I started working in Allendale in January 2011, and we started raising financial support the next month. Because I have only had part-time jobs (anywhere from one to four at any given time), we have needed additional support for these three years that we have lived in Allendale.
About three years ago, Joanna and I visited Allendale, with two leaders from Grace Church. It was the first step towards me, my wife, and our kids moving to this community. Though we didn’t understand it at the time, we were about to become missionaries.
We’ve learned a lot since then. We look back, and we recall successes and mistakes over the past three years. And some of those mistakes include our motivations for taking the step that we did. Some of our purposes where from God, but I think we had some wrong motives as well.
- if you think you are going to change the world.
- to make yourself better.
- if you think you have the answers and the nationals don’t.
- if you can’t hack transition.
- if you think you are really pretty great, spiritually-speaking.
- if you think living on support is cake.
- if you aren’t willing to change.
- to find cool friends.
Read the full article to hear her personal reflections. (For the record, I have struggled with all 8 of these points at one time or another, and am currently wrestling with at least three of them.)
**image courtesy of wikimedia
My month of “reduced” blogging is done, since I was working on my novel (almost done!). Now that most of that writing is done, as well as football season, I hope to catch my breath a little this month. Thanks for giving me that leeway.
I did want to follow up with a poll from last month, where I asked you to give Just One Word that comes to mind when you think of poverty. Thanks to the 112 people who contributed.
As a prompt, I gave 9 choices of words that I felt were most common. Of those 9 choices, the most common selected were:
- hopeless (20.5%)
- weak / powerless (12.5%)
- money / wealth (9.8%)
Almost half of the people who took the poll choose “Other” and wrote in their own words. The top write-ins were:
- sad (4.5%)
- poor (3.6%)
- despair (3.6%)
- hunger / hungry (3.6%)
Thanks for taking the time to think through this issue!
I posted this on Facebook last weekend, but I wanted to capture my words on this blog. Mostly for my sake, not yours. Maybe it’s because I want to make sure I have a permanent home for these words, or maybe it’s because I still need to process my feelings. (Honestly, I didn’t expect the end of the season to hit me so hard.) Maybe it’s both of these reasons, and more. But I posted them today since I don’t figure I’ll get much blog traffic. That’s fine, because if you left a comment, it’ll probably just make me cry all over again. So actually I am thankful whether or not you leave a comment.
Several of you have been asking about an update on last night’s game, since I didn’t post it as I usually do. As many of you have figured out, we lost in the Lower State Championship game. I was not ready to share that information last night, but here are my thoughts….
We are sad, and hurt. I am hurt, especially for the seniors and especially for the ones that I got to coach every day. I hope they can reflect on the fact that so FEW people, even so few high school football players, will ever play in a state semifinal game. I hope they can reflect on their successes & hold their heads high.
As for me, mostly because of coaching football, the past 2 years could be the BEST 2 years of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I wouldn’t trade the relationships which God has brought about.
Did you catch this post, You Are Beautiful Like a Flower, on the Grace Church website a few weeks ago?
Our friend Taylor Beard, who has been instrumental in Grace Church’s ministry in Allendale over the past few years, helped us with our Elevate Spring Break Camp. That’s when she met Caleb, who touched her heart and soul.
Grace Church’s work in Allendale had an impact on boys like Caleb, who were able to
- be a part of this camp in Allendale,
- take part in the annual elementary camp at Look-Up Lodge, and
- go on a college field trip.
And the experience had an impact on Caleb’s mom, too. Be sure to read the full article to find out how.
Here are just a few verses:
For the needy will not always be forgotten,
Nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever.
O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear
To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed,
So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.
How blessed is he who considers the helpless;
The Lord will deliver him in a day of trouble.
The Lord will protect him and keep him alive,
And he shall be called blessed upon the earth;
And do not give him over to the desire of his enemies.
Give the king Your judgments, O God,
And Your righteousness to the king’s son.
May he judge Your people with righteousness
And Your afflicted with justice.
Let the mountains bring peace to the people,
And the hills, in righteousness.
May he vindicate the afflicted of the people,
Save the children of the needy
And crush the oppressor.
He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the needy from the ash heap,
To make them sit with princes,
With the princes of His people.
How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who executes justice for the oppressed;
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free.
The Lord protects the strangers;
He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But He thwarts the way of the wicked.
The LORD has a heart for those who need help. Shouldn’t we?
- James 1: Grace, Truth, Action
- I Am Suffering from a Depraved Indifference
- Living the Gospel Requires More Than Good Intentions and Random Acts of Kindness
- Crazy Love: Your Best Life
**image courtesy of winjohn via sxc.hu
I read a quote from John Perkins several week ago and I just can’t get it out of my head.
“Living the gospel means desiring for your neighbor and your neighbor’s family that which you desire for yourself and your family.”
Lets be real. I don’t meet that standard very often – but I am struggling to work out what it looks life in my life. Working for World Orphans in developing countries and my experience as a teacher and coach in South Carolina public schools has brought me face to face with children who are suffering the effects of generational poverty and institutional injustice.
You would have to be pretty cold and calloused to work in these environments and not feel compassion for these children. But after the compassion and sadness comes then what do you do? Do you walk away sad? Do you blame it on the lack of character of “those people”?