Journal: Bangladesh

 

Today is Friendship Day, and the kids are pretty excited about it. In morning devotion we talked about how the disciples did not leave Thomas to mourn alone after Jesus, risen from the grave, came back for them. Even after Thomas, with a flare for the dramatic, said he wouldn’t believe them unless…

Those who had become his dearest friends refused to allow the actions and words of his hurting heart keep him from them or, more importantly, the One he needed to see most, the only Friend who could fortify him with peace. Regardless of how his distance and words made them feel personally (we are not told), they simply decided to love him. They sought him out. Their message was short and simple: We saw Him!

If you have that friend, take heart. Refuse to let the words of his or her aching heart keep you from sharing the love of God. Ultimately it’s not about you. It’s about Jesus. Today I am praying that God will give you the discernment, strength, courage, and hope you need to not turn him or her away.

If you are that friend, take heart. Today I am praying that God will soften your heart to hear the truth in the pleas of those who love you and follow them to the only One who can fortify our hearts with peace.

Today is friendship day, and I can think of no better way to celebrate than to accept a new or renewed calling to love even those who are difficult to love. All by His grace, all for their good and His glory.

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Some of the girls helped paint the home’s ceilings today. It’s hard to tell which ones, though… 😳😆🚿🚿🚿

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My dear friend Jean has spent the past eight years or so showing me what it is to get to know others intentionally, to be the hands and heart of Christ when and where we don’t necessarily have to.

Over the simplicities of sweet tea and card games she has had this way of looking into my eyes and holding with a most delicate care the pieces of my heart that are heavy. She speaks truth when truth is not easy to speak and listens intently when a quick response would be the habit of most. She rejoices with those who rejoice and weeps with those who weep.

Her example, the examples of my parents and others pluck out a steady melody on my heart strings even now, half a world away, as a Love greater than understanding or circumstance looks into the eyes of these children and yearns to hold with a most delicate care the pieces of their hearts that are heavy.

What is a few months’ time in the lives of children? Less than a breath, a vapor. Heart wounds of the past run deep, present transitions are significant, and futures hold certain uncertainties. What can a stranger say? Nothing of substance if the words, the strength, the deeds, are mine and mine alone.

If it is no longer I who liveth, but Christ who liveth in me, may they see His love greatly. May my words be kept at bay when listening love is what they need and may truth be swift to speak into their doubts and fears when called for. Conviction urges me to put my agenda down, to know that I don’t know best. To test what could be done with any given moment against the Spirit’s leading.

Compelled to earnestly ask for the nations I’ve been utterly humbled as God fills my arms with their children, their future. No time’s enough time in my finite mind, but the Maker of minutes and Master Composer of all melodies played on our heart strings brings hope that He is using it well.

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No power, no problem.

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Oh my heart, these teens. To transition from childhood into adulthood anywhere in this world is not easy, and each of these growing hearts and minds finds no exception.

This trip, more than ever, I’ve been convicted and burdened to be aware of the fact that I am stepping into their world for a moment, they aren’t stepping in to mine. That may seem so obvious it’s silly to say, but it’s an important truth to pause to ponder.

When sharing life with anyone short-term, it can be and has at times been all too easy to not intentionally check cultural bearings at the gate. Even the best of intentions bearing bountiful gifts can cause harm to some degree upon leaving growing hearts and minds to grapple with the stark contrasts between what we bring into their world and what their world actually is day-to-day.

It struck me especially when preparing pictures to post. How quick are we to find the photos we look best in then only post after cropping out the pout faces?

Yes, I want you to see glimpses of the bright eyes and killer smiles that have so tied forever-knots in my heartstrings, but without sharing the whole story, what’s any given post actually worth?

Let’s be honest, the teens have had a particularly rough week. They are very real teens learning hard life lessons. Our group picture time came around in the midst of it all and I can understand their not wanting to pose.

The first picture is a truer representation of that particular moment in time. The few smiles are as genuine as the not-smiles. After some light-hearted laughter, the second photo’s a little brighter, a better representation of much of our time together.

Please know that discrediting the high value and importance of outsiders stepping in to their world to show love is in no way my intention. It’s just important to be aware of how our different words and deeds and then our leaving may impact them in the long run.

Some of you are prayer warriors and have been upholding this trip. Please pray for these dear ones and their long-haul struggles and victories ahead.

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Rain, rain, go away. These little children want to play cricket.


Just finishing final notes to the girls and women. Not gonna lie, I’ve gotten a bit overwhelmed at times by even small glimpses into just how great the needs are. Praise God, the giver of every good and perfect gift, for those who are spending their lives so diligently for these children, for the future of this nation. There are many differences between my sprint and their marathon.

Please take a moment to lift the leaders, dorm parents, teachers, and other home, school, and Bible campus staff members up in prayer.

– That God would continue to fortify their hearts with a strong sense of His great purposes in their daily tasks.

– That He would continue to grant wisdom and discernment beyond mere earthly reason as decisions are made.

– That He would continue to build relationships centered on His love, drawing all of their hearts together in unity.

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