Monthly Archives: September 2013

Embracing Imperfection.

This week marks a really exciting step for our ministry- a room. We’ve been praying for months, asking (even begging at times) for God to provide us with a building, a room, a space, anything where we could start meeting with the kids every day off of the street.

Finally, God has answered our prayers! We have just started renting a room- its probably no bigger than your kitchen at home and yet perfect for what we need right now. The street was getting dangerous and starting to feel routine and limited. Now that we have our own space, we’re able to branch out, mix things up, and do way more with these kids. So. Exciting.

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This season of life is full of good things both personally and in ministry. I moved into a beautiful new apartment that I love. We hired an incredible social worker. We signed the lease on a room for the kids. We decided on a name for the ministry. And so much more.

God is moving and providing and flooding this place with His goodness and I LOVE sharing it with you. But in doing that, I want to be careful…

When I moved here to the Philippines, when I said YES to Him and agreed to take on this strange title as a missionary, I did so with a deep conviction to always be real, transparent, and authentic.

I long to live my life with radical courage, deep faith, and a constant yes in my spirit to whatever God is asking of me. But I want to do it in a way that brings people along instead of pushing them away.

I want you to come along for the celebrations AND the fight. Because there are times like yesterday when we brought the boys to the new room for the first time, or we hired our first social worker, or I moved into my new apartment, where God’s goodness is so tangible. His plan makes sense. The hard work pays off. The sacrifice feels worth it.

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But there are other times when I feel like the worlds worst missionary. I wake up late and rush through my morning, completely ignoring my need for God. And lately, I’m notorious for complaining all day about the heat- jealous of the beautiful Fall season you’re entering back home. I often yell at Meagan for literally no reason. And ministry can be the same way sometimes. Some days the kids just don’t show up. Tomorrow they might all be high on glue and I have no idea how to help them stop.

It’s one of my biggest prayers for this blog- that you would walk away from here encouraged and challenged- yet never feeling like an outsider. Maybe your title is teacher or stay at home mom. Mine happens to be missionary. But it would read a lot more accurately- a mess of a woman covered in God’s grace.

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The details of my day-to-day story might read a little different from yours, but the theme is exactly the same. The very same God who provided this room for these kids can provide that miracle you’ve desperately been praying for too. The same God who loves me and forgives me every single day for all my junk is the same God who wants to forgive you for yours.

If we only leave room in the space around us for people to bring what is good, we end up missing out on so much of what is real. 

In a world saturated by Instagram and Facebook, it’s easy to share only a perfect little glimpse of our lives. You can pick and choose what stays hidden and what goes public. And all of the sudden, the pieces people have put together of your life, isn’t really you at all.

It takes guts these days to be real. Especially in the church. It’s easy to share success and victories, but much harder and messier, I know, to share the struggles and failures.

May we be grace-filled people who make room for all of it. I want to be the kind of person who cheers you on when life is good and fights with you and for you when life is hard.

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Thank YOU for being the people who so faithfully encourage me through it all.
Thank you for praying for months and celebrating our new room with me this week!

And thank you most of all for always giving me the space to be real, raw, and endlessly loved.

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I bought a purse.

I spent the majority of last year half-showered. I wore the same 5-ish outfits every week and I rarely brushed my hair because I lost my brush somewhere around month 3 and no one really wanted to share theirs with me out of fear of lice.

I carried everything I needed to live in a backpack and still it often felt like I had too much. My life was messy and simple, yet overflowing with things that really mattered.

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And so I thought that’s what it would look like when I moved overseas- I’d bathe if there was water, I’d throw my hair on top of my head, and every day I would be on the streets loving these kids.

But it turns out that starting a full time ministry and traveling from country to country every month are very, very different…

Yesterday, I sat in a government meeting with the social workers of the city.
Tomorrow, Natalie has a meeting with the mayor.
Next week, we’re meeting with the chairman of the psycho-social board.
And yall-I bought a PURSE!

Over the past week, within our team, we’ve met with the police, barangay captains, the department of social welfare, government officials, city councilmen, and I wont bore you with the rest.

I haven’t even gotten to see the kids in a while…

Pursuing my passion and chasing my dream looks a lot different than I thought it would when I first started. Some days I get to be out on the street completely in my comfort zone- laughing and sweating with kids on my back. Then other days, loving these kids means I have to replace my flip flops for heels, grab my new purse, and sit in meetings all day.

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God is challenging and stretching me in new ways all the time. I’m learning the importance of commanding my body to rest, even though I’m wired to always just go and do things.

I’m realizing once again, that saying YES to God has gotten me in deeper than I ever imagined going. And yet, He’s faithful still.

This season of ministry doesn’t always feel good and that can be hard. I’m not feeding hungry bellies as much as I’d like to and the kids are still sleeping on the street. I’m not fluent in the language (yet!) and I can’t talk to them as deeply as I want to. I don’t get to see the kids every day and when I do see them, it never feels long enough. I spend more time talking and planning and sitting in meetings than I do getting my hands dirty.

Launching a ministry is hard work. And I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss living out of a backpack and traveling the world sometimes.

But this is worth it.

Investing my love and my life into these kids and getting to watch God transform their hearts is absolutely worth it to me. Every meeting. Every dollar. Every day I have to wait for a home for them. It’s worth it.

They’re worth it.

And I know He’s here with me too…probably hanging out in my new purse!

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