Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Pillow

There has been more excitement than you would believe at Angel House and Angel Secondary this last month. Christmas, always a joy filled occasion here, was bookended by a community mission project and volunteer teams. These things led straight into the opening of our new school, Angel Secondary. The work that has gone into opening the school has been great and while everyone has helped Holly and Liz have done the lion's share (which has a little more meaning for me now) of the work. This has also given me a little more to do at Angel House as we all adjust and work with new schedules, new people, and a whole new and bright ministry here in Tarime.

This excitement has only been slightly diminished by a return to the work driven, high probability of burn-out schedule that I held in the US. I have found myself not praying as much and not spending as much time on the spiritually refreshing things in life, such as just playing with the kids or spending time listening to the radio with the older boys. Through much experience with this type of schedule I have learned that the biggest pit fall is that we often stop listening to God. One of the thing I enjoy about ministry here at Angel House is that it is done as part of the rest of your life within a community. There is not work and home, ministry and off time, it is all part of the rhythm of life. Visiting with friends before a business meeting or playing with the kids before Bible study are normal. This allows for more holistic ministry. When you become schedule drive and task oriented you lose out on the opportunities for ministry within the normal living of your life. Your ministry becomes more scheduled and routine while your enjoyment comes from sleeping more than 5 hours a night instead of from interaction with God's people.

All of this became very apparent one day, while walking out of the hospital after visiting one of the kids (we have had more than the normal amount in the hospital this month). I saw a man sitting outside of the hospital that helped remind me of the true things of importance. It was a reminder that to truly do ministry here we will need to return to allowing God to lead us whether it is into a town, village, or play time at Angel House. Allowing God to lead is to allow ourselves to enter into the joy, the pain, and the lives of those around us; not in a schedule, at a meeting or over financial discussions, but just through the rhythm of life. This leading of God into others lives is why we came and whey we continue to do ministry. To be drive by the Bible and the sacredness it holds for all life instead of by the calendar and to-do list is what will cause our time here to be filled with the richness that is waiting all around us.

After being greeted with this scene outside the hospital, I had to write this.

The Pillow

I walked one day by a hospital sitting in a valley
There was a man outside and he only had one thing,
A pillow for his tears.

I do not know his struggles
I do not know his pain
I could only see the pillow
He held to catch his tears.

Despair, Anguish, Lament
Words he does not know
Remain inadequate to describe his state as he held
A pillow for his tears.

His baby boy, held in his arms
Was the pillow for his tears.
Sitting outside a hospital in a valley
Praying, Crying, his only option of helping
The pillow for his tears.

Monday, January 10, 2011

First Day of School

I never understood gushy parents and I still don’t break down and cry even for important bench marks, but today was a very proud parent day. Eight of our kids started nursery school today.  It was exciting to be able to stay the night at the kids house, get up with them this morning (5:30 am) and help them get ready for their first day of school. There was the typical scramble for school uniforms and trying to find and then sort out backpacks for all the kids. This may have been further complicated by no electricity (solar went out early after a rainy Sunday), but that did not stop their excitement. Our two smallest, who had never stepped foot in a school before, were especially excited to get in line with all of the other kids for the big kid breakfast. Derrick kept asking when the big bus was coming to take them to school, and was only slightly disappointed when he learned that all of the nursery students were going in the orphanage truck. After all of the work of getting almost thirty kids ready for school (eight went to nursery and the rest returned to primary school today) we were still the first ones there ready to start a new school year, ready to learn, and ready to take one more important step for their future. I could not be more proud.