to happen, I knew that Jim Elliot and his missionary friends died (sorry for the spoiler). And I even prepared my kids for it so they wouldn’t be shocked and surprised. But I think that what kept us reading was just wondering how on Earth God could actually cause good to come from that terrible, awful situation. After reading the book, the kids and I all agreed that it was the best missionary story we had read yet (and we’ve read some really great stories). Then, we watched the Torchlighters movie of Jim Elliot and the documentaries which followed, which I highly recommend. And oh my…Jim Elliot and his work for the Lord has been on my mind ever since.

Let me give you a brief synopsis of the story, made popular through the movie “End of the Spear”, although I can promise you I won’t do it justice, so I strongly urge you to read one of his many biographies.   Jim Elliot, along with 4 other friends and their families, moved to the jungles of South America to minister to unreached native groups. At first they worked with the Quichua (KIT-choo-uh) Indians, but all the while, they had in their hearts to reach the Aucas (Ow-kahs). The Auca Indians were the most feared Indian group around. Every tribe was scared of the Aucas. No one knew where they lived, and they killed anyone who came close for any reason. There was never peace between the Aucas and surrounding natives. Therefore, no missionary had ever been into the heart of Auca territory to carry the Gospel to these people. So, Elliot and his team began to pray and devise a plan to reach these people. They began by dropping gifts in a bucket from a helicopter and shouting friendly Auca phrases from a loudspeaker on the helicopter. Then, they finally felt it was time to make contact, so they set up camp in Auca territory. At first, they had three Auca visitors. That visit went incredibly well. Then, a few days later, out of nowhere, Auca warriors came and speared each one of the men. The amazing thing is that each of the missionaries carried a gun….and although there was plenty of time, not one of them took it out to use it. They willingly gave their lives because they knew that retaliation would only strengthen the fear of the Aucas to the outside world along with destroying any chance of them hearing the gospel.

Though the story itself is amazing, what’s even more astounding is what happened after the death of this missionary team.  After the horrifying incident, rather than coming back home, the missionary wives continued their work with the Quichua Indians. However, by an incredible string of events, the Aucas found out that the missionaries had guns yet chose not to use them.  Because of this fact, they asked Jim Elliot’s wife and the sister of another man who was killed (Nate Saint) to go and live among the  Aucas , and they were able to bring the gospel to them. Their willing sacrifice did not come back void. In fact it drove the Aucas toward this message that these men so willingly gave their lives in order to share. As time went on, Nate Saint’s son, Steve, also went to join his aunt and live among the Aucas. They became like family to him, and one of the men who had speared Saint’s father actually “adopted” him as his own son. The Auca tribe is vastly different today because of these five missionary families. They no longer hold the derogatory name Auca which means “savage” but now go by their true name, the Waorani. The Saint family has taught them to provide medical treatment for their own people, and now they are beginning to share the gospel and teach other tribes around them this technology. Wow. What a story for the Father’s glory.

auca

This got me to thinking….I told you that Jim Elliot and the Aucas have been on my mind the past several weeks, didn’t I? There is no other group on the planet that is willing to give their life to spread a message. There are many religions that would honorably die in defense of their religion or even kill others through their own suicide in the name of their religion, but who else would willingly die just to offer someone a chance to hear the gospel? Wow, what a sacrifice! These men didn’t know exactly what was going to happen but from day one, they were willing to face death if it were part of the Lord’s will.

There are many belief systems in this world but only one that has such a pure sweet message that would invoke such a response when met with hostility. 2 Corinthians 4:7  “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us not knowing any kind of truth.”

This made me think about us today with the Muslim community, particularly the radical Muslims. The Aucas feared a people who offered grace just as many Muslims do today. Muslims do not understand grace and fear people who believe in a God who offered grace. They fear people who do not live scared of their god. We Christians fear our God but we are not scared of him because we have experienced his grace. As a person who has dealt with my fair share of fear in my life, I understand what fear can drive people to do. It causes us to shut others out, to dislike (even hate) others in order to protect ourselves, to constantly live on “go”, never in the perfect rest that only comes from God.

I just wonder….what if more people were like Jim Elliot and his friends? What if more of us decided to truly “lay down our life” to take the gospel to the ends of the earth? What if rather than saying that these people deserve to go to hell, our hearts ache for them to know Jesus? Because we deserve to go to hell too. I deserve nothing more than hell myself. It’s simply by grace that my eternity is sealed with God the Father. I’ve heard so many say that it’s impossible to take the gospel to these “radical”, “savage” people. Guess what? They said the same about the Aucas. And I believe that the same was probably said about Saul, who became our beloved Paul. Oh, if only we better understood the love of Jesus and walked in it daily. How different our world might look. I am so thankful for the examples of Elliot, Saint, Youderian, Fleming, McCulley and their families, who so selflessly gave that even today, fruit is springing up from their ministry for the Lord.

Oh Father, forgive me when I have found people to be “unlovable”. Forgive me when I have failed to see them as a soul and simply viewed them as a barbarian deserving of nothing more than hell. Help me to remember that I am deserving of nothing more than hell too. Thank you for your grace through Jesus Christ. God, help us to do what you have called each of us to do…to walk and to love like Jesus did. May this always be in our hearts as we go through our days, and may we always, at the very least, be praying for the people groups who have yet to know you, and for those who can do more, please give a willing heart.

Check out these resources for families to learn more about Jim Elliot.  I promise it will change you and your family.  You can’t read a story like his and be the same person.

Jim Elliot Biography for Children & Families

jim elliot bio

Jim Elliot Torchlighters DVD

jim elliot torchlighters

Overwhelmed

I am overwhelmed.  I am overwhelmed by the need.  As I was preparing last week for a Children’s Church missions lesson, I stumbled upon a website, Stand 4 Kids.  As I scrolled through the posts reading about what is going on in the world, tears started welling up in my eyes.  One post after another, I read about how children are being mistreated, abandoned, sold.  I read about the refugees of war, that 50% of them are children.  What Lord?  This must be wrong.  But just a little more research and you will quickly find that it is oh so true.  My heart ached for them.  By the third post I read, tears began to spill down my cheeks as I thought about my family…our bellies are full, our home is strong and stable, we can worship God freely.  And I began to talk to God.  For the first time ever, I said, Father, I can love these children.  I’ll go!  Will you send me??

 

Zambia children

Please?

I’ve never wanted to leave Arkansas.  Never.  Much less leave the United States.  But when I saw and read about these children, it became all too real to me….and for the first time, I felt like I could hop on a plane.  I began making plans in my mind.  First, my family and I will jet down to Africa to the 10/40 window and minister to an unreached people group.  Once we’ve conquered that, we’ll head over to the Burmese refugee camp where 120,000 people fled from war.  We will set up a Christian school over there because the children have no access to education.  After a week or two, when the school is up and running, we will head to the outskirts of Iraq where persecuted Christians gather.  I’m sure there are children among them too.  Father, I’m tired.  There’s no way I can do that.  There’s no way my family can do that.  And then days later, my answer comes, though a timely message from my pastor and a timely chapter read in a book.  

 

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I am not their Savior.  I can’t do all that.  Yes, there’s a lot I can do, and maybe someday *one* of those things we will be honored to do for the glory of God, but right now, God speaks to me through His word, saying, 

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  -Exodus 14:14

I know my family’s place right now is here, in our community in small-town Arkansas, ministering to children who need Jesus too.  And, there is nothing that makes my heart happier, but that heart will never be the same after what I’ve allowed myself to read and see.  The burden is there, and there is only one thing that I can do with it now.  That is to take it to the Lord.  Daily.  

There are children half a world away who need to know you Father, and I can’t be the one to bring it to them right now, or maybe not ever.  My life is for your glory, and my deepest desire is to follow your will. I ask that you open the eyes of many so that your people will hurt for these who need to know You.  Cause our hearts to break so that we will pray daily for these children and families who have so little.  Open our eyes and hearts Lord to the plight in the world.  Let us not be complacent in our lives.  May we be ever praying for them.  May we be ever asking,

“What would you have me do?”