Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Invitation to Go

The start is always the hardest part. What are my intentions for writing this blog?  I want to challenge those who wait for life to change to get up and move and follow God somewhere...because in serving Him and others you find change happening.  I followed Him to the city jail.  I was never a resident there, but I have come to know many of them, and knowing them has changed my life.  I always thought spiritual growth only came through the activities of the church but I am now a believer that most of it comes from following Jesus wherever He goes....and that is always outside the walls of the church building and inside the walls of another human heart.  This is about my journey through those places and what I've seen take place as I have trusted Him to lead...

I had grown up in church and had been a ho-hum Christian for a good part of my life.  I had attended church and bible studies faithfully, I served as a Sunday School teacher for several years, and I had even packed and served lunches to the needy one weekend a month.  But God was stirring inside me and I was yearning for something more. I was looking for something REAL.  Not that those things arent real or important, but I needed a spiritual challenge, something deep that would impact lives.  I felt like God wanted to reach right through my skin to touch others in meaningful ways.

In a moment I'll never forget in a small village in Honduras my small world was invaded by the cruel reality of severe poverty and hopelessness, abandonment and spiritual emptiness passed down generation after generation.  If any of you have been to a similar place, you know the questions...How could this be real?  How could people survive in these conditions, not only physically but spiritually, and not find a different way?  It was through that experience my heart was broken and my life changed.  I freely gave God permission to brand my heart with His compassion for the broken, the lost, and the forgotten.

Over several years and 2 more visits, I developed a love for the women in the village, a love that's difficult to explain, other than God.  My friendships with them were deep in spite of the limits on our communcation.  On my 3rd visit to Honduras, God asked me if I was ready to give more. I thought He was asking me to give up everything to move to the 3rd world country for the lives of my precious friends, and I immediately said "Yes, You have my heart!"  Instead He showed me a picture of the impoverished downtown area of where I live and said, "There are women just like these in your own city, and you're going to love them with that same kind of love." 

And so began my call to love the broken, the lost, and the forgotten....and it began in the city jail. 
I had no idea the change it would make in my own life, in my own walk with God.  I had no idea ministering to those behind the walls would set me free.  I have experienced faith in stepping where I could not see, protection in spite of my own ignorance, and overwhleming joy for lives that have been changed forever.  Humility has become one of my best friends, and courage has come out of hiding.  So I can't wait to share with you the riches that God has shared with me, not because I'm something special....but because He is!

I will have to backtrack somewhat because the last 4 years are rich with truths and lessons I don't want to leave out.  I'm sure my entries will be out of time sequence, but that's not what's important.  All the stories are true but names of women I have met along the way have been changed in order to protect them.  I hope you stick with me on my journey, but even more, I hope I can encourage you to find one of your own.