Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Day Two: No Distribution
“If you, being sinful, know how to give good gifts…”
Day Two of too much time on our hands brought more questions than answers, long prayers and petitions and the perennial “why?” Once again schools had to be called, children told no box or special program today, and these eight particular “children” had to wonder why He was not letting the “gifts” get to the right hands. We spent the day trading “stories” sharing laughs, planning and un-planning our time.
“God is good all the time – all the time God is good” but…
Perhaps, part of His mercy was to knit our hearts together as a “team”. To grow our desire to “give” until it overflowed through Him to us. When things go smoothly and well orchestrated, how much of our thoughts are on our utter and total dependence on Him? It becomes a “well-oiled” machine that God watches over, but we don’t really need Him to work it through. We can do that.
These past two days of waiting, wondering, praying, and praising, have been His gift to us. Tonight, the generator is on, the noise abated, we are ready for tomorrow and we are watching Him.
“We have no power to face this vast army… We do not know what to do – but our eyes are fixed on You.” 2 Chron 20:12
Monday, February 27, 2006
Sunday, February 26, 2006
The first thing we noticed as our van pulled into the church parking lot was the larger than life banner spread across the cinder block walls of the Sunday School building. It was the 23rd verse of the short book of Jude: Snatch them from Hell.
This church has an agenda, and they are not ashamed or afraid to let you know. That is their mission – to seek and save the lost who are perishing. The boldness of their statement quickly humbled and convicted me. While I did bring many gifts to “them”, this passion for the perishing was one they had given to me, definately one that I can bring home.
As our van pulled into the International Central Gospel Church, in spite of sealed windows and an expanse of concrete, the sounds of morning worship could be clearly heard. Here, there are two levels of volume for the sound systems: "off" and 'loud', it was obviously and definitely not 'off' this morning. As special guests, we were seated in the central aisle. There was no mistaking our 'special' nature, for even among a crowd of 800 we were the only ones with a different color of skin. No chance to blend in, we were sticking out like white (though not sore) thumbs.
We were also the only ones who couldn't keep the rhythm of the praise beat. Oh, we tried. We watched the surrounding rows and desperately attempted to clap in unison. But somehow we were either too slow, too fast, clapping not enough times or too many times. It was comical. And of course there was the dancing. We shuffled our feet, kept missing the beat but we were praising God and we were loud about it!
The songs may be loud, the sermons longer than we are used to, but I assure you the noise we made was "joyful".
Saturday, February 25, 2006
I find myself here on the other side of the world - wondering...
How many people were in tranist from one place to another on behalf of the Kingdom? Flying on trips to Moscow, we would often meet up with other teams of people going, coming, sowing seeds. The flights to China now carry many "rescuers" of abandonded Chinese babies, Moscow flights have a fair share and one run in particular is dubbed the "baby flight".
You can easily obtain the information on how many people are in the "air" at any given time - there are lots of statistics available on numbers of missionaries. I'm glad to be counted in that number of those who seek the lost, carry the word, sow fallow ground with love and joy.
We don't need to wear a banner or a signifying T-Shirt. Jesus specifically told His followers - they will know you by how you love.
Sometimes you will be known by the songs you sing in an airplane!
"Let all the nations Praise Him!"
and so were the chickens!
Outside in the dark, cheeps and chirps began to keep me from returning to a reasonable state of sleep. No alarm clock had sounded for the poultry, but they knew their day had begun. I knew my sleep had ended.
What is it about our internal clock? The one God sets inside each of His creatures, the life, birth and death cycles?
I heard of a new invention to help you wake up. It actually monitors your alpha rhythms, so that when you are in deep REM (Rapid Eye Movement), it will let you keep sleeping, but when you are close to alert, it will wake you up.
Sounds like a good idea for kids – because they always want another five minutes. My body may still be set to Central Standard Time, but my heart is working on God’s Ghana time.
I am alert, I am awake, I am ready for all God has in store for this day.
Friday, February 24, 2006
When night falls in Africa, the space and time between dusk and dark is reduced to a whispered prayer hoping not to hit any pedestrians. There are few street lights, so as the sun sets, the sparks fly and fire illuminates the road side stands, with hopeful merchants waiting to make one last sale from those on their way home. Food, is a good last minute purchase, but the inner tubes and car batteries, will likely remain until the daylight can shine on their future usefulness.
It is dark.
And while modern civilization may seem ten thousand miles away – the noise is not. Celebrations of funerals, weddings, engagements, Saturday night dances continue long past sunset. The erratic electricity provides the background music for their gaiety. Even from two blocks away the drone of a bass rap beat sounds through the blackness of night. It is not a tribal rhythm, but African none the less.
Celebration is common here. Reasons to engage in joy sought for. No one is too busy working to stop and enjoy in the good news or bad fortune of a friend, neighbor or loved one.
The gifts aren’t as critical as the community. The Africans gather to be with each other on such occasions. They understand no man is an island.
The plane was not filled with passengers and I was able to stretch out, well actually it meant I had a few more options for folding my legs into positions that would escape the aisles but offer a more relaxing repose.
The Lufthansa flight stops in Lagos, Nigeria before making its final destination in Accra. As our plane touched down in Nigeria the passenger in front of me began softly singing an African refrain.
Though I understood none of the words, there was a resonance in my soul. I smiled, ever quick to say "this is my favorite place on the face of the earth!" I grabbed my journal to remember the moment of her chorus in the midst of the growing noise; luggage unloaded, unknown languages traded back and forth, almost home for many of these travelers.
She kept singing as she rose up out of her seat to go. She looked back at me and smiled, "oh, sorry" she said.
"Don't be. What are you singing?" I uncharacteristically asked.
"I'm singing for God - thanking Him for getting us this far. You know it is not an easy thing."
"Yes", I replied, "I know THE God and I'm thanking Him too. "
No wonder the song sounded familiar.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
In spite of a promised "long wait" on Netflix - "Flight Plan" was sent to my doorstep the night before my departure. The story: a woman a big plane and a missing child. The crew proceeds to deal with her hysteria, her knowledge of the plane and of course the daughter no one else has seen?
Is she crazy? Grieving over the death of her husband? Has she been taking drugs?
It made me wonder what my "Flight Plan" would be in the face of pending disaster or looming crisis?
Many of the celluloid passengers just sat, stared and gave dirty looks at the inconvenience of having to stay strapped in while the plane was searched. They even applauded when she was put in handcuffs and led back to her seat. The tension mounts as she escapes - causes even more inconvenience and the big "reveal"! The FBI agent was plotting all along to extort $50 million dollars! Clever, yes, but he underestimated the women's passion to find her lost daughter.
I am reminded of our Master's lesson - would the shepherd leave the 90 and 9 to find the one?
He came to seek and save that which was lost. I know He has more passion than an actress playing out grief and despair in a made up movie.
I know because He says He does. As well acted and dramatized as the scenes were over a mother grieving for a lost child, the loss and sadness our Father feels is so much greater. So great is His desire to search for the lost and broken in the world - He shared His passion through "gifts" - calling saints to the Harvest fields to labor and toil, to show His love to tell of His sacrifice.
My Ghana "Flight Plan" is to be reminded of the passion of a mother who would not give up the fight for her daughter - to see that as encouragement in meeting lost school children, orphans and villagers.
We can be assured, the King will not stop until all who are called hear His voice and respond. I plan to keep going right to the end.
Thanks for seeing me off on the wings of your prayers.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
What would it be like to be given a gift so BIG you could hardly carry it?
The African children who receive gift boxes provided by Samaritan’s Purse have such a problem. Some walk over 5 miles to claim their Operation Christmas Child package filled with unimaginable goodies sent from a land they cannot begin to imagine. What did they do to deserve such riches? Will they share with their family and friends?
Precious Saints, WE have received a gift too BIG to carry but not difficult to share; the gift of salvation through Christ! What did we do to deserve such riches? How often do we share? How far are we willing to “walk” to tell others?
On February 23, I will return to Ghana West Africa to participate in my 6th distribution of “gifts” to over 13,000 children! Many adults watch the program, and hear the Gospel. Each day, before passing out the boxes, we proclaim the Good News through stories and tricks, after, an evangelistic message and invitation is presented by a local African Pastor. THOUSANDS receive Christ as their Savior! Tens of thousands hear the Word and seeds are planted.
To participate in this Harvest you do not have to walk miles. You do not have to wait in 100°+ heat to be handed a box filled with curious delights from a far country. The King is giving you the opportunity through Sunshine After Rain Ministries. Reap the rewards of the African Harvest with obedience, prayer and generous financial support.
You can now donate online by credit card at: www.sunshineafterrain.org
Prepare, packing, praying
Departure DFW - Frankfurt
Arrive Frankfurt - fly to Accra
Arrive in Accra 6:30 pm
Prepare and Organize for Distribution
Worship at International Central Gospel Church
Travel to Dodowa Region
Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child
Begin distribution to Schools
Distribution will present boxes to over 13,000 Children
Ministry opportunity with local believers
Distribution finishes in Dodowa Region
Travel back to Tema
Local Orphanages receive Gift Boxes
Worship with ICGC
Meet with Pastor on Lay Leadership training
Local Orphange Distribution
Team from Florida departs
Day of refreshment
Prepare for travel to Kumasi Region
Travel to Kumasi Region
Coordinate upcoming Wheels to the World trip
Finish organization efforts in Kumasi
Travel back to Tema
Leadership Training at
International Central Gospel Church (ICGC)
Praise God for the Harvest
Rest! Prepare for return trip home
Depart Accra 8:30pm
Arrive Frankfurt 7:30 am
Depart for Dallas 9:30 am
Arrive in Dallas 2:25 pm