Monday, November 29, 2010

Playing the hand that you're dealt

Singer/songwriter John Fischer has a gift for stating the obvious in a simple but profound way.  He did that again today in The Catch devotional when he said, "There are sometimes when there is nothing you can do about sadness except feel it."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pain vs. Poison

Lately, I've been thinking about the importance of being truthful and the cost of not being truthful.  There's someone in my circle of relationships who at best, frequently misrepresents the truth and at worst, just outright lies for his convenience.  He tells one person one thing and another person something totally different.  When confronted with a recent example of this, he dismissively responded, "Don't pay any attention to that.  I just tell her what she wants to hear.  I tell her what makes her happy."  Is it ever good to tell someone what you think they may want to hear or what you think may make them happy even if you know it's not the truth?  If you knew this about me, would it not call into question everything that I may tell you?  What makes me think that I really know what you want to hear or what makes you happy?   Even so, is that justification for lying?  I think it would be a bit presumptuous of me to assume that I need to alter the facts for the good of another person.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mailbox takes a nap

This morning I walked out to find my mailbox like this.  I guess that after standing in the same place for so many years, the mailbox just needed to lie down and take a rest  . . . or maybe someone decided to give it a little push?  Funny thing, my neighbor's mailbox was lying on the ground, too.  We had a day of heavy rain earlier this week and the ground was wet so the good news is that the post was not broken this time.  "This time," you say?  Yep  . . . it happened before a few years back.  If you look closely, you'll see a couple of metal straps around what should be the vertical post.  The last time someone ran through the neighborhood taking down mailboxes, they broke the post.  Rather than replacing it, I decided just to just strap it back together until that person had gotten all this mischief out of their system.  Even years later, I never had replaced the repaired post  . . . and I guess I'm glad that I didn't. 

I don't mean to make light of vandalism but in the scheme of things, this wasn't a big deal.  It took me all of 10 minutes to reset the post back in it's proper place and I decided the police had more important things to do than write-up a report on a simple instance of mischief.  Alas, my mailbox stands up and proud again, ready to receive another handful of catalogs today!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I wish I was going

My friend, Cindy Heyne, leaves on Tuesday with a medical mission team headed back to Haiti.  Cindy may be short in stature (she can't be more than 5' tall) but she's certainly not short on compassion.   She serves the people of Haiti passionately, organizing and leading several medical mission trips there each year through Oaks of Righteousness Ministry, a small non-profit organization that operates out of her home.    There's nothing fancy about Oaks.  It's your classic bare-bones organization that puts every last dime of their money into ministry.  No salaries, no rent, no overhead. Each participant pays their own way and contributes to the cost of medical supplies. Cindy is a RN who works as a home health nurse to support her  ministry and allow her the flexibility to make frequent trips to Haiti.  Everything about the ministry of  Oaks is a testimony to good stewardship. 

I wish I was going with them on Tuesday.  The truth is that I lack the skills most needed in Haiti right now.  It's folks with medical and construction skills that can be of the most help and I come up short in both of those areas.  I'd be honored to empty bedpans or clean up vomit in the cholera camp but those are things that the locals can do and they need the work.  The most useful thing that I can do is to earn some money and support the work that these missionaries are doing.  As much as I'd like to again be one of the "sent ones" as Cindy calls them, right now I can be a "sender."

How about joining me in praying for this team as they serve in Haiti from November 16th - 23rd?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Two steps forward, one step back

I e-mailed my friends Ray and Bonnie VanSlyke yesterday to check on a young boy in their orphanage in Limbe, Haiti who has TB, is HIV positive, and has an enlarged liver.  In an earlier e-mail, I had asked Ray for a picture of Judlin so that I could connect a face with his name but Ray reminded me that this Haiti  . . . a picture of Judlin was not as easy a request as it is in the U.S.  Hence, the picture to the right is not Judlin but one of the many children that we treated at the clinics there this summer.  Ray reported back today that they now have meds for Judlin and he's having some good days, for which they are thankful. They'll have to see how his little body tolerates the treatments.  Ray also reported that Merone, another young man that I met in Haiti this summer and who lives with fellow missionaries Paul and Belle Romeus, has fallen victim to the cholera epidemic and that a clinic we visited near Limbe is now a cholera camp. Life is tough in Haiti.  Two steps forward, one step back.

As we approach the holiday season here, I can't help but think about all the ways that we celebrate in excess.  I don't mean to throw cold water on a season of celebration and a time where we express our thankfulness for the blessings of our lives, but I wonder how we might offer a "cup of cold water" (Matthew 10:42)  to those who are suffering?  People like little Judlin, like Merone, and like Ray and Bonnie. 

Here's a thought:  How about helping underwrite the work of people like Ray and Bonnie and support their ministry to the suffering people of Haiti by sending a donation to:

Grace Mission
PO Box 126
Henderson, NE 68371

On-line donations can be made here by clicking on the eGive button on the top left on the home page. Please specify that your donation be directed to the work in Limbe, Haiti. 

Maybe this will be a better way to express our gratitude for the blessings of our lives. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"If we amplify everything, we hear nothing." Jon Stewart

The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was hosted by comedians and TV personalities Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert this past Saturday in Washington, D.C.  Stewart may have made one of the most profound statements of this election cycle when he declared, "If we amplify everything, we hear nothing."