from February 23, 2008 on my Typepad blog…
February 23, 2008
Constantly “in process”
While relaxing on the couch today, I’ve been reading my old blogs and journals and contemplating the times in my life that were parallel learning and growing experiences to life right now for us. I cringe reading some of the things I wrote. But I’ve left the past posts in tact (although very tempting to change them) because it also shows me “in process”.
Much of the following is a response to my post Life After Africa from last year. That post is parallel to much of the limbo and unknown I feel today in my heart although the experience of going to Africa, for me, was far more changing to my world-view than the current situation we’re in. As I read this, one particular statement stands out to me that has changed within my heart.
I wrote, “The truth is, it is clear that Africa needs us/others. It is clear that other countries need us/others.” I cringe at this statement! The truth is, Africa, or anyone else for that matter, doesn’t need us. They need Jesus. They need us to be His hands and feet. But honestly, without us, God would use someone else. We are not any more special than another.
TRULY, it is us who needs them. To experience their way of life and then return home to make sense of why we do the things we do. To think or re-think each step we take, every holiday, every birthday. To understand how we can learn from other cultures and friends. It was us who needed to feel the impact and the value of every plastic bag or every empty bottle of water which our African friends considered gifts. It is us who needed to accept a meal from our friends knowing they were giving us all they had.
It is us who needs African friends living in America who willingly sacrifice, without question, every spare dime they make to send back to their families still in Africa. Not storing up their riches in IRA’s or savings accounts, but living for eternal riches, giving all they have. It is us who needs to be free of American thinking so that we can see and recognize truth and sin as it is and not be confined within our ideas of right and wrong which may or may not align biblically but have been how we’ve always done it.
It is me who needs a simpler life, not cluttered with “stuff” and distractions so i can be free to live more like Jesus. (I have so far to go) It is me who needs to learn to love freely, give everything I have for my friends, family and even those I don’t know, and be uninhibited in my faith and action. It is me who needs these people we once thought needed us…
Most of this blog was written in the week after coming home from Liberia, West Africa. We were on an emotional high. Our hearts were forever changed and impacted by the sights, sounds and smells of Liberia and its people. As I read over the posts and look at the pictures my heart yearns for these people. I also cringe at some of the things I wrote. It’s been over a year and growth is a journey I will never arrive at. At one point in the last three years since we’ve strongly felt God calling us to “go” Eric said he would go anywhere, just don’t send him to Africa. I said the same only I was willing to go anywhere but China. Within a six week period God sent us to both China and Africa and all of our “restrictions” on God were alleviated and melted away. As we wait on God’s timing, God’s plan, we are reminded that we have to go through these growing periods in order to find ourselves in the spot where we’re ready to go wherever, whenever.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on my 2008 family blog entitled Constantly “in progress”. It’s really an insight into my updated thoughts after reviewing the post below “Life After Africa.”
I’m forever being molded after the one I live my life for and I am grateful for the opportunity to change. And I’m grateful for the record of this journey through blogs and journals so I can look back and see where I’ve come from. We’re going ahead as far as we can see, having faith that God will lead us the rest of the way and be a light unto our path.
During tonight’s worship, God used Andy to add clarity to my purpose in life. While he was telling us about pious Bible professors and churches splitting over the color of the hymnals, the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear.
This is what He revealed to me:
I am not here to make converts. I am here to make friends… and then introduce my new friends to my best friend. Through my eyes, I should no longer see Muslims, homosexuals, foreigners, bums, or “good” people… I should see people in need of a friend willing to make introductions.
“The principle that all men are created equal and are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — put forth in the Declaration of Independence signed just blocks away from this concert location — are not just American, but can be applied globally, including Africa.”
“Africa doesn’t need our pity, it needs our partnership; it doesn’t need a handout but rather a helping hand up. Africa is not a hardship case — there is enormous wealth in the land. We have to help Africans help themselves and create value out of available resources. I believe the best way to do that is through the church.”
“We don’t want people to die of poverty or diseases for which we already have cures, because God loves them,” Warren told young volunteers during a rally prior to the concert. “I believe with all my heart we can do this, and I believe you are the generation to do it.”
The two posts below are the flyers my kids are writing to drum up support for a book drive they are having to support CenterPoint International (check out the link in the sidebar for more info about CPI). This is the organization Tony is getting off the ground in Liberia, West Africa. Last summer our kids combined read over 26,400 pages (and this year two of them have fallen in love with books as much as Jake so who knows what they will do!). They are going to seek sponsorship this summer like a crop walk and ask for donations for every 100 pages they read. We started thinking a quarter for every 100 pages but Eric figured that up and we decided it would send the grandparents into bankruptcy. So, for 10 cents every 100 pages they read (maxing out anytime you feel necessary), they are asking for a monetary donation to go towards children’s books for the CenterPoint Library. There are currently no libraries in Liberia. If you read this blog and want to help the kids in any way please leave a comment or email me. They are also seeking new or gently used book donations. Any amount of support would make these kids’ summer!
Eric and I have been praying about how to involve the kids more in missions. Jake (and sometimes Alex) have joined us in taking the Perspectives class. We have been trying to teach them to use their gifts to glorify God. It leaves us in awe how this idea has blossomed in their minds and from their talents. God truly can work even when kids have parents like us. 🙂
We are doing a book drive and we need books for people in
Liberia. We want kids to start reading and getting sponsors and the sponsors will give you a dime every 100 pages you read. The money from the sponsors will be in Amazon money and we will buy some books with it on Amazon.
Thanks for your time and support! The Buller’s (Alex)