Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
On the third day, exhausted and overwhelmed, looking down the hall at a sea full of beautiful faces--- yet to be treated. Running low on medicines. Running lower on energy. Hot. Nauseated. Then it hits....desperation, questions, doubts, despair.
Child after child with the same symptoms....stomach pain, diarrhea, fatigue, boils, scabies. We treat it, next child. Moving on. What am I doing? Will they not just drink the water again and be back in the same condition next week? Will they catch the staph and scabies again? What is my purpose here?
Same day, we open the box of round sugary treats for the kids made out of some corn like product and shaped like balls. We have taken up a collection to give them this special treat that they rarely get on their one meal a day regimen. As we open the box...ants flood out, they have covered their treats. Horrified, I ask for a clean box and start one by one removing the ants from each ball....moving them to another box. Someone teases me, “you know the ants are just going to move to the next box!” Again the feeling of defeat returns.
I believe it was Jesus who said “who among you when your child asks for bread would give him a stone.”
Why bother? Because as Christians we cannot do otherwise. Yes, sometimes our work may seem futile but we know that “all things work together for the good to those that love God and are called according to his purposes.” If called to give, we must do so even if we do not see the purpose in it. Trusting that--- we keep trying, though we may never know why, or of what good comes from our labors.
Thankfully God did impart to me some understanding. Those children we loved on and tried to patch up are our brothers and sisters in Christ. They are God’s children and we are called to demonstrate His love, thereby making Him more real to them. They understand that someone cares enough to try to make their life better, even if just for awhile... in His name.
For that short time, we can be Jesus to them, so that later they can be Jesus for someone else. They are the future. They are worth the investment. We cared for them as we would our own. Would we neglect our own childrens’ illness, or hand them food covered in bugs if we could otherwise not?
So what if the ants come back. And yes, unfortunately the cavities and the illness too. At least , they know that somebody in the name of Christ loved them the enough to try. And that makes it all worth it.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The medical team just returned from India.
They saw 500+ children and many adults, taught Bible studies, gave devotionals, gave glasses, treated teeth and bodies, performed surgeries and so much more.
As an additional treat, our medical staff got to meet with peers from India. 15 doctors from the town shared lunch and learned from each other about stuff that is 'greek' to us civilians.
As citizens of Corinth and especially the church in Corinth, you can be proud of the Corinth Medical Missions trip to India, your city and the spirit of love and care that they took abroad.
Let me list for you our team:
*Dr. Mike Weeden, opthamologist with son Blake
Assistants - Jessica and husband Steven
*Dr. Bubba McQueen, Dentist
Hygientists - Dianna and Paula
assistants - Jeremy, Bobby, April, Adam
prep - Amanda
*Dr. Erica Noyes, Family Practice
RN- Anna and RT - Donnie
assist - Judy, Abby
*Dr. Mat Johnson, general surgeon
RN - Bonnie
*Dr. Patrick Hsu, Ob/Gyn
First year med student - Lauren
third year nursing student – Brittany (from Phoenix)
*Dr. Patrick Tucker - GP, our trip advisor and medicines 'hook-up'
Audie Osborn - videographer (Delta pilot by day)
Tony Childs - Trip Coordinator
Here's some of the churches and organizations they are affiliated with: Tate BC, First BC, Crosswind, East Corinth BC, Springhill UMC, West Corinth BC, First Pres, Calvary BC and others. (I’m doing this all from memory at 5:30 am, hence few last names etc.)
I’m gonna blog about a few special personal ah-ha’s from the trip later but this was one is just to say -
Thank you! – you outdid yourselves in every way.
Your attitudes, your hard work, your patience, your adaptability, your palatable compassion for each other and for the children. We talk about “love in action”, you guys took that to another level.
Jesus said, "When you've done it to the least of these my brethren you've done it unto me." Thank you for your ministry to the one who saved you and keeps you. His name be praised.
You are loved.
Monday, July 27, 2009
We finished the “little kids” today. About 400 of the little guys. What a wonderful time.
We trust you’ve enjoyed the videos thanks to Audie Osborn, especially watching the kids eat. Special blessing for us. That’s their meal for the day...
We’ve been moved each day as we’ve served them.
Today we fit ‘em with glasses, fixed their hernias, pulled and filled their teeth, cared for their little sores and infections....
And one boy we diagnosed with lymphoma... had a stomach mass, opened him up and then closed him back up... now here’s a good question for ya... is he worth saving? It’ll take the same amount of money to cure him as it takes to feed his 400 siblings for three months, and even then they don’t know if he’ll make it. Dr. Thomas will have to make that decision when the biopsy comes back.
On the preacher front, we have two great announcements. We’ve discovered if Dr. Weeden wants to take a paycut and put a target on his back, he’d be a great preacher. He even filled in for Dr. Thomas this week. The other is Dr. Noyes, who has been leading the seminary in a nightly devotional study.
Teams are wonderfully tired from great work.
Jesus said “Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.” As you see the good works the team has done on the videos we hope that you see Jesus... in the children’s eyes and in their smiles.
That’s who we’re serving... Jesus in orphan skin.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
We are feeling very privileged today and thankful.
A Cambodian friend once told me, “Bobby, America is the only country where poor people are fat”. They are not fat here.... they are malnourished, many starving, and yet Hopegivers continues to rescue them, feed them, care for them.
Of course it’s with our help and many others. But then these kids grow up and are educated and go out into the villages of their own country and begin to rescue the children who were once like them.... and the cycle starts over. What a privilege to help them.
Americans live in lavish wealth. Even as our community of Corinth is planning to open a home for single mothers, sponsored by many on this trip, we fully know that the people we help (who make about $750/mo) are in the upper 15% of the richest people in the world. In America it is the very rich helping the rich. Not so here in India and many other countries around the world. What a privilege to share the riches of America to the poor Christians around the world so they too can fulfill their God-given missions.
We are so thankful for your prayers and your support.
I trust that you are enjoying the last video we sent. My wife said she viewed it four times. Good wife....
Monday, July 20, 2009
We're here... in Kota Rajastan India... and they are here and they really need help.
One of the people who picked us up from the airport yesterday was Ashish. His mother had just died, he was four, no father. He stood where she was buried wondering what to do, no answers so he just stood. Some time later, he can't recall, a pastor pulled up. "Son, where is your mother?" "She died." "Where will you go?" "I do not know." "Come with me then."
The man who pick the little orphan up was an orphan himself. He knew how the little boy felt. He too had been rescued from the streets. Had been loved, cared for, educated, and was now a pastor himself. He would raise him in the orphanage.
We're serving these street children of India, medical professionals from Corinth. Ten churches, 21 people, one purpose. Bring medical relief to the street children of Emmanuel Orphanages.
Click this for a video
Friday, July 17, 2009
We're going to help these guys: www.hopegivers.com
Orphanage of about 500 kids.
Here's what's blowing me away tho...
My brother told me one time that people like him were dying to do something worth dying for. And passing out bulletins, being an usher, or even teaching a Bible study wasn't worth give his best to, much less his life.
This trip has that brought out the best in peopel. From the hard work, creativity, sacrifice, amazing organization, on and on.... simply amazing!
Find something worth doing and people will blow you away.
PS We are gonna be video blogging right here as soon as we get situated. We are experimenting with a live broadcast also. We'll let ya know.
For now please pray, lots of thing left to come together, most importantly free passage through customs.
See ya in India... Wow!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Is social work 'Christian'?
Is doing good for no reason other than to do good Godly? ...Christlike?
What if a lost person does good, is it still good?
Consider Cornelius. He was a Bible character who was described by God this way: "a devout man who feared God... and gave alms generously to the people". For those of you who know the story Cornelius was not a Christian (he was to be soon however) but he was a man who gave to the poor (that is what alms are, gifts to the poor). Surely this act was either philanthropy or social work. And... importantly, it was born out of his "devout" heart toward God.
Here was God's assessment of his giving, even before he was a Christian: "Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God." God said that he was remembering in a special way (memorial) Cornelius as he gave to the poor.
A couple things strike me:
1. There are non-Christian devout people, who pray and care for the poor.
2. God hears their prayers and remembers their service to the poor.
God likes it when we help people, even if we're lost...
even if its social work.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Gal there that defines brokenness and the destructive capacity of sin on someone's life. Some her's, some done to her by others.
She also is a beautiful trophy of grace and a witness to the restoring power of God. She has told her story in ministries in town, has mentored, loved and cared for fellow strugglers...
but tonite our hero was down.
Just struggling. Nothing big, just a setback here and there... and all the fears of the past creep back in. Am I gonna make it? Will I slip even farther? Have I let people down? Shame, regret...
Listen my friend...
The God who began a good work in you is faithful,
He will complete it!
And even though you stumble and fall, and fall, and fall, he will hold you up with His right hand.
Lift up your head, straighten your shoulders, the one who saved you will keep you...
Even if you stumble.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
If she wants to know what’s going on in my mind she asks me a simple question while I'm going on and on, “Say more?”
I normally start by blurping out something that’s on the fringes of ‘what is really going on’, but I’ll usually 'give it up' when she says “say more”.
BUT when she asks... (and this is important):
- she doesn’t correct me if she doesn’t agree with me
- she doesn't offer condolences when I’m whining,
- or fixes if I’m broken,
she just hears me out and convinces me that she has heard me
and that she really understands me
(not agrees with me, I don’t need that)
and somehow she seems to find out what I’m really thinkin’
and if I’m lucky... I may find out what I was really thinkin’ too.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Here was the gist of it. One side said you're not a real missionary unless you had to learn a different language and go overseas to a different country, etc. The other side said we're all sent (where the word came from) therefore, all missionaries.
Violent upchuck, uggghhh, and banging head against wall...
1. Charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 2 Tim 2:14
2. Most people who have these type arguments don't do either overseas or at home missions.
3. Please get the Bible out of your head and into your heart and feet and your foolish controversy lifestyle will truly fade away.
Love ya... grow up.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Socrates and Thoreau, Gandhi and MLK shared a common belief... it is positive to create tension! MLK said that "we seek to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community... will be forced to confront the issue."
The role of the prophet is similar. He is a whistle blower, an alarm sounder, a guy who calls it like he sees it, like it is...
"When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die... If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives."
Funny thing about prophets... they get killed. It's rare that people want to get their heads out of the proverbial sand and address their own issues, much less the city's. So the prophet's role is very important, if not necessary... but not too appreciated.
Here's some tips to slow your death if you're causing creative tension:
1. Make sure your walk matches your talk.
You don't get the right to fuss about "them drunks and sleazy women and lazy bums" unless you're trying to make a difference in their lives. If you not are helping, sorry, nobody listens to you, no matter how loud you toot.
2. Make sure you are a problem solver, not just a problem finder.
And old boss told me one time, "If you come to me with a problem and you're not already working on its solution, you're just whining."
3. Be ready to be misunderstood.
It's hard to raise social consciousness of an issue with out somebody think you're out of line. If you say the church needs to 'get off her fanny and quit being a social club and get outside of her walls and make a difference in their community'... somebody's gonna fuss about that. Didn't stop the prophets. Shouldn't stop you. But there is a price to pay.
4. Be right.
Don't say there's a problem if there isn't one. Don't exaggerate. Be right. If you are, even if it creates tension, people will say, "Man, that hurts, but he's right."
5. Love your city and it's people.
Nothing is more offensive than tooting your horn without love. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." Someone who's not a friend... not so much.
To all the trumpet blowers... keep blowing. Don't let me get comfortable. Don't let me think everything is okay when it's not. I really do want to make a difference. And I don't know what to tackle first without you.
... and watch your back.