Sunday, December 31, 2006


Planes, trains, buses, cabs, and various other forms of transport have finally delivered us to our destination of Voronezh, Russia. Because of the holiday, special problems had to be addressed, considered and sorted out. For example, the hotel would not be serving food on the 1st . Which meant we would have to purchase and prepare enough provision for our team of twenty-one. We are not talking a black-eyed pea and ham dinner either. There would also be no dinner on December 31, as the celebrations for the evening begin around 5:00 pm. Our scheduled lunch with the interpreters at 1:00 would have to last us until the next day, supplemented by the occasional banana, candy or cookie, not crushed in transport. At one point – when we were settling into the hotel, with unpacking and organizing looming around our 15 x 12 room, I just laid down on the bed and told my roommate, “I think I need a moment to clear … my head of…”

I stopped mid-sentence with a mind stuck between vocabularies and long-distance journeys, time zone changes and culture shock – I couldn’t locate a word. She filled in the blank space of silence for me.

“Yes, you need to clear your head of debris.”


What a perfect word! The “stuff” left over after storms, disasters, and human disorganization: the unnecessary remains that need to be removed. In plane crashes and explosions the “debris field” tells investigators what happened before “this” happened.

We carry around a lot of “debris” in the garage of our soul. We keep piling things in, allowing them to collect dust – continual moving, rearranging and fretting, failing to rid ourselves of the unnecessary.

Our night on the train gave us a few moments of gathered team prayer time. R closed quoting the verse in Hebrews chapter 12. I have always loved how The Message translates the verse:

“Do you know what this means – all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished the race we’re in.”

I take it to mean – get rid of my “debris”! The things and thoughts that would slow me down and keep me from the task He has set before me.

With much going on in my personal and emotional life, I must cast my cares for the answers to Him, who cares so much for me. And be prepared to “enter in” to embrace the sadness and the sad, and be called the light and joy He has called me to be.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Entering In

I’ve heard it shows in Kansas in the winter. I’m not sure because I’ll take my Texas winter weather over snow every time! Christmas day was a chilly 52 degrees but in a few days it will most likely be back up to 70 then perhaps down to 30 then 80 then snowstorm. A bit unpredictable but it is the very unpredictable nature of Texas weather that makes the days (those one or two) of ice and freezing temperatures bearable. You see, in Texas we know any “heat wave” or “cold snap” won’t last long – it is just passing through.

As I look out this morning, of my Moscow hotel room, I need not question to my imagined Toto “we are not in Kansas." A thick blanket of snow is covering the ground, and snow is still falling. People are out in number. There is a crowd on the street going to and from the metro, their jobs, shops, some headed home. This is the life of Russians. It snows, it is below freezing, and it IS winter. Weather is endured, changes are common, and the unexpected alter in day or circumstance catches no one off guard. They have adapted, they will adapt and more importantly they will survive.

I’m sitting here, inside, looking out at those bundled up bracing the elements because they have to. I can’t imagine! My hotel is heated, and I’m cold. I have on thermal underwear, wool socks, and a jacket and I’m still cold. I am out of my element that is certain.


I have entered into the world of the work of my King! As cold as I convince myself I am here on the “inside” I only have to get up and look out the window to see “cold”. And as much as I may personally and emotionally feel the connection with the orphans we are on our way to minister to, do I really KNOW their suffering and sorrow?

Christ calls us to “enter in” to His suffering and there find the reward of the faithful servant – His joy!

Fight or Flight

“The next time you see something that’s broken or not working as well as you think it should OR wish it would let it be God’s reminder that such brokenness is NOTHING BUT A YARDSICK OF HOW FAR HIS GOODNESS will ultimately reach!” Flight or Fight by Joel Belz WORLD Magazine 12-23-06

The year is closing, coming to an end of days and bringing out a new calendar with few events filled in for the coming year. Through God’s mercy, I have been given “this” ministry ten years down the road, with wonder (and what remembrance fails to pass) and wonderment at the privilege to have friends around the world – family members of the “Body” who suffer when I suffer and who truly carry the burden to the throne room and throw it at the mercy of our Living God.

A few hours before leaving the “old” world I heard from my two of my children (G & A) – the emotional wheel went from family situational hysteria to “I’m not leaving – I need to work it out here.” I saw such God discernment as well as reflection.

Before we turn our hearts and lives over to the Creator we NEED our lives to “work out”. We NEED to believe we can come up with the incantation of emotion that will fix our heart and modify the behavior of the injuring party. We NEED to believe the alcohol or drug or sex will fill the deep need and make us feel okay, happy, satisfied, full of purpose and plan –

I told my hysterical daughter “Come home. Besides, I have so many gifts to give you. They are waiting for you here. I can’t wait to see your face when you open them.” Immediately the Father brought to my heart (broken for my sobbing daughter) how much He offers to each of His children – “Come home. I have so much to share with you. I want to see your face when I give you these things.”

There is a terminology in psychiatric circles referred to as the “Fight or Flight” syndrome. When a person feels under attack, the body produces a stimulant to help carry out the appropriate reaction to maintain safety. Our spiritual condition helps us determine more accurately when we are stuck, fighting to be our own God, or when we have the strength to turn tail and take “flight” into the shelter of His wings. My heart broke for her. She wants so badly to do life her way, without the Creator being the God and Master of her fate. When she fails to succeed there is only herself being her own God to blame in abject frustration.

It triggered my own thoughts of failure, trying so hard to do life with what little emotional foundation I had been given. Perhaps “this ministry” I have been given, is to lay a foundation of value, worthiness, and worthwhile remembrance. I have an opportunity to say to children orphaned by tragedy or circumstance “You are not alone, there is a God who has called your name and given you a purpose to fulfill. Seek Him, find His plan - for IT will bring you life and a hope you never thought you could have because of who and where you came from!”

It is not about you (or me) – it is ALL always about Him.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

RUSSIA - Calendar of Events

Depart DFW

Arrive Moscow

Overnight Train to Voronezh

Arrive Voronezh
Meeting with Interpreters and Russian Team Members

Teen Transition Center: Set up Construction area to make beds for Semiluki Orphanage

Semiluki Orphanage Program

Boguchar Orphanage Program

Winter Orphan Camp Program

Semiluki Orphanage Presentation of Beds
Return by Train to Moscow

Arrive Moscow 7:55 am

Depart Moscow
Arrive Frankfurt