Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Missionaries Poem

By: David Woodward

When you came to answer the heathen cry
And thought you would hear a piteous sigh,
You never expected this-

Men with a satisfied, comfortable air,
Women too busy with gossip to care
For a truth they do not miss.

Did you dream of a host of upraised arms
Beseeching release from pagan alarms,
Only to wake with a start?

Now that you know they are passing your door,
Preferring an idol’s parade much more,
What does it do to your heart?

You are so earnestly giving the Word,
But listening ears seem not to have heard,
No matter how much you repeat.

Strong in the grip of tradition, they sit,
Almost defying you ever to fit
Your shoes on their mental feet.

Patience, my brother before you will learn
Where the silent ache and the anguish turn
To an unknown God to pray.

Bringing the sheaves from the harvest will wait
On sowing and growing at God’s own rate,
A thousand years or a day.

As sure as there’s sin in old Adam’s breed,
So certain it is that you’ll find a lead
Into the devil’s domain.

Keep on believing that He who has won
Your full allegiance has also begun
Seeking the lost who remain.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Week 3 and 4

Tell me what you would do in this situation? You see a man on the side of the street. He is about 20 years old and is crippled. He sits in the same spot of the same street almost every day. You decide to go talk to him, get his story and see if he knows Jesus. You find out sometimes his mother will take him into the city to beg. Sometimes someone will pay him to sort through garbage separating trash from recycled material. Most days though he just sits there in that same spot with nothing to do, nowhere to go, and not one to talk to. He does not know how to read or write. You ask him if he has any dreams and he says, “To have a job where I have to stand!”

You might be thinking, “There is no way I can help this man!” “His needs and dreams are beyond my ability!” “Is this even a true story?” Well the answer is yes! This is a real person who is ministered to by some people in one of the houses in that YWAM runs in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Sometimes circumstances and situations that happen to us in life seem completely out of control. We get so frustrated searching for an answer to the question “WHY?” or trying to fix the problem ourselves, when all we need to do is just trust God to work. Proverbs 3: 5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

God does not promise us prosperity and an easy life on this earth. We will all suffer from things because of sin. We make the suffering greater on ourselves when we trust in this world or ourselves to fix the problem and not God. You cannot control your life! Control is an illusion. This man could not control being crippled, he was born that way. Same with the children I am working with in the Refuge House. They were born with HIV. In His Sovereignty God has us each right where He wants us. We can either choose to go along with it or we can fight it and make life more difficult on ourselves by doing so.

This past couple of weeks I was faced with a difficult situation that really challenged me. There were some things going on that I didn’t agree with. They broke my heart and it made me angry. Normally when a difficult situation happens in my life I fight till I get my way or justice is done. Sometimes I get my way, sometimes I do not! Regardless of the outcome of the circumstance I always manage to feel burned out and frustrated with life when it is over. I realized this week it is because I rely on my own strength to solve the problem and not God. Sure I fool myself into thinking I am involving God because I pray and ask Him for help however, the minute I am done praying I’m back to solving the problem on my own, frustrated at the fact it seems God does not want to help. Oh but He does want to help me! In fact He wants to fight for me and carry me through this! 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast all our anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. When we’re feeling overwhelmed with stress, we’re encouraged to “cast our anxiety” on God. He’s not a stern judge waiting for us to break under our worries; He actively wants to help carry our burdens.

This time I decided to shut my mouth, follow that verse, and pray with faith about the situation. I was amazed at how quickly my prayers were answered when I did! Only God can work to change the hearts of people. He is the one to show them right and wrong by writing truth on their hearts. We have the freedom to accept His Truth or reject His Truth. The Lord is our confidence and when we trust and believe in His ways we will be kept from falling into the anxious and stressful ways of life. We remember that He is Sovereign, He is in control, and even if we do not see the results of the circumstance this side of heaven we know He is being glorified.

So back to the 20 year old; after learning all this, this week, I would probably sit there and talk to him. I would pray with him and for him; it’s really all I can do in that situation. If there was some way I could help him then I would but if the help he needs goes beyond my ability I must go to God with it! Sometimes all a person needs is a friend or someone to listen to them and love them. Sure he would like to have that job but more than that he wants a friend. He is constantly overlooked because of his disability. Sometimes we overlook that simple responsibility of being a friend to take on something that is beyond our control and really isn’t a priority to them. Let God handle the big things! You enjoy the company of this person and together wait and watch for God’s mighty hand to work so you don’t miss the blessing He has!

Prayers for the week:
I go on Friday to hopefully get my visa extended for 60 more days! Please pray they give me 60 instead of 30.

My church family is going through some changes right now. Pray for God’s wisdom, guidance, and discernment for the pastors and that He would open the hearts of the congregation for the changes that will occur. Also that God would protect the church from any deception.

Continued prayer to find a tutor for the boy I told you about in week 1 that does not know how to read.

Thank you all again for your prayers and support! God bless!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

YWAM experience Week 2

Abba, Jehovah Jireh, El Shaddai

This week I was reminded how cruel the world can be yet God is still sovereign through it all. Families in Brazil are very close, always there for each other, helping each other in their need. Not just moms, dads, and siblings, but aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and even neighbors. This is one of the many things I love about these people and their culture. Unfortunately for these children this family environment is not the case because of their HIV or AIDS. Since their families are uneducated about this disease they are afraid of it. This fear leads to these children are rejected and abandoned by their families. They are rejected because of something they were born with. They did not ask to be brought into this world with it. It was not a consequence of their sin. David, the boy I told you about last week, is the only one of his siblings that was born with this disease. He is also the only one of his siblings in an orphanage. The rest live with aunts and uncles. At the age of 10 he realizes he is different but does not understand why.

Not only are they rejected by family but also at school by peers and even teachers. I feel this rejection is what has caused their hearts to become so angry, bitter, and calloused to the world around them. They do not want love because love has failed them. Oh but only if they could see that love hasn’t failed them. God is their Abba Father and I wish I could somehow get them to understand that. Because of the card they were dealt it is difficult to do so. These children have such a future but the hate, lies and deception of this world are holding them back. The enemy has a might hold on their hearts but with patience, prayer and love from above that could all change. “WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?” is the question I am constantly asking and seeking an answer too. I know He is the only thing that can change the mess the corruption of this world has brought on these children.
In Matthew 6:25-34 God promises to take care of each of our needs because He loves us so much and because we are so important to Him; more important than the birds in the air and lily’s of the field. In His Sovereignty He meets those needs even when we do not ask Him to. Just as He meets those needs He can also take them away. Unfortunately I cannot count how many times I have gone through a day without thanking God for His provision of my needs? In the busyness and noise of life in America, I sometimes forget to thank Him for those provisions because I unconsciously expect Him to take care of them. (Examples, getting me safely through the day, ALL FOOD (snacks, meals, dessert =), whenever I go shopping for new clothes or accessories, a job to pay the bills, a roof to keep out the hot, cold, and rain….I could go on and on but I’m sure you get the point!)
This week I was reminded that God certainly is our provider. He is sufficient enough to meet all our needs. Without fail food, clothes, and cleaning supplies are constantly donated to the Refuge House. Some of the food may be rotten and some of the clothes for adults, but there is always just enough to get by. These children have never gone hungry or naked. Also God provides money through donations to take care of their doctor visits and the medicines they need for their illness.
Life in Brazil is much slower than America but it is a good slow. The days seem so much longer and I praise God for that! I have time for them important things; more time to love others and God, time to reflect on the day’s events and see God at work! So many times I have missed God’s work because I am so busy; distracted by the things of this world. God says, “Hey! Look at this wonderful thing I have done for you” and I walk right by without even acknowledging it. My prayer is that when I return to America I will not go back to being “to busy” for God. He deserves honor and glory and praise and that is what I want to give Him. My prayer for you is that you may come to have this same experience. To “stop and smell the roses” that God has placed on your path, remembering to thank Him for even the little things. Things in America we take for granted that people in other countries desire immensely.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

YWAM experience Week 1

YWAM- Week 1
Friday morning I entered the Refuge House very shy, not knowing what to expect. My 7% introversion was in full swing that morning. As I waited patiently in the kitchen to be shown where to go, children came and went looking at me strangely as they got ready for school and ate their breakfast. I wanted to communicate with them but in fear I froze, forgetting the little bit of Portuguese I know. My insecurities in an unfamiliar place began to overwhelm me! How can I love these kids I thought? The looks on their faces want nothing to do with me. How do I share Jesus with these children when I cannot speak their language? God what am I doing here? Help me!

All of a sudden a boy came up to me and asked in his broken English “what you name.” I smiled, my fear vanished, I remembered Portuguese, and I began to speak with him. His name is David and he is 10 years old. He wants to learn English so I made a deal with him, “you teach me Portuguese, I’ll teach you English, deal?” We shook on it. He left and went to school. You better believe the minute he came home from school he hammered me with Portuguese words to translate in English. Thank goodness for my Portuguese/English Dictionary!

Augustine once said, “Share Jesus with everyone, everywhere and when necessary use words.” The same thing can be said about love, “When necessary use words.” After my encounter with David that morning, God reminded me of my first trip to Porto Seguro, Brasil 2 years ago with my church. There was a teenage girl that came with us on that trip named Laura who put the words of Augustine to perfect use. She found a wheel barrel being unused from the construction project we were doing, put some kids in it, and started running around the street pushing them, laughing with them, and loving on them. None of them spoke the same language but they all shared love with each other. Love is a universal language that can be spoken with a hug, smile, or a laugh; it needs no words. After all, don’t actions speak louder than words? This I must remember when working with YWAM this summer.

The children in the Refuge House all have HIV or AIDS. There are 8 of them, 4 boys and 4 girls. They have all had very troubled past. Most of their parents are dead and the parents that are alive have mental problems, are in prison, or are still living as prostitutes. These children are so troubled yet somehow so easy to love. When I’m playing with them I often forget they have this disease, but then it’s time for their medicine and reality sets in again.

Because of the life they live and have experienced they all seem very angry and some of them can be very aggressive verbally and physically. I believe it is because they have never had their emotional or spiritual needs met. Slowly but surely each one of these children has opened up to me in their timing. All I can do is keep loving on the others. This has been a very difficult week learning how to love someone who does not want your love but you know needs your love. I am praying constantly for God to give me the strength and courage to love the unlovable.
I really believe they want to communicate with me but are afraid to because they know I will only be here a short time. I’m sure they are tired of the heartache of goodbye because they have experienced so many goodbyes at their young age so I cannot blame them for not wanting to give me a chance. I enjoy playing UNO with them, doing manicures and pedicures, and even teaching them some fun American dances like the Hokey Pokey, Macarena, and Chicken Dance (which they laughed hysterically when I told them what it was called.) They love to play soccer and are really good at it. I enjoy watching them play and cheering them on!

This has also been a trying week for putting the self discipline of James 2 into practice. For those of you who know me well I constantly speak my mind, I don’t know why but I do. Maybe that is because I feel like truth is so scarce and I’m sick of the deception and lies in this world about life, religion, and God. Before I left Bill Mitchell, the mission’s pastor at my church, gave me some good advice about that and I’m glad he did. I’m constantly reminding myself of what he told me daily, waiting for God to give me the opportunity to share the things I am observing.

Here is an example. One of the children was sent home from school 2 times this week. I was curious as to why he was sent home so I sat down with an interpreter to speak to him. After about 30 minutes he told me he does not know how to read. How sad I thought but then I find out that neither the staff at YWAM nor the school knew that he couldn’t read. No wonder he was sent home for being disrespectful to the teacher and fighting the other kids. He is ashamed of his disability and fights to make up for it. I asked YWAM what can be done about this and they told me they do not have the means to be able to assist him with learning how to read and the school will not help. I don’t understand this concept; it doesn’t make any sense to me. My heart breaks for this child. Reading is very important to a successful life. I am in the process of trying to find a tutor for him before I leave.

This experience will definitely be an experience that will grow and stretch me in my faith and already has in this short week. Not only that but this experience will help me become a better person as well. I’m so honored that God would choose me for such a time as this. It seems like Satan wants to discourage the work God has for me here but I refuse to allow him to do that by constantly putting on the armor of God. Thank you again for your prayers and support. My hope is to update you weekly on things. There are pictures on my facebook if you would like to see them. God Bless!