Monthly Archives: May 2013

It all started with yes.

I was blessed with the opportunity to write this guest post last week for Wrecked– a blog that constantly challenges and inspires me. It was an honor to share my heart with them and I hope you can enjoy it as well!

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When people ask why Meagan and I decided to pack up our lives and move across the world to work with street kids in the Philippines I just have to laugh.

Why DID we do something so crazy? What propelled us to leave everything normal and comfortable behind and step into this new life in the Philippines?

The answer comes to me just as easily as breathing- we were wrecked.

We spent the year of 2012 serving in eleven different countries around the world. After looking into hopeless eyes, befriending the sick and dying, and listening to seemingly endless stories of heartache, our lives were radically transformed and our hearts forever burdened by the injustice in the world.

At the end of our journey, our eyes were wide open to the bigger picture of all God is doing around the world and we knew that now it was our responsibility to join Him.

The decision to do so was easy, really.  There was no specific life-changing, earth shattering moment…no booming voice coming from the sky…no letter in the mail from God with our detailed five-year plan.

We simply said yes. Before we knew where we would go or what we would do- we said yes. Yes to surrendering my plans for Yours. Yes to living by faith. Yes to letting You write a greater story with my life than the one I was writing for myself. Just yes.

And from that posture of hands wide open and heart abandoned- God completely turned our lives upside down.

We saw these two boys a few times towards the end of our month in the Philippines last November. Every time we saw them they were walking through the streets in tattered, dirty clothes, playing toy drums made completely out of scraps from the trash, and begging for money.

We had seen boys and girls like them in other countries as well. They hang out in groups on the side of the streets, usually high as a kite from sniffing glue to numb the pain in their lives. The streets and dark alleyways are their home, the dump their source of food, and cardboard boxes their blanket in the night.

They have nothing and trust no one. Every day is solely about survival.

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Meagan and I went home to America after that month in the Philippines but those two boys, their faces, and the thousands of others they represented never left our minds.

There’s so much happening in the world. Human trafficking. Poverty. AIDS. Malnutrition. Slavery. And we witnessed almost all of it firsthand. So much injustice. So many people without Hope. What can one or two people even do?

You can start by saying yes.

From the day we left the Philippines in November until now God hasn’t taken those boys faces from my mind. Over the past five months I’ve been absolutely amazed as God continues to unfold His plan for us day by day.

Those boys sparked the flame that ignited a dream inside of us bigger than anything we ever imagined. He is using us- two ordinary and seemingly inadequate 24-year-olds- to bring hope and healing to kids living on the streets.

When we stepped off the plane in April and into the Philippines, I knew we had landed at home.  As we spend our days learning the language and adjusting to a completely new culture, I find myself constantly in awe and thankful that this is my life.

I get to live fully and passionately in one of the most beautiful places in the world.  I own very little and lack nothing. My days are simple and yet full of things that really matter.

I am living the life I know I was created for…all because I simply said yes.

What is God asking you to do today?
Will you have the courage to take that first step and just say yes? 

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Faithful in small things.

My days are not all that exciting right now…

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I wake up about 6:00am (if the roosters are kind enough to let me sleep that long), sip my coffee, and soak in the freshness of a new day.

I wish I could say that after my morning routine I hit the streets and head over to the drop in center for the morning feeding…or check in on things at the halfway home…or take one of the street kids out for lunch to get to know him better. But I can’t.

Because that’s not what I do right now. That’s the dream in my heart and I know it will happen…but it’s not quite time yet.

For now every morning after my coffee and sweet time with Jesus, I throw my language book and all my vocab words into my backpack, grab a pen and the bike keys on the way out the door, and head down to the local café for tutoring.

Memorize. Quiz. Listen. Recite. Work on pronunciation. Bang head on table. Drink more coffee. Memorize new words. Repeat. And that is literally my whole day. Throw in some emails, planning and vision casting for what is next, skype meetings, a weekly trip to the market, and church on Sundays, and that about covers it!

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Every fiber of my being longs to fast forward to October and be in Cagayan de Oro with the street kids opening a drop in center. Most days I don’t feel like talking, or planning, or learning anymore. I just want to go DO IT!

This weekend we went to Cagayan to see the building that will eventually be renovated into the drop in center, learn our way around the city, and meet some of the kids. We went out on Friday night and I got to hang out with some of the street kids I’ve been praying for for so long.

Finally! I thought to myself as we walked through the streets. We spent some time with the kids at a random concert in the middle of the plaza. We played. We danced. I flew down the slide. They laughed and thought I was crazy. I kind of am.

But I left there torn and frustrated by the long journey ahead, discouraged that I couldn’t do the one thing I so desperately wanted- talk to them.

I learned a few of their names and I told them mine but that’s about as far as we could go. I couldn’t ask them their stories or share mine with them. I couldn’t let them know about the drop in center or tell them how we came all the way to the Philippines just for them. I couldn’t talk about Jesus…Hope…nothing. I couldn’t really say anything at all.

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For a few minutes I was frustrated- convinced it would be years before I could really speak their language. But now I’m not so frustrated. I’m motivated.

On the way home, and often since then, I’ve thought about the parable in Matthew 25 where the master gives a few of his servants each bags of gold. In the story, 2 of the guys take their money and put it to work, in essence multiplying what they were given to begin with. The other servant took his gold and hid it away so it would be safe when his master came back to get it.

In the end the master comes back and isn’t very happy with the guy who did nothing with his time and what he was given. He calls him wicked and lazy and then throws him out. But to the other servants who worked and multiplied the money he says this-

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over little; now I will entrust you with much. Come, enter the joy of your master!”

Even though my days right now feel small and insignificant, I still want to be faithful. I want to take this time God’s given me to learn the language and use it to the fullest-trusting and knowing that eventually He will say to us OK Leah…Meagan…Natalie- its GO time- show me what you’ve got!

I want to be fully ready for that day- with more to show for this time than when I started.

So until its go time, you’ll find me at a little yellow café in the center of town studying my tail off with my tutor- trying to learn this whacky Cebuano language…still dreaming of the “much” that is soon to come.

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What “small things” has God entrusted you with lately?
Will you choose to be faithful in it?

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