Sunday, July 31, 2011

I have a new sister!

I have a new sister!   :)

... connected by a chance encounter with a family member in an airport.  She has better answers than I to a lot of issues in Africa.  She grew up there.  You can see what she's doing HERE.

Her mom and dad were both orphans, she tells me, and she thinks that's the reason the world's orphans are so heavily on her mind.  She works with a program in Kenya which has it's share of Africa's burgeoning orphan population.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Caring ... So what does that mean?

This poignant photo from India caught my eye some time ago.  It's an encouraging illustration of seeing the needs of others and acting on what you see.

The tough question remains, though.  How does it play out?  How much of my life can I focus on others, whether it's sponsoring some kids or helping a family, or whatever?  How do I balance that?

Poverty elsewhere or here at home can easily consume all the resources I have with little impact on the problem.  The most I could do if I "sold everything and gave to the poor" is help a few for awhile.  What's the right answer?  Should our home budget reflect this as a priority?

And then there's this knife in my heart....

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lost (how do you feel about change?) and Found

When I was a kid, we heard at church that we had 'lost China.' That meant the missionaries had been thrown out of the country. After a century of sacrificial work, there were maybe three million Chinese Christians. When missionaries were thrown out, the only thing we could think was that we had lost China.

Looking back though, perhaps this was the birth of Christian China.  There was persecution and violence and even torture, and many died; what was left though, was a living church; they learned to be the people of God in China. In a strange way, our losing China was perhaps how the gospel took root there.  House churches multiplied and went underground; now the 'free churches' proliferate...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Who needs church? And what's it for, anyway?

Churches often make me uncomfortable.  Much of what churches do and much of what's said in the pulpits is neither helpful nor even particularly biblical, as best I can tell.  Days and dollars spent persuading folks to sit comfortably and listen; sit and do nothing, it seems.  Am I the only one that feels that way? 

BUT then, there ARE people (and their churches) that seem to be really alive somehow ... (these two pictured here; they're both the real thing, by the way.)

Eastern US church  ...  Eastern Africa church
We've traveled and made the rounds of churches; lots of you have done the same.  Every now and then, you run across a bunch of folks who aren't taking the easy path. They're doing their best to walk not with a comfortable organization but with God himself.  It's a difficult path, though; kind of like when you were a kid walking with dad, and his legs are so much longer than yours, and it's a bit of a stretch to move at his pace.

It's so tempting to drift along with life as it is.  School is just what it is.  Church is just what it is.  Friends and family, government and culture are what they are, and time passes.  Get a job, have a family, do a little this and that; and more time passes.  But we do have an option, don't we ...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My world is 20 miles wide ...

Click on the pictures to see them
larger and clearer.
It's too far to walk across it in a day, my world is.  I've been to the far side, but only the once that I remember.  It was nice.  We went in a truck because there's a mountain in the way.

The ocean comes right up to the edge of my world, and we swim in it.  Lots.  My daddy sails out on the ocean to fish for us, and he always comes back at the end of the day.  And there are turtles!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mystery stuff ....

I don't even know what these are, but she was so excited to show me this and the rest of the field they had cultivated.  It's maybe a pepper corn of some sort, but they whisked me away to show me the rest of the field.

We met this family a few years ago; they were destitute.  Dad had lost his arm in and accident and lost his job, too.  He'd been a taxi driver.  They had pretty much nothing.  I went out to meet them; dad was in the jungle cutting firewood with a machete, one-handed.  I gave them all I had and went back to the states for more which a generous fellow provided.

It's been awhile since we met.  Things have improved with a little help from stateside friends.