Tag Archives: missions

a time to keep and a time to throw away (or sell for pennies on the dollar to kindergarten children) ecc3:6;kws version

Khartoum children of St. Vincentphoto © 2009 Arsenie Coseac | more info (via: Wylio)

“One day as I was eating a newly ripened mango the children had ruthlessly disengaged from the branch of our compound tree, Jesus turned my afternoon snack into a message: Rest is when the work becomes as simple as bearing fruit. Fruit cannot be forced. Mangoes grow only in mango season, and if it is not mango season then enjoy papayas instead. That is rest.

-Michele Perry, Excerpt from Love Has A Face (Chosen)

Michele, please read her incredible blog,  is my new hero who I would love to have as a friend. Her beliefs and mine sing harmony. She values what I am learning that I value, too.  Her work is hard and distant from me, but the most real (meaningful) that I have ever observed.

I have little to say, today. But in Bible class, we talked about stuff, stuff we don’t even use, stuff just gathering dust in a room in our houses. Stuff we don’t even remember that we have. Stuff we step over and think maybe one day, …if we have  garage sale. Fact is, most of that stuff is worth little. Very little. But, it might be worth something, to someone. We talked about what we might do with it all, other than just trashing it. And I wondered if we would only be spreading the stuff disease, if we had an auction. A penny auction. The purpose would primarily be math. K-5 ers and 1st graders could participate in an auction at school to learn math and business and to potentially bring home a treasure once owned by  big kid. I’m sure parents would be thrilled to have our junk in their house, but at least their child would have  gained some math skills. And we might make enough to educate a child or two for a year. Someone tell me what that is worth?


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The pictures are here!


I got a facebook message from Mark and Lea Huett today, ” Here are the pictures of the kids getting their shoes, for many, their first ever shoes.” I quickly clicked over to their facebook site. There are 64 pictures of “our” kids, my last year’s seventh grade class’ kids. Tomorrow, I will introduce some of the sweetest now eighth graders ever to the South African students.

In the comments section of the fb photo album that Lea sent me, a story is relayed. The center where these children are fed everyday was just robbed, of all of their food. Robbed of their food. We don’t know that kind of thing here. People take cars and jewelry and tv’s and cash, but food? How often do thieves clean out a pantry here?

I think that I will just show all the pictures and let them read the comments for themselves. I know exactly what my kiddos will do. By Tuesday, we will be on project again. They’ll send me back with, “What else do they most need? food money? uniforms? (their clothing is quite tattered in the photographs) books? Now is not the time to walk away with our ‘well done.'”

Whatever the answer, they will deliver. They have been infected with the dis-ease of compassion.

Lord, infect us all.

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I walked a river bed of jewel-toned stones; rounded and smooth like beads to be strung. When the mountain stream passed over them they shone and colored the clear water. The spongy black soil beneath them gave gently as our feet fell. Along the river’s banks towered a majestic jungle. The valley came to a close far off, at the foot of cloud draped volcanoes. It was hard not to succumb to that kind of beauty, to not sit down and simply stay… until food, and water, and breath itself were exhausted.

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still processing

On the bus, on the way to somewhere, Jeremy asked us some questions to consider in response to our ten days in Costa Rica. I listened to everyone’s comments. I was not ready to speak. I was still processing, as I am yet. I took inventory of the many images I had stowed within my mind. I tried hard to turn them about and review every angle before time had the chance to blur them in my memory.

When I think of home, I see calendars and deadlines. I see the many projects that I must prioritize and address in the few days of summer yet remaining. There are course objectives to rewrite, story-lines to further outline, research to conduct, books to read, drafts to edit and systems to envision and design.

In Costa Rica, we were busy, but everything focused on relationship. Jeff, the missionary, taught me a great deal about that. The stories I should and must tell are not about situations and circumstances, they are the stories of people. I learned that you run into your work, one person at a time. You come upon it. People are the stones of the pathway you walk along. People are the sign posts and the traffic signals.

I’m still quite tired. My eyes are bleary. My mind is slow. Tomorrow, I will share more of a land and people almost too beautiful to bear.

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a tent

We were talking about tents last night at the pre-mission trip meeting. Seems we are to be sleeping in one in the jungle – yes, that is jungle not some Alabama pine thicket. I am trying not to think about what else might be sharing our little corner of the planet. So, I guess tents have been on the mind a bit.

Now, I do like to camp, in decent weather mind you, it’s just that I have never camped in decent weather. It is always cold, cold and often blowing a little rain when I have paid my fare for a turn in the old tent. It will likely be 100+ degrees at night in good Ol’ Costa Rica, and 110 % humidity as well. So yeah, I’ve been day dreaming about the tent.

Well, tonight during worship, which was very incredible, during probably my favorite song lyrically, “With Everything,” I saw this tent. I had been asking God for a framework, a “What is this trip about?” paradigm. I saw a tent on the ground, not yet put together. It was a covering. It covered the earth.

“Okay, God? A tent on the ground. What good is that?”

“They are the tent poles.”


“The young people you are taking, they are the tent poles. You are to help them see that on this trip. Tent poles make a covering a dwelling, where I come in and abide. They are not living to get people covered, checked off as under my covering, “okay,” if you will. Where they will stake their lives, I will dwell.”

I sense these works of Life. Works, life works where Life flows, dwells in and amongst. And I see these young people, representatives of the many I am blessed to walk alongside, living lives of good work with Christ.


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